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D&D 5E Where in FR do you want the next big adventure book to go?

Azzy

KMF DM
The original problem example that I cited way back where you have a fewmegacities that wield tremendous clout yet lack so much as the cohesiveness to bother pretending they exist within a nation someone bothers to draw on the map. Having dozens of nations like FR for a RPG is likely too much to differentiate or support in any meaningful fashion because expecting people to read a few decades of FR novels is unrealistic, but wen a setting is known for three or so major cities you keep pointing a spotlight at likewaterdeep daggerford & icewind dale & so forth but can't be bothered to mark out nation borders it's a problem.
Many pre-modern nations did not have clearly demarcated borders—especially in places without hard geographical features. In such areas, the exact position of the border (if conceived at all) could fluctuate over time due to dominance (or lack thereof) of, and the ability to maintain, areas contested by bordering polities. Reflecting this, some settings (like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc.) don't have borders marked on their maps.

The cities of the Sword Coast are like the late medieval Italian city-states, but in a larger, more sparsely populated area. They control their immediate surroundings, but since there is so much area between them and the next polity there isn't much point in having clearly demarcated borders. As they aren't exactly bumping into each other, they aren't competing for land (and most of them exist in the mutually beneficial Lords' Alliance), so they have a lot of room to claim without offending their closet neighbors if they need to expand. Outside of their immediate sphere of control are marches—with autonomous towns, villages, or thorpes or unsettled wilderness.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Many pre-modern nations did not have clearly demarcated borders—especially in places without hard geographical features. In such areas, the exact position of the border (if conceived at all) could fluctuate over time due to dominance (or lack thereof) of, and the ability to maintain, areas contested by bordering polities. Reflecting this, some settings (like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc.) don't have borders marked on their maps.

The cities of the Sword Coast are like the late medieval Italian city-states, but in a larger, more sparsely populated area. They control their immediate surroundings, but since there is so much area between them and the next polity there isn't much point in having clearly demarcated borders. As they aren't exactly bumping into each other, they aren't competing for land (and most of them exist in the mutually beneficial Lords' Alliance), so they have a lot of room to claim without offending their closet neighbors if they need to expand. Outside of their immediate sphere of control are marches—with autonomous towns, villages, or thorpes or unsettled wilderness.
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Your point is valid that they didn't have gps level precision, but they sure as heck knew what lands they taxed patrolled & clamed as their own along with the rough area where their foes allies & trading partners did the same to the point where they could point at them on a map. There is also the problem that too many of the major cities in FR are very much beyond dark ages london & such going back to how FR can't be all points in history simultaneously.
 

Azzy

KMF DM


Your point is valid that they didn't have gps level precision, but they sure as heck knew what lands they taxed patrolled & clamed as their own along with the rough area where their foes allies & trading partners did the same to the point where they could point at them on a map. There is also the problem that too many of the major cities in FR are very much beyond dark ages london & such going back to how FR can't be all points in history simultaneously.
It would be more interesting if you provided maps from those time periods to see how they depicted their own borders as opposed to the modern estimates.
 

That's a different problem, there are apparently hundreds of them and I'd wager that a significant chunk of them are dressed up like they are eberron's dragonmarked houses but larger or the east india trade company; but the world shows no evidence of such a power & they certainly don't act like a power of that scale when robbed of their very FR specific plot armor. They don't act like mercantile companies, grow, wield their power against the nobles/ruling body, join & consume each other, or any of the other things such a organization does. Because everything else is an empty shell of plot armor they don't have any logical structure. There aren't even any nations in the world for them to operate within/between but instead of building corporatocracies or something you have these plot armor castle towns pretending to be megacities that wield tremendous clout yet are somehow able to function despite a level of infrastructure & management of the surrounding area that makes the darkest corner of the dark ages seem positively well oiled. The overuse of plot armor protected loose threads that go nowhere & creation of hollow do nothing groups to provide continuity porn means that players & GM's can't simply infer how the world will react to an action simply by thinking as a human player/gm in terms of most authors are human.
Someone brought up fixing these kind of problems would require deciding if x or Y event happened & shaping things from there, but that's absurd because it's not like FR has some deeply respected continuity bible like a lot of tv shows/comic books/etc have. The past shapes the present yes, but you can't view the present by looking at all possible pasts and refusing to condense them into a present with bones made of something other than plot armor
Continuity porn and plot armor? You lost me. Regardless you dont have to live and die by the Forgotten Realms continuity porn but if you do, be sure to wear your plot armor.
 



tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, those maps are not really great. Roman control over the Anatolian centre consisted of isolated fortresses and not much else.
That level of precision your calling for is fine for local & hyperlocal maps, but a map that shows every continent ocean, sea, large lake, mountain range, sizable plain, sizable desert & so forth. Such maps completely nullify "but they didn't have accurate maps" type excuses for poor worldbuilding.

