Editions of Dungeons & Dragons
Several different editions of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game have been produced since 1974. The current publisher of D&D, Wizards of the Coast, produces new materials only for the most current edition of the game. Many D&D fans, continue to play older versions of the game and some third-party companies continue to publish materials compatible with these older editions. After the original edition of D&D was introduced in 1974, the game was split into two branches in 1977: the rules-light system of Dungeons & Dragons and the more complex, rules-heavy system of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; the standard game was expanded into a series of five box sets by the mid-1980s before being compiled and revised in 1991 as the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. Meanwhile, the 2nd edition of AD&D was published in 1989. In 2000, the 3rd edition, called Dungeons & Dragons, debuted; the 4th edition was published in 2008. The 5th edition was released in 2014; the original D&D was published as a box set in 1974 and featured only a handful of the elements for which the game is known today: just three character classes.
The rules assumed that players owned and played the miniatures wargame Chainmail and used its measurement and combat systems. An optional combat system was included within the rules that developed into the sole combat system of versions of the game. In addition, the rules presumed ownership of Outdoor Survival, a board game by then-unaffiliated company Avalon Hill for outdoor exploration and adventure. D&D was a radically new gaming concept at the time, it was difficult for players without prior tabletop wargaming experience to grasp the vague rules; the release of the Greyhawk supplement removed the game's dependency on the Chainmail rules, made it much easier for new, non-wargaming players to grasp the concepts of play. It inadvertently aided the growth of competing game publishers, since just about anyone who grasped the concepts behind the game could write smoother and easier to use rules systems and sell them to the growing D&D fanbase. Supplements such as Greyhawk, Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes, published over the next two years expanded the rules, character classes and spells.
For example, the original Greyhawk supplement introduced the thief class, weapon damage varying by weapon. In addition, many additions and options were published in the magazines The Strategic Review and its successor, The Dragon. An updated version of D&D was released between 1979 as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons; the game rules were reorganized and re-codified across three hardcover rulebooks, compiled by Gary Gygax, incorporating the original D&D rules and many additions and revisions from supplements and magazine articles. The three core rulebooks were the Monster Manual, the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide. Major additions included classes from supplements like assassin, monk and thief, while bard and ranger, which had only appeared in magazine articles, were added to the core rulebooks. Supplements for AD&D included Deities & Demigods, Fiend Folio, Monster Manual II, Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana, the latter of which compiled material published in Dragon magazine, others.
While AD&D was still in the works, TSR was approached by an outside writer and D&D enthusiast, John Eric Holmes, who offered to re-edit and rewrite the original rules into an introductory version of D&D. Although TSR was focused on AD&D at the time, the project was seen as a profitable enterprise and a way to direct new players to anticipate the release of the AD&D game, it was published in July 1977 as the Basic Set, collecting together and organizing the rules from the original D&D boxed set and Greyhawk supplement into a single booklet, which covered character levels 1 through 3, included dice and a beginner's module. The booklet featured a blue cover with artwork by David C. Sutherland III; the "blue booklet" explained the game's concepts and method of play in terms that made it accessible to new players not familiar with tabletop miniatures wargaming. Unusual features of this version included an alignment system of five alignments as opposed to the three or nine alignments of the other versions.
