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Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon

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Green check This page is an official policy on the Forgotten Realms Wiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

The Canon policy outlines what lore and sources may be accepted on the Forgotten Realms Wiki and how to resolve contradictions between them. For the purposes of this policy, "canon" is the term given to a piece of Realms- or D&D-related information that establishes its status as an official part of the Forgotten Realms fictional universe.

DescriptionEdit

There is no generally accepted, official, hard-and-fast set of rules given by TSR, Inc. (TSR) or Wizards of the Coast (WotC) for determining outright what is canon, so this policy provides guidelines for determining what is considered canon on this wiki, in accordance with authors' recommendations and fan consensus.

"Canon", according to Ed Greenwood, is any published source relating to the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. This means that if it is for sale in paper (or digital) form then it is official Realmslore. Editors at this wiki have pointed out that this would technically make video games canon, which would cause inherent problems, such as contradictions in the lore and, for example, the outcome of a decision by a player to potentially kill Drizzt Do'Urden in the course of gameplay in the Baldur's Gate video game.

Some authors disagree with Ed's view. Richard Baker, for example, when asked about the Baldur's Gate series, claims that canon in the Forgotten Realms is whatever you make of it. You can choose whether a particular work is canon or not. (Some fandoms know this as "personal canon".)

Most are more inclined to agree with Greenwood as he is the 'father' of the Forgotten Realms. Furthermore, Ed Greenwood is the creator of the Forgotten Realms, and according to the original agreement between him and TSR, everything he writes and says regarding the Forgotten Realms is canon, unless or until superseded by published material from TSR or WotC.

In the case of the Baldur's Gate series, their popularity, coupled with a sourcebook and several Dragon magazine articles means that in the eyes of many respected members of the Forgotten Realms community it, as it appears in the game, is almost as much canon as the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.

The conclusion is that this wiki needs to establish for itself what it considers canon to determine what is acceptable content, and has done so through the general consensus of its editors. What you personally consider canon, or even what a Realms author or employee of WotC considers canon, is not necessarily canon on this wiki.

Feel free to discuss articles marked as non-canon on their respective talk pages.

OriginsEdit

The original discussions relating to what is and what is not canon can be found on the talk page and on Forum:Revised canon policy. Further discussion should be carried out on the talk page.

ContradictionEdit

Despite fact checking and research at TSR and later WotC, discrepancies in the canon exist. Documenting the discrepancies is as much a part of writing for the wiki as documenting the Realms itself.

The article author is not at liberty to pick and choose which information should be included and which should be left out. A hierarchy exists to determine which information should be given preference when a contradiction is discovered, but the less preferable information should not be excluded.

HierarchyEdit

The wiki uses a hierarchy to determine, if two sources contradict one another, which is preferred. See Help:Citing sources for more information on how to reference a given source.

In brief, as a rule of thumb, the hierarchy is as follows:

  1. Official Forgotten Realms sources (sourcebooks, novels, adventures, articles)
  2. Ed Greenwood
  3. Core D&D sources
  4. Other D&D settings
  5. Licensed material (comics, video games)
  6. Forum posts

These are explained in more detail below:

