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combatmedic
Senior Scribe

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  02:21:49  Show Profile Send combatmedic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Roseweave

quote:
Well, I don't like the idea of political correctness invading the RPG sphere.


Respecting other people's cultures shouldn't be seen as "political correctness". It's not comparable to the Satan Panic. It's punching up vs. punching down - back during that type, Christian Conservatives had the rule of the roost and oppressed those out of the mainstream, including the likes of table top gamers. "Social justice warriors" don't really oppress anyone by the same measure; they lack institutional power.

In particular when it comes to Calimshan and Al-Qadim which are very d irectly influenced by real world Muslim cultures, you have to be careful not to reinforce the swathes of Islamophobia in the media.

The same when it comes to those based on the Romani people - possibly the most heavily marginalised and oppressed ethnic group in Europe. When they're exoticised as fairy like entities, it distracts from the fact taht many of them live in severe poverty and have real issues that need addressing, and when they're cast as thieves and vagabonds it reinforces the negative stereotype that leads to antiziganist laws, segregation, etc.

When you live in a bubble of privilege it might be easy to not see how the media we consume influences attitudes towards those that are different and "exotic". But stuff like D&D doesn't exist in a vacuum, and it's propagated a lot of fantasy concepts we've seen used in a myriad of other instances of various forms of media.

While I do rely on pastiches and some simplified portrayals to a degree whenever I write my fics I try to do some real world research.

For example this story -

https://app.box.com/s/zdjaagrdd31ksivhhjww

while it has an unreliable narrator, many of the traditions mentioned are derived from real world Romani culture, with subtle changes, just as they change from Vitsa to Vitsa, and how traditions differ between medieval/renaissance europe and Faerūn. Romani get almost no positive reputation - they're casting white actors for the Romani Jewish twins in Age of Ultron, for example, due to the mistaken example that Roma, even half Roma, are white-passing(some are, some aren't, I've seen half-Roma that look very indian).

I could rant for ages on the female armour thing. I play a character who is a literal whore but if it was someone else playing this character, it would be offensive. Because I actually did some amount of real research on Courtesans and actually befriended sex workers and asked them their opinion, I created a far more rounded character. And I'm just a player who likes to write occasional Realms Fanfics influenced by our game. I have little in the way of resources - it would be very easy for Hasbro/Wizards to hire people from the middle east, japan, mexico to help develop these settings.



I'm going to suggest we move this to PM, because I strongly disagree with much of what you've written. It's not in an angry or mean-spirited way, but in a way that might create a tangent that's not helpful to the thread if we get into the whole thing here.


But I will leave you with this:

One vocal, aggressive guy on another forum once called me a 'SJW.'
I had commented about not liking what seemed to me like a trend towards cheesecake/fanservice art in a certain game line, and about liking the idea of a more diverse range of female character illustrations. No mention of politics, no name-calling, no language harsher than "cheesecake".

People flipped the heck out. SJW was one of the printable things I got called.


My first thought was "That means single Jewish woman, right? Haha, you silly goose, you got it wrong all three counts."

Then somebody else told me about Social Justice Warriors, and I sprayed coffee onto my keyboard. That's also quite far from the truth.








YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary. I'm putting it here so I don't have to type it in every other post. :)

Edited by - combatmedic on 21 Jan 2015 02:38:26
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Razz
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  02:29:03  Show Profile  Visit Razz's Homepage  Send Razz an AOL message Send Razz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Caolin


But to answer the original question, no WoTC is in the middle of a big rebranding of D&D and the Realms right now and that means MARKETING! MARKETING! MARKETING! And marketing hates diversity.



But they have to have something to market... And the more regions that are covered, the more they can sell. Marketing loves having more to sell.

I honestly think we would have gotten more Realmslore during the 3E era if they had gone with smaller softcovers. Instead -- and this is my opinion -- they went for the hardcovers because hardcovers would have a larger per unit profit.



Yup. Hence Sean Reynolds "Bean Counters" story, based on how the 3E book "Silver Marches" faired. Of which I am quite surprised, according to the bean counters, that it did not. I found that first regional book to be exactly what 3E Realms needed.

