I’ve never been much of a Realms fan. Well, I take it back, I’ve never really been a fan of PLAYING in the Forgotten Realms. When I was younger, I read every FR book that my two local libraries had, and still own quite a few paperbacks of Realms stories. I especially enjoyed the Avatar trilogy despite already knowing the spoiler that Cyric would turn into an evil god.
When it actually came to playing there, however, it was a different story. The regions, peoples, empires… always way too overwhelming for me. Everytime I played, it was with someone who had clearly mastered the Realms, and was quick to shut down my character concept because it “didn’t make sense” in the region we were playing in. I was content to play D&D in my own worlds, and leave the realms to novels, and video games (Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Radiance being early favorites, with Neverwinter Nights coming much, much later.)
Well now, WotC is releasing the 4e verson of the Forgotten Realms. They’ve specifically stated that their goal was to make it more accessible to players (like myself) who felt overwhelmed before, and to reduce the impact of uber-NPCs (which never came up in the games I was in, but has always seemed like it could be a problem.) However, that’s not what has really won me over.
This week’s “August and Beyond” preview column features a few tidbits from the core campaign setting being released this month, as well as the player’s guide next month (and a schedule of regular updates.) Therein, they provide some new crunch in the form of monsters (Ghost Shuriken-throwing Monks!), a description of a new Warlock pact (Dark Pact, which harms your friends to harm your foes), and more. Though Dragon has provided some excellent new 4e crunch, FR is going to be the first major infusion of new options into 4e, something both D&D groups I’m in right now desperately want.
We’re also looking forward to Adventurer’s Vault, especially with today’s preview of the bag of tricks (and some potential rules for animal companions, which are almost exactly the rules I would have guessed for them.)
The other update is the huge list of WotC employees who will be there at GenCon. Boy, are we going to be busy!