Although forum aficionado Frank Trollman and I have had our arguments in the past, I can’t help but take notice at his latest message board post entitled Tome of Necromancy in which he presents more new D20 game content than some of the PDFs people sell for a sum of dollars. I’ve written tidbits of game content in message board posts before, but nothing as Frank Trollman’s contribution here: seven prestige classes, thirteen feats, a discourse on whether or not undead are evil and a smattering of other work-in-progress content.
The design preferences of The Gaming Den definitely show through here. Prestige classes tend to grant full spellcasting progression as well as a class ability at every level, since from the powergamer’s point of view an “empty” level in a prestige class is easily avoided by continuing in a different prestige class that grants both spellcasting and levels. The prestige classes presented tend toward the powerful side with lax, player-friendly prerequisites – for example, the five-level Heartless Mage grants full spellcasting progression, d6 hit dice, the good Will and Fortitude saves and makes the caster lich-style immortal with no XP penalties for being brought back to life.
The feats detailed also lean toward the powerful side of game balance, tending to grant multiple good abilities or else quite powerful ones. One powerful feat gives you a -4 Strength penalty in exchange for +4 caster level on Necromancy spells – I dare say I’d be willing to play a wizard with 6 Strength if it gave such an incredible bonus, although in fairness few Necromancy spells are as level-dependent for power as evocations are. Another feat grants not only several uses of a spell-like ability per day as a free action, but throws in +2 to initiative checks, a +4 to Move Silently checks, and Lifesight as a bonus – even counting that it has a prerequisite feat, we’re getting maybe two and a half feats worth when you consider that Skill Focus (Move Silently) would have cost a full feat and granted only +3, and even this was increased in the revision of third edtion.