D&D 5E Crash-Course On The Forgotten Realms

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
The place names are pretty badass.

I ran Tomb recently and it detailed the entire jungle kingdom of Chult and it was pretty amazing.

The O.G. module it's based on had all of this stuff too, back in like 1981 or whatever. (It wasn't an FR module, and I can't remember if it was Blackmoore, Greyhawk (in which case you'd launch from Saltmarsh like I think you do in the 5E adventure??), or just no particular setting, but there was a trilogy of modules and the first one gave you like, the super in-depth lowdown on Chult.

ZOMBIE-TREX that spits zombies out its mouth.

I hope the original modules had this, too, but sadly I doubt it.

There's a place called Cormyr, they have Purple Dragon Knights, and they are good guys (more or less).
Pretty much. As with all good guy countries some nobles hate the king and are trying to overthrow him. Its been the same dynasty for over 1000 years, those nobles have a really bad track record.

Has anyone attempted straight up enlightenment ideals, representative democracy, rule of the masses, a general uprising of the proletariat, any of these things, in any of these countries? In ANY of these countries. Is there perhaps even a rough equivalent of 'Merica? Or is it just oligarchs circling with knives out to control the crown of one of seemingly hundreds of kingdoms. Ugh. A whole world that never graduates past monarchy given thousands of years is so depressing it's like dystopian. What's worse is that I don't think it was even deliberate on the part of the creators.

But yes, if its a named D&D game its in FR, EXCEPT Planescape: Torment which is set largely in Sigil. I'm assuming you're familiar with Sigil.

I'm one of the rare mutants that couldn't get into Planescape, or for that matter, any other Bioware D&D game, unless you count KOTOR, but I'm familiar with Sigil through both my attempt to get into PS:T and sourcebook based knowledge: it was described in some detail in the third edition Manual of the Planes (GOD I miss my MotP), but I think towards the tail end of 3.5, there might have been a sourcebook dedicated entirely to Sigil?

It's a great setting (Sigil) and whatsee should throw their money in that direction.

Anyway, while I'm sure that the people who funded it wish it hadn't happened, there WAS a Temple of Elemental Evil game. I forget if it was based on an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.0 or an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.5. Anyway, fascinating but borderline unplayable because of its difficulty. You all start at Level 1, so no matter how long you spend rerolling your part's stats...yeah, it's kind of an accidental indictment of how the eff you were supposed to survive early level 3.X short of the DM fudging everything. I couldn't get past the first level of the temple, but I felt accomplished getting there.

Is the weird dragon thing under Candlekeep in the computer game?

naughty word, actually, which city is biggest: Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, or Waterdeep?

LAST EDIT, SWEARZ: How does this article make any sense if the dragonward ... is?
 
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teitan

Legend
Grey hawk had no specific launch point but the most common was Probably The Village of Homlett. Followed closely by Keep on the Borderlands as the divide between AD&D and the original Basic was minor. Most Greyhawk was in the middle of the Flanaess like Against the Giants and Elemental Evil.
 

gyor

Legend
My advice, break the task up into smaller chunks, FR probably has more lore then any fantasy setting, so start with maybe with Faerun before moving onto Kara Tur, Maztica, Zakhara, Abeir, Glyth, Coliar, Skull of the Void, Ander, ect...
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Has anyone attempted straight up enlightenment ideals, representative democracy, rule of the masses, a general uprising of the proletariat, any of these things, in any of these countries? In ANY of these countries

Yes, though not worded as such as there is no intellectual movements in the FR called the enlightenment or communist theory.
Is there perhaps even a rough equivalent of 'Merica? Or is it just oligarchs circling with knives out to control

I’m not sure the difference in your statement here? :p But seriously, Representative Republics? I can’t think of one off the top of my head in current timelines.

It’s not “thousands of years of history” of direct linear development and history. The Realms is in 1489 DR, which is exactly what it means for human reckoning. They are approximately 1500 years past the massive destruction and collapse of Last great human civilization of Netheril which was a kind of Italian City-State concept, but the cities were all on upside down flying mountain tops...

