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I bought the D&D 5e Starter Set a few weeks ago, and I'm beginning to think about how to drive the scenario as I've already read it and I'm at the stage to get familiar with the rules.

Yesterday I created my first character sheet with one of my future players (we're not going to use pre-generated sheets) and we talked about his character's lore and background - he will be playing a nobleman, a prince).

I thought that there could be a king in Neverwinter (the closest bigger city to the location of the adventure) , so we could link his background to the scenario. Again, his character would be the son of a king, who, after finishing his Paladin training, wants to go an on an adventure to gain experience and prove his value and that he is adequately trained to potentially govern one day.

However, when I searched for Neverwinter lore, I found out that while there were indeed kings, they didn't exist towards the end of the timeline.

Given that, I tried to find out at which date the events of LMOP take place, but I didn't manage to find it anywhere in the books.

So, based on already existing modules or deductions based on facts in existing modules, when do the events of LMOP take place?

If the date is deducted instead of directly stated somewhere, you have to support your answer with official sources, not just a more or less educated guess. The better the answer is supported by sources, the better.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it more important for you to know if Neverwinter has a king at the time of Lost Mine of Phandelver, or what the exact date is? \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Apr 29 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theik I know both kings' born and death date, so have exact date will be more valuable for the general lore while also answering the concern about Neverwinter having a king. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Apr 29 at 11:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally would recommend against having a PC roleplay a lore-heavy character like the heir to a major position. While it could lead to some good story moments, generally speaking an heir, especially a prince, is FAR to important to let go without guards on a random adventure. In addition, these characters tend to already have established power levels and archetypes from the lore and as such may lead to a messy campaign. However, if you wish to continue with the "royal son" line, it's better to go with a second or third son Those are more likely to be clergy or other adventurer roles. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Apr 29 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nzall Yes, I'm going to make my PC as the second son. For the part where he goes without guards, I found on aideDD (a french site with D&D basic rules and others tips) a list of possible lore backgrounds for characters, and one was the heir of a king that go on an adventure without guards and else to prove his valor to him and his father. Plus, I know the player who's going to play that PC, and I know that he'll not abuse about the fact is an important lore character. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Apr 30 at 5:42
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1481 DR

If you look at page 30–31, under the "Ruins of Thundertree" heading, it mentions the eruption of Mount Hotenow as being thirty years ago. Mount Hotenow erupted in 1451 DR, so that means it would currently be 1481.

What this means for your player is that there is not a king. The current ruler would be Dagult Neverember, who has a son named Renaer. You could skirt your lore around a bit and erase Renaer from existence (he does not feature in LMOP) and simply replace him with your player's character.

This will, however, make things awkward for you if you plan to use those characters in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist however, as Renaer does feature there.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I missed this information into the scenario, thanks for pointing it out. As a little add question concerning Renaer : Does he appear in storm king's thunder module ? For now it's the most possible module I may follow starter set with, so it may be quite a concern if he appears here. But I guess I'm going to add my character as a second son more than erase the existing one. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Apr 29 at 13:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ He does not. I know he appears in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, which means he might also appear in Dungeon of the Mad Mage. I know almost entirely certain he does not feature in Storm King's Thunder. If he does, it's such a negligible role that I forgot all about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Apr 29 at 14:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Renaer does not appear in DotMM. (It's mostly set in the megadungeon of Undermountain, the entrance to which is below the Yawning Portal inn.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 29 at 21:27
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1491 DR

Ed Greenwood gave an answer to this on Twitter:

Lost Mine is officially a bit nebulous in date for DM convenience, though there are detailed internal WotC timelines so as to keep things straight (i.e. novels). Safe to say: 1490s DR.

Of course, his tweets aren't official source material, but they give a small glimpse behind the curtain at designer intent, and are a reminder that all these dates have an important context: the metaplot.

The Forgotten Realms metaplot

The Forgotten Realms setting has a metaplot that continues to advance chronologically with new source material, and new editions of the game. For example, when the 4th edition of D&D came out, the metaplot advanced by about a century.

The first 4th Edition campaign setting releases later this summer, with a new look at the Forgotten Realms. If you've read the previews, you'll know by now that major changes have affected the Realms: starting with the Spellplague and the 100-year advancement of the timeline.

