Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms?

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So. This is out. Anyone have? Thoughts/reactions?

Discuss... 
I totally wanted to make a thread out of this same thing this morning...  Weird.  Well, thanks for beating me to it!  From what I understand, it's a lore centric book written by good ol' Ed himself!  Not to mention, a collection of cool notes that Ed took from his games.  I'm going to purchase it tomorrow before Encounters...  That or wait till the next Pathfinder group meetup to get it then.  Not to mention, it barely gives glance to elements that Ed wasn't really a part of.  (No Time of Troubles to my knowledge and most certainly no spellplague)

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
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  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!

Once you get it please tell if it describes the things that Ed was part of and just skips over the rest while still moving along the canon timline or if it's about an alternate version of the realms with it's own bizarro timeline in which these events never happened.

It's all fluff. You can use it in any time period.

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

There are some vague one-sentence references to the 1400's Realms made here and there, don't think it amounted to more than 4 in the first two chapters.  As to events mentioned... so far it's left out mentioning most of the RSE's and such, and tends to stick to smaller-scale, more localized happenings, often as examples.  Largely though, it avoids a narrative of events, and simply describes the Realms.  Truly an awesome piece of work thus far.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Once you get it please tell if it describes the things that Ed was part of and just skips over the rest while still moving along the canon timline or if it's about an alternate version of the realms with it's own bizarro timeline in which these events never happened.

So far this isn't a pure "Ed's home campaign" book.

There's no alternate timeline. So far I've not discovered any "here's what's different in my [Ed's] campaign from Realms canon" bits.

Rather it's all Realms: every bit of it something you would expect to find in Ed's home game, save for a reference to Cyric (that I've heard is in the book, though I've not found it yet myself).

Ed talks about his campaign, how he runs it and what it is about the Realms that has made play last so long.

Some subheadings under the six main parts of the book include:


  • realmspeak: talking the talk

  • acting and the theater

  • Cormyrean naming and trade laws

  • the secret history of the Zhentarim

  • regional cuisine

  • food from the wild

  • day jobs for adventurers

  • trade and merchant princes

  • Why put up with evil?

  • temple income

  • words of awakening

  • spellsong


There are about twenty one hand drawn and/or typed up pages that comprise some of Ed's original submissions to TSR back in 1986. They have headers that read, "A SEVENTH LOOK AT THE FORGOTTEN REALMS/Ed Greenwood/Page 51 [this number being hand-written] of 205 [this number also] Pages.

Can you imagine getting a Realms packet of between 50 and 200 pages in length, on a weekly basis?

Jeff Grubb really had his hands full when he suggested TSR pick up the Realms, didn't he? ;)

...still busy reading...

I'm really interested in the Secret History of the Zhentarim. I am hoping for Ed's answer as to why the beholders originally allied with Manshoon as this is one of the things that was never explained and which Ed cannot answer because of a long-standing NDA.

What a shame I have to wait until November to buy it in Singapore. I hope I can get the PDF before then....
 
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
I'm really interested in the Secret History of the Zhentarim. I am hoping for Ed's answer as to why the beholders originally allied with Manshoon as this is one of the things that was never explained and which Ed cannot answer because of a long-standing NDA.

Because I gave them snacks and treated them to the movies.

This is definitely on my to-buy list. It seems like a really cool read.

My Sig
Reality is but the sum total of all illusions. Proud Hand of Karsus, now and forever Mess with one Hand, mess with 'em all I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
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Board Snippets
147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
Very interesting Manshoony lore in it.

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

Yeah, he didn't come off as nearly as badly as I would have expected.  Gave me a very different perspective on him and his endeavors... actually turned him into a worthwhile villain really, though still a pale shadow compared to Semmenon.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

So what is the secret history of the Zhents?
Secret.  If you wanna find out, buy the book.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Indeed...

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

Not sure I wanna spend money on a book just for the history of the Zhents. Regional cooking doesn't deserve my cash.

The words of awakening have me intrigued, but they could be something disappointing.

Oh well, I'd expect more from the forum that volonterally gives spoilers about novels1.



1. I hope you all feel guilty! 2

 
2
Is it working?
Not being a reader of novels, it's utterly failing on me.
 


I personally thought the regional cooking stuff was wonderfully worth it just for flavor (pun intended).  Same with the trade goods.  And most of it really.  There are a lot of bits in there that if you pay enough attention, it will enhance your games a hell of a lot.  The only section I was actually disappointed with was The Art, which I thought was much too short, and long on agonizing dangles, but very short on in depth coverage of said dangles.  That was doubly true of the epilogue... the man is a closet Loviatan, I swear!

