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Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

LapBandit

Villager
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.
 

hardvice

Villager
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.
 

Serpine

Villager
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.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
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.
 

was

Villager
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.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
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.
 

WayneLigon

Explorer
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.
 

Jester David

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

I liked this book. But I’m still conflicted on whether it was the book I wanted.

It’s unquestionably a good book. As mentioned, this book is really a updated version of the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide. Arguably, it’s much better than that book, with stronger descriptions and more detail on the places, gods, and races. It is more focused than its predecessor on being a player-friendly book of lore. It’s probably a useful book to hand to any player new to the Realms, regardless of the era being played.I’m uncertain if it’s the best choice for the first non-adventure book for 5th Edition. It’s great to give players involved in the Forgotten Realms a product that introduces them to the setting, but that’s weakened if there’s nothing comparable for the Dungeon Master to help them set a story in the Realms. It’s nice to have some new mechanical options for Realms characters, but that’s weakened by the need for more generic content. Conversely, new options are desirable, but paying $40 for a dozen pages of content is steep.

To some extent it makes sense as a business decision. There is a wealth of Forgotten Realms campaign books for past editions available from used game stores or as PDFs, so a new campaign guide is less needed. But making the first splatbook a sourcebook encourages people to buy that book even if they wouldn’t normally buy a setting book, introducing new people to the Realms and possibly making them fans of the setting.

But this is all beside the point and is pretty much completely and totally irrelevant to an actual review of this book. At the end of the day, this book is excellent at what it does and for what it is. It may be a poor splatbook, but that’s like calling an apple a poor orange. If you want a player’s guide to the Sword Coast region of the Forgotten Realms or an introduction to that setting, this is an excellent product.

Read my full review HERE
 
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Wulfang

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

My gripe with this product is not so much the content within, but its presentation.Its not quite a regional sourcebook, not quite a campaign setting and not quite a player's guide. So what is it? Honestly, its just a splat book to cover the Rage of Demons storyline and upcoming game Sword Coast Legends game. Its a much needed interim-book that updates the Realms and gives us Realms-specific PC backgrounds and sub-classes. The problem with this is, the steep price for the few pages and the feeling that something is missing. Even though the material within is great, I couldn't help but feeling cheated when comparing to my mighty 3.5 tome Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wheres my box-set? Wheres my printed fold-out map? Wheres the rest of the realms? Why does the book look like every other 5E book rather than having its own art-style?
 

EthanSental

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

My copy came in via Amazon today and looking through it, I'm still impressed by the art and overall design and layout. I probably dropped it a star due to the gods getting too much attention but other seem to like it. I'd rather have more story content and as others have mentioned, character options but overall a solid book to own.I don't get the posts about the price and the page count. I do try to support my local store where I spend $100 a month on comics but its hard to complain about the price when you can get it for 24 and some change on Amazon, all the book are around $30. If full prices is seen as a drawback, then look at other options that are easy to find so a person doesn't have to pay full retail price.
 

Chimpy

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

I was pretty impressed with the sections about the lands and organisations of the Sword Coast area. For someone like me who is only vaguely familiar with the setting, the level of detail seemed about right and the quality was very good.But then it just stops and goes into a few player options...If there had been some sections on adventure sites, local threats and dangers, perhaps some monsters, adventure inspiration and so on, the product would have been great.3.5/5
 

The Escapist

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

Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, taken as a whole, is not a very good roleplaying game book. It's a 20-page whirlwind tour of thirty-some years of Forgotten Realms history and geography, a kinda-useful 40-page whirlwind tour of the Sword Coast region. The rest of the book is 60 pages of mostly-superfluous descriptions of what standard D&D characters are like in the realms, with scattered nuggets of game mechanics customizing specific classes, a few alternate racial mechanics, and a trove of backgrounds. None of these sections particularly excels. It's a 160 page, $40, full color hardback book - and much of what sets the high standard it fails to achieve is that $40 price point.
 

Sizzlan

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

My impression is very positive. The book finds the right level of detail for my needs. Little is defined, much is only noted, most things remain somewhat nebulous. Somehow everything from past editions falls into place. This book is definitely something you can build on and actually use at the gaming table.
 

Jeff Carlsen

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

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is a player focused introduction to the Realms with a lot of flavor, the right amount of detail for a player, and a light amount of additional crunch. It fills it's role perfectly. I particularly like the long descriptions of how each subclass fits into the setting.

It has a few flaws. The decision to place the map so that the Neverwinter region is falling into the gutter of the book was very unfortunate, and I'm not particularly fond of the style of the city maps.

The biggest flaw with this book doesn't have anything to do with the book itself. It's the secrecy of Wizards of the Coast. I'm a DM, and the SCAG isn't a sufficient update to the Realms for that role. It clearly isn't intended to be. But I have no idea when, or even if I'm going to ever see the product I really want. I've sat down for a meal, but they've only given me the drink menu.

That aside, I recommend the book for any Realms player.
 

Ancalimon417

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

It seems as though most of the content being delivered by WOTC to support the 5e rules has come across in a disjointed and unorganized way. This in my opinion also shows up in the content of the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide. Its like the development team for D&D doesn't have a well defined vision for where they want to take D&D and just keeps throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks, or they don't have the resources left to make the content rich products of editions past. The SCAG throws more stuff into the D&D mix with disjointed sections on describing the Sword Coast and its environs, repeats a lot of information on races which we already knew, puts some mix and match together of some limited new class features and some backgrounds to go with them and even puts some icing on the cake with some new cantrips for wizards, warlocks etc. The book just seems - random? Its like the developers wanted to put out a book with something in it so they threw what limited information they had on some paper and sold it to a marketplace that is hungry for D&D 5e content. Previous editions of books such as the "Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting" published in 2001 was an actual resource book that puts the information contained in the SCAG to shame. I understand that the older book had more of the Forgotten Realms world to describe, but it felt much more rich in content. I would have given a lower rating but gave it a 3 star just because something is better than nothing at this point.
 

Hand of Evil

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

It is good but a lot of material that we know from past editions, this should have been produced as a PDF.
 

Osgood

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

Nice amount of fluff for those interested in the Forgotten Realms, though I would have preferred more locations and adventure hooks and less emphasis on the gods. The character options are pretty good, though I wish there would have been more of them. I felt some of the new class options were cop outs--new fluff for an existing PHB option. I was disappointed that only one of the new backgrounds had new traits/ideals/bonds/flaws. A worthwhile buy if you are interested in the Realms, but it falls a bit flat if you are mostly looking for new crunch options.
 

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