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: 20 15.7%
  • Just a little.

    Votes: 52 40.9%
  • A fair bit.

    Votes: 36 28.3%
  • A lot.

    Votes: 20 15.7%
  • I stick to all official lore as closely as possible.

    Votes: 5 3.9%


CR 1/8
On the meta level... It's interesting how different people interpret what "lore" means!

Personally, I think of it more or less in terms of all the "proper nouns" in D&D: places, history, cosmology, major NPCs, and the like. On the other hand, all the D&Disms arising from/expressed in the mechanics and all the weird world assumptions regarding dungeons, equipment, and so forth, I tend to think of as the "D&D genre." But putting those aspects of the game in among "lore" is certainly fair game. The line is definitely not a clear one!

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Now, one way around it would be to prominently support each edition's take as separate continuities that exist in alternate multiverses.
That's what we did in the late 70s, early 80s. Our characters would travel to The Land, Aphonion, Tellus, or Kherindal- all depending on what the DM called their campaign world. In one world Pholtus was a major god, in another it wasn't even an option. Some worlds had a city named Greyhawk, others didn't. As editions rolled by some of us adopted lore, others ignored it. You rolled with it.

(Kinda realize now my answer is a bit tangential to the statement, but still applicable, I think.)

To actually answer the question, "just a bit". I prefer to do my own thing, but every once in a while I come across something that I particularly like and incorporate it. For example, the rod of seven parts, ring of Gaxx, a cult that worships a sphere of annihilation, dragonmarks.
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Fox Lee

I explicitly jettison most of it, since I play only in non-official settings. And even within my own setting, I consider lore a fluid thing that will change with each game if it suits the characters or story better to have things be a different.

For things that are supposed to be setting-neutral (more a part of the broader D&D sub-genre) I'll often keep or adapt them provided they suit my game style, but I won't hesitate to throw them out if needs be. For example, running in 4e...
  • I kept the existing power sources as they are (except for shadow cus it's dumb).
  • I kept creature origins mostly, but codified them a bit differently to suit my cosmology (mostly demons being immortal rather than elemental).
  • The gods I ditched immediately. I've never liked gods who just matter-of-factly exist without question, so they were always going to get the boot.
  • Things like spell/ritual/item name references I just ignore. I couldn't care less what those things are named, since they players can call their version whatever they want anyway.
Basically I'll use non-setting specific lore if it seems cool or useful, but give it no authority if it doesn't.
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I originally started working on a campaign setting as "Forgotten Realms, but 4000 years in the past before it was a human world". I soon made it it's own thing to not be constrained by some pre-established elements, and over the years it's become less and less like a D&D world, first kicking out dwarves and halflings, later orcs, then gnomes, and eventually humans. By now even dragons and giants are gone and there's pretty much nothing left of D&D specific elements. When I ran it in 5th edition last year, it was about as much regular D&D as Dark Sun.

Magister Ludorum

I have my own lore. My homebrew setting gets used for games using different systems, mainly D&D AND HERO but sometimes GURPS or BRP.

I'm currently running one part of the setting in 5e and another in HERO, with different storylines and pcs.


Like @J.Quondam said, it really depends on what is considered "lore". Is "dwarves generally live underground" considered lore? Is "devils and demons are different things" considered lore". Is "Otiluke Resilient Sphere" considered lore becasue it refers to a specific mage?

Is "other planes of existence do exist" lore, or is lore knowing their names and the cosmological arrangement?

Does playing in a specific region of Forgotten Realms implies lore, or is lore knowing that from book X, Elminster did Y in year DR 1365 in that very same region of FR?

I have a feeling that even in a homebrew setting, ditching all default pantheons and great wheel cosmology, I'd still be checking the "a lot" option in the poll.


Is "dwarves generally live underground" considered lore?
For my part, probably not. That's JRRT.

Is "devils and demons are different things" considered lore". Is "Otiluke Resilient Sphere" considered lore becasue it refers to a specific mage?

