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

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Except it kinda is?

With the exception of mostly externally developed stuff (Wildemount) there are a finite number of projects that WOTC can/are willing to publish a year. For every Ravnica, you're delaying Planescape by 3-6 months, for example. And that's a best case scenario. Worst case, the legacy stuff gets pushed back so far they never get to it this edition because we need a Transformers book or whatever instead.

That's valid grumbling, imho.
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.)
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
So yeah, really, ideal world, a bunch of stuff like Silver Marches would be great. I think you could make it sell really well just by putting in good mechanical stuff (subclasses, races/subraces, backgrounds, feats, etc. etc.). Maybe we don't need another FRCS. But I'd love some more stuff like you describe, or like a lot of 2E and even 1E products, which do provide more detail. Or just someone giving poor Ed a bloody budget. I genuinely love what's going on with Border Kingdoms but the lack of maps, illustrations and proper layout just make me feel really "FR on a budget", which is sad when I look behind me and see tons and tons of 2E and 3E FR stuff that wasn't on a budget. And yes "go use that!" one can say, it's fair. But I don't really want to be hauling old-fashioned books and paging through them trying to find salvageable stuff and so on, trying to work out what changed, what didn't, wishing I had 5E stats for stuff, taking photographs of maps and all that.
Completely fair. And I think that's the stumbling block-- players of older setting know what they want, and it would take a heck of a lot of work to get it there. So if WotC could do half the work for them, they could take things the rest of the way.

But I think that's what WotC is trying to do with all the Sword Coast adventure paths-- detail different parts of the Sword Coast in a closer view, plus also putting in a full adventure in there to boot. Which of course will annoy different people in different ways-- some would want the adventure without the Realms detailing, some would want the Realms detailing without the adventure. But I suspect their hope was that there would be enough interesting stuff for both sides to inspire them to pick the books up. Has it worked? Well, they've done a bunch of them and haven't done a full Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book yet, so I'm guessing they've been pleased with the results.
 

Parmandur

Legend
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 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 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.)

Forgotten Realms still has Greenwood, Greyhawk has Like Gygax (Melf was just added to Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms).

Dark Sun has a lot of momentum, though, and WotC has said repeatedly that they want to do it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
HEATHEN!

Over the moons for Dark Dun.

Did you just forget about Gulthay? This is the type of amnesia that Hasbro is causing. Pretty soon, you'll be saying that Dark Sun is the home of My Little Ponies.
Sorcerer King is my favorite My Little Pony. His cutie mark of a dragon's head in front of a black sun is so dope!
 


jeremypowell

Explorer
I'd be shocked if we haven't moved away from the Sword Coast at least twice in the next, say, seven years. (That might feel like far too long for some people, and I agree. But I'm also being realistic.)

Destinations: Cormyr and Raurin.
 

Dark Sun has a lot of momentum, though, and WotC has said repeatedly that they want to do it.

Yeah it's kind of interesting that it does, and they're so keen, given virtually everything about 2E DS conflicts with existing 5E strategies or facts. I.e. needs Psionics which 5E doesn't have, is very exclusionary in terms of races and subclasses which 5E isn't, is arguably sorta "political" which 5E hasn't been, can't really share adventures with other settings unlike the vast majority of settings release for 5E, has a history of starting with different stats/levels to other settings, and so on and so forth.

The glass-half-full take (from a DS aficionado perspective) is that they're keen because they want to try something different and see how it resonates with the whole new audience of D&D players they've added. My personal feeling is that, at least as a one-off, if they went "all in" on making it as different from "standard" 5E as 2E DS was from "standard" 2E, it'd be a huge hit. Though if they kept trying to repeat the trick I suspect it would have diminishing returns every time.

The glass-half-empty take is that they saw it sold decently in 4E even though they changed the setting a fair bit and did frankly silly and cheesy stuff (Goliaths as Half-Giants, for example), so they feel like they can get away with even more, given much/most of the 5E audience has few or no strong opinions about Dark Sun, and just think it "sounds cool", so they can get away with basically butchering (or to put it more kindly "massively rebooting") the setting, because about 70-90% of the people buying the book will be new to DS or not really care all that much about what makes DS, DS. So they could throw overboard everything except the core high concept ("magic basically turned this world into Mad Max without cars") and just change everything else (psionics could be sidelined, standard clerics brought in with a flimsy excuse, Half-Giants could be a Goliath subrace, etc. etc., hell, they could get rid of defiling as an option for PCs, and the hatred of arcane magic, even, and people who were new to DS would probably be defending it and saying they thought the other way "sounded dumb").

Lets hope the glass is half-full!
 