This Basic Set was popular and allowed many to discover and experience the D&D game for the first time. Although the Basic Set is not compatible with AD&D, as some rules were simplified to make the game easier for new players to learn, players were expected to continue play beyond third level by moving on to the AD&D version. Once AD&D had been released, the Basic Set saw a major revision in 1981 by Tom Moldvay, followed by the release of an Expert Set written by David Cook, to accompany the Basic Set, extending it to levels 4 through 14, for players who preferred the simplified introductory ruleset. With this revision, the Basic rules became their own game, distinct both from original D&D and AD&D; the revised Basic rules can be distinguished from the original ones by cover colors: the Basic booklet had a red cover, the Expert booklet a blue one. Between 1983 and 1985 this system was revised and expanded by Frank Mentzer as a series of five boxed sets, including the Basic Rules, Expert Rules, Companion Rules, Master Rules (black, supporting levels 26 through 3
Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, is a fictional city-state in the world of the Forgotten Realms, a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. It is located in the Upper Northdark, about two miles below the Surbrin Vale, between the Moonwood and the Frost Hills, it is famed as the birthplace of Drizzt Do'Urden, the protagonist of several series of best-selling novels by noted fantasy author R. A. Salvatore. Ed Greenwood and Douglas Niles collaborated to release a three-book box set in December 1992 called Menzoberranzan: The Famed City of the Drow. A review for Pyramid identifies Menzoberranzan as one of "the most famous pieces of the Realms"; the first two books cover the history of the fictional setting, while the final book serves as an adventure module. Book One: The City Book Two: The Houses Book Three: The Adventure Menzoberranzan is an underground city populated by the drow, ruled over by Lolth; the city has 20,000 drow inhabitants and hundreds of thousands of humanoid slaves such as goblins, bugbears, svirfnebli, ogres and giants, as well as herds of rothé kept as livestock.
The city trades poisons, riding lizards, spell scrolls and water. The worship of Lolth is prevalent, the city has the clerical academy Arach-Tinilith, a spider-shaped building where priestesses are trained. One of the branches of the city's triune academies of Tier Breche, Arach-Tinilith is neighbored by the warrior school Melee-Magthere, Sorcere tower where arcane spellcasters are sent to study; these academies are the quarters of some of the most powerful clerics and wizards and the title of master of an academy is coveted, since being the master of Sorcere or Melee-Magthere is as high as the power ladder goes for some houseless drow or noble males. On one edge of the city the family houses are located in their glory, while the edge near the lower level Drow houses there is a lake used to water the rothé. An island in the center is used to as an outlook post to help defend the city. Menzoberranzan was founded by a priestess of Lolth named Menzoberra the Kinless, it is ruled by a council of matrons from the eight greatest noble houses.
She has been succeeded by her daughter Triel. A separate council of mages deals with affairs of the arcane—but as its members are all male, it is wholly within the grip of the matrons; the Menzoberranzan setting has been developed into a computer game, a server on the popular game Neverwinter Nights, used as gaming supplement. Menzoberra the Kinless, a powerful priestess of Lolth, founded the city that bears her name in −3917 DR. By the wishes of Lady Lolth, she led seven drow families into the Northdark from the southerly drow holdings of Great Bhaerynden; the drow families, having no immediate external enemy, fell to attacking and undermining one another, as was drow nature, to the greater glory of their evil goddess, who so loved chaos. Only fifty years after the city's founding, in −3864 DR, a great and terrible battle between the two most powerful Houses, House Nasadra and House S'sril, occurred; this battle led to the exile of House Nasadra and to the rise of House Baenre as the First House of Menzoberranzan.
The city's internal machinations have continued unabated for millennia. The Houses that grow weak are destroyed, newer Houses rise up to find Lolth's favor; the full history of each House would constitute a nearly endless logbook of treachery and unceasing ambition. Within the last century, this pattern seems to have accelerated. House Do'Urden ascended from the Tenth House to the Ninth House by destroying the Fourth House, House DeVir, it ascended to the Eighth House with the much-needed help of Jarlaxle's mercenary band Bregan D'aerthe by destroying the Fifth House, House Hun'ett. House Do'Urden lost the favor of Lolth, when Matron Malice Do'Urden turned Zaknafein into a spirit-wraith by using Lolth's dread Zin-Carla ritual and failed to kill Drizzt Do'Urden with him; this resulted in House Baenre utterly destroying House Do'Urden. In 1359 DR, during the Time of Troubles, House Oblodra, the Third House, aspired to be the First House of Menzoberranzan. Menzoberranzan was caught in a magic dead zone, so magic did not work there.
