Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

Product-Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

System– DnD 5e

Producer– Wizards of the Coast

Price– $36

TL; DR-A doughnut-great fluff, but no crunch! 87%


Basics-Welcome to the Forgotten Realms!  The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide is the first player and dungeonmaster book for DnD5e.  It focuses on the world of the Forgotten Realms and more specifically the Sword Coast.  The book builds the current Realms and provides the standing of the world, as well as giving players some new backgrounds, class archetypes, and race options.

Mechanics or Crunch-The best description of the mechanics in this book is “What mechanics?”  Most of the crunch in this book is confined to one chapter.  It’s a decent chapter, but it only supports a few classes with some classes not receiving any new toys.  They do get some Forgotten Realms specific story, but no new crunch/mechanics to drive it home.  This book also only has one feat in it, and that is an optional feat.  There were high expectations for this book, and I feel it didn’t meet them.  What’s here is good, but there is just not enough here to really make this worth it for every crunch heavy gamer. 3.75/5


Theme or Fluff-I love the Forgotten Realms, and this is a decent introduction to a part of it.  As the title suggests, this book focuses on the Sword Coast.  What the book focuses on is great!  Each area gets a great description really building out the world in interesting ways and telling how the Realms have changed since 4th edition.  However, it mentions the rest of the world.  That’s good, but they don’t provide a map the the rest of the world.  That’s my main problem with what is here.  There are parts mentioned in a sentence that are not shown.  The previous editions’ Realms books showed me the world,gave it a one line description, and then left it at that.  This book doesn’t even give me the geography past the coast.  This wouldn’t be a problem except the novels, adventures, and the Adventurer’s League all take place in the parts of world not covered in depth by this book. 4.75/5

Execution-This book covers a ton of ground, and it does it reasonably well.  Everything has pictures, which is awesome, so the book sufficiently breaks up the text.  There are a few walls of text though.  The art is good, the font is nice, and the maps are amazing.  I’d like this book to be a bit thicker to give space for more breaks and more information, as well as to justify the price a bit.  However, I liked the way this book was laid out and built overall.  4.5/5

Summary-I wasn’t thrilled with this book.  The theme is great.  New players in the Realms will get a ton out of this book.  Even people from 4th edition will have a lot to learn about the new realms.  The overall execution of the book is great, if a tad pricey.  However, the biggest problem is the lack of mechanics.  This is the first real expansion to the system, and it doesn’t do or provide much expansion to the system.  This book isn’t bad, but stacked up against the core books, I wasn’t impressed with this book.   87%

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