@R_J_K75 I linked it in an earlier post, here you go: Continuity porn, Plot Armor, see also this rather fitting summary of the mess
 


Realistically, it's going to be another FR campaign book, though personally I'd love another Ravenloft-inspired campaign (this one focusing more on the gaslight elements of the setting - vicious murderers in foggy cobblestoned alleyways, natural philosophers creating appalling mockeries of life with blasphemous experiements, mad scientists, occult secret societies etc...), and I'd damn near commit murder for a level 5-20 Dark Sun sandbox which replays the Prism Pentad with PCs as the heroes, and with some of the dumb removed...

But, if it's going to be FR...

(and we all know it is...)

To be really FR-iconic, something around Myth Drannor, with mythals and lost cities and ancient elven politics and magic. The bad guys could be House Dlardrageth (or even the phaerimm, Anauroch is just nearby after all). Just keep Elminster the hell out of it

The Great Rift and the Shaar. This whole area has been ignored since 4e arbitrarily blew it up in a half-paragraph of detailless text, because that's the sort of pointlessly destructive thing that 4e liked to do to FR. There's literally no current 5e info on this place - which means, since there's no status quo to be overturned, it's the perfect place for a stronghold-building campaign! Reclaim and rebuild a dwarven city in what used to be the Great Rift, or try to weld the various peoples of the Shaar desolation into a new nation to face ... something ... coming out of the Underchasm.

Thay, Aglarond, and Rashemen. The 3e material for this part of the world was Just So Good, there's a lot to mine here. I'd make the plotline about the Simbul trying to resurrect herself. From memory, the Zulkir of Enchantment knew her true name, and he was known for making intelligent weapons, that'd be a way to bring Thay into it...

The Old Empires. Gods walking the streets, mummies, a nation of annihilation cultists, and the shattered remnants of fallen earthmotes and of the dragonborn kingdoms that vanished with the Second Sundering. This is a wild, gonzo sort of place that is unlike anywhere else in Faerun - you could do something really different and interesting here.
 

Inchoroi

Adventurer
My wife would say that she would kill someone for an AP set in Karatur, but I doubt something like that would happen.

I expect yet another AP set somewhere around the Sword Coast. And, you know, if its a good and long AP, I wouldn't even be terribly mad? Like, give me Age of Worms set in FR. That's a campaign I've always wanted to run, but have never had an opportunity or the time to go and fix its issues. The Daggerford region already has good maps, after all.

I will mention that Mike Schley did maps for the Vaasa region, as well.

However, in the end, I also expect the adventure to be, well, not my cup of tea. The only APs (for 5e, anyway) I've bought were Storm King's Thunder (because my wife made me), Princes of the Apocalypse (because I ran it when it came out), Tomb of Annihilation (because I enjoy torturing my players with jungles), and Rime of the Frostmaiden (because my wife made me).

My annoyance with the official APs is based on two things: the setting, which I admit is not that bad but that I am biased against, and the fact that they are so short. I and my players love long-ass campaigns. Its disappointing to stop at level 11; sure, I can pad out stuff a bit, but I don't have time to add +-9 levels of content; that's why I run APs to begin with.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
The point being, it's not possible, since prior to 1507 accurate maps (and hence clearly defined boarders) did not exist.
That pretty much furthers my point. Without accurate maps, accurate borders really can't exist (unless all the borders are based entirely on geographical features like rivers, oceans, mountain ranges, etc.). So the defined borders on these modern maps are best-guess assumptions rather than accurate depictions of what the nations of their time period would understand about their borders.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The FR - especially the Sword Coast - does not have fully-developed modern States. But the Realms does have an excessive number of monsters that would eat most attempts at Border Patrol patrols. You don't see lines on the map because "how far does City Lord's writ reach?" is fluid.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
That pretty much furthers my point. Without accurate maps, accurate borders really can't exist (unless all the borders are based entirely on geographical features like rivers, oceans, mountain ranges, etc.). So the defined borders on these modern maps are best-guess assumptions rather than accurate depictions of what the nations of their time period would understand about their borders.
are you trying to claim that the ruling body for the cities of waterdeep daggerford & icewind dale don't have any vague clue what the borders of those lands where they patrol tax manage & claim under their authority, or are you just changing the topic because you realize there is absolutely no way all those tier 3 4 & up casters, dragons, & so forth can't make an accurate map over the generations some of those cities have existed? They have accurate enough navigational capabilities for ocean trade & in fact waterdeep claims being a hub of such trade as one of its claims to fame... do all of those ships just luck out & unload in the first port they manage to stumble across before starvation & dehydration set in on the wandering ships?

