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The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (2e)
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The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (2e)

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The Savage Frontier, the Barbaric North, the Cold Wastes, the Uneducated Backyard. These, among many others, are nicknames for the North. This is a land of rabid monsters and ruthless barbarians, where nature is the strongest force for leagues in any direction. The North campaign expansion for the Forgotten Realms setting is the authority on the lands from Daggerford in the south to Ten-Towns in the north, from Anauroch in the east to the Ice Peak in the west.

This new campaign expansion contains everything a player or Dungeon Master needs to adventure in this savage and perilous territory, including:

  • The Wilderness - A 96-page timeline and geographical overview of the north, featuring a description of the land's natives and monsters and including out of print information found in TSR's accessory FR's The Savage Frontier.
  • Cities and Civilization - 64 pages of facts on all the cities, towns, and hamlets in the North.
  • Daggerford - A 32-page book, describing a complete city designed to be a hometown for your campaign's bravest heroes, with detailed building descriptions based on information from the old TSR adventure N5 Under Illefarn.
  • Two Poster Maps - Full-color sheets showing the entire environs of the North. On the reverse side is a map of the town of Daggerford, plus an extensive set of random encounter tables.

Product History

The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996), by Dale "Slade" Henson, Jim Butler, Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven Schend, Jennell Jaquays, and Steve Perrin, is a boxed set of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in April 1996.

Origins: The Realms Supplements v2. One of the most notable elements of the late AD&D 2e Forgotten Realms line was its series of huge sourcebooks (and sourceboxes), covering vast reams of Realmslore. Most of them contained new material like the first two, FRS1: The Dalelands (1993) and Cormyr (1994). However, the Forgotten Realms line was now old enough that TSR could also repackage and reprint existing material, as City of Splendors (1994) did.

The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996) was the second such box focused on reprinting and expanding extant material. It primarily revisits FR5: "The Savage Frontier" (1988), minus its "Personalities of the North" section. It also includes details on Daggerford from N5: "Under Illefarn" (1987), one of the primordial Realms publications.

Expanding D&D. The later 2e products for the Realms often had more crunch than the original "FR" series (1987-1993) did, and that's the case here. The North includes slight variants for the human cultures of the area, a few northern deities, and some associated specialty priests. There are also several new magic items. More notably, The North also includes one of D&D's many rules systems for shamans.

Exploring the Realms. The North largely repeats details found in "The Savage Frontier" and "Under Illefarn". That means descriptions of everything north of Waterdeep, including both wilderness and cities, plus the city of Daggerford, which is actually south of Waterdeep — but put this supplement together with the City of Splendors box and you have the most comprehensive description ever of this major campaign area.

At the time, the one other major sourcebook for this area was Volo's Guide to the North (1993). Two computer games were also set in the North, Gateway to the Savage Frontier (1991) and Treasures of the Savage Frontier (1992). The Volo's Guide contributed some additional details, including new personalities for the area, while the SSI gold-box games were probably less influential.

The North in set in 1370, which puts it considerably after all the original sources, which were set in 1356-1358, before the Time of Troubles. Some updates were obviously made to accommodate the updated time period.

About the Creators. The divers hands involved in the creation of The North show the diverse sources that developed the area; Perrin was the designer of "Under Illefarn" and Jaquays the author of "The Savage Frontier". slade did some of the newer development work.

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

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Customer avatar
Nicholas P March 29, 2021 5:30 am UTC
POD please, hardcover premium is always best
Customer avatar
Nathan F November 30, 2020 10:06 pm UTC
Please make this Print on Demand. The recent boxed sets that have been made in a hardback option are wonderful. Would love to see the rest of them that way!
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File Last Updated:
November 21, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on November 22, 2016.