Review written by Jordon C
Hey there guys! The gang here at I:T asked me to do reviews of some Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition products. The first book I’m tackling is the D&D campaign sourcebook, “The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide”. So let’s dig in!
This November 2015 release from Wizards of the Coast is all about the Forgotten Realms. Fans of Faerun will dig deep into the cultures, politics, and history of Ed Greenwood’s famous setting. This current iteration is brought to us by those mad mercenaries at Green Ronin Publishing , who were hired out by WotC to write this book. Cover art is by celebrated sci-fi and fantasy artist, Tyler Jacobson. For its length (160 pages), this tome is a bit on the pricey side (at $39.95), but it’s a definite must for those fans of the setting.
The book starts out with an intro chapter called “Welcome to the Realms” which gives brief overviews of the current state of events in Faerun. These overviews are well ordered by geographical location and give us tasty bits on places like the Dwarfholds, The Underdark, and even lands to the east, such as Kara-Tur and Zakhara. The chapter then goes on to discuss things like calendar days, time keeping in the realms, brief history of the area (which includes both Sunderings and the Spellplague years), the Weave, and finally ends with a fairly good sized section on gods and their worship. I found this to be particularly fun, seeing as some of the old gods from previous editions have returned under mysterious circumstances. They even have some nice art depicting the symbols of the gods.
Chapter 2 is called “The Sword Coast and the North” and that’s exactly what you get. This chapter gives more in-depth descriptions on cities, holds, and geographical locations within the Sword Coast and the North. It goes further into the history and current events of each section and is a great resource if you’re planning on taking your party into the sprawling cities or the uncharted wilds of northwest Faerun. In accompaniment with the loads of info you get, there are wonderfully drawn maps, detailing the cities and regions one might explore.
Chapter 3 is called “Races of the Realms” and presents the reader with the various races and sub-races that exist. It not only presents the overall culture of each race, but discusses the cultural adaptations of the sub-races and the conflict presented when these groups are forced to interact. The chapter also discusses possible names, alphabets, and race specific religion. We get some crunch here too, as sub-races like the Duergar and Svirfneblin are given to us in stat form. There’s even variants for your Half-Elfs and Tieflings!
Chapter 4 is just titled “Classes” and here is where the majority of the crunch in the book is at. This gives the players alternative sub-classes such as the Battlerager Barbarian, Arcana Domain Cleric, and the Purple Dragon Knight Fighter. This chapter is chocked full of various ways in which you can take your character. New Primal Path options, new Bardic colleges, new Druid Circles, new spells, and more! All of them are put within the context of the Forgotten Realms so you can slap them down on your character sheet and go!
The final chapter is all about backgrounds. Here you get 12 new specific backgrounds to give your character. The fun thing is that most of them can also be used outside of the Sword Coast (and even in a DM’s custom world). You can throw down as a member of the city watch or you can perform secret dealings as a member of one of the various factions. The choice is up to you!
Verdict: “The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is a great resource for those wanting to delve into the fantastic realm of Faerun. Although a bit on the pricey side for its size, those dedicated to the game will want to have this piece for their game shelf.
Thank you to Wizards of the Coast for providing a copy of Dungeons & Dragons: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide for review!