• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

5E Why FR Is "Hated"

Shiroiken

Explorer
You have to remember that PC's standing out on their own in a world is only one style that D&D caters to, not "the" style.

There is a reason most PC's were called adventurers at one time.
I agree, but there are many who feel it's The One True Way. To those people, this is one (more) reason to hate FR. Personally, I hate the "precious snowflake" mentality for PCs.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
Yep. And quite likely the sort of thing an actual living god that has a direct influence on the world is likely to do. Especially if the faith (or lack therof) of people in that world have an actual impact on the god.

It's also not any different from most religions that have a heaven/hell concept where all the "good" people (that worship me) get to go to heaven and everybody else...doesn't.

The first case is one where an active god is behind the coercion. The second is zealous followers. In my campaign, since I don't really address anything that actually happens in the planes, I consider it the second.

Religion can be among the least tolerant organizations around.



Absolutely.

Because of its polytheism, and the fact that its polytheism is relatively consistent across the entire continent, the Realms doesn't tend to have the religious wars that dominated our own medieval eras. Religion, or the misappropriation/misrepresentation of religion, is probably among the most significant causes of most historical conflicts period.

So I think that it's reasonable that a lot of the conflicts within a fantasy polytheistic world, the Realms or otherwise, would still be religiously driven. The main difference being that the religious differences generally don't equal regional or national differences. There are exceptions in the Realms. For example, the Zhentarim had a strong connection to the church of Bane. The open cities and towns (Zhentil Keep, Llorkh, and Orlbar the primary ones) were ruled in the manner of a state with a national religion. But that's rare in the Realms.

I wonder about that. Frankly, once the issue of "My god is the true god" is gone, what reason would most churches in the forgotten realms have to fight?

Is there going to be more than a philosophical discussion about whether or not Chauntea is greater than... is Lathander the God of the Sun? Or the church of Tymora (luck) getting into a fight with the Church of Waukeen (trade and economics)?

Sure, Bane and Cyric and the other evil deities (that frankly should be much less powerful than their good counterparts since so many fewer people would choose to worship them) are going to be causing a lot of conflict, but that is less religion causing conflict than "The being we worship wants to rule the world and we will kill people until that happens" there is no grey, like with the religious wars we had in this world, one side is clearly evil and is recognized as evil by an objective cosmic array.

So, the few churches actively seeking death cause problems, but the majority should get along, at that point we end up moving far closer into politics causing the majority of problems rather than the churches, because church politics and jockeying for power is less about getting worshipers and proving the power of your deity than it is honoring your deity by claiming more stuff in their name.


I guess what I'm talking around is church causing conflicts because of church politics is not what I would consider a religious conflict, a religious conflict is more when the idealogies clash, and that is far less common in the realms once you move beyond the evil gods.... who really could be better served by being something other than gods generally.
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
I wonder about that. Frankly, once the issue of "My god is the true god" is gone, what reason would most churches in the forgotten realms have to fight?

Is there going to be more than a philosophical discussion about whether or not Chauntea is greater than... is Lathander the God of the Sun? Or the church of Tymora (luck) getting into a fight with the Church of Waukeen (trade and economics)?

Sure, Bane and Cyric and the other evil deities (that frankly should be much less powerful than their good counterparts since so many fewer people would choose to worship them) are going to be causing a lot of conflict, but that is less religion causing conflict than "The being we worship wants to rule the world and we will kill people until that happens" there is no grey, like with the religious wars we had in this world, one side is clearly evil and is recognized as evil by an objective cosmic array.

So, the few churches actively seeking death cause problems, but the majority should get along, at that point we end up moving far closer into politics causing the majority of problems rather than the churches, because church politics and jockeying for power is less about getting worshipers and proving the power of your deity than it is honoring your deity by claiming more stuff in their name.

I guess what I'm talking around is church causing conflicts because of church politics is not what I would consider a religious conflict, a religious conflict is more when the idealogies clash, and that is far less common in the realms once you move beyond the evil gods.... who really could be better served by being something other than gods generally.
Well, I think that the followers of the evil gods would be enough, but there are some schisms within some of the churches as well, such as Oghma. I get what you're saying though.

To me, though things like the Crusades were "religious" wars, or at least that's the reasoning used behind them at the time. So the wars started by the Zhentarim, at least in the 1350's with Fzoul and the church of Bane would be what I would consider a religious war. The same applies to the wars in Mulhurand, Unther and Chessenta, although they are transplanted from another world with Egyptian and other gods (not a Greenwood element). The part that I liked about that implementation was the God Kings called the prime plane native.

