So many of you have heard of my hatred of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons at least once, but I’m not sure if I’ve actually sat down and told you lovely people why.

Total honesty here, I have never played an RPG with anyone featuring official D&D rules from any edition whatsoever.  That does not mean I am against playing sed game, it is just that I do not know the mechanics well enough to run my own campaign, nor have I come across anyone who has been starting one such up when I’ve been around.  I know very little about the mechanics behind it all.  I like to think that with my experience playing other RPGs like Scion, Exalted, Game of Thrones, and Legend of the Five Rings I’d pick up on them fairly quickly, but that’s beside the point.

To date, most of my knowledge and association with D&D has come second hand through my one great non-sentiant love of my life: Forgotten Realms.

See, Forgotten Realms was created by a game designer named Ed Greenwood who used it for some childhood stories he was writing.  He then took the Realms to D&D, and they turned it into a campaign setting that kinda took on a life of its own.  The Realms is set on the continent of Faerûn, on the world of Abeir-Toril and is populated by a wide variety of creatures such as humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, goblins, bugbears, dragons, unicorns, hydras, ghost, lichs, vampires, ghouls, griffons, giants, ogres, giant creatures, dire creatures, kobolds, faeries, sprites, demons, devils, and normal fuzzy forest creatures to name a few.  They’re all easily identifiable and recognizable from the D&D monster manuals.

The Realms has its own list of deities for every sentient race, and for every alignment, as well as being steeped in magic and everything that comes with being such a fantastical world.  I won’t dig too much into the religions of the Realms except to point out one thing.  There is only one goddess who really and truly rules the purview of magic, and her name is Mystra.  She’s the caretaker and creator of the Weave, the source of all magic.  All practitioners of every race and alignment are essentially her worshipers.  She doesn’t care how magic is used, so long as it is used.

I was first introduced to the Realms through R.A. Salvatore’s Drizz’t Saga.  I picked up the original Dark Elf Trilogy of Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn and I haven’t looked back.  As I have mentioned before, I have read almost every book set in the Realms since the first one was published in 1983.

I love the Realms.  The diversity, the magic, it’s just a great setting and the authors that Wizards of the Coast (the ones who created and own D&D) choose to write these stories are fantastic as well.  But then WotC had to go and eff it all up.

WotC made changes to D&D, which they have every right to do, I just don’t understand why they made the changes they did to the world of the Realms.  Ok, so a tiefling can be a hero.  Ok, so gnomes are technically classified as monsters now.  Balance is key in character creation, and things are more combat oriented than they were before.  But where on earth did you think these changes equaled ripping the Realms apart?

As far as I can see from my research, none of the changes made to transition D&D 3.5 to 4.0 made the changes to the Realms necessary, and I think that’s what ticks me off the most.

Now, what did they do that was so horrible?  Let me tell you.

1: They killed off Mystra.  A major goddess.  A goddess who’s death and void in the pantheon led things to go ape sh*t on the Realms.  The Weave fell apart, magic didn’t work anymore period for a short time, and it barely works like it used to now, and the resulting backlash caused something called the Spellplague.

2: The Spellplague.  The death of Mystra I probably could of handled, if it wasn’t for this.  The Spellplague was THE backlash of Mystra’s death.  The Weave was shattered and as a result a wave of magical blue energy rippled across Faerun, wreaking havoc.  Millions of people and creatures were killed, scarred, and mutated in the wave.  It raised oceans and destroyed mountains.  It made rivers flow up into the sky and ripped random chunks of land out from the ground to float around in the air.  In short, the entire face of the world of Aber-Toril was changes, because this devastation was (I assume) not limited to Faerûn.

3: Mystra wasn’t the only god to die.  They killed off at least two others that I know of, both from the drow pantheon.  I haven’t read all of the post ‘Plague stuff but as far as I know Mystra, Vhareun, and Ellistrae are the three gods the WotC people sacrificed on the 4th Ed altar.

4: Major characters are killed off/driven bat shit insane.  Cattie-Brie and Regis from the Drizz’t saga dies.  Cadderly from the Cleric Quintent bites it trying to fix the Weave.  Elminster!  The second most well known character in the Realms cannot work magic without being driven insane by it.

In short, WotC made completely unnecessary changes to the Realms in support of 4th Ed. D&D.  Nothing that came out in 4th Ed warranted the widespread devastation that I have seen in the world, and I think that gets my goat the most.

Change is never good or fun.  Fangirls like me will always have issue with changes to their little worlds.  It’s a fact of life.  What gets me most is that there was no reason for it!  If there was a reason I’d still be upset, but not to the point where I was ready to give up entirely on something I had cherished so much.

So there you go folks.  That’s why I hate 4th Ed D&D with the passion of a thousand fiery suns going super nova at the same time.  You wanna revamp something in support of changes you make?  Fine.  I won’t like it but I’ll accept it.  But if you want to change something that drastically just because someone was smoking something and thought it was a good idea at the time, that’s where I get pissed.

I know some of you are probably wondering why, if there have been such drastic changes to a world I obviously love so much, do I still stick with it?  In one word boys and girls: Hope.

I have hope that something will happen that will bring the Realms back to some degree of normalcy.  Nothing will ever be the same in the Realms, too much has happened to ever reset the clock and turn things back to the way they were, and while that saddens me, it is ultimately inevitable and I must accept it.

But I have hope that they’ll bring Mystra, or at least a reincarnation of her, back.  And with the goddess of magic back in action, there is a chance that the Weave can be repaired.  And if the Weave can be repaired, maybe the magic can work like it did, and maybe then somethings can be turned back and reset.

I know.  I lot of maybes.  But I can’t give up on the Realms just yet.  I’ve invested too much into it to give up just now.  Thankfully I have a nice backlog of pre-Spellplague to hide in whenever I get the post Spellplague blues.

Advertisements