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View Full Version : Do you like the Forgotten Realms? If so why?



Scots Dragon
2017-06-21, 08:19 PM
As a wee thought experiment spin off from this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?526375-Why-do-people-hate-the-forgotten-realms), I figure it's worth asking the obvious question of why its fans like the Forgotten Realms as opposed to why certain people hate it. For me it's a combination of things that draw me to the Forgotten Realms, from its complexity in detail to many of its stories to the video games that got me into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to begin with, but I'm pretty curious as to the opinions of the other denizens of the playground on this.

Naturally if you've got a negative opinion on the Forgotten Realms feel free to use the thread linked above, rather than using this one.

Herobizkit
2017-06-21, 09:48 PM
Back in 2e, I liked it because of the wealth of Specialty Priests made available. It was convenient to drag in a pre-assembled fantasy pantheon off the rack regardless of whether or not you were actually playing IN the FR. Plus, Specialty Priests added some flavour to differentiate Joe Cleric from Fred Cleric.

Drizzt was neat... when I was a kid. I found The Crystal Shard in a pharmacy bargain box in my hometown when I was a wee lad and thusly started my adventures with Drizz 'n' the Boys... and the inevitable string of not-evil (and several evil) Drow PC's.

The Dalelands are neat.

As is the Savage Coast.

Mechalich
2017-06-21, 10:53 PM
The strength of the Forgotten Realms is its extremely high level of detail. The history, the geography, the religions, everything is exhaustively detailed, sometimes down to the level of individual city blocks. There is really no other setting like this (though with the amount of work Paizo continues to throw at it Golarion is getting closer every day) in terms of just how much sheer information is available to be utilized and how many intricate interactions can be operated on for adventuring purposes. So, if having a great deal of detailed information to work with appeals to you, then the Forgotten Realms has lots of advantages.

Smitty Wesson
2017-06-21, 11:08 PM
I'm indifferent to the setting, but it has a huge advantage - you can point to anywhere on the map and get adventure hooks, monsters, villains, everything you need to get started with a campaign. This is a great thing to have as a DM.

Pex
2017-06-21, 11:25 PM
It doesn't excite me to play in that gameworld if that's what the game is going to be, but it's not revolting either. As long as the focus in on the PCs, and it's a fun campaign as any other fun campaign for all reasons that makes a campaign fun the specific gameworld is irrelevant. Of course the fun is personal subjective. People can have great fun playing in Dark Sun Athas. I would not and never play such a game.

Still, I do have a long personal history of fondness for Torm and Ilmater for their philosophies and an ironic for me since I don't like rogues in general a healthy respect for Mask due to DMs portraying the faith as sympathetic anti-heroes just right. The Church of Mask was never an enemy of the party in any game.

Nifft
2017-06-21, 11:33 PM
I have fond memories of the Baldur's Gate series of games.

As a single-player video game setting, the highly-detailed yet largely-irrelevant lore was perfect: you could indulge in it if you wanted, but it never interfered with the (very simple) plot of the game.

Dragonix
2017-06-21, 11:38 PM
i like it because it's easy to build adventures in it. villains, characters, cities, lore, history, etc. are already set up all i have to make a campaign and a set of adventures that makes sense to it.

obryn
2017-06-21, 11:55 PM
No; I already laid out my reasons in the thread in the 5e forum.

To be more specific, though, I like the barebones setting of the original box set, which was nice and low-detail, with plenty of room for the DM to play and adventurers to roam.

Heck; certain areas were specifically left blank with a promise they wouldn't be detailed.

A Note on Future Products: Certain areas of each of the enlarged maps of the Forgotten Realms will contain areas that will not have future adventures, modules, or
sourcebooks set in them, and are left solely for use by the DM for development without fear of some later product invalidating that portion of his campaign. In the initial boxed set, those areas are:

The Serpent Hills (east of the High Moor)
The Wood of Sharp Teeth
The Desertedge Mountains (outside the Dales), and
The Nation of Sembia.

The last mentioned, the nation of Sembia, is a large section of (partially) civilized land with the following borders: starting with the west, the Vast Swamp, the Daerlun, the path through Kulta, Saerb, and Archenbridge (including parts of Archendalel to Ordulin, east to the Dragon Reach, and bordered on the south by the Sea of Fallen Stars. This region, though discussed in the players' guide and in this book, will not have further adventures set in it, nor will its cities be explored or detailed. A DM with a campaign city or nation already designed may set that city in the area of Sembia without great difficulty caused by future products setting some epic adventures (or great disaster) in the same region.

Further, the region across the Dragon Reach, from the River Vesper South and to the edge of Map 2 has been set aside for use by the RPGA network as a base for adventures and tournaments in the Forgotten Realms, and is left for the further explanation by those areas, or by the DM.
This promise was, of course, quickly broken. But it shows that they started the setting out with (IMO) exactly the right idea - campaign settings need space.

I think the post-spellplague realms is okay, but not particularly inspiring except for the Neverwinter campaign book. I can't easily picture setting a campaign there, but I wouldn't write off the possibility.

Otherwise, I dislike the bloated, detailed-yet-still-generic mess that the setting grew into, where all mysteries were solved and all gaps filled in. I neither need nor want a setting with anywhere near that amount of lore/canon/etc. The only way I would consider running the Realms is with a hard reset to the original grey box, and a total negation of everything that came out after that. (None of the novels happened, none of the supplements or novels or adventures are canonical, etc.) And, like I mentioned in the 5e thread, I would run it with the full intention that the campaign would utterly wreck the place - like killing off major NPCs mentioned in the box set, blowing up major cities, and the odd 70's-style UFO/alien/robot/ray gun invasion at some point.

RazorChain
2017-06-22, 05:46 AM
I like Forgotten Realms because it gives me a chance to kill Elminster repeatedly.

Darth Ultron
2017-06-22, 06:38 AM
The complexity and level of detail: it's not just a ''game world'', it's a ''storytelling world''. The amount of lore from just Ed Greenwood is insane, but then you have more from others that also love the Realms too. No other published world even comes close, and worse most modem ones take the ''Ebberon track'' of ''wow, look how awesome this is to for video game like combat adventures''.

The Forgotten Realms is also artificial: there are powers that keep the world ''normal and stable'' right in the lore. This is a big plus as all other worlds go with the ''oh it's just like old time Europe, but with magic and things never change..wink, wink, don't think about it''.

The Forgotten Realms is also a very powerfully made setting, in the lore and details and game mechanics(and this is even more tore, times ten, in 1\ or 2E).

Scots Dragon
2017-06-22, 07:43 AM
The complexity and level of detail: it's not just a ''game world'', it's a ''storytelling world''. The amount of lore from just Ed Greenwood is insane, but then you have more from others that also love the Realms too. No other published world even comes close, and worse most modem ones take the ''Ebberon track'' of ''wow, look how awesome this is to for video game like combat adventures''.

Indeed. The Forgotten Realms to me has always felt like more of a living setting because there's lore about the people living there and what their daily lives are like to a degree that most other settings just plain don't tend to have. The only other D&D setting to come close is Planescape's level of detail for Sigil.

obryn
2017-06-22, 07:58 AM
Oh - since this is the nice thread, I will also say I like the Hordelands box set. Not the Horde metaplot from the 90's, just the box set, which added an interesting Central Asian area to the setting. Also, the relative lack of extra attention after its release is a pure positive, in my mind, because I much prefer pencil-sketch settings.

I could more easily see myself running a Hordelands campaign than a regular FR campaign, honestly.

Corsair14
2017-06-22, 08:01 AM
No. You did ask if we liked it. More that they have put all of their resources into this campaign world and ignored the more interesting worlds than any other reason. The world itself is fine for a very blah fantasy world, kind of like if you eat a cheeseburger for every meal, even if you liked cheeseburgers, it will get old after awhile.

Glorthindel
2017-06-22, 11:06 AM
I have fond memories of the Baldur's Gate series of games.

As a single-player video game setting, the highly-detailed yet largely-irrelevant lore was perfect: you could indulge in it if you wanted, but it never interfered with the (very simple) plot of the game.

I find it ironic that one of the great things about Baldurs Gate at the time was the area was so undeveloped in the setting - sure, Waterdeep and Icewind Dale had plenty of information out there, but the stretch from Baldur's Gate to Calimshan was just a few bullet points and general themes - the focus at the time was very much the Dalelands, Cormyr, Zhentil keep and Ravens Bluff (for the RPGA). Now its completely flipped on its head, with everything being about the Sword Coast, and everything east of Anauroch being the forgotten backwater.

As for things I like: one of the big benefits is that generally speaking, most D&D players (bar the complete novice, and even then computer gamers may have picked bits up) have at least a passing familiarity with the Realms and its organisations, it takes very little to get a player up to speed. Granted, I've never ran a full campaign in the Realms, but it is a great place to set one-offs and mini-campaigns where you don't want to waste valuable time explaining the set-up of the world (and I have used it as a starting point for a couple of campaigns that I then springboarded into Ravenloft).

