Hey all, I just want to say again that over on Black Gate.com my ‘Top 10 RPG Artists’ article is in a knife fight death duel like Steven Segal versus Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege with another article, so if you haven’t checked it out please help me out and do so here.
Otherwise, I wanted to take a look at one of my all-time favorite gaming supplements, the 3E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting because my friend Sean K. Reynolds announced yesterday he was leaving Paizo for my home state of Indiana and thus I dedicate the review to him.
Released in the very early run of D&D 3E, the by then beloved world of Ed Greenwood was brought to life by designers Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, and Rob Heinsoo. With Kim Mohan as the Managing Editor and Jon Schindehette as the Visual Creative Director alongside Robert Raper as the Art Director this book gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘Campaign Setting’.
Gone were the now clunky and easily destroyed TSR boxed set campaigns, instead replaced by a hard cover and glossy color paged tome that encompassed everything you could possibly imagine about the Forgotten Realms. Indeed, I never thought I’d see its equal until I read The Inner Sea World Guide [by the aforementioned Greenwood, Reynolds, and the added bonus of Jeff Grubb], and still to this day the two could play a game of mutually assured destruction with no clear cut winner coming out the other side.
Honestly, I’ve tried on a couple of occasions to break away from the Forgotten Realms and play exclusively in my own home brew of the Nameless Realms, but this damn book just keeps pulling me back it. It is that freaking good!
Artistically, it unfortunately bears the ‘3E Curse’ of having a non-painted cover, but even then the book manages to have texture and appeal with its subdued coloration and the frayed leather wrap in the upper right corner.
Inside, however, all bets are off. Artists Todd Lockwood, Sam Wood, Matt Wilson [right there you know you’re in for a wild ride of epic proportion] and Carlo Arellano, with Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, take over a book with their artistic magic and make a world absolutely sing.
I’m still to this day astounded as I flip through the pages, every single image in the book just magnificent without a throw away piece in the bunch, and that even includes the deity symbol designs.
In my mind this is a must have for any serious gamer or collector, a true masterpiece of gaming history with extreme playability in a system that helped usher in a new millennia of gaming.
Artistic Rating: 5 [out of 5]