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Troy’s Crock Pot: Making Realms Accessible Again

IMG_0644Not so far back, I wrote a fairly scathing critique of the Neverwinter entry [1] in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

I stand by that.

But I also think it fair to note that on the whole, D&D’s creators have been engaged in a long process to make the Forgotten Realms accessible again, to make it inviting to new players and to resonate with its established fan base.

No single product or event has brought D&D to this point. Rather it has been a concerted effort to remove barriers of entry from the longstanding campaign setting.

The Road Back

A definitive fix?

I’m hearing repeated calls for a definitive guide to the Realms. I’m not certain that’s needed yet. I think the current path, providing material as needed for published adventures and selling the older material digitally, provides an abundance of material. If anything, providing access to the out-of-print products opens the door to discovery, lets a new generation of players experience the Realms anew, and upon a platform they appreciate.

What I think this article is trying to say, is that Wizards of the Coast has earned a tip of the hat.

And I don’t think it is so much that what has been offered is the “old” Realms or a “restored” Realms, but that it is “your” Realms. It is your playground again.


11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "Troy’s Crock Pot: Making Realms Accessible Again"

#1 Comment By Michael Phillips On March 25, 2016 @ 11:18 am

What I really want for the Realms are side products that help paint the setting. Things like the Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalog, or from the Mystara setting Joshuan’s Almanac (Which I was disappointed with when it came out because it didn’t give the sort of book of stat blocks overview the previous editions had, but today I see more value in the in world in voice approach than the list of nations and their combat stats.)

#2 Comment By Scott Martin On March 25, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

I like the idea of the new realms being… unreliable for a while. If you like the old realms and know it, bring it into your games. If you don’t… well, the Sundering changed everything, don’t ya know?

#3 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 27, 2016 @ 8:43 am

It’s freeing, creatively. And it removes the “wall” of lore that sidelines many DMs because they fear they “won’t do it right.” That reminds me of Gnome Stew piece on Star Wars that addressed the same issue. Anyone here remember that GS blog post and have a link?

#4 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 27, 2016 @ 8:52 am


I think this ball got rolling here …

#5 Comment By Angela Murray On March 25, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

I’m an Eberron girl at heart, but I’ve always been fond of the Realms. Originally, I was a bit overwhelmed by how much information there was about the land and the history, but over the years some of my favorite characters have lived in the realms. I’m all for making them accessible for newer players and so far, I think they’ve done a pretty good job with that.

#6 Comment By Michael Phillips On March 25, 2016 @ 10:36 pm

I want a realms sourcebook that takes the 40 most interesting bits of the FR and gives them the Pathfinder Beginner Box’s Treatment of Sandpoint.

#7 Comment By Chris Sniezak On March 26, 2016 @ 8:39 am

Yeah, figuring out what the 40 most interesting bits of the FR are is like saying what’s your favorite book to 100 people. There will probably be a huge swath of stuff and those fun discussions where people ask, “how’d that get in the top 40?”

Now I’d like that product just to watch the social media discussions that surround it.

Troy, I very much enjoyed this article. It gives a solid look at what I believe the team at D&D HQ wants the brand of D&D to be, something we can pick the high points out of without getting bogged down in the details.

Concerning the Realms. For those people who love all the old stuff, the back catalogue is now available, as you said. So now Realms fans can have their cake and eat it too while newer realms fans can more easily find the things they love about the Realms.

#8 Comment By Michael Phillips On March 26, 2016 @ 8:52 am

I wouldn’t call it the top 40, just you know, 40 gives you either 2 or 3 pages per section (in 96 or 128 page book) to cover each place. (Also, I think 40 places gives you sufficient entries to capture the scope of the realms.)

#9 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 27, 2016 @ 8:47 am

Make it “Ed’s Top 40,” or even Jeff Grubb’s top 40 or a personal selection from any of the other top creators. Such a survey — your top 40 favorite things of the Realms would be a hoot to read. Run lists from all those creatives sideby side, then maybe a 2 graf reminiscence on something from the list that stands out or is unique by that author, artist or editor. That would be fun.

#10 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 27, 2016 @ 8:37 am

Sorry I took so long to respond, but I had to track down a copy of the Beginner’s Box so I could look at the entry Michael described. (Last time I looked at Sandpoint, was in PF 1).

I totally get what Michael is going for. A two-page spread in this fashion on even 10 Sword Coast locations would have done much to enhance the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.

I could envision a lot of utility if the entry page had a city map with 10 keyed locations and bullet point descriptions, icons to indicate key commerce elements (it is “Ed’s Realms”, after all) and a point of history on the first page with descriptions of important NPCs and a bullet-point list of adventure hooks on the second page.

The thing is, in terms of information, the SCAG is almost there, anyway. In many cases, it might be a matter of packaging. At least, that’s my read of it.

But yeah, do this for Luskan, Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Skullport, Waterdeep, Undermountain, Baldur’s Gate, Calimport and a handful of other place and you are well on your way to providing a solid primer on the SC. Even if they went the Volo route and did it by means of an “unreliable” narrator, it would have been an improvement on SCAG.

#11 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 27, 2016 @ 8:41 am

Ah, Eberron. One of my favorite convention games was running a chase through Sharn with the PCs and adversaries riding magically empowered contraptions (motorcycles). That was a blast.

If you think that’s steampunk gone too far, consider that when I went to the Smithsonian this year, I saw the original motorcycle. Some inventor had strapped a V8 airplane engine to a bicycle. Wow! I can’t imagine how you’d stop that thing …