The Forgotten Realms Atlas

I had enough of my books unpacked a few weeks back to come across my copy of The Atlas of Middle-Earth (1991 revision) by Karen Wynn Fonstad.  Playing Lord of the Rings Online made me want to dig through the atlas to get a feel again for how Middle-Earth, and especially Eriador, was laid out in the books.

After digging through it I decided to check on Amazon.com to see if there had been any revisions since my copy came out.

There appears to a similar book from the 1999 time frame, probably due to the movies, called The Atlas of Tolkien’s Middle-earth.  Like the version I own, it is also out of print now and the details on Amazon.com are sparse, so I cannot tell if there is any real difference between the two.

So I clicked on the author’s name to see what other books she had done.  It turns out she also did a book I had been eyeing some time back.  Again, out of print, The Forgotten Realms Atlas is something or a rarity.  Used copies of it often sell for more than the book retailed for new.

At that price range I had never quite been able to justify spending the money on a used copy.  But it just so happened that there was a used copy listed up on Amazon.com for $10.  It said it showed some wear but was in decent shape, so in a moment of geekiness, I ordered it.

It showed up two weeks back.  The condition of the book is actually pretty good and the content is up to the standards I expected.  The detail inside is up to the standards I had expected.  I spent a while just digging through it and remembering old games.

Of course, in the short term the atlas will end up on my bookshelf among circa 1979 AD&D copies of The Dungeon Master’s Guide, The Players Guide, and the Monster Manual as well as some of the David Hargrave books, my fifth edition copy of Tunnels and Trolls, the first RPG I ever actually played, and some other game references.

In the long term I live in hope that some day there will be an outdoors Forgotten Realms MMO.

5 thoughts on “The Forgotten Realms Atlas

  1. Bildo

    Maps of these worlds are always worth buying. At least to me. I’m a very visual person, so they help me get that much more attached to the world I’m reading about or playing in.

    As for the outdoors FR MMO… you and me both, friend. You and me both.

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  2. Joel

    Ive still got my copy of the FR Atlas In a box with all my other old Pen and Paper dnd stuff. It was one of my favorite rare items along with my Whole Realms Catalog. The one item I was never able to find was a rare adventure book which I saw once a loooong time ago. I’m no longer even sure of the name. The land of the purple sands or some such. It detailed some of the lands between Thay and Kara-Tur and included an adventure into a dungeon that housed servants of the old gods. Good times. Ed Greenwood still holds a special place in my heart for creating one of the most developed and creative worlds Ive ever explored.

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  3. Gaff

    I have that Atlas as well–the Middle Earth variety. I used to teach The Hobbit and it came in handy. I have not dug it out since starting LotRO but soon will. I was always more of a Greyhawk guy in pen and paper D and D. For some reason, Forgotten Realms always made me think of Aztec and other seemingly non-D and D settings, although playing a FR MUD for years changed my perspective.

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  4. Laephis

    That atlas of Middle Earth is great, I’ve enjoyed flipping through it and comparing it to how Turbine laid out LOTRO. With the exception of scale, the game is pretty damn close to how Karen mapped Middle-Earth. Made me wonder if some of the Turbine devs didn’t have a copy of it as well…

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  5. Yunk

    I was pining for FR way back when reading Ed Greenwood’s “Ecology of” articles in Dragon, where he’d always throw in NPC names and locations and it just felt like a rich detailed world waiting to be explored.

    I would really like a pre-Time of Troubles FR realm. You know actually the Time of Troubles would create a chance for GMs to play raid bosses (gods) to come and start destroying.

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