>>37188912 Similar to what I think of the Star Wars Universe...canon is everything printed through 2nd Edition, anything that happens after is a lie and never happened. DR 1374 and beyond are the province of the DM.
>>37188912 It's my favorite setting to run games in.
Forgotten Realms is a tool box. You can find hundreds of pages and dozens of maps detailing every location on the entire planet, and a few in orbit. Forgotten Realms is for when you want to run a generic, high fantasy game. Generic high fantasy can be in any setting--it's the same and no one cares whether YOUR elves have blue skin or cat ears, or if your dwarves have XYZ inconsequential differences. All the settings play the same, anyway. And Forgotten Realms has every corner of that generic setting well-detailed. So I use it.
A very detailed general high fantasy whose strengths are overwhelmed by Mary Sues. There are plenty of smaller threats a party can take care of, but when it comes to the epic threats (or even just major ones), it becomes a question of: why isn't X (Wizard, Cleric, Druid) doing anything about this? This was particularly bad in 3.5 given how just utterly amazing casters were, and it's hard for a player to feel and do anything important in a setting where it will mostly likely be done before they even get there.
Taking these characters out is all fine and good, but leaves a mostly bland setting behind. If that's what you need from your books, then it's great! But honestly, I think Mystara handled that balance of characters and their levels along with the world better, albeit with some silliness.
>>37190064 The rampant Mary Sueism was pretty bad even in older versions of FR.
I still remember running the clusterfuck of railroading and poor ideas that was the avatar adventure trilogy. At one particular point we have the avatar of Bane leading the armies of Zhentil Keep to Shadowdale, because it just happens to be one of the places where there is a literal stairway to heaven. This culminates in a Bane versus Elminster fight, which is described as Big Boys duking it out with adventurers on the sideline, and the DM is instructed to throw the players a bone and let them have a few swipes too so that they don't feel totally left out.
(This whole thing leads to the players being accused of killing Elminster and they have to escape and holy shit lets not go to all the massive railroading through the entire trilogy.)
I try to not post about the Realms because I love them so damn much, but I just got my internet back up, so I will say my piece. I've missed /tg/.
It's a great setting. Sure, it's big, and there is a lot too it. What I don't get is all this talk of Mary Sues every time it gets brought up.
Look, I know Salvatore wrote WAY TOO MUCH about a damn dark elf. I know Greenwood wishes he was goddamn Elminster.
I just never inject a major NPC that some author dreamed up for their novel. I don't like when other people are running a tabletop game for me and do it. Why would I do it to my players? If you don't like all the Mary Sue in Forgotten Realms novels, don't fucking use them. Having never done it myself, my players have ALL loved the Forgotten Realms. I keep as close to whats in the source books as humanly possible. It has enthralled a couple people just because the level of DEPTH.
I do agree that it is very Tolkienish. It is. I enjoy that aspect too. Sure, some parts are very generic. Heavily generic even. The world is too fucking vast for that to be an issue. Pick an area that's unique. Go to the out to the Shaar, take a trip down to Halruaa, or step onto another plane of existence for Mystra's sake.
The best campaign I've run in the Realms took place in Damara (a fairly generic northern country rip for adventure yadda yadda). My group was fighting damned goblins, orcs, and ogres, oh my. They had a damn blast guys, and it wasn't the orcs, or the system, or anything like that. It was the very rich background the setting brought to this northern settlement. Organizations like Tightpurse, Nightsong, and the scattered barbarian tribes. The Monastery of the Yellow Rose and the clerics of Ilmater who allowed the party to sample their long celebrated blueberry wine after their long trek through the wastes in the dead of winter.
>>37190958 Most people (at least in my experience) like Eberron more than FR but for the life of me I cannot figure out why. Magitech does not appeal to me in the slightest and Warforged are probably the worst race since Drow, Tieflings and Dragonborn. Of course my gateway to tabletop games was playing NWN1 on my friend's computer so I'm probably biased, but then again so is everyone else for different reasons. Fuck Eberron.
>>37195030 imo you should not even use existing names of things from other sources. So no using Garen, Jax, Darius, ect, from league because your players dont know about that paticular game.
like wise with other things, like the Tome of Ash and Bone. Be creative, make your own thing up.
I dont even use the cannon for FR. I make my own shit up only loosely based on cannon.
