5E Public Gaming: Home brew setting vs Forgotten Realms
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  1. #1
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    Public Gaming: Home brew setting vs Forgotten Realms

    I've been hosting a monthly (or almost monthly) D&D game at a comic store in my neighborhood. The game is meant to be both an introduction to D&D for beginners, but also, hopefully, an enjoyable experience for seasoned players and a way to meet others who enjoy playing D&D and other RPGs in general. (We are hopefully starting an "Indie RPG" series as well, with another GM taking point.) Sessions are meant to be stand-alone adventures, but within a consistent game world. Actions and events from prior sessions can be seen in future sessions, and some adventures build off of events in prior sessions. Players have mostly been using pre-gens that I provide, but I'd like to encourage players who want to to create their own characters and continue bringing them every month.

    We took a hiatus this fall, but are starting back up again this January with level 1 characters. Up until now, adventures have taken place in my own setting. My question is Śásince this is a public game with players passing in and out, am I dumb for not just using a public setting like Forgotten Realms?
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  2. #2
    Not at all. If people are having a good time, then great!

  3. #3
    Sounds awesome. My campaign uses the FR maps but thatĺs it.


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  4. #4
    The thing with the Realms is that, in a public game, there's chances that someone will show up with its own comprehension of the setting lore and try to impose its reality on your game. You must insist that its your version of the Realms and you get to decide what is canon or not; give yourself the possibility to say one hero/event doesnt exist or is just a legend. I use the Realms with another OSR system (beyond the wall) where non-human races are much rarer outside of their homelands (there's not 10 000 elves living in Baldur's Gate) and there's no major distinction between arcane/divine/warlock-y/druidish magic, and it works great. I personally feel like the Realms work better with a retro-genre where leveled PC or NPCs are much rarer and dont gain ridiculous amount of reality-warping abilities without the help of magic items, but maybe its because I grew up on Baldur's Gate 1-2 .
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    The thing with the Realms is that, in a public game, there's chances that someone will show up with its own comprehension of the setting lore and try to impose its reality on your game. You must insist that its your version of the Realms and you get to decide what is canon or not; give yourself the possibility to say one hero/event doesnt exist or is just a legend. I use the Realms with another OSR system (beyond the wall) where non-human races are much rarer outside of their homelands (there's not 10 000 elves living in Baldur's Gate) and there's no major distinction between arcane/divine/warlock-y/druidish magic, and it works great. I personally feel like the Realms work better with a retro-genre where leveled PC or NPCs are much rarer and dont gain ridiculous amount of reality-warping abilities without the help of magic items, but maybe its because I grew up on Baldur's Gate 1-2 .
    Yeah, this seems like the major Con of the Realms, other than that, personally, I've never really engaged with them. I don't feel like getting into it with somebody about Realms canon and I'm sure there are plenty of people who could come through knowing more about the Realms than I do, since my sole exposure is Baldur's Gate.

    I guess the main potential advantage I see to the Realms is that it makes it easier to bring in new DM's and keep the game consistent. Right now, I'm the only person running these games, but the store owner would love to get more D&D going on, which would require more DMs. With the Realms, we could maintain a degree of consistency between DM's, and maybe even dovetail into some sort of Adventurer's League. I can't imagine another DM being really excited about running games in my homebrew setting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrick View Post
    I've been hosting a monthly (or almost monthly) D&D game at a comic store in my neighborhood. The game is meant to be both an introduction to D&D for beginners, but also, hopefully, an enjoyable experience for seasoned players and a way to meet others who enjoy playing D&D and other RPGs in general.
    I am planning to start a group exactly like this after the holidays. I agree with @vincegetorix . Using the Forgotten Realms brings along interpretation issues if you have players that are familiar with the setting. For an intro-group like this I think that a generic "points of light" setting similar to 4e works best. That is one of the few 4e quirks that I cared for.

  7. #7
    I think people using the Realms should always start by telling their players (if they are somewhat regular) that this is not Forgottenrealmswikia: the game, its a D&D campaing or oneshot set in a setting which you, as a player might know everything about, but your character doesnt. Your PC might know the name Drizzt if he's from Icewind Dale, but a PC from Tethyr will be clueless, even if you read the Dark Elf trilogy a thousand times. Its just like even if I'm a guy living in Canada, I dont know who the last king of Denmark was or which mountain is the highest in Norway, but I'm sure a guy from scandinavia would know. If someone shows up and wish to argue that this fact or another is ''canon'' and should have an impact on the current game (who cares if the Cloakwood is actually larger than the Spiderwood while fighting a horde of demons in the Underdark?!) you can choose to modify your storytelling to incorporate this fact, or simply tell that his fact is false in your game (leading, hopefully, to good times at the table when the player realize that his metaknowledge led him into trouble).
    Last edited by vincegetorix; Thursday, 7th December, 2017 at 06:06 PM.
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  8. #8
    I personally started to pen & paper in a homebrew setting. Looking back I think it helped me focus on the story more and pushed me past any min/max or selfish tendencies I would've had. I think pre-gen characters are a great start to getting the idea of party composition to new players with the ability to let veteran players really shine by showing a newish party how to make even a pre-gen character your own. I hate it when I get to a table and the party is all DPS and no skills. Also hate in-fighting within the party if it's just for selfish/alignment reasons.

    I'm really bummed I have no local groups to get my tabletop on with. So this is super awesome of you to be a resource for people to get out of their cave and be social.

    Just to echo what others have said. If you introduce printed settings people can come with expectations or interpretations that could cause confusion with your world. If there is any material you can use and have it be helpful then great but just make sure players know it's your world and you're boss. Haha.

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  9. #9
    Don't name the setting, and use whatever is easiest and funnest. I've never had a problem with anyone ever stepping in and saying something from FR, Greyhawk or anything else I'm doing isn't canon or official or anything else. If anyone ever did, all I would say is "This is my version. What you know from any source other than what you learned at my table doesn't apply and is probably wrong at my table."

  10. #10
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    Stay homebrew, but if you go FR, fast forward it a thousand years which is probably equivalent to a couple dozen cataclysms... this way nobody ca tell you that you're doing it wrong
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