[Let's Read] Forgotten Realms: The Revised Campaign Setting

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
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#21
Also, paladins now have to have divine patrons, in explicit contrast to the Grey Box, where they didn't. No mention of a reason for the change.
Because the Time of Troubles exposed the gods as spoiled, irresponsible, arrogant, selfish, lazy, cowardly narcissists and bullies -- so of course they had to change the rules and make worshiping a specific god a requirement. Because if divine super powers weren't at stake, who would voluntarily worship them?

(Honestly, that's one of the saddest things about the edition change. By turning the gods into a joke, they turned the priest class into a joke.)
 

benben

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#22
(Honestly, that's one of the saddest things about the edition change. By turning the gods into a joke, they turned the priest class into a joke.)
This felt so heavy handed and voided out the idea that the Forgotten Realms had a pantheon. Now we just had a squabbling coterie of Heathers all trying to be the most popular person in Faerun.

Meanwhile Faiths and Pantheons and the specialty priest rules created astounding priest classes.

The dissonance is jarring.
 

Thane of Fife

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#23
Yup, that came about in the 3E version. Her Chaotic Good-self still got some pallies. They also introduced some rules for multiclassing Paladins (who were allowed, within the constraints of their chosen deity, to multiclass and still level up Paladin). Overall it relaxed the Paladin stuff a little, for the 3E Forgotten Realms, and I, at least, thought it was pretty cool.
In wonder if this was because of the increased importance of Charisma for 3e paladins or a greater tying of paladins to good over law in the Realms?

I always figured they were "Secret" in the way say, the Freemasons are Secret: Everyone knows they exist, there's even members who are publicly known, but there's a whole lot of secrecy about what they actually *do*.
I feel like the Harpers are always presented as a "secret society" that everyone knows is some group of meddling do-holders, or something. At that point, you might as well just give up the secret pretense, I think.

Because the Time of Troubles exposed the gods as spoiled, irresponsible, arrogant, selfish, lazy, cowardly narcissists and bullies -- so of course they had to change the rules and make worshiping a specific god a requirement. Because if divine super powers weren't at stake, who would voluntarily worship them?

(Honestly, that's one of the saddest things about the edition change. By turning the gods into a joke, they turned the priest class into a joke.)
Shh! I haven't gotten to that part yet! :D


The next section is just titled Faerun. We get names for all the regions of the map, now. The North now refers to just the area north of Waterdeep (later, I believe, the Savage Frontier?), as opposed to basically everything north of Amn. And the area southeast of the Moonsea is now the Vast. There's the Vilhon Reach, the Shining South, the Heartlands, etc. Decent names, I guess, though the Vast is kind of weird.

Then we get the calendar and year numbering/naming. There is great comment in here that DR (Dale-reckoning) is often used interchangeably with CR (Cormyr-reckoning), despite the two actually being numbered differently. This causes great confusion. That sounds so real. Then we get nine new year names for the Roll of Years. They also introduce a new year reckoning called PR (Present-reckoning - a rather self-important name) which dates from the Time of Troubles, and wonder if it will become widespread. I'm pretty sure it never did, but we'll see.

We next get a big list of languages (dolphin is on the list, but not elven cat). There are also were-tongues. Do you get those for free on contracting lycanthropy? Can you only speak those while changed? Interesting. Never heard of them anywhere else.

Then we pretty much wrap up with names for currency by the major minters (Waterdeep, Cormyr, etc) and a how to read a stat block. Coinage is a fun thing to know, but it is generally not something important, in my experience. It's too much of a hassle to keep track of where all 20,000 gp in a dragon's hoard might have come from.
 

Arilou

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Banned
#24
I feel like the Harpers are always presented as a "secret society" that everyone knows is some group of meddling do-holders, or something. At that point, you might as well just give up the secret pretense, I think.
As the wikipedia article on secret socities points out: "A secret society is a club or organization whose activities, events, and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence." So by that definition, yeah, the Harpers are a Secret Society. It's not as if you can file a Public Information Act claim to get a hold of their minutes...
 

Critias

Social Justice Galliard
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#25
People know that the Harpers are a thing. People know some of the big names attached to them; Storm Silverhand, Elminster, Khelben Blackstaff, super badass epic-level folks like that. People know what goodly gods support the Harpers. People don't know who else is a member, who is feeding them information, who operates a safehouse they can stay at, who supplies them with healing potions, what they're up to at any given moment, etc, etc, etc.
 

MarkK

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#27
Because the Time of Troubles exposed the gods as spoiled, irresponsible, arrogant, selfish, lazy, cowardly narcissists and bullies -- so of course they had to change the rules and make worshiping a specific god a requirement. Because if divine super powers weren't at stake, who would voluntarily worship them?

