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The line starts again

So, I showed up about an hour or so early. Christopher Erb (the mastermind behind the event) and I wandered into the Wizards of the Coast store, hoping to see the line of people we'd heard had been there for a while now.

The line, already having made its way past the register, now had taken the form of nearly two dozen Forgotten Realms fans seated around the gaming area, poring over their hot new copies of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

I helped set up a couple of huge banners that prominently featured the Forgotten Realms logo, along with the image of Zulkir Aznar Thrul, the Red Wizard who's become a sort of poster child for the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. You might've already seen his tattooed mug on all the stuff we've done for the stores (if not, you can take a look at him on page 50 of the new book.) Some tables were arranged. Other signs were put into place. And then, we waited for the main event to begin.

Checking out the Book

The line then began to reform, reaching from the rear of the store to the entrance and back inside. Dozens and dozens of gamers and Forgotten Realms fans were standing around, devouring the new book, and talking about just about everything.

Some were checking out the awesome, new map -- talking about what had changed and how impressive it was. Another group was flipping around the Magic chapter, pointing out to one another their favorite spells or those special spells that are often overlooked until you think of using them in a particularly clever way. Yet another was exchanging war stories of adventures long past. It was, in short, a perfect assortment of gamers.

Rich Baker introduces
the designers

People were even checking out some of our other newer books, the Psionics Handbook and Monsters of Faerûn, but it was easy to see that the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was the reason they were there.

Well, that and the book signing that was about to take place.

Rich Baker, the creative director responsible for the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, introduced the eager crowd to the game designers of the hour: Skip Williams, Sean Reynolds, Rob Heinsoo, and Ed Greenwood. Then the paint pens and Sharpie markers were broken out, and the autograph fest began.

Again, the animated crowd whiled away the time absolutely immersed in the book. Rich wandered back and forth along the line, answering questions about the Forgotten Realms.

Sean K Reynolds, Ed
Greenwood, Skip Williams,
and Rob Heinsoo

"Where's the Book?" called out one female gamer as she strode into the store, wanting to lay her hands on a copy as quickly as possible for fear of missing out. I even heard a few people taking about how their friends from other parts of the country had emailed them in hopes that an extra signed copy or two could be acquired.

Of course, they didn't have to worry -- the poor fellahs signing in the back had already spent the last afternoon and night chained to a table at the office signing a few hundred copies of the book to be sold through our ecommerce site. (Neat bonus fact: Every one of the books Sean signed, he signed differently.)

The mountain of books three
of the guys signed the night
before. Skip signed his the
same morning as the event.

Nevertheless, Sean, Ed, Skip, and Rob (in that order, even) were still at it. They were having a great time meeting each person, talking for a while, answering questions, and adding clever bits of wit and humor to their signatures as each fan stepped up to meet the makers of the new Forgotten Realms book.

Forty-five minutes into the event, only 22 copies of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting were left unsold. We actually had to send someone back to the office to break out an emergency stash of books to keep up with the demand. How cool is that?

As I wandered through the crowd, I talked with new gamers, old gamers, and just a ton of people who were fired up about the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

The designers signed and
joked with fans.

One long-time D&D player commented, "I never actually played in the Forgotten Realms before, but now I know why it's so popular. I want to kill off all the PCs in my game and start playing a Forgotten Realms campaign this weekend."

My favorite part of the whole thing was when I was asked to sign one of the books. I told the guy that I'd not actually worked on it, but he wanted my scribble in there anyway because he was collecting to snag the record for most signatures. The cool bit was that he recognized my name as that of the guy who's been writing the Realmswatch all these months. Wow, I'm famous!

All in all, the whole experience was just exciting. People were having a great time meeting the guys behind the Forgotten Realms setting, and hanging out with a bunch of folks who were gamers ready to explore Faerûn.

By the end, after nearly 200 copies had been John Hancock-ified, it was pretty apparent that the new Forgotten Realm was going to be home to a horde of new campaigns.

And, Sam, you definitely got the most signatures.

Check Out the Bonus Photos

Wizards Southcenter Entrance Mall entrance to the Southcenter Wizards of the Coast store The front of the line. More of the line
RichAnswersquestions.JPG DemBooksaSellin.JPG
Fans cheered when the designers were introduced and the book presented by Rich Baker Ed Greenwood, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo, and editor Michele Carter Rich Baker answers a fan's questions while Mat Smith takes notes Over 200 copies of the book blew out the door. Whew
One for old-time Realms fans: Ed Greenwood and Steven Schend The authors signed every book presented Ed Greenwood Signing Rob Heinsoo Signing
Sean K Reynold Signing Skip Williams Signing Excited fans loved talking to the designers "These guys got there early and showed off their booty for us

Learn more about the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting:

Go to the June Realmswatch main page for more of information about secret societies in the newForgotten Realms Campaign Setting or the Forgotten Realms main news page for more articles and news about the Forgotten Realms game setting.

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