As a sourcebook this is a great resource and for anyone looking to set their game in or around Baldur's Gate it is definitely worth it to buy it for that. As an adventure though? It's a decent level 1-6 adventure but it does feel just like they were trying to find a way to cram in as many villains from the first game as possible.
Having said that, they could have gotten a lot more wrong about small little canon details about these areas and (as someone who has created extensive mods of the games and is very familiar with them) they really did put the effort in here to get it right. Overall I'd definitely recommend this but (first and foremost) understand that you are mostly buying a sourcebook.
- You get to revisit a lot of the classic places in BG1
- A lot of passion has clearly gone into these pages and it does seem like the authors care to do the games justice.
- The art in general is really well done in this book.
- If you want a modern sourcebook for Baldur's Gate (admittedly set over 100 years ago by the current timeline) it's very readable and gives detailed maps for where things are in the city (and descriptions of the different locations).
- You get access to monster statblocks for some of the classic monsters you encounter in BG1, like Sword Spiders, Tasloi, and Gibberlings.
- All the battle maps are 1 square = 5 feet
- The adventure provides a means of you to convert this to a later year (1489)
- The actual adventure is rather short and more than half of the book is taken up by source material. There isn't anything wrong with that by itself but don't come into this thinking you are going to get close to 160 pages of adventure. It's more like 60 pages of adventure and then the rest spent on describing the Sword Coast, Baldur's Gate, the factions, religions, and the NPC's. The book itself fairly describes this but the page on DMGuild makes it seem like its an adventure first and foremost. I would say its a sourcebook first and an adventure book second.
- It feels like it should have been organized in a way that had the adventure first and then the rest of the details later on into the book. At the moment its just a mashing of the two and it takes some time (13 pages) before you even get into what the structure of the adventure is.
- The adventure plotline itself is not very inspiring and certain elements of it just feel like too much of a rehash of the first games plot. There are so many stories that could have been told here, especially with the aftermath of the events of Siege of Dragonspear, and for me what they've settled on here just falls flat.
- Some of the NPC portraits don't fit the characters. Kivan should be this brooding character and instead he's got like flowing hair and is in the middle of a heroic pose. Same goes with Xan (he should be much more reserved but instead has this heroic pose). Xzar is probably the most different out of any of them. In any case there were definitely a few artistic liberties taken with them.
- For some reason Tiax didn't make the cut. I'm assuming it's because he rules all and was otherwise preoccupied.
Super Nitpicky Timeline Stuff
- So this is set supposedly one year after the events of Baldur's Gate 1. Strictly speaking (based on the game journal dates) Shadows of Amn actually starts one year after the start of Baldur's Gate 1. So that doesn't add up since a lot of the NPC's featured here should be far to the south in Amn by this point
- Shadows of Amn starts in Mirtul 1, 1369. So even if this did take place say 10 months after the start of Baldur's Gate 1 it should be winter or springtime, not summer (but everything looks like its summertime).
- There are a few other timeline inconsistencies. For example, under the Nashkel Mines section it states that it was overrun a few years ago by Kobolds. Again, this is not consistent with the timeline of BG1. Kobolds overruning the mines should state that it happened a little over a year ago. Same with the death of Mutamin (about a year ago).
[4 of 5 Stars!]