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View Full Version : There's nothing left to do in the realms.



Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 01:47 AM
I mean the Forgotten Realms. I used to love the Realms. I adored it. Well most of it. But it's already so complete there's not room for much else. you can't make an organization big enough or widespread enough to matter. Thinking of starting a thieve's guild? The shadow thieves will crush your puny gang like a bug. Evil army? Oh wait, there's already the Zhents. Undead army? Well it'll be nowhere as grand as Ssaz Tam of Thay's. Merchant League? You won't have a chance against Sembia or Baldur's Gate. Only chance to carve out your kingdom is in the Border Kingdoms. And I don't like that place. And even then you won't matter. Everything's been done. There's an organization for everything. And I always get this feeling they force you to play somewhere around Cormyr. I hate that place. Too many promiscuous nobles. And they're proud of it too. Too many npcs weild demigodlike powers. And you can't kill them too. They're either too high level, immortal, chosen, etc. And they're all friends or acquaintances too even sisters. Sort of like an elite club. Touch one and they all gang up on you. You can't ever be too strong in the realms unless you're an npc created by an author. The realms is a place where they force you to play in their sandbox or get out. They're not that open to new ideas too. They bicker amongst themselves saying that if it aint realms-specific it has no place in the realms. They've kinda got this if it ain't canon it don't exist mentality. I love the realms. I just wish it wasn't so developed so there'd be more of if for us players to explore and create ourselves. The world is far too big for one 1st lvl pc to make a difference.

Flickerdart
2012-03-24, 02:02 AM
To play the devil's advocate here, what kind of difference do you expect a 1st level PC to make?

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 02:13 AM
So you can't be the biggest, baddest thing in any area of the realms. I think you'll live. It's a fully fleshed out world because it's based on novels. Many of them. Most of them good. I'm sure many of us enjoy the books. Fantasy campaign settings are usually based on some kind of novel or series. People WANT to play there or it wouldn't have been created.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 02:19 AM
Well it's actually more figurative than anything. The little man ain't got a shot in the big world. Y'know. But since we're on it of ever that first level pc ever got to 20th level in the realms. A lifetime(for him) of adventuring. I doubt he'll do anything important enough to affect the realms. Maybe he could try to assassinate king obould many-arrows, a 9th lvl npc. But he's got a castle and an entire army and the favor of Gruumsh. Obould's one of the lowest lvl 'important' npcs out there. The rest are mostly epic lvl npcs. He can't make much of a difference really. There's too many npcs stronger and more important than him, npcs favored by the gods. So he'll be stuck on the supporting role for his career. Fr has too many heroes already.

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 02:29 AM
So you're complaining that they built in enough high level, intelligent NPCs to ensure that a player character couldn't take over or break the realms? I fail to see the problem. You wanna be the biggest, brightest star in the sky? Better start from an empty sky then.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 02:38 AM
So you can't be the biggest, baddest thing in any area of the realms. I think you'll live. It's a fully fleshed out world because it's based on novels. Many of them. Most of them good. I'm sure many of us enjoy the books. Fantasy campaign settings are usually based on some kind of novel or series. People WANT to play there or it wouldn't have been created.

Well yes, but I wish they were more reachable. The npcs i mean. They're like gods. Almost untouchable. I wish they were more vulnerable. The npcs and the kingdoms. I wish the zhentarim or the shadow thieves weren't as big or as widespread. So youd have a chance of making your own evil organization instead of merely joining them. It just feels i don't have as much room to create anything y'know. Just more room for player creativity instead of merely absorbing everything already made. Sure a fully furnished mansion is good but there isnt much for you to do anymore. Nor does it speak anything of you.

Kol Korran
2012-03-24, 02:44 AM
i don't have nearly the breadth of experience you seem to have in the realms. i only played a few modules there, but we seemed to make an impact, though i too resented the impact of high level characters. (in one adventure the module had to eliminate their influence in all sort of ways to let the PCs shine).

a suggestion though- why not try Eberron? plenty of room to do your Shtick there.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 02:45 AM
So you're complaining that they built in enough high level, intelligent NPCs to ensure that a player character couldn't take over or break the realms? I fail to see the problem. You wanna be the biggest, brightest star in the sky? Better start from an empty sky then.

I never said that I wanted to be the biggest, brightest star in the sky. But wouldn't you want to be a star instead of being, i dunno, something back there in the darkness? I want my pcs to achieve something after their exploits. To be remembered. I never plan on taking over the realms, just taking part. I've never planned on breaking the realms because that's what 4th ed did. They ruined everything.

Belril Duskwalk
2012-03-24, 02:47 AM
it's already so complete there's not room for much else. you can't make an organization big enough or widespread enough to matter. Thinking of starting a thieve's guild? The shadow thieves will crush your puny gang like a bug. Evil army? Oh wait, there's already the Zhents. Undead army? Well it'll be nowhere as grand as Ssaz Tam of Thay's. Merchant League? You won't have a chance against Sembia or Baldur's Gate.

For several of these I would argue that while it would be difficult, it would be a long way from impossible to build a better guild/army than the one which exists. And if you can build a better thieves guild than the shadow thieves, well that could be a pretty fun story to play. The challenge doesn't break the story, it makes the story.


And I always get this feeling they force you to play somewhere around Cormyr. I hate that place. Too many promiscuous nobles. And they're proud of it too.

I've never felt forced to play near Cormyr. Although I can get on board for not liking it. Chaotic alignment and all...


You can't ever be too strong in the realms unless you're an npc created by an author. The realms is a place where they force you to play in their sandbox or get out.

I would argue this is a bonus of the realms. I have heard about campaigns in other settings that functionally end in the low to mid teens. It happens because around that level a player becomes the biggest fish in the pond. Being the big fish sounds fun and all, but before long you realize that if you're the big fish it means that nothing out there exists that can reasonably threaten you. The Realms doesn't have that problem. In the Realms, there is always a bigger fish. Sure that might mean you never become the god-king of nations, but on the other hand it means there will always be another adventure to be had.

For me, that's a positive point in a setting. If there's always somebody out there that can threaten you, then a lack of challenges is never a reason to stop the game.

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 02:48 AM
The well developed parts of the world are claimed. No big surprise there. You said yourself there are places in the realms to go and carve out your own niche. You just don't wanna go there. You're not complaining about there not being a seat for you as much as you're saying that someone's sitting in the one you want. One way to fix that, and one way only. Get to obscenely high levels and kill them all. Of course you'd have to be evil, and it'd take years.

Is it coming across that I think you're completely wrong and there is plenty to do in the realms?

In a world full of level ones, a level three could be a god. Suck it up butter cup, the world doesn't revolve around you.:smallwink:

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 02:53 AM
Yes, I realize that I am a complete phallus sometimes. I lack anything resembling subtlety. This is just how I communicate with people. You get the full brunt of my honesty. That offends some. I regret nothing.

FatR
2012-03-24, 02:55 AM
So you're complaining that they built in enough high level, intelligent NPCs to ensure that a player character couldn't take over or break the realms? I fail to see the problem.
That's your failure, not a sign that the problem somehow doesn't exist.

I, on the other hand, see no point whatsoever of even starting playing under a GM who can possibly characterize player characters' impact on the setting as "breaking". My life is too short to game with people who advertize their games as high fantasy (by, you know, running DnD and not in E6 form) but fail to deliver this genre and fail to recognize that they are not delivering it if PCs exploits do not mark the turn of ages.

And FR by 3.X appears to be custom-made for such people.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 02:56 AM
The well developed parts of the world are claimed. No big surprise there. You said yourself there are places in the realms to go and carve out your own niche. You just don't wanna go there. You're not complaining about there not being a seat for you as much as you're saying that someone's sitting in the one you want. One way to fix that, and one way only. Get to obscenely high levels and kill them all. Of course you'd have to be evil, and it'd take years.

Is it coming across that I think you're completely wrong and there is plenty to do in the realms?

In a world full of level ones, a level three could be a god. Suck it up butter cup, the world doesn't revolve around you.:smallwink:

What's you problem dancingdeath? I'm not here to start a fight. I merely want to express my opinions and you're here all aggressive and fight-picky. Haha.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 02:59 AM
Yes, I realize that I am a complete phallus sometimes. I lack anything resembling subtlety. This is just how I communicate with people. You get the full brunt of my honesty. That offends some. I regret nothing.

It's okay man. I admire your honesty.

Waddacku
2012-03-24, 02:59 AM
If you want to play in FR, why would you ever want to go to the undeveloped parts of it to do so? That's barely different at all from just playing your own setting.

Dandria
2012-03-24, 03:56 AM
I see what you mean, or at least I think so.

Every time I played in the Forgotten Realms it was like playing a crossover game of Vampire the Masquerade. Yes, you can go and try to take some power for yourself, become the big fish, but it never matters, because there are always bigger fish, bigger sharks, bigger whales and bigger reality altering gods. You want to change something? Go ahead, you can do it, but the Antediluvians donít care about you: they will bring forth the end of the world. Go ahead, but the Werewolves donít care: they are trying to stop an asteroid belt from killing the Earth (literally, thatís a thing) and to destroy the Harbinger of Doom. Go ahead, but the Mages donít care: they are fighting over Reality itself on the grounds of Mars. Oh, you wanted to actually leave a mark? Though luck.

Point is, in WoD this a wanted feature, something on the background that the players usually expect. But in the Realms? Well, playing in the realms means playing in a D&D game where thereís no reason for adventurers to go out and adventure. Low level? No problem, the city guard is powerful enough to take on those filthy goblins! Mid level? No problem, the Harpers can take care of this evil cult. High level? Congratulations boy, but now leave these bickering gods to Elminster!

What I enjoyed the most out of the Realms was the Bhaal Spawn saga, of course. Ehy, El, you want to be a cryptic *******? Fair enough, weíll meet again during the next games. You know, when Iíll finally be on my way to catch up with you. It was fun, because in a world of obscenely powerful guys you could just play along and become a god, breaking their oh so precious status quo.

Anyway, yeah, I can understand your point.

FatR
2012-03-24, 04:19 AM
I would argue this is a bonus of the realms. I have heard about campaigns in other settings that functionally end in the low to mid teens. It happens because around that level a player becomes the biggest fish in the pond.
I haven't ever seen or heard from people I know personally about campaigns that do not end in the low to mid teens. Except ones that start there and basically do not pay much attention to the rule. This has nothing to do with NPCs and everything to do with the fact that most iterations of DnD become unplayably overcomplicated and/or break outright around these levels. So, why becoming the biggest fish at the pond at this time is bad, even assuming this will lead to retirement as unchallenged rulers of the world?


Being the big fish sounds fun and all, but before long you realize that if you're the big fish it means that nothing out there exists that can reasonably threaten you.
If that bothers people, there are plenty of things to do in the afterlife for remaining levels until 20. Which accidentally will make stories like "storming Hell" conceivable within the range of levels which one day might actually be played.


