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The Forgotten Realms

Posted by Sam Kressin in D&D, Personal Journal

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DarkwellWhen I first discovered Dungeons and Dragons the Forgotten Realms published by TSR was in full swing. What intillitally drew me into D&D was the art work. To this day the illustrations, covers, paintings and drawings found inside the pages of many D&D manuals, books, supplemental materials and more are still some of my favorite. A major campaign found on the shelves of every gaming shop and many comic book stores was The Forgotten Realms.

Forgotten Realms is a complex fantasy world and literally an entire world with a complete history geographical maps and more. When I discovered this thing I had acquired the Advanced Dungeon’s and Dragons 2nd Edition Dungeon Masters Guide and the Players Handbook.  I had some major problems with it both these books. First interior pages of the book aesthetically did not hold up to the cover. I wanted to study this game despised the disappointing interior design of the books. However the game described within its pages was very complex and beyond the abilities of my young brain at that time. I still ran a number of campaigns but more or less made up the rules as I went.

Today I prefer a less restricted D&D campaign. One in which the DM and players can wing it as they go. I find myself getting really board when every character move has to undergo an ability check or some other type of dice roll. To this day I’d say I probably enjoy reading the campaigns and studying the worlds of D&D more than actual game play.

Back to my early encounters with The Forgotten Realms. Both the Dungeon Masters Guide and Players Hand Book priced in at $20 back in 1989 that would mean working and saving a lot of money as well as passing on a lot of comic books. The Forgotten Realms campaign books and supplemental materials weren’t much cheaper.  As awesome as The Forgotten Realms looked and as badly as I wanted to read those books I ultimately passed.

A few months after forgoing “The Realms” I was scouring though a used book store where I came across The Forgotten Realms Novels. Written by various authors TSR began publishing The Forgotten Realms Novels in 1987. These Novels existed to enrich the history and the stories of The Forgotten Realms (and to cash in on the popularity of the campaign)  but the number one thing these novels had, Bad Ass Covers and Bad Ass Titles! I’m talking about titles like “Black Wizards,” “Darkwell,” “Iron Helm,” “Curse Of The Shadowmage” and more. This is the kind of stuff I wanted to learn about! Now just take a look at some of the cover art;

Crystal_shard_cover Elfsong Shadows_Of_Doom Spellfire


















There was one major problem with these books. They were all novels 300+ pages each with small type and no pictures! I was a slow reader and couldn’t spend more than 30 minutes at a time reading something without getting bored. As gnarly as these books looked as much as they appealed to me I would have to pass.

Today as an adult I have the capacity to understand and comprehend a lot more than I did as a child and with audio books abundantly available I have decided it is time to journey through The Forgotten Realms. Therefore I have decided I will begin reading / listening to every single forgotten realms book in chronological order of publication. Beginning with the first one. Upon finishing each book I will write a short review and give  my opinions of it. My objective is to get through the entire library within two years time!