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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Demzer Posted - 16 Oct 2013 : 11:33:19
DISCLAIMER: I don't want this to turn into a "bash canonical return of Shade history" thread so if that's all someone has to say about the topic, please refrain from doing it and look elsewhere. I don't want to imply in any way, shape or form that whatever follows (that will be my ideas about it and some of yours, i hope) is better than the way things went in the canonical Realms, it's just different.

Now, onto the topic at hand. Im my home Realms the return of Shade happened in a completely different way than canonical Realms:
- the city of Shade reappeared above Anauroch after the destruction of an immense permament portal to the Lower Planes the 5 of Uktar, year 1375 DR;
- the return of the city was an unintended accident and neither the Shades nor the rest of Faerun were prepared for it;
- the city reappeared at the site near the portal that previously functioned as the main base of operations for a great crusade against the Lower Planes, there are scattered remnants of the armies involved still trying to leave the area after the fiendish onslaught;
- there is no phaerimm threat, the phaerimms are almost extinct and spread in small "families" all over Anauroch;
- aside from unreliable tales told by bedines, adventurers and survivors the existence of Shade was discovered first by Zhentarim involved in Anauroch's caravans and then by Cormyreans spies, scouts and War Wizards dispatched to investigate half a month later. Word of the return of Shade spread to the rest of Faerun after a Cormyrean envoy announced it during an international meeting in Amn the 8 of Nightal, year 1375 DR;

Now on to what happened next:
- Shade and the survivors of the Crusade: the Shades tried their best to capture or kill anyone that saw their city come back, the captives were later questioned extensively to learn all possible informations about Faerun of today;
- Shade and the Zhentarim: after a few skirmishes some shadovars parleyed with midlle ranking Zhentarim and arranged a meeting between two Princes, Fzoul and Manshoon. An agreement of sort was reached: the Zhentarim started pumping up to date informations into Shade while the Netherese helped them scatter bedine resistance, muscle their way into dominion over the goblinoids and monstrous tribes nearby and dealt with the occasional phaerimm sighting;
- Shade and Malygris' family: after some aerial battles that ended with the death of a young adult blue dragon and a dozen shadovars and their human retinue, Telamont took the matter on his hands and scoured Anauroch in search of the head of this troublesome draconic family. The Suzerain and the Most High exchanged spells, breaths and blows and then stopped to settle their dispute in a more civil manner: the dragons agreed to take turns as enforcers of Telamont's will and as battle steeds for the Princes while Telamont granted them the right of safe dwelling, hunting and passage in Anauroch, a costant flow of magical items and help in locating and killing the renegade blue dragon Iymrith;
- Shade and Cormyr: after the first skirmishes with Cormyrean scouting parties the Shades tried to cower Cormyr with a surprise attack on Tilverton. The attack failed miserably due to the underestimation of the might of Cormyr's defenders on Shade's part and the swift actions of the War Wizards. After that, war was officially declared between the two nations with Cormyr mobilizing his troops and manning the northern borders and with the Zhentarim aiding the Shades in establishing footholds in the Stonelands;
- Shade and the remnants of fallen Netheril: the Shades quickly dispatched small elite units of scouts and infiltrators to locate and seize any and all Netherese properties in Anauroch, likewise they ordered their best spies to search Faerun for any survivor or descendant of Netheril with Zhentarim's help;

Future actions of the Shades include:
- find a way to secure cooperation of Malygris' dragons without any cost on Shade's part;
- find a way to gain the upper hand and renegotiate dealings with the Zhentarim;
- discover and secure the highest amount of Netherese magical might (weapons, magic items, spells, wealth) in the shortest time possible;
- find, kill or capture Netherese survivors/descendants close to Anauroch and plant spies to watch on those farther away;
- find existing organizations to bargain with and then exploit them against their enemies until the Shades can take them over;

I would like them to be less "in-your-face" and i would like to avoid overusing Telamont or the Princes, but aside from that any recommendations? Anything that sounds too un-Shade-like? Did i miss some big Anauroch power player the Shade have to deal with before going on their quest for world domination? Any suggestion on their course of action? How did you handle them (or intend to handle them) in your campaigns?

Thanks everyone.
8   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
The Masked Mage Posted - 17 Oct 2013 : 18:40:39
There is also evidence from old Ed sources that a cloud kingdom exists above Anauroch and Cormanthor, or at least the remnants of it.
The Masked Mage Posted - 17 Oct 2013 : 18:37:50
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage
You forgot Oreme, but that's a minor plot point and a long term one at that.



Side note: there are Malaugryms in the Realms but i know little about them, where can i find more? What would they do against Shade? Are there any near Anauroch?



There are very few Malaugrym "in" the Realms. They are controlled by their leader who is the only one who can allow them into the Realms. They have a write up in the Villian's lorebook. From that write up we know there are a couple who are wandering the Dragon-Reach and Heartlands in disguise, who would be sure to capitalize on Shade as well.
The Masked Mage Posted - 17 Oct 2013 : 18:34:00
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?whichpage=-1&TOPIC_ID=18448&REPLY_ID=435026

See that thread for a tidbit on the demigods of Anauroch
Demzer Posted - 17 Oct 2013 : 11:22:35
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage
You forgot Oreme, but that's a minor plot point and a long term one at that.



