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5E Why FR Is "Hated"

Hussar

Legend
I'm being told, repeatedly, that if I want to use the Realms, I just eject the stuff I don't want to use.

Fair enough. But, there's an inbuilt assumption there that I have to actually know what I want to eject before I eject it. I mean, if I'm just going to (as one poster above suggests) only use the old Grey Box, sure, now I get a stripped down setting. But, at that point, what does FR have to offer that I can't get anywhere else? A nice map? Well, I've got www.cartographersguild.org for that - professional quality maps out the wazoo. Basic country descriptions? This is 2017, I've got ten thousand of those to choose from. Lists of NPC's? Heck, I can use online generators to create hundreds of those.

So, again, what's the draw here? D&D generic fantasy kitchen sink setting with no defining themes? Hey, yeah, let me jump right on that one. Look, if I'm going to strip out 99% of the material for the setting, there's nothing left in the FR that I can't get from a dozen other settings with equally high (or higher) production values and quality writing.

Or, put it another way, if I'm only going to use Forgotten Realms for a single campaign once every decade or so, why would I use Forgotten Realms and not En World's own Zeitgeist setting? What does FR offer to me that Zeitgeist doesn't?
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Or, put it another way, if I'm only going to use Forgotten Realms for a single campaign once every decade or so, why would I use Forgotten Realms and not En World's own Zeitgeist setting? What does FR offer to me that Zeitgeist doesn't?
If I had to guess, I'd say:

Better advertising (almost all D&D players are at least aware of the setting).

Shared Knowledge (Several books have been published set in the Realms that many players and DM's have read.)

Prior Investment (many of us grew up reading about and playing in the Realms and have old supplements and maps on hand).

If none of the above apply to you...then yeah, you have no reason to use the Forgotten Realms setting, or any part of it.

Myself, I was a teenager or in my 20's when most of the big FR supplements came out. I have a lot of them in my closet, and their maps are on my walls.

I generally don't set my games in the Realms anymore, but it is a ready-made trove of maps, supplements, and lore that I can raid when setting up a new campaign.
 

cbwjm

Explorer
I'm being told, repeatedly, that if I want to use the Realms, I just eject the stuff I don't want to use.

Fair enough. But, there's an inbuilt assumption there that I have to actually know what I want to eject before I eject it. I mean, if I'm just going to (as one poster above suggests) only use the old Grey Box, sure, now I get a stripped down setting. But, at that point, what does FR have to offer that I can't get anywhere else? A nice map? Well, I've got www.cartographersguild.org for that - professional quality maps out the wazoo. Basic country descriptions? This is 2017, I've got ten thousand of those to choose from. Lists of NPC's? Heck, I can use online generators to create hundreds of those.

So, again, what's the draw here? D&D generic fantasy kitchen sink setting with no defining themes? Hey, yeah, let me jump right on that one. Look, if I'm going to strip out 99% of the material for the setting, there's nothing left in the FR that I can't get from a dozen other settings with equally high (or higher) production values and quality writing.

Or, put it another way, if I'm only going to use Forgotten Realms for a single campaign once every decade or so, why would I use Forgotten Realms and not En World's own Zeitgeist setting? What does FR offer to me that Zeitgeist doesn't?
Honestly, if you are fine with grabbing all of that stuff from elsewhere then go ahead. I mean it sounds like you really, really don't want to use FR, so don't. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying you need to use it as your setting.
 
E

Elderbrain

Guest
I don't hate the Realms - I've bought Realms books every edition - notwithstanding I didn't like what was done to the Realms in the 4e era - but I do resent the fact that it's basically the only campaign setting supported in 5e. In 3e, FR and the then-new Ebberron campaign setting got hardcovers and Greyhawk a softcover book. In 4e, Only FR, Dark Sun, and the new Netir Vale setting were supported. Greyhawk got nothing. Nada. Zilch. They even appropriated Greyhawk material and incorporated it into the Netir Vale setting! I mention Greyhawk and not, say, Birthright and the other neglected settings because so much of D&D has its roots in Greyhawk - NPCS like Vecna, spells and magical items, and monsters. Yeah, I know, economics - FR sells well - but...
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
In fact, with a little bad luck, your character will likely at some point end up playing second fiddle to one of these ego puffing FR demi-gawds who have already been there, done that. That is what I see when I look at FR as opposed to my own setting- why play in a world that has already been over done to death? Why play in a world where the mighty Spellhintster or Frizzt the Frow, or any other popular namesake have already done everything twice over?
Not bad luck. A bad DM. There's a difference. No mediocre or better DM is going to do that to you.
 

