RPGBOT.Podcast S2E50 banner - Doomed Forgotten Realms

Doomed Forgotten Realms – RPGBOT.News S2E50

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.News, we welcome returning hero Matt Whitby to discuss his recently-released project, Doomed Forgotten Realms. We dig into what’s happening in a post-apocalyptic version of Faerun, where the players fit in, what stories you can tell in this doomed world, and how Volo got ghosted.

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay.

Materials Referenced in this Episode


Randall  00:20

Welcome to the RPGBOT.news. I’m Randall James and with me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler  00:25

Hi, everybody.

Randall  00:26

And Ash Ely.

Ash  00:27

hey guys

Randall  00:28

And returning to the pod we have with us Matt Whitby.

Matthew Whitby  00:32

Hello. Thank you very much for inviting me back, Yeah.

Randall  00:36

Absolutely. We’re stoked to have you back here.

Matthew Whitby  00:38

Well, yeah, so with the I’ve been a tabletop RPG… again, second time back into the podcast. Excited to be, privileged to be joined back, invited back a second time. But I’ve been a tabletop RPG designer for about three years now. Previous host of the Dungeon Master’s Huildhouse podcast, currently on hiatus. sSo props to you guys for keeping, keeping your podcast going. But most relevantly, in the last, what is it… like fortnight ago, I released the Doomed Forgotten Realms Sword Coast Gazetteer, which has been, I’ve been blown away by the kind of reception to it and happy to kind of dig in and talk about how messed up everything is.

Randall  01:18

Yeah, it turns out a doomed, abandoned world somehow has like an escape attraction to people and they’re really, really excited to see it. And it also turns out that your book is awesome. So I’m looking forward to talk to it. For time travelers from the future, this is June of 2022, and the book has just come out. So we’re super excited to have Matt here to talk about it. And I guess on that note, Hey, Tyler. What are we doing today?

Tyler  01:44

Today we’re going to talk about Doomed Forgotten Realms. It’s a wonderful, wonderful supplement. Matt and his collaborators have done an absolutely wonderful job with this. It is taking the internet by storm. It’s been out for… Matt, I believe he said roughly two weeks and it’s already sitting at platinum on DMsGuild…

Randall  02:03

He said a fortnight.

Tyler  02:05

A fortnight. That’s two weeks, right?

Ash  02:07

He did say a fortnight.

Matthew Whitby  02:08

Yeah, we actually hit platinum within a week.

Tyler  02:11

That’s awesome.

Randall  02:11

And platinum is how many?

Matthew Whitby  02:13

it’s about… it’s 1001.

Randall  02:16


Matthew Whitby  02:17

It’s, it’s… Thank you very much, honestly. Yeah, it’s a funny thing. So I was chatting with Rob and Laura about it. And we would hit the kind of next like award threshold only when I would sleep. It was more like, Laura was like “Go to bed. Like, go to bed. The fact that you’re awake now… you should sleep now. And I’m like, Okay, fine. I’ll go to bed.

Randall  02:46

It’s a good time to do it. Tell us about your collaborators. Like how big was this project? How long did it take to come together?

Matthew Whitby  02:52

Yeah. So. So what was it, roughly two years ago is when the kind of project was was at it’s kind of inception. I got an email from Scott McClintock, who is kind of my co-collaborator in chaos, who’d been planning this kind of like adventure chain, and kind of wanted me to be involved and kind of collaborate on it. And I kind of realized that okay, well in this kind of doomed world that we kind of were playing about with and kind of working out like, Okay, well, who’s the villain? Like what kind of goes wrong here? The best way to kind of make sense of all is like, well, we need like a gazetteer, or like a setting guide. And I was like, you know, what, if you know Scott, if you’re happy to kind of write the adventure side, I’ll tackle the setting guide and I’ll kind of you know, plot out his what is it, the eight existing Wizards of the Coast hardcovers. They all have their like bad endings. How do we kind of fit these all together in a puzzle and make it so the world ends iand then is doomed in a way that makes sense. And then yeah, since kind of starting, we kind of had a mark of quil and cauldron, kind of coming, be involved in kind of, again, be like a fantastic kind of layout, graphic design, kind of handling of everything that makes the book look as beautiful as it is, you know, speaking with artists. But then, as for the word itself, Laura Hirsbrunner and Robert G Reeve absolute lifesavers. You know, the the document, I think ended up being something like 50,000 words. And it was, it was… it was, it was… so for me this was actually was like a pandemic project, which it which it was a little bit rough around the edges. You know, I will tell you though, during that time, I was like, I’m going to try and escape things with writing a very, very doomed and dark work.

