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D&D General Assumed Lore/Sacred Cows you've changed +

pogre

Legend
So, for me.

  • Gnolls. I never bought into the whole demon spawn/reproduced backstory of gnolls. For some? Sure. But I always ran them as any other intelligent humanoid species. Reproduced like any other species. I've always liked them the most of all the humanoids. In fact, recently I have a key recurring NPC by the name of Fleabag, that has a role similar to Volo in FR.
  • I am on board with the elimination of default alignment for many reasons (go see those threads if you want to know why), and have been doing something similar in my games for years. Most are evil/bad, but many are not. Been doing that ever since I played UK1, The Sentinel back in the day, and felt bad for the "bad guy".
  • Spell components. I have always ignored these, regardless of edition, unless it was something super rare or special. Yes, it makes MUs more powerful when you take away that mitigating factor, and it's a big one, but I just don't like the bookkeeping aspect of it. Let mages cast spells they prepared.
You stole my post! Exactly the same changes I made.
 

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  • Alignment got taken out back and Ol' Yeller'd twenty years ago.
  • Drastically reduced the planes; one combined Elemental Plane, a layered afterlife based on how tethered the soul is to the mortal world, a natural moon, two parasite moons, and a Faerie.
  • Magic is fantastic instead of rare and special. It is treated like an esoteric science.
  • Spellpoint magic instead of Vancian.
  • Fighters get to be fantastic, cleaving stones in half and jumping fifty feet.
  • Dragons are NOT color coded for your convenience. They all jut to be jackholes, some still are, some are trying to be better.
  • Races are all shorter lived, with dwarves topping out at 320.
  • Standard death is TKO, out of the encounter unless the party can't get your body/doesn't have the rituals or items to fix you in time. You only really die if the entire party fails at all levels, or you want them to die.
 


the Jester

Legend
Clerics and paladins must follow a religion that exists in the setting, almost always including a god. Also, paladins and clerics who violate the tenets of their deity may face divine repercussions. (These are old-edition holdovers, but still.)

The courts of the Feywild are very different from 4e/5e lore.

My cosmology is a mix of the Great Wheel, the 4e World Axis, and homebrew stuff. And nobody really knows the truth of it all anyhow.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Ooooh, the PCs as treasure, I like it!
well, the PC ended up dying (ON PURPOSE). The body was brought back to a temple and via the use of gentle repose, preserved for the future. The players believe it's in case the player who left the game might come back...

... but the in game reason is that the slugmen couldn't pass up a source of elven blood in case of great need.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
No Great Wheel. No Blood War, no demon princes, no archdevils.

There are only 2 deities remaining, cooperatively holding creation together. Cleric Domains fall under specific orders of the Dyadic church.

Planes are arranged in a concentric layers, also, but starting at the center and going out is the Sunless Fire (elemental fire, devils, fire giants), the Darkness Below Stone (elemental earth, “underdark”, hill giants), The World (elemental water, the campaign setting), the Hanging Mountains (elemental air, “frostfell”, cloud and frost giants ), the Vault of Stars (“Astral Sea”, demons, far realm pockets, celestials).

Like others mentioned earlier, I too merged Shadowfell and Feywild and call Otherworld, I read that in the DMG and swiped that. Otherworld is parallel to every concentric plane.

Elemental Entropy is also parallel to every concentric plane

Dragons are not intelligent to be spellcasting. No Chromatic or metallic scale exterior.

No drow, shifted the spider-theme onto aranea.

Standard “evil” humanoids (gnolls, orcs, goblinoids, etc. and others) are infected by a curse from outer evils beyond the Vault of Stars. The curse is held in place by a MacGuffin (cough Starseed) and if it can be found and destroyed that tribe under that curse is cured and lose the compulsion for destruction, violence, and chaos. The “cursed” are also compelled to convert everyone not under the influence of their clan’s Starseed.

Only dwarf is hill dwarf, only elf is high elf, only gnome is deep gnome. Halflings must come from Otherworld (borrowing this from Birthright). I came up with breath weapon replacements for dragonborn.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No Great Wheel. No Blood War, no demon princes, no archdevils.

There are only 2 deities remaining, cooperatively holding creation together. Cleric Domains fall under specific orders of the Dyadic church.