2D8HP
2017-06-22, 11:16 AM
I enjoy the Realms for the flavorful expressions it inspires:

Oh by Lolth's bright blue panties!

How in the holy name of Drizzt's giant codpiece will we...

This exceeds Elminster's brothel tab!

etc.

Coffee_Dragon
2017-06-22, 11:32 AM
I find it ironic that one of the great things about Baldurs Gate at the time was the area was so undeveloped in the setting - sure, Waterdeep and Icewind Dale had plenty of information out there, but the stretch from Baldur's Gate to Calimshan was just a few bullet points and general themes

Except of course if you count Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast, which is where the BG geography and lore came from.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-22, 11:39 AM
Except of course if you count Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast, which is where the BG geography and lore came from.

I feel it was a missed opportunity that they didn't throw Warlock's Crypt in there as a potential dungeon, technically fully detailed but literally impossible in difficulty, y'know, being Warlock's Crypt.

Nifft
2017-06-22, 11:46 AM
I find it ironic that one of the great things about Baldurs Gate at the time was the area was so undeveloped in the setting - sure, Waterdeep and Icewind Dale had plenty of information out there, but the stretch from Baldur's Gate to Calimshan was just a few bullet points and general themes - the focus at the time was very much the Dalelands, Cormyr, Zhentil keep and Ravens Bluff (for the RPGA). Now its completely flipped on its head, with everything being about the Sword Coast, and everything east of Anauroch being the forgotten backwater.

IMHO it's somewhere between ironic and inevitable.

"People like this! Let's make more of it! Let's stuff every corner of the setting to maximize the setting's book production!"

... when what they liked was the wide-open feel, which you just killed.

Of course, you can get that wide-open feel back. You just need to throw a cataclysm or two at the setting, like 4e did.

Those were some nice changes. Kill off the boring over-powered NPCs, and open up the map with some vast swaths of wild, unexplored ADVENTURE!

Really, if we're being honest, that's what I like about any setting: the ability to have adventures in it.

FR has done this, and it can surely be made to do it again.

AceOfFools
2017-06-22, 12:26 PM
While overall I'm not a fan of the setting, there are two things that do draw me to the setting enough to consider running in it.

First is the large, detailed and diverse pantheon. More so than any other setting with which I have experience, the pantheon feels like something that might actually exist. Granted, a big part of that is the bloat, but still.

The second is the red wizards. Thay itself is painfully cliche, and the prestige class is pretty meh. But the massive conspiracy by an evil cabal that is driven by good, if aggressive, buisness that has buisness itself as a goal us just so good. I particularly like the implied subtext that they make happily willing allies with good-aligned governments out of their own evil self-interest.

It's a level of moral and political complexity I find simultaneously very realistic, very believable and very relevant in a way rarely found in DnD campaign settings.

Mark Hall
2017-06-22, 02:38 PM
I do like it, but I recognize that a large part of that is familiarity and nostalgia.

I've been playing, reading, and running the realms for 22 years, now. Computer games, a few novels, and, of course, RPGs. I know the pantheon pretty well. I know the geography, especially north and west of the Sea of Fallen Stars. I can, with only a little bit of work, start building plots that will feature a few different power players, incorporate major NPCs without them overshadowing the party, and otherwise use the Realms as my personal setting. I make a few changes to make it more comfortable (I tend to play without the Time of Troubles, but incorporating Kelemvor as a LN deity of the dead, relegating Myrkul to the god of the undead... still formidable, just not "evil deity who oversees basic aspect of life").

What do I like about it? I like that there's ample good and evil... lots of wrenches could be working on any one nut, each twisting it their own way for their own reasons. If you dig a bit into Greenwood's conception of the Realms, he's done some thought into the different moral and social structures that might exist within the broad framework of D&D. Different regions support a lot of different playstyles and types of campaign, and there's a good balance between "enough detail" and "too much detail"... a fuzzy line to draw, to be sure.

Most of its problems can be safely ignored without breaking the setting. It's flexible, large, and familiar.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-22, 02:46 PM
I do like it, but I recognize that a large part of that is familiarity and nostalgia.

I've been playing, reading, and running the realms for 22 years, now. Computer games, a few novels, and, of course, RPGs. I know the pantheon pretty well. I know the geography, especially north and west of the Sea of Fallen Stars. I can, with only a little bit of work, start building plots that will feature a few different power players, incorporate major NPCs without them overshadowing the party, and otherwise use the Realms as my personal setting. I make a few changes to make it more comfortable (I tend to play without the Time of Troubles, but incorporating Kelemvor as a LN deity of the dead, relegating Myrkul to the god of the undead... still formidable, just not "evil deity who oversees basic aspect of life").

I've considered poaching the Raven Queen as a 'relatively minor regional interloper deity' for similar reasons since I'm not actually a huge fan of Kelemvor, and she's one of the few genuinely great aspects of D&D 4E's setting and lore.

Mark Hall
2017-06-22, 02:56 PM
I've considered poaching the Raven Queen as a 'relatively minor regional interloper deity' for similar reasons since I'm not actually a huge fan of Kelemvor, and she's one of the few genuinely great aspects of D&D 4E's setting and lore.

Raven Queen would work, but I like keeping Kelemvor because he's already detailed... I can use Faiths and Avatars verbatim, or adapt it to whatever system I'm using.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-22, 02:58 PM
Raven Queen would work, but I like keeping Kelemvor because he's already detailed... I can use Faiths and Avatars verbatim, or adapt it to whatever system I'm using.

True, and Faiths and Avatars really is one of the best books out there. I suppose you could just steal the entry for one of the death goddesses from Legends & Lore, though.

In any case, I use her less as an outright replacement and more as an alternative option, possibly while poaching bits from Golarion's Pharasma for detail.

Coffee_Dragon
2017-06-22, 04:41 PM
lots of wrenches could be working on any one nut, each twisting it their own way for their own reasons.

This also works if you drop a letter from "wrenches", know what I mean, nudge nudge.

Nifft
2017-06-22, 08:03 PM
This also works if you drop a letter from "wrenches", know what I mean, nudge nudge.

Stop posting, Greenwood.

You're drunk again.

bulbaquil
2017-06-22, 08:42 PM
I like the Forgotten Realms primarily because of its medieval stasis, classic fantasy feel, extensive and well-established pantheon, and ease of finding information on.

That said, I don't run it, and rarely play in it.

Misereor
2017-06-23, 07:17 AM
I loved just about everything about 1. ed.
Fantastic boxed set. Great source books with good mix of flavor, background info, and rules.
I actually didn't mind the copying of various Earth settings and time periods. It just made for more opportunities for people who wanted to play say an Egyptian or Greek inspired character.

My group started going non-canon with our realms after the Time of Troubles (2. ed.), mostly because we think Cyric is a pathetic excuse for a god. We liked the Dark Three much better.
In 3. ed. we ignored shadow magic. It just wasn't very interesting, and Shar is almost a worse antagonist than Cyric.
4. ed. never happened at our table. We judged it a blatant attempt to import World of Warcraft mechanics into D&D, and the Sundering a feeble excuse for wiping the slate clean.
We haven't gotten around to trying 5. ed. yet, but when we do, I'm pretty sure we will keep the timeline in the 1300's, when most of the setting still was originated in the mind of Ed Greenwood.

obryn
2017-06-23, 07:56 AM
4. ed. never happened at our table. We judged it a blatant attempt to import World of Warcraft mechanics into D&D, and the Sundering a feeble excuse for wiping the slate clean.
You know, I am continually fascinated how people just randomly drive-by edition war - especially when it's this far off-topic.

Thialfi
2017-06-23, 08:51 AM
Forgotten Realms became our favorite setting for our 2E campaign with the publication of Faith and Avatars, Demi-human Deities, and Powers and Pantheons. they breathed fresh life into a class that only I liked to play beforehand.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-23, 01:13 PM
You know, I am continually fascinated how people just randomly drive-by edition war - especially when it's this far off-topic.

While the mechanics of 4th Edition aren't necessarily relevant, I would say that its treatment of the Forgotten Realms rather importantly is. The Spellplague drew a whole lot of criticism from fans of the Forgotten Realms.

Nifft
2017-06-23, 01:15 PM
Naturally if you've got a negative opinion on the Forgotten Realms feel free to use the thread linked above, rather than using this one.


While the mechanics of 4th Edition aren't necessarily relevant, I would say that its treatment of the Forgotten Realms rather importantly is. The Spellplague drew a whole lot of criticism from fans of the Forgotten Realms.

