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deserk
Learned Scribe

Norway
108 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  00:27:40  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hey, seeing as 5E's being developed now, and 5E Realms, I'd like to post what changes I as a FR fan would really like to see for the new edition of Forgotten Realms.

I figure anyone else who's equally anxious about the new edition might as well post what changes they'd like to see here as well.

Though I'm not a fan 4E Realms, the purpose of this thread is not to create edition arguments but for people to make relatively short notes of what they liked or disliked about 4E and what they want to see for the new Realms, to make it easy for FR designers to get an idea of what FR fans specifically would like to see.

So, below here is just my personal opinions and wish. Feel free to post your own wish list here. Would be interesting to see what other people want 5E Realms to be like.

Deserk's List:

What I liked about 4E Realms:
  • The return of the Netherese (would have preferred if they were a bit less stronger than portrayed 4E)

  • The return of the Imaskari (would have liked it more if the Imaskari were concentrated in Raurin, the heart of their ancient homeland, rather than taking over all of Mulhorand)

  • Elfharrow, wild elf savannah/desert region (more elf countries is always a plus, more so that it's a wild elf region :) )

  • Najara, the Snake Kingdom

  • Oman, a former Northlander isle of the Moonshae, being turned to a Cyclops kingdom (albeit, would have been cooler imo if it were turned into a Frost Giant kingdom)

  • Myth Drannor turned into a proper Elven kingdom again (though technically this sort of happened in late 3.5)

  • Murandinn, a monster realm south of Amn (technically after ToT this, but it seems they have consolidated their power more in 4E)

  • Tethyr made a little less of a "goody" paradise and more politically fragmented like in the olden days of Tethyr (Tethyr in 3rd edition never really seemed like a good spot for a D&D campaign to be set in, considering the lack of monsters and shady characters with power)


  • What I disliked about 4E Realms:
  • The Realms getting "smaller" (since I believe the general philosophy for 4E Realms was to give a lot of room for DMs to be creative. But imo, a bigger and detailed Realms like that in 1st/2nd edition really made FR what it was, a huge, diverse and exotic world, that gives loads of ideas to DMs)

  • The Deaths of Mystra, Tyr, Azuth, Gorm Gulthyn, Haela Brightaxe and Mask

  • The addition of Nathlan (Personally don't like seeing Kara-Turan stuff in the middle of Faerun)

  • The Dragonborn countries (doubt these will be removed)

  • The Genasi taking over countries (like Calimshan, portions of Chessenta)

  • The "Spellnuking" of Halruaa and Lantan, and presumably Nimbral

  • The destruction of Zhentil Keep (Long live the Zhentarim!)

  • The destruction of half of Chessenta, a large portion of the Shaar, Chondath, Hlondeth, Sespech, Altumbel and the Wizard's Reach

  • Evermeet porting away to another plane

  • Thay turning into an undead country, thus marking the end of the original Red Wizards

  • Arkaiuns managing to conquer all of Dambrath, and apparently meaning the end of the Crinti? (huge Crinti and Dambrath fan. A shame to see this pseudo-drow surface nation killed :( )

  • Luiren and Var the Golden "sinking"? (though never much a fan of Luiren, it served a role as a homeland for halflings)

  • Fall of House Jaelre and the other Vhaeraunian drow surface clans, due to Vhaeraun's death

  • Death of all the Dark Seldarine deities with the exception of Lolth and Ghaunadaur (This is a huge blow for the drow fans who liked other Dark Seldarine deities. I loved playing Vhaeraunites :( )

  • Death of the Duergar deities, Laduguer and Deep Duerra (huge blow for duergar fans, as these deities served an important role in defining culture of the duergars)

  • Unther and Mulhorand vanishing (I know some people don't like seeing historical allegories in FR, but I loved these nations. They are really unique)

  • FR gods actually being *this* and *that* god, through aspects, i.e. lumped together (like Talos really being Gruumsh, etc)

  • It seems like near Ruathym, the isle of Axard, the nation of "sea" dwarves, and the isle of Nerth is gone from the Spellplague map. Are these places deliberately gone?


  • What I would personally like to see in the new Realms:
  • Some effort to repair the listed dislikes, of course

  • As many sourcebooks as 2nd edition got! (2nd edition's got loads. 4E only has 4 FR sourcebooks to the best of my knowledge)

  • Bigger and more detailed Realms, and perhaps expanded Realms with new nations and perhaps new culture groups

  • Return of Bhaal and Myrkul (somehow, please find an excuse to bring the return of these awesome gods! :p )

  • More deities rather than less (and deities having more aspects and unique cultural names would be really cool, such as with Talos being known as Bhaelros in Calimshan, etc)

  • More of the less known/obscure Underdark cities detailed properly (like Guallidurth, supposedly the biggest drow city. Dusklyngh, V'eldrinnsshar, Ullin'Tharnor, etc)

  • More defined Orcish realms, like that of Dark Arrow Keep. Would have been great to see a homeland for the Grey Orcs as well, and cities in the Underdark for the Orogs

  • More monster realms

  • More info on obscure countries like Murghom and Semphar

  • The Old Empires back, and made more unique (technically covered by the first item listed here, but I just wanted to emphasise it, as I loved these places)

  • The Utter East properly detailed in a sourcebook, and made into a real part of Faerun

  • The Hordelands made less Tuigan dominated and more fragmented for different faction ideas

  • An Eldreth Veluuthra realm (and perhaps deity as well) for the elven supremacists would have been awesome

  • A Fey'ri demon-worshipping realm (even though they were quite weakened in 4E)

  • The Masked Brigades managing to create a Vhaeraunian drow kingdom in Cormanthor. The Vhaeraunite cities in the Forest of Mir also turned proper realms.

  • For Dambrath: A Crinti survivor state (perhaps Prastuil or Maarlith), a Gnoll kingdom in the Gnollwatch Mountains, fully independent pirate towns in the Hethar Peninsula, while the rest is divided between Arkaiun clans

  • More info and refinement of Ruathym, Gundarlun & the other Northlander isles (4E sourcebooks said very little of the condition of these isles after the Spellplague)

  • The Northlander realms in the Moonshae Isles going independent (would be cooler if Norland, Norheim Isles, Gnarhelm, Korinn Archipelago return their old warmaking and piratey ways, as a result of the Moonshae Isle's weakening in 4E)

  • More info and refinement of the Great Glacier (Also would be neat to see Snow Elves being made into a proper subrace of elves)

  • A realm for the "redeemed" dark elves (I'm guessing though it would be clear they're not an evil race, they'd still face some level of ostracism from other elven subraces)


  • Venger's List:

    quote:
    Originally posted by Venger



    1) Mystra: She absolutely has to come back. I’m glad to hear that Ed’s working on it. My hope, though, would be for it to be the Midnight personality. I was a bit appalled by that plot point not just because they killed off Mystra, the flagship character of the setting, but that it was done in that manner. The whole scenario reeked of a bad Lifetime movie in which a man obsessed with a woman breaks into her home and murders her. It seems cheap and it made Mystra seem weak and pathetic as she was essentially butchered by her stalker. Mystra/Midnight coming back and paying Cyric back in kind would be nice (Though that doesn’t mean I want Cyric dead. I can’t stand the little turd but he still does make a pretty good setting villain). I'd like to see her rebuild Dweomerheart, reconstitute the Weave and either bring Azuth back along with her, or elevate a mortal to take his place as an Exarch in her service. Maybe Elminster, the Simbul, or even Alustriel can fill the role?

    (That’s another one that gets me, killing Alustriel. She’s not a big time adventurer, but a city ruler. She’s about as innocuous an NPS as you can get, so I don’t see why they felt they had to kill her to appease Forgotten Realms haters.)

    2) Helm: If you’re working on his return, then that’d be great, too. I look forward to seeing him take his place in Celestia in Torm’s service.

    3) Nobanion: This is coming out of left field I know, but whatever happened to this guy? I was just reminded of him while writing the above. I wouldn’t mind seeing him also enter into Torm’s service and move to Celestia. He seems like he’d be a great fit there. The way I’d like to see the organization of Celestia is as follows: Torm, Bahamut, and Ilmater forming the Triad, with Torm (Greater God) as the top point and Bahamut and Ilmater (Gods) as the two bottom points, while Helm and Nobanion are the sword and standard of Torm.

    Now if only Celestia wasn’t such a sausage fest. Damn that Siamorphe…

    4) Lathander: Here’s why I think combining him with Amaunator is silly. The idea is that there’s a Sun God and he goes through different phases, and we’ve seen those phases being Dawn, Midday, and Dusk. And since Lathander and Amaunator didn’t coexist, then they must be the same, but in a different phase. The problem with that is that neither of them have ever been a God of Dusk. That was Myrkul, and he and Lathander coexisted for a long time just fine. The argument would make sense if he was all three, but he’s not. He’s two phases while some other guy was the third. So he bounces back and forth between God of Dawn and God of Midday? That doesn’t make much sense at all. On top of which they’re both completely different personalities. So in my opinion, Lathander should be brought back as a separate god. In addition…

    5) Myrkul: Myrkul should be brought back, too. He’ll no longer be God of the Dead but he can still reclaim the rest of his Portfolios of Autumn, Corruption, Decay, Dusk, Exhaustion, Old Age, Parasites, and Wasting. He can also claim Velsharoon’s old Portfolios of Necromancy and Undeath now that that poor bastard’s bitten the dust. Myrkul’s an interesting personality and frankly I’ve missed him all these years and I’d love to see his triumphant return and have him build a new Castle of Bones somewhere out in the Astral Sea. I’m also linking him up to Lathander above because I think that they, along with Amaunator, can create an interesting dynamic. Sun gods have been done to death, and having a generic “sun god” for the setting isn’t doing the Forgotten Realms any favors, but if you were to have three sun gods, each of which represents a different phase of the sun, dawn, midday, and dusk? Think of what each means, and what each god would represent.

    Lathander is the Dawnbringer, the sun that rises in the morning, which means that he represents new beginnings, a casting off of the past, and constant change and evolution. He’s the ever-changing universe and the newborn star blazing out in the black. Amaunator is the God of Midday, and represents stability, stagnancy, and the status quo. He’s a sun in the full power of its life, set in its ways. Myrkul is the Lord of Dusk and represents the forces of entropy, decay, and the end of all things. He’s the lifeless star within a universe which grows ever colder. Each of those, Dawn, Midday and Dusk represent something wholly different, and I think the Forgotten Realms could benefit from having a trio of gods who represent each and are constantly in opposition to each other because of their natures.

    6) Mask: His return’s a must. And let him have the Portfolio of Intrigue, already. Given what I’ve read the past few days about the circumstances of his death, he definitely deserves it, especially since he’s much better at it than Cyric. Has Cyric ever gotten away with any of his intrigues? And should Myrkul be brought back I’m sure he’d be willing to let Mask have a piece of his domain where he can hang his hat in and be safe from both Cyric and Shar.

