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So for a long time our policy (as noted in the policy page has been to assume video games operate at a significantly lower (near non-canon) status of canon than do say D&D sourcebooks and Forgotten Realms novels. However, given recent changes I wonder if this is in fact an assumption we should necessarily maintain this position?

Specifically, I'm thinking of two major (and slightly connected) volleys by Wizards of the Coast recently. The first is the marketing campaign around Neverwinter (game) which has, since the very beginning (with the Neverwinter Campaign Setting) been very much entwined with the tabletop version of D&D and Forgotten Realms canon. Most recently, the game's new expansion pack, The Tyranny of Dragons is assuming a level of support and marketing hype comparable to the Sundering, to the point that it's arguably the biggest thing that's happening in the Realms right now, with comic book tie-ins and a large section of the official D&D website devoted to it.

The second major thing is the release of the Baldur's Gate and now Icewind Dale enhanced editions, which have brought all four games back into the public spotlight. The Baldur's Gate re-releases in particular have coincided with some additional attention shone on Baldur's Gate and the Bhaalspawn, including the first official adventure for the Sundering storyline (which revolves around Abdel Adrian's eventual demise and Bhaal's resurrection) as well as a new comic book series featuring Minsc which... as it so happens... also ties into the Tyranny of Dragons.

The point I mean to make is that it doesn't feel like WotC's treating the video games as "spin-offs" anymore. They're at the center of their marketing drive for 5th edition and the Forgotten Realms. It seems to me therefore, that their "lesser" status in canon is up for question.

Obviously, there are certain restrictions to how we can consider the games' content as fully canon. For example, the issue of player choice makes it difficult to determine precisely how events play out in many cases. And in certain cases, such as Baldur's Gate, there are certain printed canon materials which override certain details in the games (such as Jaheira and Khalid's relationship or Abdel's background as an experienced mercenary instead of a neophyte adventurer). All the same, these aren't issues that other wikis haven't managed to deal with in the past. The Star Wars and Dragon Age wikis both do a fairly reasonable job of balancing the malleability of the games' storylines with written, established canon.

My proposal would be thus: the games are canon on a level comparable to novels (but subservient to official FR sourcebooks) unless they directly contradict written material. This means, for instance, that where the Baldur's Gate novels contradict the games the novels win (unless other printed materials corroborate them). But where the novels and the games do not cross (such as, for instance, any personality details or backstories for characters Abdel never meets) the games would be fully canon. And other games - such as the Neverwinter Nights series - where there are no printed adaptations, would be fully canon, with the allowance for player choice.

So, what do you think? Sounds reasonable?
Niirfa-sa (talk) 08:02, September 27, 2014 (UTC)


The canon policy was worked out in the absence of any complete, official proclamations from TSR or WotC as to what is canon for FR. Personally (and I organised and wrote the current revision), "canon" isn't quite the right word for what we've got. It's more like "continuity", being what is true as part of a given storyline. But FR fans often get the two terms mixed up, so it's the clearest way of putting it.

The policy, as it currently stands, allows all the possible sources, and merely provides a framework for resolving discrepancies between two sources or for determining what is primary for organisation purposes.

The hierarchy is currently:

  1. Official Forgotten Realms sources (sourcebooks, novels, adventures, articles)
  2. Ed Greenwood
  3. Core D&D sources
  4. Other D&D settings
  5. Licensed material (comics, video games)
  6. Forum posts

But boiling that down, we can simplify it to:

  1. Official sources (published directly by TSR or WotC; novels and sourcebooks)
  2. Ed Greenwood
  3. Licensed sources (published by other companies licensed by TSR or WotC; games and comics)

Which may be broadly more sensible.

AIUI, I don't think your proposed changes would actually change how the rules operate at all. We could call games canon, but they'd still sit in the same place in the hierarchy, and we'd still handle them the same as regards resolving discrepancies. The only change would be a terminology change, I think. But which games become canon? Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter might be treated as canon, Baldur's Gate might be popular enough, but few would argue for the old SSI games, and Blood & Magic certainly not. Where would Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights stand? Declaring one canon would have to mean all become canon (too far!) or need us to make judgements on all (too hard!). I don't think we should be making specific pronouncements on canon; we are not the Council of Nicaea. :-)

Ergo, you're probably right, but I don't see the need.

Perhaps a more generalised set of tags would be more useful, say changing {{BG}} to read simply "This article is about an element from the game Baldur's Gate." and letting the reader make their own judgement?

