Saturday, January 14, 2012

5E and the FR

From the EnWorld 5E thread:

"The Forgotten Realms will be supported from the start, and a video game art studio from China has been hired to fully detail the Realms. We asked if going forward support would be continued for the current time after the Spellplague and the Neverwinter Campaign. A WotC spokesperson answered, "The Forgotten Realms has a rich history and we will support all of it. It is for the gamers to decide which time they would enjoy playing in." That would allow Wizards to take advantage of a massive back catalog of products."

I have mixed feelings about this. I remember buying the original Forgotten Realms Boxed Set (pictured above) - and found it really inspiring. Particularly because there was so much room for exploration and adventure. It was full of little hooks.

The problem, it seems to me, is that between modules, novels, and splats, 1) the Forgotten Realms have been done to death. Is there any place left to go exploring? 2) 4E really buggered the entire setting.

There needs to be a new campaign setting similar to early Greyhawk and the early Realms that inspires folks to game and to create.

I know it works contrary to the splatbook model, but the more space that's left blank (or briefly outlined) the more interesting I find it - and that brings me back to the original FR Boxed Set.

Thoughts on 5E FR or campaign settings in general?


  1. "a video game art studio from China has been hired to fully detail the Realms."

    1) Like you, I thought that the Realms had been fully detailed by the end of 2E.

    2) "A video game art studio"? That's what is wrong with D&D since 2E for me.

  2. I agree with both of you completely. I wonder if WotC approached some of the OSR power guys and asked them to join in shaping the new D&D if those of who are part of the OSR would see this as a 'building bridges' act or not.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. There's plenty left to explore, if WotC wishes to take advantage of it. Ed Greenwood has said he's always been surprised they keep redoing the same areas of the world over and over again instead of detailing the other continents of the world, which he made up for his home game. That said, if they are going to make a Realms product line that supports play in the era before the Time of Troubles (the original grey box version essentially) I'd welcome 5E Realms books. I've no interest in seeing books dealing with play beyond the original boxed set era.

  3. Ironically, I felt that the implied setting of 4E (the Points of Light and Nentir Vale) was an excellent example of a briefly outlined, hook-laden fantasy setting. I was really bummed out when they cancelled the Gazetteer for the setting.

  4. Hey Anonymous, all comments by punk bitches will be removed. Now piss off.

  5. Now I am just curious as to what anonymous had to say. Other than that, does 5th edition really need a default setting? For us old timers the answer is no, we all have our own preferred worlds, home-brewed or otherwise, that we'll play in regardless of edition. For any newbies attracted to D&D, I say give them the Known World (Mystara), and introduce it slowly. Sure they can, and I am sure will, still give us the Forgotten Realms, maybe Greyhawk, and probably a few others too.

  6. The Forgotten Realms is old. In that, it is going to have fans of every era, including the new one. I myself felt that WoTC could have taken some of the bigger events from some of the later novels and turned the realms more dangerous or more proving grounds for players.

    For example:

    The Dragon Rage: Lots of stuff torn up and destroyed. Lots of draco liches. Lots of good dragons suffering guilt.

    Sembia-Shades: Whole country taken over by the shades. Whose gonna take action?

    Myth Drannor Reborn: This may seem out of place but... things aren't secured yet, heroes are still needed. Gives players potential patrons as well as a real dangerous setting as demons and other horrors are still around.

    threat from the sea: sharksbane wall in sea of fallen stars gone. baldurs gate and waterdeep shaken up by attacks. pirates and sea devils all over the damn place.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few but there were some big shake ups and the timeline advance seemed wasted to me because all of those things in the new timeline are essentially either resolved or unchanged for 100 years. how boring.

  7. I hear what people are saying about the FR. I'm one who has never read a FR novel, so I'm not dialed-in to any events, but even if I was, who cares? The novels to me are the author's version of the Realms, not mine. Why must a novel influence any DM's campaign? Yes, I understand that there are a lot of FR enthusiasts out there that seem to take any and all FR novels as canon lore. That's a shame and a limitation they have placed on themselves if they can't find any more places in the Realms to adventure if it's all been detailed and explored.

    But a solution is to just shelve the Realms and maybe go with Ebberon? That setting doesn't have many novels written about it and wasn't 'nuked' by a Spellplague-type event.

    Or just make a blank-slate setting, like the Nentir Vale for 4E. Hell, they could probably keep Nentir Vale since it was pretty much a PoL setting and not much was detailed about it.

  8. I would love to see Greyhawk get some much deserved love in the next edition. It really hasn't been done to death like the FR has been. Not that I don't love the FR, but what they did to the realms in 4e was an abomination..

  9. I would like to see them return to giving referees tools for generating their own settings. Be more explicit about things like "here is how you decide what the next village over is like" rather than "here is the next village over in setting X".

    I also actually think the Nentir Vale proto-setting in 4E could have been a good start, but the 4E books don't do enough hand-holding regarding how to develop the setting further.

    Honestly, I think there could be commercial sense in both the over-detailed canon setting and the build-your-own style, because you can sell modules using the second strategy.