It's the first sourcebook since D&D 5th edition has been released one year ago and I've been waiting for it with high expectations.
The book has been written by a Wizard's Team with the help of a Green Ronin Publishing's one.
Let's see if their work satisfies my expectations.
An overview of all Realms opens the chapter.
This part will add nothing to a Realms' veteran but will be fundamental to a novice.
In 6 pages you'll learn about all areas of Faerun, even the farthest and most mythical like Halruaa or Mulhorand. Kara-Tur and Zakhara are described too.
Many side-bars explain useful things such as Faerunian calendar, coinage, etc..
Four pages update the timeline to 1489 DR. The Sundering is summed up and the setting changes, in many ways coming back halfway from second to 3.x era:
- The Netherese city of Shade is destroyed falling down Myth Drannor, which is destroyed too.
- Some deities vanished with the Spellplague come back, Mystra above all.
- Evermeet, Lantan, Nimbral e other areas reappear.
Then follow 24 pages about Faerunian deities.
They are all briefly described and there's a table which summarize them with the Cleric's domains available.
Many side-bars will tell you ancient tales about them.
These tales are taken from the ancient and famous sourcebook "Faiths&Avatars", published 20 years ago.
Old schoolers and Grognards will complain but yougers will appreciate them.
Near 50 pages about di descrizione della Sword Coast and its landmarks, town and cities with also focus about islands like Moonshae and Evermeet, and the Underdark.
All good stuff but maps.
Many of them are confusing, very difficult to be read and to look at. Colors aren't good too and often add troubles to look at the maps.
The only maps of good quality are those focusing some areas of the Sword Coast but they're taken directly from the adventure Princes of Apocalypse, which until present contains the best maps of D&D 5th edition.
This chapter, just like the previous, has no stats (on purpose), and so it can be used even if you play an older edition of the game.
It'd be up to you if it's worthwhile to buy a sourcebook to use only 100 pages of 160.
I'd buy but it's only an opinion of mine.
18 pages about fluff of Faerunian races.
PHB's descrptions are expanded and adapted to Forgotten Realms' versions of those races
In game terms you'll find:
- a new dwarf subrace: Duergar
- a new gnome subrace: Svirfneblin
- a new feat (only Svirfneblin)
- a new halfling subrace: Ghostwise
- a variant half-elf (some traits change according to which to the different elven half)
- humans: 9 subraces but with no impatcs on the game. You'll find an optional rule about languages: different language according to the region from where the human come.
- a tiefling variant: Asmodeus's descendant.
Near 25 pages in the same fluff style of the previous chapter but about classes.
In game terms you'll find:
- a new path: Battlerager (dwarves only)
- new Totem beasts for the path Totem Warrior
- new musical instruments
- a new domain: Arcana. You'll find the deities which allow it and some deities extra-FR are suggested too.
- nothing new but the magical effect of a holy pool: the moonwell
- a new archetype: Purple Dragon Knight (only for knights from Cormyr, but it's explained how to use them in different settings)
-new traditions: Long Death and Sun Soul
- a base code of conduct to which every paladin must adhere
- a new Oath: Oath of the Crown
Nothing new, just fluff
- new archetypes: Mastermind and Swashbuckler (last one is almost identical to the version published in an old Unearthed Arcana)
- new archetype: Storm Sorcery,
very similar to the one published in an old Unearthed Arcana
- a new patron: The Undying, with suggestions about who would be, both in Faerun and in other settings
- a new Arcane Tradition: Bladesinging (only elf and half-elf)
Last you'll find 4 new cantrips for Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard.
12 new backgrounds, for Sword Coast's character but you can easily use them for other Faerunian areas or even other settings.
Just like that in Princes of the Apocalypse.
In 3 pages are explained how to introduce and adapt the new classes in other settings: Dragonlance, Eberron and Greyhawk.
Tips are suggested even for homebrew settings but are very generic, but it's normal since the extremely various natures of those settings.
Expectations of mine are almost satisfied.
Maps are worst things.