I like making characters for future campaigns and have come up with a Harpy bard PC of noble birth(background). The idea I wanted to go with is that she is born in an offshoot branch of a canon noble house in the 5e lore/rule books but I am having trouble finding any. I have found some from forgotten realms but that is all. Are the forgotten realms canon to 5e, if not what are the houses?

If the information is relevant, she isn't a bastard born and is/was well cared for by her parents(harpy mother, human(?) father).


3 Answers 3


D&D 5e is a set of rules and bits and pieces of lore ideas, but it has no setting. There are no maps of the “D&D 5e world”, no noble houses — nothing except the bits of background on the races. There is no canon setting. There are canonical details for some settings that you can use with D&D 5e, but they are separate and not the default setting of the game. (See our related question, Is Forgotten Realms the default setting in 5e?, for more on the idea of D&D 5e having no built-in setting.)

As a result, if you're making a character in a DM's setting, you'll have to ask your DM for information on nobles houses in their setting. If they don't have a setting in mind and you're just playing D&D 5e with no particular setting, then you're likely free to invent things with the cooperation of your DM (or borrow ideas from another setting, like the Forgotten Realms).


If you're looking for noble houses, check out the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide as that will give you an idea of which families are common to which towns and also which families run government in Neverwinter, Waterdeep, and Silvery moon etc. My next suggested port of call would be looking into the written books by people like Salvatore and picking a family that is mentioned in one of those.


There is not necessarily a "default" setting for 5e

As SevenSidedDie points out, there is no "canon" setting for 5e, though many of the official adventures are set in the Forgotten Realms.

However, consider Eberron

You will have to check with your DM about this, as it potentially entails a very significant change to the adventuring world, but you might ask to incorporate some elements of the official Eberron setting. Eberron is a steampunk kind of world full of noble house-based intrigue, and thus has tons of houses of varying varieties for you to choose from. Additionally, an Unearthed Arcana has been published that converts some elements of that setting into 5e, which includes feats that are tied to specific houses. If your DM is willing, they could simply port over that particular house and dragonmark, instead of porting over the entire setting.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think "consider Eberron" is good advice; as you yourself mentioned, Eberron brings with it several stylistic choices into a campaign which might be hard to justify mid-campaign. You might as well ask the OP to consider Birthright, which has a lot of focus on noble houses, but is equally problematic (where have all the Awnsheghlien been until now? The PCs never noticed that elves are immortal atheists? Bloodline abilities?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Wtrmute
    May 22, 2017 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wtrmute, that was the point of my last sentence--I think it could be possible to shoehorn just one or two of the noble houses and their respective dragonmarks into the existing setting. This would at least add some mechanical flavor to the noble lineage. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    May 22, 2017 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it is wrong to say Eberron deals with "Noble" Houses rather than "Corporate" Houses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    May 23, 2017 at 6:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .