The Sundering

Well, it seems Wizards of the Coast is certainly ginning up the chatter about the new Forgotten Realms reboot, “The Sundering.”

For those who don’t know, it’s their new initiative to reintroduce the Forgotten Realms as the default setting for D&D Next, undoing some or most of the damage that was done to the setting by the Spellplague and the Time of Troubles (third time’s the charm!). They’re certainly doing what they can to grab folks’ attention:

ICv2 has a twopart interview with WotC’s Head of Publishing and Licensing for Dungeons & Dragons Liz Schuh, and Laura Tommervik, Sr. Brand Manager for D&D. In it, they discuss the plans for the “transmedia gaming event.”

The year-long event kicked off yesterday, with the release of the first of five novels that will support the story arc, The Companions by R.A. Salvatore. The series of novels will reach its conclusion next June with a novel by Ed Greenwood, and soon thereafter (at and around GenCon) we’ll see the official launch of D&D Next and the Forgotten Realms setting. I confess I haven’t read a FR novel in 15 years, but I ordered this one, just to see what they’re doing, after all, I was a huge fan of the Realms for many years. I may or may not get the rest of the series.

There will also be a mobile game app, comic books, and miniatures, but the capstone of the thing seems to be a special sort of organized play that will actually incorporate how players across the world handle the adventures. They’re short on specifics as to the methodology, but they’ve set up a website that allows players to tell WotC how a given adventure was handled. They’ll then presumably aggregate the results, and the most common, most interesting, one that catches their eye, etc. will be incorporated into the canonical history of the Realms.

It’s a neat idea, in its way, although I have my doubts as to the practicality of the methodology. Still, if it turns out the way they’re planning, it should be interesting.

Also interesting is the fact that the adventures will be compatible with 3.5, 4E, and D&D Next (you get the crunchy game-bits from an online download). Does this mean they don’t have confidence in D&D Next? I don’t think so. I think it’s an admission that they would not get as firm support for a playtest rules set as they would for a “real” rules set, so they’re simply covering their bases and not trying to alienate any of their large groups of supporters. And throwing the 3.5 players a bone is an especially nice touch.

Of course, I’d love to see a 1E conversion in there as well, but you can’t have everything.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “The Sundering

  1. In it, they discuss the plans for the "transmedia gaming event."

    Haven't they been doing those every August for the past two years, first with Neverwinter and then with Menzoberranzan? :p

    I tought that the Spellplague was pretty gonzo and made FR more interesting, but I'm still not fan of the setting.

    P.S. The upcoming DDO's Shadowfell/Plane of Shadows expansion could suggest, that the Sundering has something to do with Shadowfell/Plane of Shadows.

  2. The Spellplague was a black eye for the Realms no doubt. The increased hype is necessary to undo the samage since their novel lines are so ingrained in the RPG canon. I wish them the best and as a Greyhawk fan I'm still glad we missed 4e. Maybe after D&DNext gels. Who knows?

  3. So for 4th edition, Wizards of the coast magically merged the Forgotten Realms world of Toril with its sister world Abeir, right? and now it stands to reason that this Sundering will split the worlds apart, or at least this will be one aspect of the event. at least this is my suspicion. I have to admit that I'm curious and looking forward to learning more. I'm a long-time fan of the Realms, so I can't wait to see what they do next. Oh and does anyone else think it's cool that all of this somehow hinges on Baldurs Gate?

  4. WotC has their top authors writing their best selling characters as the bridging novel series.

    Then they're throw in some Baldur's Gate and mention of murder and Bhaal to get the attention of folks like me who were introduced to the setting from the computer games.

    WotC seems to be pulling out all the stops for this one were as the 4E stuff they just plopped on the setting.

    I disliked the 4E changes and felt they made the setting less interesting. I can handle gonzo, but 4E Realms was gonzo in a bad (blunt) way.

    This recent activity has my attention. We'll see how it goes.

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