As far as the power of the evil gods (or the gods in general) - the idea of the god's power being tied to their faithful started with 2e. The thing is, the way religion is described, the people acknowledge the gods more than actively worship them. Yes, there will be prayers, potentially sacrifices, and celebrations for the gods to some degree or another. So sailors pay homage to Umberlee before setting sail to appease her and hope for a storm-free journey. That sort of thing. So does that count as worshipers? How much do they have to acknowledge them? Is evil stronger than good in general? Is a blood sacrifice more potent? Perhaps the devotion of the faithful is measured, and the followers of the evil gods are more fanatical? There are a lot of possibilities.

Despite 2e setting it up so the power of faith is important to the gods, I don't concern myself with the gods themselves in my campaign. I'm not really concerned whether Bane is a greater god or a lesser god. Nor do I see any in-world difference between the cleric of a demigod and a greater god. My focus is on the churches and the people themselves. What impact they have in the campaign.

One of those factors is that there are always those that want to believe in something. And even if they are a smallish part of the population, they are still susceptible to somebody with great charisma, and a cause. And a religious cause, at least in my mind, will generally pull in more fanatics than a political one. Regardless of whether it's actually a religious conflict, or driven by a despot who is using faith and religion to further his own goals isn't really the issue. Because if the rank and file, the followers, believe it to be a religious war, then it effectively is.

It's absolutely true that the churches of Bane, Cyric, Bhaal, and Malar are going be behind much of the conflicts. In my own campaign, the church of Bane, some Red Wizards of Thay (for whom Bane is the state religion), and a powerful new Zhentarim leader are all working together. Only the church of Bane is really doing so for Bane, and all three of them are plotting, scheming, and moving against each other. But those alliances, however fragile, are causing an awful lot of strife in a particular area of my Realms right now.
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
I agree, but there are many who feel it's The One True Way. To those people, this is one (more) reason to hate FR. Personally, I hate the "precious snowflake" mentality for PCs.
I'm not sure I've seen that mentality in a game.

I also have a question for the Realms folks out there - has anybody actually used Elminster, Drizzt, or other famous NPCs in their Realms campaign? I can't say I know of a campaign personally that did. For some reason I get the sense that the haters think that a Realms campaign is full of all of those NPCs and the PCs are an afterthought.

Is the same perspective/hate directed towards Middle Earth RPGs, or Star Wars, or other settings that have famous NPCs? Or is it just reserved for the Realms?
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Hmmm. I went back to my response to your post and I'm not sure what I said to offend. I apologize if I did. I will happily make clarification/restitution where I did. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

I get that the Realms isn't for everybody. I'm not a huge fan of the Dragonlance setting myself. Some of the characters I like, some of the concepts and stories, but as a whole it just doesn't work for me. I dislike the design of kender, gully dwarves, and draconians to start with, three concepts that are pretty central.

I'm not even a fan of everything in the Realms.

So if you don't like the Forgotten Realms, I'm quite OK with that and fully support that.
I didn't see it, either. I think his comment to you was out of line.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I wonder about that. Frankly, once the issue of "My god is the true god" is gone, what reason would most churches in the forgotten realms have to fight?
Market share. Philosophy. You don't have to believe that your god is the one true god in order to dislike another religion.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
I'm not sure I've seen that mentality in a game.

I also have a question for the Realms folks out there - has anybody actually used Elminster, Drizzt, or other famous NPCs in their Realms campaign? I can't say I know of a campaign personally that did. For some reason I get the sense that the haters think that a Realms campaign is full of all of those NPCs and the PCs are an afterthought.

Is the same perspective/hate directed towards Middle Earth RPGs, or Star Wars, or other settings that have famous NPCs? Or is it just reserved for the Realms?
I've been running the Realms since 1e. Elminster has appeared briefly 3 times as an information resource. Twice the PCs sought him out. Drizzt never has seen the light of day. The Paladin that serves as the Simbul's second in command made a brief appearance once. Alustriel made a brief appearance once. Durnan is at the Yawning Portal and I've had a few parties descend into Undermountain, but he wasn't anything more than a barkeep. Beyond that, I can't remember using any others.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
I'm not sure I've seen that mentality in a game.

I also have a question for the Realms folks out there - has anybody actually used Elminster, Drizzt, or other famous NPCs in their Realms campaign? I can't say I know of a campaign personally that did. For some reason I get the sense that the haters think that a Realms campaign is full of all of those NPCs and the PCs are an afterthought.

Is the same perspective/hate directed towards Middle Earth RPGs, or Star Wars, or other settings that have famous NPCs? Or is it just reserved for the Realms?
I have used Elminster one time, as the character's have become the heroes of Shadowdale and it is their adopted home. I used him as an advisor in a Dales Council meeting and he had one line that reinforced the fact that the character's screwed something up big-time. My "kids group" are not familiar with FR other than what they know from our actual play, so no big deal.

