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5E Why FR Is "Hated"

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Thing #2 is important but not something which has been mentioned lately in this thread: powerful friendly supernatural beings over a certain level of capability are bad for the game because they remove opportunities for agency, especially if they are not Gods. I mean, Iluvatar is bad enough for dramatic tension in Lord of the Rings on a re-read (you know that Iluvatar is going to make things all turn out okay in the end) but at least an infallible, omnipotent overseer can let bad things happen to people in the short run because the end result will be good. If on the other hand Crom simply have lots of power and knowledge, but not an unlimited amount, then Crom is morally obligated to act when the opportunity presents itself, instead of letting the PCs do it. It's the Elminster problem on steroids. You have to be very careful how much power and knowledge and motivation you allow to friendly powers in the campaign world or it crushes the life out of the game.
Easy to (mostly) eliminate this by simply saying that Crom and the other deities are just too busy most of the time - yours isn't the only world they have to concern themselves with; there's millions of other worlds and planes out there all demanding attention, and omnipresence only goes so far. :)

For related reasons, you don't want actively hostile powers to be too strong either. Neutral powers are okay, especially if they're basically apathetic and uncaring.
What I've tended to do in the past is story-board one or two nasty immortals or deities having a specific interest in the particular game-world I'm running (e.g. Llolth in my first big campaign), and one or two goodly ones (Mimosa, a Hobbit goddess in that same game) more or less helping defend it. That narrows the field considerably - sure there's lots of deities are worshipped, and PC Clerics are all over the map deity-wise - but there's only a few paying much attention to what goes on.

Then, most of the divine arguing is done way above the PCs' heads, while the PCs either do their own thing or are nudged (or occasionally outright sent - I'm not above a bit of blatant railroading now and then :) ) into doing something useful for the good side, even though the PCs themselves might be anything but Good. :)

In my current game the PCs know that one of the Elven gods has been captured, imprisoned, and replaced/impersonated by something - they're not sure exactly what yet but their suspicions are that it's something Lovecraftian - which has over a long time been corrupting the Elvish society. Hence the Elves - almost all of whom are unaware there's anything amiss and thus are completely innocent - have become the enemy, which makes for loads of fun when half the PCs are Elves!

Lan-"one PC in my game decided on a whim to declare himself the god of fashion and good clothing (or something like that) - great entertainment!"-efan
 
That was taken for granted once 5e lowered the ceiling with making Tiamat a mere CR30. Elminster couldn't be even near a true deity in power, so if ever stated has to be much lower.
No one expects him to solo Tiamat, even at his prime he could never do that. But he should do something
The thing is, is what he is doing active or behind the scenes? I like my Elminster like I like my Gandalf - behind the scenes, pushing and directing, but not often getting directly involved. Who's to say Elminster wasn't handling a horde of demons who got close to the surface somewhere off camera, or was helping organize the Five Factions to get to Bruenor's Hall, or perhaps he was off plane visiting Bytopia during that time? I don't need to know his actions in every game, nor does he need to be the one taking point whenever Dragons/Giants/Elemental Cults/Demon Hordes/Zombie Dinosaurs start invading.
 

Ebony Dragon

Villager
When I run games I often use the Forgotten Realm setting still. It's probably my favorite published D&D setting.

I have the 1987 Forgotten Realms box set, and also the 1993 book they did for 2nd edition. I quite like the realms of that time period, and just don't bother with any further developments in the lore. It's my game world - I'm just using the campaign setting to set the stage and give me maps, locations, and a pantheon. Not a fan of what they've done with that world in the last 20 years, so I just don't use it.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
If it makes you feel any better, I hate the 5e version of Elminster. Elminster as a MM Archmage is just a terribad idea.
I'd be happy with using that as a base and then bringing in some info from earlier editions like silver fire and his specific spell immunities. That would bump him up a bit in CR. Ideally, I think he and the Simbul (Is she even still around?) should be the equivalent of a lich (CR 21) which is what I would use to represent Szass Tam.
 