The Realms doesn't have that problem. In the Realms, there is always a bigger fish. Sure that might mean you never become the god-king of nations, but on the other hand it means there will always be another adventure to be had.
Having no definite point of ending in your campaign is actually a flaw in itself. Most games have quite limited timespan, not even lasting for 1 year, and in that time I want to get somewhere.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 04:45 AM
I feel like the biggest and most important thing in the thread has been said already. When a campaign world is this full of powerful people, the question of why to bother adventuring becomes a somewhat troubling one. Clearly the world doesn't need you to protect it, there are too many powerful people doing that already. Oh, and those same people have enough of a powerbase that it would be very bizarre for my character to ever have enough power himself to challenge them. So personal gain is out. That's the two most common reasons to be an adventurer. So... tourism? Heh. Actually, that could make an interesting campaign, with the party shepherding a group of extraplanar tourists around Faerun, protecting them from the inevitable war/evil army/what have you. Very Color of Magic. But in a serious game? Joe kinda has a point, and saying that he shouldn't expect to be a power player in a RPG? That kinda defeats a pretty common reason to play RPGs. If I want to live in a world where I don't count for much and shouldn't expect to make a major impact on the world, I can just go outside.

Acanous
2012-03-24, 04:45 AM
one of the most fun games I played was in FR. I had this L/E Wizard who wanted to be somebody.
He started out doing stage magic (Was an illusionist) so he could make a living and travel around looking for opportunity.
The first good one he found was a Haunted silver mine for sale. So he bought it with his meagre savings, posted a request for aid in the local adventuring guild, and went spelunking.
With that taken care of, he turned a small profit from the mine (after paying the adventurers, the miners, and the nobility) and took off to Baldur's Gate to make more coin, faster, and learn some new spells while he was there.
Upon arriving, he met this Drow bard, who was down on her luck but knew of a hidden cache the Drow had abandoned when surface dwelling adventurers broke up one of their slaving operations. The place was heavilly trapped and a little hard to find, but my wizard didn't mind playing patsy for a while if the coin was good.
After the inevitable backstabbing, he took his newfound treasure and returned to the library a while, only to learn of a new undead plague that was sweeping in from Waterdeep.

...So he bought a boat and high tailed it out of there to let the plague burn itself out.
Of course, he had no real knowledge of cartography, and had no way of knowing those islands he'd picked were home to a small pirate kingdom, but hey! That's alright, after a few skirmishes, a well-placed bribe and some favorable trading, they decided he was an alright guy and let him fly colours that would grant his ship safe passage.

Well, now the plague had run it's course, so he went to Waterdeep with a cargo hold full of supplies to profiteer off the needy. This worked for a short while, but he made enemies out of the shadow thieves, who were trying the same tactic. There were a couple fights and a crawl through a hidden theive's guild (and dang if that thing wasn't hard to find) which ended up with my wizard carving a niche out for himself, 'til the thieves tipped Lord Blackstaff off to my profiteering, and that ended up with my wizard press-ganged into a quest to Thay.

That quest actually went fairly well, and I ended up picking up a new apprentice. Of course, the adventuring party I was smuggling in caused a ruckus and ended up dead, which garnered me some ill attention, but I managed to talk the Red Wizards into letting my Wizard go in exchange for some of those spells he'd picked up back in Baldur's gate and an item they wanted retrieved from some mask-wearing witch and her barbarian husband, who had proven exceptionally tricky to pin down.

In trying to track them, we ended up halfway around the world in the frozen north, only to find we'd been duped. Which didn't really help given that we'd landed ourselves in the midst of Frost Giants. But luckilly, a few illusions, a Wall of Force and a Cloudkill made them very helpful, and they pointed us in the right direction.

I managed to find the witch in an entirely different country, right by a mage college... Who wouldn't sell me spells because I didn't have a mask. Back in Thay they wanted me to shave, and that was fine. But the masks? You apparently have to earn. Which takes time I didn't have. So I snuck in. It was difficult, but hey, illusionist with actual practice in stage magic like Contortionism (Escape Artist) Costuming (Disguise) and Sleight of hand? Not impossible.

My apprentice even managed to hook up with one of the masked ladies, and she joined our adventures. Retrieving that item for the Thayans was considerably more difficult than advertised, and I'm glad she was there.

Upon returning to Thay, though, it turns out they have some particularly nasty internal politicking, and giving one guy a leg up makes you enemies elsewhere. So now the Shadow thieves AND some lich both hate me, and teleganking assassin squads start giving me reasons to learn how not to sleep.

I showed them, though. I hid out in Undermountain, making a deal with the Mad Mage to bring him more playthings in exchange for being allowed to go free.

So, as you see, the realms are developed enough that your DM can throw something at you, you can go entirely off the rails, and there's more things off the rails for him to throw at you! You never have to go without plot hooks, and you can write your own story if you don't like the one the DM is currently going with.
If something would end the world, you can take care of it, or you can go off and do something else and let Elminster handle it.
Anywhere you want to go, there's published material for. You might not ever be the biggest fish in the pond, but that is because the pond is *Full* of other fish. Some you eat, some you run from, but they're all very interesting.

Heatwizard
2012-03-24, 04:54 AM
I'm more of an Eberron guy, and also not a DM, but if I ever did DM a Realms game, I would probably topple a couple of power structures; not all of them, mind! Just the ones that might chafe the party.
Although, mainly I just think it might be a neat campaign if the Shadow Thieves collapsed, and every two-bit pickpocket put a secret entrance in their garage and called themselves a New Guild, and they all duke it out. In the beginning it's a glorious mess of 2-5 man teams trying to one-up each other, and as time goes on the PCs assimilate more and more of their rivals under their banner and have bigger grudge matches with the other fresh guilds and the semi-pros who were around beforehand...

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 04:54 AM
Suck it up butter cup, the world doesn't revolve around you.:smallwink:

Once I think about it, as a player I think it should actually. Lol. I'm the one playing the game. I mean they did design d&d and the realms to be played by players. If I wanted to be a nobody in a world ruled by npcs based on novels, hell I'd just read the book.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 05:02 AM
Once I think about it, as a player I think it should actually. Lol. I'm the one playing the game. I mean they did design d&d and the realms to be played by players. If I wanted to be a nobody in a world ruled by npcs based on novels, hell I'd just read the book.

+1. When you play an RPG, you and your group are the protagonists of the story. The world should revolve around you, necessarily, but your actions are of paramount importance to the story being told, and you should at the very least have a fair shot of (with sufficient preparation, planning, and training) doing just about anything you want to. We already have to share the spotlight with anywhere from one to five other people, we don't want to expand that to Greg NPC and his party as well.

marcielle
2012-03-24, 05:03 AM
MOST of the epic level npcs are SO BADLY BUILT. Anything other than the gods( because of baseline dietic immunities) can be killed pretty easily. Ubercharger + Batman wizard + Mailman. All about 15-20. Mailman, then ubercharger one shots anything under CR 30. Batman makes sure they can escape. Most of the individual important npcs are munchkin food. And their armies of low level mooks? A bit of scryin and plenty of teleports or even a ropetrick and some permanent mindblank will foil almost anything unless the actual gods intervene. Unless your DM gives them plot invulnerability, you can flit around regions assassinating important npcs to the point theres total anarchy and reset everything. Kinda FR post-apocalytia.

Example, some wizard named Hadrune, with slightly less than 100 hp is the lowest level epic. Both of the casters preparing celerity means he won't even get one spell off before he's dead. Unless he's surrounded by several guardians ALSO packing celerity. Then you also need to win initiative( or you could play it mean and have the others besides the one who teleports in just have readied actions). While your DM might personally throw some hardballs your way, MATH and the brainpower of the forums are on your side.

Note, this doesn't account for things like railroading and rocks fall.

absolmorph
2012-03-24, 05:14 AM
I feel like the biggest and most important thing in the thread has been said already. When a campaign world is this full of powerful people, the question of why to bother adventuring becomes a somewhat troubling one. Clearly the world doesn't need you to protect it, there are too many powerful people doing that already. Oh, and those same people have enough of a powerbase that it would be very bizarre for my character to ever have enough power himself to challenge them. So personal gain is out. That's the two most common reasons to be an adventurer. So... tourism? Heh. Actually, that could make an interesting campaign, with the party shepherding a group of extraplanar tourists around Faerun, protecting them from the inevitable war/evil army/what have you. Very Color of Magic. But in a serious game? Joe kinda has a point, and saying that he shouldn't expect to be a power player in a RPG? That kinda defeats a pretty common reason to play RPGs. If I want to live in a world where I don't count for much and shouldn't expect to make a major impact on the world, I can just go outside.
No reason to adventure? Son, let me tell you about Drizzt Do'Urden.
See, Drizzt is a drow. Those who know about him know about how he rebelled against the drow culture and wanders the surface getting up to trouble.
What they don't tell you about is the peaceful villages of goblins he's killed during his travels. They'll just be minding their own business, tending to their farms, and then some redneck in the next village over mentions the "malicious goblins" and he's off like an arrow to kill the whole damn village.
That's what happened to my grandpa. My mum managed to hide herself and me, and we walked to the nearest allied village. Oh, how my feet bled.
Then, Drizzt somehow got wind of that village. And that's how my mum died. She was running away as he ran her through.
After that, I made it my goal to end that rotten drow's blight upon goblin-kind.
THAT is why I adventure.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 05:17 AM
one of the most fun games I played was in FR. I had this L/E Wizard who wanted to be somebody.
He started out doing stage magic (Was an illusionist) so he could make a living and travel around looking for opportunity.
The first good one he found was a Haunted silver mine for sale. So he bought it with his meagre savings, posted a request for aid in the local adventuring guild, and went spelunking.
With that taken care of, he turned a small profit from the mine (after paying the adventurers, the miners, and the nobility) and took off to Baldur's Gate to make more coin, faster, and learn some new spells while he was there.
Upon arriving, he met this Drow bard, who was down on her luck but knew of a hidden cache the Drow had abandoned when surface dwelling adventurers broke up one of their slaving operations. The place was heavilly trapped and a little hard to find, but my wizard didn't mind playing patsy for a while if the coin was good.
After the inevitable backstabbing, he took his newfound treasure and returned to the library a while, only to learn of a new undead plague that was sweeping in from Waterdeep.

...So he bought a boat and high tailed it out of there to let the plague burn itself out.
Of course, he had no real knowledge of cartography, and had no way of knowing those islands he'd picked were home to a small pirate kingdom, but hey! That's alright, after a few skirmishes, a well-placed bribe and some favorable trading, they decided he was an alright guy and let him fly colours that would grant his ship safe passage.

