Simple Reviews: Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium

So I got an early copy of Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium this week and thought I should share my thoughts about it.

The basics:

  • 159 pages
  • Written by Jeremy Crawford, Stephen Schubert, and Matt Sernet
  •  Price: 29.95 U.S.

Chapters include

  • Armor
  • Weapons
  • Implements
  • Magical Gear
  • Artifacts & Cursed items
  • Adventure gear
  • Appendix 1: Hirelings and Henchmen
  • Appendix 2: Magic Item Stories
  • Appendix 3: Item Levels as Treasure
  • Appendix 4: Item Lists
What works:
Pretty much everything. This book is not for everyone though, many people do not enjoy published supplements that contain only items and gear. I have heard many complaints about the adventurers vault series for 4th edition. I was not one of those people; I enjoy sitting down at night and leafing though the pages of the vaults and letting my imagination build stories either around the items I found or at least containing them. Mordenkainen’s makes this even more enjoyable. The book starts out like both of the Adventures Vault books did with new weapons, armor, implements and magic items. I’ll take this moment to note that new types of armor have been added in this supplement along with properties for armor like “durable” and “barbed.” These are great for players using essentials designed characters, giving them more options to add unique odds and ends to their builds.
 
Where this book starts to get really interesting is when it gets past most of the “regular” magic items and starts in on artifacts and curses. I know there have been many players and Dungeon Masters out there who have been asking for cursed items for a long time and these look to fill that request. The curses are designed to be well balanced and not throw players into despair over their misfortune, but to add flavor to a game with a little surprise. I did notice that many if not all of the cursed items really only affect combat, I would like to have found a few that had nothing but RP value to them but I’ll just make those up for my home game.
Also included in the artifacts and curses is story items, excuse me while I squee. The authors describe how story items work as “A sotry item requires a story obstacle – A challenge or condition within the adventure that would be difficult to overcome without the story item that fits with it, just as a key fits a lock.” To me that sing story fluff tied into small amounts of system crunch, and as a dungeon master I am all for it. Looking at items like “The Box of Seven Demons” I see what is almost an entire heroic or paragon tier campaign. The “Dimensional Gateway” is an amazing tool a dungeon master could give to either players or a villain for flavor and extra role play mileage. These story items are almost all fluff designed for dungeon masters to add to their games to increase the story value and add something very “Lord of the Rings”- esque to the game. Many dungeon masters have been doing this for a while but having some pre-made examples will really help those who are new and struggling.
 
I was surprised to find a section on adventuring gear, surprised and happy. I really enjoy mundane equipment, and much of it is very useful in role play and scene setting. Dungeon masters who pay attention to things like food, comfort, and necessities know this. Often many of us do not find use for these things in our games due to the skipping over of events like setting up camp or meals. The Emporium does a good job of adding a bit of descriptive text to the mundane items included with in, and it explains to the reader how each item might be useful in game. Many items have been prepackaged into kits, containing all the items a thief/rogue, wizard, or cleric might need. These kits outline what a good devotee of a god might be carrying around with them, helpful for new players looking to add authentic gear to their character.
 
Hirelings and Henchmen not something I was expecting from this book but very welcome. This section has rules for hiring NPCs to join the party and help the adventures. It goes beyond what the Dungeon Masters Guide 2 provides in the way of companions. The hireling rules allow a DM to create minion NPCs with specific jobs and abilities that they lend to the party; spies, scribes, guides are only a few of the different vocations included. There is a suggested price chart included in this section showing DMs how much a hireling would charge at each level. Henchmen on the other hand look more like fully stated out monsters, with more survive-ability  and powers of their own henchmen look more like companion characters with back story and plot importance.
 
What does not work:
Less than robust explanation of the new item rarity rules. While many of us have already adopted the item rarity rules not much has been published to solidify exactly how rarity should be used in game. For some, my self included, there really is little need for these published rules, but for others having a set of guidelines would be helpful.
 
Who  might enjoy this product:
  • DMs running essentials only campaigns who want post essentials items for their game.
  • Players who just want more.
  • DMs looking for official rules for hiring NPCs
  • Anyone looking for official cursed items.
Who might not enjoy this product:
  • DMs who do not use magic items.
  • Fluff haters.
  • Those who hate to pay for something that will be in the character builder later.
  • Those who think there is already too much.
I would call this a solid buy.

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.
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3 Responses

  1. Now I wish I had this book NOW. My game is also on hiatus for a few weeks so it will give me a chance to read this.

    What is actually in Appendix 3? Did you mention that in the review?

  2. Appendix 3 is very short, it explains increasing an item’s level as a reward, instead of replacing it with new items.

  3. ok cool that is something I do already, thanks

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