You are now required to say something nice about the 4e Forgotten Realms.

obryn
2017-06-23, 01:39 PM
While the mechanics of 4th Edition aren't necessarily relevant, I would say that its treatment of the Forgotten Realms rather importantly is. The Spellplague drew a whole lot of criticism from fans of the Forgotten Realms.
And if they'd simply been talking about the Spellplague, it wouldn't have been an example of this weird phenomenon of unsolicited, drive-by, random edition warring.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-23, 01:43 PM
You are now required to say something nice about the 4e Forgotten Realms.

There were a lot of really cool articles for the Forgotten Realms published in the online Dragon Magazine and written by Ed Greenwood, detailing a variety of cool little bits of offshoot lore and characters that players could conceivably encounter in a way that kept the spirit of the Forgotten Realms alive.

Mark Hall
2017-06-24, 08:47 AM
While the mechanics of 4th Edition aren't necessarily relevant, I would say that its treatment of the Forgotten Realms rather importantly is. The Spellplague drew a whole lot of criticism from fans of the Forgotten Realms.

As a long-time fan of the Realms, I really HATED the Spellplague, and the assorted changes that went into the 4th edition setting book. To an extent, I can understand the "Fast-forward the Realms 100 years to kill off most of the human characters and start fresh", though I don't think that would've been a good solution, in and of itself... you either need to replace those characters with someone similar (what's the point, then?), or you're changing a good part of the feeling of the Realms (then why is it the Realms?)

The Spellplague and its fallout (many dead gods, gods getting combined, etc.) was more annoying. A RSE only a century after the last? Dragonlance did that, and it was a bad idea then, too. But it also rearranged the pantheon to the point where knowing the old pantheon was of little use.

Many of the mechanical changes made in 4e could've been handwaved (i.e. "Sure, the wizard casts Magic Missile a lot more than they SHOULD, but the novels have never slavishly adhered to the game rules, anyway"), and new races and such could've been introduced differently ("The Dragonborn were created by the Cult of the Dragon in an attempt to create a more perfect race; they have only recently escaped from captivity, and are relatively rare" ... the kind of disclaimer that lets you easily have parties full of dragonborn fighting other parties full of dragonborn, just by rationalizing that most of the population happens to be in this one fight). In the end, it really damaged my interest in the Realms, and in 4e.

In the end, I think the Time of Troubles set a really bad precedent in the evolving of shared campaign worlds... "the relatively minor changes between 1st and 2nd editions required us to ABSOLUTELY WRECK the world... what happens when we make a shift like that between 3e and 4e?"

Scots Dragon
2017-06-24, 09:12 AM
In the end, I think the Time of Troubles set a really bad precedent in the evolving of shared campaign worlds... "the relatively minor changes between 1st and 2nd editions required us to ABSOLUTELY WRECK the world... what happens when we make a shift like that between 3e and 4e?"

It's telling that amongst the changes reversed in the Sundering, the Time of Troubles is amongst them. All of the deities killed off during that are back, even if they're having to share a position with some of their replacements. Even the Mystra has officially become something of a composite entity consisting of the ancient Mystryl, 1E's Mystra, and 2E-3E's Midnight.

Pugwampy
2017-06-24, 12:55 PM
I am most familiar with it and I played Baldurs Gate and read DnD novels long before I played with dice and minis .

When PathFinder was first released I used Realms as my campaign setting. Golorion was an alien world to me .
Forgotton Realms has everything i need for whatever I feel like doing probably because its an over written bloated beast .

I know quite alot about Krynn but its not really compatible
I have a limited knowlege of Mystara and Golarion
I know nothing of Eberron .

If i had to be honest though , my dm style uses any kind of "magical" looking map staying true to town names and environments and possibly population species but everything else can fly out the window as far as i am concerned .

FreddyNoNose
2017-06-24, 01:04 PM
I have fond memories of the Baldur's Gate series of games.

As a single-player video game setting, the highly-detailed yet largely-irrelevant lore was perfect: you could indulge in it if you wanted, but it never interfered with the (very simple) plot of the game.

Nifft, you bring up a great point of view. I don't like FR for reasons stated in other thread. Those old crpgs set in FR were good but I don't know if you can claim they were good because of FR. If they had been set in another setting, would they have been much different?

Morty
2017-06-24, 01:29 PM
I've got a fondness for the setting, which I fully realize comes from playing the Infinity Engine games. Upon closer inspection, the setting comes apart at the seams, is really bloated, and is perhaps the most flagrant example of D&D's unflinching love for magic-users, while treating other classes as sidekicks. And yet, I can't help but like it. Nostalgia is a helluva thing.

The Spellplague came across as a way to make Forgotten Realms for people who don't like Forgotten Realms. So I didn't really see the point. I'm not even sure what blender they put it through for 5e. Either way, it's a whole different world they keep the label on, because it sells.

Pex
2017-06-24, 01:31 PM
Whenever I've played in a Forgotten Realms world, the party never met Elminster. Never met Drizzt. Never met anyone from the novels. It has always been our own game set in the world. Waterdeep, Bladur's Gate, Silvery Moon, they're just place names inspired by the flavor text in the reference book. There's no rule that says your party must be mentored by Elminster. If that happens and bothers you, blame your DM.

Nifft
2017-06-24, 04:05 PM
Nifft, you bring up a great point of view. I don't like FR for reasons stated in other thread. Those old crpgs set in FR were good but I don't know if you can claim they were good because of FR. If they had been set in another setting, would they have been much different?
Well, I've played a couple of videogames set in Greyhawk, and honestly it seemed ... campy. In a fun way that I enjoyed, but they didn't have the same epic fantasy feeling as the BG / IWD games. But like, someone seriously intones the troubles surrounding "Verbobonk", and I'm kinda giggling inside. It's giant frogs that leap out of nowhere and kill you at level 1 -- you are simultaneously snickering at the camp, and then the guide you hired turns on you and stabs you in the back, and then you're biting your nails in fear at the very serious prospect of a TPK at level one. That's a faithful adaptation of a Gygaxian Greyhawk adventure. It's hilariously campy -- and also, if you don't think critically & act carefully, you can easily die. So it's a setting that both demands serious attention, and rewards you as a player with its irreverence. That latter bit can be immersion-breaking for some people. It's great fun at a table, of course.

Planescape was also a setting in a very memorable video game, and that was an epic adventure, but it was far more cerebral. I would NOT be able to relax as I drunk-clicked my way through Planescape: Torment, nor would I want any kind of romance sub-plot with any of those fascinatingly damaged NPCs. (Except maybe Morte.)

The Forgotten Realms takes itself seriously, and as a player I felt invited to take it seriously -- but you can't think too hard about the contents, because at base the explanation for everything was either "a god did it" or "a wizard did it" (or "my wizard did that god" if you're playing Greenwood's self-insert) -- and if you play D&D morality both seriously & straight, then you can end up with a lot of fridge-horror.

So... I dunno. Probably another setting could provide the same single-player non-mechanical reward for lore-delving, but I think it would have been more work. IMHO it was a natural strength of that era's Realms which easily translated into that specific value.


I've got a fondness for the setting, which I fully realize comes from playing the Infinity Engine games. Upon closer inspection, the setting comes apart at the seams, is really bloated, and is perhaps the most flagrant example of D&D's unflinching love for magic-users, while treating other classes as sidekicks. And yet, I can't help but like it. Nostalgia is a helluva thing. It really is.

Not that I can complain -- it was the Black Isle games that got me back into caring about D&D right in time for 3e to revitalize the game.


The Spellplague came across as a way to make Forgotten Realms for people who don't like Forgotten Realms. So I didn't really see the point. I'm not even sure what blender they put it through for 5e. Either way, it's a whole different world they keep the label on, because it sells. Or the Spellplague was for people who loved what the Realms offered before a bunch of busy-bodies filled in all the blanks, sold out the setting's sense of adventure in trade for evergreen nostalgia-bucks, and started writing biographies of "my friends the uber-NPCs" instead of helping me as a DM create an awesome experience for my players at the table.


Whenever I've played in a Forgotten Realms world, the party never met Elminster. Never met Drizzt. Never met anyone from the novels. It has always been our own game set in the world. Waterdeep, Bladur's Gate, Silvery Moon, they're just place names inspired by the flavor text in the reference book. There's no rule that says your party must be mentored by Elminster. If that happens and bothers you, blame your DM.
Of course everything is the DM's fault, including choosing a setting that hinders the DM's ability to run a great game.

In the specific instance of uber-NPCs, here's how I see that issue happening: if you want to showcase your setting -- to give your players an experience & feeling which is iconic to this specific setting -- you need to use iconic elements from that setting.

What's iconic to the Realms?

- The uber-NPCs who appear in the books.
- Mythals.
- Netherese Empire stuff.
- The FR Pantheon.
- Locations from the backstories of NPCs from the video games (Rashemen, Thay, Waterdeep).
... and that's what appears iconic to me.

