D&D General Is "official" lore important to you?

Is official lore important to you?

  • Yes, always

    Votes: 22 16.7%
  • Yes, but only in regards to one setting

    Votes: 12 9.1%
  • Not usually, but I have a specific hangup or two

    Votes: 26 19.7%
  • No, never

    Votes: 52 39.4%
  • My opinion is too complex for your silly poll

    Votes: 20 15.2%


Every once in a while I see people on these forums remark how a change in the lore of a setting between editions or through some product or tie in media bothers them. To me that idea is a little alien, as I am just not a person that cares to much about adherence to continuity (what can I say, I grew up a DC comics fan in the post Crisis on infinite Earths era where there was a Zero Hour or other continuity altering even every summer).

So, simple poll you can expound upon in the thread: do you care about the lore of a setting (or the game as a whole) and think continuity is important?

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No, never. Official lore only matters insomuch that it is a bunch of details written down that I can use as a jumping off point for what I give my players. As soon as they players start playing though, anything official can get changed or has to get changed to reflect what the players do. So getting hung up on what is or isn't official is a waste of my time.


I find lore sometimes interesting and useful for inspiration. That said, I don't really mind alterations. 4e made some of the biggest changes to prior D&D lore (with the Dawn War, etc) but I really liked it and still use bits of it in my 5e games. In fairness though, I homebrew my campaign settings.


Morkus from Orkus
I put down that it was too complex for your poll, but only because my answer was not there elsewhere.

Lore is important to me, because I just don't have time to create lore of my own. Without that lore my game would be lacking due to life responsibilities. I don't have any problem changing parts of the lore I don't like, though.

Nope, not worth spending time ponder things my players couldn't care less about. Its like the equivalent of a bass solo at a concert, its unnecessary and after the first note I get up to get another beer.


Well, I pretty much just run my home campaign so the only "lore" I have to care about is in my head or notes. Even then it's a bit untrustworthy because I forget stuff the histories are not always accurate.

In part I do that because if I did run an FR campaign I'd probably end up with a player that has a photographic memory and has read every bit of FR trivia ever published. Imagine my chagrin with I don't know that the owner of the pub X on street Y is really name Z and that he is secretly member of some organization I've never heard of. I'd also get into an argument about what it means to be a member of the Zhentarim and so on.

But it's also because I'd want to subvert the narrative and shake up people's expectations now and then. Turns out that Drizzt (don't ever make the mistake of putting an apostrophe in his first name you neophyte!) was really evil all along. He's been pretending to be a good guy so that drow are accepted into society all while convincing other rubes to help him take out his competition.

It would not go over well, I'm sure. On the other hand in my world King Bob is really the right hand man of the dead lich that has vowed to destroy the party. Once they take out his competition of course. :devilish:


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
If I'm running Eberron, we have the Last War, and the history of the warforged, and the Dragonmarks and their Houses. I can run Eberron without Dragonmarked Houses just fine - but if I don't tell my players that and they are expecting them things will feel wonky and off.

So shared lore is important. It's both a shorthand between DM and players, but also a foundation that everyone is building on. Changing it can happen, but needs to be communicated.

One of the reasons I actively dislike FR - there's too much lore. I played a lot of it back in AD&D days, and the players that read every novel would know more about the world than I, and it was correct because the DM also did. There could be a plot going on and I would miss clues due to not knowing about how Sammaster fit into the Cult of the Dragon. Or of course now where I have lots of FR knowledge, some of which is years out of date because they've advanced the timeline, but other parts are still true which is even more confusing.

Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
Voted "No, never."
Lore is certainly inspirational, and great for yoinking ideas, but I can't retain it all and don't care about canon beyond what determines the rules. And lore can be flat out irritating when playing a lore-rich setting but someone else at the table becomes a self-appointed lore-lawyer. Ugh.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Sort of. I mean, if a game gives me canon I like, I'm gonna use it.

And if I am explicitly setting a game in a particular world and time, my players can expect that the canon of that place and time is going to largely hold - if I am running a superhero game in Marvel Universe 1980s New York City, there are things the players can count on.


Druid of the Invisible Hand
Not normally, because I don't normally use published settings-- even in my own Spelljammer, I replace the "setting" with homebrew-- and I really only use published games the way my namesake used cemetaries.

But I gotta admit, a lot of the weird little changes to AD&D monsters/races that were made in 3.X and then reverted in 4e bug me. Tiefling Charisma penalty, reversing Githzerai INT and WIS, turning the Gith races and half the Dark Sun races into "psionic" races... really vex me.

When I run Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, I always run on an eXiles setup where the primary purpose of canon is to encourage the players to be wrong about things (on accident) and the player characters to be wrong about things on purpose.


I home-brew D&D since 1982. I never use official setting lore.

But if I play another rpg with an official setting, like Coriolis, since I bought it for that reason, I will definitely try to stick to canon, but will add a bit of spice here and there to make it my own.


As someone who runs Gygaxian Greyhawk, I obviously don't give a damn about canon. I tried, not only with D&D, but with other RPGs, to keep as close to canon as possible. It was a nightmare, and super stressful, because if you didn't keep up with all the lore, a player might throw you for a loop. Worse, a player might have read the source material you're using for your campaign, then know where you're going and plan for it (had a DM run the shadovar right when the novels came out, but one player had also read them).

Freeing myself from canon was the greatest thing I ever did as a GM. The canon is what I say it is, not some author who doesn't share my vision (nor I theirs). This has caused some issues with players who only know modern stuff, so I've tried real hard to clarify lore with my players as much as possible.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
It depends.
Lore gives you a place to start and provides a degree of continuity from one game to another and a sense of shared experience.
Chief Nosnra is throwing a party in G1 - different groups will deal with that differently, but it gives us a common frame of reference. In published settings, Greyhawk and Waterdeep are both substantial cities and serve as good base points for PCs to collect. Each campaign setting has a variety of well-known NPCs that can interact with PCs and give them things to do based on their goals. The Temple of Elemental Evil was once put down (but not permanently) but set up the published adventure. Storm giants are a bit different from their other giant brethren in that they tend to be good-aligned so not all giants are fodder for fights. Drow are evil elves driven under the surface who worship a demon spider goddess and have a matriarchal society making themselves an excellent source of mastermindish enemies.
Change those in significant ways and you have very different experiences despite dealing with things that are nominally the same.


Use some, throw away other bits.

Though I do remember (kiddingly) getting after my son last night when he wanted to add a duodecahedron modron monster (“Primus does not approve of your blasphemy!”)

<EDIT> And I must admit that a lot of the 4E cosmology rearrangement and Dawn War restructing ruffled my feathers badly.


I voted « yes, always »

An official turn of events and background info is essential to a setting IMO. It is a huge part of what defines the setting and set it appart from other campaign settings.

However, I feel the underlying question, while not specifically spelled that way, is whether it is important (or not) to use that official content and if so, in what proportion. There, I would say that no official content should be taken as sacrosanct canon. The devs and authors themselves acknowledge that.

But still, the official info is important, if only to know what you think needs changing. No matter how much you alter a campaign setting, you need to start from something. That something is always important and relevant. It's one thing to mine a setting for inspiration, it's another to affirm playing in the said setting.
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