House Oblodra, was gifted in the rare art of psionics and seized upon this opportunity to strike at the other Houses. The matron of House Oblodra nearly reached her goal, but an avatar of Lolth answered Matron Baenre's pleas for help and came to Menzoberranzan after the Time of Troubles had ended. Although she loved chaos, she did not wish to see a House that did not whisper prayer to her to rule the city. Foreseeing her temporary loss of power due to the Time of Troubles, Lolth had asked the demon Errtu to protect her worshippers, should she herself fail to do it. In return, Lolth gave Wulfgar over to Errtu as a prisoner, means by which the mighty demon could gain his revenge on Drizzt, she opened a portal for Errtu and his host of demons to lay siege to House Oblodra. By the time the Time of Troubles had passed, Lolth was restored to full power and single-handedly crushed House Oblodra, the remains of their stronghold being pushed into a deep chasm known as the Clawrift, Matron Oblodra's spirit went to Errtu for eternal torment.
Thus the ranks of the ruling Houses changed once again. All this she said was done for her greatest high
Allen Varney is an American writer and game designer. Varney has produced numerous books, role-playing game supplements, technical manuals, reviews and stories, as well as the fantasy novel Cast of Fate. Since the 1990s, he has worked in computer games. Varney was born in St. Louis and was raised by his mother, Marcelene Varney, he graduated from Reno High School in 1976 and has a dual B. A. in English and history from the University of Nevada, Reno. Varney designed the pen & paper roleplaying game Necromancer, published by Steve Jackson Games. Varney wrote Son of Toon, the third supplement to the Toon RPG. From 1984 to 1986 he worked as Assistant Editor at Steve Jackson Games editing Space Gamer magazine. Warren Spector and Varney wrote the supplement Send in the Clones for West End Games' Paranoia RPG. In 1986, he left Steve Jackson Games to freelance. From this time onward, he wrote a large body of game supplements for companies like Inc.. FASA Corporation, West End Games, White Wolf, Inc.. Varney did work for TSR from 1987 to 1992, including the "Blood Brethren" trilogy and Five Coins for a Kingdom, Wildspace for Spelljammer, Veiled Alliance for Dark Sun, several gamebooks, the Ariya and Talinie realm packs for Birthright.
He edited modules for the Ravenloft and Forgotten Realms settings, was a game reviewer and news columnist for Dragon magazine. Varney wrote the AD&D Gamebook The Vanishing City in 1987, the Endless Quest gamebook Galactic Challenge for Amazing Engine in 1995. Varney served as the line editor for a new version of the roleplaying game Paranoia, published in 2004, he wrote the new rules and packaged the game's support line with the help of his "Traitor Recycling Studio" for Mongoose Publishing until 2006 when the gameline was put on hold. Most Varney has operated the Bundle of Holding site, distributing bundles of licensed but DRM-free role-playing game files in a series of time-limited offers. Enspire Learning produces a computer version of Varney's multiplayer business ethics and leadership simulation, the Executive Challenge. Executive Challenge was covered in The Wall Street Journal. Varney has long been involved in the game design and documentation for companies such as Origin Systems, Prodigy, Acclaim Entertainment, Looking Glass Technologies, MicroProse, Sony Online Entertainment.
He wrote character dialogue for Star Wars Galaxies, worked again with Warren Spector on Epic Mickey. He writes for The Escapist. In 1993, Varney designed an expansion set for Magic: The Gathering; this was not published, but the design concepts surfaced in the web-based Vanguard format of the game, with Varney credited for the original concept. Varney has participated in the Texas Juggling Society at the University of Texas since 1985. Allen Varney's website "Pen & Paper RPG Database Bibliography for Allen Varney". Archived from the original on February 16, 2005. Allen Varney at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast LLC is an American publisher of games based on fantasy and science fiction themes, an operator of retail stores for games. A basement-run role-playing game publisher, the company popularized the collectible card game genre with Magic: The Gathering in the mid-1990s, acquired the popular Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game by purchasing the failing company TSR, experienced tremendous success by publishing the licensed Pokémon Trading Card Game; the company's corporate headquarters are located in Washington in the United States. Wizards of the Coast publishes role-playing games, board games, collectible card games, they have received numerous awards, including several Origins Awards. The company has been a subsidiary of Hasbro since 1999. All Wizards of the Coast stores were closed in 2004. Wizards of the Coast was founded by Peter Adkison in 1990 just outside Seattle and its current headquarters are located in nearby Renton; the company only published role-playing games such as the third edition of Talislanta and its own The Primal Order.
