D&D to remove inherently evil races

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Leema Har'gachi
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Re: D&D to remove inherently evil races

Post by Leema Har'gachi » Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:46 am

Irennan wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:20 am
So, Re: Relenless. It tried to change the status quo of the FR re: the drow, which is DIRELY needed (totally agree on that), but it came off as a goofy attempt to me (can't say more without spoilering, so I'll discuss this in the spoilery part of the comment).

MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW

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There's one part of this story that makes me glad, and that's the drow change, but it also makes me raise an eyebrow.

So, at the end of the book, Kimmuriel talks to Quenthel and some other, and says that, to the illithids, Lolth is essentially an illnes, as she doesn't care for the drow, and only wants to see them fight each other, run in circles in confusion, and crawl at her feet. Then shows them some memory from the first Yvonnel, from where she wasn't evil yet. This is enough to convince Quenthel and the others to discard Lolth and abandon evil, and prepare to return to Menzoberranzan to change everything.

Now, the good:

This makes me glad, because--as I said--it should have happened millennia ago in-universe. The fact that Lolth doesn't care for the drow and only makes them miserable has been canon--straight canon, very explicit--ever since 2e, and it was absolutely stupid that the drow went thorugh 12k+ years of total misery without *one* meaningful change.

The bad:

1)This change came from the wrong characters. Not from those who could gain something from changing the status quo (the "have some, want more" which are often those who can get the masses to rebel), not from the people who've been made miserable for years, but from the enforcers. Quenthel&co are those who defended the status quo for a long-ass time. They're the ones who benefit from it. They are sadistic, they randomly killed other drow with savage glee for stupid crap like accidentaly killing a spider. They tortured people for fun. And now, "talk-no-jutsu" and some memories make them do a 180? Lol?

2)As mentioned, it was pretty evident that Lolth has never cared for the drow, even in-universe. A drow is constantly told and shown that they're nothing but meat for her. At multiple times in history, Lolth dropped all pretenses to care about the prosperity of the drow, and just left them to rot following quite stupid plans. Many drow should have noticed that *far* before, and *on their own*--especially since they're described as highly intelligent.

Furthermore, for millennia, you have people like the followers of Eilistraee--and Eilistraee herself--who have been *actively* reaching for the drow, even materially helping them embrace a different path, even risking their life for them. On top of that, Eilistraee has also done something comparable to Yvonnel The First's memories: she's been showing all drow--including the matron mothers and Quenthel--what life could actually be (including in the form of lucid dream and emotiomns showing joy that they have been missing on--which are a comparable media to the memories that RAS uses as a catalyst for the change).

None of that (not the material activities, not the emotions, not the actively reaching for the drow) has EVER been enough to even achieve the smallest change. Millennia of seeing your kids being killed in front of you literally for the lulz, millennia of pain and sheer abuse have never been enough to move anyone (except Drizzt&co, ofc) to take the SLIGHTEST bit of action. Yet, now Kimmuriel's words and a bunch of scenes convince the matron mother of the first house of the most fanatical Lolthite city that "ohh, maybe evil is bad..."

Are you for friggin' real? This is not how you implement changes.
yep, that sums it up alright. Also the Handmaiden's revenge plot was kind of annoying and didn't really make sense. Like at all. What would she have done if Zak hadn't been brought back, just sit there. Also, I never understood why Lolth simps for Drizzt... Does she like men who give her reasons why she suck speech to the face, because I think that really matches with how she is portrayed in universe, as it seems like 100% of the attempts on Drizzt's life is basically done by other characters thinking it is what she wants when she doesn't even say that she wants him dead (even back in the old days), but when Lolth wants something she will always demand it. So all those drow who tried to kill him for lolth's favor, basically died for nothing. Also, Lolth simps for Drizzt because of the one time he retrieven Menzoberra's daggar and Malice thinks it a good idea to sacrifice him for letting a surface elf live.... and what happened to House Do'urdendf, they died... Hmmm, people who try and kill the mortal lolth simps for seem to have unlucky deaths alot.
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Zaknafriend
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Re: D&D to remove inherently evil races

