Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

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Big Mac
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Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:10 am

Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale has been brought up a few times on this forum, but I thought I would start a topic about it. Here is what pages 10 and 11 of Wizards of the Coast's 2011 Spring Catalogue said about the gazetteer...and the product line that was set to follow it:
2011 Spring Catalogue wrote:The perfect campaign getaway!
Image
Prototype cover. Art and design not final.

A Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Supplement
Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale™
Bill Slavicsek
SKU: 291710000
ISBN: 978-0-7869-5766-8
Date: February 15, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
Trim: 6” x 9”
Pages: 192
Carton: 16
Price: $19.95/$22.95 CAN

This paperback book is the first in a new series of game supplements spotlighting specific regions of the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons core world, with information that Dungeon Masters can use to run adventures and campaigns set in the region, plus secrets and story hooks for players.

Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale provides the definitive guide to the Nentir Vale region, introduced in the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set and the Dungeon Master's Kit. Herin you'll find adventure hooks, NPCs, maps, and detailed information about specific locations within the Vale. The material in this book can also be adapted for any campaign setting.

Bill Slavicsek is the R&D Director of Roleplaying Games and Book Publishing at Wizards of the Coast. In addition to writing numerous games and game suppliments, he is the co-author of Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies (published by Wiley Press) and author of The Mark of Nerath, the first in a series of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons core world novels.

Key Selling Points
  • This portable 6" x 9" book provides ready-to-use content for Dungeon Masters running games set in the Nentir Vale-the default setting for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. DMs can also plunder ideas for their own campaign worlds. For players, this book contains inforation and insights about the Nentir Vale that they can use to flesh out their characters' backgrounds.
  • The Nentir Vale region was first introduced to players in the "H"-series adventures (H1 Keep on the Shadowfell, H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth, and H3 Pyramid of Shadows). SInce then, more information about the region has been published. This book expands on existing knowledge to give Dungeon Masters and players never-before-seen glimpses into the darkest corners of the Vale!
  • The Nentir Vale is a great place to start a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Dungeon Masters will find this book invaluable when running games set in this region.
Series Overview:
Each D&D Gazetteer shines a spotlight on a specific region of the Dungeons & Dragons core world, providing Dungeon Masters with ready-to-play material for their home campaign and players with insights usful in developing character backgrounds. Future gazetters will explore regions beyond the Nentir Vale, contributing to the evolutio of the Dungeons & Dragons core world.
The factiods I take from this are:
  • Bill Slavicsek wrote a 192 page gazetteer for Nentir Vale,
  • The gazetteer would have added new information to the Nentir Vale region,
  • The book was going to support GMs raiding information for homebrew settings,
  • The book was going to contain GMs secrets and plot hooks,
  • The book was also supposed to be bought by players with Nentir Vale PCs,
  • The Mark of Nerath was intended to be the first in a series of core world novels,
  • Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale was intended to be the first in a series of core world gazetters.
But I am left wondering some questions.

Does anyone know exactly what was going to go into the 192 pages of Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale? Was there every a preview with the contents of the book? Failing that, is it possible to infer the possible layout from the Forgotten Realms, Eberron and Dark Sun books?

How many locations are there on the Nentir Vale map (not the Nerath map) that would count as "secrets" that are revealed in this book?

Is there any sort of tie-in between The Mark of Nerath and this gazetteer...or the full gazetteer line? Does The Mark of Nerath focus on Nentir Vale or the entire Nerath region? Do you think that there might have been one (or more) novels to tie-into each of the follow-up gazetter books? How many novels do you think it would have taken to cover all of Nerath? How many got written? How many areas of Nerath got covered by the 4e novels?

Have we worked out how many gazetteers it would take to cover all of Nerath? Given that the second one was not in the Spring 2011 catalogue, how long would it have taken WotC to sell that second book? Do we have any evidence that work had already started on the second book? If things had proceeded, as planned, how many months/years would it have taken to cover the entire Nerath region?

Given that there were a set of adventures all set specifically in Nentir Vale, do you think that future 4th Edition adventures would have been tied-in to each of the follow-up Nerath regions? How long do you think it would have taken for the regions of Nerath, outside of Nentir Vale, to all get covered by adventurs?