Planes are arranged in a concentric layers, also, but starting at the center and going out is the Sunless Fire (elemental fire, devils, fire giants), the Darkness Below Stone (elemental earth, “underdark”, hill giants), The World (elemental water, the campaign setting), the Hanging Mountains (elemental air, “frostfell”, cloud and frost giants ), the Vault of Stars (“Astral Sea”, demons, far realm pockets, celestials).

Like others mentioned earlier, I too merged Shadowfell and Feywild and call Otherworld, I read that in the DMG and swiped that. Otherworld is parallel to every concentric plane.

Elemental Entropy is also parallel to every concentric plane

Dragons are not intelligent to be spellcasting. No Chromatic or metallic scale exterior.

No drow, shifted the spider-theme onto aranea.

Standard “evil” humanoids (gnolls, orcs, goblinoids, etc. and others) are infected by a curse from outer evils beyond the Vault of Stars. The curse is held in place by a MacGuffin (cough Starseed) and if it can be found and destroyed that tribe under that curse is cured and lose the compulsion for destruction, violence, and chaos. The “cursed” are also compelled to convert everyone not under the influence of their clan’s Starseed.

Only dwarf is hill dwarf, only elf is high elf, only gnome is deep gnome. Halflings must come from Otherworld (borrowing this from Birthright). I came up with breath weapon replacements for dragonborn.
Only deep gnomes makes me sad (forest is best gnome), but that’s a cool setting!
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Only deep gnomes makes me sad (forest is best gnome), but that’s a cool setting!
Sad to say gnomes barely made the cut at all for PC races. But I found a spot to squeeze deep gnomes on.
The players currently completed a campaign that finished at 17th level. Over the course they saved a pair of peaceful “gnolls” (hutaaka/lupin, borrowed from Mystara) captives of the cult of Yeenog gnolls about to be converted by ritual. Also saved hundreds of orc slaves from a similar fate and lead them hundreds of miles, chased by the captor giants. I tried to copy The Chain of Dogs from Deadhouse Gates, dunno how well it worked. ¯\(ツ)

Both opened up the option of playing those species in the coming new campaign. I could see a scenario where we find forest gnomes might be the same thing in where of the PCs rescue a clan of forest gnomes it’ll open it as a choice in subsequent campaigns!

There are arcane changes unmentioned earlier. The Dyadic church blames specific arcane traditions for an apocalypse that killed all gods but the remaining 2. There is an inquisition hunting practitioners of Conjuration, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy. The remaining wizard traditions, plus bardic colleges and artificers are under the influence of the church and ‘blessed’ to practice openly.
 

Arilyn

Hero
Wizards can copy their spells into their books without cost, and I've pretty much ditched material components, except for a very few potent ones. I've also ditched concentration. I don't argue about it. Just don't like it and ditching it has not hurt our game at all.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I've also ditched concentration. I don't argue about it. Just don't like it and ditching it has not hurt our game at all.
I thought of doing it too, but how to you deal with spells like Heat Metal and Force Cage and such? If you dont mind me asking.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I thought of doing it too, but how to you deal with spells like Heat Metal and Force Cage and such? If you dont mind me asking.
I can't remember the details of force cage. Not one that gets taken at our table. Heat Metal is a powerful spell, but does require targets to be wearing or carrying manufactured metal. Does use a bonus action to keep the damage going, so casting it more than once won't have continuing damage on multiple targets. Other than that, in right circumstances, yeah, nasty spell. So, I guess one could argue no concentration makes it too tough, but it doesn't bother me that much. Our table doesn't look for ways to dish out as much damage as much as possible, so we don't have "must have" spells.

