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Spell Compendium (Dungeons & Dragons v3.5) [Hardcover]

Matthew Sernett , Mike McArtor , Jeff Grubb
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Dec 2005 Dungeons & Dragons
An important reference to the most popular spells in the Dungeons & Dragons® game. A must have at every D&D game table!  
Spell Compendium provides players and Dungeon Masters with quick access to the D&D spells they need most. Drawing from a treasure trove of sources, Spell Compendium is the one place to find spells that are referenced time and again: the best, most iconic, most popular, and most frequently used. This convenient reference introduces a new spell format that includes descriptive text.  

Product details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (30 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786937025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786937028
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 22 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 878,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Matthew Sernett worked for Paizo Publishing as the editor-in-chief of Dragon® Magazine before joining Wizards of the Coast, Inc. as a game designer. His previous design credits include the Monster ManualIII, Fiend Folio™, and the d20 Menace Manual™ roleplaying games.
Jeff Grubb is a legend in the RPG industry, having designed numerous games and game supplements. 
Mike McArtor is the Assistant Editor of Dragon® Magazine and the writer of numerous D&D magazine articles.  Spell Compendium™ is his first roleplaying game product for Wizards of the Coast.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Hole 19 Mar 2006
Excellent, supreme, superb and all the rest. This book is an absolute must have. Certainly every group should have acces to a copy, really every player - it's just that good. Thousands of spells from sources so diverse that no one person could ever posses them all - until now. Between the PHB and this Compendium a caster has spells for near any concievable situation. Not only that, but there is a wealth of Domains for Clerics too. The Compendium has taken a page from the MM and includes a sensory descritpion for each spell - describing what it looks, feels or even smells like to cast the spell.
Some of the spells have been modified - Greater Mage Armour for instance no-longer requires a material componant, but generally these are sensable modificatiosn and the wise DM will probably rule that the SC takes precidense over other sources of the same spell, where disparitties occur.
The only slight gripe is that the Compendium does not contain spell lists for non-core classes, such as the Wu-Jen or Hexblade.
Nevertheless, buy, beg, borrow or steal your copy today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Ronseal Book 7 Sep 2007
Let's examine the title.
Spell: a means of defeating or circumventing problems
Compendium: a collection.

This book has literally thousands of spells from books that even I have never heard of for situations that I didn't realise I could use spells for. My DM has 'Borrowed' my copy after I spanned a raging river with an illusion spell and so ended the session (and very nearly the role play, he had banked on my not being able to cross said river)

The spells are useful at all levels for all spell-casters.

I need to replace mine to give my DM one of those headaches again...
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5.0 out of 5 stars best spell reference for d&d 3.5 13 Sep 2010
By ulrich
its a perfect reference document for looking up spells used in d&d 3.5
I would recommendend it to all playing 3.5
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 30 Aug 2014
By Shadrak
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lots of nice goodies to try and persuade the DM to let you have
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  80 reviews
113 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid reference at last 8 Jan 2006
By tick tock - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wotc is notorious for padding their books because let's face it, in the last year or so, Wotc has released more hardcovers than every book printed for the entire 1st edition. While each of these books contains patches of solid, if not essential material, one can't help but think Wotc could have compressed all this info into fewer volumes.

Could have, but that's not the nature of capitalism, now is it?

Quibbling aside, this is one volume that dispels the notion of padding and then some. Not since the Player's Handbook has any single book been so essential to the game. Sure, prestige classes are nice, but we dump 90% of them into the garbage and wonder why we bought the book in the first place.

But that's not the case with spells.

Spells rule the world of D&D. There's a spell for every occasion and players can never have enough at their disposal. In the past, if you wanted that choice spell to fight the lich you needed to have the right book handy, a book you most likely carried about simply for that four sentence spell description. Well, now you have more than a thousand at your beck and call and the cumbersome Complete series, not to mention the Bovd and Libris Mortis, can just stay at home.

Let me just say this book is solid, well constructed, and lays out everything you'll want to have for a spellcaster (unless perhaps you're a warlock). The only drawbacks are that the original sources are not referenced and there is no index or table of contents for the spells themselves. The former seemed like a bad idea at first, but now we have a host of new core spells to play with, spells that can't be thrown out because they originated in the Forgotten Realms or other campaign settings. The latter problem of no index is solved simply by looking at the spellcaster tables at the back, which doubles as the index, anyway.

This is the first book I have bought from Wizards in more than a year that I feel wholly satisfied about. It's nice to see a solid compilation that lightens my tote-bag and introduces new material at the same time.
69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you are carrying more than two books for spells-itsgood 31 Dec 2005
By MICHAEL BEAVERS - Published on
The spell compendium is the latest book from WOC.

This book contains spells from the following; the complete series, Draconomicon, Liber Mortis, Magic of Faerun, Manuel of the planes, Miniatures Handbook, Planar handbook, Players Guide to Faerun, Savage Species, and the Underdark. There are spells from the Dragon,and from the wizards website.

The book includes divine and arcane spells from all of these sources. It also includes the new domain spells and granted powers for them. All the spells according to the book are updated to 3.5.

My only complaints are that the spells dont have an indication from which source they came from. Its a small complaint but it would have been nice. The second complaint is the renaming of many of the spells. Aganazzars scorcher is now scorch, bigbys slapping hand is just slapping hand, harmony is now inspirational boost. Im not sure why and didnt think it was necessary.

Like I said in the title, if you are carrying two or more of the books to your games, its worth it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Many but not all spells, in a great but not perfect book 25 Mar 2007
By Walter D. Pullen - Published on
This is a wonderful book for Wizard characters wanting to expand their spellbook, Sorcerer characters wanting to find effective spells to learn, and Cleric and Druid characters wanting access to additional spells to pray for. It also includes spells for less common classes such as Assassin. Not all DM's allow their players to use spells from supplements, but if they do, this is one book you don't want to do without.