In the Black Isle video games, these elements were all used, and used well. The NPC cameos didn't overshadow my party. The exotic locations were far-off and mysterious instead of vivisected. Mythals had map-changing effects (e.g. the one in IWD2), and the party in specific could trigger those changes.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-24, 04:52 PM
Or the Spellplague was for people who loved what the Realms offered before a bunch of busy-bodies filled in all the blanks, sold out the setting's sense of adventure in trade for evergreen nostalgia-bucks, and started writing biographies of "my friends the uber-NPCs" instead of helping me as a DM create an awesome experience for my players at the table.

Alternatively the Spellplague actively removed elements that were interesting and not actually all that detailed, such as Dambrath or Halruaa or Mezro or the Shaar, completely redrew the map for no real reason, got rid of several iconic characters who players could encounter as side-cameos, completely rewrote several iconic races for no real reason other than to make them match what was in the D&D 4E Player's Handbook despite the Forgotten Realms being an ample choice to demonstrate how even a core setting might differ from what's in the main rulebooks, and completely rewrote half of the pantheon for no good reason.

Also, and this is important...

Quite a considerable amount of what it changed was stuff that would have benefitted players.

Want to play a good drow, one of the iconic elements of the Forgotten Realms, without having to resort to direct Drizzt Do'Urden style renegades? Well the deity of good drow and her followers don't exist any more. Want to join the Harpers and improve the world by being part of something bigger devoted to justice? Well the Harpers are defunct with only a handful of successor cells active in places like Luruar and Waterdeep. Want to make a priest of the magic god? Lolnope, there's no magic gods at all any more. Want to play the good-aligned wizard from a mysterious southern land of mages? Well that literally got blown to pieces.

Want to play basically the most common type of elven character from previous editions? Well, you can but they're called eladrin now for some reason.

The Spellplague is the most terrible decision anyone has ever made with the Forgotten Realms, and the fact that it basically haemorrhaged money to the point that Wizards of the Coast spent a considerable number of their adventure modules on pressing a gigantic reset button in the form of the Sundering ought to be telling. And here's the thing, it didn't even fully work. The Forgotten Realms has lost a considerable amount of its fandom and is still ultimately a hollow shell of the setting that it was during the AD&D 2E to D&D 3E years. People stopped reading the novels, so those have been discontinued. There hasn't been a major decent video game release for it outside of an MMORPG and one really poorly-received hack and slash game for over a decade now.

Whether the Forgotten Realms as a setting can eventually fully recover from the damage done by the Spellplague is yet to be seen, and I wouldn't like to say it never will but it doesn't look likely. The Spellplague was made to appeal to a niche of fans that outside of maybe a small handful of people didn't even exist, and in the process alienated pretty much the entire fandom. I've seen in both threads people who've admitted that they haven't paid attention to the Forgotten Realms since 4E simply because they don't care to think about how badly 5E might have ruined it further.

As it stands you are basically the only person I've ever met who has a positive opinion on it.

Nifft
2017-06-24, 05:28 PM
Alternatively the Spellplague actively removed elements that were interesting and not actually all that detailed, such as Dambrath or Halruaa or Mezro or the Shaar, completely redrew the map for no real reason, got rid of several iconic characters who players could encounter as side-cameos, completely rewrote several iconic races for no real reason other than to make them match what was in the D&D 4E Player's Handbook despite the Forgotten Realms being an ample choice to demonstrate how even a core setting might differ from what's in the main rulebooks, and completely rewrote half of the pantheon for no good reason.

Also, and this is important...

Quite a considerable amount of what it changed was stuff that would have benefitted players.

Want to play a good drow, one of the iconic elements of the Forgotten Realms, without having to resort to direct Drizzt Do'Urden style renegades? Well the deity of good drow and her followers don't exist any more. Want to join the Harpers and improve the world by being part of something bigger devoted to justice? Well the Harpers are defunct with only a handful of successor cells active in places like Luruar and Waterdeep. Want to make a priest of the magic god? Lolnope, there's no magic gods at all any more. Want to play the good-aligned wizard from a mysterious southern land of mages? Well that literally got blown to pieces.

Want to play basically the most common type of elven character from previous editions? Well, you can but they're called eladrin now for some reason.

The Spellplague is the most terrible decision anyone has ever made with the Forgotten Realms, and the fact that it basically haemorrhaged money to the point that Wizards of the Coast spent a considerable number of their adventure modules on pressing a gigantic reset button in the form of the Sundering ought to be telling. And here's the thing, it didn't even fully work. The Forgotten Realms has lost a considerable amount of its fandom and is still ultimately a hollow shell of the setting that it was during the AD&D 2E to D&D 3E years. People stopped reading the novels, so those have been discontinued. There hasn't been a major decent video game release for it outside of an MMORPG and one really poorly-received hack and slash game for over a decade now.

Whether the Forgotten Realms as a setting can eventually fully recover from the damage done by the Spellplague is yet to be seen, and I wouldn't like to say it never will but it doesn't look likely. The Spellplague was made to appeal to a niche of fans that outside of maybe a small handful of people didn't even exist, and in the process alienated pretty much the entire fandom. I've seen in both threads people who've admitted that they haven't paid attention to the Forgotten Realms since 4E simply because they don't care to think about how badly 5E might have ruined it further.

As it stands you are basically the only person I've ever met who has a positive opinion on it.

You are surprisingly negative for a person who started a thread specifically to prohibit negativity.

Do you have ANYTHING to back up your assertions about why the Spellplague happened? Maybe some citations for assertions like: "The Spellplague was made to appeal to a niche of fans that outside of maybe a small handful of people didn't even exist (...)", like a quote from a developer on what they had intended, and to whom they were pandering?


As far as I could tell, the Spellplague was a setting-wide cataclysm in the image of the Time of Troubles, which also happened to kill off the god of magic, and changed the pantheon around significantly -- and which was directly responsible for the Baldur's Gate games, which were probably the best thing about the Forgotten Realms, period.

Cataclysms are just what happens to the Realms when the edition changes.


So yeah, I don't feel like the hate is justified. It seems like you've got some edition-war negativity mixed in with your setting-lore negativity. Neither is appropriate for this thread -- and one seems like it's against forum policy, so you might want to dial back on the edition-war stuff across the board. So to speak.

Darth Ultron
2017-06-24, 06:45 PM
As a long-time fan of the Realms, I really HATED the Spellplague, and the assorted changes that went into the 4th edition setting book. To an extent, I can understand the "Fast-forward the Realms 100 years to kill off most of the human characters and start fresh",

The only thing I can understand from this is ''they were full of hatred for the Realms and wanted to ruin and destroy it''. Maybe they were hoping all gamers would be like ''wow, the Realms suck now...I'm going to only play Eberron from now on!''.

Sure, I understand the poor, poor little 12 year old Billy would find the Realms ''hard'' to use with hundred of NPC's to keep track of: each with a name and personality and history. I'm sure Billy feels all sad and left out when an older FR gamer can say name every single person in Shadowdale and poor Billy only knows like three classmates at school.

So it's much easier to handle a world that only has like ''a couple'' npcs.



In the end, I think the Time of Troubles set a really bad precedent in the evolving of shared campaign worlds... "the relatively minor changes between 1st and 2nd editions required us to ABSOLUTELY WRECK the world... what happens when we make a shift like that between 3e and 4e?"

It very much did. As so often is the case ''they'' took all the wrong things from it. Is it ok to have an event ''benchmark'' editions...sure. But note the ToT did not change too much. There was none of the ''we got rid of anything that was not cool and Eberron like''. A couple gods died/changed, magic changed a bit, assassins all died, and a couple wild/dead magic areas popped up. No countries were obliterated, a ''grand canyon'' did not open, the Sea was not drained an like 2/3 's of the gods were gone.

And it make it worse....it's not like it was the first time. Dragonlance was a fine world...but then they changed it to the ''Saga System'' and made it ''the world that is not Dragonlance''. Everyone hated it. So it did not take to look for them to change it back and be like ''um, sorry''.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-24, 07:09 PM
So yeah, I don't feel like the hate is justified. It seems like you've got some edition-war negativity mixed in with your setting-lore negativity. Neither is appropriate for this thread -- and one seems like it's against forum policy, so you might want to dial back on the edition-war stuff across the board. So to speak.

Honestly? I couldn't give a flying monkey's about the ruleset of D&D 4E. I didn't like it and didn't intend to use it, and that was fine.

The Spellplague, on the other hand, was an elimination of all that I liked about the previous Forgotten Realms. A previous Realms that still has not been restored to the way it was, I might add, and might never be. I liked the absurd amounts of detail and lore since it gave a sense of a world that was lived in, a world wherein I knew what the popular drinking establishments were, the dice games and musical instruments that would be played there, and the drinks they'd serve. Because that's what most of the detail was, really.

