Mordenkainen is a wizard from Greyhawk. Gary Gygax, who helped create Dungeons and Dragons, created him. Mordenkainen was a powerful wizard who the Circle of Eight wizard cabal. This book bares his name, but really that’s the only connection.
The Emporium presented here is an interesting one. Obviously connecting it to Mordenkainen is a nice way of Wizards of the Coast to tie newer players into older material. I like the attempt, but I’m not sure others will appreciate it as I have. The book focuses on magic items, with a few new rule sets for Henchmen and Hirelings. The book claims to include all new magic items, but some of the items included are found with other rules in other sources, making the “new” material smaller than it seems.
The Emporium has 159 pages with a cover price of $29.99. Compared to the Adventure Vault, which has 223 pages, and the Adventure Vault 2, which has 160 pages, the price seems about right considering the price for all three books is the same. The book does seem exceptionally thin, but seems to follow the trend of less for more that, while concerning, is pretty standard for the movements in gaming books.
The material in the book itself isn’t bad. There are a few new items that are pretty cool, and new rules for old items that I really like. The rules for Henchmen are a little vague, and require the Dungeon Master Guide 2 to use, but they seem to be for the benefit of the party. The rules for hirelings seem a little rough at low levels, but that may be intentional.
In my opinion the best thing that the book brings to 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons is cursed items. It’s been far too long that these items have been left out of the game, and I appreciate their inclusion.
The art in the book is also another point I should make. It’s clear that WoTC has continued its love of good art, and I like it. While not all the items are shown, the ones that are show clearly what they want you to see, and the art is beautiful as always.
All in all the book isn’t bad, but the price tag seems a little steep. I know that printing costs have gone up over the years, and maybe it’s old man Matt talking here, but back in my day we got 2 or 3 times as many pages for the same price. Come to think of it, it definitely is old man Matt talking.
I give this book 2 1/2 out of 5 magic swords. More pages and more new content would have easily raised this, or a lower price.