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Check this out:. I brought my bag-o-dice and a stack of game books to a series of important meetings here at Wizards, because I had a game scheduled in-between them, and no one really even paid much notice. That's 'cause this whole office is filled with gamers -- you literally can't walk through the place without seeing someone playing an impromptu game of Magic, flipping through a shiny new copy of the Star Wars RPG rulebook, or talking about the ultimate way to build a character toward the Arcane Archer prestige class. (I'm kinda partial to the Shadowdancer, myself.) What I'm getting at is the fact that gaming is just part of the gig here. It's a normal part of the day, and people have grown used to it -- but in a good way.

I think I was actually trying to work toward something that was relevant to this month's topic, but I can't quite seem to remember what it was. It might've been clever, but alas we'll never know.

December: Rules of the Realms

Y'know, there's just something about playing in the Forgotten Realms. It may sound odd, but I'd bet that anyone that's ever made the Realms the home of a character or campaign, will understand -- it just feels different from anywhere else you'll ever play.

And there are certain things that make the Realms what it is. They define it. Shape it. And together, they help create the most elaborate framework upon which a fantasy campaign setting has ever been formed.

Yeah -- it's the rules.

Of course, "the rules" cover a lot more than just the simple mechanics of game play. What I'm talking about here are all the things that make the Forgotten Realms really come to life. And the new edition is chock-full.

I mean, you'd think that with everything these folks have already created for the Realms, they'd 've run out of new ideas by now. Or at least would've fleshed out most everything to the point there was nothing more to add.

You would, of course, be wrong.

When you pop open the cover of the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, you're gonna find character classes, races, skills, feats, prestige classes, deities, magic and monsters, people and places, and more. And the nifty thing is, even if your campaign isn't set in the Forgotten Realms (something I personally can't imagine, especially after seeing this new stuff), the new edition of the Realms has so many great ideas, you're going to want to use a lot of 'em anyway. Really. The new regional feats and prestige classes alone are enough to give any DM cause to snatch up a copy. (Check out this month's sample excerpts at your own risk -- this book can't get here fast enough for me already.)

Of course, if your character or campaign is already set in the lands of Faerûn, you're going to feel right at home -- which is the whole idea.

About the Author

Mat Smith is a copywriter who just got here, but has been playing and waiting to get a job with the company that makes Dungeons & Dragons for well over 18 years. Now, he gets to spend most of his days thinking about new ways to tell everyone in the world to play D&D.

His 22nd-level, 1st-edition bard started kicking around the Forgotten Realms back in 1989 and is currently vacationing in the Murloch Vale of the Moonshae Islands.

His newest favorite hobby is emailing his friend Josh to make him jealous about this whole job at Wizards of the Coast thing.

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