Author Topic: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?  (Read 24367 times)

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Vaerenth

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It seems to me that people on this board are not terribly fond of the Forgotten Realms. I would like to know specifically why. As far as I can see as a campaign setting there's nothing wrong with it. There is a lot of lore to learn if your really interested in it, but overall that's not a terribly big issue. Or is it just me seeing a few louder people talking down to old FR.
4e tried to fix this problem by toning it all down by a lot and eliminating the wild card spells that were too powerful or dynamic. The issue is no one likes to go from Phenomenal Cosmic Power to itty bitty living space. Which is exactly what 4e tried to force on people.

Tleilaxu_Ghola

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 08:02:21 PM »
Probably because a lot of really broken material comes out of that setting (at least there was in 3.5E).  I can't comment on the lore of it.

Prime32

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 08:02:41 PM »
Reasons that tend to come up:
  • More focus on NPCs than PCs. All those "awesome" epic spells can only be used by NPCs (most settings wouldn't feel the need to stat "ancient wizards moved mountains" at all, but FR has to show off how high their numbers are), NPCs are often given unique powers which PCs can't get by any means, and when random innkeepers are far more competent than PCs then a lot of plots don't make sense. You get the sense that the party can't actually accomplish anything, because some ridiculously overpowered wizard will wave his hand and undo it.
  • Screwed-up balance. The battlerager PrC (which was based on an NPC in a novel, but is arguably less like the NPC than a straight barbarian) has such illogical abilities as goblin bane scaling to orc bane scaling to drow bane, while the spellcaster PrCs let you do insane things like cast wizard spells spontaneously or add 5 levels of metamagic for free. Plus there's a ton of material for epic levels, which just don't work.
  • The setting keeps changing, to the point that you can't "play in the Realms" unless you keep up with lore. This is an extension of the all-powerful NPCs syndrome, since the PCs can never change the setting. 4th Edition's "everyone dies" was just the worst of this.

It's fine as a setting for books... except that the FR books I've read kept shoehorning D&D mechanics in everywhere while having gratuitous cameos and Elminster pulling more powers out of his ass than an Uchiha.
In one of the Spellfire books the titular ability is repeatedly said to be some incredibly unique and terrifying power which destroys all magic and one-shots dracoliches, and that having this power makes the (commoner) protagonist a danger to every faction in the world... and then at the end Elminster casually uses Spellfire.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 11:33:16 PM by Prime32 »
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

weenog

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 08:08:03 PM »
Forgotten Realms is cool to read and crappy to play, mainly for the reasons Prime32 brought up.  A homebrew setting loosely based on Forgotten Realms, but with the stupid gutted out, PC-driven change possible, and most of the uber NPCs dead or on vacation, can be fairly entertaining with the right DM, though.
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wotmaniac

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 09:07:00 PM »
In addition to what Prime and Tleilaxu said, I'm viscerally driven away by all the fanboy wankery.
Thanks to Salvator, I've gone so far as to completely remove drow from the fucking game (as far as my own campaign worlds are concerned).
.... and don't get me started on Elminster ...

[spoiler]
If you stop ignoring 289 pages telling what the intent is to stretch "more power" in your own god complexion of your interpretation trumps all to cover ability adjustments from aging then I will ignore a quarter page of rules that exist within a sidebar.
I think in this case the grammar is less important than whether the Str and Dex bonus provided to your created undead scales.

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veekie

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 09:24:47 PM »
Well, the Forgotten Realms has these traits:
-Detail. Its one of the oldest, still running settings. You won't lack for detail no matter where you look. This is good when you're looking for inspiration and a place to run a game. I think a good quarter of the more popular cities  are fleshed out enough to simply explore. This is also terrible when you run into a Canon Setting Grognard and you're trying to run your own game in it. Ram up against some setting detail that is other than what you need, or miss some minor detail buried in a sourcebook and they jump down your neck over it. Annoying as hell.
-Long History. Seriously, the history of the Realms has more years in it than human recorded history and not too far short on detail either. See above regarding the issues.
-A history of imbalanced mechanics, all over the scale. Incantatrix(lets turn metamagic up to eleven!), Mythal Seeds, Sarruhk(open ended, this is going to end well), Harpers PrCs(nearly hopeless). This is endemic across 3.5 of course, but FR has a longer history than most, and thus more crazy stuff.
-Canon powerhouses. FR has a TON of epic or near epic NPCs still in active duty, and not much reason why they won't just swoop in and solve the situation in 5 minutes if they care about the stakes. Lots of DMs have pulled that too, which is why it irks many.
-The gods. They're...well, troublesome. AND they have a track record of avatarizing and interfering. See above.
-The Reset. WotC blew up the Realms for 4e. This did not endear them to anyone, at all.
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[spoiler]
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Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
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[/spoiler]

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Lycanthromancer

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 10:11:48 PM »
The only thing I love about the Forgotten Realms is Baldur's Gate I, II, and the expansion packs.

