Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/09/review-pages-from-mages.html
and is a followup to the post here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/09/this-old-dragon-retrospective-pages.html
The Pages from the Mages feature of Dragon Magazine was one of my favorite features and I looked forward to seeing what new spells Ed Greenwood would relay from the great sage Elminster. I was very pleased when I saw that the entire collection was pulled together into a single tome. The original Pages from the Mages spaned roughly 10 years from 1982 to 1992 and both editions of AD&D.
For this review, I am considering both the original print version sold by TSR and the PDF version sold through DriveThruRPG. Presently there is no Print on Demand option.
Pages from the Mages
The book is 128 pages. Color covers, black & white interior art with full color, full-page art. Designed for the AD&D 2nd Edition game.
The PDF sells for $9.99 on DriveThruRPG.
The softcover book originally sold for $15.00 in 1995.
This book covers some 40 or so unique spell books from various spellcasters from the Forgotten Realms. Some of these spellcasters are well known such as Elminster and others less so or at least nearly mythic in the Realms. This is one of the book's greatest strengths. While this could have been just a collection of books with known spells, it is the stories and the myths behind the books that make this more.
While many of the spells found within these books are fairly well known, there are plenty of brand new and unique spells. This is what attracted me to the original Dragon magazine series. Within these pages, there are 180 or so "new" spells. I say new in quotes because most, if not all, these spells appeared first in the pages of Dragon magazine and then again in the pages of the hardcover Forgotten Realms Adventures for 2nd Edition.
Additionally, there are a number of new magic items and even a couple of new creatures.
The true value for me, as a DM and a player, is to provide these new spell books as potential treasure items or quest items. Even saying the name of some of these books, like Aubayreer's Workbook, is enough to get my creative juices flowing. Where is it? Where has it been? What other secrets does it contain?
I often refer to a product as punching above its weight class. This is one of those books. While overtly designed for the 2nd Edition game there is nothing here that can't be used with any version of the D&D game, from Basic all the way to 5th edition with only the slightest bit of editing needed.
While I have a print copy and the PDF, a Print on Demand version would be fantastic.
A complete list of the spells, spellbook, creatures and characters in this book can be found on the Forgotten Realms wiki, https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Pages_from_the_Mages