How Far From Canon Are You!?

37 posts / 0 new
Last post
I'm have my group going through the Troll mountains (pre-spellplgue) and I had to make some adjustsments from the FRCS (I kinda added a relationship between Bagalos and the trolls) and that got me wondering this: How far from the novel/FRCS/FRCG has your group "steer off"? I'll appreciate the relies...
I really do not like changing canonical content (which is why I always ask for evidence, evidence, evidence! :detect but I frequently 'fill in the blanks' when I cannot find what I am looking for. Here are some examples:

I am designing a Wraith Recon (by Mongoose Publishing) style game for the Forgotten Realms. It takes place in Aglarond in 1479 DR, so I fleshed out the military structure as described in previous editions. According to canon, the military is divided into the Army of the Green Drake and the Army of the Lion, and the Watchers who patrol the Watchwall are part of the Army of the Green Drake. In my game the Watchers specialize in defensive combat, specifically the use of static defenses, and the Firemanes, an elite unite I added to the Army of the Lion, specialize in offensive combat (a medeival SWAT team).

I ran a Forgotten Realms game focusing mostly on army-sized conflicts with mass combat for the majority of encounters. The Heralds held a lot of power internationally because their policies acted as a kind of D&D Geneva Conventions. Players who had their troops break the rules found their coat-of-arms stricken from the rolls, preventing them from entering alliances, signing treaties, or using temple-affiliated divine magics in their armies. As far as I know the Heralds do not have that sort of influence in the Forgotten Realms.

In another post-Spellplague Forgotten Realms game I am using Halaster Blackcloak as the player's patron despite his apparent demise. He is a living spell of Chever’s Simulacrum, essentially a ‘cloakling’ who is no longer tied to Undermountain. He believes himself to be the last ‘complete’ Halaster around and calls himself Hilather, Halaster’s original Imaskari name. He is well on his way to devising a plan to take control of High Imasker because according to him, “I am the last surviving Artificer Lord; by the rules of succession this kingdom is mine.”


My players, luckily, love this kind of conjecture/non-canon expansion and it shows in their player style. Basically, if I provide a map they want to go where the least amount of marks are or, if possible, off the map entirely.

One game I ran involved the players trying to lure a fey'ri to Lantan to trap it in a living construct (long story, pretty crazy--that is what I get for encouraging the party to listen to the twelve year old).

My current group wants to start an Eberron game, and one player seriously suggested it be set in Dal Quor so they can explore political intrique among the Quori.

The craziest game I ever ran involved letting the players explore the history of the Forgotten Realms. With some powerful and resourceful backers (including Larloch and Arthindol) the players gained access to some of the largest repositories of knowledge in the Realms. That led them to the Font of Time and the means to use it properly (not just to visit Mulhorand). After some attempted meddling with Netheril (that place is a magnet for time travel, I swear...) the players found themselves yanked out of time by Labelas Enoreth (the entire party consisted of elves, two of which were Olin Gisiae), who promptly chastized them like bad puppies.
I ran a preplague game set in Nesme. Since there is not a map of the place I made one up. I reworked the NPCs there also. I killed off the Speaker of the town and replaced her with Willow Wyvernspur, an ex-Harper currently a Moonstar who owned a Tavern in Waterdeep once. The town's power fell into the hands of the clergy (Finder, Helm, and Waukeen) after the former speakers death. I never cared for her or her stance on ignoring religious groups. Then through the campaign the pcs became the heroes of the North.
Well I made a few changes to Amn like that "mostrous" army in the south, is actually being funded my some really powerful mastican warriors...

I made the trolls from Troll Mounains Bagalos subordinate through a Bagalos (which is probably male and kinda change that too) offsprings, Twins. A Male half Dragon Troll and a Female Half-troll dragon :P Bagalos has also some Member of The Cult Of Dragon with her and she making an alligence with the army in the south to get the gem on that gnome mine that on her mountain
I fill in the blanks only when the material doesn't exist. Otherwise, I go by canon 100%.

-RW
Here are some guidelines we used in our v.3.5 Forgotten Realms campaign.

