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5E The case for (and against) a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Okay. Good. But we may be talking about new time DMs who may be inclined to get this because it is "also a mini setting".
For a new DM it is exactly that. The ability of a DM to manage information increases in direct correlation with their experience. A veteran GM is buying the book for very different reasons. Heck, I don't even remember the last time I ran something "out of the box". A new DM isn't going to be upset about the lack of info though, generally speaking and IMO. I think part of the issue here is that we're talking about newbie DMs and expert level re-purposing of material both in the same breath. A newbie DM isn't going to be field stripping the module and selling it's parts on the black market.
 

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eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Also, how many fans of other official settings would love to even have as much published coverage as the "Remembered Realms" has received in 5e's lifetime?

Yeah. Unless you're a fan of MtG settings, in which case, WOTC has got you, fam.

I mean it's almost as if I'm saying focusing on the Sword Coast to the virtual exclusion of everything else (In FR and outside of it) is, IDK, not great?
 


The players can be in town as mercenaries for Baldur's Gate, and are exploring the jungle for money. Done, campaign solved. Hooks for this are literally everywhere.
And if they die what happens. What about all the undead infesting Chult. A great many of the motivations and npcs are tied to Death Curse sites.
But we can just strip all of this away.
 




For a new DM it is exactly that. The ability of a DM to manage information increases in direct correlation with their experience. A veteran GM is buying the book for very different reasons. Heck, I don't even remember the last time I ran something "out of the box". A new DM isn't going to be upset about the lack of info though, generally speaking and IMO. I think part of the issue here is that we're talking about newbie DMs and expert level re-purposing of material both in the same breath. A newbie DM isn't going to be field stripping the module and selling it's parts on the black market.
Yes. I also change the adventure to suit the players. This is a given with experience. If a new DM is lured to the book because it is "apparently a mini setting" they will be disappointed and frustrated.
With the same breath we should not discount new DMs for their ingenuity and creativity.
 


Aldarc

Legend
Yeah. Unless you're a fan of MtG settings, in which case, WOTC has got you, fam.

I mean it's almost as if I'm saying focusing on the Sword Coast to the virtual exclusion of everything else (In FR and outside of it) is, IDK, not great?
You're talking more snark than sense here.

As others have pointed out, the idea that it has been exclusively Sword Coast is demonstrably untrue (e.g., Tomb of Annihilation). The idea that it has been solely MtG settings (a whopping two) as opposed to materials for prior official D&D settings is also demonstrably untrue (e.g., Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, Curse of Strahd, Tales from the Yawning Portal, etc.). And this also does not take into account that WotC has a slower production output for 5e than prior editions.

I would personally love to see more published materials for non-FR or even non-Sword Coast materials, but I can understand that it basically gives groups who may have their Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure in the Starter Kit more directions to go with their games. Perhaps it's a feedback loop, but I can understand some of the reason why WotC may choose to go that route.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
And if they die what happens. What about all the undead infesting Chult. A great many of the motivations and npcs are tied to Death Curse sites.
But we can just strip all of this away.
Off the top of my head, I'd have a Necromantic Cult be the cause of all the undead, and also probably at least part of the campaign motivation. Not a secret cult, but closer to an actual religion, and one that's gobbling up converts at an alarming rate in the hinterlands of Chult. Who's behind this rise in death worship? No one knows, and the priests of the Death God always go masked. There also seems to be an alarming rise in disappearances in the towns where the Cult is active, but a lot of those towns are remote, and the rumors that have reached Port Nyanzaru are wild and conflicting. Priests of Death preach on the street corners of the Port, and rumors of armies of undead swirl in the taverns. An emissary of the Death Cult recently met with the governor of the Port, but no one knows the purpose or result.

That's the broad strokes that I came up with while multi-tasking at work anyway.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
You're talking more snark than sense here.

As others have pointed out, the idea that it has been exclusively Sword Coast is demonstrably untrue (e.g., Tomb of Annihilation). The idea that it has been solely MtG settings (a whopping two) as opposed to materials for prior official D&D settings is also demonstrably untrue (e.g., Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Eberron: Rising from the Last War, Curse of Strahd, Tales from the Yawning Portal, etc.). And this also does not take into account that WotC has a slower production output for 5e than prior editions.

I would personally love to see more published materials for non-FR or even non-Sword Coast materials, but I can understand that it basically gives groups who may have their Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure in the Starter Kit more directions to go with their games. Perhaps it's a feedback loop, but I can understand some of the reason why WotC may choose to go that route.

Yeah, I guess it just depends if you count adventure paths as setting books. I don't. I mean Ghosts of Saltmarsh gives you like, what, three hexes of Greyhawk, come on.
 

Off the top of my head, I'd have a Necromantic Cult be the cause of all the undead, and also probably at least part of the campaign motivation. Not a secret cult, but closer to an actual religion, and one that's gobbling up converts at an alarming rate in the hinterlands of Chult. Who's behind this rise in death worship? No one knows, and the priests of the Death God always go masked. There also seems to be an alarming rise in disappearances in the towns where the Cult is active, but a lot of those towns are remote, and the rumors that have reached Port Nyanzaru are wild and conflicting. Priests of Death preach on the street corners of the Port, and rumors of armies of undead swirl in the taverns. An emissary of the Death Cult recently met with the governor of the Port, but no one knows the purpose or result.

