5E Are D&D Ravnica and MtG Ravnica the same? - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irennan View Post
    By this logic, lets just avoid giving any info on worlds altogether, because any statement from WotC might cause confusion. Don't fool yourself, when someone reads an official D&D product and gains info from it, they're going to assume that it's the default, i.e. canon, not some random inspiration for DMs to write an adventure. So, each and every bit of info about a world would lead to the "confusion" that you mention. I mean, players who have some knowledge about that world might expect certain things to be true and certain others to be false, and that would be "confusing" by your logic. You know what? Lets just stop making assumptions about basic D&D concepts like races, because players might expect something from certain races, and DMs might want to do something else instead.

    Or maybe, the DM could just state at the beginning of the campaign that they're just borrowing some elements from a setting, rather than 100% adhering to it...

    Detailed worlds aren't confusing, they're indeed more immersive than bare-bones settings.



    Canon may be irrelevant at certain tables (like mine, btw) but it's needed by game designers to provide a coherent portrayal of a certain world, and WotC do have their own world bibles and canon. So there's a canon, a default assumption, and that's the info that you read in their books. Every designer needs to be on the same page for extremely obvious reasons: anything else and you get a bunch of random contradicting info, rather than an organic and coherent presentation (and the internet already provides plenty of adventure ideas without the need to pay for anything).
    Brilliantly put, a lot better then I could have honestly.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
    And yet there's no shortage of people who enjoy doing so.

    And one of the best reasons to buy new books is for their attempts to reconcile the lore. To have the work of a professional writer who did their research laying down what is canon and what is no longer canon.


    Which is great... if the players know what to expect.

    You're playing in a Ravnica adventure. The DM knows how they want devils to act. But if the players approach it thinking devils look and act differently, they might enter that situation very differently, and make a poor decision.

    How would you respond to the DM announcing that a devil appears before the party?
    I'd roll initiative.
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  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmad1977 View Post
    Canon is silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    (On a more serious note it enhances immersion)
    My experience is closer to cmad1977's. Reading someone else's story about what happened in some imagined place at some imagined time doesn't help my immersion.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irennan View Post
    Detailed worlds aren't confusing, they're indeed more immersive than bare-bones settings.
    Again, this is not my experience at all.

    When I started a Classic Traveller campaign, I rolled up the starting world in front of the players, after they had rolled up their PCs. We discussed how each of the PCs had got there - integrating the implict story resulting from PC gen (Traveller uses a lifepath system) with the implicit story of the world - and one of the players decided that this world (christened Ardour-3 by me as GM) was a moon orbitting a gas giant.

    The result was play that was far more immersed in setting then if I'd told the players "Hey, we're using the GDW Imperium setting".

  5. #35
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    There's a difference between a baseline fiction and "canon" (at least as how I think many of us are using the term.)

    Yes, WotC has a baseline fiction of the Forgotten Realms and Ravnica and Greyhawk and Eberron and Dominaria etc. etc. Of course the do, they write fiction about these places all the time. And at one point for the Forgotten Realms especially, they were concerned with the "canon"-- IE the actual historical timeline of the world, with every single event in every single location from every single piece of media they produced-- dictated and inscribed down on stone tablets for all eternity. If something was to occur in a flashback in some obscure Forgotten Realms novel by some obscure Forgotten Realms author, that info had to go through the channels at WotC to make sure it could "fit" into the spaces hopefully left open so that this obscure flashback scene didn't go against previously established fiction. Because for a time... the "canon" of the Forgotten Realms was important to them. Every single piece had to fit together to create this huge tapestry of Faerunian stories.

    But that resulted in the ultimate irony of all of this focus on Forgotten Realms "canon". The people for whom this "canon" was to service-- the Forgotten Realms D&D playerbase-- never actually had THEIR events as part of it. Whatever happened in any individual campaign was never woven into the "canon" of the Forgotten Realms. Every single D&D campaign set in the Realms was some divergent universe that meant literally nothing in the Grant Scheme of Things.