Anyway, for us ditching concentration is no biggie, cause we play a pretty casual game, not overly worried about strict balance. I'm willing to put up with some glitches in exchange for dumping a mechanic that I find unsatisfying. Definitely not a thing that I'd argue about because I know ditching it causes some problems many would not be willing to deal with. And I know many players love it.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Here are a few that come to mind (I'm sure I have dozens more, but these are the main ones):
  • Alignment is basically gone, as in my world, the Outer Planes (including the Astral Plane and Fugue Plane) were completely cut off from the Inner Planes (the Ethereal Plane is still connected, though, and is more a plane of the transportation of the spirits of the dead than just an unseen, incorporeal-transportation plane). With the Outer Planes gone, the multiverse's physical embodiments of alignment were disconnected and the residents of the planes that managed to escape to the Inner Planes gradually became less and less influenced by the planes than they were when they were still around. Fiends can be good, Celestials can be evil, but they still lean towards how they were originally due to it being difficult for most Outsiders to reproduce and those that survived the separation of the planes were already kind of set in their ways before getting the chance to change (kind of like how our opinions/views on the world tend to get more rigid as we get older).
  • The Fugue Plane is both boring and uninspiring (IMO), so in my world, it's gone. The Raven Queen took over the whole of the afterlife system and became the primary god of the afterlife system. When someone dies, their soul is moved from their physical body into their spirit, which is their incorporeal body that rests in the Ethereal Plane. The body then can roam around in the Deep Ethereal Plane for a bit until a powerful servant of the Raven Queen comes to snatch their spirit to the Raven Queen to be judged based on the choices they made in life based on the circumstances they were placed in, and then they are either sent to the Punishment or the Paradise. The Punishment is a very special version of "Hell", which is a collection of all the worst memories, experiences, and nightmares that have happened to anyone that has ever died, given physical form in a demiplane created by the Raven Queen. All souls only stay in the Punishment temporarily, based on how bad they were in life as the Raven Queen sees fit, then recycling their souls at the end of their sentence. The Paradise is the opposite, a collection of all the best parts of the multiverse and all the souls of all of the best people, who can then choose to be reborn if/when they choose to into practically any form of their choice. Souls that were neither good nor bad are typically reincarnated right away, without punishment or reward for their lives being "uneventful".
  • The Underdark of the Shadowfell is called the Underfell (in official lore the Underdark of the Feywild is called the Feydark, so I decided that the Shadowfell's Underdark deserved a similar naming treatment). The Underfell is home to Vecna and his servants, while the surface world of the Shadowfell is where the Shadar-Kai and the other servants of the Raven Queen live.
  • Fey are the physical embodiments of emotions, whether they be "good" or "bad" emotions. Hags are the embodiments of disgust, Meenlocks are the embodiments of fear, and Redcaps are the embodiments of bloodthirstiness. The Shadowfell, on the other hand, is the home to the embodiments of the lack of emotions. These creatures are called "shadows", as they are the "shadows of emotions"; the void that is cast by the brightness of the emotions the Feywild create when they shine on the Material Plane. The most common Shadow-type creatures are Sorrowsworn, which are the embodiment of what the Shadowfell lacks in contrast to what the Feywild has. The Feywild is much more populated than the Shadowfell, being vibrant and home to many different types of creatures, so visitors to the Shadowfell will often come across The Lonely and The Lost, embodiments of the plane's lack of an abundant population. The Feywild has beautiful landscapes and environments and plentiful beautiful fey creatures to echo this theme, while the Shadowfell's dark reflection of that takes physical form of The Wretched. This part isn't much of an overhaul of a "lore sacred-cow", but more sorting through the vague concepts of these planes of existence.
  • Druids are connected to all aspects of nature. Anything that is natural to the world/multiverse of D&D can be something that certain Druidic Circles connect to. Metal is natural, so certain Druid Circles not only accept the use of metal shields and armors, but embrace it as a true embodiment of nature. Dragons are natural, so there are Druidic Circles that venerate dragons instead of just beasts. Certain aberrations are natural, so there are Druid Circles that are connected to aberrations and their psionic powers.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
One thing I’ve been considering in Islands World is just ditching aberrations completely, other than maybe reclassifying some sea monsters if needed.


Owlbears, and many other monstrosities are considered beasts. They’re just part of the natural world. (Also this gives druids and BM Rangers a boost, especially since I’m always down to scale down a critter and let a player use an adolescent version that gets full grown as they level. )
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
The Faiths and Avatars line of supplements from 2e are some of my favourite books ever. So, in 5e I've kept the gods as active presences in Faerun, along with stratification of deific levels.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The Underdark of the Shadowfell is called the Underfell (in official lore the Underdark of the Feywild is called the Feydark, so I decided that the Shadowfell's Underdark deserved a similar naming treatment).

In one the 4e's era Dragon Mag (or maybe Heroes of Shadow? or Neverwinter Campaign Setting?) they actually expand a little on the idea of the Shadowfell underground and call it Shadowdark.