And GOD do I love those.
[spoiler]Masculine men like masculine things. Masculine men are masculine. Therefore, liking masculine men is masculine.

I dare anyone to find a hole in that logic.
______________________________________
[/spoiler]I'm a writer. These are my stories. Some are even SFW! (Warning: Mostly Gay.)
My awesome poster collection. (Warning, some are NSFW.)
Agita's awesome poster collection.
[spoiler]
+1 Lycanthromancer
Which book is Lycanthromancer in?
Lyca ... is in the book. Yes he is.
 :D
shit.. concerning psionics optimization, lycan IS the book
[/spoiler]

Prime32

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 11:41:39 PM »
In addition to what Prime and Tleilaxu said, I'm viscerally driven away by all the fanboy wankery.
Thanks to Salvator, I've gone so far as to completely remove drow from the fucking game (as far as my own campaign worlds are concerned).
.... and don't get me started on Elminster ...
I like Salvatore-style drow, in all their moustache-twirling villainy. That said, there's probably a reason they made Eberron's drow so different.
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

Havok4

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 11:55:01 PM »
The only thing I love about the Forgotten Realms is Baldur's Gate I, II, and the expansion packs.

And GOD do I love those.

That is pretty much my experience as well. Those are amazing games.

skydragonknight

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2011, 12:28:03 AM »
Neverwinter Nights was good, because the NPCs were on vacation.

But yeah...the setting is geared towards casters, since non-casters only seem to be relevant when they have unique magic items...that were originally made by casters.

And seriously, who names their weapon 'Twinkle'?
It always seems like the barrels around here have something in them.

Lycanthromancer

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2011, 01:09:48 AM »
And seriously, who names their weapon 'Twinkle'?
Non-Evil elves (that aren't drow) are gay (and not in a good way).

The only exception to this is Jarlaxle Baenre, because he's a CN bamf.
[spoiler]Masculine men like masculine things. Masculine men are masculine. Therefore, liking masculine men is masculine.

I dare anyone to find a hole in that logic.
______________________________________
[/spoiler]I'm a writer. These are my stories. Some are even SFW! (Warning: Mostly Gay.)
My awesome poster collection. (Warning, some are NSFW.)
Agita's awesome poster collection.
[spoiler]
+1 Lycanthromancer
Which book is Lycanthromancer in?
Lyca ... is in the book. Yes he is.
 :D
shit.. concerning psionics optimization, lycan IS the book
[/spoiler]

zugschef

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2011, 02:06:11 AM »
The only thing I love about the Forgotten Realms is Baldur's Gate I, II, and the expansion packs.

And GOD do I love those.
oh yes!
(planescape: torment is still my favourite, though)

wotmaniac

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 07:24:37 AM »
In addition to what Prime and Tleilaxu said, I'm viscerally driven away by all the fanboy wankery.
Thanks to Salvator, I've gone so far as to completely remove drow from the fucking game (as far as my own campaign worlds are concerned).
.... and don't get me started on Elminster ...
I like Salvatore-style drow, in all their moustache-twirling villainy. That said, there's probably a reason they made Eberron's drow so different.
oh, my hatred has nothing to do with Salvator himself -- it's the legions of fanboy jag-offs that have been trying to invade my game table for the last 16 years.  Get a new character concept already!  You don't have to try to re-create Dritz for every fucking game!!!

sorry -- I just really hate this.

[spoiler]
If you stop ignoring 289 pages telling what the intent is to stretch "more power" in your own god complexion of your interpretation trumps all to cover ability adjustments from aging then I will ignore a quarter page of rules that exist within a sidebar.
I think in this case the grammar is less important than whether the Str and Dex bonus provided to your created undead scales.

