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Amarune's Almanac: Forests of the Realms $9.95
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2019 12:32:59

This is one of those lore books that 3rd edition pumped out for the Forgotten realms every few months that explored a different part of the world. However this is more generalized on biomes, particularly forests for this first entry. Inside is a ton of lore presented in a journal narrative by a wife and husband duo (more the wife), of whom both have established lore already and are not some OC's by the author. First, after the foreword and introductions (The foreword by FR creator himself, Ed Greenwood), we come to subclasses, for the Druid and Ranger. Druid receives the Circle of the Grove subclass, and frankly I hope at least the Druid gets a subclass in each book, because they would be served as better versions of the circle of the land subclasses, this making a more flavorful Circle of the Forest than the actual PHB subclass does. A mix of moon and land powers from the PHB to start, including creating his own small forest, the grove druid gets a heavy tree and plant theme with the rest of his powers, going so far as to animate a treant. Ranger gets the Sylvan Sentinel subclass, a heavily fey-based subclass, of which I'm surprised one hasn't been made for the ranger already. They get their bonus spells, of which is a good selection for the most part (especially faerie fire and misty step), can speak sylvan and have advantage on checks against non-evil sylvan, and their 3rd starting subclass ability, Gossamer Strikes, grants them an extra attack should they make a MELEE attack with advantage during their attack action, which if you read that carefully, is a somewhat finnicky and sometimes tricky trigger to pull off, this is where faerie fire, or more reliable perhaps, Zephyr Strike, comes into play. The ability also has mulitple triggers to reset and be regained as it's only usable once normally. Glimmering Misdirection is a reaction disadvantage for foes on attack rolls, Shimmerdance is a once per turn 1d6 added to your attack roll (before hit or miss is confirmed, like bardic inspiration), and Gift of the Faerie, like Red Bull, GIVES YOU WINGS! As someone looking into making a Ranger after the variant features UA came out a few weeks ago since the writing of this, this makes for a very well themed fey ranger. The druid is neat and the ranger is fantastic (though gossamer strikes still seems finicky with it's requirements).

Next is spells, all of which of course has some forest-y theme, only a few are given, I like woodland step (cast to move without provoking AOOs and make an attack in transit), and sticks to snakes (and vice versa), I call it the moses and ramses spell. I mostly focused on the 1-4th level spells, of which are the majority, since most campaigns don't go past maybe 9-10th level. These are flavorful and I would't mind most of these at my table, though Druidic Practice's version of the Ceremony spell requires the CASTER to make a insight check to essentially change someone else's alignment (or am I reading that wrong?), which doesn't seem right. And one spell gives you basically radar of the ENTIRE FOREST, which while flavorful, seems horribly strong to me, though it is actually like radar, a group of things can come up as one big ping, you get no descriptions, just "there is a thing here, you don't know what it is, but it's here".

Next is descriptions of a few forests, like Yuirwood, the Jungles of chult, etc. These are mostly purely lore but at least told in the narrative of someone who had made a journal of their travels through them. Honestly not much to say here, if you're heavily into lore and storytelling, you'll like this, I'm personally neutral about it.

Next is plants and fungus, SO MUCH OF IT! What there is, where to find it, and how to find it. You're given a new downtime activity to find and gather these new plants and herbs, of which quite a number are presented, nearly all of which can provide some minor mechanical benefit (some have slightly stronger benefits), I won't get into detail about them as there was just so much to read here, but it does show off bloodroot, a drug for vampires that is super addictive and puts them into a bloodsucking rampage, that's something one could work into a vampire campaign for sure.

Next is creatures of the forest, the majority of which are beasts, which your druid will be happy to know. Elven hounds (Cooshee) are shown off, giant forest roly-polys, the celestial white stag, and a few others round out the rest, obviously a tool for GMs or your local druid.

After that comes items, there are a small number presented, all except one are wonderous items (non-weapon/armor), which is a little disappointing, though one of them does create chakrams for you, which are 1d6 thrown finesse weapons that get better depending on circumstances. There is a legendary shield in the pages so be sure to gander at that. I did like these for the most part, like the Flute of Turlang and Razorleaf emerald, which can cast gust of wind that actually does damage if you do it in a forest.

This is actually a great pickup, particularly because 90% of all D&D campaigns and adventures take place or at least go through forests for the most part. A few small things bug me that I mentioned in this review that keep me from giving this five stars. I would give 4.5 stars but it wouldn't let me give a half, but consider this basically a 4.5 out of 5, a superb supplement for your arboreal adventures. Here's to hoping the next entries are just as good, if not better!

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Amarune's Almanac: Forests of the Realms
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