— BadCatMan (talk) 09:44, September 27, 2014 (UTC)


I see your point about older games, but the way I see it their position isn't necessarily much different than the early EU in Star Wars, which was a lot less closely monitored and so features a lot of weirdness that didn't end up in later books/games/comics. That being said, I'd probably propose the following the rule of thumb: the more recent a work is, the more accurate it is to (current) canon. So new sources trump old sources when the two conflict.

I also do like the hierarchy of ranking FR sourcebooks over core rulebooks, if only because FR sourcebooks are likely to be a lot more specific about how core material applies to the Realms.

As for changing up the templates, that doesn't sound unreasonable. I can probably change up the video game canon templates to be less declarative. I feel like it's a temporary measure since I still feel games probably have nearly equal canonical rank at this point, but it's a sensible compromise.

Niirfa-sa (talk) 18:42, September 27, 2014 (UTC)


We already have new trumps old as part of the existing policy as well.

Good work updating and creating those templates.

Well, don't take my word for it. :) Let's wait to see what other users think. I think revising or clarifying some of the language as it stands would be sufficient; the policy itself doesn't need to change.
— BadCatMan (talk) 09:50, September 28, 2014 (UTC)


On a related note to the above discussion, I've been thinking about creature alignment now that the new Monster Manual is out. Namely, how to chart monsters' (and characters') alignment edition to edition.

As far as I see it there are two basic ways to do it. Either A) assume the most recent information about a creature/character's alignment is the most accurate and disregard all else or B) include all variants of alignment across each edition. There are a few issues with both approaches.

The first approach runs the risk of alienating people who prefer earlier lore and may be regarded to some extent as preferential treatment for one edition over another (although in such cases where the lore does change and it's not just mechanics or the progression of the timeline, this seems appropriate to me). The second approach on the other hand may not actually meet the current status of the lore and leaves open the possibility of some very odd conflicts, such as the switch in the default alignment of orcs from lawful evil to chaotic evil during the 2e/3e transition (without passing through neutral evil in-between).

Both approaches also leave open the question of how to deal with 4e's alignment system, which is another discussion (made somewhat interesting by 5e's inclusion of "unaligned" alongside the original 9 alignments).

Anyhow, what do you all think? Should we include all monster alignments from all previous sourcebooks or just the most recent ones? I should add one note at this point, which is that if we went for the latter I'd argue that recent core sources wouldn't invalidate relatively older FR-specific sources (but they would invalidate older core sources, and newer FR sources would invalidate older FR sources).
Niirfa-sa (talk) 06:14, October 9, 2014 (UTC)


When I canvassed the Candlekeep boards for opinions on the wiki last year, it was intensely clear that most fans don't like even a whiff of 4e (and now 5e) lore replacing or trumping earlier lore. Even having them on the same page is offensive to some (I can sympathise, but it's hardly useful). The only way to satisfy all fans, and the only way to keep with edition changes, is to cover all editions equally. That's the approach we've been working for the few years, exemplified in the updated {{Person}}, {{Item}}, and {{Deity}} templates, with lines for key things that change in each edition.

Accepting retcons to the lore with each edition as an all-out change would be problematic. For one, it would annoy the fanbase to no end. For another, it would need to be changed back in the next edition. My view of retconned lore is that such-and-such is true from within the perspective of a specific edition or time. The Great Wheel was always the planar arrangement, from the POV of 1st and 2nd edition and before 1372 DR. The World Tree was always the planar arrangement, from the POV of 3rd and 3.5 edition and after 1372 DR. And so on. It posits the retcons as being in subtly different continuities, and saves the elder lore from being cancelled out. It's a view fans get used to in more complicated franchises like Doctor Who, Star Trek, or a lot of comics. Forgotten Realms had it rather easy until 4e, and I think the clash hit fans hard.

I think openly revealing those conflicts is the best approach. A lot of pre-3e lore about lawful orcs doesn't make a lot of sense if you're familiar with them as chaotic. For example, the Blazing Banner of Ologh the Overking: an orcish treasure that boosts the morale of lawful armies. It's only when you see the conflicting alignments side-by-side in an infobox that you can say "ah, they used to be lawful evil, now they're chaotic evil" and you make the mental flip as it were. Then we leave it to the reader to decide whether it should be lawful or chaotic.

So yes, I feel we should include all previous monster alignments. Or rather, don't remove the old ones if they're already there, which also invalidates a previous editor's work.

— BadCatMan (talk) 09:04, October 9, 2014 (UTC)
When I canvassed the Candlekeep boards for opinions on the wiki last year, it was intensely clear that most fans don't like even a whiff of 4e (and now 5e) lore replacing or trumping earlier lore. Even having them on the same page is offensive to some (I can sympathise, but it's hardly useful).
  — BadCatMan

I hate to say this but that doesn't really matter in my opinion. The wiki's job is to provide useful and accurate information on the Realms, not to cater to a particular community of fans (it's important to remember Candlekeep doesn't represent all FR fans and may not even be a representative sample). I would pay as much heed to Candlekeep's opinions as I would to the opinions of No Mutants Allowed when editing the Fallout wiki... which is to say very little.