The campaign begins in 1356 DR (the date established for the original “gray” boxed set). The start of the published setting (in v.3.5) is 1372 DR.

Realms Shaking Events in our campaign
Events and situations described in Forgotten Realms novels and game supplements are often wide-ranging, affecting the entire setting. They also tend to become cannon. These Realms Shaking Events (as they are sometimes known among fans) are commonly used to justify the move from one D&D rules system to another. The Time of Troubles, for example, signaled the switch from AD&D 1st Edition to 2nd Edition. Events that may tie-in with the published setting do not necessarily translate directly into my homebrew version of the Forgotten Realms however. For all intents and purposes, our homebrew and the published setting (related most notably in name), will be two separate entities.

.
In our homebrew Realms, the Time of Troubles is remembered as a time when magic failed or went wild; it was, in essence, a "secret war". Only the most influential people are even aware of the greater “Avatar Crisis”, and even fewer are aware of the ascension of the mortals Cyric, Midnight, and (later) Kelemvore (in our campaign, the gods are much more distant, ominous beings).

Restoring the aura of mystery surrounding the Chosen is another change in our Realms. In canon material, it is sometimes implied that their true power is widely recognized. As first indicated in Code of the Harpers however, very few people are aware of the existence of the Chosen (as such). By doing so, the plan is to place more importance on the PCs and less on iconic NPCs such as the Chosen..

For example, most people have heard of Elminster the Sage, a reclusive archmage who resides in rural Shadowdale. Few however, realize he is a senior Harper. On the other hand, Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun is very much the cosmopolitan figure, largely suspected to be a Lord of Waterdeep and a Harper. Storm Silverhand, the Bard of Shadowdale, is a driving force behind the Harpers. Despite considerable renown, none of these individuals are widely recognized as the Chosen of Mystra.

The Seven Sisters are often misunderstood and mistrusted by the general populace. They often blur the line between hero and villain. For example, known for her mercurial temper and unfettered use of magic, the Simbul is truly the Witch Queen of Aglarond. Although free of the evil Crown of Horns, Laeral still bears the stigma of once being controlled by a powerful artifact.

As a group, they are slightly less powerful than portrayed in official material. For example, as first indicated in the 2nd Edition FR campaign boxed set, the seventh sister is an unrevealed entity (at least, as of this writing). She is indeed the “dark disaster” Ed Greewood first envisioned—no, she’s not a drow :P. Sylune, the Witch of Shadowdale, died defending the Dale from an ancient red dragon in 1356 DR. She does not return as a spectral harpist, as indicated in the Seven Sisters accessory.

There's also the suggestions in Chapter 8 “Running the Realms” in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Also note the “rules” on page 297.

For Cormyr
Some specific ideas for a v.3.5 Forgotten Realms campaign set in Cormyr:

Cormyr is an ideal setting for a knight-themed campaign— it has an enlightened monarchy and a group of government-sanctioned spellcasters-- but the setting lacks the high romance of chivalry. I'll present Cormyr with a more classical (“Aurthurian”) feel, where knights are common and wizards are powerful yet mysterious. For instance, the knights of Cormyr are organized into various secular and religious orders, such as the Purple Dragons (a purely secular order), the Radiant Heart, and the Golden Lion (both religious orders). The Forest Kingdom is a feudal monarchy: Peasants pay fealty to an Earl or Count, who in turn pays fealty to a Baron or Duke. All nobles of course, owe their loyalty to the King.

In line with the above sentiments, I’ve added Cormyr to the list of regions favored by Torm. The paladins and knights of the Forest Kingdom are often drawn to the Loyal Fury.

The Cavalier prestige class presented in the Complete Warrior is ported for the Cormyr setting.

Player’s Guide to Faerun, page 11: In the “Human Region” tables, under Cormyr, replace option (B) with the following: Light warhorse, bit and bridle, military saddle, and studded leather barding. This benefits the character that wants to play the shinning knight mounted on a courageous warhorse.

