WotC Can we salvage Toril?

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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???
1. New players don't necessarily have access to those books.
2. When new editions happen, time advances and the changes should be printed for more than 1/225th of the world.
 

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TheSword

Legend
1. New players don't necessarily have access to those books.
They have a damn site more access to it than I did back in 1995. I used to have to get a bus to the city, walk about 5 miles to and from the bus-stop/game store. Hope they had what I wanted in stock, or wait two-three weeks for an order, and then pay the equivalent of £25 for a printed copy.

New players click here… and get a book for 1/3 of the 1995 equivalent I paid for it, instantly and in a portable, easy to read, nigh invulnerable version.


2. When new editions happen, time advances and the changes should be printed for more than 1/225th of the world.
This is a totally unrealistic expectation. Far beyond anyone to keep going with. You can’t simultaneously expand the Realms year after year and then simultaneously expect that detail to be refreshed and renewed over and over again. As the realms gets bigger and bigger. No setting does that, or has ever done that. All you can hope for is for key areas to get a refresh.

I also kind of refute the idea that the sword coast is in isolation. The Sumber Hills in Princes of the Apocalypse could easily be transplanted into Damara, or the Dales, or Tethyr with a minimum of fuss.

The old adage of “only write as much as you need to tell the story” comes in to play at some point.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
It would be unfortunate if the rest of Toril was ignored IMO.

I know some people find Kara-Tur in "bad form" or whatever, but frankly I really liked it in AD&D. I think WotC could do something with it, but odds are someone would take offense--so they probably won't. :(
I liked (my first DMing) AD&D Oriental Adventures, which is 1986 came with text descriptions of the lands and no map. It was not set in FR originally - meant for Greyhaw, supposedly - and I ran it as its own place.

It’s the word “oriental” that’s a problem (much less 36 years ago), rather than the content of the game, which was very fun for people who grew up watching Hong Kong kung fu movies on TV (super popular on NYC‘s channel 5 in 1970’s to 1980’s, because we had more channls to fill than the rest of the US) and the rare, rare treat of something from Kurosawa, like 7 Samurai or Ran.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
They have a damn site more access to it than I did back in 1995. I used to have to get a bus to the city, walk about 5 miles to and from the bus-stop/game store. Hope they had what I wanted in stock, or wait two-three weeks for an order, and then pay the equivalent of £25 for a printed copy.

New players click here… and get a book for 1/3 of the 1995 equivalent I paid for it, instantly and in a portable, easy to read, nigh invulnerable version.
A ton of folks, like myself, don't run games with PDFs. We take actual books with us to leaf through.
This is a totally unrealistic expectation. Far beyond anyone to keep going with. You can’t simultaneously expand the Realms year after year and then simultaneously expect that detail to be refreshed and renewed over and over again. As the realms gets bigger and bigger. No setting does that, or has ever done that. All you can hope for is for key areas to get a refresh.
There has been no expansion "year after year." There has been only one expansive work given, and it details a minute section of the Realms. the Sword Coast. Just one small piece in almost 10 years.
I also kind of refute the idea that the sword coast is in isolation. The Sumber Hills in Princes of the Apocalypse could easily be transplanted into Damara, or the Dales, or Tethyr with a minimum of fuss.
That doesn't refute anything. So you have a few hills. Kinda need the updated Damara, Dales or Tethyr to use it. Otherwise all you have are a few hills.
The old adage of “only write as much as you need to tell the story” comes in to play at some point.
And then there's the old adage, "It's nice to have lots of information available to read and be inspired by." ;)
 

This is a totally unrealistic expectation. Far beyond anyone to keep going with. You can’t simultaneously expand the Realms year after year and then simultaneously expect that detail to be refreshed and renewed over and over again. As the realms gets bigger and bigger. No setting does that, or has ever done that. All you can hope for is for key areas to get a refresh.

