Farland is a world that has been conquered by evil. It has been sundered into seven kingdoms, each ruled by an evil lord who personifies one of the seven deadly sins. These beings, called the Lords of Sin, hold the land in a dark grasp. In the conquered kingdoms, the Lords of Sin enslaved the population and made their primary activity in life the glorification of the Dark God Vornoth. Farland is an evil place, but take heart, for not all is lost- light glimmers in the West. A rebellion has broken out, and several kingdoms have been freed, although they are teetering on the brink of collapse, and all out war with the dark powers is looming . . .
This week, I had the opportunity to take a look at this lengthy tome. This 267-page 5e sourcebook is rivaled by few (Kobold Press’ Midgard World to name one). What makes this sourcebook so unique is that it is the product of nearly 20 years of online development–truly representing a living, evolving world. This highly detailed, mapped world, rich with history and lore, boasts a wealth of content online entirely free to access. Much of this information (and much more) is encapsulated in this comprehensive sourcebook.
The World of Farland Campaign Setting sourcebook includes an introduction covering how to use the book, a geographical survey of the continent that includes highly detailed maps, a political and historical survey of the various kingdoms, a thorough overview of the cultural surroundings, an anthropological overview of the various non-humans (of the light and shadow) occupying the region, an explanation of the various deities, and a collection of notable NPCs. This sourcebook has everything you need to birth your player characters into a land conquered by evil.
There is so much to this sourcebook. Let’s start with the maps. If you are looking for adventure maps, close-up maps of dungeons with square grids for example, you won’t find them in this book. Instead, this book provides an assortment of maps surveying the large Farland continent (about 2/3 the size of the United States), including regional maps, and highly-detailed maps of major cityscapes. Each regional map shows the network of roads connecting each major city. Each city map is complemented by accompanying demographic information, numbered landmark locations and descriptions, general information about the city, laws, factions, lore, and important dates. Additionally, the book contains a brief list of adventure hooks for each city location. The Great Mine and the Old Wood. The Old Wood and the Great Mine hold secrets untold. They beg for exploration.
The World of Farland Campaign Setting sourcebook contains details about the society and cultures of the continent of Farland, including common calendars, languages, information about the various coins and currencies, and a section covering some of the proverbs used in the different Kingdoms. Notably, the proverbs add a great amount of flair for game master storytelling. These proverbs can be dragged and dropped into dialogue with an NPC to add depth and immersion to any encounter. Combine this with the use of an NPC sourcebook, and creating a rich game world doesn’t seem like such a daunting task. Better to try to outlive an elf than to change a dwarf’s mind (or outdrink one).
This sourcebook contains everything that a game master needs to set a campaign in the World of Farland. The layered detail allows your players to have a tabletop role-playing experience of adventuring in a lifelike world with a deep history and trials around every corner. Pairing this book with the Monster Manual will allow you to easily acquire stat blocks for creature encounters such as orcs, while using this sourcebook to tailor each creature in the style of Farland by tapping into the comprehensive lore that is provided. Irzuk orcs are the red-skinned orcs of the Vale, who are known for their sense of smell. These strange orcs have a natural hearty resistance to cold, and they subsist well in cold climates, like the Wintervale. Most of them can be found in the Nameless City, though they were originally bred in the spawning pits of Gorug.
Print or .PDF? Aside from a typo or two, this sourcebook is well put together. The pages are filled with colorful artwork that fits the World of Farland setting. The hardcover version is well-bound and certainly complements the tabletop play area. Having the print version is useful, as the game master can readily flip through the pages to access information. Although, having the .PDF provides access to digital versions of the maps, which can be very helpful when displaying information to players. Digital maps are great for throwing up on a living room television. And, with the hardcover version costing $29.99 for the standard version and $44.99 for the premium version (more vivid pages), the .PDF option for $6.99 appears to be the affordable choice for most gamers – provided you don’t have an aversion to electronics during gameplay. Also, with a wealth of online content, you can conveniently browse the Farland game universe before committing to a purchase.
If you are looking for an immersive campaign setting, with a heavy classic Tolkien fantasy influence and deep, dark undertones, The World of Farland is a great option.