It wasn't about Elminster or the Simbul or Storm Silverhand or Drizzt Do'Urden, because honestly outside of maybe two dedicated sourcebooks and the novels those characters weren't really mentioned except when it was appropriate. And here's what Elminster's entry is in the Dalelands book from 1993. First is from the key to map entries for Shadowdale;


Elminster's Tower. This small tower is home to Elminster, the Sage of Shadowdale, and his scribe and assistant Lhaeo. The path to Elminster's tower is wellmarked with warning signs such as, 'Trespassers may be polymorphed,' and 'Enter at your own risk. Have you notified your next of kin?'

Elminster (CG hm W29) has little time for just any band of adventurers that wants to bother him, and cannot be hired. However, he will occasionally aid good-aligned adventurers who serve the Dale or who have come across unusual magic.

You can use Elminster as a plot device of sorts, a voice of authority to give floundering players a clue or to help PCs against tough opposition by providing them with information, safe shelter, and identification of interesting magical items. Be careful not to overuse Elminster in this role; the mage usually has better things to do with his time in all but the most dire circumstances.

And second is from a sidebar to certain details on Shadowdale;


Other. Shadowdale is home to Elminster the Sage. Elminster rarely receives visitors and is often away from his tower for extended periods.

Other than that, Elminster's role in the book is framing device, providing opening quotes on each of the various Dales. This is the most powerful NPC in the setting, and his actual recommended role for DMs is 'maybe he can help you identify a plot-important magic item or provide advice' in the book that details the place where he lives, and he serves his original intended function as the framing device for the Forgotten Realms. That's it. No more, no less, probably too busy to help the PCs in whatever their current task is and probably actually away somewhere doing something else. The same applies to Storm Silverhand.

And note, this was in AD&D 2E, where someone being a 29th-level magic user was far less impressive than it sounds given that wizards had severe shortfalls in their abilities and extremely prominent weaknesses. I think these modern editions have made people forget that a little bit.

obryn
2017-06-24, 09:35 PM
The Spellplague, on the other hand, was an elimination of all that I liked about the previous Forgotten Realms. A previous Realms that still has not been restored to the way it was, I might add, and might never be.
Counterpoint: As a campaign setting, it's always restored to exactly the way it was.


And note, this was in AD&D 2E, where someone being a 29th-level magic user was far less impressive than it sounds given that wizards had severe shortfalls in their abilities and extremely prominent weaknesses. I think these modern editions have made people forget that a little bit.
Oh man, this is ... this is just not accurate at all.


On a related point, though, I broke out my copy of the 4e Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide because I felt like I should take another look. And you know what? It's actually a lot worse than I remember it being. The intro part - Loudwater - is too bland and too long. (I get what they were going for but its space should have better been used by something telling people just what is going on and some better campaign ideas.) The map is absolutely awful. And it's just not written in an inviting fashion - it's damn near impenetrable, and it never really gives you a solid idea of what you should do in the setting, or why. It's too much encyclopedia and too little fun.

With that said, I also broke out the 4e Neverwinter book, and it's actually even better than I remember. Very inviting, and it just begs for a DM to dive in and play. It is basically what the 4e Realms should have been, in general, and a good model for any campaign sourcebook.

NecroDancer
2017-06-24, 11:37 PM
Honestly? I couldn't give a flying monkey's about the ruleset of D&D 4E. I didn't like it and didn't intend to use it, and that was fine.

The Spellplague, on the other hand, was an elimination of all that I liked about the previous Forgotten Realms. A previous Realms that still has not been restored to the way it was, I might add, and might never be. I liked the absurd amounts of detail and lore since it gave a sense of a world that was lived in, a world wherein I knew what the popular drinking establishments were, the dice games and musical instruments that would be played there, and the drinks they'd serve. Because that's what most of the detail was, really.

It wasn't about Elminster or the Simbul or Storm Silverhand or Drizzt Do'Urden, because honestly outside of maybe two dedicated sourcebooks and the novels those characters weren't really mentioned except when it was appropriate. And here's what Elminster's entry is in the Dalelands book from 1993. First is from the key to map entries for Shadowdale;



And second is from a sidebar to certain details on Shadowdale;



Other than that, Elminster's role in the book is framing device, providing opening quotes on each of the various Dales. This is the most powerful NPC in the setting, and his actual recommended role for DMs is 'maybe he can help you identify a plot-important magic item or provide advice' in the book that details the place where he lives, and he serves his original intended function as the framing device for the Forgotten Realms. That's it. No more, no less, probably too busy to help the PCs in whatever their current task is and probably actually away somewhere doing something else. The same applies to Storm Silverhand.

And note, this was in AD&D 2E, where someone being a 29th-level magic user was far less impressive than it sounds given that wizards had severe shortfalls in their abilities and extremely prominent weaknesses. I think these modern editions have made people forget that a little bit.

So is the Elmister the Lady of Pain for the forgotten realms?

kraftcheese
2017-06-24, 11:43 PM
I prefer some of the more interesting settings (Dark Sun, Eberron) just personally, but Forgotten Realms can't be beat for the sheer amount of content you can draw on to create a fun game.

There's just decades and decades of lore you can sift through to cherry pick ideas, nations and organizations you can lift wholesale or change to fit your needs, plenty of history to draw on; it makes a DM's job easier and can also help a player find their feet because most everyone who knows about D&D has a few vague ideas of what Abeir- Toril is like.

solidork
2017-06-24, 11:50 PM
I really like the pantheon. Even when I wasn't running or playing in a game that used it, I would occasionally pull our the setting and read over all the different gods and their domains/beliefs.

Mechalich
2017-06-24, 11:58 PM
So is the Elmister the Lady of Pain for the forgotten realms?

Elminster is a self-insert by the developer of the setting. This is a known fact. Elminster represents the vehicle through which Ed Greenwood could meddle in his creation and live out a whole bunch of Realms-oriented fantasies - some of which are surprisingly dark, like what was going on in the man's life to result in Elminster in Hell? Seriously, was he spending too much time with Troy Denning or something? (I joke...mostly). And while having a self-insert character featured prominently in the marketing of the most popular D&D setting of all time is kind of crass, Elminster, as an individual NPC, isn't particularly problematic.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-25, 07:53 AM
Oh man, this is ... this is just not accurate at all.

What I meant by that was that even very high level characters in AD&D were far easier to kill if taken unprepared. There's something to be said about a wizard having a maximum of 79 hit points, and it being a whole lot easier to interrupt and screw over their ability to cast spells.

Coffee_Dragon
2017-06-25, 10:52 AM
Elminster is a self-insert by the developer of the setting. This is a known fact.

Is this something he said or something other people decided? It seems to go a little oddly with the other metafictional conceit he had where a character called Ed Greenwood (which I would not hesitate to call a self-insert) occasionally travelled to the Realms and interacted with Elminster (such as, I think, in the introduction to The Seven Sisters).

Darth Ultron
2017-06-25, 12:16 PM
Is this something he said or something other people decided? It seems to go a little oddly with the other metafictional conceit he had where a character called Ed Greenwood (which I would not hesitate to call a self-insert) occasionally travelled to the Realms and interacted with Elminster (such as, I think, in the introduction to The Seven Sisters).


Ed never said it. Ed Greenwood created Elminster to just be a story teller. The idea was for the old Dragon magazine articles. Elminster would visit Ed and talk about the (yet unpublished) Realms. This allowed Ed to write articles that were not just pure crunch (like Dragon became at the end). Elminster was never meant to be a character. When the Realms was published he was there, but just as a ''here he is''.

The fans wanted more, as did the business folks that owned the Realms. So Elminster evolved...good or bad....but popular as a book with Elminster sold..

Nifft
2017-06-25, 12:26 PM
What I meant by that was that even very high level characters in AD&D were far easier to kill if taken unprepared. There's something to be said about a wizard having a maximum of 79 hit points, and it being a whole lot easier to interrupt and screw over their ability to cast spells.

Lolth had 66 hp.

She was a skittering TPK.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-25, 12:27 PM
Greenwood is on the record as stating that his favourite character is Mirt, and given that Mirt is the character he's using most often now in the more hands-off era of editorial...

Scots Dragon
2017-06-25, 12:40 PM
Lolth had 66 hp.

She was a skittering TPK.

She also had an AC of -10, 70% magic resistance, immunity to a whole gaggle of effects, the melee attacks of a 16 HD monster with 4d4 damage per hit with poison that forces a save-or-die at -4, and ridiculously high level psionics, as well as the standard abilities of a goddess, a variety of spell-like abilities, and absurdly high ranked ability scores.

Elminster's stats didn't even include rules for the Chosen of Mystra thing until the Heroes Lorebook, and it boils down to an extra blasting effect, a few immunities, and a few once-per-day spell-like abilities. I think he has an AC of like 5 or 6.

Nifft
2017-06-25, 01:03 PM
She also had an AC of -10, 70% magic resistance, immunity to a whole gaggle of effects, the melee attacks of a 16 HD monster with 4d4 damage per hit with poison that forces a save-or-die at -4, and ridiculously high level psionics, as well as the standard abilities of a goddess, a variety of spell-like abilities, and absurdly high ranked ability scores.

