D&D General Do you care about lore?

Remathilis

Legend
I feel the opposite. Those choices are part of what make a setting feel like a distinct setting. So a version of Mystara that didn't have straight up dwarf or halfling wizards but maybe the former could be some kind of artificer, would be cool.

In fact, I prefer for all non-standard D&D peoples (everything aside from human, dwarf, elf, halfling, maybe gnome) be connected to specific settings. I never have dragonborn in my games (I do allow a lizardfolk variant to fill that gap because of the environment). But if I ran a game in Krynn I'd allow some kind of Draconian race, because Dragonlance - but would replace halflings with kender.

The idea that a setting must include all possible core lineages seems off to me. Changing, adding to, and/or eliminating that kind of basic "lore" (if you can call it that) is what different settings are for - they change the flavor of the game.

Heck, a friend of mine is starting up a "nothing but humans" D&D game in a homebrew and even though originally I thought I'd play a gnome next, I was happy to change my idea because I like the sword & sorcery feel of humans only in a world of monsters and newly re-born magic.
And that's fine for your home game. Go nuts. Do what you want.

AS A BRAND, D&D has an obligation to provide a mostly uniform experience. Part of the problem during the 2e era of settings was every setting was its own micro-game only vaguely compatible with each other. Each setting had different rules for character generation, proficiencies, class features, specialty priests, etc. Rulebooks were siloed to their own unique niche, and compatibility wasn't guaranteed. Wizards of the Coast has an obligation to create that smooth experience. A Ravenloft PC shouldn't be leagues better than a Ravnica one, and any class option in Tasha's should work regardless of if I'm in Theros, Eberron, or Exandria. If the DM wants to limit options, change how the setting works, or even require all players to play gnome paladins, that's the DM's right, but WotC shouldn't be making that choice for the DM.

Which goes back to some of the disconnect older fans have with WotC's modern design; they remember the time where the settings supported themselves first and AD&D bent and twisted to suit the setting rather than providing a D&D experience flavored with whatever tropes and genre the setting provides. Ravenloft should support running D&D in a horror genre, not create a horror setting/game using a variant of the D&D rules. Dark Sun should give options and mechanics to support creating post-apocalyptic wasteland PCs, not re-write the character chapter so that 1/10th of the PHB is still viable. And if warlocks are one of the twelve classes in the PHB, Dragonlance has obligation to find a home for them. If YOU don't want warlocks on Krynn, take them out, but WotC shouldn't be banning them for "flavor" reasons.

(Before you ask, I'm aware the M:TG settings use little or no of the PHB races. It's a compromise to me because a.) they are effectively a licensed product and not part of the official D&D multiverse and b.) It's only a limit on races; they don't limit feats, spells, classes, subclasses, or even equipment.).
 

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Regardless of whether it is my own lore, or a published setting, my opinions are the same.

Settings can (and should) evolve and grow. But Retcons are always - always - bad.

If you don't like something in a settings past, it's ok to have the people in Universe not like it too. But it should still stay as the canonical past.
 

This came up in one of the Ravenloft threads and I am just curious: do you care about official aka "canon" lore for D&D, either the implied setting or a specific campaign world? Does it bother you if that lore is changed with editions? Should a new version of a setting be "required" to not contradict a previous version?

Yes, It does. Since I follow most of those settings as multimedia properties and not only as background for running D&D campaigns, I care a lot about their consistency as displayed in novels, videogames, comic books, and even previous editions. I'm fine with the eventual retcon, such as Rudolph Van Richten appearing in Curse of Strahd, but making Dr. Victor Mordenheim a woman contradicts too many previous sources for my own taste.
 


Remathilis

Legend
Regardless of whether it is my own lore, or a published setting, my opinions are the same.

Settings can (and should) evolve and grow. But Retcons are always - always - bad.

If you don't like something in a settings past, it's ok to have the people in Universe not like it too. But it should still stay as the canonical past.

