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D&D General Influence of official D&D lore on your home games?

How much influence does official D&D lore/canon have on your D&D home game/s?

  • None.

    Votes: 16 15.0%
  • Just a little.

    Votes: 44 41.1%
  • A fair bit.

    Votes: 34 31.8%
  • A lot.

    Votes: 14 13.1%
  • I stick to all official lore as closely as possible.

    Votes: 5 4.7%

  • Total voters
    107

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I voted "a lot."

I run a game set in Mystara, plus another that started in Zakhara and uses lots of Spelljammer material.

5e hasn't touched Brun, but provided me with a Spelljamming helm, giff, and neogi, so that was nice. I had to write the book on 5e Zakhara myself, though.
 

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
A bit. There are some bits of D&D lore that I really like - some of the planar theory for example. However, my version is a mish mash of various editions. I'm really reluctant to move on from the 3e FR book also, which I thought was a superior product.

However, I don't hesitate to incorporate both my lore, and the lore of other games, which can be superior to D&D. Dragon Warriors ( see Dragon Warriors - Wikipedia , NOT the video game ) is great for this.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Out of curiosity, how do you feel about changes to other non-D&D shared IP?
Depends what type, but I think we're talking about different categories. D&D, as a roleplaying game, is not the same category of "shared IP" as, say, film, tv, etc. For instance, for me, the only really good Star Wars media is the original trilogy; everything else runs from "OK, I guess" to "I wish I could un-watch this." It is kind of a bummer, because even though I can choose to only re-watch the original trilogy, there is a feeling that the whole franchise is "tainted." (And just to be clear, it isn't a big deal to me - I'm just trying to form a comparison).

But D&D is fundamentally different, or at least the way I approach it. I don't see it as "playing within the Star Wars universe." It isn't watching movies. It is playing an interactive game of imagination, set within an imaginary world of the DM's making (to whatever degree, from homebrew to published setting).

Meaning, when I play D&D, I don't see it as being part of a shared universe, like watching a Star Wars film. I see it as playing within a universe (or world) unique to the game group and table. Closer to "alternate universes" than "shared universe."

So it really doesn't matter how WotC changes the lore, at least if I'm DMing (and world-building). I never use published settings, but even if I did, I would adapt it to suit my needs (e.g. if I were to DM the Realms, I'd probably go heavy on the gray box version with bits and pieces from the 3E "white books"). My homebrew is my own - I decide what is within it, with some input from the players. But the same would go for "my" Forgotten Realms or Dark Sun or Eberron.

In other words, I see everything that WotC publishes (or 3PP, or other DMs online etc) as being a huge toolbox--or, perhaps more aptly--a box of Legos, ideas that I can use however I want, but just end up going in the big box of Legos that I use to build my own stuff.

Actually, it is almost exactly like how I used to play with Legos. I would buy (or receive) a new set, follow the directions to make whatever the set was, play with it for a bit, then tear it apart and add the pieces to my big box of Legos, to build whatever I want.
 

Grantypants

Explorer
As part of DMing a session zero, one thing I like to do is go around the table and have each of my players change something about the setting. It can be a big thing or a small thing, maybe something added to the lore or removed from it. I think this helps with player buy-in and makes each campaign feel a little different, even if they're in the same published campaign setting.
 

Hussar

Legend
I voted a little. I tend to use the baseline lore out of convenience, unless I'm trying to run something very specific. But, it's more inspirational stuff than what I will follow.

Thinking about it though, I would have to say that it does depend somewhat on the campaign. My current Candlekeep campaign is obviously drawing on lots of FR lore, but, I've also introduced a bunch of other stuff and I'm using a few non-WotC sourcebooks as well. It's just convenient because it's THERE. I don't have to make stuff up or remember what I've made up. I can just post the Wiki link and poof, now the players are up to speed on some esoteric point of lore that their Skill check picked up.
 

JEB

Hero
I answered "a fair bit". I like my campaign worlds to be consistent with the larger D&D multiverse, with the conceit that my worlds are part of the larger framework. But that doesn't stop me from finding ways to subvert the canon for my own purposes, especially when it comes to mythic events or cosmic/deity-level stuff where you can always assume the mortals got it wrong, or the official story isn't the truth of things.
 

GreyLord

Hero
That's very difficult to answer. In a campaign world that's official (Such as Forgotten Realms) I try to stick to it as closely as possible. Looks like I'm the lone vote for that currently.

In my homebrew games...not at all.
 


Aldarc

Legend
I'm guessing this is one of those situations where ENWorld posters won't represent the overall broader D&D fan-base very well. I'm guessing the general D&D fan-base today, with the mega-adventures and Adventurer's League, will skew a lot more towards sticking to the official lore than we do here.

Personally, the option for "as close as possible" is philosophically correct for me, but since I hate the reinvention of lore with new editions, in practice it's more like "a lot".
Honestly, I think that people use more of the lore than they think they do.
 

