Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forgotten Realms Wiki

The Forgotten Realms Wiki is an online wiki-based encyclopedia of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons in all its editions. It aims to provide a complete and thorough reference work of the wealth of canon and licensed information, or "Realmslore", released in the decades since the setting's creation by Ed Greenwood. It covers official sourcebooks and novels and other media, as well as officially licensed sources such as video games and so on.

What the Forgotten Realms Wiki is

With so many Realms products released over the years, and certain topics being revised in the various editions of D&D, it is often difficult to remember where to look for specific information. The hope is that this wiki will index all this information by topic, source, chronology and so on, making it easy to find in a searchable manner.

Secondarily, it aims to provide:

  • Portals for players, dungeon masters, readers, fans, and even Realms designers and authors to help them to expand their knowledge of the Forgotten Realms, to write compelling and detailed adventures, campaigns, and stories, and to discover new lands and characters.
  • Articles on real-world things that appear in the Forgotten Realms, to describe where and how they can be found in the setting, or the ways in which the Realms counterpart differs from reality.
  • Articles on core Dungeons & Dragons information only where it pertains specifically to the Forgotten Realms.
  • Real-world articles on Forgotten Realms authors, artists, and products to serve as an equally handy reference to the creators and the source material, as well as the real-world history of the setting.

Being a wiki, anyone can edit and contribute to the articles, but contributors are encouraged to act in good faith toward the Realms and the wiki, by ensuring that all of their work is correct and carefully cited to an acceptable source. It is important to note that all contributions, no matter how small, are very welcome, provided they are made in good faith.

What the Forgotten Realms Wiki is not

The wiki is not a substitute for the original source material. It can be used instead of source material where only a brief summary of a topic is required, but the wiki strives to provide references to the source material so that it's easy to know where to look for the correct information. The Forgotten Realms has been the subject of a great deal of detailed and fascinating writings over the period of its existence, and, in all cases, the reader is encouraged to discover as much as possible from official Realms products for themselves.

The wiki is not a place to submit one's own homebrew lore (casually referred to as "fanon"), campaign details, player characters, or unsupported speculation. Because its aim is to provide an accurate reference to official Realmslore, it is felt that the inclusion of non-canon material will dilute and confuse the canon information, making it less useful.

The wiki also cannot accept material copied from the sourcebooks or other works, as this is copyright infringement and illegal. Such material will be given a chance to be rewritten, or deleted.

Finally, the wiki does not accept "crunch", which covers the rules, statistics, and figures of the D&D rules in all its editions. Crunch is unnecessary for the wiki and outside its aims and capacity to deal with. Displaying crunch not in the Open Gaming License is also copyright infringement and illegal. The wiki only uses basic details of class, level, spell names, and basic item levels for comparison purposes, and descriptions of abilities and effects where necessary.



Wiki 2005

The logo for the FRW from October 2005 to February 2008.

The Forgotten Realms Wiki was born on October 1st, 2005, whilst Wikia was still named "Wikicities". It was created by its first user, admin, and bureaucrat, Drizzt, who said on his user page, "Hello! I am the founder/admin of this wikicity. I do not treat it like my own, this is everyone's wikicity, I merely suggested an idea." He kicked off the Main Page and other wiki architecture, designed the first logo, welcomed other users, and started articles about Drizzt Do'Urden, drow, and Drow Sign. However, he became inactive within the month, later leaving the wiki in the hands of Hashimashadoo in December.

For the next year, as the statistics show, the wiki ticked along at a relatively slow but steady pace under a few dedicated editors. Building from the ground up is a difficult task for any wiki. Activity slowed to an almost complete halt in the last quarter of 2006, with little more than 400 articles, before suddenly shooting up to new heights by the end of the year. This may have been the product of a recruitment campaign by Hashimashadoo, bringing in many more editors. But it seemed the FRW had also hit the kind of critical mass needed to attract a lot more interest; despite seasonal fluctuations and external events, activity would never get so slow again. At the end of 2006, long-standing contributors Zerak-Tul and Fw190a8 were added to the administration team. The next year and a half saw a period of consistent growth.