It had a particularly smaller sized font, not a small as the 3E FR Setting book, but small enough to cram a lot of goodies in it. I found it to have quite a nice balance of lore and gameplay material in it myself.

Then came the hardcover regional books, which I believe and it is quite clear visually, was less exceptional. They covered too many regions with larger font and crammed it with game material and they began to feel more like "starved cattle" than "fat happy cattle" kind of books. (Serpent Kingdoms broke this mold, that book went back to the feel of Silver Marches).

They weren't bad books, just failed to be as exceptional, or more than, Silver Marches and Serpent Kingdoms (and let's not talk about the biggest disappointment of them all, that Moonsea 3E book...wow).
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Razz
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  02:43:09  Show Profile  Visit Razz's Homepage  Send Razz an AOL message Send Razz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for Roseweave's comment, I wholeheartedly agree. If you're going to create something based off of another culture, do proper research before writing it up. Or you'll end up throwing in a bunch of stereotypical garbage that only further reinforces the stereotypes.
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Roseweave
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Ireland
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  02:56:43  Show Profile  Visit Roseweave's Homepage  Send Roseweave an AOL message  Send Roseweave an ICQ Message Send Roseweave a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ugh forum ate my post again. I wish it would save fields.
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Roseweave
Learned Scribe

Ireland
212 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  03:03:53  Show Profile  Visit Roseweave's Homepage  Send Roseweave an AOL message  Send Roseweave an ICQ Message Send Roseweave a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by combatmedic

quote:
Originally posted by Roseweave

quote:
Well, I don't like the idea of political correctness invading the RPG sphere.


Respecting other people's cultures shouldn't be seen as "political correctness". It's not comparable to the Satan Panic. It's punching up vs. punching down - back during that type, Christian Conservatives had the rule of the roost and oppressed those out of the mainstream, including the likes of table top gamers. "Social justice warriors" don't really oppress anyone by the same measure; they lack institutional power.

In particular when it comes to Calimshan and Al-Qadim which are very d irectly influenced by real world Muslim cultures, you have to be careful not to reinforce the swathes of Islamophobia in the media.

The same when it comes to those based on the Romani people - possibly the most heavily marginalised and oppressed ethnic group in Europe. When they're exoticised as fairy like entities, it distracts from the fact taht many of them live in severe poverty and have real issues that need addressing, and when they're cast as thieves and vagabonds it reinforces the negative stereotype that leads to antiziganist laws, segregation, etc.

When you live in a bubble of privilege it might be easy to not see how the media we consume influences attitudes towards those that are different and "exotic". But stuff like D&D doesn't exist in a vacuum, and it's propagated a lot of fantasy concepts we've seen used in a myriad of other instances of various forms of media.

While I do rely on pastiches and some simplified portrayals to a degree whenever I write my fics I try to do some real world research.

For example this story -

https://app.box.com/s/zdjaagrdd31ksivhhjww

while it has an unreliable narrator, many of the traditions mentioned are derived from real world Romani culture, with subtle changes, just as they change from Vitsa to Vitsa, and how traditions differ between medieval/renaissance europe and Faerūn. Romani get almost no positive reputation - they're casting white actors for the Romani Jewish twins in Age of Ultron, for example, due to the mistaken example that Roma, even half Roma, are white-passing(some are, some aren't, I've seen half-Roma that look very indian).

I could rant for ages on the female armour thing. I play a character who is a literal whore but if it was someone else playing this character, it would be offensive. Because I actually did some amount of real research on Courtesans and actually befriended sex workers and asked them their opinion, I created a far more rounded character. And I'm just a player who likes to write occasional Realms Fanfics influenced by our game. I have little in the way of resources - it would be very easy for Hasbro/Wizards to hire people from the middle east, japan, mexico to help develop these settings.



I'm going to suggest we move this to PM, because I strongly disagree with much of what you've written. It's not in an angry or mean-spirited way, but in a way that might create a tangent that's not helpful to the thread if we get into the whole thing here.


