Forgotten Realms discussion

Dragonlance Vs. Forgotten Realms

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message 1: by Jack (new)

Jack | 7 comments Mod
to explain the difference between the two settings and likes and dislikes about them

message 2: by Kameron (new)

Kameron (kameronmf) | 1 comments Mod
I've had significantly more exposure to FR than DL, as evidenced by my bookshelves. To me, DL was about a central, epic storyline that held the fate of the world in balance. FR had room for more autonomous storylines that didn't necessarily affect each other in obvious ways.

message 3: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 12 comments Mod
That's exactly the main difference between them:

Dragonlance was built to tell an epic story, while the Realms was built to be home to any fantasy story you could possibly want to tell.

I know as I worked on both, though the majority of my work is in FR as well. (I think DL was one of the few trademarks at TSR I worked on only once or twice as an editor.)

The lines we'd use in-house were as such:

If fantasy is vanilla, the Realms is French Vanilla.

What kind of fantasy story/setting are you looking for? Yeah, we can do that. It's right over here...

message 4: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 7 comments Mod
As a newly launched FR writer, I had the same take as the much more experienced Steve and Kameron. The Realms seems more like a big sandbox where you can build your own wacky castle. Or, to be more serious, a bit like writing historical fiction: the background and details need to be right but you can let loose your own characters and plot against that background.

I read an equal amount of Dragonlance and FR before I started writing for Wizards. Both have certain charms. If I'm in an epic fantasy mood, I'd head for DL. If I'm in a sword-and-sorcery mood, I'm more likely to pick up FR. And, of course, there is epic FR too.

So, as usual, it boils down to "do I like the writer's style and did the first chapter catch my attention" rather than where the book is set.

message 5: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (blackwalkerproductions) | 11 comments I've read several of the books in both series, and I have to say, I do prefer FR to DL. Merely for the depth of the "world" that it is in. DL was set as an epic, and built around that.

I did like the crossover series which had a Kender introduced into FR.

message 6: by Jack (new)

Jack | 7 comments Mod
sorry everyone but i have to go off topic for a second, I cant believe the writers of the Realms are responding to the group I started. I never dreamed you would find this group and i think I own all your books! I am trying to collect the whole of the FR series and am currently running a campaign based in FR. Thanks to you all and all the writers of the Realms for writing such good books.
Now that thats out of the way.

There was a crossover with a Kender in FR? Also Can any of you authors tell me whatever happened to the Darksun setting by chance? The Prism Pentad series is what led me into the Realms.

message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Tufford hey everyone, im Jacks younger brother, Jonathan. I also think that it is really cool that you found this. I too am leaning toward the FR side more than the DR series. The depth and and detail of the books are awe striking, and the fact that all of the characters play a part in every book, even if it is just a cameo.

message 8: by Daniel (last edited Jun 06, 2008 07:57AM) (new)

Daniel (blackwalkerproductions) | 11 comments Jack,

Oh yes... there was a Kender in the FR settings. He came through a rift in Krynn when Fistand...(Sorry, I know I'll screw up the spelling, so I won't finish it.) had both of his avatars destroyed when he was trying to become a god.

Emilio Haversack I believe is the Kender, and he travels to Sigil, and joins up with the Rebel Bard Joel of Finder and Jas.

Not only that, Paladine has a brief cameo there as well as Fizban when he talks to Finder. I believe the book is called Tymora's Luck. I could be wrong on that though.

Edit: I'm right!!! The book is:

Tymora's Luck (Forgotten Realms Lost Gods, Vol. 3)
by Kate Novak

message 9: by Jack (new)

Jack | 7 comments Mod
thats one i dont think ive read, ill be keeping an eye out for that book

message 10: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 7 comments Mod
FR writers hang out in all sorts of places. And are happy to answer questions. :) Rosemary

message 11: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (blackwalkerproductions) | 11 comments Very nice to meet any FR or DL writers. AD&D has really influenced my writing as well. I now know that I will have to pick up your books next when I go to get some new ones to read.

message 12: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenschend) | 12 comments Mod
As for your question a while back on what happened to Dark Sun, it got phased out due to low sales numbers (and when WotC tightened back all the myriad worlds, determining that they needed to support fewer settings for 3rd Edition).

If you're also looking for more info on Forgotten Realms, a good place to talk to fellow fans and pros alike is at's forums. Or you could just ask us questions here. :)


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Tharp | 28 comments I am loathe to admit, but i only have a cursory knowledge of Dragonlance. Having only read one of the books.

DL, to me, seemed more focused on one group of characters instead of the world at large. Forgotten realms is an epic world of huge proportions.

message 14: by D (new)

D (darrentpatrick) | 4 comments I grew up with Dragonlance and only later really got into Forgotten Realms. That said, I'll never put Raistlin and the gang into the corner; however, the fact that they stories do tie into actual modules - where the Forgotten Realms does not (for the most part) - makes DL feel a little more 'railroady' to me. Especially in the first trilogy.

