Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

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Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:54 am

I had the opportunity to browse the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting book, and one of the first things that struck me was its similarities to the Nentir Vale. Here are some that stood out to me. Have you found others?

Would the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting serve as a handy source to fill in some of the gaps between the "points of light" in the Nentir Vale setting?

  • There's a war between the primordials and the gods in the world's pre-history.
  • The goddess of death and winter is the Matron of Ravens -- who was once mortal and abhors undeath (clearly a Raven Queen analog).
  • Bahamut, Kord, Lolth, Asmodeus, Tiamat, and Torog analogs also appear in the pantheon. There may be others -- I didn't open my 4e Player's Handbook to make a deity by deity comparison.
  • Dragonborn, genasi, goliaths, and tieflings are core races.
  • Planes mentioned include the elemental chaos, the abyss, and the hells.
  • Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears are included as all part of the the same family of creatures.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:36 pm

AFAIK, Tal'dorei is based in the original Matt Mercer's Critical Role campaign, that was originally set in a "Nentir Vale-esque" world. However, as WotC IPs are not covered by the OGL (unless you're using Forgotten Realms and only if you publish your stuff in the DM's Guild), they had tp change some things when they wanted to release their world as a product... Tal'dorei, then, is made out of many shout outs and winks winks to the Nentir Vale, that I recognized them in just the first read.

As for the gods, they are the Nentir Vale gods, just with names changed. And with a new addition to the pantheon, a goddess of healing from Pathfinder that I don't remember her name right now.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:52 am

Zeromaru X wrote:AFAIK, Tal'dorei is based in the original Matt Mercer's Critical Role campaign, that was originally set in a "Nentir Vale-esque" world. However, as WotC IPs are not covered by the OGL (unless you're using Forgotten Realms and only if you publish your stuff in the DM's Guild), they had tp change some things when they wanted to release their world as a product... Tal'dorei, then, is made out of many shout outs and winks winks to the Nentir Vale, that I recognized them in just the first read.

I listened to an interview with Matt Mercer not too long ago, and I seem to recall that the campaign started in Pathfinder before moving to 5e. I don't think he mentioned the game ever being run using 4e rules, which was why I was so surprised to find this many parallels. While much of 4e is an amalgum of elements from previous editions, this particular combination is unique to 4e (and now to Tal'dorei), and that's why it stood out to me.

Zeromaru X wrote:As for the gods, they are the Nentir Vale gods, just with names changed. And with a new addition to the pantheon, a goddess of healing from Pathfinder that I don't remember her name right now.

That's interesting. I appreciate you confirming that.

So as one of the resident 4e experts, what are your thoughts on Tal'dorei, Zeromaru X? Does the content in the campaign setting offer anything that you intend to pilfer for a home game, perhaps? Does it reach conclusions about what's "beyond the edges of the map" of the Nentir Vale that you're drawing upon for your own game? Or for your own head canon about the Nentir Vale?
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:24 am

Tim Baker wrote:I listened to an interview with Matt Mercer not too long ago, and I seem to recall that the campaign started in Pathfinder before moving to 5e. I don't think he mentioned the game ever being run using 4e rules, which was why I was so surprised to find this many parallels. While much of 4e is an amalgum of elements from previous editions, this particular combination is unique to 4e (and now to Tal'dorei), and that's why it stood out to me.


IIRC, they never used 4e rules, but they used Nentir Vale elements for the background of the setting, like the Dawn War pantheon and its mythology. You can credit the popularity the Raven Queen has among 5e players (even among those that know nothing about 4e or Nentir Vale) to the Critical Role podcast, in fact. That is a good thing , IHMO :)

That's also the reason the Everlight (the healing goddess) got imported from Pathfinder to Tal'dorei. One of the players didn't wanted to change the god her character was a faithful worshiper, so Matt imported the goddess to the Dawn War pantheon.

Zeromaru X wrote:So as one of the resident 4e experts, what are your thoughts on Tal'dorei, Zeromaru X? Does the content in the campaign setting offer anything that you intend to pilfer for a home game, perhaps? Does it reach conclusions about what's "beyond the edges of the map" of the Nentir Vale that you're drawing upon for your own game? Or for your own head canon about the Nentir Vale?


I'm still reading the campaign setting, but it already has got my attention. I'm willing to give it a shot. And yes, its easily pilferable. I intend to steal the Everlight goddess to my home campaign, because is fitting (I always though that the Dawn War pantheon needed a god of healing, but I was loathe to import Ilmater from FR, because I never liked the concept of that god).