But I will leave you with this:

One vocal, aggressive guy on another forum once called me a 'SJW.'
I had commented about not liking what seemed to me like a trend towards cheesecake/fanservice art in a certain game line, and about liking the idea of a more diverse range of female character illustrations. No mention of politics, no name-calling, no language harsher than "cheesecake".

People flipped the heck out. SJW was one of the printable things I got called.


My first thought was "That means single Jewish woman, right? Haha, you silly goose, you got it wrong all three counts."

Then somebody else told me about Social Justice Warriors, and I sprayed coffee onto my keyboard. That's also quite far from the truth.











When we're discussing issues of diversity of setting in the realms, of course the more "diverse" areas of the realms and the issue of depiction is going to come up. Sooner or later we'll hit a roadblock if we can't talk about it.

The issue here is that you're talking about opinions, I'm talking about respect. If you strongly disagree with what I'm saying - you do not respect people form other cultures. At all.

I strongly suspect, again, you are not the sort of person who is remotely affected by issues by representation and are fact quite overrepresented. It's not really your place to comment on how marginalised groups should feel about how they're depicted in the first place. There is a strong degree of entitlement that seems to come with certain privileged groups in society that makes them believe that because they have a right to an opinion they should have it butt in everywhere.

For you it's an opinion, for some people, it's their entire life. When you have people unaffected by issues dictating them for others, that's when it becomes oppression.
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combatmedic
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USA
428 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  03:29:55  Show Profile Send combatmedic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd appreciate it if you to took a close look at your tone and word choice, Roseweave.

I'll give you a chance to remove your post, or edit it, before I refer the offensive material to a moderator.


YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary. I'm putting it here so I don't have to type it in every other post. :)

Edited by - combatmedic on 21 Jan 2015 03:38:59
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Razz
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  03:55:49  Show Profile  Visit Razz's Homepage  Send Razz an AOL message Send Razz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't see anything wrong with Roseweave's post, it's as logical and well said as it could be without being offensive (as well as backed up by sociological evidence). But that's just my opinion.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  04:33:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I should prefer that we stay on the original topic, which was areas of the Realms that have seen little or no coverage in prior editions. Discussions of real world issues have no bearing on this particular topic.

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combatmedic
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USA
428 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  04:43:59  Show Profile Send combatmedic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I should prefer that we stay on the original topic, which was areas of the Realms that have seen little or no coverage in prior editions. Discussions of real world issues have no bearing on this particular topic.



That sounds great to me.



Up-thread, I noted some cultures and nations/regions within the Realms that I would be happy to see further developed/covered.
I was mostly thinking of humans.

But what about demihumans?

And humanoids?

Maybe a sourcebook on the Kingdom of Many Arrows, with narrative sections from an orc's POV?
TSR did something like that with The Broken Lands Gazetteer for BECMI D&D, but I'm thinking of a less comedic take on the monsters.
Still, a little humorous material would be nice.



YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary. I'm putting it here so I don't have to type it in every other post. :)
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  04:50:26  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yay for dropping topics that have no possible consensus or positive outcomes. We're all free to have and express an opinion, but it's hard to stop there, and stop there we must in order to be properly respectful to all... including the readers who might have a great perspective but will choose not to share it when the price is wading into a pitched battle.

On that note, it was not my intent to say that I didn't like --or don't want to see more of-- Waterdeep or the Dales or Cormyr. Only that they've been favored over over parts of the world. We are due for an update of those places, but also of everywhere else. And thirty years overdue for at least a flyover of the other continents.

Counterpoint: the other continents are wide open for DM development, which is great for those who want to develop them, and for those who want to import other settings onto Toril, but (a rebuttal of the counterpoint, because I'm kinda wacko like that) the long and wonderful development of places like Waterdeep raises the bar to the point where many of us feel like "I can't develop Osse because it will never be as playable as Faerun." Not saying the development of Faerun has been bad... just that it makes it more intimidating for individuals or even teams of we amateurs to tackle. So while I appreciate the intent behind leaving open areas where I can put my own stuff, I find it very much preferable to have a fully developed world, in which I can find a wealth of buttons to push and levers to pull to customize things for each group of players.
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xaeyruudh
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  04:58:17  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by combatmedic

TSR did something like that with The Broken Lands Gazetteer for BECMI D&D, but I'm thinking of a less comedic take on the monsters.
Still, a little humorous material would be nice.