The 1992 release of The Primal Order, a supplement designed for use with any game system, brought legal trouble with Palladium Books suing for references to Palladium's game and system. The suit was settled in 1993. In 1991, Richard Garfield approached Wizards of the Coast with the idea for a new board game called RoboRally, but was turned down because the game would have been too expensive for Wizards of the Coast to produce. Instead, Adkison asked Garfield if he could invent a game, both portable and quick-playing, to which Garfield agreed. Adkison set up a new corporation, Garfield Games, to develop Richard Garfield's collectible card game concept called Manaclash, into Magic: The Gathering; this kept the game sheltered from the legal battle with Palladium, Garfield Games licensed the production and sale rights to Wizards until the court case was settled, at which point the shell company was shut down. Wizards debuted Magic in July 1993 at the Origins Game Fair in Dallas; the game proved popular at Gen Con in August 1993, selling out of its supply of 2.5 million cards, scheduled to last until the end of the year.
The success of Magic generated revenue that carried the company out from the handful of employees in 1993 working out of Peter's original basement headquarters into 250 employees in its own offices in 1995. In 1994, Magic won both the Mensa Top Five mind games award and the Origins Awards for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game of 1993 and Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game of 1993. In 1994, Wizards began an association with The Beanstalk Group, a brand licensing agency and consultancy, to license the Magic brand. After the success of Magic, Wizards published RoboRally in 1994, it soon won the 1994 Origins Awards for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board Game and Best Graphic Presentation of a Board Game. Wizards expanded its role-playing game line by buying SLA Industries from Nightfall Games and Ars Magica from White Wolf, Inc. in 1994. In 1995, Wizards published another card game by Richard Garfield, The Great Dalmuti, which won the 1995 Best New Mind Game award from Mensa.
In August 1995, Wizards released Everway and four months closed its roleplaying game product line. Peter Adkison explained that the company was doing a disservice to the games with lack of support and had lost money on all of Wizards' roleplaying game products. In 1995, Wizards' annual sales passed US $65 million. Wizards announced the purchase of TSR, the cash-strapped makers of Dungeons & Dragons on April 10, 1997. Wizards acquired Five Rings Publishing Group for $25 million. Many of the creative and professional staff of TSR relocated from Wisconsin to the Renton area. Wizards used TSR as a brand name for a while retired it, allowing the TSR trademarks to expire. Between 1997 and 1999, the company spun off several well-loved but poorly selling campaign settings to fan groups, focusing business on the more profitable Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms lines. In Summer 1997, Wizards revisited the concept of a 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons, having first discussed it soon after the purchase of TSR.
Looking back on the decision in 2004, Adkison stated: "Obviously, had a strong economic incentive for publishing a new edition. And given the change in ownership we thought this would be an excellent opportunity for WotC to'put its stamp on D&D'." He "Set overall design direction" for the new edition of D&D. Wizards released the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2000, as well as the d20 System. With these releases came the Open Game License, which allowed other companies to make use of those systems; the new edition of the D&D game won the 2000 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game. In 2002, Wizards sponsored a design contest which allowed designers to submit their campaign worlds to Wizards, to produce an original campaign world. In 2003 Wizards released version 3.5 of the d20 system. Wizards helped to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the D&D game at Gen Con Indy 2004. On August 2, 1997, Wizards of the Coast was granted U. S. Patent 5,662,332 on collectible card games. In January 1999, Wizards of the Coast began publishing the successful Pokémon Trading Card Game.
