This is the 0.3.0 release for the Faerun - Forgotten Realms mod for Crusader Kings 2. It marks the start of our "official" beta period and is fully playable.
Hail and well met, gentles all!
Welcome once again to the world of the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms setting.
Thank you all for your patience and enthusiasm. We are proud to announce that our first open beta version (0.3.0) is ready for release. Going forward, we will be issuing small-number updates (0.3.x) for bugfixes and small enhancements, and middle-number updates (0.x.0) for substantial changes while the open beta continues. Our team has changed a lot since our alpha release, so we think it's prudent to create a new thread for this release and future releases.
We have made many improvements since our alpha release. For a start, the whole map, except for wild monster territory and one theocratic title, is now playable on any start date from 1360 to 1385. Beyond that, our changes tend towards quality of life improvements, making the mod more immersive, playable, and stable. To that end, there isn't currently a magic system, and we're using the default duel system. Where you'll see the biggest improvements are in game play for humanoid characters, with a full range of classes available, and several custom governments. We have newly-adapted graphics for existing playable species such as yuan-ti and giants, and fresh graphics never before used in CK2 for newly added playable species.
I'd say we have succeeded in our basic goal of transporting the Forgotten Realms, and especially their central continent of Faerûn, into Crusader Kings 2. Please take and enjoy this beta release - it's intended as a fully playable game in its own right. But there's also a way to go before we can say we have fully reproduced the Forgotten Realms and D&D experience, so we welcome all bug reports, and all reasonable suggestions for enhancements.
Moving forward, we intend to create more of our own events and systems, to really make players feel like they're a ruler in the Forgotten Realms. This includes events to represent both specific and general happenings and challenges within the world of the game, a magic system that makes spellcasting characters rewarding and distinctive to play without overwhelming the core game elements, and more appropriate events and decisions for non-humanoid rulers. We're also creating magic items, and continuing to deepen and diversify our portrayal of the setting's religions.
But for now, we are excited to share this release with you, a collective project of many passionate people.
Thanks again for your support, we hope you enjoy the mod.
* * *
Necessary Concessions to Canon and Acceptable Breaks from it
In adapting a large and detailed setting like the Forgotten Realms, there's often more canon material out there than a dev team can reasonably include. And there are going to be things in the canon that we wouldn't include if we were designing the setting ourselves from scratch, but it feels unfair to the actual authors to leave out.
So on the one hand, we're sticking with canon:
* Even though some modern systems like Pathfinder Second Edition have made their drow lavender-skinned, we're keeping ours ebony-skinned for now. We are, however, ignoring some of the worst bits of the drow backstory.
* Shou Lung uses Wade-Giles transcriptions of Chinese rather than Pinyin, and I can't easily change that.
* There are some characters with objectively silly names. Where these have been given canon or semi-canon retcons to be less silly, we've used them, but otherwise we've left them as-is.
* Several of the peripheral cultures are based relatively closely on real-world archetypes, not always with the care or respect that we would wish for. Except as noted below, we've stuck with the canon versions of these cultures.
But on the other hand, we're breaking with canon:
* A lot of Zakharan title ranks have been changed, because there's no need for every petty king or duke to be styled as Caliph.
* The head of the Padhran religion will not be called the Dalai Lama, especially as there's already a character in the history of Tabot called the Lord of the Oceans, which is roughly what that title means. A lot of the Kara-Tur and Horde material hews a lot closer to real-world history than the rest of the Realms, but there's no point being ridiculous about it.
* All saurials are interfertile and use the same traits, because an OPM in which (as canon suggests) there are four mutually infertile subspecies found nowhere else in the world is doomed in a very unfun way.
* The Shadow character class is not an established D&D class, but instead combines elements from 1e's assassins, 2e and 3e's ninjas, and 5e's masterminds, to create a class that strongly serves CK2's intrigue aspect.
* The continent-wide polytheism described in Faiths and Avatars and Powers and Pantheons has been broken up into three faiths named after languages, so that things like alternate names for deities, and whether or not there's polygamy, can be handled sensibly.
* Similarly, the general faith of the Zakharans has been split into orthodox (Qisma'ite) and heterodox (Myriadic) sects, in addition to the canonical Pantheists, and the Muhjari (on whom canon details are scant) have been made part of the same religious group.
* We are ignoring the 5e version of gnolls, in which they are essentially soulless demons, in favour of the somewhat more nuanced 4e version.
* A number of characters known only by their titles have been given names.
* We are ignoring most of the 4e consolidations of deities.
* We could not reproduce the way in which the merchant republics of Amn and Waterdeep are canonically governed by secret societies, so for now they are regular MRs.
* Some canon title histories and dynasty family trees have been very slightly tweaked if we couldn't make all the available facts fit.