I often think of re-reading the Broken Lands gazetteer when I see the Goblin Marches and the Stonelands. Thar as well, maybe. I agree about Many-Arrows --actually the whole length of the Spine of the World-- needing something like this too. There are probably hundreds of tribes in there, many short-lived, and thus an ever-changing tapestry of identities and ambitions among the orcs that humans know only as ravening beastmen.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  05:00:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm happy with the other continents not receiving extensive coverage, myself... But I want to see them get some coverage, so they're more than just a random blobby shape on a map. As I mentioned recently in another discussion, I thought the coverage of Laerakond in the 4E campaign book did really good, there: enough coverage to pick up and run with it, if a DM wanted, but the primary focus of the book was still the "main area" of the Realms: Faerūn.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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combatmedic
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  05:03:13  Show Profile Send combatmedic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
RE fan developments of the setting, and diversity


Have you guys considered doing a fanzine with a focus on neglected parts of the world?
You could do articles on diverse nations, cultures, and regions, in and out of Faerun. With the wealth of Realsmlore and all the creativity you have going on here, that seems doable.



Issue One: Kara Tur

Issue Two: The Hordelands

Issue Three: Maztica

etc.







YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary. I'm putting it here so I don't have to type it in every other post. :)
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combatmedic
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  05:15:27  Show Profile Send combatmedic a Private Message  Reply with Quote
RE Open areas:


I really liked the inclusion of DM reserved areas in The Gray Box.
I think some later regional books had those, too. They were all supposed to, according to the Gray Box text.

The publisher broke that policy later on at least in some instances, like adding a fair amount of material on Sembia.

But it was a good idea, and I would like to see it repeated in 5E FR. Include some areas that are only lightly sketched, if that. Some should just be place names and "here be dragons-- or whatever."

I prefer not to have a "complete" Realms.

But my tastes are mine, an I don't expect everyone will agree.







YMMV= Your Mileage May Vary. I'm putting it here so I don't have to type it in every other post. :)

Edited by - combatmedic on 21 Jan 2015 05:16:06
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  06:10:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, as I've commented before... Waterdeep is easily the most detailed place in the Realms. Web articles, comic books multiple novels, modules, a hardcover, two boxed sets, a couple of softcover supplements...

And yet, we have never gotten a complete roster of the Lords of Waterdeep.

It's easy enough to pick any of the Waterdeep maps and more or less at random pick a building that has never been described.

And heck, even for those buildings that have been described -- how many have an actual floorplan?

We only know the function of maybe a couple hundred specific buildings, and maybe twice that number of NPCs.

It's the most detailed city in the Realms, and likely one of the most detailed locales in all of fantasy fiction -- yet the amount we know is still dwarfed by the amount we don't know.

So here's my point: no matter how much detail we have on any one section of the Realms, there is still so much room to play there, and for DMs to make it their own.

I'm obviously not calling for that level of detail on the entire setting -- I'm just saying that having detail is not, in my opinion, a limiting factor for what can be done with an area.

I find that I am sometimes more creative for having to stick within defined parameters, rather than having no restrictions at all.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 21 Jan 2015 06:11:44
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Roseweave
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  15:56:57  Show Profile  Visit Roseweave's Homepage  Send Roseweave an AOL message  Send Roseweave an ICQ Message Send Roseweave a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I should prefer that we stay on the original topic, which was areas of the Realms that have seen little or no coverage in prior editions. Discussions of real world issues have no bearing on this particular topic.



When we're discussing settings that have clear real world influence you can't really avoid it. It seems to me you're taking his side by going with the bottom line that politics(I.e. respect for other cultures) doesn't belong in the Realms which is hardly going to make ethnic minorities feel welcome, to this board or to the setting.

