D&D 1E Forgotten Realms in AD&D 1st Edition a better setting for adventures?

Yora

Legend
Here's an old rpg.net thread about the changes in the North between 1e and 2e.
I know, that was me, back when I first discovered that the region was overhauled. :p

The following post from Reddit matches with what I've found when doing comparisons:


It's a bit more complicated than this, because there has been a lot of squishing going on. From what I can tell, the 2nd edition map is traced perfectly over the 1st edition map, with only some bits in the very west and south cropped off, so I assume they didn't mean to make any adjustments.
But I managed to get the other four maps to the same scale and overlay them for comparison. Since four transparent layers are a total mess, I picked a couple of reference points that are on all four maps and highlighted the lines connecting them, resulting in this.

FR map scale.png


As can be seen, the Northwest quarter of Faerûn (which is all I have for 5th edition) was shrunk down significantly in 3rd edition but remained effectively unchanged in 4th.
5th edition looks once again much more like 1st edition, though halfway between 1st and 3rd in size.

When you tilt the 3rd/4th edition map a bit, it becomes more clear.

FR map scale 2.png
 
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when they finally abandoned that awful binder gimmick
I actually liked those. It made it super easy to prepare an adventure with the monsters you were planning on using separated for easy access. Completely obsolete now with digital tools being what they are, but it came in handy at the time, and I was actually annoyed when the MM came out as a book.
 

Yora

Legend
But weren't they printed double sided, so when you wanted to combine two tomes into one you couldn't get them in an alphabetical, or really any order?

I'm very much not a fan of the 2nd edition version (1996) of the setting, which was my main point for this thread. I feel that in that one, they removed all the most interesting parts and adventure hooks and replaced it with a giant renfaire of cute villages and taverns, in which there's much less to do for PCs.
 

Voadam

Legend
But weren't they printed double sided, so when you wanted to combine two tomes into one you couldn't get them in an alphabetical, or really any order?
There were a few places that would come up, but not many and they would generally be real close. Of course the more appendices you had the more this was an issue.

I'm very much not a fan of the 2nd edition version (1996) of the setting, which was my main point for this thread. I feel that in that one, they removed all the most interesting parts and adventure hooks and replaced it with a giant renfaire of cute villages and taverns, in which there's much less to do for PCs.
The first setting book I had for FR was the 2e Forgotten Realms Adventures hardcover which is light on nation states of the setting but really strong on things like specialty priests for a ton of FR gods and cool new spells and explaining the big picture things of the Time of Troubles and how magic works in the setting. Even though I generally continued running in other settings, I really liked the 2e FRA book.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
My personal opinion is that the best published version of the Realms for D&D gaming is, was, and remains the Old Gray Box (1987).

This might, of course, be pure nostalgia talking, since that was my first version.

But it's why I was advocating (ten years ago on the Candlekeep forum) that the "Fifth Edition" version of the Realms should reboot the entire setting back to the standard of the Old Gray Box and 1357 DR, and then never advance the timeline in any subsequent tabletop RPG product. Let the Realms as a multimedia property setting (computer games, novels, whatever) do whatever, but don't back-import any of that to the TTRPG.

(The other part of my "reboot" approach was that any geographic area outside the OGB core would be subject to revision to fit OGB standards. One thing mentioned in the OGB is that the Realms does not have pantheons; therefore, the OGB gods would be the gods of the entire Realms, and so any new versions of Mulhorand, Unther, Chult, the Hordelands, Maztica, Kara-Tur, etc. would, among other things, use the standard Realms gods as the big gods, though they likely would have a profusion of minor local deities.)
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
I’m also a 1987 box fan as well. I include a few of the FR accessories that followed. The 87 box is sparse enough that a Greyhawk fan of the Greyhawk original box or folio can appreciate. Really left large areas wide open for DM customization.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
If you like Greyhawk then OGB Realms is more like Greyhawk than later Realms. The FR series of sourcebooks as well. It was edgier and slightly darker. Then the Realms became... Disneyland with the guards from Hogan's Heroes as villains and all the heroes characters from Hercules and Xena.
I guess I don’t know what Realms I want. As a Greyhawk DM (running 3.5e), I would use it as an alternate world, and it sounds like the Gray Box AD&D is the good one (~1357 DR). My PC’s used Dismissal on a semi-friendly NPC and I randomly determined he’s in FR … probably at the Yawning Portal.

