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 Threskel, Bane, and the Cult of the Dragon

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Aldrick Posted - 01 Jun 2013 : 18:44:37
I'm currently reworking some things I'm doing with the Old Empires in my Realms, particularly Unther. The critical piece of lore I'm working with involves Threskel and the city of Mourktar. I'm sharing my lore notes (which I organized and rewrote) here with everyone, in hopes of filling in anything I missed, or correcting anything I have wrong. I also would just like to have a wider discussion on the region as a whole, as I'm hoping that this will help generate some good ideas.

What follows is all the canon information I have been able to find involving Threskel (though mostly Mourktar) prior to 4th Edition. I've included references for the sake of convenience, and so that my work can be double checked.

--------

Threskel was a land that was claimed by both Unther and Chesenta, though in truth neither controlled it. They considered themselves an independent nation. (Third Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, pg. 183)

The nation was divided between two cities, both with their own kings. On the western edge of Threskel, at the north eastern edge of the Bay of Chessenta situated at the mouth of the Jade River was the city of Mordulkin. It was a wealthy city that was ruled by the powerful House Jedea; a house strongly linked with the study and practice of the Art. It's king, Hercubes Jedea was an aging monarch that was attempting to live long enough until there was a suitable heir to replace him. However, the odds of that happening didn't look good. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 72)

However, I want to primarily focus on the city of Mourktar, which was located on the eastern edge of Threskel, near the northern tip of the Alamber Sea. A smaller city than Mordulkin it was known for its aggressive trading and large port capable of handling most of Threskel's exports. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 72)

I believe most people assume that the largest and most powerful temple of Bane is either located in Zhentil Keep or in Mulmaster (which is usually considered to be the center of the faith). However, these assumptions would be wrong. The largest -AND- the most powerful temple of Bane is known as the Black Lords Cloak, and it is located in the city of Mourktar. It's name is derived from the artifact held within, a magical cloak that once was worn by Bane prior to his ascension to divinity, and it is now considered a holy relic.

The Black Lords Cloak was led by Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug, who - just days before the Time of Troubles - declared his independence from the standard Banite hierarchy, and named himself High Imperceptor - basically declaring himself the leader of the faith of Bane. Since this was days before the Time of Troubles, it wasn't long after this event that Bane was slain, which in turn threw the Moonsea Banites into complete and utter turmoil. The faith in that region became divided between those who moved on to worship Cyric and those that were attempting to embrace the Godson, Iyachtu Xvim.

This level of turmoil didn't take place among the faithful in Threskel. Unlike Fzoul and most of the faithful in the Moonsea region, High Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug remained true to Bane, even after his death. It isn't explicitly written, but I believe it is likely that Kabarrath either tortured or executed anyone who converted to Cyric or Xvim. The text makes it unclear how Kabarrath maintained his divine spellcasting ability after Bane's death. (However, it should be noted that Eric L. Boyd later suggested that the clerics there likely took the Servant of the Fallen feat from Lost Empires of Faerun pg. 9)

Kabarrath was an ambitious man to say the least, and had the power to back it up. He commanded scores of Banite clergy of significant rank and scores more lesser priests of the faith. On top of that he had his own military which was well equipped and highly "practiced in slaughter." Then on top of that Kabarrath and the other "priests of the Cloak" (as they are collectively called) oversaw several adventuring companies namely the Six Black Blades and the Crow Banners. The Crow Banners were rather large and active not just in Threskel, but as far out as Murghom, Mulhorand, and Var the Golden. They were tasked to seek out magic, wealth, and other supplies for the temple and the greater glory of Bane. This does not even speak to the rumored connections to the widely feared pirate fleet of Alkoth, which was said to also secretly bend the knee to the priests of the Cloak.

A man with all this power, especially one who has just declared himself independent from the rest of the greater Church of Bane by naming himself High Imperceptor, has every intention of using his accumulated power. And he did. He did this by rigging the tournament that was supposed to declare a worthy successor of King Theris of Mourktar in 1358 DR, and upon the King's death he declared himself the "Regent of Mourktar".

This was to be his first step toward even greater things. He had his eyes set to the south on Unther, and it is likely he would have made a move to conquer those lands had fate not thrown a wrench into his plans. (Faiths and Avatars, pg. 39)

You see, Threskel has an issue with dragons, and by issue I mean the entire region is full of them. Most of them seem to dwell in the Riders to the Sky Mountains, and this shouldn't be all that shocking considering the strength of the faith of Tiamat in the region.

The region - in fact all of Chessenta, Threskel, and Unther (collectively referred to as "Old Unther") - was claimed by Alasklerbanbastos, known as the Great Bone Wyrm. Alasklerbanbastos was an ancient enemy of Tchazzar and they battled for control of the lands of Old Unther. It was believed that Tchazzar had ascended to divinity in 1019 DR, and in desperation the Great Bone Wyrm turned to the Cult of the Dragon and became the first (and to date the most powerful) dracolich in the region. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 44-46)

The Cult of the Dragon had long operated out of Mourktar, and was considered rather dogmatic by the standards of the other cells of the Cult. They embraced the teachings of Algashon over the teachings of Sammaster, and to that end emphasized devotion to Bane. The Cult for some time functioned as a secret society among the Black Lords Cloak in Mourktar. However, it would be a mistake to assume that they only operated within Mourktar. Their influence extended throughout the entire region, and their base of operations was within the lair of Alasklerbanbastos - the ancient lava tubes and slave-dug tunnels within Dragonback Mountain. Most importantly, they had a strong operation in Messemprar the last remaining free city of Unther. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 55 & 56)

After the death of Tchazzar during the Time of Troubles (1358 DR) which led to the rebirth of Tiamat, Alasklerbanbastos felt more free to resume his plans to take over the lands of Old Unther. To this end he began to unite many of the dragons in the region under his rule. Then in 1365 DR he began rewarding his most loyal draconic servants with fiefdoms in Threskel and Chessenta. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 72)

This led to a problem for High Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug as the "Regent of Mourktar", as well as the rulers of Mordulkin. Jaxanaedegor, the greatest and most successful of the Great Bone Wyrm's Vassals, declared himself "Viceroy of Threskel" and demanded tribute from both Mourktar and Mordulkin in the name of Alasklerbanbastos. Both cities refused and largely ignored him, until he - along with several lesser dracoliches - launched a series of attacks against several major trade caravans entering and leaving both cities. As neither city was able to stand up to the combined might of so many dragons who had been united under Alasklerbanbastos, they were forced to give tribute. However, Kabarrath was not replaced. Instead he began to rule with a trio of juvenile blue dragons who served as councilors who ferried him around the region. They communicated to him the Great Bone Wyrm's concerns and desires. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 72)

This was problematic for the High Imperceptor, no doubt, but things took a turn for the worse for Alasklerbanbastos in the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR). During this year Alasklerbanbastos made a failed attempt to completely unite the Cult of the Dragon - all the cells - under his control. He also forged an alliance with the Church of Tiamat, which caused a rift among the Cultists from Mourktar who followed him. To make matters worse, Tchazzar - his ancient and most hated enemy - returned and destroyed many of his draconic servants in Chessenta. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 44-46)

Things really started to look bad for Alasklerbanbastos after these events. Tchazzar had returned and once more enthroned himself as Sceptenar of Cimbar. He then began to plot and scheme to unite the cities of Chessenta under his rule again, and it seemed clear that once that took place he was going to turn his attention to Threskel and then Unther. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 37-39)

The alliance Alasklerbanbastos had forged with the Church of Tiamat in Unther, and in particular Messemprar was in danger as Tchazzar was the Chosen of Tiamat. It was quite clear that he could and would eventually begin undermining that fragile alliance. And that very alliance was also undermining Alasklerbanbastos with the Cult of the Dragon from Mourktar. Furthermore, due to Alasklerbanbastos's actions to try and take control of the Cult of the Dragon the other cells (and particularly the new Ruling Triumvirate) considered the Mourktar cell to be in full rebellion, and a schism formed. (Dragons of Faerun, pg. 55 & 56, 44-46)

The following year, 1374 DR, called the Year of Lightning Storms, the relationship between Alasklerbanbastos and High Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug seemed to grow stronger.

By this time Mulhorand had conquered all of Unther except for the city of Messemprar, and were planning to advance despite the dragons the Great Bone Wyrm had sent to defend the city against the advancing Mulhorandi forces. Before this could happen, however, Banite templars from the Black Lords Cloak (who were also receiving support from Thay in the form of magical weapons at cut-rate prices) marched south to defend Messemprar. (Power of Faerun, pg. 28)

In addition to this act, which may have been nothing more than shoring up a defensible last stand, a second event took place that could have shaken up the war. The people of Shussel - who disappeared in an event known as the Vanishing - reappeared as elite aasimar warriors. They called themselves the Legion of Nanna-Sin (Nanna-Sin is a former Untheric deity, and it is believed that Selune is using this as an alias). They opened up a new front in the war on the Mulhorandi armies rear flank. (Power of Faerun, pg. 28)

--------

It's at this point where the pre-4E lore begins to dry up, or at least all the lore that I can find.

I'm really interested in people's thoughts on Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug. He appears to be one of the most interesting characters in the region that never got much play or face time.

Not only did he command the largest and most powerful temple to Bane in Faerun, he had the balls to break with the hierarchy and declare himself High Imperceptor - effectively the leader of the faith. Then when Bane died during the Time of Troubles, so many other ran to Cyric or later to Xvim. Not Kabarrath. He stood strong with the Black Hand even as others like Fzoul faltered. When the Great Bone Wyrm placed him in a position that he couldn't fight his way out of he accepted that he had to give tribute, but effectively turned the trio of dragons that were supposed to co-rule with him into "advisers" and a glorified ferry service.