Recommended reading: Cormyr: A Novel by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (also the later novels in the same series), Cormyr (a game accessory for AD&D 2nd Edition). For those interested in learning more about knights and feudal society in general (at least in D&D terms), check out the excellent d20 sourcebook Relics and Rituals: Excalibur. Other gaming sources include: Campaign Components: Knights (Dragon Magazine #299), and the Castle Guide (a 2nd Edition supplement, free for download on the DnD website).
/\ Art
My 3.5E games were based on the 3E FRCS with no modifications for novels. IMC, the events of the novels just don't exist.

My 4E game is based on the 4E FRCG with very few changes. The post-Spellplague novels will be ignored. Edit: Once I get used to the 4E ruleset I am very likely to return to the pre-Spellplague Realms of 1372 DR and only use game product canon with the 4E ruleset (I just need to get my 4E rules-fu up to scratch so I can convert the shadow weave etc... with confidence).

FR is a great setting if you ignore the events in the novels and just use them to inspire local colour and whatnot.
Regards Scrivener of Doom
I've run three campaigns in FR3.5 with a fourth one planned. I deviate pretty far from canon. Also note that I have not made the change to 4.0 and do not intend to. Not because I have anything against it, I do not want to spend the money on the books etc.

1st campaign: The party worked as agents for Silverymoon. In their adventures, they continuously encountered groups of non-human (humanoid) soldiers who were very well organized. Ultimately, the name Benedict DeVane began cropping up. This NPC eventually became their nemesis and it was learned that he was working for an unknown group trying to undermine the League of the Silver Marches. The party was "lost" in a battle with Benedict and his Black Dragon ally. They did manage to clear out a keep and bring in followers to live there. The keep was run by the party's leader, Ander Telwater, a paladin of Sune until his "death".

2nd campaign: There is war in the Silver Marches as humanoid armies have pushed a wedge between Silverymoon and Sundabar. The party started out as captives in a slave mine and had to escape. This brought them to Telwater's Keep (called the Paladin's Keep by the locals). The acting Castellan hired them to root out a staging complex for the humanoid raiders who were keeping his scouts in check. (I re-did the Caves of Chaos from 1st ed.). They then went on various other missions for the Castellan and the Captain of his Guards. They also infiltrated a fortess and killed several high ranking humanoid officers. This allowed the Castellan's forces to solidify a supply line to Mithal Hall. They were charged with finding several lost relics for the Sky Pony Uthgardt which lead them to help unify the tribes. They finally worked to find who was behind these very well-organized humanoid legions. I use the Heroes of Battle Victory Point System to judge their missions (quest XP, future consequences, etc.).

3rd campaign: This is set in Waterdeep and is very role-playing intensive. NPC interaction is far more common than combat. In this setting, the Xanathar Thieves guild may or may not be a myth. There are many "real" guilds fighting a turf war in the Dock Ward and the Lords of the City are extremely self-interested. This campaign is unconnected but running simultaneously with the 2nd campaign.

My future campaign will start in the Dalelands. The party will then be sent to Oerth to recover The Cup and Talisman of Al Akbar. They will then return and try to use this to aid the Silver Marches. This will not start until Campaign #2 ends.
I pretty much ignore canon myself, at least where novels are concerned, and largely a lot of the stuff that comes from them.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

I used to ignore canon as well - I assume it all hapened, but I down-play anything I don't care for (like Shade).

Now I just ignore everything and do what I want - probably the only good thing (IMHO) 4eFR brought to the table was the sense of freedom from canon.
Now I just ignore everything and do what I want - probably the only good thing 4eFR brought to MY table was the sense of freedom from canon.

Made one small change. I like you, but I still find it a bit annoying when anyone states something as fact, when it's really just personal opinion.

<-- Just so we all know it's not meant in anger.

-RW
Well... I kinda thought it was obvious that was an opinion... :embarrass

Sorry... consider it corrected.
As an example of just how little I care about canon, today in a bit of solo gaming, I happily killed off Vangy in the late 1200's DR, and plan on replacing him in service with another Dahast descendent who I like more, just to see what happens...

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Well... I kinda thought it was obvious that was an opinion... :embarrass

Sorry... consider it corrected.

