5E Why FR Is "Hated"

Zardnaar

Hero
Online FR seems to be the most hated campaign setting and it seemed to come as s shock that it was selected as the default 5E setting.

By now we know it is the most popular D&D setting and has been since the late 80's. When WotC purchased TSR one of the 1st things they did was kill the campaign settings with the exception of FR. Put simply it was more popular than the others put togather.

So why does FR get such a negative reaction online and the disconnect with that and fans IRL? They blew the setting up with the Spellplague and they quietly dumped that with 5E. Indirectly that seems to have killed off the novel line with even the hit and miss Drizzt novels becoming more miss. These are my following thoughts.

1. Its like a popular song- overplayed. Think of some 20+ year old songs that people love/hate. For example Smells Like Teen Spirit, Under the Bridge, Evenflow, Sweet Child of Mine. Great songs imho but overplayed. FR is like that.

2. Niche things are kewl. Trend setters and try hards like niche things the mainstream doesn't so things like Planescape and Darksun might be more appealing. Slagging off FR is edgy and "badass" I suppose.

3. More people are familiar with FR. The downside of this is more people will dislike FR. Compare this with Birthright for example. Virtually no one played it and the haters probably never tried it. Birthright offended no one and is almost forgotten about.

4. Drizzt. Drizzt used to be kewl. Nowdays not so much and the recent Drizzt novels are a bit rubbish even if you liked the earlier ones.

5. Negative gets more attention online. If you like FR odds are you won't start to many threads about it. "Drizzt sucks lolz" will get more attention online than "Drizzt rockz". One statement is a bit emo the other one is "kewl".

So why does FR persist if so many people hate it? I would argue that more people like it than hate it or at least gamers will buy it. This has been true since the late 80's IMHO. Attitudes also seem to be changing with age as the 3.0 FRCS for example seems to get positive attention now.

FR also benefits from the other generic settings lacking something. Greyhawk for example has hard to pronounce silly names, Dragonlance is to metaplot heavy, Mystara was Basic D&D and to many real life comparisons, Nentir Valley never caught on. Quality wise Golarion is the closest both in quality and feel and is kind of an FR/Mystara hybrid. Of course its not a TSR/WotC production.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sometimes there's a tendency to hate something simply because it's popular.

That said, I suspect that these days some of FR's popularity (even among non-5e players where it's not the default) is simply that with so much backstory and heavy lifting already done, it's relatively easy-access for a new or time-crunched DM. And, it does have a certain something that Greyhawk (the only other setting that pretty much everyone has heard of) is lacking, though I'd be hard-pressed to define or elucidate just what it is.

Personally I quite like Mystara / Known World because of the real-life comparisons, as I tend to put those into my game anyway no matter what setting I'm using. And City State of the World Emperor, though not very large in geographical terms when compared to the others, is just chock full of DM goodness and adventure ideas.

Lan-"the one time I used FR as a setting it was, other than most of the place names, nigh-unrecognizable once I'd got done kitbashing it"-efan
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Sometimes there's a tendency to hate something simply because it's popular.

That said, I suspect that these days some of FR's popularity (even among non-5e players where it's not the default) is simply that with so much backstory and heavy lifting already done, it's relatively easy-access for a new or time-crunched DM. And, it does have a certain something that Greyhawk (the only other setting that pretty much everyone has heard of) is lacking, though I'd be hard-pressed to define or elucidate just what it is.

Personally I quite like Mystara / Known World because of the real-life comparisons, as I tend to put those into my game anyway no matter what setting I'm using. And City State of the World Emperor, though not very large in geographical terms when compared to the others, is just chock full of DM goodness and adventure ideas.

Lan-"the one time I used FR as a setting it was, other than most of the place names, nigh-unrecognizable once I'd got done kitbashing it"-efan
I'm starting to use fantasy Egypt a lot more now. Might use Rome avd Greece more as well.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
My main problem with FR was the meta-plot, particularly since the formative years of the setting was spent under TSR's Comics Code-inspired "Code of Conduct." This problem showed itself primarily in two ways:

1. Plot threads from the core box and sourcebooks get resolved in novels by NPCs, and later sourcebooks assume these things have been taken care of.

1a. Since plot threads keep getting resolved (because Good always wins), new things have to be thrown into the setting every now and then, leading to things like a I-can't-believe-it's-not-Mongols invasion or ancient cities reappearing.

2. Their pantheon gets turned into a gorram soap opera, with new gods rising, old ones dying, portfolios changing hands, changing hands again, gods thought dead return, and so on and so forth. The rise of a new god should be a momentous thing, not "A new god again? Must be Tuesday."

Two of the defining traits of Eberron are, I think, direct reactions to these issues: a frozen timeline, and distant and possibly non-existent gods.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
My main problem with FR was the meta-plot, particularly since the formative years of the setting was spent under TSR's Comics Code-inspired "Code of Conduct." This problem showed itself primarily in two ways:

1. Plot threads from the core box and sourcebooks get resolved in novels by NPCs, and later sourcebooks assume these things have been taken care of.

