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Tome of Magic (2e)


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!


Product History

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (11)
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Stacie W December 15, 2022 3:27 am UTC
It is weird which books WotC does PoD for and which ones they don't.
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Brandon W April 02, 2022 5:51 am UTC
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Vhayjen . August 27, 2021 8:44 pm UTC
Wizards of the Coast is not in the business of providing PoD options on out of print items. These will never become PoD; therefore, you are wasting your time in waiting. You must find and purchase any and all out of print items such as these through Amazon, eBay, and etc. That is just the way it is.
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Richard L August 18, 2022 12:36 pm UTC
They offer them all the time...
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Dale G August 23, 2021 10:45 pm UTC
Print version please - hardcover especially :)
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James H March 20, 2024 7:11 pm UTC
I second this. This would be awesome in hardcover POD. Please make it happen WOTC.
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Nicholas P July 13, 2021 9:55 pm UTC
POD please
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Brian E July 10, 2021 6:53 pm UTC
isn't about time you guys offered this as a POD softcover at least?!?!?? I mean the Book of Artifacts is offered, which I a brother out
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Danny R May 24, 2021 10:52 am UTC
POD Please
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Adam J August 01, 2020 12:54 am UTC
POD please
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James G July 14, 2020 12:57 pm UTC
This pdf is of the first printing, so contains the spell Mindkiller, which was replaced on the 2nd Printing with the different spell Mind Tracker.
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Brian E May 20, 2020 2:01 pm UTC
I echo Bruce L's comment, hardback or even a softbound option for this would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
Customer avatar
Bruce L March 05, 2019 6:46 pm UTC
Would love to see this book in POD, hard cover...

Some of the spells in this book are real "sleepers": they seem like nothing, until you have a player using them in your games! Take, "Thought Capture", for instance. I have a player running a Cleric of a thief god. He focuses on gaining information. He uses this seemingly *innocuous* 1st-level spell to pull rabbits out of thin air, not a hat! He went into a dungeon, found the big bad guy's private bedroom, and used this spell... He used it repeatedly, to pull as many of the bad guy's thoughts out of the air, as he could. He learned a very great deal about his opponent: his class, an idea of what his goals were, and his plans.

The same player decided that he wanted to research a higher level version of this spell: he wanted to be able to "browse through" the laundry list of thoughts, with one casting, not one for each thought hanging in the air, waiting to be grabbed! I made it 4th level, to control...See more
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This title was added to our catalog on August 13, 2013.