Greenbound Summoning RAI
Expanded Gestalt
More Savage Progressions[/spoiler]
Report any wrongs I have done here.

veekie

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2011, 02:29:56 PM »
In addition to what Prime and Tleilaxu said, I'm viscerally driven away by all the fanboy wankery.
Thanks to Salvator, I've gone so far as to completely remove drow from the fucking game (as far as my own campaign worlds are concerned).
.... and don't get me started on Elminster ...
I like Salvatore-style drow, in all their moustache-twirling villainy. That said, there's probably a reason they made Eberron's drow so different.
oh, my hatred has nothing to do with Salvator himself -- it's the legions of fanboy jag-offs that have been trying to invade my game table for the last 16 years.  Get a new character concept already!  You don't have to try to re-create Dritz for every fucking game!!!

sorry -- I just really hate this.

Short version of most of the above.

Its not the setting.

Its the players.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2011, 02:37:56 PM »
Everyone here already covered it pretty well. I just wanted to say that I've played in and DMed games like this:
A homebrew setting loosely based on Forgotten Realms, but with the stupid gutted out, PC-driven change possible, and most of the uber NPCs dead or on vacation, can be fairly entertaining with the right DM, though.
And it has worked quite well, though. There is a large amount of geographic and historical detail, which you can toss out or use individually as you see fit. It's a pretty easy world to run a game in, if you use this mindset.
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Prime32

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2011, 03:05:49 PM »
IIRC that came up in one of the podcasts.
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

Sinfire Titan

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2011, 06:30:42 PM »
In addition to what Prime and Tleilaxu said, I'm viscerally driven away by all the fanboy wankery.
Thanks to Salvator, I've gone so far as to completely remove drow from the fucking game (as far as my own campaign worlds are concerned).
.... and don't get me started on Elminster ...

Xen'Drik drow actually saved the Drow race for me, but I still dislike them because of the copycats.


Never mind that with all of those Epic NPCs, this setting should have gone Tippyverse decades ago. The only thing stopping it is status quo.


[spoiler][/spoiler]

InnaBinder

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2011, 06:59:43 PM »
oh, my hatred has nothing to do with Salvator himself -- it's the legions of fanboy jag-offs that have been trying to invade my game table for the last 16 years.  Get a new character concept already!  You don't have to try to re-create Dritz for every fucking game!!!

sorry -- I just really hate this.

[nitpick]Could you describe a 'new character concept' that won't appear to borrow from already-published material, given a well-read critic?[/nitpick]
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weenog

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2011, 08:59:12 PM »
^  What about a constantly horny mercenary soldier who acts and fights like a coward but tends to get the job done anyway?  One who is crude, slightly monstery, and suffers a major speech impediment, but endears himself to people with an exaggeratedly outgoing and helpful demeanor, and obsessive attention to hygiene?  A guy who is out to found a new civilization, and is looking for a harem of wives, a large chunk of land and start-up cash, and the fame to draw like-minded people flocking to his banner?
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Estariol

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Re: Why do people think that Forgotten Realms is stupid/inferior/etc?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2011, 09:48:34 PM »
Wow! Judging by the last few posts, i can tell that some people here have had some dreadful experiences while playing in a Forgotten Realms setting :D...

Personally i like it (suddenly i feel alone :P) and approximately 90% of the time whenever i create a campaign i borrow both npcs and locations from the Realms...

Over the past 10 years i only remember playing 2 relatively short campaigns in the FR setting (one we started at level 1 and ended it at level 13 after a glorious battle in Hellgate keep, while the other started at level 15 and ended at level 25) but both times were really fun and enjoyable for the entire party, not just for me.

We met quite a few of the major NPC's of the Realms but we did not really bother that much with them, usually our DM had some crafty way of keeping them occupied and unable to bother with other people's quest to save the world:D (like war brewing in the north or <enter region's name here> or quoting NPC Elminster:"I have more important things to worry about than this quest so you do it"  :D and etc).

The only time we had any actual intervention from major NPCs (drizzt & his company to be exact) was during one time when we were at the Spine of the World...we met drizzt during a battle, in which he helped (at the beggining we thought the DM just randomly tossed him there for him to save our asses, but long story made short we had an option of either following him and aiding him with his quest, or continuing with our own...we chose the latter and our DM later revealed (at the end of the campaing) that if we had followed him we would have found some additional clues that would make our battle with the BBEG a lot easier (note that 4 out of the 6 party members died in that final battle vs the big bad boss))

A wise wizard once said: "A player is never late nor is he early...He arrives precisely when the plot dictates he should!"