Elminster's stats didn't even include rules for the Chosen of Mystra thing until the Heroes Lorebook, and it boils down to an extra blasting effect, a few immunities, and a few once-per-day spell-like abilities. I think he has an AC of like 5 or 6. Are you familiar with 3rd Edition?

I ask because that's nothing like how he was presented in 3e.


http://i.imgur.com/uTgzNcZ.jpg

obryn
2017-06-25, 01:31 PM
She also had an AC of -10, 70% magic resistance, immunity to a whole gaggle of effects, the melee attacks of a 16 HD monster with 4d4 damage per hit with poison that forces a save-or-die at -4, and ridiculously high level psionics, as well as the standard abilities of a goddess, a variety of spell-like abilities, and absurdly high ranked ability scores.

Elminster's stats didn't even include rules for the Chosen of Mystra thing until the Heroes Lorebook, and it boils down to an extra blasting effect, a few immunities, and a few once-per-day spell-like abilities. I think he has an AC of like 5 or 6.
Lolth didn't need ability scores - monsters rarely had them. She also didn't get any of these "goddess" abilities you mention because she wasn't. She was an archdemon and had the Demon stuff.

As for elminster, his ac and hp barely matter since he's a level 29 AD&D spellcaster.

Misereor
2017-06-26, 07:25 AM
You know, I am continually fascinated how people just randomly drive-by edition war - especially when it's this far off-topic.

It's not off-topic. We never bothered with Forgotten Realms in 4th edition because we didn't like it.
I haven't the slightest interest in what your opinion is on various editions. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but focus is on the setting, so no edition war.

ahyangyi
2017-06-26, 07:32 AM
I liked 4E and I liked FR, but the 4E FR merged four genasi into one! How could I tolerate that?

Misereor
2017-06-26, 07:38 AM
I liked 4E and I liked FR, but the 4E FR merged four genasi into one! How could I tolerate that?

Oh god, what have I done... :smallbiggrin:

ahyangyi
2017-06-26, 08:04 AM
Oops, I guess I derailed the topic too much. I'll try drag it back a bit:

"Among the numerous changes made to FR during the 3R to 4E transition, one of the changes that I am not fond for is they merged serveral races into one. When you think about it, it really breaks lore and historical events. That's one of the things I don't like about FR: they try to cover every option present in a certain D&D edition, and is thus extremely prone to damage caused by changes in the D&D systems."

obryn
2017-06-26, 08:15 AM
It's not off-topic. We never bothered with Forgotten Realms in 4th edition because we didn't like it.
I haven't the slightest interest in what your opinion is on various editions. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but focus is on the setting, so no edition war.
Dude. You got it backwards; you're the one who volunteered out of nowhere:

"We judged it a blatant attempt to import World of Warcraft mechanics into D&D"

Which is exactly what I am talking about - the weird compulsion of some people to just drive-by edition war by dropping irrelevant (and wrong) statements like that instead of just letting it go and focusing on the topic at hand. :smallsmile: I understand you don't care what my opinion is - and I am saying that I don't care what yours is, either.

Misereor
2017-06-26, 09:25 AM
Dude. You got it backwards; you're the one who volunteered out of nowhere:

"We judged it a blatant attempt to import World of Warcraft mechanics into D&D"

Which is exactly what I am talking about - the weird compulsion of some people to just drive-by edition war by dropping irrelevant (and wrong) statements like that instead of just letting it go and focusing on the topic at hand. :smallsmile: I understand you don't care what my opinion is - and I am saying that I don't care what yours is, either.

You are dead wrong.
"4. ed. never happened in our FR" <-- On topic.
"We didn't like the rules or the setting" <-- reason for the above.

Your comment was unnecessary, contributed nothing, and has helped derail the thread.
Like the weird uncle who overhears someone at thanksgiving dinner mention that they don't like lasagna, and then starts rolling his eyes and carrying on about italian food wars.
I have no clue what you are hoping to achieve by continuing this, but you can have the last word. I will no longer be replying to you.

chainer1216
2017-06-26, 09:30 AM
i like the setting as long as we're staying away from Icewindale and the Spine Of The World. i don't even dislike Drizzt, i'm just sick of it.

obryn
2017-06-26, 09:41 AM
You are dead wrong.
"4. ed. never happened in our FR" <-- On topic.
"We didn't like the rules or the setting" <-- reason for the above.

Your comment was unnecessary, contributed nothing, and has helped derail the thread.
Like the weird uncle who overhears someone at thanksgiving dinner mention that they don't like lasagna, and then starts rolling his eyes and carrying on about italian food wars.
I have no clue what you are hoping to achieve by continuing this, but you can have the last word. I will no longer be replying to you.
Dude, if you'd simply said, "We didn't like the rules or the setting," then whatever - you do you! Play what you like! It's the extra mile you went to, there - beyond "we didn't like it" to "it was WOW on paper" that drew my attention.

I asked about this because this weird phenomenon genuinely mystifies me.

Mark Hall
2017-06-26, 10:00 AM
I will say, I think 4th edition rules can be fantastic for running Forgotten Realms material in a way that closely models the novels. About the time 4e came out, I read Greenwood's Knights of Myth Drannor novels... and they were great. I could see using 4e to run a pre-Time Of Troubles Realms and having no problem. But the changes made to the official setting were, IMO, way too overboard.

And, my content finished for the moment, a word from the Moderator:

The Mod Wonder: Stop arguing about whether it is on topic or not. Seriously. Y'all are going more off topic with your metatopic of whether or not something is off topic than you would be if you simply, as individuals, restricted yourselves to posting on topic, and letting anything you consider off-topic to slide.

Misereor
2017-06-26, 10:10 AM
I will say, I think 4th edition rules can be fantastic for running Forgotten Realms material in a way that closely models the novels. About the time 4e came out, I read Greenwood's Knights of Myth Drannor novels... and they were great. I could see using 4e to run a pre-Time Of Troubles Realms and having no problem. But the changes made to the official setting were, IMO, way too overboard.

And, my content finished for the moment, a word from the Moderator:

The Mod Wonder: Stop arguing about whether it is on topic or not. Seriously. Y'all are going more off topic with your metatopic of whether or not something is off topic than you would be if you simply, as individuals, restricted yourselves to posting on topic, and letting anything you consider off-topic to slide.

I apologize on my part.
(Until 6th edition when I will go ballistic again!)

Mark Hall
2017-06-26, 10:34 AM
I apologize on my part.
(Until 6th edition when I will go ballistic again!)

As expected... as a wise sage once said, "My favorite edition is obviously the best; your favorite is obviously the worst."

One thing I do like about the Realms is the history. There's a LOT of it. Star Wars levels a lot. That gives you a good amount of material to draw on for backstory... but it can also be safely ignored, if you're focusing on the here and now. You MIGHT have an ancient elven doomsday device that's going to wake up and destroy the world... or you might have a thieves' guild that was formed last month who is trying to take over the city. Or you might have both happening at the same time.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-26, 11:36 AM
As expected... as a wise sage once said, "My favorite edition is obviously the best; your favorite is obviously the worst."

One thing I do like about the Realms is the history. There's a LOT of it. Star Wars levels a lot. That gives you a good amount of material to draw on for backstory... but it can also be safely ignored, if you're focusing on the here and now. You MIGHT have an ancient elven doomsday device that's going to wake up and destroy the world... or you might have a thieves' guild that was formed last month who is trying to take over the city. Or you might have both happening at the same time.
<.<

>.>

How have you been looking at my campaign notes?

Mark Hall
2017-06-26, 11:39 AM
<.<

>.>

How have you been looking at my campaign notes?

Please. I've run that very combination of plots. Combined with the party being hunted by Malarites because their priest of Gond was too clever.

Nifft
2017-06-26, 01:28 PM
I also broke out the 4e Neverwinter book, and it's actually even better than I remember. Very inviting, and it just begs for a DM to dive in and play. It is basically what the 4e Realms should have been, in general, and a good model for any campaign sourcebook.

Maybe that's what I'm remembering having liked.

I know there was at least one 4e FR book that was really appealing.

(We had basically stopped playing in FR by that point so I'm kinda fuzzy on specifics.)


(Until 6th edition when I will go ballistic again!)

I guess D&D is like the Star Trek movies in that way, except in D&D only the odd editions are good?

obryn
2017-06-26, 01:51 PM
Maybe that's what I'm remembering having liked.

I know there was at least one 4e FR book that was really appealing.

(We had basically stopped playing in FR by that point so I'm kinda fuzzy on specifics.)
Yeah I can't say I ever used it in play, really - but it's also the first FR-related release in many years to have captured my interest enough to consider running an FR game.

Several late 4e releases were like that - Vor Rukoth was another great sandbox campaign book, for the PoL setting.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-26, 01:54 PM
I guess D&D is like the Star Trek movies in that way, except in D&D only the odd editions are good?