Yes, It does. Since I follow most of those settings as multimedia properties and not only as background for running D&D campaigns, I care a lot about their consistency as displayed in novels, videogames, comic books, and even previous editions. I'm fine with the eventual retcon, such as Rudolph Van Richten appearing in Curse of Strahd, but making Dr. Victor Mordenheim a woman contradicts too many previous sources for my own taste.
I'm curious how you both address things like the multiple inconsistent versions of I6 (Ravenloft, House of Strahd, Expedition, Curse of Strahd) or blatantly contradictory things (like Tristan Hiregaards origin in the Black Box vs. Ravenloft Monster Compendium 2 vs. The Enemy Within, or the Lord of Necropolis novel)?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Yeah, I don't care about D&D as a brand. To me D&D is as much a DIY hobby as it is a game, and it will survive in countless permutations regardless of what happens to "the brand."
Likewise, I don't care what happens in your game. You have the SRD, make what you want. I care about the special brew only WotC can make. Last I checked, this thread is about that lore, not yours.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
If you don't like something in a settings past, it's ok to have the people in Universe not like it too. But it should still stay as the canonical past.

I mean, so-called real-world history does not have a canonical past and we argue all the time about "What actually happened and why," I don't see why a fictional history should be any different. Ret-Cons happen all the time in the real world. What you call a ret-con, I call a new understanding of what may have happened, just with an in-story and a meta-game reason.
 


"This probably should have been a poll."

It was a poll. Don't you remember? It was always a poll.

In other news, Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
 

cbwjm

Legend
This came up in one of the Ravenloft threads and I am just curious: do you care about official aka "canon" lore for D&D, either the implied setting or a specific campaign world? Does it bother you if that lore is changed with editions? Should a new version of a setting be "required" to not contradict a previous version?

For my part, I don't care much at all. Chances are I am going to change some stuff anyway if I am using a published setting and if I am homebrewing chances are the stuff in the Monster Manual or whatever isn't relevant in the first place. I don't read novel lines or pour over setting books, so I probably wouldn't notice most changes anyway.
I sort of care, I love reading setting information and I'm sometimes disappointed by the changes for a setting between editions but usually there is something in there that I also like. This was the case with the 4e FR, I felt it was too big a change, but it also had some really cool ideas in it, I loved the floating city of Airspur and the plaguetouched (I think that's the term, the people with powers gained from the spellplague) and I'd be inclined to keep these aspects in 5e if I was playing in the FR.

I've found that I don't always like how the lore fits the mechanics of a new edition. This was the case with the sorcerer and dragonlance in 3e. I guess it would be an easy swap of intelligence instead of charisma for the casting stat as well as the creation of spell schools to fit the age of mortals style of sorcery.

I mostly play in homebrew settings so it isn't so much of an issue for me, though I would like to get back to dragonlance and might set my next campaign there.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
or the Lord of Necropolis novel)?
Actually, Lord of the Necropolis was near-totally brought back into canon by Death Undaunted. That was literally John W. Mangrum's goal when he wrote it (that and bringing Azalin back), and while the module itself was never finished due to the licensing deal WotC struck with White Wolf, the 3E Ravenloft setting was still written under the assumption that Death Undaunted happened, and referred to it more than once over the course of the line.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Actually, Lord of the Necropolis was near-totally brought back into canon by Death Undaunted. That was literally John W. Mangrum's goal when he wrote it (that and bringing Azalin back), and while the module itself was never finished due to the licensing deal WotC struck with White Wolf, the 3E Ravenloft setting was still written under the assumption that Death Undaunted happened, and referred to it more than once over the course of the line.
I was under the impression Lord of Necropolis was noncanon due to basically explaining the Dark Powers in far more detail than was wanted. Then again, I wasn't keeping up with the lore by the time 3e RL was coming out, so the fact an unpublished module brought it back made it easy to escape my notice...
 

Voadam

Legend
AS A BRAND, D&D has an obligation to provide a mostly uniform experience.

