Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms
Realms Roundtable: Nations and States 2
Artist's Sketchbook: Nations and States
Sneak Peek: The Silver Marches
Sneak Peek: Alustriel
Realms Roundtable: Nations and States
Sneak Peek: Scardale Regional Information
Ed Says: Forgotten Realms Nations and States
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Design Team Bios

Realms Roundtable

In the second part of this month's roundtable, we asked the Forgotten Realms design team about the nature of the changes happening to the nations and states in the new edition of the setting. Are there huge shifts taking place? A lot of small changes? A little of both? A lot of neither?. Their answers show their concern for preserving the continuity of the setting while having it continue to evolve.

Rich Baker
Creative Director

Sean Reynolds

Rob Heinsoo

Rich Baker: Few huge shifts, really. The kinds of changes we're moving forward with are generally the fruition of plot hooks sewn in game products, magazine articles, and novels over the last ten years or more. For example, the Black Network openly rules Zhentil Keep now -- the organization dictates affairs in its home city completely. That's simply an evolutionary change derived from years of products and books, nothing that's unprecedented or revolutionary. It's just a change that makes sense.

Sean Reynolds: We have a broad range of changes, from an old ruler stepping down peacefully to take on other duties, to a hero ascending a throne, to god-kings putting the smackdown on their ancient rivals.

Rob Heinsoo: A couple of the larger shifts tie in with the villains theme. Villains + nations. I'm not certain we want to give everything away, but there are shifts in power and political and social events that change kingdoms and nations. It's a living world, when it breathes, some people fall off and others hang on and get more powerful.

Is there any new material being introduced/added/changed about those places we're already familiar with?

Sean Reynolds: The first thing that comes to mind is the halfling nation of Luiren. With the changes in halflings for the new D&D, we had to take a long hard look at this place, because according to the Player's Handbook, "halflings have no lands of their own." We needed to find a reason for these halflings to cluster together and defend their own territory without violating the feel of the new halfling. What Rob came up with makes sense, and allows the Luiren halflings to be halflings and still have their own country. And they're a bunch of zealous martial artists, when you come right down to it. . . .

Rich Baker: One of the things we're doing is describing in brief every land of Faerûn, including places that haven't been touched on in years and years of game product.

Rob Heinsoo: Yes. Some of the distant (from the Heartlands) places have been explored because there was precious little about them in print before.

Rich Baker: For example, you'll find brief overviews of places like Tashalar, Chult, Dambrath, Luiren, and Estagund in the new set -- a quick summary, but the first time these places have been addressed in print since The Jungles of Chult and The Shining South, game products almost ten years old.

For the most part, though, we've concentrated our efforts in two regions: the Dalelands and the North. Our market research indicates that most FR fans are playing their games in those areas, so we covered them in greater depth than we did other parts of Faerûn.


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