Though the section on the gods and faiths was exceptional, particularly when it came to evil faiths and why goodly kingdoms tolerate their presence.  It was a very refreshing read, and for me it was a bit of a surprise, since a lot of my interpretations of his previous lore was really close, especially the stuff that wasn't explicitly stated before.


As to the secret history of the Zhentarim, I'm not sure its so much a secret as it is coverage of Manshoon's reasonings, tactics, and strategies in his establishing the Zhentarim, and in leading it.  It gives a lot of direct insight into the man.  My only complaint, which is minor to say the least, is that it didn't go much into either Semmemon or Fzoul, and I don't actually recall either of them being mentioned more than once by name.  At any rate, its a good look behind the closed doors about how they operate, and why they often come off as such fools, when they actually aren't.  Well, the real ones anyway.

As I said, its a very good read, highly informative, and thankfully edition neutral for the most part.  I heartily recommend it, with the caveat that DMs will find it far more useful than folk who don't get behind the screen, so to speak.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Very interesting Manshoony lore in it.



I'm rather a fan of Manshoon - points at profile picture - and particularly Ed's real version. Cool. I'm looking forward to this.

(snip) As to the secret history of the Zhentarim, I'm not sure its so much a secret as it is coverage of Manshoon's reasonings, tactics, and strategies in his establishing the Zhentarim, and in leading it.  It gives a lot of direct insight into the man. (snip) 

 

That's actually exactly what I am looking for and - just as importantly - I'm also looking for an explanation as to why the beholders supported Manshoon. The reason for the beholders' support has been hidden behind an NDA for a couple of decades and I want to run a campaign at some point before I die involving Manshoon, the Zhentarim and beholders (to a certain extent I have but I want to run something a bit more in-depth).
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
I'm rather a fan of Manshoon - points at profile picture - and particularly Ed's real version.

How has WotC changed Manshoon in such a way that makes you think of him as a "fake version"?
I'm rather a fan of Manshoon - points at profile picture - and particularly Ed's real version.

How has WotC changed Manshoon in such a way that makes you think of him as a "fake version"?



I am referring to various comments from Ed himself over at Candlekeep. Specifically, the WotC version of Manshoon - or, more particularly, the TSR version - wasn't allowed to be seen to be successful. Ed's version is far more of a threat.

That's all.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Well, that and there's some confusion as to who exactly the "real" Manshoon actually is in light of that whole Stasis Clone debacle... which oddly enough, is addressed rather ominously in the Secret History of the Zhentarim section.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Dang, the more I hear, I really need to get my hands on this book.

It used to be I had two Borders right near my house, and I could get my hands on the books immediately. But now...

And as much as I love the Manshoon/Zhentarim focus of the past few posts, I have to ask - would do people think of the other sections?
My Sig
Reality is but the sum total of all illusions. Proud Hand of Karsus, now and forever Mess with one Hand, mess with 'em all I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
"just do what LM the lord of magical might does, and you'll be fine" - sfdragon, 10/12/09
Board Snippets
147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
Well, I can't say I have any complaints other than it's too short a book for my liking.  But even if it were twice the size, I'd still probably say the same thing.

Seriously though, rather than keep repeating it, the book is really, really useful for DMs and there's quite a bit of good advice scattered throughout, especially on the sidebar captions.  Yes, captions, usually not more than a sentence, but it's definitely food for thought. Overall though, as I've said, it's more useful to a DM, but I doubt anyone who was interested in Realmslore sheerly for its own sake would be disappointed with this book.

Life in the Realms (36 pages) was pretty damned informative I found.  There was a lot of useful fleshing-out-the-scene lore for and plenty of stuff that you could extrapolate to be useful pretty much anywhere.  I found his take on literacy in Cormyr, and the solid reasons behind it, as well as the effect it had on other things fascinating, and it helps to put the idea out there that a lot of things don't just happen without consequences to society in general, a point he drives home several times, though not annoyingly.
 
Laws and Orders (24 pages), where the Secret History of the Zhentarim appears, was all-around very solid stuff.  A lot of food for thought for a lot of people I'd imagine, though not quite as much so as Life in the Realms.  Probably the dryest section, I found, but YMMV, of course.

Hearth and Home (26 pages) was my second favorite section, and I found it incredibly useful for setting-the-scene and fleshing-out-the-story lore, which as a DM is the stuff I can never get enough of.  There's a surprising amount of stuff to inspire in there, despite the seemingly pedestrian topics.

Money Matters (30 pages) was a section I honestly thought would be much drier than it actually was.  As far as inspiring ideas for campaign arcs and storylines, it was pure gold, and while parts of it got a little dry, on the whole it was a good read.

