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The Greenwood

Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms

Forgotten Realms is a fictional alternate world that has been published as a campaign setting for Advanced Dungeon & Dragons (AD&D), Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 3rd Edition and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 4th Edition, by TSR, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast (WotC).

It was originally created in 1967[1] as a setting for short stories by Ed Greenwood but it has since become the most enduring campaign setting for D&D.

The primary focus of the setting is the continent of Faerûn,[2] part of the world of Abeir-Toril, an Earth-like planet with certain obvious influences and similarities from the real world and fantasy fiction.

The Forgotten Realms setting owes a lot of its popularity to the many novels using the setting,[citation needed] like R. A. Salvatore's works detailing the life and adventures of the famed drow Drizzt Do'Urden, as well as computer games like Pool of Radiance, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights.

HistoryEdit

Time of Troubles Edit

Main article: Time of Troubles

The Time of Troubles was a cataclysmic time period in the history of the Faerûn. Taking place during 1358 DR, the Year of Shadows,[3] the Time of Troubles was a period during which the deities of Faerûn were forced to walk the earth in their mortal avatar forms. Several major deities died during the Time of Troubles (see deaths, ascensions, and resurrections) and a handful of mortals rose to divinity.[4]

Present day Edit

The interpretation of the term "present day" in the Forgotten Realms depends entirely upon the context in which it is used. Dungeon Masters are free to use the first edition, second edition, third edition or fourth edition sourcebooks to form a setting for their games of D&D. Alternatively, they may set their games at any point during the Realms' past or future. The novels set in the Realms cover a wide variety of time periods too. This wiki does not focus on one specific time as being the "present day" - instead, it endeavours to provide specific date references where possible.

GeographyEdit

The planet of Abeir-Toril consists of several large continents, including Faerûn, the focus of the setting, which was first detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR. The other continents include Kara-Tur, Zakhara, Maztica, Anchorome, and other as-yet unspecified landmasses. Kara-Tur, roughly corresponding to ancient East Asia, was later the focus of its own publication, Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, released in 1988.

Various products detailing specific areas of Faerûn have been released, and much of the continent has been heavily detailed and documented to create a highly developed setting. See the sourcebooks portal for an extensive list of products.

In early publications about the setting, The Realms shared a unified cosmology with various other campaign settings. In this way each of the Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings were linked together to form one interwoven world connected by various planes of existence. With the release of the 2001 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, the setting was given its own distinct and separate cosmological arrangement, with unique planes not explicitly connected to those of the other settings.[5]

RealmspaceEdit

Main article: Realmspace

The Forgotten Realms world of Abeir-Toril is but one of several other worlds[6] in the Realmspace crystal sphere. To the natives of Faerûn, the wildspace above their heads is known as the Sea of Night.[7] The two closest worlds to the sun in the middle of Realmspace are known as the Dawn Heralds, and they are barely visible only at sunset or sunrise. Beyond Abeir-Toril further out in the crystal sphere are the Five Wanderers, five worlds which flow through star-rivers in an uneven course through wildspace. Some of these worlds are inhabited by humans, dwarves, and orcs, but also more sinister races such as illithids and beholders.[8]

Official materialEdit

Fr-logo

The Forgotten Realms logo for 1st and 2nd edition and related products.

1st editionEdit

The first Forgotten Realms resource for Dungeon Masters was the Bloodstone Pass module, released in 1985. This was followed by the full-blown boxed set named the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, released in 1987 and affectionately known to this day as the "Grey Box." It placed the Realms timeline near the end of 1357 DR[9] 1st edition D&D did not have a great deal of official materials compared to the amount that would follow with 2nd edition.

2nd editionEdit

The campaign setting was rewritten for 2nd edition D&D and released in 1993 as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, but later revised in 1996. 2nd edition advanced the Realms timeline by a decade, and the campaign setting puts the timeline near to the end of 1367 DR.[10] It is set after the cataclysmic events of the Time of Troubles in 1358 DR in which deities were killed, new deities were created and many places in the Realms were altered. 2nd edition saw the advent of the popular Living City organized play project in which players could shape the fate and face of an entire city - Raven's Bluff.