I have my issues with FR, but the "NPCs steal the show" is only an issue if the DM/Players make it so. I have run games where a hardcore Realmsophile tried to utilize that kind of knowledge to their benefit "lets go find the contact for The Harpers that I know lives in this town"...or "Elminster would never let that happen". That kind of thing. I can't deal with those kinds of people, so he got pissed and quit after a few sessions of me nixing all his pent up Realms-lore. Adios. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Sheldon.
 

hastur_nz

Villager
A lot of the early adventures, at least the ones I read, did indeed feature Elminster in person. For example, the 'sample adventures' in the original grey box for AD&D i.e. 1e, and as noted the infamously terrible IMO 'convert to 2e' adventures. Sure, no-one forces you to run your games like that, but for me that put me off the Realms from day one, and also for when 2e arrived a couple of years later or whatever it was.

From memory, I don't think I ever did actually run a single adventure in the realms, simply because I didn't see anything published that took my fancy (Azure Bonds was the closest, but it was too huge), and the overall tone of the Dale-lands, which was about all there was really fleshed out much in the grey box, just didn't inspire me to make up any adventures of my own. The grey box was a mess for me - most information was thin and dumped out alphabetically, making it near impossible to really understand what this land was supposed to be like, beyond a map that just didn't really make any sense e.g. how are you supposed to trade long-distance if you can't sail a ship east to west. Eventually, when 3e came out, I ended up as a player in the Realms, and it was fine - we did a home-brew campaign from the Dalelands across the desert to finish somewhere near the west coast; I played in a few other 3.5 games in the Realms. I've only started to DM a Realms game, this year, on the Sword Coast where Elmisnter etc are obviously absent (although for fun, a certain antagonist from some books may well make a special guest appearance soon, to help move a plot point forward).

p.s. this thread is asking "what don't you like"... it's not asking for anyone to come in and get all defensive as to "why the realms is in fact so great..."
 

JeffB

Adventurer
I should add...

One of the things I hate the most is the section in the DMs book in the OGB that lists a month by month "stuff that happened" for 2 years prior to the year that campaigns are supposed to start. Its mostly a bunch of other adventurers solving all the problems. Some of them have an open hook, but most are "this cool stuff happened last year, some other group of adventurers/NPCs took care of it. Case closed". Stupid waste of space (as well as all the info on adventuring/mercenary companies in the Cyclopedia). I think that was just Ed writing things for his home players to feel good about/be immortalized for.

That section should have been re-written with a different focus-"here is something that happened last year, it may cause XYZ adventure hook for your player's characters in the future".Every single entry.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
Despite 2e setting it up so the power of faith is important to the gods, I don't concern myself with the gods themselves in my campaign. I'm not really concerned whether Bane is a greater god or a lesser god. Nor do I see any in-world difference between the cleric of a demigod and a greater god. My focus is on the churches and the people themselves. What impact they have in the campaign.

One of those factors is that there are always those that want to believe in something. And even if they are a smallish part of the population, they are still susceptible to somebody with great charisma, and a cause. And a religious cause, at least in my mind, will generally pull in more fanatics than a political one. Regardless of whether it's actually a religious conflict, or driven by a despot who is using faith and religion to further his own goals isn't really the issue. Because if the rank and file, the followers, believe it to be a religious war, then it effectively is.

It's absolutely true that the churches of Bane, Cyric, Bhaal, and Malar are going be behind much of the conflicts. In my own campaign, the church of Bane, some Red Wizards of Thay (for whom Bane is the state religion), and a powerful new Zhentarim leader are all working together. Only the church of Bane is really doing so for Bane, and all three of them are plotting, scheming, and moving against each other. But those alliances, however fragile, are causing an awful lot of strife in a particular area of my Realms right now.
It kind of works for Bane, tyranny is his whole schtick so a strict authoritarian government style church works.

But, as I understand it, who would ever worship Cyric or Bhaal?

Looking at the Wiki it says Cyric has “ an immense following” and that “Cyric's church was pledged to spread strife and work murder everywhere in order to make folk believe in and fear the Dark Sun.” But, look at this from a perspective of society and it makes no sense. For these two things to be true there has to be a massive amount of people in Faerun who want to cause chaos for the sake of chaos and murder, while following the god of lies… and formed into a cohesive unit. A very similar thing follows for Bhaal, whose only dogma seems to be “Kill someone every ten days, and if you can’t you have to kill enough people to catch up to your quota” how many people would seriously be murder-hungry enough to follow through on that kind of religion. “Our only tenant is to kill more people, by the way, I’m going to start killing you guys to meet my quota”

Now, let us say that it possible (which I find a little hard to swallow, but maybe the realms is that terrible of a place) what purpose does Cyric serve that is not served by Graz’zt, Yeenoghu or Asmodeus? Graz’zt is all about self-indulgence and doing what you want, if you find chaos to be amusing, sow chaos and indulge your whims. Yeenoghu is the Beast of Slaughter, murdering people for the sake of murdering them is what he is all about. Asmodeus is someone who twists words to his advantage and is a deal maker, and thus can be seen as a more sane version of Cyric in many ways.

