D&D General Origin of each Forgotten Realm

Yora

Legend
While Forgotten Realms as a whole is a creation of Ed Greenwood, my recent journey of researching what the setting looked like in its original state turned up that there are at least several areas that are now taken for granted, which definitely where later additions by TSR.

The best known one is the Moonshae Islands off the Sword Coast, which were originally originally intended as a campaign setting and had some novels written for it by Douglas Niles (of Against the Cult of the Reptile God fame), but it was then decided to wrap it all into the Forgotten Realms. Which is why the gods have different names there, and the region pretty much never mentioned again after the region book that came out four months after the original Grey Box Campaign Set.

Another one I now found is the Bloodstone Lands, which were originally created as a stand-alone adventure by ...oh, it's Douglas Niles again. (And Michael Dobson.) The region book Bloodstone Lands primarily focuses on Damara, but also provides more information on Impiltur and Narfell than I've found anywhere else, until Narfell got covered again in 3rd Edition in The Unapproachable East. These two seem to have played an important part in the Bloodstone modules, along with Vaasa and Thar, so I assume they are all creations of Niles and Dobson. (The first of the four modules have no mention of Forgotten Realms on the cover and the first one came out two years before the Grey Box.)

Those are the two that I know for certain not being part of Greenwood's own setting.

Another interesting case is The North.
The region is mentioned only very briefly in the Grey Box, with Waterdeep and Neverwinter being the only places of any kind that get mentioned at all, but it is shown on the map with a couple of places marked. The very first sourcebook that followed was Waterdeep and the North by Ed Greenwood, which came out three month after the Grey Box and has short descriptions of the places from the Grey Box map.
However, that one is 54 pages on Waterdeeep and 8 pages on the North. And only a map of Waterdeep, but no new one of the North.
That did change very much 10 month later with the release of The Savage Frontier by Jennell Jaquays, which covers the are in much greater detail and presents in the form very much known to probably nearly every Forgotten Realms fan today. Is there anything known about how much Greenwood had provided in notes for the region, and how much of that iconic sub-setting is her own creation?
The first Drizzt books came out the same year. But The Savage Frontier already mentions Mithril Hall and the dragon that lives there, but unless I am mistaken those appear only in the second book that came out a year later. Anyone know anything about the collaboration that took place there?

Mulhorend, Unther, and Chessenta have only about a sentence each in the Grey Box. Chult and Halruaa don't even get that, but the later is at least mentioned twice as a land of mages.
Aglarond, Rashemen, and Thay, and the Red Wizard all get a pretty high amount of coverage though. Which I find surprising, as with the exception of Thay, they would only get covered in more detail again in the Spellbound box eight years after the Grey Box.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
There are the original ideas of Ed, and then there are all the things which were forced in there just for marketing purpose and which make the DR what it seems to me, a large inconsistent mess. I like the spirit of the "Ed areas", and would have gladly played in there, but the constant theft from other settings really puts me off, especially since they don't fit in well...
 

About the Moonshae Islands...
It is clear that these were not intended for another setting. The Goddess is an aspect of Chauntea (or Chauntea absorbs it into her own, this isn't particularly clear unless you read Pools of Radiance and Pools of Darkness). The Beast is also an aspect of Malar. These two facts are made known to us in the later part of the Trilogy.

And yes the Realms are a cosmopolitan mix match of a lot of concepts which do not always fit well with each others. And sometimes it does not even make sense to see culturally different countries/setting so close to each others... I do think Ed fully described Cormyr, The Moonsea and most of the Savage Coast (read here, Waterdeep and its surrounding) but the rest? Not so sure. Ho he got a hand in these, that's for sure. But a full write up? Unlikely.
 

Yora

Legend
There are the original ideas of Ed, and then there are all the things which were forced in there just for marketing purpose and which make the DR what it seems to me, a large inconsistent mess. I like the spirit of the "Ed areas", and would have gladly played in there, but the constant theft from other settings really puts me off, especially since they don't fit in well...
The big question is: Which ones are which?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The big question is: Which ones are which?

It's not that complicated, honestly, and the OP did a fairly good job of that. As for me, I was very much attracted to the FRs by the first writings of Ed in particular in Dragon Magazine, about Elminster's voice and the happenings in the Vales and the North. That is where the heart of the FRs lay. I can go with the Sword Coast as a whole, and the neighbouring areas since they had influence from the start, but that's about it, at least for me.
 

Okay so here the deal.

1. Vaasa and Damara were the only bloodstone Lands added to FR, Impitur was from Ed.

2. Moonshae are mentioned in a variety of products, including the SCAG. And yes it was not Ed's origin version of the Moonshaes, those got replaced by TSR UK's version which had originally was intended to a seperate setting. Different editions try different ways to integrate Moonshae religion with Faerun religion.

3. Unther, Mulhorand, and Chessenta are not the original versions from Ed's home setting. In the Grey ox they were little more then names. Then Desert of Desolution came out and TSR decided to place it into the Forgotten Realms and this had huge implications for FR. Mulhorand, Unther, and Chessenta were radically changed from Ed's vision for a Conan style region, into Fantasy Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece, to fit Desert of Desolation into FR. This lead to the Old Kingdoms regional book there not only detailed the region, it's integrated the history of the Old Kingdoms with the Eastern half of FR.

