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

Clearly I am asking about the information in book. Anyone can Google that information.
Exactly!

Why would anyone want to pay for something that is easily available for free!?

Does not make sense.
You claim ToA has everything you need for Chult adventures. Ubtao is a substantial part of Chult. Obviously there is a disconnect here.
Ubtao is mentioned in the text where who the locals worship is relevant. The book is lacking in the index department though.

They are on the map yes. Which is why I am asking. Some groups may decide to set their adventures there.
However there are no site entries for these areas. There are no encounters of interest for these sites. Unlike the majority of the other sites that have been detailed.
None of this information is in the much vaunted 2nd or 3rd edition FR sourcebooks either.

Because you have to draw the line somewhere.

Do you expect an FR sourcebook to tell you the name of the chieftain's second wife for the unnamed village 16 miles south east of Port Nyanzaru?

The 3rd edition book has one page on Chult, and one short paragraph on Port Nyanzaru. ToA has a whole chapter on Port Nyanzaru alone.
If a new DM looks at the map they would assume Samarach is part of Chult.
And if they don't know that a place not on the map is part of another country their head will explode?

None of that stuff matters to a bunch of adventurers being chased by velociraptors down a hole in the ground in the middle of the jungle.

I say again, what you are after is fictional-history-porn, not something that is actually useful for playing D&D.
 

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teitan

Hero
Exactly!

Why would anyone want to pay for something that is easily available for free!?

Great question!






So you’re saying books on all these settings that people are asking for “why would anyone buy that?”. By the standard you just established people wouldn’t buy books related to any of these settings because the information is all free on the internets. About the only setting without a good wiki page is Planescape and that includes the MTG settings.
 

With the Death Curse you will need to be providing a motivating factor that is similarly world effecting.

To play Devil's Advocate for a moment...
  1. I'm really sick of adventure paths that are predicated on needing to save the world.
  2. ESPECIALLY when it's for 1st level adventurers.
  3. Killing things and taking their stuff is a sufficiently motivating factor for me.
Really, I don't think it's very hard to remove Death Curse. "Hey, brand new adventurers, I need a McGuffin for my collection/research/phylactery. I'll pay you 1,000 gold to retrieve it from Chult."
 

To play Devil's Advocate for a moment...
  1. I'm really sick of adventure paths that are predicated on needing to save the world.
  2. ESPECIALLY when it's for 1st level adventurers.
  3. Killing things and taking their stuff is a sufficiently motivating factor for me.
Really, I don't think it's very hard to remove Death Curse. "Hey, brand new adventurers, I need a McGuffin for my collection/research/phylactery. I'll pay you 1,000 gold to retrieve it from Chult."
I kind of agree. The player characters might eventually discover that they are on a quest to save the world, but it shouldn't be apparent at the start. It removes the sense of exploring the world.

But it's not really an issue with ToA, it actually works better if you start the PCs out as a bunch of fortune seekers, and have them gradually uncover the Death Curse threat.
 

Aldarc

Legend
So what could a Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book provide - apart from setting info dump material - that expands the mechanics, rules, tools, etc. for the wider 5e audience?

For those who want a FRCS book for 5e (and maybe even those who don't), maybe we can brainstorm about what sort of additions would even be possible.

How about expanded rules for Epic or level 20+ campaigns?
 

amethal

Adventurer
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).
Chult is a bad example.

In Chult, the 3rd edition FRSC was pretty much invalidated by the 4th edition setting, which completely wiped out the native Chultan society but kept the colonial holding of Port Nyanzaru intact and added a few other colonial settlements. All the Chultans were eaten by dinosaurs, apart from those lucky enough to be living under foreign rule.

5th edition then had the revolt (or something - we don't actually know what happened) in Port Nyanzaru, and Mezro is now gone rather than destroyed.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I kind of agree. The player characters might eventually discover that they are on a quest to save the world, but it shouldn't be apparent at the start. It removes the sense of exploring the world.

But it's not really an issue with ToA, it actually works better if you start the PCs out as a bunch of fortune seekers, and have them gradually uncover the Death Curse threat.

It's actually shallow and tacked on: sure, it's an easy way to provide some motivation to get to the endgame rather than cutting and running halfway through, but it is not baked in...
 

Parmandur

Legend
Great question!






So you’re saying books on all these settings that people are asking for “why would anyone buy that?”. By the standard you just established people wouldn’t buy books related to any of these settings because the information is all free on the internets. About the only setting without a good wiki page is Planescape and that includes the MTG settings.

Those resources are, indeed, what WotC has to compete with when putting out a new Setting book. As you pointed out, why should we demand that people pay $50 for what they can get for free...?

The 5E Setting books so far have done an excellent job rising to that challenge.
 