Hussar

Legend
Honestly, I think that people use more of the lore than they think they do.
That's a fair point.

So much of D&D's lore gets internalized that I think we don't really even think about it when we follow along. I mean, how often do you (the plural you as in anyone reading this) have halfling empires in your game - to borrow from a now rather infamous thread. The core lore of D&D is important to a lot of people that even suggesting that it be changed can result in very strong opinions.
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!

I think I'm with @dave2008 on this. I voted "Not at all".

The reason I had to go with "Not at all" was because I never feel "guided to do/accept XYZ". I read it, I think "Cool", or "Whatever", or "Dumb". Then I apply it to my game as appropriate. I'm never "guided" to think "Oh, they say ZYX...I was hoping for ABC. Guess I could do ZBC...". I'd consider that "guided". But I never think of it like that. It's ZYX, naaa... ABC...ooooh...wait a tick....how about ZaBYx? Now we're talking! How my 'adaptation' relates back to the lore of ZYX is completely and utterly irrelevant.

Because of that, I had to go "Not at all". If others think that is somehow being 'guided to adapt somehow to lore', then maybe "A bit".

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

StarFyre

Explorer
I use D&D settings, lore, locations, etc as much as possible. I do modify stuff, but only if needed for something not covered or something i really just want/need to change to fit a specific thing, but that,i would say is minimal.

My base is 2e planescape from a general cosmology (using the creation of the multiverse from Guide to Hell, Die Vecna Die, and hinted background in Dead Gods and the final Dragon magazine from Paizo). Then i use setting lore where for details (for example the expanded Drow lore from 2e/3e, and those Drow novels - the ones dealing with Lolth and the other drow gods from the late 90s into early 2000s). I change it in a way that drow on Greyhawk are still like the Drow on toril but the original event is whats detailed in the FR detailed lore. Then the greyhawk ones basically joined in later. easier for me to treat them as one in that sense.

I also incorporated a bit of 4e lore but thats a much more...strange change and dealing with the cosmos as a whole. again my campaign goes deeper into that stuff than most i would imagine. While many campaigns, at least from surveys in D&D groups, seem to use lord of the rings, conan, game of thrones (and then other fantasy sources) as the style and general world sense (with the added fantasy from D&D on top of that framework), mine is full on Infinity Saga/Infinite Crisis/Annihilation/Loki , etc .

I find it easier to use and make adjustment to official lore as its less work for me in planning and its easier to answer questions for my players (cause yes, that stuff comes up).

Regards,

SF
 

pemerton

Legend
I posted "a fair bit". I use a lot of D&D maps in a lot of games, including non-D&D games (eg Rolemaster, Burning Wheel). But I use a lot of non-D&D ideas too, both macro (eg I use GH maps but often ignore offical GH history and gods) and micro (when I'm using GH for non-D&G games, the D&D spells aren't part of the fiction).

Our 4e game used the default cosmology and history (tieflings, dragonborn, gnolls, etc) but the map we used was from Night's Dark Terror (a B/X module), not the Nentir Vale.

I remember one of the players in a recent non-D&D game describing an enchanted mace as The Mace of St Cuthbert - I think that was when we were playing The Green Knight.
 

King Babar

Adventurer
Just a bit.

I'm very new to the hobby and have no attachment to the lore of any of the established settings, such as the Forgotten Realms, and I've ran all but one of my campaigns in homebrew settings of my own design (not always good design, mind you). The gods are different, the cosmology is different, and many monsters are reimagined while some are exactly as they are in MM.

Overall my own home games take more inspiration from Warhammer and Glorantha than anything else. DnD is just the system I feel most comfortable using at the moment.
 
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Yora

Hero
By my last campaign, my homebrew setting had changed so much that I feel confident in saying that it had reached none. I still have several deities inspired primarily by Forgotten Realms god, but those were pretty generic in the first place.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I posted a fair bit, because lore helps getting all the players on the same page up until the game starts.

If I were to start a 100% homebrew campaign, I'd have to spend a lot of time explaining the basic things the PCs should know, in setting, for the players to roleplay them adequately and even make reasonable assumption. For example, during session 0, I'd have to tell them whether high level wizards are at every corner or if spells above 3rd levels are the tales of legend. Because if they investigate someone that disappeared, they should know whether "he's been targetted by a scry-and-die wizard who disintegrated him" is something the characters would think. Basically, I'd have to make a player guide with relevant informations. There is no problem with that, but the point of playing in an established setting is that players, when they are knowledgeable with it, can start playing immediately (or with a few mentions of change). They know that Eberron and Forgotten Realms have different expectations on the matter of, say, religion, without needing for an exposition that would burden the GM -- me.

