As a primary game master, Hero’s Handbook, Eladrin, pleasantly surprised me. The book includes a wide range of information that will be useful to gamers of different stripes. The tome is illustrated by some well known fan favorites including Doug Kovacs and Scott Purdy.

For fans of the Goodman Games setting Aereth, it includes background information on how the elves came to split into the eladrin, elves, and dark elves.

For those just wanting ‘general’ or ‘generic’ all purpose background material, it’s provided. While it does suffer a little from ‘elves is best’ writing, “Eladrin clothing is beautiful and of superb craftsmanship’ that isn’t back up in any game mechanics terms (what’s that awesome clothing worth for example), it does include a lot of ideas on their ‘court’ system following a seasonal theme with role playing notes not just for Eladrin in general, but how they are per court. This includes providing numerous NPCs for the game master’s use.

Players looking for more than just flavor though also have the standard new toys ranging from new rituals and magic items, to feats and paragon paths.
For me as a game master though, I was most intrigued by the ideas on the Fey Realm and the monsters included. For example, the bonegrinder, a giant that, yes, grinds bones to, and a follow up monster, the dough golem, crafted from the flour made from the bonegrinder’s mills. More standard creatures like centaur’s and various types of hags, including an old favorite, Baba Yaga, are also included.

The details on the Fey Realm include Eladrin cities as well as methods of going to and returning from the Fey Realm. To me, this was almost more useful than the information on the Eladrin because while 4e has used the Fey Realm for many a thing, it’s not explicitly detailed and it can use the fleshing out that’s provided here.

By making the book GM focused as well as player focused, I find Eladrin to be immediately useful not only in providing my players with possible options, but in detailing the world the players adventure in.