By Mat Smith
so Im starting my seventh week here at Wizards of the Coast, and
you can imagine how exciting it is for a longtime gamer to actually be
here -- in the thick of things as the entire world of D&D is
being re-created. I mean, Ive been playing D&D in one
iteration or another for well over half my life, and now Im getting
to work at the place that actually makes the game. Im now
surrounded by hordes of gamers who play over lunch, after work, on the
weekends -- all the time. (Im playing in two campaigns and am playtesting
that the fact that I walked through the door on Day One and was told that
my first assignment would be writing the online countdown to the release
of the third edition Forgotten Realms campaign setting -- my favorite
goblin-stomping ground since I was introduced to it back in college.
One last bit, just to give you an idea of how unreal it is to have the
chance to be the guy who gets to tell all of you whats coming (i.e.:
gets to see all this cool stuff while its still on double-secret
I attended to get an idea of whats going on in the Realms and what
Id be doing over the next several months basically involved my sitting
down at a big table next to Skip Williams,
Sean Reynolds, two
seats down from Julia Martin,
and on and on
and on. The list of people I was sitting with read like the front page
of a Forgotten Realms sourcebook -- go figure. And two days after
that, Ive got 150 pages of preview material and Im emailing
to get his take on things. How cool is that?
on with what Im supposed to be doing here: introducing the new Realms.
Why a New Realms?
coming out with a new edition of the Forgotten Realms campaign
setting. And heres why:
the release of the third edition of D&D, the world of roleplaying
has changed -- it only makes sense that the biggest campaign setting ever
created would change along with it. I mean, the Forgotten Realms
has been growing and changing for over twenty years -- its not going
to stop now.
dont want it to.
rules have opened up a whole new world of opportunity that the Realms-makers
have taken hold of. They have really come up with some unbelievably
having a character from the Dalelands
actually means something -- in game terms. Not only are there guidelines
for creating a character with qualities that fit the region shes
from -- including classes, languages, equipment, deities, even names that
are appropriate for any given area -- but with the introduction of the
"feat," youll now have rules to offer your character the
capability to master new feats particular to her region. (Wait until you
see the regional feats -- there are over 50, and theyre so
thing the third edition of D&D brings to the new Realms is
a long list of really cool prestige classes (that is, of course, redundant
-- if youve taken a look at the Dungeon
Masters Guide, you know what I mean). A few months
from now, I get to show you some specifics about the them, but for the
moment youll have to rest assured that youll soon be able
to see your most ambitious spellcasters tattooed and inducted into the
Red Wizards happy little club.
doesnt stop with all the great things the new rules have opened
up, either. The Realms has always been a very well-defined place, and
its going to get to be even more so. One reason is the number of
magical gates that have been (re)discovered. Theyre going to allow
more common access to areas that havent been visited as frequently
in the past, so many parts of the Realms that have been described in a
"just scratching the surface" way will be explored more fully.
changes have also occurred since we last left the Realms -- large numbers
of drow are popping up in the forests, invasions are taking place, cities
and towns are growing, shrinking, and blowing up in catastrophic events
-- just business as usual, you know.
all in all, what it comes down to is the level of detail youre going
to find in the new Realms -- all in one place. Youre really not
going to believe how terrific this thing is going to be.
I could go on and on talking about what Ive seen so far. But thats
what Ill be doing here over the course of the next eight months
or so. So, drink up what the designers have to say. Check out the art.
And take a look at the excerpts just to get a small taste of whats
in store for us all when the new Forgotten Realms hits the shelves
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.
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
newest favorite hobby is emailing his friend Josh to make him jealous
about this whole job at Wizards of the Coast thing.