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Grand History of the Realms (Forgotten Realms) Hardcover – September 18, 2007

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BRIAN R. JAMES is a senior usability engineer in the software industry. In the evenings, he is an active member of the Forgotten Realms online community and an eager student of Realmslore. Brian lives in Montana with his high school sweetheart Toni and their four children.

ED GREENWOOD is the creator and beloved grandfather of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. He has written scores of Forgotten Realms novels and supplements over the lifespan of the setting. His recent design work includes the Waterdeep: City of Splendors(TM) and Power of Faerûn(TM) supplements and the Expedition to Undermountain(TM) super-adventure.

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Product Details

  • Series: Forgotten Realms
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast; First Print edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786947314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786947317
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian R. James lives in the Seattle area with his wife, four children and a house full of geek paraphernalia.

His freelance design credits include The Grand History of the Realms™, FORGOTTEN REALMS® Campaign Guide, Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead™, DRAGON Magazine Annual, Underdark™, Demonomicon™, and Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale.

Follow Brian online at or

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Yaeri Storkfeather on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Okay, let's first get the art out of the way. Indeed the only pieces of original art in this book are the cover -which is a beautiful work of art- and the maps of the empires of old. And personally, I didn't like the art style of those maps. The forests on them were very detailed, while the mountains were not, and the rest of the maps (desert, plains, water) had no detail at all (just one bland colour).
BUT, important to know for the fans is, how come? Why did they only re-use existing art? The designers went on a leap with this book. They knew some hardcore fans would want it, but they weren't at all sure about the general public. So they got a very tight budget to work with. The book took a lot of writing work, being filled from front to back with one humongous small print timeline, plus all sidebars. Naturally, a very very low art budget was left. They decided to spend all of that little money on the new maps, as they would be most important, and re-use existing art to fill up the rest.
I think they made a wise decision at that.

The rest of the book: The timeline is complete. After a one page foreword, and a one page introduction and guide for calendar conversion (ex: the Mulhorandi calendar starts with the founding of Skuld) they jump right in at -35.000 Dale Reckoning. They cover the empires of the creator races first and go all the way through the history we know, and further. They end in 1385, thus giving sneak peaks into the 10 years that still have to come; to show a glimpse of the events that will have taken place between the 3rd and 4th edition realms.

Halfway through the book they give some pause from reading the extensive timeline, by giving lists of lines of monarchies from various dynasties in Faerun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brad Black on July 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This would be a good book for anyone new to the Forgotten Realms. There is some useful information here without going into detail. As a result, I find use the term "Grand" an overstatement.

For the long time veteran of The Forgotten Realms campaign, there isn't enough new material to justify the price. "The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting" by Greenwood, Reynolds, Williams, and Heinsoo (2001); and "Lost Empires Of Faerun" by Baker, Ronny, and Stout (2005) are a much more detailed books on the subject.

The advantage of "Grand History..." is the updated timeline current with the latest novels, a few good ancient maps, and some timelines for local regions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt on May 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Finally! A Book put out that does not include a slew of GAME-MECHANICS. This book was the compliation of years worth of books, guides, magazines, references, and other outlets. This is the most complete timeline that I have see on the Forgotten Realms. Author Brian R. James should be commended for this book and even some kudos to WotC for allowing a pure content-based book to be released.

All around, it is a handy book and you can even learn a thing or two. 5-stars purely for those who love Realmslore.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The history of the Forgotten Realms fantasy world is long and complex. Since the Realms first appeared in print in 1987, with the novel Darkwalker on Moonshae and the original first edition of the Forgotten Realms boxed setting, over 210 novels and dozens of game products have been published, each adding to the canon and history of the world. This doesn't include the extensive history and backstory built up by creator Ed Greenwood whilst he ran the Realms as his own private creation for the twenty years prior to that. Needless to say, the story and history of the Realms have become somewhat convoluted in the forty years they have existed.

According to the blurb, The Grand History of the Realms is supposed to detail the complete history of the Realms as explained in the novels, computer games and RPG ame products previously published. That claim has to be taken with a grain of salt the size of Lake Michigan. It's a suspiciously slim tome for such a grand endeavour, and indeed the events of many novels, sourcebooks, computer games and adventure modules go completely unmentioned in the book, making its worth somewhat dubious. More irritatingly, the book also fails to mention the sources for its dates and events. What is new material and what is old? What comes from existing game products and what comes from the novels? Combined with the lack of an index, this even further lessens the value of the book. Reading up on the Tuigan Invasion is cool, but if you want to delve further into the events, what novels do you read? What game products do you look up? The book doesn't give you any help on that score.

Of course, what makes this all the more irritating is that the original, free version of the book (assembled by Brian R.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J.D. on March 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent product, and a must-have if you are an enthusiast of the Realms. I disagree with others who say it's only for DMs or only good as a close-out of the 3rd edition. This is packed with Realms lore, and is useful for any edition of the Realms and a great resource for players and DMs alike. As a player, you have more access to the rich background of the setting and can pump up the story of your characters for roleplaying in the Realms (something a lot of crunch-oriented players often forget as they are more interested in min-maxing). The benefit of a great lore book like this is that it helps DMs and players both with the story. And that's what it's all about.
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