That's not entirely true. Legend of the Five Rings did with considerably less resources than WotC could leverage if they so chose. Granted, a lot of the advancement was kind of wonky because it partially hinged on the results of a card game tournament, but they did it, and it wouldn't be that hard to do with the Realms if WotC was actually willing to support the setting. Here's how I would approach it:

  1. Focus on the macro scale in a FR dedicated website (with history for past changes), and let the micro filter in through products and novels. Basically, let readers know what's happening overall with nations and major city-states. Anything on a smaller scale can be considered to be business as usual unless another product touches it.
  2. Dial it down a notch. Conflicts between major groups, power plays within groups, wars, etc. keep the setting feeling alive. Events that reshape the fabric of reality, destroy, remove, reshape or insert landmasses, kill gods, etc. make the setting unstable and less playable. Think realm shaking event in the singular, not the whole frickin planet.
  3. Make your plans a combination of long term plans that can be updated over multiple years and isolated events that are fully contained within one. Some can be in reaction to novels and products, but some should be fully original so the DM can design their own adventures around them if they choose.
  4. In addition to factual events, consider a "what people are talking about" section so you can mix in foreshadowing of future events and random gossip that may or may not be true(e.g. DM fodder).
You could probably do this in a pretty satisfactory way with just a few people working on it as their regular job to do a combination of research, writing and coordination with authors and product designers. And it's not like WotC is hard up for money these days.
 

TheSword

Legend
A ton of folks, like myself, don't run games with PDFs. We take actual books with us to leaf through.

There has been no expansion "year after year." There has been only one expansive work given, and it details a minute section of the Realms. the Sword Coast. Just one small piece in almost 10 years.

That doesn't refute anything. So you have a few hills. Kinda need the updated Damara, Dales or Tethyr to use it. Otherwise all you have are a few hills.

And then there's the old adage, "It's nice to have lots of information available to read and be inspired by." ;)
Yes but you aren’t a new player, so the fact that you like weighty tomes rather than designing a campaign off your iPad says more about old players (sorry) than new players.

The sword coast isn’t a tiny area, it’s a thousand miles of coastline, and includes half a dozen cities, upteen towns. Several big dungeons and about 10,000 NPCs.

My point isn’t that the hills are of particularly interest themselves. Just that Feathergale Tower, an analogue of Red Larch, or the ancient dwarf city below the hills can be based in Dagger Dale as easily as anywhere else. As can the analogue of Phandelver or Waterdeep.

The Forgotten Realm obsession with codifying and cataloguing lore borders on data-porn. Who cares if Berun Ghastkill was mayor of Bereghost in DR 2547 or not. If you need a mayor of that town use him… or any town for that matter. Just write it down somewhere.
 

TheSword

Legend
That's not entirely true. Legend of the Five Rings did with considerably less resources than WotC could leverage if they so chose. Granted, a lot of the advancement was kind of wonky because it partially hinged on the results of a card game tournament, but they did it, and it wouldn't be that hard to do with the Realms if WotC was actually willing to support the setting. Here's how I would approach it:

  1. Focus on the macro scale in a FR dedicated website (with history for past changes), and let the micro filter in through products and novels. Basically, let readers know what's happening overall with nations and major city-states. Anything on a smaller scale can be considered to be business as usual unless another product touches it.
  2. Dial it down a notch. Conflicts between major groups, power plays within groups, wars, etc. keep the setting feeling alive. Events that reshape the fabric of reality, destroy, remove, reshape or insert landmasses, kill gods, etc. make the setting unstable and less playable. Think realm shaking event in the singular, not the whole frickin planet.
  3. Make your plans a combination of long term plans that can be updated over multiple years and isolated events that are fully contained within one. Some can be in reaction to novels and products, but some should be fully original so the DM can design their own adventures around them if they choose.
  4. In addition to factual events, consider a "what people are talking about" section so you can mix in foreshadowing of future events and random gossip that may or may not be true(e.g. DM fodder).
You could probably do this in a pretty satisfactory way with just a few people working on it as their regular job to do a combination of research, writing and coordination with authors and product designers. And it's not like WotC is hard up for money these days.
Rokugan is much much smaller and much more unified than the Forgotten Realms. Rokugan is about as well detailed as… well… the Sword Coast coincidentally. In fact it has a lot less detail in many ways.