Impuilter - A human Monarch-Steampunkish nation. Damara - A gnomish magocracy of good alignment. Vaasa - An evil gnomish Magocracy constatly at war with damara Narfell - A nation of humans with a monarch government. The Great Dale - a massive nation in the forests of elves and men. Thesk - A human nation known for their shipwrights and timber. Aglarond & Atumbel - Currently in civil war, Atumblel is trying to secede. Both human monmarchys Thay - An evil human magocracy with a focus on necromancy. Mulhorand, Unther, Chessenta, Chondath - "The Four Kingdoms" each ruled by a family named after the country. All human monarchies. They used to be one nation of men before they broke long ago. Turmish - Dwarvish homeland, also the source of most of the weapons in the realm. Amn - Merchant kingdom, ruled by council of merchants. Basically libertarian. Tethyr & Cormyr - two warrior nations, both human monarchys. good in alignment. Teythyr tends towards warriors while Cormyr tends toward trade Calimshan - A major trader and source of textiles and cloths.
just take the FR maps and use the generic cannon to flesh it out/homebrew your own stuff using its maps.
It's a campaign setting that has so many Mary Sue NPCs running around that you can't stick your arm out in the middle of nowhere and not happen to bump into at least two of them.
Also the PCs are irrevelant since the very Gods that are worshipped rather frequently walk the planet, therefore they save the day and the PCs just kind of go 'ooohh' and 'aahh' at all the might and majesty.
First fantasy novel I ever read was the Crystal Shard. I loved growing up with Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale but during the 2000s, I fell into the trap of listening to older neckbeards rant about how the Forgotten Realms is all about other guys' Mary Sues.
Recently after finding a group that was playing a game set in FR, I've rediscovered that love. It's easy to avoid association with any sort of superpowered NPC until you as a party are able to contest their power. And to the people who constantly ask why all of these powerful demigods don't solve every problem - it's a big world and they can't solve every problem.
Baldur's Gates, Icewind Dales and Neverwinter Nights were great, and some of the lore is pretty nice. On the other hand, it has too many overpowered NPCs like Drizzt and Elminster, and I heard that the Spellplague fucked everything up, Helm was killed and Mystra is still alive for some reason.
>>37196022 Dunno if that's grognards, man. Just might be unimaginative people. Grognards I know are running everything from acid fantasy to creepy apocalyptic sorta-scifi to balls-out anime shenanigans in whatever DIY DnD system they've hacked together themselves over a decade or so.
Forgotten Realms is a fairly nice setting. It's great for DMs that suck at world building because of how detailed it is, and how pretty much every single fantasy cliche can be found somewhere in it.
It helps if you remember that the super high power Mary Sue NPCs are basically the Realms equivalent of a nuclear bomb and work under MAD rules. They really don't do that much because if they do High Level NPCs of the opposite alignment will act against them and next thing you know half of Faerun just fell into the Plane of Shadow or something due to epic magic battles and Divine Intervention.
>>37198370 They do. It's just that PCs are usually dealing with their agents. If your PCs are working with the Harpers they're going to be fighting a lot of Zhents, which means they'll get on Manshoons shit list.
However until they reach Epic Levels they're not worth him dealing with directly.
>>37194851 >Most people (at least in my experience) like Eberron more than FR but for the life of me I cannot figure out why.
it solves most of the common complaints about FR. the novels aren't default canon, so there aren't tons of mary sues around. in fact, a deliberate effort is made to keep high-level NPCs to a minimum, and the handful of level 17-20 NPCs are usually stuck in one place for whatever reason (the lolipope loses her powers when she leaves her cathedral, the big druid tree is a tree, ect). the gods aren't a clusterfuck and most of them are either ambigiously real or not very interventionary. the timeline is fixed at a certain point so there aren't huge world-shattering events every ten minutes. more emphasis is placed on the 1-10 bracket where most games actually play then the epic levels hardly anyone reaches. the world takes into account having super-common magic and runs with that, instead of keeping everything artificially medieval but still having magic everywhere. there are no always-evil races or borderline magical realms like the FR drow. there's also less of an emphasis on laying down as many concrete details as possible and more on giving the DM plot hooks and shit which they can use in their own way. finally, the setting sticks to a consistent feel and introduces more new elements that make it feel a bit less generic kitchen-sinky, at least to some.
>>37189501 >>37195001 This. It's just really detailed, and the NPC/god issue can be easily ignored. If you want generic fantasy with a solid foundation or are otherwise adverse to making your own setting, FR is useful.
>>37198117 >>37198298 Think he means Larloch. Super Lich extraordinaire who has the most magic of any creature in the entire setting, he has some artifacts in his possession that the gods wouldn't even trust with Mystra's chosen, yet he gets away with it because that's just how he rolls. Also it's implied that the original goddess of magic gave them to him back in the Netheril days. He just wants to sit in his castle and continue doing research, but because adventurers keep coming in and breaking shit he built a giant fortress full of enthralled vampires and even enslaved liches. But since some adventurers are suicidally stupid he also invented such fun classes as the "Flay" spell, which back in the AD&D days was just 'you take massive damage, most of your skin is instantly torn from your body, and save or die as he rips the flesh from your bones.'
