I have been slowly making my way through Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium, mostly during my morning and evening trips to the “office”, and I have come to the realization that it is an awesome book. This is exactly the kind of book I was looking for in 4th edition with regards to magic items. I found the first two magic books, Adventurers Vault 1 and 2, to be pretty meh and a cure for insomnia. I can understand WOTC’s dilemma as they needed to get out a wackload of items given how integral they were to the math of the new system, but the result was uber melba toast.
Mordenkainen’s definitely follows in the post essentials mold with more emphasis on story/fluff. Each item has some story text describing its origins, and in some cases potential story hooks. They have finally sorted out the rarity system so it is more viable to implement in your games, including some pretty friggin cool rare items. The book also updates some iconic magic items such as Frost Brands, Dancing swords, Helms of Brilliance, Rings of Wizardry, and many more.
The over arching concept of the book is also pretty cool in that it is a lost journal or tome of the great wizard Mordenkainen detailing and cataloguing the world’s magic items. Following in this vein, the book contains little anecdotes by the big man himself. But more so than anything this book made me dream of magic again, like that 11 year-old kid who was under the covers pouring through the 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide pregnant with possibilities.
Although one item or more so the art caught my eye and made me think good lord Drax wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing (Drax is the lovable fighter whose exploits I have occasionally chronicled here). The item is question is Fishscale Armor and Shoes of Water Walking accessory.
When I saw these I had the thought that if I know Drax (and I do on account of him being a figment of my imagination) he would rather sink to the bottom of the ocean encased in full plate or at least be cut down bare chested in his loin cloth than suit up in that get-up. I mean come on man what is that a turquoise bonnet or bathing cap?