Parmandur

Legend
Yeah it's kind of interesting that it does, and they're so keen, given virtually everything about 2E DS conflicts with existing 5E strategies or facts. I.e. needs Psionics which 5E doesn't have, is very exclusionary in terms of races and subclasses which 5E isn't, is arguably sorta "political" which 5E hasn't been, can't really share adventures with other settings unlike the vast majority of settings release for 5E, has a history of starting with different stats/levels to other settings, and so on and so forth.

The glass-half-full take (from a DS aficionado perspective) is that they're keen because they want to try something different and see how it resonates with the whole new audience of D&D players they've added. My personal feeling is that, at least as a one-off, if they went "all in" on making it as different from "standard" 5E as 2E DS was from "standard" 2E, it'd be a huge hit. Though if they kept trying to repeat the trick I suspect it would have diminishing returns every time.

The glass-half-empty take is that they saw it sold decently in 4E even though they changed the setting a fair bit and did frankly silly and cheesy stuff (Goliaths as Half-Giants, for example), so they feel like they can get away with even more, given much/most of the 5E audience has few or no strong opinions about Dark Sun, and just think it "sounds cool", so they can get away with basically butchering (or to put it more kindly "massively rebooting") the setting, because about 70-90% of the people buying the book will be new to DS or not really care all that much about what makes DS, DS. So they could throw overboard everything except the core high concept ("magic basically turned this world into Mad Max without cars") and just change everything else (psionics could be sidelined, standard clerics brought in with a flimsy excuse, Half-Giants could be a Goliath subrace, etc. etc., hell, they could get rid of defiling as an option for PCs, and the hatred of arcane magic, even, and people who were new to DS would probably be defending it and saying they thought the other way "sounded dumb").

Lets hope the glass is half-full!

Probably something in between. Apparently, the greater part of D&D fans now weren't born yet when the original came out. Heck, a sizeable percentage weren't born yet when the 4E version came out.
 

FickleKnight

The Torn
Would I buy a 5E FRCS? Yes!

Do I think that would be a good choice for WotC to make rather than publishing, say, a completely new setting book that people can point to and say, "Now THAT is 5th Edition D&D."? No.
 


Probably something in between. Apparently, the greater part of D&D fans now weren't born yet when the original came out. Heck, a sizeable percentage weren't born yet when the 4E version came out.

I think any in-between would fail harder than either extreme, frankly. The 2E-style one would do something new, different, and exciting for 5E (particularly with a boosted start and higher challenge), whilst still providing races, subclasses, and mechanics usable in other settings, even though that setting was designed not to use other material. Grogs would love it, new players would love it.

The Full Reboot would allow them to ensure full compatibility with all 5E material, whilst giving people a fairly wild new setting (albeit no doubt a lot safer than 2E version), wouldn't "rock the boat", and would generally be a pretty safe bet, even though it might cause a million grognards to cry out in pain. It might even be exciting and different enough that grogs such as myself might recover from the pain and say "this isn't my Dark Sun, but it is cool...".

Whereas a middle-ground would be like 4E, but changing even more stuff, which would mean you changed enough stuff to annoy the grogs and invalidate older material and existing ideas about DS, but you also didn't do enough new stuff to make it actually exciting, and you don't give new people any taste of what made DS special, so they're just like "What, is this just D&D in a Mad Max gimp suit?". I would honestly rather see a full reboot which just worked from the high concept than a half-way house, which changed tons of stuff to make it safe and more "standard 5E", but tried to otherwise bend/break lore to fit that. That just smells like what 4E did to the FR (and again, I loved 4E, but that wasn't pretty).

So kind of derailing here.
 


I think Greyhawk is perfect for a SCAG size book myself. Reset to the original boxed set/folio and expand the information on the gods and some subclasses and BAM.

When I run Greyhawk, I always run it from the Folio edition with my own 5e conversion notes.

I am not a fan of WOTC doing a new Greyhawk setting because I don't trust them not to "Spell Plague It Up".

I DO want them to open up Greyhawk and Mystara for 3rd parties on DMSGUILD.

I won't give my opinion on revisiting Dark Sun or Planescape because I don't want to yuck other gamers' yum, and I don't want to invite too much nerd rage. ;)
 


Parmandur

Legend
When I run Greyhawk, I always run it from the Folio edition with my own 5e conversion notes.

I am not a fan of WOTC doing a new Greyhawk setting because I don't trust them not to "Spell Plague It Up".

I DO want them to open up Greyhawk and Mystara for 3rd parties on DMSGUILD.