(Honestly, that's one of the saddest things about the edition change. By turning the gods into a joke, they turned the priest class into a joke.)
Being as fair as one might, Torm in the Time of Troubles straight up died for our si- er, to save Tantras from Bane, and was then risen from the dead to resume his place. So, you know, there was that for paladin options.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
#28
Being as fair as one might, Torm in the Time of Troubles straight up died for our si- er, to save Tantras from Bane, and was then risen from the dead to resume his place. So, you know, there was that for paladin options.
Yes, he was the only god who seemed even vaguely worthy of the title.

Him and Cyric. Cyric was pretty damn heroic, in the face of the lynch mob led by the despicable villain Storm Silverhand.
 

Thane of Fife

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#29
As the wikipedia article on secret socities points out: "A secret society is a club or organization whose activities, events, and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence." So by that definition, yeah, the Harpers are a Secret Society. It's not as if you can file a Public Information Act claim to get a hold of their minutes...
People know that the Harpers are a thing. People know some of the big names attached to them; Storm Silverhand, Elminster, Khelben Blackstaff, super badass epic-level folks like that. People know what goodly gods support the Harpers. People don't know who else is a member, who is feeding them information, who operates a safehouse they can stay at, who supplies them with healing potions, what they're up to at any given moment, etc, etc, etc.
But my point is that most of that stuff is (in my opinion) boring secrets. I think it's more interesting if there are people who call themselves Harpers, but nobody really knows what that's about. In a game, the Harpers as-is are likely to be secret in the sense of "you have an ally you didn't know about." Which, you know, isn't a bad thing, but it's not terribly interesting.



Anyway, this book is organized very differently from the Cyclopedia of the Realms in the Grey Box. It focuses on one region at a time, and kind of spirals out. This seems, at this point, like a better idea to me, as it should make establishing connections a bit easier. The cost being that it may be harder to find stuff (or maybe not, as I spent the other day hunting for the section on humans in the Cyclopedia. It's under Mankind).

The book basically begins with the Dalelands. In many ways, the Dalelands often seem like the forgotten heart of the Realms. I feel like this area was supposed to be the center of the Realms, but Cormyr and the Sword Coast get much more attention. Anyway, the Dales are a group of occasionally-changing petty states with sort of an American frontier feel, perhaps. Industrious loners, that's the Dalesmen. We get a lot of detail on the individual Dales, but they were pretty detailed before, so there isn't too much new. Randal Morn is in the process of retaking Daggerdale (also, we're told that those guys are jerks because vampires). Scardale is being gradually reintegrated. The saurials have appeared in Tarkhaldale. There is also mention of an amazing floating tower in Daggerdale, but it has been solved by the Knights of Myth Drannor. But the Zhentarim recovered it, so no worries! You can still use the sky castle!

Most of the Dales have at least one good plot hook to them, so there is definitely room for adventure here. Also, it works pretty well as a place where everyone has their reasons to want to be left alone, so it's a good spot for secret evildoers - lycanthropes, vampires, retired assassins, etc. You could play the Dales like fantasy South America, and have all of the fantasy-Nazis hiding out here.

One other note is that there are a lot of high level priests around. I was going to make a comment about the rise in high-level characters, but in fairness, you have to sort of make those guys available for the occasional Raise Dead spell.

Three Dalelands Plot Hooks:
1. The saurials petition for admission to the Dales Council. Distrust abounds.
2. Lashan shows up in Scardale to reclaim his throne. Well, three of him do! Is one of them really him? Are they puppets of the Zhentarim? Doppelgangers? Red Wizards in disguise?
3. The richest person in Harrowdale gets to be the new burgher, but what happens when it's a giant? Or other monster?
 

Thane of Fife

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#30
The second half of the Dales entry discusses the regions around the Dales. So, the Elven Woods, the Spiderhaunt Woods, the Desertsmouth Mountains, and so on. There's a lot of good stuff for adventurers to do around here. A displaced dwarf king at Tethyamar, a sinister spider lord controlling all that happens in the Dales from the Spiderhaunt Woods, the Ruins of Myth Drannor, the young Elven community of Tangled Trees, and so on.

The spider thing kind of reminds me of the araugh... ashau... the guys from Birthright, whatever they were called. One of them was the Spider, right? Personally, giant spiders are a favorite monster of mine. I mean, you can use them anywhere, and they're really kind of creepy. A spider that is secretly controlling everything.... How does it do it? What are its aims?

I also like the displaced dwarf king, you could definitely set up a Hobbit-type adventure there. And it's a bit peculiar how the elven communities mentioned all have different foci - noncombatants, the young, the rulers, art, etc. Something to be drawn into Elvish culture, perhaps.

And all said, I still think that a trip to the Standing Stone could be a great first adventure for young, Dale-born adventurers. Maybe raft down the Ashaba, get chased into (and through) Myth Drannor, have to hunt your way through the woods to Moander's Road.... A trip around the Dales could be fun.
 
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