Deep Magic: Elemental Magic Review

Hello, everyone! Hopefully, you all had a great Thanksgiving last week! I apologize for the unannounced hiatus – I’ve been hard at work on Primordial Power and Prestigious Heroes, which I’m hoping to release sometime shortly, as well as a couple of new projects which I’ll be announcing soon as well.

Released near the beginning of the month, Deep Magic: Elemental Magic was distributed to backers of the Midgard Campaign Setting Kickstarter while the Heroes Handbook is off in layout. Elemental Magic is available for sale in the Kobold Press Store for only $2.99 and is the 14th in this series of mini-supplements which will see consolidation in the Midgard Heroes Handbook.

First Impressions

As always, Kobold Press does a great job with their layout, keeping a professional, and consistent style throughout. However, the page backgrounds of Elemental Magic are a little “busier” than the publisher’s usual work, incorporating Rune Magic’s motif of runes and lattices, coupled with the Celtic knot design elements, coarse page textures at the edges, regular nicks in the page, and blurred, faded arcane notes. On top of all of this are crisp, detailed illustrations which individually look great but would benefit from less noisy textures behind them.

Elemental Essence Sorcerous Origin

The Elemental Sorcerous Origin provides features which vary based on a selection of one of the four elemental heritages when choosing this subclass. At 1st level, you can manifest an aura of your selected element twice per day, which passively deals damage to creatures within the aura while you cast spells and also allows you to impose disadvantage to attacks against you. In low-level games, when a stiff breeze poses a significant challenge to a character’s health, this may introduce a more considerable amount of survivability for a character than expected. Whether or not this is beneficial or detrimental to the campaign you run wholly depends on whether or not you enjoy the high-risk gameplay in early games. (Personally, I like to start a campaign at 3rd or 4th level to avoid this type of gameplay altogether)

At 6th level, you may expend Sorcery Points for additional effects on your spells, such as keeping a creature from taking reactions, restraining a creature, frightening a creature, or inflicting the Poisoned condition on a creature. At only a single sorcery point and not requiring any save, these conditions are relatively powerful, so a Storyteller should bring this into consideration when designing combat encounters.

At 14th level, you develop a cheap means of teleportation as a Bonus action, twice per Short Rest, which can be used offensively by producing effects corresponding to your elemental heritage. Unlike the 6th level Infuse Elements feature, the feature requires saving throws for its additional effects and deals comparable damage to a Cantrip, freeing up a Sorcerer to cast a regular spell without Quickened Spell Metamagic.

At 18th level, as your Sorcerous Origin’s capstone feature, you become immune to a damage type associated with your elemental heritage, and two new abilities. Each of the four elements provides a passive benefit for movement(a fly speed, burrow speed, increased walking speed, or a swimming speed), as well as an ability which can be activated using a Sorcery Point which reflects the corresponding elemental types(a gaseous form for air, resistance to all forms of physical damage for earth, etc.).

Overall, the “fluff” for the Sorcerous Origin is not particularly strong, but it is a natural alternative to the existing options in Wizards of the Coast’s books.

Genie Lord Warlock Patron

Considering the normal dynamic in fiction in which a hero(or villain) summons a Genie to do their bidding, the Warlock subclass presented in Elemental Magic flips this interaction around  – a mortal servant who acts on behalf of a Genie Lord.

When you take the subclass, you get a gem which can store a wide range of types of damage. As you level up, you can expend that stored damage to deal extra damage in combat.

At 14th level, you can transform into a genie, giving you a flight speed, immunity to one of five damage types, and dealing extra damage with your attacks.

Elementalism Wizard

The Elementalism Wizard selects an elemental focus and gets the standard gold and time discount to copy spells which resonate with the element. Resonance with an element in this way is relatively vague and is even described with “work with your GM” by the supplement, so a Storyteller should be mindful of the additional back-and-forth a player will need to do bookkeeping in their spellbook.

As you level up, you also gain the limited ability to heal instead of taking your associated type of damage, and ultimately to ignore immunity to your associated damage type. Also, much like the Way of the Elements Monk’s elemental disciplines, the Elementalist wizard gains up to 5 Elemental Masteries, further customizing the subclass with abilities which typically recharge after a rest.

Though mechanically the Elementalist Wizard school is interesting, the fluff of the class doesn’t offer a significant difference from the Evocation school of magic, and the associated damage types can be a bit.. off(Acid for Earth?).

Overall Conclusions

Elemental Magic will run you only $3 on the Kobold Press Store, and ultimately offers a smattering of new Arcane subclasses backed by novel mechanics. While some of its elements may feel generic, that can serve a player well by not conflicting with existing portions of a campaign or setting. Overall, you’ll probably get more mileage from Elemental Magic than Clockwork Magic since it’ll fit into a wider variety of games, and at its low price you probably won’t need to hesitate to pick it up. Like most of the Deep Magic supplements, Elemental Magic would probably make a great stocking stuffer on a flash drive for a gamer friend for the impending holidays.

Speaking of which, if you enjoy the reviews I write on TBM Games and want to help make it easier for me to keep writing them, please consider buying Deep Magic: Elemental Magic through this referral link, to let Kobold Press know that you arrived at their site through this one.

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