4e material

The century of advancement in the setting resulted in a lot of drastic changes to the world. The 4e Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (2008) notes:

Ten Important Facts

The following points describe the biggest changes to the world of Toril since the previous edition of the FORGOTTEN REALMS Campaign Setting. If you are familiar with the setting, these will summarize the major events in the world since 1374 DR, the Year of Lightning Storms. If you are new to the setting, this information will give you the basic background that most inhabitants know.
1. Roughly a hundred years have passed in the world since the previous edition of the campaign setting. The current year is 1479 DR, the Year of the Ageless One.
2. The Spellplague has drastically altered the cosmos. The Spellplague broke out in 1385 DR (the Year of Blue Fire), the result of unfettered wild magic on the death of the goddess Mystra. Whole countries are gone, especially in regions south of the Sea of Fallen Stars. [...]

And so on. Flying islands in the sky called "earthmotes." A continent that wasn't there before on the other side of the Trackless Sea. Like New Coke, all these 4e changes were rapidly done away with in the transition to 5e, as a result of a cross-media event called "The Sundering" announced in 2012.

In 2013, the D&D Encounters adventures began to take part in The Sundering plotline starting with D&D Encounters season 15: Murder in Baldur's Gate. Being in a transitional period, the module was written to be playable with any of three editions of D&D: 3.5e, 4e, or 5e (then called "D&D Next").

5e material

"A Brief History" in Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide directly alludes to the events in Murder in Baldur's Gate and The Sundering plotline (calling it "The Second Sundering" since there was also an earlier cataclysm by that name):

The first indication of new turmoil came in 1482 DR, when Bhaal, the long-dead god of murder, was reborn in Baldur’s Gate amid chaos and bloodshed, leaving two of the city’s dukes and many of its citizens dead.

And it caps off the history of the Realms with establishing a present day status quo that has hit the reset button on most of those setting alterations from 4e, with everything noticeably "much like it was" before "that terrible time." The present day being 1489 DR or later:

Early in 1487, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions abounded for months, as if the whole world was convulsing. Rumors spread of chasms caused by the Spellplague suddenly vanishing, and stories circulated of known destinations being farther away from one another, as if the world had quietly added miles of wilderness to the distance between them. Word began to spread of places and peoples not heard from since the Spellplague. It became apparent that some of the effects of that terrible time had been reversed.

By 1489, many of the wars that began during the Sundering had ground to a close. Other conflicts arose, and mighty threats still imperiled the world, but the deities ceased interfering with the world through their Chosen. The gods were no longer silent but quiet, and in many places new priesthoods arose to interpret the gods’ now subtle signs.

The world today seems a place filled with new lands and opportunities, where those who dare can leave their mark. Students of history and those elves and dwarves who recall the past that short-lived humans see as distant perceive a world much like it was over a century ago.

So this is the context in which Ed Greenwood said that LMoP definitely occurs in the 1490s: that's roughly where the metaplot left off when 5e began.

So when is Lost Mine of Phandelver?

Official material wise, Acquisitions Incorporated contains an adventure explicitly set five years after Lost Mine of Phandelver:

HAVE WE BEEN HERE BEFORE?

The town of Phandalin will be recognizable to any players familiar with the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure. This version of Phandalin is set five years or so after that adventure, making use of many of the original Phandalin locations and NPCs even as it adds new places and new characters to the mix. If you have your own version of Phandalin in your campaign, make any adjustments necessary to this episode for continuity.

The same adventure is also set five years after Princes of the Apocalypse:

The Princes of the Apocalypse adventure contains more information on Red Larch and the surrounding region. As with Phandalin, this version of Red Larch is set about five years later than that earlier adventure.

And Princes of the Apocalypse is explicitly set in 1491 DR:

TIME IN THE REALMS

The people of the Forgotten Realms number the years by the Dalereckoning calendar, which is abbreviated “DR.” Years are also given names, which are drawn from the writings of a great seer from long ago. The adventure is set in 1491 DR, the Year of the Scarlet Witch.

Each month consists of three ten-day long weeks called tendays. People refer to tendays the way people in other worlds refer to weeks.

Since Acquisitions Inc establishes that LMoP and PotA are set around the same time, LMoP occurs in 1491 DR.

Given that as a general rule, newly published material seems to be set in the 'present day' of the ever-advancing Forgotten Realms metaplot, 1491 DR is a lot more credible than the seemingly contradictory line in LMoP that alludes to the eruption of Mount Hotenow in 1451 occurring only 30 years prior. The year 1481 DR was the 4e era, before The Sundering and the transition to 5e had even begun.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Nice find(s)! Thanks for reconciling the discrepancies :) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 4 at 7:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ user10063, do you know which date is the most official? Given that both come from official source material, it is pretty strange that there is such a big span between these, even for DM convenience. \$\endgroup\$ – Zoma Nov 13 at 13:20

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