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Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue (2e)

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Watermarked PDF
$15.00
$9.99
Description:

At last! Complete in one catalog, all the finest merchandise Faerun has to offer is presented by that enterprising entrepreneur, Aurora the Eclectic.

Useful for players in any AD&D fantasy campaign (and other role-playing games too!), this is a handy listing of items and goods of all kinds, from farming tools to scribes' pens, from imported Shou Lung silks to Maztican cotton, from wines and ales to breads and cheeses. Prices are given in the gold piece standard, for simple conversion. Your "shopping trips" will never be the same!

It is our hope that players and DMs will find this Catalogue both useful and enjoyable. Aurora is not above editorializing about her wares, but we think her opinions will be informative as well as entertaining.

Product History

Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue (1992), by J. Robert King, based on ideas from Anne Brown, was a very unique supplement for the Forgotten Realms under AD&D second edition. It was published in June 1992. 

AD&D's Most Original Book? This "catalogue" may well be the most original book published for AD&D. Regardless, it's pretty much unprecedented. Its originality begins with its digest size, which was a format that D&D hadn't seen since the days of the original 3-book set (1974-1976).

The insides are frankly startling because they're primarily an in-character, in-world catalog of nonmagical items that could be found in a certain store in the Forgotten Realms. The idea of a book mostly written in-character was unheard of in 1992. Though Chaosium's King of Sartar (1992) was published the same year, White Wolf's much better known The Book of Nod (1994) was still a few years away.

The Story Behind the Book. Whole Realms originated with Anne Brown in a Call of Cthulhu game, where the players were having troubles figuring out what equipment was available. A reprint of a 1920s Sears-Roebuck catalogue proved salvation for the group and afterward became a centerpiece of the gaming table. Jump forward to the 1990s, when Brown was asked for ideas for future AD&D products. She suggested a Sears-Roebuck catalogue for AD&D. She even had a name for it, combining her own magic-user's name with the name of the counterculture Last Whole Earth Catalog (1971-1975). And thus Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue was born.

Anne Brown and J. Robert King were tasked with creating the book together, but Brown soon had to drop out due to her pregnancy. This left King with a monumental research task, which involved scouring through over 10,000 pages of material from the University of Wisconsin Library, the TSR Library, and the personal library of TSR researcher extraordinaire, Jon Pickens. Though King wrote over half the book himself, he also got lots of help from the rest of the TSR staff.

A Second Equipment Book. Amusingly, Whole Realms was the second equipment book TSR put out in the early 90s, following DMGR3: Arms and Equipment Guide (1991). However, they were quite different in both content and presentation. The DMGR book contained more typical adventuring equipment, while Whole Realms featured everything else you might find in a fantasy world.

Future History. Paul Culotta wrote an article called "Aurora's Undermountain Sale" for Dragon #239 (September 1997) that contains weird dungeoneering equipment, written in the same style as Whole Realms.

The digest-sized in-character Volo's Guide books (1993-2000) were probably influenced by the success of Whole Realms.

About the Creators. This was King's last major AD&D work. Afterward, he spent increasing amounts of his time on fiction writing. Following her pregnancy, Brown didn't do any gaming work for several years, but would return to the field in 1997 and 1998.

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

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Reviews/Ratings (6)
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Reviews
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November 1st, 2006
Interesting premise, useful information, could use a greater variety of Realm related products. LIKED: Layout reminded one of an actual catalog, as was intended. DISLIKED: Short on content QUALITY: Acce [...]
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January 17th, 2005
This is the ultimate in accessory lists for Dungeons & Dragons/HackMaster. I have TSR's "Arms & Equipment Guide" and Kenzer & Co's "Ultimate Guide to Goods and Gear", but there are still times that I refer back to Aurora's [...]
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December 9th, 2004
A very nice suppliment. Great for the DM and players alike. Easy to adapt to any fantasy game setting as well. DISLIKED: Only drawback is minor. Some items are missing weight stats so if you're REALLY serious about encumbrance rules, you'll [...]
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April 19th, 2004
This is THE equipment book of D&D. Not another like it anywhere. Just wish I could get it in print! [...]
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Product Information
Copper seller
Author(s)
J. Robert King,
et al.
Pages
174
Edition
1.0
ISBN
1-56076-327-2
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9358
File Size:
30.81 MB
Format
Scanned image
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File Last Updated:
September 27, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.
Publisher Info
Wizards of the Coast
Wizards of the Coast
Publisher Average Rating