Rich Baker: The new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting represents the first time that all of Faerûn has been discussed in one set. (While the old FonstadtForgotten Realms Atlas also covered the whole continent, that wasn't a campaign set.)
All of these lands and regions are tied into your Forgotten Realms game through the equipment, feats, and special advantages they make available to any Forgotten Realms character. In the revised edition of the Forgotten Realms (for 2nd edition AD&D), you could say your fighter was from Dambrath or Durpar, and that wouldn't mean anything -- no information on either country appeared in the campaign set, and there were no effects on your character. In the new Forgotten Realms book, you can actually look up the description of these countries and read about them -- and you may even have access to special regional feats based on your character's land of origin.
Skip Williams: Everything's pretty much where it always has been. There are a few places where elements of the landscape are changing, such as the High Forest and parts of the Chondalwood. And of course, recent events have created a new ruin or three. We've paid some attention to the road network, too.
Rich Baker: We did some work on the fit of Faerûn onto the map, but for the most part it's the same Faerûn you've always known. We do have an outstanding new poster map included in the set, showing all of Faerûn from the Moonshae Isles to Brightstar Lake. We also updated our terrain types and features, so -- for example -- marshes are differentiated from swamps, and hills are differentiated from moors or badlands. It's a much more realistic and detailed portrayal of Faerûn than previous maps.
Are there any areas of the Realms that have been newly brought into the spotlight?
Sean Reynolds: One location in particular in the North is the Silver Marches (formerly known as Luruar). We liked this frontier nation that's beset by orcs from the Spine of the World and trying to establish its borders and official trade with other countries. There are a lot of possibilities for adventuring there for characters of all levels.
Skip Williams: The entire timeline as been cranked forward, so there are new revelations just about everywhere. We've already discussed the machinations of the Zhents and their impact on the Moonsea, for example. The situation in the Vilhon Reach grinds forward, especially the brewing conflict between Sespech and Chondath (and new diplomatic complications between Sespech and Hlondeth).
Rich Baker: The Dales and the North have traditionally been the two "centerpoints" of most Forgotten Realms gaming, and we continue that tradition by providing more information on those areas than on other areas of Faerûn. But there's enough info here on just about any spot on the map to run your own game in whatever corner of Faerûn you like.
Go to the May Realmswatch main page for more of information about geography in the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting or the Forgotten Realms main news page for more articles and news about the Forgotten Realms game setting.