Why do we have these gods that only madmen would worship, when we already have demon lords and archdevils that have the same philosophies and these same madmen would worship them? What does Bhaal offer to his followers that Yeenoghu or Baphomet can’t?

One of my favorite homebrews I’ve come across recently was the Pantheon work done by LudicSavant on GiTPG. He is working with the Greyhawk pantheon, but he takes every deity and looks at how to write their belief system in a way that a sane person could reasonably be expected to fellow the string of logic.

So for example, Nerull the God of Death in his version is the being that separated life and death into two separate things, and then once he realized that life meant pain came into existence began working to reverse what he did. The idea that life is pain and moving beyond life is the only way to escape pain makes sense, we see this philosophy crop up in the real world. He doesn’t encourage his followers to kill, people are allowed to choose when their pain should end, but if they must kill they should do so as swiftly and painlessly as possible. I’ll link it, and from anyone of his threads you can find the others. It really is some brilliant stuff. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?443831-My-pantheon-s-take-on-Nerull and he does the same with Hextor (Bane’s crazier cousin in Greyhawk), Erythunul, Lolth, ect.

Market share. Philosophy. You don't have to believe that your god is the one true god in order to dislike another religion.
Yeah, but in this world religious conflict generally translates into mass murder and smear campaigns.

Do the followers of Helm go out and destroy the shrines built to Sune? Do Waukeen’s followers despise and look down upon the followers of Mystra?

I don’t know as much about the Realms as some, but that all sounds absurd to me. At worst you are looking at something more similar to the fighting between those who like Coffee and the people who drink Tea. Sure, each one thinks the others choice is wrong, and maybe a little gross or snooty, and they’ll try to get their friends to convert over, but at the end of the day that’s about it. Friendly competition sure, but nothing that could be considered a “conflict” or “war” between the two religions.


I don’t want this to devolve too far, it’s just I find this set up of “The Good gods vs the Evil Gods vs The Demons vs The Devils” a little too convoluted. The good guys almost never fight each other, because it doesn’t make sense for them to, and if you have Demon Lords and Archdevils that can almost challenge the gods, why do you need Evil gods?
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
A lot of the early adventures, at least the ones I read, did indeed feature Elminster in person. For example, the 'sample adventures' in the original grey box for AD&D i.e. 1e, and as noted the infamously terrible IMO 'convert to 2e' adventures. Sure, no-one forces you to run your games like that, but for me that put me off the Realms from day one, and also for when 2e arrived a couple of years later or whatever it was.

From memory, I don't think I ever did actually run a single adventure in the realms, simply because I didn't see anything published that took my fancy (Azure Bonds was the closest, but it was too huge), and the overall tone of the Dale-lands, which was about all there was really fleshed out much in the grey box, just didn't inspire me to make up any adventures of my own. The grey box was a mess for me - most information was thin and dumped out alphabetically, making it near impossible to really understand what this land was supposed to be like, beyond a map that just didn't really make any sense e.g. how are you supposed to trade long-distance if you can't sail a ship east to west. Eventually, when 3e came out, I ended up as a player in the Realms, and it was fine - we did a home-brew campaign from the Dalelands across the desert to finish somewhere near the west coast; I played in a few other 3.5 games in the Realms. I've only started to DM a Realms game, this year, on the Sword Coast where Elmisnter etc are obviously absent (although for fun, a certain antagonist from some books may well make a special guest appearance soon, to help move a plot point forward).
I'm not sure I've every run a published adventure from the Realms, just the setting.

p.s. this thread is asking "what don't you like"... it's not asking for anyone to come in and get all defensive as to "why the realms is in fact so great..."
Well, to start with I don't think I'm being defensive. I'm explaining why I like the Realms, and started in response to a specific post in the thread that said "sell me on the Realms, tell me why it's so great."

Is a straight hate thread even allowed? Here's why I hate 4e. Here's why I have dragonborn. Here's why I hate tieflings. Isn't it supposed to be a discussion? If not, then I'm out of here because that's kind of pointless.
 
