Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms

Artist's Sketchbook: Why a New Realms?
Realms Roundtable #3
Sneak Peek: Gold Dwarves
Realms Roundtable #2
Ed Says: Why a New Realms?
Sneak Peek: Regional Characters
Realms Roundtable #1
June Realmswatch
May Realmswatch
April Realmswatch
March Realmswatch
February Realmswatch
January Realmswatch
December Realmswatch
November Realmswatch
October Realmswatch
Design Team Bios


new & improved ----
The ^ Forgotten Realms
By Mat Smith

Okay, so I’m 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, I’ve been playing D&D in one iteration or another for well over half my life, and now I’m getting to work at the place that actually makes the game. I’m now surrounded by hordes of gamers who play over lunch, after work, on the weekends -- all the time. (I’m playing in two campaigns and am playtesting for Dungeon magazine)

Add to 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.

Life is good.

All right. 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 what’s coming (i.e.: gets to see all this cool stuff while it’s still on double-secret probation):

The meeting I attended to get an idea of what’s going on in the Realms and what I’d be doing over the next several months basically involved my sitting down at a big table next to Skip Williams, across from 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, I’ve got 150 pages of preview material and I’m emailing Ed Greenwood to get his take on things. How cool is that?

And now, on with what I’m supposed to be doing here: introducing the new Realms.

October: Why a New Realms?

So, we’re coming out with a new edition of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. And here’s why:

With 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 -- it’s not going to stop now.

And we don’t want it to.

The new 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 great stuff.

Now, 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 she’s from -- including classes, languages, equipment, deities, even names that are appropriate for any given area -- but with the introduction of the "feat," you’ll 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 they’re so cool.)

Another 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 you’ve taken a look at the Dungeon Master’s 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 you’ll have to rest assured that you’ll soon be able to see your most ambitious spellcasters tattooed and inducted into the Red Wizards’ happy little club.

But it doesn’t stop with all the great things the new rules have opened up, either. The Realms has always been a very well-defined place, and it’s going to get to be even more so. One reason is the number of magical gates that have been (re)discovered. They’re going to allow more common access to areas that haven’t 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.

Various 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.

But, all in all, what it comes down to is the level of detail you’re going to find in the new Realms -- all in one place. You’re really not going to believe how terrific this thing is going to be.

Anyway, I could go on and on talking about what I’ve seen so far. But that’s what I’ll 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 what’s in store for us all when the new Forgotten Realms hits the shelves in June.

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.


© 1995-2004 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wizards is headquartered in Renton, Washington, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057.