WotC Can we salvage Toril?

aco175

Legend
My game had Terracotta warforged, and Kenku, a bureau of Chinese Imperial wizards, and a viking who'd travelled all the way down the silk road to recover his folding ship which an official had stolen in order to present to the Emperor as a gift.
This is pretty darn cool. This should be how one takes historical elements and make them D&D cool. Players may have a bit of historical text while being able to relate to the feel of the game.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Forgotten Realms is not a bad concept. It's just become a mess of too much stuff being crammed in, some poorly execeuted additions, and then a series of rushed and not thought through revisions.

I think there could be a really great D&D setting for the future if you start with the original Campaign Set and supplements for 1st edition and start to expand and polish it up with the experiences and lessons learned over the last 30 years.

First, stick to Faerûn. Nobody wants to see 80s carricatures of South America and Asia by people whose main reference are kung fu movies. If someone has a decent idea for such setting, it could be worth a shot, but lack of one does not need to stand in the way of a new Forgotten Realms.
Semi-disagree. I definitely don't want to see 80s caricatures, but I would like to see well-thought-out and well-done South American and Asian settings (etc.), and I have a feeling that if they were to be written (as a D&D setting, not an MtG setting), they'd be tacked onto the Realms again rather than become their own world.
 

Yora

Legend
Perhaps, but I was thinking that it's a less radical chance to simply not mention something again than to replace it with something else.

Faerûn of course takes inspirations from Europe. But which country is England? Which one is France? Which one is Russia? Cormyr could maybe be treated as analoguous to either England or France, but it's not a one to one match either. Is Rashemen Russia? Not really. Or rather, not at all.
There are a few exception with Mulhorand and Unther being clearly Egypt and Mesopotamia, with their straight copied over gods. Does that make Chondath Italy, or is Amn Italy? Neither are really a match.
In that regard, Faerûn is really inoffensive. No place is a straight up pop culture carricature of a specific country.

From what I remember about Kara-Tur, you can instantly say which countries are China, Korea, and Japan. Probably even the specific dynasty. And I believe Maztica is not much more creative. That's a drastically different type of worldbuilding than we have in Faerûn. I don't think the two fit together.
(I don't know anything about Zakara, but apparently it's really quirky and as such probably not just copy-pasted Arabia.)
 

Perhaps, but I was thinking that it's a less radical chance to simply not mention something again than to replace it with something else.

Faerûn of course takes inspirations from Europe. But which country is England? Which one is France? Which one is Russia? Cormyr could maybe be treated as analoguous to either England or France, but it's not a one to one match either. Is Rashemen Russia? Not really. Or rather, not at all.
There are a few exception with Mulhorand and Unther being clearly Egypt and Mesopotamia, with their straight copied over gods. Does that make Chondath Italy, or is Amn Italy? Neither are really a match.
In that regard, Faerûn is really inoffensive. No place is a straight up pop culture carricature of a specific country.

From what I remember about Kara-Tur, you can instantly say which countries are China, Korea, and Japan. Probably even the specific dynasty. And I believe Maztica is not much more creative. That's a drastically different type of worldbuilding than we have in Faerûn. I don't think the two fit together.
(I don't know anything about Zakara, but apparently it's really quirky and as such probably not just copy-pasted Arabia.)
Yeah, if they were going to be remade, I kind of fall on the side of cleaving closer to historical and cultural accuracy not being a great approach. Western European fantasy is viewed through the lens of decades of self-facing inspiration, regurgitation, reinvention in reaction to the above, homage in defiance of reinvention, and so on. There's very little that actually resembles historical or cultural Europe remaining in it with exception to specific works that deliberately pull from it to stand out (e.g. ASoIaF). Maztica: Now with Historical Accuracy would stand out just as much as Kara-Tur: I Watched a Kurosawa Film Once would.

Of course there's always the risk of going to far in the other direction: making a wild, "exotic" land that not only bears no real resemblance to the inspiring culture, but also no real commonality with the rest of the Realms(which is part of the existing problem in the first place. You'd end up with something that is possibly creative, but at odds with every goal one might have when trying to handle a real world culture with respect in a fictional setting.

