By Andrew Dodson on August 6, 2013 at 8:40pm
The Forgotten Realms is a campaign setting for Wizard of the Coast's "Dungeon and Dragons" tabletop game. It is the campaign setting, in fact. Originally published in 1987, The Forgotten Realms has been home to countless novels, video games, and tabletop adventures. Even people that have never played D&D in their life probably have seen pictures of a scimitar-wielding dark elf or an old wizard dressed in red. The Forgotten Realms is the iconic fantasy campaign setting, and I feel its safe to assume that every D&D player out the has spent at least one evening exploring the fabled land.
As of Aug. 6th, however, Wizards of the Coast is changing everything.
The Sundering is WotC's attempt of a massive overhaul of the setting in preparation for the next iteration of D&D rules (known as "D&D Next"). This event isn't simply going to replace the Forgotten Realms setting. Wizards of the Coast plans to get the players involved and use their experiences as the event unfolds to tell the story of how things change and why.
Kicking off the Sundering is the release of the newest R.A Salvatore book "The Companions." The book follows Drizzt Do'Urden, one of the most popular characters in the Forgotten Realms setting, and starts 100 years after the events of the last Drizzt book at the first stirring "the Sundering." There will be six books in the series, all by well-known writers in the setting and each seeing the Sundering through the eyes of another iconic hero.
The 100 year jump was not an easy transition and something that R.A Salvatore called "brutal." For his dark elf character, Drizzt, 100 years is nothing, but it is quite a bit of time for all the characters that Salvatore has surrounded the legendary ranger with - characters that helped craft Drizzt into the hero we all know him to be in the Realms. We don't know yet what became of his companions over the century, but I can only imagine it will be sad. In a Forbes interview, RA Salvatore said this about the new challenge:
"At the same time as it was a challenge, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, and maybe it’s for the best, because I really think that the last four Dark Elf books have been a wake-up call as a writer. At the time I fought against it, and I’m not sure I was right from a creative standpoint, because this forced me to look at things in a different way.”
You can pick up the first book of the "Sundering" series now.
Showing off a more techy side of the company, WotC will also be releasing a new D&D mobile game called "Arena of War." The game was developed by DeNa and will feature "battle-intensive role-playing" and massive multiplayer contents and events. It will be released later this year on Android, iPhone, and iPad devices. If players preregister now, they will be given access as soon as the game is released and also awarded a special item to give their character a starting boost.
Weekly Tabletop Experiences
The most necessary aspect to the Sundering is putting the player directly into the setting as the event unfolds and give them the opportunity to try to affect it. Wizards of the Coast will release sets of pre-made adventures to game stores, and the store can schedule game days for them where players can enter and run through some of the new Sundering campaign event. Once completed, the player will be able to go online to the Sundering Adventurer's Chronicle on Facebook and make a log of how they completely certain tasks. This information will then go up and potentially change how the event plays out from that step forward.
The first adventure is called "Murder in Baldur's Gate" and has the player heroes defending the city against something that everyone thought was dead, and there is also, most likely, some murder as well.
The Sundering is happening whether we like it or not as nostalgic fans of the setting. Of course, we always have the option of ignoring it and playing in the world that we all have grown accustom to, but I also believe that while occasionally frustrating, change can lead to some fairly spectacular things. If WotC is giving us the opportunity to help shape the future of the Forgotten Realms, it would be silly to turn our backs on it. Already we know that the Sundering is going to involve the "Spellplague," the fall of some gods and the rise of others, and generally a reshaping of the entire setting ...with our characters right in the middle of it.
Bring it on.
The Sundering (Official)