Realms sourcebooks
This includes sourcebooks, boxed sets, adventure material, and other gaming-related products (not video games) relating to the Forgotten Realms universe. This includes the Forgotten Realms, Al-Qadim, Oriental Adventures (1st edition)/Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms, and Maztica campaign settings. Base Forgotten Realms material takes priority over sources based in other continents, but there is no specific preference between Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, and Maztica. See Category:Sourcebook citation templates.
Realms novels
This applies to both printed and digital novels and short stories relating to the Forgotten Realms universe, provided they have been published by TSR, WotC, or can be demonstrated as being within Realms canon. See Category:Novel citation templates.
Realms-based magazines and online articles
This includes Dragon magazine, Dungeon magazine, and information from the WotC website written specifically about the Realms. This applies to both printed and online editions of the magazines. Where online information is concerned, only official articles are considered. This excludes Realms authors' work on non-Wizards websites, thus excluding their personal developments and unpublished material. See Category:Dragon citation templates, Category:Dungeon citation templates, and Category:Web citation templates.
Ed Greenwood
Everything Ed Greenwood writes and says regarding the Forgotten Realms is canon, unless or until superseded by published material from TSR or WotC. This includes his website columns and his responses at the Candlekeep forums and the So saith Ed compilations, as well as convention seminars, interviews and so on. However, all material referenced to Ed Greenwood should be cited to a source that readers can reasonably be expected to find and view for themselves to confirm: in a linked-to forum post, in a linked-to online interview, or in a magazine or book.
Core D&D sourcebooks
Any official, core D&D source is considered canon in the Realms, with some caveats. For this wiki, core D&D material should be general in scope and applicable to the Realms, and ideally referenced within official and licensed Realms sources. For example, a core D&D spell would be considered canon, but in a core D&D adventure that introduces new physical locations and characters, these locations and characters would not. If that adventure includes an adaptation to the Realms, then they may be acceptable. Core D&D material that includes applications to the Realms or features material from the Realms are acceptable on this wiki. Primary Realms source take precedence as normal.
Core D&D magazines and online articles
This includes Dragon magazine, Dungeon magazine, and information from the Wizards of the Coast website written about core D&D products. The same caveats apply as for "Core D&D sourcebooks" above.
Other D&D settings
Other D&D settings are not allowed except where their source material makes reference to or crosses over with the Forgotten Realms, or where the Realms makes reference to or crosses over them. This primarily includes settings that crossover into other campaign settings, such as Planescape, Spelljammer, or Ravenloft, while others such as Dragonlance are possible. Information from other D&D settings should only be included if it is directly relevant to the Realms or necessary for clarity. These can include sourcebooks, novels, and video games. Links to other wikis and websites may be included for further information.
Realms comics
A comic book, graphic novel or the like set in the Forgotten Realms, licensed by TSR or WotC to another publisher. This includes comic book adaptations of novels and so on.
Video games
This applies to console games, PC/Mac games, and other forms of electronic entertainment, licensed by TSR or WotC to another publisher, and are generally considered to not be canon. However, due to popularity and importance, they are accepted on this wiki. These should be Realms-based games, and, rarely, games in other D&D settings that make reference to the Realms. Sourcebooks and novels that retell the events of video games supersede those video games. See Category:Game citation templates.
Forum posts
Forum posts cannot be considered canon unless made by a Realms designer or author and unless stated as such or resolving a discrepancy. These can generally be considered canon but might warrant discussion for individual cases. This does not include cases where they may simply be discussing ideas with fans, or posting their personal developments and unpublished material, though these may be linked to as interesting and relevant information in appendix notes. For citing the forums at the Candlekeep website, see {{Cite web/Candlekeep forum}}.

Adventures & video gamesEdit

Adventure material and modules may appear in Realms and core D&D sourcebooks, online articles, and Dungeon magazines. Thus they are canon and acceptable on the wiki. Video games are also acceptable. However, adventures and video games may feature branching storylines, random events, have unnamed protagonists (the PCs or players), no official conclusions, and may deviate from official lore for gameplay reasons. Thus, it is difficult to compile a definitive account of events in them. Therefore, only unchangeable information can be accepted. Notes can be included to explain possible outcomes. If sourcebooks or novels confirm an outcome of an adventure, then that outcome may be taken as correct. If a video game or adventure is novelized as a novel, then the version of events in that novel take precedence. Details in the video game or adventure then become supporting information.

AgeEdit

Age is a secondary factor in determining preference of information. If two sources contradict one another, the more recently published should be considered preferable. If a new novel contradicts an old sourcebook, the sourcebook should be preferred since it is higher in the hierarchy.

EditionsEdit

Equal preference is given to all editions of the game. Editors are not at liberty to prioritize one edition above another. The lore is generally unchanged from edition to edition, but contradictions arising in different editions should favor the newer edition, but care should be taken to make mention of all editions and reference each.

Where history is concerned, each edition has a different date, so the usual method is to list each piece of information in chronological order.

Realms-specific versus generic D&DEdit

Realms-specific sources (of any kind) should be preferred to generic D&D ones. Age is not a factor in this decision.

Sourced versus unsourcedEdit

As per Help:Citing sources, an unreferenced piece of information may never be taken in preference to a referenced one. It is not simply good enough to claim that a piece of information exists within a source. It must be referenced as accurately as possible so that the reader may choose to check of his or her own accord, and verify that it is the case.

RetconsEdit

A retcon should always be considered to override any information in the source material, provided it is from a TSR or Wizards source.

Common senseEdit

The above are simply guidelines and common sense must prevail. It is not outside the realms of possibility that an obvious flaw in the canon will be published that will fall outside the guidelines set in place above. In this situation, the preferred order of information should follow common sense.

DisputesEdit

This policy is clear that in the case of discrepancies in the information, all versions should be included, with references, but preference should be given to one particular version. The details of determining preference have been provided above.

However, should a dispute arise on what is preferable to what, as per the usual wiki policies on discussions, this should be conducted in a civil and productive manner. A general consensus should be reached before the order of preference is determined.

Removing or altering a valid, referenced piece of information is never an acceptable resolution to a discrepancy in the source material.

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