It's not that I want to alienate old fans, but the truth of the matter is that we don't get to pick what is or is not official lore. Wizards of the Coast does. And while I am certainly all for providing support for older material within certain reasonable limits and am generally happy with our "editionless" policy I don't think we should feel obliged to reduce the amount of information we incorporate from later material simply because some people don't like it.

Wikis don't pick and choose what information to cover. Among Spider-Man fans "One More Day" was immensely unpopular, but the Marvel wiki still covers it and all the events that happened after it. The Star Wars prequels are roundly loathed by a substantial portion of the Star Wars fandom but they're still covered extensively on Wookieepedia. Likewise loads of Star Trek fans hate the new movies with a fervent passion... but Memory Alpha details them all the same.

We cover 4e (and now 5e) because it's official material, because it's what has happened in the Realms. We don't cover it necessarily because we like it.

The only way to satisfy all fans, and the only way to keep with edition changes, is to cover all editions equally. That's the approach we've been working for the few years, exemplified in the updated {{Person}}, {{Item}}, and {{Deity}} templates, with lines for key things that change in each edition.
  — BadCatMan

I'll confess I'm not overly fond of the new deity and person templates. I like the thought behind them and I like the fact that they convey information that's relevant to every edition, but they look messy to me and potentially confusing to newcomers. Furthermore, a lot of the information is extremely redundant. Ilmater's alignment, for example, is listed as lawful good three separate times (and now four since he's back to LG in 5e) and his portfolio remains relatively stable across all five editions.

It's simpler and easier, I think, just to condense the relevant information into one input, to say Ilmater was lawful good with the exception of during the Spellplague and to list his gradual evolution in power from lesser power to an intermediate deity within a single tab. That's how most wikis handle evolving information: Abraham Lincoln's political party on Wikipedia is listed as Whig (1834-1854), Republican (1854-1865), and National Union (1864-1865). Anakin Skywalker's masters are listed sequentially on Wookieepedia, from Qui-Gon Jinn to Obi-Wan Kenobi to Darth Sidious. That's how I think we should do it. Right now, the person and deity templates are unnecessarily untidy.

Accepting retcons to the lore with each edition as an all-out change would be problematic. For one, it would annoy the fanbase to no end. For another, it would need to be changed back in the next edition.
  — BadCatMan

Not necessarily. The 4e to 5e retcons are a bit unusual actually and really are just WotC's reaction to what was a very unfavorable reception for 4e among both fans and authors. The 3e to 4e transfer didn't actually feature a lot of retcons that undid the 2e to 3e change. And 3e didn't significantly undo anything that changed during the Time of Troubles. For the most part, edition-induced changes tend to stick. It's just that 4e was so unpopular that WotC's reversing a lot of it's earlier policies.

And besides which, it seems like a faulty policy to base our approach to canon on the presumption (and it is a presumption) that changes will be undone anyway. That's running a wiki by trying to predict the future. For all we know WotC will go under and there'll be no 6th edition. Perhaps the Realms will be shut down like Greyhawk was during 4e (I hope not, but we can't say for sure it won't happen). Maybe 6e will change very little and just move the timeline forward a few years like 3e (this actually seems fairly likely to me). We don't know and it seems foolish to presume we do.

My view of retconned lore is that such-and-such is true from within the perspective of a specific edition or time. The Great Wheel was always the planar arrangement, from the POV of 1st and 2nd edition and before 1372 DR. The World Tree was always the planar arrangement, from the POV of 3rd and 3.5 edition and after 1372 DR. And so on. It posits the retcons as being in subtly different continuities, and saves the elder lore from being cancelled out.
  — BadCatMan

I actually do kind of agree here and 5e's designers' own recent statements indicate that they'll be taking a similar approach to the cosmology (they've said that the Great Wheel and World Axis aren't in their minds incompatible). All the same, that doesn't change the fact that in some cases retcons are clearly retcons. That dwarves can be mages and always could be mages is now canon since 3e. The same goes for sorcerers existing. That Abeir-Toril was split into two worlds millennia ago is now canon since 4e. In some cases it's relatively easy to reconcile old lore and new lore. In some cases it is not, in which case I believe new lore takes precedence.

