I'm playing DnD 5e for many years now, and I love it. I love playing it so much that I felt like I wasn't playing enough of it, so I went from playing only with my friends to playing online in public discords.

After a short period of adaptation, I got used to the limitations this brings, but there's one thing that I feel is weighing me down heavily, which is my complete lack of understanding of The Forgotten Realms lore. With my friends, we pretty much ignored this setting entirely. We used the DnD 5e mechanics on our universe we created along the way; we made our adventures from scratch and even changed racial lore (lifespans etc.). Coming up with this "homebrew" setting was a lot of fun, and I don't regret it, but now that I want to play online, most discords utilize Forgotten Realms lore. It's hard to get immersed in a world you know nothing about, especially when you're playing a wizard!

I've looked online, but the only reliable resource I've found was a youtube playlist with over 100 lore videos, which I'd love to watch eventually, though I don't have the time/energy at the moment. It starts with the very beginning (creation/deities/etc.), which means I'd probably need to get in very deep before I start learning bits for our game.

So my question is simple, what is the best way to attain the lore-knowledge foundations required to understand and appreciate the world of the forgotten realms while playing in it (and where to expand from there).

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    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is the basic Forgotten Realms campaign setting for 5th Edition. In the preface, we see:

This book is further fuel for the fire sparked by those adventures and the glimpses of the Realms you can find in the fifth edition Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. It gives you a broad look at the continent of Faerûn and the world of Toril in general, and the regions of the Sword Coast and the North in particular.

In these pages, you’ll learn about the history, lands, and peoples of Faerûn, of the great city-states of the Sword Coast and the North, of the world’s gods, and of the factions and forces that support and threaten civilization.

This seems to be exactly what you are looking for. I will mention that the SCAG is a pretty thin volume, it doesn't give very much detail about most locations. Consider it an introduction and overview of the Realms, rather than a thorough resource.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth pointing out that while the SCAG is the official answer to this, it is unfortunately a bit barebones with most locations only having a couple paragraphs of description (totally sufficient to get the sort of overview the question asks for though) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 13:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You can supplement SCAG with Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3e) since most of 4e changes to FR were undone. I also like Ed Greenwood Presents Elminster's Forgotten Realms which is all fluff but no less good for it, there are even some recipes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 20:36

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