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 WotC's secret Lore book

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Gyor Posted - 04 Jul 2019 : 20:22:57
Link!

They been building it for over 40 years, Larian Studios was allowed to look at it, a lore book to rule them all, all the secret of FR and the D&D multiverse it's self, the book with the answers to every question you've ever had and many you never thought of, yet which would blow your mind if you did.

And they keep it secret, unpublished, hidden away at WotC headquarters.

I want this book. I need this book. I yearn for this book. What about you guys?

Mod edit: turned the big ugly link into something not big and ugly.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Cards77 Posted - 09 Jul 2019 : 16:16:35
I'm sure all the designers have this and it likely makes a hell of a lot more sense than anything Mearls can puzzle out.

ALL DMs have this to a lesser extent.

The REAL secret deep shocking lore lies in the conversations that George, Ed, Steven, Eric, and all the other Grognards have in private and all their personal notes.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Jul 2019 : 15:46:00
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

You know what's annoying about this? No mention of Ed, as if Mearls&co. were the people who came up with all the lore.



To be fair, all they said was that they had this source, and that it was curated by the current design team. It did not say that they were solely responsible for the creation of the material in this secret archive.

That said, the way that have kinda shoved all the veterans to the side makes it a fair assumption that they are not involved. That does not, however, rule out the use (or mangling) of their previously-created material.
TBeholder Posted - 09 Jul 2019 : 15:30:50
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

You know what's annoying about this? No mention of Ed, as if Mearls&co. were the people who came up with all the lore.

You just noticed? It visibly rolled here back from 3.0 era.
Irennan Posted - 09 Jul 2019 : 09:20:05
You know what's annoying about this? No mention of Ed, as if Mearls&co. were the people who came up with all the lore.
Rymac Posted - 09 Jul 2019 : 03:04:32
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


I don't doubt that there is secret lore -- I just doubt that it's a comprehensive collection of prior lore.

So instead of a detailed set of notes, with annotated references and such, on the character Bahb Nounsilver, Cormyrean nobleman and swordswinger, it's something more like "In this 2E product, Bahb Nounsilver marries Evika Tahottie. By 1491, Bahb is still around but very old. His great-grandson Bahb IV is the spitting image of the old man in his youth. Bahb IV is major NPC in 2020 Q3 Super-Secret (not really an) Adventure Path; Gramps intro's him to the PCs"



Agreed. Such secret lore is more lucky unpublished (and un-annotated!) material that Ed provided to TSR/WotC, and as suggested earlier in the thread, areas where Ed partitioned from development where he or others might decide to expand upon or develop. Also, that genealogical description would more likely be laid out in a quickly-sketched family tree diagram.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 08 Jul 2019 : 15:57:05
quote:
Originally posted by Starshade

To me, it reminds of the "Secret Of the Dungeon Master", the Secret any 13+ year old DM knows: keeping secrets, bluffing if you don't got any, invent it, play it out and build on it, etc...
Could be the journalist think there is more to that "Secret lore" than it is...



I don't doubt that there is secret lore -- I just doubt that it's a comprehensive collection of prior lore.

So instead of a detailed set of notes, with annotated references and such, on the character Bahb Nounsilver, Cormyrean nobleman and swordswinger, it's something more like "In this 2E product, Bahb Nounsilver marries Evika Tahottie. By 1491, Bahb is still around but very old. His great-grandson Bahb IV is the spitting image of the old man in his youth. Bahb IV is major NPC in 2020 Q3 Super-Secret (not really an) Adventure Path; Gramps intro's him to the PCs"
Starshade Posted - 08 Jul 2019 : 15:01:07
To me, it reminds of the "Secret Of the Dungeon Master", the Secret any 13+ year old DM knows: keeping secrets, bluffing if you don't got any, invent it, play it out and build on it, etc...
Could be the journalist think there is more to that "Secret lore" than it is...
Wooly Rupert Posted - 07 Jul 2019 : 15:11:27
I'm willing to bet that some of those NDAs exist only with Ed, too -- as in, with all the changes from the TSR days, the physical copies that they once had no longer exist, and so he's abiding by NDAs that only he remembers. The company has multiple times changed hands, changed locations, changed directions... And that leads to stuff getting thrown out, or if it's still around, buried and forgotten (like some of the content on the Wizards website!).

Which is not to say that he should start breaking those "forgotten" NDAs, of course -- I'm not a lawyer, but I'm sure that would still be illegal. All they would have to do, I think, is subpoena him to produce any copies he has of NDAs and that particular show would be over.

