|Image from D&D Classics|
This book came out in 1990 and was the primary FR setting product for Second Edition until an updated boxed set was released in 1993. In hindsight, it's a rather strange book that doesn't focus much on tools or information that would actually be all that useful for starting up a campaign set in the realms, being instead a mix of splatbook (things like new spells) and gazetteer.
The actual contents are (approximately):
- Conversion from 1E (7 pages)
- Time of Troubles metaplot changes, including some firearms rules (5 pages)
- Gods and specialty priests, essentially each a new class (25 pages)
- New spells and a few pages on magic in the realms (25 pages)
- Cities (50 pages -- yes, seriously)
- Several pages on secret societies (Harpers, Zhentarim, Red Wizards of Thay)
- Replacement treasure tables with lots of info on gems and jewels
Do those sound like the first resources you would want when starting a new campaign? At least for me, they are definitely not, but there are still a few interesting things in this grab bag.
|Most of the specialty priests have an illustration|
|There are around 20 maps in this style|
Overall, even though the book feels disorganized and sort of arbitrary, it seems like there are things to use, even for a reader who cares nothing for the setting as a whole. Many parts of the treasure chapter seem like they were just paraphrased from a geology book, but the system as a whole looks like a reasonable (and more detailed) replacement for the official random treasure tables.