Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
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Quickly rate Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

Wizards of the Coast

Game system(s): D&D 5th Edition,
Line: Rage of Demons,
Genre: Fantasy,

Tue 20 October 2015
Steve Kenson,

Fun with stats: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is ranked #59 out of 70 products with 10 or more reviews, placing it in the 17% percentile. It is rated -14.4 points lower than the overall average product rating of 75.9%. With 47 reviews, this is the #7 most reviewed product.

61.5% HIT

Rated by 47 readers at 61.5% who deem this a HIT. A recommended purchase.
Read all 47 reviews | Write Your Own
There are 4 external reviews of this product with a combined rating of 44%. Read these reviews.

WELCOME TO THE SWORD COAST—a region of Faerûn that comprises shining paragons of civilization and culture, perilous locales fraught with dread and evil, and encompassing them all, a wilderness that offers every explorer vast opportunity and simultaneously promises great danger.

While the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is a valuable resource for Dungeon Masters, it was crafted with players and their characters foremost in mind. There is a plethora of new character options to intrigue and inspire every member of the adventuring party.

For use with the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide provides the setting, story, and character options needed to participate in a game anywhere along the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms.
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  1. #2

    4 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    Good info about Faerun post-Sundering and the remaining gods. Nice crunch and refinement of some UA stuff. Great descriptions on the state of the Sword Coast.

  2. #3

    4 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    The first real sourcebook for 5e doesn't disappoint. At around 150 pages for $40, it seems a bit short for the price, but what's there really packs a punch. About two-thirds of the book is setting material, including a wondrously detailed section on the state of the gods and religion, detailed updates and profiles of major locations and factions, and more. There are a few peeks outside the Sword Coast itself thrown in, too. The last third is character options, and the only place the book stumbles a little. The options that are presented are all pretty great — they clearly set out to fill holes mechanically while presenting options that tie well to the setting, and I have no complaints. However, the lack of options for bards, druids, and rangers — now the only three classes with only two available subclass options — is disappointing. Balance in general seems good — I can imagine using any of the new options, but there are none that are so powerful I'd feel at a disadvantage for not using them. The changes to the previously-playtested Storm Sorcerer and Swashbuckler show Wizards' continued commitment to the playtest model, and each is better for it (though not all players will agree). The racial and cultural restrictions on some of the new subclass options also might not sit well with some AL players. Still, overall it's a great book that gives us a much-needed update on the best-known section of the Realms while somewhat satisfying players' urges for new options without succumbing wholly to feature creep.
    XP Blackwarder gave XP for this post

  3. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Colorado Springs, CO, USA

    4 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    This reminds me a great deal of the 2e Forgotten Realms Adventures hardcover from 1990. The size is about the same as the older book, it is also early in the lifecycle of the edition, and the vast majority I will read for amusement / getting more fulfillment from novels but never actually use in my custom campaign world. There is a lot of FR campaign material, covering more areas then I expected thanks to relatively sparse art. The wall of text level just skimming through made me a little sleepy actually. The detail of a lot of the signature areas is sufficient that I'd be able to use it well if I was running games in the setting, and the data on deities is about right to cover the major ones. The only big problem with the deities specifically is a general problem so far in this edition: Tons of gods, and far to few released domains to divvy up among them: The one new one in this book is still just a drop in the bucket. The game material in the back is solid and doesn't seem game breaking on the surface. The stuff recycled from the UA pdfs definitely has had the benefit of a few balance passes. I love the new paladin / fighter builds as they fill some armored tanking / warlord niches that were lacking so far in 5e. I'm not happy about stat block declared race / class build restrictions on a couple of builds (even if it says it can be ignored both in the blocks and the other worlds campaign info) but otherwise its all a nice range of new options that should be useful in most campaigns. I would definitely have appreciated an actual new bard college (raid the old Complete Bard's Handbook for something, sheesh) and druid circle so all classes got a new build though. The backgrounds are intentionally covering older ground in more specialized ways, but the features are different enough to provide variety to them or as substitutions in existing backgrounds. The new race variants are cool, though I'd have liked full write-ups for ghostwise halflings and aasimar rather then just small side bars. In summary, not regretting the purchase as it has sufficient good stuff, though I certainly wouldn't have minded a higher percentage of rules to fluff.

  4. #5

    5 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    By the page count, the guide might seem a bit pricey, but in all honesty, it feels well worth the cost for me. The information is simple, but enough to give you a rundown of how 5e is affecting Faerun. No, its not by any means a complete campaign guide for Faerun, but its very rich. The maps are quite interesting; most of them are drawn with minimalism in mind, as though drawn from the hands of an actual Faerun citizen. I really like the feel this gives the guide. So, a quick conclusion: Do I hope they make a full-blown Faerun campaign book and not just rely on this guide? Yes. Does that detract from the quality of this guide? Not at all.
    XP gyor gave XP for this post

  5. #6

    3 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    Two thirds fluff, recycled/altered from previous editions. Crunch is good, but there's not nearly enough to put a $40 price tag on this thin book.

  6. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    3 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    It's a solid good product if you're big into FR lore, which is most of the book, or if you're currently playing in the Sword Coast (such as playing through WotC adventures). For anyone interested in it mainly for the character options, it's pretty anemic. The options themselves are solid enough, though the backgrounds chapter is of note: many of them are outright improvements on PHB backgrounds, and few of them have the usual charts for ideals/bonds/flaws/traits that the PHB backgrounds have (they direct you to the PHB for creating these, when they're lacking, which is most of the time). The FR lore itself is pretty high-level, and suffers from the perennial problem of the Forgotten Realms in that it is very generic - little to loot or inspire. If you've got the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, you own a better lore reference already, aside from some timeline updates of primary interest to the canon aficionados. As an intro and a casual reference, the book does its job, and there's some interesting character options in here (my favorite: the Long Death Monk, a kind of necrotic monk that contemplates and gets power from death), but nothing transformative or must-have. For me, this is a book that, aside from a character or two, will probably be mostly shelf decor. And $40 for ~5 pages of material isn't a great return on investment. Still, it might be a good purchase at the group level, if you're playing through the WotC adventures - a group of 5 buying one would reduce the price to $8 each, which still seems a little high, but maybe more feasible if you're not just looting it for character ideas.

  7. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    montgomery, Alabama

    2 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    I caught a look at the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide at the FLGS today, and I was disappointed enough to cancel my pre-order. It's a terribly thin book for the flagship world for D&D, with very little in the way of crunch everyone can use. I'd expect a guidebook to BE mostly fluff, of course, but I was very surprised at how little actual game material was in here, especially considering this is likely the only FR book we're likely to get. My biggest disappointment, though, are the maps. Any game world needs clear workable maps and this provides nothing useful. The big beautiful faerun map we've been teased with is probably fantastic as a poster and something beautiful you'd use as a wall decoration. It's much less appealing when part of it is crushed down to a single page, the artistic embellishments making it almost unreadable and certainly of little value to gaming. The city maps are useless jokes, done in a smeared sepia-and-black that I suppose was supposed to come off as 'old paper' but really just looks like someone spilled coffee all over the art. The city blocks are smudgy and run-together - most of the Waterdeep map is just one big jumbled mess, with the addition of some large useless labels obscuring huge parts of the city map, while other parts are just solid black blobs - certainly nothing like the clear maps we had in the 2E book.

  8. #9

    5 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    I think this is a great resource and highly recommended.

    Last edited by Michael Long; Monday, 9th November, 2015 at 06:07 PM.

  9. #10

    2 out of 5 rating for Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    too much fluff

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