In May 2007, the FRW applied for Featured Wiki status. It eventually won this in January 2008, and was displayed on Wikia's front page.

Main page view

The Forgotten Realms Wiki main page as it appeared in December 2007.

The Forgotten Realms' advancing timeline proved to be a headache for editors, as articles once written in present tense, reflecting the present state of the setting, had to be rewritten to past tense as events moved on and sources were no longer new. Two users, Heaven's Agent and Johnnyriot999 wondered at this at Talk:Aznar Thrul in October 2007. Concerned by the changes expected in the coming 4th edition in January, 2008, Fw190a8 also called for greater care with dates given to lore. Heaven's Agent had proposed a policy in October 2007, suggesting that editors write with the perspective of being a long time in future—that is, past tense. This sat without comment and unopposed for several months, and Fw190a8 put it in place in June 2008, becoming the Remove Wiki from Timeline policy.

Edition Wars

The arrival of 4th-edition D&D (in June 2008) and the new 4th-edition Forgotten Realms sourcebooks (August/September 2008) contributed to another significant increase in activity, with a marked rise in the number of casual editors, the number of edits made, and the number of new articles in the latter half of 2008. It seems that new fans coming to the Forgotten Realms with the new edition and altered setting wanted to see 4th-edition content and post-Spellplague lore. However, the changes to the setting had been widely controversial, even unpopular among the existing fandom, and these "Edition Wars" were reflected upon the FRW. Some fans would perceive a 4th-edition bias and turn away from the wiki. Behind the scenes, it seems existing editors could not keep on top of the number of new editors and the influx of new lore, and could hardly enforce policies. Categories and infoboxes designed for 3rd-edition rules struggled to accommodate 4th-edition rules, and became much-patched or meaningless.

This post-4e activity peaked in January 2009, with the FRW's greatest number of casual editors and numbers of edits and new articles per month. At that time, Hashimashadoo raised SkyeNiTessine to admin status. Activity and number of editors gradually settled back down to normal over the course of the year, perhaps as the new edition smell wore off. Nevertheless, the damage had been done. Eli the Tanner, who joined at the end of 2009, tells us, "many of us editors plodded along mostly by trial-and-error in the early days. The community before 2011 was very fractured and had a wild west, DIY feel. There were broad waves of 4e editors rewriting entire 'core' articles, often deleting entire tracts of previous lore in the name of 'updating' the wikia to the new edition. The mods like Fw190a8, Hashimashadoo, and Cronje were the sheriffs of the day that worked to push for citations and did their best to curb the trolls and unreferenced work. However, most editors had to fight for their own articles, and it was often a case of 'out-referencing' another editor to stop them deleting your work. Many of the battlegrounds drove the editors away as little could meaningfully get done."

The period around September/October 2010 saw the introduction of the Roll of Years pages, seeing the mass-production of over a thousand new pages, followed by over 4000 edits for formatting, as shown by dramatic peaks in the statistics. Many were placeholders, containing no more than the names of the years, but many others contained historical lore. Unfortunately, much of this had been copied by one particular user from The Grand History of the Realms. Plagiarized content, much of it sneaking in unnoticed, was another significant problem for the FRW, as was homebrew and fan lore.



The logo for the FRW from February 2008 to October 2015.

Nevertheless, the community and the wiki survived. Eli continues, "However, Fw190a8's golden rule of 'reference everything' endured and was picked up by editors like myself and became well-established when the 2011/12 crop of BadCatMan, Darkwynters, Moviesign, TerrorBlades & Thomaslove92 arrived". From 2011, Hashimashadoo began raising up long-lasting and quality editors to admin status, with Quinsareth (who'd started in March 2007) in March 2011 and Cronje (started May 2010) in June 2012, while future admins Darkwynters and Moviesign joined respectively in August and November of 2011. This new crop all quickly became very involved in the running and maintenance of the wiki. Moviesign recalls, "I guess it says something that my first edits (on any wiki anywhere, I think) were to create and use a {{Cite book}} template. After I got acclimated to wiki work and began some pet projects, I got interested in the more technical side of things and adding new features. My first real template was the {{Currency table}} and I was hooked." Darkwynters explains the new dedicated patrolling of the wiki, "Man, I do DO a lot of patrolling on the wiki. Okay, I will not lie, since 2011 I have basically checked EVERY edit (apart from notable editors) on this wiki, and I will tell you it can be very tiring sometimes. But to me the wiki brought me back from a 4 year hiatus from the Realms. The Forgotten Realms was a place my teenage self could go to escape all the dark parts of adolescence. This site made me find it again."