>>37198728 All novels being default canon definitely hurts the universe more than it helps it. But looking from edition to edition... 1e had some amazing building blocks establishing the basis of several big areas of the setting and saying 'go wild'. The 2e products were a very interesting world and introduced the concept that not all good guys are good and not all bad guys are bad, even hinting that some of the major lore was actually propaganda that went absolutely nowhere, but it was an interesting thought. 3e was still solid in showing the world, but it became clear that a lot of it was there just to cut out the less marketable parts of the realms and remove some of the adult content. Not great, but not bad either, just unnecessary. The 4e realms were clearly because some people higher up no longer wanted the Realms, though as would come to light later was more just a marketing department talking out the ass about shit they don't understand.
Curious for the 5e realms, but honestly at this point it feels like WotC would make the most money by just reprinting the TSR books with "new and improved" or "added fluff" to get the grognards and give huge world building books to the new people.
I played the setting for something like 10 years and loved it. I always saw the huge amount of high level NPCs and active gods as a "There's Always A Bigger Fish" situation. It keeps PCs from thinking they're hot shit and can do anything with no consequences just because they hit mid to high levels, as well as insuring there will be challenges for them in the future should they continue to pursue them into epic levels.
And after all that time as a player in the realms both at tabletop and the various crpgs, I got around to reading many of the novels. I wish I had done that much earlier as it really immerses you into the lore more than the source books and now I have a bad habit of seeing stats and tabletop terms in my head when I read about these characters.
Worst fucking setting I've ever had to endure. The parts that aren't mind-numbingly cliché are so over-the-top retarded that I honestly wonder how much alcohol was consumed within the period of its creation.
>>37189501 >>37195001 >>37198665 Yes, this, it's clearly the intent of wotc and tsr before them that FR be seen as the default detailed generic DnD setting, as opposed to the merely implied framework setting contained in the core books. Most campaign settings have something that sets them apart from the default implied setting of DnD, something that you wont get if you just roll with the default genericism, something that just making up your own generic setting based on the framework provided by the rulebooks wont give you. In FR's case, what sets it apart is it's detail. It's the default generic setting but filled out, no work on the players' part needed. It's the generic DnD setting for people to use when they're too lazy too build their own.
It's also the source for a lot of DnD IP. If you want to sell novels and toys and whatever it helps to have a specific world filled with specific characters, as opposed to generic DnD land. Unfortunately this has a pretty negative effect on it's usefulness as a setting for telling your own tales in, since it already has a bunch of world-saving heroes running around.
It's passable albeit cliché once you strip out Ed Greenwood's Magical Realm. The biggest problem I have with it is that Glorantha does the whole stupidly detailed high fantasy world much better, so I don't have much of a reason for using FR.
>>37188912 It's my favorite setting. 4e shattered realms is a shit though.
I tend to grab bits of Golarion I like and fit them in; since they both have a bunch of analogues to real world mythology that's pretty easy to do.
I wish it had a larger number of interesting factions. The ones I've seen are pretty good though.
4e fucked up a lot of shit though. We'll see how I feel about the 5e realms. They're fixing some of the stuff 4e ruined, but I doubt I will be seeing Thay and Halruaa again.
Halruaa is great; as are Thay, Waterdeep; the Western Heartlands; the Sword Coast; the Dalelands; and the various ancient elven kingdoms. The City of Shade is also pretty boss.
Mythals are pretty cool; and I have yet to see an Arcane Age supplement I didn't like. FR Drow are best Drow. I like the surface drow in the forests, and vhaeraunites.Menzoberranzan is an interesting place to adventure; if you can get together a party of locals.
>>37198636 >a deliberate effort is made to keep high-level NPCs to a minimum I don't like that at all. Clearly some people are interested in it, but I just don't get it. I tend to run a FR-type setting, where Drizzt might be pretty powerful, but there are hundreds of equally high level NPCs running around.
But then, I don't like this "even level 1 adventurers are above what average people are capable of" crap.
Timeline being fixed is a good idea. Give me a setting, detail different eras, and let me play in whichever one I want to. Don't give me a constantly forward-moving timeline for the setting.
>>37203489 >It's also the source for a lot of DnD IP. If you want to sell novels and toys and whatever it helps to have a specific world filled with specific characters, as opposed to generic DnD land. Unfortunately this has a pretty negative effect on it's usefulness as a setting for telling your own tales in, since it already has a bunch of world-saving heroes running around.