I think openly revealing those conflicts is the best approach. A lot of pre-3e lore about lawful orcs doesn't make a lot of sense if you're familiar with them as chaotic. For example, the Blazing Banner of Ologh the Overking: an orcish treasure that boosts the morale of lawful armies. It's only when you see the conflicting alignments side-by-side in an infobox that you can say "ah, they used to be lawful evil, now they're chaotic evil" and you make the mental flip as it were. Then we leave it to the reader to decide whether it should be lawful or chaotic.
  — BadCatMan

If we're going to incorporate both old alignment and new alignment, I think a better way to do it (IMO) would just be to list orcs' alignment as lawful evil, neutral evil, and chaotic evil, encompassing both versions of the lore and the median in-between. This is what I've generally done when reconciling 3e and 4e alignment changes (listing slaadi as both chaotic neutral and chaotic evil for example).

So yes, I feel we should include all previous monster alignments. Or rather, don't remove the old ones if they're already there, which also invalidates a previous editor's work.
  — — BadCatMan (talk) 09:04, October 9, 2014 (UTC)

It's not invalidating an earlier editor's work anymore than any other correction does. What they wrote at the time may have been accurate. It isn't any longer.

That being said, I'm fine with including all alignments. I'd just rather it wasn't in the way the deity and person templates currently do, listing them each as a separate infobox (effectively speaking) within the same template.
Niirfa-sa (talk) 18:59, October 9, 2014 (UTC)


I always look at it like we are researchers and ALL edition information is important... personally, I think all our templates need to have edition-specific sections... I like looking at the Drizzt Do'Urden page and seeing how his character has changed over the editions, or how monsters, like the black pudding, have evolved :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 19:45, October 9, 2014 (UTC)


The {{Spell}} template also presents edition-specific information in separate sections. The reason this and the other templates were expanded to accommodate all editions is so that DMs and players who are using a particular set of rules can look at the section of the infobox that relates to their edition and ignore all the rest. Yes, it does result in some redundancy, but from a reader's point of view it is much easier than having to decipher which pieces of info go with which edition—it's already done for them. Spells in particular would not be easy to present if we tried to combine editions. We have enough challenge presenting info that changes within the same edition (see Eilistraee's avatar stats from two different 2nd edition sources, for example). Having separate sections for each edition definitely brings some order out of chaos.

Separate sections also lends itself quite nicely to the tabber interface that has been used in a few places. Personally, I like to see all the information listed at once, so I can easily compare editions, but we might be able to offer a tabbed version that only presents one edition at a time. I would be in favor of this as long as I can still look at the whole thing if I want to do so.

Moviesign (talk) 22:37, October 9, 2014 (UTC)


The tabbed idea is one that many other wikia that deal with multiple editions/versions/mediums use and might be something to look into. I think Niirfa-sa's idea of merging all articles to present only 5th edition material is a step in the wrong direction; I remember when 4th edition came out and whole swathes of earlier information was erased on the wiki and it seems we are only just managing to rebuild what was lost. With infoboxes we could at perhaps order how we present the info. Perhaps the 5e tab would be the default tab and the older edition tabs being available for those who wish to look at previous iterations.

Personally I like our current presentation for the same reasons Moviesign mentioned but we could always have the 5th edition (or next most recent info) higher up on the page. Instead of the current 1e -> 2e -> 3e -> etc. order it would be 5e -> 4e -> 3e -> etc instead.

I am in agreement with the edition-inclusive (rather than the proposed edition-exclusive) approach we have going on. There is a lot of information that is currently only covered by earlier editions and to ignore that or make over-speculations about it seems to a great waste of perfectly valid lore.

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 00:15, October 10, 2014 (UTC)


Well I can see I'm heavily outvoted here! Which isn't too unexpected (I realize my position on a few items is a little bit unusual around here). Still, I would like to address a few points before we move toward a unified policy.
I always look at it like we are researchers and ALL edition information is important... personally, I think all our templates need to have edition-specific sections...
  — Darkwynters

Do people really need that though? Presumably people who prefer earlier editions and loath 3e/4e/5e do possess sourcebooks that already detail said material?

The {{Spell}} template also presents edition-specific information in separate sections. The reason this and the other templates were expanded to accommodate all editions is so that DMs and players who are using a particular set of rules can look at the section of the infobox that relates to their edition and ignore all the rest.
  — [User talk:Moviesign

I've actually wondered if we might want to change that too, especially now that the Sundering adventure path has thrown a major wrench into the idea that the Spellplague is responsible for the change in magic mechanics (A Murder in Baldur's Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard both have official support 3.5, 4e, and 5e/Next rules and the latter is sort of assumed, despite both taking place before the Sundering reverts everything). In any case, I think the spell articles should generally be devoid of as much mechanical information as possible, because of both our editionless and no-crunch policies.

