Forgotten Realms

Forgotten Realms is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. Commonly referred to by players and game designers alike as "The Realms", it was created by game designer Ed Greenwood around 1967 as a setting for his childhood stories.[1] Several years later, Greenwood brought the setting to publication for the D&D game as a series of magazine articles, and the first Realms game products were released in 1987. Role-playing game products have been produced for the setting ever since, as have various licensed products including novels, role-playing video game adaptations (including the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game to use graphics), and comic books. The Forgotten Realms is one of the most popular D&D settings,[2][3] largely due to the success of novels by authors such as R. A. Salvatore and numerous role-playing video games, including Pool of Radiance (1988), Eye of the Beholder (1991), Baldur's Gate (1998), Icewind Dale (2000), Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000), and Neverwinter Nights (2002).

Forgotten Realms
Forgotten Realms logo.png
New Forgotten Realms logo.png
Top: The Forgotten Realms logo (1987–1999)
Bottom: Forgotten Realms logo (2000–present)
Designer(s)Ed Greenwood
Publication date1987–current
Genre(s)Fantasy
Language(s)English
Media typeGame accessories, novels, role-playing video games, comic books

The Forgotten Realms is a fantasy world setting, described as a world of strange lands, dangerous creatures, and mighty deities, where magic and supernatural phenomena are quite real. The premise is that, long ago, the Earth and the world of the Forgotten Realms were more closely connected. As time passed, the inhabitants of planet Earth have mostly forgotten about the existence of that other world – hence the name Forgotten Realms. On the original Forgotten Realms logo, which was used until 2000, small runic letters read "Herein lie the lost lands", an allusion to the connection between the two worlds.

Creative originsEdit

 
Ed Greenwood in 2008

Ed Greenwood began writing stories about the Forgotten Realms as a child, starting around 1967;[4] they were his "dream space for swords and sorcery stories".[4] Greenwood came up with the Forgotten Realms name from the notion of a multiverse of parallel worlds; Earth is one such world, and the Realms another. In Greenwood's original conception, the fantastic legends of Earth derive from a fantasy world, the way to which has been lost.[5] Greenwood discovered the Dungeons & Dragons game in 1975, and became a serious role-playing enthusiast with the first AD&D game releases in 1978.[5] Greenwood brought his fantasy world to the new medium of role-playing games when a university student named September introduced him to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.[6]:72 The setting became the home of Greenwood's personal campaign.[7] Greenwood began a Realms campaign in the city of Waterdeep, then started another group known as the Knights of Myth Drannor in Shadowdale. Greenwood felt that his players' thirst for detail made the Realms what it is: "They want it to seem real, and work on ‘honest jobs’ and personal activities, until the whole thing grows into far more than a casual campaign. Roleplaying always governs over rules, and the adventures seem to develop themselves."[5] Greenwood has stated that his own version of the Forgotten Realms, as run in his personal campaign, is much darker than published versions.[8]

Beginning with the periodical's 30th issue in 1979,[4][5] Greenwood published a series of short articles that detailed the setting in The Dragon magazine, the first of which was about a monster known as the curst.[4] Greenwood wrote voluminous entries to Dragon magazine, using the Realms as a setting for his descriptions of magic items, monsters, and spells.[7] In 1986, the American game publishing company TSR began looking for a new campaign setting for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game,[4] and assigned Jeff Grubb to find out more about the setting used by Greenwood as portrayed in his articles in Dragon.[7] According to Greenwood, Grubb asked him "Do you just make this stuff up as you go, or do you really have a huge campaign world?"; Greenwood answered "yes" to both questions.[5] TSR felt that the Forgotten Realms would be a more open-ended setting than the epic Dragonlance setting, and chose the Realms as a ready-made campaign setting upon deciding to publish AD&D 2nd Edition.[5] Greenwood agreed to work on the project, and began working to get the Forgotten Realms officially published.[4] Greenwood sent TSR a few dozen cardboard boxes stuffed with pencil notes and maps, and sold all rights to the Realms for a token fee.[5] Greenwood noted that TSR altered his original conception of the Realms being a place that we could travel to from our world, "Concerns over possible lawsuits (kids getting hurt while trying to 'find a gate') led TSR to de-emphasize this meaning".[5]