The game proved to be popular, selling nearly 400,000 copies in less than six weeks, selling 10 times be
Larry Elmore is an American fantasy artist whose work includes creating illustrations for video games, comics and fantasy books. His list of work includes illustrations for Dungeons & Dragons and his own comic strip series SnarfQuest, he is author of the book Reflections of Myth. Elmore was born August 5, 1948, in Louisville and grew up in Grayson County in midwestern Kentucky. Elmore described his school days by saying, "The rural school I attended didn't have any art program, so I spent my time drawing - and daydreaming. I was a pretty bad student... I was always getting into trouble for drawing in class. I wish I had a quarter for every drawing of mine a teacher destroyed." He majored in art at Western Kentucky University. A month after graduating from college, Elmore was drafted into the U. S. stationed in Germany. After leaving the service, Elmore worked as an illustrator for the United States government in the Fort Knox Training Aids Department. Three years Elmore turned to freelance work, his art being published in National Lampoon and Heavy Metal magazines.
One of Elmore's friends, a fellow government illustrator, introduced him to the Dungeons & Dragons game while Elmore was freelancing. Elmore joined the staff of TSR, Inc. the producers of Dungeons & Dragons, as its first professional illustrator, in November 1981, created art work for adventure modules, game books, novels, as well as paintings for posters and calendars. Elmore created the SnarfQuest comic. During the "Project Overlord" development phase of the Dragonlance setting, Elmore provided the concept artwork, used to promote Dragonlance to the upper levels of management at TSR. Elmore was in charge of creating a look for the Dragonlance saga, did many of the early sketches for the series, his first cover appearing on Dragons of Autumn Twilight. British game designer Graeme Davis commented that Elmore "... should get some kind of award for drawing so many dragons and making them all different". Elmore left TSR in 1987, he has illustrated cards for the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, provided cover art for the MMORPG EverQuest.
In 1996, Elmore wrote the novel Runes of Autumn with his cousin Robert. Elmore did most of the black-and-white artwork for Marc Miller's role-playing game, Traveller in 1996, published by Imperium Games. In the late 1990s, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman used Elmore's fantasy world, Loerem, in their Sovereign Stone trilogy. In the early 2000s, Elmore drew Snarfquest comics for the short-lived magazine Games Unplugged, published by Ken Whitman's Dynasties Productions. Elmore provided the artwork for the fantasy world in the Sovereign Stone Game System. In 2004, Sovereign Press returned the rights for Sovereign Stone to Elmore, who relicensed the game to the small press company, White Silver Publishing. Elmore scaled back his activities in 2006, switching to contract work only, stating, "A friend of mine, Keith Parkinson, who worked at TSR, died of leukemia three years ago. We shared a studio, we were always talking about how when we hit 50 we'd be doing our own thing.... He didn't make it, I was 57 and still pulling all-nighters.
I was tired of it. I was tired of paying dues." His work appears in the book Masters of Dragonlance Art. Elmore released a book of artwork called 20 Years of Elmore in 2005, he has been described as a legend in the fantasy and gaming communities. In 2013, Elmore raised funding through Kickstarter for a 336-page hardback book of his artwork over his 40-year career. In 1971, before leaving for his Army service in Germany, Elmore married Betty, he has two children, lives with his wife in Leitchfield, Kentucky. He attends science fiction conventions held in the United States and Europe, he has said that inspiring others with his art has been more rewarding than the money he earns in his profession. Jeff Easley Official website "Larry Elmore:: Pen & Paper RPG Database". Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. "Interview with Elmore". Archived from the original on 2009-01-27. "Samples of Elmore's art work". Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. "Bibliography of Elmore's work". Archived from the original on August 23, 2010
R. A. Salvatore
