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Land of Intrigue (2e)
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Land of Intrigue (2e)

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Greetings kind travelers! The roads south to the Lands of Intrigue are long and dusty indeed, but they are roads to greatness and glory for merchants, adventurers, and scholars all. Folk with mettle enough to brave these lands will be challenged and astounded by forms of power, magic, and culture that are found nowhere else in Faerun.

Developed from out-of-print material originally found in FR3 Empires of the Sands, this expansion provides more than 150 pages of new information. What's inside:

  • Book One: Tethyr (96 pages) presents the many facets of Tethyr, from its origin as an elven homeland through its rise and fall as a human nation and up to its recent restoration from anarchy. While this growing realm is now the safest of the Lands of Intrigue, it was once the seat of the malevolent Empire of Shoon - whose influence still haunts the golden plains in the form of a roving monsters, wandering ghosts, and the terrors of times past.
  • Book Two: Amn (64 pages) collates all that is Amn - or, as some call it, the Coinland. Money is this country's lifeblood, whether gleaned from the trade along the Sword Coast or the far-off colonies of New Amn. However, a dark dawn has risen on those whose eyes see no further than their ledgers and coin stacks...
  • Book Three: Erkazar & Folk of Intrigue (32 pages) revelas the formerly undocumented domain of Erkazar, east of Tethyr - an area ready to be fleshed out by DMs to suit their individual campaigns. Book Three also holds the ssecrets of the hidden powers of the South, such as the Cowled Wizards, the Knights of the Shield, the Shadow Thieves, and the undead sorcerers of the Twisted Rune.
  • Two poster maps detail the Lands of Intrigue, the Pirate Isles of the Nelanther, and the center of the long-dead Shoon Empire, the monster-riddled ruins of Shoonach.
  • More than a dozen additional maps depict all the cities of Amn and Tathyr, as well as the distant Maztican colonies.

Product History

Lands of Intrigue (1997), by Steven Schend, is a boxed supplement for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in August 1997.

Origins (I): After the Fall. So how do you get the Forgotten Realms line going again after a hiatus of half a year? One of Wizards of the Coast's answers was Lands of Intrigue (1997), a massive geographical supplement for the Realms. It was originally scheduled for publication in May 1997, several months after TSR's production stumbled to a halt, but it was moved up on the schedule after Wizards got the engines of issuance going again, perhaps due to the depth and quality of the set.

Origins (II): Another Box. Lands of Intrigue was another of the massive boxed supplements published for the Realms in the mid to late '90s. The line had started with Spellbound (1995) and continued with The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996). Lands of Intrigue was the third of what had become a yearly tradition.

Origins (III): Return to the Sand. Lands of Intrigue was very much a remake of FR3: "Empires of the Sand" (1988), which had detailed the lands of Amn, Tethyr, and Calimshan. The largest difference is that it is much bigger. "Empire of the Sands" had been 64 pages, while Lands of Intrigue contains three books, totaling 192 pages! Where did all the new material come from? Schend surely produced lots of new content, but he also says that "every single mention or reference to Amn and Tethyr before 1996 got acknowledged and placed into Lands of Intrigue".

There was one other changes between "Empires of the Sand" and Lands of Intrigue. Calimshan isn't included in the new supplement and would instead appear in the fourth and final of the Realms boxed sets, Empires of the Shining Sea (1998). To make up for that, Schend included a new, third country — which turned out to be totally new.

Origins (IV): Return to College. In the late '80s, Steven Schend was attending college in Madison, Wisconsin, working on an English degree. Around 1987, he started running a Forgotten Realms campaign set in the Baronies of Erlkazar, a new realm that he created, "out of" the setting material found in N3: "Destiny of Kings" (1986). His campaign centered on Duhlnarim, the second largest town in Erlkazar.

Schend says that Dulhnarim was a great place for adventurers because: "while the rising stars of Erlkazarn society move to the capital when they get the chance, many remain in Duhlnarim as it's more comfortable, less politically charged, and more easy-going. Think of Duhlnarim as kind of a medieval New Orleans attitude of sorts ... with many wash-outs or drop-outs of the Mages' Academy hanging around as historians or scribes or merchants with one or two spells under their belts."

The Erlkazar of Schend's college campaign isn't quite the same as the Erlkazar of the official Realms. Schend says, "I no longer am 20 years old or having to spin the details to appeal to my three players/friends". Nonetheless, Erlkazar marks one of Schend's two wholesale additions to the Realms, the other being the undersea civilization of Sea of Fallen Stars (1999).

Eras of the Realms: 1369 DR - 1370 DR. Lands of Intrigue details the events of The Year of the Gauntlet and The Year of the Tankard.

Exploring the Realms: Tethyr. Tethyr was previously well-detailed in "Empires of the Sand". Schend says that his "major contributions were in finishing the Restoration of Tethyr", a story that had its prelude in the novel War in Tethyr (1995). Schend lays out details of Tethyr in a massive 96-page book. It includes history and societal notes, plus a massive tour of all the duchies of Tethyr with special attention paid to the cities of Darromar, Myratma, Saradush, Velen, andZazesspur.

Exploring the Realms: Amn. Amn was also described in "Empires of the Sand". Schend says that his major contribution here was "making Amn a little more aware of the consequences of its actions (i.e. Maztica, ogre mages, rebel cities, etc.)". Amn only gets a 64-page book. It similarly covers history and society before taking a long tour of Amn including maps of Athkatla, Crimmor, Esmeltaran, Eshpurta, Keczulla, Murann, and Riatavin.

Amn would very soon get more attention in the Baldur's Gate computer game (1998) series, especially Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) — which also visits Tethyr.

Exploring the Realms: Erlkazar. The newest realm, influenced by Scotland, gets just six pages of overview, including a brief look at the city of Llorbauth. It's been largely ignored in more recent years, even failing to show up on some maps.

Nonetheless, Erlkazar has gotten some support in novels. Troy Denning's Faces of Deception (1998), book two of the "Lost Empires" (1998-2000), has its first chapter set in Erlkazar. More notably, Jess Lebow's Master of Chains (2005), first of the "Fighters" novels (2005-2006) is set in Schend's home town of Duhlnarim.

Organizations of Note. This is one of the late 2e books for the Realms that started to increase the focus on the setting's power groups, here including The Cowled Wizards of Amn, The Knights of the Shield, The Nelanther Pirates, The Shadow Thieves, and The Twisted Rune. The Wizards, Knights, and Thieves were all drawn from the original FR3: "Empires of the Sand"; while The Twisted Rune date back to FOR4: The Code of the Harpers (1993), but really came of their own in later books, starting with "Undermountain: Stardock" (1997).

About the Creators. Schend wrote numerous Realms supplements in the late '90s, from City of Splendors (1994) to "Skullport" (1999). This was one of his most extensive releases 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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on August 08, 2017.