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Given the confusions about 4e, 3e, and prior editions, I thought it might be worth revisiting the official canon policy of the wiki to something more fluid.

As the policy currently stands

All published paper sources under the FR label are canon.

Broadly, this is a good policy but in specific cases it lends itself to some confusion.

First of all, it doesn't really address what we do when two paper sources contradict each other. Generally speaking it has been an unspoken policy to regard more recent information as more canonical, but this is not explicitly stated and can be confusing.

Secondly, it doesn't really deal with the fact that both TSR and WotC, who were/are the official holders of the FR intellectual property, have generally intended generic D&D sourcebooks (like the PHB or MM) or even works from other campaign settings (like Spelljammer or Planescape) to contain information that is directly relevant to FR, even if it isn't under the FR label.

Video games are non-canon.

This policy was adopted early on in the wiki's existence but I don't think it actually reflects WotC's official policy. Rich Baker and others have stated in somewhat nebulous terms that games like Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights fit into the FR canon in one way or another. Granted, no one seems to think that they hold as much water as the printed sourcebooks or novels, particularly when the two contradict one another, such as the Baldur's Gate novels vs. games paradigm, but there is a general impression that the games aren't completely non-canon.

Additionally, for some time, it's been interpreted on this very wiki that games, which contribute as much I think to FR's popularity as the novels, are more or less loosely canon.

To solve some of these issues, I've made a few proposed policies that are open to suggestion

Most recently published works are more accurate than old ones.

So what the Monster Manual 3rd edition has to say about devils, for instance, is more accurate than what Monster Manual 2nd edition has to say. This doesn't mean that material from previous versions is completely false or inaccurate; it's just that whenever a newer reference conflicts with an older one, the newer one almost always wins. Otherwise, both works are considered canon.

Here's a case example. Let's say you're using both the MM3e and MM2e to write an article about pit fiends.

I'd also add the following corollary to this rule: Whenever alignment is concerned, we use 3e alignments. Except when it's a 4e character or monster.

This is because the 4e alignment system, while different, doesn't actually contradict the 3e system - it's just broader in terms. Any character considered "Good" adequately covers both "Neutral Good" and "Chaotic Good," "Evil" covers both "Lawful Evil" and "Neutral Evil," and "Unaligned" covers "Lawful Neutral," "True Neutral," and "Chaotic Neutral." There's no need to revise the alignments of characters.

However, to keep things simple, whenever a character or monster is introduced in 4e that didn't exist in previous editions, I'd interpret (for the sake of simplicity) the provided alignments as they're written, preferably with "Good" redirecting to "Neutral Good," "Evil" to "Neutral Evil," and "Unaligned" to "True Neutral."

FR-specific works are more accurate than generic D&D ones.

So what the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide has to say about the planes is more accurate than what Manual of the Planes 4th edition has to say. Again, this doesn't mean the latter material is utterly invalid, it's only rendered false when there are contradictions between the two.

I'll provide another example. Take the plane of the Supreme Throne. Recently, I discovered (from this wiki) that the plane was actually another name for Limbo. Curious about this, I went ahead and checked the source and, sure enough, the Grand History corroborates this fact very clearly on the listed page number.

However, this creates a contradiction in canon: according to the FRCG, the Supreme Throne is, like all the planes inhabited by gods, an astral dominion. But according to the core Manual of the Planes for 4th edition, which according to official WotC policy is applicable to all campaign settings and not just the "Points of Light" setting, Limbo is an elemental realm.

In this case, I would say that Limbo, because it is explicitly stated to be the same plane as the Supreme Throne, is actually an astral dominion, despite it's official placement in the Manual of the Planes as an elemental realm. This is because that whenever an FR source and another D&D source contradict one another, the FR source wins.

Information presented in computer/video games are broadly and generally accurate.

That is to say that the central narrative, characters, backstory, lore, and characters are accurate. However, there are two conditionals to this:

  1. When games conflict irreconcilably with printed sourcebooks and novels (as in the case for Baldur's Gate), the latter wins.
  2. In cases where the plot is determined by player choices, canon is somewhat ambiguous. Occasionally, we learn what choice the player canonically made in subsequent materials. Sometimes we don't. If we cannot determine the results of these choices by direct statements or inference, than the matter should be left ambiguous.

Information presented for other campaign settings should be limited.

It's obvious from official WotC policy that classes, races, and even monsters from other settings are more or less intended to be optional and canon for every setting and not just the one that it was originally published for. Hence, warforged exist in FR and swordmages exist in Eberron. However, we don't want to become the D&D Lore Wiki rather than the FR Wiki, so information for other settings should be limited only to either the generic or that which is already directly applicable to the FR.

For example, warforged are canon to FR, but we shouldn't include every piece of information about them published. Information about warforged can be characterized two ways: setting-specific and generic. The setting-specific information, unless it is FR-specific, should be left out, so we aren't going to include information about how warforged fit into Eberron although we would include, however, information from the Dragon article about fitting warforged into FR. Generic information includes stuff like physical description and personality, which we would include.

As a corollary to the above, I'd recommend promoting interwiki communication and cooperation, including links between different wikis.

