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Lastly, the game mechanics, while not weak, certainly don't make this a top d20 book if you're looking for numerous PrCs, feats, new legendary PrCs, high level spells, powerful magic items or other elements that you'd associate with a high magic setting. Redhurst is the perfect type of game book for those friends you have who are highly imaginative and like reading fantasy fiction as it's a well crafted book. By keeping the game stats minimized, they've made the book perfect for almost any game system.

By making Redhurst a movable academy, they've allowed GM's using any campaign to insert this book into their campaign with as much or as little effect on it as they want. Redhurst is for the GM considering an all magic campaign and a great resource for those who want to expand the role of magic in the setting. I saw this book in the LGS, and it looks wonderfully produced.

Thanks for the review, Joe - I'm gonna have to consider this one There are a lot of d20 products. A whole lot of d20 products. Yet despite this, there have been relatively few original products. This is one of those few original products. Basically, The Redhurst Academy of Magic is a student handbook for a magical college, written completely in character.

While it's not the first d20 book based on a magical college that would be the excellent adventure "Unhallowed Halls" from Atlas games , it's the first that seems to be aimed at players as students. While I call it a college, and that is what it resembles the most I think , it's a bit vague on what age the students they accept are. It says "We prefer to take on students in their formative years, before their coming of age Is that 18?

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Or like in Star Wars, where 10 years old is too old to be trained as a Jedi in Episode 1. I guess they left it vague on purpose, so you could run anything from Harry Potter to Spellcasting It's also something of a "meta-setting", in that it really can be used in just about any d20 setting. While it is a college that teaches magic, it also happens to be a college that is magic as well. It travels throughout space, kind of like the Tardis.

Several existing settings from a variety of companies are mentioned - Freeport, Nyambe, Kalamar, Sovereign Stone, Scarred Lands, and a few others. The tie-ins with Freeport and 7 Cities are the best, presumably because the author of this also worked on those as well, though this is much more pun free than either of those products.

The first thing that is noticeably different, is that it's sideways. Rather than the typical book, in which the long part is vertical, in this case, the long part is horizontal. Landscape, I think this is called. Why exactly was this done? Beats me.

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The student handbook to the college I went to was like a normal book. But it's kind of neat. Its a hardcover, and also has a binding that lets it stay open, or flat on a surface, like a textbook. The physical quality is very high, probably the highest I've seen for a d20 book.

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The second noticeable thing, is that the book is entirely in color. And that besides the normal text that makes up the guide, there is also red text in the side margins, by an anonymous annotater, commenting on the contents of each page.

This largely serves as a "GMs Section", in which various secrets are revealed. The whole college is mapped out quite well. There are maps for the 4 different stories of the college on the inside cover, and something like 50 locations are decribed. The only place I think it's lacking is recreational areas for students. Neither of the bars in the place seem suited to be a student hang-out. So in Redhurst, each school of magic gets it's own "School", which is more or less like it's own department. For each school, the Dean and Assistant Dean are described and statted, and a couple of the other professors get described but not statted.

And there are descriptions of the classes each school offers more or less like a course catalog for a real college. Most students are expected to pick one area of magic to specialize in, but they don't have to.

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There are only about pages or so devoted to rules material, and this is in the back, as sort of an appendix. For the most part, I think this is a good thing - while there are only a few new feats and prestige classes, they really weren't needed. There are very basic rules for running a wizard school campaign. Graduation from Redhurst with a basic degree takes merits and they leave as 3rd level Wizards. Each class they take earns them merits, and they take 6 classes a year on average. Rather than come up with rules for students starting from 0 level or something similar, like being able to trade in commoner levels for PC levels, like in my own house rules , students are assumed to be 1st level wizards.

It's fairly high level - many of the staff are 20th level or so, but nothing epic it also uses the 3. So it's suitable for most settings, though might be out of place in low powered ones, and a bit ordinary in high powered, epic settings. Besides the academic aspects, there is some coverage of the students' social lives. As mentioned, Redhurst travels from plane to plane, and so they often take field trips. They also play a game called "Spellflag", which seems to combine capture the flag with magic and football. It's a beautiful book. The cover painting is good, but is actually much darker in person than on their website.

It's of a young woman who bears a slight resemblance to Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a gravity defying bosom, dressed in somewhat punk-ish looking clothing. Most of the interior art is excellent, though all of the pictures of halflings are quite odd. In one picture, the halfling is a mishapen dwarf like creature, in another, the halfling in question looks like a miniature version of "The Beast" from the Beauty and the Beast TV show.

While it's a very neat product, there are some downsides. First off, because it's presented exactly like a Student Handbook, a lot of the details are left vague. There are descriptions of the main faculty members, but if you want to run a game there, you'll have to come up with all of the students yourself. And presumably the lesser teachers and staff I'm not sure of the demographics of the students, but I don't think those listed would be enough to teach in a real college, even small one. It would be cool if there were a Redhurst mailing list for DMs thinking about running a Redhurst campaign to exchange students and the like.

Similarly, the maps in the book look nice, and would serve to guide you to a location, but perhaps aren't great for role playing purposes. They're more or less to the kind of maps you see in mall kiosks the "You are here" sort of thing Secondly, because the red comments in the margins serve as a way of telling secrets and other DM info, or at least things the PCs should pick up from rumor, you can't actually let the players read the book as a student handbook.

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It would spoil some things for them. It would be nice to have an un-annotated version for players.

Though now that I think about it, it wouldn't be too hard to make one of those yourself, as all the comments are in the margin. You could just duct-tape over them, or perhaps cut out the outer margins. A couple of settings Redhurst visits are problematic, and perhaps only included because they are affiliated with Fast Forward.

And alignment doesn't exist in the setting.

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When the college visits there, does everyone's alignment disappear? Do their classes change?