As for the setting per se, I feel that you can say "Exandria is continent far away from Nentir Vale's", and it will be believable even using the official version of NV.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:11 am

Zeromaru X wrote:I'm still reading the campaign setting, but it already has got my attention. I'm willing to give it a shot. And yes, its easily pilferable. I intend to steal the Everlight goddess to my home campaign, because is fitting (I always though that the Dawn War pantheon needed a god of healing, but I was loathe to import Ilmater from FR, because I never liked the concept of that god).

I'm not too familiar with FR's pantheon. What don't you like about Ilmater?

Zeromaru X wrote:As for the setting per se, I feel that you can say "Exandria is continent far away from Nentir Vale's", and it will be believable even using the official version of NV.

I like this idea.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:25 am

Zeromaru X wrote:As for the gods, they are the Nentir Vale gods, just with names changed. And with a new addition to the pantheon, a goddess of healing from Pathfinder that I don't remember her name right now.

It's interesting that there's no equivalent of Vecna -- no evil god of undeath, necromancy, and secrets -- in Tal'Dorei.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:23 am

Tim Baker wrote:I'm not too familiar with FR's pantheon. What don't you like about Ilmater.


I don't like the idea of a god of suffering and self-inflicted pain doing something good for the people... Its like saying that a god of disease and famine has a positive impact in a community. Just, I cannot grasp the concept. But I already have a problem with evil gods in D&D. IHMO, people should revere the gods that are beneficial to them, and those gods will be "good" regardless of nature. Even it that god is a force of destruction (a fire god that makes the volcanoes go into eruptions), if such a god its beneficial to a community (ie. giving fire to help humanity), it will be a good god (or at least neutral).

This is something that I like of NV Bane—yeah, he is the god of war and conquest, but in NV people revere him as a god that helps to spread civilization and to protect it, even if his methods are a little bit... heavy-handed; not a tyrannical overlord who wants to crush all peoples and destroy the world because evulz, that is his FR iteration.

But I guess, the problem lies more in the Gygaxian alignments concept, that is not so... logical, besides rules stuff.

Tim Baker wrote:It's interesting that there's no equivalent of Vecna -- no evil god of undeath, necromancy, and secrets -- in Tal'Dorei.


There are a few gods from the Critical Role campaign that were left behind in the Tal'Dorei CS, it seems. Not only Vecna, but also Laduger and Vesh.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:37 am

Zeromaru X wrote:There are a few gods from the Critical Role campaign that were left behind in the Tal'Dorei CS, it seems. Not only Vecna, but also Laduger and Vesh.

I didn't realize some had been left out. Too minor, perhaps? I'm not familiar enough with the podcast to know if that's the case or not.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:21 am

Ilmater is just a renamed version of Issek of the Jug from Fitz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories. Issek was himself a parody of martyred saints in Christianity and religion in general.

Most of the Forgotten Realms pantheon comes directly from the gods in first edition Deities & Demigods, with some of them renamed. Bane is Druaga, Sune is Aphrodite, Ilmater is Issek, Tymora is Tyche, Hoar is Kos, etc.

Ilmater doesn't want people to suffer, but he helps them endure suffering, and suffers so that others don't have to.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Sturm » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:51 pm

Indeed in this sense Ilmater is much less extreme than old Catholicism/Christianity, that in many instances and periods in history advocated suffering even without any need of it, to bring men closer to God or to atone for the original sin.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:41 pm

Well, that practice is frowned upon here in my country (and here there is people that still practice self-inflicting pain as a way of showing faith). I guess that also colors my opinion about him...
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Big Mac » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:25 am

Zeromaru X wrote:AFAIK, Tal'dorei is based in the original Matt Mercer's Critical Role campaign, that was originally set in a "Nentir Vale-esque" world. However, as WotC IPs are not covered by the OGL (unless you're using Forgotten Realms and only if you publish your stuff in the DM's Guild), they had tp change some things when they wanted to release their world as a product... Tal'dorei, then, is made out of many shout outs and winks winks to the Nentir Vale, that I recognized them in just the first read.

As for the gods, they are the Nentir Vale gods, just with names changed. And with a new addition to the pantheon, a goddess of healing from Pathfinder that I don't remember her name right now.