Jon Peterson, author of Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History, said that Greenwood "was that rare obsessive DM who just seemed to have more ideas and energy to pour into his world than even the folks at TSR did. Naturally when TSR was shopping for new campaign worlds as part of their cross-media strategy, they had to get the Forgotten Realms. RA Salvatore took Greenwood’s world and created characters and stories for it that made him a bestselling author and sustained TSR as a major fantasy book publisher".[9]

Publication historyEdit

1985–1990Edit

In 1985, the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons module H1: Bloodstone Pass was released by TSR and is retroactively considered to be a part of the Forgotten Realms,[10] although it wasn't until module H3 The Bloodstone Wars was released that the Forgotten Realms became the official setting for the module series.[11] Douglas Niles had been working on a trilogy of Celtic-themed novels, which were modified to become the first Forgotten Realms books, beginning with Darkwalker on Moonshae (1987).[6]:73 The first official Forgotten Realms product was Douglas Niles's Darkwalker on Moonshae, the first book in The Moonshae Trilogy, which predates the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set by one month.[12]

The Campaign Set (often referred to as the "Grey Box")[12] was later released in 1987[13][14] as a boxed set of two source books (Cyclopedia of the Realms and DM's Sourcebook of the Realms)[15] and four large maps, designed by Greenwood in collaboration with author Jeff Grubb. The set introduced the campaign setting and explained how to use it,[16] and reserved space on the map for SSI's Gold Box computer role-playing games set in the Forgotten Realms.[17]

TSR began incorporating elements by other designers into the Forgotten Realms, including the Moonshae Isles by Douglas Niles, the "Desert of Desolation" by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, and Kara-Tur by Zeb Cook.[6]:73 The setting also gave TSR a new way to market its Battlesystem rules, which it had thus far supported with the Bloodstone adventure sequence that began with H1: Bloodstone Pass (1985), and the last two books of this series, H3: The Bloodstone Wars (1987) and H4: The Throne of Bloodstone (1988), were explicitly placed in the Forgotten Realms.[6]:74 Some of the characters from Frank Mentzer's I12: Egg of the Phoenix (1987) were incorporated into FR5: The Savage Frontier (1988).[6]:40

The publisher considered the Forgotten Realms to have been an "instant hit".[13] The compilation module Desert of Desolation was reworked to fit into the Forgotten Realms.[18] The module N5: Under Illefarn bears the Forgotten Realms logo on the cover, as do the two modules released in 1988, H4: The Throne of Bloodstone and I14: Swords of the Iron Legion.

R.A. Salvatore wrote his first Forgotten Realms novel in 1988, The Crystal Shard (1988), which was originally set in the Moonshae Islands, but was moved to a new location and the drow character Drizzt was added.[6]:73 The Crystal Shard was released in 1988,[19] and was the first novel to feature the successful character Drizzt Do'Urden, who has since appeared in more than seventeen subsequent novels, many of which have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.[20] In 1988, the first in a line of Forgotten Realms role-playing video games, Pool of Radiance, was released by Strategic Simulations, Inc.[21] The game was popular, winning the Origins Award for "Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1988".[22] In 1992, the game was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Several supplements to the original boxed set were released under the first edition rules, including FR1 Waterdeep and the North and FR2 Moonshae in 1987, and FR3 Empires of the Sands, FR4 The Magister, FR5 The Savage Frontier, FR6 Dreams of the Red Wizards, and REF5 Lords of Darkness in 1988. Also in 1988 came the City System boxed set, containing several maps of the city of Waterdeep. Ruins of Adventure, a module based on the computer game Pool of Radiance, was released in 1988.