If that was the case, AD&D 2E would be bad, D&D 3E would be genuinely good, and I have no idea how you'd possibly judge the myriad of editions outside of the traditional numbering system, especially since the best core rulebook for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons was, pound for pound, this one;

https://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1708843.jpg

Scots Dragon
2017-06-26, 01:57 PM
Yeah I can't say I ever used it in play, really - but it's also the first FR-related release in many years to have captured my interest enough to consider running an FR game.

Several late 4e releases were like that - Vor Rukoth was another great sandbox campaign book, for the PoL setting.

I liked the Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue and Elminster's Forgotten Realms books, respectively 'cause it detailed a lot about the drow and I'm a sucker for the back-stabbing intrigue stuff, and that it contained a lot of fluff information that added flavour and complexity to the Realms. The fact that the latter was basically an AD&D 2E to D&D 3E era book in terms of how it treated the timeline, with a lot of background information on how the Forgotten Realms came to be published and a lot of the preliminary pre-Grey Box information, was just icing on that cake.

It really helped that they basically ignored the ruleset entirely, and I have no problem with that.

Nifft
2017-06-26, 02:31 PM
Yeah I can't say I ever used it in play, really - but it's also the first FR-related release in many years to have captured my interest enough to consider running an FR game.

Several late 4e releases were like that - Vor Rukoth was another great sandbox campaign book, for the PoL setting.
The PoL environment was one of the things that I think all future editions should continue to steal from 4e.

I'll have to see if I can find my copy of that Neverwinter book.


If that was the case, AD&D 2E would be bad, D&D 3E would be genuinely good, I have no problem with your assertion.


and I have no idea how you'd possibly judge the myriad of editions outside of the traditional numbering system Obviously they'd be the various TV series.
- OD&D: The Original Series
- BECMI: The Next Generation
- Rules Cyclopedia: Deep Space Nine
- Weird homebrew stuff: Voyager

The myriad OSR reboot games might be the Enterprise series.

Fantasy Heartbreaker games might be represented as some (un)successful fan-fiction stories.

GungHo
2017-06-26, 03:16 PM
I enjoyed pre-Time of Troubles. Post-time of troubles was okay, but they got a little too eager about wanting to fill in everything on the map... a lot of the allusions to it being a kitchen sink planet were outright confirmed. Spellplague turned me off thematically and visually, both in the artwork and in the map, which previously was expansive, but clean. I didn't even begrudge "the 3rd ed map squeeze", but just putting holes everywhere was weird. I get that they tried to make it have more variety, but they turned it into an near-apocalyptic world, which didn't really gel much with anything that came before. I haven't really dug much into the current iteration, but there hasn't really been a lot released, either.

For what I liked about the Realms... there was a lot of room to run. There were factions and people that you could choose to either adapt or ignore. Until the ToT, there weren't really a lot of concepts of "Realm-shaking events", so it was perfectly reasonable that your party could do a lot of things and run their own show with some elevated extras and cameos available. ToT raised the game on that and went down the road of "time moves on and the world has inertia", and you could either be on the train or not. However, at the end of the day, it changed the names of some gods and the some of the people in the cameos, but you could still do just about anything you wanted while being able to show a map that other people had seen and had enough background on that they could make characters that weren't laughable. People knew what you meant when you said "my guy wanted to be one of the Purple Dragons until Things Happened."

goto124
2017-06-27, 03:56 AM
I guess D&D is like the Star Trek movies in that way, except in D&D only the odd editions are good?

Windows OS, except how does the numbering system work anyway?

2D8HP
2017-06-27, 08:56 AM
...how does the numbering system work anyway?


The D&D numbering system?

The '91 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_Game_(1991_boxed_set)) rules are "Fifth edition", see:

here (http://www.dmsguild.com/m/product/17171).

It goes:

1e
1974: Arneson/Gygax "Original" (Brown box/White box)

2e
1977: Holmes "Basic" (Bluebook)

3e
1981: Moldvay/Cook "Basic" (B/X)

4e
1983: Mentzer "Basic" (Red box)

5e
1991: Brown/Denning "New Easy to Master" (Black box) - 1994: "Classic" (same as '91, just a different cover).

Out of all of those, the '91/'94 rules really are "Easy to Master" as the editing/English is better, but my favorite is the complete game in just 48 pages Holmes authored 1977 version, which because it was my first FRP, I can't be objective about.

Have you heard otherwise?

tomandtish
2017-06-27, 09:15 AM
No. You did ask if we liked it. More that they have put all of their resources into this campaign world and ignored the more interesting worlds than any other reason. The world itself is fine for a very blah fantasy world, kind of like if you eat a cheeseburger for every meal, even if you liked cheeseburgers, it will get old after awhile.

Very much this. When 3E came out, Greyhawk was supposed to be the new default world setting (literally). That lasted... a few years at most? Then, other than Living Greyhawk, pretty much all expansion material defaulted back to FR.

obryn
2017-06-27, 09:36 AM
Very much this. When 3E came out, Greyhawk was supposed to be the new default world setting (literally). That lasted... a few years at most? Then, other than Living Greyhawk, pretty much all expansion material defaulted back to FR.
I'd more say that WotC looted some of Greyhawk's stuff for the generic default/implied setting. Some parts of Greyhawk's content was seeded around here and there - mostly in the gods, where WotC picked an eclectic group of them from multiple pantheons - but it's not like the Flanaess, Oerth, Greyhawk City, Nyr Dyv, Suel Empire, etc. were ever directly referenced.

Nifft
2017-06-27, 09:44 AM
Very much this. When 3E came out, Greyhawk was supposed to be the new default world setting (literally). That lasted... a few years at most? Then, other than Living Greyhawk, pretty much all expansion material defaulted back to FR.

And therefore prestige classes like Radiant Servant of Pelor and Ruby Knight Vindicator (of Wee Jas) never existed, and Binders didn't have vestiges tied to Greyhawk lore.

No, sorry, you're provably wrong about this.

Greyhawk flavor was pervasive right through the tail end of 3.5e.

What did happen is that monsters & prestige classes got special adaptation notes for use in Eberron and Faerun. That was a fantastic move, and should have been continued for all future editions.

Instead of making the setting-specific stuff inherent, they had started to make it explicit.

I can easily credit this to FR (and also Eberron) being popular during the 3e run, and there being a demand for good separate adaptation notes -- so that's one thing I like about the FR, that by existing and being as popular as Eberron, they helped make setting materials more explicit.

tomandtish
2017-06-27, 10:19 AM
And therefore prestige classes like Radiant Servant of Pelor and Ruby Knight Vindicator (of Wee Jas) never existed, and Binders didn't have vestiges tied to Greyhawk lore.

No, sorry, you're provably wrong about this.

Greyhawk flavor was pervasive right through the tail end of 3.5e.

What did happen is that monsters & prestige classes got special adaptation notes for use in Eberron and Faerun. That was a fantastic move, and should have been continued for all future editions.

Instead of making the setting-specific stuff inherent, they had started to make it explicit.

I can easily credit this to FR (and also Eberron) being popular during the 3e run, and there being a demand for good separate adaptation notes -- so that's one thing I like about the FR, that by existing and being as popular as Eberron, they helped make setting materials more explicit.

I did say "pretty much" all.


I'd more say that WotC looted some of Greyhawk's stuff for the generic default/implied setting. Some parts of Greyhawk's content was seeded around here and there - mostly in the gods, where WotC picked an eclectic group of them from multiple pantheons - but it's not like the Flanaess, Oerth, Greyhawk City, Nyr Dyv, Suel Empire, etc. were ever directly referenced.

Exactly. Outside of Living Greyhawk, only a handful of modules ever referenced Greyhawk locations or even indicated they were set in Greyhawk: Fright at Tristor, Standing Stone, and Red Hand of Doom. Heck, even in the core books, Greyhawk is mentioned exactly once, and not in a way that lets you know this is a Greyhawk world, but rather as part of a quote about super adventures: "Classic published super adventures have been set in the fabled ruins of Greyhawk...". Oerth isn't mentioned at all.

So if you were a new player to the game at the time 3.0 came out, there's nothing in the base material to tell you that Greyhawk is the "default" world. And it doesn't take long at all before you'd assume it was the FR based on supplemental material.

Kobard
2017-06-27, 10:30 AM
Do I like the Forgotten Realms? Nope. Next question.

Scots Dragon
2017-06-27, 01:00 PM
Speaking of Greyhawk, one thing I always liked was the explicit set of assumptions from a lot of early Forgotten Realms media that the two worlds were relatively closely linked, and that their major characters often wound up interacting. Such as in the Wizards Three articles, where Elminster and Mordenkainen (and Dalamar from Dragonlance) were drinking buddies and would talk about various spells they'd invented or monsters they'd encountered or such.


