|Image courtesy of Tenkar|
Now Vince knows me. He knows that I love new magic using classes as much as I love anything and a new "Holmes" Basic magic-using class is just too sweet to pass up. So he sent a copy of the new book in exchange for an honest review. Today I am only going to focus on the new classes, I'll say more about the book as a whole later on.
Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition (M&PDE hereafter) introduces two new magic-using classes, the Enchanter and the Shaman. They join the classic Cleric and Magic-User. There is a design choice here to keep the Magic-User over the more widely accepted wizard and I am 100% cool with that. If you know any version of Basic D&D (Holmes in particular) you know what the MU is all about. The XP progression tables are lesser for this MU compared to their Holmes, B/X, AD&D counterparts. But they are more in line with what a MU actually should need (see this post on my analysis of the MU/Wizard class). So for this alone your MU is going to have a slightly different vibe to him.
The max spell level in 5th, but that is not a big deal since the max character level in most cases is 12th. Again, just because of who I am I might make it 13th. (Come to think of it this might make a good game for my War of the Witch Queens campaign.)
The first new class is the Enchanter. The enchanter follows a similar level progression and the same spell progression as does the Magic-User. The enchanter does have a different spell list than the Magic-User as seen below:
They also learn their spells differently from a MU with a chance of a non-enchanter going insane after reading their spell books. I like the *idea* of the enchanter and I would certainly play one. I think though I would do something to make them a bit more different than the Magic-User. Given the mental nature of their spells I might make their prime stat Charisma or even Wisdom. They have some really interesting spells here and I think a lot can be done with this class. Just give it a little more to separate it from the MU.
Next up is the Shaman. Now the Shaman is a real treat. First it is a "primitive" type of spell caster, so their spells reflect that.
They also have Atonement and Spirit Guardian abilities. Atonement gives them the ability to spiritually link to a weapon. I have to admit the first thought I had was of Rafiki the baboon shaman from The Lion King. Trust me, this is a good thing. My only "house rule" I would add to this is that the Shaman's weapon acts as a magical weapon for purposes of hiting undead creatures. Not a +1 but more like a "+0".
The spirit guardian is a very interesting ability. I don't think it would be game breaking if the spirit animal could attack as a 1HD monster, but it is a guardian afterall. As a DM I would love to do a lot of cool things with this animal. Hell, it would make for a great "patronus" like spell. Also I would have the shaman need to go on a "vision quest" to find their spirit animal. Get all new-agey with it.
The shaman fills the same niche as does the druid in other OSR/D&D games, but is not really 100% the same thing. This is good, a game could be run that has both druids and shamen in it and still be plenty for them both to do.
Which class to play will often be determined I think by their spell lists. If I were to play the Enchanter I might want to supplement some of his spells. Maybe grab a few illusionist spells some more Enchantment spells from the 3.x SRD. The Shaman works great out of the box.
I would play both to be honest. Heck, I have a "Basic" game coming up that might be interesting to try out one or both of these.