Gods and Followers (46 pages) was my favorite section.  The coverage of each deity of the core pantheon (pre-ToT, with a teeny little paragraph or two on Cyric) was very welcome, and was more like a gem mine for the useful information and lore in it.  I honestly can't praise this section enough without sounding like I'm going to do a fanboi squeesplosion over it.  The coverage of the secular goals of each faith (with a couple of exceptions) alone would have made the section awesome, everything else was just icing on the cake.

The Art (12 pages) was easily the most disappointing in its brevity, as I've mentioned before.  Not that the lore was bad or anything, it was just way too brief in its coverage.  Combined with the Afterword, it was a little maddening with all the mentions of so many interesting things and not really going into any detail (at all) over them.  I guess my biggest issue is that it just left me wanting more, and more, and more, and more.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

So, if I knew next to nothing about the realms, could I buy this book and run a solid FR campaign with it alone (no matter the version of D&D)?
Well, that and there's some confusion as to who exactly the "real" Manshoon actually is in light of that whole Stasis Clone debacle... which oddly enough, is addressed rather ominously in the Secret History of the Zhentarim section.



Awesome.

That's really whetting my appetite for the book.

Thanks also for posting your longer mini-review above. I'm looking forward to this.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
So, if I knew next to nothing about the realms, could I buy this book and run a solid FR campaign with it alone (no matter the version of D&D)?



In all honesty, probably not, as it lacks a lot of the basic information a campaign setting book has.  Now if they question was could I run a solid FR campaign with the campaign setting book and this one, regarldess of the edition, I would unhesitatingly say that yes, you could.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

I read the experts with great interest.


Im a big fan of manshoon and Im dming in the realms so its definately a must buy for me.


Cant wait for it to come to my country and grab it. Smile

Ok I finally got myself a copy, dude at the gaming shop never even heard of it (Whats the world coming too?), so I ended up ordering off of Amazon, finally came in the mail. Im only a few chapters in but Im already nerdgasming! One of the best things I love about Ed's (and others) writing of the Realms is all the little tidbits of lore he puts in there, things like what style of dress is popular in Suzail or what sort of cheeses are available at such and such inn, its these little bits that really make the Realms come to life for me. anyway, the entire book is just full of these bits of lore, lots and lots of lore, Im lovin it! They really need to make more books like these, Grand History and this one are two of my absolute favorite Realms books ever puplished, all fluff, no crunch, they should really do more sourcebooks that way, that way doesnt matter what rules system youre using, doesnt matter if youre playing 6.5e or whatever, knowhatimean?

Im also lovin the copies of Ed's original submissions to TSR, intersting, interesting stuff. Thay was orginally Ed's Oriental Adventures type area, who knew? I think im gonna have to use that when I get back to my game. Thay ninjas! Hell yeah!! 
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
I'm still reading this book. I find that--like a Volo's Guide--I keep coming back to it for reference and idea generation.

I hope to get started on collecting words from it soon. Also information on Cormyr to add to the Cormyr: Facts and Factoids page at Loremaster.org.
I'm still reading this book. I find that--like a Volo's Guide--I keep coming back to it for reference and idea generation.

I hope to get started on collecting words from it soon. Also information on Cormyr to add to the Cormyr: Facts and Factoids page at Loremaster.org.



Aye, same here!  It's a great souce for inspiration!  I'm hoping 5E's take on the Realms takes MANY notes on this book for a base setting book (This includes edition/era neutrality)

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!

I think the book was excellent. It has many years since I bought a book from Wizards of the Coast (the last one was Grand History of the Realms). I loved all the content and the art of the book. Some illustrations are fantastic ... really capturing the essence, as the noble on page 51, some are nostalgic, like art on page 161 showing Lady of Strategy, the style reminds me of AD&D. I just did not like the tieflings (page 12) ... although the art is very good.

About the content of the text, fantastic!!!. As always with Ed Greenwood's books. I also thought the book would show Ed Greenwood's Originals-Realms, yet I am very satisfied with the text.

I would like the Wizards understand that it is kind book that we like to buy.

I am also in favor of a reboot in the Realms, or alternative timeline, because I do not like anything about the fourth edition of D & D. .. especially what happened to the Forgotten Realms. I did not even buy a product that edition.


I also think Forgotten Realms did not need statistics rules tied to any edition of D&D. It was enough just those old stats _ CG hm F9 ... for example _ as shown in Box Old Gray and Forgotten Realms Revised (2nd edition), or something that anyone can use their favorite system of rules, regardless of the edition.


Sorry my english!