Do I like the Forgotten Realms? Nope.
I truly value your insightful and meaningful contribution to this thread.

Kobard
2017-06-30, 07:12 AM
I truly value your insightful and meaningful contribution to this thread.A question was asked by the OP, and I answered it. I'm not sure what more you want. This is not a thread for bashing Forgotten Realms, so my part stops at the initial question.

90sMusic
2017-07-01, 04:21 AM
I have nothing against the forgotten realms, but I have always preferred 100% homebrew settings and campaigns because you truly have to explore it. You won't know anything about the kingdoms or cultures or history until you learn it through gameplay and rolls. You don't know what will happen in the story until it happens. And so on. Everything is new and fresh and original.

In forgotten realms, most people have a vast wealth of knowledge about the world and will metagame with it, even if they do it subconsciously. Also players tend to argue that their character will know more than it should just because the player happens to know something and so on.

I just like custom settings infinitely better.

FreddyNoNose
2017-07-02, 02:12 AM
You are now required to say something nice about the 4e Forgotten Realms.

It can be used as a bad example?!

Scots Dragon
2017-07-02, 02:44 AM
It can be used as a bad example?!

It could still have been worse, maybe? I mean, I can think of ways in which it would have been worse. Not many, mind.

FreddyNoNose
2017-07-02, 01:37 PM
It could still have been worse, maybe? I mean, I can think of ways in which it would have been worse. Not many, mind.

Bad example doesn't mean it can't be worse. Obvious or not?

Nifft
2017-07-02, 02:34 PM
It could still have been worse, maybe? I mean, I can think of ways in which it would have been worse. Not many, mind.

Sure, I mean, it could have been the 3e Forgotten Realms.

Ugh, right?

At least it's not that bad anymore.

Scots Dragon
2017-07-02, 02:52 PM
Sure, I mean, it could have been the 3e Forgotten Realms.

Ugh, right?

At least it's not that bad anymore.

Well considering that we're now in the Forgotten Realms for 5E, I agree, it's no longer as bad as it was in 3E. It was worse than both in the interim, but got over it.

J-H
2017-07-02, 02:53 PM
I like it because the Baldur's Gate series is set there. The deity set seems relatively small, distinct, and easy to remember.

I still don't know what Greyhawk looks like, other than that there's a city named Greyhawk and a giant canyon somewhere. The names are also really goofy, from Flanaess and Furyondy to Gregor or Geoff or whatever it is, up to Heironimus (sp?) and Hextor, who seem to be LG vs LE with no personality. The only other Greyhawk deity that even comes to mind is Wee Jas.

Scots Dragon
2017-07-02, 02:58 PM
I like it because the Baldur's Gate series is set there. The deity set seems relatively small, distinct, and easy to remember.

I still don't know what Greyhawk looks like, other than that there's a city named Greyhawk and a giant canyon somewhere. The names are also really goofy, from Flanaess and Furyondy to Gregor or Geoff or whatever it is,

My mother has a coworker called Geoff. It's pronounced as 'Jeff', so it's basically the Duchy of Jeff.

'We need to save Jeff from the giants!' really does not have much of a ring to it.

Nifft
2017-07-02, 03:29 PM
I like it because the Baldur's Gate series is set there. The deity set seems relatively small, distinct, and easy to remember.

I still don't know what Greyhawk looks like, other than that there's a city named Greyhawk and a giant canyon somewhere. The names are also really goofy, from Flanaess and Furyondy to Gregor or Geoff or whatever it is, up to Heironimus (sp?) and Hextor, who seem to be LG vs LE with no personality. The only other Greyhawk deity that even comes to mind is Wee Jas.

Greyhawk currently has the most beautiful maps of any setting, so you should definitely go see what it looks like:

http://ghmaps.net/greyhawk-maps/flaness-map-download/

Scroll down for the Winter map, too.

(The same map-maker is now working on a new setting, so Greyhawk may not keep the title of "most beautiful maps" forever...)

Scots Dragon
2017-07-02, 03:45 PM
Greyhawk currently has the most beautiful maps of any setting, so you should definitely go see what it looks like:

http://ghmaps.net/greyhawk-maps/flaness-map-download/

Scroll down for the Winter map, too.

(The same map-maker is now working on a new setting, so Greyhawk may not keep the title of "most beautiful maps" forever...)

They're nice and all, but I have to admit I always kinda preferred the older AD&D-era maps, and I quite liked the one that Dungeon Magazine put out a while back. You can find the latter here (http://www.cklarock.com/dnd/stuff/Greyhawk-World-Map-Large.jpg).

FreddyNoNose
2017-07-02, 03:45 PM
Greyhawk currently has the most beautiful maps of any setting, so you should definitely go see what it looks like:

http://ghmaps.net/greyhawk-maps/flaness-map-download/

Scroll down for the Winter map, too.

(The same map-maker is now working on a new setting, so Greyhawk may not keep the title of "most beautiful maps" forever...)

+2 for the link

Nifft
2017-07-02, 04:14 PM
They're nice and all, but I have to admit I always kinda preferred the older AD&D-era maps,
You are legally entitled to hold opinions that are objectively wrong.


+2 for the link
Her stuff is amazing, and she gives away all the modeling ingredients that she uses for those maps.

Generous person who does lovely work.

== == ==

Actually that reminds me of one thing that I liked about FR (back in 3.0e, which wasn't actually a good time for other reasons, but whatever) -- the production values of the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting set a high bar for all future campaign books.

The detail maps were good-looking. The fold-out map inside the book cover was great. The trade-goods map was inspiring. (It turned out to be pretty worthless upon analysis, but it was still inspiring -- I wanted to play a trade-oriented game after seeing it.)

Good NPC* portraits, good fonts & layout, great presentation overall.

I think the 3e FRCS set the bar for a setting book, until Eberron surpassed it many years later.


*) Yes I can even say something nice about the overpowered Mary Sue NPCs.

Scots Dragon
2017-07-02, 06:49 PM
The detail maps were good-looking. The fold-out map inside the book cover was great.

... if a little squished compared to how it used to be. The previous editions presented a physically larger Forgotten Realms, and it's nice to see that they've returned to the previous scaling.

A wee comparison;
https://scontent-lht6-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/19693738_1555924447786310_8972472973954294172_o.jp g?oh=4282ccb392307576318239a035c05e85&oe=5A0CFABB

obryn
2017-07-03, 07:05 PM
Sure, I mean, it could have been the 3e Forgotten Realms.

Ugh, right?

At least it's not that bad anymore.
:golf clap:


Greyhawk currently has the most beautiful maps of any setting, so you should definitely go see what it looks like:

http://ghmaps.net/greyhawk-maps/flaness-map-download/

Scroll down for the Winter map, too.

(The same map-maker is now working on a new setting, so Greyhawk may not keep the title of "most beautiful maps" forever...)
Yeah, silly names or not, Greyhawk's maps just scream "ADVENTURE IN ME!"

FreddyNoNose
2017-07-03, 07:17 PM
:golf clap:


"ADVENTURE IN ME!"

My fantasy is to have Kate Beckinsale say that to me!

coffeeman
2017-07-06, 11:51 PM
My first ever encounter with anything D&D-related was Neverwinter Nights back in 2002, which took place in the Forgotten Realms. I guess I'm nostalgic for it. Love the setting for my fantasy adventuring.

Melcar
2017-07-10, 03:54 PM
As a wee thought experiment spin off from this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?526375-Why-do-people-hate-the-forgotten-realms), I figure it's worth asking the obvious question of why its fans like the Forgotten Realms as opposed to why certain people hate it. For me it's a combination of things that draw me to the Forgotten Realms, from its complexity in detail to many of its stories to the video games that got me into Advanced Dungeons & Dragons to begin with, but I'm pretty curious as to the opinions of the other denizens of the playground on this.

Naturally if you've got a negative opinion on the Forgotten Realms feel free to use the thread linked above, rather than using this one.

The level of detail, the characters and the novels did it for me! Besides Tolkien universe, Forgotten Realms is my favorite! Oh yes and the quality of the setting!

Arutema
2017-07-11, 02:04 AM
Do I like FR? Not anymore.

It was the first campaign setting I was exposed to, through the Neverwinter Nights games. Which I must give credit for introducing me to D&D and tabletop by extension.

The points where I stopped liking the setting was, paradoxically, Mask of the Betrayer, which was a really good game with strong ties to the setting.

Mask's story gets heavy into the deities of FR, how portfolios shifted over time (especially during the time of troubles), and of course, the wall of the faithless and gross mistreatment of atheists in the setting. In the end, the game lacked any option for your epic level PC to challenge Kelemvor over the wall or meaningfully advance a party member's crusade against it.

And like that, I realized that in a setting with such activist gods and epic NPCs, that there simply was no room left for PC agency. Any actual changes to the setting were for the "divine soap opera" and the novels it played out it.