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Reviews of 'Unapproachable East'

Unapproachable East

by Sean K. Reynolds, Matt Forbeck, Richard Baker
Forgotten Realms, Volume 3


Reviews of 'Unapproachable East'

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Reviewer: Matt

Rating: Stars

In an attempt to expand the universe of the Forgotten Realms setting, Wizards of the Coast has released Unapproachable East, a sourcebook detailing some of the races and nations of the eastern part of Faerun. In addition to some novel new Prestige Classes and regional races, Unapproachable East also uncovers the secrets of the Red Wizards of Thay and the surrounding environs, and makes this sourcebook a must have for any who wish to play a character from the eastern reaches of Faerun.

Unapproachable East remains trUnapproachable East to form when it comes to the format of the book. The opening chapter covers new races—the star elf subrace, as well as gnolls, hagspawn, spirit folk (mountain and river subraces), taer, and volodni. Prestige classes and brief regional descriptions and feats follow, then two chapters on magic, one on monsters which details the new races introduced that double as monstrous classes, and a chapter on adventuring in the east. The remaining six chapters—over half the pages in the book—cover the major regions in the Unapproachable East: Aglarond, The Great Dale, Rashemen, Thay, Thesk and the Border Areas.

Of the new races, the gnoll is perhaps one that is most commonly found as an enemy in a typical campaign. Still, it presents some interesting role-playing options, especially among a group of like-minded evil humanoids. The gnoll's favored class is a ranger, and while there is an ECL adjustment of +1, this shouldn't have much effect when adventuring with a group of other humanoid characters using the rules in Savage Species, for example. The spirit folk are one of the rarely-encountered races described in Unapproachable East, and are the product of a nature spirit and a human parent. While the union of a nature spirit and a human may be relatively benign, the hagspawn are those unfortunate male children of men and hags, who cannot become hags themselves but grow up as outcasts from both groups. However, hagspawn of both good and evil alignment are not uncommon.

While the prestige classes detailed in Unapproachable East are specifically designed for the Forgotten Realms setting, several have good crossover potential in a Dragonlance campaign with a few modifications. The first of these is the Aglarondan Griffonrider, a class of characters comprised of officers in the Aglarondan army. The grillonriders are given a bonded mount upon their entry into the aerial cavalry, and gain skills and feats that might be appropriate to an elven Windrider in a Dragonlance campaign. The other prestige class of particular note is the Talontar Blightlord. A possible class for a cleric of Morgion in a Dragonlance campaign, the Blightlord is to the druid as the Blackguard is to the paladin: a force designed to spread disease and sickness to the lands and forests that the druids protect. The blightspawned monsters that the Blightlord can create are detailed later in the book in the chapter on monsters of the east.

As you might imagine, from Unapproachable East's focus on the lands of the east and the inclusion of Thay in that list, there are a number of new spells and magical items, though some have appeared previously in other sourcebooks, such as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. There are also a number of minor artifacts, and uniqUnapproachable East magic items, such as the masks that the hathrans of Rashemen manufacture for use in combat.

The remainder of Unapproachable East focuses on adventuring in the eastern regions of Faerun, and detailing the various nations that comprise the east. In addition to a geographic overview, complete with color map, each chapter details regional customs and background information, a brief history of each of the lands, and the political structure and the cities and sites of each nation.

Most notable among the regional write-ups, of course, is fabled Thay, home of the Red Wizards. The land of Thay is a mountainous region, with small citadels stationed all over the countryside. The Red Wizards are at the top of the social food chain and rule their subjects and their many slaves with an iron fist. The entry goes on to describe in exquisite detail the politics and the intrigUnapproachable East of the Thayans, with enough hooks to make any DM salivate over the prospect of placing an unwary party in the unenviable situation of attempting to move through the land of the Red Wizards.

On the whole Unapproachable East, follows in the tradition of other Forgotten Realms regional sourcebooks, and provides a wealth of information on the regions described within its covers. Unapproachable East also adds several new races and some interesting prestige classes to the mixture, which are also easily adaptable to a Dragonlance campaign. If you've ever been curious about running a campaign in the eastern regions of Faerun, Unapproachable East should certainly be in your library.


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