Seems like 2e was ~1367 DR, 3e ~1379 DR, 4e ~14xx DR, not sure on 5e, with huge changes for the editions. At least in Dungeon, it seems to matter a lot what DR it is, if it’s after Spellplague or not, certain gods dead or not, etc.

Whereas GH has only the GH Wars changing the setting between AD&D and 2e, with the 3e setting making sense of a 2e messy setting … and frankly the Wars don’t change game play. Most DM’s, including myself, have rejected at least some aspects of the Wars changes. (Not to get too far off topic, for me the concept that wars were all related and conveniently started and stopped together with a treaty with an evil god(!), and that PC actions in the mega adventures TOEE and G123D123Q1 are “fail” and in the past is where I say, um, no.)

For FR, perhaps it’s better to know the 5e version, to keep up with the game? But consensus seems to be AD&D 1e, eh?
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Yeah, I pre-ordered it on the assumption that the blurb and the "old notes" explanation was true. And it's got some old stuff, sure . . . along with a bunch of stuff that was clearly later-edition material.

(And some bits that didn't, in fact, make any sense at all whatever point in the timeline you were playing. It is extremely clear that coffee could not be shipped in from Maztica prior to the establishment of trade with Maztica. Coffee never gets mentioned a single time in the Maztica set or books, and therefore clearly was not a major crop in pre-contact Maztica; pre-contact Mazticans explicitly drank beverages based on cocoa beans, not coffee beans. The life cycle of coffee from planting to maturity is such that even if people immediately started coffee plantations upon the opening of trade with Maztica, it would require massive investments of magic to get substantial quantities for export grown between the opening of trade with Maztica and the Spellplague. And from the Spellplague until the Second Sundering, there is no Maztica on Toril to import coffee from. So how, exactly, did Faerun import coffee from Maztica, as stated in Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms?)
Coffee originally was Arabic/African in nature, and in FR features prominently into practices and rituals of the Old Empires. On our world, coffee has come from the middle east at least as far back as the 1100's, and was not grown in the New World until around the 1700's as part of colonization.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I know, that was me, back when I first discovered that the region was overhauled. :p


It's a bit more complicated than this, because there has been a lot of squishing going on. From what I can tell, the 2nd edition map is traced perfectly over the 1st edition map, with only some bits in the very west and south cropped off, so I assume they didn't mean to make any adjustments.
But I managed to get the other four maps to the same scale and overlay them for comparison. Since four transparent layers are a total mess, I picked a couple of reference points that are on all four maps and highlighted the lines connecting them, resulting in this.

View attachment 147429

As can be seen, the Northwest quarter of Faerûn (which is all I have for 5th edition) was shrunk down significantly in 3rd edition but remained effectively unchanged in 4th.
5th edition looks once again much more like 1st edition, though halfway between 1st and 3rd in size.

When you tilt the 3rd/4th edition map a bit, it becomes more clear.

View attachment 147430
The 1E-5E differences seem like they could attributed to cartographer error.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Coffee originally was Arabic/African in nature, and in FR features prominently into practices and rituals of the Old Empires. On our world, coffee has come from the middle east at least as far back as the 1100's, and was not grown in the New World until around the 1700's as part of colonization.
It's worth noting that there's an article on the Forgotten Realms wiki about coffee in the setting.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
FR has constantly changed and expanded and been influenced by different authors throughout its existence. The first 1e Campaign setting boxed set for instance includes the non-Ed Greenwood Moonshaes incorporating a Celtic themed area that was originally conceived of by Douglas Niles for his D&D novel trilogy.

You can have vastly different setting flavors depending on what sourcebooks you use and what areas you focus on.