Also, on the topic of NDAs, and something that's come up before: No, an NDA will only expire after a given amount of time if it was explicitly written to do so.

And as for lifting old NDAs, this is not a trivial thing, either: They'd have to find the NDA, look at what the plans were, look at their current plans, get their lawyers involved, contact everyone affected by it -- which could mean tracking down people that moved, changed careers, and/or changed names decades ago -- and notify all of them that the NDA was no longer in effect. None of that will be easy, and everyone involved would have to be paid for their efforts -- all for something that would get WotC absolutely nothing in return. It is, quite simply, cheaper and easier to just let NDAs exist in perpetuity. It draws major vacuum for us, the fans, and it doesn't change the fact that I, for one, would happily see all the old NDAs chucked out the window -- but I can fully understand why those NDAs remain.
George Krashos Posted - 07 Jul 2019 : 06:51:18
To be clear. the significant majority of these "NDAs" are "We are thinking of using the X in a novel/sourcebook/adventure so they are off limits". It's a territory marking thing, not a "I've written up the realm of Aryvandaar and so we can use it as a reference source"-type thing. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the only one who keeps track of these NDAs is Ed. Being the honorable sort that he is, he checks with them in terms of: "Someone has a query re Tharsult. You guys said you wanted to set a novel there back in 2001. Can I provide my response or are you still walling off that area?". The easy answer to such a query is: "Yeah, sorry, we still have plans ..". It's a good way to prevent lore accumulation that might mean ... *gasp* ... research work for any prospective author and also prevents Ed from providing more FR work. Win/win for WotC. My HD would have more secret Realmslore on it than all the PCs in WotC put together.

-- George Krashos
Rymac Posted - 07 Jul 2019 : 02:47:13
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

It's been stated in the past -- I want to say by Steven Schend -- that TSR once looked at compiling all the lore and stray references into one source, and decided it would take too much work to do. And that was back when adherence to continuity and expanding the setting were very much big things.

So, despite the implication, I don't think that this referenced book is something comprehensive. Here's the line:

"So there’s a secret lore bible — likely an actual, physical book — filled with answers to questions that few players or even game designers have ever thought to ask. The materials inside, curated by Mearls and his team, must necessarily go back more than four decades, each one sourced from some part of the D&D multiverse."

I think what that means is that the current designers, knowing what products are in the pipeline, have gone over past material and compiled relevant info, so that they can spindle/twist/mutilate it into a new form. I think it's not as much about maintaining continuity as it is mining prior lore for things they can use, regardless of whether or not it makes sense -- like what they did to Ras Nsi or Jhesiyra Kestellharp.

So it's not as much a Realms bible as it is a pile of Legos -- a bunch of independent blocks from other sets that are likely to be used to assemble things the original designers never would have considered.

At least, this is my opinion, given past comments and recent releases.



I think the situation is similar to tv and movie production. Showrunners/producers often have show bibles; basically back-history that may or may not ever get filmed. Supposedly Joss Whedon and Ronald Moore had show bibles for their respective works in Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.

Another SUPPOSED example is George Lucas's original Star Wars script was 9 or 12 chapters, of which we got chapters 4, then 5 and 6; then, twenty-some years later, chapters 1 through 3. Supposedly... (cough, b.s., cough)

That Forgotten Realms would have something similar would explain all those NDAs to protect possible future products that may be using that Forgotten Realms lore. Which would explain Mike Mearls's reaction:

quote:
Originally posted by Gyor

It's confirmed by the CEO of Lorian, and Mike wasn't happy the he dropped that secret.


Basically, WotC would be cracking open a lot of NDAs if such a lore book about the secret histories of the Forgotten Realms were ever published.
Seethyr Posted - 06 Jul 2019 : 20:15:05
I too am disappointed in what has become of Ras Nsi. Besides the Ring of Winter being perhaps my all time favorite Realms novel, Nsi was one of the settings most layered villains. If you read the novel, you realize that in his mind, he thought he was a hero - the one true savior of Mezro, they just didn’t really “understand him.” That seemed to be traded in for “Im just freaking evil now.” Not an awful thing for a game module, but a waste of originally complicated morality.
wmaster Posted - 06 Jul 2019 : 18:17:25
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The absolutely inexplicable thing they did with Ras Nsi, as part of an adventure that imported a GH component into the Realms, shows a blatant disregard for adhering to prior lore.