The boxed set Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms was released in 1988, giving details of the lands of Kara-Tur which had previously appeared in the 1986 book Oriental Adventures, and were now officially placed in the Forgotten Realms world. The same year, the module OA5: Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw was released for the Kara-Tur setting as a Forgotten Realms product.

In 1989, DC Comics began publishing a series of Forgotten Realms comics written by Jeff Grubb.[6]:75 Each issue contained twenty-six pages, illustrated primarily by Rags Morales and Dave Simons. Twenty-five issues were published in total, with the last being released in 1991. A fifty-six page annual Forgotten Realms Comic Annual #1: Waterdhavian Nights, illustrated by various artists, was released in 1990.

An eponymous module, based on the role-playing video game Curse of the Azure Bonds, was released in 1989, as was The Avatar Trilogy series of novels, consisting of Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep that detailed the storyline which became known as the "Time of Troubles". A series of module adaptations for these novels (Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep) were released in the same year, along with the Hall of Heroes accessory, detailing many of the major characters appearing in Forgotten Realms novels published up through that time.

1990–2000Edit

Forgotten Realms video games
1988Pool of Radiance
1989Hillsfar
Curse of the Azure Bonds
1990Secret of the Silver Blades
Eye of the Beholder
1991Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon
Pools of Darkness
Neverwinter Nights
Gateway to the Savage Frontier
1992Treasures of the Savage Frontier
1993Forgotten Realms: Unlimited Adventures
Dungeon Hack
Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor
1994Menzoberranzan
1995
1996Blood & Magic
1997Descent to Undermountain
1998Baldur's Gate
1999
2000Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Icewind Dale
2001Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
2002Icewind Dale II
Neverwinter Nights
Dungeons & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder
2003
2004Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II
2005Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
2006Neverwinter Nights 2
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale
Heroes of Neverwinter
2012
2013Neverwinter
2014Lords of Waterdeep
2015Sword Coast Legends
2016
2017Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation
2018Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
2019Warriors of Waterdeep
2020Baldur's Gate III

To transition the setting from first edition AD&D rules to second edition AD&D rules, a story of the gods being cast down was planned from the top-down management and began in FR7: Hall of Heroes (1989) and spread into a three-adventure "Avatar" series (1989), a three-novel "Avatar" series (1989), and some stories in the comic book.[6]:84

In early 1990, the hardcover Forgotten Realms Adventures by Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood was released, which introduced the setting to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition and detailed how the Time of Troubles had changed the setting.[7] The RPGA used the Forgotten Realms city of Ravens Bluff as the setting for their first living campaign. Official RPGA support for this product line included the Living City modules series. A number of sub-settings of the Forgotten Realms were briefly supported in the early 1990s. Three more modules were produced for the Kara-Tur setting. The Horde: Barbarian Campaign Setting, released in 1990, detailed The Hordelands, which also featured a series of three modules. The Maztica Campaign Set, released in 1991, detailed the continent of Maztica.

The original gray boxed set received a revision in 1993 to update it to the second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) rules system, with the release of a new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set, containing three books (A Grand Tour of the Realms, Running the Realms, and Shadowdale) and various "monster supplements",[23] with a new graphic look.[14] Additional material for the setting was released steadily throughout the 1990s. Forgotten Realms novels, such as the Legacy of the Drow series, the first three books of The Elminster Series, and numerous anthologies were also released throughout the 1990s, which led to the setting being hailed as one of the most successful shared fantasy universes of the 1990s.[24] These novels in turn sparked interest in role-playing activity by new gamers.[25]

Numerous Forgotten Realms video games were released between 1990 and 2000. The Eye of the Beholder PC game was released in 1990.[26] This game was later followed by two sequels, the first in 1991,[27] and the second in 1992.[28] All three games were re-released for DOS on a single disk in 1995.[29] Another 1991 release was Neverwinter Nights on America Online, the first graphical Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG).[30] In 1998, Baldur's Gate was released, the first in a line of popular role-playing video games[31] developed by BioWare and "considered by most pundits as the hands-down best PC roleplaying game ever".[1] The game was followed by a sequel, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn in 2000 as well as Icewind Dale, a separate game that utilized the same game engine as Baldur's Gate. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor was released in 2001. Several popular Forgotten Realms characters such as Drizzt Do'Urden and Elminster made minor appearances in these games.