Randall  04:33

It could get worse. It could get worse.

Matthew Whitby  04:36

But no honestly the two of them exceedingly professional, very kind and immaculate editors, the both of them to kind of shape my words into a book that’s been as successful as it is. Mostly, again, I can’t credit the success as much to them. The team kind of around me.

Randall  04:53

Now that’s awesome. So we should dive in, like really describe the project so folks at home kind of understand what I’m talking about. So we keep saying Doomed Forgotten Worlds. And then you mentioned going through the published modules from Wizards of the Coast, picking out the terrible endings. And it’s like, well, what if all those things happened?

Matthew Whitby  05:11

Yeah. Yeah. And it was it was, it was a fun puzzle. It’s it’s weird, because obviously, the the timeline with the kind of adventures is a little fluid. And there’s like some kind of gaps in it, but trying to work out. Okay, well, what, what kind of makes sense, following the kind of chronology? How does that kind of affect to shape the world? And it kind of just made natural sense to kind of introduce Vecna.

Ash  05:34

Yeah, obviously.

Matthew Whitby  05:34

This iconic, yeah, this kind of iconic character who very relevant. Stranger Things.

Ash  05:39


Matthew Whitby  05:39

Wizard of the Coast updating the, you know, was introducing the Vecna statblock.

Randall  05:45

Okay, we have to pause for a second. So when when the new season of Stranger Things came out, were you watching it live? Like, is this something you naturally watch?

Matthew Whitby  05:53

No, I still haven’t seen it before.

Randall  05:56

First of all, it’s awesome.

Ash  05:57


Randall  05:58

But when you started seeing that, like in the media, it’s like, why is everybody talking about Vecna all of a sudden? Like, why is Vecna in pop culture?

Matthew Whitby  06:06

It was literally exactly like that. We had a moment where Rob kind of came up and say, by the way, the timing of this is really good with the Strangest Things stuff. I’m like, “Oh, is it? I didn’t know.” Honestly, it’s that weird thing of like the timing of it. I dare to think what would happen if this wasn’t timed with Stranger Things release of like, everyone knows Vecna now. Who knew?

Randall  06:27

I guarantee you there’s a ton of DM’s at home who are like, I have to bring Vecna into my game.

Matthew Whitby  06:33


Randall  06:33

Because these people have watched Stranger Things and they know Vecna now, so we’re going to do it. Like how many demogorgons were born out of nothing four or five years ago? And then here we are now doing it again with Vecna. Meanwhile, it’s kind of funny that you can also be hipster about this. It’s like, oh, yeah, no, I knew Vecna before, uh, Stranger Things brought it back.

Ash  06:49

Before he was cool. Yeah.

Randall  06:52

Vecna was always cool. And terrible.

Matthew Whitby  06:54

Yeah, it’s funny, because one of the questions we kind of had before is like, oh, well, why isn’t why is there not like a Vecna kind of like stat block in the book? And one of the reasons why we didn’t really want to like include that sort of thing is because when you’re dealing with like a god, as kind of Vecna is ruling in this world is like, do you put them along the same lines of like Tiamat? And it’s funny I get, I need to kind of get this out there. But in the conversation is like, if if I were to design the Vecna stat lock, which, at the time of saying it, the Vecna Dossier hadn’t come out yet. I was like, I’ll probably give him like, you know, the Tiamat treatment. I’ll give him like, increased legendary resistances. If I was feeling real mean, I’ll give him like a legendary action of Counterspell. And lo and behold, he is very similar, where they haven’t given him like legendary actions. They’ve just given him the nastiest Counterspell as a reaction and gets like three of them each each other round. So yeah, I don’t know, maybe I’m prophetic. Or maybe it’s just the stars are kind of lined up.

Randall  07:51

Yeah. Great Minds. It could be the great minds thinking.

Ash  07:54


Tyler  07:55

So tell us a little bit about the specifics of the setting in Doomed Forgotten Realms. So we’ve taken all of the bad endings from all of the fifth edition hardcover published modules. What is the current state of the world? Who’s winning?

