Arcane Power, the first must have supplement of D&D 4.0

I know a lot of people complain about the sheer number of add-ons and supplements Wizards of the Coast puts out for D&D, not to mention that after you buy all the books for one edition they come out with a new one.  It’s definitely an argument I understand, and certainly some of the books are superfluous.  Thankfully this one, Arcane Power, isn’t one of those, but is actually a very useful addition to anyone using arcane classes in their games (which let’s face it, is basically everyone playing D&D)

All of the current arcane classes (bard, sorcerer, swordmage, warlock, and wizard) have new build options, some more revolutionary than others.  The bard’s is the most useful, adding a whole new type of play for them: Ranged Weapon skills.  This is particularly useful because up to this point the only class with ranged weapon attack powers has been the Ranger.  Sorcerers get two new power sources, Storms (obviously tied to electrical attacks) and the Cosmos themselves.  Swordmages get a new option of Aegis, which allows them to teleport the marked creature next to them when it strikes another ally.  Warlocks can now make a pack with vestiges, remnants of ancient powers.  The wizard’s new options are among the most exciting, adding summoning as a valid option for the wizard.  Summoned creatures have the wizard’s defenses, and hit points equal to the bloodied value of the caster.  If it dies the wizard loses a healing surge (or if out of surges the wizard loses a quarter of her max health) As with the ranger’s animal companion the summoned creature uses the caster’s actions to act, and lasts until the end of the encounter or until dismissed.

There are of course also many new options for paragon paths for each class, as well as a few new options for epic destinies, (including the archlich path) new feats, rituals, and backgrounds.  Some appeared much more useful than others, but that a highly personal judgment based on my own play style; it is never a bad thing to have variable options.

Familiars finally make their 4.0 debut in this supplement, though unlike some versions these cannot attack directly.  They are not automatic either, instead available through feats.  Instead of combat options they have a wide range of passive and active benefits.  While in passive mode the familiar occupies the same space as the PC (in a pocket for example) and cannot be targeted or injured.  While in passive mode (and in active) an owl familiar adds 1d4 to perception checks for example, while the same familiar allows the character to see through its eyes until the end of the next turn, useful for finding an enemy, but not however for attacking through the familiar.

The familiar and summoning options alone nearly make this book worth picking up.  Add in all the other paths and options and it definitely becomes worth the price.

[tags]Dungeons and Dragons, Arcane Power[/tags]

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