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Ralf
Acolyte

Brazil
6 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2020 :  02:35:21  Show Profile Send Ralf a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
As a Realms dm, do you prefer to draw heavily from written sourcebooks and novels for nitty bitty detail, or do you prefer a simpler approach, ignoring "region sourcebooks" and going for simpler information, generally presented in "main sourcebooks" (FRCS 2e, 3e, 4e, etc)?

The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1769 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2020 :  15:54:04  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use what I want and discard the rest (same as most methinks). I'm not a Realms 'purist' in the sense that I need/want every detail for use in my campaigns. I am such a purist when it comes to the constant changing of established lore though...really gets my blood racing when they change things (but then I just discard it and act as if it never happened in my own version of the Realms).

I have a dream that one day, all game worlds will exist as one.
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
624 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2020 :  21:21:02  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used the "regional sourcebooks" for details for where the party is but used the "main sourcebooks" for other areas (if I haven't already picked up the regional one for that area). I also would not use the parts I didn't like or if I happened to miss something in a regional book that the players interacted with, it was the version that was presented in the gaming session.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4063 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2020 :  07:30:30  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Probably a bit of both. For lore, I do enjoy older products because it helps clarify things, flesh things out, etc. Sometimes even if it's just for NPCs, named locations, the goings on of certain areas, and the like. I've been pretty adamant that I think Canon needs to be treated by the fans sort of like a Buffet. Take what you like, adding it to your campaign or just leaving it be if it's not relevant because it could later on OR simply ignoring it and moving on.

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."
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SaMoCon
Learned Scribe

USA
309 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2020 :  09:23:44  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I use the source material for framing the setting of my games and apply material unchanged for everything that is not important to play. This gives my players a touchstone for their own internal logic of the world I describe to them. What is important is what I do change to have a direct impact upon the motivations and desires of my players and their characters. This approach requires a lot of work and is more for a style of game that favors non-combative role play rather than moving miniatures around on the battle mat. The whole point of using the FR setting is to provide that familiar backdrop that does not need to be explained in detail to the players for everything that is outside the planned scope of the game - either the players already know the material or they can look up the information on their own without taking up the DMs time for these non-essential details during play.

An example would be playing in Waterdeep. There are many published sources with maps that describe culture, governance, personalities, locations, intrigues, circles of influence, etc... My preparation would look at the avenues my players may use to realistically engage with the reasons for their PCs to be adventuring, apply the personal desires & grudges to the entities in their way, engineer Jenga towers of social orders they must circumnavigate, and ensure the goal is worth the effort. 90%+ of the material is unaltered and presented as expected for my players if/when they go off the adventure for any reason of their own devising, including changing desired goals/reasons necessitating scrapping the planned adventure. *shrug* Players' senses of adventure are fickle.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2020 :  10:45:08  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ralf

As a Realms dm, do you prefer to draw heavily from written sourcebooks and novels for nitty bitty detail, or do you prefer a simpler approach, ignoring "region sourcebooks" and going for simpler information, generally presented in "main sourcebooks" (FRCS 2e, 3e, 4e, etc)?





I prefer to draw heavily from canon to populate the world and then let my campaign dance around intertwined with the canon. There is never a reason why my players should be forced to participate in the canon events so they make an excellent backdrop. For example a war nearby gives me the opportunity to have that "in the environment" so to speak, with posters for enlistment on the walls, broadsheet sellers yelling news about the war, stagings of large contingents of soldiers in the city getting ready to leave, or making large camps while on the road to the front or returning from it. And if the players for some reason travel straight through the thick of it they experience the chaos of war up close, skirmish against troops, helping a small group of soldiers pinned down by the enemy for example, help a dying messenger deliver a scroll. All sorts of things can happen and does happen in and around large scale events that doesn't include their participation in said event. The campaign I'm working on will in part take place in the western heartlands while the phaerimms attack Evereska, so they will definitely hear about that.

Using canon events like this makes it easy to populate the world and bring it to life. I could make up my own timeline of course, but that takes more work, and in my experience the work I put in needs to be somewhat proportionate to the game time or I will feel extremely unfulfilled. Early on in my DM career I would spend weeks to prepare for a single session and have it all fall on its nose because of uninvested players. I've learned my lesson.

For me detail is simplicity.

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 28 Dec 2020 10:48:09
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3498 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2020 :  02:20:20  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-The only FR game I played in was run by a great DM (RIP Michael Satran) who leaned heavily into canon. I think that, at times, it did slow things down while we were playing as either him or us players looked details up, details that maybe didn't always necessarily matter in the grand scheme of things, but the campaign felt alive. Having all that detail at his fingertips and liberally sprinkling all of it in, it made the game feel living and breathing.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2020 :  10:28:25  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-The only FR game I played in was run by a great DM (RIP Michael Satran) who leaned heavily into canon. I think that, at times, it did slow things down while we were playing as either him or us players looked details up, details that maybe didn't always necessarily matter in the grand scheme of things, but the campaign felt alive. Having all that detail at his fingertips and liberally sprinkling all of it in, it made the game feel living and breathing.



