D&D 5E 5th edition Forgotten Realms: Why can't you just ignore the lore?

Evhelm

Explorer
It's always the DM's prerogative in my book how much lore is or isn't included. I still remember playing in my very first D&D campaign: I was the new guy, a freshman in high school playing with juniors and seniors who I didn't know all that well--they wanted a third person to round out the table (already DM+2) and I was eager to actually try D&D. I rolled a Cleric and promptly started hunting down FR source material since I knew that was the campaign setting.

At that time, I was too new to understand that my thirsty taste for lore was going to be uber-metagaming. Our DM had us journey to a port city--I think it was Manshaka? Maybe Mulmaster?--and in any case I immediately cracked the seal on my new Campaign Setting and read everything I could about the city and region. The lore said that it was a really dark, evil city ruled by a potentate who was a big fan of Bane. Goodly peoples (like Clerics of Tyr, of which I was one) were killed on sight.

I quickly told the DM that I stashed my holy symbol, found some unobtrusive black clothing, and tried to hide the fact that I was wearing armor--all to avoid being a target when we got to this "evil city."

The DM just gave me a quizzical look and said "Okay."

He let me slink around in the shadows trying to stay away from the city guard and basically slinking suspiciously throughout the city during our entire time there.

He had never read the lore entry for the city--and didn't care to--it was just a stopping point for us to get our next quest or maybe hang out in a bar and participate in a tavern brawl (my Cleric's associates were not nearly as LG as he).

I learned three things:
1) never assume the DM is using the lore
2) don't be the jerk that looks up the lore; ask what your character knows and make an appropriate check--it helps no one to meta-know lore that may or may not apply
3) there is nothing wrong with not using the lore; it was a great campaign and we all had a blast!

To clarify: I almost always use the lore; as a DM I tend to think of myself as more of a guide to the world than the "god" who controls it and like it when the pieces all fit together. I would deeply love having a new Forgotten Realms guide with all of the oodles of lore its known for.
 
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Sailor Moon

Banned
Banned
There are a good many of you who can simply ignore the written lore, pick out the pieces you want, and make up the rest.

So what would stop Wizards from giving us a thick FR campaign guide chock full of delicious goodies that those of us who want to play the campaign directly by the lore, can?
 

Tewligan

First Post
So what would stop Wizards from giving us a thick FR campaign guide chock full of delicious goodies that those of us who want to play the campaign directly by the lore, can?
I imagine at least one reason is because people who would be writing a thick FR campaign guidea would then not be using that time to write other things that appeal to a more general audience.
 

There are a good many of you who can simply ignore the written lore, pick out the pieces you want, and make up the rest.

So what would stop Wizards from giving us a thick FR campaign guide chock full of delicious goodies that those of us who want to play the campaign directly by the lore, can?


there is a formula reason why they can't, wont or will give that too you... as the edition goes on your odds increase.

x% of people want the book, y% will be alignated by the book and Z% don't care... of z% A% of them buy the book and b% do not...

what they want is to make the book with the highest X% and lowest Y% and when those books tie to do the one that is more a%...

the problem is FR indepth has BOTH a large X and Y demographic, people like you that want it and cheer for it, and people like me that beg them not to do it...
 

soulcatcher78

First Post
Each edition has had a FR sourcebook of some sort (some better, some worse). Every time they print one they run the risk of pushing away the core audience due to changes that are made in the guide. 4E FR guide is a great example of how things can take a turn for the worse when they had (what I would assume) are the best of intentions - giving customers what they ask for. With all of the material out there to be had at discounted rates (either .pdf or through a secondary market like Ebay) there's really not much need for another reprint with a footnote or two about what happened to Neverwinter when the volcano erupted.

Just my .02.
 

Rod Staffwand

aka Ermlaspur Flormbator
There's nothing to stop WotC from coming out with FR Gray Box 2.0 5E except whatever their cost/profit analysis of the project tells them. They'll do it if they think it'll sell well.

Though I find it a little strange that people are griping about a lack of FR content in 5E when that is the only campaign setting that has gotten any love so far.

I'm in the camp that hopes WotC breaks new ground with 5E rather than just rehashing old settings.