Is the same perspective/hate directed towards Middle Earth RPGs, or Star Wars, or other settings that have famous NPCs? Or is it just reserved for the Realms?
It's not just the Realms, but the Realms gets blamed for it more often.

Nearly every SW game I've ever played in began with the premise "so the Death Star blew up Yavin, killing Luke and Leia and most of the Alliance leaders..." It's done because the GM can't or doesn't want to write around the known heroes for exactly the same BS reasons Eliminster or Drizzt is hated. Once you have an established hero known for saving the world, the natural question to any plot hookv presented to the PCs is "why isn't Luke/Gandalf/Harry Potter/The Doctor/the Avengers/Justice League handling this?"

There are two settings in D&D that have similar "face heroes", FR and Dragonlance. And surprise, they both get a lot of flack for it. Yet ironically, they are probably the best known settings because of those characters. Catch 22, if you ask me.
 

Shasarak

Villager
I have my issues with FR, but the "NPCs steal the show" is only an issue if the DM/Players make it so. I have run games where a hardcore Realmsophile tried to utilize that kind of knowledge to their benefit "lets go find the contact for The Harpers that I know lives in this town"...or "Elminster would never let that happen". That kind of thing. I can't deal with those kinds of people, so he got pissed and quit after a few sessions of me nixing all his pent up Realms-lore. Adios. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Sheldon.
It is your game and on the other hand what a waste of potential resources. It is hard enough to get Players interested in the setting without kicking out the people that actually care.
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
It kind of works for Bane, tyranny is his whole schtick so a strict authoritarian government style church works.

But, as I understand it, who would ever worship Cyric or Bhaal?

Looking at the Wiki it says Cyric has “ an immense following” and that “Cyric's church was pledged to spread strife and work murder everywhere in order to make folk believe in and fear the Dark Sun.” But, look at this from a perspective of society and it makes no sense. For these two things to be true there has to be a massive amount of people in Faerun who want to cause chaos for the sake of chaos and murder, while following the god of lies… and formed into a cohesive unit. A very similar thing follows for Bhaal, whose only dogma seems to be “Kill someone every ten days, and if you can’t you have to kill enough people to catch up to your quota” how many people would seriously be murder-hungry enough to follow through on that kind of religion. “Our only tenant is to kill more people, by the way, I’m going to start killing you guys to meet my quota”

Now, let us say that it possible (which I find a little hard to swallow, but maybe the realms is that terrible of a place) what purpose does Cyric serve that is not served by Graz’zt, Yeenoghu or Asmodeus? Graz’zt is all about self-indulgence and doing what you want, if you find chaos to be amusing, sow chaos and indulge your whims. Yeenoghu is the Beast of Slaughter, murdering people for the sake of murdering them is what he is all about. Asmodeus is someone who twists words to his advantage and is a deal maker, and thus can be seen as a more sane version of Cyric in many ways.

Why do we have these gods that only madmen would worship, when we already have demon lords and archdevils that have the same philosophies and these same madmen would worship them? What does Bhaal offer to his followers that Yeenoghu or Baphomet can’t?

One of my favorite homebrews I’ve come across recently was the Pantheon work done by LudicSavant on GiTPG. He is working with the Greyhawk pantheon, but he takes every deity and looks at how to write their belief system in a way that a sane person could reasonably be expected to fellow the string of logic.

So for example, Nerull the God of Death in his version is the being that separated life and death into two separate things, and then once he realized that life meant pain came into existence began working to reverse what he did. The idea that life is pain and moving beyond life is the only way to escape pain makes sense, we see this philosophy crop up in the real world. He doesn’t encourage his followers to kill, people are allowed to choose when their pain should end, but if they must kill they should do so as swiftly and painlessly as possible. I’ll link it, and from anyone of his threads you can find the others. It really is some brilliant stuff. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?443831-My-pantheon-s-take-on-Nerull and he does the same with Hextor (Bane’s crazier cousin in Greyhawk), Erythunul, Lolth, ect.

Yeah, but in this world religious conflict generally translates into mass murder and smear campaigns.

Do the followers of Helm go out and destroy the shrines built to Sune? Do Waukeen’s followers despise and look down upon the followers of Mystra?

I don’t know as much about the Realms as some, but that all sounds absurd to me. At worst you are looking at something more similar to the fighting between those who like Coffee and the people who drink Tea. Sure, each one thinks the others choice is wrong, and maybe a little gross or snooty, and they’ll try to get their friends to convert over, but at the end of the day that’s about it. Friendly competition sure, but nothing that could be considered a “conflict” or “war” between the two religions.