2000–2008Edit

Wizards of the Coast took over publication of Dungeons & Dragons after purchasing TSR in 1997, and hired Rob Heinsoo as a member of the "D&D Worlds" team to focus on the third edition of Forgotten Realms.[32]:162 An official material update and a timeline advance were introduced to the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons in 2001 with the release of the hardcover book the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.[33] In 2002, the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting won the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game Supplement of 2001.[34]

Several additional rulebooks were released for the new edition, including Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (2001), Magic of Faerûn (2001), Lords of Darkness (2001), Faiths and Pantheons (2002), Silver Marches (2002), Races of Faerûn (2003), and Unapproachable East (2003). Adventure modules included Into the Dragon's Lair (2000), Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor (2001), and City of the Spider Queen (2002).

In 2002, BioWare released Neverwinter Nights, set in the northern reaches of Faerûn and operating on the revised 3.0 rules for D&D. It was followed by two expansion packs, Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark. A sequel using version 3.5 of the rules was produced by Obsidian Entertainment in 2006, itself followed by the expansion sets Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir. The Forgotten Realms Deluxe Edition compilation was released in 2006, containing the Baldur's Gate series (excluding the Dark Alliance games), Icewind Dale series, and all Neverwinter Nights games before Neverwinter Nights 2.

With the release of the version 3.5 update to the rules, the Forgotten Realms product line continued to expand. Accessories released included Underdark (2003), Player's Guide to Faerûn (2004), Serpent Kingdoms (2004), Shining South (2004), Lost Empires of Faerûn (2005), Champions of Ruin (2005), City of Splendors: Waterdeep (2005), Champions of Valor (2005), Power of Faerûn (2006), Mysteries of the Moonsea (2006), Dragons of Faerûn (2006), and The Grand History of the Realms (2007). Adventure modules released included Sons of Gruumsh (2005), The Twilight Tomb (2006), Expedition to Undermountain (2007), Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave (2007), Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land (2007), and Anauroch: The Empire of Shade (2007).

2008–2014Edit

With the release of the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons in 2008, Wizards opted for a publishing plan featuring a series of six books per year – three core rulebooks and three setting books – beginning with the Forgotten Realms; they kicked off the cycle with the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (2008), the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide (2008), and FR1: Scepter Tower of Spellgard.[32]:190 This updated the Forgotten Realms to the newest rules system which altered the setting drastically to make it fit into the 4th Edition "Points of Light" concept and moved the fictional world's timeline 94 years into the future.[32]:190[35][36][37] The main lore change centered around an event called the Spellplague which was unleashed when the goddess of magic Mystra was killed, "transforming whole nations and altering creatures. In addition, parts of Toril have fused with its long-lost twin world Abeir, whisking away some countries and adding new ones. The Underdark is more open to the surface. Thay has become a nightmare land of death and the Elves, sensing the newfound connection to the Feywild, have returned to Faerûn in force".[38] In 2008, the Forgotten Realms also became the setting for the RPGA's sole living campaign, Living Forgotten Realms, replacing Living Greyhawk.