Of course, the last time I ran FR (back in the 2E days) Elminster died of an STD and 90% of the population was killed off by a zombie apocalypse, so I'm not exactly in the core audience for comprehensive FR materials.
 

There's nothing to stop WotC from coming out with FR Gray Box 2.0 5E except whatever their cost/profit analysis of the project tells them. They'll do it if they think it'll sell well.

I pushed for an "Ultimate FR" years ago. A reimagineing of the realms where wizards didn't rule and warlords could be just as epic and one where things made sense... no good aligned god of magic granting spells to evil vile necromancers... do the weave and shadow weave from the beginning... lower the power level too, make it so the huge world spaning NPCs are all level 13-17 with only th biggest being 18th or 19th and no 20+ level NPCs at all... leave a lot of lore intact but also give room to expand... I could only dream
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
I always ran FR a bit in the direction that you're suggesting but I don't think it requires an official sourcebook. I definitely wish Ed had been more restrained with the high-level NPCs in general, but I always found it easier to reduce than increase.

In my FR, mystryl died during the fall of Netheril, giving birth to the current Weave. (This provides an in-game justification for why ancient magics may have been more potent or widespread.) Azuth (the eliminster of his day) ascended to godhood to fill the void and acts as a lesser power patron of arcane spellcasters. Little concentrated bits of mystra's essence still float around, thus accounting for spell fire, silver fire, the Magister, etc.

As for NPCs: all the random high-level ones are heavily slashed, and levels in general are somewhat reduced across the board. Elminster, Khelben, Storm, Alustriel, Dove, and the Simbul are all around, but sylune is dead (consistent with the original setting), laeral is missing (consistent with the 1e Savage Frontier supplement), and the seventh sister is the "dark disaster" originally described in the lore (basically an arch villain in reserve). The Elves are in retreat, there's no resurgent Empire of Netheril or Imaskar, and the rest of the setting stays as is. That gives the PCs plenty to do. With Red Wizards and beholders and phaerimm and (Draco)liches and serpent folk and whatnot running around, the name "good" NPCs are plenty busy and largely relegated to support or acting as adventure hooks. If anything, having these guys around allows for a bit more of a sandbox game; places like Shadowdale etc can remain safe havens and PCs can engage in adventures in thay and the like without worrying about being instantly nuked by all the 20th+ level Zulkirs.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I pushed for an "Ultimate FR" years ago. A reimagineing of the realms where wizards didn't rule and warlords could be just as epic and one where things made sense... no good aligned god of magic granting spells to evil vile necromancers... do the weave and shadow weave from the beginning... lower the power level too, make it so the huge world spaning NPCs are all level 13-17 with only th biggest being 18th or 19th and no 20+ level NPCs at all... leave a lot of lore intact but also give room to expand... I could only dream

The problem though is that what you suggest *isn't* "Ultimate" Forgotten Realms. It's a Realms in name only, as you are stripping away much of what makes the Realms the Realms in the first place. So yeah, clearing the deck as it were might work for you personally... but it's not the kind of product that WotC can produce that will satisfy most people.
 

CM

Adventurer
Then the 10th level wizard and 11th level sorcerer/ranger told me "No, we will get the symbol to handle this."
my response was "Who?"

I was told it was the sorcerer queen of the kingdom about to be steam rolled, so I flipped ot the book, and read the region write up, but not her stats... I started playing her as not as powerful as the PCs, and not having the ability to help... then BOOM... sorry she is a chosen as powerful as Elmunchkin...

well then I changed to "She is too busy, other" and it was thrown in my face that she hates they and is a good aligned ruler... so yea...

I hate settings that require this much work.

This kind of thing comes with the (FR) territory. The PCs always have to handle the big threat because the major movers and shakers are too busy handling the Even Bigger Threat Nobody Knows About (tm).

Hindsight 20/20 but that was an opportunity for the party to help find out why her powers were so diminished. Perhaps the red wizards had found some way to sever her connection to Mystra, and she needed their help to restore it.

As a longtime FR DM, you always have to be unafraid to change things when necessary, because there's always going to be some nugget of lore you didn't know about lurking out there like a landmine, waiting to blow up your campaign.
 
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