When Wizards of the Coast started Gleemax I was hoping for something just like Facebook but for gamers. I don’t think I have to tell what a major disappointment this site was. So when I lost hope, I thought about starting my own network. Hehe, it was a really megalomaniac idea and in the end I setup the “European Roleplayers Society” as a network on Ning.com. Ning is a free service that allows you to create your own social networks and from what I’ve seen so far it works pretty well. In order to get my network started I invited all my gaming friends, my WoW guild, wrote some blog entries, created several groups, uploaded some music and videos. But from all the people invited only a few registered and even less became active.
I now try to reinvigorate EuRoSoc by asking my fellow RPG bloggers for help. If you think that something like that could be a fun idea or just an interesting experiment, sign up and perhaps even join the groups, discussions et cetera. And if you like what you see, ask your friends to join. And don’t feel left out when you are not from Europe. I called it European Roleplayers Society because I thought it would be easier to attract people from the same continent as I live in. But if you hail from any other place, feel free to join us.
- Roleplaying is all about the treasure you get at the end (and coping with your personal problems)
- Level 10 is where the fun is
- Improving the game means leaving your comfy room and go to a dark cave
- Roleplayers wear costumes
- If you lost your brother at an early age and your mother is an alcoholic, avoid playing RPGs. They are bad for you.
I actually watched this movie yesterday. “Mazes & Monsters” is an awful based on a novel that was itself based on inaccurate newspaper reports about the James Dallas Egbert III case. The movie is even worse than I remembered it. The depiction of roleplaying is inaccurate (of course) and the acting is bad. But if you are interested in the history of roleplaying and the attacks against it, this movie is very interesting. Make sure to check out the “60 Minutes on D&D” video (via The Escapist).
When I first opened the brand-new FR campaign guide, I was disappointed. I was hoping for new races, new classes but the book did contain almost no crunch, only fluff. Then I remembered that the crunch probably comes with the upcoming FR players guide. When I continued reading I was surprised, since the book starts with the description of the town of Loudwater and an adventure. When I am not mistaken this is the first time in D&D history that a campaign guide starts with an adventure. Since I am not overly interested in published adventures (I prefer to write my own), I skipped a few pages and came to the chapter called “Adventuring”. And from this point on I was starting to love the new book. I don’t want to go into too much detail here. There are quite a few detailed reviews on the net and this is just a first look since I haven’t had the time to completly work through the 280+ pages book.
Wizards of the Coast have really managed to reinvent the Forgotten Realms without destroying the flair. In one of my earlier posts I wrote about my fear of the Realms. Although I like the setting in general, I always preferred other settings as a GM. With the FR you always get the feeling you’re running someone else’s campaign. And with the changes in the 4E version of the setting, Wizards has given the Realms back to the players. And although this was claimed when the 3E version came out, this time it’s true!
Ok, let’s recap what has changed between the two editions:
- 100 years have passed
- Cyric has murdered Mystra, which destroyed the Weave, changed magic, shifted the planes and let part of Abeir merge with Toril.
- Gods have died or have been revealed as Exarchs working for more powerful details (which greatly reduces and simplifies the pantheon! This is detailed in the “Pantheon” chapter)
- With “Returned Abeir” a new continent appears (bringing Dragonborn with it)
- The destruction of the Weave caused the Spellplague that tainted certain areas and created mutations in creatures, effectively creating a new kind of monsters, the “Plaguechanged”
- Whole nations have been replaced by areas from Abeir
Ok, this if of course not a complete list of changes (yeah, I am lazy). The important thing is that they’ve changed enough to give us a lot of new stuff to play with. It will still feel like the realms but there are a lot of areas that are new and that not even your Forgotten Realms veteran has ever seen them. High-level NPCs like (in)famous Elminster and the Simbul have more or less retired and there are a lot of opportunities for the players to earn money and fame.
The largest portion of the book is claimed by the “Faerûn and Beyond” chapter which gives detailed information on all the regions of Faerûn and Returned Abeir. Usually every region like “Cormyr”, “The Dalelands” or “Vasaa” consists of two or three pages including a small map and descriptions of the area, lore, settlements and features and adventure sites.
The “Threats” chapter concludes the FR campaign guide with description of monsters, NPCs and organizations that could become enemies or even allies for the player characters.
All in all I really like the direction Wizards has taken with the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Perhaps I should mention the artwork before moving to the conclusion. The whole book contains beatiful artwork on par with what we’ve seen in the core rulebooks. The included map is ok, but not as good as the one we got with the 3rd Edition version of the Realms. The cover features a female drow riding a dragon and not Drizzt Do’Urden as shown earlier. This is a welcome change in my book.
I am now eagerly awaiting the upcoming Players’ Guide. From what I’ve read in the campaign guide we’ll get at least one new class: the Swordmage. I am pretty sure that the Drow and perhaps the Gnome will be available as fully detailed player races in the upcoming book. I also would like to see some FR-themed paragon paths like Harper or Purple Knight.
If you were hesitant to run a campaign in the FR before, the 4E iteration of that classic campaign could be interesting to you. The designers made enough changes so that you can regard the updated campaign as a whole new thing much as the 4th Edition of D&D is something like a complete new game in many regards. In any case, you should at least have a look at this great book at you Friendly Neighbourhood Game Store.