Thursday, September 4, 2008

When the hurlyburly's done - A Forgotten Realms CS review

I) I'm a Grognard. I don't like 4E. I never will. I won't support this edition. I'm a battleworn paladin in the Edition Wars. I'll smite 4E whenever I can!

II) I'm a huge Forgotten Realms fan for almost twenty years now. I had my best times at the gaming table in the Forgotten Realms. I love all stuff from Ed Greenwood.

III) It seems I have a problem! What should I think of the new FRCS?

Finally I decided to get a copy of the new FRCS. Mainly out of curiosity. Full stop. Here is my review:

The good news:
There is not much crunch in the new FRCS, but mostly fluff. Thus you can easily convert what 4E stats you find to your favorite system (like Pathfinder RPG). Most npcs even don't have a level given. So you are fairly free to play the setting with the rules you want.

The bad news:
The new Realms (or the Shattered Realms by some) feel very different for experienced FR gamers. You might feel alienated with some of the changes, like [spoiler] that the concept of magic with Mystra and the weave was never true, or what will happen to your favorite npcs, places, or organizations, or the sudden appearance of new empires, or the drastic changes in the FR cosmology[/spoiler]
The book also reads at some points, as if it was put together in a hurry. It lacks many explanations about what has happend during the time jump, which may annoy you if it comes to some of the major changes to the Realms, as well as these little lovely details you find in other FR books.

The new FRCS really looks and feels like it has been designed like a completly new campaign setting with only as much information provided as needed to get things running. Which is basically what was WotC's idea for the Realms - to make them playable for new gamers who might feel overwhelmed by the tons of realmslore available.
The Realms feel flat and colorless, which is already announced on the back cover "lands of dark peril await" - Indeed, but IMO WotC has gone one step to far.

Here are my suggestions:
Don't buy the book...
... if you can't live with major changes to the realms. Don't buy it even if you are curious, because the new FRCS will even affect how you see the old Realms when you read it.
... if you like to find plausible explanations for the major changes
... if you are interessted what has happend during the time jump
... if you are an old school FR fan.

Remeber to tell WotC why you did not buy the book.

Buy the book...
... if you think that the old Realms are overloaded with too much Realmslore, but if you still like some of the elements of FR.

... if you are a new gamer
... if you don't care about anything at all

consider to play it not with 4E but with Pathfinder RPG.

As an alternative try the new Pathfinder Campaign Setting or Motherland Campaign Setting at, which is strongly influenced by the old Realms.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Poll results

In august we asked our visitors 'What products would you like to see pathfinderized?'
Here are the results:

1. Book of monsters 19
2. alternate classes, like warlock 17
3. campaign settings 14
4. Book of spells 11
5. Book of magic items 9
Book of feats 9
Book of skills 9
modern roleplaying 9
6. future roleplaying 7

Most people would like to see a book of monsters. As you might already know this may happen. There are plans to do a Tome of Horror (Necromancer games) Pathfinder edition.

Second place is 'alternate classes'. As some popular classes like the warlock are not part of the SRD, it is interessting to see what paizo, or other companies will do to make this come true.

Third place is 'campaign settings'. Obviously people are not happy about the way WotC changes their realms. Check out our new poll about this topic.

A 'book of spells' is fourth in line. Of course we have the massive spell compendium, but there is still much to do, for example remove absolutes.

'Book of magical items' is fifth. We already have a magic item compendium. Still some people would like to see basic items overhauled, and new items added to this book.

'Book of feats' is fifth. As PRPG claims to be compatible with 3e this is no surprise. However it would be nice to have a single reference with balanced feats.

'Book of skills' also fifth. PRPG changed the skill system slightly. Maybe a book about expanded skill use would be interessting to some people.

'Modern roleplaying' the pathfinder way is of minor interest for most people.

'Future roleplaying' as well, but check out WARP20 to change your mind ;o)

New poll:
We'd like to know...
If you could cast a powerful spell that would be able to steal a WotC campaign setting, and give it to Paizo, what setting would that be.