So they are still roughly in the monarchs phase with some places being relatively “small” and egalitarian, and others as theocracies, and others as oligarchy’s and magocracy’s and monarchical magocracy, etc. etc.


The mythal over Waterdeep has a key tied to it, the Dragonstaff of Ahghairon which can allow dragons entrance past the mythal’s ward/effect. It is used judiciously to allow dragons and dragon-blooded entrance to the city Nd can be revoked at any time by the wielder of the staff.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
The place names are pretty badass.



The O.G. module it's based on had all of this stuff too, back in like 1981 or whatever. (It wasn't an FR module, and I can't remember if it was Blackmoore, Greyhawk (in which case you'd launch from Saltmarsh like I think you do in the 5E adventure??), or just no particular setting, but there was a trilogy of modules and the first one gave you like, the super in-depth lowdown on Chult.



I hope the original modules had this, too, but sadly I doubt it.



Has anyone attempted straight up enlightenment ideals, representative democracy, rule of the masses, a general uprising of the proletariat, any of these things, in any of these countries? In ANY of these countries. Is there perhaps even a rough equivalent of 'Merica? Or is it just oligarchs circling with knives out to control the crown of one of seemingly hundreds of kingdoms. Ugh. A whole world that never graduates past monarchy given thousands of years is so depressing it's like dystopian. What's worse is that I don't think it was even deliberate on the part of the creators.



I'm one of the rare mutants that couldn't get into Planescape, or for that matter, any other Bioware D&D game, unless you count KOTOR, but I'm familiar with Sigil through both my attempt to get into PS:T and sourcebook based knowledge: it was described in some detail in the third edition Manual of the Planes (GOD I miss my MotP), but I think towards the tail end of 3.5, there might have been a sourcebook dedicated entirely to Sigil?

It's a great setting (Sigil) and whatsee should throw their money in that direction.

Anyway, while I'm sure that the people who funded it wish it hadn't happened, there WAS a Temple of Elemental Evil game. I forget if it was based on an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.0 or an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.5. Anyway, fascinating but borderline unplayable because of its difficulty. You all start at Level 1, so no matter how long you spend rerolling your part's stats...yeah, it's kind of an accidental indictment of how the eff you were supposed to survive early level 3.X short of the DM fudging everything. I couldn't get past the first level of the temple, but I felt accomplished getting there.

Is the weird dragon thing under Candlekeep in the computer game?

naughty word, actually, which city is biggest: Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, or Waterdeep?

LAST EDIT, SWEARZ: How does this article make any sense if the dragonward ... is?

Waterdeep is the biggest out of those choices.

There's no large scale Democratic type country. Even IRL it's a new concept in the grand scheme of things.

FR is roughly late 16th century. We only had oligarchic type Republics outside of tribal groups back then. And they were rare.
 

Coroc

Hero
Hey! Of the different settings you're allowed to write for on the DM's Guild, I think that Forgotten Realms is the one I dislike the least, I think. (My preference would be writing for Greyhawk or Dragonlance but what're ya gonna do--I have a Greyhawk project I'm doing completely on spec for direct publication by WotC (guy can dream!) that might or might not have something to do with something that rhymes with Harrier Beaks--it is what it is.)

