Dragons of Faerūn
Written by Eric L. Boyd and Eytan Bernstein
Published by Wizards of the Coast
www.wizards.com/forgottenrealms
160 full color pages
$29.95

Dragons of Faerun is a sourcebook dedicated to bringing events from the fiction line, The Year of the Rogue Dragons trilogy among others, into the RPG. The book boasts all the usual benefits of being a Forgotten Realms book in that it has some of the best layout and graphic design in it’s yellow faded parchment like pages and some of the best artists in the industry lending their considerable talents to illustrating this tome. For it’s price, it’s competitive with everything except WoTC old price and page format as it’s short some odd 32 pages from what WoTC used to produced at this price point.

Dragons of Faerun is broken up into eight chapters and start with a history of dragons in the Realms. This includes the Dragonfall War, a concept introduced in Races of the Dragon. It also provides several sample dragons. Some of these are given full stats like Aerosclughpalar, an old gold dragon that’s also an 11th level druid of Mielikki and clocks in at a massive CR 26. Others like Arveiaturace, the White Worm, are only provided in terms of alignment, sex, and age category. Each dragon is detailed with hoard, lair, tactics, known allies, known enemies, schemes, knowledge check, adventure hooks, rage of dragons, and notes on where statistics can be found. In the cast of the White Worm for example, you’re advised to check out page 274 of the Draconomicon.

The nice thing about the selection of dragons here is that they can act as patrons or enemies. The authors also didn’t just stick with core Monster Manual dragons as we have some like Saryndalaghlothor, a crystal dragon, or Tostyn Alaerthmaugh, a mercury dragon.

For those who wonder how the various Wyrms of the North handle the time of the Dragonrage, the authors have provided a quick breakdown and include such fan favorites as Old White Death and the Flying Flame. It’s not an intricate background, but a few quick sentences to provide the reader with current status of some of Ed’s original creations.

One of the things I was disappointed about though, is that because of it’s ties to the novel, we’re treated to an update on the Cult of the Dragon. It’s not that the information isn’t useful in crafting adventurers featuring the Cult as adversaries, but rather that when I pick up a book about the Dragons of the realms, I don’t want details on a subject, undead dragons, that could fit into a separate book, as has been done in earlier editions of the game.

Readers get a glimpse into the long history of the cult, as well as organization and several cells for quick use in their campaigns. Details on what types of followers belong to the cult include clerics, as well as necromancers and sorcerers. A brief adventure for 9thlevel characters is provided for GMs who want to run the cult as adversaries right away.

Another step I thought in the wrong direction was detailing with Tiamat. While Tiamat has been in the Realms for a long time, her position hails further back into general D&D lore as simply a powerful dragon and her deific status started in Dragonlance. Now she’s shown as fully elevated into godhood in FR as well and details on Unther, one of the local lands where her church is strong, are provided including maps and notes on regional history and important sites. Along with details on the cult, the authors provided another adventurer featuring the chapter villain, time the church of Tiamat.

Chapter four is more general use as it provides details on six organizations of different alignments. Each organization has history, reputation and interactions, and membership. Details include game mechanics, such as resource limits, membership numbers, authority figures, associated classes and skills, as well as requirements and favored in guild benefits.

Details on various sub-dragon spawns are included such as half-blue dragon hobgoblin characters and drconic hobgoblin characters. Those looking for a point of origin for their dragonborn characters (from Races of the Dragon), can hail from the Sisterhood of Essembra, an organization of half-song dragons who strive to help those new dragonborn adjust to their new lives.

In terms of GM tools, the chapter on Dragon Lairs is filled with useful tools perfect for any game setting including lair traps, hazards, and dragon-related creatures to guard their lairs. Regrettably, this includes MORE dragonspawn.

For those GMs looking to give their campaign more dragon flavor, there are new dragon related spells such as the 3rd level arcane spell, blunt natural weapon where you weakn the natural weapons of the target creature, or the 8th level arcane spell, icy class where you summon a medium claw to fight for you.

In a similar vein, magic items are also themed around dragons from the Dragontooth of Lareth to the Dragon Blight Bomb. Some might be more interested in the minor artifacts, like the Helms of Supreme Wizardry, ancient Netherese artifacts or even major artifacts like Kayas the Krakenscourge, a two-bladed sword.

New dragons include a brief section on 3.5 dragon updates for the brown, deep, and song dragon, and full stat blocks for the mercury, steel, and mist dragons.

The book ends with a massive appendix featuring a “roll call of dragons” that looks at dragons from fiction and the RPG line. Arranged by name, it includes CR, status, gender, kind, and lair/domain. It’s an interesting look at just how many dragons have been detailed or mentioned in the Forgotten Realms campaign but outside of devoted dragon fans, won’t have a lot of utility as in every individual campaign, the status of the dragons could be different if they even exist at all.
Dragons of Faerun is a toolbox. It’s not a regional sourcebook and it’s not a pure adventure book, but it includes two sample adventurers and a number of potential enemies and allies for a GM who wants a dragon focused campaign. If you need something to provide a little inspiration or just want to steal some maps and monster statistics, Dragons of Faerun is a useful resource.