on 2 February 2006
I am a recent Eberron convert so I thought I would add my views on the products released to support this setting.
This book details the largest city in the world of Eberron and manages to really capture the feel of this unique metropolis. I really enjoyed reading it and I certainly found loads of great ideas for adventures. It would certainly be true to say that there is far more flavour text (fluff) than actual stats and rules additions (crunch) and this may put you off depending on your style of play, but I think this goes very well with the campaign setting book and presents lots of different ideas for the imaginative DM. Recommended.
on 31 January 2005
Following on from my previous review, I have re-read the book and have come to the conclusion I was a little bit negative. It does have quite a good bit of stuff to inspire the DM and set up some intriguing scenarios, and it goes on the highlight the various corrupt organisations and nefarious individuals to give it a fairly tacky, dare I say noir-ish feel. The hit rate is perhaps not as high as, say, Serpent Kingdoms in the FR setting. But I think it is fair to say it holds up OK. Not amazing, but pretty good.
on 27 January 2005
I found this a tad disappointing. Having seen a lot of the Forgotten Realms sourcebooks dealing with specific areas, which are generally of a pretty high standard, I found this offering somewhat lacking. OK, it does set out the geography of the place very well, so rather than being a generic "big city" you get a good feel for the individual districts (set out both horizontally across the available land area and vertically) and it must be said that Sharn as a concept (a fantasy city with the skyscraper feel of a modern metropolis) is very good. But for some reason (and this is my main criterion in getting stars) it rather failed to inspire me (as a DM) to throw PCs at the stuff in there. There is a lot of "fluff" (like details of the restaurants and what they serve) and not much crunch (like NPC stats) and while fluff is important, there needs to be an appropriate balance. It is also a little bit hard to get into - you go through a lot of pages before getting near any nitty-gritty. There are a few errors (a lich on one page is 7th level, and on another the same lich is 14th level). But basically, it rather failed to live up to its potential, feeling in some ways like a Lonely Planet guide rather than an introduction to a noir-ish city setting.
I like Eberron, and in some ways it is slightly hampered in that it doesn't have the wealth of history behind it, like Forgotten Realms, to draw upon. So early supplements will have to struggle to build the theme and tone. I guess that as the novels and further supplements come out the slight feeling of shallowness to the setting will abate.