5E Forgotten Realms canon question

DEFCON 1

Legend
Did Ed Greenwood write any of the Scales of War adventures?
I don't believe so. I think Quickleaf's only belief that they might be connected is that there were some planar entities in SoW that are also planar identities in the Realms. Thus the question of whether there's only "one" planar entity of each type in the multiverse, which would thus mean SoW was a "part" of the Realms (since they share the entity.)

I do not believe that personally. I think every entity is one of an infinity group of them that each and every one of us can use at our leisure. Otherwise... we would have to assume that the Tiamat that is considered an Overlord trapped within Khyber in the Eberron setting is the same Tiamat that has been trapped in Avernus and almost escaped in the Tyranny of Dragons Realms adventure is the same one that appears in Red Hand of Doom. But just that just makes absolutely no sense... story-wise especially.
 

dave2008

Legend
I do not believe that personally. I think every entity is one of an infinity group of them that each and every one of us can use at our leisure. Otherwise... we would have to assume that the Tiamat that is considered an Overlord trapped within Khyber in the Eberron setting is the same Tiamat that has been trapped in Avernus and almost escaped in the Tyranny of Dragons Realms adventure is the same one that appears in Red Hand of Doom. But just that just makes absolutely no sense... story-wise especially.
Or it could be an avatar of Tiamat in both cases, or everyone is wrong (one of those two are not Tiamat). There are plenty of ways for it to be one multiverse with I myriad of false ways of understanding it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
What is easy for players to grok? That there is only one Tiamat that has an infinite number of "avatars" that all of us use in all these products and everything that has ever happened has happened to the "one true Tiamat" ... or there are just an infinite number of Tiamats that each of us use with impunity without worrying about "breaking" some universal D&D "canon"?
 
That there is only one Tiamat that has an infinite number of "avatars" that all of us use in all these products and everything that has ever happened has happened to the "one true Tiamat"
I haven't followed cosmology much if at all since 2E ended but this is how I always understood it.

or there are just an infinite number of Tiamats that each of us use with impunity without worrying about "breaking" some universal D&D "canon"?
My guess is that if this is how WotC is portraying it these days its probably to mirror the every growing real life theories that there are multiple dimensions and realities.
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
I haven't followed cosmology much if at all since 2E ended but this is how I always understood it.



My guess is that if this is how WotC is portraying it these days its probably to mirror the every growing real life theories that there are multiple dimensions and realities.
More like there is only one Tiamat with multiple (but finite) avatars and very major events in one setting do actually affect her accross settings
 
Actually, I would disagree with this assessment. As far as I can tell... there ARE multiple "Nine Hells". Every single thing in D&D in WotC's "multiverse" theory has infinite multiples of everything. It's due to the top-down meta perspective-- the "Nine Hells" that I use in my campaign is not the same "Nine Hells" that you might use in your campaign is not the same "Nine Hells" that are written about in Descent Into Avernus. Just like standard real-world multiverse theory... every one is just slightly different than each other because each of our games and each person who writes a new book changes things ever-so-slightly. There isn't one set "canon" because it isn't possible to make one.
Huh. My impression – that it is the same Astral Plane for all campaign settings – came from the Sage Advice on Planes and Worlds 7/23/18.

So you don't have to watch the whole 45 minute video, Greg Tito opens with a question (paraphrasing): So is it the same Nine Hells for all of these worlds? How does it work?

12:30 Jeremy Crawford: The way we present the core books for D&D is totally Planescape. It's just core now... ...and one thing we talk about, not only in books people have now but in D&D books stretching back decades, is that people in different worlds can imagine these planar relationships in different ways and might even have different names for them.

17:30 Jeremy Crawford: Let's talk about the worlds within the Prime Material Plane. I often get asked are all the worlds in the same universe? The official answer is yes. We talk about that in the Player's Handbook, and also in the DMG chapter called Creating a Multiverse.