However, the wiki had not seen the last of the Edition Wars. At the very end of 2011, a few users were calling for 4th-edition lore to be placed in separate sections or articles, and even for the wiki to be split in two, one for the classic Forgotten Realms setting, and a new one for the post-Spellplague setting. These arguments may have arisen more from personal opinion than what was best for the wiki. Moviesign explains, "The 4th edition controversy was still echoing through the wiki (mostly on Talk pages and Forum:Split the wiki, which was a big deal at the time) and I had quite a few 2nd edition sources that I wanted to use in my contributions, so I spoke out in favor of treating all editions equally..." Many editors argued eloquently, others with vehemence. Fw190a8 argued at the time "the best way to improve the wiki... is to just improve the wiki." Explaining that such a split would harm the wiki more than help it, admins and regular editors called for more dedicated editors, obedience to and enforcement of existing policies, with no bias toward any edition. Moviesign finishes, "Thankfully, the wiki did not split and I got to have fun reconstructing templates to handle everything from 1e to the as-yet-mythical 5e." Eli the Tanner describes the later atmosphere: "Post-2011, the community began building new policies that have shaped what we have today. The new climate allowed specialists like Daranios and Coswig to flourish unimpeded."

In January 2012, Niirfa-sa proposed a revised canon policy, designed to focus on Forgotten Realms lore over core D&D lore, and to acknowledge the changes of 4th edition while preserving older lore. In practice, this would mean no bias toward any edition. The Edition Wars were briefly resurrected, but the editing community were almost all in favor. The proposal nevertheless lingered until it was bumped in June, and finally implemented by Fw190a8 in October. This edition-neutral view would remain the dominant philosophy.

February 2012 saw the arrival of BadCatMan, who says, "I left another wiki with a very hostile admin and non-cooperative community; I wish I'd never gotten involved. Though the quality of the FRW had put me off for years, I found things on the up-and-up and a much more friendly community, and soon became very involved." He would regret not getting involved way back in 2006 when Hashimashadoo first advertised in a Forgotten Realms play-by-post community they'd played in. Creating articles on the Vast to support his campaigns, BadCatMan developed a lengthy and extremely detailed article on Procampur, introducing a completist approach that formed the basis of future Featured Articles.

From August of 2012, the number of articles on the wiki actually decreased. Thankfully, this was the result of a clean-up campaign to remove old plagiarized, copyright-infringing, non–Forgotten Realms, and homebrew articles, with them being deleted, tagged, or rehabilitated. This would be an ongoing effort, expected to take years to complete, but would lead ultimately to a cleaner, more original wiki. It was not without its troubles, however. In late August, an anonymous user turned troll, apparently annoyed at wholly copied articles being removed, then falsely labeled every dragon article as being copied and demanded their deletion, in a confused and misdirected protest against copyright law, apparently. BadCatMan spent a great deal of time undoing these, and he and Darkwynters calmly argued the wiki's position on copied material, before the troll stormed off. Other serial copiers reacted with incoherent anger, but it was now clear that wiki policies were being enforced, and that the wiki was policed.

In September 2012, wanting to be able to block trolls and delete articles in order to clean up the wiki, BadCatMan simply asked in the forums how to become an admin, and he and Darkwynters won admin posts by popular acclaim in October. Unable to regularly weigh in on policy issues, Hashimashadoo bestowed bureaucrat powers on BadCatMan in May 2013. In June 2013, Darkwynters nominated Moviesign, and he was duly upgraded to administrator by BadCatMan. As old admins faded away or lost regular access to the online world, BadCatMan, Darkwynters, and Moviesign became a triumvirate managing the wiki on a day-to-day basis, enforcing policies and creating new ones, welcoming and assisting new users, and implementing many new features.

