D&D General How to reboot the Forgotten Realms (+)


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Atomoctba

Adventurer
For those wanting to roll back the timeline, what to do about FR Dragonborn, as they are a PHB race?
I know the current tendency is "everything in the PHB" can be used, but I would be more to the "no dragonborns, no tieflings either". An no, Abeir is not another thing elsewhere. Abeir-Toril is the real name of the place and Toril is just a short for it.
 

WotC can safely publish maps. Without lore, that's not going to hurt and it won't cause big plot holes.

And speaking of holes, they can close up that Underchasm and similar holes, that appear in some older maps (4e?). I never owned any of those books so I am quite clueless and I try to ignore it when using the FR wiki.

With published maps, they can safely start releasing adventures (and thus new lore) at various locations around the realms. They can play-test those with experts to check that there are no plot holes, making sure it connects with existing lore.

What I think is a bit too much to try in one go: update all lore to a new time. That's only possible with @Benjamin Olson 's idea of jumping 500 years ahead. Or going back to the old times before huge gaps opened up in the earth.
 

The Wall of the Faithless goes. This is not open to negotiation.

IMO the Wall of the Faithless can work if there are more rules applied to it. I don't think that there has been an attempt in official publication to flesh out the rules of the Wall, such as being exempt for following a cause rather than a deity, or having loved ones to file for appeals and requests of adoption, or how children's souls are treated in the court system of the City of Judgement. There are also details such as how records are maintained and judgements are made, which get a brief glimpse in the Avatar series of novels, but not in the setting books for DnD.

I took a stab at this for Kelemvor's court system in my deity lore pamphlet on DMsGuild, which took a lot of mental gymnastics to attempt since I'm not a lawyer in real life. I set up a more complex system of courts and appeals that should make a lot better sense with the scale at which dead souls would end up in the system, and accounted for the further increased complexity of other pantheons' death gods being active in Realmspace. Kelemvor's system would of course be more fair to children following his experience with Avner, former Seraph of Death, presumably still Seraph of Thieves under Mask II.

KELEMVOR, Lord of the Dead ✧ Forgotten Realms 5e - Dungeon Masters Guild | Dungeon Masters Guild
 

Jolly Ruby

Privateer
WotC can safely publish maps. Without lore, that's not going to hurt and it won't cause big plot holes.

And speaking of holes, they can close up that Underchasm and similar holes, that appear in some older maps (4e?). I never owned any of those books so I am quite clueless and I try to ignore it when using the FR wiki.
The history of FR maps is quite convoluted. They change dimensions across editions, whole new regions are annexed from other planes and vanish some years later etc. I think the current Map of Faerûn by Mike Schley is the closest that we have from a "map without lore that won't cause plot holes". It's based closely on 2e FR map and revert most changes from 3rd and 4th edition.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
It would be hard for me to decide exactly what I'd want to do. 2e/3e were great times for the setting but 4e added in some cool locations like Airspur becoming a city with floating earthmotes so I wouldn't mind keeping some of that lore.

I'd keep the wall of the faithless, I quite like it as a concept for the setting.

Something else from 4e I'd like to keep in are the spellscarred, you could probably link this to wild magic instead of the spell plague if you don't want to keep that. Not sure if I'd make it a subclass, probably a couple of feats so that anyone can take them, would probably use a specific background like the dragonlance backgrounds to grant the initial feat.
 
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Jolly Ruby

Privateer
About dragonborns and tieflings: I agree with @Yora that fully returning to the Old Grey Box feeling is impossible without AD&D or an adjacent system (like OSE advanced). My personal reboot idea would not have the same feeling the OGB had, but the same density, as in a setting that you can understand all you need to run it using a single book/boxed-set, that's packed with plot hooks and adventure opportunities, and don't have a convoluted history of near world-ending events every decade.
 