Post by Zaknafriend » Sat Oct 31, 2020 5:43 am

Irennan wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:41 pm
It doesn't seem you're really disagreeing with me, though. You said it yourself: once they turn against each other, they fall. Once they can't get cooperation down, they fall. Once they get fragmented, they fall. Ultimately, cooperation is what allowed humanity to rise from primitive status into civilization. You don't have to like each other to cooperate, but the start of civilization as we know it coincides with the treatment of a broken femur. In the end, the fact that infighting and fragmentation are a recipe for failure is a recurring principle in all history; it really isn't a matter of opinion. However, this is utterly lacking in the worldbuilding of the drow. They don't face the consequences for their mistakes, which makes them a Mary Sue race. In this sense, Vhaeraun is a good villain; Lolth is a caricature (and a Mary Sue as well, since she too never pays the consequences of her failures and shortcomings).

Now, onto the other point, in order to avoid misunderstandings, when I say "cooperation", I don't mean all humanity working together. I mean groups of people bond by sharing a condition working together. You talk about Xenophobia and state-enforced philosophies as if they disprove that cooperation is the only way for humanity to survive, but the thing is that Xenophobia and strong group-rules are two of the best catalysts for unity. As I said, the reason why humans are social creatures with such a strong tendency to form groups (generally speaking) and condemning the out-groupers (Xenophobia), is exactly this--it's helped them survive. Establishing more and more rules for the group defines the group more strongly, and makes the condemnation of the other more and more savage. Why are racism and other shit like that o hard to eradicate? I won't go as far as saying that this tendency is the only reason, but it surely is one.

That said, eventually--and this is another matter--going overboard with that enforcement fails, and those dictatorships fall. The reason is that enforcing too much makes people miserable and it clashes with their desire for freedom, and... well, people don't like being miserable. They seek change, like I dicussed in my second post. Change is also the heart of any narrative. If you don't have it, either in the form of growth (heroic arc), or in the form of consquences for your refusal to change (tragic arc), then you're not making narrative.
I think we're splitting hairs on this point, with your refinement of your position above we're close enough for jazz.

That said, I politely take issue with the idea of change being at the heart of any narrative. Comics, serial stories, soap operas most video games and RPGs all demand a effective return to status quo. A dark threat looms on the horizon and only the central characters can avert the coming crisis. In Ice Wind Dale trilogy, Drizzt stabbed up that demon, the demon made all that noise about how 100 years wasn't a that long to drow or a demon. That was a noticable change to that story. Set up a neat idea of a coming grudge match, something for Creepy Uncle to be sweating about to happen. Grand history of the realms says he was back in like 3 years. I guess because sending Grendel's mother to fight Drizzt would have been too on the nose. Even on a small story arc like a hero's journey things default return to status quo. Drizzt is marketable, he must always remain in his most recognizable form.

Or take Elminster. Ed's self insert LOTR fanfic Gandolf has been battling Manshoon for as long as there has been a discount middle earth err..., sorry forgotten realms to game in. Hasn't put him down yet. Every time he tries, just makes things worse. Got to get back that status quo, Manshoon menacing pcs is marketable. Heck the very existence of not just FR, but D&D itself (or chainmail game if you prefer) is so we reset middle earth back to fun parts and wash-rinse-repeat. Sure it's developed, a bit, and had modifications made, you know to avoid copy right infringement, (no not a Balrog, it's a class 4 demon!).
Magic has rules and methods, especially in FR. You can develop techniques, share them, streamline them to maximize the efficiency and speed at which something is obtained. And I mean, spells being passed on over the ages, methods for creating magic items (which shouldn't be all battle-oriented; in fact, a lot of them should be utility-oriented) being widespread, it all points to magic having a method to it. Magic is indeed the technology of magic worlds. If magic remained with the caster, then it wouldn't even be able to be taught, which we know isn't the case. Interestingly, though, the equivalent of what you're saying (magic breakthrough disappearing with the caster) would be Flaming keeping penicillin to himself, which is exactly what Lolth encourages in the drow (which is another recipe for disaster).
Basically agreed, however with a YouTube video you could start manufacturing your own antibiotics. Anyone at all can replicate Newton's tests and prove the laws of motion. However casting spells have attribute gates, class gates and the most important element level gates. Anyone might find a high level wizard's spell book but if the finder doesn't have the all of the keys to all of the gates, it's only real use is to prop up wobbly tables. Or put simply, one does not need to be a 5th level chemist to craft penicillin.

