It's not a small
It's not even a big world
By Mat Smith
is the eighth one of these that I've done.
eight months, I've been talking with the game designers, emailing Ed Greenwood,
devouring the rough versions of the manuscript (chapter by chapter as
they're turned in), getting sneak peeks at the artwork, and writing these
Realmswatch articles to give you small glimpses of what's coming in June.
I've thought I was doing a passably good job. I mean, I really can't imagine
having much more enthusiasm for a project, and I pretend that the things
we've been showing have been as interesting and exciting to you as they
were to me.
I know now that I've not even come vaguely close to giving you an idea
of what you're going to experience when you take your first look at the
Forgotten Realms Campaign
when it hits the shelves next month. (Next MONTH, I say.)
this because I've spent the past few hours trying as hard as I could to
keep from drooling over the pages of the advance copy Rich Baker let me
look through. (I'm pretty sure I returned it saliva-free, though Rich
might let me know otherwise.)
are, I'm told, only two copies of the book in the building right now --
and I treasured every minute I had to look through the one I got to see.
cover to cover, it really is the most astonishing D&D product
I've ever seen. Even the pages are cool -- you'll know what I mean when
you see 'em. I'd attempt to describe all the cool things about book, but
the English language fails me. Really. Pick up a dictionary and look up
"gestalt." The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting
is virtually impossible to describe in pieces.
that, I'll get on with the reason I petitioned to see Rich's book today.
I wanted to write this month's article based on the real thing.
The Geography of Faerûn
chapter four, and it starts with this: "Seeing every kingdom, every
city-state, every mountain range and forest and ruined castle of Faerûn
would be the journey of a dozen human lifetimes."
of you that've visited the Realms before will buy in to that statement.
And if you've not yet had the pleasure, you'll understand just how true
it is after you've taken a look at pages 98 through 231. (That's 133 pages
for those of you who, like me, find that Math is Hard.)
when you've finished looking at the Geography chapter, you've still got
the map to contend with. (Ah, wait 'til you see the map. And don't be
surprised if you find yourself checking the phone book for framing shops
all at once, the Realms is quite huge, even a bit daunting. It's
like a hundred pound chocolate chip cookie -- you know every bit of it
is going to be good, there's more than you can handle in one sitting,
and figuring out where to start is going to be a happy problem.
is, even when you break that übercookie into smaller bits, each piece
still going to be packed with chocolaty goodness. And that's the Forgotten
Realms setting for you -- absolutely jam-packed with great stuff,
as an example, there's a wooded area called the Forest of Wyrms that's
about 200 miles east/northeast of Baldur's Gate. Curiously enough, it's
described as being home to a "multitude of green dragons." (There's
a great picture that shows a couple of wayward adventurers, one of whom
is looking at a map, and the other who is trying to alert him to the trio
of chlorine gas-breathing nasties that are coming out of the woodwork.)
Many a would-be dragon-slayer ventures into the Forest. Some of them even
make it back out.
is, while a wooded territory controlled by dragons is a more than interesting
reason for being, it's not the only thing going on in the Forest of Wyrms.
Somewhere in its shaded depths lies a castle, known as Lyran's Hold, that
was formerly occupied by a lich. And while the lich has long since been
slain, newer occupants (the conquering heroes and their successors) seem
to have slowly inherited the undead creature's evil nature. (Boy, just
when you think you've cleared out a castle that you can turn into your
swanky, new headquarters, something BAD happens.)
if you will, all the possibilities that lie in just those two aspects
of a pair of short paragraphs that briefly describe a small forest --
there's literally months and months of potential adventuring derived just
from that barely-scratching-the-surface information. I can actually imagine
an intrepid DM creating an entire campaign based on those storylines and
the resulting complexities that could come from intertwining the two.
have no idea how the game designers have done this. There's just about
too much going on in the Forgotten Realms setting to actually decide
what to do first.
want to skip the framing store and pick up a set of darts to help speed
the decision-making process -- it's going to be tough.
is a copywriter who's been here for just over six months now, but has
been playing Dungeons & Dragons and waiting to get a job with
the company that makes it 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, which is still the coolest thing ever.
1st-edition bard started kicking around the Forgotten Realms back
in 1989 and is currently vacationing in the Murloch Vale of the Moonshae
month, he's planning on recovering from all the work he did over the past
couple of months, which will all be worth it when it starts to show up
in Dungeon Magazine and Dragon Magazine and
all sorts of nifty comic books. And, since he finally tracked down his
old DM, he's going to have to spend some time bringing him up-to-speed
with all the great things that go along with this whole job at Wizards
of the Coast thing.