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YMMV / Forgotten Realms

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  • Anvilicious: The prologue to The Orc King features a group of murderous anti-orc bigots who go around in hoods and call themselves Casin Cu Calas—the CCC, for short.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Shar and Selûne's relationship pre-Chauntea. Most priests describe them as twins, siblings, sisters, etc., however, they were apparently so close that they have been referred to as the "Two-faced goddess" and similar titles. They could also be read as lovers, since they did have two "daughters" together, though this was far before the concept of family even existed. Hell, Mystryl was created when they, ahem, mixed their essences.
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    • Shar herself. Is she an actual God of Evil, or is she a loving sister and/or lover who felt betrayed when Selûne and Chauntea went behind her back?
  • Base-Breaking Character: Mystra. There are two schools of thought on her; those who believe that she is the Realms, and those that believe she is everything wrong with The Realms. One of the most popular questions asked post 4e is when will she come back? The two most popular answers are "In my game she never died " and "Hopefully never. " Interestingly, both sides generally agree that bringing her back would be a bad thing; those who were against her death have either given up on the setting already or treat it as discontinuity in their home games, and those who are for her death will have similar reactions to her being brought back.
  • Broken Base:
    • The "Ethnic Fantasy" subsettings of Kara-tur, The Hordelands, Maztica and Anchôromé tend to be either loved or loathed by fans. The primary issue is about Values Dissonance in the writing and how intrinscially racist these settings might be—fans can't even agree on if they're Fair for Its Day or just inherently awful. A secondary issue is the distinct tonal shift between them and the "core" of the Realms; whereas the Realms are Heroic Fantasy with a casual approach of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, the "Ethnic Fantasy" subsettings rely on real-world and historical details (albeit often mishandled) to the extent that they are more like Historical Fantasy settings with a non-Medieval European Fantasy basis.
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    • The 4th edition revision of the setting was controversial to say the least. While it did have a small following of hardcore defenders, it was mostly just plain loathed for the combination of yet another setting-altering disaster (harkening back to the "Time of Troubles" shift between 1st and 2nd edition) and a 100-year Time Skip that drastically altered the physical, literal, and spiritual landscapes of the setting. The backlash eventually prompted the "Second Sundering", a novel-based event that saw the vast majority of 4e's lore changes (aside from the ones made impossible by the time skip) undone, with the 5th edition version of the setting trying to walk an uneasy line between acknowledging 4e but assuring readers it's all in the past and pretending it never existed. Whilst shoving in some straight-up retcons and lore tweaks of its own that the fanbase is divided about on their own right.
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    • 5th edition also got some of this due to the aforementioned pretending 4e never existed. While 4e was mostly disliked, all but the most hardcore traditionalists could agree that there were some interesting elements. Notably, having the god Deneir return from the dead with little explanation after his extremely epic Heroic Sacrifice in 4e sparked debate between fans about wether or not he should have stayed dead.
  • Complete Monster: See the section here.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Some gods are minor when it comes to the setting but proves to be popular among the fans, like the drow gods Eilistraee and Vhaeraun who each are rebels in their own way against Lolth and bring more depth to the drow who would be one-dimensional otherwise.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Drow were created from the start as hideously evil beings who were one part Unseelie fey and one part subterranean Melniboneans, with the addition of slavery, racist doctrine, misandry, dominatrix motifs and spider worship. Despite this, they were one of the most beloved races of the 80s, and their popularity soared for decades afterwards; the drow novel character Drizzt do'Urden, originally intended as a sidekick to a more conventional Heroic Fantasy protagonist in Wulfgar the barbarian, became a Breakout Character, taking over the entire novel series to follow and getting his own trilogy of backstory novels. This in turn led to further fleshing out of the Drow culture, the creation of two gods vying for Lolth's throne (a still-evil but less insane and abusive god, and a beautiful, sexually charged good goddess), and material to support drow player characters. Even though voices began to rise about the Unfortunate Implications of the drow after the 2000s, they still remain D&D's most iconic "bad boy" race, albeit with a rising threat to that popularity in the tieflings.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Asmodeus is described as being the most handsome of all devils.
    • Beshaba also counts.
    • Averted with Lolth part of the time. In the retcon of her background developed for the Forgotten Realms, her original form after being cast down by Corellon was that of a bloated, hideous spider with an elf's head. But she frequently uses shape-shifting to invoke the trope.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With fans of Greyhawk in earlier years, then with those of Eberron. Technically goes beyond fandom, as Eberron creator Keith Baker has been known to cite both Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance as examples of everything he set out to subvert.
    • To go a step further, Forgotten Realms gets so much more attention than all the other major Settings combined, that hating it tends to be a popular pastime for fans of all the other Settings.