Could the Abyssal Plague plotline have happened, without shutting down Nentir Vale and Nerath? Do you think that the Abyssal Plague would have been a major part of the future Nentir Vale and Nerath novels and adventures?

How long would 5th Edition/D&D Next have needed to have been held back to have given this product line enough time to get finished?
Last edited by Big Mac on Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Morfie » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:27 am

Would it have been like the GAZ series from BECMI? Is the question I am most wondering about.

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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Zeromaru X » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:36 am

Big Mac wrote:Does anyone know exactly what was going to go into the 192 pages of Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale? Was there every a preview with the contents of the book? Failing that, is it possible to infer the possible layout from the Forgotten Realms, Eberron and Dark Sun books?
Nope, there weren't reviews I'm aware of. I know stuff from this book was eventually published in "Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale", but I don't know how many info was left behind.
How many locations are there on the Nentir Vale map (not the Nerath map) that would count as "secrets" that are revealed in this book?
Maybe places like Andok Sur or the Well of Demons? The Tomb of Evard or Castle Inverness? Those places were published in other adventures, though.
Is there any sort of tie-in between The Mark of Nerath and this gazetteer...or the full gazetteer line? Does The Mark of Nerath focus on Nentir Vale or the entire Nerath region? Do you think that there might have been one (or more) novels to tie-into each of the follow-up gazetter books? How many novels do you think it would have taken to cover all of Nerath? How many got written? How many areas of Nerath got covered by the 4e novels?
There are mentions of the "Nerath region", but The Mark of Nerath focus entirely in the Nentir Vale. The main trilogy of the Abyssal Plague novels focus entirely in the Vale, as well, though there are some chapters that happen in the Feywild. And I remember an scene where Rhogar (the dragonborn paladin) goes to the former capital of Nerath, also. But those novels mostly focus in the Nentir Vale region, nonetheless.

The Gates of Madness and The Seal of Karga Kul happen in the Nerath world, but in different regions beyond the Nentir Vale.

There is no info about tie-ins or some other stuff, sadly. Nor previews or author comments about it remain to this day (mostly, because WotC erased all the wikis and blogs, and forums). If some of those got written, they weren't published. Though, maybe the Nerathi Legends articles in the Dragon Magazine are what remain of those gazetteers.
Have we worked out how many gazetteers it would take to cover all of Nerath? Given that the second one was not in the Spring 2011 catalogue, how long would it have taken WotC to sell that second book? Do we have any evidence that work had already started on the second book? If things had proceeded, as planned, how many months/years would it have taken to cover the entire Nerath region?
Nothing here, sorry.
Given that there were a set of adventures all set specifically in Nentir Vale, do you think that future 4th Edition adventures would have been tied-in to each of the follow-up Nerath regions? How long do you think it would have taken for the regions of Nerath, outside of Nentir Vale, to all get covered by adventurs?
Maybe. Reavers of Harkenwold mentions the link between the Iron Circle and Sarthel, a region to the south of the Nentir Vale. There is also the adventure site, Vor Rukoth, that got his own book (maybe it was part of the gazetteers? dunno), that lies near Sarthel.
Could the Abyssal Plague plotline have happened, without shutting down Nentir Vale and Nerath? Do you think that the Abyssal Plague would have been a major part of the future Nentir Vale and Nerath novels and adventures?
Well, they covered that in two Dragon Magazine articles, so yeah, the Abyssal Plague can happen without destroying the Vale or the Nerath world. However, is a "game changing" event, like the Sundering or the War of the Lance, what means the timeline of the world must have to be advanced in some form.
How long would 5th Edition/D&D Next have needed to have been held back to have given this product line enough time to get finished?
Maybe the same time it took for the playtest to be done? Dunno, really.

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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by JimmytheQuick » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:38 pm

Hi guys,

I reached out to Bill Slavicsek early afternoon today via LinkedIn and he replied a couple of hours later:

"Thanks for the kind words and glad you like 4E and the Nentir Vale. Some of the material I intended to include in the Gazetteer was used in my novel, The Mark of Nerath. Otherwise, no, nothing else exists. It was on my schedule to start when the company let me go, so no actual work was ever produced for it."

