Warlock’s Tower (1979)

In the introduction to The Complete Warlock, the authors say they don’t have space to overhaul monsters and magic items, though they would like to at a later date (…ballsy, then, to call it “Complete,” really). This is the later date: Warlock’s Tower (1979).

The monsters are mainly pulled from mythology and folklore and standard fantasy clichés. There are no surprises (well, one surprise: the Giant Capybara? Who wants to fight a capybara tho?). The written descriptions are nice in a way, a step up from OD&D, but the lack of separate stat blocks (the stats are described in the prose, ugh) hurts the usability. The magic items are more interesting. Basically, magic effects are distilled into keywords, which then are associated in batches with specific sorts of items. It’s a bit like the videogame Diablo, or the way 3E handles status effects and is super interesting.

There is also advanced rules for thieves and wizards, more spells, guidance for centaur and were-creature player characters and expanded advancement tables through 40TH LEVEL! That’s a lot of levels (an elf needs 10.4 million XP to get there, jeeze).

All in all, less measured than the first volume, but also, there’s the creep in of the weird impulses all these old school books succumb to. They just, inevitably, get extremely idiosyncratic. I love it when that happens.

Another cool cover from Tim Finkas. Eric Alley did the monsters. I gotta say, for an indie product in ‘79, this has pretty high production values.

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