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D&D 5E Why FR Is "Hated"

Again, apples and oranges though. I don't need to read every book in a library in order to enjoy books. Nor do I need to read several books first before I can actually read the book I want to enjoy. But, let's run with this analogy. I don't read fantasy for the most part precisely because of this trend. Far too many fantasy door stopper books out there. I'm just not interested. I read the first two A Song of Fire and Ice books and never bothered with the rest. Too much of a slog.

Now, imagine that every time you went to the library, before you could check out the book you want to read, you must read three or four reference books before hand. Before you pick up whatever novel you like, you need to read three hundred pages of background material. Would you keep going to the library? I don't think so.

But at this point, due to a massive jump forward in the timeline and a couple of assorted world-wide catastrophes, the vast majority of that "library" is now outdated and pretty much meaningless, much like an old astronomy library would have been after Copernicus and Galileo. If you have SCAG, you're going to be on the same level of current information on the setting as someone like myself who has boxes and bookshelves of material. For better or for ill (and as we have seen in this very thread, which one that is can be quite heatedly argued), there is zero need for you, or anyone, to get that background info to be current in the setting, outside of perusing it for personal pleasure.

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Rules Monkey
AFAIK, the primary draw of Forgotten Realms IS the wealth of support the Realms have.

For people who like that sort of thing, sure. I used enjoy learning about all the lore of the realms and finding interesting ways of using it in adventures. But I never felt like it was required that I use absolutely everything - just the bits I was interested in and could use.

I may be a special case though - I was always way more knowledgeable about Realms lore than my players, who basically didn't care much one way or the other. One of the reasons I stopped using the Realms - I was more interested in creating my own setting and the players....still don't care. :p

They still tell me they enjoy the games, and I get more enjoyment out of creating my own stuff. But that's not exactly relevant to the topic at hand.

Outside of that, what does FR actually offer? It doesn't have a library of classic modules (like Greyhawk), it doesn't have a strong theme (like Ravenloft or Planescape), it doesn't have any unique hooks (like Eberron or Al-Quadim).

Really powerful NPC's you can hang with and eventually kill. You think I'm kidding. :)

FR is a pretty vanilla setting. Once you take away that mountain of material, what does it actually offer me that I cannot get from any other setting? That's the point I keep trying to make.

Active support from WOTC in the form of new and updated adventures. If you don't care about that? Nothing.

The prime selling point of FR is the setting material. Take that away (because for me, that's not a selling point but a non-starter), and there's nothing left.

And, as I've said before, that's fine. Don't use it. Unless one or more of your players is a Realm fanboy, there is literally nothing forcing you to use it.

Everyone here keeps starting from the position of "I like the Realms, why don't you?"

I don't think this is actually true. I certainly don't start from that position. I used to like the Realms and still keep my toe in the water of Realmslore out of habit, but I've played in a lot of other settings and have currently created my own homebrew setting. I just use the pantheon in the SCAG book because I'm lazy and all my players have the book.

They are all good, if the DM makes them good.

Strip out the setting material from Forgotten Realms and I have a bog standard, stock, D&D campaign.

Sure. Same thing would happen with Greyhawk. I'm just not sure why this is a problem. That is exactly what the Realms are supposed to be - the default, bog standard, campaign setting that helps introduce new players to the game (like Greyhawk was before it). They both started as homebrew campaigns, but were turned into a flagship commercial product.

You can do tons of research and keep track of all the major players and Realms lore, but you really don't have too. It's just a fun side-game for the mildly autistic among us who like to obsess about things like that.

WOTC certainly doesn't care about ignoring mountains of past details until they decide to recycle them for a new adventure path, why should you?
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The prime selling point of FR is the setting material. Take that away (because for me, that's not a selling point but a non-starter), and there's nothing left.

Are you saying that if you took the FR setting and then took away all the setting material then there would be nothing left?

Because I would have imagined that would be exactly the case, yes.


Rules Monkey
Over time you get to know posters that pop-up frequently. From how they post what they post about, how often do they post, and over time you kinda learn a lot of stuff. Forums are a social thing. But don't worry, you aren't being judged or anything, you seem like a protective sensitive guy, in fact I'm thinking of adding you to my to-hug-list.

I don't think you or MechaPilot are judging. You seem like nice people. But that is definitely the impression I got from cccs, from how and when they decide to post, when they previously weren't involved in the conversation. I just got a "if you were a good person you would already know this" vibe from their post. Which is just a little annoying.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe, like Zardnaar, they just wanted to teach me about this "human social interaction" thing that I am clearly ignorant of. Out of the goodness of their hearts.