I think Niirfa-sa's idea of merging all articles to present only 5th edition material is a step in the wrong direction
  — talk

That's not actually my intention; my proposal (or rather one of them, because I presented two) was to utilize 1e, 2e, 3e, 4e, and 5e material wherever it's relevant, but to side with the most recent material whenever that conflicts. Basically that'd come down to 5e > 4e > 3e > 2e > 1e, but only when and where there's a conflict. Additionally, my proposal was that FR-specific material would trump core material (so whatever 4e FR had to say about Corellon Larethian would be more relevant than whatever 5e core has to say, in the absence of specific 5e FR info).

I think part of the clash of ideas we're seeing here is that I see our current editionless policy as anything but in practice. Instead it seems to be a partitionist policy, where we deal with each edition separately and individually in their own separate sections, calling attention to differences rather than trying to reconcile them. As someone accustomed to the evolutionary nature of shared universes (like Marvel or the Star Wars EU) I'm more in favor of what I'd call an "integrationalist" policy, where we'd try to use the same lore together wherever possible and rule in the favor of more recent information wherever possible. The currently stated differences between editions would be eliminated, which have no relevance within the Realms itself (since the game editions themselves are simply rule changes).

The tabbed idea is one that many other wikia that deal with multiple editions/versions/mediums use and might be something to look into.
  — Eli the Tanner

I'm open to this and would definitely prefer it to having separate infoboxes for each edition. That being said, it may be a bit trickier than it appears. I've actually experimented with the idea myself and while the results mostly work there are a few hiccups. For example, the alignment infobox doesn't really work with tabbing and there's still the problem with having a lot of redundant information. You also have to click on each tab for each trait individually, which might be tedious for some reasons. A more sophisticated coder might be able to figure out how to create an infobox that switches from one edition to the other for the whole dataset, but that still leaves the redundancy problem as well as something which I'll admit is a personal peeve of mine: which is the explicit labeling of editions (which has an OOU tone to it I don't much care for).

But it's certainly an option.
Niirfa-sa (talk) 00:22, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


Do people really need that though? Presumably people who prefer earlier editions and loath 3e/4e/5e do possess sourcebooks that already detail said material?
  — Niirfa-sa

Whoa! you just implied that the wiki is only for those fans of the latest edition. I hope you didn't mean that. I run my games in 2nd edition and now my kids run games for their friends using my books. Having a searchable encyclopedia is a huge win for anyone, regardless of their edition of choice. I really want to support any DM or player in any edition. That's been my mission for a few years now and you will not easily dissuade me from it.

You keep using that word "editionless", but I have no idea where you got it from my friend. I thought we were discussing Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon and what should be considered canon and how to prioritize it. The Editions section of that policy clearly states that we treat all editions equally and reference each of them. What we have today grew from that, and I would say that the majority of the articles that we have touched (since I got here, I can't really speak for things before then) follow this general format: each edition gets its own section of the infobox and we fully populate them with all the info and references that we know, plus whatever crunchy bits we allow; the body of the article is then written with an in-universe perspective devoid of crunch and tries to interpret the history as best we can and make it smoothly flow across all editions. This satisfies (we hope) the DMs who are running their favorite edition, the folks who just want a good story to read, and those that want to feel the power of a (relatively) coherent and consistent grand fantasy multiverse. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but that's generally how it goes. I feel this approach serves the widest range of readers: the infobox for those who like the nuts and bolts of D&D in any edition, and the in-universe prose for those that want atmosphere, adventure hooks, NPCs that are already in place, and background they can rely on.

Moviesign (talk) 03:03, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


It was not my intention to say that it is only for fans of the latest edition, but I do think we should edit the wiki with the primary goal of being useful to newcomers who are unfamiliar with the lore, rather than towards those who already know it in and out. And I think it is fair to say that new players and DMs are more likely to use newer editions than older ones (if only for the simple fact that it's easier to purchase new material than old material). More importantly, I dislike distinguishing editions to begin with. I think it promotes edition warring and is unnecessarily redundant in a lot of cases, since 4e's really the only major outlier, lore-wise (and is now superseded by 5e).
Niirfa-sa (talk) 03:26, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


I grew up with 2e then switched to playing 3e... and I still used many of my 2e books, such as the The Savage Frontier (sourcebook) because there was really great world information... surprisingly that book is actually 1e... which means there is great Realms knowledge in all the editions... a great example of this is Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue... this book has never been updated in any edition since 2e... and it is filled with wicked info :) Also, the wiki is open to new editions... I used info from four different editions for the black pudding page.
- Darkwynters (talk) 05:18, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


I'm more in favor of what I'd call an "integrationalist" (sic) policy, where we'd try to use the same lore together wherever possible and rule in the favor of more recent information wherever possible
  — Niirfa-sa

Ah, noticed I said "wherever possible" both times. What I meant to say was that in an integrationist policy we'd try to use the same lore together wherever possible and rule in favor of more recent information whenever necessary (i.e., when there's an irreconcilable conflict).

