The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting is a role-playing game sourcebook first published in 1987, detailing the Forgotten Realms setting, containing information on characters, locations, and history as well as setting-specific rules for use with the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The latest edition was published in 2001 by Wizards of the Coast for use with the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons rules.

1st Edition[]

First published in 1987, this boxed set included two 96 page books. One describing how to run a campaign in the Forgotten Realms and another describing everything about the known places, people, and events in Forgotten Realms.


  • 2 96 page books detailing the Forgotten Realms
  • 4 fold out maps
  • 2 transparent hex-grid overlays for use with the maps

2nd Edition[]

Published in 1993 then again in 1996; again in the popular boxed set format, this version upgraded the previous to the AD&D 2nd Edition game rules.


  • 128 page perfect-bound book describing the geographical regions of Faerûn
  • 96 page book on the town of Shadowdale including the adventure "Beneath the Twisted Tower".
  • 64 page book describing suggested ideas for running a campaign in the Realms
  • 8 Monstrous Compendium pages
  • 6 card-stock accessory sheets
  • 4 fold out maps
  • 2 transparent hex-grid overlays for use with the maps

3rd Edition[]

Book cover

In 2001, Wizards of the Coast, Inc. published the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, a Forgotten Realms campaign source book for use with the 3rd Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The book was written by Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, and Rob Heinsoo, with the contributions of members of the Wizard company's staff. The book is 320 pages in length; illustrated in color, and hardbound.

In 2002, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting won the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game Supplement of 2001.[1]


This is only the latest release of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, and a number of changes have been made since the previous books were published by the former TSR, Inc. The most important update was to incorporate the significant revisions to the game system with the 3rd edition update. Various regional feats, character attributes, prestige classes, spells, and NPC statistics all use the new rule set.

The work has also made some notable updates to the campaign setting, including the widespread presence of Red Wizard enclaves in various cities, the presence of a mysterious group called the Shades in the southern Anauroch desert, and the increasing surface presence of Dark Elves in the Dalelands. The setting history has been updated to reflect the various major events, such as the changes to the Faerûn pantheon since the Time of Troubles, and the defeat of the Tuigan Horde.

The book is organized into nine chapters, covering in broad detail the campaign setting. The primary emphasis is on the continent of Faerûn, and the other continents are only briefly mentioned. The chapters are arranged as follows:

  1. Characters — How to create a player character for the setting, including races, classes, regional feats, religions, and setting-specific prestige classes. (Many of these later have been merged into the version 3.5 release of Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide.)
  2. Magic — An explanation of how magic operates in this setting, and a number of unique aspects of magic. A few additional spells are provided, primarily to support the new Domains.
  3. Life in Faerûn — A general overview of life, lore, culture and commerce in this setting.
  4. Geography — Each of the significant regions of the continent are explored, along with places of interest, cities, politics, and significant individuals.
  5. Deities — Only the major deities are described in this edition, with the remainder of the pantheon detailed in Faiths & Pantheons. Several new Domains are introduced, with the incumbent spells listed in the Magic chapter.
  6. History — This is an overview of the detailed history of this setting, with a lengthy time line at the end of the chapter.
  7. Organizations — Groups, cults, and other organizations play an important role in the realms, and several of the most significant are detailed herein.
  8. Running the Realms — This chapter provides useful advice for the Dungeon Master trying to run an adventure or campaign in this setting. A pair of brief sample adventures are included.
  9. Monsters — A brief list of monsters unique to this continent are introduced, with a more extensive selection published later in other books.

This work contains a number of quality maps, and a fold-out map of the continent of Faerûn. There are also many sidebar topics and tables.

Also, throughout the sourcebook, stats are given on many popular Forgotten Realms characters such as Drizzt Do'Urden, Artemis Entreri, Elminster, Khelben Blackstaff, Fzoul Chembryl and Manshoon. The stats were reflections of the characters at that time. Artemis Entreri's stats don't list him as having Charon's Claw, because Servant of the Shard wasn't published yet.

4th Edition[]

With the announced release of D&D's 4th Edition, Forgotten Realms will continue to be a supported campaign setting, starting with a revised campaign setting in August 2008. It was also stated that popular characters like Elminster and Drizzt Do'Urden will be included. [2] To usher in the new edition, major events occur in the world, the most notable of which include the death of the goddess Mystra and her Weave, and the subsequent Spellplague. The Spellplague is a pheonominon which occurs with the discomposure of the Weave, and either kills or drives spellcasters mad. In addition, the Spellplague effects the environment and the natural world, causing calamatous events, including giant statues coming to life and rampaging, violent earthquakes, the corruption of various beings into monsters, and the collapsing of some regions of the Underdark.

Source books[]

The following books have been published by Wizards of the Coast as 3rd edition D&D supplements to this setting.

  • Faiths & Pantheons, Eric L. Boyd and Erik Mona, 2002, ISBN 0-7869-2759-3. A more complete reference to the deities of this setting.
  • Lords of Darkness, Sean K. Reynolds and James Wyatt, 2001, ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  • Lost Empires of Faerûn, Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout, 2005, ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  • Magic of Faerûn, Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy, 2001, ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
  • Player's Guide to Faerûn, Richard Baker, James Wyatt, 2004, ISBN 0-7869-3134-5. A "crunch"-centric 191-page hardcover book—updated and partially revised the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting to 3.5 Edition D&D.
  • Races of Faerûn, Sean K Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, James Jacobs, Eric L. Boyd, 2003, ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.

These works provide additional geographic details on the various regions, as well as new prestige classes, creatures, and magic.