This book is a must have for all those that have enjoyed their travels to The Forgotten Realms.
I have been very happy with the direction of focus that Dungeons & Dragons’ books have been going towards as of late. Since 1987, there have been a large number of Forgotten Realms supplements available to supply players with enough technical information to run a very successful campaign. If you search, you will find a ton of material from castle maps to forbidden spells to powerful weapons to memorable NPCs. And all of them for the most part I liked. The only difficulty is trying to remember the new rules and items once they come in play.
Sometimes a question would be asked during a session and I would have to immediately make something up on the spot. Questions dealing with details that range from the school system in a local village to what kinds of beer this tavern has and how it stands out from other taverns in town. When I DMed Forgotten Realms, I used details of my campaign from Ed Greenwood’s and R.A. Salvatore’s books to help give the setting an added boost of flavor (I would do the same and reread LotR when we played Middle Earth Role Playing).
With D&D’s new release Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster’s Forgotten Realms, my only complaint is that I wished this came out twenty years ago. It’s an excellent book that gives you a large amount of cultural and social detail about living in The Forgotten Realms, such as how different races view one another and help build the society they are a part of, foods that are available, clothing and so much more. Now if you are looking for a new FR book that has new monster, magic, or weapon stats then you will be disappointed. There are no new class and race information. However if you are looking to build up your world and your character, this book is necessary for your collection.
The best part of the book is that it is intentionally made for all Dungeons and Dragons editions. Whether you are a veteran who still plays First Edition D&D with their friends or if you just discovered roleplaying and 4th Edition D&D and are looking for a book to help flesh out your campaigns, this book will satisfy you.
Again, this is not a rule book. This is a book of culture for a society that exists between the words of a Dungeon Master. For any Dungeon Master who loves the little details that help bring wondrous colors to the worlds they build for their players, this book is made for you.