    7) Bhaal: This one’s another personal wish of mine. I’ve always loved “the Dead Three”, and Bane’s already back, so how about giving Realms fans back the full set? Make him an Exarch at least in service to Myrkul if he ever comes back, or Bane.

    8) Eilistraee & Vhaeraun: I understand the argument about wanting to get the Drow back to their roots, but the problem with that is that getting them back to their roots is also synonymous with making them a one-note caricature. Eliminating these two gods eliminated all the character growth which the Drow as a race had experienced. There’re plenty of ways to make the Drow more villainous, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that the variety of portrayals which they had should be obliterated. So personally I’d really like to see both Eilistraee and Vhaeraun return.

    Incidentally, isn’t 1484 The Year of the Awakened Sleepers? If one wants to claim that the ‘dead’ gods are sleeping, then that might be a good year to bring them back.

    9) Zhentil Keep and the Zhentarim: I’d like to see these go back to the way they were and with Manshoon at the helm. It’d be nice if Manshoon were to reassert control of the Zhentarim in a Godfather style St. Valentine’s Day Massacre scenario in which he eliminates all potential rivals to the Zhentarim and remakes them into the wizard led army/secret organization for advancing his interests and Zhentil Keep’s interests around the world, and uses them to retake and rebuild Zhentil Keep. An alliance between a rebuilt Zhentil Keep, the Dalelands, Myth Drannor, and Cormyr against Netheril would also be pretty nice. Like the Soviet Union in the Allies versus the Axis. Team up with an evil to fight against an even greater evil. That’d open up a ton of intrigue as they need Zhentil Keep, but at the same time they can’t trust them, particularly Manshoon.

    10) Elturgard: Just a bugaboo I had after reading the book, but it’d be nice to see Elturgard explicitly stated as being dedicated to Amaunator. Torm doesn’t make sense at all given all the other circumstances of that country.

    11) Halruaa & Lantan: Was there ever an explanation for why the highly magical nation of Halruaa was torched to the ground by the Spellplague while the highly magical nation of Netheril escaped its effects unscathed? Anyway…

    I like the idea of the Halruaan’s rescuing the Lantanese and the two nations joining forces to found a new country. It’s possible that Halruaan skyships came across Lantan just as disaster was striking them and were able to rescue a large portion of their population. The alliance between the survivors of Halruaa and Lantan could also be the origin of Warforged in the Forgotten Realms. They would’ve needed an army to survive, and with their depleted populations, the only option they’d have would be to manufacture one. The Lantanese already sort of had this ability in 3E with the Techsmiths able to create Gondsmen. Combining their expertise with that of the incredible magical knowledge possessed by the Halruaan’s that should give them what they need to be able to come up with Warforged, which is what their standing army could currently consist of.

    As for their current location, your guess is as good as mine. It’s been 100 years, though, so they still shouldn’t be wandering Faerun like refugees a la Battlestar Galactica. They should’ve already found somewhere to call home and already be settled there. After all, the ancestors of the Five Companies may not be the only Halruaan’s who escaped the devastation of Halruaa. To continue the Battlestar Galactica analogy, maybe the Five Companies were the Battlestar Pegasus equivalents while there were another group of Halruaan survivors who were the Battlestar Galactica and Colonial fleet equivalents, and they were the ones who saved the Lantanese and settled elsewhere?

    And yes, I’d love to read a novel about that.

    12) Mulhorand & Unther: Mulhorand was fantastic and characterful and I’m dumbfounded that the developers ever thought it’d be a good idea to get rid of it. It was also on the cusp of conflict with all its neighbors in 3E, including Thay, and that was suddenly swept away with the advent of 4E? Like the commenter on that video link I posted above said, the game opportunities not only narrowed as a result, but flattened as the conflict between Mulhorand and the Red Wizards never occurred with Mulhorand being whisked away while the Red Wizards were all turned into undead loyal to Szass Tam. As for what’s going on with Abeir, I have to be honest and say that I don’t particularly care. That’s a whole other campaign world, and as a fan of the Forgotten Realms, it’s Faerun and its immediate environs which interest me.

    So in short, I’d like to see Mulhorand return, and the seeds of that possibility are right there in the 4E FRCG. Nezram the Worldwalker is a wizard who’s A) experienced at planar travel, B) loves his country, and C) hates the High Imaskari to pieces. It shouldn’t be too much trouble for him to be able to track down Abeir and what happened to Mulhorand and its people. So he has the ability to provide planar travel and can work the necessary magic to bring Mulhorand back. There’s also the Mulhorandi gods themselves, who’ve long shown an interest in looking after and protecting the Mulhorandi people. They’re not just going to take this disaster which has hit their people lying down, particularly if the Mulhorandi people want to go back home (and after being there for four thousand years, Toril is their home). Nevermind how the people might react once they find out that the Imaskari have moved into their lands (Like Nezram, they’ll probably also believe that it was an Imaskari plot, so they’ll definitely want some payback). So while Nezram can provide the means for them to go home, the Mulhorandi gods and their legions of clerics can provide the power to make that transition possible.

    So between Nezram and whatever other means he discovered should he have found that race of serpent men he was looking for, the Mulhorandi gods, as well as anything the Mulhorandi might have found on Abeir, it's possible they could be able to bring their civilization back to Faerun, with all the peoples from both Unther and Mulhorand. Five million pissed off Mulhorandi (and possibly an army of those serpent people that Nezram was looking for) descend on the Imaskari and drive them down into Deep Imaskar, with High Imaskar perhaps able to maintain a small portion of land while the Mulhorandi reconquer most of the rest. The Dragonborn in Tymanther are able to repel the Mulhorandi presence within their borders but are left with a couple million Untherite refugees begging for asylum and safety from the Mulhorandi. The end result is that Mulhorand is back and is in a cold war state with both Deep Imaskar beneath its feet (and possibly what's left of High Imaskar on the surface) and Tymanther to its west, which is left reeling after having suddenly absorbed millions of refugees.

    13) Luiren: I’d like to see those plucky little Halflings get a new nation. Just because Halflings are nomads in the core setting that doesn’t mean the same has to hold true in Forgotten Realms. The little blighters deserve to have a new homeland.

    14) Thay: It’d be nice if WotC were to pull back from talking about how the undead ridiculously outnumber the living. Szass Tam isn’t an idiot. You need living people to create new undead, and if most of your people are already undead then your numbers can only go down as your undead servants are destroyed and you don’t have enough living people to replace them. Moreover, one of the things that made Thay interesting was their variety in magical power, with each Zulkir representing a different school of magic. You might thwart the plans of a Red Wizard of Necromancy in one adventure, in which you confront his undead minions, but in another adventure you might deal with the illusory power of an Illusionist Red Wizard. That variety was nice, as was the power play between the various Zulkir’s. What’s not interesting is having all the Zulkir’s engage in necromancy, with Szass Tam the undisputed ruler of them all.

    So my preference would be for Thay to go back to being more like it was. Zulkir’s who represent different magical disciplines, and each of which is a potential threat to Szass Tam, and a Thayvan population in which the living constitute the majority. I want to see the Red Wizards as an organization reemerge, with Mulan children being taken in and trained as Red Wizards. And should Mulhorand come back then a couple hundred thousand of them could end up going over to Thay to help repopulate the living Mulan population. Either way, Thay as an Icecrown equivalent with Szass Tam in the role of the Lich King is just not a good idea. Making the Red Wizards all about necromancy all the time is just plain boring.

    As for their magical diversity, I have no idea how to handle that. It really depends on the magical rules in 5E. Will schools of magic come back? If they do then the answer is easy, as you could go back to how it was with a Zulkir for Necromancy, Illusion, Conjuration, etc. But if not, then there’re other options which could potentially be pursued. Maybe the Red Wizards are changed to account for other magical traditions beyond Wizard magic? Perhaps you can have a Zulkir who represents Swordmages, another who represents Warlocks, and one who represents Sorcerers? Then there’s the Zulkir of Wizards, the Zulkir of Necromancers (Szass Tam), and Zulkir’s representing any other magical traditions which exist in D&D 5E. That’s a possibility, although I’d prefer the traditional schools of magic (One way to handle that could potentially be through themes. Maybe a Forgotten Realms supplement could include "Illusionist", "Conjuerer", "Enchanter" themes which can be applied to Wizards to give them more of a specialist wizard flavor, thus allowing for Red Wizards as they were to return in some way).

    So yeah, it’d be nice if Thay were to be put back on track to what it was. And if Mulhorand were to reappear, I’d love to see an escalation of conflict between the two, which would pit Thay’s magical might against Mulhorand’s divinely fueled power. I want to see a battle in which Wizards, Necromancers, and Swordmages duke it out with Clerics, Invokers, and Avengers.

    15) Villains: I'm tired of all Shades, all the time. There should be an attempt to elevate all the villains of the Realms equally, instead of making everything about Netheril, the Shades, and Shar. Make Thay a major threat again, bring back Zhentil Keep and the Zhentarim and make them a major threat again, and so on. Put lots of emphasis on the activities of all the major evil gods, Shar, Cyric, Bane, Lolth, Asmodeus, Gruumsh, and hopefully Myrkul. The more the merrier because variety is what makes things interesting. The Shar Show is boring. The Shar, Bane, Cyric, Myrkul, Asmodeus, Gruumsh, & Lolth Show, however, would be a damn fine show to watch. Make them and their plots constant threats which have to be dealt with at all times, along with those threats posed by the Red Wizards, Netheril, the Cult of the Dragon, and more, and it'd be a very interesting setting.

    16) Abeir: …can go pound sand. No interest in seeing it explored.

    Anyway, that’s what I have for now. I’m sure I’ll think up more later on.




    quote:
    Originally posted by Venger

    DISLIKE: Treatment of Heroic NPC's

    We've all heard this argument before. People have a hard time getting into the Realms because there're so many epic heroic NPC's zooming around and they do all the important stuff, and you can't run a campaign without running into them. So half of them needed to be killed off/depowered/driven insane in order to make the 4E Forgotten Realms work.

    I don't think that's the case, though. The issue isn't the number or power of heroic NPC's in the Forgotten Realms, but rather, the lack of equally powerful villainous NPC's in the Forgotten Realms. For instance, when someone plays a Marvel Super-Heroes RPG you never hear complaining about that. Why? Because every hero has a sizeable Rogues Gallery which they're forced to deal with. So let's say that your PC's in that supers game are fighting Venom. Nobody ever asks "Where's Spider-Man?" because it's understood that Spider-Man's probably somewhere else fighting Dr. Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, the Lizard, Tombstone, Sandman, Kingpin, etc. No group ever asks where the X-Men are when they're fighting Magneto because they're probably off fighting the Sentinels, the Reavers, the Marauders, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, the Imperial Guard, Arcade, or any number of other enemies. Those are worlds which are DEFINED by the number of heroic NPC's they have, and they work just fine as campaign settings because, for every heroic NPC, there's a large number of villainous NPC's, most of whom are just as powerful as the hero they regularly combat.