To a certain extent, we already do this with the LFR sub-wiki and the NWN2 Wiki, among others. I'd just include expanding this policy to include other wikis that have information that is relevant to cross-setting materials. For example, a link to the Eberron Wiki article about warforged within our own article about warforged.

Lore trumps mechanics. (Very nearly) always.

When all else fails, remember that lore trumps mechanics. Of course, this is a bit more complicated than it sounds since in many cases mechanics is meant to reflect lore, even if that isn't state outright. But if a piece of lore and some crunch from a sourcebook directly conflict, always choose to go with the lore.

Generally, the only exception to this is if the crunch in of itself directly infers changes in lore. For this, I'd call for a case-for-case basis, with most articles simply following the lore > crunch rule.


In essence, here is the proposed canon policy:

  1. Newer material trumps older material whenever the two conflict.
  2. FR-specific material trumps generic D&D material whenever the two conflict.
  3. Published sourcebooks, magazine articles, and D&D Insider material trumps video games.
  4. Game plots left entirely up to player choice should be left ambiguous.
  5. Only generic material from other campaign settings should be included.
  6. Lore trumps mechanics whenever the two conflict.

So there you have it. Suggestions and discussion are welcome.

Niirfa-sa 23:03, January 8, 2012 (UTC)

Well, I dislike the first one as I'm a Classic Gamer and don't like all the modern changes(and sure hope that 5E messes things up even more by changing all the magic and races again). Any change should be seen in the context of the time. For example, until after the Spellplague Duegar were NOT devils. You have thousands of years and pages of lore that say this. So just as in 4E they are devils, does not somehow makes them all devils retroactively throughout time. And even if it did, no one in the Realms noticed for thousands of years?

This leads into the second one, for example duegar are dwarves and not devils in FR. Sure the 4E MM says they are devils, but they are not in FR. But, of course, the 4E supporters only like it when it's on there side. As soon as you say they can't have their 4E whatever they cry fowl and demand that it must be done and 4E is the rule. So duegar are devils, but is there even a 4E FR reference for this?

The love vs mechanics is a fun one. Older E's have tons and tons of lore, but 4E has almost none. In fact, 4E is just about all mechanics. I can fill a page about a old E spell, but a 4E spell would be just one line...of mechanics. Yet the 4E folks insisted in changing the whole magic system around on the wiki and making all the old stuff useless, if not just out right deleting it.

So the canon policy sounds great, if your a 4E lover, as they get everything they want and are free to ruin the older Realms.
Bloodtide 23:03, January 8, 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the point you bring up about duergar is a great example. If I recall correctly, however, a Dungeon article converting a core adventure to the FR specifically includes duergar that are listed as devils. Still, I'd have to check.

Personally, I think the idea of duergar as devils is more than a mite silly myself, but it's not my decision to make.

Niirfa-sa 11:37, January 9, 2012 (UTC)

The decision is an interesting point. Why must we change things biased on what others 'officially' do?

It's one thing to say Bob is the official king of Waterdeep per page 12 of the Realms Book of Kings. But it's another thing to look at the Realms as a 'real' place. And this brings in the real world problem: the people who are in charge of the 'official Realms' don't care, they are just employes doing a job. It's a sad and harsh reality, but it's true. And it's been true from the start of 3E when the lore dropped off to just about zero. The 'officials' are not true fans of the Realms, and even if they were, it would be second to their job(and that is understandable).

Now, the folks here on the FR Wiki are True Fans. We all like the Realms. We all come here on out free time and add things to the wiki because we want to and we like the idea of having all this Realmslore online.

So why must we automatically bow to the 'officials' that don't care? Just as some worker 'officially' writes oh elves are not eldran, they are in fact half dragons known as elgons why must we change everything on (our) the wiki to match that. How about we vote on the crazy, careless changes that the 'officials' make? This will become important in a couple months when 5E comes out and changes the Realms yet again. So, instead of just changing things randomly to whatever the 'officials' say, lets vote on it. When some 'official' says that all FR so called elves are really elgons and always have been, how about we think about that and then vote to add it or not?

I know no one wanted to keep the classic pages, and absolutely demanded that all pages be ruined by 4E spam to make them useless to other editions, but there is always a chance that common sense will prevail. Then if we vote out the horrible 4e (and soon to be 5E) stuff we can have the normal wiki back. And we can still have a redirect at the top of the page to say something like This page is about the real elves, if you want the crazy 4E version follow this link.

Bloodtide 11:37, January 9, 2012 (UTC)

That sounds like splitting the wiki which we are discussing elsewhere. What wiki are you talking about where all the classic pages got "corrupted" by 4E stuff? I don't really have time for multiple wikis so when I found this one I just dropped my dice bag on an empty table and had fun. All my sources are 1E and 2E (plus I have the 3.5 PHB for grits and shins). I want a place where I can preserve the old lore and I don't mind sharing disk space with 4E fans as long as they respect the previous editions. Policy should dictate that and admins enforce it. Otherwise, I'll probably just give up and fade away.
Moviesign 20:42, January 9, 2012 (UTC)
"The decision is an interesting point. Why must we change things biased on what others 'officially' do?"