Well, now the plague had run it's course, so he went to Waterdeep with a cargo hold full of supplies to profiteer off the needy. This worked for a short while, but he made enemies out of the shadow thieves, who were trying the same tactic. There were a couple fights and a crawl through a hidden theive's guild (and dang if that thing wasn't hard to find) which ended up with my wizard carving a niche out for himself, 'til the thieves tipped Lord Blackstaff off to my profiteering, and that ended up with my wizard press-ganged into a quest to Thay.

That quest actually went fairly well, and I ended up picking up a new apprentice. Of course, the adventuring party I was smuggling in caused a ruckus and ended up dead, which garnered me some ill attention, but I managed to talk the Red Wizards into letting my Wizard go in exchange for some of those spells he'd picked up back in Baldur's gate and an item they wanted retrieved from some mask-wearing witch and her barbarian husband, who had proven exceptionally tricky to pin down.

In trying to track them, we ended up halfway around the world in the frozen north, only to find we'd been duped. Which didn't really help given that we'd landed ourselves in the midst of Frost Giants. But luckilly, a few illusions, a Wall of Force and a Cloudkill made them very helpful, and they pointed us in the right direction.

I managed to find the witch in an entirely different country, right by a mage college... Who wouldn't sell me spells because I didn't have a mask. Back in Thay they wanted me to shave, and that was fine. But the masks? You apparently have to earn. Which takes time I didn't have. So I snuck in. It was difficult, but hey, illusionist with actual practice in stage magic like Contortionism (Escape Artist) Costuming (Disguise) and Sleight of hand? Not impossible.

My apprentice even managed to hook up with one of the masked ladies, and she joined our adventures. Retrieving that item for the Thayans was considerably more difficult than advertised, and I'm glad she was there.

Upon returning to Thay, though, it turns out they have some particularly nasty internal politicking, and giving one guy a leg up makes you enemies elsewhere. So now the Shadow thieves AND some lich both hate me, and teleganking assassin squads start giving me reasons to learn how not to sleep.

I showed them, though. I hid out in Undermountain, making a deal with the Mad Mage to bring him more playthings in exchange for being allowed to go free.

So, as you see, the realms are developed enough that your DM can throw something at you, you can go entirely off the rails, and there's more things off the rails for him to throw at you! You never have to go without plot hooks, and you can write your own story if you don't like the one the DM is currently going with.
If something would end the world, you can take care of it, or you can go off and do something else and let Elminster handle it.
Anywhere you want to go, there's published material for. You might not ever be the biggest fish in the pond, but that is because the pond is *Full* of other fish. Some you eat, some you run from, but they're all very interesting.

This was actually fun to read. I mean you actually traveled across the realms and back again on one character. This is the good thing about the realms if you're that free. Btw were you in a party? It sounds like you solo'd.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 05:22 AM
+1. When you play an RPG, you and your group are the protagonists of the story. The world should revolve around you, necessarily, but your actions are of paramount importance to the story being told, and you should at the very least have a fair shot of (with sufficient preparation, planning, and training) doing just about anything you want to. We already have to share the spotlight with anywhere from one to five other people, we don't want to expand that to Greg NPC and his party as well.

Lol. True dat.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 05:47 AM
No reason to adventure? Son, let me tell you about Drizzt Do'Urden.
See, Drizzt is a drow. Those who know about him know about how he rebelled against the drow culture and wanders the surface getting up to trouble.
What they don't tell you about is the peaceful villages of goblins he's killed during his travels. They'll just be minding their own business, tending to their farms, and then some redneck in the next village over mentions the "malicious goblins" and he's off like an arrow to kill the whole damn village.
That's what happened to my grandpa. My mum managed to hide herself and me, and we walked to the nearest allied village. Oh, how my feet bled.
Then, Drizzt somehow got wind of that village. And that's how my mum died. She was running away as he ran her through.
After that, I made it my goal to end that rotten drow's blight upon goblin-kind.
THAT is why I adventure.

No, but you see, this is kinda my point. (Although eloquently and hilariously put, good on you) You can't adventure for yourself. These massive figures figure into the lives of anyone who hopes to adventure into the high teens. At some point you're going to step on someone's toes, and then the intricate network of high level NPCs flicks you off their string. And you can't just go murdering them all, even if you have the power to do so, because they're deeply enmeshed in the story of the world. The world's too full. Not too full of interesting places, like Acanous' story, that's the best thing about a campaign setting. It's too full of powerful people. Powerful people like to hold onto their power, and so if you want to become powerful yourself you have to start tearing down everything that the Forgotten Realms is.

absolmorph
2012-03-24, 05:53 AM
No, but you see, this is kinda my point. (Although eloquently and hilariously put, good on you) You can't adventure for yourself. These massive figures figure into the lives of anyone who hopes to adventure into the high teens. At some point you're going to step on someone's toes, and then the intricate network of high level NPCs flicks you off their string. And you can't just go murdering them all, even if you have the power to do so, because they're deeply enmeshed in the story of the world. The world's too full. Not too full of interesting places, like Acanous' story, that's the best thing about a campaign setting. It's too full of powerful people. Powerful people like to hold onto their power, and so if you want to become powerful yourself you have to start tearing down everything that the Forgotten Realms is.
I've always felt that's part of what someone does when they rise to power when there's no vacuum. They tear down the previous power, and replace them. It's a pain to get to the point where you can tear down those powers, but it's possible.

hamishspence
2012-03-24, 06:00 AM
See, Drizzt is a drow. Those who know about him know about how he rebelled against the drow culture and wanders the surface getting up to trouble.
What they don't tell you about is the peaceful villages of goblins he's killed during his travels. They'll just be minding their own business, tending to their farms, and then some redneck in the next village over mentions the "malicious goblins" and he's off like an arrow to kill the whole damn village.
That's what happened to my grandpa. My mum managed to hide herself and me, and we walked to the nearest allied village. Oh, how my feet bled.
Then, Drizzt somehow got wind of that village. And that's how my mum died. She was running away as he ran her through.
After that, I made it my goal to end that rotten drow's blight upon goblin-kind.
THAT is why I adventure.

In The Legacy Drizzt agrees with Catti-brie's comment that it's not right to kill goblins unless they're actively menacing people- just "being there" is not enough.

This is after a short story- Dark Mirror- when he realises that goblins, like drow as proven himself, can have good or nonevil examples- but unlike himself, they're much less likely to get the benefit of the doubt, since surface people are much more likely to encounter marauding goblins than drow.

By the 4E era, (prologue and epilogue of The Orc King) Drizzt is actively hunting adventurers that murder orcs without justification.

So while the point you make is a very good one- it may not entirely fit Drizzt himself.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 06:01 AM
I've always felt that's part of what someone does when they rise to power when there's no vacuum. They tear down the previous power, and replace them. It's a pain to get to the point where you can tear down those powers, but it's possible.

Sure, but with how the Realms are set up, the point at which you can tear down those powers is much, much higher than normal, and even then you're dealing with epic level NPCs with divine support. Even the gods have a vested interest in the power structure as it stands.

Acanous
2012-03-24, 06:06 AM
This was actually fun to read. I mean you actually traveled across the realms and back again on one character. This is the good thing about the realms if you're that free. Btw were you in a party? It sounds like you solo'd.

Nope, I was in a 2-4 man band, depending on who showed up that week. Started with my human wizard and a dwarven fighter, then Wizard/Fighter/Bard, then Wizard/Sorceror, Wizard/Sorceror/cleric... it actually ended up Wizard/Wizard/Wizard/Sorceror.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 06:29 AM
MOST of the epic level npcs are SO BADLY BUILT. Anything other than the gods( because of baseline dietic immunities) can be killed pretty easily. Ubercharger + Batman wizard + Mailman. All about 15-20. Mailman, then ubercharger one shots anything under CR 30. Batman makes sure they can escape. Most of the individual important npcs are munchkin food. And their armies of low level mooks? A bit of scryin and plenty of teleports or even a ropetrick and some permanent mindblank will foil almost anything unless the actual gods intervene. Unless your DM gives them plot invulnerability, you can flit around regions assassinating important npcs to the point theres total anarchy and reset everything. Kinda FR post-apocalytia.

Example, some wizard named Hadrune, with slightly less than 100 hp is the lowest level epic. Both of the casters preparing celerity means he won't even get one spell off before he's dead. Unless he's surrounded by several guardians ALSO packing celerity. Then you also need to win initiative( or you could play it mean and have the others besides the one who teleports in just have readied actions). While your DM might personally throw some hardballs your way, MATH and the brainpower of the forums are on your side.

Note, this doesn't account for things like railroading and rocks fall.

Lol. Or i could just play 4th ed. They nuked the realms. If I really wanted to, me and some friends could unleash some forum jutsu on the realms and totally trash it. It's hard to get these builds past a DM though. Things need to be 'realms-specific' 'canon' or you must have a good explanation to it tying it to some obscure FR lore.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 06:37 AM
This was actually fun to read. I mean you actually traveled across the realms and back again on one character. This is the good thing about the realms if you're that free. Btw were you in a party? It sounds like you solo'd.

Ooh, if you liked that, you OWE it to yourself to read the SilverClawShift campaign archives (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116836), the campaign journal so great it got stickied (kinda) as an example of what we should all live up to.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 06:42 AM
Sure, but with how the Realms are set up, the point at which you can tear down those powers is much, much higher than normal, and even then you're dealing with epic level NPCs with divine support. Even the gods have a vested interest in the power structure as it stands.

Yeah. You'll be all epic and you'll still be saying 'gee, I hope some god gets interested in me.'

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 06:47 AM
Ooh, if you liked that, you OWE it to yourself to read the SilverClawShift campaign archives (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116836), the campaign journal so great it got stickied (kinda) as an example of what we should all live up to.

Bookmark'd. Real player stories are the best. There's a lot you don't expect and moments of brilliance that just happen at the right time.

Sir_Mopalot
2012-03-24, 06:51 AM
And honestly, it wouldn't take much to turn those stories into a novel (or tv show, or movie, or comic book or whatever) that I would very honestly pay money for. I've never seen better.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 06:54 AM
Nope, I was in a 2-4 man band, depending on who showed up that week. Started with my human wizard and a dwarven fighter, then Wizard/Fighter/Bard, then Wizard/Sorceror, Wizard/Sorceror/cleric... it actually ended up Wizard/Wizard/Wizard/Sorceror.

You can never have enough spellcasters. :smallbiggrin:

Alleran
2012-03-24, 07:25 AM
I mean they did design d&d and the realms to be played by players.
Not entirely true. FR was originally created as a world for Greenwood to write stories in, and was only sold to TSR as a setting later on. That said, it doesn't have a greater-than-normal number of high level characters. With a few exceptions (e.g. Waterdeep, which suffers from the inevitable bloat that a central city for so many events will receive), they have more or less the DMG layout for level structure.

