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The Theory of Magic $4.99 $3.99
Publisher: The Gorilla Of Destiny
by Peter P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2022 04:12:23

Buy this. There. That's it. 4.7 blazing stars out of 5.

-0.1 for not being an in-world text, -0.1 for beginners needing Appendix 1 before getting into pp.9-16 and -0.1 for not yet being expanded into a full "Stealth Introduction To Nuking Perfectly Your Opponents In D&D With Math" textbook that would fool schools into bringing game materials into class and conning 8 year olds into taking up math and science.

Otherwise, this is as beautiful and near-perfect such a text can be, worthy of being properly gilt-leather bound, wax-sealed and kept safely on a shelf with the Gygax/Arneson White Box and the 1968 red-leather-bound single volume edition of "The Lord Of The Rings".


I gave up on the garbage that is 5e. 5e convinced me I should go to OSR-style or BFRPG or back to Champions/Hero/Fuzion. I threw myself into WEG d6 Star Wars rather than 5e. I think I'll start a full read of J.R.R. Tolkien and might try ICE's MERP, even, rather than 5e. And yet, I took a risk to buy this. This would almost make it worth picking up 5e again, just to be able to work with this document. I regret only first hearing of this work through DriveThru. I wish I could've gotten in on the Kickstarter.

Strixhaven should be raided and put to the torch, its baristas be enslaved and put to work in mines. The Radiant Citadel should be invaded, everything in it sold off to fund a university of Wizardry that would outcompete, outshine, deeply analyse and expose every last Thing Man Was Not Meant To Know at the GURPS Illuminati University. THIS is the text that should teach the Wizards of tomorrow.

Alright. Buy this and use it if you care about any of these:

  • game systems
  • magic systems
  • the Wizard class because it actually means something to you
  • really role-playing and you're playing a Wizard
  • anyone who's willing to play a wizard through from level 1 to the learning of your first ninth-level spell
  • you want to yell "screw Mystra!" and come up with spells higher than 11th level I KNOW WHAT I JUST SAID
  • a DM who wants an adventure arc around the fundamentals of magic
  • you want to design your own spells in a way no player or DM could ever dispute
  • math (or "maths" if you come from my kind of country)
  • understanding a game system better than the people who put it together
  • thinking about your game
  • you appreciate Science for what it is and want to see how you could apply it even to understand a Fantasy Game
  • parents, if your kid plays D&D and you want them to grow up to be good scientists

If you don't fit the above, you just want to hack-n-slash or worse, your wizard is dumber than Arnold Schwarzenegger's pectorals, then go back to your dumb computer game. If WOTC weren't so cheap, dumb and reductionist, they'd throw out their entire spellbase for One more D&D and rebuild it from scratch on this fine work by Thomas Wallace and his Gorilla of Destiny.

Perhaps my biggest regret about this is that it's not written as if it were fully an in-world text (why is it called a "Gygax" field, Gary?). Do that, publish it with a wax seal and it's worth triple the price. Quadruple for hardcover.

A wizard in a D&D world would be doing precisely this kind of work between adventures. Sages would be absorbing this for all THEY were worth. The Spellbooks of Fistandantilus are a discarded pre-historic amusement. Mystra would be shocked, Oghma would ascend and Elminster would be overturning every stone tearing Faerûn in half from east to west from Suzail to Candlekeep and ripping open a hole to Sigil on the way for a copy. Deneir would re-emerge out of nothingness upon the first binding of this book.

The graphic design is beautiful enough. To be honest, I'm not sure about how the cover's style fits with the rest of this. But the content of the cover, the diagrammed constellations, nodes and loops, the glasses on the erudite gorilla, the power evoked here... this is on point.

Within, it's just using the boilerplate template for 5e for homebrewers, for the most. But the stained glass art is a beautiful conceit. The colour banners for schools rather than symbols again and again makes it seem like the systems used by real universities the world over.

... and then you get to pages 30 to 40. For the love of Deneir and Mystra, scrap the stupid 5e boilerplate and use the style from these pages instead. Make the font slightly more "authentic scribe" and republish the whole book in this style.

Once you get to tables of data, they're done in a style that seems like a text for a near-mediaeval school (alright, it would've been nice if the graphs were done the same way, but). The author must have spent a fair time in academia; the introduction lays out the concept and (even though this part is usually in the conclusion) directions for future theories.

As you approach the first graphs, it's assumed you're not a complete beginner to mathematics - but then again, remember D&D was the game beloved of people who were pretty good at lots of things in school including sometimes mathematics. Jump to the Appendices and come back when you're done. Like with any decent book, taking it step-by-step will get you to the end and its reward. Are you an old Barbie doll whose voice chip used to complain about "math is hard!"? It's NOT. If it were, then you wouldn't be playing table D&D in the first place.

Not to mention - if you'd like a start in data science, analytics or statistics (gambling, futures trading, encryption, quantum computing, the lottery, GAMING...) of any kind... well, here it is, a case study born from the world's most famous and popular game. Take it. Schoolkids? Take this into math class and see what your teacher thinks. Get a jump on your science classes and learn early in a fun way how to do the stuff you'll have to do to pass.

... the really keen readers should be writing this into their own Python incantations. But perhaps the author might consider putting these functions into a spreadsheet tome for beginners...? At least by the time you hit p.15 and the grade 11-12 math. Some day there ought to be a semi-automated computer-based Spell Designer and it should be based on this engine.

After the math comes the "how to game it all", then a new subclass for "Scholar of Magic Theory". I can't stand D&D's pre-packaged Class with bolted-on-Feats system, I like stat/score/skill increases for Individual characters. But this, finally, is a subclass with an entire theoretical basis behind it, worth it.

Where I come from, 5e is still garbage. This "Theory Of Magic" is the one single thing I've seen that gives 5e an excuse to exist.

After 200 orders from DriveThru stretching back to 2011, The Gorilla Of Destiny is the second content publisher I follow with notifications. I don't know how he'll top this. Even if he doesn't... he's already made this name for himself.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
This review is genuinely touching. After so much work it's so rewarding to see someone enjoy it and I have let the specific artists who's work you mentioned know as well. The feedback (I'm not sure it would be fair to call them "criticisms") is of course valuable but I will probably just ride the high of this review for a good few years at least.
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The Theory of Magic
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