Those world saving heroes are busy with their own problems, and their own villains, which are all over the setting?
The only thing that means; is if your bad guy is "The biggest threat to the world" then the PCs have a lot of allies to draw from.
Don't run such a tired and chiche'd plot, and those NPCs will have equally or more important things to deal with than whatever your PCs are doing.
>>37198840 >All novels being default canon definitely hurts the universe more than it helps it. Personally, I like this.
What I don't like is the constantly advancing "default timeline" happening at the same time as the novels.
The way I see it; "the time period that all the novels are coming out in this year" is the one era I don't want my game to be set in.
It might be better if the novels and their release dats told you what factions, places, times, and characters would be involved in the plots before their release; so you could decide how you want to handle them.
My suggestion is to set your game before the new novels and the marching timeline.
Go back like; 5 years (or more). If you're going to be set at the most future place that has been published for the realms, make it clear your game diverges from canon the second it starts. Nothing after day 1 of the campaign has or will happen, unless you actively include it.
>>37200689 >But DMing it as-written? Only Planescape is worse. Baffling.
The most fun "DM it as written" settings I have ever played a game in were Forgotten Realms and Planescape. What settings do you actually like?
I've also wanted to play in a marvel superheroes game set in modern day marvel; but I don't really want to run it, and everyone I've ever seen try to run a "marvel" game fuck it up to the point where its something else entirely ("regular world, and everything is now suddenly starting to include random haphazard marvel setting elements"). No thanks.
>>37205617 I would hesitantly make the claim that the FR and Planescape games that you've played were not as-written, but instead close to. As-written, there is no reason or purpose for Adventurers almost anywhere in FR or in Sigil - In fact, it's entirely likely that being an adventurer is going to get you an entirely different sort of attention than is wanted in order to live more than a couple weeks.
But to be fair, even Wizards ignores it's own fluff and plot when writing adventures. For example, in the LFR during 4e there was an adventure in Balder's Gate where the Flaming Fists ask the party of adventurers to look into things for them. This is against canon because not only do the Fists have an extensive organization that certainly has go-fers to deal with the loosely unrelated shit going on that they didn't want to deal with, they also don't often hire Adventurers during the time period due to the fact that a great deal of them are nation-less opportunistic fucks, and they're at least trying to keep a professional face.
And this is repeated all over the place. Adventures take place in locations that, according to the Campaign setting, noone *ever* goes to... And yet there's a small convenient village that needs help from some non-native species. Waterdeep and Neverwinter are in constant need for adventurers to go do shit, despite there being a large and often bored selection of natives that go and do these things ALL THE TIME. The same plot contrivances that let the Players get advance warning of whatever's coming down the mountain is the same reason that the Players being the ONLY ONES who can get up said mountain is dumb.
In other words it's a terrible setting as written because SO MUCH has been written about it that there's really no place for the PC's, unless you willfully ignore certain parts. Sigil is even worse - Any time the PC's do ANYTHING there should be 3-4 organizations that they've pissed off and a couple of gangs that they've intruded upon.
>Waterdeep and Neverwinter are in constant need for adventurers to go do shit, despite there being a large and often bored selection of natives that go and do these things ALL THE TIME.
If waterdeep or neverwinter are in trouble; the PCs will likely have a large number of allies helping them. Waterdeep probably doesn't need the help of some level 5 adventurers (if it does, it's probably employing a few hundred NPCs as powerful as the players are). If your players think the city can only be saved by them, and they're level 5; your players are either overinflating the threat; or are sitting on some information that should really be turned over to the authorities.
Adventuring in waterdeep shouldn't be about becoming the saviors of waterdeep unless you'e in the 17-20 range. Otherwise; waterdeep is your superdungeon, filled with a variety of factions. You need to stay out of the way of the threats you know you can't handle, and make a difference where you can, as you level up.
>The same plot contrivances that let the Players get advance warning of whatever's coming down the mountain is the same reason that the Players being the ONLY ONES who can get up said mountain is dumb.
So don't be a shitty GM/don't run a shitty module? I don't know what to tell you here. a party of level 5 adventurers isn't anyone's "last and only hope"; they're the equivalent of army privates just out of training. There should be lots more where they came from.
>It's a terrible setting as written because SO MUCH has been written about it that there's really no place for the PC's, unless you willfully ignore certain parts. There's lots of places for the PCs. They just aren't big heroes at level 1; they're small fish in a big ocean. 1-20 is the journey from chumps to champs.
>>37205864 >>37206297 >Sigil is even worse - Any time the PC's do ANYTHING there should be 3-4 organizations that they've pissed off and a couple of gangs that they've intruded upon.