24:20 Jeremy Crawford: There was a period in D&D's life especially around 3rd edition where this idea of all of D&D's worlds being in one giant setting together started to go out of focus. So you started ending up with worlds that were shepherded and designed to be their own thing. Now they would still end up sharing alot of the same mythological touchstones. So most of them talking about the Nine Hells or Mount Celestia or Mount Celestia with a different name. So a lot of the planar infrastructure was still in place even when the worlds were treated as thought they had no relationship to one another. BUT again, it's important for people to remember for the background of D&D, the original assumption in 1st edition was that the worlds were all in a multiverse together. And that is also the assumption of 5th edition.

To me this sure sounds like attempting to unify the D&D multiverse.

So that being said... I think to determine whether anything in Scales of War is "official FR canon" (as much as any FR canon can be "official")... easiest and safest way to determine it is whether anything in the AP is directly related or mentioning anything in the Realms. If all you can come up with is that the AP mentions this thing over here as being in the cosmology, and that the Realms also uses that cosmology (and thus the transitive property suggests that if A is in B and C uses B, thus A is in C)... they you're probably barking up the wrong tree in my opinion.
I haven't run or read the whole 19-adventure Scales of War path, just Siege at Bordrin's Watch (one of the early adventures), Tyranny of Souls, and then the final adventure Last Breath of the Dragon Queen. None of those 3 adventures mention NPCs or locations from Faerûn.

But of course... if your tweet to Ed receives a different opinion, then go with whatever he says. ;)
Yep! Will see!
 
Last edited:
To me this sounds like attempting to unify the D&D multiverse.

None of those 3 adventures mention NPCs or locations from Faerûn.
I suppose it would stand to reason that there is only one multiverse, otherwise "realistically" and I use the term loosely as in how realistic can it be when talking about a fantasy game, but what are the odds of a creature from Faerun running into a creature from Krynn or Oerth or any other setting from that matter if there were infinite cosmologies. Take Ravenloft for instance, seeing as in the whole demiplane is made up from realms from the prime material plane this supports a single multiverse as well.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
What is easy for players to grok? That there is only one Tiamat that has an infinite number of "avatars" that all of us use in all these products and everything that has ever happened has happened to the "one true Tiamat" ... or there are just an infinite number of Tiamats that each of us use with impunity without worrying about "breaking" some universal D&D "canon"?
One Tiamat with a number of avatars, and (if one of the avatars can ever beat the team of meddling kids heroes that rises from nowhere to lead opposition) a mystic link that allows her to take the place of whichever avatar finally succeeds in accomplishing Tiamat's scheme.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Huh. My impression – that it is the same Astral Plane for all campaign settings – came from the Sage Advice on Planes and Worlds 7/23/18.
Well, as I said... my opinion of "multiple Nine Hells" was coming at it also from a metagame perspective.

The meta perspective being that every single real life player runs their own game and that nothing any of us do impact any other player and their game. There could be 100,000 DMs all running Tomb of Annihiliation. Every single Chult realm is going to thus have their own story and their own plot. Some NPCs might die, some won't. Every one of those Chults will be slightly different, but every single one will also be "real". Anything that happens in our games is "real" from the perspective of our games and the perspective of D&D on the whole. And that's why we have a D&D "multiverse"... because its the way Jeremy et. al. can confirm for every player the reality of their game's existence.

It's also helps explain why they are no longer concerned with trying to tie up every facet of every single story so that it all still "works" in some sort of overarching, complete D&D narrative "canon". No more lame attempts at retconning things to explain or justify that what came before so that it makes sense with what they are writing now. With the Multiverse theory they now don't have to. Instead, every single one of us have been given the go-ahead to write D&D ourselves and have it be real-- just as real as anybody else's. So if someone says "You know... the firbolg race that they came up with for 5E, in the Forgotten Realms those are actually more Voadkyn that firbolg... WotC needs to explain why this got all messed up..." WotC can just say "In your FR world, maybe those are Voadkyn... do whatever you feel is necessary and it is correct." And that's so they don't actually have to waste their time trying to write all that crap up themselves just to make some players happy.