Matthew Whitby  08:14

Yeah. Yeah, the quick summary is it’s scuffed. It’s very, it’s very bad. But the kind of the world as doomed as it is, has kind of stabilized in this kind of equilibrium. And so because we’ve kind of had like, Vecna, kind of pulling the strings kind of in the background, the way we’ve kind of justified that is for Vecna to emerge as a deity within this world and stuff like that he required a the Soul Monger. The tomb of annihilation, this kind of device has been kind of gathering souls that Acerrerac wanted to kind of use to do this, I think is an Atropol, that kind of dead god baby thing. That has kind of instead been used to kind of coax you know, Vecna into kind of existence. And in order to kind of get enough souls, things like Tiamat returning causes wide, you know, widespread destruction and devastation sufficient enough to fill this like the soul monger. So the world is kind of split between areas kind of controlled by Tiamat and kind of areas kind of controlled by Vecna. We’ve kind of positioned it so both gods are exceedingly powerful, exceedingly evil, kind of have their own ambitions, but they’re not powerful enough to take out each other. Which kind of makes this kind of a perfect like adventure ground for the players to kind of begin to kind of like tip the balance. But then you also have things like take Baldur’s Gate following the Descent into Avernace. Baldur’s Gate: gone. There’s just a like a massive hole. But that causes another problem because into into the you know, into the abyss or into the Underdark. The entire underworld is now filled to the brim with demons and demon princes. So the what we really thought is like okay, well now it no longer the Blood War. So this endless war between demons and devils, it’s no longer taking place on Avernace. It’s now also taking place on the material plane.

Ash  10:10

Oh, Lord.

Matthew Whitby  10:11

Everything you know about Zariel and stuff like that, she’s not gonna, like, take that sitting down. She’s like, Okay, well, I will take my fortress, I will take my legion of devils, I will march to, you know, the material plane. And that’s how Baldur’s Gate has now ended up as like this Hellsdoor Gate, which is literally is another it’s another war zone. But that’s yeah, that’s that’s basically a high concept summary of like, no one’s winning. It’s, it’s all bad. It’s all bad.

Randall  10:35

One of the things I really loved. Like as you go through the regions, and like you call out for health or health or escape in particular, like population 125,000. 83% of these are fiends, 7%, tieflings, 10% other races. And you do this for each of the regions. And as you go through, it’s like, Nope, there’s there’s no folks there. There’s no folks there. It’s like, one of the region’s is mostly ghouls and ghasts.

Matthew Whitby  10:59

Yes, that was another thing. So the, what is it, Evernight, which is a… this is existing and kind of Forgotten Realms lore. But what we’re kind of looking at it like we were thinking about what to do with like Neverwinter, because at the moment in the books and stuff hasn’t been re explored in a while, it’s going through some troubles. And to kind of again, they all kind of fit together nicely, because we’re thinking well, Evernight is the dread realm version of Neverwinter. This place where ghouls rule, and they have this own kind of weird society where you know, they have like a council. But by bringing, by saying Neverwinter it got so bad that it became indistinguishable from the dread realm version, that the two kind of merged, just just kind of made sense, as well as connecting Vecna to the Dread Realms where the Raven Queen is, and there’s this onongoing lore where Vecna  kind of wants to kind of kill or defeat the Raven Queen, because she has this kind of like castle of memories and obviously Vecna wants secrets. And so yeah, it’s honestly like, shotgun lore, just every every kind of corner of deep dive.

Randall  12:09

One of the things that you did with Vecna that I really liked is Vecna has actually cut off communication to the pantheon of gods. And nobody realizes this has happened. And so like, if you were some of the very few living like, I’m gonna say, regular folks, right, like our elves, our orcs, our humans, our halflings. If you’re the regular folks, you’re thinking that your gods have abandoned you to this doomed world. Because you’re not getting any messages. None of your prayers are getting through, nothing’s getting solved for you. And in reality, it’s because Vecna has actually cut things off. And you have this really, really cool call out, basically saying, like, yeah, if every if everybody realized that Vecna was the reason this was happening, there would be a revolt. And if the gods realized, which I almost love that interpretation, because I read it is like, the, the, the gods haven’t noticed that they haven’t heard anything from the material plane in a while. It’s like “did we get any letters? No? okay, whatever. Let’s… bothce ball, great! It’s gonna be…”