Wiki-wordmark 2013 to 2015

The Forgotten Realms Wiki logo is a modification of the 3rd-edition Forgotten Realms logo. It was created in October 2010, but not displayed until February 2013.

Despite the advances in the background, the Main Page had remained almost unchanged since 2008, with featured articles and images changed less than once a year, and a still fairly plain, basic appearance. Thus, in October 2012, Fw190a8 put forward a new design with a slideshow-based format. Fw190a8, Cronje, and BadCatMan put their heads together, sharing ideas about fresh content, preferably in automatic rotation, but the project languished until Wanderscribe bumped it with fresh ideas. BadCatMan then began a complete overhaul of the Main Page, restoring the old wood-and-sepia color scheme and organizing the design to put lore and features front-and-center. He created a weekly "Did You Know?" trivia section, showcasing new articles and editor's work, first rolled out in mid-January 2013, then instituted the new Main Page on February 5th. With coding help from Moviesign, new Featured Article and Featured Source sections were implemented and put in automatic rotation, though a regular Latest Releases section was soon abandoned. Featured Articles would now be decided by community vote, according to stringent guidelines on quality. These Featured Articles would demonstrate completeness, good wiki styling, full referencing, organization of articles of various kinds, and balanced integration of lore from multiple editions and sources.

The following year, Moviesign created the "On This Day" feature, appearing in March 2014, and BadCatMan followed up with a Featured Image section in April 2014, if only to get rid of a long-running picture of Elminster. All this combined led to an engaging and dynamic main page designed to interest readers.

Early in 2012, Cronje and Moviesign had begun work on revising and standardizing the infoboxes. Such work would be ongoing, with regular additions and revisions. Periodically, throughout 2013 and 2014, Moviesign and others proposed changes to the infoboxes to support all editions, with edition-specific sections and categories. {{Spell}} and {{Person}} received major overhauls in July 2013, and updating pages became a community-wide effort.

In March 2013, 23dutch45man, admin of the Baldur's Gate Wiki contacted the Forgotten Realms Wiki to recruit and discuss collaboration and information-sharing. Though the two wikis were very different in form and aims, some lore and articles were shared and inter-wiki links were built, seen in many "External links" sections. Inter-wiki links were extended to many other wikis for video games in the Forgotten Realms franchise, boosting the chances for traffic to and from the other wikis.

High levels

The FRW enjoyed its 12,000th article in May 2013. After this achievement, feeling the redesigned and dynamic Main Page had put a new face on the wiki, and the active community had given it a new heart, BadCatMan reached out to the Forgotten Realms fandom, posting at the Wizards of the Coast and Candlekeep forums. Here, he and other editors explained the new philosophies and policies, introduced new features and current work, called for new editors, and fielded questions and concerns. The Edition Wars remained a problem, but the philosophy of edition-neutrality remained firm and became well supported. These communications with the fandom became a semi-regular exercise, alongside BadCatMan's reports to the editing community on how the wiki was doing in ratings and statistics. The new Wikia Activity Monitor demonstrated increasing traffic to the wiki, indicating a larger, more interested readership and a raised profile among fans. In fact, the Forgotten Realms Wiki was now one of the larger and more visited wikis on the Internet, and certainly of its type, with Wikia staff regularly contacting admins with new features and changes.

It was perhaps because of this that the FRW was targeted by high-level trolls. Trolls and vandals have long been a problem for the FRW and all wikis, but two major incidents stand out. On May 9, 2013, one vandalized a number of pages, which were quickly undone by User:Boo Too, and the troll was soon after blocked by Darkwynters. On June 6, 2013, an arch-troll from a horde of trolls assaulted the wiki. It defaced the new Main Page and moved it around the wiki to make it harder to undo, while also vandalizing user pages. Fortunately, Darkwynters was on hand, restoring the Main Page after only six minutes, while BadCatMan later spent a half-hour before breakfast thoroughly undoing the page moves. Regrettably, the Main Page had been left unprotected after the redesign, following misguided advice from Wikia. The troll and its hoard, who had attacked several other wikis, were permanently banned from Wikia.

