DMs Guild Review: Ananthia Campaign Guide

The Ananthia Campaign Guide is a supplement for 5e by Alex Brandon, containing information on the new continent of Ananthia in the Forgotten Realms.

The supplement is 160 pages long, and focuses on a brand new continent in the world of Abeir-Toril, including its history, geography, politics, and races, as well as some new character options. The whole book gives me a bit of an old-school feel – not that I was part of the “old school”, but that’s just a feeling I get from it. The whole setting is a bit gloomy and dark in tone, with Ananthia being essentially doomed, but we’ll get into that later.

The campaign guide is separated into 3 main parts. In part 1, we get a small primer of the main parts of the continent – the North, Central Ananthia, the West, the Eastern Marches, the Southlands, and the Wrath Islands – also giving us a quick overview of the main factions and powers in each of them. The main focus of this part is on the new character options, starting with races. There are all the usuals, from humans to tieflings, as well as minotaurs, with a lot of new racial traits to pick from, and even more subraces – although it’s most accurate to call them factions, or perhaps ancestries. Something I should note here is that races in this supplement get negative ability modifiers – for example, an elf might get +2 to INT but -2 to CON – so players aren’t as powerful as they might be used to. In terms of classes, we have a new Cleric subclass, the Necromancy domain. This is closely tied to the setting, as one of the main political players is a lich, and this is essentially being one of his lieutenants.

After that, we have the Crystaleer, a new class that focuses a lot on a new resource, the Ananthian Crystals. These crystals can be found mostly in the north, and this class revolves around finding them. It’s pretty close to a ranger I’d say, but a lot more specialized. We also have an archetype for the Fighter, the Felton Corpsperson, a versatile combatant that acts as both a marine and a dedicated fighter of the yuan-ti that live around the area of Felton. Finally, we have a Paladin archetype, the Oath of the Templar, focusing a lot on the ties with your organization, gaining bonuses on holy ground, and the like,. Overall there are some nice but niche options here, with a very strong thematic connection to Ananthia.

Part 2 contains most of the information about the continent itself, with chapters for each of the 18 regions of Ananthia. Each region has an introduction, a paragraph with basic information, and a historical overview, and then details about regional characteristics, notable cities, and the region’s inhabitants. Each region also comes with its own regional benefit for characters originating from that area, which is advantage on two types of skill checks (varying which ones) and proficiency in either a language or some tool.

Finally, Part 3 contains other lore information such as magic (including a few new spells), faith, and the gods, as well as various organizations, factions, politics, et cetera. After that, we have a few appendices with new monsters and magic items, a timeline, and some more details about the biggest city on the continent, called Beslen.

There are a LOT of details and information about Ananthia (as is expected, this is a campaign guide), as well as a ton of very nice artwork on almost every page that really helps give a general feel of the setting. You have many, many things to do, from fighting (or being, who knows) pirates in the Wrath Islands to participating in the various skirmishes and border wars between the factions (dwarves and goblins/orcs are not very happy neighbors, who would guess) to fighting against (or for) the tyrannical lich overlord of most of the continent to trying to discover the mystery behind Ananthia’s ticking time bomb, an unparalleled environmental disaster that slowly turns every piece of land into an inhospitable desert. As you can see in the map above, the Drylands cover most of the continent – and they’re steadily expanding. This is a very cool concept, but if I had a complaint to make about this supplement, it would be that despite everything else that we get, this mystery remains unsolved – there is no actual reason behind the phenomenon given. Although that does free you to come up with your own scenarios, I’d like to see at least some information, maybe in the form of speculation in order to leave it open-ended but still provide some guidance. Anyway, that’s not that big of a deal, just something I got perhaps a bit too curious about.

Overall, the Ananthia Campaign Guide has a ton of stuff for you to work with if you want a new setting to play with, with interesting storylines and plenty of opportunities for fun adventures.

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