In 2011, the Neverwinter Campaign Setting was released which launched the 4th Edition's first major multimedia release. The Forgotten Realms city setting spawned four novels by R.A. Salvatore called the Neverwinter Saga, a comic book, and a board game called The Legend of Drizzt (2011), as well as two video games - the Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter (2011-2012) and a MMORPG called simply "Neverwinter" (2013).[39] Laura Tommervik, for the Wizards of the Coast marketing team, explained the approach: "We use Neverwinter as the connective tissue across multiple product categories. The transmedia campaign is an opportunity for fans to experience the brand however they choose to".[39]

In 2013, Wizards of the Coast announced a year long event called the Sundering which acted as a multimedia project to transition the Forgotten Realms to next edition of the game.[40][41][42] This release included a weekly D&D Encounters in-store play event, a free-to-play mobile game Arena of War (2013), and a collaborative novel series: The Companions (2013) by R. A. Salvatore, The Godborn (2013) by Paul S. Kemp, The Adversary (2013) by Erin Evans, The Reaver (2014) by Richard Lee Byers, The Sentinel (2014) by Troy Denning, and The Herald (2014) by Ed Greenwood.[40][41][43] Liz Schuh, Head of Publishing and Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons, said:[44]

The Sundering is the last of a series of ground-shaking events. It really affects the whole world of the Forgotten Realms in a major way. You may remember when the Spell Plagues began, the two worlds of the Forgotten Realms, Abeir and Toril, crashed together. That created both geographic changes (the map of the Forgotten Realms and Faerun actually changed due to that collision), and also changed the way magic works. It changed the pantheon of the gods. The Sundering is all about those two worlds separating—coming apart—and the process of that separation is really the story that we’re telling over the next year. At the end of this story arc, Abeir and Toril will be separate again, and many of the things that happened when they crashed together will go back to the way they were before. So magic will be much like it was before the Spell Plague. Markings that marked spell-plagued people and animals will fade and go away. It’s really about moving the Forgotten Realms forward, but also about bringing it around to the most beloved and most fondly remembered Forgotten Realms.

2014–2020Edit

With the release of the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons in 2014, Wizards of the Coast announced that the Forgotten Realms would continue to serve as the official campaign setting for its upcoming published adventure materials.[45][46][47] The village of Phandalin in the Forgotten Realms acted as the primary setting for the new 5th Edition Starter Set (2014) which was published before the release of three new core rulebooks.[48][49] Tyranny of Dragons was the first multimedia storyline for the new edition and included two adventure modules, Hoard of the Dragon Queen (2014) and The Rise of Tiamat (2014), and an update to the Neverwinter (2013) video game.[50][51] The next two storylines, Elemental Evil which included Princes of the Apocalypse (2015) and Rage of Demons which included Out of the Abyss (2015), were also set in the Forgotten Realms.[52][53]

The first campaign guide for the new edition, the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015), was released on November 3, 2015 and only covered a fraction of the Forgotten Realms.[54] It describes the 2013 Sundering event, referred to as the Second Sundering in the book, and its consequences in game terms and lore.[55] The video game Sword Coast Legends (2015) published by Digital Extremes was also released in the same month as the tabletop campaign guide.[54][56]

SettingEdit

The focus of the Forgotten Realms setting is the continent of Faerûn, part of the fictional world of Abeir-Toril, usually called simply Toril, an Earth-like planet with many real-world influences. Unlike Earth, the lands of the Forgotten Realms are not all ruled by the human race: the planet Toril is shared by humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, and other peoples and creatures. Technologically, the world of the Forgotten Realms is not nearly as advanced as that of Earth; in this respect, it resembles the pre-industrial Earth of the 13th or 14th century. However, the presence of magic provides an additional element of power to the societies. There are several nation states and many independent cities, with loose alliances being formed for defense or conquest. Trade is performed by ship or horse-drawn vehicle, and manufacturing is based upon cottage industry.

GeographyEdit

Toril consists of several large continents, including Faerûn, the western part of a continent that was roughly modeled after the Eurasian continent on Earth.[57] Faerûn was first detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR.[15] The other continents include Kara-Tur, Zakhara, Maztica, and other yet unspecified landmasses. Kara-Tur, roughly corresponding to ancient East Asia, was later the focus of its own source book Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, published in 1988.[58] There is also a vast subterranean world called the Underdark beneath the surface.

