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Review: Arcane Power

Okay, I’m not the internet wizard I thought I was.  I just got back from a vacation (to Disney World!) and none of my posts auto-posted to the future.  So, I’ll be posting them over the next few days.  Sorry about that!

First off, I’ll be reviewing Wizard on the Coast’s Arcane Power, their second power source supplement.  If you’ve read Martial Power, then you know exactly what you’re getting into – builds and powers, paragon paths and epic destinies.  All good stuff in this one, though the power creep is starting to… creep.

My first beef is the presence of the bard in the book.  I mean, I get why and how and so forth, but when a book presents new options to a class that was introduced a mere month before, I kinda feel like I’m being taken for a ride.  That being said, I’ve always felt like playing Wizards’ games was a ticket to a very glossy ride anyway, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.  Not only that, but the bard’s pictured in the book don’t seem to have any instruments.  I mean, unless a giant flaming sword and a bow and arrow are now musical instruments, in which case there’s a band I need to form.  And many of the bard’s powers have little to nothing to do with… barding.  Firemetal Shot, Wall of Anguish, and Arrow of Destiny all sound like kickass powers… for my ranger. And as for the other powers…  adding the word “cadence” or “euphonic” do not make it bardy, they just make you a tool.  But the Half-Elf Emissary seems pretty sweet – the Gambit power, partnered with 4E’s new minions mean that those bonuses are going to be huge.

The sorcerer gets some new gizmos, and I like ’em.  Storm Magic is simple yet awesome, much like the thunder and lightning upon which the class build draws its theme.  I like it.  The Cosmic Magic build seems cool, but seems a little… catch-all for my tastes.  But some people who fancy themselves to be cosmic and deep will probably love it.  Moon Cage seems nice.

I can’t really speak to the swordmage, because I haven’t really gone through my copy of 4E Forgotten Realms yet, and haven’t run a Storm Mage, so… YMMV.

The warlock is where the shit hits the fan.  The Vestige Pact seems… begging to be broken.  Basically, your benefits are always changing, but seem to be about as powerful as the other pacts.  So, instead of 1 pact, you get dozens, depending on what you need.  (Well, you start with the choice of two, but you can get more with powers.  The whole Augment seems to be the veritable definition of creep.)

The new builds for the wizard are great.  After a decade of hating the Illusionist (it was meant as an example people, not the only school specialist), I have to admit I’m glad to see them come back.  And a Summoner?  Hell yeah.  Getting “Summon Fire Warrior” as an ability at 1st level just screams at me to be picked.

The arcane options are pretty… creepily fantastic as well.  I’m particularly fond of “Phantom Echoes,” which allows an Illusionist (or any wizard) to maintain combat advantage against an opponent for… well, pretty much ever.  Familiars are back, and in a big way.  I’m worried 4E familiars are going to creep up, but so far, with only four feats (one required to get the familiar), we’re probably safe for a while.  I feel like Wizards is listening to the complaints about the lack of fluff – little bits like the “Familiar Quirks” table seem to be a response to this.

The Epic Destinies seem to be getting a little more specific, with the awesome “Archspell” going all the way to letting you focus on one spell.  (Though, getting to use a Daily Power as an Encounter Power is pretty nice.)

Overall, Arcane Power is exactly what you expect – if you’re playing an Arcane-based class, you’re going to need to pick this up to keep up, but nothing too radical.