Morty
2012-03-24, 07:36 AM
I've never got this complaint and I don't think I ever will. It's rooted in unreasonable expectations.
Yes, there's plenty of powerful people. Does that mean the PCs can't achieve anything ever? Of course it doesn't. Faerun is a big place and all the powerful people are involved in their own affairs, so it's perfectly possible for a low-level party to be heroes of their own story. Hell, it says as much in the FRCS book - that the GM should not have the high-level iconic NPCs hog the spotlight and should only involve them if necessary. It's only a problem if you expect your characters to be movers and shakers on a global level from the get-go.
Besides, to use a completely cliched example, if you save a town from an incursion of devils or demons, who do you think they're going to tell stories about? Some drow or old wizard neither of whom ever got within a hundred kilometers of their home or the people to prevented them from being killed and their souls turned into cannon fodder?

Legendairy
2012-03-24, 09:23 AM
I DM in the realms and im semi knowledgable about them. With that said I just use it as a guideline, I run somewhat with the timeline but the pc's are the main focus of the world not the big movers and shakers, I will adjust the realms to fit my campaign not the other way around, my players love this. Evil campaigns have infiltrated the zhents acting as either Cyrisists or Bainites and started the civil wars within (thats not how the books say it happened).

The Realms are great so full of history and imagination I love them. The creator also left vast areas ripe for adventure, Myth Drannor, Underdark, Undermountain (Hate running any campaign here), Skullport, the Pirate isles, Chult and many more its easy to want to adventure into these places. Have you seen a dinosaur? No! Off to chult to see one of the many dangerous creatures. I am sure you see my point.

I do completely agree with you about the powers that be in the game but look at the timeline modify it to your campaign make it work for your group. The Shadovar returning hamper some plans you have in Sembia? Have the PC's find some artifact to stall them or some such. PC's want to start their own thieves guild let them, just warn them to keep it small til they can grow! Or start in the Shadow Thieves and branch out. Yes you have the Elminsters the Drizzt's the Szas Ttams but why are they important? They do great things in the realms doesnt mean you have to be a stooge. They all have to start somewhere so why cant your Myth Drannor salvage party grow like Midnight and Kelemvor and all the others?

Another huge plus is how active a role the Gods already play in the realms, its very easy to get noticed. Barring that look at the amounts of cults and such.

Again this is not an attack at all, I completely agree with you. My point is you can run it like a novel and the players will more than likely hate it or you can run it like a campaign setting that has a rich history but is still your campaign setting and is changable at a whim. So if you don't like the Realms as a player maybe its not a Realms issue its the story bookness of the Realms and how some people see them set in stone.

Why not have a "Mailman","Batman" type caster challange the Blackstaff and take the tower? Or Fzoul for lead of the Zhents?

It is the tunnel vision and the novel mindset that can completely ruin the realms. Thats just MHO tho. I am sorry if I offended anyone and I do NOT want to argue so I appoligize in advance if I have.:smallbiggrin:

awa
2012-03-24, 10:12 AM
I sorta agree and i sorta don't. part of the problem is water deep, its basically the default starting city (or at least it was its been a while) and the number of high level npcs there is just so huge that at low to mid level your often left wondering why hasn't someone else already dealt with any given problem. expanding on that the setting doesn't entirely make sense at least not to me, you have so many mighty heroes you'd think all the orcs, goblins, ogres would all have been wiped out or forced to play nice. The only reason i could think for that not to be the case is if the realms were under siege from vast enemies so great that their was no time to deal with such lesser concerns but while their are vast threats most of those high level npcs seem to be just sitting around maintaining the status qoue.

take that 9th level orc warlord I vaguely recall hes a big deal running around knocking over small nations or something right?. But a high level wizard (like level 10+) could just fix that in an afternoon. scry, fly, teleport 800+ feet above the army fireball him and the army repeatedly go home. He might have an army but none of them should be higher then 9th level and if they are why arnt they in charge.

of course on the other hand once you've resisted the urge to have your favorite literary character come in and save the pcs just use a little suspension of disbelief out of sight out of mind if you don't mention 99% of all those high level npcs nobody will think about them. and you just have to remember Forgotten realms is a high level setting if you want to be a mover and shaker either acknowledge that it will take longer to reach that point than in a normal game or start higher level

Metahuman1
2012-03-24, 12:44 PM
Can I suggest you may wish to play in another setting? Maybe homebrew, or Eberron perhaps?

Psyren
2012-03-24, 12:58 PM
While I somewhat agree that Faerun is top-heavy, the way I see it, all the big dogs have counters. Zhents have to deal with Harpers. Thay has to deal with the Simbul. Shar has to handle Selune and Mystra (or whatever post-Spellplague.) And even when they have the upper hand, the bad guys undermine each other (good luck getting Bane and Talos to cooperate for long.)

A skilled DM should exploit that infighting - the PCs then become, rather than unknown schmoes lost in the shuffle, the pebbles (and eventually boulders) that tip the scales to one side or another.

Then - when they become powerful enough and problematic enough for the forces of evil - suddenly the big bads are able to put aside their differences and work together to take your band down. Thay and the Zhents sign an accord. Mask works with Cyric. Shar actually works with someone else. That sort of thing.

bloodtide
2012-03-24, 01:29 PM
I mean the Forgotten Realms. I used to love the Realms. I adored it. Well most of it. But it's already so complete there's not room for much else.

Well, your in luck, unlike every other game world, the Realms are HUGE.




you can't make an organization big enough or widespread enough to matter. Thinking of starting a thieve's guild? The shadow thieves will crush your puny gang like a bug. Evil army? Oh wait, there's already the Zhents. Undead army? Well it'll be nowhere as grand as Ssaz Tam of Thay's. Merchant League? You won't have a chance against Sembia or Baldur's Gate.

Well, sure if you were to create a thieves guild in Amn the Shadow thieves could crush you. But that still leaves you thousands of other places to build a thieves guild. They stick to the sword coast, go to like say Var, and you will find no Shadow Thieves. The Zhents only cover the Heartlands and the north. There are no Zhents in the whole rest of the world. And it's easy to make an undead army better then Tam's......his is a very lame army made by some guy with no imagination. And again the merchants you mention only cover the heartlands.



Only chance to carve out your kingdom is in the Border Kingdoms. And I don't like that place. And even then you won't matter. Everything's been done. There's an organization for everything. And I always get this feeling they force you to play somewhere around Cormyr. I hate that place. Too many promiscuous nobles. And they're proud of it too.

Yes they do try and push Cormyr as 'the greatest place in the Realms...but just ignore them.




Too many npcs weild demigodlike powers. And you can't kill them too. They're either too high level, immortal, chosen, etc. And they're all friends or acquaintances too even sisters. Sort of like an elite club. Touch one and they all gang up on you. You can't ever be too strong in the realms unless you're an npc created by an author.

Yes, the Realms has powerful NPC's...but why do you care? You can go on adventures and gain powers and levels and not even run into them. Again, they only cover a small area, adventure in Shadowdale and you will encounter them, adventure in Chult and you never will.

And even so, they are not quite 'that' powerful. Powerful, yes, but no by-the-book Realms NPC is any match for a optimized build character. (For example Elminster is immune to one 8th level spell, and he picked Sunburtst).



The realms is a place where they force you to play in their sandbox or get out. They're not that open to new ideas too. They bicker amongst themselves saying that if it aint realms-specific it has no place in the realms. They've kinda got this if it ain't canon it don't exist mentality. I love the realms. I just wish it wasn't so developed so there'd be more of if for us players to explore and create ourselves. The world is far too big for one 1st lvl pc to make a difference.

They do trick you into thinking that the whole Realms is a tiny postage stamp sized place. All the books have everyone bumping into everyone like a bad Benny Hill skit. But when you take a deep breath and look.....the realms are HUGE.

Chult, the Cold Lands, The Dragon Coast, The Old Empires, The Shining South, and The Vilhon Reach are in Fareun and almost unexplored and untouched. And then you have places beyond Fareun, like Maztica and Zakhara or even Selune. So for example, you can do whatever you want in Murghom or Thindol.

And just as a powerful group exists, does not mean you can't grow and oppose them. Once upon a time IBM ruled the computer world, until a little company called Microsoft came along. And that is just one example.

MukkTB
2012-03-24, 02:34 PM
Its not exactly fair if the PCs cap out at level 20. So don't cap them out. If the NPCs can reach above level 20 it makes no sense why the PCs could not also do so. However playing at very high levels takes both a long time and exposes you to a pretty badly designed point in the game.


A DM can break the realms any time he wants to. He could declare that the independence day aliens show up and start firing their city destroying lasers. He could declare that a new evil has begun assassinating everyone above level 20. He could declare world war and have a series of battles where most of the epic characters perish. So from a DM's perspective the complaint is about his style. Particularly his adoption of 'There is always a bigger fish,' and the possibility of railroading. Players have to want to play in a 'bigger fish' world in order to enjoy it.


A player can break the realms anytime he wants to. Roll Pun-Pun. Either it will break the realms in half or get the player bodily ejected from the group. Or more easily roll some heavily optimized casters. Elite assassin squad go. You could invoke the wightpocalypse, or become a dreaded diplomancer. You could travel dimensionally and leave the realms far behind. You can't beat the DM, but you can beat the realms.


So this leaves me with two solid complaints.
#1 "Without using cheese and/or playing with a railroading DM my character is a footnote compared to the game designers NPCs."
-This is not a problem with the setting. Its a problem with the players.


#2 "The level I need to reach to be competitive in the realms is extremely high. It takes more time than I am willing to invest in a campaign and it does not represent the sweet spot of gameplay. That sweet spot being something like lvl 5- 14 in my opinion."
-This is a more legitimate complaint. My group plays campaigns that generally last about 3 months with 1-2 sessions a week. That averages out to a campaign length of about 15 session each running about 6 hours. 90 hours of game play. From level 1 we get to around to just short of level 10. If we started higher, for example lvl 5 I doubt we would get near 15. Then we're ready to do something else. We physically could not start level 1 characters and grind them to a point where they are competitive with epic NPCs. We would have to start out fairly beefy.


This leaves me thinking that the realms are best for a couple scenarios.

-A story where the characters are not the most important people in the world or even close. Low Fantasy. I'd agree that always being the chosen one is kind of silly. I would probably enjoy a shortish campaign where I was just an average Joe trying to make his way in the world.

-A game where the PCs get together rank smelling cheese and fight the power. If the DM cooperates it could be quite interesting.

-A setting for people who do enjoy playing very high level characters.


Forgotten Realms is not the end all D&D campaign setting. It fills several useful roles and horribly fails to fill other ones. But lets be honest. No one campaign setting is going to be enough. It can't be everything for everyone. I like to read Terry Pratchett AND Lord of the Rings. I would not like to combine them.

Coidzor
2012-03-24, 02:36 PM
It's a fully fleshed out world because it's based on novels. Many of them. Most of them good. I'm sure many of us enjoy the books.

I've never really gotten any clear answers when I asked about that, I must admit. And when I've asked if that was the main reason people liked the setting such that it's the most popular out of all of the settings, everyone just got mad at me.

