Forums: Helping Hand > Canonicity: A minor revision

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The Forgotten Realms, as well as the amount of lore both surrounding and relating to it, is huge. In order to present readers with the most useful and relevant information, and make the wiki manageable, a line has to be drawn with what content should be included.

Thus, I would like to expand on the following canon policy: Everything Ed Greenwood writes and says regarding the Forgotten Realms is canon, unless or until superseded by published material from TSR or WotC.

These are the proposed changes:

  • Published works surrounding the Forgotten Realms where Ed Greenwood is a primary author should also be included as canon. The term primary author would be defined as a lead designer or lead writer, or otherwise being credited for the full book. This change would make works such as The Border Kingdoms canon.
  • Ed Greenwood's contributions within published works surrounding the Forgotten Realms should be included, such as lore-related forewords in sourcebooks.

This revision is just to make sure the Forgotten Realms wiki remains informative and manageable. The thread surrounding this revision is not a place to debate what is canon and what is not, or any other changes to the existing canon policy. In your world, canon is what you make of it.

Please provide feedback on the above revisions. Thanks!

Possessed Priest (talk) 16:59, May 15, 2020 (UTC)
I entirely agree with this revision. It is important to be clear that the wiki can only consider works that have been published in some form, and only those in which Ed is actually credited as a relevant contributor.

Regarding Ed's claims published in other media, such as Twitter or forum posts, I would go further and explicitly mention them in the canon policy, in order to avoid ambiguity and misinterpretation going forward. Something along these lines:

  • Claims from Ed Greenwood related to the Forgotten Realms posted in his Twitter account or by his proxy Candlekeep Forum persona "The Hooded One" are considered canon as well, unless they are contradicted by any form of officially published work.

In other words, they would be lowest in our canon hierarchy, below even video games, novels, and AL content. Hopefully this should avoid conflicts with future or past published work.

Sirwhiteout (talk) 18:50, May 15, 2020 (UTC)
I agree with both of these changes! Ed's tweets are so fun to read - it would be nice to be able to incorporate them into the wiki.
Ruf (talk) 19:04, May 15, 2020 (UTC)
Agree with the above. Additonally, it might be prudent to make a general citation template for Ed's tweets and forum posts, one for each. Maybe even make it so that it adds a quick note along with the citation about its position in our canon hierarchy?
Regis87 (talk) 19:55, May 15, 2020 (UTC)
I agree with above, the wiki can claim that someone else might write up interesting notes and insights onto the settlements of the Border kingdoms, but I don't think WOTC will turn their head in that direction for a long time, this version is pretty canon and works, so why try and change that? On a slighhtly related note, Keith Baker's probably going to be releasing Exploring Eberron in a few months or so, so the time to discuss general orginal writer authenticity claims is probably now, quite a few of this wiki's regulars work on the Eberron wiki pretty regularly.
Jacktoland (talk) 09:02, May 16, 2020 (GMT)
I agree with the changes but want clarification on the proposal for Ed's posts (Twitter, Candlkeep) and the like. The word "superseded" in the current canon policy implies official material only overrides Ed if it is published after his posts. The proposed policy appears to say that officially published material always trumps Ed's writings regardless of which was published first. The only instances where this change would be noticeable is if Ed posts something clarifying/contradicting official material after its publication. Under the proposed policy Ed's clarification/contradiction in those circumstances would not be canon.
Adoxos (talk) 18:20, May 17, 2020 (UTC)

I agree with Possessed Priest's proposal. There is definite value in delineating exactly how we should deal with the different categories of works Ed has contributed Realmslore to. I imagine works such as The Border Kingdoms would be akin to third-party licensed adventures and the like. However, the change implicitly kiboshes Ed's Candlekeep and Twitter posts, perhaps by intent. These are (generally and often) off-the-cuff posts by Ed where he spins a yarn on the spot ("Oh, they were actually the same dragon all along!" and the like).

However informal these posts are, however, I do still think they constitute Realmslore that is worth keeping track of. Thus, I think Sir Whiteout's proposal is appropriate: we do not exclude forum posts and tweets, but still treat them as "lower" canon to reflect their off-the-cuff nature.

