5E Why FR Is "Hated"
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  1. #1

    Why FR Is "Hated"

    Online FR seems to be the most hated campaign setting and it seemed to come as s shock that it was selected as the default 5E setting.

    By now we know it is the most popular D&D setting and has been since the late 80's. When WotC purchased TSR one of the 1st things they did was kill the campaign settings with the exception of FR. Put simply it was more popular than the others put togather.

    So why does FR get such a negative reaction online and the disconnect with that and fans IRL? They blew the setting up with the Spellplague and they quietly dumped that with 5E. Indirectly that seems to have killed off the novel line with even the hit and miss Drizzt novels becoming more miss. These are my following thoughts.

    1. Its like a popular song- overplayed. Think of some 20+ year old songs that people love/hate. For example Smells Like Teen Spirit, Under the Bridge, Evenflow, Sweet Child of Mine. Great songs imho but overplayed. FR is like that.

    2. Niche things are kewl. Trend setters and try hards like niche things the mainstream doesn't so things like Planescape and Darksun might be more appealing. Slagging off FR is edgy and "badass" I suppose.

    3. More people are familiar with FR. The downside of this is more people will dislike FR. Compare this with Birthright for example. Virtually no one played it and the haters probably never tried it. Birthright offended no one and is almost forgotten about.

    4. Drizzt. Drizzt used to be kewl. Nowdays not so much and the recent Drizzt novels are a bit rubbish even if you liked the earlier ones.

    5. Negative gets more attention online. If you like FR odds are you won't start to many threads about it. "Drizzt sucks lolz" will get more attention online than "Drizzt rockz". One statement is a bit emo the other one is "kewl".

    So why does FR persist if so many people hate it? I would argue that more people like it than hate it or at least gamers will buy it. This has been true since the late 80's IMHO. Attitudes also seem to be changing with age as the 3.0 FRCS for example seems to get positive attention now.

    FR also benefits from the other generic settings lacking something. Greyhawk for example has hard to pronounce silly names, Dragonlance is to metaplot heavy, Mystara was Basic D&D and to many real life comparisons, Nentir Valley never caught on. Quality wise Golarion is the closest both in quality and feel and is kind of an FR/Mystara hybrid. Of course its not a TSR/WotC production.
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  2. #2
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)



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    6. You're making things up?

  3. #3
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    Sometimes there's a tendency to hate something simply because it's popular.

    That said, I suspect that these days some of FR's popularity (even among non-5e players where it's not the default) is simply that with so much backstory and heavy lifting already done, it's relatively easy-access for a new or time-crunched DM. And, it does have a certain something that Greyhawk (the only other setting that pretty much everyone has heard of) is lacking, though I'd be hard-pressed to define or elucidate just what it is.

    Personally I quite like Mystara / Known World because of the real-life comparisons, as I tend to put those into my game anyway no matter what setting I'm using. And City State of the World Emperor, though not very large in geographical terms when compared to the others, is just chock full of DM goodness and adventure ideas.

    Lan-"the one time I used FR as a setting it was, other than most of the place names, nigh-unrecognizable once I'd got done kitbashing it"-efan
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    7. Hyperbole.

    People online often use "I hate _____" instead of "I don't much care for _____."
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Sometimes there's a tendency to hate something simply because it's popular.

    That said, I suspect that these days some of FR's popularity (even among non-5e players where it's not the default) is simply that with so much backstory and heavy lifting already done, it's relatively easy-access for a new or time-crunched DM. And, it does have a certain something that Greyhawk (the only other setting that pretty much everyone has heard of) is lacking, though I'd be hard-pressed to define or elucidate just what it is.

    Personally I quite like Mystara / Known World because of the real-life comparisons, as I tend to put those into my game anyway no matter what setting I'm using. And City State of the World Emperor, though not very large in geographical terms when compared to the others, is just chock full of DM goodness and adventure ideas.

    Lan-"the one time I used FR as a setting it was, other than most of the place names, nigh-unrecognizable once I'd got done kitbashing it"-efan
    I'm starting to use fantasy Egypt a lot more now. Might use Rome avd Greece more as well.

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    My main problem with FR was the meta-plot, particularly since the formative years of the setting was spent under TSR's Comics Code-inspired "Code of Conduct." This problem showed itself primarily in two ways:

    1. Plot threads from the core box and sourcebooks get resolved in novels by NPCs, and later sourcebooks assume these things have been taken care of.

    1a. Since plot threads keep getting resolved (because Good always wins), new things have to be thrown into the setting every now and then, leading to things like a I-can't-believe-it's-not-Mongols invasion or ancient cities reappearing.

    2. Their pantheon gets turned into a gorram soap opera, with new gods rising, old ones dying, portfolios changing hands, changing hands again, gods thought dead return, and so on and so forth. The rise of a new god should be a momentous thing, not "A new god again? Must be Tuesday."

    Two of the defining traits of Eberron are, I think, direct reactions to these issues: a frozen timeline, and distant and possibly non-existent gods.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Staffan View Post
    My main problem with FR was the meta-plot, particularly since the formative years of the setting was spent under TSR's Comics Code-inspired "Code of Conduct." This problem showed itself primarily in two ways:

    1. Plot threads from the core box and sourcebooks get resolved in novels by NPCs, and later sourcebooks assume these things have been taken care of.

    1a. Since plot threads keep getting resolved (because Good always wins), new things have to be thrown into the setting every now and then, leading to things like a I-can't-believe-it's-not-Mongols invasion or ancient cities reappearing.

    2. Their pantheon gets turned into a gorram soap opera, with new gods rising, old ones dying, portfolios changing hands, changing hands again, gods thought dead return, and so on and so forth. The rise of a new god should be a momentous thing, not "A new god again? Must be Tuesday."

    Two of the defining traits of Eberron are, I think, direct reactions to these issues: a frozen timeline, and distant and possibly non-existent gods.
    TSR dropped the ball there. The metaplot thing was every campaign often wrecking the thing you liked about the setting in the 1st place.
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  8. #8
    Probably for the same reason lots of people hate Drizzt.

  9. #9
    Oh, no. I quite agree with Zardnaar. I loathe Forgotten Realms, and I would hardline veto any proposal from a group to play in Forgotten Realms.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Oh, no. I quite agree with Zardnaar. I loathe Forgotten Realms, and I would hardline veto any proposal from a group to play in Forgotten Realms.
    Hating FR is fine IMHO. I only object when people want to change it drastically so they will like it. Thats also fine in homebrew games. I don't like Ravenloft or Dragonlance that much but I don't really complain about them or demand changes. I vote with my feet and let fans of those worlds enjoy them for what they are.
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