Victoria Rules
As much as some of the fans love him, some people really don't like Drizz't for some reason.
Guilty as charged. Drizz't took a perfectly good and useful class - Ranger - and butchered it. 3 editions later the class still hasn't recovered - if anything it's gotten worse - and until it does there will be no forgiveness.


Lan-"Rangers are supposed to be high-endurance warriors, not glass-cannon blade-dancers"-efan


D&D NEEDS a bog-standard, no-frills setting that highlights the rules and lore of the core game. Forgotten Realms really does fit that bill.

I hate to bring it up again, but take Golarion. Its a bog-standard world; complete with giant Metropolis, a fallen empire, evil nation controlled by devils, Transylvania, fantasy Egypt, proxies for Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, all surrounded by a poor-mans Great Wheel. And its All Pathfinder Has. Every AP deals with it. Every story happens there. Every sourcebook details it. All artwork references it. Pathfinder CAN be played without Golarion, but as far as Paizo is concerned, Golarion = Pathfinder.

And I rarely see any PF players complain about that. It boggles my mind.

The Forgotten Realms, in 5th edition at least, is D&D's Golarion. Its bog-standard, no frills world that has proxies for most cultures and settings, highlights everything in the core books, and is big enough to absorb (or at least tolerate) the best of D&D lore, even if its imported from other worlds. Heck, 5e has a lighter hand with FR than PF has with Golarion; at least 5e makes token references to thing beyond Faerun. Yet for some reason, the idea of a bog-standard world makes some people retch when it comes to D&D.

Why aren't the PF boards full of people demanding new settings? Why aren't there "Why Golarion is hated?" threads? Seriously, why aren't people on Paizo's boards demanding APs that don't deal with Golarion, or refusing to buy books that say "X of Golarion" on them?

D&D : Forgotten Realms :: Pathfinder : Golarion. Its the default setting for marketing and branding, the catch-all for whatever new stuff comes down the pipe, and the minimum standard for people too lazy or uninterested to use something else. That, IMHO, is a strength for both games.


Victoria Rules
AFAIK, the primary draw of Forgotten Realms IS the wealth of support the Realms have. ... mountain of material ...
And that's just it. FR has a mountain of material, and from that mountain you can choose which bits of rock you're going to mine for your own FR game. At the same time I can choose some different bits to dig my mine into, meanwhile everyone else who has posted in this thread also has their own mining operations. Some of those mines might overlap, but hey - it's a big mountain; there's room for all of us.

I ran a 12-year campaign that was nominally set in gray-box FR, only I took pretty much everything north of Waterdeep and west of the Anauroch waste and rebuilt it - different map, different cities (same names, though, in many cases), different realms, etc. This way, I could have "my own setting" while still having all of FR to fall back on if either a) my setting just wasn't good enough, or b) the party decided to go where the map was blank (parties do this). And yes, a party went down as far as Baldur's Gate and the Amn peninsula for a few adventures - no big deal. And a thief got chased to the Moonshaes, and many shopping trips went to Waterdeep. That's about it for the interaction with the "real" FR.

Which means, in all that time I never once had to think about what might be happening in Shadowdale or Silverymoon or anywhere else my campaign didn't go. Even if I hadn't changed the map, my story mine would have been on or near the Sword Coast for most of the campaign...that's the bit of the mountain I was using.

Lan-"and though it was at times sorely tempting to have Drizz't show up at some point so the party could kill him, in the end I just couldn't be bothered"-efan


I'm not you guys can play your fun and games he said/she said things. Just saying that after a while you tend to learn things about certain posters and their posting style.

More or less. Its just a thing on the boards and when you plug into the hivemind.

I used to lurk here years ago and most people knew who Gary Gygax's screen name was for example when he posted here.

You do realise that @Caliban has been around since 2002 and has over 5500 posts under his belt. He might not know everyone or have plugged into the hivemind and its overmind, like you, but I'm sure he is fairly familiar with the basics of human interaction.
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Thank you for remembering and pointing it out.

I don't really take offense when people assume I'm male here: gaming is still a very largely male hobby, and it's not as if we have gender symbols in the info section under our names (like the stat blocks from some Planescape books did). That said, it's always nice when someone remembers.
Glad you're gracious about it. Funny thing is that I actually paused at one point, because something tickled in my skull. I decided not to tangent the tangent with the question, though.

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