Yeah, keeping it moving smoothly is definitely an issue. I make small calendars that cover the immediate area the players are in, with weather and local events for a few tendays in advance ordered chronologically. Then I have that at hand and reference them as needed as the players move about. That way I do all the detail look up in advance so as to not slow down the pace too much.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2569 Posts

Posted - 07 Jan 2021 :  03:49:41  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never actually DMed, but this is something I've thought about. I like detail, because I like lore. It doesn't mean I will use it all, but I prefer the detail of the older editions. Sometimes, things are *too* sparse. Detail has never stopped people from making the game their own. These halls are evidence that at least some like to pick at the nitty-gritty and discuss lore, whether they choose to use it in their home games or not. Give me a page full of detail over a couple of paragraphs any day. I've been told it means I lack imagination, but I create my own stuff all the time. Give me a good chunk of info, make the world come alive for me, and then I will use, change, or ignore as I see fit (of course, I also make up my own worlds all the time). Detail makes it feel more like an actual setting to me, rather than a pamphlet. I don't often buy the regional source books, but even the "main" source books from older editions had more detail. The lore is one of the main reasons I enjoy the setting, so...

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 07 Jan 2021 03:59:49
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 07 Jan 2021 :  11:22:21  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout

I've never actually DMed, but this is something I've thought about. I like detail, because I like lore. It doesn't mean I will use it all, but I prefer the detail of the older editions. Sometimes, things are *too* sparse. Detail has never stopped people from making the game their own. These halls are evidence that at least some like to pick at the nitty-gritty and discuss lore, whether they choose to use it in their home games or not. Give me a page full of detail over a couple of paragraphs any day. I've been told it means I lack imagination, but I create my own stuff all the time. Give me a good chunk of info, make the world come alive for me, and then I will use, change, or ignore as I see fit (of course, I also make up my own worlds all the time). Detail makes it feel more like an actual setting to me, rather than a pamphlet. I don't often buy the regional source books, but even the "main" source books from older editions had more detail. The lore is one of the main reasons I enjoy the setting, so...



Excuse me but that is utter bs. It's not about lacking imagination. It's about using your time efficiently. Making everything up from scratch is extremely time consuming, time that is better spent elsewhere. Inventing the wheel over and over is unnecessary. If I get a piece of lore, that means I don't have to spend time making it up. And that piece of lore helps my imagination run wild and I might even end up changing it, but the point is it already takes a lot of time to set up a game for a session. Way longer than the session itself takes. I'd like to minimize that, because I don't have endless amounts of time on my hands. I suspect those accusing you of lacking imagination either have no experience DMing or are used to DM barebones adventures with very little lore and probably as one-offs. If you ever DM a campaign you know how important it is to write your stuff down to maintain consistency. Small stuff such as having names for every NPC the players encounter. As a DM you don't want to be roleplaying against a player and this happens:

- "So, what's your name?"
- "Err.. hm. Hang on a moment. *scratches head* Let me see.."

And so this insignificant NPC that you didn't expect the players to interact with suddenly needs a name. And you can bet once they have made an NPC a contact they'll come back to that person so you better remember the name over time too, and over the course of several gaming sessions. Now, there's the trick of having a list of random names at hand for such situations. But there's also the matter of spending your time well, meaning in this case that if you don't have to write the world up from scratch you save time there that you can use to fill in details. Like the names of random NPCs. Maybe you can even spend time detailing the NPCs complete with stats, background, relations, occupation, and have a bunch of random people to draw from when needed. That is the kind of stuff that makes your world come alive. Not "a great battle between elves and a dragon were fought on this hill hundreds of years ago". I definitely know what I would be wanting to spend my time on in that situation.

- "You remember the dwarf mage?"
- "You mean the one with the monocle?"
- "Yeah, his name was something beginning with D.. Dargen?"
- "Yes that's it. Let's go see if he's in his shop."

These kinds of interactions come from filling your world with detail and presenting that detail to your players. They're much more likely to reference that kind of detail (created by you) than the world lore.

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 07 Jan 2021 11:26:15
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2569 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2021 :  21:30:43  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I am not sure of their reasoning. It was on a different site, and IIRC, the discussion had been about the botched lore in MToF, but apparently being upset about the lore changes and liking lore means myself and anyone else who feels similarly lacks imagination.

Sweet water and light laughter
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nkk
Acolyte

Canada
9 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2021 :  01:07:26  Show Profile Send nkk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My preferred way to use campaign settings is for high-level detail that I don't always want to bother coming up with myself (pantheons, geography, political situation between different states) and as a spur to my own creativity. So with FR, I'm largely focused on the Gray Box and earlier supplements that were great at painting in broad strokes and leave the details to me. To be honest, I sort of like the Realms in spite of, not because of, the years and years of lore that have developed. Lots of fun to read, but for me personally it would be a nightmare to keep all that canon in my head during an actual game.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4077 Posts

Posted - 24 Jan 2021 :  02:44:51  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My signature says it all for me...

However! I also love the "Old History" of the new book "A Grand History of the Realms" so there is that...

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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