Thursday, October 11, 2007

Note to the FR fanbois.

Okay. Relax. Take a deep breath. Okay, now let it out nice and slowly. Ahhh. Feel better?

Good, because the Forgotten Realms are changing to sync with 4e.

Whoa there! Ease up a bit. Another deep breath. Put down the mouse and step away from the computer. Everything is gonna be okay.

I just finished reading Chris Perkin's latest blog (from Oct 10, 2007) and I was honestly dumbstruck by some of the news he dropped. Up until this point I had expected some minor tweaking and a little something to explain the change in cosmology. I certainly didn't expect that they'd advance the timeline by ten years.

*cue Jeremy Piven* TEN YEARS! Ten years man. TEN! YEARS!

Even more shocking to me at least have been the hints of Pivenesque outrage in the dnd community. Most of which is apparently (mis)aimed at Rich Baker. In fact, Chris's plea for leniency wasn't the first I've read.

But I'm not here to defend Rich Baker, or any of the other writers/designers at WotC. They are public figures and working on a game that inspires rabid fandom. They are also big boys and I'm sure they can handle criticism.

Instead, I'm going to focus on the diehard fans of FR, because frankly, this outrage and venom over something so trivial is truly perplexing to me.

Are there gamers out there who set their campaigns in the Forgotten Realms and rigidly adhere to every word ever written about FR? Is every line of every novel so sacred? Are they so lacking in imagination that they cannot compensate for any tweak or change in their beloved setting?

Now, I'll admit that I'm a fan of the Realms. As Crwth pointed out earlier I was the driving force behind our group adopting the Realms as our setting. I like the history. I like the maps. I like some of the iconic characters. I've read the FR Campaign Setting book from cover to cover several times. I've read many of the WotC setting books such as The Unapproachable East and The Shining South. I love that shit.

At the same time, our group does not use the setting as canon. It's not the be all, end all of our game. For Crwth I think it's just a framework or skeleton for his story, the foundation on which is campaign sits. It gives him some background and a timeline to work with but it doesn't force his hand in any way.

As a player I like the Realms for the history and the background it provides my characters. I might have a rogue who hails from Thesk, and while I know she hates the Thayans, Crwth doesn't need to worry about that (unless I treat his Thayan npc like dirt for reasons he may not understand). Honestly that sort of thing rarely comes up and if it did I know enough to play along. Others in our group know very little about FR history and the various enmities. And that's fine. I take what I need out of FR and we're all happy.

I also have practical reasons for supporting the FR setting. Those aforementioned books all have dozens of prestige classes, spells, feats, and magic items. Oh the options and possibilities they open up. To be honest, if Eberron had that kind of written support and gave those kinds of options, I'd be just as happy playing in that setting. Because, bottom line, it's the play that makes the setting, and not the other way around.

So for all you hardcore fanbois. Ease up. Relax a little. It's not the end of the world. It's just ten years and a little "Spellplague".

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