Ah, Oreme, the home of sixty sarrukh 30-something level liches, i prefer it to stay alone buried unless we are doing a truly epic campaign. I don't have an high opinion of the Terraseer and his lethargic buddies so i'll refrain from using them, besides, they seem more likely to react to outside influence than act on their own.

quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage
Without the story from the books, I think you also have every major spellcaster in the realms looking at Shade as a big target instead of a personal danger. In the books their return was public, bloody, and established numerous detentes with groups of power. That eliminated, the power and magic hungry of the world will only here whispers of a floating Netherese city above the desert - a treasure trove of magic and ANY modern wizard's dream come true.



And that's perfect for the Shades, they'll start killing/capturing all the wizards that come unprepared and drive off the others. They will seize magical items and spellbooks and they'll learn all they can through torture and interrogation. By the time people stops throwing their lives at them and voice spread that it's really not safe to go there the Shades will have acquired a wealth of magic and information that otherwise would've been out of their reach.
And if among those poor souls there is someone that had run-ins with the Karanoks than all the Shade have to do is send some of their best human fighters/rogues/rangers with the wizards' heads in a sack to the lunatics and they will have their mole in.

When i said that the Shades won't be "in-your-face" i mean they'll move Thultantar around a lot and avoid attacking every other nation with drums beating and warcries and rely much more on subterfuge and infiltrators. But if someone goes knocking their doors for magic they'll come out with all guns blazing and take down whoever thinks he can plunder their city easily.

Side note: there are Malaugryms in the Realms but i know little about them, where can i find more? What would they do against Shade? Are there any near Anauroch?
The Masked Mage Posted - 17 Oct 2013 : 02:26:46
You forgot Oreme, but that's a minor plot point and a long term one at that.

Without the story from the books, I think you also have every major spellcaster in the realms looking at Shade as a big target instead of a personal danger. In the books their return was public, bloody, and established numerous detentes with groups of power. That eliminated, the power and magic hungry of the world will only here whispers of a floating Netherese city above the desert - a treasure trove of magic and ANY modern wizard's dream come true.
Demzer Posted - 16 Oct 2013 : 19:51:43
quote:
Originally posted by xaeyruudh

  • The Eldreth Veluuthra ...

  • The Karanoks ..





Great advice!
The Eldreth Veluuthra is a bit tricky but can turn into an engaging investigation/spy story side-campaign with an assassination streak both inside and outside the organization.
The Karanoks are easy to infiltrate (just point to someone and shout "WIZARD!" and you're their new best friend) by someone with no arcane gifts and the whole plot of taking over and directing their cult can be used to pit enterprising clerics of Shar, Talos, Tiamat and whatever whacky cult i want to throw into the mix.

Since the Shades are Shar's favourite playthings i suppose i can try to make up some sort of big Shadow Weave users network of spies/agents/informers that will slowly form once the return of the Shades is confirmed and they start sending men all over the place.

Another twist i'm thinking about is a religious one: since Bane is much more suited as the patron deity of would be world dominators than Shar, extended contacts with the Zhentarim and their Banite priests will slowly erode the granitic Shar monotheism of the Shades with interesting and messy consequences.
xaeyruudh Posted - 16 Oct 2013 : 16:01:03
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Now, onto the topic at hand. Im my home Realms the return of Shade happened in a completely different way than canonical Realms:


I like most of this, especially the part about it being unexpected for Shade as well as Faerun.


quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I would like them to be less "in-your-face" and i would like to avoid overusing Telamont or the Princes


I quite like this part too.


quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Any suggestion on their course of action? How did you handle them (or intend to handle them) in your campaigns?


With no canon-bashing intended, Shade doesn't return in my campaigns. I find that it's much more foreboding and more flexible for the DM when it remains in the imminent future.

The princes and various other factions within Shade have spies and assassins placed in key agencies across Toril. Their goals are predictable: transforming the governments of Toril into a house of cards which can be collapsed on command; neutralizing other potential threats like Larloch, the Chosen of Mystra, and whatever else; rounding up the surviving artifacts of Netheril; and mastering whatever new magic has been developed since their departure. The princes will bring Shade back to Faerun when these goals have been satisfactorily achieved... which will always be about-to-happen-in-the-very-near-future.

While their goals are predictable, their methods are pretty open. A few tools:

  • The Eldreth Veluuthra are willing to kill any human, with little/no justification being necessary. This means that with little/no effort, they can be used to do the shades' dirty work.

  • The Karanoks are engaging in a mad inquisition against wizards. The princes are not worried for their own safety, and it's a simple matter to infiltrate the "priesthood" of Entropy with a fighter or rogue. The payoff is that the Karanoks do the work of identifying and flushing out wizards which the Shades can then cripple or kidnap for their own purposes before turning them over to the witchweed fires.

  • The Zhentarim think small by Shade standards, but their desire to dominate the governments of Faerun is useful. Control of the Zhentarim (at least the canon Zhentarim) is easily achieved by controlling a few key individuals.



Of course, the usefulness of these organizations is not just in their compatible goals but also as scapegoats.

Just my unsupported take.
Eilserus Posted - 16 Oct 2013 : 14:54:46
Paul Kemp's new novel The Godborn has some good Shade info you may wish to incorporate into your Realms.

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