Rokugan - one empire, seven or so clans, a couple of dozen locations etc. is much easier to keep updated.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yes but you aren’t a new player, so the fact that you like weighty tomes rather than designing a campaign off your iPad says more about old players (sorry) than new players.
It's for old and new players alike. New players need it far more than I do, yes, but I don't have any 5e updated information on literally 99% of the Realms.

I'm not asking for(though it would be nice) a bunch of books like the Unapproachable East and Shining South. A, updated campaign book like the one 3e made that talks about all the areas would be sufficient.
The sword coast isn’t a tiny area, it’s a thousand miles of coastline, and includes half a dozen cities, upteen towns. Several big dungeons and about 10,000 NPCs.
It's a tiny sliver of the Realms(not including Zakhara and Maztica).
My point isn’t that the hills are of particularly interest themselves. Just that Feathergale Tower, an analogue of Red Larch, or the ancient dwarf city below the hills can be based in Dagger Dale as easily as anywhere else. As can the analogue of Phandelver or Waterdeep.
Great. I don't keep my players penned up, though, so I need to know about the rest of the Dales, Sembia, Thay, etc. Those hills are far from sufficient for a campaign that doesn't keep PCs confined to a small area.
The Forgotten Realm obsession with codifying and cataloguing lore borders on data-porn. Who cares if Berun Ghastkill was mayor of Bereghost in DR 2547 or not. If you need a mayor of that town use him… or any town for that matter. Just write it down somewhere.
I'm not talking about a name.
 

TheSword

Legend
It's for old and new players alike. New players need it far more than I do, yes, but I don't have any 5e updated information on literally 99% of the Realms.

I'm not asking for(though it would be nice) a bunch of books like the Unapproachable East and Shining South. A, updated campaign book like the one 3e made that talks about all the areas would be sufficient.

It's a tiny sliver of the Realms(not including Zakhara and Maztica).

Great. I don't keep my players penned up, though, so I need to know about the rest of the Dales, Sembia, Thay, etc. Those hills are far from sufficient for a campaign that doesn't keep PCs confined to a small area.

I'm not talking about a name.
So what would be in this updated realms other than new NPC names? That doesn’t already exist in a printed product?

To be clear, I love the 3e forgotten realms line and owned every one of them at some point or other. Just not sure it needs reprinting again.
 


TheSword

Legend
Updated politics, world events, local events, wars, unusual sites, and the list goes on and on. Names are the least of it.
The mistake was advancing the meta by 100 years. I just ignore that.

We can set any adventure at any time in Forgotten Realms History. In fact I like the fact that events the PCs are familiar with can be occurring around them. It makes it feel like the Forgotten Realms.

There are enough Realms Shaking events in the last 30 years to keep me busy for several lifetimes.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The mistake was advancing the meta by 100 years. I just ignore that.

We can set any adventure at any time in Forgotten Realms History. In fact I like the fact that events the PCs are familiar with can be occurring around them. It makes it feel like the Forgotten Realms.

There are enough Realms Shaking events in the last 30 years to keep me busy for several lifetimes.
As I said, I like to pick and choose. The spell plague and sundering never happened in my Realms. Nor did the death of king Azoun. The invasion of Many Arrows and the Avatar Crisis did happen.

An updated campaign book for 5e would be nice for new and older players. The Sword Coast fails to be sufficient for a campaign book, because it's only a relatively tiny section of the Realms and I'd have to railroad my players in order to keep them penned up in it.
 

TheSword

Legend
As I said, I like to pick and choose. The spell plague and sundering never happened in my Realms. Nor did the death of king Azoun. The invasion of Many Arrows and the Avatar Crisis did happen.