It seems to me that Kabarrath is now effectively holding all the cards in his relationship with Alasklerbanbastos, and both would have a shared interest in keeping Threskel out of the hands of Tchazzar.

Kabarrath takes center stage with my plans for Unther and Threskel, and I'd like to know if there is any more official information on him or the church of Bane in the region.

Also! I should point out that I'm aware that after 2nd Edition the temple to Bane in Mourktar was named the "Black Lord's Altar". However, this is incorrect and is basically a typo. The Black Lord's Altar is located in Mulmaster (which is considered to be the center of the Banite faith) according to Faiths and Avatars on page 39. So, in my write up above I just made the correction.
30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Icelander Posted - 13 Aug 2018 : 18:35:34
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

So, neither faith had a champion in the tournament as either explicit rules or an implicit gentleman's agreement between the faiths provided that the priests should act as impartial judges and no champion should come from their clergy or the ranks of lay worshippers in the city.

The rest is sound enough, but the second part here does not seem possible IMO.
Same old reason:
quote:
(from Good Ol' Ed)

Please, everyone: ALWAYS remember that except for fanatics, clergy, or the oppressed [...], all intelligent beings in the Realms worship -- if only in appeasement -- many deities.




'Lay worshippers' does not refer merely to people who occasionally give thanks to a deity, make sacrifices in their name or pray to that deity. It specifically refers to those who devote themselves to service of that god and work, either full-time or at least a significant part of their tenday, for the temple of that god.

The way I'm using the term, the lay worshippers of a temple of Bane are everyone who live and work at the temple without being clergy, i.e. the temple guards, the armourers, the masons, the hostlers, the servants, etc.

There may be many other worshippers of Bane (and other gods) who visit the temple for occasional services or sacrifices, but are not considered to belong to it in the same sense as the lay worshippers who are sworn to the service of the temple, despite not being priests.
TBeholder Posted - 13 Aug 2018 : 18:08:21
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

So, neither faith had a champion in the tournament as either explicit rules or an implicit gentleman's agreement between the faiths provided that the priests should act as impartial judges and no champion should come from their clergy or the ranks of lay worshippers in the city.

The rest is sound enough, but the second part here does not seem possible IMO.
Same old reason:
quote:
(from Good Ol' Ed)

Please, everyone: ALWAYS remember that except for fanatics, clergy, or the oppressed [...], all intelligent beings in the Realms worship -- if only in appeasement -- many deities.

LordofBones Posted - 13 Aug 2018 : 15:25:00
Hands seem to be a relatively common symbol for tyrant deities, so it's not really something particularly outstanding. Hextor's symbol is six arrows in a clenched fist, for example.

I think having the Dark Trinity born with divine blood diminishes them. They were effectively the best of the best, dark paladins and assassins and necromancers so mighty that one of the greatest of Faerun's dark powers took notice and believed them worthy of his many crowns. And they succeeded.
sleyvas Posted - 13 Aug 2018 : 14:33:25
Agreed, I see the "tieflings" and "aasimar" born of the Mulan manifestations as not manifesting the more angelic or diabolical signs that we're used to. They may possess some signs though that might stand out. I'm thinking things like sparkly skin, shining eyes, eye iris' of a strange color, odd colored hair, perhaps strange birthmarks that are equivalent to runes, etc... They might also possess unnatural charisma, strength, etc...

Also, yes, after having "walked this all back" like we have regarding the ToT, I like the idea that perhaps this temple did have a sudden increase ONLY after the ToT. Like you say, we don't need to detail the "why" (as in was it Xvim, was it the cloak, or even was it Gilgeam posing as Bane until Gilgeam died... all can be options... ). On the option of Bane and Gilgeam somehow being related, that would only be until Gilgeam's own death after the ToT, and at which point the colors of the temple changed to black and green.

As an aside to just throw out for perusal, I do find it interesting as well that Bane and Gilgeam's symbols are very similar (Gilgeam's being "a clenched red fixed backed by a golden sun on a black lozenge" and Bane's being "an upright black hand, palms and fingers together usually on a red field"). There is a part of me that wants to link the two somehow.... but not as in "Gilgeam IS Bane". I'm thinking something much more subtle, like Gilgeam had a child... that child is Bane... and he's vehemently denied ever having had children because of his shame. In fact, I kind of wouldn't be surprised if all the dark three had some small amount of divine blood in them from the get go, since Myrkul came from another culture with close ties to the Mulan, and I'm also of the mindset like you are that Bhaal originated in this general area. I'd also posit that there is SOME kind of tie between Nergal and Jergal, but I like George's idea that he's a spellweaver.
Icelander Posted - 13 Aug 2018 : 00:07:17
Exotic bloodlines in Old Empires
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Yes, I too find it very odd that King Theris was opening up his kingship to anyone (slave, other race of human, noble from another city, possible evil entity, even Mulhorand and Unther), and at the time it was written, other options didn't exist like aasimar, genasi, etc... that would be just as palatable as a half-elf more than likely to the general populace.

People with planar heritage existed in the Realms before 3e, they were merely (properly) regarded as extremely rare, and had difficulty being accepted in human society.

It's often difficult to reconcile the older Realmslore we have, where humans were generally as narrow-minded, xenophobic and parochial as people have tended to be through most of history, with the 3e and later sources, where it seemed that every protagonist was of some new splat-book race, for new bonuses, and aside for these mechanical bonuses, races were simply a superficial re-skin that had no real effect on how society treated them, like in MMORPGs.

In what Realmslore we have that actually stops to consider culture and human behaviour, however, it's generally pretty clear that the humans of Toril are every bit as prejudiced, irrational, unreasonable and tribal as the humans of Earth.

I don't think that a half-elf or even a human of foreign birth would have been acceptable to the people of Mourktar as their ruler. Even those who were fanatically loyal to King Theris no doubt expected that the gods would choose a champion of impeccable blood and connections to win the tournament and become the new heir.

Beings descended from elementals or infernal beings are probably not regarded as even remotely human by most people. They're probably viewed as extraplanar monsters or demons by most people.

There is one kind of non-human that I imagine could be accepted as part of society in the Old Empires, though. If we were to term the remote descendants of incarnations of God-Kings 'aasimar' or 'tieflings', depending on the nature of the deity, I imagine that some part of the nobility of both Mulhorand and Unther would fit into those groups.

Of course, as they'd descend from completely human-looking incarnations, people wouldn't think of them as 'non-human' or belonging to different races at all. They'd not have horns, tails, vestigal wings or any other trace of non-human appearance, instead being more likely to be distinguished with exceptionally heroic stature, beauty and inborn gifts. They'd have divine heritage, which they'd no doubt consider made their bloodline all the more noble.

King Theris and the Banites
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

What this tells me is that Kabbarrath was probably already a threat to King Theris. It also tells me that King Theris probably foresaw that the Banites would take over if he couldn't find someone much more powerful than himself to replace him. In fact the Banite temple may have only grown so powerful because King Theris himself was a weak ruler. So, I'm basically seeing the whole tournament as King Theris' attempt to forestall his city being taken over by the Banites.

I see absolutely no reason to assume that the Banites of the Black Lord's Cloak ever posed any kind of threat to King Theris or that he was in any way a weak king. King Theris ruled Mourktar without any kind of disturbance, so that it was noted as a 'quiet place' during his lifetime.

King Theris' rule seemed unchallenged until he died of old age, with complete control of Mourktar, even enough control so that he could force power groups there to accept a plan for the succession that they felt was literally insane. Indeed, the army of Mourktar was so fiercely loyal to him, personally, that he could afford to utterly ignore the opinion of the majority of the guildmembers who provided Mourktar's wealth. That tells me that King Theris was far from weak and that his position was not under any kind of threat from anyone.

Also, if King Theris had had the least fear of the priest of the Black Lord's Cloak seizing the throne, why would he hold an open tournament for the position of heir? If he believed that his successor needed help against a threat from inside the city, it would make much more sense to select a successor himself, adopt him and make the fiercely loyal army take oaths to serve him.

Indulging a religious prophecy to select a new heir doesn't seem like the action of someone desperate to retain power, it seems like an eccentricity that King Theris got away with because his rule was unchallenged, unquestioned and utterly secure. No doubt King Theris believed that the gods would empower a suitable heir to win the tournament, someone like him as a young man.

I think that King Theris did not want Mourktar to become a theocracy, neither of Bane nor of Assuran, his own god. He wanted a strong, warrior king, who'd be supported by the army and by the temples of Mourktar, as he himself had been for his entire life.

No doubt King Theris believed that whoever won the tournament would also have the qualities needed to defeat the sahuagin, perhaps because King Theris believed that great athletic feats were some kind of reflection of a person's strength of character. It seems like the sort of thing some people in Chessenta might believe, especially if their own legendary ancestors were also legendary athletes.

Attitude of Banites to King-Hippartes-as-Assuran
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

You are right that during the ToT, Assuran in the form of King Hippartes did probably come through, and at that time, probably all of the Banites were quiet little mice since they couldn't cast spells above 2nd level. In fact, they probably threw their support behind Assuran, seeing him as a Tyrant.

I find it interesting to speculate how Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug, the priests under him and the city of Mourktar received King-Hippartes-as-Assuran.

I lean toward them having surrendered to him and provided troops, as that seems most plausible in the light of what happened afterwards, but I don't know how willingly they supported him and whether their assistance to his war against Ramman was the minimum they could get away with or if they threw their lot in with him wholeheartedly.