Legendairy
2012-03-24, 02:48 PM
I've never really gotten any clear answers when I asked about that, I must admit. And when I've asked if that was the main reason people liked the setting such that it's the most popular out of all of the settings, everyone just got mad at me.

Personally I like the Realms for a few reasons. The books give you off beat ideas about things and it helps as a player or dm when you say you want a character that can do A while he is only supposed to do B (for instance the good evil race, BTW I personally hate Drizzt with the fiery passion of 1000 suns). It also has an answer for any history question that may play a role in your campaign(yes thats lazy DMing to an extent) with a little research you can tell the players the wealth of the nation, what was happening in said nation 2000 yrs prior, and why said nation is where it is now, who are the powers in the nation(not just the npc's but the varied networks and guilds). The books help me visualize the places a bit better and the random creativity that some of the others throw in are things I would have never thought of and it helps to bring those aspects to my campaigns.

Sorry that doesnt really answer it. lol. I like the realms because of the depth of work put into them regardless of it starting off as a novel based fantasy world or not.

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 02:51 PM
I can't speak to other people's motivations for doing anything. I can say that I love Elminster, Drizzt, Khelben Blackstaff, The Symbul, and many of the other major characters in the realms having read and enjoyed the novels these characters are in. If you're not a fan of the realms novels, then I can understand why you would not enjoy the campaign setting very much.

Jeraa
2012-03-24, 02:55 PM
Well, your in luck, unlike every other game world, the Realms are HUGE.

Very huge. The Realms covered on the map that came with the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting covers 3000 miles east to east, and 2000 miles north to south. Without magic, it takes months to cross from one side to the other.

And thats not including Kara-tur, Maztica (or Returned Abeir, if you uses 4e Realms), Zakhara, and the rest of the world.

Sure the Shadow Thieves are based in Amn, and operate along the Sword Coast. They also aren't the only theives guild in the area, and have been almost wiped out before. It could happen again. There may be Thayan enclaves scattered about, but the main power of Thay is literally thousands of miles away. The Zhents are only in a small part of the Realms (The Dales, and the heartlands).

As for the high-level NPCs, why don't they get involved? Because if Szass Tam or Manshoon move to take direct action, then so do Elminster, Khelban, or Alustrial. That is why they work through minions/pawns/adventurers.

The Realms are a huge place. If you can't find somewhere to play, or something to do, you must be doing something wrong.

However, the Realms are small compared to Eberron. Khorvair is 5000 miles wide, and approimaterly 3000 miles from north to south. Then there is Xen'drik, Sarlona, and Argonessan. All of which are approximately the same size as Khorvaire.

However, Eberron does have airships and magical trains, which can travel faster and make everything seem smaller then it really is.

Dancingdeath
2012-03-24, 03:06 PM
The Realms are a huge place. If you can't find somewhere to play, or something to do, you must be doing something wrong.

High five Jeraa! I agree totally.

shaddy_24
2012-03-24, 03:17 PM
Personally, I usually have a large number of powerful organizations and NPCs in my homebrew worlds anyway.

The party members are hardly the first people to reach level 15. There's a dozen or so people around the world who've managed to achieve that goal before the party. Powerful empires, guilds and secret organizations are all over the place. Having such things is hardly unique to the realms.

And a good plot for a game could include becoming such a group. Every one of those organizations and people started off at level 1 or with only half a dozen people comprising them. Work to become the next such group. Play your cards right, then play another game in FR and see your organization and its position in the world years later. My best games have always been the ones where the party made a huge impact on the world somehow, either founding a new organization or overthrowing something in the planes. Having powerful people who already occupy these positions just means you need to play it smarter.

bloodtide
2012-03-24, 06:50 PM
This leaves me thinking that the realms are best for a couple scenarios.

-A story where the characters are not the most important people in the world or even close. Low Fantasy. I'd agree that always being the chosen one is kind of silly. I would probably enjoy a shortish campaign where I was just an average Joe trying to make his way in the world.

-A game where the PCs get together rank smelling cheese and fight the power. If the DM cooperates it could be quite interesting.

-A setting for people who do enjoy playing very high level characters.


Scenario 1-The Realms is a world for people who like and accept the idea that they are just part of the world. You are no more special then anyone else. Now from the start of 3E or so there has been a huge push to make every player a 'special snowflake'. The idea that the PC's are the 'only' ones in the whole world that can do anything is dumb....but lots of people like that sort of false drama.

Scenario 2-Yum cheese

Scenario 3-The Realms is all about power. The simple cobbler shop has a twin maximized lighting bolt on his window. Powerful monsters like dragons and illithids are all around. NPC's have lots of levels. And the Realms has great and powerful magic....like mantles.



About the fiction. For me the Realms fiction is separate from the world. I don't count any of the 'fiction or novels' as 'what really happened', they are more like the story of what people think happened. Some Realms novels are good, some are great, and some are bad....really like any other line of books. I don't like that most of the fiction is 'stuck' in the Heartlands and how some characters 'just happen' to be everywhere. And a whole lot of the authors don't write very good 'D&D' stories, they maybe fine fantasy stories, but not D&D ones. When you glance over a book with a D&D eye you will see things like a wizard casting teleport one page but then saying 'oh fireball is a spell beyond my power'. I like the setting.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 07:23 PM
The Realms are a huge place. If you can't find somewhere to play, or something to do, you must be doing something wrong.

I didn't mean it literally. I could build a hut on the shaar and sell grass. That's doing something. What i meant was it's hard to affect the realms without being of a sufficiently high level. While I don't plan of being the next elminster I do think there's too many of them. I'd keep blackstaff, the simbul, ssaz tam, fzoul and probably a few others. They regulate themselves. A counter to each other. But some npcs like elmister are past their time. They're just hanging around the realms. Kinda like tourist attractions. I honestly think some npcs should drift into legend. The greatness of ages past and have room for new heroes to step up and have their chance in the power play. Hard to die if you're immortal though. I actually agree to a lot of what you're saying and it gave me ideas and new insight. Thanks for that.

Tvtyrant
2012-03-24, 07:31 PM
One thing I like stealing from the realms is the monster-empires. The Phaerim, Sharn, etc. are all unique entities. The fact that they have seperate dungeons that they have been locked into is awesome; the one big Realms game I played in the DM altered the dungeons so that they were actually the same kingdoms as the creatures lived in, they had simply been pushed into alternate timelines.

Jade Dragon
2012-03-24, 07:40 PM
Things need to be 'realms-specific' 'canon' or you must have a good explanation to it tying it to some obscure FR lore.

...Are you sure your problem is with the Realms? Because it could be that your DM's just beating you over the head with this stuff that you'll never matter whenever you play in it. And he follows "class=background" which means warblade maneuvers aren't just some combat moves, they have to be part of the Sublime Way and all that bull****, and crusaders can't be paladins, paladins have to have a code of conduct with the ability to fall and have to be lawful good and don't follow the Sublime Way, and barbarians have to be from one of the various factions labeled "barbarian". So the DM might be the bigger problem.

As for "why create a big Roman-style empire, there's the Zhents!", that just means the Zhents are your competition. A smaller force might lose in straight battle, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together would recruit trapsmiths and hire elf commandos ("hey, I'll pay you to fight Zhents. You in?"). Then you could go to one of their borders, cleverly provoke a rebellion among the slaves (arm them with slings and you'd be surprised how strong they can get when ten of them focus fire on one soldier), maybe leave a couple soldiers to command if they're reluctant, and then attack with the elf commandos in another area a couple dozen miles away, then strike with your own forces in a third, using the trapsmiths to make some snares and pits so that when you withdraw while firing at them with bows and crossbows, they'll follow and trigger the traps.
Then, you suddenly disappear for a couple months, splitting up into groups of a dozen or so and traveling to other lands to act as mercs until the incident is mostly forgotten, and then you strike in another area. Then another. When they start getting suspicious, move the time down to a week or two and strike more frequently. Repeat enough times and you'll have heavily weakened the Zhent border along one or two sides (do it on sides that are bordered strong nations that hate the Zhents so they'll start providing you with soldiers of their own or move in and strike after you've left) at the cost of a few of your soldiers, a couple elf mercs, and a bunch of their own slaves.

Alefiend
2012-03-24, 07:55 PM
If you like the setting but think it's become too crowded, simply roll the clock back a few decades. There's nothing that says you have to start your PCs in the era that's been written about most recently. From what I recall, Wizards (and TSR before them, and Ed Greenwood) have always suggested that you can start play in whatever era you want.

My advice is to pick up a copy of the AD&D 2nd Ed. boxed set for the Forgotten Realms setting. There should be plenty out there, and for cheap. The time is c. 1368 DR, before everything become crowded, complicated, and overpowered. Sure, you'll have to do some conversion work, but that will also allow you to put your own stamp on the Realms, and move forward in your own way.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 08:06 PM
...Are you sure your problem is with the Realms? Because it could be that your DM's just beating you over the head with this stuff that you'll never matter whenever you play in it. And he follows "class=background" which means warblade maneuvers aren't just some combat moves, they have to be part of the Sublime Way and all that bull****, and crusaders can't be paladins, paladins have to have a code of conduct with the ability to fall and have to be lawful good and don't follow the Sublime Way, and barbarians have to be from one of the various factions labeled "barbarian". So the DM might be the bigger problem.

This actually isn't far from the truth. Its hard to include anything without the FR logo in our campaigns. DM likes it very canon.


As for "why create a big Roman-style empire, there's the Zhents!", that just means the Zhents are your competition. A smaller force might lose in straight battle, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together would recruit trapsmiths and hire elf commandos ("hey, I'll pay you to fight Zhents. You in?"). Then you could go to one of their borders, cleverly provoke a rebellion among the slaves (arm them with slings and you'd be surprised how strong they can get when ten of them focus fire on one soldier), maybe leave a couple soldiers to command if they're reluctant, and then attack with the elf commandos in another area a couple dozen miles away, then strike with your own forces in a third, using the trapsmiths to make some snares and pits so that when you withdraw while firing at them with bows and crossbows, they'll follow and trigger the traps.
Then, you suddenly disappear for a couple months, splitting up into groups of a dozen or so and traveling to other lands to act as mercs until the incident is mostly forgotten, and then you strike in another area. Then another. When they start getting suspicious, move the time down to a week or two and strike more frequently. Repeat enough times and you'll have heavily weakened the Zhent border along one or two sides (do it on sides that are bordered strong nations that hate the Zhents so they'll start providing you with soldiers of their own or move in and strike after you've left) at the cost of a few of your soldiers, a couple elf mercs, and a bunch of their own slaves.