Matthew Whitby  13:07

No, I think you make a really good point because they’re kind of, like, there was kind of interesting about the fairgrounds is there’s almost like two problems with like, Okay, well, how do you justify Vecna and Tiamat, kind of controlling the world? And there’s kind of like two problems that you kind of need to solve. One is like, the god problem. And one is like the high Wizard problem. And it was kind of the idea that by… Vecna kind of wants to do everything in their power to kind of maintain this amount of control that they have, and being able to just literally just draw a line in the sand and be like, “Gods aren’t welcome here anymore other than me, and Tiamat’s here, but that’s, that’s a future problem.” As the same way we look at like, you know, Elminster, the kind of like hide… the world again, once any character gets up to like level 20, stuff like that, they become well, world shaping entities in themselves. And so what we wanted to try and convey was the fact that right now, the the world is so, again, doomed, that it’s literally retreating and consolidating, and trying to find some way to kind of overcome these, again, overwhelming odds is the best step rather than just throwing like in kind of these last last ditch efforts, or like, if we just kill Vecna everything will be okay. Again, not really, there’s still there’s too many problems to solve with just, you know, a suicide mission.

Ash  14:25

So with this doomed realms, and all of the people who could probably do something about it gone. Who are the players and all this and do they have a chance? Do they have a prayer to even begin trying to solve these problems?

Matthew Whitby  14:41

Yeah, so the way we kind of obviously the campaign is kind of set up that if the party wants to be they can just be a bunch of you know, evil, evil, bastards, helping, you know, self entitled, going about the world and just kind of, you know, making it their own. But, again, what’s kind of amazing about you know, the criminal world that is So kind of, you know, now intrinsically evil is the fact that it means more to do good. So the… we kind of wanted to include a lot of options. And again, this is why I went with this thing of like, well, everything’s evil, it only takes a little to kind of like set evil to kind of consume itself. So there are things like, what is it, we have like the floating city. Or the… I’m going to try and do the drow pronunciation of qu mas Vidin Delma, which is where Jarlaxle has taken his three boats from what a deep, and rather than just being three boats connected, it’s now an entire fleet that turns into like a floating city. So we kind of allude to the fact that there are… Jarlaxle being someone, you know, iconic character, very much out for, you know, their own self interest. There are still figures and kind of factions about who would prefer things to eke towards, you know, normality or, you know, the good kind of returning. So there are small groups, and you know, it takes kind of the players, whoever they are, to try and navigate that, and hopefully, change things a little bit for the better.

Randall  16:10

Like Waterdeep is another good example where there… you know, I talked about the regular folks, so to speak, like, Waterdeep is chock full of them. And so if the adventure party wanted to be from there and use that as a base to go, you could imagine being like a good aligned party trying to do good things where you could have a backstory where that makes sense versus I think if you were part of the 4% that lived in

Matthew Whitby  16:33

Hellsdoor Gate?

Randall  16:34

Yeah, exactly. If you’ve heard like, I think they had like 10% other races. There’s probably not a great story for you being good aligned. It’s probably been beaten out of you by now. Yeah,

Matthew Whitby  16:43

yeah. I can’t imagine being being even a cultist in Zariel’s army is probably not the best of times.

Randall  16:50

Yeah, it doesn’t lead to altruism. That’s all I’m saying.

Tyler  16:52

Now, I really liked that the document has a heroic chronicle at the back of the book, and then variations on published backgrounds to really support bringing characters into this setting. And like, all of this is gone into detail like, like, how is your character still good among all this? Or maybe you’re not. And like, there’s a system for generating allies and rivals. If you’ve read Explorers Guide to Wildemount, the Heroic Chronicle and there, like, it’s very similar. Works the same way. I believe Xanathar’s has the same thing. So like, we haven’t seen enough of that in official published supplements. So I really, really love that you guys did this, Matt. It’s, it is a great assistive tool for building a character in a setting that is potentially very unfamiliar for people.

Matthew Whitby  17:46

No, 100%. That kind of answers the problem that we were trying to solve is like setting guides are fantastic. Like, again, you have these amazing kind of deep dives in lore. But unless they’re as actionable as can kind of be for the DM and the player and stuff like that, you need to find a way to get characters invested in the world and kind of understand that their place like and that’s that’s why it kind of leans heavy on like the factions which I loved about Waterdeep Dragonheist, that’s probably why I kind of lean into it. But the idea that players can kind of align themselves with with a faction, it kind of immediately comes with like a set of contacts that establish within the world goals to kind of align with as well as factions with competing goals and you know, that kind of interplay leads itself. And yeah, it was it was fun, kind of playing around with like, some of the backgrounds of like, well, I’m guessing an entertainer, doesn’t… They’re not as needed anymore. But you know, what people do need that’s entertaining? Maybe in this doomed world: a public executioner.

