[Let's Read] Forgotten Realms: The Revised Campaign Setting

Thane of Fife

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So, yes, at this point, we've pretty much covered the whole set, I think. There's just the bibliography left, and it' pretty obvious - mostly it's just a listing of all the Forgotten Realms books which had been written at the time.

There's only one here I'm not sure about: City System, a 1988 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood book or boxed set. It's got its own Wikipedia page. Apparently, it's mostly just maps of Waterdeep, albeit a lot of really detailed ones. Could be interesting, but probably questionably useful. Unfortunately, there is no "Appendix N" for the Realms. That might be interesting.

So, all said and done, how does this set compare to the Gray Box? Well, let's break it up into categories.

Places: Both boxed sets include much the same data on the places of the Realms. The 2e set, though, generally covers more places, and often gives slightly more detail. Cormyr and the Dalelands are the most expanded places. In general, I would say that the 2e set seems better here - the new stuff isn't enough to be stifling, so it's basically just more stuff to pick and choose from.

People: The 1e set's selection of characters is rather haphazard. The 2e book focuses a bit more on characters from the novels and sourcebooks. Unfortunately, these are generally adventuring do-gooders. I'm not a big fan of the NPCs presented in either of these sets, but between the characters exclusive to either set, I think the1e set has the more useful ones.

Gods: Wow, this is hard. The 1e set gives practically no detail on any of the gods. Most of them are an alignment, a portfolio, and ideas for powers. The 2e set expands them quite a bit, but in the most boring ways possible. If you want ideas to develop, then the 1e box is probably better (albeit too bare-bones). If you want to know about the canonical gods, the 2e set probably wins out.

Plot: The 1e set has the Zhentarim attack on Shadowdale, the Retreat from the Elven Court, Alusair, and Lashan. The 2e set has the Time of Troubles, the Tuigan Crusade, and, I guess, Maztica, though that's not much touched on. There's some fun political developments to be had out of the events preceding the 2e box, but they need more development to be the equals of the recent events in the 1e box. I think they're both reasonably solid. And the lesser timelines are both pretty good.

Components: The 2e set feels sturdier, has more stuff included, and has maps with more dungeons on them. Seems like a clear win to me.

Rules: 1e has a bunch of magic books, 2e has a bunch of monsters. Neither is terribly impressive.

Adventures: I think that the adventures in the 1e box are probably better, though I'm not too impressed with any of them.

Overall, I think I'd say that the 1e box might be a stronger stand-alone product, but the 2e box is probably better as a guide to the Realms. Agree? Disagree?
 

IronChefZombie

Fuka-sannnnnnnnn!!
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The Tugian Crusade(I read the books) is either the most ham-handed way of ending the threat or a perfect logical way of cutting the head off. As I remember, the Western forces teleport nabbed the Tugian leader and cut him down.

I was annoyed that the man who ended up joining the Tugians because of the politics that ended up with his family dead was just disposed of off handedly.
 

Thane of Fife

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The Tugian Crusade(I read the books) is either the most ham-handed way of ending the threat or a perfect logical way of cutting the head off. As I remember, the Western forces teleport nabbed the Tugian leader and cut him down.

I was annoyed that the man who ended up joining the Tugians because of the politics that ended up with his family dead was just disposed of off handedly.
I read Crusade, and while I don't remember it terribly well, I definitely don't remember a teleport kidnapping. I thought that they set up a trap in battle and got him that way?

But anyway, I meant that the aftermath of that is cool, not necessarily the event itself. Thesk has been all but destroyed, and is open to adventure and brigandage. King Azoun IV is probably the preeminent military leader of the world, which makes it easier to provoke conflict between Cormyr and Sembia/the Dales. You have veteran crusader as a new character background. You could have shortages of manpower due to deaths during the crusade. The aftermath of a big, destructive war is a good time for adventure.
 

Pare

Mikko Parviainen
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There's only one here I'm not sure about: City System, a 1988 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood book or boxed set. It's got its own Wikipedia page. Apparently, it's mostly just maps of Waterdeep, albeit a lot of really detailed ones. Could be interesting, but probably questionably useful.
I got here a couple of weeks late, but I have the City System box, and from what I remember it's more than just the maps, but not much more. I have the box at home, not at work, and I can check it later.

I think there were encounter tables for the city, details of some buildings and there might have been a system for determining the usage of random buildings, according to the Ward they are in. The maps were basically enlarged and more detailed versions of the map in Waterdeep and the North. I never used the maps in a game, though I think it was more because my games were usually not set in Waterdeep.

It's not a bad product, but not an especially good one. It could come in handy if you're doing a lot of stuff in Waterdeep, but it might also be too detailed for some people. I think it might be useful for my idea of a game set in Waterdeep, with the player characters being part of a movement to open up the government and secret thought police more. They could be agents of Deneir...
 
I got here a couple of weeks late, but I have the City System box, and from what I remember it's more than just the maps, but not much more. I have the box at home, not at work, and I can check it later.

I think there were encounter tables for the city, details of some buildings and there might have been a system for determining the usage of random buildings, according to the Ward they are in. The maps were basically enlarged and more detailed versions of the map in Waterdeep and the North. I never used the maps in a game, though I think it was more because my games were usually not set in Waterdeep.

It's not a bad product, but not an especially good one. It could come in handy if you're doing a lot of stuff in Waterdeep, but it might also be too detailed for some people. I think it might be useful for my idea of a game set in Waterdeep, with the player characters being part of a movement to open up the government and secret thought police more. They could be agents of Deneir...
By contrast, my players think it's the best FR product ever and still try to get me to use it.

Having such massive maps of the city seems to bring it alive in their minds in a way a smaller map does not. As a DM, I also got a lot of use out of the small booklet that came with the maps. Frankly, I also rate this one of my favourite FR products of all time in terms of how much it brought to my games. But I understand YMMV.
 
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