There's actually the Knights of the North. A kind of anti-zhentarim guerilla group. There's only a few of them though. We had one game where we actually joined them and harried the zhent supply lines for some time. We were pretty successful until they took notice and fortified their caravans and started questioning the town and abducted some of our sympathizers, mostly merchants who offered us support. With our financial aid gone, the group lied low for a while which got me to thinking of starting a mercantile league with my gold to finance our war. I know I dream big too quickly. Well it was hard trying to set up an org around that location or the surrounding areas as most of my competitors were either allied with the zhents or somehow held by the shadow thieves.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 08:10 PM
If you like the setting but think it's become too crowded, simply roll the clock back a few decades. There's nothing that says you have to start your PCs in the era that's been written about most recently. From what I recall, Wizards (and TSR before them, and Ed Greenwood) have always suggested that you can start play in whatever era you want.

My advice is to pick up a copy of the AD&D 2nd Ed. boxed set for the Forgotten Realms setting. There should be plenty out there, and for cheap. The time is c. 1368 DR, before everything become crowded, complicated, and overpowered. Sure, you'll have to do some conversion work, but that will also allow you to put your own stamp on the Realms, and move forward in your own way.

Yeah i kinda figured turning back the clock was the solution to my problem. Lots of great things happened before 3rd ed. I actually have the horde boxed set and some other 2nd ed books i use for reference. Hell we'll work hard for this. Converting all the stats.

Jade Dragon
2012-03-24, 08:18 PM
This actually isn't far from the truth. Its hard to include anything without the FR logo in our campaigns. DM likes it very canon.

Let's see if I can find it...

Here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/archfr/frcc) is the stuff for non-core classes in Forgotten Realms.


There's actually the Knights of the North. A kind of anti-zhentarim guerilla group. There's only a few of them though. We had one game where we actually joined them and harried the zhent supply lines for some time. We were pretty successful until they took notice and fortified their caravans and started questioning the town and abducted some of our sympathizers, mostly merchants who offered us support. With our financial aid gone, the group lied low for a while which got me to thinking of starting a mercantile league with my gold to finance our war. I know I dream big too quickly. Well it was hard trying to set up an org around that location or the surrounding areas as most of my competitors were either allied with the zhents or somehow held by the shadow thieves.
...The DM made the Shadow Thieves run by Schrodinger and Xanatos?

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 08:40 PM
Let's see if I can find it...

Here (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/archfr/frcc) is the stuff for non-core classes in Forgotten Realms.


...The DM made the Shadow Thieves run by Schrodinger and Xanatos?

I know about the class chronicles and I know about the ToB classes. But my Dm don't like the ToB classes. Says it changes the history so much. Hey i like ToB man I just never have the chance to use it. Only to defend what I know the shadow thieves are a widespread organization that can spring up anywhere.

Legendairy
2012-03-24, 09:11 PM
Indeed Joe Eskimo this is more of a DM style problem then a Realms problem, look at all the possibilities that have been listed. Your DM may or may not be an amazing DM but have you guess asked him to lighten up on the strict FR Codex? The Realms can be extremely fun, as with most campaign settings.

My first launch in to the Realms left a sour taste for me as a player also but i started to read more of the lore and the campaign books and now I run my own Realms game and my players say they like it a lot (probably a lie). I did learn how not to make the current realms book the set in stone version.

There is always Post-Spellplague which gives you a bunch of options and new areas as well.

And complaining about Elminster is a waste I agree but I also dont. He serves a purpose and as a PC I would hate to have his role too much humdrum. Post SP Elminster can't cast spells (without turning bat sh*t crazy)and is not liked by a lot of people cause he steals magic items to feed to the Symbul.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-24, 09:44 PM
Indeed Joe Eskimo this is more of a DM style problem then a Realms problem, look at all the possibilities that have been listed. Your DM may or may not be an amazing DM but have you guess asked him to lighten up on the strict FR Codex? The Realms can be extremely fun, as with most campaign settings.

My first launch in to the Realms left a sour taste for me as a player also but i started to read more of the lore and the campaign books and now I run my own Realms game and my players say they like it a lot (probably a lie). I did learn how not to make the current realms book the set in stone version.

There is always Post-Spellplague which gives you a bunch of options and new areas as well.

And complaining about Elminster is a waste I agree but I also dont. He serves a purpose and as a PC I would hate to have his role too much humdrum. Post SP Elminster can't cast spells (without turning bat sh*t crazy)and is not liked by a lot of people cause he steals magic items to feed to the Symbul.

It is turning out to be more of a DMing problem as most of you've pointed out and less of a realms problem. But since I'm not the only one who thinks this way I still stand by my opinion that the realms could be better by being toned down a bit.

awa
2012-03-24, 09:56 PM
I think (although limited sample size prevents this from definitely being true) that forgotten realms is particularly prone to bad dming now hear me out.

first their are a vast number of books and computer games about the realms which encourages new dms to want to run there and new dms are more prone to bad choices.
2nd becuase these dms are starting becuase they like the books/games their going to want to include their favorite characters who are usually going to be higher level.
3rd is the fact that the favorite characters may very well become Mary sues and/or dm pcs.
Finally becuase their so much information you are more likely to run into dms who feel that changing anything is trying to break the setting.

these of course aren't problems with the setting but problems with the dm it's just I see them much more often with the realms than other setting but small sample size so really in the end it's just my opinion

kardar233
2012-03-24, 11:40 PM
I think (although limited sample size prevents this from definitely being true) that forgotten realms is particularly prone to bad dming now hear me out.

first their are a vast number of books and computer games about the realms which encourages new dms to want to run there and new dms are more prone to bad choices.
2nd becuase these dms are starting becuase they like the books/games their going to want to include their favorite characters who are usually going to be higher level.
3rd is the fact that the favorite characters may very well become Mary sues and/or dm pcs.
Finally becuase their so much information you are more likely to run into dms who feel that changing anything is trying to break the setting.

these of course aren't problems with the setting but problems with the dm it's just I see them much more often with the realms than other setting but small sample size so really in the end it's just my opinion

I actually think this is quite likely. As a fairly new DM, I'd think it would be easy to run a campaign in FR, considering all that's been written about it (and I've read a lot of it). Thus, I, as a new DM would be likely to run a campaign in FR, and commit all sorts of new-DM faux pas, thus associating FR with my bad DMing.

On the other hand, I wouldn't think of running a campaign in Eberron, as I know so little about it (the Changeling/Warforged/Shifter fluff in RoE, the Bone Knight fluff in FN, a vague idea of the Dragonmarks and a second-hand version of the creation myth), so I'd be less likely to taint Eberron (in my players' minds) with my bad DMing.

Dancingdeath
2012-03-25, 12:15 AM
It also appears that much of the problem seems to be personal preference. I LIKE worlds that are fully fleshed out and have a solid power structure in place. It does not make sense to me to start playing in a world that you are the highest level character. What, no one ever had ANY ambition before you showed up? Makes zero sense. But if you prefer to play that way, then have at it. Just don't go around saying that the realms are a dead end or you're gonna get railed on.

Bonzai
2012-03-26, 02:17 PM
There was a time when I used to think that sentiments expressed by the OP were just part of the vocal minority. I've gamed in the Realms for years, from 1st level to mid 20's, as a DM and player, and never had an issue. Complaints like these have always struck me as either bad or lazy DM'ing, and from people who didn't really understand the dynamics of the realms.

Sure there are a large number of upper level NPCs in the realms. So what? I always put it like this...When you call the Microsoft tech support hotline, do you expect Bill Gates to answer personally and diagnose your problem? Of course not! The powerful and influential in fiction and in real life tend not to deal with the day to day mundane issues. Sure, Elminister could take care of a bandit lord thats been raiding the small farming villiage... If he could find time away from fighting sharran cells that are attempting to destroy life as we know it, psuedonatural invasions, or destroying sentient artifacts that suddenly spring up. Infact the Chosen have specific mandates not to interfere with things unless it directly falls into Mystra's domain. So unless you are causing a scene on their front lawn, or interfering with the proliferation of magic, they are pretty much ordered not to interfer with you.

Sure the chosen are just one example. However as much as the average Player knows that the NPC's are out there (Keep in mind that this is Player knowledge and not neccassarily PC knowledge), the NPC's know that the Realms are chuck full of adventuring groups who are chomping at the bit to prove themselves. Infact, Cormyr liscenses adventurers. So why wouldn't they expect some one else to come along and address the problems? The NPC's can't seem to go anywhere without bumping into one PC or other so it seems. (yes, slightly sarcastic, but the arguement does work both ways).

As for the PC's being overshadowed... I have yet to play in a campaign where the PC's were the top dogs right out of the bat, and nothing could hope to challenge or best them. Sounds pretty boring to me. Only difference between the Realms and any other campaign, is that the legwork has pretty much been done for the DM, and he can chose not to have to create something from scratch. For me as a DM, this was a huge boon as I had a wealth of pre-made material to draw from.

Like I said, I always considered the OP's setiment to be a in the minority. That was until I started hearing the new developers start to say the same thing just before 4th edition. That "every inch of the realms was developed, and that they couldn't possibly do anything with it". I found that kind of insulting actually. I and many others have been doing just fine for years with the setting and have had no problems creating things for it, and yet professionals who were paid to do so couldn't be bothered. Instead of treating one of their company's biggest cash cows, and a setting that has run strong for over 2 decades with reverence and respect, they decide that they can do it better. They wipe out most of the NPC's, rip out large chunks of continents, throw in Dragonmen (cause like, dragons are cool... and stuff).

As I said, I admit now that I was in the minority. I am sure the developers know far better than I, and that they are experiencing record breaking sales across the board. After all... setting destroying events are a proven fix for these sort of problems. Just look how well they worked out for Greyhawk and Dragonlance...

As for me, I have not bought a single 4th edition product. The realms or otherwise. I spent years collecting source books for my favorite setting, and now that they are ALL invalidated (crunch I could except, but fluff setting material? All of it? I guess my History of the Realms is still ok, but still!), I see no reason to start again. From now on I am sticking with the SDR and homebrew. This way I don't have to worry some corporate brain childs deciding that they need to sell more books by invalidating the ones I have.

So to the OP... time has proven you right. 4th edition realms should be right up your alley.

Aharon
2012-03-26, 03:06 PM
I mean the Forgotten Realms. I used to love the Realms. I adored it. Well most of it. But it's already so complete there's not room for much else. you can't make an organization big enough or widespread enough to matter. Thinking of starting a thieve's guild? The shadow thieves will crush your puny gang like a bug. Evil army? Oh wait, there's already the Zhents. Undead army? Well it'll be nowhere as grand as Ssaz Tam of Thay's. Merchant League? You won't have a chance against Sembia or Baldur's Gate. Only chance to carve out your kingdom is in the Border Kingdoms. And I don't like that place. And even then you won't matter. Everything's been done. There's an organization for everything. And I always get this feeling they force you to play somewhere around Cormyr. I hate that place. Too many promiscuous nobles. And they're proud of it too. Too many npcs weild demigodlike powers. And you can't kill them too. They're either too high level, immortal, chosen, etc. And they're all friends or acquaintances too even sisters. Sort of like an elite club. Touch one and they all gang up on you. You can't ever be too strong in the realms unless you're an npc created by an author. The realms is a place where they force you to play in their sandbox or get out. They're not that open to new ideas too. They bicker amongst themselves saying that if it aint realms-specific it has no place in the realms. They've kinda got this if it ain't canon it don't exist mentality. I love the realms. I just wish it wasn't so developed so there'd be more of if for us players to explore and create ourselves. The world is far too big for one 1st lvl pc to make a difference.