After all, at the time, no god who was not physically present within a mile was responding to the prayers of their worshippers. A lot of priests and lay worshippers found their faith challenged. With Bane silent and Assuran leading a great army at their gates, it must have been a temptation to regard Assuran as the true ultimate tyrant and Bane as a failed or overthrown one.

Bane's Death and the Black Lord's Cloak
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

We know that Bane was officially dead as well when the largest church of his was placed down in Mourktar as he died during the ToT, and at the time of F&A's release he was still dead. So, that being said, the growth of said temple would have almost definitely been before the ToT. It could have been big for well over 300 years, or possibly its main growth only came in say the last 50.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

However, after things were over, which was only a few months later, the Banites suddenly found themselves rudderless, for the word was Bane was dead. I half wonder if somehow the cloak itself wasn't making it possible for them to cast their spells. Hmmmm... though if THAT were true... maybe we DO have a reason for the growth of the temple AFTER the ToT… maybe it drew Banite worshippers from surrounding areas (possibly even Thay, which was busy in the area trying to prop up Messemprar).


It's canon that the priests of Black Lord's Cloak never accepted Bane's death in the Time of Troubles and that they continued to receive spells in his name from 1358-1372 DR.

It's left up to the individual GM whether these spells came from some fragment of Bane still retaining divine power, if Cyric decided for reasons of his own to grant these particular priests spells in the name of Bane or if Iyachtu Xvim, the Godson, granted their spells in his father's name (no doubt hoping to either gradually convert the priests over to his worship or to gradually become Bane in truth, the latter of which might even have happened).

As the priests of the Black Lord's Cloak continued to call on Bane and receive spells in his name, it would not have been implausible for fervent and fanatical worshippers of Bane from all over the Realms to travel there and join the growing army of dark templars, wizards and priests. That provides ample justification for the forces of the temple having grown by leaps and bounds after 1358 DR, as a significant number of Banite priests and holy warriors must have found it difficult to accept a new god like Cyric.
Icelander Posted - 12 Aug 2018 : 17:13:08
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Does it really qualify as a heresy, though? I imagine Tiamat's priests are only too happy to attempt to subvert the Cult of the Dragon from Falazure's Null aspect by worshiping her as a power of draconic undeath. Heresies would be closer to Lathander being Amaunator; something that's inherently irreconcilable with what the orthodox church teaches and what is already accepted of the power in question, while Tiamat being the Undying Queen doesn't really diminish her aspect as the Dark Queen of Dragons. Likewise, Tiamat being the Grandmother of All, Bride of Apsu and Queen of Salt Water isn't really anathema to her priesthood's acceptance of her being the Mistress of Evil Dragonkind.


I tend to view Lawful Evil priesthoods as pretty intolerant of any teachings that run contrary to their own, regardless of whether or not it would be theoretically possible for them to take a more enlightened attitude toward religious differences.

To take an example from my campaign, old engravings, hieroglyphs and petroglyphs from around the First Empire of Unther reveal that Nanna-Sin was worshipped under such names as Su'en, Suen, Nanna, Nannaru, Enzu, Asimbabbar, Ellame and many others, and variously held to be the brother or father of Samas/Shamash/Utu and Inanna/Ishtar, as well as the father of Girru/Nusku/Ghibil and Ramman/Haddu/Haddad, not to mention sometime father to Assuran and Marduk, and variously married to Selan, Selah, Elah, Lucha, Ki, Ningal or any number of local nature, moon or other goddesses.

The sources do not suggest that priests of the Lord of the Crescent Moon from different areas of Unther spent much time worrying about the blasphemies and heresies of their wayward fellow priests and their followers. But, then again, the priesthood of the One Who Brings Light to the Dark Places has rarely been overly concerned with prescribing the correct doctrine and behaviour for those who offer to the deity.

By contrast, priesthoods of deities more concerned with order, authority and tradition tend to be a lot more severe about the 'right' form of worship, the correct mythology and the proper tracing of divine relationships. Regional variations of worship still exist, but are far more likely to lead to schisms, inquisitions and armed religious strife than in faiths with more relaxed dogmas.

This is why individual priests and priestesses of Selune or other Chaotic gods can all have their own view on the nature of their deity and the proper way to worship, but within Lawful churches, like Bane's or Tiamat's, differences in dogma lead to schismatic conflicts between the Orthodox church and various different versions, regarded by the majority of the priesthood as heresies.

Both the Church of Bane and the Tiamat cult, in my campaign, are riven with religious strife and sectarian violence, with both personal rivalries and religious fanaticism contributing to the schismatic nature of the faiths. Granted, because both faiths are strongly authoritarian, these struggles are often carried out with political maneuvering, religious inquisitions and secret slayings, not open violence, and priests are often driven by circumstance to make common cause with factions of their faith whom they truly consider heretics (especially when outside threats are pressing).
LordofBones Posted - 12 Aug 2018 : 16:24:50
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Wait, the Undying Queen is a heresy? I thought it was an attempt to annoy Falazure, given that Tiamat's Undying Queen form appears in P&P.


It's obviously a heresy to cultists of Tiamat who worship her as the Dark Lady and the Queen of Chromatic Dragons.

Deities are generally a lot more relaxed about variations in worship and mythology than mortal priests are.



Does it really qualify as a heresy, though? I imagine Tiamat's priests are only too happy to attempt to subvert the Cult of the Dragon from Falazure's Null aspect by worshiping her as a power of draconic undeath. Heresies would be closer to Lathander being Amaunator; something that's inherently irreconcilable with what the orthodox church teaches and what is already accepted of the power in question, while Tiamat being the Undying Queen doesn't really diminish her aspect as the Dark Queen of Dragons. Likewise, Tiamat being the Grandmother of All, Bride of Apsu and Queen of Salt Water isn't really anathema to her priesthood's acceptance of her being the Mistress of Evil Dragonkind.
Icelander Posted - 12 Aug 2018 : 14:37:38
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

Wait, the Undying Queen is a heresy? I thought it was an attempt to annoy Falazure, given that Tiamat's Undying Queen form appears in P&P.


It's obviously a heresy to cultists of Tiamat who worship her as the Dark Lady and the Queen of Chromatic Dragons.

Deities are generally a lot more relaxed about variations in worship and mythology than mortal priests are.
sleyvas Posted - 11 Aug 2018 : 15:08:47
Just responding to some of the above without quotes

Yes, I too find it very odd that King Theris was opening up his kingship to anyone (slave, other race of human, noble from another city, possible evil entity, even Mulhorand and Unther), and at the time it was written, other options didn't exist like aasimar, genasi, etc... that would be just as palatable as a half-elf more than likely to the general populace. We know that Bane was officially dead as well when the largest church of his was placed down in Mourktar as he died during the ToT, and at the time of F&A's release he was still dead. So, that being said, the growth of said temple would have almost definitely been before the ToT. It could have been big for well over 300 years, or possibly its main growth only came in say the last 50. What this tells me is that Kabbarrath was probably already a threat to King Theris. It also tells me that King Theris probably foresaw that the Banites would take over if he couldn't find someone much more powerful than himself to replace him. In fact the Banite temple may have only grown so powerful because King Theris himself was a weak ruler. So, I'm basically seeing the whole tournament as King Theris' attempt to forestall his city being taken over by the Banites.


You are right that during the ToT, Assuran in the form of King Hippartes did probably come through, and at that time, probably all of the Banites were quiet little mice since they couldn't cast spells above 2nd level. In fact, they probably threw their support behind Assuran, seeing him as a Tyrant. However, after things were over, which was only a few months later, the Banites suddenly found themselves rudderless, for the word was Bane was dead. I half wonder if somehow the cloak itself wasn't making it possible for them to cast their spells. Hmmmm... though if THAT were true... maybe we DO have a reason for the growth of the temple AFTER the ToT… maybe it drew Banite worshippers from surrounding areas (possibly even Thay, which was busy in the area trying to prop up Messemprar).


LordofBones Posted - 11 Aug 2018 : 14:33:40
Wait, the Undying Queen is a heresy? I thought it was an attempt to annoy Falazure, given that Tiamat's Undying Queen form appears in P&P.
sleyvas Posted - 11 Aug 2018 : 14:26:34
modern, enlightened, allegedly just society...


I know its odd, but you don't know how much that made me smile. I don't want to get down in the weeds on it, so as not to offend folks, but sometimes I just shake my head when I hear some of the people spouting off what needs to be done. The personal guilt that the majority of this country feels over certain groups who have become overprivileged themselves much more than those they complain against... and most of them don't even seem to realize it because they're too busy complaining while slacking off and expecting others to pave their way. Anyway, please forgive the aside. I know this place can get antagonistic at times, and its good to feel that "we're the same but different" feeling.
Icelander Posted - 11 Aug 2018 : 02:34:07
Mourktar and the Old Empires value of the purity of blood

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

A) fit the reason why the Banites didn't enter the contest in the odd loophole Demzer brought up.

I don't really see the tournament being open only to humans and half-elves only being an 'odd loophole'. I see it as being a fairly typical example of the emphasis of bloodline purity in the Old Empires.

If anything is odd about it, it's the unusual liberalism indicated by the acceptance of half-elves as potential rulers, something which would be controversial in such 'goodly' realms as Waterdeep, Cormyr or Sembia. Of course, the lack of any stipulation for noble blood, pure Untheri heritage and freedom from the taint any non-human blood may have been contributing factors to most of the established interests in Mourktar considering King Theris' plan insanity of the first order.