If we can acknowledge that it's important to have respect for and do the proper research on the cultures influencing your setting and that some of the regions discussed in this thread may need to be tweaked/rebuiltt to reflect that then we can move on. Otherwise its pretty oppressive to discuss settings based on other people's cultures without allowing discussion of how they're depicted.
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Eilserus
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  16:18:16  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wooly isn't taking anyone's side. These things are against forum policy because they devolve into fighting and hurt feelings.
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Roseweave
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  16:31:51  Show Profile  Visit Roseweave's Homepage  Send Roseweave an AOL message  Send Roseweave an ICQ Message Send Roseweave a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I feel like that's preserving a status quo that benefits privileged groups more than minorities who are often represented somewhat as caricatures in the realms, and that needs to be discussed. Or at the very least, if we can agree to respect other cultures and that there are valid reasons to be concerned about how Maztica, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim et. all are represented then we can move on.

Edited by - Roseweave on 21 Jan 2015 16:32:25
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  16:45:38  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Politics and respect for cultures are not the same thing.

And neither topic is related to whether or not WotC is going to publish books on specific geographic areas.

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Mirtek
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Posted - 21 Jan 2015 :  19:14:12  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Roseweave

Or at the very least, if we can agree to respect other cultures and that there are valid reasons to be concerned about how Maztica, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim et. all are represented then we can move on.

Then we would have to strike all pseudo-euro cultures as well, as they too are nothing but a string of cliches with little founding in real history
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Old Man Harpell
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Posted - 22 Jan 2015 :  16:55:14  Show Profile  Visit Old Man Harpell's Homepage Send Old Man Harpell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would argue that the motivating force is neither 'politics' or 'respect for cultures'.

It's economics.

Will a published treatment of Maztica (or the non-Eurocentric setting of your choice) makes oodles of money? If they believe the answer will be Yes, they'll publish it. If not, they won't. It's as simple as that.

M.A.R. Barker's name is famous for Tekumel, one of the reasons being it wasn't 'standard' fantasy fare. Anyone who ever played Skyrealms of Jorune, the few SF elements aside, will see what was essentially a fantasy game with a non-standard culture in the backdrop (though admittedly due to the influence of various alien civilizations). These are just a couple of examples. But they weren't predicated on forced respect, or a political agenda - they were interesting because the authors set out to make a really good backdrop against which roleplaying stories could be told, and in that vein, they succeeded.

Realms-wise, they need to go back to those places that were still around in 1375 DR, but had been wrecked by the time 1485 DR came out. Lantan, Hlondeth, Luiren, Nimbral, Dambrath, Skullport, Halruaa...essentially, they need to un-dork what they did to these places, and make them viable locations in the Realms again.

- OMH
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Eltheron
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Posted - 22 Jan 2015 :  17:46:29  Show Profile Send Eltheron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's far, far more likely that WotC will re-publish Greyhawk or Ravenloft before they publish updated books for Maztica or Kara-Tur. This is even more true now, considering Mearls' recent words about how "too much" was released in 3E and how it was a financial mistake. Also, his words about going forward, they're in "experimentation" mode, which to me matches up fairly well with the adventures they're releasing for tournament play and tie-ins to the D&D MMO.

We may not see anything other than a brief re-visit to the Sword Coast with their new Elemental Evil princes and whatnot. I predict that new lore, even regional updates, will be minimal at best - or revisioning of older Greyhawk stuff to "fit" the Realms. Big regional splatbooks are a thing of the past. Waterdeep updated is a distant possibility, and only IF there's an adventure path associated with it. I wouldn't hold your breath for it.

Since we're seeing this Elemental Evil thing now, how far behind can "Against the Giants" and the descent into the Underdark be for WotC? Perhaps not exactly those modules, but something based on them (giants and drow, then something with Lolth) seems extremely likely.

The weekly gaming store tournament modules will be where they'll add tidbits of new lore, or updates. Even then, all of it will tie in with other products or the MMO. New Realms novels may contain some actual new lore, that's about it (but given that the Sundering novels never actually explained anything about the Sundering, don't count on it being rich or detailed lore).

Just my predictions based on what they've said. Anyone hoping for or waiting for splatbooks or regional sourcebooks is going to be disappointed, I think.


