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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Alaundo Posted - 26 Jan 2005 : 23:16:47
Well met

This being a collective scroll of any questions the Scribes and visitors of Candlekeep wish to put to a renowned game designer of the Realms, namely - Eric L Boyd. Eric has been a game designer for TSR\WotC for many years, with a vast array of products to his name, including Champions of Ruin, Champions of Valor, City of Splendors: Waterdeep, Faiths & Pantheons, Lost Empires of Faerűn, Serpent Kingdoms, Races of Faerűn and the upcoming Power of Faerűn, to name but a few.

Present your questions herein and check back to see what news may also come forth from the quill of this Realms master.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
sleyvas Posted - 29 Oct 2020 : 13:35:24
pretty much the same here. The only "avatar" I've ever had a party fight was back at the start of 3e where I sent a party through the time of troubles in Damara with Gareth and company doing their stuff as rumors in the backdrop. At that time, I don't think we exactly had an exacting timeline, and so I was using a presumption that the reason Gareth and such got to Orcus' wand was because HE was cast down to Toril in avatar form. I had Orcus possessing a duergar's body like all the gods (i.e. they needed a mortal to allow them to share their body during the ToT, so they were what I've termed "lesser avatars"), and the party ended up facing and killing him. I had a lot of fun with that campaign, because my party had just an inkling of FR history, so things happened later, like them meeting a renegade red wizard in the astral named Velsharoon who was studying the stone body of Orcus several months later and wanted their help to run off a bunch of githyanki who were looking to establish a mining operation on the body. The players had no clue who Velsharoon would become, which tickled me to death as I kept name dropping him, and at the time I intended to have Velsharoon involved with the whole creation of Tenebrous (never got that far). Sometimes its nice having a group who barely knows the realms, and then there's times where having someone in the group who is almost as big of a nerd about it as me. Ironically, at that time as well, I had them meet one of Sleyvas' "children of magic", which were kind of like Alias clones, and they flipped out when they heard the name, because they know me... and so an NPC showing up named Sleyvallas raised their hackles.

I really did enjoy that campaign though, and I highly recommend anyone who wants to run players through something fun to have them start a few years prior to the OGB and go through the ToT. You can have avatars who are of a lot less power level, and if they follow their own credo, Ao can put them back in their place if the party finishes them off (but parties can just make them run off and it becomes just as memorable). You can even pull the "switching bodies" trick to make the party members feel like they accomplished something (i.e. the avatar jumps to some lesser servant to get away, the party watches the light leave the eyes of the NPC they're fighting, etc...).
TomCosta Posted - 28 Oct 2020 : 23:54:54
That is pretty much true for me too Wooly (believe it or not Eric :-)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Oct 2020 : 20:49:54
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

Tom did an amazing job.

That said, I really, really hated the avatars. Such a waste of space.



I recall seeing their stats for the first time, and marveling at how insanely powerful the avatars were -- and then never looking at the stats again.
ericlboyd Posted - 28 Oct 2020 : 20:33:46
Tom did an amazing job.

That said, I really, really hated the avatars. Such a waste of space.
TheIriaeban Posted - 27 Oct 2020 : 23:42:38
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

I can speak to some of this. There was not that much of a scheme aside from levels by god status (see below) for how to assign levels and such leading up to Demihuman Deities. I think Eric and Julia were just trying to make them so powerful very few would ever challenge them. It is an outgrowth, however of the 1E Deities and Demigods having stats and the 2E Monster Mythology having stats. For Demihuman Deities, I ran the numbers for Eric and Julia to come up with some core guidelines....

Type Level Range for Avatar Primary Class
Greater 40-30
Intermediate 35-25
Lesser 30-20
Demi 25-15

And here was my math based on F&A and P&P

Avatar Averages Average # of Classes: 3 (Range 1-5 – though 5 generally involves some power/class duplication)

Greater Power: # (Range – Tom’s Baseline)
Ave Lvls: 80 (60-90)
Lvl/Class: 30 (Primary 30-40)
AC: -5 (-4 - -7)
HP: 215.5 (171-306 – 195-240)
MR: 75% (50-100% – 65 -85%)
Intermediate Power:
Ave Lvls: 77.5 (55-90)
Lvl/Class: 26.5 (Primary 25-35)
AC: -4 (-3 - -5)
HP: 205 (184-224 – 180-225)
MR: 72% (65-90% – 60-80%)
Lesser Power:
Ave Lvls: 68.5 (50-90)
Lvl/Class: 24 (Primary 20-30)
AC: -3 (-2 - -4)
HP: 185.5 (158-224 – 160-215)
MR: 70% (30-90% – 50-75%)
Demipower:
Ave Lvls: 59.5 (40-85)
Lvl/Class: 18.5 (Primary 15-25)
AC: -2 (-1 - -3)
HP: 176.5 (126-206 – 150-200)
MR: 62% (40-80% – 50-70%)




