Book of Lost Spells

Product Review

gaming tools rpg 5e pathfinder dnd

Earlier this week, I wrote about how much I love spells. The obvious tag line to a book of 708 new spells is you can never have too many spells. While that's definitely true, it wasn't [entirely] the need for more spells that drove me to purchase the Book of Lost Spells from Frog God Games. What inspired me to make the purchase was players constantly borrowing Player's Handbooks or Core Rulebooks during the game. It seems there are never enough [literal] spellbooks to go around, so I bought one with a bunch of new exciting spells so everyone has a chance to find the perfect spell for any occasion.

The lost spells

Cutting straight to the chase: this is a great collection of spells. The book has been released for both D&D 5e and Pathfinder 1e, although some spells are missing from the 5e version (I consequentially bought the Pathfinder version, and convert them in my head when running 5e).

The spells aren't groundbreaking (not that I'm sure I'd recognize a groundbreaking spell) but that's a good thing. These are spells that are realistic supplements to the stock D&D spells we all know and love. Your players can realistically use these spells in a game; they'll find this book useful, and they'll potentially stop grabbing at your Player's Handbook every round.

In fact, some of the spells are very appealing to players. For instance, the Sonic Strike cantrip has a chance to knock an opponent prone upon a failed Reflex save. Yes, a cantrip that has a chance to practically rob a foe of its next turn.

The Health Transfer spell allows a necromancer to heal others by drawing from their own HP, in what could easily be a nod to Magic: the Gathering or to the original Star Trek episode The Empath.

The Elemental Infusion transmutation spell embues a creature with elemental energy, granting it 50 temporary hit points, various elemental immunities, dark vision, and a host of resistances. It's an 8th level spell, and it feels like one.

There aren't really any throw-away spells here. Whether it's a cantrip or a 9th level spell, these are useful, fun, and full of flavour. It's a pleasure to discover what fun new effects a spellcaster player can have on the game world, and because these aren't the default spells that everyone gets indoctrinated with from the core rulebook or player's handbook, they are, more often than not, a complete surprise to everyone at the table.

Book design

The cover art doesn't necessarily fit with established branding, so players who aren't accustomed to embracing third-party content may require reassurance that it's OK to pick up the book that looks different from the others.

As for the inside of the book, Frog God Games has established a specific style in their publications. I'm not sure whether it's meant to be "old school" or just minimalist, but it's a design style they seem to be dedicated to. On one hand, I appreciate it as a format that's easy to print. I purchased a hard copy of this book, so I don't have to print it, but I also own the PDFs, so I could, if I wanted, easily print a few select spells as needed. On the other hand, the no-frills design sometimes makes it difficult to differentiate spells at a glance. This isn't a problem unique to Frog God Games, of course. The Player's Handbook and Core Rulebook aren't particularly good at making it easy to quickly identify spells by domain, school, or caster type, either. I'd love to see a book of spells with icons or colour codes or both to help players quickly find spells applicable to their current character.

The book starts with spell lists, so players can find their class and level and get a list of valid spells. I think this, too, could be clearer by starting each new class on its own page, but printing costs are real and probably influenced the lack of white space.

Top quality

I've found some great thematic spell lists over the years, and I've got a pretty good collection of module-specific spells that I've always meant to assemble into something printable and useful, but sometimes what you really want is a big book of spells. It changes things when you can hand your players a hardcover book of 700+ spells. It makes a difference, because it means you have a book without having to put any thought into it. And it means that the next time a player wants to find a cool new spell but some other player is already using the table's copy of the rules, there's that second tome of lost spells.

You should have this book on your shelf. You should add it to your book bag when you go to games. Extra spells are an obvious and essential addition to an RPG collection, and this one fills that niche nicely.

Header image copyright Frog God Games.

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