    That, I think, is the lesson which the Forgotten Realms needs to take away. Not that they have to sideline their heroes, weaken them, or not stat them up, but put more emphasis on producing a more indepth field of villains. For instance, here's a list of the ten most powerful heroes in the FRCS versus the 10 most powerful villains in the same book (Note: I'm using CR and not level as the measure of their power).

    HEROES
    39 Elminster
    36 The Simbul
    32 Storm Silverhand
    31 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    28 Alustriel
    18 Drizzt Do’Urden
    17 Ningal
    15 Caladnei
    13 Mirt
    10 Alusair Obarskyr

    VILLAINS
    31 Szass Tam
    30 Halaster Blackcloak
    25 Klauth: Dragon of the North
    25 Manshoon
    23 Fzoul Chembryl
    22 Hadrhune
    18 Artemis Entreri
    18 Gerti Orelsdottr
    17 Semmemon
    15 Scyllua Darkhope

    The four most powerful heroes are either equal in power to the most powerful villain, or they vastly eclipse him in power. Now look at this list from the 2nd edition Heroes Lorebook and Villains Lorebook.

    HEROES
    30 The Simbul
    29 Elminster
    27 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    25 Laeral Silverhand
    24 Alustriel Silverhand
    22 Storm Silverhand
    20 King Azoun IV Obarskyr
    20 Cadderly
    20 Gwydion
    18 Durnan

    VILLAINS
    30 Halaster Blackcloak
    29 Szass Tam
    20 Maligor, Zulkir of Alteration
    19 Cyndre
    19 Manshoon
    18 Deirdre Kendrick
    18 Flattery Wyvernspur
    18 King Manferic III
    17 Jarlaxle
    16 Fzoul Chembryl

    The power disparity between the most powerful heroes and villains is even more visible there. Only three of the villains are Level 20 or above while all of the heroes save for one is Level 20 and above. So looking at both of those lists it's easy to imagine a world where the heroic NPC's are able to solve any problem on their own with no help from the PC's when the most wellknown villains are no match for them. How can we not expect Elminster to be able to solve all the world's problems when his CR is 14 higher than Manshoon in 3E, and he's 10 levels higher in 2E?

    The levels of the villains also has a domino effect in that many of them are leaders in various evil organizations, so their level provides a hard cap on the levels of the members of those organizations. For example, if Manshoon is Level 19 then you can't have any natives of Zhentil Keep or members of the Zhentarim who're above Level 19. If they exist, then why aren't they running the show? You can't have any members of the Church of Bane who're above Level 16. If they exist, then why is it that they're not in charge instead of Fzoul? Yeah, there're always exceptions to that rule as to why epic level villains might be serving Level 16 and Level 19 villains, but you can't sustain a campaign heading into the epic levels with villains who constantly serve as the exception to the rule.

    IMO, the solution to that is pretty easy. Introduce new powerful enemies and upgrade already existing villains to match up to their heroic counterparts. As a general rule of thumb, there should be two named villains of roughly equal power for every named hero. For instance, let's say this is the list of the most powerful heroes.

    HEROES
    30 The Simbul
    29 Elminster
    27 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    24 Alustriel Silverhand
    22 Storm Silverhand

    The list of the most powerful villains could then look something like this (Note: It doesn't have to be an exact correlation, level-per-level, two villains per every one hero. This is just a simple example).

    VILLAINS
    30 Halaster
    30 Szass Tam
    29 Manshoon
    29 Fzoul Chembryl
    27 Klauth: Dragon of the North
    27 High Prince Telamont Tanthul
    24 Scyllua Darkhope
    24 The Pereghost
    22 Semmemon
    22 Hadrhune

    Like I said, just an example, and not a hard and fast rule. Telamont should be at least 30, and IMO the Zulkirs should be brought back and they should almost all be epic level and close to Szass Tam's level, and that's for starters.

    Point is, a large and powerful rogues gallery presents numerous possibilities. For one, expanding the number of villains and their power likewise expands story possibilities. That's a far better choice then cutting down on the number of heroic NPC's, which only eliminates story possibilities. Secondly, it eliminates the issue which many felt was a problem with the Forgotten Realms, which was heroic NPC's being the only people that matter. The message with NPC's in 2E and 3E to the PC's was "We don't really need your help because we can blow away these guys all on our own and then some, so go back to shoveling cow dung in Shadowdale." But by increasing the powers of existing villainous NPC's and introducing new ones, having them outnumber the heroic NPC's, the message to PC's instead becomes "We're barely holding the line here, and need your help bad, so hurry up and become epic level, already!"

    That's one of the many things I hope to see in 5E. Not a setting which runs away from its heroic NPC's and tries to sideline them as often as possible, but which instead embraces them and creates worthy adversaries not only for them but for the PC's as well.



    quote:
    Originally posted by Venger

    I have something to add to the Wish List: WotC making it official company policy that any game designer who creates a new race which has any of the following suffixes will be severely beaten with a rubber hose.

    -born
    -folk
    -man/men

    No more -born, -folk, or -man/men races, please.



    combatmedic's List:

    quote:
    Originally posted by combatmedic

    There are some great ideas in the newest version of FR, but some stuff just doesn’t work for me.

    Let’s run down the big stuff first.

    • 100 year leap:
    Given everything else they changed, it makes perfect sense. I see the advtanage in moving past a lot of the accumulated canon plots and NPcs. More on this much later in the post…
    • Spellplague and Mystra’s death:
    It goes a long way towards explaining the pretty significant changes in the way magic works in 4E. It also spins off the wild magic and dead magic zones ideas, building something new. Kills a bunch of really potent spell casters, which is fine by me—FR had too many of those guys.
    I don’t know the particulars of how Cyric and Shar managed to kill Mystra. I understand that some people find the details implausible. Without more info, I can’t really comment.

    • Other gods dying:
    I don’t like what they did with Helm and Tyr. Sorry, I just don’t buy the whole love triangle and duel thing. It seems forced and out of character. I would not use it if I ran a game using 4E FR.
    Azuth getting gobbled up by Asmodeus is kind of interesting. I’m not sure why they did it, though, unless they just felt that Asmodeus had to be in the setting. Why not the other 4E gods, then?

    • Gods turning out to be aspects of other gods:
    The basic idea is fine, but they did more of it than I’d have done. Some of it felt forced. Realms already had regional names and aspects: Melith (if he is Milil, that is), The Earthmother, Kazgoroth the Beast, the Adama, Anachtyr, etc. They could have simply done more of that.
    • Exarchs:
    The idea is sensible and not really new, but the nomenclature is bizarre. I never understood why an East Roman title was used for what are essentially just demigods or lesser deities. I keep thinking of the Exarch of Ravenna. Do the gods all dress in ‘Byzantine’ court robes? Is Ao the heavenly Autocrat?
    This gives me some ideas for Chessenta…

    • Cosmology shift:
    This change is really easy to ignore unless you are running high level, plane hopping type adventures. I see why they wanted to make things line up better with the default 4E cosmology. That makes it easier for new guys who came in with 4E and are used to the way the planes are assumed to work in that rules set.
    I like the Great Tree. I’d have kept that. Gotta have the Nine Hells, though. Greenwood’s articles on the Hells are solid gold.


    • Returned Abeir:
    My biggest problem with this one is somewhat pedantic. Abeir Toril means “cradle of life.” That is the very first entry in the Cyclopedia, for goodness sakes. I don’t like that this old and cool canon lore was ignored, and Abeir was introduced as a separate planet.
    I’m okay with the ‘When Worlds Collide’ idea. I likely wouldn’t have blown up or transposed quite as many parts of Faerun, but I would have used the returned Abeir stuff even more heavily outside Faerun.
    Does anybody know how Abeir fits in with Realsmpace? Did they retcon out all the Spelljammer stuff? I’m not heavily invested in SJ, so this isn’t a complaint. I’m just curious.

    Now, on to other geographical and political stuff:
    • Halruua blown up. Cool. I like the Five Companies.
    • Sembia conquered by Shade; it’s not my cup of tea, but a Sembian Revolution and a restored republic afterward would be cool in 5E.
    • Luiren sinking and Var no more. Cool by me. Diving for sunken treasure!
    • Dambrath revolution with Crinti out of power. I like it, at least from what little I know of it.
    • Return of ancient imperial civilizations- I rather liked these things being deeper in the background. It’s not a deal breaker for me, though.


    In regards to NPCs, the dead and the living:

    • Why didn’t they just go ahead and kill Elminster? It would have made a lot more sense. If the massive setting changes were meant to clear the floor for fans that dislike the scads of meddlesome ultra-high powered NPCs and complex metaplot, then they should have started at the top.
    They should have whacked all the Chosen and the Seven Sisters, too. Go whole hog.

    • Mirt the Moneylender gets saved by some sort of tricky Greenwood moves. Whoa, I didn’t know about this one. Till I read a previous poster’s comments. You know what—I’m cool with it.
    Mirt sounds like a really fun NPC. A creak, wheezy fat old fighter , like Sir John Falstaff but with moneybags? That’s great stuff! I’m not saying all heads should have rolled. If I had a choice between saving Mirt and Eliminster, Mirt would win, no contest.



    Gyor's List:

    quote:
    Originally posted by Gyor

    The things I liked from 4e that I liked about the realms that I hope carry over to 5e.

    1. Abolethic Sovergienty, especially the capitol city of Xxipu.

    2. Feywild

    3. New Races from 4e

    4. As seen in my thread Ardents and Vrylokas (which count as number three)

    5. Primal Spirits

    6. The Beastlands

    7. Warlock Knights of the Vaast

    8. Primordials

    9. Spellscarred even though I'd like most of the plague lands gone.

    10. That Paladins are no longer restricted to certain lawful Neutral Lawful/Lawful Good/Neutral Good Gods and Sune, and that Blackguards don't have to be evil.

    Things I'm looking forward to coming back or gaining.

    1. Mulhorand
    2. Unther
    3. The Gods
    4. The Death of the term Exarch
    5. Rebuilding of many distroyed areas and cities
    6. The Sundering novels
    7. Proper Aasmir (none Devas not I don't like Devas, I just didn't like them eatting Aasmir)
    8. Proper Archons and an explaination about the weird name sharing thing.
    9. Ditto Eldrin
    10. The other contineints back, like Matezica.

    Some of that maybe wishful thinking, like Aasmir and Archons.




    Aryalómë's List:

    quote:
    Originally posted by Aryalómë

    J'aime:
    • The Eladrin, though I wouldn't want them to BE Eladrin. I prefer the celestial Eladrin. I don't want them to be ancestors or related to the Elves as 4e has them. Why not make them into immortal faerie nobility like the Sidhe/Shee in some 3rd party sourcebooks?