    So what then was the point? What was the point of focusing so much on "canon" when all the people for whom the "canon" was meant to serve never actually gained anything from its focus? ALL the "canon" did was give a particular DM a snapshot of where the Realms were at at the time their individual campaign started. After that... once the DM and their players started playing... the "canon" was useless (other than just as a font of potential adventure ideas the DM could pull from).

    Which is why I believe WotC finally came to the conclusion that worrying about the "canon" was entirely missing the point. Having a running tally of every single Forgotten Realms event serves no useful purpose for the people for whom the Realms are meant to serve-- the playerbase. Because once you start a campaign, anything else that WotC writes is not technically or necessarily the new "canon" of a particular DM's campaign.

    So instead, they changed their focus-- they now are merely creating stories for players to use in their games. That's it. And it doesn't matter if a particular piece of fiction in the story matches or doesn't match previously established history. Now if it CAN, then great! Perkins, Sernett and all the others all seem to really enjoy the history and characters of the Realms and I'm sure enjoy greatly the opportunity to pull characters, ideas, and scenarios out of previously established material and use them to weave their stories together.

    But they aren't beholden to it. And if it turns out (making up an example) they decide they want to use Artus Cimber in Tomb of Annihilation but there's some comic book that established Cimber was trapped in some other location "for years" and thus canonically he wouldn't be "available" to be used in this adventure story they were writing... they'd have no problem whatsoever "breaking canon" to use him anyway. And in fact probably not even waste their time trying to write a "retcon" of it in order to placate the small select few that need the canon of the FR all tied up in bow.

    And thus... this is why I've never believed we were going to see a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book for 5E. Because unless what stories they are writing are going to serve the playerbase-- probably in the form of an adventure-- writing just "stuff" of what has happened in every single corner of the Realms is now a pointless endeavor. They use their time more wisely now... giving the majority of the playerbase something to actually use for their own games, because THAT is what is now important.
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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Again, this is not my experience at all.

    When I started a Classic Traveller campaign, I rolled up the starting world in front of the players, after they had rolled up their PCs. We discussed how each of the PCs had got there - integrating the implict story resulting from PC gen (Traveller uses a lifepath system) with the implicit story of the world - and one of the players decided that this world (christened Ardour-3 by me as GM) was a moon orbitting a gas giant.

    The result was play that was far more immersed in setting then if I'd told the players "Hey, we're using the GDW Imperium setting".
    That doesn't prove anything, tho: you're comparing a world you tailored for your characters to an established setting that isn't tailored for your characters. Imagine if your made up world had the scope and detail of such a setting, it would certainly feel more alive and rich, because it would be closer to a "real" world. Certain settings are also loose enough (or have undetailed areas) that allow you freedom while still providing an already alive and breathing world.
    Last edited by Irennan; Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 at 04:04 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    There's a difference between a baseline fiction and "canon" (at least as how I think many of us are using the term.)

    Yes, WotC has a baseline fiction of the Forgotten Realms and Ravnica and Greyhawk and Eberron and Dominaria etc. etc. Of course the do, they write fiction about these places all the time. And at one point for the Forgotten Realms especially, they were concerned with the "canon"-- IE the actual historical timeline of the world, with every single event in every single location from every single piece of media they produced-- dictated and inscribed down on stone tablets for all eternity. If something was to occur in a flashback in some obscure Forgotten Realms novel by some obscure Forgotten Realms author, that info had to go through the channels at WotC to make sure it could "fit" into the spaces hopefully left open so that this obscure flashback scene didn't go against previously established fiction. Because for a time... the "canon" of the Forgotten Realms was important to them. Every single piece had to fit together to create this huge tapestry of Faerunian stories.