I guess King Theris really liked elves, for some reason, or at least considered part-elven heritage less shameful than other mixed bloodlines. And he was open to a ruler of foreign blood, the descendant of slaves or any number of other unthinkable options, which the guilds in Mourktar did not agree with, but given King Theris' support with the army, decided to accept for the time being and simply replace any unsuitable leader later, after King Theris' death.

In general, Realmsian societies are not egalitarian in the least and characters who do not care about bloodlines, ancestors and social class are regarded as fringe lunatics, not reasonable voices of progress. Adventurers may defy societal norms, but it's important to recognise that adventurers are usually regarded as a morally suspect, dangerous class of rogues, murderers and lawbreakers who reject the values of civilised society.

The norm in Faerun (and most other places on Toril) is that people are born into a social class and that no matter what deeds someone performs, wealth they amass or power they gather, those who are born noble are still better in an important way.

Social classes and even values are not static across Faerun, of course, and the new merchant nobility of many city-states is very different from older, land-owning nobility, but the philosophical concepts of equality, egalitarianism or any kind of equal innate value of all sapient beings... just don't have much of a following.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

We already have several entirely human Banite leaders (Fzoul Chembryl, Teldorn Darkhope, the church in Mulmaster, etc...), so having a few that are a little different mold might be worth looking at.

Even if we were to assume perfect equality and no hint of prejudice among Banites, just going by normal demographics means that we ought to have at least nineteen entirely human leaders of the church before entertaining the idea of anyone of an exotic race.

Lack of Assuran and Banite competitors in the tournament
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I don't buy the idea that their champion wouldn't work, because Kabbarrath probably has access to other possible claimants he could have tried to use. I do buy that HE couldn't work, and no one wanted to dare cross him from within the church.

King Theris was a sincere worshipper of Assuran. The year after the tournament, King Hippartes, acting as the possessed avatar of Assuran/Hoar, marched with a Chessentan army against Ramman, passing Mourktar on the way. As he obviously didn't sack the city prior to his victory over Ramman, it seems pretty plausible that Mourktar provided troops for his army and thus implicitly recognised his authority.

It is clear that King Theris had the theoretical power to select an heir who was a loyal servant of Assuran. It is equally clear that King-Hippartes-as-Assuran would have been able to rely on at least some support from those Mourktari who were worshippers of Assuran if he chose to demand that he be crowned King of Mourktar after the failed tournament.

Yet King Theris did not select an heir who was a loyal servant of Assuran and, however it happened, King-Hippartes-as-Assuran did not ascend to the throne of Mourktar. Neither did he leave anyone behind to rule in his name.

To me, this and the lack of evidence for a civil war in Mourktar after the tournament suggests that the Church of Assuran in Mourktar accepted that the ruler should not be one of their number. The priests of the Amphitheatre of the First Thunder were content to support King Theris in his choice, in governing the city and in administering the tournament.

There is no mention of the Black Lord's Cloak or Kabarrath Telthaug in Old Empires, probably because when Old Empires was written, Scott Bennie had no idea that Mourktar was supposed to be dominated by the largest temple of Bane in the Realms, but the most reasonable way to fit the Banites into the backstory seems to me to assume that the priests of the Black Lord's Cloak acted more or less in concert with those of Assuran and were content to form the second pillar of support for the King, while he lived.

So, neither faith had a champion in the tournament as either explicit rules or an implicit gentleman's agreement between the faiths provided that the priests should act as impartial judges and no champion should come from their clergy or the ranks of lay worshippers in the city. That seems to me a good way to prevent maneuvering for power from developing into civil war between the two strongest religious power bases in Mourktar after King Theris' death.

Kabarrath Telthaug and wanting power for himself
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

He doesn't seem to be the type of Banite Tyrant who is into propping up another Tyrant... he seems to be the type to want the power himself.

What evidence is there that Kabarrath Telthaug pursues personal power instead of following the older Banite dogma of supporting tyrants?

The older we make him, the longer the period where Kabarrath Telthaug did not rule Mourktar, did not conquer any other part of the Realms and did not seek (or at least did not succeed in attaining) the office of High Imperceptor, even while the High Imperceptor of the 1340s and 1350s was a weak, indecisive man.

Remember also that King Theris and his tiny professional army of 500 men, supported by at most 2,000 militia at need (an unknown number of whom would have been Bane worshippers), was probably not able to retain power in Mourktar during his reign without the active support of Kabarrath Telthaug and the priests of the Black Lord's Cloak.

Certainly the temple could have had a decent chance of seizing power in Mourktar even before his death, assuming that before the Time of Troubles it had even a quarter of the numbers and powers it had in 1369 DR. Yet Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug did not try to seize power and does not seem to have come to rule Mourktar until after King Theris' attempt to select an heir had already failed.

Kabarrath Telthaug seems to have loyally supported King Theris and made no attempt to seize power in Mourktar while Theris lived. After the tournament, it is true that the master of the Black Lord's Cloak eventually came to rule in Mourktar, but that might just have been because of the utter absence of any other competent candidate for tyrant for him to support.

Notice that as soon as the Great Bone Wyrm makes a claim for rulership over the area, Kabarrath Telthaug accepts his suzerainty without any apparent rancour. This was, of course, sensible of him, but it was more in line with Bane's old teachings of supporting the most gifted tyrants his priests could find than the more new-fangled ways of his priests trying to rule personally.

My interpretation of Kabarrath Telthaug is that he is a rational, practical man who believes sincerely and selflessly that the best form of government is the tyranny of the strong over the weak and who has devoted his life to educating, supporting and serving those he considers best suited to rule over others.

Threskel is a harsh land of many dragons and few people, with the herdsmen and fishermen who live there constantly under threat from bandits, beasts and dragons. It's not hard to understand how someone who grew up there would embrace the idea of a strong leader who could protect the people, at the cost of suppressing all individual freedoms as potential sources of division.

No matter how old Kabarrath Telthaug is, his education and experience will be heavily coloured by either stories or personal experience of the tyranny of Gilgeam and Tchazzar. It is plausible that Kabarrath was struck by how much more successful and happy both Chessenta and Unther were under harsh, but active governance, than they are under centuries of neglect, squabbling local governors or rulers and generally ruinous lack of government.

Is it so hard to believe that the Hidden Tyrant of Mourktar has nothing but the best motives for supporting King Theris and the Great Bone Wyrm?

He's just trying to serve his people and his faith.

Cult of the Dragon and the Old Empires
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Based on the statements about Alasklerbanbastos getting changed by a group of Cult of the Dragon cultists located in Mourktar, I get the feel that the Banites were down here as Cult of the Dragon members.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

One thing I do see him mad about though is that Alasklerbanbastos has allied himself with his traditional enemy, the Church of Tiamat.


In Mourktar, the Cult of the Dragon has long existed as a secret society within the Black Lord's Cloak. Not everyone who worshipped Bane also belonged to the Cult of the Dragon and not everyone in the area who supported the Cult of the Dragon served Bane, but there was a significant overlap of membership. It's not implausible that this state of affairs might have existed in other Banite churches in the region as well.

In Unther, the Cult of the Dragon and the Tiamat cult have been enemies and allies at different times. While there have been bloody conflicts between the two, there also exists a heresy within the Tiamatan faith of the Undying Queen, a dracolich version of Tiamat, and servants of the Undying Queen form a Cult of the Dragon secret society within the secret society of the Tiamat cultists in Unther.

Basically, there is copious religious strife among the Cult of the Dragon and the faiths of both Bane and Tiamat in the region of the Old Empires. Multi-layered conspiracies and secret societies within secret societies are the rules, rather than the exception.

A priest of Bane might well ally with a priest of Tiamat against another priest of Bane, assuming that they belonged to different factions of the Cult of the Dragon. And as for those servants of Bane who do not belong to the Cult of the Dragon, they might at different times regard the Cult as a useful tool, as a harmless social club within the temple or as a heresy to be rooted out with torture and executions.

In general, Banite priests probably regard the cultists of the Nemesis of the Gods in Unther as misguided and servants of a deity that must either bow down to Bane or die screaming. Yet political realities mean that they will gravitate toward allegiances with these cultists as long as there are more urgent foes to worry about, such as Gilgeam in the past and the Mulhorandi in the present.
Icelander Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 23:59:36
The appeal of Bane's teachings to the nobility

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I couldn't find any explicit mention of Fzoul's noble lineage, he was always cited as a member of the church of Bane and his accession to Lordship was through his raising in the ranks of the church and through his allegiance to Manshoon.


It's always been established that Fzoul Chembryl was born noble, although, obviously, he has never been content with merely the comparatively minor wealth and position that were his birthright.
quote:
Originally posted by Villain's Lorebook p. 26

Fzoul is the only child of a minor noble
house of Zhentil Keep. He entered the priesthood of
Bane at an early age, using his skill as an administrator
to ascend the ranks of the church's hierarchy.

In general, the God of Tyranny appeals a lot more to people born into positions of authority and power than it does to people born into subordinate positions. It is also, as I mentioned several times, generally easier to amass power if you start by picking your parents carefully, so you start out with wealth, position and connections.

As far as I can tell, whenever we have information about the family background of priests of Bane, they are either born into the upper classes of the gentry or the true nobility, or they are raised within the church, in itself a background of wealth and privilege compared to the life of most people in a pre-industrial society.

It is, of course, entirely possible for an unusual person to grow up as a member of the disenfranchised majority, the poor and powerless masses, and yet not only come to embrace the doctrine of the Ultimate Tyrant, but actually manage to rise high in Bane's service. It's just that such a background seems to me more likely to be the exception than the rule.

