Vorpal Games Freelancer
Article: How to Make 5e FR the Best of all Possible Worlds
bring Mystra, Helm, Eiistraee and Yondala back and the roll of years in the book and I'll be happy.
While I am not allowed to speak due to NDA about the specifics of any products or marketing that perhaps WotC has planned or is looking into at the moment, from reading your post I think that you, Matt, myself, and anybody who is a fan of the Realms is going to be stoked. At least if the implementation can match the ideas. I have said to much.
---------- Post added at 10:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:47 PM ----------
Errr...Erik. It has been a busy day of much typing. My apologies. I spelled to wrong as well in my last sentence. Good night now.
If they do support all eras like in StarWars, than they need to provide material for 5e that is universal. I would also like to see remakes of old campaigns like spelljammer.
I echo your comment on the 75/25 split, Erik. I'd personally like to see a return to the root of the game and perhaps focus on what made it great. Emphasis on the Realms as a core setting would be fantastic with a 1e backbone supporting it.
I suppose it will be up to the public to guide where 5e ultimately falls. I'd think OSR and people like me (in their mid-to-late 30s and old enough to have been around when the first books came out) will weigh in heavily on this one. I hope.
the only way to make that part universal would be to:
make the Forgotten Realms player book contain all thigns for the players.
back ground information for each area that can cover all eras
prestige/paragon things for each era
themes for each era
and by prestige/paragon/ character themes for each era I mean for them to fit into each era easily.
and the roll of years calander in it.( I missed that in 4e)
they also need to reprint lost empires(without the feats. prestige classes) and combine it with the grand history of the realms( two best fr books ever)
The multiple timelines approach as a fantastic idea - kudos Erik. I think it needs some tweaking to help avoid some of the pitfalls the plague 4th edition, however. [Side note: I don't think anything below applies to novels. You can write a novel in any period, or even in two or more periods if you're really talented. That's really up to the creative vision of the Novel Line Director and the author. Personally, I tend to prefer present-timeline novels. But I never shy away from reading past ones either).]
It's hard to say how two timelines could affect mechanics (and you know I'm a mechanics whore). One big reason for the Spellplague was to explain the drift away from Vancian magic and towards "powers," for lack of a better term. We don't know (or I should say I don't know) what the new magic system will be, so it's hard to say how that will affect this crucial aspect of the Realms. If the mechanics of the game allow for relatively little difference between characters pre or post-Spellplague, then it wouldn't be that difficult to include information about any given area, organization, religion, and so on, in two different time periods.
If, on the other hand, the mechanics of the game are very power-driven, using both time-lines would be difficult because older timeline characters would still use Vancian magic. We don't want people to say, "if the game allows me to play in the older timeline, why don't I just use the older rules?" After all, there are sourcebooks that date things for quite some time back, so people could really use 2nd or 3rd/3.5 rules instead of using this new version. Obviously, there couldn't be both Vancian AND powers-based mechanics because that would be like having two editions of both mechanics AND story smushed together (in which case, why use this edition at all).
Ultimately, one of the difficulties with fourth was that it didn't seem to have a unified vision. It changed course so many times, leaving players feeling confused. That's the very thing that drew people to Pathfinder - it had a unified and clear ruleset and a unified and clear (and fresh) world. Pathfinder drew a following that 4th couldn't because it didn't seem to have a cohesiveness. The mechanics of the core rules, as well as the setting, can't feel that multiple editions were simply smashed together to appease everyone. Certainly wisdom and strong elements from other editions, or even other games, should be considered, and D&D does have some classic elements (some of which should be brought back), but a major goal should be to blend, harmonize, syncretize, and balance (and I am using that term to describe a game system, not character creation).
This is also why a multiple timeline approach is risky. In trying to appease everyone, you might not appease anyone because the game might be going in too many directions. But I think I see what you might be getting at and one possible way to approach things.
Perhaps instead of developing content that is exclusive to various periods of time, i.e. an article on the Time of Troubles, one on Cyric's Betrayal, and so forth, it could take a different approach. Each article, supplement, or other piece of content that details a particular set of history, a region, a location, a religion, and so on could do so without specifying when the game has to be played. Assume that the base is most likely the present, but don't force the issue. Most players will want to play in the present and the setting should operate as if events are slowly moving forward, but really, when you release a setting book, the timeline is pretty much frozen for several years. There's no reason to push the issue.
In the core book, as well as in any supplement, article or adventure, write article/adventure/mechanic as if it was in the present, but say things like - if pre-spellplague, such and such; or perhaps even - if during (or pre) Time of Troubles, such and such. You might say things like, "not available post-spellplague" or "not available pre-spellplague," "or only available pre-Time of Troubles." Those should be the exception, not the rule, but add a small element of uniqueness.
Feats, prestige classes/or paragon paths (or whatever), powers, or whatever else has prerequisites, can have little sidebars if they have time sensitive content.
I guess what I'm saying might sound semantic, but the goal is to rarely write content that would be unusable by anyone. So don't write an article only usuable pre-spellplague, or only usable during the Time of Troubles (however much I might start to drool over it). Instead, write an article about Damara that describes geography, history, NPCs, organizations, threats, and so on throughout history. If you include mechanics, make sure that you find away to adapt them to different time period(s) if at all possible. This way, you aren't fracturing your setting.
If anything the goal of this setting should be to unify whenever possible, rather than fracturing. What I'm saying is very similar to Erik's brilliant idea, but the only difference is that it seeks to make every piece of content usable to every player, rather than having many articles, each of them detailing something from a different timeline. I fear that if this were the case, many people would complain that too much of the content didn't apply to them. If each individual piece of content or writing was usable to players of previous edition games, as well as players in the current edition who use an earlier timeline, the Realms happiness quotient rises considerably. And that is certainly what everyone wants.
Last edited by EytanBernstein; 01-10-2012 at 11:23 PM.
Thanks for your thoughts, Erik. This idea has the potential to get unwieldy. Of course, you'll also have the general campaign setting, but specific areas could/should have separate sourcebooks. As I'm sure most of you recall, Waterdeep had its own source book in 3.5. Now, Neverwinter has its own campaign setting. As far as I'm concerned, Suzail should have its own. If each of these sourcebooks has to have a period-based version, there'll be far too many books, with each having limited sales. If, on the other hand, each sourcebook covered all the periods, we'd lose a lot of substantive content, or the books would be so thick and pricey that no one would buy them.
I say these things only to point out the balance that WotC needs to manage. Trying to be all things to everyone is quite a challenge. DDI content should certainly alleviate that concern, making the latter suggestion (i.e., each sourcebook handling mulitple eras) more viable, but then you have to worry about which material is prioritized. If gamers are going to complain because the first Monster Manual didn't have frost giants, think about the number of complaints you're going to get when a campaign sertting sourcebook limits its content to an even larger base of demanding gamers.
I wonder if Forgotten Realms is going to be to default campaign setting this time around. Many of the default gods in 4e are from that setting.
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