Robert Anthony Salvatore is an American author best known for The DemonWars Saga, his Forgotten Realms novels, for which he created the popular character Drizzt Do'Urden, Vector Prime, the first novel in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series. He has sold more than 15 million copies of his books in the United States alone and twenty-two of his titles have been New York Times best-sellers. Salvatore was born in Leominster, the youngest of a family of seven. A graduate of Leominster High School, Salvatore has credited his high school English teacher with being instrumental in his development as a writer. During his time at Fitchburg State College, he became interested in fantasy after reading J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, given to him as a Christmas gift, he developed an interest in fantasy and other literature, promptly changing his major from computer science to journalism. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications/Media from Fitchburg, he earned this degree in 1981 and a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Before taking up writing full-time, he worked as a bouncer. He vividly described battle scenes to his experience as a bouncer. In the fall of 1997, his letters and other professional papers were donated to the R. A. Salvatore Library at his alma mater, Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In 1982, he started writing more developing a manuscript he titled Echoes of the Fourth Magic, he created the setting of Ynis Aielle for the novel. In an interview with comic book website Project Fanboy, Salvatore said he landed the deal for his first book when, after finishing the script for Echoes of the Fourth Magic in early 1987, he sent the work to TSR and several other publishers. TSR was looking for an author to write the second book in the Forgotten Realms line and asked Salvatore to audition. In July 1987, Salvatore won the spot to write the book, his first published novel was The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988. The first hardcover novel from TSR was Salvatore's The Legacy. After Passage to Dawn, TSR's management picked a new author to write stories about Drizzt.
The Silent Blade won the Origins Award that year. Salvatore went on to publish several series of books in the Forgotten Realms campaign world, while his popularity surged due to his Demon Wars sagas and his two Star Wars books. One of his most popular characters is Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow, or dark elf, portrayed against the stereotypes of his race, who defies a nation of evil enemies with his swordsmanship and courage, he abandons the Underdark, a barren land of unmarked and limitless tunnels where deadly creatures continually lurk. His journey for freedom leads him to the surface where he faces discrimination at every turn because of his dark heritage. Drizzt stumbles along in a harsh world until he comes upon friends who understand the kindness of his heart. Together, they fight for justice against sinister enemies who dare to disrupt the peace of Drizzt's newfound homeland. In 1999, Salvatore was tasked with writing Vector Prime, the first novel in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series.
Vector Prime was controversial among Star Wars fans because its plot included the death of Chewbacca, making the Wookiee the first major character from the original trilogy to be permanently killed off in the Star Wars expanded universe novels. Salvatore was ordered by Lucasfilm Ltd. to kill off the character. Many fans thought that Salvatore himself had made this decision, but it was Randy Stradley, the then-editor at Dark Horse Comics. In February 2008, Devil's Due Publishing published Spooks, a comic book about a U. S. government anti-paranormal investigator/task force created by Larry Salvatore. Hama created the military characters and plots, Salvatore covered the monster characters. In 2010, Wizards of the Coast announced a new deal with Salvatore to write six more books featuring Drizzt the dark elf; the books were released between 2011 and 2016. In addition to his novels, Salvatore wrote the story for the PS2, Xbox and PC video game Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, working with the design team at Stormfront Studios.
The game was published by Atari and was nominated for awards by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and BAFTA. CDS books commissioned him to edit a four book series based on the interactive online EverQuest game, he wrote the bot chat lines for the Quake III bots. Salvatore was hired as creative director for upstart game developer 38 Studios, owned by former baseball player Curt Schilling, he wrote the dialogue and created a backstory spanning ten thousand years for the fantasy game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, released in February 2012, sold over one million units. However, three months 38 Studios declared bankruptcy and ceased operations; the company laid off its entire staff, including Salvatore, with the $2 million fee for his services having never been paid. Salvatore claimed. "Why would I sue Curt? Maybe he made a couple of bad business decisions... he didn't do anything nefarious, he got wiped out. He's lying in the gutter and you want me to kick him in the head? Why would anyone do that?"