    • The AEDU spell type for spell casting classes.

    • The Warlock, Witch, Invoker, and a few other classes that were present in this edition.

    • The larger number of attack spells that spell casters had.

    • The not-so-much helplessness of spellcasters.

    • The new Tiefling look and origin (though they could also be brought about by fiendish union as well).

    • The Devas.

    • The Vrylokas.

    • The new Necromancy spells and Nethermancy.

    • New fae themed spells and powers.

    • The greater focus on fae.

    • The slight Planescape feel.

    • 4e's Shadar-kai.

    • Some of the deities present in the base 4e game: The Raven Queen, Ioun, that dead daughter of Zephyr, Erathis (though I despise that she wants to conquer nature and constantly build empires), Melora (a good antagonist of Erathis).


    Je deteste:
    • The restructuring of the Realms.

    • The deicide of the gods we loved.

    • The overall artwork.

    • The fact that WotC is trying to make it more like an MMO.

    • The pruned alignment system. (I hate the alignment system overral, but the even more difficult pruned one is ridiculous).

    • The Genasi. I hate their new look. Akanul is interesting, but I hate how they look now. The Stormsoul Genasi is unneeded; we have the Air Genasi for that. Their origins could be similar to the Tieflings in that they could have also been spawned by elementals taking human lovers and others coming from the Elemental planes.

    • The continued censorship of WotC.

    • The over-simplified rules and lore. LAME.

    • The non existence of the Ffolk and Northlanders. Basically, they couldn't handle having these two hate each other to death and so decided to make them all half breeds. *rage*

    • The destruction of over half of Faerun do the the Spellplague.

    • The whole Spellplague in general.

    • The destruction of Zhentil Keep. I hate the Zhents, but STILL.

    • Evermeet switching planes.

    • [*]Deities becoming "aspects" of other deities.


    My dislike list may not seem long, but it in fact covers much that has been done-like an umbrella of events, if you will.



    Tarlyn's List:

    quote:
    Originally posted by Tarlyn

    Here you go deserk, this is the best I can come up with since I no longer have a 4e CS to reference. I imagine I am missing a thing or two, but it is at least reflective of my overall opinion.

    4e realms the good
    -Return of Imaskar - It would be very interesting to see Imaskar take a place on the world stage and see what plans the Imaskari have for Faerun. Also, seeing Imaskar interacting with a Mulhorand and Unther as well as the many other world powers(Thay, Shade, Cormyr, Cormanthyr)
    -Warlock knights of Vaasa - I don't remember anything about them, but at least there was one attempt to add a power group rather than just subtract them
    -The CS cover art was pretty awesome - This is here mostly to pad the good list, but I did really like that Shade

    4e realms the bad
    -Destruction of the weave
    -retconning in the Dawn War
    -gloomy atmosphere and defeatist attitude the setting now contains
    -Loss of defining magical traditions(spell schools,elven high magic, ciricle magic, shadow magic, spellfire, the red wizard dual specializations, Mythals)
    -Focus on making magic users feared. Realms was and should be the setting that magic is viewed with awe. Leave casters being feared to Dragonlance, Ravenloft and Darksun
    -Death of Mystra, Helm, Mask, Eilistraee
    -Lathander transforming into Amaunator
    -Loss of world wide trading
    -Loss of power groups
    -Setting populated exclusively by low-leveled npcs
    -death of many of the high level immortal good aligned npcs(for that matter high level npcs in general)
    -spell plague
    -Merging of Deities
    -Racial Pantheons disappearing
    -Loss of Halruaa, Evermeet, Nimbral, Lantan, Luiren, Dambrath
    -Thay becoming zombie land
    -Calimshan becoming the land of the gensai
    -Obould's WOW style orc kingdom inserted in the middle of the Silver Marshes
    -Hordes of Dragonborn,Gensai and Tieflings (gensai and tieflings were well represented in 3e and Dragonborn reskinned as half-dragons can work fine)
    -retcon of the Eladrin, Archons, Devas
    -shrinking of the sea of fallen stars
    -addition of giant rifts of dead space on the map
    -the new moonsea and loss of the Zhentarim
    -addition of the call of cthulhu elements
    -100 year time gap (The only real problem I had was the design teams refusal to make new npcs, the issue for me with the time gap is it killed all the people that brought the setting to life.
    If the design team just created new rulers, archmages, nobles, inn keepers, mercenary captains, caravan masters, street sweepers etc. It would not have been as much of a problem)
    -Epic destinies
    -4e cosmology
    -MMO style zoning (i.e Neverwinter is a lvl 1- 10 area along with most of the rest of the setting, high level stuff is done on other planes.
    In previous editions major cities like Neverwinter and Waterdeep could easily support lvls 1-how ever high your DM was willing to go.)
    -Returned Abeir (It would be fine if it was relocated to not take up existing real estate)

    4e realms the indifferent
    -The removal of the real world ports like Mulhorand, Maztica etc is not really a deal breaker, I agree it wasn't the best idea to add them in 2e edition. However, their replacements lacked depth and from what I can tell despite 4 years of published novels, no author was able to convince WotC to base anything in them. Furthermore, most of their replacements were added in an annoying manner and the only two noteworthy ones are just added to give core 4e races a "homebase". Which IMO isn't a much better reason than people wanting to have various real world style areas. Also, Maztica does seem to have a small, but extremely loyal fanbase(which I am not part of, just to clarify). Finally, Mulhorand by itself is not particularly interesting IMO. However, its interactions with Thay were and now the possible interactions with Imaskar could be.
    -Shade ruling Sembia is interesting, I could go either way with that one
    -feywild and the shadowfell, I like both ideas in core, but the shadowfell doesn't really fit my vision of realms(I like necromancy to be more like 2e editions Complete Necromancer's handbook). I think the feywild could be kept.

    5e hopes (correct all of the 4e the bad, I have highlighted a few of those points again below)
    -Restoring all of the missing deities, magicial traditions, lands, unmerging the deities and doing something with Calimshan's genie horde
    -My suggestion for Lathander and Amaunator would be having the deities be more regionally based and have a rivalry between. For instance, Halruaa, Thay and Imaskar would all acknowledge the older Amaunator. Younger nations like the Dales and Cormyr have a stronger Lathander presence. Places like Sembia, Cormanthyr and Waterdeep have intense rivalry between these two faiths.
    -Thay; If I remember right, the old red wizards control what use to be the wizard's reach. I would like to see them start to reconquer Thay. However, over a hundred years some of Thay's darker deeds might not be remember and Old Thay kind of idealized by its descendants. The group of conquering Zulkirs should lean towards evil like the good olde days,
    but I would include a misguided idealistic group. This group could be people raised on the stories of Thay's fight for freedom against Mulhorand and a kind of nationalistic history that conviently forgets things like becoming free only to become Tyrants. Finally, an element of the conquering army could be composed of a crusade against the undead launched by the churches of Lathander, Amaunator and Kelemvor. This again adds an element of complexity to the new Thay and could be an interesting power group by itself.
    Again, I would have some of the more traditional good guy types in that Crusade. However, I would also have characters that's hatred of undead blind drives them more than their concern to protect the living. I would place 5e FR at a stalmate between Tam's forces and the reconquest.
    -Represent Halruaa and Shade as two successor states to Nethril and delve into both Halruaa's mastery of arcana magic and Shades shadow magic
    -Once Evermeet is restored as well as Everska, I would like to see Myth Drannor pursue Coronal Eltargrim's "Dream" and the city be home to many races and creeds. I would like it to start becoming that beacon of hope for all civilization in the realms that made it famous.
    -Along with the restoration of the old power groups, I would like to see some well thought out new power groups.
    -Bring back the influence of the Twist Rune throughout the southern sword coast
    -Return of some of the old npcs and add some new NPCs that are detailed in personality enough to bring life to the setting(you don't need stat blocks, but npcs add character to the setting and make it seem like it isn't just waiting to be saved by the PCs)
    -Imaskar had a pretty powerful magical tradition, they should be taking part in some of the events in the larger setting not just sitting around doing nothing. Think somekind of shadowy power group like Mass Effects 2 Cerebrus (allowing DMs to choose if their questionable activies are for good or evil or made just there own benefit).
    -Again adding new wrinkles to the setting is cool, but focus on creating stuff rather than just directly porting stuff from core whole cloth. Also, make sure anything added fits within the context of the setting, for instance Lightsabers are cool, but Realms doesn't need them.



    quote:
    Originally posted by Tarlyn

    Additional 5e hopes

    5e hopes
    -Vhaeraun and Eilistraee both should have experience some growing pains during the past hundred years. Redefining both deities a little to broaden their appeal. For instance, I would like to see it noted that Eilistraee goes with a little more rangery look and uses a bow again(still have swordmanship be her big thing, but she realizes that Lolth influenced her shot). Keep the dancing naked in moonlight glades as a clerical ritual, but allow Eilistraee a more feminist default appearance. Vhaeraun would be more interesting to me as a CN deity rather than CE. Maybe time spent merged with Eilistraee made him realize that it was his own cruelty that caused his bad relationship with Corellon Larethian. Also, in both cases the gender restrictions with divine casters should be removed. That way the drow have three distinct choices of deity CE, CN, CG.
    -Dambrath - secular drow controlled state. Dambrath should include half-drow and possibly Abeir refugee elves other races would be fine too. I would have the clerics of Vhaeraun, Eilistraee and Lolth all have influence in the region, but I would not have them with official power. A non-theocracy drow state is some thing that has never received a lot of attention in D&D. Also, it would be interesting to see how priestess of Lolth interact in a society that they do not control.
    [/quote]

    Edited by - deserk on 03 Sep 2012 15:36:18

    Markustay
    Realms Explorer extraordinaire

    USA
    15724 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  00:57:37  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Najara was detailed in 3e's Serpent Kingdoms; I would not count it as a '4e' thing.

    I personally liked the Warlock Knights of Vassa - a little more interesting then a 'cold and forbidding wasteland' which we already had in Icewind Dale and elsewhere. They need to get rid of all the redundancy, and some of the 4e lore can actually help with that.

    I wouldn't mind a few compromises. For instance, how about if only the highest plateau of Thay remained undead/plateau of Leng? Give the Red Wizards back their (now even darker) realm, but have that uppermost plateau be an area even they dare not tread.

    As for the "lotsa sourcebooks' on your list, I think that they should only produce physical books of the areas that are of the highest interest (the heartlands), and also for adventures (which should be adventure-paths and read more like sourcebooks anyway). I would love to see lore on many places we have never seen any, like Orlumbor, Sossal, or Shaareach, but I really can't see them being lucrative for a print format (the interest is too focused). Places like that would make excellent one-shot downloads from the WotC site (for a good price, otherwise no-one would still buy them). They need to learn that you make money off the internet a very different way then they did in the past. They'd make more selling a million one-dollar booklets then they would selling a couple hundred $12 booklets, and who would bother to pirate something that cheap? Only someone who would have never bought it regardless. They need to think of mini-regional sourcebooks like 'apps'. Can you imagine paying $12-15 for an app? Of course not - and thats the equivalent these days. you make more selling for less.