Because otherwise what's the point of having a wiki that covers canon at all in the first place? Why not just let in fanon? There's an arbitrary boundary between ignoring canon and making it a fanon-wiki, which would be a much more drastic shift in our policy than what I'm proposing.

I don't see why there has to be a "this is the 3e or the 4e wiki" debate at all, to be candid. While the number of changes between 3e and 4e lore-wise are large and arguably unnecessary, none of them are significantly more drastic than the change from 2e to 3e, which rewrote the cosmology of the Realms entirely and got rid of racial confinements on class, or the move from 1e to 2e, which massacred several of the setting's more popular gods and brought in several new ones.

These proposed changes are not meant to favor 4e: the contrary, they're meant to allow the smooth integration of all the various iterations of FR into one whole and to make it easier for the wiki's articles to be read, rather than jumping back and forth between statements like "in 4e" or "in Neverwinter Nights or "back in 2e," etc. My hope is not only that people's anxieties about 3e lore getting wiped out be dealt with, but that information from prior editions be integrated as well, which largely was ignored earlier in favor of 3e and 4e.

Take the Mystra fiasco, for example. Thanks in no small part to TSR's decision to name both Mothers of Magic with the same name, there's been a fair amount of merging between the two deities on this wiki, such as listing the previous Mystra as "neutral good" or using the same holy symbol for both deities (despite 1e sourcebooks dictating otherwise). This is just one example of how the wiki was initially significantly biased towards 3e. I'm trying to reduce that bias, not towards 4e, but simply in such a way that all editions are counted while keeping up with the most recent information when contradictions emerge. Overall, it's not a dissimilar system to the one used by Lucas Licensing for Star Wars continuity.

If you want to ignore canon, that's fair and entirely up to you. But this wiki is for all FR fans and so should present information that is useful to people using the currently published form of the setting. Anyone who wants to do otherwise can do as they've always done: alter canon how you wish for your own purposes or use the sourcebooks from their preferred edition. It's what disgruntled 2e fans during 3e and it's what I would expect 3.5 fans to do now. And of course it's naturally what unhappy fans of 4e will do when 5e comes out.

Niirfa-sa 01:46, January 10, 2012 (UTC)
Niirfa-sa 17:25, January 10, 2012 (UTC)

I don't get your Mystra example at all. Mystra A dies and then Mystra B takes over. The reason they are different is they are different. And this has plenty of lore to support it. That is nothing like the devil duegar that have 'always' been devils for 10,000 years of Realms history..but, um, no one noticed. It's not like anyone at Wizards came up with a plot of well devil X transformed some duegar into devils, they just threw it in our faces and basically called us dumb for not knowing duegar were devils all along.
Bloodtide 21:25, January 10, 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for writing up this detailed proposal and giving us a chance for discussion. Once we're agreed I suggest we turn it into an actual proposal which we can then look towards using to modify the canon policy.

You use the term "trumps" a lot, but I would like to suggest that we cover all our bases here, such that:

The piece of lore was correct in one source, but has since been explicitly retconned 
We should note in the article that the information was retconned, and provide a source.
The piece of lore was correct in one source, but appears to have been superseded in a later source 
We should write both sources' points of view into the article, beginning with the later source, and reference both sources.
The piece of lore was correct and is still so 
Provide a reference already!

I would like to see all editions represented without bias, explicit or otherwise, so that everyone gets the benefit of the full back catalogue of realmslore.

With regard to the "FR-specific trumps generic D&D", I would advocate that, like above, the differences are represented, FR-specific first, and references are given for both.

Again, with video games, I would say the same thing: sourcebook info first, then explain that it's different in the game, and reference both.

As far as video game canon status is concerned, let's collect together sources (things Ed has said, WotC statements, etc) that can help us decide whether they are determined as canon (as usual, "I know it's true because I read it on some site I can't remember" is not going to be good enough) and we can present the sources on the policy itself.

As far as other campaign settings are concerned, I feel that the information would have to be shown to be specifically applicable to the Realms. Unlike generic D&D material, which can be assumed to be present in the Realms unless specified otherwise, I think that to be included on this wiki, information from other campaigns must actively be shown to be relevant. A good example is Sigil. While part of Planescape canon, it can be shown to be included in several sources specific to the Realms, so it is appropriate to list here.

User:Fw190a8 23:14, January 10, 2012 (UTC)

What's canon and what isn't is really a mater of opinion. There are people over at Candle Keep who insist that an item is canon only if Ed Greenwood wrote or said it which is hard-line silliness in my opinion.

I'm in agreement with Niirfa's hierarchy on canonicality (is that a word?). However, I think we need to include the FR novels in the list. I read many of the novels and it seems that many FR authors, especially the new ones, have only a passing familiarity with the Realms. Often, material in the novels conflicts with official sourcebook material, especially class specific abilities. I suggest placing official source material at the top of the list with novels, Dragon/Dungeon magazine articles and other material from WoTC in the second highest tier. Where would forum postings by FR developers or authors go? With the novels and magazine articles?

