Yep, this review is for yet another RPGObjects d20 Modern tome, Wizards and Wiseguys. It’s a smaller than typical book, but I felt like a brief review instead of no review at all. The fact that there is no actual chapter system means that I’ll have to talk about it slightly differently than normal.
The Setting Basics
The premise of Wizards and Wiseguys is that the Tunguska event in 1908 awakened spellcasting abilities across the world. Fey and magical beasts are openly known to exist, governments vie for magic, and the entirety of history is different for this fact. New Orleans is its own city-state under a magocracy, Native Americans used shamanistic spells to reclaim their lands in the Southwest (which they call the Native Confederation), Taoists in China used divine magic to help the Boxer Rebellion succeed, zombies are raised as factory workers, criminals and law enforcement duke it out with spells…you want it, this setting has it. The time that W&W itself takes place in is during the Great War, World War I, and the Roaring ’20s that followed. In this world it happened a lot differently. How different? Well, for starters, it began with a mage assassinating Archduke Ferdinand with a meteor swarm. The two major sights during the war are the Sky Cavalry of the French, who are mages that ride griffons, and the Imperial German Army Air Service’s wyvern-riding soldiers.
Now, World War I was only the start. Afterwards, Germany had to strike a truce with the allies to fight an even bigger threat: an army of orcs, drow, and other creatures of the Faerie kingdoms under the control of red dragon emperors. Some of the major human fighters are clerics of Thor and paladins of the Vatican…both hate each other, but they work together to drive back the draconic forces. Then comes Prohibition..only in this setting, it wasn’t booze that was being prohibited, it was magic. Any non-humans like elves and fey are deported, spellbooks are burned, and magic is illegal to anyone in the US other than the FBI (thanks to J. Edgar Hoover being a wizard…seriously). Gangsters traffic services by their mages in an underground realm that surfaces due to the Magic Prohibition, too.
Open Game Content
Now, while the setting stuff isn’t Open Game Content, there actually is some stuff in here that you can legally use under the OGL. What? There is an incantation for creating clay golems, stats for zeppelins and biplanes as well as German WWI tanks, and rune magic items. Not much, but it is there, and it’s solid enough.
There is a German mage frying a tank with a fireball in this book….that’s awesome. As usual for the company, black and white, crisp, simple and effective.
The crunch is limited, but the fluff is worth it if you want an alternate magic setting. It is interesting to see a setting where magic is so open, as well as a setting that gives you not one but two time periods (World War I and the Roaring 20’s) to play in. The one problem Wizards and Wiseguys has is that it’s brief..only 20 pages counting the Open Game License page. This book gets the tongue a taste of its refreshing waters, but is all too brief to quench the thirst. I’d certainly buy a full setting book if RPGObjects ever made on, but for now, this is what we get. 8/10.