    So my point is, YES I would love to see tons and tons of 'lost' lore about the Realms, but it must be marketed correctly, or it will all just be a waste of time and a total bust (for them AND us).




    "I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


    Edited by - Markustay on 22 Aug 2012 03:15:22
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    Old Man Harpell
    Senior Scribe

    USA
    474 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  03:15:54  Show Profile  Visit Old Man Harpell's Homepage Send Old Man Harpell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    While I would scale back both the aboleths (massively) and the Eldreth Veluuthra (somewhat), deserk's post reads like a classic Realms fan's feature list. And thank you for it - I could not have done better (or likely even as well).

    I would also like to see:

    *Retention of the 'new' Anauroch lands. This is one change that I had absolutely zero issues with. A desert in that area never seemed 'right', so it was one of 4th Edition's few redeeming features for me. So please don't make it back into another desert wasteland.

    *Hlondeth rebuilt. I am not saying that there aren't other settings with the unique features this yuan-ti city provided, but they aren't coming to mind. Trashing it made zero sense to me.

    *More detail of the 'New World' - Anchorome, Osse, and the other continents should all have at least an overview (and, for example, is there any Maztican civilization remaining - at all? Little details like that).

    *And for pity's sake, maps. Lots and lots and lots and lots of maps.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Markustay
    I wouldn't mind a few compromises. For instance, how about if only the highest plateau of Thay remained undead/plateau of Leng? Give the Red Wizards back their (now even darker) realm, but have that uppermost plateau be an area even they dare not tread.


    That is a superb idea. The 'Leng' comparison is especially good. Thay can be creepy without being a 'Dawn of the Dead' caricature. Removing the undead from other regions could have left a void filled by less obvious, but even weirder denizens.

    Other compromises also could be simple enough. For example, Mulhorand - is Gheldeneth an anchor in the Realms that the Mulhorandi priests could use to bring their nation back? It's not like the Imaskari have actually done anything with their territory outside of Skyclave.

    Unther is a bit trickier - if I recall correctly (and I may be misremembering), the wording made it sound like while Mulhorand simply vanished, Unther had a whole other land (Tymanther) land on it and literally erase it. Maybe certain sections of it were taken away when Mulhorand vanished? When Mulhorand returns, so do these bits of the Untheric nation, providing a definite (if reduced) return of this post-Gilgeam nation. And since Mulhorand would be occupied with a strong and definitely hostile Imaskari presence, that would provide the 'returned Unther' with at least a chance at survival.

    5th Edition has a lot of potential. I know they can't please everyone, but I get the impression that they've 'figured it out', and know what needs to be done. For the first time in ages, I'm optimistic. Well, at least about the Realms.

    - OMH
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    Shemmy
    Senior Scribe

    USA
    492 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  04:05:05  Show Profile  Visit Shemmy's Homepage  Send Shemmy an AOL message  Send Shemmy an ICQ Message Send Shemmy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Dislikes:
    Most of it. Suffice to say if it replaced or retconned previous material, I wouldn't mourn its passing.

    Likes:
    I don't actually mind Dragonborn in the realms. They're the one thing that 4e developed (yeah technically they originated in late 3.x but not precisely the same critters) that I don't mind sticking around in some capacity.

    5e wish-list:
    A return to using the Great Wheel (or a modified Great Wheel) in some capacity as the assumed cosmology. They don't have to deal with it much, and that should probably be left for an actual Planescape campaign setting release (that I would do anything to get onto), but using the Great Wheel / classic D&D plane names and cosmological assumptions such as what outsider races there are, what they represent, etc should be there in the background.

    Shemeska the Marauder, King of the Crosstrade; voted #1 best Arcanaloth in Sigil two hundred years running by the people who know what's best for them; chant broker; prospective Sigil council member next election; and official travel agent for Chamada Holiday specials LLC.
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    Entromancer
    Senior Scribe

    USA
    388 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  04:07:56  Show Profile Send Entromancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    The Dragonborn and Genasi races. While its on a smaller scale, the rule of the Highcaptains in Luskan was loads of fun in the pre-4th buildup novel, The Pirate King.

    "...the will is everything. The will to act."--Ra's Al Ghul

    "Suffering builds character."--Talia Al Ghul
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    Markustay
    Realms Explorer extraordinaire

    USA
    15724 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  04:57:05  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I'm for the new races as well. I'd even allow some non-FR races in here and there (Changelings, Warforged, shifters, etc). Not en masse (like Dragonborn, Tieflings, and Genasi were in 4e), but more subtle (areas where such creatures have been 'spotted', to allow new fans more choices: restrictions = BAD design).

    Speaking of choices - allow old-school tieflings (I guess those could just be cambions now) and half-dragons. We wouldn't need a new mechanic - we could use the standard one. Just something thats states these exist (and it would really just be a cosmetic thing). This allows DMs to ignore what they don't like, and use what they (and their players) do like, without violating canon.

    I never understood why these 'new races' (and really - NONE of them were new at all) needed their own kingdoms in 4e. Whats with that? "Every race needs its own, overt kingdom" was never one of the pillars FR was built upon.

    Aboleths... *meh*. I just ignore them. I really don't want more focus on them, but they needn't just get rid of them either. In 3e, I never used Shades, but I always assumed they were there. As for the desert, I've been chipping away at it for years when doing my maps. I like it in theory, but it really does take up way too much room. It has to be the same length (for many reasons), but it could definitely stand to lose some width. In fact, I've been doing just that on me latest 1e/2e/3e amalgam map (In hopes of the 5e team to take a similar approach - a map recognizable to all editions).

    "I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


    Edited by - Markustay on 22 Aug 2012 19:32:38
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    Irennan
    Great Reader

    Italy
    3190 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  13:14:58  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I'm in agreement with what Deserk said concerning likes/dislikes of 4e FR (even tho -honestly- I dislike the aboleths and I didn't like seeing Myth Drannor being taken back by the elves, because it offered more possibilities for adventuring as ruins of a long lost city, IMO. Setting wise, tho, I prefer Myth Drannor being an elven realm again).

    I also agree with what was said about Thay: the zulkirate offers many more possibilities for stories and plot hooks than an undead realm. And the planes: I'm not fond of the world axis cosmology, if we exclude the Feywild and the Shadowfell, and I prefer the Great Wheel, or even the World Tree (but this is not really a problem, as it is a game-only issue, unless novels are going to be set in the planes).

    About my wishlist, I would like to see those that I deem errors of 4e corrected, which basically means restoring things, as most of the dislikes in Deserk's list (which I wholly share, even tho I can easily live with the new races) involve removed elements of the Realms.


    And I have one particular desire. It seems that all the gods can possibly be back with the Sundering: canon won't establish anymore whether a deity lives or not, none will be able to say X is dead anymore, and this will open the possibility for stories about the quests and followers of previously lost gods, set in the most recent era, to be written again.

    That said, I'd really like to see Eilistraee's and Vhaeraun's quest for drow freedom to play a role (even a small one, they are supposed to be rebels and underdogs, after all) in this new era. They add a lot of depth and storytelling potential to the race, and I've a soft spot for them (even tho I'm not into drow, kinda weird I know...), especially for Eilistraee, as her struggle against tyranny and her romantic and passionate defense of her people and her ideals of freedom and life is something I hold dear. A novel or some stories which play out their role in this new context would be something that I'd really enjoy (and in this regard, the info I have about what was going to be published in the Menzo sourcebook leads me to think that what I'm asking for was going to be accomplished very well, returning the two siblings to the Realms in a fitting and flavorful way. Sadly WotC removed this material with the editing, but it could be released in the future nonetheless -even online, as a DDI article, which would make me happy- and used as a basis for future development).

    To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

    Edited by - Irennan on 22 Aug 2012 14:03:03
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    Zireael
    Master of Realmslore

    Poland
    1190 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  14:39:12  Show Profile  Visit Zireael's Homepage Send Zireael a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I agree with the OP on most points. Also, I agree with the previous poster about Eilistraee and Vhaeraun.

    SiNafay Vrinn, the daughter of Lloth, from Ched Nasad!

    http://zireael07.wordpress.com/
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    Wooly Rupert
    Master of Mischief
    Moderator

    USA
    33188 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  15:07:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Shemmy

    Dislikes:
    Most of it. Suffice to say if it replaced or retconned previous material, I wouldn't mourn its passing.

    Likes:
    I don't actually mind Dragonborn in the realms. They're the one thing that 4e developed (yeah technically they originated in late 3.x but not precisely the same critters) that I don't mind sticking around in some capacity.

    5e wish-list:
    A return to using the Great Wheel (or a modified Great Wheel) in some capacity as the assumed cosmology. They don't have to deal with it much, and that should probably be left for an actual Planescape campaign setting release (that I would do anything to get onto), but using the Great Wheel / classic D&D plane names and cosmological assumptions such as what outsider races there are, what they represent, etc should be there in the background.



    This is my stance, as well. I don't want anything that wasn't in the 3E (or earlier) era, and some of that -- like the culling of the drow pantheon -- should be removed, as well.

    I'm not the Planescape guru Shemmy is, but I do favor a return to the Great Wheel, because that was the prior continuity and anything else breaks prior lore.

    I don't have an issue with importing shifters and changelings, or even very, very small numbers of warforged (the three flavors I've created and written up would account for less than 100 individuals, across all of Toril, going back more than 1000 years).

    I prefer the 3E dragonborn and planetouched races. The 4E dragonborn could be retained, but I'd want a different origin and a different racial name. I'd also like to see something down with the fact that that Cult of the Dragon has had good luck recruiting this dragon-hating race.

    Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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    Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 22 Aug 2012 15:08:26
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    Venger
    Learned Scribe

    USA
    268 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  15:41:13  Show Profile Send Venger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    DISLIKE: Treatment of Heroic NPC's

    We've all heard this argument before. People have a hard time getting into the Realms because there're so many epic heroic NPC's zooming around and they do all the important stuff, and you can't run a campaign without running into them. So half of them needed to be killed off/depowered/driven insane in order to make the 4E Forgotten Realms work.

    I don't think that's the case, though. The issue isn't the number or power of heroic NPC's in the Forgotten Realms, but rather, the lack of equally powerful villainous NPC's in the Forgotten Realms. For instance, when someone plays a Marvel Super-Heroes RPG you never hear complaining about that. Why? Because every hero has a sizeable Rogues Gallery which they're forced to deal with. So let's say that your PC's in that supers game are fighting Venom. Nobody ever asks "Where's Spider-Man?" because it's understood that Spider-Man's probably somewhere else fighting Dr. Octopus, Electro, the Shocker, the Lizard, Tombstone, Sandman, Kingpin, etc. No group ever asks where the X-Men are when they're fighting Magneto because they're probably off fighting the Sentinels, the Reavers, the Marauders, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, the Imperial Guard, Arcade, or any number of other enemies. Those are worlds which are DEFINED by the number of heroic NPC's they have, and they work just fine as campaign settings because, for every heroic NPC, there's a large number of villainous NPC's, most of whom are just as powerful as the hero they regularly combat.