Given that there is a significant benefit to inheriting wealth, connections and position even in our modern, enlightened, allegedly just society, I'd hesitate to posit a fictional church devoted to the ideals of tyranny, based in societies with deep-seated class prejudice, where nepotism has still somehow been completely eradicated and the scions of privilege have no benefits over anyone else.

I don't like Utopias in gaming or fiction, given that injustice and conflict is generally what drives the motivations and adventures of interesting characters, and I see even less need for Utopian ideals to hold sway in societies and sub-cultures that are explicitly identified as being 'evil' in the setting.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely like to feature morally ambiguous characters and belief systems, ostensibly 'Good' characters or societies with ideas that offend most modern people as well as ostensibly 'Evil' ones with logically consistent philosophical justifications and more honourable behaviour than many 'Good' ones. I just don't think the Church of Bane is the right fit for a doctrine of universal egalitarianism, equality of all races and bloodlines, and the rejection of the pervasive classism that defines most societies in the Realms.

The Church of Cyric, now...
sleyvas Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 13:38:30
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Yeah, sorry for the confusion with the multiple quoting, I'll go with sort of bullet points and maybe it's more readable.

Telthaug's ancestry:
Honestly it's just the draconic heritage that doesn't work for me, I don't see any need to relate him to the nobility of the region so the human part may freely fall by the wayside. Yet he rose to a position of great power in the church of a human god so I would not go with any race that has it's own established pantheon. Half-human could work perfectly but I don't see him being half-orc due to their short-lifespan (back to this in a moment), he could be a tiefling (or aasimar) or half-fiendish (more from the more human-like fiends, like incubi, succubi or erynies), he could be a descendant of the line of any Untheric old god (I would avid Gilgeam for his paranoia regarding potential rivals but I can see an offshoot of a family of descendants of Druaga or Nergal establishing themselves in secret in barren Threskel and a scion of the family rosing to fame using his augmented powers). Also divine and extraplanar lineage don't exclude each other, we know the gods can be naughty too.
Regarding his lifespan I would say that I see no reason why he couldn't have extended it, maybe even using the powers of the Black Cloak (if it has some vampiric like power of sucking life of victims and transfering it to an appointed possessor). I have this nagging feeling that the Black Cloak as some relation with the nearby Citadel of the Fiendish Slayer in the Underdark, a place on which I could find almost no information. But it's just a feeling.

The Banespear and Tchazzar:
I was unaware of the Banespear, I need to think on it a bit further to offer anything. I admit that later events and his trashing of Unther make me storngly lean on Tiamat sponsoring his godhood (probably even foreseeing him as a possible backup plan that she actually used in the Time of Troubles). Regarding the involvement of the Cult of the Dragon in the region I admit that I never put too much thought on it but I can readily see how the Banite presence in Threskel may have started as merely a Cult of the Dragon cell (going after the hints of draconic presence due to the history of Tiamat/Bahamuth in the region) around the 1000s and evolved from that to the temple we know. With Telthaug being a scion of fiendish/divine bloodline finding in the church of Bane the chance to rise in society that was not given him by the heavily Assurite-dominated upper classes of Mourktar.



Kind of funny... we both hit on the idea that the blood sucking cloak may be keeping him young.

Yeah, not stuck on half-dragon... though it could make sense if the banites down at the time were cult of the dragon members. I can see half-dragons being part of the cult, and if the cult at that time were primarily Banites, the a half-dragon Banite priest makes sense.... However, I'm just as happy with the idea of some kind of fiend blood. In fact, I really do like the idea of an alu-fiend and one of the local manifestations OR even one of the god-kings. If Assuran were a manifestation, it might or might not be really interesting if his child birthed on either a human or a devil/succubus/alu-fiend turned to Bane. He might consider it an odd form of justice that his neglectful father not reap the benefits of his worship, and he might specifically be targeting de-powering his "father" by lessening the church of Assuran.

On Tiamat raising Tchazzar, I only just recently realized... that may not have been possible in 1018 DR. She only recently returned to Faerun in the 1346 or thereabouts according to some sources. However, I also see a GHotR entry that has her cultists in Surkh in 971 DR. So I actually think it IS still possible, but just throwing it out for research reasons (it seems that Tiamat held a swathe going from Unther to the Vilhon).

962 DR Year of the Shandon Veil
The Cult of the Dragon [950, 971] reaches farther south than ever before with the creation of a cell in, around, and beneath the city of Hlondeth in the Vilhon Reach.

971 DR Year of the Children
The Cult of the Dragon’s [962, 972] further expansion in the south is halted by the church of Tiamat when an underground Cult cell “trespasses” on a similar group worshiping the Dragon Queen in the city of Surkh.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 13:16:31
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug's heritage

I don't think it's possible to state that dragonic, deific or demonic heritage wouldn't stand out more than human heritage in Mourktar. That seems like a very strange view. Tieflings are more common in Unther than in some other places in the Realms, but that just means that they are vanishingly rare there and all but unknown elsewhere.

Also, there is absolutely no evidence that individuals of less than human heritage are accepted as respectable people within human society, whether in Mourktar or elsewhere in the Old Empires. Exotic monsters may be featured as gladiators and their spawn may survive hooded or otherwise disguised among rogues, thieves and murderers in the worst slums and they might forge a following among bandits in the wilderness, but that doesn't mean that they are acknowledged among the established noble families.

Waterdeep, Sembia or Cormyr are generally not considered places unduly obsessed with pure-blood heritage, but even there, a drop of half-elven blood is a dark secret in a noble family. The Old Empires make a fetish of pure-blood Mulan heritage; their cultures are a lot more exclusionary than is typical in the Realms. Why would anyone think that being a tiefling, half-dragon or otherwise of mixed bloodline would be socially acceptable anywhere in the Old Empires?

I think that in the absence of evidence of anything else, we should assume that Kabarrath Telthaug is a member of the majority race in his society, i.e. Mulan of Untheri heritage.

Acknowledging the Great Bone Wyrm as suzerain of Old Unther

I think that the Dread Imperceptor's modus vivendi with the Great Bone Wyrm is not evidence of dragonic heritage, any more than King Hercubes Jedea of Mordulkin has dragonic heritage. It was a simple calculation of political interest.

The fact is that no one in Threskel or anywhere else can stand against Alasklerbanbastos if he were determined to destroy them. It is also a fact, however, that even as a dracolich, Alasklerbanbastos will spend most of his existence slumbering and that even while he is awake, he cannot rule directly over all the lands of Old Unther or even any significant part of it.

Thus, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Dragon-King of Old Unther probably costs the Regent of Mourktar very little in terms of actual authority, while it gains him the allegiance of a number of dragons, which allows him to project power much more effectively than he could with an infantry army.



This I can agree with. Yes, there is nothing to suggest that he is of another race. There are things in either direction that could be worked to make them feasible for any of these ethnicities.


On the part about the race being unacceptable for the region, one thing to bear in mind is that not all tieflings or half dragons are immediately apparent, and magic can be used to conceal things from people on a mass scale. After all, how long did the majority of the people of Thay believe that Szass Tam was still alive?


For me, its about what can we do with the story of it. I had two main reasons to consider other races. They were to

A) fit the reason why the Banites didn't enter the contest in the odd loophole Demzer brought up. I don't buy the idea that their champion wouldn't work, because Kabbarrath probably has access to other possible claimants he could have tried to use. I do buy that HE couldn't work, and no one wanted to dare cross him from within the church. He doesn't seem to be the type of Banite Tyrant who is into propping up another Tyrant... he seems to be the type to want the power himself.

and
B) I figured if he'd been the one to start the temple and grow it over say 350 years, that might be why its been wildly successfully gathering claimants (i.e. their grandfathers know him and perhaps he has periodically helped protect Mourktar from Gilgeam's forces advances). Based on the statements about Alasklerbanbastos getting changed by a group of Cult of the Dragon cultists located in Mourktar, I get the feel that the Banites were down here as Cult of the Dragon members. This makes me think as well that the church in Mourktar may have had dracolich allies (lesser ones mind you) that it kept relatively nearby... and oddly enough, perhaps dracoliches have in the past defended Mourktar from Untheric forces. I could also see dracoliches and pirates allied with dragon cultists being a problem for shipping in the area, targeting specifically traffic enriching area outside Threskel.


I'll also note, he doesn't have to be another race to have founded the temple. He COULD be some kind of undead instead OR perhaps he's somehow tied to the Dark Lord's Cloak such that when it drains the life from someone by drinking their blood, it can create something akin to a potion or effect that stops aging. Anyway, its all just options to consider. If he's truly the leader of the largest temple of Bane in the world, I would kind of expect the guy to be somehow different... whether its that he's changed himself to gain power, or he inherently held it and was thus able to survive and advance. We already have several entirely human Banite leaders (Fzoul Chembryl, Teldorn Darkhope, the church in Mulmaster, etc...), so having a few that are a little different mold might be worth looking at.

One thing I do see him mad about though is that Alasklerbanbastos has allied himself with his traditional enemy, the Church of Tiamat.
Demzer Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 09:33:21
Yeah, sorry for the confusion with the multiple quoting, I'll go with sort of bullet points and maybe it's more readable.

Surnames:
I see the rule that you reported, Icelander, as more of an aid for DMs than anything else (as in "you don't have to create a surname for everyone"), but seeing as in the published Realms we have an awful lot of people with surnames that have no ties whatsoever with nobility or want to have any (druids claiming gentility?), then the assumption that having a surname makes you a noble is incorrect or at least is not a reliable way of determining the fortunes of someone (as in, it's a necessary but not sufficient condition).
For priests and other religious people I can even see some renouncing their surnames and substituting that for "of Bane/Ilmater/Cthulhu" as a sign of fervent adoration and submission to their role in the church as opposed to their secular lives.
In the specific cases of Fzoul and the High Imperceptor we have no report (at least that I know of) of anyone else sharing their surname and no statement that they were nobles. Seeing how the "True History" section of Ruins of Zhentil Keep was written I believe that if Fzoul was of noble blood and of an ancient and respected Zhentish family it would have been stated much as it is for Manshoon and other Lords seen in a good light by Zhentish-propaganda that composed that timeline.