As a general rule I'm not really for overriding past canon. I prefer a large amount of 2e and 3e's lore to 4e's (I prefer both the World Tree and Great Wheel to the World Axis, I like old tieflings better than new tieflings, I prefer the nine alignments, etc.). But I think it's inaccurate for the purposes of canon to describe older information as always on an equal footing with newer information. In some cases it just isn't so.
Niirfa-sa (talk) 06:34, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


So many posts! I should have responded last night, but caught up doing Alusair... That came out wrong. So, catching up.

Candlekeep: I also asked around the WotC boards, but they're dead as a zombie. If you can tell me another major forum of FR fandom, I'll ask there too. Anyway, I spent most of my time defending our equal treatment of lore per edition, against people who wanted some very savage divisions.

I think you may misunderstand my position. Whatever my personal opinions on the current 4e/5e state of the Realms (I don't like it), I want to see the FRW handle all editions equally. That is, 3e is as valid as 2e, 4e is as valid as 3e and 2e, and so on. I feel that is the most helpful to our readers, and also the best way to satisfy the majority of the fandom, new 5e players as much as old 2e grognards.

When the FRW began, 3.5 edition was current, categories and infoboxes were made to suit, things were written in present tense, etc. Then 4e came out and changed everything, and dedicated users began adding older lore. The entire structure of the wiki was invalidated, the content was out-of-date, and it was a shambles. We're still cleaning up and updating. If we'd restructured the FRW to 4e, then we'd be in the same state now with 5e. If we restructure to 5e now, then we'd be a total mess by 6e. If we attempted to restructure the wiki to reflect each new edition, then we would be forever updating and cleaning up the wiki. With our small user-base, we cannot keep up with the evolving time-line and regular edition changes. It's entirely unsustainable.

What we've been building towards now is a wiki structure in which each edition can be handled equally, in which all lore is valid. 5e may trump 4e, and 4e may trump 3e, but the old stuff shouldn't go away. We have multiple reasons:

  • To stand the test of time, to not need constant updating and restructuring with each edition or the evolving timeline.
  • To be useful to users of each edition: 5e, 4e, 3e, 2e, and 1e.
  • To satisfy all kinds of fans and players: newbies, regular players, dedicated fans, old grognards.
  • To be a complete and useful resource for FR lore.

What I don't want us to do is take sides in the edition wars. Just as I didn't want the wiki to side with the 1e/2e or 3e eras over the 4e era, I don't want it to side with 5e over 4e, 3e, or 1e/2e. My position is True Neutral, or if you like, Unaligned. :)

It's also not our place to make judgements, speculations, or interpolations. Orcs can be Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil, but never Neutral Evil. In general, we shouldn't try to fill in the gaps, solve discrepancies, fix errors, or create retcons. (Though we have smoothed some bumps over here and there.) We are not the authority on the Realms. We should present the facts side-by-side, provide a note to explain the discrepancy, and let the readers decide. Our Canon policy does ensure editors side with newer lore/editions when there is a clear discrepancy, but for the most part I've found it unnecessary. Unreliable narration, the evolving timeline, and unclear facts allow a lot of things to sit side-by-side or follow one after the other with little conflict.

I think we all all agree broadly on the wiki's goals and purposes, but differ on exactly how to achieve it. But Niirfa-sa, we've been working on this approach the last two or so years, so you've kind of come late to the party. :)

There are points where we definitely pick the newer lore over the older, such as in page names and categories. The city of Velprintalar in Aglarond was renamed Veltalar, and the page name and categories reflect that. Same with Heliogabalus/Helgabal and others.

The wiki has always allowed some basic crunch for comparison and categorisation purposes. I could do with less crunch, myself, but I don't think it's a big issue. Basics like an NPCs class and level are useful in a D&D-based setting, telling you broadly what they're capable of.

I do agree that the all-edition infoboxes can get cluttered, but I don't think cluttering is a valid reason to lose the old lore and stats. However, I do love the tabbed infoboxes you've come up with. They're much tidier and selective.

FWIW, I discovered the Realms through Neverwinter Nights and began with 3.5 edition. I still play 3.5 edition FR in a long-running online community game at RPoL, and I still see other FR games there running 1st, 2nd, and 3.x edition, as much as 4th and 5th.