I don’t want this to devolve too far, it’s just I find this set up of “The Good gods vs the Evil Gods vs The Demons vs The Devils” a little too convoluted. The good guys almost never fight each other, because it doesn’t make sense for them to, and if you have Demon Lords and Archdevils that can almost challenge the gods, why do you need Evil gods?
Well, the way I look at it is that evil organizations are generally lawful evil (nazis, mafia), and attract lots of neutral evil and chaotic evil individuals. Of course, the city watch and guard, mercenaries, and other combat oriented types often work under the guise of being legal and are really sadistic bastards that inflict as much pain and suffering as they can without being caught. And there's lots of opportunity for that.

Bhaal as the god of murder is simple. Assassins to start. Many mercenaries, pirates, etc. Cyricists basically got their foothold by taking over Bane's and Bhaal's churches until they returned, assuming you follow the Time of Troubles timeline. Many have probably left, but the church itself rules by fear and force among other things. Frankly, in my campaign, Cyric has never played much of a part.

There are cults to Asmodeus, but not so much the other demon princes. Devils and demons fill a different sort of niche, and while they have some followers, most can't provide spells and abilities (although warlocks can gain their power from them). Also, being that they aren't gods, it's very difficult to openly worship them.

I don't know if there's an official ruling on this, but in my campaign demons and devils can only enter the Realms if they are summoned, or a gate is opened for them. They can use trickery (any magic reaching into another plane in my campaign carries a risk that a fiend might find a way to use that conduit. Gods on the other hand can provide clerics (and formerly paladins and rangers) with their abilities, manifest as avatars or other means, or even enter the Realms by their own free will.
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
It's not just the Realms, but the Realms gets blamed for it more often.

Nearly every SW game I've ever played in began with the premise "so the Death Star blew up Yavin, killing Luke and Leia and most of the Alliance leaders..." It's done because the GM can't or doesn't want to write around the known heroes for exactly the same BS reasons Eliminster or Drizzt is hated. Once you have an established hero known for saving the world, the natural question to any plot hookv presented to the PCs is "why isn't Luke/Gandalf/Harry Potter/The Doctor/the Avengers/Justice League handling this?"

There are two settings in D&D that have similar "face heroes", FR and Dragonlance. And surprise, they both get a lot of flack for it. Yet ironically, they are probably the best known settings because of those characters. Catch 22, if you ask me.

Greyhawk has the Circle of Eight as well. The real difference is that the Greyhawk novels, as few as there were, never did very well.
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
I'm not sure I've every run a published adventure from the Realms, just the setting.



Well, to start with I don't think I'm being defensive. I'm explaining why I like the Realms, and started in response to a specific post in the thread that said "sell me on the Realms, tell me why it's so great."

Is a straight hate thread even allowed? Here's why I hate 4e. Here's why I have dragonborn. Here's why I hate tieflings. Isn't it supposed to be a discussion? If not, then I'm out of here because that's kind of pointless.
Edit: Actually, the post was asking "why the Realms is hated," not "what do you hate about it." There's a difference.

Many people have posted that there's too much material. There is a lot more material than just about any other campaign, but I thought it useful to point out that a significant portion of what is published has simply been republished. Several times. Meaning there's probably about 50 to 60% less actual material.

So whatever.
 

Lanefan

Hero
Many people have posted that there's too much material. There is a lot more material than just about any other campaign, but I thought it useful to point out that a significant portion of what is published has simply been republished. Several times. Meaning there's probably about 50 to 60% less actual material.
This was something that really put me off not just FR but TSR in general during the 2e era: I'd find some splatbook interesting and buy it, then some time later buy another and only afterwards realize parts of the new one were copied word for word from what I already had. In other words, I'd paid (in part) for the same material twice.

I seem to recall The Seven Sisters book being particularly bad for this.

Lanefan
 

Ilbranteloth

Villager
So, since this is apparently supposed to be restricted to what I hate about the Realms...

I hate that starting as early as 2e they started dumping any and every "cool idea" into the Realms. It greatly diluted the feel of the setting, and only got worse as time went on. Every supplement in 3.x had new races and classes. Some of the classes were OK, but the races just get annoying because adding another intelligent race to the mix and pretending that it always existed alters the relations and relationships of the cultures, politics, etc.

4e, of course, went much, much farther. I could handle the Spellplague (seems appropriate enough for what the Realms had become), but didn't like the jump forward 100 years. Floating islands and stuff was OK, but returned Abeir was wrong on so many levels. Reworking the planes and the gods to match all the core of 4e was a big miss. Oh, and the big holes in the ground and the other changes in geography. And eladrin. How I hate eladrin. And dragonborn. And tieflings.

Many of the novels suck. Poor writing, poor stories, very poor adherence to the physics and nature of a D&D world, and too many epic "save the world" adventures. There are some gems out there, but the glut of mediocrity wasn't limited to the supplements.