Regarding the yeomen comment, that's how it worked in feudal Europe, not in Cormyr where any farmer, craftmen or merchant is a commoner (thus not entitled a surname by the rule, and yet ...). This is why I always caution against too deep analogies between the Realms and the real world, it's too easy to be carried away into incorrect assumptions.

High Imperceptor's office:
Fair enough, it's clear that "recognizes" doesn't imply a direct choice but more the approval of one. Although given the record of the first seven High Imperceptors I would be hesitant to say that choosing a puppet was the common way of resolving the issue among the Banites, maybe Szchulan was an exception, but that's just my feeling colored by my personal taste.

Telthaug's ancestry:
Honestly it's just the draconic heritage that doesn't work for me, I don't see any need to relate him to the nobility of the region so the human part may freely fall by the wayside. Yet he rose to a position of great power in the church of a human god so I would not go with any race that has it's own established pantheon. Half-human could work perfectly but I don't see him being half-orc due to their short-lifespan (back to this in a moment), he could be a tiefling (or aasimar) or half-fiendish (more from the more human-like fiends, like incubi, succubi or erynies), he could be a descendant of the line of any Untheric old god (I would avid Gilgeam for his paranoia regarding potential rivals but I can see an offshoot of a family of descendants of Druaga or Nergal establishing themselves in secret in barren Threskel and a scion of the family rosing to fame using his augmented powers). Also divine and extraplanar lineage don't exclude each other, we know the gods can be naughty too.
Regarding his lifespan I would say that I see no reason why he couldn't have extended it, maybe even using the powers of the Black Cloak (if it has some vampiric like power of sucking life of victims and transfering it to an appointed possessor). I have this nagging feeling that the Black Cloak as some relation with the nearby Citadel of the Fiendish Slayer in the Underdark, a place on which I could find almost no information. But it's just a feeling.

The Banespear and Tchazzar:
I was unaware of the Banespear, I need to think on it a bit further to offer anything. I admit that later events and his trashing of Unther make me storngly lean on Tiamat sponsoring his godhood (probably even foreseeing him as a possible backup plan that she actually used in the Time of Troubles). Regarding the involvement of the Cult of the Dragon in the region I admit that I never put too much thought on it but I can readily see how the Banite presence in Threskel may have started as merely a Cult of the Dragon cell (going after the hints of draconic presence due to the history of Tiamat/Bahamuth in the region) around the 1000s and evolved from that to the temple we know. With Telthaug being a scion of fiendish/divine bloodline finding in the church of Bane the chance to rise in society that was not given him by the heavily Assurite-dominated upper classes of Mourktar.

Telthaug disinterest in Mulmaster:
Exactly what I was saying. The fact that Telthaug did his own thing in Mourktar had no bearing on the general situation of he Banites church because he is far removed and in the middle of contested territory (pantheon-wise). So at worst the High Imperceptor could ignore him and at best he could claim his indipendence was bestowed to give him a free hand in expanding the church of Bane in new territories (the Old Empires).

Recent growth of the Banites of Mourktar:
I too see the Banites as having grown only recently (1340s-1350s), probably with breakthroughs during the waning years of King Theris rule. If Telthaug started to build his military power when the King was growing weak I can see him gaining a lot of traction with the populace with the Banites troops winning battles and skirmishes with Chessentan cities and Unther (while the regular army of Mourktar, having to defend the city could not muster enough manpower to invade the surrounding territories, the Banites could be totally devoted to be an offensive force). This would have quickly boosted the power and influence of the Banites and led to their eventual takeover.
Gary Dallison Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 07:01:21
There are always exceptions to any rule. Educated commoners might wish to imitate the gentry and chose a family name that then gets passed to their descendants.

Nobles do not remain noble across all generations, some members become penniless and their descendents may be commoners but with a family name. Across thousands of years of human history it is likely that more than a few commoners now have family names but I will generally use the rule that Icelander found.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 00:28:46
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.



And yet at the same time, how many references can we find that refute exactly that claim, where there's someone who DOES have a last name and yet they were a farmer or something.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 00:24:32
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.



And yet at the same time, how many references can we find that refute exactly that claim, where there's someone who DOES have a last name and yet they were a farmer or something.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Aug 2018 : 00:23:05
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.



Oh, I'll point out, I'm not pushing for either way. I'm just pushing against the "it can't be that way" statements. There's a world of possibilities.
Icelander Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 23:47:46
Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug's heritage

I don't think it's possible to state that dragonic, deific or demonic heritage wouldn't stand out more than human heritage in Mourktar. That seems like a very strange view. Tieflings are more common in Unther than in some other places in the Realms, but that just means that they are vanishingly rare there and all but unknown elsewhere.

Also, there is absolutely no evidence that individuals of less than human heritage are accepted as respectable people within human society, whether in Mourktar or elsewhere in the Old Empires. Exotic monsters may be featured as gladiators and their spawn may survive hooded or otherwise disguised among rogues, thieves and murderers in the worst slums and they might forge a following among bandits in the wilderness, but that doesn't mean that they are acknowledged among the established noble families.

Waterdeep, Sembia or Cormyr are generally not considered places unduly obsessed with pure-blood heritage, but even there, a drop of half-elven blood is a dark secret in a noble family. The Old Empires make a fetish of pure-blood Mulan heritage; their cultures are a lot more exclusionary than is typical in the Realms. Why would anyone think that being a tiefling, half-dragon or otherwise of mixed bloodline would be socially acceptable anywhere in the Old Empires?

I think that in the absence of evidence of anything else, we should assume that Kabarrath Telthaug is a member of the majority race in his society, i.e. Mulan of Untheri heritage.

Acknowledging the Great Bone Wyrm as suzerain of Old Unther

I think that the Dread Imperceptor's modus vivendi with the Great Bone Wyrm is not evidence of dragonic heritage, any more than King Hercubes Jedea of Mordulkin has dragonic heritage. It was a simple calculation of political interest.

The fact is that no one in Threskel or anywhere else can stand against Alasklerbanbastos if he were determined to destroy them. It is also a fact, however, that even as a dracolich, Alasklerbanbastos will spend most of his existence slumbering and that even while he is awake, he cannot rule directly over all the lands of Old Unther or even any significant part of it.

Thus, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Dragon-King of Old Unther probably costs the Regent of Mourktar very little in terms of actual authority, while it gains him the allegiance of a number of dragons, which allows him to project power much more effectively than he could with an infantry army.
sleyvas Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 22:54:56
I hate the replying back to individual snippets which are replies back to other individual snippets because it turns the forum into unreadable stuff.

In essence, what you've said is you wouldn't want him to be a half-dragon or a half-fiend simply because you don't like it and it makes more sense to you. I submit that Kabbarrath Telthaug was a willing subject of Alasklerbanbastos, which can admittedly be for many reasons, but if he were a half-dragon of Alasklerbanbastos' brood it would make some sense. Him being a tiefling would also fit since they're considered somewhat common to the region. In fact, if he were say a child of Gilgeam's who refuses to worship Dad and has embraced an outside tyrant who may help him rise up and replace dad... (and Gilgeam may not acknowledge that he has this child because he's furious with him). Having him be human doesn't make him stand out or blend in any less than if he were one of these other options. It does however explain that rather strange ruling that Demzer pointed out of only allowing humans and half-elves by the current ruler who was possibly trying to prevent the Banites taking over by finding some hero to take his place after his death. King Theris may have fully expected the Banites to seize control, and this method was the one way he could think of to maybe prevent that happening (especially if its seen as being "divinely guided" by the people).

On the Banespear, absolutely.. Tchazzar may have split the item... he may have kept it whole too... what I will stress is that Tchazzar disappeared DURING a dracorage. I actually see Tchazzar as being afraid when he "ascended to godhood". Also, interestingly enough, during the same dracorage, the Cult of the Dragon's main Banite worshippers were descending down on nearby Peleveran and setting the Shaar ablaze. Tchazzar may have been desperate due to the dracorage, and I think it would be interesting to research who we BELIEVE raised him to godhood (Tiamat? Bane? Assuran? Someone else?). Maybe he used the banespear to slay a lesser manifestation of some sort and ascended in that way to demigod status. Heck, for all we know, maybe he had to "draw" the energy to obtain his divinity out of the banespear using a ritual and that involved breaking the weapon. Maldraedior may not even truly know the CURRENT potential of the item since he's only "heard" about the spear.

As a side note, it was also at this same time that Alasklerbanbastos was afraid of the dracorage as well and allowed himself to get turned into a dracolich by the Cult of the Dragon (though we don't know which faction Tuelhalva Drakewings and his power seekers OR Algashon and his Banites). However, it was a Cult of the Dragon Cell located in Mourktar that converted him, so IF Kabbarrath were a half-dragon or half-fiend in Mourktar at that time, he may have been involved with the Cult of the Dragon as a Banite priest. He may have even been involved with the ritual that converted Alasklerbanbastos (with maybe Algashon converting Alasklerbanbastos as the leader of the ritual).

