RPG Reviews – Deep Magic: Winter Magic & Mythos Magic

One of the best parts about a gaming system is seeing how it works when you tweak it; changing some fundamental elements can turn the entire game on its head. Since the magic systems are one of the most distinctive parts of D&D, informing the cosmology and structure of the worlds, altering them can make it feel like a new game.

The Deep Magic series by Kobold Press is a great set of small, easily affordable supplements that introduce a new system of magic or an alteration to an existing one. Players and DMs get new Cleric Domains, Warlock Patrons, Sorcerer Origins, Wizard Schools, and even options for non-magical classes. They remind me of the old articles of Dragon Magazine.

Deep Magic: Winter Magic – Kobold Press

I feel something of an affinity towards the cold. I’m not a cold person, I don’t necessarily like the winter, but I grew up in a relatively cold place and the stark, frozen beauty of a winter wasteland holds a lot of fond memories.

When it comes to gaming I do like cold-themes in abilities and characters. Art-wise I typically get some of my favorite color palettes, and when I was young winter was always the best place to play make-believe – we had mountains, armor (snowsuits), and could throw ourselves around outside without the harm of landing on concrete or the grass (not much of a cushion that).

It also reminds me of the winter holidays, when my friends and I had unrestricted time to play D&D to our hearts’ content.

Winter Magic is, obviously, themed around the cold. While loosely tied to the well-regarded Midgard setting, it’s all rules, with nothing forcing you to use that setting.

The options in Winter Magic definitely pass the excitement test – I see them, and want to use them. There isn’t anything that I feel ho-hum about.

There’s the Barbarian path of Blizzard’s Heart, which uses storm and sleet imagery to help the Barbarian avoid missile attacks and commit area-of-effect attacks.

The Clerical Domain of Winter includes some new spells and gives terrain advantages to being in snow and cold weather, as well as granting weapon attacks extra cold damage.

The Warlock Patron known as The Frozen One uses ice and cold for damage, protection, hindering enemies, and shifts the various Pacts to have cold and ice trappings, from a frosty pact blade to frosty familiar demons.

There’s also a new ritual for those who have Deep Magic: Rune Magic, and a list of new spells for all spellcasting classes. Though I like the new combat/damaging spells, the utility ones stand out the most, among them “Breathtaking Wind”, which removes the target’s ability to speak, and “Snow Fort” and “Ice Fortress”, which create structures usable for defense.

Overall this is an excellent product from a reputable company, offering some fun, flavorful character options for a very low price, available here at DriveThruRPG.

Deep Magic: Mythos Magic – Kobold Press

The Cthulhu Mythos has been a part of gaming almost as long as dragons, or dungeons. Apart from the venerable and evergreen Call of Cthulhu RPG, it’s appeared in part, in whole, or as inspiration for a ton of games. It’s even been connected to D&D since one of the earlier printings of Deities and Demigods.

Deep Magic: Mythos Magic brings the eldritch tomes and unspeakable secrets of the Great Old Ones to the Fifth Edition of D&D through the Midgard setting. Like most of the Deep Magic series the mechanics are relatively setting-neutral, though it does cover ways in which the content ties into Midgard – from which deities of the Cthulhu Mythos would be worshipped, and how it interacts with Deep Magic: Void Magic (also present in the Midgard Worldbook). It should be noted that some aspects of the rules in this book do reference the Midgard Worldbook for full usage, so you may have to do some rules-hacking if you don’t have the above book.

It’s worth noting the presence of a sidebar acknowledging the problematic elements of Lovecraft and how it influenced his writing. It’s become more common to do so these days, and is important to address, of course, due to the particularly egregious attitudes he held.

One of the fun rules features of Mythos Magic is how it’s learned. Unless the caster is a Warlock with The Great Old One as its Patron, they can only learn the new spells in this supplement through the study of unspeakable tomes, or by seeing the spell cast.

Therefore it’s very helpful that a few of these tomes have been written up as Wondrous Items, detailing the spells contained within and how one attunes to the item. Naturally, the Necronomicon is included, taking its rightful place by using a full page of this brief supplement.

Studying Mythos Magic is far from an easy-breezy task. Learning spells can result in the accumulation of Void Taint Points, which warp the body and mind over time. This section is most tied into Midgard though it requires only slight reference of that book.

The spells are very flavorful and fit the nature of Lovecraftian magic quite well. Focusing more on divination, conjugation, and enchantment than offensive spells, they allow the caster to commune with otherworldly creatures and assail the mind with nightmarish visions. There are a few spells which will require some DM fiat, such as the spell that communes with a Great Old One, and the conjuration spells typically summon creatures from the Tome of Beasts or Creature Codex, so if those titles aren’t accessibly some reworking of those spells may be necessary.

Overall it’s a fun supplement that uses its space well in capturing the essence of Lovecraftian magic. It’s certainly got a lot of the flavor but isn’t quite as accessible due to the necessity for other supplements to make complete by-the-book use of it. But don’t let that stop you – it’s still very useable and what you get for the price point will enhance any D&D game!

If you wish to delve into the eldritch lore of the Great Old Ones, click here to purchase it from DriveThruRPG and help support this site!

Disclosure: DriveThruRPG links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking them I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support my efforts to bring you reviews of fun and interesting games!

One thought on “RPG Reviews – Deep Magic: Winter Magic & Mythos Magic

  1. Pingback: 5 on Friday: 05/07/19 – No Rerolls

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