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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%

  • Total voters
    132

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Reynard

Legend
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.
My initial question was more focused on whether it bothers (general) you if lore for a setting changes. For example, if a new edition of a campaign setting changes a historical timeline or shifts established events to accomodate new rules elements.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
have to go with 'sometimes'. Most of my GM campaigns were set in the WoG; I made good use of everything they put out at first, but ignored everything to do with the Greyhawk Wars...
 

MGibster

Legend
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?

If I'm playing in an established setting then the lore and continuity is important. If it wasn't important I'd question why I was even playing a game in that setting. I'm not going to run a Star Wars game where the PCs overthrow the Rebel Alliance, defeat Darth Vader, and spare the Emperor's life so they can keep him as an adviser. In my Star Wars games the characters and events of the movies are pretty much going to play out as presented and my PCs are going to be involved in other stuff during that time.

Even when I think the lore is silly I pretty much roll with it if I like the game enough. In Deadlands, the setting is an alternate history in the United States of 1876 where the dead walk the earth and the Civil War isn't over. I can buy demons, the undead gunslingers, and mad scientist inventing wild machines, but I have a hard time buying any alternate history where the South essentially wins the Civil War and is able to compete with the North when it comes to western expansion. There's only so much I can suspend my disbelief. Despite this, I never changed the lore but it was a rare game I ran that featured the conflicts between the CSA and USA.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
My initial question was more focused on whether it bothers (general) you if lore for a setting changes. For example, if a new edition of a campaign setting changes a historical timeline or shifts established events to accomodate new rules elements.

If it's a question of the timeline advancing, I'm usually fine with it. Time does march on. I can pick any point in the timeline for my campaign.

But major changes to established events or the essential character of things really irks me and will serve as a barrier to buying the new product due to lack of compatibility. I've never been a fan of the big "event" adventures or shifts in Forgotten Realms to coincide with rule structure shifts from edition to edition. If the rules change - no explanation is necessary other than, maybe, a sidebar to explain how some previous element of the setting operates under the new rules, if different. If said element is technically impossible under the new rules, then grandfather it in by using old rules.
 

I think I have said this in other, similar threads, but official lore is more important to me in a living, breathing setting that advances the timeline and has events that shape the lore, like the Realms. I go with the flow and adjust with the changes. However, changes in official lore in a setting that is mostly static, that is annoying and is more a retcon than an update of the lore. And a bad retcon can destroy a property, whether gaming world, comic book, or movie or tv series.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I see official canon as just the starting point of the game and if, like so many posts I've read over the years, I start a game in one edition and continued into another edition then changes with the new edition wouldn't matter if it doesn't fit into how the world has developed in that home campaign. A new campaign might take into account edition changes to lore or it might be a new group in the original campaign.

As is, I frequently homebrew a setting so edition changes to lore don't really matter to me, what does matter though is mechanics. Dragonlance after the chaos war had sorcerers that shaped wild magic using their intellect, many were previously wizards. When 3e came out, the sorcerer was charisma based so a wizard changing to a sorcerer (there was a rule in 3e dragonlance that allowed you to trade your wizard levels for sorcerer levels) would suddenly be much worse at magic due to conflicting spellcasting ability scores.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
"Other" - answer varies widely depending on situation.

If it's something I and most others have no control over or input on, e.g. a movie or TV franchise, then hewing close to established canon is vital for continuity and - well, immersion's too strong a word, so let's say suspension of belief. Exception: franchises that intentionally thumb their noses at such things in the name of not taking themselves seriously. But it's either one or the other, no middle ground.

If it's something I do have control over or input on e.g. the setting for my game, then the only canon I care about is my own, be it established ahead of time or during play (by me and-or the players) and to which - obviously - I'll hew as close as I can.

If it's something I have some input on but ultimately no control over e.g. the setting for someone else's game I play in, then my expectation is that once something is established as part of that setting it becomes locked in.
 

Ace

Adventurer
I voted never as I almost never use or have used official settings and thus have little knowledge of lore.

Also D&D is a big multiverse so for all I know there might be tens of thousand Torils , Ebberons Oerths or whatever.
 

Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
Yes, but only to a certain extent. Beyond that point, I don’t mind changes to the lore, and even welcome such alterations if they appeal to my “head canon”.

Further complicating matters is that how much lore I feel is necessary varies from one setting to another...

DARK SUN
The lore provided in the original box set is gospel for the setting in my opinion. I also can’t stand the idea of Rajaat.

I prefer the implication from the original box set that the current group of Sorcerer-Kings are just the latest in a long line of petty magical tyrants who came to power after the world went to heck.

In my opinion, this makes the Dragon of Tyr special; a Godzilla/King Ghidorah-esque kaiju from the ancient world, possessing powers the current crop of Sorcerer-Kings can only dream of...


EBERRON
If Keith Baker says it, then that is how it should be for Eberron, even if I dislike it.

Any changes I make at my own table that deviate from that baseline are simply because I want to see how such a change would fundamentally alter the setting.


FORGOTTEN REALMS
Honestly, there is literally so much lore for the FR, you could pull random statements out of thin air and they would probably be true at least somewhere on Toril...
 

Hussar

Legend
Looking at this poll though, you can see what game developers have to deal with. About half of folks don't really care one way or another, another quarter might care and about a quarter will care a lot. Which means in any given group, someone will likely care a lot.

Imagine having to deal with trying to add to a setting while still having to adhere to decades old ideas. Doesn't matter if the idea is good or not. It's valued simply for being first.

I really feel bad for game designers trying to thread that needle. Let's add something new without ruffling feathers despite those feathers being old, grey and threadbare. (and, frankly, often based in bigotry and various other unsavory concepts.)
 

MGibster

Legend
I really feel bad for game designers trying to thread that needle. Let's add something new without ruffling feathers despite those feathers being old, grey and threadbare. (and, frankly, often based in bigotry and various other unsavory concepts.)

I don't imagine it's an easy balance. In the past, I know when I've made complaints about previous versions of Call of Cthulhu I got a huge amount of push back from diehard fans online who had been playing for decades. I'm not even talking about setting details in the case but about changing some of the rules and you would have thought I'd kicked someone's puppy.

So, no, it's not easy. When you change something in the franchise you risk alienating fans. But let's face it, most of the people who answered this poll don't care about canon. So it's not like designers have to worry about them.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I think the number of people who get really bent out of shape about 'canon' is a very small slice of the overall market. Chill people, people who just playin', don't raise a fuss and don't respond to questionnaires or internet forum polls. Alienating fans is way harder than the internets might make it seem IMO.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Looking at this poll though, you can see what game developers have to deal with. About half of folks don't really care one way or another, another quarter might care and about a quarter will care a lot. Which means in any given group, someone will likely care a lot.

Imagine having to deal with trying to add to a setting while still having to adhere to decades old ideas.
Which means the mistake they're making is in trying to add to (and thus potentially screwing up) an existing setting that already works for people, rather than putting the same time and effort into something completely new.

New edition? New setting. It'd need to be a generic setting, yes, but even if it's generic it's still new. 4e with Nentir Vale is thus far the only one that's got this right.

For 5e, the area around Lost Mine of Phandelver should have been a tease region for a whole new setting, released side-along with the three core books.
 

teitan

Hero
What I like is a suspended timeline such as Eberron and the approach that different modules are just possible futures and not set in stone events for future supplements. The DM should determine to way the world moves forward. When you start discussing timeline and where adventures take place in it it can hamstring a DM who has players who obsess over canon of some settings. I’ve seen more than one Vampire:The Masquerade campaign crushed because the storyteller had the hubris to change the canon to fit the story he was telling. I’ve had to shut down players in D&D games because I didn’t have Driz’zt in a particular location on certain days and the sort. It is part of why I preferred Greyhawk to FR or Dragonlance in high school and my twenties because it was so sparingly developed and open ended that it was hard to contradict a canon once you launched a campaign. Forgotten Realms tried really hard to make the players feel like they were part of a larger story but failed most of the time with the meta narrative going on in 2e. So I avoid canon and the like. The baseline in the core setting guide is my launching point and canon is what my players do rather than a video game or novel.
 





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