@Eltab What does the sword coast have to do with FR's most well known cities of trade & culture? Are you claiming that waterdeep daggerford icewind dale & so forth does not have the ability to confidentially manage its own lands beyond the city walls despite claiming to be a city with 2 million people & scads of high level NPCs living there?

The two of you might as well be saying "The Roman empire had no idea what lands they conquered, taxed, & managed trade through... nor did they know where they built/maintained roads that still exist to this day in many cases or where those roads went"
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I don't know why I need to say this (it should be obvious) but if you're not a fan of FR, that is completely fine. But this thread is not the place to air those grievances, so if you have a bone to pick make your own thread to list your complaints there.
 

That pretty much furthers my point. Without accurate maps, accurate borders really can't exist (unless all the borders are based entirely on geographical features like rivers, oceans, mountain ranges, etc.). So the defined borders on these modern maps are best-guess assumptions rather than accurate depictions of what the nations of their time period would understand about their borders.

And even where obvious borders exist, they actually weren't always the "real" border. A good example of this is the Roman Empire, which had rivers and lines of walls (limes) which appear to demarcate its borders. But (1): they didn't have those everywhere, so when it comes to areas without them, such as Dacia and north Africa (for the most part for both), you'll see maps showing wildly differing areas of Roman control. And (2): even in places where they did, the actual control didn't stop at the river or wall. Everyone "knows" that Hadrian's Wall was the usual limit of Roman control in Britain, but, even during those times that the Romans didn't "officially" advance to the Antonine Wall between the Firths in Scotland, there were still Roman forward posts a good distance beyond the wall, again reaching well into southern Scotland. The same with the Rhine and Danube frontiers (and the limes Germanicus in the angle between them) - there were still Roman outposts well beyond the rivers.

But this is getting a bit off subject. The nations of the Realms are of course quite a bit more technologically advanced and have more sophisticated international relationships than the Romans. And, beyond that, they have magic to assist in mapping and maintaining actual "hard" borders where nations actually neighbor each other.
 

squibbles

Adventurer
/commence to tar pit myself in a pedantic and unnecessary internet argument about how European history informs the verisimilitude of a fictional place

It would be more interesting if you provided maps from those time periods to see how they depicted their own borders as opposed to the modern estimates.

The point being, it's not possible, since prior to 1507 accurate maps (and hence clearly defined boarders) did not exist.
You guys are right about the maps; Medieval maps generally don't display clear borders. But that's not @tetrasodium 's main point.

That point:
[Medieval and early modern European polities] sure as heck knew what lands they taxed patrolled & clamed as their own along with the rough area where their foes allies & trading partners did the same to the point where they could point at them on a map.
And the point is fundamentally correct.

People in other times were no less intelligent than we are (Flynn Effect notwithstanding) and they were pretty good at knowing the things that they needed to know to live. A villager in rural France might never have seen a map, but she would know who the local lord was, who the ruler of the nearest city was, and who the king was--because these would have been important things for her to know. Similarly, the king--even if his maps were rubbish--would know which cities, towns, and productive regions were under his control, what geographical features demarcated the borders of those places, whether control of them was contested (and by whom), and what the neighboring polities were--again, because it would have been important for him to know those things for dynastic security, tax collection, and/or levying soldiers.

There are, in principle, borders that could be drawn on a Sword Coast map, depicting which areas each polity de jure or de facto controls and understands itself to control.

The FR - especially the Sword Coast - does not have fully-developed modern States. But the Realms does have an excessive number of monsters that would eat most attempts at Border Patrol patrols. You don't see lines on the map because "how far does City Lord's writ reach?" is fluid.
"How far does City Lord's writ reach?" is also fluid in 2020 Afghanistan, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, DRC, Sudan, Myanmar, Ukraine, etc. We are still able to draw borders that demarcate the nominal territorial control of those countries.


But at bottom, the Sword Coast isn't supposed to be a plausible quasi-historical place. It's FR's Middle Earth pastiche, just as Cormyr is the Medieval France pastiche, Mulhorand is the ancient Egypt pastiche, and so on.

