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

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Oh. Why did you not say you worked at Wizards? That you are privy to their product schedule. That you are intimately familiar with their decision making process. And is not hindsight just the greatest.
They have past material. A great backlog of material. Given their history of rehashes of old material into newer editions it is feasible. You are also missing the point that balancing encounters is not minimal effort.
However my point is that we simply do not know what Wizards will release. And we have precedent in 5e earlier of re-released material.

Clearly we are going in circles here... Tyranny of Dragons was an obvious product to re-release, because the Rise is a direct sequel to Hoard. Just because it exists, a product that may have taken them maybe a month to finish (not including printing), is very little evidence of anything. You're asking for a very different type of re-release.

Also don't really know how the book can stay called the SCAG if it includes a bunch of non-SC material, but whatever.

Did you not see where I said I personally am fine with how it is? I’m sure I said it several times. I’m playing devil’s advocate and honestly people would rather buy physical books than PDFs. E-Books are on the downturn for the last handful of years and people aren’t consuming digital product aside from music and video likes they were. The E-Book revolution is over and that includes PDFs which are more and more becoming a market for scholars. While they generate a profit still facts remain facts.

Like I’ve now said multiple times I’m fine with a region book approach personally. I’m just putting out why the same people saying the same ol thing over and over again are wrong. First it was “you can’t put the Realms in one book”. Well they have. Then it was page counts being similar in SCAG vs the FRCS and lo and behold the fonts are really different so the word count is very, very different. Now it’s pointing out people are saying “if you wanna run an X style campaign by adventure Z and use the information in that” and the information being a few scant pages that really can’t be used that way. Now the worm is turning on that argument. It looks a lot like people trying to gatekeep at this point to me.

And like I’ve said before... five or so years ago we would all be up in arms over such comments.

I mean, you're phrasing it like I'm shifting my argument, when really these are just segments of my same point.

  • You can put the entire Realms in one book, it's just going to look very similar to the FRCS with minimal content for each region and a few minor changes for 5E.
  • The word counts are different, but not that much different, and the font isn't changing back to that size anyway because 5E layout is consistent.
  • They adventure books can be used that way, in fact much better than the handful of pages for the same region in the FRCS.

Which all tie back to my larger point, which is you clearly want a 5E FRCS. And I don't really understand why, as the setting material from the 3E FRCS is entirely useable from 5E. Yes 100 years have passed, so maybe some of the leadership has changed hands, but again there's only going to be enough room to hold minor changes from the 3E book.

Consider Chult. In a 5E FRCS, it would have to most of the material the 3E book has for that region, and add some lines explaining the Port Nyanzaru revolted and kicked out Amn. Ok, that's slightly different. Mostly the same, but slightly different yes. Is it better than the 3E version? I guess slightly, though paying an extra $50 for this marginal difference seems excessive (and we know you care about this since you find the adventures so expensive).

Compare that to Tomb of Annihilation. You get an entire first chapter devoted to Port Nyanzaru, complete with a map, key NPCs, random encounters, maps for villas, etc. In addition, you have a description that varies from one paragraph to a short adventure for literally every point marked on the Chultan Peninsula map. If you want to run an adventure in Chult, even one independent of the Death Curse plot, ToA is OBVIOUSLY the superior product to have.

I also don't understand the "5 years ago" thing... what's different 5 years ago from today? That we didn't have the 5 FR adventure books that we do now?
 

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Parmandur

Legend
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.

Because undead are cool obstacles to treasure. Alternatively, Ras Nsi is plotting world domination in a ruined city, which the players slowly uncover, and maybe eventually his secret master...

NPC motivations are malleable.
 

Parmandur

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.

Yes, if we define setting books to include "books with substantial Setting information" it does work out.
 


Parmandur

Legend
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?

This answers the question posed in the OP squarely.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
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.
I think I just made a pretty good case that the design of the book covers new and veteran players pretty well. I'm starting to think that your definition of 'mini-setting' might be a little different than mine or @Parmandur . The book meets my definition of that term just fine.
 