Hussar

Legend
If I had to guess, I'd say:

Better advertising (almost all D&D players are at least aware of the setting).

Shared Knowledge (Several books have been published set in the Realms that many players and DM's have read.)

Prior Investment (many of us grew up reading about and playing in the Realms and have old supplements and maps on hand).

If none of the above apply to you...then yeah, you have no reason to use the Forgotten Realms setting, or any part of it.

Myself, I was a teenager or in my 20's when most of the big FR supplements came out. I have a lot of them in my closet, and their maps are on my walls.

I generally don't set my games in the Realms anymore, but it is a ready-made trove of maps, supplements, and lore that I can raid when setting up a new campaign.
And that's my point though. Your three points don't really apply if I'm ejecting 99% of the setting. All that prior knowledge doesn't matter since it won't apply to this campaign. I'm simply replying to the point that people keep telling me that I can use the Realms and just pick and choose what I want to use. But, if I do that, then there really isn't anything that FR offers me that any other setting doesn't. Which is why I don't use the Realms. The basic question was, why is FR "hated". AFAIC, I don't hate the Realms. I'm utterly indifferent to the Realms. Meaning that branding anything as part of FR does nothing for me.

cbwjm said:
Honestly, if you are fine with grabbing all of that stuff from elsewhere then go ahead. I mean it sounds like you really, really don't want to use FR, so don't. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying you need to use it as your setting.
I'm simply explaining why not. To me, the mountain of material is a major barrier to me getting into the setting. If they were to reboot the setting, I might actually be interested in it. It wasn't until the 4e Spellplague that FR even registered on my personal radar, specfically because it kicked all that material to the sideline. With 5e and the return to a closer to original FR, my interest in the setting has gone from, "Hrm, maybe I might give this a shot" to "nope, sorry, not interested."
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
And that's my point though. Your three points don't really apply if I'm ejecting 99% of the setting. All that prior knowledge doesn't matter since it won't apply to this campaign. I'm simply replying to the point that people keep telling me that I can use the Realms and just pick and choose what I want to use. But, if I do that, then there really isn't anything that FR offers me that any other setting doesn't. Which is why I don't use the Realms. The basic question was, why is FR "hated". AFAIC, I don't hate the Realms. I'm utterly indifferent to the Realms. Meaning that branding anything as part of FR does nothing for me.
Hey, you asked, I answered. Not "the basic question", but the question you asked that I quoted in my response. You don't get to change the question just because you don't like the answers.

My three points addressed why so many people (myself included) do use parts of the FR setting even if they don't use the setting as a whole.

And you apparently ignored the real answer to your question:

Caliban said:
If none of the above apply to you...then yeah, you have no reason to use the Forgotten Realms setting, or any part of it.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Hey, you asked, I answered. Not "the basic question", but the question you asked that I quoted in my response. You don't get to change the question just because you don't like the answers.

My three points addressed why so many people (myself included) do use parts of the FR setting even if they don't use the setting as a whole.

And you apparently ignored the real answer to your question:
Oh, and that's totally fair. If you want to use the Realms, go right ahead. If you want to pick and choose this or that, more power to you. I'm certainly not above yoinking maps or NPC's or whatnot. That's totally fair game.

My response is more along the lines of, "I don't use the Realms as a setting (instead of simply a resource) because the setting material is a roadblock to me getting into the setting. There's just too much of it for me to get into it." It's the same for Golarian. I'm using one of the Kingmaker maps in my current adventure, but, I'm not going to go out and start buying Golarian material just for that. I used it because I found it in a Google Image search, not because it was from Golarian.

To give a different example, I wouldn't run a Star Wars game either. Simply because I know I couldn't do it justice. I've watched the movies, but, that's about it. I'm not an EU fan. The last Star Wars books I read were the Thrawn books back in what, the late 80's, early 90's? For me to even begin running a SW game, I'd have hours of homework to do and I'm just not interested. I'd play (and I have no problems playing in Forgotten Realms either), but I wouldn't run. If I was running a Space Opera game, I'd go with a different system and setting specifically so that I didn't have to do hours of homework to do it justice.
 
There's a lot of exaggerations flying around right now.

99% of the setting is one of them. No one is saying anything close to that. Remove parts you don't like is what we're saying. If you don't know what it is you don't like, then you don't know what the setting is about or whats in it. You can apply this argument to Zeitgeist. Why should I use Zeitgeist if I need to modify it to suit what I want? Why should I use Zeitgeist if I have to research it?

