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If the Forgotten Realms are forgotten, who forgot them? Certainly not the inhabitants. Is there a lore explanation for why the Forgotten Realms are forgotten?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I used to know the answer to this question, but I no longer remember. ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – StandardEyre Mar 1 at 15:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds cool. \$\endgroup\$ – David Conrad Mar 1 at 19:01
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I wondered this before myself, I found that Wikipedia had most of my answers.

The Forgotten Realms is a fantasy world setting, described as a world of strange lands, dangerous creatures, and mighty deities, where magic and supernatural phenomena are quite real. The premise is that, long ago, the Earth and the world of the Forgotten Realms were more closely connected. As time passed, the inhabitants of planet Earth have mostly forgotten about the existence of that other world – hence the name Forgotten Realms.

The AD&D 2nd edition Player’s Guide to the Forgotten Realms Campaign (TSR2142) explains on page 2 the name is based on its relation to our own world losing contact with and forgetting it:

What are the Forgotten Realms?

Some theorists explain dragons and other fantastic occurrences by postulating parallel worlds. In times past, they believe, travel between mundane worlds — like our own — and more exotic locales was easy and frequent. But we have lost contact, and lost the worlds themselves. Lost, or forgotten.

Abeir-Toril, more commonly Toril, is an Earth-sized planet dominated by a continent in its northern hemisphere. Called Faerûn in the west, it is here that the Forgotten Realms lie. […]

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a more direct source you can cite for that? Wikipedia is not a reliable source, and that statement in the Wikipedia article has no citation itself. Essentially, someone could've just completely made that up and could be completely wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 1 at 15:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ True, and I realized that too as I posted--I used to have a Forgotten Realms players handbook that said something of the sort, but that's just my word for it. Perhaps a better wiki link, with better sources, is Ed Greenwood's page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Greenwood#cite_note-Dragon_#244-1 \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 1 at 15:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TigerDM Are you thinking of the softcover with the whitish cover? I have that somewhere and can check. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I dug out my copy (ah, memories), and found the part to add to your answer. It's not quite as directly “it's called Forgotten because we (Earth humans) forgot it” as I remember either, but the implication is so tight that it overall conveys exactly that — hence us both remembering it saying so. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Amazing! Thank you for proving that my mind isn't as old as my body ;) \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 1 at 18:34
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Forgotten Realms was originally the place that Earth's fantasy legends came from.

From a profile on Ed Greenwood in Dragon magazine #244 (p. 112):

The "Forgotten Realms" name originally came from the notion of a "multiverse" of parallel worlds. Our Earth is one, the Realms another. In Greenwood's original conception, Earth's fantastic legends derive from a fantasy world that we've now lost the way to—hence, the Forgotten Realms. "Concerns over possible lawsuits (kids getting hurt while trying to 'find a gate') led TSR to de-emphasize this meaning," he says.

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It is so named to contrast it with the original "Known World" setting of D&D.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This… actually makes a lot of sense to this grognard. Can the answer go into more detail, summarizing from the blog entry, listing the blog entry author's credentials, offering up a possible timeline to show the development of the settings—first known then forgotten—, and so on? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 1 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ This reference never states anything about Forgotten Realms. It expounds about the Known World setting (eventually Mystara). How does it support the assertion that the naming of Forgotten Realms was in contrast with Known World? \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Mar 1 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Grosscol It's not a reference for the claim, it's just a link to information on what the Known World is for those unfamiliar. This post needs further support for the substantial claim it is making on top of that. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 1 at 18:01

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