That is awesome. Thank you!
sleyvas Posted - 27 Oct 2020 : 13:06:52
quote:
Originally posted by Veritas

I wondered how Eric imagined up avatar class levels in the Faith & Avatars series of books. Did deities just pick and choose what classes and levels they wanted an avatar to have? On the design side, did you use some formula or range for determining how many an avatar of a power would have? I always thought it curious that Mystra’s avatar’s mage levels at level 40 was below certain exceptional “mortals” such as Karsus, Larloch, Ioulaum, and the Srinshee.



Just to throw out there before you put a whole lot of thought into it... that's ONE avatar. Gods don't invest all their power into a single avatar. Its a "throw away vessel" to a degree that they dump power into in order to accomplish some goal. A greater god can have 10 avatars active at once. Also F&A when it describes avatars, it also specifically says that the avatars listed are "the typical" version of their avatar and that gods can make different versions. So, Mystra could in theory create 10 of those level 40 creations, send them off after a mortal entity at once, and this wouldn't be the limit of her capability. If one was killed, the next day she has it back. If 3 were killed, 3 days later she has it back. If all 10 were killed, ten days later they're all back.

This is one reason why the implications of killing the "avatar" of Auril in the latest adventure having such a broad effect has me a little non-plussed. I'm not overly upset mind you. I also think that the above makes gods a little more powerful than they should be, and there should be some kind of happy medium to be found between the two ideas. For instance, I get that killing "the avatar" of a god should have some effect. Perhaps they can't manifest another avatar on that plane for a while (thus even more forcing them to use their priests). It shouldn't strip all their priests of their power though. Killing the avatar of a god shouldn't be "killing the god temporarily". It should be spanking them for acting so directly against mortals by limiting them (which may cause some priests to leave the god's service). Maybe it can even be one of the first steps of many in giving the mortals involved some "component" towards destroying the god entirely, taking their power, or cutting them off from their worshippers.

I'd also add here that this is a big difference with the concept between avatars and manifestations, which a lot of folks use interchangeably. I can absolutely understand for instance why when Gilgeam's manifestation was killed, the god lost all power. The manifestation had no ties to its outer planar entity... i.e. it wasn't a "throw away" version of the avatar. It was the god's actual presence in the world, and his ONLY presence despite being a lesser power who should have been able to have two avatars.

Hmmm, I just got an odd thought now though.... on the topic of "god-kings" (which would apply more to Mulhorand).... what if the mortal incarnations were in essence the "avatars" of the gods. By that, I'm saying the god existed still as a manifestation in the mortal world. They technically had the ability to create "avatars". So, like the time of troubles... kinda... they "inhabited" the incarnations of the gods. Thus, their godly power level could indicate just how many "incarnations" they could have at a given time. It's technically not much different than a chosen, except that its actually the deity and they might be able to exert direct control over the mortal if they wanted to. If an incarnation dies, the next day a new one, if properly prepared and accepted, could take its place. Probably requiring some ritual.
TomCosta Posted - 27 Oct 2020 : 12:47:30
I can speak to some of this. There was not that much of a scheme aside from levels by god status (see below) for how to assign levels and such leading up to Demihuman Deities. I think Eric and Julia were just trying to make them so powerful very few would ever challenge them. It is an outgrowth, however of the 1E Deities and Demigods having stats and the 2E Monster Mythology having stats. For Demihuman Deities, I ran the numbers for Eric and Julia to come up with some core guidelines....

Type Level Range for Avatar Primary Class
Greater 40-30
Intermediate 35-25
Lesser 30-20
Demi 25-15

And here was my math based on F&A and P&P

Avatar Averages Average # of Classes: 3 (Range 1-5 – though 5 generally involves some power/class duplication)