User:Boo Too 04:16, January 11, 2012 (UTC)
Unlike generic D&D material, which can be assumed to be present in the Realms unless specified otherwise, I think that to be included on this wiki, information from other campaigns must actively be shown to be relevant.
— Fw190a8

The problem is that difficulties arise when information released in setting-specific material is intended to be applicable generally. Warforged from the Eberron Player's Guide is one example, a lot of the material presented in Planescape is as well. My idea was that we'd separate material that only applies to the original setting from that which is generic and only include the latter.

Still, I can see that it would be easier to integrates races like warforged and thri-keen, which have already been referenced in FR-specific documents, than races like the kalashtar or mul, which, to my best knowledge, have not been. Similarly, while integrating information about the planes from Planescape is useful to a certain extent, we do run into certain barriers given the immense retcon about FR's cosmology for 3e, including the relocation of several deities and creation of entirely new planes that were formerly "layers" or "realms."

As far as video game canon status is concerned, let's collect together sources (things Ed has said, WotC statements, etc) that can help us decide whether they are determined as canon (as usual, "I know it's true because I read it on some site I can't remember" is not going to be good enough) and we can present the sources on the policy itself.
— Fw190a8

That sounds reasonable. Here's one quote:

I guess you could call this the 'not throwing out the baby or the bathwater' rule. If it happened in a novel or in a game product—any part of the FORGOTTEN REALMS canon—it happened. We aren’t going to ask you to buy a copy of The Grand History of the Realms then throw it away. Every detail ever published on this massive setting is still there, is still a part of the history of this living, breathing world. We may have a hundred years’ worth of distance from it, but it happened, and all that history will continue to inform authors, game designers, players, and DMs as they continue to explore the FORGOTTEN REALMS world.

There's some ambiguity in the word "game products," of course. But there have also been cases where WotC has ruled out specific story ideas because they would change canon (actually destroying the Wall of the Faithless in MotB was one such idea, apparently). Storm of Zehir was also created with the intent of linking the 3e Realms to the 4e one, including hints about the Spellplague's origin and its later effects.

However, I think we need to include the FR novels in the list. I read many of the novels and it seems that many FR authors, especially the new ones, have only a passing familiarity with the Realms. I suggest placing official source material at the top of the list with novels, Dragon/Dungeon magazine articles and other material from WoTC in the second highest tier. Where would forum postings by FR developers or authors go? With the novels and magazine articles?
— Boo Too

I wasn't aware of this, though, to be fair, I've only read a handful of FR novels, so I'm not an expert. It does seem inevitable that contradictions between the novels and sourcebooks would arise at some point and though my first instinct would be to just go with whatever came out later, it does make a certain amount of sense that the RPG sourcebooks would occupy a higher level of canon than novels, since the sourcebooks are more carefully screened by WotC (and TSR in the past) than the novels (which are written mostly by other people).

Under that idea we might have something similar to the levels of Star Wars canon (which I admit I've modeled my earlier proposal off of to an extent), with different tiers depending on the reference source:

  1. Printed Sourcebooks. With more recent books holding greater authority (whichever edition they are).
  2. Printed Novels. Again, with the more recent novels being more accurate, though contradictions are probably less likely here.
  3. Magazine/online articles.
  4. Video Games. One example would be the Baldur's Gate games, which would be canon except for where they contradict the novels, wherein the novels take greater priority.

Where to put authorial statements is an open question, though I'd go with the rule of thumb that it depends who the author is and in what capacity they're asking. A game developer talking about a game would have less authority than say R.A. Salvatore or Ed Greenwood, for example.

Niirfa-sa 06:35, January 11, 2012 (UTC)

While I generally agree with Niirfa-sa's hierarchy summary above, I think it's potentially dangerous to value novels over magazine articles. Suppose a novel was released by an author who had never written for the Realms before, and it came out after an Ed Greenwood article in the online Dragon, but directly contradicted it.

This is why I think we should use common sense, although using the above as a general guideline is useful, and simply note the contradictions as we go. We can make both versions available to the reader, and make no attempt to say one is canon and one is not. The exception would be if a contradiction was explicitly cleared up, by a forum post from Ed or something similar.

Niirfa-sa, I'm afraid your Phil Athans quote is too ambiguous to carry any authority, since, as you already pointed out, it mentions "game products" which, the devil's advocate would be keen to point out, might as easily refer to sourcebooks as video games. Do you have a source for that, by the way?

Fw190a8 21:02, January 12, 2012 (UTC)

The problem will always be what is official and what is cannon. The point that some random author might write a novel and know nothing about the Realms is valid, and has already been done. But, this is also true of sourcebooks and articles and everything else. At any time, WotC can grab anyone and have them write anything and then slap 'FR' on it. You have no idea if that person is even close to a Realms fan, if they care, or if they are just a person doing a job. It's worse when you add in outright mistakes and outright recons.

To put it simply, at any time, any one can 'officially' write anything. There is no Realms Traffic Cop at WotC. Someone could simply write, in a official sourcebook that Waterdeep is the capital city of the Water Empire and is ruled by a family of Blue Dragons, and has been from 800DR. Now, some on this Wiki love this sort of thing, anything shiny and new that you can call official they just fall in love with. They will insist that the Water Empire version of history is the true history, and what everyone else thought want happened was just all wrong.

