On a Useful Review of Wonder and Wickedness

Wonder and Wickedness 
A review:

  • Look at that cover! It's sweet!
  • Holy crap! Is there new art by Russ Nicholson in here!?
  • Like the whole thing is illustrated by him. 
  • What is this? Spells? Levelless spells?
  • Demons crawling out of eggs?
  • No, wait. 56 Leveless spells. 
  • Six schools: 
    • Diabolism
    • Elementalism
    • Necromancy
    • Psychomancy
    • Spiritualism
    • Translocation
    • Vivamancy
  • Yep, leveless spells. All spells are appropriate for beginning casters and scale in power with caster level. From the introduction "The most common method of presenting spells within a fantasy RPG is a ranking by level. . . However, this is not the only reasonable approach, and the notion of no hierarchy of spells is the foundation of this supplement."
  • Is this sweet? Yes, this is sweet, because holy moly do the spells feel magical!
  • Here's an example, Chariot of Air
    • A tumult of air elementals, prismatic and cacophonous, bears the sorcerer aloft and in any direction desired. Buffeted this way and that, no subtle action may be taken or communication attempted over the roar and incoherent babbling of the winds. Despite the many voices they have stolen, these creatures communicate by caresses and only madly wail in confusion if not in contact with the sorcerer.
  • I hear a cacophony of people complaining about balance. Pshaw. This is clearly a Original Dungeons and Dragons or Basic/Expert style wizard, where they remain useful after their powers are expended because your sole utility isn't tied into your class abilities. That said, playing one of these wizards seems really cool! You can turn your spell into maleficence in order to do damage, or cast it. You can only prepare 1 spell per caster level. 
  • Take Necromancy for example. There's the standard Death Ray and Lich-Craft (raise undead), but there's also Occult Consultation, where the sorcerer digs a square pit, fills it with wine, herbs, and a sacrifice to summon a throng of ghosts that you can question. You can summon a specific ghost with a true name or treasured possession, and if you wish, when the spell ends, you can follow the ghosts into the land of the dead, with no guarantee of return!
  • The back half of the book is dedicated to the terrible things that can go wrong. When do they go wrong? When sorcerers try to reach too far. Are you a non-sorcerer casting one of these spells? Are you out of spells and trying to cast another one? Are you dead? 84 catastrophes are there to add an interesting twist when something goes wrong. 
  • There's also a unique selection of 50 magic items. Like the orc mace, that turns people into orcs, or the shadow loom which weaves sorcerous garments. 
I have mine in print, because I like to use it as a version of hermetic magic in games I run. These are the types of spells on scrolls and the ones rogues can cast. It's 84 pages of creativity, art, and magical magic. I love mine. This is that level of Do It Yourself awesomeness that all too often gets overlooked in the shuffle. 

Hack & Slash 


  1. I've had it in my wishlist since it came out. There's too much good stuff to buy, too much good stuff to even read.

    Any comments about how it would fit or not fit into a game of 5e?

    1. 5e is actually kind of complicated, I'd have to put some thought into it. Spellcasters do have fewer spells in that game, but still vastly more than in older games. And nearly every class casts spells (excepting barbarian, iirc)

  2. Another quick request about the contents. Is this really only for d20 or could it be applied to any Fantasy system?

    1. Oh, I don't think it requires d20 at all. This could be dropped into any game.

  3. Thanks for reminding me that we need to start talking with Paolo about restocking :)


  4. Thanks for the recommendation, it was totally worth the price! I'm running 13th age right now, and letting one of my player's use some spells from the elemental domain for her elemental druid. I have to adjust the damage for differences in hitpoint gains at higher levels and make minor changes to flavor based on setting, but for the most part it works pretty great as is.


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