Help Wanted: Introducing Players to the Realms

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Hi. I'm starting up a campaign tomorrow, with mostly new players. I'm scampering to put a few final touches on things (I dislike running premades, though I do sometimes borrow encounters and challenges from them), and I'm wondering if someone could maybe write me a paragraph or two to introduce them to the Realms for me. I'm not new to the Realms, but as I am trying to finish other things (and get sleep in the process), I feel I am running out of time.

I just want something that summarizes key details in the Realms, i.e. The Spellplague, existence of the Underdark, maybe a nice visual desciption of how the dual worlds of Aebir and Faerun were created. I will handle the tie-in to the adventure. If anyone can help, preferably in the next 12 hours or so, that'd be appreciated. Thanks! ^_^
When I am a player, I don't usually care that much about cosmology and what nations there are on the other side of the ocean.

That said, I am playing in a homebrew world, where that became quite important for our murder-mystery police procedural.

Any introduction to the Realms as a whole,  beyond "It is a massive world with tons of stuff, which obeys D&D rules" is going to overwhelm the players. I would instead focus primarily on the immediate area that the campaign takes place in, and instead answer questions that the players might have. This is especially true for new players. Let them ask the questions, they are more keenly aware of what they need to make meaningful decisions than we are as experienced players/DMs.

Sorry that I wasn't more helpful. I suggest you crack open the the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide and refer to page 154 of this. The last chapter has more than enough information to tide over any player until they are interested enough to look for information elsewhere. 
Mad Scientist
The Player's Guide has a list of ten things for everyone to know. I would just ask them to read that.

It's also posted as one of the preview articles for the 4E version of FR. 
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
The 10 things list is good is very good for players from 3rd and earlier editions, but I think it focuses a bit too much on what is different from the previous editions. If I knew nothing about the setting, it would just make me go "huh?". 
Mad Scientist
Yes, yes, you don't like running pre-mades... But a good introduction to just about everything the Realms has can be found in the Year-2 Ravens mods in the LFR Campaign.

It introduces the original Living City, dragons, spellplague, Netherese, etc etc. Gives a great feel for the 4e state of things, without being big, boring block of text.

Of all the stuff I've run over the last couple of years, those 3 mods have gotten some of the most positive response for any form of public play, and I'm pretty sure they'd go over well at a private table.

Personal opinion? Blocks of text, even a short paragraph, won't introduce your players into a setting anywhere near as well as just steeping them in the environment. Immersion learning, and all that.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

How about this: have them each give you a paragraph about what they think the Realms are like, and then you accept, incorporate and build from whatever they give you.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Lemme give it my best shot:

The Forgotten Realms are a land steeped in lore and mystery.  In fact so many authors have written so many things about the Realms (all of which are canon, except the stuff that was retconned) that most of the mystery is gone and most of the lore is ridiculous.  There's like a dozen ascendent god-level Mary Sue characters who can show up to handle any crisis, and because I'm a decent DM they're all off playing tiddlywinks somewhere.  Because virtually any setting you can imagine is in this ridiculous world, somewhere, regardless of cultural appropriateness, assumed technology level, or anything else that would make a lick of sense, I'll be starting you off somewhere that totes exists in the lore.   

Oh yeah, everyone with dark skin is assumed to be vile and evil.  It's okay though, because almost all of the people with dark skin are vile and evil.   Hey, look, this setting was made in the 1980s, which really wasn't that long ago and you'd think we'd have twigged it, but nope.  Oh yeah, every major power and city is run by a guy, except for the aforementioned evil black people.  No, seriously.  There is like two female rulers in the entire setting, and they're relegated to lousy backwaters (Moonshae Isles) or co-rule with a man, because obv (Tethyr, which is pretty much a backwater anyway).  

That about sums it up.
But... but... The Shou women! That makes it okay, right?

XD

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

The Realms are divided up in several smaller countries, each with a different racial make up. For example (not sure which countries you plan to set you campaign in), Cormyr is a classical human feudal state (generally seen to be a good regeime), Netheril is a broadly evil place run by shades.

This is pretty much a morally black and white setting - good people are good and bad people are bad. Same goes for gods. Bahamut is good, Shah is bad. Further information about the realms may be found on the FR wiki .
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Thanks for all the quick responses. I didn't expect so many. I have a good idea of what I'm going to do now. Thanks again! ^_^
...are you going to tell us? lol

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Well I like the idea, as said above, of focusing more on where they are in the world versus the world iself. I don't want to bog them down with too much "useless" information right from the get go. They can learn as they go on. I think I'll just give them a very brief explanation of the world, staying vague, saying things like, "The cultures across Faerun vary as much as they do here, maybe even more so." And stuff like that. Then just focus on local facts; georaphy of the area, surrounding towns and local rulers, etc.
Picked a region to drop them in, yet? Or did I miss that in an earlier post?

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

They're going to be in Luruar (or as I prefer to call it, the Silver Marches). Specifically, Everlund and the High Forest. The adventure focuses around the hidden Cult Of Cyric sect in Everlund hiring drow thieves to steal the Nether Scrolls from the Hall of Mists. I'm planning on focusing the campaign around Cyric, at least for the first tier of play.