Lost Empires of Faerun

March 13, 2005

Since Wizards of the Coast moved to the 3.0 system, the Forgotten Realms has been one of the intellectual properties that has received the most attention. Starting with the voluminous Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book, the white and grey tomes have revealed more information about the realms than ever. The ease and accessibility of the information combined with the increased emphasis on production values has gotten the word out to gamers across the globe.

Lost Empires of Faerun is a pinnacle of the WotC design efforts, possibly the best sourcebook they’ve yet released for the game. Not only does the book offer up some compelling crunchy bits (feats, spells, and prestige classes), but it is an exhaustive resource for the past of Faerun.

The first two chapters contain most of the crunch for this particular candy bar. Included in chapters 1 and 2 are details such as the Lathandarian Sunmaster, some Netherese spells, and for you level 30 characters out there, details on how to erect your own Mythal. The gods of old, dead and gone though they be, get some love in these chapters as well.

Beyond the crunchy parts, the gooey nougat stretches for almost the rest of the book. The other chapters each detail a fallen civilization that had an impact on the face of Faerun. From great Netheril, to the Elvish Crown War-era kingdoms, to the broken and battered civilizations of the frozen North, the book details the peoples, cultures, and important dates of many of the most influential peoples of the past.

As a reference for the cultures and background of the Forgotten Realms, Lost Empires is simply unmatched. The diaspora of the Netherese, the fall of Myth Drannor, and the passing of the elves to Evermeet are some of the defining moments of the Forgotten Realms setting and they’re each addressed in detail in the book. Mysteries and story facets that have been around since the original release of the campaign world are resolved and expanded by the information in the book.

Some of the most interesting information, from a GM’s perspective, is the possibilities for ruin exploration. In each civilization writeup they detail several locales which have survived to the current age in the form of explorable ruins and catacombs. If you’re looking for an old Netherese outpost to drop into your next game, this book has just what you need.

The final piece of delicious content in the book is the monsters chapter, which revives some critters into the Tomb Tapper and Flameskull. It also relists some creatures like the Tressym and Ghour demon for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

I was tremendously impressed by Lost Empires of Faerun. The quality of the writing, the detail in the descriptions, and the extremely useful layout all combine to make the sourcebook one of the best white and greys since the Campaign Setting. I highly recommend this book to any DM using the Forgotten Realms setting.

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