Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Could my Answer be in the Realms?

I am moving my 3.x game over to a 4e one soon.    I have been buying up the Essentials books and some modules and I generally have what I think is a cool idea for campaign.  The world is fleshed out and I know what I am going to use and what I am not.

Except there is one little-bity problem. So much of what was true in my 3.x world no longer "works" under 4e.  Or rather it works so differently now that it is hard to see it working the same way when I was playing 3.x.  Then there are other issues.  My kids want to play the children of their D&D 3.x characters and these characters have some serious magic.  And there is the whole killing Tiamat thing they want to do.   How do I explain the changes?

Turns out the answer was under my nose this whole time.  In the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide.

I was never a fan of the Realms.  I considered it to be a pretender to Greyhawk and not a very worthy one at that.  I picked up the 3.0 Realms Guide when it came out and I liked it.  I felt it was a good book and all it really was missing was monsters.  The new 4e campaign books are a good model too.

But what I like the most about the Realms book is how completely gonzo it is.  Smash two planets together to get one world! I love that!  Spell plagues? Bring it on!

I know I have talked around all of this before in many posts, but it is time to make it more real I think.

So what will I include from the Forgotten Realms book in my Game World?

First, well, it is going to be in the future.  I am going to say about 25 to 30 years.  Not 100% sure, but long enough to have the world changing events happen at least a generation ago.  The Characters of this game have only know the world as it is now, never the world before.

Next, there will be a Spellplague.  The defeat of Tiamat and the Ascension of Asmodeus are just parts of that.  I am also going to have Raven Queen in my game and she just killed Nerull.  There will other things of course, but it was a series of Cosmos-shaking events that left the world changed.  The Fey-wild is now easier to get too, as is the Shadowfell (previously only known as the Plane of Shadow).  The main effect for the PCs is that some of the old magic no longer works.  So there is a quest for sources of "Old Magic" or even "True Magic".  With this, some older magic items are now useless.  Of course the spellplague was chaotic so some normal items are now magical.  There is still magic to be found out there "New" and "Old".
Living things touched by it have been altered.  There will be spell scarred.

The ancient Astral empire of the Tieflings, Bael-Turath, has crashed into the world.  Here I am taking inspiration from the 90's TV show "Alien Nation".  Though this is a "magical crash" so there are now lands where there are ruins of the Tiefling society that seem ancient and always part of the land.  Bael-Turath had warred against Asmoedeus and the devils for countless centuries.  Part of Asmodeus' ascension was to reclaim the power that emperors of Bael-Turath had stolen from the Nine Hells.  The tieflings are now a broken, homeless race with members now fond all over the world and many still in the Astral Sea.

The Blood War is over.  With Asmodeus' Ascension and the Reckoning of Hell, the long war with the demons is over.  Asmodeus even managed to conscript entire demonic species under the auspices of Hell.  With the the power he gained Asmodeus broke the paths through the Astral that the demons and devils used to attack each other, effectively blocking demons from being able to enter the Prime Material.  If a demon wants to get to the Prime Material plane it has to go through Hell first.  By the time of the new game the distinction between "demon" and "devil" is a loose one in most peoples minds.  Plus the entire race of yugoloths were sacrificed in the process, with many seeking refuge in either the Abyss or Hell.
Asmodeus covets the Material World and wanted to bring Hell into it.  Here he failed, but managed to get it much "closer" metaphysically speaking.

One repercussion of this though is demons now focus on the Prime Material.  While it is harder for them to reach it now, many still do and with out the Blood War to contend with it is possible that more demons than ever are now attacking mortals.   This is something Asmodeus wants.  He has placed members of his cult in areas to fit demons and rally humans to his cause.  As the game progresses the influence of this cult will be more readily felt. To combat this the Gods will be using the mortal realm as their battlefield.

I think this is a good start and gives me a good idea of what my end game needs to be too.  Lolth, in one form or another will have hand in all of this too.  Events that began in my Shadow War of 1st Ed are now coming to a head.

Now I need to figure out who the main bad guys are and what they want to get out of all of this.


Porky said...

That's very well thought out, a mountain of ideas. I can't follow everything, but I like the sound of it all. Forgotten Realms seems like my kind of book - will be keeping a look-out.

Higgipedia said...

For me Greyhawk = Apples and Realms = Oranges. I always liked Greyhawk more, but when I wanted to get a little "silly," I'd choose the Forgotten Realms.

Switching to 4e requires some kind of catastrophic event to rock your campaign world, which can be distasteful to some.

What might be neat is to have some of your players unwitting heirs to some of the characters from previous campaigns. In the catastrophe, they lose their birthright and any touch with their heritage, so they would have no idea it's coming anyway.

scottsz said...

Loving it.

Reckoning in Hell. Asmodeus kicking ass and taking names. The Blood War won.

A multiverse in flux...

christian said...

I'm not sure how the Realms can be considered a "pretender." After all, the Realms were first introduced as a brief series of articles in Dragon Mag back in the day. I don't think it pretended to be anything other than what it was. People may not like it, but Ed Greenwood's creation stands on its own.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Christian keep in mind I was a dyed in the wool Greyhawk guy. ;)

Game Master Rob Adams said...

Have you ever played in Mystra no not the Realms goddess of magic but the stand-alone gaming world of AD&D?

Rhonin84 said...


I have been beating Tim about the head and shoulders for years about the Realms.

Remember the first articles for the Realms didn't give us much in 1979. The Realms really didn't splash down until 1986, by this time us old timers ( I'm sorry if you are an old timer as well!) had been exposed to Greyhawk for well over 8 years and had played through our high school years in that world. We had been exposed to a lot more of the 'hawk then anything else.

Now I'm on the other side, I was so tired of the 'hawk and those nasty names! The realms were a godsend and I spent a ton of time getting involved with Waterdeep and Baldurs Gate etc...

Tim! Welcome to the darkside, so to speak!! :)

Timothy S. Brannan said...


Of course! Check out my world map. Mystara on one side, Greyhawk on the other.


Game Master Rob Adams said...

Ah yeah! I see! Cool.

Havard: said...

I have no love for the Forgotten Realms and almost skipped over this post. However, reading on I am really fascinated by your concepts involving the forces of Hell and the consequences this will have for your game world. Very cool stuff!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

As you know, I have no love for the Realms either. But there are lot of good ideas in this book.
Plus I'll take a few of the gods.