An updated campaign book for 5e would be nice for new and older players. The Sword Coast fails to be sufficient for a campaign book, because it's only a relatively tiny section of the Realms and I'd have to railroad my players in order to keep them penned up in it.
I get the penning up point of view. I just think the Vilhon Reach is fair game or the Dale Lands, or the Moonsea, or Rashaman or god knows where else. If you’ve used the plots in those books already, fair enough. If you have, you’re probably an outlier though.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I get the penning up point of view. I just think the Vilhon Reach is fair game or the Dale Lands, or the Moonsea, or Rashaman or god knows where else. If you’ve used the plots in those books already, fair enough. If you have, you’re probably an outlier though.
I'm not saying that there isn't still a lot of value in the older books. I'm saying that a new edition warrants new updates to the entire setting, for both new players who don't have the older books and the older players who want updated information. There's a lot of value in that as well.
 

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.
Examine them yes I guess. But it would be a bit like using Gladiator as the touchstone for your ancient Rome rpg.
 


Remathilis

Legend
I actually don't think it's possible anymore.

There was discussion elsewhere that settings that lack certain cultural representation shouldn't use monsters as stand-ins for that culture (IE. If your setting lacks an Arabia analog, you shouldn't use genies or at least don't use them as the stand-in for that culture). In short, D&D settings good and proper cultural representation to avoid issues of appropriation or stereotyping.

Faerun is a notable example of a world with analogues to many different Earth cultures: Asia, Arabia, South American, African, Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, Norse, etc. All of it a stone's throw from their current Cash-Cow, the Sword Coast. They have a setting where they could release regional sourcebooks, done by cultural experts with proper sensitivity reading, they could be doing a regional sourcebook/MM/mini-adventure annually, filling out Faerun, adding new cultural representation, and making it all interchangeable so that a Kara-Tur Samurai and a Zakharan Sha'ir could go wander over to Baldur's Gate and fight Zariel in the latest AP module. It's a structure that serves Golarion and Pathfinder well.

But they did Tomb of Annihilation. Badly. And they got raked over the coals for having done it badly. And after that, they pretty much retreated from going beyond the Sword Coast, and increasingly seem more interested in doing "one book settings" than doing anything from Forgotten Realms. (Last year was the first year none of the hardback books featured Faerun in any meaningful way). They seem to have gained a lot of interest into settings that stand in for one particular genre (such as Ravenloft = horror, Theros = Greek myth, or Strixhaven = magical school) rather than large all-encompassing monosettings.

So right now, I wager WotC feels it's safer and more profitable for them to either leverage MTG properties (such as Kamigawa), or other properties (such as Rokugan) or even create something totally new rather than attempt to fix Kara-Tur and dredge up ghosts of OAs past. I just don't see WotC having the appetite to fix old problems if they can create something new instead.
 

Voadam

Legend
Really? IME more people complain about the treatment of the cultures, classes, etc. even though TSR had people who were there to help with that sort of thing. 🤷‍♂️
In my experience the criticisms come from multiple directions, sometimes ones that contradict each other.

The word Oriental in the title.

It is Japan focused and not all East Asia.

It applies Japanese stuff to other East Asian fantasy analogues.

It is not historically and culturally accurate enough.

It is too historically and culturally focused and not fantasy enough.

It focuses on tropes from old samurai and kung fu movies.

It feeds into tropes about East Asians.

It exoticizes Asians.

It is not integrated into normal D&D but is a separate elsewhere/other in both setting and mechanics.

It shoehorns D&Disms onto Asian fantasy concepts.

It is not a broad toolkit but has specific assumptions.

It is cultural appropriation.

It does not provide enough cultural representation.

It is cultural misrepresentation.

Among others.
 

Another reason that 2024 will have a new Forgotten Realms campaign setting book is that it's the 50th anniversary of D&D and I think they will want to do something special for itself flagship setting.

I mean we found out they were working on a revisit back in 2020, so by 2024 that's 4.5 to 5 years development time. By comparison Strixhaven: Cirrculum of Chaos was done in less then a year, the classic settings I think roughly 2 to 2.5 years to do. The FR revisit will havd twice the development time of other classic settings. That tells me whatever they are planning for the revisit is really big and major whatever it is, as befits the 50th Anniversary of D&D.
 

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