There is no "canonical" D&D... because every single thing can and has changed. Both by the people who write the books, and by the people who play the game. And the D&D Multiverse allows for all of it to be true.
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
Did Ed Greenwood write any of the Scales of War adventures?
No. Why would he write an adventure for WotC that did not take place in the Forgotten Realms?

I can only imagine Ed's unedited response to the tweet: "I'm being asked if a series of adventures that took place on a different world to Toril is somehow also considered to have taken place on Toril. Hmmm, that doesn't seem like it needs me to respond...."
 
No. Why would he write an adventure for WotC that did not take place in the Forgotten Realms?

I can only imagine Ed's unedited response to the tweet: "I'm being asked if a series of adventures that took place on a different world to Toril is somehow also considered to have taken place on Toril. Hmmm, that doesn't seem like it needs me to respond...."
Agree 100% and that was why I asked the question. Even if it was set in or had ramifications in the Realms, if he didn't write it my opinion is that his opinion wouldn't matter unless he can specifically give a yes or no answer.
 

aco175

Adventurer
It seems like some questions on RAW vs. RAI. On one hand all things FR are open to take for DMsGuild. This is a lot and they seem to have been rather easy on what people are posting, so you most likely could post this if it is somehow tied to the FR. On the other hand, if the whole multiverse is tied together, I could argue that everything D&D is now "part of FR" which feels wrong.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
So here's two sources that should answer your question;


Scales of War is written as a sequel of sorts to another adventure, where Vlaakith CLVII is assassinated. I'm pretty sure the "canon" ending of that adventure is that the PCs fail and Vlaakith survives, so Scales of War is largely a non-canon adventure path.

If you're trying to determine what is canon and what is not, use the Forgotten Realms wiki. If the information is not there, it is likely non-canon. If the information is there, but seems doubtful to you, check the source.

Of course, the idea of "canon" in D&D is mostly rubbish anyway, as once you start your first session in Forgotten Realms, your world has become non-canon. So I wouldn't worry too much about what is canon and what is not; I'd be more concerned with what is fun and what is not.

And Scales of War can be very, very fun.
 
So here's two sources that should answer your question;


Scales of War is written as a sequel of sorts to another adventure, where Vlaakith CLVII is assassinated. I'm pretty sure the "canon" ending of that adventure is that the PCs fail and Vlaakith survives, so Scales of War is largely a non-canon adventure path.

If you're trying to determine what is canon and what is not, use the Forgotten Realms wiki. If the information is not there, it is likely non-canon. If the information is there, but seems doubtful to you, check the source.

Of course, the idea of "canon" in D&D is mostly rubbish anyway, as once you start your first session in Forgotten Realms, your world has become non-canon. So I wouldn't worry too much about what is canon and what is not; I'd be more concerned with what is fun and what is not.

And Scales of War can be very, very fun.
How did you come to the conclusion that the "canon" ending of The Lich-Queen's Beloved was that the PCs failed to kill Vlaakith CLVII?

While I think the FR Wiki is a great resources... it notations are often misleading. When doing adventure prep/research, I've tracked down several notations only for there to be no mention of the subject matter the notation is supposed to support. For instance, on Vlaakith's wiki page, the first line reads:

Vlaakith CLVII, also known as the Lich Queen, was the ruler of the githyanki race.[8][1]

[1]↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Christopher Perkins (July 2003). “The Lich-Queen's Beloved”. In Chris Thomasson ed. Dungeon #100 (Paizo Publishing), pp. 97–98.

[8] Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 4. ISBN 978-0786966240.

So the FR Wiki page is sighting The Lich-Queen's Beloved as a source. That's interesting. And in that adventure Vlaakith is referred to as CLVII.