Your argument is basically "Why should I use this setting?" which isn't an argument, it's a question for you to answer. Like an above user said, you don't HAVE to use Forgotten Realms. If you want to ignore it and resent it, you're free to do so. But you can't say you don't like it because it is a kitchen sink when you haven't even done enough research into the setting to know what it actually is. It's like saying you hate a certain type of food because you heard its name and other people like it without even knowing what the food is.
 

Shasarak

Villager
It would probably be best to leave out the real world analogies. That said, it's little wonder you don't get Eberron. You're blindly running in, guns-blazing, treating the world as if you're in the heroic epic fantasy of Forgotten Realms with zero political consequences.
Political consequences only really happen to other people that worry about political consequences. Did Alexander the Great worry about the political consequences of invading Persia? Did Genghis worry about the political consequences of invading China? How did the Kingdom of Galifar get formed if everyone sat around worrying about the political consequences? I mean if this is the way that I "dont get" Eberron then I have to say that is great news because it would be nowhere as awesome if it was the way you suggest.
 

Hussar

Legend
There's a lot of exaggerations flying around right now.

99% of the setting is one of them. No one is saying anything close to that. Remove parts you don't like is what we're saying. If you don't know what it is you don't like, then you don't know what the setting is about or whats in it. You can apply this argument to Zeitgeist. Why should I use Zeitgeist if I need to modify it to suit what I want? Why should I use Zeitgeist if I have to research it?
The difference being if I want to use Zeitgeist I have to read one book and I'm done.
Your argument is basically "Why should I use this setting?" which isn't an argument, it's a question for you to answer. Like an above user said, you don't HAVE to use Forgotten Realms. If you want to ignore it and resent it, you're free to do so. But you can't say you don't like it because it is a kitchen sink when you haven't even done enough research into the setting to know what it actually is. It's like saying you hate a certain type of food because you heard its name and other people like it without even knowing what the food is.
First off, there's no resentment on my part. Thus my point of complete and utter indifference.

However if I had to eat fifteen pounds of a food before I could decide whether I liked it or not and wanted to serve it to other people, I think it's fair to give it a pass.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Oh, and that's totally fair. If you want to use the Realms, go right ahead. If you want to pick and choose this or that, more power to you. I'm certainly not above yoinking maps or NPC's or whatnot. That's totally fair game.

My response is more along the lines of, "I don't use the Realms as a setting (instead of simply a resource) because the setting material is a roadblock to me getting into the setting. There's just too much of it for me to get into it." It's the same for Golarian. I'm using one of the Kingmaker maps in my current adventure, but, I'm not going to go out and start buying Golarian material just for that. I used it because I found it in a Google Image search, not because it was from Golarian.

To give a different example, I wouldn't run a Star Wars game either. Simply because I know I couldn't do it justice. I've watched the movies, but, that's about it. I'm not an EU fan. The last Star Wars books I read were the Thrawn books back in what, the late 80's, early 90's? For me to even begin running a SW game, I'd have hours of homework to do and I'm just not interested. I'd play (and I have no problems playing in Forgotten Realms either), but I wouldn't run. If I was running a Space Opera game, I'd go with a different system and setting specifically so that I didn't have to do hours of homework to do it justice.
OK, but none of that is a question. It's a response to a question you yourself posed.

If you already know the answer, why did you ask?
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
The difference being if I want to use Zeitgeist I have to read one book and I'm done.


First off, there's no resentment on my part. Thus my point of complete and utter indifference.

However if I had to eat fifteen pounds of a food before I could decide whether I liked it or not and wanted to serve it to other people, I think it's fair to give it a pass.

You're kind of missing the point I made - a lot of us already have this stuff from back when WOTC and FR was the only game in town. No need to go out and research it, that parts already been done. I've never even heard of Zeitgeist until you mentioned it. If I wanted to use that, I'd have to research it.

If I want to use FR, I just have to go my bookshelf or look at the maps I already have.

I'm sure a lot of people use the Pathfinder setting for the same reason - they already have the stuff, why not?

This is doubly true for anyone who plays in Adventure League or Pathfinder Society - they're going to be buying supplements to use with their characters in that setting, might as well get some more use out of it if you are running a home game.

I don't use the FR setting anymore, for much the same reason you don't - too much history and too many overpowered NPC's that players might argue with me about (although I know far more about FR lore than my current set of players do). I prefer to use my own setting and stories, but I still have maps and books. It's easier for me to re-use the FR pantheon and maps than create my own (although I did use my own maps in my current campaign for story reasons).

It's not "15 pounds of food" - it's more like "15 pounds of Lego pieces" - I already bought the sets, they aren't going anywhere, and I can use them to make my own stuff.
 