1a. Since plot threads keep getting resolved (because Good always wins), new things have to be thrown into the setting every now and then, leading to things like a I-can't-believe-it's-not-Mongols invasion or ancient cities reappearing.

2. Their pantheon gets turned into a gorram soap opera, with new gods rising, old ones dying, portfolios changing hands, changing hands again, gods thought dead return, and so on and so forth. The rise of a new god should be a momentous thing, not "A new god again? Must be Tuesday."

Two of the defining traits of Eberron are, I think, direct reactions to these issues: a frozen timeline, and distant and possibly non-existent gods.
TSR dropped the ball there. The metaplot thing was every campaign often wrecking the thing you liked about the setting in the 1st place.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Oh, no. I quite agree with Zardnaar. I loathe Forgotten Realms, and I would hardline veto any proposal from a group to play in Forgotten Realms.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
Oh, no. I quite agree with Zardnaar. I loathe Forgotten Realms, and I would hardline veto any proposal from a group to play in Forgotten Realms.
Hating FR is fine IMHO. I only object when people want to change it drastically so they will like it. Thats also fine in homebrew games. I don't like Ravenloft or Dragonlance that much but I don't really complain about them or demand changes. I vote with my feet and let fans of those worlds enjoy them for what they are.
 

discosoc

Villager
Not sure how many people *hate* FR, but it does come off as kind of bland compared to other settings. It tries (and succeeds) to be everything to everyone, and ends up feeling like a fast food meal. I've never actually had anyone say they didn't want to play in FR, specifically. But I've also never had anyone say they *did* want to, either. I guess it serves it's purpose, though.

I suppose part of the problem with it is that even the greatest PC's end up just feeling like a cog in a very large and generic wheel. The other problem would be the way the gods have such a direct influence in the world. It's not even done in an interesting way like how the Greek gods would interfere with mortals; FR gods just come across as Soap Opera extras.

Lastly, I think FR has a feeling of being someone else's sandbox. No matter how often WotC claims the DM can "make it their own," the reality is that all the important stuff is handled by the curators of the setting (mostly the book authors, but also adventure authors) and you can't really derail from it too much from campaign to campaign without wondering why not just create your own in the first place. It's sort of like the original Dragon Lance adventure where the books were amazing, but it was pretty weird trying to actually run the adventure yourself.

What 5e really needs is a "generic" setting that's has all the people/places/things laid out, but doesn't come with the baggage of FR published books and lore, rather than a constant stream of official FR AP's that have some nearly-useless blurb about how to port it over to other settings. If I have to save the Sword Coast from another major threat, I'm going to puke.
 

Mephista

Villager
Why people don't like it. Psychology time, go!

The Realms are a big place, and ther'es actually a lot about it to not like. I personally have a strong dislike of the default pantheon of gods. Anyways. So, if someone doesn't like Forgotten Realms for some reason or another? They probably would just set it aside and forget about it normally. I feel the same way abotu Dark Suns. Not my thing. But FR? It gets brought up time and again.

Exposure to something tends to have one of two effects. Either it will bring you closer to something, or it will drive you further away. Because it is fairly popular, it gets lots of exposure time. For the people who don't like it, it moves them further towards a stronger dislike.

Now, combine with the tendacy of the internet to serve as an echo chamber. You say you don't like FR, someone else says it, and suddenly, everyone is saying how they hate it. That's called "Group Think."
 

JeffB

Adventurer
The Realms as published from day one until today (rpg books, video games, comics, novels) has become every D&D trope and stereotype amped up to "10", thrown together in a quisinart and regurgitated and re-fed to us every 5-10 years (in 5e, "force fed" to us).

That's the problem, IMO.

I stick to the OGB and do alot of my own thing.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don't hate it but it's never done anything for me. Nothing to "grip". I don't really know any of the meta plot or the various subsettings.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
TSR dropped the ball there. The metaplot thing was every campaign often wrecking the thing you liked about the setting in the 1st place.
On the other hand, they haven't given us any metaplot (to speak of) for 5E, and that's not exactly being greeted with cheers of relief.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The long and the short of it is, it's by far the most liked setting. The sheer number of people who play it means that more people who don't like it come into contact with it. Being the most hated is meaningless, since it's by far the most popular. It's just a numbers thing, and quite frankly, nobody should have been shocked that 5e went with it.
 

Derren

Adventurer
The FR is ok(ish) when you cut out a very small part of it and ignore the rest. But taken as a whole it is just a gigantic mess with its "everything even remotely related to fantasy gameplay must be in it" kitchen sink approach. The complete chaos of 4E and the hurried 5E retcons made things even worse. It simply does not feel like a coherent world because frankly it isn't.
 

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