For those wanting to roll back the timeline, what to do about FR Dragonborn, as they are a PHB race?
Yeah, they’re there. FR is the everything setting, it needs to have everything. Either assume they’ve always been around in small numbers like FRs vast variety of other humanoids, or else you could decide that they’re a relatively new arrival, perhaps they were created by the Cult of the Dragon or by Tchazzar in Chessenta, and since then the secret of their creation spread and other dragons have created them, plus of course they’ve started to reproduce themselves. No need for much more background than that.
 

gban007

Adventurer
For me, similar to other posters, it is reverting to at least before the 4th edition changes / Spellplague / 100 year skip, while I understand the reasonings behind why they did it, I think they were flawed reasonings, basically alienating a lot of current fans to try and attract fans amongst those who weren't really that interested.

Probably thanks to Nostalgia, I have fond memories of the Avatar trilogy, and Cyric is one of my favourite gods of the setting, so would want to maintain Cyric and Kelemvor, but I did like Bane etc returning as well, but agree that really need to cut down on the RSE - Time of Troubles would have been fair as a once off, but seemed to set a precedent for continuous changes that didn't really need to be made.

I did enjoy the lore evolving over time, these famous characters being involved in various things, but felt like still left plenty of room for PCs to do their own thing, so I don't mind it being a developing setting as much, but should be gradual sort of shifts, with people free to incorporate them or not, without feeling like the whole campaign setting is shifting underneath and they have to move with it.
 

Uta-napishti

Adventurer
Maybe it's an unpopular opinion lately, but I actually like the Forgotten Realms setting. However, every time I start a campaign set in the Realms I see myself going back to the Old Grey Box. The amount of lore current FR has is overwhelming, and I think it would benefit from a reboot (soft or not).

My idea for a FR reboot: Remake the Grey Box. Reset the calendar back to 1357 and publish a new campaign setting box set with information about the Sword Coast, the Heartlands and the Savage Frontier. Add some new stuff to it, like tieflings, to align with the lore of the new editions. Then fill it with interconnected plot hooks, like the old Grey Box.

So, how would you reboot the Forgotten Realms?

(Note this is a (+) thread, so assume that you're on board with rebooting the Forgotten Realms (even a "soft reboot") and focus on how to reboot it, not whether it needs to be rebooted)
Basically, you don't want to reboot the Realms, you want to remove all of the damaging reboots. TSR and later Wizards kept coming up with stupid cataclysms to create in-game justifications for the changes in rules / classes etc that happened between D&D editions.

1st to 2nd Ed. If you've ever seen the 2ed Realms Adventures book (Female Paladin riding a Unicorn) the contents are basically a giant set of monkey patches to the Setting in book form (a whole Chapter on class updates, and another chapter only on the introduction of Specialty Preists (i.e. Strongly Domain Tied Clerics) for the whole pantheon. The Avatar series of novels was the longer and more convoluted story of how a bunch of Gods tramping around Faerun murdering each other is responsible for all the 1E->2E changes.

Similarly, the whole Spellplague was the justification for the changes required by going to D&D 4E, and was WotC's excuse to toss anything they wanted out of the setting, smoosh all the planes and gods together, add some new scary big bads, and move everything else around.

They did it again with the "Second Sundering" which was the transition to 5E. WotC was trying to basically claw back in the direction of the original realms by tossing back in what they had tossed out ( and vice versa ) during the Spellplague. They also said the Gods aren't able to just show up again anymore ( essentially banning another Time of Troubles). Having basically reversed the 4E changes, and having made 2E-like changes harder to do, it seems that WotC had maybe learned its lesson?

Basically Wizards had in the end figured out what you did, that Greenwood's original realms are more interesting and have more space for adventure without the pointless bolted-on aftermarket cataclysms.

Cataclysms are not per se bad: see Dragonlance for a well integrated cataclysm that has human protagonists, and well examined consequences instead of revolving on deities faffing about breaking things to squish the setting into new game mechanics.

I personally think that taking a setting and screwing around with story to justify mechanical rules changes is just an outmoded idea. Just hand wave edition changes or retconn the minimum needed (it was always like this). This is part of the maturation of the hobby. Most fans now understand it's the stories at your table that count, and the goal of an RPG setting is to be evocative while leaving blank spaces for play. The final goal is not to create a dense 4000 year timeline of faux-historical canon that people can try to out-nerd each other by memorizing.
 

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