Sembia. In the OGB it was specifically stated they would never populate or describe Sembia besides the outline in the OGB because it was left for the DMs home campaign. And then it wasn't. Perhaps it was too close to Cormyr and the Dalelands to leave untouched?

The changing geography in general. The 4e changes were one thing. But the 3e map rearranged things to fit on one page, and condensed them so travel distances were all screwed up.

Too many reprints. Much (50%+?) of the material in 3e was 1e + Volo's Guides reprinted. The 2e stuff was mostly cut and paste from the 1e stuff. I get that it needed to be updated to the new rules, but one of the advantages of the FR supplements in 1e is that there isn't a whole lot of crunch. So most of the fluff has been printed at least 3 times. Waterdeep more than that probably.

Too many cooks. This isn't a problem relegated to the Realms. Lots of people came and went at TSR, and of course there was the move to WotC. But Greenwood has always been available, and writes prolifically (more like vomits forth lore copiously). I'm sure there was stuff to deal with contracts, and such. But that was a huge miss in my book.

Reworking the Realms as the default setting. I had forgotten that when 3e came out, Greyhawk was the default setting again. Well, it was never the official default setting, but since AD&D was Gygax, everything matched his world at the time. I just think Greyhawk makes the better default (I won't say generic) setting because of that. Had they maintained that, perhaps 4e wouldn't have screwed up the Realms so much.

Inconsistency in presentations. I like things like different currencies for different countries, regions, city-states, etc. It makes sense to me. Ancient coins lie in ancient tombs. That sort of thing. They were/are very inconsistent about those sorts of things over the years. This is another problem in D&D publications as a whole, where they haven't maintained a consistent presentation within an edition. So if you're going to list the coins of a given realm in one supplement, do it for the realms in another supplement.

Every damn thing in the 4e FRPG. No wait, there's a picture on pg. 48 that I love. Probably a couple of others.

Arcane Age. And Under Illefarn. Under Illefarn was released before the OGB if I recall. They provided information for the rulership of Daggerford. Conan and Sonja. Really. The supplement was pretty good, but that was just absurd. The Netheril box set (part of Arcane Age), had silly names and a lot of poor writing. The idea is that the past was a period of much greater magic (10th level and greater spells!), and that many of the dungeons found today are from that era. A real wasted opportunity.

The Horde. Maztica. Anything to do with Spelljammer in FR.

Anauroch is both amazingly cool, and a lost opportunity dumping the Bedine in there (although a greenwood written supplement, I'm still convinced he was told to do the Bedine). The coverage of the culture is really good, but has no business there. If anything it would have worked OK in Raurin.

I'm on the fence with Old Empires. The use of Egyptian gods could have been a decent starting point, but it's too incongruous. The cultures are pretty cool, and the idea of a land where the gods are native to the prime plane and rule the countries works for me too.

The Complete series of books specifically for the Realms. So much junk, with perhaps a few decent things. I forget. I'll have to dig them out and see how much they bum me out.

Moonshaes. I don't think Ed's Moonshaes were a copy of the British Isles. I'm pretty sure that the novels and the future supplement were tacked on. With so much material to work with right at the beginning, why did they feel the need to tack on so many non-Greenwood things.

Too many gods. Some of them were added by others. Some I'm OK with, after changing some of the dogma and such, like Oghma and Deneir.

The 5e lore. Here we go again. Tons of stuff I can't absolutely stand in VGtM. The background of SKT. The fact that within 3 years we've apparently saved the world from Tiamat, all of the Demon Princes, a transplanted Greyhawk theme, and all of the giants. Having said that, and despite it being another Greyhawk inspired transplant, I'm looking forward to ToA. For now.

The video games. So much badness (and a few decent ones, but really still off the mark).

Really, it comes down to the non-Greenwood stuff that I like the least. Don't get me wrong, there have been a few very good authors that took their stewardship seriously (and still do), and they provided some really great stuff too. But there has been too much crappy stuff to go with it.

To me, if you don't care for Greenwood's writing or ideas, fair enough. Although Ed the fiction author is very different from Ed the adventure author and Ed the supplement author. To me he shines as a supplement author. A master of flavor and fluff. Mediocre as an adventure author at best, and really hit or miss with his fiction. I actually really like his dense writing style (guilty pleasure), but the stories on the other hand aren't fantastic. On the other hand, I do know that a lot tends to get cut from the drafts, and that probably has an impact. (One of my favorite books is Piers Anthony's But What of Earth? - not because it's a good book, but the annotated version compared to the published version is amazing. Along the same lines as Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil.