On the idea of him becoming a dracolich or banelich or even a vampire of some sort, that's not absolutely necessary. I just threw that in there as an option. If he were simply a half-dragon, he may be the founder of the temple. Still, it also wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility that he IS undead as well. He could even be hiding it. The Mulan people for instance are naturally pale, so if he had some magical way to walk in sunlight... I could easily see him being a vampire given how the cloak drinks blood. The main thing though just revolves around "he may have been the first and only leader of the temple".

As to why Kabbarrath Telthaug hasn't sought to extend his power to the Banites in Mulmaster. Honestly that's WAY outside his wheelhouse. As a rough comparison to our world, this is like the distance between New Orleans and the middle of Montana at the top of the country. I can honestly tell you, I live near New Orleans, and I could care less what's happening in Montana for the most part. I'd be more concerned with what's happening in Mississippi. He's got enough on his plate helping keep Threskel free from Unther. I have no problem seeing him keeping himself separate from the backstabbing politics of Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep, especially if in turn they keep their noses out of his neck of the woods.

On the part about the church only growing big relatively recently, I'd imagine that after Threskel freed itself from Unther, they likely wouldn't have embraced Bane's faith. Maybe sometime in the last half century or so Kabbarrath and/or the church of Bane did something to really EARN the favour of the people of Mourktar. Maybe he sponsored pirates that sniped on Untheric shipping. Maybe he fended off some major threat and showed King Theris to be a weak leader.

Icelander Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 22:48:01
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.


Aye.

As for a champion, I'm inclined to think that the battle leader closest to Kabarrath Telthaug as he rose to lead the Black Lord's Cloak is either dead, retired or at least grown old enough to serve only in the capacity of supreme general, not field commander.

His current strong right hand is likely to be the most favoured of his battle captains in the tumultuous times between 1357-1369 DR, i.e. between the write-up of Mourktar in Old Empires and the write-up of the Black Lord's Cloak from Faiths and Avatars.

Someone in his mid-forties, I should imagine.
Icelander Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 22:30:57
I don't see any conflict between canon in Faiths and Avatars and other sources. Nowhere does it state that Bane names the High Imperceptor, merely that Bane recognises him.

Combined with the text in the Ruins of Zhentil Keep and Faiths and Pantheons, that implies to me that Bane recognises as his supreme servant the one who can convince the rest of the church that he is the rightful High Imperceptor. Hence, the oligarchs of the church pick a High Imperceptor and Bane recognises that individual.

Note that the Code of the Harpers p. 33-34 explicitly mentions senior priests locked in fierce rivalries choosing a weak man as High Imperceptor, in order to serve as a figurehead (from context, this is Szchulan Darkoon). To me, that suggests that Bane was usually perfectly content to allow his priests to run his church and simply recognise whomever they picked as High Imperceptor, and did not make a practice of interfering in order to ensure that the strongest, most powerful or most deserving was chosen.
Icelander Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 22:20:03
quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.
Demzer Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 21:46:13
I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.
sleyvas Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 21:42:32
There is no ruling that people that have last names in the realms are of the upper classes.
Demzer Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 21:37:24
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Good call on the surname thing for commoners



Except that it is wrong (see my mention of the Volo's Guide ... series in my latest reply to Icelander), but you can run however you want in your own Realms.
Demzer Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 21:35:25
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

My interpretation of these events is that it was no mystery to contemporary Banites. This kind of political maneuvering has always been a part of the Banite church, just as the office of High Imperceptor has been.



Apologies, I was not clear, mistery in the sense that they couldn't explain such a brazen and open rebellion, not that they didn't know about it.


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

The situation in the Moonsea and the military tension, if not wars, between Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster, allowed Fzoul Chembryl to operate for almost century without the High Imperceptor being able to rein him in.



And this has no similarity with the Avignon Papacy, which was a change of seat of power prompted by two external factors (the dangerous situation with the noble families in Rome and Italy, too dangerous for the Pope to live in and the threats of Philip the IV of separating the catholic church of France from the catholic church of Rome) that spawned timid reactions and much political maneuvering (with the Italian nobility trying to reclaim prominence through short-lived "AntiPopes"). Except for one, the Popes that reigned during the Avignon Papacy recognized the situation as temporary and actively worked to restore order in Rome and the Italian peninsula to get back to their ancient seat of power. In the Realms, Fzoul decided to split his branch, did it and then had no intention of uniting back again with the Orthodox Church, trying instead to win even more supporters to his cause. The High Imperceptor couldn't reign him in because Fzoul was too deeply entrenched to be easily dealt with, the Popes didn't return to Rome because Philip the IV would have carried on with his threats and the political scene in the Italian peninsula was too hot. As soon (relatively speaking, it took about 70 years) as France was busy fighting the Hundred Years War and the situation in Rome was not as bad as before, the Pope returned to it's own seat. The shorter (about half the time) period of strife referred to as the "Western Schism" was caused by the fact that the same cardinals that elected the Pope of Rome disliked him so much that they then elected a new one that established himself in the vacant seat at Avignon. Fzoul decided by himself, openly defied and challenged the authority of the High Imperceptor and went on his own business without all the secular influences that went on in the strife during the Western Schism (please don't try to equate Zhentil Keep to all the monarchies of Europe choosing their favourite Pope each one for its own political reasons).


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Fzoul Chembryl is from a noble family in Zhentil Keep. I've always assumed that Szchulan Darkoon was, as well, albeit probably from a Mulmastran family.

Note that in early Realms material, surnames were only possessed by those of gentle birth. Commoners had only one name, with possibly a nickname or appelation related to their profession or date of birth. So anyone listed with two actual names in 2e Realms material, like the Ruins of Zhentil Keep, is clearly of the upper classes.

Tomar of Bane and Brist of Bane, therefore, are not identifiably noble, but were probably raised within the faith, perhaps with parents in high positions within the hierarchy. Strife, as the ward of a High Imperceptor, raised as her heir, is obviously effectively aristocracy, in much the same way as the Pope's 'nephews and nieces' were accounted aristocracy in the historical Papal States. The rest of the High Imperceptors seem to be of noble families.



I couldn't find any explicit mention of Fzoul's noble lineage, he was always cited as a member of the church of Bane and his accession to Lordship was through his raising in the ranks of the church and through his allegiance to Manshoon.

Your assumptions about surnames in the Realms is incorrect and disproved by the Volo's Guide ... series of 2nd Ed by the Realms creator. I could start a long list of people that are not nobles and have surnames but you can look them up for your own in the "Folk of ..." sections of any Volo's Guide ... at your disposal, to name a few: the farmer Ambratha Suren, the mage Argol Marammas and the druid Draguth Endroun in Volo's Guide to Cormyr, Battle-Chaplain Gordon Stakaria and Gulmarin Reldacap, priests in Volo's Guide to the Dales, Tchandrae Euinwood the gifted girl of Volo's Guide to the North, ...

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

It's important to recognise that the theoretical power to execute anyone who displeases you doesn't really translate into the ability to rule through daily executions. If nothing else, it means that before long, nobody in your service knows where things are in the pantry, not to mention no one having the institutional memory to exert effective control outside the direct visual range of the tyrant.

From G. Julius Caesar on, the rulers of Rome were technically 'tyrants', in that they had the ability to have people executed, whether through the position of the Dictator, like Caesar, or the combination of proconsular powers and the tribunican powers, like future Emperors. Yet this did not free them from the necessity of political maneuvering, building consensus, maintaining the support of their underlings and worrying about public opinion.

To take a modern example, Putin certainly doesn't appear to shy away from murdering political opponents, but anyone who studies the political situation in Russia cannot help but notice how much work he has to do on placating various entrenched interests, building a consensus and catering to oligarchs and apparatchiks.

Broadly speaking, there is a wide range between active revolution against a tyrant and simply not doing enough to enable that tyrant to rule effectively and if a tyrant has no public support, no connections and no political base, he'll find that his authority is effectively limited to people within his direct line of sight, because no one tells him the truth about anything that is happening further away.



Sometimes you got a real knack at underplaying the possibilities of someone divining your betrayal with a thought, killing you by snapping his fingers and sending the images of your body exploding to all other riotous underlings without any possibility of reprisal. That or you think everyone in the church of Bane wants to be a martyr and a freedom fighter. Putin doesn't even come close. It's useless to argue this point further since it seems our views of what powerful (both politically and magically) individuals can do are completely different.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Sure, geographical distance helped, but with the Transformed Church of Bane, the Orthodox Church of Bane, the Risen Cult of Bane, the True Church of Bane, the Old Church of Bane and so on, one does get the feeling that schism and strife was more the rule than the exception within Bane's church, even before the Time of Troubles.

Bane seems to have encouraged his servants to strive for position and not interfered in the political maneuverings that resulted.



The Orthodox one was the High Imperceptor and "official" one, the Transformed one was Fzoul's and the only one that I know actually contested and opposed actively the work of the High Imperceptor and claimed him a fraud, the True one was Telthaug's one and beside asserting it's indipendence I'm not aware of any claim on the Moonsea or other far regions of Faerun, they just wanted to be their own masters, the others are more obscure (maybe one was the name of the Banites during the Cyric/Xvim times, I don't know).

Anyway, as I already said, before the Time of Troubles Bane was apparently chained by his portfolio of Strife meaning that he actually enjoyed when powerful (not just all random nobodies) Banites vied for the top positions. Despite my personal disliking of this trait, it is canon that he allowed and nurtured strong opposition inside his own church. Luckily for me Bane 2.0 after his Return settled things straight and actually made his church behave like the true united fist of Tyranny that I like.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug was not indulging in an atypical act when he claimed the self-bestowed title of 'Dread' Imperceptor, he was doing what most senior servants of Bane have done. Once a priest of Bane gets a whole temple listening to him, it's a pretty short path from there to him thinking that his path represents the true faith of Bane.



