Samus Aran
 member, 427 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Sat 13 Jul 2019
at 07:31
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
Pathfinder 2E drops in a couple weeks and I'm going to use it, as I think it looks great and does a lot of awesome things with the old D20 chassis. However, in setting up my game, I find myself wondering whether I should go with the Forgotten Realms setting or maybe use Nentir Vale, instead? Either way, I'll be adding stuff as I go. The game at first was set in the Realms, in a made-up town called Sunrise that is east of Baldur's Gate along the river, set between the Fields of the Dead and the Wood of Sharp Teeth. It's in this humble little fishing town that the game will start, exploring the areas around it and so on. The game is also taking heavy inspiration from Breath of the Wild, with a focus on exploration, survival, and uncovering mysteries.

The way I see it, the Vale offers less structure and so it's easier to just make things up, and it kinda hits that "dangerous wilds, points of light" BotW feel pretty easily. I'd have to make more stuff up on my own, though. Whereas I'd have to do some more tweaking to the Realms (like the area is less well-guarded than Baldur's Gate itself, roads are in disrepair and bandits abound, etc.), but the Realms have a ridiculous wealth of material to draw upon. Plus, it's more recognizable, an easy to steal from various FR sources.

So what do you think? If you were looking at joining such a game, would you prefer the less defined and more "points of light" nature of Nentir Vale? Or do you like the Realms and its established lore and want to explore that, instead?
LonePaladin
 member, 834 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 00:38
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
I think it would depend on the campaign itself. Something using mostly homebrew content and a custom plot would probably work well in the Vale. On the other hand, if I were playing in the Realms, I would expect more adherence to the setting and factions within.

This might be reflecting personal bias, though, 'cause I've played in the Realms since it first came out.
Samus Aran
 member, 428 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 01:40
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
Custom plots always, even if I use established setting material. I don't generally run adventure paths, but I might try.

In terms of the Realms, the town itself was not on the map, as it were. It's a little town I made up, because of course you're going to add your own touches. And I like it because the established setting material gives you a lot to draw on. Though I'd still be making up my own characters and adventures to be a part of that setting, of course. It does give you the locations, the factions, and so on, so it'd be a nice trip down the river to Baldur's Gate and dealing with intrigue there.

So either way, there'd be plenty of Realms-y stuff in the Realms setting, but the Vale setting would require (which isn't a bad thing) filling in a lot more of the map and making it up as we go.
Fobok
 member, 8 posts
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 07:01
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
I don't know anything about Nentir Vale, but I think either way the game sounds interesting. Count me as interested. :-) Not saying you should, but just curious: why didn't you have Golarion on your list?
Samus Aran
 member, 429 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 07:14
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
I don't know Golarion nearly as well and its tendency to go a bit darker, from all that I've gathered, doesn't quite fit the feel I'm going for. I really want some classic D&D-style fantasy with big heroic tales, but also lots of exploration and immersion.
Fobok
 member, 9 posts
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 07:39
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
Makes sense. :)
Retias
 member, 216 posts
Sun 14 Jul 2019
at 17:03
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
I need to read up on Pathfier 2E. When I do, I'll try offering up a more useful opinion. ^^
engine
 member, 713 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 13:50
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
When it appeared in 4th Edition, I didn't take "Nentir Vale" as a "setting" like the Realms or Eberron, but as an example of what a setting could and might look like if designed under the base assumptions of 4th Edition, primarily:

The World is a Fantastic Place
The World is Ancient
The World is Mysterious
Monsters are Everywhere

In the 4th Edition DMG, the Nentir Vale is just the surrounding area of the example "base town" of Fallcrest. Yes, some of the nine base adventures that were published for the edition took place there (when they took place in the world at all), but I took the Vale as something that could be (and was intended to be) plunked down into just about any setting. I've placed the Vale in Eberron before and I bet people have placed it in the Realms.

Anyway, I recommend not using the Realms unless both you and your players are on the same page about the lore, or they're willing (and able) to learn about it as they play. Info dumps are notorious for slowing the game down and being misunderstood when they're not simply forgotten. You'd probably wind up having to make up a lot of stuff anyway, just to accommodate the things the players did that wouldn't make sense in the Realms.

That said, while there is a lot of lore available about the Realms, I have always taken the Realms as really just representing a setting in which it makes sense for everything from the core of a particular edition to be present, so that a DM could come up with any kind of adventure and allow any type of character they wanted and it would fit. Lore is great if one likes it, but hopefully is something that works with one's game, rather than hindering it.

Anyway, you say above "I'd have to make more stuff up on my own, though." That's not necessarily true. Consider working with your players to fill out the setting, as the game comes across new parts of it. In my experience, when a group collaborates on a setting or scene, everyone cares more about the details and remembers them better.

One of the primary advantages of the "points of light" setting is that no one in the setting really knows anything for sure. The World is Mysterious and Ancient and most people don't travel much, because Monsters are Everywhere. Civilized settlements are "points" of light, because they flicker and go out, and spark suddenly to life. A map might point to a village, but when the PCs get there, there's nothing but some haunted ruins. Or they might come across a village that wasn't on their map, and was completely unknown despite being only a dozen miles from the nearest other town. The point of the concept is to give the DM that freedom, to make it plausible that there could be an unexplored dungeon within a day's ride of town.

Good luck.
OggyBenDoggy
 member, 573 posts
 Gamer, and geek
Mon 15 Jul 2019
at 16:15
Forgotten Realms or Nentir Vale?
I think Nentir Vale is more like classic old school DnD.  A staring town/city, some nearby areas, and a howling wilderness.  You don't have 358 pages of setting/history/maps/etc to deal with like you do with FR