Ash  18:43

Oh, god.

Randall  18:43

That is what entertainment looks like, yes.

Matthew Whitby  18:45

I mean, like, yeah, you got you got to take the fun where you can find it. And maybe that’s…

Ash  18:50

So depressing.

Tyler  18:53

So on subjective characters, there are some character options in here, which when you told us that this was coming last time you were on the podcast, I didn’t realize you guys were going to have new character options. So I’m always very excited to see these. So we got five subclasses in this. I’m just going to rattle off the names and we’ll talk about them. The Bard College of the elements, the Druid circle of the nine, the Fighter zentilar’s finest, the Rogue spellslayer and the Wizard school of secrets. Now I’ve been I’ve been poring over these because I can’t help myself. They’re all very, very cool. And they have some really fun ideas of them. So Matt, tell us a little bit about these and where they came from.

Matthew Whitby  19:39

Yeah, so I… this was one of the things that where like in development. I just couldn’t help myself. We’re doing a setting guide, but maybe maybe throw like one or two kind of subclasses in. But again, it kind of ties into that thing of like the subclass that you kind of hear. They tie in with the factions, they tie in with the world as a whole. You know, the college of elements is the fact that there is the throne of primordial unity with, you know, the Elemental Evil people kind of combining together. Zentilar’s finest is the idea of a zentarim trained warrior, instilling fear in their enemies. The one that kind of stands out a little bit is the spell slayer rogue. But that was more of like, okay, well if you’re now in a world run by Vecna, and Vecna’s many apprentices, or you know, evil wizards, you know, Liches, who knows, you know, name it. Evil casters, basically. It makes sense that people would begin to adapt and overcome. And the idea of rogues specializing in seeing a Wizard, realizing they’re concentrating on some nasty spells, and stabbing them enough that they lose concentration. Exactly. And that’s what I kind of like about some of the kind of the groups is okay, so say you are like a zentilar’s finest. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a zentarim. It kind of what it kind of does even is a bit of a journey thing. This is this is a class or something that feeds into my background as a character. But I’m, I’m you know, that’s that’s my history. And even though I use these means to kind of, you know, save the world, or whoever it is, and stuff like that. I’m not my you know, I’m not the zentilar’s finest anymore. I’m ex-zentilar’s finest.

Tyler  21:28

I think my favorite of the five these is the school of secrets because Wizard, of course.

Ash  21:34

Of course.

Tyler  21:35

I, I really like how you tied it into the like, Vecna, god of secrets and magic themes there. And then, like the core concept of the subclass is like other people have secrets, and I’m gonna use those to their detriment. Like the mechanics around exposing other people’s secrets, and like learning things about them that they don’t want you to know. Very, very cool. Very thematic. I think you I think he did a really good balance point, too, like the, the features all work pretty well, like they have usage limitations which makes sense. It’s a very exciting subclass. I’d be excited to play it.

Matthew Whitby  22:15

Yeah, thank you very much. Yeah, I’m always quite big fan of like, when it comes to like, subclass design is having kind of abilities that feed into like later stages, you know, the ones abilities they get enhanced later on. Or they have like more utility. Yeah, the the school of secrets was a fun one to write because, again, much much like yourself, I’m a Wizard fan. I can’t help it.

Ash  22:38

I really like the circle of the nine. Just because it’s, it’s something you never see, which is an evil Druid, which I’ve always been kind of fascinated with. Like, what if what if the Druid was the main villain of a campaign? And with this, you kind of can and it also scratches that other itch of like, we do have summoning demons and stuff. But we never really had that transforming into one, which I think is a really cool… this is a really cool class, like the flavor of it is really interesting and the mechanics of it are also really cool.

Randall  23:41

Still, oof So how did did you do a lot of play testing for these subclasses?

Matthew Whitby  23:47

Yeah, a little and stuff like that. It was mainly kind of sneaking them in into my home games as and when I can. But As I said, the subclasses for the most part, were more of a added little bonus for the kind of to tie everything together that again, if things tend to be like, you know, egregiously broken, fits into the world, everything’s doomed.

Randall  24:12


Tyler  24:13

So have you run home games in this setting a few times then?