That sounds a bit similar to how Richard Green turned a homebrew city from his Al-Qadim campaign, into it's own campaign setting. :)

Zeromaru X wrote:
Tim Baker wrote:I listened to an interview with Matt Mercer not too long ago, and I seem to recall that the campaign started in Pathfinder before moving to 5e. I don't think he mentioned the game ever being run using 4e rules, which was why I was so surprised to find this many parallels. While much of 4e is an amalgum of elements from previous editions, this particular combination is unique to 4e (and now to Tal'dorei), and that's why it stood out to me.


IIRC, they never used 4e rules, but they used Nentir Vale elements for the background of the setting, like the Dawn War pantheon and its mythology. You can credit the popularity the Raven Queen has among 5e players (even among those that know nothing about 4e or Nentir Vale) to the Critical Role podcast, in fact. That is a good thing , IHMO :)

That's also the reason the Everlight (the healing goddess) got imported from Pathfinder to Tal'dorei. One of the players didn't wanted to change the god her character was a faithful worshiper, so Matt imported the goddess to the Dawn War pantheon.


Hmm. Does this mean that Tal'Dorei fans could raid a lot of Nentir Vale content and change the names to match Matt Mercer's names? That would seem to be an easy way for GMs to add to the material from Green Ronin (especially if they already own the 4e books).
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Big Mac » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:16 am

ripvanwormer wrote:Ilmater is just a renamed version of Issek of the Jug from Fitz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories. Issek was himself a parody of martyred saints in Christianity and religion in general.

Most of the Forgotten Realms pantheon comes directly from the gods in first edition Deities & Demigods, with some of them renamed. Bane is Druaga, Sune is Aphrodite, Ilmater is Issek, Tymora is Tyche, Hoar is Kos, etc.

Ilmater doesn't want people to suffer, but he helps them endure suffering, and suffers so that others don't have to.


IIRC, there was a priest/cleric spell (or maybe a psionic power) that allows someone to absorb the damage inflicted on another PC/NPC.

Zeromaru X wrote:Well, that practice is frowned upon here in my country (and here there is people that still practice self-inflicting pain as a way of showing faith). I guess that also colors my opinion about him...


That does happen in fantasy, unfortunately.

Designers/authors try to create a sense of "otherness", but they base things on things in the real world and sometimes some of the audience dislikes one of those themes.

The great thing about D&D is that you can house-rule Ilmater (or anything else you don't like) out of your game. :)

Is that what Matt Mercer has done with his adjustments to the Points of Light deities?
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Big Mac » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:56 am

Tim Baker wrote:
  • There's a war between the primordials and the gods in the world's pre-history.


Scarred Lands had a war between the titans and the gods in it's pre-history. I wonder if the 4e designers were inspired by that. :?

Tim Baker wrote:
  • Dragonborn, genasi, goliaths, and tieflings are core races.
  • Planes mentioned include the elemental chaos, the abyss, and the hells.


Now that's interesting. Are they all in the 5e SRD? If not, I wonder if WotC made a private deal with Matt Mercer to encourage him to include 5th Edition elements, in the hope of getting Critical Role fans to try out D&D (rather than Pathfinder).

The Verge say that they have been told that over half the new 5e players have watched shows like Critical Role, so that could be motivation for WotC to go over and above the SRD and get Matt Mercer to include things in his show that are WotC IP. (It's a risky business though, if they are going to let Green Ronin publish Tal'Dorei products, instead of "making Matt Mercer an offer he can't refuse", because everyone except WotC is going to be forced to publish their stuff under the OGL. And other designers will look at the quality of that Green Ronin material and want to use it.)

Tim Baker wrote:
  • Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears are included as all part of the the same family of creatures.


I'm not sure that's specifically a 4th Edition thing. I think that Dragonlance has the Greygem mutating the various "early races" into multiple related race, and I think that's how goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears are related there. The races all fought together in the Unhuman Wars in Spelljammer, so presumably would interbreed.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:28 am

Big Mac wrote:
Tim Baker wrote:
  • Dragonborn, genasi, goliaths, and tieflings are core races.

Now that's interesting. Are they all in the 5e SRD? If not, I wonder if WotC made a private deal with Matt Mercer to encourage him to include 5th Edition elements, in the hope of getting Critical Role fans to try out D&D (rather than Pathfinder).

While the genasi and goliaths are available for free -- they're in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion free PDF -- they don't appear to be included in the SRD. However, the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting doesn't include stats for the races, and I believe the races themselves are covered by the older 3rd Edition SRD. I'm not an expert on the OGL, but I believe the majority of D&D monsters/races were released in the 3.x era, and that SRD is still valid.