This is where True Fans, just use common sense and ignore that sort of thing. Waterdeep can't be the capital of a blue dragon empire from 800Dr to the present. That's just outright insanity.

And I say that us Fans, should decide what is 'real' for the Realms or not....not just random WotC employes. Though I guess it would not matter much in the end as everyone would just vote for the insanity(as everyone who supports the mess of 4E has already done).
Bloodtide 23:02, January 12, 2012 (UTC)

Wizards actually has a pretty decent lore team, the members of which are charged with making sure that products published don't contradict the existing lore. Sure, they're not perfect, and errors do occur, but considering there are over two hundred novels and at least fifty sourcebooks, I'd say they're doing an amazing job.
Cronje (talkcontribs) 05:55, January 13, 2012 (UTC)

Please see Forgotten Realms Wiki:Changes to canon policy for my draft of this policy change. Do feel free to edit or discuss, although we should probably move the policy proposal discussion to that proposal's talk page.
Fw190a8 19:08, January 13, 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Fw190a8. I'll take a look (already given it a brief look over). Should we continue discussing the policy proposal here or on the link's talk page?
Niirfa-sa 03:12, January 18, 2012 (UTC)

I should point out that we still have two policy pages regarding canon noted as official. The older one (Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon) needs to be harvested for relevant links and talk page points before deletion. The newer one (Forgotten Realms Wiki:Changes to canon policy) then needs to be renamed as it will no longer describe the changes, but reflect the official canon policy. As for my opinion, I believe that published adventure modules should actually take a place in the hierarchy between novels and mags/articles or equal to mags/articles rather than be counted as sourcebooks as they would be under the current proposed change.
hashtalk 22:48, June 10, 2012 (UTC)

Hi. I just discovered this and just read everything. So, my 2 gp (hey, my opinions are worth something!). First, I think FR actually has it quite easy in this regard. I've been in other fandoms (Doctor Who, Star Trek) where the franchise ranges have, for legal reasons or editorial bias, actively ignored or contradicted one another, leading to no end of headaches and confusion, entire alternate histories and so on. FR lore has been surprisingly unified, relatively, at least up until 4E. In wikis for these other franchises, resolving this issues is a daily regular chore of article editing. For example, here's something I worked extensively on at the Star Trek wiki Memory Beta]: the Rigel star system , where multiple sources have produced six distinct versions of the same place, up to as many for most of its planets, and two or three conflicting histories for each of its inhabitants, with a big appendix to discuss the differences. That's a (worst-case, extreme) example of what I argue for.

Looking at specific points of the revised policy write-up: (Ah. I may be ranting unnecessarily for some of this. I think I'm largely in agreement with the revised policy, except on the Age factor.)

Canon: There's no official statement on "canon", is there? The authors each say one thing, Ed Greenwood may or may not say something different, we just tend to like Ed more. :D I can't find an actual quote or source on this statement anyway. According to Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon, Greenwood said any published source, but computer games are also published sources. Anyway, even the great Ed Greenwood can be wrong, as some of what he writes is more likely come from his personal Realms, rather than what we actually got (e.g., his fluff about Chessenta is not from the ancient Greek Chessenta from Old Empires). In such cases, he can be just as much the clueless outsider as a random novelist or Dragon magazine writer or whatever (though likely still more talented ;) ).

IMO, we should ignore any notions of canon and only consider things in terms of licensed, official sources: sourcebooks, novels, comics, games, boardgames, etc. As this is the Forgotten Realms Wiki, it really has a responsibility and duty to cover all of the Forgotten Realms, every source, whether it be from 1st or 2nd edition, 3rd, or even (ugh) 4th edition, without preference or focus. All of it should be valid sources, even the bits that contradict (especially the bits that contradict!). All information should be included. We should show all versions of events, show all information from all editions and sources, and let the users and readers decide which they want to go with according to their game or interests. This should be a wiki for all editions.

Age: I think this is another case where the wiki needs to be removed from the timeline, and this time it's the real-world timeline. Every time an edition changes, a whole bunch of stuff will change, and a Newer Is Better rule will necessitate a whole bunch of changes every time. Consider the poor succubus, changing from demon to devil in 4th edition. The succubus article currently lists them as devils in 4E terms, but Malcanthet is still a 3E demon. Well, why should Miss Malcanthet change? I think we should add the 4th edition stuff (as much as I hate it), but keep the older stuff alongside, equally valid, even if it contradicts. So succubi should be both demons and devils, have both Category:Demons and Category:Devils. If Malcanthet appears in 4th edition as a devil, then she can become a devil then, but still remain a demon. Sections can be used for different versions, small notes or extensive appendices can be included to discuss the changes and contradictions.

Realms-specific vs Generic: Always. In fact, I'd go so far as to say only FR material should be counted. Warforged have never appeared in a licensed Realms source have they? (Barring the suspiciously similar basal golems of the Utter East.) Then I see no need to have a Warforged article here. This is akin to the cross-over policies at other wikias, to include only the information that appears in the cross-over source. We may learn more about thri-kreen from the core-setting Expanded Psionics Handbook, but don't need to include that here, only to provide links to core D&D and Dark Sun wikis.