MechaPilot

Explorer
Your argument is basically "Why should I use this setting?" which isn't an argument, it's a question for you to answer.
It's not a question for him to answer; it's a question for him to ask, and for the creators of the setting to answer. After all, they're the ones trying to sell the products to us; therefore the onus is on them to sell us on why we should want or need them.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
It's not a question for him to answer; it's a question for him to ask, and for the creators of the setting to answer. After all, they're the ones trying to sell the products to us; therefore the onus is on them to sell us on why we should want or need them.
Then he should be asking the creators and not random strangers on a forum. :p
 

prosfilaes

Villager
Better advertising (almost all D&D players are at least aware of the setting).

Shared Knowledge (Several books have been published set in the Realms that many players and DM's have read.)

Prior Investment (many of us grew up reading about and playing in the Realms and have old supplements and maps on hand).
And all of that can backfire on you the instant you try and change anything.

Comparing Golarion and Forgotten Realms:

They've both well-fleshed out (whereas I found the Zeitgeist setting to be insufficiently described in terms of religion, for at least one point.)

They both offer a variety of environments (Golarion's sections seem more distinct, which is good for providing sharper genre distinctions but feels a little unrealistic.)

Golarion offers very few major good NPCs; FR offers a number of them, that have solved everything in published adventures, and as published could frequently wake up, solve an adventure, and return home in time for breakfast. Given that one of the continuing questions in D&D games seems to be "why are the PCs the ones who are doing this/getting the job, besides the meta-answer that they're the PCs?", I prefer to have, at least at higher levels, the dearth of NPCs who could even in theory could do the job.

Golarion offers minimal metaplot, whereas FR seems to have blown everything up on a regular basis. Same complaint I have with Dragonlance and sympathize with on Traveller.

I generally don't set my games in the Realms anymore, but it is a ready-made trove of maps, supplements, and lore that I can raid when setting up a new campaign.
You could say the same about Greyhawk, Mystara, Scarred Lands, GURPS's Yrth, Golarion, Dragonlance, or any number of settings. Even if it is the most awesome source of parts, that doesn't say much about the setting as a setting.
 

cbwjm

Explorer
One cool thing that I love about blowing everything up, is that you can run campaigns where the PCs stop said blowing up of the setting. Imagine a FR where the PCs stopped the spell plague from happening or saved/killed one or more gods during the time of troubles. Perhaps in Dragonlance they went and stopped the priest-king of istar and so the cataclysm never happened, what would the world of Krynn be like? These can make for awesome campaigns.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
And all of that can backfire on you the instant you try and change anything.
Or not. Any change will have some people that like it, and some people that don't like it. It's the nature of change.

Comparing Golarion and Forgotten Realms:
Why? I don't know Golarion, and don't really care. I don't play in that setting. I don't even run campaigns in FR anymore.

If you are trying to make a point about Golarian, you might want to address your post to someone who knows the setting and therefor might care about it.

You could say the same about Greyhawk, Mystara, Scarred Lands, GURPS's Yrth, Golarion, Dragonlance, or any number of settings.
Absolutely. And if I owned them, I might use parts of them for my own campaign. Since I don't own those settings, but do own several FR supplements...guess what I resources I recycle when creating my own setting?

Even if it is the most awesome source of parts, that doesn't say much about the setting as a setting.
Please note that I didn't say anything about FR as a setting, simply gave reasons why people might use it, or use parts of it. Since, you know, someone asked exactly that question.

Not sure what point you think I was trying to make.
 
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prosfilaes

Villager
Or not. Any change will have some people that like it, and some people that don't like it. It's the nature of change.
That wasn't about whether people liked the change or not. It's about the costs of changing what people know and expect. It's about being caught in the middle of running an FR adventure realizing that a major plot thread depends on stuff you changed. It's about players assuming things to be true that aren't in your world, or you assuming players understanding something they don't.

I don't know Golarion, and don't really care.
Okay, I wasn't really addressing that to you; I was addressing it to the thread.
 

Shasarak

Villager
Golarion offers very few major good NPCs; FR offers a number of them, that have solved everything in published adventures, and as published could frequently wake up, solve an adventure, and return home in time for breakfast. Given that one of the continuing questions in D&D games seems to be "why are the PCs the ones who are doing this/getting the job, besides the meta-answer that they're the PCs?", I prefer to have, at least at higher levels, the dearth of NPCs who could even in theory could do the job.
Isnt it like the reason why Thor and the Hulk dont show up in an Iron man movie? Because it is an Iron man movie. Or is that just meta-thinking?
 

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