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5E What does your Forgotten Realms look like?


The Forgotten Realms has grown on me. Sure it's not perfect. It might be overly massive. But the more I read and study Faerun, and the more my players explore and get familiar with it, the more we all like it.

The one thing I hate about it, though, is all the world-changing history that has been piled on. I like a pristine Faerun, before people and the gods mucked it up, and I have collected a lot of older material over the last two years. I've collected a nearly perfect copy of Waterdeep and the North. I took the map that came with it and had it laminated, so now I have this beautiful map that will last forever. I have a copy of Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. I have the 3rd edition of the Silver Marches. And I have all the 5e material, including The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide. I have the Legacy of the Crystal Shard (great info on Icewind Dale) and Murder in Baldur's Gate (great info on Baldur's Gate). And I will keep collecting.

But because I have material from across several editions, the timelines and major NPCs I use are often all mixed together. I like Piergeiron. Neverember can go pound sand. But some of the other NPCs from the later years have left a great impression on me.

So I've created my own Forgotten Realms circa 1372 DR, with some other later NPCs thrown in, to make it a little unique. I was just curious, what does your Forgotten Realms look like? What timeline is it set in? What major events do you use or not use?

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Pre-ToT. I use the OGB and it's maps as a framework, and have elements from S&S settings , as well as other bits (mostly locations or plot threads) from a few 1e, 2e and 4e FR products (like Cyric- like the idea of the insane god- just hate how he's written up in those awful novels and supplements)

Somewhere between FR and Nehwon( or the Wilderlands) in style. Toril in decline, but not "dark". Past it's prime. Middle Earth during the time between the end of Angmar, and edit-early 3000s..
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Basically it's just the map of the Sword Coast. All the other stuff never happened. No Time of Issues. No magic flu. No avatars of whoever walking around. No Epic NPCs.

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Grey box up to the Cloak and Dagger supplement as far as official timeline stuff goes. After that its all as I want it, I ignore anything 4e but I am open to events from 3e if they add to the world.
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I've also done a lot of mixing of the time lines.
In the one I'm running, I'm skipping the whole event from 4e. Basically it is more like the tail end of 3e with a jump to some stuff from 5e. Specifically I'm running the LMoP box set, so Neverwinter is still reeling from the earthquake, but it happened only just 2 years ago. Neverember and all the political stuff that goes along with him are alive and well.

My FR tends to be pretty close to the SCAG+3e Campaign Guide model, though I tend to minimize the presence of famous NPCs, instead throwing in small references to older FR campaigns I’ve run.

That being said, I’m not afraid to muck things up. Neverwinter is once again in ruins, after the PCs decided to take a long rest in the middle of a siege of demons. I want the world to reflect the actions of the PCs, good, bad, and ugly.


Maps. And a few NPCs. Don't really care about the timeline at all. That's someone else's fiction. We create our own depending on what the PCs do.

I've got almost all of the Waterdeep information - 1e Waterdeep and the North, 2e City of Splendours: Waterdeep and 3e Waterdeep compiled for my own use. I'm sticking to that, including replacing Neverember in Tyranny of Dragons with Piergeiron. For the rest of the setting, I believe that the best approach is to cheerfully mix everything together: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Murder in Baldur's Gate and Storm King's Thunder for the general overview, referring to older works such as Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast if I want more detail. I've found that books from separate editions tend not to overlap as much as you'd think, especially if you cross the 2e/3e dividing line: works from before that tend to be Greenwood, and focus on taverns, alleyways, and the common man's perspective; works from 3e and on tend to be written by others, and focus on organisations, plots, and dungeoneering opportunities. At least, that's how I've found it thus far.

So the answer is that I'll take everything, mix it together, then manually sort out any inconsistencies. For example, I ignore all the detail on Waterdeep in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, and from compiling information I've found numerous plots that were resolved by the advancing metaplot of the setting, many of which I've quietly reset to the starting position, for my own use.

My starting point is mostly the 3E Forgotten Real Campaign Setting era. I think that's like the 1370s or so? The Time of Troubles was like 20 years prior to my current time, but most of that is simplified and handwaved without worrying about the details of it.

I've ignored most of what happened in novels and campaign material that came out after that. So the city of Shade is still floating above the Aunoroch desert, and they play a pretty big part in my campaign. Everything else is a mix of 3E and teh 5E SCAG. Surprisingly, most of the major player type NPCs tend not to show up....I don't bother with Elminster and Drizzt and the like. Luckily, my players aren't very concerned about the Realms as fiction, so they don't even know how much I've changed. Rulers of cities and more traditional NPCs are present, but their role has been minimal so far. Likely will expand going forward.