Most information: This is a thing I consider when deciding which version to put first: if two versions contradict, which version has the most information to it, which tells us the most? For example, Beliot Sevenecho: the "Into the Nest of Vipers" adventure in Dungeon magazine 75 (1999) has a brief mention of him being "happily married" in 1369 DR; in The City of Ravens Bluff (1998), however, he's a widower of many years having it on with four of his chambermaids in 1370 DR, the dog. I went with the latter because there was more information and plot-hook to it, and left the former as a note. (Though, yes, in this case, this example agrees with the sourcebook-beats-Dragon hierarchy.) But if it had been the other way around, or if the adventure had provided a name, personality and full stats and write-up for his wife, I'd probably have gone with that instead or provided both versions in separate sections.

This is particularly relevant when the Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights computer games may give us a lot more information about these cities than the sourcebooks do.

Summary: So, in summary, I'm mainly against the Age factor as it glues the wiki unnecessarily to each new edition and necessitates continual changing to suit. I don't see Canon or Hierarchy as being a concern, as all things should go in anyway and be given equal weight, which these limit arbitrarily.

BadCatMan 09:50, June 11, 2012 (UTC)

Very well said. I'd like to put in my two platinum (ahha!) on one of the points you made, about newer content taking precedence. While I agree that we need to show all information, especially contradicting information, I think that newer information does need to be more "official." In my opinion, unless the contradiction is canonically explained, the contradicted material should go in an article's == Notes == section above the == References == section.

For example, you mentioned the change succubi classification. This faction change was explained briefly in Brimstone Angels, wherein Erin M. Evans described, as part of one of her character's back-story, the succubus' bid for power, their move, and the consequences to their race. This could all be described in the article's == History == section.

On the other hand, Richard Baker took the character of Aesperus for his Blades of the Moonsea series from brief mentions of him in previous sourcebooks and gave him a richer history and a lot more power than was previously suggested. The Moonsea describes him as an insane, vengeful lich bent on revenging himself on those who caused his undead state. Swordmage and its sequels, however, describe Aesperus as a calculating recluse largely content to be left alone. The information from The Moonsea, while no longer accurate, should be mentioned in a == Notes == section.

Cronje (talkcontribs) 10:25, June 11, 2012 (UTC)

Hurrah, I'm not just rambling.

I'm not sure what you mean by "newer information does need to be more "official.""?

Ah, yes, of course. If there is an in-universe explanation for a change, then that removes any problem, and it's just a part of history. But, being removed from the timeline, if a succubus was a demon once, then it should always be a demon here (i.e.., users should expect to find a reference to succubi on the demon page or in Category:Demons).

Even a century-long jump can leave a lot of possibilities. Did Aesperus get his revenge or miss his chance, and then become a recluse and gather more power? We encounter a lot of NPCs at different stages in their life, doing different things. People change, even the undead. There's no statement for Thallastam's change from adventurer to sage, but it's easy to see that he probably retired (that may be a much simpler example).

I'm a lot more inclusive with these things. I try to get everything in if at all possible, then note any doubts or likely explanations. Only if it flatly contradicts would I surrender and be forced to pick one and sideline the other. So I prefer a case-by-case basis, which better enables inclusiveness.

PS: I went and looked at The Moonsea version of Aesperus and developed his article. I haven't read any of the Blades of the Moonsea novels, so I wasn't certain enough about what information was there to include that.

BadCatMan 11:29, June 11, 2012 (UTC)

Oh, don't get me wrong; I didn't mean to imply that we should ignore information. As you say, if succubi were once demons, the article body and its categories should indicate so. What I mean is that, if newer material contradicts older material (with no wiggle room for a transitional explanation), then the older information gets shunted into a Notes section, while the newer information fills the bulk of the article.
Cronje (talkcontribs) 14:44, June 11, 2012 (UTC)

I just don't want to see newer material overwhelm or replace the old. I discovered FR during 3rd edition with Neverwinter Nights, but I see the older stuff as just as valid as the new, just as I see fringe stuff (i.e., games) just as valid as the core stuff (sourcebooks and novels). (I will admit to a bias, in that I don't like the 4E developments, so I don't want to see it overwhelm or replace the prior lore.)

I'd rather see branching articles and separate sections for where there are major disagreements, or even simply "or" statements, all arranged in publishing order. It's worked well enough for me and others on Memory Beta. For example:

Waukeen's home was The Marketplace Eternal on the plane of the Outlands<Reference> or the plane of Brightwater<Reference>.

The World Tree version doesn't replace the Great Wheel, but sits right alongside. If these give two very different versions of the Marketplace, then they can have separate sections: "The Marketplace Eternal on the Outlands" followed by "The Marketplace Eternal on Brightwater", for example.

That way, both sets of information get equal prominence, readers can more easily find them, and we don't have to change with new edition, only add in a new line ("or WauCorp Headquarters in Dimension X").