    That, I think, is the lesson which the Forgotten Realms needs to take away. Not that they have to sideline their heroes, weaken them, or not stat them up, but put more emphasis on producing a more indepth field of villains. For instance, here's a list of the ten most powerful heroes in the FRCS versus the 10 most powerful villains in the same book (Note: I'm using CR and not level as the measure of their power).

    HEROES
    39 Elminster
    36 The Simbul
    32 Storm Silverhand
    31 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    28 Alustriel
    18 Drizzt Do’Urden
    17 Ningal
    15 Caladnei
    13 Mirt
    10 Alusair Obarskyr

    VILLAINS
    31 Szass Tam
    30 Halaster Blackcloak
    25 Klauth: Dragon of the North
    25 Manshoon
    23 Fzoul Chembryl
    22 Hadrhune
    18 Artemis Entreri
    18 Gerti Orelsdottr
    17 Semmemon
    15 Scyllua Darkhope

    The four most powerful heroes are either equal in power to the most powerful villain, or they vastly eclipse him in power. Now look at this list from the 2nd edition Heroes Lorebook and Villains Lorebook.

    HEROES
    30 The Simbul
    29 Elminster
    27 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    25 Laeral Silverhand
    24 Alustriel Silverhand
    22 Storm Silverhand
    20 King Azoun IV Obarskyr
    20 Cadderly
    20 Gwydion
    18 Durnan

    VILLAINS
    30 Halaster Blackcloak
    29 Szass Tam
    20 Maligor, Zulkir of Alteration
    19 Cyndre
    19 Manshoon
    18 Deirdre Kendrick
    18 Flattery Wyvernspur
    18 King Manferic III
    17 Jarlaxle
    16 Fzoul Chembryl

    The power disparity between the most powerful heroes and villains is even more visible there. Only three of the villains are Level 20 or above while all of the heroes save for one is Level 20 and above. So looking at both of those lists it's easy to imagine a world where the heroic NPC's are able to solve any problem on their own with no help from the PC's when the most wellknown villains are no match for them. How can we not expect Elminster to be able to solve all the world's problems when his CR is 14 higher than Manshoon in 3E, and he's 10 levels higher in 2E?

    The levels of the villains also has a domino effect in that many of them are leaders in various evil organizations, so their level provides a hard cap on the levels of the members of those organizations. For example, if Manshoon is Level 19 then you can't have any natives of Zhentil Keep or members of the Zhentarim who're above Level 19. If they exist, then why aren't they running the show? You can't have any members of the Church of Bane who're above Level 16. If they exist, then why is it that they're not in charge instead of Fzoul? Yeah, there're always exceptions to that rule as to why epic level villains might be serving Level 16 and Level 19 villains, but you can't sustain a campaign heading into the epic levels with villains who constantly serve as the exception to the rule.

    IMO, the solution to that is pretty easy. Introduce new powerful enemies and upgrade already existing villains to match up to their heroic counterparts. As a general rule of thumb, there should be two named villains of roughly equal power for every named hero. For instance, let's say this is the list of the most powerful heroes.

    HEROES
    30 The Simbul
    29 Elminster
    27 Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun
    24 Alustriel Silverhand
    22 Storm Silverhand

    The list of the most powerful villains could then look something like this (Note: It doesn't have to be an exact correlation, level-per-level, two villains per every one hero. This is just a simple example).

    VILLAINS
    30 Halaster
    30 Szass Tam
    29 Manshoon
    29 Fzoul Chembryl
    27 Klauth: Dragon of the North
    27 High Prince Telamont Tanthul
    24 Scyllua Darkhope
    24 The Pereghost
    22 Semmemon
    22 Hadrhune

    Like I said, just an example, and not a hard and fast rule. Telamont should be at least 30, and IMO the Zulkirs should be brought back and they should almost all be epic level and close to Szass Tam's level, and that's for starters.

    Point is, a large and powerful rogues gallery presents numerous possibilities. For one, expanding the number of villains and their power likewise expands story possibilities. That's a far better choice then cutting down on the number of heroic NPC's, which only eliminates story possibilities. Secondly, it eliminates the issue which many felt was a problem with the Forgotten Realms, which was heroic NPC's being the only people that matter. The message with NPC's in 2E and 3E to the PC's was "We don't really need your help because we can blow away these guys all on our own and then some, so go back to shoveling cow dung in Shadowdale." But by increasing the powers of existing villainous NPC's and introducing new ones, having them outnumber the heroic NPC's, the message to PC's instead becomes "We're barely holding the line here, and need your help bad, so hurry up and become epic level, already!"

    That's one of the many things I hope to see in 5E. Not a setting which runs away from its heroic NPC's and tries to sideline them as often as possible, but which instead embraces them and creates worthy adversaries not only for them but for the PC's as well.

    "Beware what you say when you speak of magic, wizard, or you shall see who has the greater power."
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    Erik Scott de Bie
    Forgotten Realms Author

    USA
    4597 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  16:46:32  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I don't want to wade into this very dense discussion (which you should definitely have, 'cuz it's good stuff), but let me make a couple points, and direct folks to my Candlekeep Seminar summary thread: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16861

    1) In general: No retcon, no reboot, no invalidating old lore. Everything that happened, happened. That doesn't mean WotC isn't undoing the effects of some things--they definitely are. But we most likely aren't going to see revised backgrounds and racial histories--expanded, maybe, but not massively rewritten.

    2) Dragonborn and Genasi "realms": The current plan is, as part of the Sundering, Akanul and Tymanther are headed back to Abeir. There may be vestiges left, and you have plenty of opportunity to use either of these races in your game. There are also a whole lot of portals connecting the worlds in these locations--use 'em or ignore 'em as you will.

    3) Dragonborn origins: There are at least 4 distinct "humanoid dragon" races in the Realms. I think at least some of them share a common ancestor (Tymanther dragonborn and Saurials, for instance, may have derived from the same stock many thousands of years ago). And it must be remembered that "dragonborn" is not necessarily a scientific name or even a widely used term in the Realms. It's more a sagely term like "eladrin."

    4) Heroes and Villains: As I understand it, the 5e Realms is trying to get back to the pre-ToT feel of "there are powerful heroes and villains in the world, but they aren't perpetually locked in combat/arms-race/mutually assured destruction and the only thing that matters is what they do." Too much focus on the uber-powerful characters in the setting was not really a good thing for the setting. That doesn't mean they should go away, 'cuz some of these characters are really, really cool. But they're wrapped up in their own schemes, pursuing their own stakes, having their own adventures, which aren't about saving the world every other weekend.

    Venger, I'm concerned that what you're asking for about "we're barely a match for the villains so come help us!" is exactly what the Realms did in 4e. In that era, the villains and the heroes didn't have nearly the sort of power disparity they had in earlier editions, and the concept was that the heroes would have to provide the tipping weight, one way or the other. Is that what you want?

    Going forward in the Realms, if you want to use the very powerful NPCs actively, you certainly can. You just shouldn't feel like you HAVE TO for the sake of verisimilitude in the world, which was somewhat the feel fostered by the many novels focusing on them and the introduction of their stats into the gamebooks. I would much prefer to see these folks NOT statted up, or if they are, only have them presented in adventures or an epic-level handbook sort of situation. It's about the context.

    And on that note, check out the Candlekeep Seminar summary thread: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16861

    Cheers

    Erik Scott de Bie

    'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

    Author of a number of Realms novels (GHOSTWALKER, DEPTHS OF MADNESS, and the SHADOWBANE series), contributor to the NEVERWINTER CAMPAIGN GUIDE and SHADOWFELL: GLOOMWROUGHT AND BEYOND, Twitch DM of the Dungeon Scrawlers, currently playing "The Westgate Irregulars"
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    Venger
    Learned Scribe

    USA
    268 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  17:22:57  Show Profile Send Venger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    2) Dragonborn and Genasi "realms": The current plan is, as part of the Sundering, Akanul and Tymanther are headed back to Abeir. There may be vestiges left, and you have plenty of opportunity to use either of these races in your game. There are also a whole lot of portals connecting the worlds in these locations--use 'em or ignore 'em as you will.


    Thank God! Or should I say Thank Ao, instead? Welcome back, Mulhorand. :)

    quote:
    Venger, I'm concerned that what you're asking for about "we're barely a match for the villains so come help us!" is exactly what the Realms did in 4e. In that era, the villains and the heroes didn't have nearly the sort of power disparity they had in earlier editions, and the concept was that the heroes would have to provide the tipping weight, one way or the other. Is that what you want?


    I never said the 4E Realms was COMPLETELY devoid of good ideas. :P But nah, that's not really what the 4E Realms did. The only thing which 4E did right in this regard was buff both Manshoon and Fzoul to Level 28, but they also slaughtered most of the Seven Sisters, other Chosen, and castrated Elminster for a good long while, which was most definitely the wrong move. That and it was just a bleak version of the Realms. You can have a large cast of villains while still keeping the setting optimistic. The assumption could be that, while the villains who're named in books vastly outnumber the heroes (And they don't have to be statted up. I also liked the 2E way of just giving a name, class, and level), their power is checked not only by the named heroic NPC's we encounter in the books as well as other villains, but by numerous nameless PC adventurers as well.

    For example, let's say the Zulkirs are brought back and they're all made epic level threats, with Szass Tam as the most powerful of them all. They may, according to what few stats are printed in the book (Race/Level), outnumber and overpower the printed NPC's, but their power is checked by several factors: Their conflicts with OTHER villainous groups (I.E. Smoking out Cult of the Dragon members within the borders of Thay or battling Mulhorandi forces), conflicts with each other (Not necessarily direct conflict Zulkir to Zulkir, but political maneuvering or acting through agents), their battles with Aglarond and Rashemen (the Simbul and other high-level NPC's from both nations), and us, the posters at Candlekeep, the WotC boards, ENWorld, and others who play and adventure in the Forgotten Realms.

    That, I think, would be a good way to handle things. To present a world which has great heroes who represent heights which the PC's would want to aspire to, while at the same time making a world which clearly needs other heroes, AND which obviously benefits from those nameless heroes, as all these powerful villains are obviously held at bay through more than just the efforts of wellknown heroes like Elminster, the Harpers, or whomever.