I know there's a lot more, but those are things I can think of now. Did that help?
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
Well, the way I look at it is that evil organizations are generally lawful evil (nazis, mafia), and attract lots of neutral evil and chaotic evil individuals. Of course, the city watch and guard, mercenaries, and other combat oriented types often work under the guise of being legal and are really sadistic bastards that inflict as much pain and suffering as they can without being caught. And there's lots of opportunity for that.

Bhaal as the god of murder is simple. Assassins to start. Many mercenaries, pirates, etc. Cyricists basically got their foothold by taking over Bane's and Bhaal's churches until they returned, assuming you follow the Time of Troubles timeline. Many have probably left, but the church itself rules by fear and force among other things. Frankly, in my campaign, Cyric has never played much of a part.
I'd say you are right about Lawful Evil groups attracting Neutral and Chaotic individuals, but the devil is in the details. Nazi's didn't kill people for no reason. They believed in racial superiority and the stated goal of the Third Reich was to put the entire world under their rule (which was the best rule because racial superiority) to prevent future wars and conflicts and lead to a glorious future. Evil and wrong, yes, but the leadership had a goal beyond "murder as many people as possible"

The Mafia is even more defensible from that perspective. They are business people. Sure, you can hire people who like to cause pain and suffering and like to murder people, but if you murdering people causes problems for the family, you get axed. They care about profits first and foremost and if they can do so without killing and maiming people then they will.


You can see rational people following those paths, that's why a lot of literature has mobsters or sometimes even Nazi's (Jojo's Bizarre Adventure) as characters who help the hero. They aren't good or nice people, but they do things that benefit themselves, however a church of murder for the sake of murder... it doesn't work. The closest you can get is making your god more powerful and what does making the Mad god of Lies and suffering more powerful net you, more suffering? I guess the higher-ups could be taking advantage of the god to improve their own power and not because they are true believers but it begins to get a weird set up.




There are cults to Asmodeus, but not so much the other demon princes. Devils and demons fill a different sort of niche, and while they have some followers, most can't provide spells and abilities (although warlocks can gain their power from them). Also, being that they aren't gods, it's very difficult to openly worship them.

I don't know if there's an official ruling on this, but in my campaign demons and devils can only enter the Realms if they are summoned, or a gate is opened for them. They can use trickery (any magic reaching into another plane in my campaign carries a risk that a fiend might find a way to use that conduit. Gods on the other hand can provide clerics (and formerly paladins and rangers) with their abilities, manifest as avatars or other means, or even enter the Realms by their own free will.

And it isn't difficult to worship the gods we're talking about? I mean, you aren't going to go to Sunday Brunch at the house of the guy who worships the god of killing people are you? Or the God of causing other people suffering? How about the guy who worships the God of Poisoners?

These gods are Evil, most places reject them and hunt them down. Worshipping Bhaal seems just as evil and bad as following Bel or Mephistophles.

On to the point about power though, that is not exactly the case is it?

The MM lists Cultist Fanatics, who would be the standard leaders for Demon Cults, as having cleric spells. And Volo's lists Fiend Pact Warlocks as people who may associate with Fiendish Cults, while giving them completely different stats.

I'll admit, it is weak evidence, and I don't have much in the way of old adventures to look up NPCs in, but aren't there a lot of "Cult Leaders" for demonic or GOO beings that ended up using cleric stats? The separation tends to be more a construct for Player Characters than one for saying that Demon Lords and Archdevils can't imitate divine powers. After all, we know from Unearthed Arcana that Bel has Hellknights which are Paladins of Conquest, the lines are a bit fuzzy. As to being able to enter the mortal world freely... they don't actually do that very often, and how can Asmodeus approach someone to offer a pact of power if he couldn't send a sliver of himself into the world to tempt them?

Personally? Strengthening the restrictions on beings like gods to enter the mortal realms is a very very good thing, especially at my table. I've got one player who loves to try and call on his deity to help him all the time. And I mean directly help him. Help him kill this thing by showing up and killing it, help him find this item by showing up and handing it to him, Help him solve this puzzle by showing up and telling him the answer, ect. He chose an Aasimaar Zealot barbarian, so as a celestial blooded figure with divine power sent on a mission he feels they should leverage all their power to help him.

"No, they aren't going to" was met with arguments. So, slowly he learned about the veil and the contract that prevents the Divine from touching the world directly. So it was "No, they can't, your power can't pierce the veil separating the worlds to allow them to act". He still didn't like it, and tried to argue around it, but with a solid reason that kept his pride in check, I was able to move on much more smoothly.

He's a bit of a pain at times, but he's a real good friend, and a decent player when he plays the game instead of trying to be the main character of a superhero story.

Reading back over this, I seem to be rambling more than usual. Time for bed!
 

Advertisement

Top