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

Mercule

Adventurer
Did you kill it off in game, or just stop playing it. If you killed it off in game, I'm curious as to what kind of storyline did it?
In game. It was planned from the beginning of that particular campaign run. I had a couple players who'd been playing in the setting for almost 15 years, so knew the lore well enough for it to matter. The important parts are that there was an evil empire (yeah, it's cliche) that had been around for at least 3000 years in one form or another (a bit like China has been around since before recorded history). That empire had been such a hotbed of magical experimentation that it had a ton of psionic mutations, which the current leadership had harnessed that to great effect. This empire had been important in about half the campaigns I'd run, and was always a threat in the background.

When I was in college, in the early 1990s, I ran paired campaigns between my home group and the college gang (including a couple of the players in the finale campaign). The college group weakened the web around the emperor. Then the the home group brought some higher level characters out of retirement to kill off the emperor. The next school year, the college group had to figure out how to deal with the fact that one of the characters who continued on was playing host to the emperor's psyche, which had jumped bodies (he was a powerful psion). They pretty exorcised him. During that campaign, one of the players was also playing an elven knight and started delving into the lore -- I did do a lot of work around the history of the elves to make them distinct, but it barely got scratched.

For the finale, the plan was to run the PCs from first level to epic level in 3.5. I ended up getting fed up with the complexity of high level play and truncated it a bit, but the gist is that the emperor had managed to ascend to a quasi-godhood and was orchestrating a massive push on the the main play area. It was a pretty long revel that took roughly five years to pull off. The PCs started off fighting orcs, discovered they were being pushed into activity by another group, who was being controlled by agents of the empire, etc. In between, one of the PCs got long conned (over a year, real time) into selling her soul to a demon (Book of Vile Deeds was quite nice in pulling that off) but she got to established a new mage's guild. The same player who played the original elf, played another elven knight and we wrapped a side story that had gotten sewn years earlier. And, another long-term player got to play a concept he'd started in a toward the end of school and never got to properly play. Oh, and there was a big red dragon disguised as a king who acted as their patron through most of the game.

In the end, there were massive wars that included angels and demons (those were narrated because no one wanted a minis wargame), they killed the emperor with clear finality, and the omnipresent empire was broken, along with a couple of famous artifacts. Much fun and totally burned me out on running high level D&D.
 

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teitan

Hero
Or, it is a way for those of us whose budgets have NOT been hurt to keep companies that we believe in afloat. Don't push your financial hurts on everybody else.

Note that I am not advocating that anybody who IS in a dire financial situation spend money unwisely. However, everybody needs a little bit of "fun" expenditures here and there and it is up to them to decide what is worth it and what is not.
I actually have no financial issues right now. I am not talking about myself. My point isn't that the books are expensive, my point is telling people to buy ToA (for example) to run a homebrew Chult game is not a good look for the game.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I actually have no financial issues right now. I am not talking about myself. My point isn't that the books are expensive, my point is telling people to buy ToA (for example) to run a homebrew Chult game is not a good look for the game.
I mean, if they want to run a game in Chult, it is a good use of money. Of they want to save money, making something else up would be more prudent, sure.
 

teitan

Hero
Sometimes I need to remind myself that some people are just going to harp and make claims that have demonstrated as not true many times. Like the Moon Landing... happened people.
 






All this discussion about TOA as a setting book has made me go back and read that portion of the book. (I'd never read it before, since I was playing it until a few months ago.) If I wanted to run a game set in Chult, I would find it more than sufficient for that purpose. Of course, I run Greyhawk from the folio edition and hate too much detail (or dog forbid "metaplot") in setting material.

Others prefer more detail. This obsessive argument about whether it is a sufficient mini-setting book is ridiculous. You can clearly run a Chult game using only this material. I suspect, but can't prove, that most GMs could. If you are a GM who prefers to go have all the details (including the price of every single article of clothing ;)) written out by someone else, you clearly won't be satisfied.

When the Eberron 5e book came out, I was overjoyed that the material on each nation had been reduced. IMNSHO, the 3e book had way too much detail. I didn't want to have to memorize endless amounts of facts created by someone else and worry about my Eberron being in conflict with the facts as published. I was preparing to run an Eberron game using this version of the setting, but my daughter decided to run her own game set there and I'll just play instead.

Like it or not, the amount of detail that appears in these mini-settings is what we're going to get from WOTC. I think that's a good thing. Others would like more. I would be very surprised if WOTC changes their policy any time in the near future. And I would be willing to eat a copy of the book (metaphorically, anyway) if they decided to publish a 3e style FRCS.

All that said, I would love to see another SCAG style book for the Moonsea or the Sea of Shining Stars. I would buy it; I would read it; and then I would leave it on the shelf to collect dust.