Parmandur

Legend
This is what I am getting at though, you are advocating people in this approach to pay $50 for minimal material. I keep saying it and no one is willing to acknowledge that and how it’s a bad look for the game. It enforces an elistist stance and I’m not a PC kind of guy but in this case you are literally advocating for people to suck it up and not making the setting material available. WOTC wants the game available to all thus Basic being Free.

Would an FRCS be adequate? No but I’ve been advocating for full region books following on from SCAG. I only mention the FRCS because people kept saying it couldn’t be done in one book and required an 800+ volume.

Then again the FRCS and boxed sets are an overview and sourcebooks were available for greater detail on various regions which is an approach I very much advocate for because it works. The 3e FRCS is a benchmark in setting design. Largely it is the model for campaign setting design being a huge influence on Eberron and the 3.5 DLCS and the 5e setting books as well. All of them, including Wildemount, follow the same model but don’t quite get to that peak though Eberron 5e kinda comes close. I still think the 3.5 Eberron book is superior. Even Paizo continues to use the FR model for Golarion. Especially in PF1 with the central book, a couple hardcovers and small sourcebooks focused on regions that amplified the minisettings in the AP books. I think it’s great that WOTC essentially uses the same model for the adventures. I also think that on its own SCAG is a poor example of a setting book for FR.

Nobody has to buy ToA to run a game in Chult: making everything up is cheaper. But if they want a book to run a game in Chult, ToA has them covered at a reasonable price.
 


amethal

Adventurer
What about all the undead infesting Chult.
There have been undead infesting Chult since 2nd edition. (In another post you mentioned the 2nd edition book on Chult, so possibly you already know this.) It is also mentioned on the Ras Nisi description on page 229 of Tome of Annihilation.

There is of course also the undead created by the lich. It seems unlikely to me that Ras Nisi would create undead dinosaurs (since that would be an affront to Ubtao) so the existence of undead dinosaurs is a plot hook which the PCs can look into. When they do, they find that the source is ... a lich based in you-know-where (since it's potentially a spoiler).

In another post you mention Ubtao. It says on page 14 and again on page 92 that Ubtao turned his back on Chult a long time ago, so I think it is perfectly reasonable that ToA is very scant on the details of worshipping Ubtao. Since hardly anyone does, these days. (Greater God, once protector of Chult and Chultans but isn't any more, dinosaurs are sacred - I think that is sufficient, although if it was me I'd have listed his domains as well.)
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Your claim that ToA has everything you need to run any adventure in Chult is demonstrably false.
One of my players wants to play a native Chultan who worships Ubtao. They are deadset on worshipping Ubtao. Where is the information on Ubtao?

I want to run adventures set in the Valley of Dread. Or in the Sky Lizard Mountains. Or in the Sanrach Mountains. Or in Samarach. Because these look cool. Where is this information?
I have a memory of the Rundeen in Chult. Where is that information?
Not knowing anything about the Realms, I have to ask whether some of that is introduced in ToA or not. If it is, and there are no details, then that's not great. If you're invoking minutiae that was a footnote in some 2E or 3E secondary source book, then I think that's a bit of an unfair ask. You have enough to play Chult. You just don't have an exhaustive source on it.

My preference is actually that sourcebooks provide enough to play and leave the details to me. I actually don't mind the SCAG and have commented to my group that I'd probably be willing to run a Realms game using it. I'm just not going to go reference any other material and only the SCAG is canon, at my table, so if I want to add an empire of blue gnomes to the immediate west of the map included in the book, that's totally in bounds. Most of the table was fine with that idea. The one person who really wanted the Realms blanched a bit.
 


Mercule

Adventurer
Those resources are, indeed, what WotC has to compete with when putting out a new Setting book. As you pointed out, why should we demand that people pay $50 for what they can get for free...?

The 5E Setting books so far have done an excellent job rising to that challenge.
Agreed. Despite my initial resistance, I'm very happy with the idea of "let's get just enough shelf space to introduce this setting". I'm still not thrilled that the Realms are what are used for all the adventures and think it'd be better if they spread out the love a bit. But... It's better than nothing and the simplified setting books don't suck.
Edit: spelling
 
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Exactly!

Why would anyone want to pay for something that is easily available for free!?

Does not make sense.
Consider that I am a new DM. I have heard from a more experienced DM that ToA "has everything someone needs to run adventures in Chult". I have heard this from multiple experienced DMs. I discover this simply is not true. I find ToA is lacking information. I am forced to Google because of this falsehood.

Ubtao is mentioned in the text where who the locals worship is relevant. The book is lacking in the index department though.
More relevantly no portfolio is mentioned. His domains are not mentioned. A mention is not the same as having relevant information that can be used. We can infer Chult is connected. But in what way. As protector only? As creator? We can infer that dinosaurs are connected. We can infer later in the book that mazes are somehow relevant. Crucially there is no central relevant point in the book that offers this information.