If you want an in-world explanation, the 9th level spell Gate can be used to call creatures by name, i.e., you could use it to call elminster, the sisters, etc. one by one and eliminate them.

Dimensional Lock blocks Gate, so important guys whose names are widely known should have it up 24/7 to prevent their enemies destroying them.

This leads to the effect you actually want: They can't travel around as fast themselves, because Dimensional Lock also blocks them from fast interdimensional travel.

This way, they have to leave less important stuff to lower-level adventurers.

Talya
2012-03-26, 03:17 PM
Nara Aesera Nahid (Bard 2/Sorcerer 6/Heartwarder 10 at campaign's end) built the wonder of the world in Calimport, the Basilica of Burning Passions, the ultimate Temple to Sune. She single-handedly took the worship of Sune from obscurity to one of the most prominent faiths in all of Calimshan. The wondrous, towering edifice she had built had cascading waterfalls (powered by decanters of endless water) down its walls, watering the magnificent gardens all over the temple (inside and out) pooling below, providing free, fresh clean water for the parched populace. She had VIPs from many faiths, all over Faerun, coming to see the wonders of the Basilica and pay tribute to its high priestess.

Don't tell me there's nothing fun in Faerun to do. I guarantee you, even if you can't pull off something similar yourself, just come to my Basilica. You can find fun things to do there...

Seriously, a more detailed and more fleshed out world gives one MORE opportunities to find stuff to do, not fewer. It may be true that forgotten realms makes it harder to take over the world, or make other massive changes to the setting, but that just provides more steps along the way to your goal. You don't just start a new thieves guild in Amn at level 3 and take over the city, instead you join the Shadow Thieves of Amn, and work your way up over 15 levels of intrigue, until you can finally take your place at the top of the ladder. Yeah, this doesn't sound more boring to me than low-level sandbox play. It sounds awesome.

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-27, 05:46 AM
Thank you all for all the insightful replies on this thread. I came here with a closed mind and left enlightened. This thread taught me to look at obstacles in a new light. Instead of being disheartened and daunted by it I should persevere and overcome it to see the light. I hope that makes sense. Thank you everyone for making the time to stop by this thread to clarify and explain things to me. Shout out to Dancingdeath for having the balls to cast the first stone. You came at me with bullheaded determination to prove me wrong and you somehow did. Haha. Cheers to you. As for Bonzai it also pains me what they did to the 4th ed realms. As i said in my previous posts I have no intention of breaking the realms and have never bought a 4th ed product. Anyway, I will still play in the realms and instead of looking outwards I should focus my attention inwards and learn more about it. My faith in the realms wavered but has now been set straight. Truly there is more to be learned. Cheers to all and thank you for all the replies. :smallsmile:

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-27, 05:53 AM
Nara Aesera Nahid (Bard 2/Sorcerer 6/Heartwarder 10 at campaign's end) built the wonder of the world in Calimport, the Basilica of Burning Passions, the ultimate Temple to Sune. She single-handedly took the worship of Sune from obscurity to one of the most prominent faiths in all of Calimshan. The wondrous, towering edifice she had built had cascading waterfalls (powered by decanters of endless water) down its walls, watering the magnificent gardens all over the temple (inside and out) pooling below, providing free, fresh clean water for the parched populace. She had VIPs from many faiths, all over Faerun, coming to see the wonders of the Basilica and pay tribute to its high priestess.

Don't tell me there's nothing fun in Faerun to do. I guarantee you, even if you can't pull off something similar yourself, just come to my Basilica. You can find fun things to do there...

Seriously, a more detailed and more fleshed out world gives one MORE opportunities to find stuff to do, not fewer. It may be true that forgotten realms makes it harder to take over the world, or make other massive changes to the setting, but that just provides more steps along the way to your goal. You don't just start a new thieves guild in Amn at level 3 and take over the city, instead you join the Shadow Thieves of Amn, and work your way up over 15 levels of intrigue, until you can finally take your place at the top of the ladder. Yeah, this doesn't sound more boring to me than low-level sandbox play. It sounds awesome.

Oh Sune. :smallredface: Seriously if the realms were real I'd worship Sune. She throws the best revels.

Kuulvheysoon
2012-03-27, 06:45 AM
Oh Sune. :smallredface: Seriously if the realms were real I'd worship Sune. She throws the best revelsorgies.

Corrected that for you.:smallbiggrin:

Joe Eskimo
2012-03-27, 06:58 AM
Corrected that for you.:smallbiggrin:

Lol. So true.

Alleran
2012-03-27, 07:17 AM
Oh Sune. :smallredface: Seriously if the realms were real I'd worship Sune. She throws the best revels except for Sharess.
Fixed again.

Malachei
2012-03-27, 07:22 AM
The OP:

If you dislike how the Realms feel to you, try another setting instead, Golarion, for instance.

IMO, the Realms with their small number of really special characters and their many novels always had a deus-ex-machina atmosphere to it. When you seriously mess things up, you somehow expect Elminster (or another epic character) to come around the corner, pipe in mouth, and play the old Gandalf role of taking the fireworks from the Hobbitses.

Talya
2012-03-27, 07:25 AM
Fixed again.

Nara built her basilica, in part, by coopting the support of a large Sharessan temple that already existed in Calimport. The Burning Basilica also actually incorporates the clergy of Sharess, a sort of "allied interfaith" temple.

(What Priest of Sharess would turn down that much extravagant luxury, anyway?)

FatR
2012-03-27, 09:27 AM
I've never got this complaint and I don't think I ever will. It's rooted in unreasonable expectations.
Except that expectations are fully reasonable.


Yes, there's plenty of powerful people. Does that mean the PCs can't achieve anything ever? Of course it doesn't.
It just does mean that PCs cant' achieve anything important ever. The status quo is basically meant to be completely unshakeable for PCs, and as soon as you try to meddle in the affairs of anything noticeable enough to be drawn on the world map, there will be a pack of super-high-level NPCs ready to keep you down. Of course, in actual practice you can destroy most of them because their builds are crap, but I don't want to hack the system for something I should get as the part of the genre package. But the setting lies about its genre, promising us heroic fantasy and delivering Shadowrun-style operations under the shadows of real movers and shakes of the setting. At best.


Faerun is a big place and all the powerful people are involved in their own affairs, so it's perfectly possible for a low-level party to be heroes of their own story.
As in every setting ever. You are not actually addressing the main complaint, which is about a high-level party still being incapable of playing with the big boys, despite being, you know, high-level.


Hell, it says as much in the FRCS book - that the GM should not have the high-level iconic NPCs hog the spotlight and should only involve them if necessary. It's only a problem if you expect your characters to be movers and shakers on a global level from the get-go.
That's a completely reasonable expectation from someone who hasn't been conditioned by RPGs into thinking that his character is not actually supposed to matter or accomplish anything significant and bases his assumptions on other media. Being crucial to events on at least a country scale right from the start is typical for heroic fantasy protags. If Faerun intentionally prevents delivering this, then I must stress again, that it lies about its genre.


Besides, to use a completely cliched example, if you save a town from an incursion of devils or demons, who do you think they're going to tell stories about? Some drow or old wizard neither of whom ever got within a hundred kilometers of their home or the people to prevented them from being killed and their souls turned into cannon fodder?
A local 20th level wizard. Because by late 3.5 there seriously was one in every Middlenowhereville.

FatR
2012-03-27, 09:31 AM
The OP:

If you dislike how the Realms feel to you, try another setting instead, Golarion, for instance.
Golarion has exactly the same problem. You are not supposed to be remotely capable of challenging the status quo until level 20th and above (i.e., beyond the range of what is actually supported by the game).

Talya
2012-03-27, 10:01 AM
As in every setting ever. You are not actually addressing the main complaint, which is about a high-level party still being incapable of playing with the big boys, despite being, you know, high-level.



If you really want to "change" the setting with your characters, (which i don't like to see massive changes -- then it stops being that setting), it's not that hard. FR iconics are horribly designed. Any half-competently designed wizard who reaches an epic level even moderately close to the biggest such "big boy", Elminster, would be able to chew him up and spit him out. Have you seen his ECL 36ish stat-block? He probably can't even break your Spell Resistance. The same is true for all of them. The much hated Drizz't Do'urden is a 16th level character with lowish strength who weilds non-finessable weapons, without even a light weapon in his off hand. A half decently designed level 12 Tier 5 fighter will clobber him. The same goes throughout. FR iconics are high level so that they can do anything, just not well. They're the proverbial "jack of all trades, master of none," except they're high level enough that they probably master of one, at least pre-epic. Most of them don't even have epic spellcasting. (Elminster being an exception, he was re-statted in the epic handbook, i believe.)

WotC doesn't optimize NPCs. At all. If you're really the type who likes to play "Godzilla style" and trash Tokyo, nothing in FR prevents that (Except, possibly, your DM. If you're playing in The Realms, it's likely because at least one person in your group likes the setting and doesn't really want to play in a trashed version of it -- the same reason they hated the spellplague). The iconics are not that powerful.

Ingus
2012-03-27, 11:04 AM
@Joe Eskimo: I'm glad that your faith is strenghtened. I rejoice your return between our FR fans (also because having Belkar as an opposer may be... uhm :smallbiggrin:)




It just does mean that PCs cant' achieve anything important ever. The status quo is basically meant to be completely unshakeable for PCs, and as soon as you try to meddle in the affairs of anything noticeable enough to be drawn on the world map, there will be a pack of super-high-level NPCs ready to keep you down. Of course, in actual practice you can destroy most of them because their builds are crap, but I don't want to hack the system for something I should get as the part of the genre package. But the setting lies about its genre, promising us heroic fantasy and delivering Shadowrun-style operations under the shadows of real movers and shakes of the setting. At best.


The problem, the real problem lays in the bold part. Why the big guys should (ever) gang up and not, to say, support the effort is beyond me.
I mean, in a setting perspective, if you're trying to shut down magic (I guess the most dangerous thing in FR), even in a small area, you're probably attracting Chosen of Mystra, but also clerics of Shar (which may be very content of the exploit).
The way factions interacts is up to your DM, but if any and every step you take you have some enemy approaching, there's something wrong.

That said, if you want to take over a country by force and by you own, you need to be very high level. But this has nothing to do with the setting, IMO.