Matthew Whitby  24:17

So the one thing I have done is we did a plane warping like adventure as like a one shot where the party they were kind of approaching towards, you know, the end game sort of thing. And I thought, you know, what, this setting is almost perfect for like, a “what if?” scenario, like let’s take our players out of the world place in here for a moment to see like, if you guys don’t win, this, this is what happens. And yeah, like I said, that this is something that like if I if I could go back I would include like a section about this thing. You know what this this setting is good for like the “what if?”, you know worst case scenario and all that.

Randall  24:55

Yeah, I definitely follow that and I had the exact same thought as I was I was reading this. Like, even if I didn’t write an entire campaign. Let’s say I was running Rime of the Frostmaiden right now, maybe at some point in the story when the characters are trying to figure out like, do we really need to deal with this? Do we have to do this? Like, you go to sleep, you wake up, things are terrible. And like, taking them through showing the consequences for any of the stories that you’re playing through. Like, if you’re playing any of these books that we’ve referenced, it could be like a really cool thing, especially if you’re looking for something like maybe one person’s missing, but you want to play anyway. Do a one shot, pick this up, bring them to see the consequences of their actions. And maybe even give them some fun, you know, give them some fun about the lore that they’re currently playing through, and the impacts that it’s going to have on the world if they fail.

Matthew Whitby  25:42

I think it kind of ties in nicely, because a lot of like taking the was the Icewind Dale kind of adventure, Rime of The Frostmaiden, basically, and in the kind of the way we kind of phrase it as a flat Oriole is still kind of after the ring of winter. But the entirety of Icewind Dale is as frozen as has ever been, you know, the ice giants from like, you know, the have have have kind of sworn fealty to Oriole. And it’s just like, Okay, well, that in itself is almost like its own kind of contained area. And again, it goes back to the idea of like, if the players wanted to, they could deliver the ring of winter to Oriole, the entire world would change again. And it would just be from, you know, one landscape to another. And maybe that’s better. Maybe that’s less? Who knows? I don’t know.

Randall  26:31

That’s it. Yeah, Taylor and I are actually both playing in a campaign through Rime of the Frostmaiden now. And so partial spoilers, because we’re part of the way through it. So everybody at home, you know, your muffs if you need to, like one of the cool things that was called out is, so we’ve already fought the duergar and we’ve fought their dragon monstrosity and took it down. But in in the doomed world, of course, the heroes failed to prevent this. And the dragon just flew around and basically destroyed all 10 towns. So now 10 towns i zero towns and it’s completely frozen.

Ash  27:01

Zero towns!

Matthew Whitby  27:02

It’s not as popular anymore.

Randall  27:07

When it was a frozen hellscape where they were sacrificing people you think it’s like, Oh, why did people even come here? And then it got worse!

Matthew Whitby  27:12


Tyler  27:14

I’ll have you know, we managed to save almost exactly half of 10 towns. We saved like 49.9%.

Randall  27:22

Yeah, in, in particular and it’s probably worth mentioning. So we established an inn. Like, we took over and in early in the adventure. And our primary purpose wasn’t necessarily to save as many towns as possible, but to prevent the destruction of our inn.

Matthew Whitby  27:36

Like, you kind of merged it with like troll skull manor of Waterdeep Dragonheist and stuff like where it’s like “this is our plot of land. We’re gonna…”

Tyler  27:46

So before before we close, I have to ask. So your favorite character, Volo, how’s he doing and all this?

Matthew Whitby  27:53

Oh, he’s dead! Yeah. It was, it was it was a no brainer. Like the moment I was like, Okay, well… so actually it’s funny because like, the book is dealing with like pretty, pretty dark stuff. It’s the doomed world and stuff like that. And it just made natural sense to kind of allow a character to kind of give some levity and some like, light-hearted quips. I’ve had the chance to kind of write in Volo’s voice and roleplay as well or a good amount of times that including him in and being allowing him to kind of comment on everything that’s going on. It just it was more of a convenience thing that I had to kill though. Like him walking around and that doesn’t make sense. But if he’s a ghost he can get anywhere. So I get I had to. You know, legally obligated.

Ash  28:35

Levity? No levity allowed!

Randall  28:39

The opening letter from Volo: If you’re reading this, I am deceased.

Matthew Whitby  28:45

I didn’t want to I don’t want to let people think that you didn’t get away with it. Like as soon as possible Volo’s dead, Okay, that’s if you worried like if you wanted to pick up the doomed, you know, doomed realms like, Okay, I wonder what Volo’s up to? Oh, he’s dead. Okay, I can… now I’m happy.

