Welcome to Faerûn, a land of amazing magic, terrifying monsters, ancient ruins, and hidden wonders. The world has changed since the Spellplague, and from this arcane crucible have emerged shining kingdoms, tyrannical empires, mighty heroes, and monster-infested dungeons. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide presents a world of untold adventure, a land of a thousand stories shaped by the deeds of adventurers the likes of which Faerûn has never seen before.This product includes everything a Dungeon Master needs to run a D&D campaign in the Forgotten Realms setting, as well as elements that DMs can incorporate into their own D&D campaigns. The book provides background information on the lands of Faerûn, a fully detailed town in which to start a campaign, adventure seeds, new monsters, ready-to-play nonplayer characters, and a full-color poster map of Faerûn.
The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide is the first portion, followed by the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide of the 4th edition release of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Unlike previous releases, like the 3rd edition variant, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, or FRCG, focuses solely on proving information for rules referees and storytellers known as DMs, rather than for players. This information is meant to help a DM build a campaign, either within the Realms, or in a homebrewed setting, rather than for players to use to enhance their characters. Information for building characters is instead provided in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide.
Partially as a consequence, the FRCG is slightly slimmer than the 3rd edition FRCS in page number, a fact which has given the false assumption that is undetailed. However, if one were to add the two books together, as is intended, the total page number exceeds that of the FRCS by more than a hundred page, though the word count per page is lower given the 4th edition formatting standards. The FRCG is also notable for moving the setting forward by a little over a century, to the Year of the Ageless One whereas previous editions had moved it forward by a generation or so.
There are a total of eight chapters in the book, as follow:
- Introduction — This brief preface provides DMs with a basic introduction to the new Realms, including a list of ten "important facts" about the setting. It also encourages those who are not interested in using the setting as presented to alter it for their own purposes.
- Loudwater — This chapter provides a sample town, Loudwater, for DMs to kick off their adventures. Also included are a series of encounters and adventure hooks, which can tie into the Scepter Tower of Spellgard adventure.
- Adventuring — This chapter provides a brief history of the world, tips regarding how to move forward an adventure set in the 3rd edition setting, a summary of adventuring in the context of Faerûn's local culture, how to keep time in the Realms, types of treasure that adventurers might uncover or find, and a glossary for terms specific to the Realms such as hin or tenday.
- Magic — This chapter covers the basics of the Spellplague while also providing insights into fantastic landscapes created by magic such as earthmotes. The chapter also provides a listing of new magic items, such as the Crown Jewel of Chessenta, and rituals, such as Pact of the Iron Ring, for use in the DM's campaign.
- Cosmology — This chapter provides an insight into how the new 4th edition cosmology for Dungeons & Dragons applies to the Realms, with a listing of the astral dominions and elemental realms as well as a description of the Feywild and Shadowfell. A brief sidebar on the Far Realm is also provided.
- Pantheon — This chapter focuses on the gods of the Realms, with a listing of each of the major gods and exarchs of Faerûn. The book focuses primarily on the greater deities but also provides some information on intermediate deities, exarchs, primordials, and archdevils.
- Faerûn and Beyond — This chapter, the longest in the book, provides the reader with an atlas of Faerûn and Returned Abeir, describing each of the major regions from each continent. Each entry provides a small map, some background lore, and potential adventure hooks. Faerûn's Underdark is also covered.
- Threats — The final chapter in the book, this entry provides DMs with potential enemies to pit their players against, be they nefarious organizations such as the Cult of the Dragon or the Warlock Knights of Vaasa or individual monsters such as gibberlings or drow. A template for swordmage NPCs is also provided.