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As I understand it, D&D 4e takes the Forgotten Realms storyline up to around 1469 DR. How far does 5e take it, if at all?

Are there many changes to the story?

I am using many Forgotten Realms characters, such as Jarlaxle, in my campaign. My campaign takes place in 1499 DR, and I try to follow the Forgotten Realms campaign setting lore as closely as possible.

Are there drastic changes to the official lore as of D&D 5e, with regard to things like deities? Or is 5e more about mechanical changes, etc.?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What point do you need the changes relative to? There have been some fairly big changes even within 4e, especially if you follow the novels, and 5e isn't even out yet. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 27 '14 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wonder if the recent D&D novel publications could shed any light on this. Largely though it's too early to tell. Considering that the Sundering seems to be a major event, I'm guessing rather profound story changes are afoot. What those may be I don't have the knowledge to speculate \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Jul 10 '14 at 2:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ While I hate to suggest that my accepted answer be unaccepted... it's now outdated. Does anyone who has played the first few FR adventures want to give more details? \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Mar 16 '16 at 5:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus: That's what bounties are for! ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 21 '20 at 0:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like OP hasn't been on the site since December, but I'm also curious whether the question considers or is interested in "current" lore from official novels (and other sources) as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 22 '20 at 5:09
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At the time of my writing this answer the latest official update of Faerun seems to be dated DR1489, the last definite point in the timeline presented in Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (SCAG). The book summarizes quite a number of world-shaking events (well, depending on what the latest you had on the world was), and if you wish to run an FR story that stays relatively close to canon (even though said canon is rather ambiguous, on purpose), it's definitely worth getting and reading through.

As for seasons and adventures, the latest we know about (again, at the time I'm writing this) is Storm King's Thunder, which has not actually been released yet, and we don't seem to have a specific in-game date for its events (yet?). Nonetheless, besides reading the official promotional material, you can also get a feel of the events it will detail (and throw at your players) by checking out Force Grey: Giant Hunters, an official(ly sponsored) actual play video series on youtube run by Matthew Mercer who uses SKT.

For previous stories, please see JAMMalcolmson's answer. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth updating this answer to summarize any major changes to the Forgotten Realms since it was posted in 2016. Several more official published adventures have come out since then, as have a number of official novels and other fiction (e.g. Death Masks). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 27 '20 at 4:28
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Regarding changes about deities and magic, I refer you to the Forgotten Realms wiki article on the Second Sundering, where the consequences of the Second Sundering are listed (you can find citations to the source material in the references).

Here is a brief summary of the consequences of the Second Sundering:

  • Some gods and goddesses returned: Mystra, Helm, Mask, Lathander, Bhaal, and others. They seemed to regain their past sphere of influences and portfolios.
  • I think that the most remarkable fact is the return of Mystra, as the Weave is alive again, with all the consequences on magic and spellcasters.
  • Other deities lost some of their previous power (e.g. Shar).
  • It is stated that the gods' approach to the mortals changed; the gods seem to have reduced their interactions with mortals (with some exceptions, such as the beloved Mystra). Actually, it's not so clear to me what this actually means, since I found no significant differences from the gods' past relationship with mortals. More details can be found in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, under "Communing with the Gods".
  • The cosmology seems to not be a big issue; according to this January 2015 tweet by Jeremy Crawford, the cosmological models described in books are just explanations by mortals of each world in the Material Plane, and he suggests referring to Chapter 2 of the DMG: "Creating a Multiverse".

Regarding characters and some major personalities of FR, I think that the best way to retrieve such information is to read the official novels (e.g. The Sundering series) and comics/graphic novels and game resources (e.g. the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide).


I am not sure which of the official published campaigns contain additional information you might be interested in. I am a player in a Princes of the Apocalypse campaign, but we are still in the middle of the campaign so I don't know if there's any relevant information there. Moreover, I am planning to DM The Rise of Tiamat, where some more details could be present.

I really hope that sooner or later WotC will publish a 5th edition campaign setting for the Forgotten Realms, as it did for the 3rd edition.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks good! I cleaned up the text a bit and added a few links. Feel free to look over the answer to make sure I haven't changed your intended meaning. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 27 '20 at 1:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like it very much, thanks! It si more readable and just at a first glance you can see what are the useful resources. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Apr 27 '20 at 16:40
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The first season of the adventurers league, Tyranny of Dragons, seems to be set in DR1489, according to the PDF, "State of Phlan During Tyranny of Dragons". Part 2 of the main adventure for that season, "Rise of Tiamat", ends with Tiamat almost certainly being unleashed on the material plane. That's a fairly important change.

"State of Mulmaster" does not specify a current date for the second season, "Elemental Evil". Furthermore, the likely ending of the previous season's expeditions and "Rise of Tiamat" may be entirely incompatible with this season. The events of each are entirely ignored, despite having serious consequences for all following events. As such, they may be alternate histories set in roughly the same "modern" period, or it may be set somewhat prior to season 1, as "Princes of the Apocalypse" is more likely to have a happy ending with all loose ends nicely tied up.

The third season, Rage of Demons, takes place in the underdark for the most part. The latest date provided in "State of Hillsfar" is DR1487, so it's almost certainly happening in the same time frame as Tyranny of Dragons. "Princes of the Apocalypse" describes a major event in which multiple major Demons manifest in the underdark and attempt to basically invade the material plane. Also fairly significant.

Beyond this point, we are no longer exploring faerun, as the current season is set in Ravenloft, which is a different setting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth updating this answer to summarize any major changes to the Forgotten Realms since it was posted in 2016. Several more official published adventures have come out since then, as have a number of official novels and other fiction (e.g. Death Masks). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 27 '20 at 4:28

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