I love them both...but Forgotten Realms takes it.

message 15: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 9 comments In addition to the epic vs s&s, one-story vs many-stories thing, Dragonlance always seemed to be lower-magic, often more whimsical, and to be honest also a lot more distinctive and unique as a setting. FR is the ultimate everyworld of fantasy - which is a big advantage for RPGs, because as has been said you can put almost any story into that setting, but it does mean that it can lack a little... character... sometimes. Which is why I'll always have a softer spot for Dragonlance, because it felt more like a coherent and distinctive place of its own.

message 16: by C.V. (new)

C.V. Dreesman (cvdreesman) | 1 comments If I remember correctly, I learned of Forgotten Realms first and then Dragonlance (I was a DM and in the panel reveal for Dragonlance at GenCon back when it was still held in Wisconsin, and I think FR was already out at that time). I would have to agree with some of the comments that FR is more about world building and DL focuses more on character. There are interesting and great things about both worlds. That being said, as novels go, the original two DL trilogies and a few of the subsequent books are more engaging than the FR books. But that's just me...I like the characterization and general outline of the DL world a bit more than the construction of FR. I would recommend either however, it just depends on the person I'm talking to.

message 17: by Greg (new)

Greg Strandberg (gregstrandberg) It's clear from the lack of debate - Forgotten Realms wins hands-down.

message 18: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 9 comments The 'debate' wasn't meant to be about who 'won', but about the differences.

As a setting, though, Dragonlance I think is much better than FR, which is overwhelmingly bland. On the other hand, FR probably has somewhat better novels on average.

Then again, if you're weighing up the quality of one set of D&D books vs another set of D&D books, you're probably asking the wrong question to begin with.

message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael Tharp | 28 comments Forgotten Realms is a much more fully realized world. Many authors have come to play there. Weis and Hickman created iconic characters that will always live on. It is characterization over the larger playground.

message 20: by Wastrel (new)

Wastrel | 9 comments I think exactly the opposite. Forgotten Realms has little or no realization - the whole point of it, after all, was to create a setting where literally any story could take place. So if you take stores like "Darkwalker on Moonshae", "Mortal Enemies", "The Magehound", "Homeland", "Cormyr: A Novel", and "Crucible"... well, there's absolutely nothing in common between them. If you didn't have the logo on the spine, there's nothing that would lead you to think they were in the same setting at all. [This is particularly obvious with the earlier book, I think]. That's not a well-realised world, that's 'anything goes'.

With Dragonlance, on the other hand, there is always a very strong sense of the setting, and often a strong sense of time and place within that setting. [The Dragonlance setting was always better for short story collections, for instance, because it was much easier to put together dragonlance stories that felt connected - whereas FR stories were wildly different].

Dragonlance focused on a smaller area with less diversity, establishing the rules more fully, and then gave a clear (though wildly inconsistent when you look at the details) progression of the setting through time, so that each story had a time and a place, and there were distinctive elements that made clear that these times and places were all parts of Dragonlance.

On the other hand, the stories themselves were often weak, in part because they felt too limited by the demands of the setting.

message 21: by Thetwistedangel (new)

Thetwistedangel | 1 comments Forgotten Realms is better is some ways, and Dragonlance is better in others. FR is more about random and interesting adventures while Dragonlance is more about one big epic legend.
Something I dislike about FR is how they make their characters super epic. An epic character is fun, but if all they are is pure coolness... then it's kinda dumb.
(I'm not saying that all FR characters are like this, of course)
In my opinion, Dragonlance is better because I like big epic adventures. Also, reading the author's words at the end of the books was delightful-it seems like the authors of DL care more about their characters.

message 22: by Erwin (new)

Erwin | 3 comments Darren wrote: "I grew up with Dragonlance and only later really got into Forgotten Realms. That said, I'll never put Raistlin and the gang into the corner; however, the fact that they stories do tie into actual m..."

Only the first trilogy was tied in to modules. That's why Margaret Weis was very happy to do the Legends Trilogy, because it was free from "the committee" and she could do whatever she wanted with the story.

As a whole I find the Dragonlance world to be better, especially in terms of the setting. The Realms were very generic and had no flavor whatsoever. That's why any author could come in and write anything and fit it in anywhere, because it was a generic setting with no actual identity.

Some good authors were able to take advantage of this, but I read tons of FR books that were a snoozefest because there was nothing special about the setting they made.

But when you talk Dragonlance, you're talking about the Gods who left the world, the Cataclysm, draconians, kender, dragon knights, and dragons.

Also the way magic was limited in Dragonlance made the world more awesome. Sometimes, being overpowered can detract from a story. All the magic flare we see in FR Novels sometimes distracts from the characters and the plot. For instance, I remember a novel from Ed Greenwood called Spellfire. To be honest it was a pretty bad novel, no offense to Mr. Greenwood who from all accounts is great at running campaigns and creating worlds, but his prose leaves a lot to be desired.

Here we have too many cases of Elminster magic gawking and the heroine Shannon just mowing things down with her special gift. They had 9 companions but I didn't really care for any of them, and they spend more time just sorting through gold pile of loot for platinum coins because it's more valuable and their encumbrance is hitting the limit. Oh, it was so Pen and Paper D&D but a good story it was not.

I like how in Dragonlance getting stabbed by a sword is fatal, because you can't just find a cleric to cast Cure Critical Wounds or quaff a healing potion to get back to speed. I like how magic was generally muted down so that encounters had meaning and weren't trivialized.

message 23: by D (new)

D (darrentpatrick) | 4 comments Thanks for that, Erwin. Well put.

message 24: by Erwin (new)

Erwin | 3 comments Thanks Darren. I have to say though that since the Drizzt series kind of got long in the tooth, my favorite Forgotten Realms book is Azure Bonds. My hats off to Kate Novak and her future husband Jeff Grubb for that book, it had the most "complex" plot for a Forgotten Realms book and had an excellent twist. All the foreshadowing and hidden clues leading up to the twist was pretty awesome in retrospect. I also love what they did with Saurials.

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