Personally, I think what is missing is the Tolkien for these cultures. Someone who goes through all of the relevant mythology and history, then draws inspiration from that to create their own mythology and history that develops into a compelling piece of fiction. Not just a game setting, but actual literature. If Tolkien had just taken all the work he did creating fictional races, cultures and languages, and then just compiled them into a collection titled "Imagine Yourself Here," it would have been tossed in the bins of time, and the fantasy genre would likely not be recognizable to us today.
 

Yeah, if they were going to be remade, I kind of fall on the side of cleaving closer to historical and cultural accuracy not being a great approach. Western European fantasy is viewed through the lens of decades of self-facing inspiration, regurgitation, reinvention in reaction to the above, homage in defiance of reinvention, and so on. There's very little that actually resembles historical or cultural Europe remaining in it with exception to specific works that deliberately pull from it to stand out (e.g. ASoIaF). Maztica: Now with Historical Accuracy would stand out just as much as Kara-Tur: I Watched a Kurosawa Film Once would.

Of course there's always the risk of going to far in the other direction: making a wild, "exotic" land that not only bears no real resemblance to the inspiring culture, but also no real commonality with the rest of the Realms(which is part of the existing problem in the first place. You'd end up with something that is possibly creative, but at odds with every goal one might have when trying to handle a real world culture with respect in a fictional setting.

Personally, I think what is missing is the Tolkien for these cultures. Someone who goes through all of the relevant mythology and history, then draws inspiration from that to create their own mythology and history that develops into a compelling piece of fiction. Not just a game setting, but actual literature. If Tolkien had just taken all the work he did creating fictional races, cultures and languages, and then just compiled them into a collection titled "Imagine Yourself Here," it would have been tossed in the bins of time, and the fantasy genre would likely not be recognizable to us today.
When doing things like 'fantasy Asia' etc, it might be good idea to examine how things are depicted in fantasy media created in those countries. There are a ton of Wuxia and other Chinese fantasy films for example.
 
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TheSword

Legend
I’ve got twenty or so 3e books, covering large swathes of the realms and another thirty or so 2nd Ed books covering the rest. I’m not sure why on earth I would need 5e to reprint it all over again.

There is more Forgotten Realms (including Maztica, Al Quadim, and Kara Tur) for any 10 settings. What is there that needs salvaging???
 

dave2008

Legend
When doing things like 'fantasy Asia' etc, it might be good idea to examine how things are depicted in fantasy media created in those countries. There are ton of Wuxia and other Chinese fantasy films for example.
As an avid consumer of Asian (Korean, Chinese, and Japanese primarily) fantasy, it is surprising how similar to D&D it can be. A lot of contemporary Asian fantasy media takes a lot of ideas from D&D / RPGs and applies it to their indigenous mytho/fantasy context.
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
I’ve got twenty or so 3e books, covering large swathes of the realms and another thirty or so 2nd Ed books covering the rest. I’m not sure why on earth I would need 5e to reprint it all over again.

There is more Forgotten Realms (including Maztica, Al Quadim, and Kara Tur) for any 10 settings. What is there that needs salvaging???
Because, as an example, Maztica is just a copy/paste of Central America history, since it was written by former history teachers, and because of that a) it completely breaks immersion b) that younger generation will never accept it c) because of b WOTC will never develop it further.
 

As an avid consumer of Asian (Korean, Chinese, and Japanese primarily) fantasy, it is surprising how similar to D&D it can be. A lot of contemporary Asian fantasy media takes a lot of ideas from D&D / RPGs and applies it to their indigenous mytho/fantasy context.
Fantasy created by people from Asia will likely be quite a bit different from fantasy created from people of Asian descent outside of Asia. From the Chinese-American friends and acquaintances I know there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between them and the general consensus in China in regards to certain issues (with one once expressing annoyance that Chinese nationals' opinions are sometimes framed as more legitimate, as if they were the only "real" Chinese).
 


dave2008

Legend
Fantasy created by people from Asia will likely be quite a bit different from fantasy created from people of Asian descent outside of Asia. From the Chinese-American friends and acquaintances I know there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between them and the general consensus in China in regards to certain issues (with one once expressing annoyance that Chinese nationals' opinions are sometimes framed as more legitimate, as if they were the only "real" Chinese).
I believe that. I have seen that in disagreement between Chinese-American friends who are from Taiwan vs those from mainland China too.