I won't give my opinion on revisiting Dark Sun or Planescape because I don't want to yuck other gamers' yum, and I don't want to invite too much nerd rage. ;)

If they made a book that treated Greyhawk similarly to Ghosts of Saltmarsh...that could be really good.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Problem is that FR already has a setting book, The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

Now I know some of you will say, "But that's not all of FR, that's just the Sword Coast!" And that's true, but that's true for both Wildemount and Eberron.

The new Eberron book, despite all of it's praise, is not a guide to all of Eberron. It is guide to Khorvaire, with a handful of pages meant for the other continents... this is one of the primary reasons why Keith Baker is working on another Eberron book right now.

The new Wildemount book is perhaps more honest in its title, but also remains devoted entirely to one continent; it is not a guide to all of Exandria.

Ravnica and Theros are "full setting guides," but that is because they are extremely narrow in scope compared to the traditional D&D settings. They're great books, but are consistent in theme.

So you can't really write even a second FR book that covers all of FR. It is perhaps the most broad and exhaustively made setting in all of D&D; not singular book, or even two books, can hope to cover all of its content.

Now, I actually think an FR box set is a good idea. I don't think it could cover all of FR's content either, but I think a box that serves as a basic introduction to FR is a great idea for a third box to fit into Target's demand for them. Combine the Laeral Silverhand stuff with a new adventure and some of the Sword Coast Guide rules, and there is a new box right there.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Problem is that FR already has a setting book, The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

Now I know some of you will say, "But that's not all of FR, that's just the Sword Coast!" And that's true, but that's true for both Wildemount and Eberron.

The new Eberron book, despite all of it's praise, is not a guide to all of Eberron. It is guide to Khorvaire, with a handful of pages meant for the other continents... this is one of the primary reasons why Keith Baker is working on another Eberron book right now.

The new Wildemount book is perhaps more honest in its title, but also remains devoted entirely to one continent; it is not a guide to all of Exandria.

Ravnica and Theros are "full setting guides," but that is because they are extremely narrow in scope compared to the traditional D&D settings. They're great books, but are consistent in theme.

So you can't really write even a second FR book that covers all of FR. It is perhaps the most broad and exhaustively made setting in all of D&D; not singular book, or even two books, can hope to cover all of its content.

Now, I actually think an FR box set is a good idea. I don't think it could cover all of FR's content either, but I think a box that serves as a basic introduction to FR is a great idea for a third box to fit into Target's demand for them. Combine the Laeral Silverhand stuff with a new adventure and some of the Sword Coast Guide rules, and there is a new box right there.

SCAG is also a big seller after nearly five years in print: it's not been poorly received.
 

Problem is that FR already has a setting book, The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide.

Now I know some of you will say, "But that's not all of FR, that's just the Sword Coast!" And that's true, but that's true for both Wildemount and Eberron.

The new Eberron book, despite all of it's praise, is not a guide to all of Eberron. It is guide to Khorvaire, with a handful of pages meant for the other continents... this is one of the primary reasons why Keith Baker is working on another Eberron book right now.

The new Wildemount book is perhaps more honest in its title, but also remains devoted entirely to one continent; it is not a guide to all of Exandria.

Ravnica and Theros are "full setting guides," but that is because they are extremely narrow in scope compared to the traditional D&D settings. They're great books, but are consistent in theme.

So you can't really write even a second FR book that covers all of FR. It is perhaps the most broad and exhaustively made setting in all of D&D; not singular book, or even two books, can hope to cover all of its content.

Now, I actually think an FR box set is a good idea. I don't think it could cover all of FR's content either, but I think a box that serves as a basic introduction to FR is a great idea for a third box to fit into Target's demand for them. Combine the Laeral Silverhand stuff with a new adventure and some of the Sword Coast Guide rules, and there is a new box right there.
That's not a really true comparison, as the Sword Coast is much smaller than Khorvaire and Wildemount. It would be like having a whole book on Breland and the relegating everything else, including the other nations in Khorvaire, to a sentence or two. Heck, Xen'drick in the 5e Eberron book received probably 10x the coverage than Cormyr did in SCAG, and it's an entirely different, mysterious continent, not a well-known, next-door land.
 

Parmandur

Legend
That's not a really true comparison, as the Sword Coast is much smaller than Khorvaire and Wildemount. It would be like having a whole book on Breland and the relegating everything else, including the other nations in Khorvaire, to a sentence or two. Heck, Xen'drick in the 5e Eberron book received probably 10x the coverage than Cormyr did in SCAG, and it's an entirely different, mysterious continent, not a well-known, next-door land.

You might want to take a look at the maps again, in terms of scale.
 

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