3rd editionEdit

The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons was launched in 2000. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting for 3rd edition D&D was a book rather than a boxed set like the two previous editions. It advanced the timeline to 1372 DR[11] and progressed at a steady rate of approximately one month for every two real-world months that passed, up until early 1376 DR.

3.5 editionEdit

Because the 2003 edition of D&D was not wholly new and merely altered the 3rd edition rules, no campaign setting was released to coincide with the adoption of 3.5 edition. Instead, the Player's Guide to Faerûn provided an update to the campaign setting to bring it in line with 3.5 rules. The Living City project was moved to Loudwater in a campaign called the Legacy of the Green Regent which unfortunately suffered many problems with release schedules and unfinished modules and was prematurely dropped in favor of a focus on the dungeon of Undermountain.

4th EditionEdit

Forgotten Realms Campaign GuideForgotten Realms Player's GuideScepter Tower of Spellgard 4th Edition was released in 2008 and launched a new official organized play program, Living Forgotten Realms (LFR), replacing all previous RPGA programs. In 2010 the DnD Encounters store-based organized program was launched, concurrent with LFR. Many of the Encounters seasons were set in the Realms. 4th edition also saw the Neverwinter Campaign Setting, an ambitious multimedia project involving novels, a sourcebook, modules and an officially licensed MMORPG. 4th edition began in the Year of Blue Fire (1385 DR) when the Spellplague begins, but 4th edition play was set in 1479 DR when the Spellplague had stabilized.

5th EditionEdit

The 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons was a landmark one for the Forgotten Realms as it featured as the core setting for the entire game. Four adventures were released for The Sundering during the playtest period leading up to the 2014 edition launch, as well as interactive multi-table adventures such as Vault of the Dracolich and Confrontation at Candlekeep.. The first Sundering novel is set in 1484 DR. The Tyranny of Dragons story line and accompanying adventures began with the release of the 5th edition Player's Handbook. The Adventurers League was launched as a new organized play program set in the Realms and beginning play in the year 1489 DR.[12]

SourcebooksEdit

See also: Portal:Sourcebooks

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting has seen three complete revisions of the core setting over three editions of Dungeons & Dragons rules:

Various campaign accessories, including:

A number of older, out of print sourcebooks are available for free on the Wizards website and provide a good way to discover more about the Forgotten Realms before deciding to spend money on the more modern products.

WebsiteEdit

A website with realmslore made up of articles by Ed Greenwood and other Realms authors, with weekly updates.

Video gamesEdit

A large number of computer role-playing games have been released since the inception of the Forgotten Realms. Notable titles include:

  • Pool of Radiance (1988) - The first Forgotten Realms based computer game released, also the first in a long series of Gold Box engine games.
  • Neverwinter Nights (AOL game) (1991) - The first ever graphical Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG).
  • Baldur's Gate (1998) - The first game to utilize the Infinity Engine, it was highly popular and spawned a sequel.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) - Several other games based on this engine were also released, including Icewind Dale.
  • Icewind Dale (2000) - is a computer role-playing game developed by Black Isle Studios. It is set in the Icewind Dale region, but takes place decades before the events described in R. A. Salvatore's books which made the area a well-known part of Faerûn.
  • Icewind Dale 2 (2002) - is the sequel to Icewind Dale. It is set around 30 years after the events of the original game. Its plot revolves around a goblin uprising in the North, known as the Legion of the Chimera which threatens to overrun the Ten Towns if not stopped.
  • Neverwinter Nights (2002) - a highly popular third-person perspective role-playing game set in the Forgotten Realms. The game features online play and a toolset allowing creation of new adventure modules.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 (2006) - the long-awaited sequel to Neverwinter Nights, using an upgraded 3d engine and an improved (but more complicated) toolset.
  • Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter (2013) - the MMO aspect of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting project has proved very popular among Realms fans and newcomers.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Foreword to Elminster at the Magefair in The Best of the Realms.
  2. In the past, supplements for other parts of Abeir-Toril were also published, e.g. Kara-Tur, orientally styled lands to the east of Faerûn, but these parts of the setting have had no recent publications from WotC.
  3. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 271. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  4. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 264. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  5. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 256. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  6. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  7. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 230. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  8. Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. (TSR, Inc) ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
  9. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  10. Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  11. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 78. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  12. Marks, Greg, | Forum post by Adventurers League Admin stating start of campaign.

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