And I do agree that mages keep their breakthroughs to themselves, there are whole adventure plots in first and second E books about just that. And it works outside out exactly as well as you think it would.

Further, I'd point out when a arcane caster gains a spell as a function of leveling, that's something they worked out on their own. Maybe they heard about it, maybe they dreamed it up but that spell is 100%their own innovation.
On a side note, unrelatedly to D&D/drow/FR, if you make a power system that has no universal rules and is entirely subjective, that's not even a soft magic system. That's the absence of a magic system. It's poor narrative design, because whenever you're in front of a problem, you can just say "and the problem is solved, because magic did it", since you established no rule re: what magic can and can't do, and how it does that. Even if you want to create conflict, what basis do you have to say what magic can and can do to make it internally consistent (and even more importantly, consistent to the reader, rather than feeling like an asspull?)
Agreed. And thumbs up on that one. My point was that tech works for anyone, magic has gates that need keys.
I've already addressed (in-depth) the point of religious totalitarianisms and even the threat of death not being nearly enough to justify the worldbuilding of the drow, and the absolute lack of changes, or of consequence to the lack of those changes. Especially in a world where people's mere disillusion can end a deity's life or drain their power anyway. Or for a race that all sources describe as highly intelligent (lol). This is one of the problems with the worldbuilding of the drow; everything continues to exist "because the author says so". And seriously, we're talking about joke-like levels of stupid and misery here--both emotional and material. Humans have turned whole nations upside down for far less, and multiple times.
True, but people have also suffered under similar systems based on religious or political doctrine for decades sometimes centuries out of fear that some god will smite them for X or Y. So it's plausible, even if it's drastically unlikely.

I am being somewhat circumspect because I don't yet have the temperature of the room and don't want to offend and get kicked from the board with a careless turn of phrase.
But bear with me: when I say this, people often think I'm referring to the fact that the drow being evil is the problem. Nope, I'm referring to conditions of the drow being so miserable and laughable that anyone--evil or not--would want to change them. Evil people, or ambition-driven people, especially when highly intelligent (all things the drow are commonly stated to be) would be even more motivated to change a system that intentionally keeps them down, and makes them miserable, because they're personally affected by it in ways they don't like. But as I said, I've alredy discussed this, in-depth.
I mostly agree. Really I do. So instead of countering your arguement let me instead temper your position by pointing out that in both game books and game world novels we see the heights of power and lows of poverty, because that differential drives the story. We don't see much of the average spots where nothing interesting happens (unless they story is going to wreck up the place and need to set the stage).