To me it was, but not to everyone. Anyone new to the edition, or having converted over, may see it as another attempt at starting a flame. I know that these boards aren't nearly as bad as the actual DnD ones, but it's better to cover your bases.

No slight meant.

-RW
I stick very closely to the canon lore in my games, except where we've explicitly changed it (such as defeating and slaying a villainous NPC). I skim over or ignore the bits I don't like or think are silly, or just reinterpret them to something more satisfying.

Or if they are silly, I use it as comic relief, like Cyricists as the wacky cultists who wave "the end is nigh" placards in the streets and invite converts with a friendly "Worship Cyric or be damned for all eternity." "No thanks." :D

For me, I feel obliged to use what's in the setting and use it right. It's a matter of respect for the setting, but it also gives me a lot of good ideas and flavour elements, that I just like to use it all.
Ed-, Steven-, George-, and Elaine-lore are the only canon constants in my Realms. Everything else is included only if and when it can be incorporated into the extensive gaming history I've established for my Realms campaigns after 18+ years of adventuring across Faerûn.

I've relied heavily on Eric Boyd's stuff too.
I change canon where it effects the campaign directly. Otherwise I leave it alone, though whatever I leave alone is largely irrelevant really since my players do not ask what is happening in Halruaa when they are campaigning in Damara. I really only change it when I think doing so will fit better with the plot of what I am doing, or if the players intervene in something.
I'm quite the perfectionist and want my campaigns to be as canon as possible, but i don't mind changing the story either. Having pc's rescue Gareth Dragonsbane instead of Brimstone and the like e.g is one of those changes.
For me the spellplague has happened, but Mystra isn't dead, she just lost her absolute control over magic (and is now an intermediate deity, the weave and shadow weave are gone. However, nothing has returned from Abeir, Abeir doesn't exist. There's a new connection to the plane of faerie and the plane of shadow has grown to be a full plane. I completely ignore the Smedman-crap about the Drow gods and all the other dung about gods killing each other off, getting killed, being aliases or exarchs of other gods etc. Lathander can be Amaunator for all I care, even though it leaves some questions open.
Otherwise I like some ideas like that Myth Drannor is back or what happened to Calimshan.
I stick very closely to the canon lore in my games, except where we've explicitly changed it (such as defeating and slaying a villainous NPC). I skim over or ignore the bits I don't like or think are silly, or just reinterpret them to something more satisfying.

Or if they are silly, I use it as comic relief, like Cyricists as the wacky cultists who wave "the end is nigh" placards in the streets and invite converts with a friendly "Worship Cyric or be damned for all eternity." "No thanks." :D

For me, I feel obliged to use what's in the setting and use it right. It's a matter of respect for the setting, but it also gives me a lot of good ideas and flavour elements, that I just like to use it all.

Addendum: I am of course not using the Spellplague, nor anything that leads up to it, nor recent novels that take away from the setting, such as gods. But then, I haven't read them either. I tend to regard such events as non-canon anyway, so my sense of respect and obligation only goes to the point where it outweighs that of the current crop of designers.
canon?
the setting i dm in is mine and my groups. its also very distinctly the realms, but more importantly its our game. 
canon?
the setting i dm in is mine and my groups. its also very distinctly the realms, but more importantly its our game. 




I agree, take what you want from the setting and make it your own.
I prefer historical Canon as guide post to set delves or adventures.  An example of one of our many years of games was based on Small Teeth Mountains which contained one of the largest dragon hordes belonging to Sharp Fangs.  Small Teeth Mountain also once was a base for a Theaves Guild, has links to Cyric's Towers, Muraan with all it's trade route trappings just under Amn and it's trappings.  Just alot of rich material.  Also alot of dungeons are set in areas where the Players might uncover some ancient historical records, coinage, or an artifact from a Lost Empire.  

As far as the old big name NPC's, the characters have their brushes with Halaster Legacies but I always try to keep those encounters low key as to reveal some informations about whatever quest they decided to persue.  Halaster seemed to alway get the better of them as did one of Manshoon's clones.  I try to stay away from the big names or leave those encounters as they find out a few days later that muttering old wizard with the high priced dungeon map on the road was Elminster (but I always did check my facts, before dropping him in there, to see when he might have been between Cormyr and the Dalelands at the time of their adventure.  Normally the NPC was busy with something else or brought trouble like shades or zhents in there wake).