    "Beware what you say when you speak of magic, wizard, or you shall see who has the greater power."
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    Eilserus
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1405 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  17:25:21  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    With the Realms going back to its roots, I hope they resurrect those old current clack news articles. Many people are familiar with the old grey boxed set ones, but there was a ton of really good articles in Elminster's Everwinking Eye series set back in the day of Polyhedron. And I hope its ok, but here's an excerpt of what I'm talking about:

    "Nine dwarves each buried a chest of gems somewhere very near Sevenecho, before the orcs that were pursuing them caught up and slaughtered them all. Elminster tells me this tale is true, and as far as he knows, a certain dark naga found the treasure and probably keeps it in a lair near Sevenecho."

    OR

    "A brigand of some power is preying on overland trade in western Sembia, eastern Cormyr, and the southern Dales. The Black Blade, said to be a human female who has magic (or at least magic items) always appears masked. She has defeated no less than three war bands sent out to slay her. She is also believed to have killed all of The Company of the Torch (an adventuring band based in Starmantle) who came against her and driven The Company of The Fire Shield (of Priapurl) into flight."

    Those are just snippets from some of the old Poly articles and really give that old school vibe to me and a sense of adventure. Maybe it's because I'm part dwarf, but I love finding these little nuggets about treasures in Realmslore. They're instant adventure ideas and make for great mini-adventures that PC's can stumble into or hear about in their area and investigate. Ed has great skill in thinking up cool treasure, spells, and magic items and I think the appeal is, a backstory for loot in most cases is much more interesting than finding (5) 200 gp gems and a +1 short sword etc. I read things like the above and I think, this is just too cool, I have to use this in my campaign and see how the PC's fare against The Black Blade!

    This type of stuff is one of the things I'd like to see return with 5E.
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    Gyor
    Master of Realmslore

    1373 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  18:01:08  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Awesome, I've missed Mulhorandi and Unther. Its like having your cake and eating it too, because you can still adventure in Tymanther and Akanul if the place is riddled with portals. In fact if portals are that common, trade between say Tymanther and Unther should be common.

    Also something people should think of is who knows what these returning places will bring with them. Mulhorand, Unther, Chessenta's lost cities, Mazetica, they weren't in stasis, they were continueing to evolve, trading with new empires, and strange races. Take Mulhorand for example, this is a Theocracy introduced into a world that's never known Gods, only crazy primordials. The Colonies in Mazetica got cut off from thier homelands, plus they face new threats as well. Odds are they didn't survive.

    I'm pumped.
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    deserk
    Learned Scribe

    Norway
    108 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  18:29:54  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Irennan
    That said, I'd really like to see Eilistraee's and Vhaeraun's quest for drow freedom to play a role (even a small one, they are supposed to be rebels and underdogs, after all) in this new era. They add a lot of depth and storytelling potential to the race, and I've a soft spot for them (even tho I'm not into drow, kinda weird I know...), especially for Eilistraee, as her struggle against tyranny and her romantic and passionate defense of her people and her ideals of freedom and life is something I hold dear. A novel or some stories which play out their role in this new context would be something that I'd really enjoy (and in this regard, the info I have about what was going to be published in the Menzo sourcebook leads me to think that what I'm asking for was going to be accomplished very well, returning the two siblings to the Realms in a fitting and flavorful way. Sadly WotC removed this material with the editing, but it could be released in the future nonetheless -even online, as a DDI article, which would make me happy- and used as a basis for future development).


    Quite agree with this. I would very much like to see all the drow gods back.

    Especially Vhaeraun, as I personally really like the Masked Lord as an antagonist (especially in the Dalelands/Cormanthor setting where his followers used to be quite prominent), and an alternative evil drow deity to Lolth. I think many see him as little more than a drow god of thievery but I seem as a lot more than that. As suggested by his dogma in 2E & 3.5, I like thinking of him as a kind of anti-Eilistraee. Being someone bitter and unforgiving of those that have wronged him before. One who would spit upon the drow that would make peace with the peoples that wished the dark elves dead since the beginning. Clinging onto a dream of drow supremacy and reascent to the surface. Defeating enemies with shrewd manipulation and carefully stricken blows at their foes when they are at their most weakest. Retribute the elves for the past crimes inflicted upon the dark elf race, and force the lesser races to bend knee to the Ilythiiri once more, or perish in the ashes of ruin.

    (... Yeah, I've played a crazy Vhaeraunite priest before. )

    Also is interesting that he's a rebel to Lolth's ways, wishing to end the divisive gender roles, Lolthite ways of quarrelling and destroying themselves, and instead aiming to dedicate their efforts in folding the drow race together, to fight and conquer their true non-drow foe.

    So, yeah really hope that FR designers find some excuse to bring him back as well as many other FR deities (ideally, all of them :p ).

    And yeah I really liked Unther and Mulhorand too. Loved the situation in Unther, in 2nd/3rd edition, where it's all chaos and strife, with the Mulhorandi trying to conquer the region, while Tiamat and Bane's followers try to gather more worshippers to reform Unther.

    Would be cool if some of the Old Untherite gods returned too (if the Untherites are coming back, that is), answering the Untherites desperate prayers, and easing the wounds of the nation's decades of suffering and strife.

    Edited by - deserk on 22 Aug 2012 18:36:59
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    Eilserus
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1405 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  18:47:08  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    It's entirely possible we'll see all the drow gods back after AO recreates the Tablets of Fate and decides who's handling what divine responsibilities. I know it's been mentioned the siblings were intended to still be around as arch-fey or some such. I'd just go with demipower status myself, but that's because some of the 4E stuff I don't really understand. I still haven't figured out a good way to bring Selvetarm back myself, but I'm thinking it has something to do with drider worshippers. ;)
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    Gyor
    Master of Realmslore

    1373 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:08:22  Show Profile Send Gyor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Any and all Gods are coming back as I understand it as explained in the summary of Candlekeep Seminar. Honestly the way it was phrased confused me, but as far as I can tell thier all back. That includes the Unther Gods I guess. The Gods will be more distant, less interference.
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    Irennan
    Great Reader

    Italy
    3190 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:23:31  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Eilserus

    It's entirely possible we'll see all the drow gods back after AO recreates the Tablets of Fate and decides who's handling what divine responsibilities. I know it's been mentioned the siblings were intended to still be around as arch-fey or some such. I'd just go with demipower status myself, but that's because some of the 4E stuff I don't really understand. I still haven't figured out a good way to bring Selvetarm back myself, but I'm thinking it has something to do with drider worshippers. ;)



    Honestly, I'd prefer something less anonymous than ''and *poof* they're back'' (even tho I could easily live even with something like this, if it brought them back). The little info I have about their former plan for Eilistraee and Vhaeraun in the Menzo book makes me think that what they were doing is way more flavorful: I'll just quote it:

    quote:
    While I cannot share the text of what I submitted to WotC, Irennan is pretty much spot on in our idea of how to keep consistent with the old lore while returning Eilistraee and Vhaeraun. The Masked Lady sacrificed her divinity and returned as an archfey -- actually two archfey. Vhaeraun and Eilistraee lost their names in the sacrifice and only had their ancestral titles of the Mask on the Moon and the Dancing Maiden. While the archfey cannot grant spells, PCs would directly interact with the spirits that were Eilistraee and Vhaeraun. They ruled from the Grotto of SIlver and Shadow (the map was included in the map pack), which has fallen into ruin in the centuries that they were gods. So drow servants of the Lord and Lady have two great tasks -- fight the oppression of Lolth while reclaiming a feydark realm from the wilderness and evil fey such as the fomorians. This gives judges two great campaigns - one based entirely in the feydark and dealing with other fey and one in the Underdark continuing the fight against Lolth and her minions.
    Their followers would be far fewer than before, making every PC who serves the Lady and the Lord that much more important. Also, servants of Lolth are searching for the hidden Grotto and hunting the Lady and the Lord's followers constantly. Being a servant of the archfey would be a harrowing experience of a rebel, fighting overwhelming odds.


    However, I'm a bit perplex about this: if they set up in the feywild after the exile from Arvandor, then it would be weird of two hostile beings to live in the same place. Unless the conflict between the two of them was overplayed and they were kind of allies from the beginning, the hatred of Vhaeraun towards his sister being only a myth. Then if things really are this way, after they got their godhood their paths started diverging, as their ideals did, only to converge again in time of need giving birth to the ML, who sacrificed their combined divine power for the redemption, making brother and sister allied archfeys again.

    The concept sounds good to me tho, and I'd like much more this to become canon than ''Ao brought them back''. If Ao was going to write ''Eilistraee and Vhaeraun'' on the tablets of fate, they could just get ''promoted'' to deities again (or they could easily remain archfey if WotC don't want them to play a bigger role).

    To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

    Edited by - Irennan on 22 Aug 2012 19:35:09
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    Elsenrail
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    Poland
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    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:30:42  Show Profile Send Elsenrail a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I hope that not everything and everyone returns since it would look like a retcon.

    Some of the 4he ed lore is really good - I like Xxiphu, The Warlock Knights of Vaasa (the former Vaasa was rather a boring place). Damara ruled by a tyrant is a more interesting place, as well, because there is room for political stuff (rebellion etc.).

    The Lady Penitent trilogy was quite good. I don't think we should bring all the gods back. It was at the time of 3rd edition - Lolth was simply the most clever of drow deities and outmanuevered the rest. Although I really liked Vhaerun and Elistaree, they have lost the sava game, leave them be. There was a good explanation, why they died. However, it's not the case with other deities (Azuth etc., whose deaths were rather silly), so I would really like them to come back - Helm, Mask (he doesn't seem dead? ;) ), and those who disappeared in one way or another (Talos etc.).

    What I love about the Realms is that they evolve (but not with RSEa all the time). If we bring now all the deities back, then I would feel as if some of really good novels (like The Lady Penitent trilogy) were ignored.

    Edited by - Elsenrail on 22 Aug 2012 19:37:41
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    Irennan
    Great Reader

    Italy
    3190 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:40:02  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Elsenrail


    The Lady Penitent trilogy was quite good. I don't think we should bring all the gods back. It was at the time of 3rd edition - Lolth was simply the most clever of drow deities and outmanuevered the rest. Although I really liked Vhaerun and Elistaree, they have lost the sava game, leave them be. There was a good explanation, why they died.


    The books might have been good, but they were clearly a deus ex machina. The ''sacrifice'' at the end is really not what Eilistraee would've done, and taking part to a such cruel game is another: it was not needed for her goal, which isn't ''get Lolth'', but helpig the drow to find their own way to freedom and redemption. They were purposefully written to get rid of E. and V. as part of 4e, so they were unjustly removed and need (IMO) to be brought back for what they add to the drow (and because they're widely popular). And it wouldn't feel as the novels were ignored, because Lolth gained a lot of power in them. And what was planned is a good way to do so.

    To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

    Edited by - Irennan on 22 Aug 2012 19:44:04
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    Erik Scott de Bie
    Forgotten Realms Author

    USA
    4597 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:42:51  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    "Looking like a retcon" is not a retcon. Gods die and come back all the time.