The Spell Compendium does not contain every spell ever published. For example, it doesn't contain spells from newer books, such as Player's Handbook II and Complete Mage. Since this book is a supplement, it also doesn't contain the spells from the standard Player's Handbook. Hence, as a Wizard player, I still find myself needing to carrying four separate books to gaming sessions to have full information on the spells I can cast. I'd like to see a Spell Compendium II, that has the newer sources as well as Player's Handbook spells all in one volume.

Some spells have been renamed or changed in behavior. For example, Greater Mage Armor no longer has a material component, even though you had to pay 25 gold each time you cast it in Complete Arcane, the book that originally introduced this spell. Since the Spell Compendium is the newer book with hopefully more errata and balance, DM's should probably rule that spells have the newer behavior.

I have noticed several typos in the book, which is unfortunate. But they're usually pretty obvious and won't interfere with proper use of the material.
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Haphazard Quantity Over Deliberate Quality 6 July 2006
By J. Calton - Published on
Most of the reviews near mine appear to be from people who have not used this book in several sessions or read it thoroughly. I want to give the book 1 star simply to cancel out the 5 stars given blindly by the WotC fanboys (of which I would be one if they weren't so lazy) but 2 is more accurate.

Yes, the Spell Compendium has lots of material. Lots of unedited material. There are numerous mistakes throughout the book. I do not mean spelling and grammar (although there is a lack of that at times) -- I am referring to using proper game terminology, references, matching description/header, and so forth. Some spells do not match up with their core counterparts--some underpowered, some overpowered.

There is a two-spell combination that grants True Resurrection on a party member at 9th level Cleric, (IIRC but it might be 7th). At no XP or gold cost. That is Character Level 9, not spell level 9. I won't list it here because it's ridiculous and bad enough already, but it's not hard to figure out if you read the cleric lists.

Try to find "Draconic Polymorph" won't.

At least one of the spells (Graymantle) makes reference to an inapplicable 3.0 mechanic (Regeneration).

A lot of spells give different schools in the lists and in the description. The teleport spells are listed as Transmutation spells, which was changed to Conjuration in 3.5.

Some of the spells listed do not have any data for duration, range, etc.

Yes, this could be erratad, but

A) There is just _so much_ to errata. I don't want to carry around a handbook to go with my manual.

B) What exactly are the editors getting paid for? To make a physically attractive and appealing book, I guess.

C) WotC needs to PLAYTEST their material. Externally. They are the richest game company in the world, but apparently also the laziest (essentially TSR except with marketing execs and MBA's). It costs nothing to test externally except some very fine print credits on half of one page, or in the absolute worst case scenario, some free product.

In my opinion, it was lazy of WotC to create so many classes and not provide updated spell lists for any of them (especially base classes--PRC's I can understand). Instead it gives "suggestions" which is of no help to a player who bought this book but whose DM won't let him use anything out of it due to the spell not being on the player's spell list. Any good DM could write up hundreds of spells on a dozen spell lists over the course of several weeks of careful research...or he could be writing and running adventures. Why pay $40 for a book that expects you to do that work? Their supposed excuse is that they would have had to drop some spells to include new lists. What is the difference if you can't use any of the spells in your game, anyway...BECAUSE YOU CAN'T PROVE THE SPELL IS ON YOUR LIST?

I also say that if you are going to ask the DM to do that much work, why not just ask him to write 1,000 new spells? They would be at least as balanced and thorough as the book we are paying for.

I am not saying all of this in a pout because my DM won't let me use the book. All of my DM's will, but **I wish they wouldn't** because there needs to be an explicit spell list for each class, not just ad hoc spell casting out of a book no one else at the table is familiar with. I also DM and use the book only with much scrutiny.

There was a small but good thread on this at the publisher's (WotC) site, called "Spell Compendium Errors/Querries." Others may be found with a minimum of searching.


Only buy the book if, like me, you are a sucker for having every POS book put out by WotC on your mantle to impress your friends when they visit. Or if you make way more money than you need and have nothing else to spend it on; personally, I would rather have more minis.

If you do buy the book, expect to use it to pick up a couple of spells per caster PC to fill a gap in your (previously balanced) spell list or because you can't pass up an overpowered spell.

For the most part, expect it to collect dust (outside of those 2 uses per PC) and be a source of regret, unless you fall into one of the above 2 categories (rich or stupid).
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase for spell casting players 31 May 2006
By Jeff Travis - Published on
I was pleased to find that this book is spells almost from front cover to back. There are no extra feats, prestige classes or wasted pages of fluff text 5% of us actually would read.

What this book is though, is a spell book compendium as the name suggests. If your playing a spell casting character, this book will greatly reduce your need to carry 5 to 10 books to the game sessions, half of which for 1 or 2 spells. With that being said, it is important for you to realize that this book does not contain every spell from the WOTC collection. In fact, it doesn't appear to have any of the spells from the players' handbook. That shouldn't be a big issue as most players should have the PHB with them regardless. While not all spells are represented, a replacement can certainly be found within the Compendium or PHB.

While, I don't have a complete list of the books that are represented, I don't believe it would do you much good as I've noticed that some spells from various books are represented while others are not. I primarily compared the book to the various 'perils' series like Frostburn.

All in all this product is a nice change of pace from the majority of the books purchased for 1 prestige class or a couple of feats only to collect dust on the shelf. This one will see a lot of use for spell casting players.

My only complaint would be the seemingly unnecessary renaming of spells. There are a couple of pages that deal with this but I'm not sure why they decided to do this now, instead of just waiting till D&D 4.0. Then again, it wouldn't be a Wizard's product without a little fluff now would it...
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