Greater Power: # (Range – Tom’s Baseline)
Ave Lvls: 80 (60-90)
Lvl/Class: 30 (Primary 30-40)
AC: -5 (-4 - -7)
HP: 215.5 (171-306 – 195-240)
MR: 75% (50-100% – 65 -85%)
Intermediate Power:
Ave Lvls: 77.5 (55-90)
Lvl/Class: 26.5 (Primary 25-35)
AC: -4 (-3 - -5)
HP: 205 (184-224 – 180-225)
MR: 72% (65-90% – 60-80%)
Lesser Power:
Ave Lvls: 68.5 (50-90)
Lvl/Class: 24 (Primary 20-30)
AC: -3 (-2 - -4)
HP: 185.5 (158-224 – 160-215)
MR: 70% (30-90% – 50-75%)
Demipower:
Ave Lvls: 59.5 (40-85)
Lvl/Class: 18.5 (Primary 15-25)
AC: -2 (-1 - -3)
HP: 176.5 (126-206 – 150-200)
MR: 62% (40-80% – 50-70%)
Veritas Posted - 26 Oct 2020 : 02:28:50
I wondered how Eric imagined up avatar class levels in the Faith & Avatars series of books. Did deities just pick and choose what classes and levels they wanted an avatar to have? On the design side, did you use some formula or range for determining how many an avatar of a power would have? I always thought it curious that Mystra’s avatar’s mage levels at level 40 was below certain exceptional “mortals” such as Karsus, Larloch, Ioulaum, and the Srinshee.
ericlboyd Posted - 08 Oct 2020 : 03:20:40
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Oh hey, I didn't realize who had written up Serpent Kingdoms until you asked that.

Eric,
I've always been curious since I really dug into that product, how much of those 3 countries (Samarach, Thindol, and Tashalar) was found in prior lore if you had to give a very "off the cuff" rough percentage? I only ask because I found myself very surprised about the region and only realized when I was reading it that I didn't think anything had ever really been done there. Then again, I have been wrong in the past, and maybe there's some product out there that has even more info. I must say I really liked those 3 places and was a bit irritated to see them almost immediately wiped at about the time that I was really starting to dig into them (because initially I had glossed over serpent kingdoms and stuck it in the pile of so many other things I had to read).



There were little bit of lore in various Polyhedron "Everwinking Eye" columns. Likewise, Prayers from the Faithful and the god books had little bits here and there. Searching for city names in those books is useful.

But most of it was me trying to logically extrapolate three unique cultures from what we knew of Calimshan, Halruaa, the Mhair Jungles, and Nimbral.



Well, just so you know, I really liked Samarach and Tashalar. Samarach reminded me of an anti-snake version of Conan's Stygia.



Glad you liked it!
sleyvas Posted - 06 Oct 2020 : 01:11:31
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Oh hey, I didn't realize who had written up Serpent Kingdoms until you asked that.

Eric,
I've always been curious since I really dug into that product, how much of those 3 countries (Samarach, Thindol, and Tashalar) was found in prior lore if you had to give a very "off the cuff" rough percentage? I only ask because I found myself very surprised about the region and only realized when I was reading it that I didn't think anything had ever really been done there. Then again, I have been wrong in the past, and maybe there's some product out there that has even more info. I must say I really liked those 3 places and was a bit irritated to see them almost immediately wiped at about the time that I was really starting to dig into them (because initially I had glossed over serpent kingdoms and stuck it in the pile of so many other things I had to read).



There were little bit of lore in various Polyhedron "Everwinking Eye" columns. Likewise, Prayers from the Faithful and the god books had little bits here and there. Searching for city names in those books is useful.

But most of it was me trying to logically extrapolate three unique cultures from what we knew of Calimshan, Halruaa, the Mhair Jungles, and Nimbral.



Well, just so you know, I really liked Samarach and Tashalar. Samarach reminded me of an anti-snake version of Conan's Stygia.
ericlboyd Posted - 05 Oct 2020 : 19:35:36
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Oh hey, I didn't realize who had written up Serpent Kingdoms until you asked that.

Eric,
I've always been curious since I really dug into that product, how much of those 3 countries (Samarach, Thindol, and Tashalar) was found in prior lore if you had to give a very "off the cuff" rough percentage? I only ask because I found myself very surprised about the region and only realized when I was reading it that I didn't think anything had ever really been done there. Then again, I have been wrong in the past, and maybe there's some product out there that has even more info. I must say I really liked those 3 places and was a bit irritated to see them almost immediately wiped at about the time that I was really starting to dig into them (because initially I had glossed over serpent kingdoms and stuck it in the pile of so many other things I had to read).



There were little bit of lore in various Polyhedron "Everwinking Eye" columns. Likewise, Prayers from the Faithful and the god books had little bits here and there. Searching for city names in those books is useful.

But most of it was me trying to logically extrapolate three unique cultures from what we knew of Calimshan, Halruaa, the Mhair Jungles, and Nimbral.
sleyvas Posted - 04 Oct 2020 : 22:19:42
Oh hey, I didn't realize who had written up Serpent Kingdoms until you asked that.

