There is a massive canon of work to support a GM using the Forgotten Realms setting. The minute play starts (even before the players enter the game) it becomes my world and what I say goes. I am god(s) and I have the ultimate authority.
What brought this thought to mind is that I finally started play in my PBP game last night and created about 150 civilians, several named individuals and several locations within ‘my Waterdeep’ that exist in no other.
This was not a “set ’em up to knock ’em down” cannon fodder creation exercise, it is entirely possible the players may well grow to care about some of these people. The beauty of having an entire city to play with is that you can create and destroy quite a lot before you start to change the nature of the location but at the same time you can take just a small area and give it real flavour. That is what I am trying to do at the moment.
I am a little surprised at how long it took to get characters created. The first is now actually in play and I hope to have a second ready for play by tonight but a third is still in a work in progress. It is a general misconception that RMC is RM2 and that may well have been the idea when the reborn ICE tidied up RM2 and re-released it under the RMC banner but the reality is that RMC is not 100% compatible out of the box. Even without a lot of optional skills, optional rules, and companions it has taken my players a while to adjust to the RMC ruleset. Character creation is one of those areas where differences can be most acute.
So the idea of Canon vs Play has become apparent in the rules as well as the setting and in making the rules fit the setting. This is pretty much another manifestation of what I was saying in Roleplaying Games Do Not Exist everything is just a framework from which to hang the stories we want to tell from and everything is up for evaluation and has to earn its place in the game. If it doesn’t work for the GM and players it is gone.