"The very best possible post-fourteenth-century Realms lets down those who love the specific, detailed social, political and magical situation, with its thousands of characters, developed over forty years, and want to learn more about it; and those who'd be open to a new one with equal depth, which there just isn't time to re-produce; and those repelled, some past the point of no return, by the bad-taste-and-plausibility gap of things done to the world when its guardianship was less careful."
--Faraer

Edited by - Eltheron on 22 Jan 2015 17:56:34
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 22 Jan 2015 :  19:20:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Eltheron

It's far, far more likely that WotC will re-publish Greyhawk or Ravenloft before they publish updated books for Maztica or Kara-Tur. This is even more true now, considering Mearls' recent words about how "too much" was released in 3E and how it was a financial mistake. Also, his words about going forward, they're in "experimentation" mode, which to me matches up fairly well with the adventures they're releasing for tournament play and tie-ins to the D&D MMO.

We may not see anything other than a brief re-visit to the Sword Coast with their new Elemental Evil princes and whatnot. I predict that new lore, even regional updates, will be minimal at best - or revisioning of older Greyhawk stuff to "fit" the Realms. Big regional splatbooks are a thing of the past. Waterdeep updated is a distant possibility, and only IF there's an adventure path associated with it. I wouldn't hold your breath for it.

Since we're seeing this Elemental Evil thing now, how far behind can "Against the Giants" and the descent into the Underdark be for WotC? Perhaps not exactly those modules, but something based on them (giants and drow, then something with Lolth) seems extremely likely.

The weekly gaming store tournament modules will be where they'll add tidbits of new lore, or updates. Even then, all of it will tie in with other products or the MMO. New Realms novels may contain some actual new lore, that's about it (but given that the Sundering novels never actually explained anything about the Sundering, don't count on it being rich or detailed lore).

Just my predictions based on what they've said. Anyone hoping for or waiting for splatbooks or regional sourcebooks is going to be disappointed, I think.





But they didn't just publish regional stuff... They also had 8,001 "Races of " books, and class books, and did things like take what was formerly one book and split into 2 or 3 (like with the dragon stuff, or even the core rulebooks). So despite his words, I'm unconvinced that the flagship setting isn't going to get support.

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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 22 Jan 2015 :  21:59:46  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
tl;dwr - the following is all opinion and observation.

One of the things I loved most about the early versions of FR is that they were presented as a sandbox, or maybe a bucket of Lego blocks. There were novels and adventures for those who wanted pre-written stories, and there were sourcebooks for those who wanted to design. I've enjoyed both, but these days I lean toward writing my own stories.

That probably puts me in the minority of D&D players. In fact, I don't play. The last time I rolled up a character and played in someone else's campaign was probably 2004. I've observed a few Encounters sessions, both during 4e and more recently, but I have little/no interest in joining. My motivations for playing don't match up with others, so when I play something it's usually old-school NWN or occasionally WoW. Point is that WotC's novels and adventures do nothing for me beyond introducing people, places, and things that I can write into my own adventures. They're little piles of Legos.

Key word: little. A list of the characters and places/things they interact with... a typical novel, despite having several hundred pages, might give me a dozen useful lego blocks, and a couple dozen more merely-mentioned names about which little or nothing more is known. Greenwood novels have bigger piles, though the majority might still be dropped names because novels aren't designed to fully describe every detail they mention. Sourcebooks in contrast... more than 800 Lego blocks from the 63-page 2e Cormyr book. Larger books are logically bigger buckets.

The adventure path thing is an interesting idea, but two of them in a row without something more substantial in the wings worries me. It seems like maybe WotC is moving more toward "play out of the box" stuff. Adventures, and various glitzy ways to present adventures. I haven't indexed Hoard of the Dragon Queen yet, but I anticipate fewer than 800 Lego blocks.

It's not illogical. I'm sure there are far more players than designer-types, and WotC is playing the numbers game. And maybe regional sourcebooks (and a 5e FRCS) are planned. We don't know, because they're making a deliberate choice to not say. I'm guessing they don't know very far in advance what they're going to release, so publishing a calendar would be committing to a future they haven't evaluated yet.

But if they're going to put any eggs in the adventure path basket, I hope they start bringing their A-game to quality control.