Dragonlance not having half orcs in 1e or standard halflings or forest gnomes was arguably still a mostly uniform experience D&D.

The MtG D&D settings arguably provide a mostly uniform D&D experience comparable to the differences between Eberron and default D&D.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I was under the impression Lord of Necropolis was noncanon due to basically explaining the Dark Powers in far more detail than was wanted.
That's why I linked to it. The details are all in there, but basically that last part of the story was explained away as "Azalin's discorporation made it difficult for him to think straight, and he had a lot of crazy dreams before he started literally pulling himself back together."
 

I sort of care, I love reading setting information and I'm sometimes disappointed by the changes for a setting between editions but usually there is something in there that I also like. This was the case with the 4e FR, I felt it was too big a change, but it also had some really cool ideas in it, I loved the floating city of Airspur and the plaguetouched (I think that's the term, the people with powers gained from the spellplague) and I'd be inclined to keep these aspects in 5e if I was playing in the FR.

I've found that I don't always like how the lore fits the mechanics of a new edition. This was the case with the sorcerer and dragonlance in 3e. I guess it would be an easy swap of intelligence instead of charisma for the casting stat as well as the creation of spell schools to fit the age of mortals style of sorcery.

I mostly play in homebrew settings so it isn't so much of an issue for me, though I would like to get back to dragonlance and might set my next campaign there.
4e FR is a great case study in the limits of changing a setting for a new edition.

Adding in tieflings was probably okay, but dragonborn were a bridge too far for too may. The Spellplauge was a really neat idea for a campaign (in any setting), but making it a default for a setting as opposed to an event was possibly a mistake. Doing that and the god stuff was a bit much. Etc.
 

Argyle King

Legend
I think lore can be a good thing if it builds a shared foundation of understanding for a group of people attempting to play a story-driven game.

Lore is why a group of people can sit down at a game store and understand what elves, dwarves, and orcs are without much problem. There may be some minor discussion such as "these orcs are more like LoTR than Warhammer" or "the dwarves in this setting have a caste system similar to Dragon Age, but the elves are cliche forest and bow types."

So, from the perspective of selling an established brand or setting, I think lore has importance: much in the way that Star Wars and Star Trek have very different lore and fan groups who identify with that lore. Changes and deviations can (and do) occur, but it is also possible for a change to be perceived as violating the foundations of the story and what came before (as is arguably the case with some versions of both Star Wars and Star Trek).

I do not believe that lore should serve to shackle the creativity of a home game or disrupt the fun of a group. In one of my home settings, I use very different versions of races and monsters. Both myself and the people I have played with in that setting have fun with it. However, once certain things about the setting have been explained/established, I prefer consistency so as to facilitate the shared understanding I mentioned above.

There is a balance.
I think an established story's lore has value.
I also think that telling your own story shouldn't be hampered by the idea that your lore must fit someone else's idea.
 

I've always believed that retcons should explain, expand, and/or justify the past, not rewrite it. Make new material, don't change old material into something completely different and keep the same names. It's crass and materialistic, IMO. I love lore, and I think of it as the story of the setting. Of course the accuracy isn't perfect from edition to edition, but trying to maintain setting consistency is a virtue worth upholding. Of course, I can and do use bits of existing lore from anywhere and everywhere to enhance my homebrew games, so there's value in new lore wherever it comes from to me.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
The main thing I hate about FR (beside it being a Disneyworld-esque setting) is just the massive amount of lore about it. To my mind it just bogs the whole thing down and for players I can’t imagine having another adventure in such a well-trammeled place.

Give me the wide-open vistas of an unfamiliar world where land and history are ripe for discovery.
 

Oofta

Legend
I run games in my own campaign world, so for my campaign the lore matters. I pay extra attention to details and recording major decisions so that I can maintain consistency. I want someone to tell a story from 2 editions ago and the lore still matches.

But when I'm playing in other campaigns? Meh. As long as it's reasonably consistent we're good.
 

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