by Scott BennyActually, not that I think about it, and also looking at the dates of the publications of these sourcebooks, I actually think they were originally written for the 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons, and it was only when 2nd Edition came about that they adopted the new model. I believe by the time this one was produced though 1st Edition had simply become a collectors item, or played by people who simply did not like change, or simply prefered the more clunky and restrictive version of the game (the one where if you wanted to be a bard you had to advance as a fighter and then a theif).
This particular resource (if I can call it a resource because it deals with fantasy nations in a fantasy world) focuses on some empires on the southern side of the Inner Sea in the Forgotten Realms. However this is one of the aspects of the Realms that simply rubbed me up the wrong way. Basically these three kingdoms are next to each other, and one of them is Greece, another Egypt, and the third I believe is supposed to be Ancient Babylon. To me it seemed as if they simply wanted to create some fantasy kingdoms where people for play the Greeks, or the Egyptians (though I notice that there is no Rome).
To me it felt as this was somewhat tacked on and did not really add to the consistency of the setting as a whole. There have actually been products released that provide information on gaming in the real societies, such as Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and I believe that there even was one that involved campaigning on a pirate ship in the Carribean.
Another thing, totally off topic, is the use of guns in the fantasy world. Second edition had brought in the arquebus, which was a precursor to the blunderbus, and they also had a cannon as a seige weapon. However that was the extent of the guns that went with the game at that time. Further rules revisions where brought in to deal with other guns, and even modern guns, and people have been writing up such rules since 1st edition. With 3rd edition you had d20 Modern and d20 Future, which gave you rules for spaceships and machine guns, however in the Forgotten Realms, guns simply did not exist.
There is always the ongoing debate as to whether gunpower would work or not. Some say it does, others say it doesn't. One of the reasons is that smart alec players like to use player knowledge to create gunpowder. However, simply saying 'this is a fantasy world – gun powder does not work' is a but lame. I guess the question that should be asked is 'so, how did your character work that out, and if your character does want to work it out, are you happy to have him resign from adventuring for a couple of years, and even then run the risk not not actually discovering it?' Mind you, I have never really had that happen to me, and when it does, I either ignore it, or simply say 'don't be stupid'. No need to write entire articles on whether gunpowder works in a fantasy world or not.
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|Book rating||4.22 (21 votes)