Now, how you rate it on the ''worst name ever scale'' is yours to decide, though :p

Yours is good. I'd go with Felldark myself.
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
For as long as I have been a member of these forums, do I really need to spell out that my first answer is that I scrub every trace of alignment out of the system? If there are angels and demons in my setting-- which is hardly a given-- those beings and their empowered mortal servitors are the only exceptions. No alignment restrictions on classes. No aligned spells. No alignment domains. Paladins have an Oath that spells out their Code of Conduct and specifies some of their abilities.

My settings are godless. If there are Clerics at all, they follow a religion and their magic represents ideals taught by that religion-- there are usually several religions to choose from, all of them are optional and none of them are divine MLM schemes. Some of them may even be substantially correct in their beliefs about the workings of the universe. If Druids are a thing, they are not the same thing as Clerics.

Obviously, no Alignment and no "Gods" means no Great Wheel. Honestly, I would really like to not define this because all of the action takes place in the actual setting... but given a choice between defaulting to the World Axis cosmology or resorting to operant conditioning to get players to leave it alone... well, the World Axis isn't so bad. Still, I fantasize about telling players "There are no dimensions outside of this one, take 1d4 psychic damage" whenever I'm designing a new setting.

With very very few exceptions-- mostly Drow-- subraces are not a thing. The concept of "race" in D&D terms... is just a little more flexible and accommodates more natural variation. This is mostly reflected in class selection.

It's not actually a deviation from lore-as-written, so much as deviation from a baseless oral tradition, but demihuman/humanoid relationships are more uneasy and skeptical than they are immediately and invariably hostile. In order for gangs of humanoids to be a potential random encounter in the middle of the capitol city, families of humanoids have to be living on the outskirts of the capitol city. In order for random goblin and orc patrols to be carrying handfuls of minted coins, someone has to be willing to trade for those coins with them.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I like to combine the Feywild and the Shadowfell into a single realm called the Otherworld (the cheerful parts are like the Feywild, the gloomy parts are like the Shadowfell). The Underdark is also part of the Otherworld, as are the cloud-castles where giants live, and the aquatic kingdoms unda da sea. The boundaries between the Otherworld and the material plane are subtle and vague; basically, the more magical a place is, the more it is in the Otherworld.

Most monsters and non-human races are from the Otherworld and only visit the material plane, making elves, dwarves, goblins, dragons, etc. relatively rare. The exception are halflings, who are just short rustic people with sturdy feet.

I like to make NPCs skew very low-level, especially with spellcasters. The village priest might have a few cleric spells, and the local hedge mage can maybe cast identify or whip up some potions for you, but a level 5 wizard would be a pretty big deal.

In this way, I can create a "low-magic" world in which "high-magic" PCs can still go on "high-magic" adventures.
 

Uta-napishti

Explorer
I just want to bump this dead thread to say this one point is just kick-ass brilliant @AcererakTriple6 !
  • Fey are the physical embodiments of emotions, whether they be "good" or "bad" emotions. Hags are the embodiments of disgust, Meenlocks are the embodiments of fear, and Redcaps are the embodiments of bloodthirstiness. The Shadowfell, on the other hand, is the home to the embodiments of the lack of emotions. These creatures are called "shadows", as they are the "shadows of emotions"; the void that is cast by the brightness of the emotions the Feywild create when they shine on the Material Plane. The most common Shadow-type creatures are Sorrowsworn, which are the embodiment of what the Shadowfell lacks in contrast to what the Feywild has. The Feywild is much more populated than the Shadowfell, being vibrant and home to many different types of creatures, so visitors to the Shadowfell will often come across The Lonely and The Lost, embodiments of the plane's lack of an abundant population. The Feywild has beautiful landscapes and environments and plentiful beautiful fey creatures to echo this theme, while the Shadowfell's dark reflection of that takes physical form of The Wretched. This part isn't much of an overhaul of a "lore sacred-cow", but more sorting through the vague concepts of these planes of existence.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Is forgotten to mention; there is no heaven or hell in Islands World. The dead either become spirits comparable to land spirits like dryads or River sprite, or join a greater spirit, or reincarnate. There is no eternal punishment or reward. There also may not be any fiends, I haven’t decided yet. If there are they serve a very different role.
 

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