Please tell me like, the most important things about the FR setting. Here's what I already know (pathetically limited and mostly from memes, but FR is one setting I only ever PC'd in and never DM'd which explains why I knew so little about it):
  • There's an omnipotent wizard named Elminster who is so powerful he could solve all of the problems in Faerun with a snap of his fingers, but doesn't, because reasons.
  • There's a very powerful secret society dedicated to Good called the Harpers, who could probably acting on their own defeat most or all of the forces of evil in Faerun, but don't, so the PCs still have something to do.
  • Drizz't (dro Urden? did I make that up?) is a dual-wielding Drow hero that launched a zillion copycat PCs.
  • There's a place called Thay, they have Red Wizards there, they look really cool, but are bad guys.
  • There's a place called Cormyr, they have Purple Dragon Knights, and they are good guys (more or less).
  • There's a nasty secret society called the Cult of the Dragon that worship dracoliches or worship a specific dracolich or something. They're bad news.
  • Magic is all wrapped up in something complicated called "The Weave".
  • Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Icewind Dale, and everywhere else in D&D famous enough to have a videogame named after it comes from FR. IIRC, Waterdeep is roughly equivalent to the Free City of Greyhawk in the Greyhawk setting.
And that's all I know, like I said, basically nothing. Please tell me what you think are the most important things to know about the FR setting. If you want a little more structure, what year it currently is, the really major points on the timeline, and a breakdown of the most pivotal factions & nations

Thanks!
Well if you also want to include some very interesting features from older (2e) lore, the weave has got some extra specials:

Magic dead zones: Everything magic does not work, only potions, so no plusses or flameblade on your magic weapon and spells do not work.
Wild magic zones: There are several tables to determine the outcome of a spell cast in such a zone, the side effects can be catastrophic, a minor nuisance, a slight benefit or a major advantage (very rare occasion when your fireball gets double damage double radius) but are always big fun (for the DM at least :devilish:)
Mythals: 10th level elven magic, several are known, they can do lots of things, like e.g. casting protection from evil on entrance in such a zone, prevent certain spells from being casted, acting like forbiddance on a certain species etc. etc. They were cast mainly in the area of major ancient elven cities with the purpose to make life easier but may have totally different intentions behind them also. Some still work or work partially or do not work anymore (eventually?). A very interesting feature of FR in any case.
 

Nebulous

Legend
Well if you also want to include some very interesting features from older (2e) lore, the weave has got some extra specials:

Magic dead zones: Everything magic does not work, only potions, so no plusses or flameblade on your magic weapon and spells do not work.
Wild magic zones: There are several tables to determine the outcome of a spell cast in such a zone, the side effects can be catastrophic, a minor nuisance, a slight benefit or a major advantage (very rare occasion when your fireball gets double damage double radius) but are always big fun (for the DM at least :devilish:)
Mythals: 10th level elven magic, several are known, they can do lots of things, like e.g. casting protection from evil on entrance in such a zone, prevent certain spells from being casted, acting like forbiddance on a certain species etc. etc. They were cast mainly in the area of major ancient elven cities with the purpose to make life easier but may have totally different intentions behind them also. Some still work or work partially or do not work anymore (eventually?). A very interesting feature of FR in any case.

Oh yeah, I forget about the magic dead and wild magic zones. I'll have to add some of those! That could be pretty messed up if your wizard's AOE spells are doubled in radius and he doesn't know that ahead of time o_Oo_O
 

Coroc

Hero
Oh yeah, I forget about the magic dead and wild magic zones. I'll have to add some of those! That could be pretty messed up if your wizard's AOE spells are doubled in radius and he doesn't know that ahead of time o_Oo_O
On a 99-100 on a d100 that is. I think otoh it might be rolls of 01-17 that a spell explodes right back into your face and 18-37 that your gender changes, and I think there was something with colors, odor ,butterflies, flowers and harmless small animals on the rolls in between.
I could be slightly off here maybe I remember something wrong, and I really think now I missed the "caster is petrified between 84 and 87" or so :p
 

Laerel Silverhand (one of Mystra's seven daughters... its all very complicated) is the current Open Lord of Waterdeep. In Dragon Heist she's presented as a CR 23 NPC that can cast 9th level spells
She is CR 17. And like all Chosen of Mystra is noted as weakening in the current day and age.
 

Anyway if you would like to learn about the current lore, the Sword Coast Adventure Guide is pretty decent. It largely focuses on the Sword Coast Region, but it gives an overview of a number of other places.