HotDQ, for example, provides me with more ammo than useful Realmslore. It requires that the DM either (1) not care about the continuity or sense of the setting, or (2) rewrite the adventure. Will the others, also? It seems likely, since the constraints which were on HotDQ will also be present on future adventure paths.

In fact, it's logical to conclude that HotDQ is the best of the adventure paths WotC will produce, for two reasons. First, sirs Baur and Winter are not snot-nosed noobs; they know how to write adventures. Of course WotC wouldn't give a project to a complete newcomer, right? Still, it's reasonable to think that two experienced writers who know WotC will create a better product than most other teams. Secondly, HotDQ was the "inaugural" adventure of 5e, and therefore WotC was putting their best foot forward; this is the best they can do... because if it isn't then why did they half-ass their first product, in their flagship setting, in a moment where their figurative life depends on doing an absolutely amazing job? (I did read Mike Mearls' intro where he notes that the rules were still in flux; my issue with it is that the ball was dropped on Realmslore and story choices which have nothing to do with the ruleset.)

So I'm with Wooly, that FR will get support. Unfortunately, due to their "playing the cards close to the chest" it remains to be seen what "support" means to them. I'm half-mad with anticipation of whatever Ed's been so busy with for the last several months. My optimism is flagging, though, due to the uncertainty of ever seeing more big Lego buckets. It seems, at the moment, like they're leaving designers and writers out in the cold, and that leads inexorably to a place we don't want to go.

Still, even in the worst-case scenario that it's all adventure paths and organized play for this edition... if they're consulting with Ed then future adventures should feel more like the Realms.
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Eltheron
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Posted - 22 Jan 2015 :  22:41:17  Show Profile Send Eltheron a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

But they didn't just publish regional stuff... They also had 8,001 "Races of " books, and class books, and did things like take what was formerly one book and split into 2 or 3 (like with the dragon stuff, or even the core rulebooks). So despite his words, I'm unconvinced that the flagship setting isn't going to get support.


I didn't say that FR would get no support at all. What I said was that it's extremely unlikely to be in the form of Realms-specific regional sourcebooks or splatbooks.

They're apparently going to set the Elemental Evil stuff in the Sword Coast, so you'll see a map or two in that area, maybe a few story links to a town or city or two in that region, and a whole lot of elemental-related stuff that they'll try to fit somehow into the Sword Coast. Maybe a diversion up to Neverwinter. Although, where they plan on putting large Elemental temples with armies in the Sword Coast is beyond me - but the whole idea is to prevent (yet another) possible apocalyptic event. So whatever they do it's going to be big, and probably tied into the Realmslore as well as the Tiamat stuff was.

Will it feature a detailed update on the Sword Coast, or detailed Realmslore generally? I highly doubt it. It will be the kind of thing that we saw in Realms-related encounters material (see: Tyranny of Dragons). Minimal, and a bit of a jagged fit in terms of lore.

They have a drastically reduced staff, and not that many work full time on D&D. They could farm work out by contracts, of course - wasn't Sasquatch Games hired to produce the Elemental Princes material? So we're looking at a major adventure path that wasn't primarily produced in-house.

They've implied that there will be downloadable supplement material, probably things that were part of the Adventurer's Handbook that don't get pulled into the main Princes book. How much of it will be Realms lore? Possibly some, but their priority is more likely on generic things everyone can use. To me, the "non-happening" of the Adventurer's Handbook clearly shows WotC's belief about splatbooks not performing well.

They're putting all of their financial eggs into the basket they think will succeed financially.

And I've gotta point out that although Ed is working furiously on something (or many things), there's no guarantee that it's going to be used in the immediate future.



"The very best possible post-fourteenth-century Realms lets down those who love the specific, detailed social, political and magical situation, with its thousands of characters, developed over forty years, and want to learn more about it; and those who'd be open to a new one with equal depth, which there just isn't time to re-produce; and those repelled, some past the point of no return, by the bad-taste-and-plausibility gap of things done to the world when its guardianship was less careful."
--Faraer

Edited by - Eltheron on 22 Jan 2015 22:46:45
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