D&D General How Do You Feel About Established Lore

How Do You Feel About Lore? Choose the closest answer.

  • Published lore is extremely important; my home game uses D&D lore exclusively.

    Votes: 5 5.5%
  • The published lore is somewhat important; it sets certain expectations for my home game.

    Votes: 36 39.6%
  • The default D&D lore is fine I guess, I use some of it and write the rest myself.

    Votes: 32 35.2%
  • The published lore? I try to use as little of it as possible in favor of my own writing.

    Votes: 12 13.2%
  • Lore? What's that?

    Votes: 6 6.6%


Limit Break Dancing
There's some lively discussion going on in other threads about "lore" in the game. I'm curious how everyone feels about it, and how much of it gets used in our games. So I ask you all: for the game you are currently running at your table, how important is the published lore?

For my part: I don't use a whole lot of it. There is no city called "Waterdeep," there is no such thing as a "mind flayer," and nobody's ever heard of Melf, Tenser, or Mordenkainen. There is a Raven Queen, but only because a player requested her as a warlock patron--so I rewrote her entire history to fit my homebrew cosmology (and to remove sexual assault.) So I was torn between "fine I guess" and "as little as possible," and settled on the former.
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If I'm playing in an established world, I use the lore as it sets expectations at a baseline, that everyone who shares knowledge/interest in that 'shared world' can understand.

Not to say you cannot deviate from it, but if my Waterdeep is actually a hamlet, and players come in knowing what Waterdeep actually is, how is that helpful to anyone?

I guess the question for me is "for which setting"?

Like, for the Forgotten Realms? I don't run a campaign in the Forgotten Realms, so I care a lot less than I used to.

But for a setting I actually run or would like to run? I personally care quite a lot, mostly in a "don't make the lore suck or be boring" way. It should be good enough quality and interesting enough that I want to use it, and as @Scribe says, it's useful for setting expectations.

4E remains probably the best edition of D&D re: "built-in" lore, but anyone with a more specific setting was likely not using much of it.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
For D&D I have never really cleaved close to it that much at the table. I did really enjoy Eberron in DDO.

I really got into the lore of Golarion of the Pathfinder RPG. I attribute a lot of that to the APs, but also I felt that the setting had much better supplements and material. So, support is a big factor along with taste in flavor.

I'm glad they have a default setting(s) for people that want them, and I play in a FR game, but I personally will always want to make my own worlds for the game.

James Gasik

Pandion Knight
I feel like I need another option on the poll, lol. I really like reading lore, and I've been learning D&D lore for most of my life now. I don't like it when lore is retconned for no real reason in settings I care about. I tend to use D&D lore in my games, but at the same time, I admit that D&D lore isn't important to a game unless the people playing it want it to be, and I'm perfectly happy to write my own.
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Magic Wordsmith
If I'm using a published setting, I cleave to the lore to the best of my ability. It's pretty much the only reason to use a published setting for me.

Otherwise, I just make it up as we go along, sometimes drawing from lore in the Monster Manual or whatever I half-remember from some source book long ago.


Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
I had a hard time choosing between "somewhat important, sets some expectations" and "fine, I guess, I write a lot of my own." There are expectations the lore sets, and even if I'm writing my own lore for a thing I'm dealing with--leaning into or reacting against--those expectations.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I feel like I need another option on the poll, lol. I really like reading lore, and I've been learning D&D lore for most of my life now. I don't like it when lore is retconned for no real reason in settings I care about. I tend to use D&D lore in my games, but at the same time, I admit that D&D lore isn't important a game unless the people playing it want it to be, and I'm perfectly happy to write my own.
That is exactly how I feel. I love lore for it's own sake, but I play homebrew. Playing and reading are two different ways to enjoy D&D to me, and I love them both.


Good about Eberron, which doesn't do metaplot, very poorly of FR, Dark Sun and DL which love their metaplots. Bad about Planescape for metaplot, alignment and just the whole deal. Ambivalent on Mystara (which is a mixed bag of awesome and absolutely horrible) and Greyhawk because there's no point of hating the eternally dead.

The thing with D&D lore is that most of it was wrought in ancient times and at this point, the viewpoint it's coming from is basically alien to me, filtered through Gonzo Science Fantasy and proto New Weird and singular books and series where you Had To Be There. It's like an inside joke that you're expect to laugh uproariously at, but then have to listen to someone who was there spend twenty minutes to explain to you why it's funny.

I'm also not liking the new multiverse because instead of being a multiverse, they're changing existing things to be Strange Mirrors instead of full alters and that's pretty boring; like the New 52


Loves Your Favorite Game
For my FR game, I try and use the widely known stuff as reasonably as possible. My players went to Neverwinter, and the people there were grumbling about Neverember's taxes, warned them of the chasm in the SE quarter, etc. I like having confidence in what I'm saying, especially for the players who might be familiar with the world already, and I'm not seeking to confuse or mislead them. That said, I'm not going to worry about searching for something like an "official" general store that exists there, though I'm going to want to keep things like The Moonstone Mask, or the names of the bridges.

For my homebrew game, I think the only things that are carried over is the FR pantheon, because I was not inspired at all to create my own, and the creatures of the world are largely the same, though the cultural side of things generally doesn't cleave to FR.

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
"How Do You Feel About Established Lore?"

At first I was skeptical about established lore, but I decided to start reading it. Still was pretty skeptical. Then I slowly got interested. More interested. More interested. Then I was VERY interested in the lore!

Then I lost interest.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
People, they specifically said for your current game(s).
My feelings about established D&D lore in my current game are very different from my feelings about D&D lore in general, as I play homebrew and make up my own lore (which I do care about and stick to as much as possible).


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
It depends on the role the lore plays. If it's a nitpicky detail, I usually don't sweat it (unless it's kind of juicy and fun to use). But generalities and broad definitions, those I like to use. I am using a fair amount in both of the D&D games I'm running. One is set in Greyhawk, the other in Forgotten Realms.


My real stance is somewhere between the first two options. The first option makes it sound like one would only use published adventures. While I like to create adventures, inspired by canon, maybe events that were not detailed or mentioned only in passing, but also leaving room to launch my own stories.


I run in my own campaign world, it's lore is quite important to me. Of course sometimes the official lore is incorrect or at least incomplete version of what historians understood or wanted people to know. When I do use official lore, I stick reasonably close to it so that people have shared assumptions and ideas. When I vary from it I let people know. So for non humans I use the standard deities, most lore about monsters is mostly the same and so on.

Gnolls would be an example. They're still fiendishly corrupted hyenas, but the corruption can from a Jotun fiendish god that Thor struck down, the hyenas feasted on the flesh and became corrupted. Yeenoghu doesn't exist in my campaign world. In other lore, Lollth does exist but is in Svartlheim, not the abyss. Moradin crafted Gungnir, Odin's spear, and so on.


Moderator Emeritus
For me established lore is just grist for the mill in my current and all past campaigns. Sometimes I change names and details, sometimes just names, sometimes details - sometimes I change nothing (though this is rarest). None of my current players care about lore (established or otherwise) unless it is directly related to something we are doing in game.

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