— BadCatMan (talk) 06:54, October 11, 2014 (UTC)


Cheers,BadCat!!! And I do like the tabs as well, Niirfa :)
- Darkwynters (talk) 15:05, October 11, 2014 (UTC)
Candlekeep: I also asked around the WotC boards, but they're dead as a zombie. If you can tell me another major forum of FR fandom, I'll ask there too.
  — BadCatMan

It's not exactly FR-specific but ENWorld probably isn't a bad place to try; I post there fairly frequently and there's a fair number of FR fans there (though I think a lot of people prefer Greyhawk). I get what you're saying about the WotC boards though; they're very, very quiet.

My point was more that we can't reliably know what the FR fandom thinks (although it's probably fair to say 4e was widely unpopular) so it's probably a mistake to look at any one group as representative.

Anyway, I spent most of my time defending our equal treatment of lore per edition, against people who wanted some very savage divisions. I think you may misunderstand my position. Whatever my personal opinions on the current 4e/5e state of the Realms (I don't like it), I want to see the FRW handle all editions equally. That is, 3e is as valid as 2e, 4e is as valid as 3e and 2e, and so on. I feel that is the most helpful to our readers, and also the best way to satisfy the majority of the fandom, new 5e players as much as old 2e grognards.
  — BadCatMan

Fair enough. I've actually been browsing through some of the old talk pages and forum posts here on the Wiki and I see the policy was hardly popular a couple of years back (I actually managed to miss that rough period in the middle where the policy was being ironed out, but I remember seeing some of the contentions over 4e material early on when I first started making edits).

FWIW, I agree with treating lore in most cases equally and when adding new material to the wiki I've tried my best to reconcile old and new lore wherever possible (for example, describing class abilities unique to older versions of a class as "uncommon" rather than simply nonexistent). It's merely where those irreconcilable conflicts occur that I feel I have to take a preference towards newer material.

When the FRW began, 3.5 edition was current, categories and infoboxes were made to suit, things were written in present tense, etc. Then 4e came out and changed everything, and dedicated users began adding older lore. The entire structure of the wiki was invalidated, the content was out-of-date, and it was a shambles. We're still cleaning up and updating.
  — BadCatMan

Yeah, this is the major problem I think. It's kind of odd that fans assumed all of the same stuff would still be relevant whenever 3.5 was replaced but it is what it is. We're hardly unique in that regard; the Eberron Wiki's completely devoid in several spots of any material more recent than 3.5 as well. I've commented elsewhere on how - whether you like 4e or not - WotC clearly went way too far in the kind of changes they wrought, seeing as how entire sections of lore were upturned and changed arbitrarily, which wasn't a big deal if you only played with the three main books for either edition but infuriated a lot of setting fans (and not just those of FR).

If we'd restructured the FRW to 4e, then we'd be in the same state now with 5e. If we restructure to 5e now, then we'd be a total mess by 6e. If we attempted to restructure the wiki to reflect each new edition, then we would be forever updating and cleaning up the wiki. With our small user-base, we cannot keep up with the evolving time-line and regular edition changes. It's entirely unsustainable.
  — BadCatMan

I see your point. Fortunately, most of the 5e changes from 4e are pretty easy to implement: things are back to the way they were in 3e (or 2e or 1e even). But I do recognize that we have a relatively small user base (and that we lost a lot in the wake of 4e's release) so we have to think carefully about how we manage our limited resources.

What we've been building towards now is a wiki structure in which each edition can be handled equally, in which all lore is valid. 5e may trump 4e, and 4e may trump 3e, but the old stuff shouldn't go away. We have multiple reasons:
  • To stand the test of time, to not need constant updating and restructuring with each edition or the evolving timeline.
  • To be useful to users of each edition: 5e, 4e, 3e, 2e, and 1e.
  • To satisfy all kinds of fans and players: newbies, regular players, dedicated fans, old grognards.
  • To be a complete and useful resource for FR lore.
  — BadCatMan

I don't 100% agree (I still feel our chief goal should be accuracy for newcomers) but I see your point. And given the above note about limited resources I can see why it's a useful policy in practice.

It's also not our place to make judgements, speculations, or interpolations. Orcs can be Lawful Evil and Chaotic Evil, but never Neutral Evil. In general, we shouldn't try to fill in the gaps, solve discrepancies, fix errors, or create retcons. (Though we have smoothed some bumps over here and there.) We are not the authority on the Realms. We should present the facts side-by-side, provide a note to explain the discrepancy, and let the readers decide.
  — User talk:BadCatMan

Fair enough.