  • Fanon: Discussions and interpretations taking place on the Forgotten Realms sections of the Official Wizards of the Coast D&D Messageboards
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans choose to ignore the developments in 4E, mostly on the grounds that the 4E setting is less an update and more a new setting. 4E arbitrarily replaced or laid waste to large stretches of the world-as-it-was, used a Time Skip to get rid of most of the mortal cast of characters, and killed off a large number of prominent gods, including Helm, Mystra, Elistraee and almost the entire drow pantheon. This has somewhat changed with 5E, because all the gods that were killed in 3E and 4E and most of the lands that were destroyed and altered have been restored, which led to the return of a number of fans, and just as prominently a flight of others, as some of the changes made in the name of restoring the setting were even more controversial, like destroying the orcish Kingdom of Many-Arrows and forcing orcs back into Always Chaotic Evil status.
  • Foe Yay: Shar and Selûne were originally so close that they considered each other part of the same whole, often called the Two-Faced Goddess. (Not) Helped by the fact that they have two daughters they created together, Chauntea and Mystryl (though the latter was unintentional).
  • Game-Breaker: Some consider various high-level NPCs to be Game Breakers.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: 4th edition introduced a lot of changes to the setting, killing of many gods, rendering Neverwinter in ruins, forming an orcish kingdom and, of course, the Spellplague. As noted under Fanon Discontinuity, a lot of these changes were disliked, but some also found them an interesting way to move the setting onwards, and even the most ardent traditionalists could find something interesting to like. 5th edition went about turning back the clock entirely, resurrecting gods, rebuilding Neverwinter as if nothing ever happened, collapsing the Many-Arrows kingdom, and even retconing the Spellplague through an in-universe event known as the Second Sundering. Those who enjoyed the changes in 4e were, needless to say, a bit annoyed.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: While still a case of Depending on the Writer, Fourth Edition started to let elements of Magitek bleed into the Realms to a much greater extent than before, and this was one of the few changes that Fifth Edition made no attempt to reverse. Notably, the Brimstone Angels series featured a magical variation on an ATM at one point.
  • Les Yay: The tale of Shar and Selûne reads like a bad breakup (complete with the kids siding with Selûne), with wives search-and-replaced with sisters.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Has its own section here.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Roddy's morals were always certainly ambiguous, but his villainy isn't clearly established until he strangles Kellindil with his bare hands.
    • When Cyric slashed the tendons in a fleeing soldier's ankles and when he ruthlessly killed Midnight's halfling friend. The first could be forgiven by simply saying he had to do it to keep his cover, but the second is unforgivable.
    • Jarlaxle manipulated events to start a war over the port of Luskan. After the fighting was over, with tons of citizens dead and the city partially destroyed, he made sure that food was scarce by preventing the flow of supplies into the city, and starved the people of Luskan until they were ready to rebel against the new establishment and install Jarlaxle's associate as the next ruler. As Affably Evil as he may be, it's difficult to forgive him for this. The fact that one of the people whose death he causes is Deudermont does not make it any easier. The death toll from the initial war was stated at 4000, with hundreds more dying from the elements after the fact. It's explicit that a good portion of these deaths are civilians and children caught in the crossfire.
    • Shar arguably crossed it when killing Mystra, who's by technicality her daughter, and one of the most important deities.
    • Each member of The Dead Three have crossed it at some point.
      • Bane used his own son (who was evil, but still) as a Soul Jar to resurrect himself. If he's willing to do that, what isn't he willing to do in order to save himself?
      • After foreseeing his death, Bhaal sired many children (often through rape) to eventually be killed so he can be resurrected. This instigated the Bhaalspawn Crisis that saw the death of almost every single Bhaalspawn, including the ones who didn't want anything to do with it, as well as countless innocents who got caught in the crossfire.
      • Myrkul erected the Wall of the Faithless, a wall studded with the souls of Nay-Theists who are slowly and painfully absorbed into the wall. These include people who worshiped false gods, gods who died before they could convert and it's implied to even contain the souls of children. He also turned his rebellious high priest into the Spirit Eater, a Body Surfing curse that is forcing its hosts to eat the souls of anything they come across and will eventually kill the hosts before the curse jumps into another one. He did this to exploit the Gods Need Prayer Badly rule so that people will fear him and he will remain Not Quite Dead, should he dienote  Sensing a pattern here?
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The Wall of the Faithless is a cosmic monstrosity that consumes the souls of the Faithless, potentially including children of Faithless parents. When Kelemvor tried to remove the Wall, mortals stopped worshiping gods, which started a world-wide collapse because arcane and divine magic stopped working. It's on this basis that the good gods tolerate its existence, but opinions vary as to whether the "necessary" outweighs the "evil". For those who think it doesn't, said good (and possibly neutral) gods fall into this.
  • The Woobie: Shandril Shessair. When training as a Person of Mass Destruction is the only way that gives some chance to survive... and then she eventually crosses the Despair Event Horizon in Hand of Fire and commits suicide after she is convinced that she accidentally fried her true love, Narm Tamaraith, with a spellfire blast. (Hint: She didn't, and Alustriel had to lie her silver-haired hiney off to keep Narm from jumping off a cliff right after her when he finally woke up.) Great way to end the story, Ed. Really.