God(s) forbid any of you ever play a game in Glorantha.

That's an instant coronary for anyone who wants to debate realism in a fictional world theology.
Huh? The claim to fame of Glorantha's presentation of religion is that it (somewhat) mirrors real-world religous experience and religous practice. I think [MENTION=58172]Yaarel[/MENTION] would find it even closer to what he wants than Eberron is.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
Huh? The claim to fame of Glorantha's presentation of religion is that it (somewhat) mirrors real-world religous experience and religous practice. I think [MENTION=58172]Yaarel[/MENTION] would find it even closer to what he wants than Eberron is.
I'm not sure that many would consider that Glorantha's claim to fame. That is the side effect of it's "schtick".

That said, I was not addressing any one poster- rather if people can get this stupid over D&D theology and religion, they could never handle Glorantha.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
I hate to interrupt the discussion of Gods and Powers, but I had a discussion with a friend (a huge FR buff) who suggested something interesting...

We were talking about Curse of Strahd and, how except for minor differences, Strahd is just a MM spellcaster-variant vampire (with a higher Int score a few different spells) and Mordenkainen was a MM archmage (rather than a unique NPC stat block). Accerack in ToH is a MM demi-lich as well (with his variant power in the MM). It appears that, with a few exceptions, WotC ok with not custom crafting stat blocks for NPCs and is willing to use MM stat blocks for famous heroes and monsters. This lead us to a thought about how other "NPCs" in the Realms might now be as powerful as they were made before.

What if, Elminster is an MM archmage rather than a 30+ level fighter/cleric/thief/wizard/archmage that 3e had him as? What is Artemis is a 16th level rogue (assassin), Drizzt a 16th level ranger (hunter)? The Seven Sisters weren't epic level but Challenge 12-14 NPCs?

What if the "epic demigods of FR" aren't so mechanically epic anymore? That a group of mid-levels PCs could take out Elminster or Drizzt? They are high levels for sure, and Elminster is still capable of 9th level magic, but They aren't the Epic Level Gods of 2e or 3e anymore? (Most of their story exploits being owed to plot-armor and convenience) Thus, we can answer why can't Elminster go and solo Tiamat in Rise of Tiamat? Well, can a challenge 12 take out a challenge 30 solo by himself? Grab the stat blocks and try it. Hell, give Elminster help from Kelban and Allustrial (MM archmages) as allies and have them take on Demogorgon (Challenge 25, OOtA) and see how that combat plays.

Once you frame the notion like that, I wonder if it changes the notion of "why isn't Elminster stopping the Underdark invasion of demons" when he's more limited to what a 20th level wizard can do rather than a 30th level rules monstrosity...
I agree, though Drizzt has already been statted out as a two-weapon fighter, no ranger levels. Level 8, I believe? I would have to hunt the statblock down again.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
The thing is, is what he is doing active or behind the scenes? I like my Elminster like I like my Gandalf - behind the scenes, pushing and directing, but not often getting directly involved. Who's to say Elminster wasn't handling a horde of demons who got close to the surface somewhere off camera, or was helping organize the Five Factions to get to Bruenor's Hall, or perhaps he was off plane visiting Bytopia during that time? I don't need to know his actions in every game, nor does he need to be the one taking point whenever Dragons/Giants/Elemental Cults/Demon Hordes/Zombie Dinosaurs start invading.
I'm reading through the Elminster books right now (currently on Elminster Must Die), and this seems to be exactly what he does, other than maybe the first books (Making of a Mage and Elminster in Myth Drannor), and both of those take place hundreds of years before the PCs. In Elminster's Daughter he does very little of the actual protagonist actions, instead nudging the relevant powers in Cormyr (the Royals, the Royal Mage, etc) into handling a problem he discovered but they don't know about yet, or guiding them into a better path (like with Vangerdehast's scheme). He doesn't take an active part in foiling the Rightful Conspiracy or stopping Vangy.
 

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