I strongly suspect that the reason WOTC doesn't produce more Forgotten Realms setting info is that their market research tells them that, aside from a few non-representative people on the internet RPG forums, most customers aren't asking for it.
 

Parmandur

Legend
All this discussion about TOA as a setting book has made me go back and read that portion of the book. (I'd never read it before, since I was playing it until a few months ago.) If I wanted to run a game set in Chult, I would find it more than sufficient for that purpose. Of course, I run Greyhawk from the folio edition and hate too much detail (or dog forbid "metaplot") in setting material.

Others prefer more detail. This obsessive argument about whether it is a sufficient mini-setting book is ridiculous. You can clearly run a Chult game using only this material. I suspect, but can't prove, that most GMs could. If you are a GM who prefers to go have all the details (including the price of every single article of clothing ;)) written out by someone else, you clearly won't be satisfied.

When the Eberron 5e book came out, I was overjoyed that the material on each nation had been reduced. IMNSHO, the 3e book had way too much detail. I didn't want to have to memorize endless amounts of facts created by someone else and worry about my Eberron being in conflict with the facts as published. I was preparing to run an Eberron game using this version of the setting, but my daughter decided to run her own game set there and I'll just play instead.

Like it or not, the amount of detail that appears in these mini-settings is what we're going to get from WOTC. I think that's a good thing. Others would like more. I would be very surprised if WOTC changes their policy any time in the near future. And I would be willing to eat a copy of the book (metaphorically, anyway) if they decided to publish a 3e style FRCS.

All that said, I would love to see another SCAG style book for the Moonsea or the Sea of Shining Stars. I would buy it; I would read it; and then I would leave it on the shelf to collect dust.

I strongly suspect that the reason WOTC doesn't produce more Forgotten Realms setting info is that their market research tells them that, aside from a few non-representative people on the internet RPG forums, most customers aren't asking for it.
Exactly!
 


Xenonnonex

Adventurer
All this discussion about TOA as a setting book has made me go back and read that portion of the book. (I'd never read it before, since I was playing it until a few months ago.) If I wanted to run a game set in Chult, I would find it more than sufficient for that purpose. Of course, I run Greyhawk from the folio edition and hate too much detail (or dog forbid "metaplot") in setting material.

Others prefer more detail. This obsessive argument about whether it is a sufficient mini-setting book is ridiculous. You can clearly run a Chult game using only this material. I suspect, but can't prove, that most GMs could. If you are a GM who prefers to go have all the details (including the price of every single article of clothing ;)) written out by someone else, you clearly won't be satisfied.

When the Eberron 5e book came out, I was overjoyed that the material on each nation had been reduced. IMNSHO, the 3e book had way too much detail. I didn't want to have to memorize endless amounts of facts created by someone else and worry about my Eberron being in conflict with the facts as published. I was preparing to run an Eberron game using this version of the setting, but my daughter decided to run her own game set there and I'll just play instead.

Like it or not, the amount of detail that appears in these mini-settings is what we're going to get from WOTC. I think that's a good thing. Others would like more. I would be very surprised if WOTC changes their policy any time in the near future. And I would be willing to eat a copy of the book (metaphorically, anyway) if they decided to publish a 3e style FRCS.

All that said, I would love to see another SCAG style book for the Moonsea or the Sea of Shining Stars. I would buy it; I would read it; and then I would leave it on the shelf to collect dust.

I strongly suspect that the reason WOTC doesn't produce more Forgotten Realms setting info is that their market research tells them that, aside from a few non-representative people on the internet RPG forums, most customers aren't asking for it.
The objection was to the claim that the book "has everything you need to run adventures in x". The objection was to the assertion of this opinion on everyone. And for everyone. The objection was to the jumping to conclusions based only on what these people wanted to conclude. And asserting this is true for all games. There is a break between the claim and actual reality. The ridiculousness is in these people for not bothering to leave an echo chamber.

Again. The book is useful however you want to be. Your home games are your home games. Speaking for other people is irrelevant.
 
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Coroc

Hero
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.
^^^^^^^^^^this^^^^^^^

is exactly the foundation of some major missunderstandings when discussing topics like these here in the forum.

People like @Fenris-77 and me and probably three quarter of the forum here are grognards or at least DMs with a little experience most often in more than one edition of d&d.
For them it is absolutely no problem to convert older stuff, wing things, refluff things etc.
The only motivations for them to buy a new setting book would be:

it saves them work because they got a busy IRL schedule, but for that the new stuff with modern anything goes in every setting is rather a counter to the time saving aspect, they got to un-shoehorn things to get the product to their taste.

it got new lore story continuation, that is if they use more or less the official canon, again few do so.

it got new adventure material, and that one is covered by an adventure module as well if not better.

So the remainders are people who maybe started with 5e, this is the most important target group, but their reason to buy a setting is different a lot to the other group.
 