Various products detailing specific areas of Faerûn, such as the 2nd edition FR13 Anauroch (1991), FR15 Gold and Glory (1992), FR16 The Shining South (1993), and FRS1 The Dalelands (1993), have been released, and through these much of the continent has been heavily detailed and documented, creating a highly developed setting.

In early editions of the setting, The Realms shared a unified cosmology with various other campaign settings called the Great Wheel. In this way each of the Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings were linked together to form one interwoven world connected by various planes of existence. With the release of the 2001 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, the setting was given its own distinct and separate cosmological arrangement, with unique planes not explicitly connected to those of the other settings.[33][59]

 
Forgotten Realms partial map

ReligionEdit

Religion plays a large part in the Forgotten Realms, with deities and their followers being an integral part of the world. They do not have a passive role, but in fact interact directly in mortal affairs, answer prayers, and have their own personal agendas. All deities must have worshipers to survive, and all mortals must worship a patron deity to secure a good afterlife. A huge number of diverse deities exist within several polytheistic pantheons; a large number of supplements have documented many of them, some in more detail than others.[60][61]Ed Greenwood created a pantheon of gods for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, in his Forgotten Realms world, which were introduced in his article "Down-to-earth divinity" from Dragon #54 (October 1981).[62]

Much of the history of The Realms detailed in novels and source books concerns the actions of various deities and The Chosen (mortal representatives with a portion of their deities' power) such as Elminster, Fzoul Chembryl, Midnight (who later became the new embodiment of the goddess of magic, Mystra), and the Seven Sisters. Above all other deities is Ao, the Overlord. Ao does not sanction worshipers and distances himself from mortals. He is single-handedly responsible for the Time of Troubles, or Godswar, as seen in The Avatar Trilogy.[63]

CharactersEdit

The setting is the home of several iconic characters popularized by authors, some of the more notable being;

  • Drizzt Do'Urden, the fan-favourite drow, or dark elf, ranger created by R. A. Salvatore. Do'Urden as a character is often used to represent issues of racial prejudice, particularly in The Dark Elf Trilogy.[64] Drizzt is also troubled by the lifespan discrepancy between himself and his lover Cattie-Brie.[65] In-universe, Do'Urden is noted for his commitment to friendship and peace, against the stereotype of his race.[66]
  • Elminster the wizard, noted for his resemblances to Gandalf, Merlin and Odin, as well as his meerschaum pipe, and his ability to act and put on a different personality depending on who he interacts with.[67]
  • Erevis Cale, noted for his moral dilemmas,[68] later he was killed.
  • Jarlaxle, a drow, who is noted in-universe for his vanity, multilingualism and leadership of a mercenary band.
  • Wulfgar a barbarian noted for his strength

ReceptionEdit

In his book The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer's Bible, Sean Patrick Fannon describes the Forgotten Realms as being "the most ambitious fantasy game setting published since Tekumel",[1] and that it "may be the most widely played-in game setting in RPG history."[1] Similarly, in literature, the novels written in the Forgotten Realms setting have formed one of "the industry's leading fantasy series".[69] Over time these novels have gained "unprecedented popularity",[70] which led, as Marc Oxoby noted in his book, The 1990s, to the novels having an "extraordinary shelf life", remaining in print for many years.[70] This popular reception has also been reflected in public libraries. For example, Joyce Saricks states in The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction that the novels have been among the most requested books by fans of the fantasy genre.[71]

Brian Silliman, for SYFY Wire, described the Forgotten Realms "a classic fantasy backdrop" and highlighted that "at one time in our history, our world and this one were connected, but over time this magical realm was, well, forgotten. It is an ideal place for any D&D adventure, inspiring limitless possibilities for any smirking dungeon master".[72]