None of this information is in the much vaunted 2nd or 3rd edition FR sourcebooks either.
Page 23 of FRM1 Jungles of Chult
"Ubtao-Worship
Many Tabaxi venerate Ubtao. These people believe that Ubtao created the jungle and all the humans and animals that populate this hot, green world. Ubtao also raised the holy city of Mezro from the jungle with his own hands and resided there for a time-until the people drove him into the heavens with their nagging demands.
"The Maze of Life
It is believed among these Tabaxi that Ubtao created the jungle as a sort of test for his people, a maze for them to pass through on their way to a heavenly afterlife. They also believe that each life can be represented as a maze.
"The Children of Ubtao
In Chult, dinosaurs are often referred to as the Children of Ubtao. The monstrous lizards, unlike humans, demanded nothing of the creator god once they were placed in the jungle, so some of the faithful consider them the favored creation of Ubtao."
This information is telling us Ubtao is god of Chult. He is god of Mezro. He is god of the maze of life. He is god of dinosaurs.
The text goes further in offering mechanics to play a priest of Ubtao.
The 3e FRCS has similar information to the portfolio of Ubtao in less words. His connection to Chult is even more concrete. This is on page 103 and page 104 of the Chult section. Page 234 gives you the alignment of Ubtao. It gives you his domains. It gives you his favored weapon.
But I guess none of this information is in both the 2nd or 3rd edition FR sourcebooks.

Do you expect an FR sourcebook to tell you the name of the chieftain's second wife for the unnamed village 16 miles south east of Port Nyanzaru?
I do expect that ToA gives at least brief descriptions of the locations it gives on the map. It is an adventure. Yes?

The 3rd edition book has one page on Chult, and one short paragraph on Port Nyanzaru. ToA has a whole chapter on Port Nyanzaru alone.
FRM1 Jungles of Chult is an entire mini-setting devoted to Chult. ToA offers less than this.

And if they don't know that a place not on the map is part of another country their head will explode?
No. They will be scratching their heads why they cannot use this.

I say again, what you are after is fictional-history-porn, not something that is actually useful for playing D&D.
I am asking about things that are actually useful for running adventures in Chult. Explicitly for running adventures in Chult. None of what I am asking for is fictional-history porn. But then again you did say none of the information on Ubtao is in the much vaunted 2nd or 3rd edition FR sourcebooks. So.
 
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Do you expect an FR sourcebook to tell you the name of the chieftain's second wife for the unnamed village 16 miles south east of Port Nyanzaru?

...

I say again, what you are after is fictional-history-porn, not something that is actually useful for playing D&D.

I do think, though, that ToA could have....or, better yet, a Chult setting book still could...provide more information without getting into unnecessary detail. As I said earlier, the trick is to avoid trying to write original flowery prose for every location, and just give enough details for a DM to work with.

So for that unnamed village 16 miles se of Port Nyanzaru, just a few sentence fragments to get the DM's creative juices flowing would be a big help.
 

To play Devil's Advocate for a moment...
  1. I'm really sick of adventure paths that are predicated on needing to save the world.
  2. ESPECIALLY when it's for 1st level adventurers.
  3. Killing things and taking their stuff is a sufficiently motivating factor for me.
Really, I don't think it's very hard to remove Death Curse. "Hey, brand new adventurers, I need a McGuffin for my collection/research/phylactery. I'll pay you 1,000 gold to retrieve it from Chult."
Yes. You personally may be. However other groups may not be. Other groups may still want to run with a world ending plot. And so need a plot device similarly as calamitous.
 

I do think, though, that ToA could have....or, better yet, a Chult setting book still could...provide more information without getting into unnecessary detail. As I said earlier, the trick is to avoid trying to write original flowery prose for every location, and just give enough details for a DM to work with.

So for that unnamed village 16 miles se of Port Nyanzaru, just a few sentence fragments to get the DM's creative juices flowing would be a big help.
Exactly. We would like for it to offer a little more. We have not been asking for flowery prose. Others have said it offers a lot more.
 


Not knowing anything about the Realms, I have to ask whether some of that is introduced in ToA or not. If it is, and there are no details, then that's not great. If you're invoking minutiae that was a footnote in some 2E or 3E secondary source book, then I think that's a bit of an unfair ask. You have enough to play Chult. You just don't have an exhaustive source on it.
Ubtao is mentioned as a greater god. Then there are only inferences to what he is greater god over. Good to extrapolate from. But if someone wants something more concrete it is not there.
The sites as mentioned are mentioned on the map. Their names sound cool. There is really no detail for quite a few of those sites later in the book.

My preference is actually that sourcebooks provide enough to play and leave the details to me. I actually don't mind the SCAG and have commented to my group that I'd probably be willing to run a Realms game using it. I'm just not going to go reference any other material and only the SCAG is canon, at my table, so if I want to add an empire of blue gnomes to the immediate west of the map included in the book, that's totally in bounds. Most of the table was fine with that idea. The one person who really wanted the Realms blanched a bit.
I urge people to make their own Realms games to be whatever they want to be.
 

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