So a large part of the setting is important to me. The one that allows all players to be on the same page. Different levels of familiarity with the settings can happen between players but that's not a problem, since it is likely to concern more obscure points, it can be told during play (by the players, with the GM nodding that yes, Jaela Darran is the current Voice of the Silver Flame. And I'll provide the common knowledge, should it become needed at some point and none of the players remember it. [Something that should be made easier if settings book had a section "what every dimwit knows about X, what reasonably educated people knows about X and what is rather obscure but public knowledge that can be gleaned in a place of research and learning about X", something few settings do.]

However, what happens in my campaign always take precedence. If the King of Breland is assassinated and I want two potential heirs to fight and the PCs to be caught in the middle, I'll have two potential heirs, and maybe neither of them will be Aejar ir'Wynarn -- and if a player brings out this name I'll mention that this is an assumed deviation and that Aejar died when playing with a pet tiger as a child so no, nobody remembers him and he isn't supported by half of Breland. I won't let the setting lore take precedence over the premise of the shared story to be written.
 

I have a mixed history with the lore. I am not really into or attached to the official lore but I tend to use published adventures and playing on VTT tend to default to FR as location. So I use the collective lore that me and the players remember but I warn them that no piece of lore is confirmed unless we interact with it.
Since my players are pretty casual about this it has never been too much of a issue. I have been amazed by the seriousness some others take lore. I once remember an offhand remark about Sune in a fanfiction review getting me a 200 word rebuke on what an evil bitch she was over something or other in a novel.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'm guessing this is one of those situations where ENWorld posters won't represent the overall broader D&D fan-base very well. I'm guessing the general D&D fan-base today, with the mega-adventures and Adventurer's League, will skew a lot more towards sticking to the official lore than we do here.
I voted "just a little", but I agree that I have noticed that newer players like to use established lore more often. I guess players in general are always going to prefer the lore they learned first.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Not sure what to vote, I almost voted “a lot” in that I go out of my way to swap something different if it is in the official D&D lore and is not detectably generic enough.
 

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
Depends what type, but I think we're talking about different categories. D&D, as a roleplaying game, is not the same category of "shared IP" as, say, film, tv, etc. For instance, for me, the only really good Star Wars media is the original trilogy; everything else runs from "OK, I guess" to "I wish I could un-watch this." It is kind of a bummer, because even though I can choose to only re-watch the original trilogy, there is a feeling that the whole franchise is "tainted." (And just to be clear, it isn't a big deal to me - I'm just trying to form a comparison).

But D&D is fundamentally different, or at least the way I approach it. I don't see it as "playing within the Star Wars universe." It isn't watching movies. It is playing an interactive game of imagination, set within an imaginary world of the DM's making (to whatever degree, from homebrew to published setting).

Meaning, when I play D&D, I don't see it as being part of a shared universe, like watching a Star Wars film. I see it as playing within a universe (or world) unique to the game group and table. Closer to "alternate universes" than "shared universe."

So it really doesn't matter how WotC changes the lore, at least if I'm DMing (and world-building). I never use published settings, but even if I did, I would adapt it to suit my needs (e.g. if I were to DM the Realms, I'd probably go heavy on the gray box version with bits and pieces from the 3E "white books"). My homebrew is my own - I decide what is within it, with some input from the players. But the same would go for "my" Forgotten Realms or Dark Sun or Eberron.

In other words, I see everything that WotC publishes (or 3PP, or other DMs online etc) as being a huge toolbox--or, perhaps more aptly--a box of Legos, ideas that I can use however I want, but just end up going in the big box of Legos that I use to build my own stuff.

Actually, it is almost exactly like how I used to play with Legos. I would buy (or receive) a new set, follow the directions to make whatever the set was, play with it for a bit, then tear it apart and add the pieces to my big box of Legos, to build whatever I want.
This actually gets to why I was asking the question in the first place. (I even had Star Wars, specifically, running through my mind at the time.)

Personally, I've always looked at D&D as a toolkit, as well as a broad genre unto itself. The official settings have always been nice conveniences for me to yoink inspiration from, but I've almost never really paid attention to the deeper lore, read only a handful of the books, didn't play the video games, etc, etc. So to me, D&D really isn't a place and a cast of NPCs; it's only a set of rules.

In recent years, I've sensed a push to codify the settings within the rules themselves, though maybe I'm wrong about that? It makes it marginally harder to "play D&D" in the manner of playing with Legos that happen to have some Star Wars pieces mixed in, and biases toward the manner of playing a specifically Star Wars game.

As a habitual game DIYer who started in the early 80s, it's not a huge deal for me, as I can just ignore and integrate as I desire. But it does make me wonder if it makes it more difficult to get new players interested in homebrewing worlds when they might be expecting certain things of D&D. ("What?? There is no 'Shangri La' on the map in the book! And what do you mean trolls are short? And not flammable??")

So it's really great to hear from people new to the hobby, like @King Babar , who's going all iconoclastic and building their own stuff. I'm glad the DIY ethos is alive and well, and I really hope that proves to hold for more casual gamers, too, as the hobby attracts more people.
 

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