The 4th Edition update to the Forgotten Realms brought massive lore changes which were "tied to a number of other design philosophies" and the Forgotten Realms "simultaneously had become a grittier setting, on the edge of collapse, while also becoming a more fantastic one, full of wonder and mystery".[73] Jason Wilson, for VentureBeat, highlighted that unlike the 3rd Edition Time of Troubles cataclysm, the 4th Edition Spellplague cataclysm was "one players never embraced in the same manner as the earlier disaster".[74] Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, wrote that the 4th Edition[73]

Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide may be the most controversial D&D book ever produced by Wizards. That's entirely due to the large-scale destruction of the Realms. Similar updates have been tried by other companies — to reinvigorate settings, to make them more accessible to new players, or to make them more adventuresome. [...] It never seems to go well, because old fans feel left behind. With that said, some folks did love the changes, because the setting was now more playable, more accessible, more fantastic, and more PC centered. [...] Meanwhile a series of adventures and novels called The Sundering (2013-2014) reversed many of the 4e changes to the Realms, but without rebooting the timeline. Instead, the Realms continues to evolve and advance, as it has since its earlier days.

R.A. Salvatore was also publicly unhappy with the 4th Edition changes to the Forgotten Realms. Salvatore said "basically, we authors were handed a document and told how things were going to be. We were asked our opinions, but they mattered very little - the changes were being driven from a different direction. [...] To have characters that have built such a strong history, then have that upset on the orders of someone else was very disconcerting. I will admit that the abrupt changes forced me into an uncomfortable place, and from that place came some of the better things I've written, but I very much preferred the way it was done this time, with 5th Edition and the changes, where we, the authors, were told what was happening to the game and asked how we could make the world and the lore live and breathe it".[75]

Aubrey Sitterson, for PC Magazine, included the Forgotten Realms in a 2015 roundup of the "11 Best Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings" and wrote "for most people, Forgotten Realms is synonymous with Dungeons & Dragons, and with good reason: it’s the setting that played home to the massively popular Baldur’s Gate video game, as well as R.A. Salvatore’s Drizzt books. Currently, it’s the only campaign setting actively supported by D&D makers Wizards of the Coast, which would be restrictive if Forgotten Realms wasn’t such an incredibly diverse place, housing classic European middle ages tropes, as well as a heroic fantasy take on African, Middle Eastern, and other real-world cultures".[76]

Christian Hoffer, for ComicBook.com, reported that the Wizards of the Coast 5th Edition publishing strategy, which focuses on the Forgotten Realms and newer intellectual property for campaign settings, has created a rift in the fan base where a segment "feel that this push for new players has come at the cost of keeping the game's current players sated" by not updating campaign settings that "predate the Forgotten Realms". Hoffer highlighted that Wizards of the Coast has a much slower publication schedule than with previous editions with a focus on quality and profit and "the D&D teams knows that they have plenty of great campaign settings in their back pocket and are either actively developing more settings or have ideas for them further down the line".[77]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Fannon, Sean Patrick (1999). The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer's Bible (2nd ed.). ISBN 978-0-9674429-0-7.
  2. ^ Slagle, Matt (2007-01-18). "'Neverwinter Nights' sequel brings more dungeon exploration to PC". Deseret News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  3. ^ Desslock (1999-01-20). "Baldur's Gate (PC)". CNET Networks. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Winter, Steve; Greenwood, Ed; Grubb, Jeff. 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons, pages 74-87. (Wizards of the Coast, 2004).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Varney, Allen (February 1998). "ProFiles: Ed Greenwood". Dragon (#244): 112.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '70s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-075-5.
  7. ^ a b c d Grubb, Jeff; Greenwood, Ed. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  8. ^ Interview on the DiceCast podcast
  9. ^ Ferranti, Seth (October 23, 2018). "How the Art of Dungeons and Dragons Helped Make It a Phenomenon". Vice. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  10. ^ "Bloodstone Pass at Pen&Paper". Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Listing at the Pen & Paper RPG Database, listing the module as part of the Forgotten Realms game line. Retrieved on November 30, 2008.
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