    The way the Gods are being handled is to instill a great deal more mystery into the whole thing. Mortals aren't going to read the Tablets of Fate, so they don't know for sure what deities are technically alive or dead. Cults crop up all over the place, sworn to whatever deities they want to be. The gods themselves will recede and take less of an active role in the events of the mortal world.

    Picture the way the Realms used to be, before Faiths and Avatars, wherein you had a little guidance on deities, but none of it was really concrete. If we have a gods book, it'll be about churchs, dogma, faiths, political connections, rituals, etc, not a fact-by-fact encyclopedia of divinity or statblocks on the gods themselves. Ultimately, we're going to reach a point where it's less important which gods are technically there, and which faiths are alive and why.

    Part of this technique is mechanical: if and when it becomes relevant to have an actual God appear in the published Realms, it should be an actual story (a novel, an adventure, etc), and keeping things mysterious gives a certain gray area in which this can be done.

    Cheers

    Erik Scott de Bie

    'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

    Author of a number of Realms novels (GHOSTWALKER, DEPTHS OF MADNESS, and the SHADOWBANE series), contributor to the NEVERWINTER CAMPAIGN GUIDE and SHADOWFELL: GLOOMWROUGHT AND BEYOND, Twitch DM of the Dungeon Scrawlers, currently playing "The Westgate Irregulars"
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    Eilserus
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1405 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:43:23  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Irennan

    quote:
    Originally posted by Eilserus

    It's entirely possible we'll see all the drow gods back after AO recreates the Tablets of Fate and decides who's handling what divine responsibilities. I know it's been mentioned the siblings were intended to still be around as arch-fey or some such. I'd just go with demipower status myself, but that's because some of the 4E stuff I don't really understand. I still haven't figured out a good way to bring Selvetarm back myself, but I'm thinking it has something to do with drider worshippers. ;)



    Honestly, I'd prefer something less anonymous than ''and *poof* they're back'' (even tho I could easily live even with something like this, if it brought them back). The little info I have about their former plan for Eilistraee and Vhaeraun in the Menzo book makes me think that what they were doing is way more flavorful: I'll just quote it:

    quote:
    While I cannot share the text of what I submitted to WotC, Irennan is pretty much spot on in our idea of how to keep consistent with the old lore while returning Eilistraee and Vhaeraun. The Masked Lady sacrificed her divinity and returned as an archfey -- actually two archfey. Vhaeraun and Eilistraee lost their names in the sacrifice and only had their ancestral titles of the Mask on the Moon and the Dancing Maiden. While the archfey cannot grant spells, PCs would directly interact with the spirits that were Eilistraee and Vhaeraun. They ruled from the Grotto of SIlver and Shadow (the map was included in the map pack), which has fallen into ruin in the centuries that they were gods. So drow servants of the Lord and Lady have two great tasks -- fight the oppression of Lolth while reclaiming a feydark realm from the wilderness and evil fey such as the fomorians. This gives judges two great campaigns - one based entirely in the feydark and dealing with other fey and one in the Underdark continuing the fight against Lolth and her minions.
    Their followers would be far fewer than before, making every PC who serves the Lady and the Lord that much more important. Also, servants of Lolth are searching for the hidden Grotto and hunting the Lady and the Lord's followers constantly. Being a servant of the archfey would be a harrowing experience of a rebel, fighting overwhelming odds.


    However, I'm a bit perplex about this: if they set up in the feywild after the exile from Arvandor, then it would be weird of two hostile beings to live in the same place. Unless the conflict between the two of them was overplayed and they were kind of allies from the beginning, the hatred of Vhaeraun towards his sister being only a myth. Then if things really are this way, after they got their godhood their paths started diverging, as their ideals did, only to converge again in time of need giving birth to the ML, who sacrificed their combined divine power for the redemption, making brother and sister allied archfeys again.

    The concept sounds good to me tho, and I'd like much more this to become canon than ''Ao brought them back''. If Ao was going to write ''Eilistraee and Vhaeraun'' on the tablets of fate, they could just get ''promoted'' to deities again (or they could easily remain archfey if WotC don't want them to play a bigger role).




    I'd say if they were stripped of their divinity and lost their names, they may have mentally returned to a time almost like they were before the fall from Arvandor (aka: not bitter enemies). Removing the divine may have stripped the feeling or need to destroy one another or the reduced power may have forced them to band together because singly, Lolth would destroy them alone. I hope we get a web enhancement for this, because I'd love to see this delved into more.
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    Irennan
    Great Reader

    Italy
    3190 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:45:22  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    ^ Yes, as I wrote, it's what I too have assumed. I really wish to see this explored. I've even sent them a mail about this matter, in the (vain?) hope to see the content published as a DDI article.

    EDIT: spelling.

    To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

    Edited by - Irennan on 22 Aug 2012 23:16:05
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    Markustay
    Realms Explorer extraordinaire

    USA
    15724 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:51:02  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I agree on the 'don't bring back everyone' point. As a fan, I'd love to see it. As a realist, thats just bad design. It echoes of all the comic-bookish 'crisis' continuity re-boots, which is why I don't read comics any more. They didn't just break the immersion factor, they tore it down and stomped it into the ground.

    For instance, I like Mirt, but I thought it was pure cheese when Ed brought him back (sorry Ed, but if I'm anything, I'm blunt-honest). I hated that he (and nearly everyone else) died, but I think I hated the resurrections even more. How many beloved characters are now demi/half-shades? It gets old, FAST. I'd like the Realms to be restored to a semblance of its former glory, but not at the cost of cheesy comic-bookish storylines. On the other hand, if there is a previous in-game reason for them being around (like the Chosen), then that is just fine (Mirt may have such a status, or something close to it, so the jury is still out on that one until I finish the series).

    As for the Lady penitant series, I think you may be alone (or close to it) on that one, Elsenrail. Nearly everyone I talk to wants Eilistraee and Vharaun back (although I have always felt they should combine them with others - Vharuan/Mask is a no-brainer). I also don't blame Lisa Smedman (anymore) - thats like accusing a soldier of murder for doing his job. It is what it is, but I would sure love to see much of that series un-done.

    As for regions like Unther and Mulhorand (and to a lesser-extent K-T, Maztica, Zakhara, etc), I really don't want to see them brought back 'as is'. They have always needed a facelift, and this is a golden opportunity for Ed and others to "do them right". Don't throw away the 4e lore - use it to go back and fix the 'iffy' 1e/2e/3e lore. There is a golden opportunity to give us the Realms we have have always wanted - the Realms as Ed intended them to be. How many settings can do this - right past wrongs - and do it with an in-game explanation? Its pure win.

    "I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


    Edited by - Markustay on 22 Aug 2012 19:51:42
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    Dark Wizard
    Senior Scribe

    USA
    830 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  19:54:51  Show Profile Send Dark Wizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I agree wholeheartedly with Venger's point about the disparity between Heroes and Villains based on their threat levels as expressed by the rules.

    A major problem is not the number of characters or novel-portrayed power of heroes, but it's their in-game superiority compared to their villainous counterparts. In 3e, I recalled a rule where if a character is more than eight levels beyond their opponent, they don't even get XP for defeating them. The disparity between the heroes and villains in this era neared this gap of significance.

    This was especially comical and cringe-worthy when putting the stats of elder evils such as Dendar and Kezef besides the iconic heroes. Designers of those elder evils wanted threats PCs in a normal 1-20 level game could reasonably face. This is nearly a 180 from the approach taken with the iconic heroes where the top tier heroes are nearly twice the CR of the usual PC maximum of 20. Level-wise it’s not much better with Heroes having a great advantage on most named Villains. In a sense, the Villains are written for the game as adversaries against PCs with the usual levels 1-20 in mind. The Heroes on the other hand are off on their lofty perch somewhere. This is an understandable disconnect by critics of the setting, and even some fans.

    What is worst, I believe it was WotC’s own research that found most games only play within levels 1-12. Settings like Eberron were designed with these ranges (1-12 and 1-20) in mind. For the most part, Eberron is consistent throughout its publication run. The changing of policy regarding which levels to focus on for the Realms pulled the rug out from under the setting, exacerbating the perception of Heroes running rampant and uncontrolled through the setting.

    The 4E Realms did no favors to the setting by putting most of the characters on the chopping block, sealing the Realm’s reputation as so overrun by heroic NPCs the designers had to age them out of existence or kill them outright to “fix” the setting. This perception of the setting is unlikely to be changed, especially not by the drastic actions taken during 4E, and most likely not for some time even with the changes to be introduced by 5E/Next.

    At some point before 4E, someone at WotC should have decided to nip the problem at the bud and issued an errata or addendum for the Realms NPCs adjusting their levels and CRs to be more inline with the design thinking of the time. This is not a retcon as technically game stats aren’t a part of the actual lore but a representation of the character that should be adapted for each iteration of the rules. For the most part, anything a CR 39 Elminster can handle in the novels, a CR 27 Elminster (Grey Box level I believe) could handle just as well. There will always be a slight difference in what a novel character can accomplish compared a representation of the character in any version of the rules, somethings they will do better some not as well.

    A Realms optimized for level 1-20 play with the heroes and villains on equal, mutually precarious footing (and a few very powerful big bads* lurking in the background) would have done much to repair the image of the setting. Such a document would have been something fans of the setting could refer critics to in their efforts to correct the negative perception of the Realms. The choices WotC made to handle the NPC situation with 4E Realms made the setting indefensible against such criticisms. The 4E Realms tried to repair the situation, but it was too late and far too much a reactionary approach instead of a preventative one.

    I think such a document may still prove useful. In a D&D Next that embraces all eras, perhaps there can be a Heroes and Villains mini-supplement covering the pre-4E era which gives one line stats using D&D Next terminology but in a scope that a regular game will cover. Ideally these 5e numbers would be applicable as a 3e errata. The official 3e stats can form the basis of a far ‘Epic Realms’. The Villains should be on par and perhaps even edge out most of the Heroes by a slight margin to put some uncertainty back into the setting, an uncertainty implied in the lore and novels, but little reflected by the rules at a glance.


    * What of Larloch, the Twisted Rune, Shoon, and the other lesser known but terrifyingly potent villains? The counterpoint is what of the Srinshee, the other half dozen lesser known chosen of Mystra, and other good characters not mentioned in the initial CS. These other elements are not as useful for a casual fan of the setting. The impression is made by the CS and the characters selected to represent the setting within its pages. The first impression is very important.
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    Eilserus
    Master of Realmslore

    USA
    1405 Posts

    Posted - 22 Aug 2012 :  20:00:57  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by Erik Scott de Bie



    If we have a gods book, it'll be about churchs, dogma, faiths, political connections, rituals, etc, not a fact-by-fact encyclopedia of divinity or statblocks on the gods themselves.

    Cheers



    A sourcebook like this would be EPIC! I know in the previous faiths and demihuman deities books, my favorite sections were always Affiliated Orders and Major Centers of Worship. Be sweet to see expanded information on the various churches.
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