All fine, except that the temple needs to be big and the followers fervent, otherwise every back country priest of Bane leading a shrine and 3 thugs would be his own church of Bane and we know this is not happening.
We already agreed that at some point during his rise to power Telthaug was authorized by someone to reach the top ranking position.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

The church of Bane has had a position in the power structure of Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster pretty comparable to the Catholic Church in the Papal States for a long time. We don't know how long it has had a similar position in Mourktar, but it has it now, at any rate, along with Mintarn and a growing number of other places.



The power structure of Mulmaster makes no mention in the canon Realms sources that I could find (Forgotten Realms Adventures, The Moonsea, Misteries of the Moonsea, the 1E and 3E Campaign Settings) to any direct influence on the ruling of the city by the Banites before the alliance between the High Blade and Fzoul after the Return of Bane. In Mourktar the influence of the church of Bane on the city's politics is proven only after the death of King Theris in 1358 DR, Mintarn was conquered by the Banites in 1362 DR.
At the time of Fzoul's schism (1263) Zhentil Keep alone is not a good analog to the Papal States, not to mention the political influence that the Roman Catholic Church had over the rest of Europe (extending well beyond the Papal States), something that the Church of Bane would trade anything for in an heartbeat.


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Wrong. Bane did indeed only select the High Imperceptor, but before the ToT, after his Return it was only Fzoul, Chosen Tyrant of Bane (you can find it in Faiths & Avatars and Faiths and Pantheons).


quote:
Originally posted by The Ruins of Zhentil Keep

The High Imperceptor is selected from among all the Imperceptors at a special council called in Mulmaster when the previous High Imperceptor enters the afterlife or retires.




Sigh ...

From Faiths & Avatars, (page 38, top of right column): The High Imperceptor was in theory the supreme living servant of Bane (numerous former High Imperceptors survive as Baneliches) and was formerly directly recognized as such by Bane

From Faiths & Pantheons, (page 15 bottom of the right column and continued on page 16 top of the left column):
Before the Time of Troubles, Bane's church was riven by internecine strife, divided into the Orthodox sect (commanded primarily by clerics) and the Transformed church (dominated by wizards). Bane himself encouraged this struggle, appreciating the value of dissension even when applied to his own servants. His long dormancy seems to have cleared his mind on the matter, however, as he has acted personally to eradicate this divisions, even going so far as to name Fzoul Chembryl, the ruler of Zhentil Keep, as his personal Chosen Tyrant and infallible mortal representative. The formerly fractious Banites have made common cause in vicious pogroms against those clerics who turned to Cyric after Bane's "death" and who have not returned to the fold; their increased cooperation can only lead to foul tidings for the rest of Faerun.

To me both these passages and the one in Ruins of Zhentil Keep can live together: the Imperceptors around Faerun did indeed congregate in Mulmaster and Bane selected his chosen among them during prayers, rituals and whatever we want to imagin high ranking priests of Bane do when they get together, this occasionally led to someone feeling slighted and setting up his own schism once back in his home turf. After the death of Bane anything goes, after the Return of Bane Fzoul is the undisputed boss.

But if you really want to turn this into a battle of which canon is better that without a single hesitation I would go for Faiths and Avatars above and beyond the other two sources simply because it was penned by Eric L. Boyd.
But there is no need to go this far and seeing as how Julia Martin, the other lead author of Faiths and Avatars, edited Ruins of Zhentil Keep, I prefer to see both works as true and concile them in the easy way I presented (or any other easy way of keeping both sources valid you or anyone else might devise).
Icelander Posted - 09 Aug 2018 : 20:56:00
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

So, given that Bane is willing to have a half-orc, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a half-dragon or a half-fiend as a priest in his service (or even a fiendish half-dragon or half-dragon tielfling.... for I can easily see an alu-fiend or tiefling and a dragon pairing just as much as I can see a dragon and a human pairing... and Unther is known for their tiefling population). So, if we accept that, then Kabbarrath Telthaug could be centuries old.

To be clear, I don't think Bane, personally, has any objections to the species or race of his worshippers. I simply think that achieving political power, whether within the faith of Bane or elsewhere, is a lot easier if you're born to privilege, connections, wealth and noble status.

The Forgotten Realms are not the modern Western world. There is no widespread belief in all men being born equal. Even in 'goodly' kingdoms such as Mulhorand or Cormyr, commoners have few rights compared to nobles. In pretty much any organisation in the Realms, noble blood and connections with the highest in the land are extremely important.

There are some heroes and villains in the Realms who cater to modern Western sensibilities, by being self-made and not scions of privilege. But for these to retain any kind of impact as characters, we must be careful to keep in mind that the 'normal' state of affairs is that the elite of old, established lands are mostly descended from those who have held power there before.

And Untheri culture is not accepting of non-humans of any kind. It's not even accepting of anyone who is not a Mulan of the purest blood and oldest families. From what I can tell, Chessentan culture is barely more egalitarian, with War Heroes cherished, granted, but most power still residing in the hands of old, established noble and royal families.

It's theoretically possible for a tiefling or someone with dragonic blood to rise to a position of political importance in the Old Empires. But they'd have to be able to conceal their heritage completely, have plenty of noble connections and influence, as well as possessing immaculate (if false) records of respectable bloodline.

Besides, I don't see any good dramatic reason to make Kabarrath Telthaug non-human. There are many factions in the area which are inter-related, but not identical; the Cult of the Dragon (comprising the Mourktar Cell as well as other cells) and the faith of Tiamat, the church of Bane (with its manifold divisions), the Zhentarim, etc.

If Kabarrath Telthaug were made dragonic, he'd be at a great risk of becoming simply an adjunct of Alasklerbanbastos, the Great Bone Wyrm, in a dramatic sense and in the sense of the factions represented. If, on the other hand, he represents the human, Mourktari worshippers of Bane, open to making use of the Cult of the Dragon, but not himself tied to it, then he is both more interesting and more useful in a dramatic sense.

As for making him of some fiendish bloodline, why would that be desirable? From a dramatic point of view, what would then distinguish the Mourktar church of Bane, dominated by a fiend-blooded master, from any Xvimlar cult?

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Throw into this factor that I can't see a temple of Bane existing in Threskel while Gilgeam ruled. I also kind of don't see one during the reign of Tchazzar as ruler of Chessenta in human form, unless it were Bane that helped raise Tchazzar to godhood initially.

I would imagine that the history of Banite worship in any area generally features secret priests and places of worship long before the faith becomes powerful enough to exist in open.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Ironically, in the original Draconomicon, it says that there's a "Banespear" which is separated into parts that can kill Gilgeam, and its known to Maldraedior, the Millenium dragon beneath Dalath in Unther. It kind of makes me think maybe Tchazzar had this weapon, and this is why Gilgeam was afraid to face him (possibly this weapon is another artifact of Bane's like the Black Lord's Cloak). Maybe after Tchazzar's death is when the spear was separated into pieces (perhaps Gilgeam's worshippers even took one portion and worshippers of Bane have the other).

I'm in favour of the Banespear having been known to Tchazzar, but in the history, we need to account for the fact that Tchazzar didn't actually die when he faked his death, so he would have had no reason to lose a precious artifact at that time.

On the other hand, since Tchazzar was himself a powerful creature who would have had little reason to fear most mortals and their weapons, and who was more powerful with his claws and jaws than wielding any kind of weapon, I can see why he'd want to hide away the powerful Banespear, as opposed to using it himself in his human form (and open up the possibility that when he took dragonic shape, someone could seize it and slay him).

So Tchazzar could have hidden it himself, separated into shaft and blade.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Anyway, IF Kabbarath Telthaug is say a half-dragon, he could be old enough that perhaps he FOUNDED the temple of the Black Lord's Cloak (noting not all half-dragons have lizard heads... some just have reptilian eyes, exaggerated teeth, bits of scaley skin. He might even be a half-dragon dracolich/banelich with the Black Lord's Cloak serving as his phylactery.

I do not like this idea.

For one thing, note that all the 35 Baneliches gave up their direct power in the church of Bane when they became undead. Baneliches are meant to protect, support and advise the living servants of Bane, not rule them. The fact that the Baneliches themselves had some trouble understanding this is why Bane stopped creating them.

For another, if Kabarrath Telthaug has been one of the senior servants of Bane since time immemorial, it becomes pretty hard to justify why he'd never made any attempt to impose his authority over the church in Sembia, the Western Heartlands and the Moonsea. It's a lot more plausible that he's simply focused his efforts on the eastern Inner Sea if he's had one human lifetime, instead of many centuries.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Maybe he's slowly gained political power over time, and only in the mid 1300's did the Black Lord's Cloak grow as big as it did.

I agree that the Black Lord's Cloak must have grown enormously in power and numbers after the time of the tournament to succeed King Theris, if only because that adventure was written without any mention of Bane or a temple to him in Mourktar and seems to have been written before the decision was made to place it there (or at least by an author who had no idea that it was there).

So, I'd place the official founding of the actual army of the Banite temple after 1357 DR, if only because I don't see any city-state with an army of 500 men and militia of 2,000 men allowing a temple not under the direct authority of the ruler to maintain an army of thousands.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I do like the idea as well that maybe he got the Black Lord's Cloak off of Algashon following the fight with Tuelhalva Drakewings, and having this artifact may have helped him form the temple... maybe even with some of the Cult of the Dragon members who came down to destroy Peleveran supporting him.

What's wrong with some predecessor having done so?

Making every villain ancient, non-human and utterly unconnected to the society and culture around him just makes the Realms feel like an MMORPG setting.

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