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View Full Version : DM Help Running games in the Forgotten Realms...



CrazyCrab
2017-11-04, 06:08 AM
Hi everyone, planning a sandbox campaign in the Sword Coast and while I do have the SCAG, I feel like it's a little bit... lackluster, for the lack of a better word, when it comes to the fine details. Like, for example, what's the best tavern in Baldur's Gate? Where can I buy scrolls in Luskan? Etc, etc. While I can find some guides dating back to 2nd edition, with the spell-plague and all a lot of that has changed since then...

On one hand, I can just make up all of it as I go, but I feel like it will just mean that a lot of the cities will end up feeling the same. A guide which I really like is the 5e "Port Nyanzaru" chapter in ToA, it really lets you get a good idea of what the city is like and my players really liked it.

So, what are your thoughts on trying to make 5e-friendly city guides? Maybe in the style of a modern city guide, like a leaflet or something. I'll use SCAG for the "updated" lore, but I could really use some help when it comes to legacy locations, I know quite a bunch from the BG and Neverwinter games, but I'm sure there are more, any tips? Any resources you'd recommend having a look at?

Darth Ultron
2017-11-04, 11:52 AM
Well, more so then any other fantasy game world the Forgotten Realms has a Ton of fluff information.

For the Sword Coast you want the Volo's guides to Waterdeep, The North and The Sword Coast. And any FR book pre 3E is full of fluff.

Then you have the novels. A lot of FR novels take place along the Sword Coast area.

All of the above will be ''outdated'' by 5E Wackyness, but it is ok as your just looking for flavor and fluff in general. The text will say ''the Gray Duck Inn has roast duck on the menu ", and you will need to alter this to all the ''stuff'' that has happened in the 5E Realms. And you'd need to advance the timeline by years, though it is easy enough to say ''Bom Smith'' is the great grandson of the text ''Mot Smith".

Of course, any other game product or novel can be used as well.

I'm not sure 5E has ''legacy locations'', after all the whole point of 4/5E was to utterly wipe away and erase all the old Realms stuff and make everything coolz and new.

Ultimately though, as the DM, you really just have to make up all this stuff by yourself.

CrazyCrab
2017-11-04, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the tips, I'll have a look at the books - I've already had a look at the guide to the north (working on Luskan atm), and, strangely enough, it's really similar to SCAG. As in, even the names of the ship captains are the same... weird, seeing how long it has been.

Then on the other hand you have the 4e guide, where Luskan is described as "The cesspool of the world (...) largely abandoned. Now Luskan is the exclusive territory of rival street gangs, monsters, and vermin. A middle-class citizen of Luskan would be a beggar in any other city in the North.", which directly contradicts 5e's "alright but dangerous" city description from SCAG, and SCAG came after 4e.

I guess I'll have to mix and match the parts that make most sense then.

Darth Ultron
2017-11-04, 03:02 PM
Then on the other hand you have the 4e guide, where Luskan is described as "The cesspool of the world (...) largely abandoned. Now Luskan is the exclusive territory of rival street gangs, monsters, and vermin. A middle-class citizen of Luskan would be a beggar in any other city in the North.", which directly contradicts 5e's "alright but dangerous" city description from SCAG, and SCAG came after 4e.


I only know the Old Luskan, as I'm a gamer that only uses the Realms from 1-3E, and utterly ignores the 4/5E wacky stuff.

Old Luskan was a fairly lawless pirate haven full of evil folk. Street gangs, monsters, and vermin all fit nicely. And via the Hosttower had plenty of creepy dark magic too. The average person is Lawful Evil or Neutral, and the city is home to few good people.

For my game, I have all ways used Germany/Russia/Eastern Europe as a vague template for Luskan. Full of dark, cold criminals and evil types. Mixed with ''dark sea magic'' and a bit of ''dark fey''.

NorthernPhoenix
2017-11-05, 06:51 PM
Well, more so then any other fantasy game world the Forgotten Realms has a Ton of fluff information.

For the Sword Coast you want the Volo's guides to Waterdeep, The North and The Sword Coast. And any FR book pre 3E is full of fluff.

Then you have the novels. A lot of FR novels take place along the Sword Coast area.

All of the above will be ''outdated'' by 5E Wackyness, but it is ok as your just looking for flavor and fluff in general. The text will say ''the Gray Duck Inn has roast duck on the menu ", and you will need to alter this to all the ''stuff'' that has happened in the 5E Realms. And you'd need to advance the timeline by years, though it is easy enough to say ''Bom Smith'' is the great grandson of the text ''Mot Smith".

Of course, any other game product or novel can be used as well.

I'm not sure 5E has ''legacy locations'', after all the whole point of 4/5E was to utterly wipe away and erase all the old Realms stuff and make everything coolz and new.

Ultimately though, as the DM, you really just have to make up all this stuff by yourself.

5e retconned so much of 4e that 90% of the 2e/3e FR material will work just fine for 5e, doubly so if you just change some names.

Mark Hall
2017-11-06, 11:05 AM
For me, the single best resource is the 3e FRCS. It's not a perfect book, but it is a wealth of information, including enough historical stuff to make it applicable to other time periods.

Honest Tiefling
2017-11-06, 08:39 PM
I suggest picking through 1-2 editions that you prefer for ideas and adapting them as you see fit. Having editions contradict each other is practically a tradition with the Forgotten Realms, so going back will require a bit of work. The time skip isn't helping either.

I would also work on some notes you can adapt quickly, such as a few generic guards, taverns, mounts, ships, captains, mercenaries. Just keep that list handy and insert them in when it becomes an issue. Consider plundering other settings for ideas, unless your group are purists. (In which case, communicate with your players since editions don't play nice with each other.) A list of names is invaluable and doesn't take much work. (The 3rd edition FRCS has a list of a few names you can expand on).

Another idea is making up excuses as to why an NPC might be wrong. Maybe shops have devoted client base who will argue with each other over who is best, even getting into fist fights. It could be a racial thing with Illuskans preferring REAL beer unlike you weak Southerners. Maybe the NPC is just plain ignorant, or trying to drum up business for a family member. I could see someone also trying to point strange people in weapons in any direction that is away from them.

When all else fails, light it on fire. Seriously, if the town or city is on fire it doesn't matter where the best beer is, you got what you got. It can really narrow the focus to a refugee camp or smaller town if needed. Assassins are also good.

Mark Hall
2017-11-07, 12:13 PM
When all else fails, light it on fire. Seriously, if the town or city is on fire it doesn't matter where the best beer is, you got what you got. It can really narrow the focus to a refugee camp or smaller town if needed. Assassins are also good.

I can vouch for this. A number of years back, I was running a game set on the northern Sword Coast. The players went to Waterdeep. I had it hit by several simultaneous disasters, and changed the game from "Let's explore Waterdeep" to "Let's try to mitigate the loss of life caused by this catastrophe."