The FRW had survived one edition change, and now faced another. But this time, it was ready. Policies, infoboxes, and categories designed to accommodate four previous editions had also been designed expecting the next. Fortunately, with 5th-edition sourcebooks and 5th-edition Forgotten Realms lore released on a staggered basis from August 2013 through 2014, with no whole campaign setting for the Forgotten Realms yet released, the expected deluge became a manageable stream.

In late 2014, Wikia's Community Development Team invited the FRW to take part in a voting tournament hosted by the Shadow of Mordor wiki to promote the new video game. The community accepted, and Drizzt Do'Urden was pitted against Talion; the dark elf won handily.

Lhynard arrived in November 2014 and quickly impressed, being invited by BadCatMan to become an admin in April 2015. Fortunately, he accepted and stayed.

In August 2015, Wikia staff announced that a large percentage of readers are accessing the site via mobile devices, but the old wiki markup infoboxes consistently broke when viewed on a mobile device. Moviesign began the long process of converting all the FRW's infoboxes to the new "portable" style, while hoping to retain the functionality of the old style. "I think all of wikidom can be summed up in three little words: work in progress." says Moviesign.


The Forgotten Realms Wiki logo as of 2015, celebrating 10 years

In September 2015, Moviesign reminded everyone of the upcoming 10th anniversary, prompting a community-wide celebration of the wiki's own accomplishments and long life. New anniversary-edition logos were designed by Jandor and Thomaslove92, and many more ideas proposed for future implementation. BadCatMan gave a lengthy report on the wiki's statistics to date, its successes, and its growing status, as well as its needs for the future. He also pieced together this very history from statistics and user recollections.

Darkwynters says "We, admins and editors, are the lore-keepers gathering ALL this great knowledge and keeping it safe for new generations. So cheers to 10 years, cheers to our admins and faithful editors, and, of course, cheers to our readers. :)"

By January 2016, the wiki was growing by leaps and bounds with 17,693 articles and climbing. Fifth edition was in full swing, having published the Princes of the Apocalypse, Out of the Abyss, and the long-awaited FR lorebook Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide in 2015, followed by Curse of Strahd, Storm King's Thunder, and Volo's Guide to Monsters in 2016. But the older editions were not forgotten as the Zakhara and Al-Qadim sections of the wiki were greatly expanded by Artemaz and Daranios. East met West in a lengthy discussion of where to draw the line between Kara-Tur and Faerûn, with significant Kara-Turan expansion by BadCatMan. Meanwhile, Lhynard added a family tree feature to the wiki.

January 2017 rolled around and the wiki had grown to 21,352 articles. The admins and editors wrestled with canonicity questions about Convention Created Content, Adventurers League, and DMs Guild publications. Regis87 joined late in the year and immediately began fleshing out the Dragon magazine pages, eventually completing the set in 2018. She and other prolific editors pushed the wiki page count to 24,202 on January 1st of that year. While he was recording this statistic, Moviesign noticed that the wiki had over one million page views that week—a new milestone in FRW history—followed quickly by hitting 25,000 pages on February 17th. Regis87 then moved on to comics, building on previous work by BadCatMan.

2018 also saw the triumphant return (after a hiatus of nine years) of Ruf, who dusted off his wiki skills and has been a fixture all year. Sir Whiteout and Lhynard took to the stars on their Spelljammers, greatly expanding the wiki's coverage of Realmspace, and somehow found time to add pronunciation (pronounced: /prˈnʌnsiˈʃʌnpro-NUN-see-AY-shun) guides to hundreds of pages (some of which contain audio of themselves demonstrating the correct form). Moviesign became the wiki's newest bureaucrat in July. He and Sir Whiteout used an astrolabe and some fancy math to compute the phases of Selûne (currently waxing crescent 🌒).

As of January 2019, the wiki had 27,359 pages. Moviesign promoted Ir'revrykal to Admin status in March, primarily because he was already patrolling the wiki and upholding its standards, but also so he could speak with authority to outside entities. Among his many contributions, SirWhiteout made it easy for the wiki to support both English and SI units with a set of smart templates. He was promoted to Admin on October 11 of that year.

See Also