That's exactly what I expect out of a game in Sigil. The players explore and learn about the factions; they probably make a few enemies or piss some people off, and then they join a faction and rise through its ranks to become movers and shakers in Sigil. If they don't join a faction, that's hard mode; and either they're really good at keeping a low profile, or they piss off a lot of people.
If they want to stay neutral, (with a small setting tweak) maybe the factions hire adventurers anonymously to do jobs that can't be traced back to them, like they're shadowrunners.
>>37205393 That's a load of bullshit, shit, man, don't get so defensive. Listen to yourself. Those characters add nothing to a game, and needing to go out of your away to every time explain why they are not saving the day instead of the PCs has absolutely nothing to do with a plot being clichéd. That's a complete fucking non-sequitur. Look, maybe you love the shitty novels or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact that it's bad setting design.
>>37206379 That's retarded. A level 1 warrior isn't good enough to put on the front lines. They're a fresh teenage recruit with a small amount of training; at best.
If the players can hit level 20, and they can find specific level 20 NPCs who are actually interested in being hired by them to perform services (as the book says they can), then there are much larger numbers of level 20 characters running around than that, who have varying moral stances and motivations.
>>37206484 I enjoy some of the novels, but that's not the point. The point is that your 8th level PCs aren't world heroes. They exist in a world where becoming a level 20 wizard is equivalent to becoming good enough at a sport that you might get into the olympics.
It's a high magic setting, with NPCs & monsters whose levels match D&D's power curve. There are large quantities of level 10 characters running around, and that level 10 NPC from such and such novel really isn't that big a deal. Your level 15 threat isn't likely more important than the thousands of other level 15 threats running around in the world.
>>37206784 DMG has contradictory information; so I am going with the information that makes sense.
Look at the section for hiring NPCs for services. Where are all those high level wizardsand fighters you're commissioning coming from, if everyone but the PCs is level 1.
It's pretty clear that FR doesn't operate at the scale you're suggesting, and instead operates at the scale I'm suggesting.
Those level 10 "heroes" from the novels who apparently make your game so difficult to run? They run into threats bigger than them all the time. So do all of those other novel characters in unrelated FR series.
IE: There are large numbers of characters at every level in the setting; calibrate your damned expectations, and recognize that in this setting your level 1 fighter is equivalent to a mediocre 16 year old highschool football player, not an olympic athlete. Level 1 characters are not important.
You want to play a big shot? Play a character above level 14.
>>37206752 >That's retarded. A level 1 warrior isn't good enough to put on the front lines. They're a fresh teenage recruit with a small amount of training; at best.
according to 2nd edition, level 1 fighters have already spent enough time as soldiers or whatever that most of them have earned ranks, and in terms of ability are as good as any normal soldier. a level 2 fighter is considered an elite soldier.
>They exist in a world where becoming a level 20 wizard is equivalent to becoming good enough at a sport that you might get into the olympics.
it's always been implied that being level 20 makes you a really big, worldshaking deal.
>>37207164 In 2nd edition, most of the NPCs were also notably lower leveled.
2e had its own power curve, and IIRC many characters would be capped at lower levels due to racial limits (that was 2e, right?).
But there are lots of high leveled (10+) characters running around in FR post 2e; and they don't have any trouble running into all kinds of threats that are a bigger deal than them.
>They exist in a world where becoming a level 20 wizard is equivalent to becoming good enough at a sport that you might get into the olympics. >it's always been implied that being level 20 makes you a really big, worldshaking deal. Okay; slight exaggeration on my part. My point is that there are several level 20+ npc heroes running around, and just as many or more villains; and there are lots of level 10s and 15s running around.
The PCs are not the only ones above level 1. The game doesn't reflect that (in how hard it is to find spellcasting services, for instance, or how easy it is to find level appropriate threats at the higher levels); the novels don't reflect that; But they were inconsistent in the DMG, so everyone seems to think their level 2 fighter should be a big deal, and it makes little sense in generic D&D land, even less in Sigil or FR; and I don't know why some GMs seem to have such a hard time dealing with that.
So what if your level 8 fighter isn't likely to be saving the world yet. Gain some levels.
>>37207164 To be fair, the others in this thread are talking from the 3e perspective. But I miss 2e leveling rules as well. Most people being level 0, only some managing to get to level 1. There were more than a handful of high level NPCs back then, but most NPCs with levels were in the 1-6 range, and even a few were level 0 with extraordinary stats. But times changed, and 3e fucked with FR in a serious way. I think the biggest thing to remember is in Ed's realms there were always more bad guys than good guys and bad guys tended to be just a few levels higher.
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