We also have the OTT level of misery you were discussing to draw emotional response out of the reader and make sure everyone is on the same page. "In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war" is plot hammer to make sure everyone understands.
Shar and Loviatar don't affect a whole culture or people. They have their own cults, but they are very niche. Those deities can reach the levels of power they do (for Shar), because Faerun is polytheistic, and everyone worships nearly all the gods of their pantheons. It wouldn't be crazy for a grieving mother to pray to Selune for comfort, but also to utter a prayer to Shar to help her turn that loss into strength to enact revenge for her slain child, for example. In fact, Shar approaches people as offering confort to people's pain for losses, in the feeling of emptyness/abandon, or in turning that pain into energy to fight off the world that took whatever they lost away from them. When designing his deities, Ed made sure to make it so that each provided something to the people who turned to them. Lolth, OTOH, offers *nothing* and takes all. She offers "power" to those who can harness it, but *literally* every other deity does, and at least 2 other deities actively reach to the drow in ways that Lolth can't stop. And Lolth's isn't even the only way to gain power--arcane magic is a thing, warlock pacts are a thing, sorcerers are a thing (though this is innate), druidic magic is a thing, etc...

This is somewhat unrelated to the point I was making, because it examines something external to the Lolthite society. Anyway, Eilistraee had a whole flourishing nation before Lolth's cult was even a thing on Toril. Which, as I said, should make the rejection of Lolth even easier (not necessairly in favor of Eilistraee, since Vhaeraun had a mighty culture too, and the drow should have remembered of it, especially shortly after the Descent. In fact, the trend was that as soon as Lolth's cult started spreading among Ilythiir's rulers, Ilythiir fell). In the current times, however, Eilistraee's culture is NOT flourishing. Every source still has Eilistraee at like <1% of the drow, which is frankly utter nonsense. Not only because the drow wouldn't just eat Lolth's crap all day long if it wasn't for author bias, but because of a purely logical reason (like I've already explained in my second post).

On one side, you have a "civilization" with mortality rates that are outright stupid (even in times of Lolth-enforced peace, even in a friggin' war, they keep killing each other), and a deity that actively encourages stagnation. On the other side, you have two cultures that, even though they started small (after the Descent) are united, and have all the tools to lower mortality rates to near 0, and care after each other. Guess what would happen over the millennia? Right, the "civilization" would decline, while the other cultures would gain numbers. And that's with *0* converts. Guess what happens in D&D? Nothing. Lolth's numbers constantly stay at >90% of the drow, Eilistraee's constantly stay at <1%. Sorry, but did they stop to think about this from more than a handful of seconds? It's one of the reasons why Ed Greenwood's approach, with Lolth slightly below 50%, is *far* better than this (and I bet that Lolthites aren't as stupid as canon portrays them in Ed's Realms).
Sure, just wanted to touch the bases on my way around. Make sure you are able to see I had understanding of the game world, and I didn't want to get flexed on for failing to mention the other forces at work. Plus I felt like this an Eilistraee board, I'd better tie my arguement back to her. Again, I'm the new guy, and don't want to upset, just discuss. It's fun to flex my brain with new people.
That isn't true, though. A game world just has to give your campaign a prompt; it shouldn't be designed to pigeonhole you into one type of storyline. It can have a focus on facilitating certain types of storylines, but it should be an aid, not a constriction. That said, declaring "eh, it's simply how this is designed" isn't an excuse for poor narrative. If that's simply how things are designed, then they're designed badly. Which was my point.

Having good worldbuilding instead of something that falls apart as soon as you start asking the most basic of the questions ("why?") doesn't help design a game, it puts an obstacle in front of you. Moreover, having decent worldbuilding wouldn't prevent you from having your "drow are invading" storyline. If the drow weren't monolithical, and had only one faction following Lolth rather than nearly all of them, if that faction wasn't as comical as it is in canon, then you could still have your "the drow are invading" storyline, and maybe it wouldn't even be an "oh look, the drow are invading. Is this that time of the week again?" kind of storyline.
But again, most marketable version, status quo. We had 1st ed FR. Then the time of troubles to cover the 2nd ed changes by whacking some gods. Then through 2nd ed and third ed, we got most of them back. So 4th ed whacked a bunch of gods burned down a bunch of our favorite places and warped some places into different places. And everyone hated it. So now we're back to where we started with first ed.