Personally, I am more familiar with modern fantasy from South Korea and Japan.
 

dave2008

Legend
Because while you have them, newer player don't. And while they could buy PDFs of the old books, these are exactly that: old. 20+ years old in most cases. That alone will keep many current players from purchasing them.

And ingame they are even older. More than 100 years outdated
I personally don't have a need for an updated Toril (or any setting really), but if you want to get new people into the setting, it is probably better to have a new book.
 

Fantasy created by people from Asia will likely be quite a bit different from fantasy created from people of Asian descent outside of Asia. From the Chinese-American friends and acquaintances I know there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between them and the general consensus in China in regards to certain issues (with one once expressing annoyance that Chinese nationals' opinions are sometimes framed as more legitimate, as if they were the only "real" Chinese).
I am sure that this is the case. But to be frank, these representation discussions are usually framed almost exclusively from American perspective, and I don't think that is very inclusive either.
 

TheSword

Legend
Because while you have them, newer player don't. And while they could buy PDFs of the old books, these are exactly that: old. 20+ years old in most cases. That alone will keep many current players from purchasing them.

And ingame they are even older. More than 100 years outdated
Outdated? I’m ok with the Mayor of Archenford being the same dude in DR2553 and DR2453 provided the players haven’t been hanging around in Archenford over the whole period - in which case a little effort to come up with a new name is warranted. Seriously though, is it not enough to have a detailed primer for the realms? Do we now need to have a detailed primer covering multiple time periods?

Players can purchase the older books for considerably less than I paid for them with pdf. I strongly, strongly suspect it isn’t current players demanding them, but older players who think the detail should be available. Good news… it is.
 

TheSword

Legend
Because, as an example, Maztica is just a copy/paste of Central America history, since it was written by former history teachers, and because of that a) it completely breaks immersion b) that younger generation will never accept it c) because of b WOTC will never develop it further.
The information is available and there to adventure in. If players don’t want to, because the themes don’t chime with them, then they have a million other locations to investigate.

You can’t expect WOC to properly detail hundreds of locations and in such a way that it will make subset A through F players happy.

They need to pick some things that inspire them and write about that, ideally stuff that will be commercially viable. If that’s reinvention of the old, then great. If it’s new then while it seems like harder work, great for them too.

I see little to be gained or credited for needlessly reprinting stuff that already exists. I don’t want to dismay you, but Maztica has as much chance of getting remade as a chocolate teapot.
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
I see little to be gained or credited for needlessly reprinting stuff that already exists. I don’t want to dismay you, but Maztica has as much chance of getting remade as a chocolate teapot.
It was removed in 4e apparently, returned in 5e, but yeah I agree will be ignored forever, which probably that answers the question, Toril is unsalvageable.
 

In any case, I really don't care what they do with it, but if they wanted to salvage the setting, I think the best would just reboot it. Forget all the bizarre events caused by changing editions, continents popping in and out of existence and other such weirdness. Just choose the best bits from each editions, update where needed and pretend it was always like that. Keep it recognisable enough that people can mostly pretend that the events of most popular novels (whatever those may be) roughly happened as described, but don't sweat over minute details.
 

TheSword

Legend
It was removed in 4e apparently, returned in 5e, but yeah I agree will be ignored forever, which probably that answers the question, Toril is unsalvageable.
Well Toril is a big place. When I think of salvaging something I don’t normally expect every part to be pristine. Some bits will be rusted or dented and that’s ok.

Think of Maztica as the table leg that your new puppy savaged. Now that leg goes up against the wall where no one else can see it, so only you know it’s there. It doesn’t mean you can’t look at it fondly and remember happy dinners at that table.
 


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