Cassada, Jackie. “The Lone Drow.” Library Journal September 15, 2003, Vol. 128 Issue 15, p95 Cannon, Peter. Zaleski, Jeff. THE THOUSAND ORCS Publishers Weekly. 10/7/2002, Vol. 249 Issu
Forgotten Realms is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Referred to by players and game designers alike as "The Realms", it was created by game designer Ed Greenwood around 1967 as a setting for his childhood stories. Several years Greenwood brought the setting to the D&D game as a series of magazine articles, the first Realms game products were released in 1987. Role-playing game products have been produced for the setting since, as have various licensed products including novels, role-playing video game adaptations, comic books; the Forgotten Realms is one of the most popular D&D settings due to the success of novels by authors such as R. A. Salvatore and numerous role-playing video games, including Pool of Radiance, Eye of the Beholder, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights; the Forgotten Realms is a fantasy world setting, described as a world of strange lands, dangerous creatures, mighty deities, where magic and supernatural phenomena are quite real.
The premise is that, long ago, the Earth and the world of the Forgotten Realms were more connected. As time passed, the inhabitants of planet Earth have forgotten about the existence of that other world – hence the name Forgotten Realms. On the original Forgotten Realms logo, used until 2000, small runic letters read "Herein lie the lost lands", an allusion to the connection between the two worlds; the focus of the Forgotten Realms setting is the continent of Faerûn, part of the fictional world of Abeir-Toril called Toril, an Earth-like planet with many real-world influences. Unlike Earth, the lands of the Forgotten Realms are not all ruled by the human race: the planet Toril is shared by humans, elves, goblins and other peoples and creatures. Technologically, the world of the Forgotten Realms is not nearly as advanced as that of Earth. However, the presence of magic provides an additional element of power to the societies. There are several nation states and many independent cities, with loose alliances being formed for defense or conquest.
Trade is performed by ship or horse-drawn vehicle, manufacturing is based upon cottage industry. Toril consists of several large continents, including Faerûn, the western part of a continent, modeled after the Eurasian continent on Earth. Faerûn was first detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR; the other continents include Kara-Tur, Zakhara and other yet unspecified landmasses. Kara-Tur corresponding to ancient East Asia, was the focus of its own source book Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, published in 1988. There is a vast subterranean world called the Underdark beneath the surface. Various products detailing specific areas of Faerûn, such as the 2nd edition FR13 Anauroch, FR15 Gold and Glory, FR16 The Shining South, FRS1 The Dalelands, have been released, through these much of the continent has been detailed and documented, creating a developed setting. In early editions of the setting, The Realms shared a unified cosmology with various other campaign settings called the Great Wheel.
In this way each of the Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings were linked together to form one interwoven world connected by various planes of existence. With the release of the 2001 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, the setting was given its own distinct and separate cosmological arrangement, with unique planes not explicitly connected to those of the other settings. Religion plays a large part in the Forgotten Realms, with deities and their followers being an integral part of the world, they do not have a passive role, but in fact interact directly in mortal affairs, answer prayers, have their own personal agendas. All deities must have worshipers to survive, all mortals must worship a patron deity to secure a good afterlife. A huge number of diverse deities exist within several polytheistic pantheons. Much of the history of The Realms detailed in novels and source books concerns the actions of various deities and The Chosen such as Elminster, Fzoul Chembryl and the Seven Sisters. Above all other deities is the Overlord.
Ao does not sanction distances himself from mortals. He is single-handedly responsible for the Time of Troubles, or Godswar, as seen in The Avatar Trilogy; the setting is the home of several iconic characters popularized by authors, including Elminster the wizard, who has appeared in several series of novels created by Greenwood himself, Drizzt Do'Urden, the popular Drow, or dark elf, ranger created by R. A. Salvatore. Ed Greenwood began writing stories about the Forgotten Realms as a child, starting around 1967. Greenwood came up with the Forgotten Realms name from the notion of a multiverse of parallel worlds. In Greenwood's original conception, the fantastic legends of Earth derive from a fantasy world, the way to, lost. Greenwood discovered the Dungeons & Dragons game in 1975, became a serious role-playing enthusiast with the first AD&D game releases in 1978; the setting became the home of Greenwood's personal campaign. Greenwood began a Realms campaign in the city of Waterdeep started another group known