Also Dragon's in FR are largely solitary. And many of the older ones are well known troublemakers that no one wants to mess with. Waterdeep's anti dragon field is to make sure it does not come under attack by powerful dragons.

That nation you named that was ruled by Dragons was just a place that was conquered one day by a dragon that felt like it, then some other dragons emulated him and they came together in an alliance. Most dragon's don't really have a nation or true culture as they are very solitary creatures.
 

gyor

Legend
The place names are pretty badass.



The O.G. module it's based on had all of this stuff too, back in like 1981 or whatever. (It wasn't an FR module, and I can't remember if it was Blackmoore, Greyhawk (in which case you'd launch from Saltmarsh like I think you do in the 5E adventure??), or just no particular setting, but there was a trilogy of modules and the first one gave you like, the super in-depth lowdown on Chult.



I hope the original modules had this, too, but sadly I doubt it.



Has anyone attempted straight up enlightenment ideals, representative democracy, rule of the masses, a general uprising of the proletariat, any of these things, in any of these countries? In ANY of these countries. Is there perhaps even a rough equivalent of 'Merica? Or is it just oligarchs circling with knives out to control the crown of one of seemingly hundreds of kingdoms. Ugh. A whole world that never graduates past monarchy given thousands of years is so depressing it's like dystopian. What's worse is that I don't think it was even deliberate on the part of the creators.



I'm one of the rare mutants that couldn't get into Planescape, or for that matter, any other Bioware D&D game, unless you count KOTOR, but I'm familiar with Sigil through both my attempt to get into PS:T and sourcebook based knowledge: it was described in some detail in the third edition Manual of the Planes (GOD I miss my MotP), but I think towards the tail end of 3.5, there might have been a sourcebook dedicated entirely to Sigil?

It's a great setting (Sigil) and whatsee should throw their money in that direction.

Anyway, while I'm sure that the people who funded it wish it hadn't happened, there WAS a Temple of Elemental Evil game. I forget if it was based on an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.0 or an ultrastrict interpretation of 3.5. Anyway, fascinating but borderline unplayable because of its difficulty. You all start at Level 1, so no matter how long you spend rerolling your part's stats...yeah, it's kind of an accidental indictment of how the eff you were supposed to survive early level 3.X short of the DM fudging everything. I couldn't get past the first level of the temple, but I felt accomplished getting there.

Is the weird dragon thing under Candlekeep in the computer game?

naughty word, actually, which city is biggest: Neverwinter, Baldur's Gate, or Waterdeep?

LAST EDIT, SWEARZ: How does this article make any sense if the dragonward ... is?

The biggest Democracy in FR is Turmish, although some of the Chessentan city states might also be Democratic.

Turmish

There has been a democratic movement in Westgate, although it has yet to be successful, Westgate is just to corrupt.

As for which City is biggest ot depends on time period and edition. Originally Waterdeep and Calimport were biggest, but chaos of the Spellplague and Sundering in addition to wars and other chaos lead to refugees immigrating massively to Baldur's Gate making it the biggest city in Faerun (I don't know how big BG is compared to cities in Kara Tur or Zakhara).
 

The biggest Democracy in FR is Turmish, although some of the Chessentan city states might also be Democratic.

Turmish

There has been a democratic movement in Westgate, although it has yet to be successful, Westgate is just to corrupt.

As for which City is biggest ot depends on time period and edition. Originally Waterdeep and Calimport were biggest, but chaos of the Spellplague and Sundering in addition to wars and other chaos lead to refugees immigrating massively to Baldur's Gate making it the biggest city in Faerun (I don't know how big BG is compared to cities in Kara Tur or Zakhara).
Waterdeep is still bigger than Baldur's Gate.
 

FR is defined by a bunch of ultra powerful spellcasters locked in a cold war against each other. So they need you, mister adventurer, to meddle in the plans of bad guys / counter meddle.

It's like a high fantasy version of cyberpunk with mega corporations named Larloch, Seven Sisters, Thay, Shadovar, etc.

