Greetings! Just recently, I happened to finally purchase the D&D accessory book, “Masters of the Wild: A Guidebook to Barbarians, Druids, and Rangers” and figured this would be a good week to review it since I haven’t reviewed a D&D book in awhile. There are five main sections of the book that I find to be the most informative and useful for most players.
The first thing that I really like about this book is in the very first chapter it goes out of its way to describe the perspective of these three, wilderness loving, classes. Often times I’ll find that players will not fully understand the mentality of a character that spends most of his/her time in nature (which is not surprising since most people who play D&D are not going on frequent and extended treks through the forest). This section of the book really makes a player better understand exactly what their character’s motivations and leanings are.
The second chapter focuses mainly on Feats and let me tell you there are some pretty crazy ones in there. Can you imagine a Barbarian that can rage twice as long, twice as many times per day, and deal greater damage while in raged? Well the feats in Masters of Wilderness will give you all this and much more. Druids benefit in similar ways in that their wild forms become buffed like no tomorrow. In my book, a Druid in wild form as a wolf should not normally be able to cast lightning from its mouth and simultaneous shoot a bow and arrow, but with the right set of feats, this is indeed possible. Rangers don’t get quite as many “cheap” feats, but there was one in particular that struck me as pretty ridiculous; a critical threat range of 15 to 20 on a favored enemy of your choice. Talk about overkill.
The third chapter of the book focused on weapons and tools and such. The standard weapons of the guide primarily focus on not killing a foe, but instead “subduing” them. I thought this was an interesting mechanic, but in all honesty, I didn’t feel like it was overly useful. In my experience, there are only so many situations where you have to subdue an enemy rather than just kill the thing. The magic items on the other hand I found to be pretty good, although a bit generic. Bonuses on wild form, tracking, wilderness stuff, etc. One item that caught my eye though was the “Standing Stone” which is basically a piece of Stonehenge that when a druid touches it is able to cast the spell it is imbued with, but at a much higher potency. While these obelisks are not movable, I fell like these are great plot device pieces for any Druid.
The fifth chapter focuses on Prestige Classes, of which there are quite a few. However, I will say that almost 60% to 70% of all of them look horribly mutated. Don’t get me wrong, they are most certainly powerful and/or useful, but let’s just say you wouldn’t want to walk into any towns looking like them….ever. For instance, if you decide to become an Oozemaster you will have the ability to seep through cracks, cast a plethora of damaging and debilitating spells, and all of their standard attacks have “Oozy touch”, which heightens the potency of any attack from an Oozmaster. However, you also will appear to be made out of mold, you lose your ability to communicate, and you spend most of your time in a puddle. Potent, but terribly strange.
|Speaking of horribly mutated, here is an Undead Bear-for- Shark, courtesy of SPipes|
Finally, there is the new spells, which while there are not many, I like how most of them are quite useful even for level 0. For instance, one of the spells is an enhancement on your entangle spell, which not only entangles the enemy, but also deals damage over time to all those entangled. So, nothing game breaking in the spells department, but most definitely a good addition to your selection of divine nature spells.
Overall, this book is well worth the purchase considering that it gives new depth and flavor to classes that lack in elaboration for the most part. The new feats and items introduced make Barbarians and Druids much more useful and don’t make rangers any more over powered than they already are. So, I give Masters of the Wild a 4 out of 5 stars.
Until next week!