The Red Wizards for example go from D&Dified Conan Stygian sorcerers, to high magic 2e villain country (with the evil never wins caveat of the late 1e-2e era), to 3e's evil magical merchant diplomatic enclaves, to the lich takeover.
I run my Red Wizards as a mix between the 2e and the 3e.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
WoTC did released Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms I never checked it but blurb says it's a book that provides a rare glimpse into the setting as imagined by its creator. It contain new information on its visible and clandestine rulers, various merchant and trade princes, the churches and mercenary companies of the Realms, renown magic-users and secret societies, adventuring companies, and the web of alliances and enmities that connect them.

166568.jpg
I've never seen that book. I'm going to have to check it out.
 

teitan

Legend
I guess I don’t know what Realms I want. As a Greyhawk DM (running 3.5e), I would use it as an alternate world, and it sounds like the Gray Box AD&D is the good one (~1357 DR). My PC’s used Dismissal on a semi-friendly NPC and I randomly determined he’s in FR … probably at the Yawning Portal.

Seems like 2e was ~1367 DR, 3e ~1379 DR, 4e ~14xx DR, not sure on 5e, with huge changes for the editions. At least in Dungeon, it seems to matter a lot what DR it is, if it’s after Spellplague or not, certain gods dead or not, etc.

Whereas GH has only the GH Wars changing the setting between AD&D and 2e, with the 3e setting making sense of a 2e messy setting … and frankly the Wars don’t change game play. Most DM’s, including myself, have rejected at least some aspects of the Wars changes. (Not to get too far off topic, for me the concept that wars were all related and conveniently started and stopped together with a treaty with an evil god(!), and that PC actions in the mega adventures TOEE and G123D123Q1 are “fail” and in the past is where I say, um, no.)

For FR, perhaps it’s better to know the 5e version, to keep up with the game? But consensus seems to be AD&D 1e, eh?
Take each version as it’s own thing and judge it there, not based on changes and a continuation of one world.
 

teitan

Legend
I actually liked those. It made it super easy to prepare an adventure with the monsters you were planning on using separated for easy access. Completely obsolete now with digital tools being what they are, but it came in handy at the time, and I was actually annoyed when the MM came out as a book.
It was an ok idea until pages fell out.
 



Yora

Legend
Take each version as it’s own thing and judge it there, not based on changes and a continuation of one world.
To which the question is: How well is the 2nd edition really suited as a setting for D&D campaigns?
Of course you can place campaigns down in it, but how does it provide adventure opportunities for GMs to turn into campaigns? What does it dangle in front of the players to entice them to explore or get involved?

And in regards to the topic at hand, is that an overall improvement?
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
To which the question is: How well is the 2nd edition really suited as a setting for D&D campaigns?
That I think will depend on the needs of a GM.

There was a time I wanted absolutely as much published information as possible about every nook and cranny and early 2e Realms scratched that itch to just know as much as I could about something I was obsessed with. I was a setting fan so I was equally obsessed with Mystara, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, and Greyhawk (controversial take: my favorite era is From the Ashes). The late 2e era turned my off so hard I have never gotten the urge to return to DMing there though. It became too much for my taste. I know that others will love having so much.
 

gorice

Explorer
I'm not sure I really agree. If anything, it makes smaller settlements away from the big cities more dangerous because the regional rulership is less likely to be willing to send armed assistance to help with what they'd see as the insignificant troubles of a smattering of peasants. A large disparity in population makes the cities feel more important to those who live in them.
The thing that always bothers me about this is that big cities need big hinterlands to feed them, and means of shipping the food. Rome had the whole med, and Egypt in particular, to to supply its needs. What does somewhere like Waterdeep have?
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
The thing that always bothers me about this is that big cities need big hinterlands to feed them, and means of shipping the food. Rome had the whole med, and Egypt in particular, to to supply its needs. What does somewhere like Waterdeep have?
The Goldenfields and the plant growth spell? It also felt implied that all the towns up the Dessarin Valley were involve exporting food to Waterdeep.
 

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