I'm honestly at a loss for why they even did it. Ras Nsi was originally a human servant of Ubtao, dedicated to the protection of Mezro -- and then became a yuan-ti cultist of Dendar. It would have been easier and would have made more sense to just make this yuan-ti character someone entirely new, or maybe have him be revealed as an imposter claiming the name of a now-lost or fallen Ras Nsi. Instead, we got this bizarre thing of a person chucking everything they've ever believed in to the curb and picking up a cause that's pretty much the opposite of their original one, AND somehow becoming a member of an entirely new race in the process.

It's almost like the goal was to take a prior bit of canon and then change it as much as they possibly could --

Designer 1: "Hey, maybe we could tweak this NPC a bit to make him something we can use..."

Designer 2: "Hold my beer!"

Anyway, things like that are why I doubt this secret lore book is anything more than a collection of bits that can be re-used, with little or no connection to what they were originally. Hence, my original description: it's a pile of Legos -- a bunch of independent blocks from other sets that are likely to be used to assemble things the original designers never would have considered. It doesn't matter that this block was from one of the 1980s Castles sets and this one is from a 2019 Avengers set -- all that matters is that they can be forced together.



Well in Icewind Dale 2 the yuan-ti had some ritual to make someone into a histachii and with epic magic they could have made a ritual to turn him into a different race altogether!
Wooly Rupert Posted - 06 Jul 2019 : 16:27:08
The absolutely inexplicable thing they did with Ras Nsi, as part of an adventure that imported a GH component into the Realms, shows a blatant disregard for adhering to prior lore.

I'm honestly at a loss for why they even did it. Ras Nsi was originally a human servant of Ubtao, dedicated to the protection of Mezro -- and then became a yuan-ti cultist of Dendar. It would have been easier and would have made more sense to just make this yuan-ti character someone entirely new, or maybe have him be revealed as an imposter claiming the name of a now-lost or fallen Ras Nsi. Instead, we got this bizarre thing of a person chucking everything they've ever believed in to the curb and picking up a cause that's pretty much the opposite of their original one, AND somehow becoming a member of an entirely new race in the process.

It's almost like the goal was to take a prior bit of canon and then change it as much as they possibly could --

Designer 1: "Hey, maybe we could tweak this NPC a bit to make him something we can use..."

Designer 2: "Hold my beer!"

Anyway, things like that are why I doubt this secret lore book is anything more than a collection of bits that can be re-used, with little or no connection to what they were originally. Hence, my original description: it's a pile of Legos -- a bunch of independent blocks from other sets that are likely to be used to assemble things the original designers never would have considered. It doesn't matter that this block was from one of the 1980s Castles sets and this one is from a 2019 Avengers set -- all that matters is that they can be forced together.
Irennan Posted - 06 Jul 2019 : 13:29:09
quote:
Originally posted by Gyor

quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I also agree with Wooly and Irennan. If such product does exist, it must have been something created in the past decade, as I doubt the 100 years timejump (among many other things brought up in 4e) was something they would have anticipated (much less planned) way back at TSR.

Likewise, the fact that it was confirmed they discarded/retconned a lot of the plots they brought up in 4e for their 5e products, also indicates that this "Bible" wasn't written for the 4e plot as well.

If this stuff exists, is something they created for 5e (and it would explain a lot of things).



Or it's not written in stone, when 4e blew up in their faces, the had to change things and that got added to the lore book.



I'm also reading that Mearls has repeatedly stated his hatred for lore-heavy settings, to the point that he likes GH because he sees it as a canon-free setting, but wishes that the 10 years of published material for it didn't exist. This kind of attitude, combined with all the other stuff that WotC did is very telling that this "lore book" is definitely not what we want to see. Mearls was just full of it in that interview.
perlmugp Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 18:41:27
Personally, I'd be more interested in a publication of the collected lore of the Candlekeep forums. Between what Ed, Eric and George have posted there's a huge volume's worth.
Gyor Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 18:02:06
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I also agree with Wooly and Irennan. If such product does exist, it must have been something created in the past decade, as I doubt the 100 years timejump (among many other things brought up in 4e) was something they would have anticipated (much less planned) way back at TSR.

Likewise, the fact that it was confirmed they discarded/retconned a lot of the plots they brought up in 4e for their 5e products, also indicates that this "Bible" wasn't written for the 4e plot as well.

If this stuff exists, is something they created for 5e (and it would explain a lot of things).



Or it's not written in stone, when 4e blew up in their faces, the had to change things and that got added to the lore book.
Zeromaru X Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 12:36:19
I also agree with Wooly and Irennan. If such product does exist, it must have been something created in the past decade, as I doubt the 100 years timejump (among many other things brought up in 4e) was something they would have anticipated (much less planned) way back at TSR.