Low level play is mostly about local or kingdom level squabbles.
 

gyor

Legend
Waterdeep is still bigger than Baldur's Gate.

In 4e it straight up says that BG is now bigger then Waterdeep, I check my 5e books later to see if it is still true for 5e. I think the wall part of Waterdeep is bigger then the Walled part of the BG, but when you start counting the outer districts of BG, BG ends up bigger. Waterdeep is a nicer place to live for regular law abiding folks.
 

gyor

Legend
FR is defined by a bunch of ultra powerful spellcasters locked in a cold war against each other. So they need you, mister adventurer, to meddle in the plans of bad guys / counter meddle.

It's like a high fantasy version of cyberpunk with mega corporations named Larloch, Seven Sisters, Thay, Shadovar, etc.

Low level play is mostly about local or kingdom level squabbles.

That is the perfect way to put that. I mean when groups of powerful spell casters go to war with each other everything just gets wrecked, both good, evil, and neutral would prefer most often to work through minions.
 


Coroc

Hero
is not is no is not. Waterdeep has it own book. The Gate only has one chapter and the rest of the book is hell.........
Waterddeep has skullport and undermountain so if 3rd dimension counts it is bigger :p

No seriously i think waterdeep is bigger as well in area and population, maybe that changed in 4e or 5e for the population due to some official lore but if so i do not know about it.
 

Checking it appears that the Sword Coast Area were Baldur's Gate is, is considered a different area then the Sword Coast North were Waterdeep is. Waterdeep is weirdly not credited as a city on the Sword Coast.

Also it's way bigger it has a population of 2 million to Baldur's Gate of 125,000
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
There's an omnipotent wizard named Elminster who is so powerful he could solve all of the problems in Faerun with a snap of his fingers, but doesn't, because reasons.
The trouble with Superman, yes. Or Goku.
There's a very powerful secret society dedicated to Good called the Harpers, who could probably acting on their own defeat most or all of the forces of evil in Faerun, but don't, so the PCs still have something to do.
Yeah like the CIA could totally end all the forces of evil in New York, much less the whole US.
Drizz't (dro Urden? did I make that up?) is a dual-wielding Drow hero that launched a zillion copycat PCs.
Edgelords gonna edge
There's a place called Thay, they have Red Wizards there, they look really cool, but are bad guys.
Yup you know they're bad because they dress in the color of blood.
There's a place called Cormyr, they have Purple Dragon Knights, and they are good guys (more or less).
Yup, you know they are pompous because they dress in the Color of Oprah Royalty
There's a nasty secret society called the Cult of the Dragon that worship dracoliches or worship a specific dracolich or something. They're bad news.
Yup Dracoliches are indeed bad news. Cults about them are bad too. Cults about evil dragon gods are also bad
Magic is all wrapped up in something complicated called "The Weave".
Like a big old mystical spiderweb of spells
Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Icewind Dale, and everywhere else in D&D famous enough to have a videogame named after it comes from FR.
except for Mystara I think but that's less popular videogames.
IIRC, Waterdeep is roughly equivalent to the Free City of Greyhawk in the Greyhawk setting.
I think so.

And that's all I know, like I said, basically nothing. Please tell me what you think are the most important things to know about the FR setting. If you want a little more structure, what year it currently is, the really major points on the timeline, and a breakdown of the most pivotal factions & nations

Thanks!
Well the important stuff is contained in the 5e Published adventures and the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide and I can't really type all those out. The year it currently is will depend on if you want to run an adventure after the published adventures, or between the published adventures. If you are running one of the published adventures, the book will tell you the year.

Basically the important thing to know is it's easy to run an adventure in FR because of published books and it's a kitchen sink setting.
 

gyor

Legend
is not is no is not. Waterdeep has it own book. The Gate only has one chapter and the rest of the book is hell.........

I'm not talking about the size of the books, I'm talking about the actual size of the city physically within the setting. Think Kilometers instead of page count.
 

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