@Regis: A citation template would be a great idea.

@Adoxos: Ed is often wrong or in conflict with older sources, hence the wording. That being said, there are times when he deliberately conflicts with established lore to fix contradictions and the like. I'm not sure how we can word things to avoid the former and still allow for the latter. Perhaps a case-by-case basis is best for some of these cases.
Ir'revrykal (talk) 10:07, May 20, 2020 (UTC)

Ack, sorry to be so late responding to this, and to be so negative. But eh, someone needs to be to clarify the positive. :) I really respect Ed Greenwood as a writer and RPG designer (less so as a novelist). What I'm arguing from is a position of searching for precise language and definitions and what is most useful for the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

AFAICT, the canon of the Forgotten Realms is a completely arbitrary concept (well, most canons are). The only source telling us what is canon is Ed Greenwood himself, and of course he only says everything he says is canon. "Anything I write about the Realms, by definition, is canon, unless or until contradicted/rendered out-of-date by Wizards-published writing." Wizards of the Coast don't seem to care, they'd rather publish whatever they like (not unreasonably, but also not helpfully). The only ones trying to determine a canon are us. Our purpose is to detail a canon and licensed Realms. So, what is a canon? I'd say it's the body of sources that are official and everyone can agree are a part of the official storyline/setting

The Border Kingdoms, by its very existence and Kammer's admission, is not an official source. It's just AL-legal (AL canon, maybe), but that's not within our remit. However, Ed Greenwood wrote in it, and everything he writes his canon, so his parts of the book must be canon. But which parts? Certainly, the parts copied from the old Polyhedron BK articles and reprinted or first-printed on the WoTC website, and in Power of Faerûnaround 75% according to Kammer – are canon. Ed added whatever articles were missed the last three times they were printed, and I presume Kammer did something to get his name on it. So, 25% of the book is new and less than 25% is new canon. This leads to the absurd situation of picking out what Greenwood wrote (canon) and excluding what Kammer wrote (not-canon). I would guess this is not worth the effort and confusion. My response to that is to say exclude in its entirety, but I imagine others would say the solution is to include in its entirety.

The rule that "Everything Ed Greenwood writes and says regarding the Forgotten Realms is canon" is hugely nebulous and problematic in my experience. The juvenilia fiction he wrote as a boy? He's precociously talented at that age, but surely not, except that one story printed in an anthology. The things he says about his home games? His home Realms is not at all the same as the published Realms since developed by many other authors. Things he says to fans at conventions? It's hearsay, it can't be corroborated (and I've removed such statements from the wiki). Posts on social media? Not archived, indexed, or easily searchable, and some are in closed groups. Social media is ephemera. Fans ask Ed Greenwood about anything and everything, even about novels he didn't write and regions, storylines and development he had no hand in; I'm not sure his word should be valued so highly in such cases. Greenwood is a master of spinning lore on the spot. Fans can ask about things that previously had no Realms presence, and with one off-the-cuff remark, they suddenly do. Mistaken fans can feed him wrong information and get wrong information back. I don't mean disrespect, but I don't think his every utterance should be treated as gospel either, but more on case-by-case or careful basis.

Ed's statement at least gives a handy way of resolving contradictions: "is canon, unless or until contradicted/rendered out-of-date by Wizards-published writing" (and I presume TSR before WotC). That doesn't include "superseded" like in our policy, it applies to prior and later published sources that contradict his non-published writings. So, when Dragon #170 says ferrous dragons don't exist in the Forgotten Realms, and no later source says otherwise, the iron dragon doesn't exist in the Forgotten Realms, regardless of what Ed Greenwood offered to a fan about them.
— BadCatMan (talk) 13:36, June 3, 2020 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I find myself agreeing with possessed's + sirwhiteout's propositions. As for what's said in conventions, while I agree that without proof of it being said it should not be included, it becomes verifiable if it's for instance in a panel that's then put into youtube. A timestamped link to it serves the purpose of ease-of-access, and AFAIK youtube videos can be archived into the, just like any other sites (including social media). Whether it should be included or not is up for debate, but I see no technical obstacles.
--Wywernywin (talk) 09:03, June 16, 2020 (UTC)
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