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Re: D&D to remove inherently evil races

Post by Irennan » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:45 am

Zaknafriend wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 5:43 am

I think we're splitting hairs on this point, with your refinement of your position above we're close enough for jazz.
I didn't refine my position. The thing about forming groups and condemning others (so, Xenophobia) was already in my first comment. Here's the first half of it:

"Humans have thrived in hostile environments by cooperating and helping each other. Developments, technology, and civilization only became possible because of this: forming groups based on cooperation. The reason why humans are social creatures with such a strong tendency to form groups (generally speaking) and condemn the out-groupers, is exactly this. Groups and cooperation make you survive. This includes caring for each other."
That said, I politely take issue with the idea of change being at the heart of any narrative. Comics, serial stories, soap operas most video games and RPGs all demand a effective return to status quo. A dark threat looms on the horizon and only the central characters can avert the coming crisis. In Ice Wind Dale trilogy, Drizzt stabbed up that demon, the demon made all that noise about how 100 years wasn't a that long to drow or a demon. That was a noticable change to that story. Set up a neat idea of a coming grudge match, something for Creepy Uncle to be sweating about to happen. Grand history of the realms says he was back in like 3 years. I guess because sending Grendel's mother to fight Drizzt would have been too on the nose. Even on a small story arc like a hero's journey things default return to status quo. Drizzt is marketable, he must always remain in his most recognizable form.

Or take Elminster. Ed's self insert LOTR fanfic Gandolf has been battling Manshoon for as long as there has been a discount middle earth err..., sorry forgotten realms to game in. Hasn't put him down yet. Every time he tries, just makes things worse. Got to get back that status quo, Manshoon menacing pcs is marketable. Heck the very existence of not just FR, but D&D itself (or chainmail game if you prefer) is so we reset middle earth back to fun parts and wash-rinse-repeat. Sure it's developed, a bit, and had modifications made, you know to avoid copy right infringement, (no not a Balrog, it's a class 4 demon!).
But it is, and it's not me saying that, it's the whole narratology and all the principles of screenwriting. A story, in order to be a story, needs conflict, and in order to be resolved, conflict needs change. The protagonists need to change--to overcome the so called fatal flaw. That is what the story is about. A story isn't about slaying a demon--that's merely the "fun&games", aka the vector to deliver the heart of a story. A story is about the inner change that the protags go through to be able to defeat the demon (or how the protags double down on their fatal flaw and go into a tragic arc). Without that, a story isn't even a story, just a collection of events. Think of those movies with a lot of fight scenes and VFXs and little substance--fun, marketable, perhaps, but ultimately hollow. OTOH, each story teaches a lesson of "survival of the fittest" in the widest sense. It's a tale of success of changing and adapting when your survival system stops working, or a cautionary tale against remaining stationary in your fallimentary mindset (or, more often and more interestingly, descending deeper and deeper into it). That's the whole reason why humans started telling stories, even fantasy, as even when the imagination runs wild, deep down the the brain explores possible archetypes of scenarios that you might face in the future.

Marketable is not synonym of good quality. Heck, even popular isn't. I can read an objectively bad story about a theme that I enjoy, or that includes elements that attract to me, and still enjoy that story despite its bad quality. However, if that bad story about something I like had also been well-crafted, I would have *loved* it, not merely enjoyed it. I'll be honest: more often than not, Drizzt isn't good narrative (especially most later books). I don't think Elminster is good narrative either.

Anyway, re: change. In the case of the drow, the stakes are survival, and the change that the drow need to go through is taking control of their future and start working together.