However, nowhere in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is any generational number used for Vlaakith. She's just "Vlaakith."

So the notation is a bit misleading. The generational number was accurate in 3e, but no longer appears to be accurate in 5e.
 
No. Why would he write an adventure for WotC that did not take place in the Forgotten Realms?

I can only imagine Ed's unedited response to the tweet: "I'm being asked if a series of adventures that took place on a different world to Toril is somehow also considered to have taken place on Toril. Hmmm, that doesn't seem like it needs me to respond...."
Agree 100% and that was why I asked the question. Even if it was set in or had ramifications in the Realms, if he didn't write it my opinion is that his opinion wouldn't matter unless he can specifically give a yes or no answer.
If Ed Greenwood is the wrong person to contact with this question, then mea culpa.
Who would you instead suggest that I reach out to?
 
If Ed Greenwood is the wrong person to contact with this question, then mea culpa.
Who would you instead suggest that I reach out to?
Ed might have an answer, but I would be surprised. Maybe try the author(s) if you can. Your question may be one they didnt consider when writing the adventure.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
How did you come to the conclusion that the "canon" ending of The Lich-Queen's Beloved was that the PCs failed to kill Vlaakith CLVII?

While I think the FR Wiki is a great resources... it notations are often misleading. When doing adventure prep/research, I've tracked down several notations only for there to be no mention of the subject matter the notation is supposed to support. For instance, on Vlaakith's wiki page, the first line reads:

Vlaakith CLVII, also known as the Lich Queen, was the ruler of the githyanki race.[8][1]

[1]↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Christopher Perkins (July 2003). “The Lich-Queen's Beloved”. In Chris Thomasson ed. Dungeon #100 (Paizo Publishing), pp. 97–98.

[8] Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 4. ISBN 978-0786966240.

So the FR Wiki page is sighting The Lich-Queen's Beloved as a source. That's interesting. And in that adventure Vlaakith is referred to as CLVII.

However, nowhere in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes is any generational number used for Vlaakith. She's just "Vlaakith."

So the notation is a bit misleading. The generational number was accurate in 3e, but no longer appears to be accurate in 5e.
Well, I don't know that the PC's failing is canon. However, since canon sources published since then assume that Vlaakith is still alive, then this assumption makes sense.

As for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, I think you can assume (like the wiki does) that the Vlaakith in control is the CLVII. Otherwise, you would be believing Scales of War is canon and that CLVII was assassinated, but that another Vlaakith takes control after Scales of War.

Considering none of that is mentioned in MtoF, it's probably just the CLVII.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Is all of this just to figure out whether someone is allowed to write a sequel to Scales of War for DMsGuild? That if it's a Realms adventure then you are allowed to, but if its an adventure from a different setting that has not yet been opened by WotC then you aren't?
 
Couldn't agree more.

Didn't think a disclaimer would be necessary, but here it is: I also do freelance writing and have published a little to DMs Guild as a side gig. That's why I'm inquiring about canonicity.

For example, one of my projects has been to compile a bunch of stuff I designed for our Tomb of Annihilation campaign – material that I've shared with other DMs running the adventure & reportedly was very helpful – and put that into a product. Because that project involves Chult which is part of the Forgotten Realms, understanding FR canon has been an important part of that (e.g. writing "the island of Chult" would be a misleading faux paus because Chult is an archipelago).

This is not just idle thinking. I've done it before; for example, The Beast of Graenseskov started as a home adventure and then I sculpted it into a published product. In that instance it required reading up on some Ravenloft lore that I'd forgotten and walking that fine line of staying within the confines of Barovia while hinting that there might be more out there in the mists.
It's not just a matter of taste though. It's a matter of fact. There is no one at WotC keeping track of some "canon" version of FR. They are quite happy to allow the publication of stories and adventures that make contradictory assumptions about earlier events, and they are all equally true/not true.
 

Advertisement

Top