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FR4 The Magister (1e)

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From Waterdeep and the Sword Coast to the jungles of Chult and faraway lands of Thay, strange and powerful magics fill the Forgotten Realms. Ancient tomes, powerful spells, fearsome weapons - all these and more await adventurers who can overcome terrible dangers to wield great power.

Ed Greenwood, originator of the FORGOTTEN REALMS game world, and famous game designer Steve Perrin have spent many long days with Elminster of Shadowdale, perhaps the finest sage in the long history of Abeir-Toril. The result of all this work is in your hands; The Magister is a compilation of new spells and items for your FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign.

Some of the new magics described in The Magister were first published in numerous "Elminster" articles in Dragon magazine. The best of these, along with many new fabulous spells and items, appear in this volume.

Product History

FR4: "The Magister" (1988), by Ed Greenwood & Steve Perrin , is the fourth book in the "FR" series of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms. It was released in May 1988.

Continuing the "FR" Sourcebooks. The "FR" series of Forgotten Realms sourcebooks is best remembered as a regional guide to the Realms. However there are a few exceptions to this geographic emphasis, of which "The Magister" was the first. It's instead a catalog of Realms-specific magic items.

Despite this, there's still a fair amount of Realmslore, thanks to the historical details included in many of the magic items written by Greenwood.

Draconic Origins. "The Magister" began life as a pile of notes written by Ed Greenwood on magic items and spells of the Realms; it was delivered to Steve Perrin, who was told to make a book out of it. He polished everything, wrote many new items of his own, and "The Magister" was born.

Many of Greenwood's items originated in Dragon magazine, starting as early as The Dragon #39 (July 1980). The majority came from four articles: "Seven Swords" in Dragon #74 (June 1983); "Six Very Special Shields" in Dragon #89 (September 1984); "Nine Wands of Wonder" in Dragon #102 (October 1985); and "Cloaked in Magic" in Dragon #112 (August 1986). Greenwood is probably better known as a magic-item creator for his "Pages from the Mages" articles about spellbooks that were also published in Dragon … but the best of those had already appeared in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987), so they weren't reprinted here. There are Ed Greenwood-authored spellbooks in "The Magister", but they're all-new.

Expanding the Realms. The eponymous Magister is Mystra's champion … but he gets less than a page of coverage in "The Magister" because of the focus on magic items. The various magic items do touch upon Realmslore in their histories, but in general "The Magister" doesn't expand the Realms much; instead, it's a crunchy, practical book: the first such for the Forgotten Realms.

Future History. The spellbooks from "The Magister" were reprinted years later in FOR8: Pages from the Mages (1995). Background details on the Magister were then found in FOR13: Secrets of The Magister (2000).

About the Creators. Greenwood is, of course, the creator of the Realms. He'd been busy launching the setting in 1987, which was probably why Perrin wrote this book. Steve Perrin had also participated in the launch of the Realms with N5: "Under Illefarn" (1987), the first original adventure published for the setting.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

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File Last Updated:
January 28, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on January 28, 2014.