Take your spellcasters to limits they have never reached before! With over 200 new spells and magical items, Tome of Magic stretches the horizons of every wizard and priest in the AD&D 2nd Edition game.
In these pages are new forms of wizard magic including elementalists, metamagic, and wild magic, plus expansions of existing schools. For priests, whole new spheres have been discovered - chaos, law, numbers, thought, time, war, and wards - and powerful new quest spells lie waiting to be tapped.
All characters will experience the thrill of discovering new magical items such as the claw of magic stealing, dimensional mine, crystal parrot, ring of randomness, and staff of the elements. Tome of Magic is an invaluable expansion for all the spellcasting classes!
Tome of Magic (1991), by David "Zeb" Cook and a bevy of other TSR writers, was a hardcover rulebook for AD&D 2e. It was released in June 1991.
Origins. By the time Cook was done working on the 2e Player's Handbook (1989), he knew that there were "lots of gaps in the spell lists." Tome of Magic was thus suggested as a book that could fill those holes. Cook decided to write a book containing lots of new spells meant to help GMs, to help players, or to fill in gaps in effects. He also intended to introduce some spells "to help explain the weirdness people were always putting in adventures."
However, Cook realized that a hodge-podge of spells wouldn't make for a compelling book, so he decided to also include new sorts of magic for both wizards and priests. In the process, he reached out to five other TSR designers and let them run wild with his ideas, in the end producing a varied book of magic.
Continuing the 2e Hardcovers. In the days of AD&D 1e, hardcovers were the focus of the line's prestige releases. Thus TSR put out 13 hardcovers for AD&D 1e from 1977-88, most frequently releasing a new hardcover at Gen Con, to maximize each book's impact.
That plan faltered under 2e, primarily because TSR was publishing in so many different formats including boxes (which appear to have been quite expensive to publish) and prestige softcover books like the PHBR series (which were comparatively cheap to produce). Monster books also initially disappeared form the hardcover line, thanks to TSR's sale of looseleaf Monstrous Compendiums (1989-98).
As a result, after TSR published their three core 2e hardcovers - including Legends & Lore (1990) - it wasn't clear where they were going to go with their hardcover rulebook line. In the end, TSR published a couple of setting hardcovers for 2e, but only two more hardcover books of rules: Tome of Magic (1991) and Book of Artifacts (1993).
Of those, Tome of Magic was much more successful. It went through five printings in the 2e era, then was updated for 2.5e along with the core rulebooks. It went through at least two printings after that. Comparatively, Book of Artifacts and even Legends & Lore only went through a few printings each.
It wouldn't be until the 2.5e era (1995-97) that TSR decided to become more consistent and aggressive with their publication of hardcovers. The result would be the Player's Options series.
(Re)Introducing Wild Magic. The idea of wild magic originated in Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), which revealed that the Times of Trouble had left behind areas where magic no longer worked "correctly." Tome of Magic followed that up with the creation of a new class of magician who studied wild magic - the wild mage - and made him available to worlds beyond Toril. These wild mages were one of Tome of Magic's most long-lasting additions to D&D, as their reappeared as a prestige class for 3.5e in Complete Arcane (2004) and as a paragon path for 4e in Player's Handbook 2 (2009).
Introducing Elementalism. Tome of Magic introduced one other major class of wizard: the elementalist. Though AD&D 2e had given wizards the choice to specialize, these specialists were focused on the somewhat arcane categories of magic created by Gygax and Arneson back in the 70s. Thus you had evokers, summoners, and more - but not elementalists, a fairly traditional sort of magician in fantasy literature and games. Tome of Magic changed this by presenting special rules for wizards who focused on air, water, fire, and/or earth. Following 2e, the idea of elementalism has reappeared from time to time: in Tome and Blood (2001) for 3e, in Complete Arcane (2004) for 3.5e, and in Heroes of the Elemental Chaos (2012) for 4e.
Introducing Metamagic. Tome of Magic also introduced the idea of "metamagic" - spells that could affect other spells. This concept came into much wider use in 3e, where metamagic feats and rods (which could similarly be used to affect magic) first appeared.
Introducing New Priestly Powers. The priest got a lot of upgrades in Tome of Magic too, including super-powerful spells that required a quest before they could be cast; community-powered spells; and cooperatively cast spells. For some reason - unlike the magic expansions such as wild magic, elementalism, and metamagic - these new rules didn't prove as popular, and thus have largely disappeared since 2e.
(A few of the quest spells did show up in 3e as 9th-level priest spells.)
Introducing New Spheres of Magic. Finally, Tome of Magic also introduced some new spheres for priests, including chaos, law, numbers, thought, time, travelers, war, and wards. War is the most interesting, perhaps, because it was specifically created to link to Battlesystem (1985, 1989, 1991), which TSR was constantly trying to push in that time period.
Chaos, law, travel, and war domains all reappeared in 3e.
Future History. The name of this volume was reused several years later for Wizards of the Coast's Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and Truename Magic (2006). There's no overlap of the content, however.
About the Creators. Cook was the designer of AD&D 2e and thus arguably knew the system better than anyone. Tome of Magic was his first major rulebook since the release of the 2e rules. Cook wrote the wild magic and faith magic sections of Tome of Magic and also developed the work done by other authors. His compatriots in Tome of Magic were Nigel Findley, Anthony Herring, Christopher Kubasik, Carl Sargent, and Rick Swan.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.