4. Kara Tur was added to FR in a Kara Tur Campaign Settng Guide, it wasn't originally part of FR. The most surprising part of this is it added Hinduism to the Forgotten Realms.

5. Jeff Grubbs and those working with him added Maztica and Zakhara and Realmspace.

6. Parts Abeir, although Returned Abeir was actually done by Ed himself.

7. The FR Shadowfell and Feywild are from 4e and 5e mostly, but they absorbed alot of preexisting lore such as Faerie and the Plane of Shadow.

8. The Cosmology of some editions added afterlives that other folks come up with.

9. Other writers added various demiplanes, like the Celestial Nadar added by Bruce Cordell I believe.
 


Yora

Legend
1. Vaasa and Damara were the only bloodstone Lands added to FR, Impitur was from Ed.
That makes sense. Bloodstone Lands describes Impiltur and the Nars being on the fence about getting involved against the Witch King, and now finally slowly starting to making the first steps to actually interact with the new forming power factions. Thought it a little bit odd how much fence sitting there was from both of them in all the recent history that is described.
4. Kara Tur was added to FR in a Kara Tur Campaign Settng Guide, it wasn't originally part of FR. The most surprising part of this is it added Hinduism to the Forgotten Realms.
Kata-Tur is mentioned in a one-sentence section in the Grey Box. Probably already had plans for that at that point.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
What makes them forgotten? Never actually heard an explanation for that.

Clearly multiple millions of D&D players know about them 😂

And in-fiction, there are probably at least a few million sentient beings there...
 

blink
Do you mean Hinduism as a in a religion system that was inspired by it, or actually Hinduism? :O

I mean actual Hinduism. Faerun already had a fantasy religion version of Hinduism for Durpuri, called the Adama, but Kara Tur Campaign Setting added actual Hinduism of a sort, in a Theocracy called Koung Kingdom based on ancient Pre Buddhist, Hindu Cambodia. But in an interesting twist, they refer to the King of the Gods Indra as a her, which could have been caused by confusing Indra with his wife Indrani.

The Koung Kingdom was ruled over by a Priest Kingdom very major ambitions of conquest. IMHO it was one of the more interesting places. The Koung Kingdom actually refers to the religion coming from somewhere to the West, but that is never detailed and left a mystery.

Indra (or Indrina), is also worshipped by the Hill Tribes, but as part of their elemental tribes religion instead of Hinduism.

Also Koung Kingdon refers readers to Legends and Lore book to the Hindu Pantheon section.
 

Voadam

Legend
Forgotten Realms has all sorts of real world gods from Deities and Demigods mixed in.

Finnish ones: Loviatar and Mielikki.

Norse: Tyr.

Greek ones renamed: Aphrodite (Sune), Apollo (Lathander), Demeter (Chauntea), Tyche (not renamed but turned into Beshaba and Tymora).

And a couple of Elric and Nehwon ones as well.

Hindu gods were part of Deities and Demigods in 1e and 2e, they were part of D&D before Kara Tur.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
What makes them forgotten? Never actually heard an explanation for that.
Ed actually answered that in various places - and the answer is that the Realms are forgotten by the rest of the multiverse. Here's the answer I could find that was easiest for me to access (An interview with Ed from Dragon Magazine #244):

The “Forgotten Realms” name originally came from the notion of a “multiverse” of parallel worlds. Our Earth is one, the Realms another. In Greenwood’s original conception, Earth’s fantastic legends derive from a fantasy world that we‘ve now lost the way to-hence, the Forgotten Realms. “Concerns over possible lawsuits (kids getting hurt while trying to ‘find a gate’) led TSR to de-emphasize this meaning,” he says.

So it's a reference to us Earth folks and what we'd forgotten circa 196X when he was coming up with the fantasy world that would eventually become Toril.

(Funny tho that concerns over lawsuits over kids trying to find a gate to another universe didn't stop them from making that the premise of the cartoon branded with the D&D name.)
 

pukunui

Legend
Ed actually answered that in various places - and the answer is that the Realms are forgotten by the rest of the multiverse.
Here's what Ed wrote in his intro to the original FR grey box:

The "Forgotten Realms" derive their name from the fictitious fact upon which play in my campaign is based: that a multiverse exists, of countless parallel co-existing Prime Material Planes (including the world presented herein, our own modern "Earth", and any other fantasy settings a DM may wish to incorporate in play), all related to the Known Planes of Existence presented in the AD&D system. Travel betwixt these planes was once far more common than the case is now (when few know the means of reaching other worlds, or even believe in the existence of such fanciful places); hence, the Realms have been "forgotten" by beings of Earth.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Here's what Ed wrote in his intro to the original FR grey box:
That's closer to what I was remembering in my head, but I thought I'd read it in a Dragon issue. I should have checked the box set (though that's not as accessible - nor as cut-and-pastable - as my Dragon archive at the moment).
 

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