That's a completely reasonable expectation from someone who hasn't been conditioned by RPGs into thinking that his character is not actually supposed to matter or accomplish anything significant and bases his assumptions on other media. Being crucial to events on at least a country scale right from the start is typical for heroic fantasy protags. If Faerun intentionally prevents delivering this, then I must stress again, that it lies about its genre.


Right from the start? You mean at level 1?
I guess not, but in case, tell me.

Again, imagine it as medieval Europe. May a common guy be crucial on a country scale? No
May a young noble be crucial on a country scale? No, unless he's king of sort of.
...
May a skilled warrior, head of fourty strong men, be crucial on a country scale? Yes, he may, but in d&d-ish, he would be around level 6.
If he want to be the leader, he need to have 10.000 men (or cast spells that kill 10.000 men, but now the real-life example is more difficult to follow)

If those people would have wanted to be crucial, they would have traveled in far China (Marco Polo), in America (Joaquim Cortez) or in smaller, unwanted parts of Europe (the young Frederick Barbarossa).

Apply this to Fearun and roll with it.

...or start campaign at level 6 :smallwink:

FatR
2012-03-27, 02:40 PM
The problem, the real problem lays in the bold part. Why the big guys should (ever) gang up and not, to say, support the effort is beyond me.
Because very few areas are actually contested by several group of power players, as opposed to being thoroughly dominated by one of them, and because no organization or group in the Realms combines both moral scruples of any sort and desire to actively challenge the status quo. Even though the status quo includes large areas being held in thrall by self-described tyrants who sacrifice their subjects to evil gods just for the sake of doing so. And whatever. For that matter, most of the organizations that do not have any morals to speak of, are concentrated on keeping whatever power they already have, meaning preserving the status quo, as well.

Worse than that, it is very hard to think of a way to change this stance without triggering a magical nuclear war, because there are too damn many overleveled people hanging around, and even with their crap builds they still are high-level spellcasters, who can destroy armies and level cities.



That said, if you want to take over a country by force and by you own, you need to be very high level. But this has nothing to do with the setting, IMO.
How so? Because, just for an example, I'm very sure that in a E6-style setting a party, that manages to get to 9th level somehow, can take over a country with no problems whatsoever.



Right from the start? You mean at level 1?
I guess not, but in case, tell me.
I prefer to start PCs at level 3 if there is going to be a plot beyond getting rich and powerful, because at levels 1-2 it is too easy to die randomly.


Again, imagine it as medieval Europe.
Why should I? When I hear "DnD", you can be pretty sure "medieval Europe" is one of the last things on my mind.
Now, some of the actual major inspirations for DnD?

In Lord of the Rings the characters are involved in the plot to take down a continent-scale threat right away. They end up ending the current age and discorporating the last active fallen angel in the world forever.

In Moorcock's books the characters tend to be involved in plots that range from deciding the outcome of a world war to bringing down gods pretty much right away. End outcomes can range from bringing down a world-conquering empire to total elimination of divine entities on multiple worlds.

Even in Leiber's books, where the protags start low-level and never grow beyond that, they regularly end up tangled in country-scale plots and significantly change their outcomes.

Going beyond direct sources of inpiration for DnD, even in books, where the protags are specifically meant to be low-power schmucks in a world where massively higher-level NPCs play an active role, such as in Glen Cook's Black Company cylce, said protags still decide the fates of continents. (You might say here that this undermines my position, showing how low-level guys still can be important, and I'll respond that what works in literature, where protags have plot on their side, doesn't necessarily work in RPGs).

Tl;dr - changing and/or saving the world (or at least the known world) is the very essence of heroic fantasy. My primary beef with Faerun (but not only with it) is caused by the fact that it pretends to be a world of heroic fantasy, but actually it is reskinned Shadowrun, with PCs meant to be pawns in the games of true masters of the world. And responding again to the argument from optimization above, yeah, I know that with enough tinkering I can crush the uber-NPCs anyway. This does not negate the authorial intent and does not mean that I, or anyone, should be forced to hack the system to do what it is supposed to do.

Talya
2012-03-27, 03:02 PM
I wonder how many people know the vast majority of Abeir-Toril is empty space the DM needs to fill in if people use it. There's more detail and depth in the areas that are detailed than in any other campaign setting ever designed combined, including a dozen millenia of historical information. The iconics, for the size of the world detailed, are far too few to even start to police even all of the continent of Faerun. Odds are, even at level 20, causing big waves all over the place, you'll never encounter one of Faerun's big boys at all, unless you directly try to conquer their home.

Apart from that, Faerun isn't even a majority of the world.

Kara-tur is bigger than Faerun (inhabiting the eastern side of what is essentially the same continent.)

Also included are Achorome, Maztica, Zakhara, and huge areas of the world map simply called "Unknown Lands."

bloodtide
2012-03-27, 03:15 PM
I wonder how many people know the vast majority of Abeir-Toril is empty space the DM needs to fill in if people use it. There's more detail and depth in the areas that are detailed than in any other campaign setting ever designed combined, including a dozen millenia of historical information. The iconics, for the size of the world detailed, are far too few to even start to police even all of the continent of Faerun. Odds are, even at level 20, causing big waves all over the place, you'll never encounter one of Faerun's big boys at all, unless you directly try to conquer their home.


This is my big point. Pick any spot in the Realms, say Vassa, Tethyr or Impiltur. Now the vast number of powerful NPC live nowhere near them locations. You could start a mage guild/merchant guild/evil army to take over the world in Impiltur and never run into a single big NPC or even a member of a 'big realms' organization. Also the 'big bad groups' have plenty of enemies. You want to make an evil army and oppose the Zhents, do it in Mulmaster. You want to do the same thing for Thay, do it in Mulhorind or Rashmen.

And there are tons of 'holes' even in the Realms and the Realms are very detailed. What is the biggest merchant company in Silverymoon, for example? It could be the one you make....

awa
2012-03-27, 07:10 PM
sure you could play in one of the blank spots but ive never actually been in one that wasn't set on the sword coast.

and in wizards defense a lot of those characters that are horribly optimized are legacy characters pre 3.5 drizzit uses scimitars and is a bizarre mismatch of classes becuase that best represents who he is in the books not becuase he is intended to be a playable 3.5 character.

the games certainly playable but it just never made sense to me to have this many faction all basically just sitting on their hands.

Its kinda been said indirectly but i think its a good point the people who like the game talk about joining the organization moving up the ranks they want to play the mafia game were their little guys trying to build up prestige and eventually become made men.

while the people who dislike it want to play heroic fantasy where maybe they can't go run up to a dragon and kick it in the shins right away but they still go on heroic adventures and save the day in forgotten realms if a low level party defeats the bandit king it's becuase all the hundreds of mid to epic level wizards were to lazy to spend 18 seconds teleporting in summoning some celestial and saying go clean out the bandits then returning home.

Bonzai
2012-03-28, 11:54 AM
while the people who dislike it want to play heroic fantasy where maybe they can't go run up to a dragon and kick it in the shins right away but they still go on heroic adventures and save the day in forgotten realms if a low level party defeats the bandit king it's becuase all the hundreds of mid to epic level wizards were to lazy to spend 18 seconds teleporting in summoning some celestial and saying go clean out the bandits then returning home.

Conversely, why should a high level wizard spend his time scrying podunk villiages, and popping in to save the peasants. Most likely he is wrapped up in some important research or experimentation and couldn't be bothered with the outside world in general. Elminister is portrayed as a chronic do gooder in the novels, constantly meddeling and doing good deeds. Thing is though, he is technically not supposed to be interfering with things outside of Mystra's domain, or with things that don't involve him personally. Even so, if he was scying on all the villiages looking for stuff to do, it's highly probable that he would notice your party and go, "Oh... it's The Swinging Cod Piece Adventuring Band! They seem like the reliable sort. I believe they got this. Good, now I can catch up on my reading". It's not like all the NPC's have twitter and immediate know everything that is going on, all at once.

@FatR: I really don't see how the realms are much different than any other well designed setting. The powers that be are in place for a reason. The only difference in the Realms, is that the average DM is not going to go to the lengths of detail that the Realms has. If you decide that you want to take over Silverymoon, it SHOULD be difficult. You get away with sacking random kingdoms in other campaigns only because the typical DM doesn't think everything through. They don't catalogue all the resources at the rulers disposal. Allies that will come to their aid, friends and family, Etc.. etc.. The average DM will draw up a series of encounters and some maps and that is the end of it. The Realms on the other hand has fleshed things out much further. If you attack Alustiel, you know what she has at her disposal. Then you factor in the rest of the Chosen. Then her allies in Mythril Hall and surrounding nations. To me this is a layer of depth that is left out of most settings. It isn't that the Realms are over burdened, it's that the average pick up game setting is under developed.

Talya
2012-03-28, 12:38 PM
Indeed. I've always believed that while the campaign itself should revolve around the player characters as central, under no circumstances should the entire campaign setting revolve around the player characters.

There should always be "bigger fish," or else the game is, essentially, already done.

bloodtide
2012-03-28, 02:47 PM
Indeed. I've always believed that while the campaign itself should revolve around the player characters as central, under no circumstances should the entire campaign setting revolve around the player characters.

There should always be "bigger fish," or else the game is, essentially, already done.

I always though the Eberron Idea was just odd: everyone in the world is hapless and need to call on the super great and awesome player characters to save the world all the time. I guess it's an ego boost for some, but it's just silly that the whole world is like -10th level.

But at the same time, Eberron needs bad guys to 'pop out of thin air' to give the players something to do. And this only gets worse as the characters gain levels. You get odd stuff like ''oh, now that we are 15th level we know about the lich king that lives next door''.


I've always wanted to watch one of the silly Realms games where the NPCs do everything: "Ok, it's 6pm, everyone got your characters ready to play some D&D? OK, you start at the Happy Hippo Inn.....but just as you take a step outside, Elminster teleports over and casts an Epic Spell to fix the world. With a poof, everything everywhere is all fixed and better. There is absolutely noting to do in the whole world at all. Dm sits there and looks at a blank wall until all the players leave.

Bonzai
2012-03-28, 03:21 PM
I've always wanted to watch one of the silly Realms games where the NPCs do everything: "Ok, it's 6pm, everyone got your characters ready to play some D&D? OK, you start at the Happy Hippo Inn.....but just as you take a step outside, Elminster teleports over and casts an Epic Spell to fix the world. With a poof, everything everywhere is all fixed and better. There is absolutely noting to do in the whole world at all. Dm sits there and looks at a blank wall until all the players leave.

Actually... I thought about doing something similar, but with a rival advenuring band. Have the party shown up at the last minute by another adventuring group.... constantly. Maybe even have the other party come to thier rescue..Just to see how the players react to the competition, and tempt them towards some morally ambigious behavior. lol

MukkTB
2012-03-28, 03:56 PM
I think there is a sweet spot between "You are the chosen one. The world revolves around you," and "You are scum from the masses and will always be the same."


I think that spot is something like, "You aren't anyone special now but with hard work and some luck you have a chance."