Is "other planes of existence do exist" lore, or is lore knowing their names and the cosmological arrangement?
Other planes, no - that's S&S/weird fantasy. But yes if you've got the names and arrangement!

Demons and devils distinct, especially in the D&D-ish sense of ordered hierarchy vs wild destroyers, I think yes. Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, I think yes because it references Otiluke and a magical effect that exists only in D&D (or maybe also Dr Strange?).

Does playing in a specific region of Forgotten Realms implies lore, or is lore knowing that from book X, Elminster did Y in year DR 1365 in that very same region of FR?
I feel yes to both, but with different degrees of intensity. I use GH maps in my BW play - I like the middle of the GH maps an all-purpose FRPG setting because it has Greyhawk, and Hardby, and the Bright Desert, and pirates on the Woolly Bay and Wild Coast, and Elves (Celene) and Dwarves (Lortmils) and Orcs (Pomarj). And this informed my choice of a fair bit.

If I was also using the particular timelines and disposition of personages that can be found in all the canonical GH material than I would have stepped it up to a lot.

I said a lot, because one of the things that drew me to D&D is the lore, and it's mostly what I've followed. To me, if you're going to have an established setting (Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Planescape, etc), then the lore is important. This doesn't mean you can't tweak/ignore the lore, but in official materials, at least, I feel it's important--one of the reasons I'm actually frustrated with 5e. Lore seems to be mattering less and less in the released materials, even though DMs have always been free to do with it what they want. But I'm probably in the minority in this feeling--I mean, 5e is clearly popular.

If I'm making up my own world, then I may take a little inspiration, but then build something that is my own (and establish my own lore). But


I use a fair bit of FR lore, specifically when it comes to names and locations. I also they to make sure that all official character options have a place in the world and are similar in tone to their FR versions. I just don't want to have to tell the player who want's to make classic Orc-Warrior from a war-band that "well actually, in this setting, most orcs are tech-loving pacifists, so yours can be an exception to the rule." I like the players to rest assured that even if there are changes in terms of homogeneity and history, the general feel of their character options is maintained.

For locations, I like to use names from FR or other sources. I generally use those locations as inspiration, but put my own spin on them. For example, I took some of the Shadowfel lore from 4e and 5e and spun it all together. The City of Latherna was built around the Fortress of Memories by the Shadar-Kai. An aspect of the deity called "The Custodian," which goes by The Raven Queen is said to live in that tower.


Magic Wordsmith
I think creativity is bolstered by constraints, so I use the lore and tropes a lot to guide my campaign and adventure design (often making fun of it in the process). If I'm using a published campaign setting, I'm more strict on canon than if it's my own setting since I view published settings as an opportunity to explore the canon rather than subvert it. (I generally only play published settings when everyone at the table is familiar with it, with some exceptions.)


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Just a little. I borrow liberally from 4e lore, but it’s very much my own spin on that lore when I do. I also borrow a lot from other non-D&D sources, and totally re-write things as suits my needs.


For 5e, I have been playing in FR with the Phandalin region as the base. We are going on the 5-6th campaign and now gotten that far away. Each campaign is a shell of lore that gets more and more modified as we go along. We use the place names and gods and such, but things move along and the town gets added to and modified to where it has more shops and a wall in the current Icespire Peak campaign since it is like 5 years after the initial box set. That region is now only 50% canon since it has been modified a lot.

If the PCs travel to Waterdeep or such I tend to take some of the new maps and such and lay in 2e material and other webpage sources to make it work. Cannon-wise this is not that accurate, but it works and my players do not know that much about the world to care.

General D&D rules we tend to try and follow for the most part. We homebrew only several things like healing potions can be a bonus action, but if you take your action it heals full and when rolling for HP, you get half rounded down if you roll below that. There is some option rules like flanking that we use as well, but spells and monsters are mostly close unless I modify a monster like 4e and make a champion goblin from a base goblin shell.

I feel that if a player sat at my table they would not have a problem picking things up from what they would think is standard.

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