Netheril: Empire of Magic
This boxed set describes long-lost Netheril, a kingdom formed by the union of seven fishing villages against marauding orc bands approximately 5,000 years ago (–3859 DR). With elven tutelage and the mysterious Nether Scrolls, Netheril quickly became near unrivalled in the use of magic – creating huge floating cities (enclaves), exploring Realmspace and at the fall stealing the power of the gods themselves.
This expansion to the Forgotten Realms enables campaigns to be staged in the kingdom. Player characters can reach Netheril either via time travel from the present day, or characters can be created during the Netherese period.
David Comford reviewed Netheril: Empire of Magic for Arcane magazine, rating it an 8 out of 10 overall. Regarding characters traveling back in time to Netheril or creating characters from that time period, he felt that "either choice has excellent adventure possibilities". He commented that "The complexities of time travel and the ramifications of changing past events to effect the future has been clearly thought out, and is neatly side-stepped by only allowing travel to and from Netheril in one fashion. Spells from the Chronomancer supplement cannot access this area of time, the only means to travel is through the Time Conduit Spell created by Mystra, which only allows players to be in the past for one year. In addition anything the characters hold which is not available in the past simply vanishes to be returned when they journey home - equipment, memorised spells and most importantly spell use for priests. The pantheon of Netheril holds only ten deities, creating a major problem for the faithful who find their god absent. Likewise items from the past cannot be brought back to the present. Knowledge, however, can come home, and with 41st level arcanists wandering the land this could prove to be very precious." Comford added: "The opportunity to create Netherese characters has been well structured too, with revised details on classes (none of the optional character kits from the complete books are accessible, among other changes), religion and equipment to reflect the differences in periods." He continued: "The most drastic change, though, is to spellcasting. Spellcasters are arcanists and do not memorise spells - they merely pluck them out of the weave. On reaching 20th level he/she can progress to learn 10th, 11th and 12th level spells. Perhaps the greatest change, though, is that there are no damage limits for spells." Comford concluded his review by saying "An Encyclopaedia Arcana supplement is included giving information on major magical items and spells. Everything needed to play in Netheril can be found within this box-set including two lavishly-drawn maps depicting Netheril both at its height and fall. Netheril is a great campaign expansion. Okay, so players might be put off a little at not being able to bring any mementos back from their travels, but with a little thought the adventure possibilities present can overcome this. If you're after new campaign ideas then this is highly recommended."
- Comford, David (January 1997). "Games Reviews". Arcane. Future Publishing (15): 76.