    But that resulted in the ultimate irony of all of this focus on Forgotten Realms "canon". The people for whom this "canon" was to service-- the Forgotten Realms D&D playerbase-- never actually had THEIR events as part of it. Whatever happened in any individual campaign was never woven into the "canon" of the Forgotten Realms. Every single D&D campaign set in the Realms was some divergent universe that meant literally nothing in the Grant Scheme of Things.

    So what then was the point? What was the point of focusing so much on "canon" when all the people for whom the "canon" was meant to serve never actually gained anything from its focus? ALL the "canon" did was give a particular DM a snapshot of where the Realms were at at the time their individual campaign started. After that... once the DM and their players started playing... the "canon" was useless (other than just as a font of potential adventure ideas the DM could pull from).

    Which is why I believe WotC finally came to the conclusion that worrying about the "canon" was entirely missing the point. Having a running tally of every single Forgotten Realms event serves no useful purpose for the people for whom the Realms are meant to serve-- the playerbase. Because once you start a campaign, anything else that WotC writes is not technically or necessarily the new "canon" of a particular DM's campaign.

    So instead, they changed their focus-- they now are merely creating stories for players to use in their games. That's it. And it doesn't matter if a particular piece of fiction in the story matches or doesn't match previously established history. Now if it CAN, then great! Perkins, Sernett and all the others all seem to really enjoy the history and characters of the Realms and I'm sure enjoy greatly the opportunity to pull characters, ideas, and scenarios out of previously established material and use them to weave their stories together.

    But they aren't beholden to it. And if it turns out (making up an example) they decide they want to use Artus Cimber in Tomb of Annihilation but there's some comic book that established Cimber was trapped in some other location "for years" and thus canonically he wouldn't be "available" to be used in this adventure story they were writing... they'd have no problem whatsoever "breaking canon" to use him anyway. And in fact probably not even waste their time trying to write a "retcon" of it in order to placate the small select few that need the canon of the FR all tied up in bow.

    And thus... this is why I've never believed we were going to see a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book for 5E. Because unless what stories they are writing are going to serve the playerbase-- probably in the form of an adventure-- writing just "stuff" of what has happened in every single corner of the Realms is now a pointless endeavor. They use their time more wisely now... giving the majority of the playerbase something to actually use for their own games, because THAT is what is now important.
    I think that what you call baseline narrative is actually canon. Canon is a bunch of info about a world that is considered to be the default for that world. It doesn't need to be super-detailed, it can also be rather vague. The concept behind canon is intended to provide the designers of a shared world with a tool to be on the same page, and a default, published version to users (or it comes naturally when the world only has 1 author, since all that they say/write about their world is obviously canon), and the fact that you can change canon at will in a given game doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

    The fact that WotC have been undoing a lot of past events in the Realms, often time leaving the explanation mysterious, doesn't mean that they don't have a canon. They introduced a huge plot device in the Sundering that they're loosely using as a justification (direct or indirect, or even just implied) for most changes that they're making. In short, they have opened up the old canon to build their new one, but they still have it.
    Last edited by Irennan; Thursday, 8th November, 2018 at 07:06 AM.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irennan View Post
    I think that what you call baseline narrative is actually canon. Canon is a bunch of info about a world that is considered to be the default for that world. It doesn't need to be super-detailed, it can also be rather vague. The concept behind canon is intended to provide the designers of a shared world with a tool to be on the same page, and a default, published version to users (or it comes naturally when the world only has 1 author, since all that they say/write about their world is obviously canon), and the fact that you can change canon at will in a given game doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

    The fact that WotC have been undoing a lot of past events in the Realms, often time leaving the explanation mysterious, doesn't mean that they don't have a canon. They introduced a huge plot device in the Sundering that they're loosely used as a justification (direct or indirect, or even just implied) for most changes that they're making. In short, they have opened up the old canon to build their new one, but they still have it.
    If you are talking just standard dictionary definition, sure, what you say is "canon" might very well be right. But when we're talking about "canon" here in the Forgotten Realms sense (as well as the Star Trek sense, and the Star Wars sense)... I think it's more readily implied that it is a totality of fictional history created by a multitude of authors, wherein the expectation is that everything that gets written all fits together as one giant contiguous piece of narrative and that doesn't intentionally contradict itself.