That's the broad strokes that I came up with while multi-tasking at work anyway.
That is great. Which is not sarcasm.
However you are still fundamentally substantially alterating the narrative and structure of the adventure. And with it the implicit mechanics.
This is also not "literally nothing much changes". The introduction of these new concepts and motivations changes it quite substantially. And for the better in some cases.
Similarly ask new DMs. I do not discount their creativity. But theirs will be more simplistic and cleave closer to the Death Curse.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
That is great. Which is not sarcasm.
However you are still fundamentally substantially alterating the narrative and structure of the adventure. And with it the implicit mechanics.
This is also not "literally nothing much changes". The introduction of these new concepts and motivations changes it quite substantially. And for the better in some cases.
Thanks! I think we may be talking about different things when we say "nothing much changes". I'm talking about the grunt work stuff, not the narrative arc. I can change the arc that pretty easily, but I put a lot of value on having a lot of the grunt work done for me. Someone who loves creating the fiddly details but struggles with the big picture arc stuff would probably have a different opinion.
 

Thanks! I think we may be talking about different things when we say "nothing much changes". I'm talking about the grunt work stuff, not the narrative arc. I can change the arc that pretty easily, but I put a lot of value on having a lot of the grunt work done for me. Someone who loves creating the fiddly details but struggles with the big picture arc stuff would probably have a different opinion.
Similarly ask new DMs. I do not discount their creativity. But theirs will be more simplistic and cleave closer to the Death Curse.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Similarly ask new DMs. I do not discount their creativity. But theirs will be more simplistic and cleave closer to the Death Curse.
Oh yeah, new DMs are going to use the adventure out of the box most of the time, for sure. I think this is actually more common in the broader player base than it used to be, hence the popularity of the big adventure path books. Like I said, veterans and newbs are getting very different things out of any product, not just this one. I do think there's enough in the book that even a new DM could jimmy in some side quests, or run off in a couple of different directions without too much trouble. A little on-the-fly, steal a couple of stat blocks, lean into player ideas and narrative, like that. A veteran DM could, as I have contended, take the book, strip it, and re-purpose the majority of the content into a different adventure, and still cunt themselves well satisfied with the value of their purchase.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Yeah, I guess it just depends if you count adventure paths as setting books. I don't. I mean Ghosts of Saltmarsh gives you like, what, three hexes of Greyhawk, come on.
It's not a full campaign book, but I think that WotC's primary path going forward has been focused primarily on "setting as revealed in adventures," which is a fairly nice way to go about contextualizing a setting. None of these books really exist as simply campaign books. Eberron's book provides the Artificer and bonus races. Ravnica provides rules for guilds and factions. Ghosts of Saltmarsh provides tools for ships, naval, and sea encounters. I can't recall what the Theros book will provide, apart from bonus races, but I doubt that it's just setting information.

The fundamental question to ask and consider is what can a Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book bring to the table that expands 5e D&D apart from the obligatory info dump about the setting? I'm not saying that it can't, but, rather, that this is something that WotC will likely be considering when going forward themselves.

These other books have GM and player materials that make me want to buy the book even if I don't plan on running a game in Eberron, Greyhawk/Saltmarsh, Ravnica, or Theros. What will make me want to buy a FRCS book if I don't plan on ever otherwise touching the Forgotten Realms setting?
 

Oh yeah, new DMs are going to use the adventure out of the box most of the time, for sure. I think this is actually more common in the broader player base than it used to be, hence the popularity of the big adventure path books. Like I said, veterans and newbs are getting very different things out of any product, not just this one. I do think there's enough in the book that even a new DM could jimmy in some side quests, or run off in a couple of different directions without too much trouble. A little on-the-fly, steal a couple of stat blocks, lean into player ideas and narrative, like that. A veteran DM could, as I have contended, take the book, strip it, and re-purpose the majority of the content into a different adventure, and still cunt themselves well satisfied with the value of their purchase.
For new DMs a good learning experience. But they will be confined by the boundaries of what is in the book. A few side quests sure. But they will not be able to adapt it as a "mini setting".
On the other hand your post above demonstrates a substantial overhauling of the narrative conceit. Which will have substantial ripple effects.
They are both using what is present within the adventure itself. And not pretending it is much more than it is. And this is not a bad thing.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
For new DMs a good learning experience. But they will be confined by the boundaries of what is in the book. A few side quests sure. But they will not be able to adapt it as a "mini setting".
On the other hand your post above demonstrates a substantial overhauling of the narrative conceit. Which will have substantial ripple effects.
They are both using what is present within the adventure itself. And not pretending it is much more than it is. And this is not a bad thing.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the book works like a charm as a setting book for new DMs. Not even actual setting books do that well, too much information breadth and not enough depth outside some very particular areas, generally. The ability of a new DM to color outside the lines will depend on their creativity, which, as you've taken pains to point out, isn't something we should discount. There's more than enough there to get a veteran DM off the ground though, which was, I think, the design goal.
 

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the book works like a charm as a setting book for new DMs. Not even actual setting books do that well, too much information breadth and not enough depth outside some very particular areas, generally. The ability of a new DM to color outside the lines will depend on their creativity, which, as you've taken pains to point out, isn't something we should discount. There's more than enough there to get a veteran DM off the ground though, which was, I think, the design goal.
The claim is that they are mini setting books. Which I do not think is quite accurate. Adventure books with appropriate sites yes. Sometimes great sites. But otherwise the claim is reaching. Especially with new DMs.
Wizards are appealing heavily to both new and old. Design goals should have been equally valid for both sets.
 
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