Review: Power of Faerûn

I'm not generally a fan of the Forgotten Realms setting books, but I got a loan of Power of Faerûn from a friend, who recommended it highly. And I'm glad I did. It's not so much an FR sourcebook as it is an extended guide on how to make the best possible use of the concept of Leadership - both the feat and the actual concept for role-playing purposes.

Power of Faerûn is a 160-page hardback, presented in the usual style of the Forgotten Realms books, with subtle background images on the pages, leather stitching imagery on the covers, and excellent art and cartography. Actually, the cartography deserves a special mention; it's Kyle Hunter's work, and it's very good indeed. Ed Greenwood and Eric L. Boyd are credited with the writing.

There are nine chapters, each dealing with leadership in a different area. The first six deal with rulership, battlefields, religion, markets, frontiers, and roads, respectively, and the last three with high-level challenges, the FR area called the Border Kingdoms, and a final more mechanical chapter called "How To Rule".

Each of the first six chapters contains a miscellany of information, and a couple of examples of locations and people. They also offer a few more feats, prestige classes, and so on. These aren't called out in the table of contents, which is a pity, but they're fairly clear in the text as sidebars or with clear headings.

The high-level challenges chapter deals with deities, dragons, rival adventurers, and invasions. It's fairly prosaic, from my point of view, but I do a lot of thinking at high levels, and I suspect that for someone running their first or second high-level game, it would be a good bit of help.

There's no index, which is rather a pity, and will probably make locating particular feats and the like a little more difficult. It's one of the first books from Wizards of the Coast in a while, though, that I read from cover to cover, so it doesn't suffer as much as it might from the lack of an index.

The book is light on setting specific material, although it uses it for examples, and light on mechanics, giving over a lot more space to advice and support information that could be applied to any setting or system. It's particularly good at examining the effects of magic and monsters on rulership, religion, and trade - something that other books dealing with this area haven't always done well.

So, overall, I'd recommend this book highly - enough that having read the borrowed copy from cover to cover, it's going on my list of books to buy. If you'd like to order it yourself, you can get Power of Faerûn from Amazon, but I'm going to be supporting my friendly local games shop.

Posted by Drew Shiel at August 19, 2006 3:47 PM

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