In the postlude to Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress, Mazzanoble writes, “Now that you’ve come to the end of this book, you may be asking yourself why exactly you read it.”
There could not be a truer sentence.
Don’t get me wrong, it was an amusing read. Mazzanoble is a good writer and has some moments of brilliance, though few and far between. If the Player’s Handbook is Love in the Time of Cholera, then Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress is Cosmo magazine. The information is similar, but the latter is so trashy that you feel embarrassed carrying it around the airport.
Mazzanoble works for Wizards of the Coast and was brought into the world of D&D by her coworkers. She’s a self-confessed girly-girl who admits “I get pedicures, facials, and microderm abrasions. I own more flavors of body lotions, scrubs, and rubs than Baskin Robbins could dream of putting in a cone. I organize my shoes by heel height, sort my handbags by strap length, and store my nail polish on the butter shelf of my refrigerator. I shop, watch soaps, and religiously dish on the fashion choices and bad judgement of whomever Us Weekly deems the most newsworthy. I not only embrace my inner girl, I full on squeeze the stuffing out of her.”
For a geek looking to get his girlfriend or wife involved in D&D, this could be the book to help break the ice. Have her read the paragraph above. If she laughs, then buy her the book. If she wrinkles her nose and rolls her eyes, perhaps it’s not a wise choice. If she gets pissed off and goes on a rant about girly-girls needing to be promptly shot in the head, DEFINITELY bypass this book and just buy her a PHB already. She’d make a good fighter, especially against pesky succubi.
Mazzanoble reminds me of the ditzy blonde cheerleader who can’t add two and two but can rattle off the histories of her favorite celebs like they are family. If I were her DM or any of her fellow gamers, I’d probably smack her upside the head every time she refers to the vendors in town as “the mall” and complains about her sorceress Astrid having to run around in her Jimmy Choo heels. Give me a break.
The moments of brilliance in this book are in the descriptions she gives of races, classes, and alignments.
Gnomes are “known for overindulging and if they go down into a vortex of hedonistic debauchery, they’re taking you with them…. [they] are like the lucky cousins who grew up without a curfew and ate organic fruit and were allowed to watch R-rated movies.”
Rangers “are shifty little tree huggers with badass warrior tendencies. They dropped out of college to follow Phish on tour and work on their conspiracy theories. Rangers are weird, but they’re handier to your team than a Swiss army knife.”
Her not-so-subtle hint about Oprah being Lawful Good is also right on point – “This person hates to see lunch ladies go without cashmere hoodies and mp3 players. If she’s feeling frisky, she might buy you and 349 of your neighbors a brand new Pontiac. But watch it – if she’s feeling wronged, she won’t think twice about outing you on national television. Don’t mess with a lawful good celeb.”
Mazzanoble does manage to cover the basics of how to play D&D, from which die is which to how initiative works, to descriptions of the various encounters her group has had. If the lady in your life is too impatient to read the PHB (or just doesn’t have the time), this is a quickie read and will give her the basics. Whether she wants to bake Magic Missile Meatballs (p. 130) or Initiative Rolls (p. 134) is her decision.
Good luck and may the dice (and your lady friends!) be kind to you.