Categorized | Reviews, RPGs

Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium Review

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Michael Holland

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    Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium is the third magical item supplement for Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition and was written by Jeremy Crawford, Stephen Schubert and Matt Sernett. Much like its predecessors (Adventurer’s Vault and Adventurer’s Vault 2) the book is packed full of the kinds of adventuring gear that players love to collect for their characters but unlike the previous two tomes of lore this book has been injected with a healthy dose of flavor as well.

    The narrative portions of the book were written by Mordenkainen himself (along with notes written by his traitorous apprentice, Qort) which makes for an excellent read. The book is also packed with crunchy goodness making this the kind of book that will appeal to a lot of different kinds of gamers. Overall this is a solid book and a good addition to your collection.

    Chapter 1: Armor

    This book ushers in the return of several of the armor types which were removed from the game with the newest edition’s release. The simpler armor system implemented in the launch of the fourth edition was easier for new players to learn but many gamers missed the flavor of having a more diverse selection of armor to choose from. Studded leather, ring mail, banded mail, splint mail, spiked mail and the full plate have all been reintroduced into the system and with features that make them interesting choices. This chapter also gives players several new types of magic armor as well.

    Chapter 2: Weapons

    Not only does the weapon chapter introduce new magical properties to the game it also adds new weapon types as well (or in some cases, it reintroduces weapon types not included in the Essentials). The bastard sword, serrated pick, katar, waraxe, whip and spiked chain add more options for players looking to think outside the box when it comes to character development in terms of fighting styles.

    Chapter 3: Implements

    This chapter has some interesting choices but if you already own the Player’s Handbook 3 you may see some redundancy. If anything this brings the rules for superior implements up to date with the Essentials line of products.

    Chapter 4: Magical Gear

    This chapter adds options for all of the other magic items slots. While there are fewer options than one would expect there is more flavor to each item than we have normally seen in the past.

    Chapter 5: Artifacts and Curses

    The artifacts potion of this chapter is interesting to say the least but the cursed items make this book worth the cover price. The “Item Curse” feature is stacked on top of an item’s other features (usually without the player realizing it) and the curses come into play only when their trigger has gone off. There are a lot of good options for a dungeon master to choose from and any of them can be used to drive story developments.

    This chapter also develops the concept of Story Items which are objects that do amazing things but carry no mechanical features other than to help move the story forward.

    Chapter 6: Adventuring Gear

    While the chapter covers mundane equipment. Along with several new kits (like the Adventurer’s Kit in the core books) we have also been given some new items, information on buildings as well as alchemical items.

    Appendix 1: Hirelings and Henchmen

    The system for employing and building hirelings for the game is well written but I was disappointed by the henchmen section. For the most part they give minimal guidance and then point you towards the rules to create companion characters found in the Dungeon Masters Guide 2 (also noting that they did not list the DMG 2 on the back of Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium). I was disappointed.

    Appendix 2: Magic Item Stories

    Random charts for generating sample story hooks and sample item details for magic items. This is a meager addition to the book but a useful one.

    Appendix 3: Item Levels as Treasure

    Allowing players to upgrade existing items (to bring them up to speed with the level of their game play) is a great addition to the rules. Now an adventurer can use the same item from the beginning of their story to the end without sacrificing themselves mechanically.

    Appendix 4: Item Lists

    Finally! It is nice that this book lists the magical items found within by category and rarity level. This makes it a lot easier for players to reference the book and for dungeon masters to plan out magical item distribution.

    Review by Michael Holland

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