second part of this month's roundtable, the team shared with us what everyone's
part in making the new book happen was and the current projects of the
team members. We asked each member of the team, "What did you work
I worked on the whole thing in one way or another. As the creative director,
it's my job to look over the designers' work and help them make it better.
It's my job to help the editors run down details and develop rambling
portions of the manuscript from a rough draft to a finished, well-honed
game world. And I also get to throw in my two cents about page layouts,
interior art, cartography, and all kinds of other issues. Due to various
team composition changes and scheduling conflicts, I pitched in and helped
out with the development of the book a lot more than I expected to --
but I really enjoyed the opportunity to "get my hands wet" on
first draft of the Characters chapter was great fun to write. I wrote
a whole bunch of geography: the North, the Dalelands, the Western Heartlands,
Sembia, Dragon Coast, Luiren, Evermeet, and other islands. And I wrote
pieces of what became the Life in Faerûn chapter.
worked on the character's chapter after Rob's initial draft, the deities
and domains, the timeline, the iconic characters, chunks of geography
(the Cold Lands, the Chultan Peninsula, Cormyr, the Hordelands, Lands
of Intrigue, the Old Empires, the Unapproachable East, and the Underdark),
the adventures, the trade routes, and the organizations. Of course, just
about everything we did had some input from all of the designers, and
we had a lot of inspiration from Ed Greenwood.
particular contributions were the chapters on Magic, Equipment, and Running
Forgotten Realms Campaigns, plus several sections on geography.
As the lead designer, however, I got my fingers into everything, suggesting
content, critiquing, and occasionally revising.
I worked on the monsters chapter, thanks for asking. After my work on
Monsters of Faerûn, I guess it was appropriate that I be in charge
of the monsters that were too cool for that book -- like the dracolich,
the death tyrant, and the rothé. (You're laughing at me, aren't you? Well,
here's a fascinating bit of Realms-geek lore: The rothé entry in Drow
of the Underdark originally described three subspecies of rothé, but
two of them got cut -- mostly. Passing references to ghost rothé and surface
rothé have haunted Forgotten Realms fans for years, but their stats
have never been presented in published game material -- until now. I'm
really inordinately proud of the rothé.)
I'm STILL laughing at you.
really liked updating the geographical entries on countries that we haven't
touched in ten years. Plots that were started ten years ago that have
been hanging (like the death of Gilgeam or the elven retreat) are being
updated and completed.
the concept of regional feats, and the book really allows you to make
a fighter from the Dales something different than one from Waterdeep or
Thay. I have to applaud Rob for all of the initial work on that section,
and all of the playtesters for the volumes of feedback, both positive
and negative, that they gave us during the book's development.
coolest thing I got to do other than writing? I had a blast working with
Julia Martin to reenvision/redesign some of the deities' symbols to match
the new D&D style that shows holy symbols as actual physical
objects: brooches, sculptures, jewelry, icons.
worked on the Characters, Magic, Deities, and part of the Life in Faerûn
and Introduction chapters. I also did a lot of shepherding of the maps,
except at the very, very end. Getting the most detail per inch in the
big map without having the cartographers want to kill us was the biggest
challenge. And boy, is that a cool map!
biggest problem to solve was the length of the manuscript. The final version
of the manuscript is more than 350,000 words -- about four times as long
as one of our paperback novels. The design turnover amounted to well over
500,000 words, so getting the book to fit was an absolute nightmare. The
up side, of course, is that only the best, most inspiring, and most useful
bits remained in the final version, since we passed the manuscript through
a ruthless series of trimmings and cuttings that resulted in a better,
more concise, book.
are you working on now?
I can't say too much about our upcoming schedule. In general, I'm working
on projects that come out at least six to twelve months down the road.
But a couple of the things you can look for in the Forgotten Realms
game line include a book called Magic of Faerûn, covering all kinds
of spells, magic items, and spellcasters in the Forgotten Realms
setting; a book on the principal villains and villainous organizations
of Faerûn, loaded with adventure sites and cool bad guy specials; a book
about the gods and clerics of Faerûn; and the first campaign expansion
for the third edition of the Forgotten Realms setting.
just finished designing my part of Lords of Darkness, which takes
a more in-depth look at the evil organizations of Faerûn, giving special
items, spells, and prestige classes for a lot of them. Magic of Faerûn
is being typeset, and I think all fans of the Forgotten Realms
are going to love seeing many "old favorites" in the spells
and magic items chapters of that book, as well as many new ones that complement
the new features we introduce in the campaign setting.
project is top secret, of course. :-)
working on material for the core D&D game now.
just finished up a very cool feature for our web site, featuring the yuan-ti
of the Forgotten Realms.
working on the D&D Chainmail skirmish miniatures game.
It's not set in the Forgotten Realms, but it won't be too hard
to tweak the game to handle conflicts like the new wars in Cormanthor
and the resurgence of the Zhents.
now I'm the web producer for the D&D, Forgotten Realms, D&D
Chainmail, Dragon and Dungeon magazines, book
publishing, and electronic games parts of the Wizards website (say that
three times fast -- whew!). I moved from the Roleplaying R&D team
to that position in November.
Wyatt wrote articles for Dragon Magazine and Dungeon
Magazine before joining the Wizards of the Coast staff in January
2000. Game design is career No. Five, after stints as a childcare worker,
ordained minister, technical writer, and web designer. He currently resides
in Washington state.
Go to the June Realmswatch
main page for more of information about the release of the new Forgotten
Realms Campaign Setting or the Forgotten
Realms main news page
for more articles and news about the Forgotten Realms game setting.