Basically agreed, however with a YouTube video you could start manufacturing your own antibiotics. Anyone at all can replicate Newton's tests and prove the laws of motion. However casting spells have attribute gates, class gates and the most important element level gates. Anyone might find a high level wizard's spell book but if the finder doesn't have the all of the keys to all of the gates, it's only real use is to prop up wobbly tables. Or put simply, one does not need to be a 5th level chemist to craft penicillin.
You do need to be proficient in Chemistry, though. The kind of preparation and work required to be a scientist or an engineer is *vast*. Crafting antibiotics, even the simplest ones, isn't easy at all. Likewise, Physics concepts can become impossible to understand on an operative level (i.e. you actually need to understand the concept to apply it) to someone who isn't familiar with it--or heck, they're also tough to understand on a divulgative level. Physics and engineering also require advanced math that you need to study and be proficient with. Yet, we still have tech that has become streamlined and accessible to all, because people have shared their knowledge and came up with better and better applications to ease human lives.

In general, science isn't something you can really understand and put to work by watching YT videos (unless they're proper lessons, ofc). Yes, there's stuff that you can do on your own, without understanding a whole lot of it and just following instructions, but that generally relies on having the pieces and devices already prepared for you. You can't build a computer and its pieces from scratch by watching divulgative YT videos.

With that said, arcane magic can be studied, and you can advance in levels just by studying it, so there isn't a big difference, really.
And I do agree that mages keep their breakthroughs to themselves, there are whole adventure plots in first and second E books about just that. And it works outside out exactly as well as you think it would.
Not all, and--most importantly--those stories aren't set in an environment that is trying to kill you. My point is that ok, some wizards are bound to keep their stuff for themselves, but the general mindset isn't the same mental closure that charcterizes the Lolthites. Infighting and paranoia discourage any sharing of discoveries and any cooperation to make something useful out of that discovery (e.g. finding a spell to increase production of food, then working together to enachant an irrigation system with that spell, to gain abundant food from an otherwise poor land). So, a society riddled with infighting, that dicourages sharing of magical discoveries, would hardly have any advanced tech or system of magic items/infrastructures. The drow, OTOH, have all of that and more because... ah, right, "because I say so".
Further, I'd point out when a arcane caster gains a spell as a function of leveling, that's something they worked out on their own. Maybe they heard about it, maybe they dreamed it up but that spell is 100%their own innovation.
That's entirely up to your flavor though, it's not something written in canon AFAIK.
True, but people have also suffered under similar systems based on religious or political doctrine for decades sometimes centuries out of fear that some god will smite them for X or Y. So it's plausible, even if it's drastically unlikely.
But, as I said:
1)those systems don't really compare to a setting so ludicrous that even basic human relationships are taboo, and you can be killed or bankrupted literally for the lulz
2)those systems are full of dissent. Unlike the drow, who are uniformly painted as being a-ok with their misery under Lolth. For 12000 years. With 0 repercussions, 0 changes, 0 pushes for change. In a world where their mere, passive, silent disillusion would have drained Lolth's power and--after the ToT--severely hurt her.
I am being somewhat circumspect because I don't yet have the temperature of the room and don't want to offend and get kicked from the board with a careless turn of phrase.
As far as I'm concerned, you can speak without reservations.
I mostly agree. Really I do. So instead of countering your arguement let me instead temper your position by pointing out that in both game books and game world novels we see the heights of power and lows of poverty, because that differential drives the story. We don't see much of the average spots where nothing interesting happens (unless they story is going to wreck up the place and need to set the stage).
I would agree with your point, if that difference was actually used in any novel. But nope, the novels generally gloss over the extreme poverty. Novels mostly show us the nobles and their shenanigans, never how the actual life in a Lolthite society is. Commoners should be a hotbed of Eilistraean and Vhaeraunite activity, they should be *sick* of it, but we are never shown anything substantial about it.