Eric,
I've always been curious since I really dug into that product, how much of those 3 countries (Samarach, Thindol, and Tashalar) was found in prior lore if you had to give a very "off the cuff" rough percentage? I only ask because I found myself very surprised about the region and only realized when I was reading it that I didn't think anything had ever really been done there. Then again, I have been wrong in the past, and maybe there's some product out there that has even more info. I must say I really liked those 3 places and was a bit irritated to see them almost immediately wiped at about the time that I was really starting to dig into them (because initially I had glossed over serpent kingdoms and stuck it in the pile of so many other things I had to read).
TheIriaeban Posted - 04 Oct 2020 : 18:33:19
Eric, I was wondering if I could get your insights on the Kingdom of Snakes. In the Serpent Kingdoms, you have this:

"By the first century Dalereckoning, the Kingdom of the Snakes had emerged as a regional power in its own right alongside such human states as the Talfirian- and Netherese-ruled Duchy of Indoria (located in the area known today as the Fields of the Dead), the Talfirian city of Talis in the depths of the Reaching Woods, and the Netherese-ruled subterranean realm of Philock, which lay just east of the Wood of Sharp Teeth (now known as the Netherese Caverns)."

In your estimation, how expansionistic were they being? I am asking to see what was preventing them from expanding into the Trielta Hills and on into Sunset Vale. With Ed's mentioning of the Giant Empire centered at the Darkhold during this time, I am wondering if it was this group that was protecting the area until Terpenzi was threatened by the Shadowking.
TheIriaeban Posted - 02 Oct 2020 : 19:34:54
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

<Rolls save, nat 20> No can do my man. I haven't seen anything.



Drats!! I KNEW I should have researched a version that didn't allow a saving throw.
TomCosta Posted - 02 Oct 2020 : 19:13:14
<Rolls save, nat 20> No can do my man. I haven't seen anything.
TheIriaeban Posted - 02 Oct 2020 : 17:57:50
<casts charm person spell>
Buddy! Nice to see you again. How ya been? Look, there just this little thing. Really, it isn't important at all but it would be really cool if you could let me see a certain file. I promise I won't say anything to anyone. No one would know so how could you get in trouble? You can do this old pal of yours this solid, right?
TomCosta Posted - 02 Oct 2020 : 16:02:10
I may have unseen it. :-)
George Krashos Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 17:32:59
I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said Unseen article.

(But seriously, it doesn't exist). (Really).

-- George Krashos
George Krashos Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 16:45:38
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said Unseen article.

(But seriously, it doesn't exist). (Really).

-- George Krashos



/ver
MystrylOS 4.1
Copyright A0, 1487 DR

/programinit SecretEraseFilesandSnicker +target GKrashosHardDisk +target ObscureTitles +targetcopy SleyvasMirrorLocation






-- George Krashos
sleyvas Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 13:43:09
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said Unseen article.

(But seriously, it doesn't exist). (Really).

-- George Krashos



/ver
MystrylOS 4.1
Copyright A0, 1487 DR

/programinit SecretEraseFilesandSnicker +target GKrashosHardDisk +target ObscureTitles +targetcopy SleyvasMirrorLocation
George Krashos Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 10:30:17
I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of said Unseen article.

(But seriously, it doesn't exist). (Really).

-- George Krashos
AJA Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 04:22:01
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Do we know it was really Krash?

How to tell, tho

I mean, he was already a lawyer. "[S]ophisticated and dangerous parasites, living off the labors of others" seems like....a lateral move, at worst?








Wooly Rupert Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 02:49:30
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

quote:
Originally posted by AJA


quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd
Dragon #336 (October)
The Unseen (Eric Boyd) (scheduled, but not a sure thing)

Obviously not. Curious if this was ever written-up and if so did it ever make it into anything else? Or is it now and forever [Edvoice] NDA PAID PROPERTY OF PAIZO [/Edvoice]?





George says it's not on his hard drive, so I probably never wrote it. That's what he told me to tell you.



Do we know it was really Krash?
ericlboyd Posted - 01 Oct 2020 : 00:30:53
quote:
Originally posted by AJA


quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd
Dragon #336 (October)
The Unseen (Eric Boyd) (scheduled, but not a sure thing)

Obviously not. Curious if this was ever written-up and if so did it ever make it into anything else? Or is it now and forever [Edvoice] NDA PAID PROPERTY OF PAIZO [/Edvoice]?





George says it's not on his hard drive, so I probably never wrote it. That's what he told me to tell you.
AJA Posted - 28 Sep 2020 : 22:34:36
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I have the exact quote, but I'll have to share it later. This is my work computer and it can't access Twitter.

PaydenKP already has it, one page back in this thread, posted on 08 Jul 2020 (one post below Eric's first response to this question ).


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