Following events of my campaign, the Elemental Cults have been running rampant for 5 years now, spreading beyond the Dessarin Valley to threaten all the lands beyond. They've grown and expanded and are quite powerful. Only now are the larger settlements beginning to act in opposition to the cults.

The Shades are also tightening their grip on trade in the northern region of Faerun, and they are nearly ready to reclaim the lands that were once their empire.


Mix of SCAG info with 3.x; where they are in conflict, go with the "rule of cool" to arbitrate. No Time of Troubles (except parts I like, such Cyric banking Bhaal: but Bhaal is still around, because god), no Spellplague: places destroyed in 4E are still there, but maybe some places ostensibly from Aeiber are there (Airspur, Dragonborn). Probably won't bring up dates much.


I run a pretty straightforward 1372 DR campaign taken largely from the 3.0 Campaign Setting book, because it's the era I have the most complete campaign resources for.


First Post
(I talked about this a bit over on the "Lore isn't rules" thread, as fair warning to anyone who's been there and isn't interested in watching me do my "Let me tell you about my campaign!" spiel twice.)

My home game is set in 1501 DR, on an alt-history timeline where the Spellplague didn't happen.* This lets me establish a lore baseline (as I like to describe it, the 3e FRCS is historical canon unless it's more interesting if it isn't) while still filling in more recent history with my own, less map-bolloxing events. Among other things, I used this conceit to end the dynasty of the Obarskyrs on Cormyr, remove the Night Kings from Westgate, and turn the Pirate Isles into a nascent Republic.

It's also a place that is heavily connected to and influenced by the greater Multiverse; I'm riffing on a lot of Planescape stuff in the cosmos-at-large, so the PCs have already done some plane-hopping (including a memorable jaunt with PF's Cayden Caillean himself through what might, or might not, have been an odd corner of the Feywild) and encountered planar travelers and references to non-Faerunian pantheons. For good or ill, I'm a kitchen-sink kinda guy, and I love being able to have that big palette to draw from.

My exposure to the novels is limited, so I've drawn on almost none of that directly. Though I do like Elminster quite a lot, who has made a couple of cameos, mostly because it's too much fun to do the Nicol-Williamson-as-Merlin voice that Ed recommends for him. But he's pretty detached and enigmatic and he's absolutely not going to save the party's bacon in any direct way. Indeed, now that they're up to their knees in a cosmic-horror Toril-threatening conflict and wondering idly if mabe El's around to lend a hand, I had their own patron respond, "The Sage of Shadowdale has quite enough on his mind at the moment. Or did you think this was the only threat to the Realms? That Orcus and Tiamat and Bane have gone off to lick their wounds while you dealt with this? I assure you they have not."

*Although, since if there's a way to have things both ways I'm sure to find it, the potential Spellplague, or maybe the fact of its happening in another timeline, has had a subtle ripple effect on this one. At one point, my players found a letter** that opened like this:

23 Leaffall 1391

I dreamed a terrible dream last night.

I saw Faerun torn asunder by a plague of corrupted magic, the Weave undone and bleeding. I saw the Sea of Fallen Stars drain half away into the darkest places of the earth, Westgate stranded like a ship dragged too far ashore, Starmantle dead and haunted by spectral horrors. I saw my beloved Var the Golden swallowed by the waves: Var the Drowned, a kingdom of salt and ghosts. I saw disaster pile upon disaster as new lands changed places with old and gods fell like comets in rains of blue fire. I saw the kngdoms and cities of the world become guttering points of light in a dark wilderness, with all given to ruin and chaos, our blazing star of civilization fading and falling and all but lost.

I cannot say if this is a true dream or a false one; does it tell of things yet to come, or only my own secret fears? Perhaps it has already come to pass, in some other history, on some other Toril in the hall of infinite mirrors. I do not know and pray I never will. But I woke afraid and shaken, at utter loss for what to do. True or false, I would not see this come to pass.

**I am also, for better or worse, a Props DM.


I use bits and pieces from through out each addition but my players don't care about canon. That said a few were interested in some parts of Eberron in 3.5. Mainly races, changelings, warforged, and shiftets also the artificer. Instead of fully converting I just pull in a bit more time. I feel some of those items, along with marked houses, magical commerce guilds rising with no direct political ties. Inventions of industry and magic combined make for a fantasy-logic move forward, though progress is glacial compared to reality. The players dictate the change and the next campaign may focus on creation of airships and lightning rails. This may feel like the realms off the rails but we also enjoy the whole kitchen sink approach. If the players find something they like or want to try, I work to adjust the best as I can.