Fighters and clerics have long been mainstays in AD&D game campaigns. Now, discover the dozens of kits created to adapt these basic classes to the unique and popular lands of Faerûn. Learn what a difference your homeland makes when you choose a warrior's kit, or discover benefits as will as disadvantages of worshipping certain gods of the Realms.
Some differences among people are subtle, while others can be quite glaring. This tome reveals ways to identify whether a mercenary hails from Chondath or Waterdeep. Not all black-clad priests are evil followers of Cyric, and even priests of the demipowers have skills to respect.
In addition to priests and warrior kits, unique PC subclasses are revealed herein: the Harper, roving guardian of nature and justice, and the Crusader, a militant priest able to defend the faith with steel if necessary.
As sure as Elminster's pipe glows green, the true warriors and priests of the Realms stand revealed at last!
FOR10: Warriors and Priests of the Realms, by John Terra, is a prestige-format Forgotten Realms sourcebook. It was released in February 1996.
Continuing the FORs (Sort of). Warriors and Priests continues the FOR-series prestige-format Forgotten Realms sourcebooks—or at least TSR officially included it in listings of “FOR” books, even after it had stopped using the FOR codes.
Really, Warriors and Priests is a counterpart to FOR9: Wizards and Rogues of the Realms (1995). Like its predecessor, it’s a book of character class kits for the Forgotten Realms, including geography-based warrior kits and god-based priest kits. As such, it follows in the footsteps of the popular “PHBR” series (1990-95) and the campaign-related “CGR” series (1992-94), both of which also contained books of kits for players.
The next FOR book, FOR11: Cult of the Dragon (1998), would more closely match the trade dress and content of the earlier FOR-series books.
About the Harper. Besides its kits, Warriors and Priests also includes two subclasses: the harper and the crusader. The Harpers were a very old force in the Forgotten Realms. They were first mentioned by Ed Greenwood in “Seven Swords: Blades of the Realms," an article about magic swords that appeared in Dragon #74 (June 1983). They appear in a lot of other early material on the Forgotten Realms—always as a secret organization, heavily cloaked in mystery.
Over the years, Greenwood gradually revealed more facts about the Harpers. He fully spilled the Harper beans in FOR4: The Code of the Harpers (1993), a book-length look at the organization. However, other than some spells and NPCs, Code of the Harpers was mostly fluff; Warriors and Priests balances that out with its harper subclass, which gives real crunch to players who want to be a part of the organization.
About the Crusader. Though the Realms endured a literal crusade in the eponymous Crusade (1991), which described the war against the Horde, the crusader class originates here in Warriors and Priests. This crusader is described as being a militant priest, who falls somewhere between a paladin and a cleric. He’s said to have newly appeared in the Realms following the Time of Troubles.
In addition to giving special powers to their clergy, the gods decided that defenders of the faith were needed. They desired to inspire mortals whose moral alignment and ethos were the same as that of the god, and had the muscle to fight to defend the god and its temples. This priest would gladly fight to preserve his gods ideas. The gods needed a crusader.
The idea of a crusader was very popular at the time. Player's Option: Spells & Magic (1996) introduced its own crusader just a few months later. This was then reprinted for the Realms in Faiths & Avatars, which claimed that the crusader from Warriors and Priests was officially a “holy crusader.” This crusader confusion generally showed the (large) size of TSR at the time and the number of different hands that were working on D&D books, even those set in the same world.
Expanding the Realms. Like its predecessor, Warriors and Priests helps to fill out all the important areas of the central Realms by adding crunch to those geographical descriptions. It similarly expands the mythology of the Realms by creating priest kits for the many gods of Faerûn. While the entire book is organized around crunchy character kits, its also provides some insightful details on the Realms. Even today, the descriptions in Warriors and Priests are some of the best anywhere for the god Sossal and and the geographical region known as The Ride.
Future History. The Harpers have of course continued to be an important force in more recent editions of D&D. No less than five Harper prestige classes appeared in 3e: the Harper agent, the Harper mage, the Harper paragon, the Harper priest, and the Master Harper. Similarly, crusaders appeared in Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006) as a “martial adept” class—which is an interesting description, showing how much D&D changed in that ten-year period.
More generally, TSR gave considerable attention to the topic of the gods of the Realms in the years that followed with Faiths & Avatars (1996), Powers & Pantheons (1997), and Demihuman Deities (1998), a well-received trilogy of deity books.
Though Wizards and Rogues and Warriors and Priests together covered the four core character classes of AD&D 2e, there would be one more entrant in this series of kit books for the Realms: Roger E. Moore’s Demihumans of the Realms (1996).
About the Creators. Terra freelanced primarily for West End Games and TSR through the mid-90s. From 1995 onward, all of his TSR work was focused on the Forgotten Realms, with other entrants including The Moonsea (1995), Ruins of Zhentil Keep (1995), and Four from Cormyr (1997).
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.