Randall  29:00

Yeah, mystery resolved. We can continue reading.

Tyler  29:03

Does he have a canonical death? Like is it spelled out how he died?

Matthew Whitby  29:08

I think I left that as a bit of a mystery.

Tyler  29:10

Okay, I thought I just missed it.

Matthew Whitby  29:12

Yeah. If it just because I think it’s almost an in Volo’s nature to not go. It’ll be if something embarrassing and it’s probably in his self interest to not be like, Oh, I you know, I died running and cowering in fear. I’m gonna say, you know, I’ll give you guys a little cannon: I did it. It was me.

Ash  29:29

You really don’t like Volo, do you?

Matthew Whitby  29:37

I love the kind of impact he kind of has and role playing him and the dynamic with the pie and stuff like that. I just it’s even funnier knowing that Volo being this kind of like, almost like slightly magical but mostly kind of mundane character, having allies with like, you know, like Elminster and the most powerful wizards. Even if he does die, it’s it’s never permanent, like that. Was it he got imprisoned for like 100 years, like each time like was it 100 years from now, like when we’re on like D&D sixth or seventh edition Volo is still gonna be around. You can’t avoid it. Like the this guy is not gonna die. So you might as well just kill him once or twice and just accept that he’s inevitable.

Ash  30:34

Someone has to carry the mantle.

Matthew Whitby  30:36

All I’m gonna say is Volo and Vecna both start with the same letter, and that can’t be a coincidence.

Randall  30:41

That’s true. That’s true. And they’re both detrimental to the world, I think. So we’re on, we’re on to something.

Ash  30:46

Volo is Vecna!

Randall  30:48

You said something interesting, he has a lot of really powerful friends that can always bring them back. One of the optional rules that you offer for the setting is that you can’t, the soul monger actually will trap the souls and anybody who’s like raised from the dead or has previously been raised from the dead, loses one to their max hitpoints every day. And then once the soul is released, it goes to the soul monger and you can no longer be raised again.

Matthew Whitby  31:10

Yeah, no, we once again because the rules kind of established in Tomb of Annihilation with the kind of death curse and everything. It’s weird to think about how honestly, like, if no one stopped it, how detrimental it would have been. So even take the high level wizards like Elminster, resurrected numerous number of times, it’s these kinds of high level fantasy characters, it’s almost in their best interest to just leave this plane of existence, to kind of get away and at least kind of extend their lives however they can. But you think about like, I don’t know, like all the cities in throughout the Forgotten Realms where like, maybe rich nobles have kind of extended their lives or… the devastation of just keeping it around. And that’s kind of why we kept it optional, because the ramifications of how oppressive it is. The fact that if you do have a character, it’s essentially hardcore mode, you get one life and that’s it.

Randall  32:03

It just might not be part of the story that you’re trying to tell. But if it is, if it doesn’t conflict with the story you’re telling, it does certainly add like an additional element of danger and risk to what the players are doing. And to wrap it around: It does provide a final solution for Volo. Because, you know, you’re not coming back.

Matthew Whitby  32:23

Yeah. If you want to make the Doomed Forgotten realms like the doomed-er forgotten realms, then us these optional rules.

Randall  32:29

Yeah, it’s the like, let’s destroy the soul longer and release all the souls. Well, Volo is trapped in there. So maybe…

Matthew Whitby  32:36

The idea of bouncer being like “No, Volo, you stay in.”

Randall  32:41

One person to stay behind for the good of humanity. We voted it to you. Alright, Matt, thank you so much for being with us today. We truly enjoyed it. Folks, check out the Doomed Forgotten Realms.

Matthew Whitby  32:54

Thank you very much. Yeah. What is it. I’ve been Matthew Whitby. You can find out find me @WhitbyWrites. But no, thank you so much for inviting me back. And I’m glad that the podcast is back. Exciting times!

Randall  33:04

Yeah. Still trudging along, and we’ll have a link to Matt’s socials in the show notes. If you want to find them, go look there right now. Click it, you’ll have them. Alright. Thanks, folks. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please rate and review us on Apple podcast and rate us on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It’s a quick free way to support the podcast and helps us to reach new listeners. You can find links in the show notes. You’ll find affiliate links for source books and other materials linked in the show notes as well as on RPGBOT.net. Following these links helps us to make this show happen every week. All right. Thanks, folks. We’ll see you next time.   We did it! We did a whole pod!