Canon can add flavor to the game or something to spark a DM's intrest to create an adventure that players have intrest in exploring or some knowledge about.  I often would ask them to research and let me know what they find out if our game session ended near a library.  There were a few times I worked some of their discoveries into the game on the fly (if it wasn't already in there) and they thought I had planned it that wayLaughing.  I enjoy researching the old and new materials when deciding on a region or topic for the adventures and after many years it gets easier.  Such as what blades were forged in Myth Drannor before the Time of Troubles what became of these blades, were they collected by drow or some power group? or would this one with all these artifact powers be around after Spellplague and how might I convert it from 2nd Edition to 3.5 or 4E.  The players might recall reading about it somewhere before, it has a history and purpose which they will now be a part of in their current adventure.  They like that kind of thing and I enjoy research and creation.

Make it yours and enjoy it!  Maybe they killed the ogre mage, Sothillis Murkul of Murannheim, he fell out of history or did he escape death to plot and destroy those retired Characters in their old age except for that one elf who returned to Myth Drannor.  Well they might find out clues to the mystery in their present game 100 years later...

Our weekly active games go back to the Time of Troubles and it does seem like a hundred years ago when I stumble over some old game materials in the cabinet or storage boxes.  It's kinda wild finding a deceased friend's Character and DM notes and materials after all the years of gaming memories.  Long live the Realms! 

Well with 4e, theres not alot of canon really, so theres a whole bunch astuff you could do with out breaking canon. So far in my current 4e game I havnt really done anything to break canon. I like to stick with the established lore. I want the players to feel like theyre in the Forgotten Realms, like if they read one of the novels theyll be like yeah ive been there, ya know?

I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
  Or would this one with all these artifact powers be around after Spellplague and how might I convert it from 2nd Edition to 3.5 or 4E.  The players might recall reading about it somewhere before, it has a history and purpose which they will now be a part of in their current adventure. 

THIS.

When you take the time to expand on kernels of Realmslore, you get great fodder for adventures.

Spending time filling in those gaps and considering how the Realms has changed feels like exactly the right thing to me.

This is the approach I take with the 100 year time jump when I work on my 4E Realms campaign. It’s also what I do when I create NPCs for these forums or write post-Spellplague fanfic for NaNoWriMo.

I've always thought the canon settings were great for :


1. starting points for a DM's campaign.  This might be because a Dm is new, unsure about world-building or just plain doesn't have the time or inclination to world-build.   

2. established place you can set organized play adventures and novels in     without having to spend a great deal of time explaining a homebrew. 


whenever I ran FR I stuck pretty closely to established canon.

I had big name NPCs like Elminster in cameos only.  My game, like anybody elses, focused on my PCs not NPCs. 


FR is a great setting, filled with plot hooks all over the play once you start reading about it.    

      


    
Hmm, i'm close to canon in some aspects. I usually don't change the world to much. I've changed some things however.

One character ascended to Godhood as a god of demonhunting in 1385 (the end of our campaign). I guess it's not changin canon, but it's a major change anyway.
Ravenovia is a city north of Ironspur in Damara (started the game with Expedition to Castle Ravenloft).
Sammaster was defeated not only by the host of dragons and characters in Year of Rogue Dragons (books), but also by a group of adventurers known in Damara to hunt undead and dragons. (Same characters that did the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft).