/end pedantry

I'd personally like to see an adventure set in and around the Moonsea or the Unapproachable East.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Hi so slight Necro, but we know that we’re getting the next adventure path and AL season in late summer, so I’ve been thinking of it.

It won’t be Moonsea, Monshae Isles, or Border Kingdoms because those are all claimed by AL. AL’s standard seasons have been developing the Moonsea and they’ve granted the CCC adventures on DMs Guild the chance to create their own tales and locations around the Moonsea. Developing it proper with WotC details would be counterproductive to the goals of a living, community-driven FR around the Moonsea.

Similarly, Baldman Games has the story claims to AL-legal adventures in the Moonshaes, and wrote a high quality regional gazetteer for it that you can print on demand. And Ed Greenwood has been doing the same with the Border Kingdoms.

And Calimshan wouldn’t have been given to Guild Adepts to write a regional guide that came out last year if there was a plan anytime soon to adventure there.

Neverwinter was a BIG focus for 4e FR, so I doubt we’re going back there. It’s been in the background of much of the earlier hardcover stories in 5e (such as Storm King’s Thunder).

While I’d love to visit the Sea of Fallen Stars, Ghosts of Saltmarsh sort of locks out maritime adventures in any major capacity. We’ll a storyline with themes we haven’t seen yet.

I also don’t think we’ll go to other continents, or too far off the Sword Coast+ map that was made so gorgeously for 5e. There are sensitivity issues with visiting “fantasy version of x culture” and the closer they stay to home base the easier it is to avoid racist depictions. If they’re going to do East Asian or Arabian Nights or Mesoamerican or Australian inspired fantasy, I imagine it will be with entirely new settings that are written by fans who come from those cultures that are being adapted from. Kara-Tur etc will still exist but by keeping it vague, they allow players to imagine those settings the ways the want.

So both Chult and Icewind Dale were just barely out of view from that big map of the North. I think they’ll go to similar margins or slightly off it next.

Personally, I’d like to see Amn, Cormyr, the Anauroch Desert & Netheril proper. I could one of those two big cities featured, or else a desert-based adventure in the Anauroch. We’ve had jungle, we’ve had ice, we’ve had water, we’ve had Hell, Shadowfell & desert adventures sounds about right for the next one.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Hi so slight Necro, but we know that we’re getting the next adventure path and AL season in late summer, so I’ve been thinking of it.

It won’t be Moonsea, Monshae Isles, or Border Kingdoms because those are all claimed by AL. AL’s standard seasons have been developing the Moonsea and they’ve granted the CCC adventures on DMs Guild the chance to create their own tales and locations around the Moonsea. Developing it proper with WotC details would be counterproductive to the goals of a living, community-driven FR around the Moonsea.

Similarly, Baldman Games has the story claims to AL-legal adventures in the Moonshaes, and wrote a high quality regional gazetteer for it that you can print on demand. And Ed Greenwood has been doing the same with the Border Kingdoms.

And Calimshan wouldn’t have been given to Guild Adepts to write a regional guide that came out last year if there was a plan anytime soon to adventure there.

Neverwinter was a BIG focus for 4e FR, so I doubt we’re going back there. It’s been in the background of much of the earlier hardcover stories in 5e (such as Storm King’s Thunder).

While I’d love to visit the Sea of Fallen Stars, Ghosts of Saltmarsh sort of locks out maritime adventures in any major capacity. We’ll a storyline with themes we haven’t seen yet.

I also don’t think we’ll go to other continents, or too far off the Sword Coast+ map that was made so gorgeously for 5e. There are sensitivity issues with visiting “fantasy version of x culture” and the closer they stay to home base the easier it is to avoid racist depictions. If they’re going to do East Asian or Arabian Nights or Mesoamerican or Australian inspired fantasy, I imagine it will be with entirely new settings that are written by fans who come from those cultures that are being adapted from. Kara-Tur etc will still exist but by keeping it vague, they allow players to imagine those settings the ways the want.

So both Chult and Icewind Dale were just barely out of view from that big map of the North. I think they’ll go to similar margins or slightly off it next.

Personally, I’d like to see Amn, Cormyr, the Anauroch Desert & Netheril proper. I could one of those two big cities featured, or else a desert-based adventure in the Anauroch. We’ve had jungle, we’ve had ice, we’ve had water, we’ve had Hell, Shadowfell & desert adventures sounds about right for the next one.
I wouldn't rule out the Moonshae Isles or Neverwinter, for any reason here. Just because AL has dipped it's toes into an area doesn't put it off limits. The Moonshae Isles are actually quite large.
 


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