Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In D&D 3.x, the core books stated that the default setting was Greyhawk and the first few adventures were set in it (e.g. The Sunless Citadel, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil).

In D&D 4e, the core books stated that the default setting was Points of Light and the first few adventures were set in it (e.g. Keep on the Shadowfell, Pyramid of Shadows).

The D&D 5th Edition Starter Set includes a scenario called "Lost Mines of Phandelver" and the first adventures will be Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat, all of which take place in Forgotten Realms. The core books haven't come out yet, but has there been an indication of whether Forgotten Realms will be the default setting for 5th Edition? Or have the creators indicated elsewhere that Forgotten Realms will not be the default setting, despite it being the setting of the initial adventures?

share|improve this question
This question is clear and answerable, and has drawn a clear answer. –  mxyzplk Aug 6 '14 at 2:22
I've given a new answer, considering the PHB is out and in my hands today. –  Aviose Aug 8 '14 at 16:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted


Mike Mearls and others on the WOTC RPG team, have said on several occasions that Realms is the default setting for 5e.

When I was working on third and fourth there was this dialogue of "Should we just embrace The Realms as the core setting?" And we were always very wary of a big backlash. Honestly people have complained, but I think when you look at how we handled the playtest, and they'll see as we roll out the core rulebooks and Tyranny of Dragons that The Realms elements are strong enough that if you like The Realms or if you don't have a setting they kind of fill in the blanks and really bring the adventure to life, but one of the strengths of The Realms is that it's so diverse that we're not really cancelling anything out but get access to things like the Cult of the Dragon. Using The Realms lets us have a very flavorful villain group with an ongoing story that we can use in the future. If you look at like Red Hand of Doom, one of the big 3rd Edition adventures that went over very well, now that adventure's published we can't really use that adventure again because it didn't have a home in D&D. It doesn't really fit into a larger world. Using The Realms let us have that. (Mike Mearls, Escapist Magazine)

Realms is the default setting for 5e.

share|improve this answer
But not in a restrictive way... At least this edition, via the Basic Rules, mentions gods of other worlds. Although Realms is the default, they are least paying homage to other worlds in the core rules, and that makes it okay in my book. –  Aviose Aug 6 '14 at 15:29
@Aviose yeah, and with critters like the Warforged in the DMG, There may be some solid non-FR support right away. –  wax eagle Aug 6 '14 at 15:32

Sort of:

The Players Handbook does not support any specific world over another. The sample characters, domain descriptions, and other sections in the book use examples that cover the gamut of game worlds. The list of deities in Appx B in the PHB covers 4 ancient earth pantheons (Celtic, Norse, Greek, and Egyptian), and the major game worlds for D&D (Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Eberron) as well as the 'non-human' deities.

However, the adventures coming out for at least the initial campaign and encounters seem to be exclusively focused on Forgotten Realms. As stated by wax eagle, Mike Mearls and team have stated that it is the default now.

So the Core Rules don't favor any game world, but the other released materials point toward Forgotten Realms, as does the statements of the developers.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.