I guess i can say that i haven't really changed the realms that much, infact i fear changing it to much, perhaps a flaw of mine. But i have added a town and a few remote locations to the world map and changed the event around the year of rogue dragons. The things stayed mostly the same, except the characters had a role inbetween the stories in the books. They weren't really connected at all, but they ended up finding Sammaster all the same.


hi, first time poster. have set most of my campaigns for 4e and many from 3e/3.5e in the forgotten realms due to the fact that i am an avid salvatore fan and the first campaign i ever played as a player was in undermountain/waterdeep for the most part.

 i stay about half and half with canon vs. non-canon(kept several people alive through the spellplague that had died including halaster blackcloak who is now a hundred years older and hundred years crazier, lol); i have also altered the landscape quite a bit and even wiped a few cities/races out with the plague entirely that hadn't been before. working on a new undermountain map; in the past hundred years halaster has expanded and renovated it quite a bit(have about 40 pages of maps for it already, going for 100+)

haven't really changed waterdeep and most of the other cities, kept a lot of the NPC's the same and i actually have my PC's working for/with Jarlaxle at the moment in an effort to find and save Drizzt Do'Urden who has been captured by a very powerful multi-chromatic dragon that i created(red dragon fused with a silver dragon while fighting due to the effects of the SP, will add the stats to the monster section when i get a chance)
I generally dislike twisting canon too much, this is why I never ran FR back in 3.5 - the damn thing was BLOATED with canon in almost every region. Now I'm going back to FR after running Eberron almost exclusively for years, and I'm quite enjoying the freedom 4e FRCS allows.
I use all the canon info of which I'm aware, for the most part, and often I check out canon materials to get info about something my players are about to get into in my campaign, but I've never understood the commonly expressed feeling of being prisoner to canon.  Do you think the canon police are going to show up with a cease and desist letter from Ed Greenwood instructing you to get your campaign back on track asap?  Canon is a great resource, both for me and for my players ("I'm from Silverymoon, and I'm involved with the following NPCs..." or "I'd like to do some research about the cult of the dragon -- if I go to candlekeep, how much of the canon material can I learn?").  But I've never felt limited by it -- I've certainly never become reticent about an idea b/c of concern that it might conflict with canon.  I'm sure I've unknowingly violated canon lots of times, but I've knowingly done it a bunch too, without a twinge of guilt.  I've also taken a lot of 3.5 canon details and just fast forwarded them to the 4E time period without as much as a second thought.  

Most importantly, I've added to my personal "canon" -- the events of every FR campaign I've ever run (over the last almost 20 years) become canon for me, most of which is relatively minor and incidental, but some of which counts as a realms-shaking-event.  I've found my players are a lot more interested in that than they are in the official canon -- they understand that our realms is our realms.  They are always free to mine canon materials for ideas, as I do, and as a longtime FR fan I am familiar with a *lot* of canon material and make use of it as I please, but I can't imagine a situation where it could possibly get in the way.  I'm annoyed by the 4E anti-detail philosophy, but only mildly so since I can just import old 3.5 stuff and ignore the fact that it is more than 100 years out of date.

For those who feel constricted in some way by canon, and who view the anti-detail philosophy as a welcome relief, could you help me understand what your concerns are?  Like, if you know there are lots of canon details about some place or group or whatever, and you know you don't know those details and either can't or don't want to learn them, why do you feel like you can't just ignore them? 
I and my group once where orcs in Obould's army attempting to invade Silverymoon and the North. We eventually managed to do so. We hanged old Taern Hornblade in the Market Plaza, in front of Alustriel's Palace (well, SHE wasn't around at that time). Is this considered canon? If not, it should be.

On a side note, my gaming-comrades always tend to play chaotic or evil aligned characters. When evil wins over good in the Realms, it usually isn't canon anymore (except for some small, temporary victories).
I try to stick with canon but then again, I sometime don't mind changing a few things. 

I still play 3.5E mainly because I don't want to buy the 4E books so I still play around the 1300s.  My current campaign is set in 1358, right in the middle of the Time of Troubles.  I use big events mostly but I want the PCs to be the stars of the show.  That does not mean that they'll become gods at the end of the campaign but it certainly means that they will be a part of the grand happenings of the Time of Troubles.

I use NPCs and events (like the battle of keeper's dale) to add some meat to the world.  I want the players to feel like they are in a living and breathing world. 

I just started a 4e FR campaign with some of my local gaming group.  Candidly, I do not like what 4E did to the realms in terms of lore, so my game is set in 1368 DR (10 years after the ToT.)  I use the ToT to explain the effects of the spell plague (so, mechanically, the effects of the SP can still occur.)  A lot of gods who are dead in 4e aren't.


