First of all, I’m glad to see that, after a Red Box panic, Prestidigitation is among the Heroes of the Fallen Lands mage cantrips.

Second, I see that all mages get a new cantrip, Suggestion:

That seems like the sort of nonsense a mage of the Enchantment school would get up to, but apparently all mages are kind of skeevy like that. And wizards wonder why people don’t like them.

Apparently, once per encounter people like them quite a bit. While I like the flavor of suggestion and would definitely rub my hands together giddily at the idea of getting my hands on it virtually for free as a wizard, it does give me some pause.

Already, arcane characters have a lot of amazing ways to use arcana to substitute for many skill checks:

  • Arcane Muttering: A level 2 skill power that lets you make an arcana check in place of a bluff, diplomacy, or intimidate check.
  • Sorcerous Vision: A level 11 sorceror feat (that a wizard could multiclass into if they were so inclined) that allows you to substitute arcana for an insight for perception check.
  • Knock: A ritual that lets you use arcana +5  in place of thievery to open locked doors for the price of 35GP and 1 healing surge.
  • Seek Rumor: A ritual that lets you use arcana in place of streetwise to gather information at a +5 difficulty.

Each of these abilities makes me a little nervous, because while I recognize that skills aren’t the biggest focus in D&D, I like the idea of each character having a moment to shine with them (i.e. the rogue opening the crucial lock to break into the house, the ranger spotting an enemy hiding in the shadows, the bard making a clever bluff). It’s kind of annoying to imagine that with a few feats, powers, and rituals an Arcana-heavy wizard or sorceror could be AMAZING at common uses for no less than 8 skills (when you include arcana).

More Essentials thoughts…


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