D&D General D&D Canon - why is it important and how does it affect your game?

Irlo

Hero
For those of you who have strong preferences for consistent fidelity to D&D canon -- within an edition, across editions, and/or across various related media (novels, computer games, etc.) -- how do you find that affects your experience at the game table?

Do RPG sourcebooks service the same function for you and your games as a fictional franchise? (It's an actual question -- I'm not implying that they don't or that they shouldn't.) Should publishers use RPG materials to tell a story?

Do you make alterations to the canonically established settings? Are the published settings compelling enough that you don't feel the need to put your personal stamp on them? If you do make alterations for your iteration of the setting, can you explain why it's still important that the publisher maintain fidelity to the canon?

For my part, I don't look to any campaign setting to tell a story. That might be why canon doesn't matter to me. The story is reserved for the characters in the game. What they do in the setting is the story. My feelings on this are probably different that yours as I've never used published campaign settings except in as much as they relate to published adventures, and even then I make heavy edits to those settings, and I've never read related D&D novels or comic books. But I am sincerely interested to know why it's so important to some people.

I read some old threads on canon and changes to canon. People have strong reactions this this subject. Please know that I'm not challenging anyone's preferences or suggesting that they are wrong to have them. If canon is not important to you, please don't use this thread to make that pronouncment. Thanks!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Reynard

Legend
Insofar as I use published settings at all (usually just as a backdrop of a module, but sometimes intentionally) everything is subject to change. There is no inherent fidelity to canon. That said, I usually don't both to change anything unless it actually matters for what I am doing, adventure or campaign wise.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
For those of you who have strong preferences for consistent fidelity to D&D canon -- within an edition, across editions, and/or across various related media (novels, computer games, etc.) -- how do you find that affects your experience at the game table?

Do RPG sourcebooks service the same function for you and your games as a fictional franchise? (It's an actual question -- I'm not implying that they don't or that they shouldn't.) Should publishers use RPG materials to tell a story?
A few things.

First, the outline of the setting should remain consistent from edition to edition. If 1e Forgotten Realms had one origin and progression, the 2e Forgotten Realms had a different origin and progression, the 3e had a third origin and progression, etc. it would completely invalidate the setting as the Forgotten Realms. Those would be 3 completely different settings that only had a name or names in common. It's okay to fill in holes in the settings to create new canon, and there are still tons of holes in the Forgotten Realms, and it's okay to extend the timeline out and create new canon that way, but it's not okay to just toss the baby out with the bathwater and begin again just because it's a new edition.

Second, setting and setting story matter as a backdrop to the characters' stories. If Dorothy ended up in the Bronx zoo and met the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man there, it would not be at all the same as if the setting is Oz, even if you kept the characters' stories the same. Canon matters in that way as well.

Third, if canon is being changed from edition to edition, those of us who know the setting will have to relearn it every time a new edition comes out. That's a pain in the rear as well as being super annoying. Having consistency from edition to edition not only prevents us from having to relearn things, but also stops inconsistencies in the stories of PCs who cross multiple editions. It's pretty bad to have your character's background or prior play invalidated just because WotC wanted to change canon for the new edition.
Do you make alterations to the canonically established settings? Are the published settings compelling enough that you don't feel the need to put your personal stamp on them? If you do make alterations for your iteration of the setting, can you explain why it's still important that the publisher maintain fidelity to the canon?

For my part, I don't look to any campaign setting to tell a story. That might be why canon doesn't matter to me. The story is reserved for the characters in the game. What they do in the setting is the story. My feelings on this are probably different that yours as I've never used published campaign settings except in as much as they relate to published adventures, and even then I make heavy edits to those settings, and I've never read related D&D novels or comic books. But I am sincerely interested to know why it's so important to some people.
Yes and no. I rarely(but not non-zero) make changes to existing canon. The Anauroch was caused by the Phaerimm in the war with Netheril. That's not going to change. However, things in the world will be affected by what the PCs do and how adventures and campaigns turn out. That can alter what WotC had planned and put out for their next edition if it's not compatible. I'm not going to be a slave to canon to the point where the PCs can't change things.
 




I play in the forgotten realms. A setting with a lot of cannon/baggage that the official source of hasn’t exactly been super consistent about. It doesn’t actually matter, the source material is just a pool of ideas to draw on for your game. you can take from both before and after the spell plague. You can do whatever, what matters to your players is the consistency of their world. All published materials are just things to draw on, would be nice if they were pretty consistent but, when your players publically executed all the lords of waterdeep a couple years ago, your game is gonna be a bit different than whatever WotC publishes about the city Tomorrow. There is no such thing as cannon in D&D.
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
canon can be shoved in a cannon and shot into the stratosphere:)

D&D is leisure time, the material is there to facilitate my entertainment and if bits of it inspire then great I might try to use it, otherwise I dont care a jot if it comes from Forgotten Realms or Mordent or Al-Qadim.

of course I've always done homebrews and quickly went from vanilla generic world to more focussed cultural specific areas.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top