I have many of the books for 3x, and I just happen to like the time period during and just following the ToT.  From a lore perspective, I'm still canon, at least through 1368 DR. 


The first game session (which was April 15), I started running Keep on the Shadowfell, and I used the FR conversion document that was in Dungeon Magazine.  Couple that with adventure hooks based on the character backgrounds, and I have a pretty solid start on a good FR game.  4e mechanics (which my players want) more interesting lore from 2e-3e (which I want), and we're all happy.

I could care less if what happens from this point on violates canon.  When the writers/designers decided to take FR in a direction I didn't like, I just decided to take it a direction I did and, ta-da - win-win for my players and me.       
In my campaign I have made the following changes (or rather ignore the current canon )

The Shaar is still the Shaar. Except much smaller with the great rift and not a desert. The misty vale is still the misty vale and hence no elfhallow. Kind of figured there is still enough water given the proximity of what is left of the shaar to the ocean and a couple obvious rivers.

Also ignored the abeir return part. For now at least. Party is based around waterdeep and now in Myth Drannor.

Still use the old editions for alot of lore ideas and such, just a 100 years on. (Good example of this I guess is Jhaniloth Dhree from the ghost night adventure in 2e Undermountain which my own character ran across in 3e. She is now simply a warlock with a dark pact, a sharran and a shade which is a reacurring bad guy...err bad chick...that keeps the high level players busy in Waterdeep and my wizard NPC/PC. One of the players and I take turns on dming different adventures and we both agree with the changes)

Like the idea of the spellplague just not some of the repercusions of the event.
I dove into an alternate universe type of thing.  I used to be huge on keeping up with canon, but I gave up with 4e's take on the Realms.  And so, in my Realms Cyric horribly failed and was torn apart as a result.  He was successful is sampling a bit of Mystra's power before death however.  As he fell to the world, he slowly dissolved into raw power.  His madness combined with some of Mystra's magical power, turning him into a spellplague-like effect (for mechanics).  Otherwise, not much has changed in the Realms, besides editing out and playing with some lore concepts I never liked.  Also, Returned Abeir did appear in a campaign as a mysterious island that popped in the ocean.  But, the locals and team decided to destroy it instead (What?)  No skin off my back...

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
Yea, I'm rezzing a thread from several months ago, anyone have a problem?

I personally don't believe in the concept of canon in relation to P&P rpg settings. Forgotten Realms doesn't exist to tell a story- the novels are just a bonus. Forgotten Realms and all other settings exist to allow the DM and the players to tell their own story using this sandbox that they provide for you.

That being said, for the most part I liked what 4e did to the realms so I don't change too much(Helm's church is alive and well, though whether or not he is is up in the air). Though where I go from the start has no limits. I did one campaign that ended in a massive slave rebellion in Menzo that left hundreds of drow dead, thousands of orcs escaped, and the city in chaos, very vulnerable from threats to the outside- a plot by Many-Arrows to free their enslaved bretheren, which in and of itself was put into motion by agents of the Nine Hells who were running a centuries long plan to overthrow Lolth's church and convert the drow to devil worship.

Obviously that isn't going to happen in the novels or in any offically released supplement. But within the context of my game, it's canon. 
"One arrow alone can be easily broken, but Many-Arrows is indestructible."
I've been running the Realms almost constantly (with a Greyhawk break in the middle for a year) for about 10 years now and I stick pretty close to cannon. I avoid some of the stuff from the novels but keep others. I run it around 1370 generally so a bit around/before the 3rd ed transition. I bring in the 3rd ed events as time goes by but so far I've avoided the 4th ed clean slate marketing move as it killed everything that was FR. 

We had a campaign based around a rogue chronomancer who was trying to stop the Spellplague from happening. It was a fun game invloving messing around with history in order to force a city to form in the spot east of Waterdeep where secomber sits. The pc's tricked the dwarves of Illfaren to flee their city, helped Ahghairon take out the warlord, and fought in 2 troll wars. Aside from that though I tend to stick to the cannon. Though once you break it (as we did) it's hard to stick to it as events can spiral out of control.