Dungeon 196 - Backdrop: Moonshae Isles

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DnDi_Large.pngDungeon 196
Backdrop: Moonshae Isles
by Shawn Merwin

The Moonshae Isles are in the western portion of the Sea of Swords, near where that body of water leads to the uncharted expanses of the Trackless Sea.

Talk about this article here.

Great Backdrop. Every isles gets an overview and we even have a little talk on some NPCs and Power Groups operating in the region. I also liked the tips on Campaign Directions in Moonshea and the Quests ideas provided. And the Foes presented are pretty redoutable i must say. 

Artwork is amazing and the map is fantastic !

A huge astral diamond to Shawn Merwin for this nice article 
And to David Rapoza and Mike Schley for the great artworks and cartography

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Wow!  I'm not sure what else to say as there is so much here to comment on, probably enough for a full heroic tier campaign. Impressive, thanks for the great stuff.
Very nice!

Yeah, this really is the perfect fodder for a DM to build a campaign around.
Shawn slayed it. Once my Character Options: Heroes of the Moonshae Isles article comes out (any day now), I expect people can base entire campaigns out of this region of the Forgotten Realms.
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

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Looking forward to it Matt....with excitement !  Wink

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Thanks for the kind words, folks.  It was a pleasure to work on this article, and I cannot say enough good things about the artwork from David and the completely incredible maps from Mike Schley. Maps have always been the most important part of any DM resource in my estimation, and Mike's maps give a DM so much to draw upon.  I also need to point out that Matt and Brian James contributed to the article as well, and their assistance was invaluable.  It was a pleasure working with expert developer Chris Sims and fine editor Miranda Horner as well.
This is the sort of quality we should be seeing on DDi. Congratulations to Shawn et al for a fantastic article. Everything rocked: the writing, the art and the maps. (Ahhh, the maps. It's just another reminder of how bad the map in the FRCG really was!)

I really hope we see more articles of this quality.  
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
This was an incredible article. From the moment I started reading it to when I finished I was blown away by the cool ideas, great utility, and fantastic writing. You knocked this one out of the planar ballpark, Shawn!

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This was an incredible article. From the moment I started reading it to when I finished I was blown away by the cool ideas, great utility, and fantastic writing. You knocked this one out of the planar ballpark, Shawn!

Thanks Teos.  I appreciate the kind words.
When people in the future ask what level of quality I expect in an article this will be my main referance, great job.

I gushed my guts about how awesome this article is at Candlekeep, so I won't repeat here.  Except for one thing: I really appreciate the "Quest ideas" at the end of the article.  While many of them are kind of self-explanatory if you read the rest of it, having them bullet-pointed is incredibly helpful to pull together the variety of different story threads.  For a DM whose tight on prep time, it's much easier to take that list and rearrange it into a narrative arc than to piece together out of the article.  I thought it was a very nice perk to the article, and I would definitely encourage future authors to follow the trend.


I gushed my guts about how awesome this article is at Candlekeep, so I won't repeat here.  Except for one thing: I really appreciate the "Quest ideas" at the end of the article.  While many of them are kind of self-explanatory if you read the rest of it, having them bullet-pointed is incredibly helpful to pull together the variety of different story threads.  For a DM whose tight on prep time, it's much easier to take that list and rearrange it into a narrative arc than to piece together out of the article.  I thought it was a very nice perk to the article, and I would definitely encourage future authors to follow the trend.


For those who are going to set campaigns in the Moonshaes, make sure you look at the hi-res version of the maps that just went up on the Dungeon site: http://wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4map/DUN196  These truly do justice to Mike Schley's work.
For those who are going to set campaigns in the Moonshaes, make sure you look at the hi-res version of the maps that just went up on the Dungeon site: http://wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4map/DUN196  These truly do justice to Mike Schley's work.



Thanks for pointing this out. Hi-res maps are very, very welcome. Lots of DM's (myself included) use projectors or large monitors at their game table and unless the maps are hi-res they come out looking very grainy. It is little things like this that WotC can provide to subscribers that add a lot of value to their subscription.

Any chance we'll see a map of this quality for the entire 4e FR world?
Any chance we'll see a map of this quality for the entire 4e FR world?



I am not currently involved in any project that would call for such a map.  But that would be awesome, eh?
I KNEW I had seen that map of the southern Moonshaes before!


Back in Dragon issue #367, we got a backdrop on Sarifal.  Guess what was conspicuously absent in this Backdrop on the Moonshaes?  I wish there had been a sidebar in the article pointing readers to look back, since it's sometimes hard to remember when something was released 3.5 years ago. 

That said, Sarifal article + Moonshaes article + Heroes of the Moonshaes + other material to support these, such as themes in Neverwinter Campaign Setting and the Forgotten Realms Campaign/Player's Guides makes for essentially a really nice coverage of one of the coolest areas of the Realms.

I've never been a big Realms fan, seeing it mostly generic.  Neverwinter sort of changed that, making it feel lush and complex and different.  Moonshaes now is shaping up to be a similarly awesome sub-setting of the Realms.  Maybe it was just because the Realms were too big in their entirety, so I either had to read very vague and glossed over material like the FRCG, or else had to invest in the years and years worth of splat books to understand what in the Nine Hells was going on. 

These focused settings are wonderful!  Big Kudos to everyone involved. 


Can you blame them then, for deciding to do another one of these settings with the City of the Drow?

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I think I did make mention of that article in mine, but it may have been edited. Or I may have intended to and forgot. Either way, let me say for the record that Brian James' Sarifal article was excellent and a resource I used in my article, along with all the other great Moonshae content of the past.