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5E Why FR Is "Hated"

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen... Be nice plz n_n
Well, I find it an incoherent mess. But I've disliked it for a long time, even before the 4e/5e changes. I just don't like the stuff on it, super NPCs running around, the factions, the excessive focus on a single peninsula, the "everybody picks a god", the gods walking the earth, how it is a thinly refluffed version of the real world, along with extremely simplistic analogues of real world cultures, and most of all the wall, that evil wall.
 

Derren

Villager
What's wrong with kitchen-sink settings? Especially when not everything exists in every location?
Because they only work when you cut out a very small part of it and ignore the rest. But when you look at the big picture it does not make sense at all when you for example have ancient Egypt next to Arthurian England next to Renaissance Italien states next to tribal primitives.
Such a constellation simply does not work with any kind of plausibility and it is really noticeable that the only reason for this to be that way is to offer everyone everything.
 

Yunru

Villager
Because they only work when you cut out a very small part of it and ignore the rest. But when you look at the big picture it does not make sense at all when you for example have ancient Egypt next to Arthurian England next to Renaissance Italien states next to tribal primitives.
Such a constellation simply does not work with any kind of plausibility and it is really noticeable that the only reason for this to be that way is to offer everyone everything.
Magic.
The more magic a culture has, the less need for technological development.
Need drives change, magic removes need.
 

Jester David

Villager
1) It's popular. And some people just love to hate the popular thing.

2) Bad DMs.

The latter is the big one: DMs misusing high level NPCs as DM PCs and characters from the novels as the same.
 

Azzy

Explorer
I don't like the Realms. I never cared for the default pantheon, and I thought the setting itself was a bit clunky, but that was "whatever". No big deal. The whole Time of Troubles and the gods walking the earth, and "gotta change the setting because there's a new edition of the game" left a bad taste in my mouth. The whole continued meta-plot, the overshadowing NPCs, and "insert upheaval here because there's a new edition" is extremely off-putting to me. It was an okay, if lackluster setting to begin with, but it just went downhill from there.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I don't mind FR, but I would never run a campaign that was true to the timeline or the major, well-known characters.

The best thing about FR is the sheer amount of content. There are a lot of great books and supplements. I also like the pantheon. Lots of variety and some interesting flavor.

But I've had the most luck with FR when taken in small doses or not worrying about the canon.

I've run campaigns in the Dalelands and I've looked into past books now that I'm running Phandelver.


Sent from my iPhone using EN World
 

guachi

Villager
Too much cruft. Which is basically what others have said. I just wanted to use the word cruft.

I had a real hard time debating whether to get Known World Gazetteers or Forgotten Realms Gazetteers​ when both debuted in 1987. I decided on Known World. Back then, though, FR was like a new comic book series that wasn't weighed down by hundreds of back issues.

Online, I so rarely see people talk about the Forgotten Realms as anything other than "the Forgotten Realms". I rarely see people mention specific nations, cultures, features they find interesting. The Realms are just a monolithic indistinct blob. I assume that's not the case but all I read about are meta plot and NPCs.

At least the sub settings in FR have a distinct flavor (I love Al-Qadim) but the main one is bland.

When people discuss my favorite setting, Known World, you'll see discussions of the overall tone (a bit gonzo, eg.) but you'll also see people discuss specific nations and cultures they like or don't like. The discuss it like there are real differences between Glantri and Karameikos.

Forgotten Realms is just so bland.
 

LapBandit

Villager
Not everyone wants to homebrew a world and the myriad things that go along with it. I often use FR for just that reason. I also liberally make changes to suit my needs. To me it's just an easy to use coherent backdrop
 

hastur_nz

Villager
I bought the original Grey Box, and never liked it much even in its original form (which didn't last long before 2e came out and the 'troubles' began).

For my tastes, Ed Greenwood has some interesting ideas, but no real ability to create a coherent whole from them. His game world is an incoherent mis-mash of thinly disguised real-world cultures and places, like a bad pastiche of R. E. Howard's Hyperborea. Ed's "adventures" were the worst - Galdalf-rip-off-DM-PC walks you through some 'interesting' stuff and helps you through to 'good wins'... oh boy!

So much stuff makes no sense at all, and while the "shared world" aspects made some bits better e.g. authors and designers who had a clue made some sense of parts of the world, the down-side of that is you get 'over-development' i.e. hard for people to take the gem of an idea, and expand upon it where the PC's are genuinely the protagonists, not just spectators.