Tyranny of Dragons was an obvious product to re-release, because the Rise is a direct sequel to Hoard. Just because it exists, a product that may have taken them maybe a month to finish (not including printing), is very little evidence of anything. You're asking for a very different type of re-release.
In what way though. Tyranny of Dragons would have been last for a re-release. In place of a re-release they should have been releasing other adventures.
They did playtesting with Tyranny of Dragons. Their already known playtesting cycles are extensive. Caiming it took them maybe a month is not supported in anyway. It is simply fanciful.

Also don't really know how the book can stay called the SCAG if it includes a bunch of non-SC material, but whatever.
You have a wealth of material to mine in earlier editions.

Chult could use some 2e material.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Yes, if we define setting books to include "books with substantial Setting information" it does work out.

Serious question: what are you considering substantial setting information? You seriously consider Ghosts of Saltmarsh to have substantial setting information for Greyhawk?
 

Because undead are cool obstacles to treasure. Alternatively, Ras Nsi is plotting world domination in a ruined city, which the players slowly uncover, and maybe eventually his secret master...

NPC motivations are malleable.
You are ignoring the question of what will happen if they die.
Some undead are directly tied to Acecerak and the atropal.
His eventual master Acecerak?
 


Parmandur

Legend
Now it’s pointing out people are saying “if you wanna run an X style campaign by adventure Z and use the information in that” and the information being a few scant pages that really can’t be used that way.

OK, here's the thing: if someone wants to run a game in Waterdeep, Dragon Heist doesn't have "scant" pages of straight setting material, it has a ton of page count just for that. Same with Baldur's Gate in Descent into Avernus.

15 years ago, WotC would have charged $20-30 for a smaller amount of the same material, and now you can get that and more for less on Amazon. The current approach is more pro-consumer than the older framework. If spending $20-30 in Amazon is a burden to someone who wants to run a Waterdeep campaign, they have bigger problems than WotC product lineup.
 


Parmandur

Legend
Serious question: what are you considering substantial setting information? You seriously consider Ghosts of Saltmarsh to have substantial setting information for Greyhawk?

It has enough Setting material that TSR would have sold in a book by itself similar in actual cost to the whole GoS package. Have you read the book...?
 

Parmandur

Legend
You are ignoring the question of what will happen if they die.
Some undead are directly tied to Acecerak and the atropal.
His eventual master Acecerak?

The death rules are in the Core books.

Acecerack can be the final BBEG, if it comes to that. The connection to random undead can be a mystery the players solve, or don't solve.
 

I think I just made a pretty good case that the design of the book covers new and veteran players pretty well. I'm starting to think that your definition of 'mini-setting' might be a little different than mine or @Parmandur . The book meets my definition of that term just fine.
Which is fine. Your emphasis is more on the experienced DMs. Your coverage is skewed there. To claim the adventure books are mini-settings is still reaching. Especially as some of us do not feel it meets our definition.
 


Parmandur

Legend
Which is fine. Your emphasis is more on the experienced DMs. Your coverage is skewed there. To claim the adventure books are mini-settings is still reaching. Especially as some of us do not feel it meets our definition.

DMs who aren't comfortable with using ToA as a Setting book won't want a normal Setting book.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
It has enough Setting material that TSR would have sold in a book by itself similar in actual cost to the whole GoS package. Have you read the book...?

I have, which is why I'm genuinely curious. I mean, even compared the original folio I wouldn't consider GoS to be full of substantive setting material for Greyhawk.

I mean, substantive to me = more than just one town and its immediate environs.
 

The death rules are in the Core books.
So you agree changing the Death Curse death effects to core rule book death effects is a substantial change.
So you agree that removing the Death Curse in that way is not "literally nothing much changes".

Acecerack can be the final BBEG, if it comes to that. The connection to random undead can be a mystery the players solve, or don't solve.
The ties to the Death Curse are still there.
 


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