Likewise, the fact that it was confirmed they discarded/retconned a lot of the plots they brought up in 4e for their 5e products, also indicates that this "Bible" wasn't written for the 4e plot as well.

If this stuff exists, is something they created for 5e (and it would explain a lot of things).
Irennan Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 11:33:51
quote:
Originally posted by Gyor

It's confirmed by the CEO of Lorian, and Mike wasn't happy the he dropped that secret. I have no doubt that the Lore Bible exists.



What Wooly said. It's a compilation of story ideas to mash, take, cut, and discard to build their new APs/VGs. It's definitely not some huge tapestry of interconnected lore. I mean, just take a look at how they have handled 4e, the Sundering, or at the *gross* lore/continuity. Facts speak far louder than words.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 10:11:44
quote:
Originally posted by Gyor

It's confirmed by the CEO of Lorian, and Mike wasn't happy the he dropped that secret. I have no doubt that the Lore Bible exists.



I'm not contesting that this reference exists. I'm saying that given prior statements and the way they casually mangle prior lore now that this reference is not what you're thinking it is.

If they couldn't make a comprehensive source of all lore when they had a dedicated traffic cop, in-house designers and writers, and material coming out on a regular basis, then they certainly don't have one now when they have barely anything coming out and barely anyone to write anything.
Gyor Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 08:55:04
It's confirmed by the CEO of Lorian, and Mike wasn't happy the he dropped that secret. I have no doubt that the Lore Bible exists.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 02:43:03
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

It was the author who came up with the idea of a compilation of lore secrets. Not Mearls. I took his comments to mean that,
like all authors in a shared world setting should, that they do their research across all game products and have info on “Orcus” or “Baldur’s Gate” etc and then they might riff off that info with some explanations as to what has happened or what that info looked at in totality means. I’ve got the original FR Encyclopedia files - that project barely got to square one. With the resources WotC have now, there is no chance that they have an unpublished “lore bible”.

— George Krashos



I'd love to get a copy of those files, though I'm sure that would be verboten.
Derulbaskul Posted - 05 Jul 2019 : 00:34:43
Mearls says things all the time. They don't mean anything unless they're confirmed by Jeremy Crawford, a role previously filled by Rodney Thompson.
George Krashos Posted - 04 Jul 2019 : 23:17:49
It was the author who came up with the idea of a compilation of lore secrets. Not Mearls. I took his comments to mean that,
like all authors in a shared world setting should, that they do their research across all game products and have info on “Orcus” or “Baldur’s Gate” etc and then they might riff off that info with some explanations as to what has happened or what that info looked at in totality means. I’ve got the original FR Encyclopedia files - that project barely got to square one. With the resources WotC have now, there is no chance that they have an unpublished “lore bible”.

— George Krashos
Irennan Posted - 04 Jul 2019 : 23:10:12
To me, given the amount of continuity and lore issues (even really embarrassing ones) inflicted upon the Realms in the past, the way they handwaved every explanation with the Sundering (and even the Spellplague), and the way Mearls pretended to see some connection between all the campaigns played by people into some big scheme (which read like nonsense to me), screams utter bullshit. It sounded like he was making up a lot of stuff, because the way they have handled the Realms shows an attitude that runs contrary to those statements. They surely have some story bible, but it's nothing esoteric as Polygon painted.

Really, it sounded like they wanted to make a prequel to set up BG3 and just had to make some huge deal out of it (probably to build hype).
Wooly Rupert Posted - 04 Jul 2019 : 23:08:15
It's been stated in the past -- I want to say by Steven Schend -- that TSR once looked at compiling all the lore and stray references into one source, and decided it would take too much work to do. And that was back when adherence to continuity and expanding the setting were very much big things.

So, despite the implication, I don't think that this referenced book is something comprehensive. Here's the line:

"So there’s a secret lore bible — likely an actual, physical book — filled with answers to questions that few players or even game designers have ever thought to ask. The materials inside, curated by Mearls and his team, must necessarily go back more than four decades, each one sourced from some part of the D&D multiverse."

I think what that means is that the current designers, knowing what products are in the pipeline, have gone over past material and compiled relevant info, so that they can spindle/twist/mutilate it into a new form. I think it's not as much about maintaining continuity as it is mining prior lore for things they can use, regardless of whether or not it makes sense -- like what they did to Ras Nsi or Jhesiyra Kestellharp.

So it's not as much a Realms bible as it is a pile of Legos -- a bunch of independent blocks from other sets that are likely to be used to assemble things the original designers never would have considered.

At least, this is my opinion, given past comments and recent releases.

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