Enchantment and Illusionism

Enchantment: Fire in the Mind” and “Illusionism: Smoke and Mirrors” by Mongoose Publishing. Two “Encyclopedia: Arcane” supplements for the 3rd Edition of Dungeon & Dragons for their respective schools of wizardry.

These books were written to augment D&D with additional spells, magic items, feats and prestige classes. This was possible because of the Open Gaming and D20 Licenses for 3rd edition D&D by Wizards of the Coast in the early 2000’s.

I found these at the local comic store for a buck each. Of course I got the “Enchantment” book for the Collection, but I picked up the “Illusion” book on a whim. Or maybe not: sometimes I have found something unexpected for the Collection, and this was one of those times.

Enchantment” starts with the cover image, of an old wizard relaxing, using his enchantment spells on the people around him. The interior artwork is mixed, with about half being a variety of images of seductive enchantresses from several artists. The content is as expected: new mind controlling spells, feats which modify spells, prestige classes, and magic items. There is also a section for Game Masters and one for creating Thralls. The only thing missing from similar books is documentation on modifying existing skills.

The prestige classes (specialty classes based on the standard classes) were a bit of a surprise. Empath and Mindmender diverged from the classic mind controller. The Mindmender is actually mind healer, especially for people ravaged by enchanters. The Empath is a master of emotions, especially their own, and can be a healer or controller. However, the Puppeteer and Dark Temptress prestige classes were more classic. All of the class descriptions delve into considerable detail on the progress of their class advancement.

The flavour text is amusing: half is the communication between an apprentice seeking a master and an evil master enchanter, the rest is the thoughts of someone under the control of an enchantress, the musings of the enchantress herself, or the meditations of an Empath.

All in all, this is a very good game book on incorporating enchanters into a D&D game. The production values are excellent, although the interior artwork is uneven and sometimes quite generic. I have seen much worse.

Now for “Illusionism”.

This book is very similar to “Enchantment” above, with the same format and goals. I won’t go into much detail about it, because much of the book revolves around various schools of illusion magic that don’t involve any kind of mind control.

However, I found something that left me wondering why it was included here.

Skill: Profession – Hypnotist (Wis: Trained Only)

One page was devoted to describing hypnotism as a skill in a fantasy setting. There was also a Hypnotist prestige class, with stereotypical flavour text.

The skill description is workable, if a little cumbersome, and one too many dice rolls involved. The prestige class partially relieves or obviates some of the cumbersome elements, and would be interesting to play.

But why was this material not in “Enchantment”?

My guess was that these “Encyclopedia: Arcane” books are a standard 64 page size, and there wasn’t room for this material in the “Enchantment” book, so it got moved over to the (relatively) closest school of magic. The sole justification is the illusion spell Hypnotic Pattern.

I’m just glad they did. Into the Collection they go.

Both books are available for download from their website, https://www.mongoosepublishing.com/

They also published “Fey Magic” in this series. I believe there’s a copy in one of my bookcases, somewhere …

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