Well met, traveler! Since I have been sucked into the Forgotten Kingdoms, almost against my will, I feel compelled to lure other innocents into the same insidious trap. The addictive-as-drugs game is based on the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, though no prior knowledge is required. Most importantly, it is a roleplay-enforced game (the shiny lure that pulled me in). There is no way I can describe everything that hooked me like a hapless fish, but I want to highlight a couple key elements that made a difference.
Character creation is particularly elegant. As I built my first character, step-by-step, famous characters from the Forgotten Realms setting explained the basics of how the game works. I especially want to thank Elminster for explaining feats, I know how busy he is. What is otherwise a relatively dry process was made exciting. Thanks!
There are a few interesting details about new characters worth noting. Unlike the standard Dungeons and Dragons setting, where a character starts with his chosen class and an allotment of skills, characters in Forgotten Kingdoms begin as one of four basic classes – warrior, rogue, priest, or wizard. They must then find in-game guilds to become a full class – a fighter, a cleric of a specific faith, a mage or specialist caster, a thief or bard, and so on. Joining these full classes usually require some roleplay, some are harder to join than others. Likewise, rather than starting off with a full selection of spells, skills, and languages, characters must find in-game trainers to teach them these abilities. This adds an extra level of interest in NPC mobiles in the game, a nice touch. (Admit it, we ignore most mobs unless they sell something we need or can be killed for gold and XP).
As a roleplay intensive game, Forgotten Kingdoms also employs an interesting Kismet system to try to weed out troublemakers right off the bat. Before playing something potentially disruptive like a thief, a chaotic evil character, or a rare race like a tiefling, the player must acquire a certain amount of kismet. Kismet represents game knowledge, and is gained simply by playing for a time, or it can be awarded for excellent RP. Not that anyone would ever want to play a chaotic evil tiefling thief (shudder).
Forgotten Kingdoms boasts a healthy number of areas to adventure in, an alarming number of automated quests (some of which grant secret skills, hee hee) with a variety of rewards, and blah blah blah cool features. So what. The REAL reason to visit this game is the RP. Unlike other MUDs I have played in, there is no OOC channel to just schmooze and inform you all about my new job, my problems with my girlfriend, and how I took the day off because I have the sniffles. Sure, it’s nice to express an interest in your fellow players, but did we not come here to Roleplay? I think we did. In FK, all interaction is generally expected to be IC. And aside from general roleplay and adventuring with other characters, there’s a pretty steady stream of special events set up and supported by the immortal staff.
A final comment on how newbie-friendly the game is (I am still relatively new). Player friendliness, immortal support, detailed help files, and the character creation system all get top marks from me. But make no mistake, FK is not an easy game. Much like the pencil-and-paper RPGs, adventuring is something done as a group. Wandering around on your own at low levels will usually result in severed limbs and death (as I can unfortunately attest to). Also, some classes require patience and rather extensive RP and interaction with other player characters before they are available. As an example, I played a priest for a couple of months, seeking to enter a specific religion and become a cleric. Since the Faiths are player-run organizations, I had to seek out specific players to join that religion. While I applaud the roleplay required, the time involved got a bit tedious. My understanding is that paladins are one of the hardest classes to enter, requiring (currently) a wait of six months or more.
We play these games for their entertainment value, yes? Forgotten Kingdoms provides what I want in my entertainment – a rich, rewarding, and emotionally intensive roleplay experience. I failed my saving throw – FK has trapped me more thoroughly than any web spell. All I can do now is try to lure in new victims – er, I mean, players. Like you... yes, come a little bit closer...
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