One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The City Of Splendors

Today I'm continuing on with the theme of chatting up some of my favorite Forgotten Realms and Ed Greenwood products from back in the day.

Yesterday I wrote about my love for the first Undermountain box set. The city of Waterdeep and Undermountain go hand in hand. It's like Batman and Robin, milk and Oreo cookies, or me and your mom...Annnyway, today I follow up with The City of Splendors box set.

This is what you get in the box:

  • A 128-page Campaign Guide with expanded city map keys and new information on every part of the city

  • A 96-page Who's Who, giving you details on the nobles and other NPCs of Waterdeep (over 100 new characters in this book alone!)

  • A 64-page Adventurer's Guide for players, with the Adventurers' Quarter, a new area of Waterdeep complete with over 50 new NPCs

  • A 16-page Secrets book, hiding the secrets of the NPCs and adventures of the Adventurers' Quarter

  • 6 poster maps, including new maps of the city and two photo maps of the Adventurers' Quarter

  • 16 MONSTROUS COMPENDIUM Appendix pages, with 13 never-before-seen monsters to haunt the shadows of the city

  • Dude, that's a lot of stuff.

    When it comes down to it that's what the beauty of box sets is in my opinion. Hardcover books have their place, but when you want to disseminate a metric shit ton of information on an imaginary fantasy city this is the only way to go in my opinion. For example, I own the wicked awesome Ptolus campaign setting by one of my heroes Monte Cook. Ptolus is probably one of my most prized RPG books. The problem is it's so fricken huge. I have a hard time lugging the 700 page full colour hardcover behemoth around to read in my free time, and it can be really unwieldy to flip through when your looking for specific things. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love that book, and it sets the bar at an all new level, but sometimes size does matter.

    To be honest I haven't read through the entirety of all of the books included in the City of Splendors box. From the good portion I have read, there's a lot of excellent information here that a DM needs to know if you wants to actually run this thing. Probably more information than you really need, or could actually use in an entire campaign of your own. Combine this with the Ruins of Undermountain box and you've got enough stuff to play for years and years and not need to purchase anything else...Right...Because us gamer types are known for only buying shit were actually going to use.

    So what are my final tthoughts on this thing? While this box might not be as good as the Ruins of Undermountain box,  it's still full of some ass kicking, grade A gaming material. And as I said before if you plan on running a true Forgotten Realms campaign with Undermountain, it's really hard to go wrong with this. Even if your version of the Realms is 3e this box really puts the 3e version of the Waterdeep source book to shame. Yeah, OK, it might be a little bit shiny with it's alluring full colour art work and the flip out centerfold of your mom in the middle, but really I found there was very little meat to it. So if your going to play in Waterdeep, I feel like you own it to yourself to scrounge the back alleys of the inter-webs and pick this up. You can thank WotC/Hasbro for making that job harder than it really had to be since they stopped selling PDFs a while back.

    Oh, one last thing. Fuck that 4e version of the Realms. I'm sure even Ed Greenwood thinks it's bullshit. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if in some grand conspiracy they have the real Ed Greenwood locked up in the dungeon under the WotC headquarters, and have replaced him with a 4e loving robot under their control. Of course now that I've revealed that I'm going to have to go into hiding in order to evade the assassin robots that they will be sending to kill my ass.

    I'm on to you WotC!

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