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FR13 Anauroch (2e)


The Great Desert. Where the Winds Wail. Grave of the Lost Princes. The Great Sand Sea. Not a place many sane folk in the Forgotten Realms want to visit. But there are plenty of the other sort, who come hence to find wonders both beautiful and dangerous.

The deadly, shifting sands of Anauroch hide-and occasionally, tantalizingly reveal-the riches and strange treasures of The Lost Kingdoms, swallowed long ago. The legendary wealth of The Cities of Gold lies somewhere in its sandy depths.

So, too, do worse things: fell monsters, famous in adventurers' tales (and listeners' nightmares) across the Realms. Evil crawling magic whose counterspells have been long forgotten, whose death slumbers lightly, ever-ready to awaken and strike down the unwary intruder.

In the pages of this sourcebook, Anauroch comes to life. Its dark, innermost secrets are revealed, and the colorful cultures of the Bedine-and beings far worse-are explored. This guide to the most important "forgotten" land of the Forgotten Realms present new rules galore: new spells, new adventures, new monsters-and much, much more.

Product History

FR13: "Anauroch" (1991), by Ed Greenwood, is the thirteenth book in the "FR" series of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms. It was released in November 1991.

Origins. Troy Denning was the one who actually got the ball rolling on Anauroch with his novel, The Parched Sea (1991), which was also the first novel in the Harpers series (1991-1998). Six months later, TSR published Greenwood sourcebook on the area, which converted the Bedine culture and various monsters from Denning's novel, while also detailing many of Greenwood's own ideas about the Anauroch Desert.

Continuing the "FR" Sourcebooks. The majority of the "FR" supplements were geographic splatbooks the described specific regions of the Forgotten Realms. However, just prior to the publication of "Anauroch", TSR had published a few more unusual "FR" supplements: FR11: "Dwarves Deep" (1990) was a racial splatbook, while FR12: "Horde Campaign" (1991) was a miltary history book. FR13: "Anauroch" (1991) was thus back to basics.

Expanding the Realms. Ed Greenwood originally created Anauroch as "a big impassable zone" meant to separate the Sword Coast from the Inner Sea. It helped to limit trade to a single artery south of the Anauroch, a region that Jeff Grubb dubbed the Heartlands.

Because of its northern locale, Greenwood's Anauroch was originally conceived as a cold desert. Thanks to this cold, the scant moisture, and the awful magic of the Phaerimm, Anauroch was to be largely devoid of life. Though the Anauroch Desert was mentioned as early as "Pages from the Mages IV" in Dragon #97 (May 1985), it was Denning's The Parched Sea (1991) that officially defined the area, and he instead imagined a hot desert, peopled by the Bedine tribes. The published Anauroch is thus a compromise, with warmer deserts in the south and bare rock and ice in the north.

Don't Confuse Your Deserts! There are a lot of deserts in the Realms, covered in a variety of sourcebooks. The first (and perhaps best known) desert was the Raurin, which is located in southeastern Faerûn. It appeared in I3-5: Desert of Desolation (1987). The Calim Desert and other nearby lands of southwestern Faerûn were then detailed in FR3: "Empires of the Sands" (1988). The Anauroch Desert lies north of both of those areas.

One more desert land appeared later, in Al-Qadim: Arabian Adventures (1992). Grubb linked these later deserts lands to the Anauroch, through connections to the Bedine culture and through the inclusion of some spells that Greenwood couldn't fit in FR13: "Anauroch".

Future History. The best latter-day description of the Anauroch appeared in Elminster's Ecology (1994). Soon afterward, however, material on this region began to focus on the Netheril Empire that had dwelt there long before. That began with Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996). Then the "Return of the Archwizards" novel trilogy (2001-2002) totally revamped the region, bringing the Netherese into the modern day. More recent descriptions of the area, which continue to focus on the Netherese, include Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005) and the superadventure Anauroch: The Empire of Shade (2007).

About the Creators. Greenwood was of course the creator of the Forgotten Realms. In 1991, he wrote a variety of Realms books, also including FOR2: The Drow of the Underdark (1991) and The Ruins of UnderMountain (1991).

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Matthew U April 20, 2023 6:20 pm UTC
How is this not available in POD yet?
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Yannick B February 04, 2023 1:59 pm UTC
Yes. POD please.
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Nicholas P March 29, 2021 5:34 am UTC
POD please
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This title was added to our catalog on December 09, 2014.