Friday, May 8, 2020

OSR Review & Commentary On The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler

"The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells is a 16-page PDF that expands upon the classic “hand” and “fist” magic-user spells, providing a legendary historical context in which to fit them; guidelines on their use; 21 new magic-user spells; six new Manos-based magic items (including the infamous relic, the “Hand of Manos”); and not one but three Manos entities that a magic-user can evoke to gain power when casting Manos spells – though often at the peril of one’s soul!"

"Manos Fatidicas, the purported creator of the many spells that bear his name, is known only through myth and legend. He was active in the early days of the Empire, long before its fall and the rise of the Barbarian Realms and Successor Kingdoms. He was said to have been destined to weave great magic which created disembodied hands and fists, as his very name, “Manos Fatidicas,” translates in an ancient dialect as “Hands of Fate.” Some sages dispute these legends, however, and say that the stories about “Manos Fatidicas,” and even the name itself, were fabricated during the long Dark Age to explain the wide variety of spells of this sort."

The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler, these spells are designed around  the classic “hand” and “fist” magic-user spells, such as Bigby's & the like. The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells with Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord. These spells are very much in the vein of many of the weirder & dangerous Eighties spells for Basic or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. This isn't a bad thing but rather it takes the material in some rather gonzo directions. 

1st: Manos’ Iron Gauntlet (NEW)
1st: Manos’ Jarring Hand
1st: Manos’ Useful Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Burning Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Helpful Hand (NEW)
2nd: Manos’ Under Hand (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Defiant Digit (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Flaming Fist (NEW)
3rd: Manos’ Crooked Finger (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Malevolent Hand (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Harrying Hand (NEW)
4th: Manos’ Guarding Gauntlet (NEW)
5th: Manos’ Tyrannous Thumb (NEW)
5th: Manos’ Interposing Hand
5th: Manos’ Fists of Fury (NEW)
6th: Manos’ Hurling Hand (NEW)
6th: Manos’ Forceful Hand
6th: Manos’ Upper Hand (NEW)
7th: Manos’ Black Hand (NEW)
7th: Manos’ Grasping Hand
7th: Manos’ Haunting Hand (NEW)
8th: Manos’ Heart-Seeking Hand (NEW)
8th: Manos’ Clenched Fist
8th: Manos’ Mighty Fist (NEW)
9th: Manos’ Crushing Hand
9th: Manos’ Hand of Fate (NEW)
9th: Manos’ Maxima Manus (NEW)
The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells  is a basic send up & expansion upon the whole cloth of the hand spells of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition twisted through the Mishler's lens. But besides the usual sort of gonzo OSR spells these are are actually really well done take for example ;"Manos’ Defiant Digit Level: 3 Duration: 1 round per level Range: 10’ per level This spell creates a large, ghostly, disembodied hand that hovers 10 feet above the head of the caster. The hand performs all manner of inflammatory gestures and obscene motions at the enemies of the caster, such that the enemies of the caster who can see the defiant digit and are within range are infuriated and suffer a -1 penalty to all attacks, damage, saving throws, and morale checks. Conversely, however, the defiant digit gives gestures of encouragement to the caster’s allies, such that allies who are within range gain a bonus of +1 to all attacks, damage, saving throws, and morale checks."
The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells  makes magic wielders & spell slingers far more useful & weirder. The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells  fits the OSR aesthetic  with gusto. 

I can even see using The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells  in Dungeon Crawl Classic or even Sword & Sorcery OSR Pulp games where PC's need access to spells that are just that more stranger then the usual Dungeons & Dragons lists. Is The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells  worth your time for down load? It depends upon two things in my opinion. One do you as the DM want this school of magic in your game OSR game systems & does it fit your campaign? For me the answer to  The Book of Manos: A Grimoire of Handy Spells is a solid yes! 

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