Big Mac wrote:
Tim Baker wrote:
  • Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears are included as all part of the the same family of creatures.

I'm not sure that's specifically a 4th Edition thing. I think that Dragonlance has the Greygem mutating the various "early races" into multiple related race, and I think that's how goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears are related there. The races all fought together in the Unhuman Wars in Spelljammer, so presumably would interbreed.

There are several items in the Nentir Vale setting that don't originate with 4e. I have no doubt previous editions or 3rd party settings introduced concepts like the gods vs. the primordials or the goblinoids being composed of those particular three types of monsters. Even the 4e pantheon is largely a collection of various deities from previous settings and editions. But 4e was the setting that canonized all of those elements into a single cosmology and game world -- the combination of elements that the designers selected is what made the Nentir Vale setting unique, even though much of it was a melting pot of existing ideas. I guess my point was that it can't be coincidence that so many of these Nentir Vale particulars ended up in Tal'Dorei. Any one or two or even a half dozen such common elements, and I could brush it off as happenstance. But the parallels are too strong.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Havard » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:03 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Tim Baker wrote:[list][*]Dragonborn, genasi, goliaths, and tieflings are core races.

Now that's interesting. Are they all in the 5e SRD? If not, I wonder if WotC made a private deal with Matt Mercer to encourage him to include 5th Edition elements, in the hope of getting Critical Role fans to try out D&D (rather than Pathfinder).

While the genasi and goliaths are available for free -- they're in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion free PDF -- they don't appear to be included in the SRD. However, the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting doesn't include stats for the races, and I believe the races themselves are covered by the older 3rd Edition SRD. I'm not an expert on the OGL, but I believe the majority of D&D monsters/races were released in the 3.x era, and that SRD is still valid.


AFAIK none of these races were included in the SRD. They were brought into the core with 4E and one of the reasons for that was because WotC wanted to make it more difficult for 3PP to create material for D&D since those publishers couldnt use several core races and classes.

I'm guessing WotC and GRR have an agreement allowing for them to reference the races in TalDorei even if they arent providing the stats for them.

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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:51 am

Havard wrote:AFAIK none of these races were included in the SRD. They were brought into the core with 4E and one of the reasons for that was because WotC wanted to make it more difficult for 3PP to create material for D&D since those publishers couldnt use several core races and classes.

I'm guessing WotC and GRR have an agreement allowing for them to reference the races in TalDorei even if they arent providing the stats for them.

Tieflings and Dragonborn were included in the 5e SRD. As an example, Roll20 provides the 5e SRD races for free: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Index:Races
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Havard » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:23 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Havard wrote:AFAIK none of these races were included in the SRD. They were brought into the core with 4E and one of the reasons for that was because WotC wanted to make it more difficult for 3PP to create material for D&D since those publishers couldnt use several core races and classes.

I'm guessing WotC and GRR have an agreement allowing for them to reference the races in TalDorei even if they arent providing the stats for them.

Tieflings and Dragonborn were included in the 5e SRD. As an example, Roll20 provides the 5e SRD races for free: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Index:Races


Cool, I didnt realize that. BTW, I was referring to the 3E SRD. Sorry about being unclear on this :)

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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:26 pm

I know that the 3x OGL is still valid and legal, but is "compatible and usable" with the 5e one?
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Tim Baker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:00 am

Zeromaru X wrote:I know that the 3x OGL is still valid and legal, but is "compatible and usable" with the 5e one?

It's my understanding that the OGL hasn't actually changed. It's the same OGL but with a new SRD for 5e. The SRD simply makes it clear what content uses the OGL and what content is PI. If the name of a creature was PI under the 3.x SRD, then you can still reference that creature today, using the OGL. However, if that creature's 5e stats aren't included in the 5e SRD, then you can't use those 5e stats. Again, I'm no OGL expert -- this is my understanding based on articles I've read on the subject in the past.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby solabusca » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:28 am

Zeromaru X wrote:There are a few gods from the Critical Role campaign that were left behind in the Tal'Dorei CS, it seems. Not only Vecna, but also Laduger and Vesh.


Vecna wasn't left out, actually. There's a faction known as The Remnants, or the Cult of the Whispered One, that are basically Vecna's agents. He's just not mentioned in the Betrayer Deities, probably because he came about after the fact.
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Re: Tal'Dorei shares several similarities to Nentir Vale

Postby Zeromaru X » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:44 am

Ohh, well. That's interesting to know. Making Tal'dorei a candidate for the best 5e setting so far
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