Another thing worth noting, is that it's usually those average people, the "have some, want more" that channel the "have nots" to create revolutions against the establishment. There's a good book that goes into detail about it (Rules for Radicals, by Alinsky, which I kinda see as Machiavelli's "The Prince" of the modern era, just more pragmatic and down-to-earth).
We also have the OTT level of misery you were discussing to draw emotional response out of the reader and make sure everyone is on the same page. "In the grim darkness of the future, there is only war" is plot hammer to make sure everyone understands.
It's true that in narrative the concept of establishing empathy is based on showing unjust suffering happening to "just" characters (the so-called "pole of good"--i.e. they must appear to be "good" in their context, not necessarily in absolute). However, 2 things to avoid are 1)passivity 2)melodrama or otherwise exaggerated suffering. The reason for this is that people relate to "unjust suffering to just character" because it's how we often feel when something bad happens to us. Our instinctive reaction is to reject or fail to see our faults, so we tend to see ourselves in the character. But if you bring in passivity (which is a fault) and exaggeration while you're trying to establish empathy, that will fall flat. You may tell me that this is the contrary of holding characters accountable, and I understand your point, The thing is, holding characters accountable comes later; when you're at the beginning of your writing and establishing empathy, the ills that befall the character shouldn't be painted as their fault (you're in their PoV, after all, at least when writing a novel), even though they are. The reader must feel that the character didn't deserve what happened to them.

Wallowing in total misery for 12k years while doing *absolutely nothing* about it, is not ideal for establishing empathy. Note that I'm using the info of the 12k years, because this is never something we see in novels, only sourcebooks talk about the poverty and misery of the commoner, and from the sourcebooks we do know that this crap has been going on for an insanely long time. If the story of the drow was set shortly (even a couple centuries) after Lolth's ascending to power, I actually wouldn't have any objection. But 12k years is laughable.

As for WH40k, empathy hardly is the first reaction that comes to mind when thinking about it, but even there you see worlds rebelling against the Imperium and/or abadoning it. Even the most absolute, totalitarian regime in fiction has more dissent than the Lolthite drow. Lol.
Sure, just wanted to touch the bases on my way around. Make sure you are able to see I had understanding of the game world, and I didn't want to get flexed on for failing to mention the other forces at work. Plus I felt like this an Eilistraee board, I'd better tie my arguement back to her. Again, I'm the new guy, and don't want to upset, just discuss. It's fun to flex my brain with new people.
I appreciae the conversation. Even though I'm vehement, know that it's really hard for me to become offended, and I surely don't get offended over disagreements. W/o disagreements, there's no learning and no conversation.
But again, most marketable version, status quo. We had 1st ed FR. Then the time of troubles to cover the 2nd ed changes by whacking some gods. Then through 2nd ed and third ed, we got most of them back. So 4th ed whacked a bunch of gods burned down a bunch of our favorite places and warped some places into different places. And everyone hated it. So now we're back to where we started with first ed.
Because of 2 reasons:
1)Marektability-wise, it shouldn't be up to WotC to destroy stuff; it should be up to individual tables. You may tell me that reworking the drow would indeed be destroying stuff--which is why I'm only suggesting to temper the current nonsense of the drow by making Lolth less monolithical and giving more room to other cultures, and adding some dissent among commoners. Mostly what Ed has in his Realms. I'm not suggesting to scrap the drow altogether--if I want to do that, I'll do that in my setting. And I did. What I want to get across is:
a game setting needs to offer good prompts for campaigns, not necessarily a prompt based on a cheap "we end back to 0" kind of storyline. Good worldbuilding makes good prompts more inviting and easier to enact, and it facilitates campaigns where stuff actually changes in a meaningful way. Which is why good worldbuilding is important in a game setting, even if you're not going to have canon stories that dramatically change the setting.
The worldbuilding of the drow needed a revision at the very beginning, but it can still use it now.
2)The plots WotC /TSR used aren't a natural progression of the premises scattered around the FR. Nope, they were about a marketing coming up with some kewl idea of some kewl cataclysms and some massive world shakeup to get people to buy stuff when things wer getting stale (marketability), and blowing stuff up to enact it.

But make no mistake, even if 5e hadn't reset the Realms, it'd still be a resounding success IMHO. 5e base is mostly made up of newcomers. Newcomers mostly give 0 fucks about which version of FR is used.

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