BadCatMan 11:18, June 15, 2012 (UTC)

I mostly agree with BadCatMan except for using "or" statements. I believe this just leads to confusion because it sounds as if the alternatives all exist simultaneously. I would rather the different versions of a thing be explained in the historical contexts in which it existed, in the order in which they occurred. I think my best example of this is the Nine Hells, which spans every edition of D&D so far. We are basically historians of the Forgotten Realms and history makes more sense in chronological order.
Moviesign 14:35, June 23, 2012 (UTC)

Eh, alright. I came from Doctor Who fandom, I cut my teeth on a Star Trek expanded universe wikia, and I've studied quantum mechanics. I can easily accept contradictory and exclusive information and inconsistent timelines. :D I've said my bit; I'll let it go as more people disagree with me. It's probably not going to be a common problem around here; as I said, FR is very unified and only rarely contradictory to any great degree. Perhaps we can see how it turns out in practice later on.

Though I will accept the newer is better rule in some cases: cases where other campaign settings and adventure modules were tacked onto the Forgotten Realms later, such as the Bloodstone Lands and the Desert of Desolation. The names can change in later versions and the seams can show. In such cases, the newer sources and later references are much better for melding these places together and are more official.

BadCatMan 08:37, June 24, 2012 (UTC)

Wow, this is some hardcore discussion and something I must have missed because I still haven't learned to use the "follow" button properly. ;)

I see that there are no proposed changes to the proposed changes to the canon policy at Forgotten Realms Wiki:Changes to canon policy so I am going to implement this.

I am going to try to list places where the reader can see discussions relating to canon, actually on the canon policy, for historical reasons and potential discussion relating to disputes.

I am going to try to use the examples above to provide examples on the policy, helping editors to portray conflicting information in a clear and logical way.

I am going to ignore all attempts to get in my way while I do this! Ahahah... no, just kidding, let me know if you see any issues with any of this.

Fw190a8 21:40, October 7, 2012 (UTC)

Looks good. Just some thoughts and queries:

A video game may be canon (an official publication and allowed source), but not necessarily in continuity (multiple outcomes, incorrect lore). The same problem goes for books like Double Diamond Triangle Saga, which featured Khelben Arunsun some years after he later died, and other discrepancies. These are much like any discrepancies between sourcebooks and novels, though perhaps much larger.

Are there sources for those statements from Ed Greenwood and Richard Baker regarding canon? That might be interesting to readers, and I know I'm curious. In the past, I'd often heard canon discussed on the forums, but was never able to find an official statement, so it seemed a fan-consensus thing.

What about core sourcebooks that include Realms information, such "In Faerun" sections in the Monster Manuals, and the occasional NPC, PrC, location, or treasure that appears? Some are directly stated as from the Realms, others are more implicit, when some very familiar names appear. Should such segments exist at "Realms sourcebooks" or at "Core D&D sourcebooks"?

There's a lot of mentions of Wizards of the Coast. Should TSR also be mentioned for older material?

BadCatMan (talk) 01:31, October 8, 2012 (UTC)

Revision[edit source]

As covered at Forum:Ed Greenwood's Candlekeep Responses, Ed Greenwood's comments on the Realms at the Candlekeep forums and other sources are indeed canonical. First, The Hooded One, Ed's own herald, at the Candlekeep forum discussion here, explained:

"Ed is the creator of the Realms. Everything Ed publicly says or writes is canon, by definition, unless or until superceded by later material published by the copyright holder (so, TSR/WotC, but not a computer game license holder, unless Ed has blessed that non-WotC material as "canon"). So Ed's utterances at a GenCon seminar are canon, Ed's website columns are canon, what he says about the Realms in media interviews is canon, and what he says at Candlekeep is canon. Period."

Ergo, FR sourcebooks > FR novels > FR articles > Ed Greenwood > FR Video/Computer Games

This is to some degree accounted for in the current canon policy decided above. However, it's a little unclear, so I propose the following adjustments to Hierarchy at Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon to clear it up, as well as some other quibbles. These are separate proposals, so vote or discuss them individually.

Realms-based magazines and online articles
In the line "This excludes forum posts, discussions, and Realms authors' work on non-Wizards websites.", I propose removing the words "forum posts, discussions, and" as this contradicts and excludes the "Forum posts" entry at the bottom of the list and the proposed Ed Greenwood entry. The text would then read "This excludes Realms authors' work on non-Wizards websites.", which just excludes personal development, unpublished articles and crunchy material (keeping this entry focused on articles).
Ed Greenwood
A new entry going after magazine articles and before core sourcebooks. This will specifically acknowledge that Ed Greenwood is personally a source of canonical material. This covers his Candlekeep responses, columns, speeches, interviews, etc.
Ed Greenwood, Addendum
However, all material referenced to Ed Greenwood should be cited to a source that readers can reasonably be expected to find and view for themselves to confirm: in a linked-to forum post, in a linked-to online interview, or in a magazine. Something he might have said off-the-record at a con or muttered into his beard may be canon but impossible for others to confirm. I'm unsure how we can cover con seminars, unless they're recorded or transcripted online.
Forum posts
In the line "Cannot be considered canon unless made by a Wizards of the Coast employee.", I propose changing this to "a Realms designer or author". This is just to clarify that, say, Eberron designers or forum moderators don't count.
Forum posts, Addendum
I also propose adding "and unless stated as such or resolving a discrepancy." — some designers are happy to discuss game ideas on the forums, but are not necessarily speaking officially. I propose that this only include those occasions where they are speaking officially, to either resolve an issue of canon, an error, or discrepancy.