So that answers that question - sad but true.

Regards

Jimmy

PS I can screenshot the message if anyone doubts this is a real response

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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Zeromaru X » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:53 pm

Interesting, that means my guessing of Andok Sur and the Well of Demons being the "secret places" was true. And that means many of the novel stuff is indeed canon (like, Falon being the last Nerathi heir, Emperor Magroth being a major threat to the Vale, and the Abyssal Plague in its starting phase, along other stuff).

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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:21 pm

Morfie wrote:Would it have been like the GAZ series from BECMI? Is the question I am most wondering about.
An excellent question. Not one I have any idea about (as I don't own the Mystara Gazetteers, but lets have a quick look at how many there were: I don't know how well each of the Mystara GAZ books did, but I have noticed that we get a lot more people talking about Karameikos at The Piazza, than some of the other GAZ areas.

I figure that, a 4e series of Gazetteers would have been reliant on being able to make all of the areas interesting to sell to customers. A drop in sales at any point, could have seen the rug pulled from under the entire product line.

I found an article on D&D4 Wiki about the Nerathi Legends articles:
  • Dr 398 - Sarthel, City of Silver - A city state just south of Nentir Vale. Withstood centuries of conflict, but is under threat from the Iron Circle infiltration.
  • Dr 399 - The Seven Kings of Karkoth - Northeast. A realm known to use legions of undead.
  • Dr 400 - The Iron Wolf Barbarians - The Iron Wolf Tribe, who became allied with Nerath due to an attack of orcs. Includes Iron Wolf Warrior character theme.
  • Dr 401 - Merindaelion, Barony of the Emerald Blade - A human-elf barony that held out against gnoll invasions. Also provides the Thaliessan Blood feat for half-elves.
  • Dr 402 - Adretia, the Citadel of Iron's Grasp - Southwest Iron Circle region. Described an antagonistic organization. Includes two creatures stats.
  • Dr 403 - Realm of the Gorgon King - A monster-haunted land, now in control of Fell Giants.
  • Dr 405 - The Knights of Rethmil - Near the iron circle area. Includes the Arcane lance swordmage power.
  • Dr 406 - Rangers of Cernall - Far east, and slightly south, an area controlled by shifter druids. Includes a Silver Hart Clasp.
So, that gives us eight possible folllow-up gazetteers to come after Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale. I've not read any of those Dragon articles, so I'm not sure how they compare to the Mystara gazetteers. But, so far, we have the basis for 9 4e Gazetteers, rather than 14.
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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Havard » Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:25 pm

Morfie wrote:Would it have been like the GAZ series from BECMI? Is the question I am most wondering about.
The D&D Gazetteers for Mystara were excellent setting sourcebooks from the 1980s worked on by people who went on to become giants in the gaming industry.

The term Gazetteer was also used for the somewhat different book, the Greyhawk Gazetteer for 3E.

I would assume that the Nentir Vale Gazetteer would have been more in the style of other 4E sourcebooks. These were typically alot more crunch oriented, with a lot less text on each page than the Mystara Gazetteers. I did notice that 4E books did increase their fluff to crunch ration towards the end of the run though...

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Re: Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale and the lost Gazetteers

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:55 pm

Big Mac wrote:So, that gives us eight possible folllow-up gazetteers to come after Gazetteer: The Nentir Vale. I've not read any of those Dragon articles, so I'm not sure how they compare to the Mystara gazetteers. But, so far, we have the basis for 9 4e Gazetteers, rather than 14.
Perhaps we could look at Nerath's map and gain some insight into how many gazetteers' worth of content there would be, based on the size of the map.

Based on the map of the Nentir Vale (which has a scale) and then counting pixels between the same features on the map of Nerath, I came up with the following:

Dimensions for the Conquest of Nerath map:
Width: ~1,452 miles (2,337 km)
Height: ~1,146 miles (1,844 km)

If map projections are different, this will have an impact on my measurements, so take these with a grain of salt.

If we can compare these dimensions to the map of the areas covered in the GAZ Series, perhaps we could come up with a crude estimate of how many gazetteers' worth of content is available. This would assume similar proportions of landmass to seas and "points of interest" distributed across the landmass.

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