Personally, I am running my first ever Realms adventure at the moment - a heavily altered Storm King's Thunder. The fact that the time-line got moved so far forward with 4e, then 5e hand-waved a 'restoration' of sorts... well at least that gives us some more room to create things that are not already detailed somewhere. The fact there's so much 'canon' around, at least means I can grab stuff from various sources as inspiration, and get away with putting my own spin on things because 'times have changed'. Same for yet another "low-level PC's are tasked with saving the North" - I guess 'times have changed', so Gandalf / Elminster, etc, must be busy doing something else to the east, or whatever...
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Well, I find it an incoherent mess. But I've disliked it for a long time, even before the 4e/5e changes. I just don't like the stuff on it, super NPCs running around, the factions, the excessive focus on a single peninsula, the "everybody picks a god", the gods walking the earth, how it is a thinly refluffed version of the real world, along with extremely simplistic analogues of real world cultures, and most of all the wall, that evil wall.
Exactly this. Despite using this setting a lot in 2e, I just have a hard time finding the FR believable. The cultures, politics, geography all feel really weird and flimsy. The villains are just too few and too minor (Zhentarim) or remote (Thay) to provide compelling stories.
 

Saeviomagy

Villager
FR is fine as long as you pretend that every major heroic character does not exist, or has already died, or for whatever other reasons does not interact with the world except to be an antagonist to the PCs.

FR is written to be a playground for other people's heroes, where other peoples stories are playing out. To use it yourself, you have to make sure that those stories go away.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I'm starting to use fantasy Egypt a lot more now. Might use Rome avd Greece more as well.
Any particular resources you use or are you just going with your own knowledge of mythology and history?

I ask because I've had an idea for a campaign setting in the back of my mind for quite a while which is situated around the Mediterranean using the myths of the various locations to fill out the available races as well as throwing in a bunch of free license to set up some areas as unique. As an example:

Egypt
Rulers: Tiefling
Religion: Demon worshippers (Taken from R.E Howard's Stygia and expanded upon. Not sure if I want to use the Egyptian Pantheon as the Demons or have their worship underground), Bes (worshipped by the slaves and halflings as a protector deity)
Common Races: Tieflings, Humans (slaves building the tiefling monuments), Halflings (Taking the place of Kushites. Raids, and are raided by, Egypt)
 

Saelorn

Explorer
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.
Is that what happened? I could never figure out where in the timeline 5E was supposed to sit.
 

Zardnaar

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.
Any particular resources you use or are you just going with your own knowledge of mythology and history?

I ask because I've had an idea for a campaign setting in the back of my mind for quite a while which is situated around the Mediterranean using the myths of the various locations to fill out the available races as well as throwing in a bunch of free license to set up some areas as unique. As an example:

Egypt
Rulers: Tiefling
Religion: Demon worshippers (Taken from R.E Howard's Stygia and expanded upon. Not sure if I want to use the Egyptian Pantheon as the Demons or have their worship underground), Bes (worshipped by the slaves and halflings as a protector deity)
Common Races: Tieflings, Humans (slaves building the tiefling monuments), Halflings (Taking the place of Kushites. Raids, and are raided by, Egypt)
Mostly a mix up of Nithia/Osirion/ Mulhorand. Mining Mystara a lot atm because most players are not familiar with it so Nithia/Thyatis/Heldannic Knights are all new.
 

Saelorn

Explorer
What's wrong with kitchen-sink settings? Especially when not everything exists in every location?
If the world is so large that none of that other stuff has any impact on the campaign at all, then the PCs feel small and unimportant. By the time I hit level 20 in a game, I expect to have seen just about everything worth seeing in the world.

If I can save the entire world without ever leaving my home region, then presumably someone in the next region can also save the entire world without anyone over here finding out about it. What, is the entire world just full of self-contained epic adventures where the local heroes always succeed at defeating the local world-ending threat? Because that's the feeling that I get out of the setting. Everyone is supposed to sound super awesome for the many impressive things that they do, but nobody is allowed to be impressive enough to actually affect anything.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
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.
Is that anything like the City State of the Invincible Overlord?
 

Shiroiken

Explorer
FR is the victim of its own success. I've heard good things about the original 1E Realms, but it was the first setting to advance its own timeline. This gave rise to various meta-plots, further impacted by the now hundreds of novels (all canon). Given all of this, PCs really are small fish in a big pond. It's worse when the DM or one player is really into the setting, bringing overpowered NPCs to light, which can easily overshadow the PCs. Add the fact that Kara-Tur and Al-Qadim (established campaign settings with their own fans) were folded into the Realms because it was popular leads many with a bad taste in their mouth. Finally, of course, there are people who like to hate what others love.

FR isn't a bad setting, but it requires a good DM who loves the setting for it to work well. Even then, just like with every setting, it's not going to appeal to everyone.
 

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