I actually have no financial issues right now. I am not talking about myself. My point isn't that the books are expensive, my point is telling people to buy ToA (for example) to run a homebrew Chult game is not a good look for the game.
There is a lot more Chult in ToA than in any potential general FR setting book though, even one three times the size of SCAG. The only way you would get more would be in a dedicated Chult book. That's always been the problem with setting books in general, they always have too little information to make them "pick up and play", and much of what they do have is irrelevant to adventurers. Adventures are always a better format to present setting information which is not crunch.

It wouldn't hurt if D&D Beyond made ToA's setting information and adventure content available separately though. It wouldn't hurt if ToA had an index too.
 

So the remainders are people who maybe started with 5e, this is the most important target group, but their reason to buy a setting is different a lot to the other group.
But they are also the group who couldn't care less about FR - it only appeals to grognards.

They are also the group most likely to rely on online content rather than print books.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
I really wish I'd liked 4E rules more. The Nentir Vale seemed pretty cool. It would have been good timing, too, as I killed off my 25 year home brew during 3e.

Interesting enough, for this conversation, I found that even the material I'd created from whole cloth had become too limiting and it was time to start fresh.
That shouldn't stop you from liking the Nentir Vale. There are some good books like Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale, Dungeon Master's Kit: Reavers of Harkenwold, and the 4e DMG (for Fallcrest) that provide a nice sense of place for the Vale. Even some of the badly written adventures like Keep on the Shadowfell and Thunderspire Labyrinth help expand the area around the Vale. In one mini-campaign, I dropped the 5e conversion of Sunless Citadel where Kobold Hall was located in the Vale, and it worked swimmingly. You could easily make a Lost Mines of Fallcrest using the Phandelver adventure.
 

You are absolutely, right... your grumbling is valid. Those that really want old stuff printed in the 5E style, you are right to grumble that it isn't happening.

The only downside is... I don't think WotC cares.

I suspect (in my opinion only) that WotC is of the opinion that those people who have played in the old settings KNOW what they love about those old settings, and will work really, really hard to run games "the right way" in those settings. And thus WotC feels like those DMs who do that? They don't NEED a new book to accomplish it. They are all experienced DMs who know what they like, know what they want, and if they wanted to run a game in Athas, they could do so right now using the Dark Sun materials they've gather from 2E, 3E, and 4E. Yes, the DMs would need to create certain rules to emulate older edition rules for metal weapon breakage, Defiling/Preserving etc... but really, for experienced DMs who know what they want, how hard is that to do? Either by themselves or to go googling to find other people who have already done that work?

Any DM who wants to run Dark Sun right now probably has several version of 5E psionics they could easily use or adapt for to run a game at this very moment. Now is it "official"? No. But who cares if it is? If you know what your Dark Sun game should be like... you can run one using 5E. You don't need WotC to hold your hand.

And this is why I think they have done all these other setting first (not including Eberron)... because there AREN'T previous versions of those settings in the game to use already. They are NEW settings for NEW players to find and enjoy. Us old folks who ran Greyhawk and Dragonlance and still own all that stuff printed in decades past? We know what they are. We already have what we need. So WotC doesn't need to cater to us anymore. They and TSR have done so for the past 40 years... they're now trying to help out the new folks coming in.

Yeah, it can be annoying, and yeah, we can grumble about it. Unfortunately, I don't think its going to change anything. WotC will continue to work on their own schedule and do it when they are ready.

(What I think really needs to happen is that there has to be a strong proponent of an old setting outside of the D&D design team who is willing to spearhead the project and keep pushing it. Like Keith Baker for Eberron, James Wyatt for the MtG settings, Matt Mercer for Exandria. Once they have someone who is over the moon for Dark Sun that they can trust to take the ball and run with it... maybe then it can move to the head of the pack rather than just be another "we'll get to it when we get to it" situation.)
Your argument miss two points in my opinion:

1. One of the things I ask in exchange of my money is INSPIRATION. I love products that are able to increase my will to play and inspire me. Returning forever on old material is annoying in the long run and in the meanwhile WOTC looses customers.
2. To create new settings is no way a necessary condition to acquire new players. Starting from the fact that the players are NEW, for them a FRCS would be NEW exactly as a Ravnica setting.

Ciao
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
2. To create new settings is no way a necessary condition to acquire new players. Starting from the fact that the players are NEW, for them a FRCS would be NEW exactly as a Ravnica setting.
This is only true to an extent. The Realms, as much as I love them, are about as generic a fantasy setting as I can imagine. In a lot of ways that's by design, and it's also useful in that it's very easy to add your own flavor (kind of like cooking with tofu). However, the Realms doesn't have a lot of 'sexy' to sell to new players. The adventure paths help there because of the content type, but I think a setting book is, in some ways. swimming against the stream.
 

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