I think we all all agree broadly on the wiki's goals and purposes, but differ on exactly how to achieve it.
  — BadCatMan

I agree.

I do agree that the all-edition infoboxes can get cluttered, but I don't think cluttering is a valid reason to lose the old lore and stats. However, I do love the tabbed infoboxes you've come up with. They're much tidier and selective.
  — BadCatMan

It does look like we're looking to something along those lines, though the details remain to be worked out. It isn't necessarily my first preference, but it's one I'm pretty comfortable with and which I do prefer to the current look of our editionless templates.

FWIW, I discovered the Realms through Neverwinter Nights and began with 3.5 edition. I still play 3.5 edition FR in a long-running online community game at RPoL, and I still see other FR games there running 1st, 2nd, and 3.x edition, as much as 4th and 5th.
  — BadCatMan
I started with Neverwinters Nights 2 myself and first played D&D with The Sunless Citadel so I figure our perspectives aren't too far off ;-) . In any case, while I may disagree with you on a few specific points I agree our overall goal is the same: to make a wiki that is the most useful for the largest possible number of fans, regardless of edition.
Niirfa-sa (talk) 08:17, October 12, 2014 (UTC)


Just to say what I think about the video game "canon" or "continuity":

I think it should be along the lines of "we don't fill the holes"... erm, like this: Things should be added as they are before the player has effect on them, or as they would have a definite change due to the game forcing the player to do specific things. in NwN 1 for example there is no way to save Helms hold so Helms hold should have that reflected. Or in NwN 2 I Don't think you can avoid gaining ownership of Crossroads keep and upgrading it in some fashion. Or BG 1 the only way to complete the game is to destroy the Iron throne. But in NWN 2 whom of your friends dies is uncertain... I think other wikies have these rules. Also novels should trump games, games can change due to patches or expansions while novels are the same... hmmm one could just address the game makers about what they think about the writing.

Also: apparently Josh Sawyer said that it would be cool with another Neverwinter game with 5e... apparently that's "heavy hints". So that might be a hint of what might happen. Erm... Also i grew up with BG 1 but didn't read any books or get more involved in the lore until 4e reading Gauntlgrym (getting very chocked at the first chapter about rape and so forth). So to me learning about editions at random times is interesting and seeing all the different editions and the different types of stories they have, still allot to learn :).

Terrorblades 's Far Realm logs dated 21:30, October 12, 2014 (UTC)


Seems like the only division of opinion is with regards to the crunchy-infobox bits. The general lore, history, character descriptions, locations etc. I think we all agree are being handled as best we can. Stuff like class, levels and alignment are the nebulous, edition-fraught stuff that I think Niirfa-sa is worried about. I recall the discussions concerning these few bits of salient crunch on the wiki a few years ago and we came to the consensus that BadCatMan eloquently put. Given the choice between no-crunch and the small bits of crunch we have we had to decide how to present that information. If we have crunch do we present only the ever-changing 'most recent' info? or do we present crunch from every edition where possible?

The latter option seemed to to cater to both our edition-inclusive style and preservation of information whilst catering to all users of the wiki (new and old). Whilst the former, seemed to only cater to the newer audience and created (as noted) a possibly unattainable task before us.

Hope this helps explain the choices we were faced with, and why we chose to manage the small amount of crunch we had the way we did.

--Eli the Tanner (talk) 23:25, October 12, 2014 (UTC)


It's merely where those irreconcilable conflicts occur that I feel I have to take a preference towards newer material.
  — Niirfa-sa

That is part of the Canon policy. Where there is a clear irreconcilable conflict, we have to go with the newer version. I'd say what to do with the older lore is the prerogative of the editor willing to do the work, as long as it doesn't get removed. A separate section, a discussion in an Appendix, a edition section of the infobox. Some differences are so great, they may yet warrant a separate section of the main article, or even a whole new article, as with the Devas.

The Eberron wiki is nearly dead anyway. We're in fantastically good shape in comparison. :)

Looks like we're all good then. :D

Video games and adventure modules, with branching storylines and outcomes, are a whole 'nother kettle of fish. I'm not sure we've found a satisfactory way of handling them. The "would do X" style is clunky, and throwing in different sections for each outcome would be messy, and assuming 100% Good completion misses other options. Only fixed events are straightforward to handle.

Well put, Eli. I think over the last few years we haven't had any specific plans or philosophies as described above. We've encountered problems, discussed them, and settled on solutions we've collectively felt to be the most effective, and began applying them on other matters, and so steadily accreted the approach outlined above. This may be the first time we've put together a specific mission statement for the wiki as it now stands.

— BadCatMan (talk) 09:18, October 13, 2014 (UTC)
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