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 Moving the timeframe of 5E adventures/modules
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questing gm
Senior Scribe

492 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2021 :  05:02:18  Show Profile  Visit questing gm's Homepage Send questing gm a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
While thinking about reading/running Dragon Heist, I was slightly disturbed by some inconsistency problems I have with 5E's lore.

So I just had an idea, what if I ran the plot of Dragon Heist during an earlier time period when I'm slightly more confident that the lore would be at least more consistent, and maybe a little more interesting?

In fact....why not all the other 5E FR published modules?

So when would you set the modules to what year, along with maybe why, and the possibilities of having them in an earlier period. Some modules have canon continuity with events during the time they were set in (like Out of the Abyss), some maybe some background changes you would have to make to the module to fit with your chosen period?

I'll leave my own answers for a later post.

Great Reader

11163 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2021 :  14:06:03  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First off, let me say I think this is a really good topic, BUT I actually find myself in a bit of a quandary.

See, for me, if I wanted to run a 5e adventure in an earlier timeline, I would probably either adapt a dungeon magazine module OR I would take an earlier adventure and modify it to 5e. I honestly don't think I'd try to take a current 5e adventure and migrate it back in time.

If I WERE to do that, honestly looking over the available adventures, the only one that comes to mind would be Rime of the Frostmaiden, and I'd place it during the Time of Troubles. That one seems a pretty easy lift and carry back. There might be some individual modules in the Candlekeep mysteries as well, but honestly I skimmed them (as I do so many of the things that come out today because I find they put so much filler in them that I can create myself that it becomes frankly tiring to read sometimes).

Now that being said, migrating earlier adventures to 5e can be problematic with so many changes to and lack of monsters, spells, and magic items.
But it would still probably be the starting point I'd go with.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief

35986 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2021 :  15:49:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had a lot of issues with that adventure, myself... But the core of it is solid, I think. If I was going to run the adventure, I'd strip away everything but the basic plot and pick NPCs and groups that I liked, rather than use what was written.

And I'd ignore the seasonal thing; I never understood the approach of tying the foes to the season.

Personally, I found the Cassalanter plotline highly problematic. It's partially because, as a parent, I can't see parents doing what they did, and also because I find it hard to reconcile parents like that having any relation at all to Caladorn Cassalanter. Yeah, I know, it's generations later, but still...

And don't get me started on the gratuitous inclusion of Jarlaxle and all the pop culture references and inside jokes and all that rot that the designers felt compelled to include.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
5924 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2021 :  16:17:48  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I tried retrofitting the lore of Tomb of Annihilation and Rime of the Frost Maiden into the 1356 timeline. It was all impossible to fit in as written, but with a bit of artistic licence you can make anything work

I never considered actually rewriting the adventure to run in 1356 DR but its not a bad idea, one i might steal.

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Great Reader

4305 Posts

Posted - 23 Dec 2021 :  16:32:04  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You could take Murder in Baldur’s Gate and tie it into the Bhaalspawn saga, maybe a few years into the future (1370s) or somehow into Bane's Return in 1372 DR. The strife that Baldur's Gate has been seeing could be civil war elements in Amn that's flooded the city as we currently see it.

Edit: Defiance in Phlan adventure series deals with the Cult of the Dragon, so you just replace the current Lord Protector Ector Brahm with Hatemaster Cvaal Daoran as he just sacked Phlan.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."

Edited by - Diffan on 23 Dec 2021 16:34:44
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Learned Scribe

221 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2021 :  16:36:33  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hate the 4/5E mess of a timeline and don't use it. We play 5E, just not with the 'history' lore.

First, it is simple enough to set any 5E adventure in an Alternate time line where the Spellblah never happened for 100 years. Set an adventure in 1380 with a NORMAL Realms and go form there onward.

Second it is no big problem to set any adventure module any time in the "Past". Dragon Heist works just fine any time in Waterdeep's history as a city. And you can put it in nearly any city at any time in Realms history.

The published 5E Realms has a lot of easy button name drops. Like how Dragon Heist has Bregan Darthe, that "super cool drow spy group". And sure the casual Realms fan that Lovs drow will be happy as a clam joining the super cool group. And sure they might be in Waterdeep...whatever.

But then the Lazy Writer can't be bothered to look through too much Realmslore, and SURE can't be bothered to look through Waterdeep or The North Realms lore. But guess they grab a campaign guide to find "oh wow Emerald Encave! Wow, they are in Waterdeep!"

And on top of all that is the beyond silly 100 year cheat. Anything the writer wants gone...poof, it's gone. Anything the writers wants to stay...though 100 years of apocalypse can still be there. Old Xoblob Shop is STILL in Waterdeep after the 100, but now it is run/owned by a deep gnome named Xoblob. clever, it's like the same shop has been there for 100 years...but it's not the same shop at all, so why waste the time with the false name?

Even when the adventure NEEDS an "old mage tower" they just do the lazy "oh it's a forgotten tower I can't be bothered to make up".

It is easy to chance a couple names, set the heist in Tulmon on the Lake of Steam in 1200 DR. "Jaraxle" becomes "Zac'ksel" and "Manshoon" becomes "Monshorta" and such.
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Scots Dragon

United Kingdom
63 Posts

Posted - 25 Dec 2021 :  22:10:19  Show Profile Send Scots Dragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That all gets into the big problem of 5e-era adventures. With a couple of exceptions they kinda suck.

Every major positive thing about them, like the improved representation and a couple of cool new characters, is overburdened with like a dozen other bigger problems.
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

3706 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2021 :  23:12:49  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Never used setting-specific written adventures, only scavenged and picked from a couple of generic ones. As a whole, is it really that hard to just pick up whatever you want and plop them down where ever? I assume that the scope of most aren't really that crazy broad. I could be wrong, of course.

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