I had a few more proposals that were unrelated to the Ed Greenwood matter:

Video games
I propose renaming this to "Realms video games", just to ensure the focus on Realms games, as opposed to, say, Eberron or core games. I think we can freely exclude non-Realms video games, as they are so marginal at this point.
Realms sourcebooks
I propose adding a statement to the effect that Realms content inside core D&D sources ("X in Faerun" sections or Realms prestige classes moved to core, or when obvious Realms things pop up such as in sourcebooks. So the line would be "This does not include core D&D products except when they cover Realms-based content."

That's it. Hit me if I'm doing anything wrong. — BadCatMan (talk) 12:05, June 5, 2013 (UTC)

Nothing wrong, no but I've been seeing a lot more evidence which convinces me that published adventure modules should come just barely under sourcebooks and such in that, if a statement is made in a sourcebook that supercedes information in a module then the sourcebook should take precedence, even if the adventure is published later. Adventures may be canon, but they're designed specifically with the players in mind and therefore, some liberties may be taken for convenience.
-hashtalk 14:00, June 5, 2013 (UTC)

Sure, and they can have branching storylines and lack conclusions. But the question will be where to draw the line: many sourcebooks have small adventures in them, and adventure modules have some background. I think the line is too fuzzy here for us to legislate without making the rules too complex for the rare occasion it will be an issue.
— BadCatMan (talk) 15:04, June 5, 2013 (UTC)

This looks like a step in the right direction. There are lots of online outlets for FR lore that we tend to overlook despite being official proclamations by authors or designers. The responses at Candlekeep (not just ed's) being but one example. I guess the next step is deciding the best way to reference them.
--Eli the Tanner (talk) 21:11, June 5, 2013 (UTC)

The existing web citation templates Template:Cite web and Template:Cite web/Candlekeep forum should do the trick with little need for change.
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:48, June 6, 2013 (UTC)

Any thoughts on the revisions or my suggestions?
— BadCatMan (talk) 01:58, June 11, 2013 (UTC)

I read through this again to refresh my memory. Here are my votes/thoughts/2 electrum:
Realms-based magazines and online articles
I vote for the proposed change. I would go ahead and add the "excludes personal development, unpublished articles and crunchy material" because more examples of what is or is not acceptable are a good thing.
Ed Greenwood
Yup, this is what started the whole thing, so put it in.
Ed Greenwood, Addendum
Citations are must, but I'm okay with seeing a {{fact}} tag on things as needed. In this day and age, aren't all con forums recorded and show up on YouTube? I don't know the correct answer to this.
Forum posts
I vote for the proposed change. It sounds reasonable.
Forum posts, Addendum
Also reasonable, but may be difficult to determine.
Video games
Almost stating the obvious, but sure.
Realms sourcebooks
Another appropriate caveat. Might as well make the policy as definitive as possible.

No hits from me.

Moviesign (talk) 04:04, June 11, 2013 (UTC)

Unga... *DW grunts* Me like to organize... you make rules... me follow rules... cast vote (+1) for smart man BadCat :)

Darkwynters (talk) 04:26, June 11, 2013 (UTC)

Another addendum. As discussed with Darkwynters at User talk:BadCatMan#Ravenloft, some other settings such as Ravenloft, Planescape and Greyhawk make references to the Realms, with links and crossovers, and these appear in sourcebooks, modules, novels, and even video games. We should accept this content only where it directly relates to FR, and ignore the rest.

So, I propose that we exclude other D&D settings except where their source material makes references to the Forgotten Realms, as for my Core references proposal above, or where FR material makes a reference to that setting. We should include these settings only as much as is directly relevant to FR, with links to other wikis where possible.

The sources for the alternate settings should appear at the equivalent places: a sourcebook amongst Core D&D sourcebooks, novels amongst novels, video games among video games.

Furthermore, Primary FR sources trump core and other setting references to FR. Some staggeringly wrong things can appear in such references (Druids of Gond!) and may need to be taken with a grain of salt.

This is getting rather complicated. It should be noticed that this as much an inclusivity policy as a canon policy, covering as it does what we can include.

It looks like there's no disagreement. I'll give it to the end of the week for further comment or voting, then try to nut out a neat and simplified version of this (maybe as some kind of table or questionnaire or flowchart? ;) ).
— BadCatMan (talk) 00:48, June 12, 2013 (UTC)

Okay, I've now updated the Forgotten Realms Wiki:Canon policy with the above revisions and some further clarifications and bits we missed (like the comics!). Have a look, see what you think and see if I got anything wrong or missed anything.
— BadCatMan (talk) 09:30, June 16, 2013 (UTC)
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