    You can say Eberron has a "canon", yes... but nothing that is written or created for Eberron outside what appears in the original timeline in the original campaign setting is considered "real" or "true". None of the Eberron novels that were written are considered "true" from a historical point of view in Eberron. As a result, WotC has never been asked by players to create a "new" campaign setting book that updates "Eberron history" with those novels taken into account. Or the narratives from the Eberron video games taken into account. None of that stuff is "Eberron canon", because the desire is to give a set jumping off point for every DM to weave their OWN Eberron "canon" story from the moment of 998 YK.

    Whereas the Forgotten Realms does (or at least did) consider ALL of the stuff made as "real". Heck, go onto the FR wikia and you can find pages upon pages of historical documentation written out from most years in Faerunian history that is drawn from campaign settings, modules, fiction, video games, and everything else FR related. So when we talk "canon" in threads like this... especially when it relates to whether or not WotC has an obligation to "update" their campaign settings to add new history to the account... this is what most of us are meaning. The "canon" of The Complete Works of the Forgotten Realms (Abridged).

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Irennan View Post
    Imagine if your made up world had the scope and detail of such a setting, it would certainly feel more alive and rich, because it would be closer to a "real" world.
    No it wouldn't.

    The real world is something I live in and experience. My knowledge of it is intimate. It is not mediated to me through anyone's verbal narration of it.

    The most obvious way to emulate this in a RPG is for the players to stipulate elements of the setting as they need to. Not for the GM (or a 3rd party) to write up reams of fiction in advance of play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irennan View Post
    The concept behind canon is intended to provide the designers of a shared world with a tool to be on the same page, and a default, published version to users
    Providing a tool to co-authors to help them stay on the same page - OK, that's a publishing strategy.

    But as a "user" I'm not a co-author who needs a pubishing strategy. I'm a RPGer who is looking for a certain sort of play experience. Tomes of someone else's writing provide a reading experience, not a RPGing experience.
    Last edited by pemerton; Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 at 10:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
    If you are talking just standard dictionary definition, sure, what you say is "canon" might very well be right. But when we're talking about "canon" here in the Forgotten Realms sense (as well as the Star Trek sense, and the Star Wars sense)... I think it's more readily implied that it is a totality of fictional history created by a multitude of authors, wherein the expectation is that everything that gets written all fits together as one giant contiguous piece of narrative and that doesn't intentionally contradict itself.

    You can say Eberron has a "canon", yes... but nothing that is written or created for Eberron outside what appears in the original timeline in the original campaign setting is considered "real" or "true". None of the Eberron novels that were written are considered "true" from a historical point of view in Eberron. As a result, WotC has never been asked by players to create a "new" campaign setting book that updates "Eberron history" with those novels taken into account. Or the narratives from the Eberron video games taken into account. None of that stuff is "Eberron canon", because the desire is to give a set jumping off point for every DM to weave their OWN Eberron "canon" story from the moment of 998 YK.

    Whereas the Forgotten Realms does (or at least did) consider ALL of the stuff made as "real". Heck, go onto the FR wikia and you can find pages upon pages of historical documentation written out from most years in Faerunian history that is drawn from campaign settings, modules, fiction, video games, and everything else FR related. So when we talk "canon" in threads like this... especially when it relates to whether or not WotC has an obligation to "update" their campaign settings to add new history to the account... this is what most of us are meaning. The "canon" of The Complete Works of the Forgotten Realms (Abridged).
    To me this simply means that the FR canon is much larger than the Eberron Canon, but Eberron published material is still based on a certain baseline canon in order for it to be internally coherent.

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