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 What’s the story of Netheril’s return?

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keftiu Posted - 14 Feb 2020 : 21:49:08
4e (my preferred edition) has them firmly back, but I know that’s a relatively recent development, and the wiki is no use. What’s the gist of Netheril going from “a long-dead empire with a flying city in the Plane of Shadow” to being an active extant entity in Faerun?
17   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
The Masked Mage Posted - 23 Feb 2020 : 00:08:10
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I, personally, had issues with those novels... Mainly because the only white hats in the books that had any kind of competence were the author's own. Any existing characters he used seemed to go out of their way to ignore advice and make the situation worse.



This is very true. I hated how the novels made the Phaerimm - who are at the very least among the mightiest spell hurlers of the realms - into almost mindless locust, slavering to get to Evereska. WHY? They are free and can instantly teleport to anywhere they want in the realms - including right outside every other Mythal-cloaked location. Then they get swatted down one by one by special anti-phearimm swords.

I also thought that the inclusion of Karse felt VERY forced. Almost like... what are the places related to Netheril... OH I KNOW!!!

So wham bam - 3rd E replaced one big bad group of monsters - hiding and in secret, with one big bad group of shadow worshippers - as far from secret as possible.

Total death of subtlety in the Realms, presumably so WotC could expand marketing.
keftiu Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 05:20:14
What was that about betraying Shar?
Zeromaru X Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 05:14:13
But there is a big difference between "in-universe sources of lore" and chapbooks, and novels or stories. They are even different to many sourcebooks, that are written by "unreliable narrators", as novels aren't told by any in-universe narrators.

TheIriaeban Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 04:50:59
From the web article Trusting in Lore by Ed Greenwood. There is quite a bit before this about the Legend of Tharnwood and Laeral heading to Candlekeep to get the truth of it by speaking with Great Reader Elveraun Mysrym of Candlekeep.

"A chapbook distributed in Waterdeep in 1269 DR, attributed to "Thalaphondas, Archmage Mighty" (no other trace of whom exists in any records of Candlekeep or Waterdeep), relates the tale of "The Dark Dooms Enacted upon Lady Mages by the One Called Elminster." It tells of Tharan's betrayal and murder by his friend Elminster, who learned how to make wardspells of Tharan's forest plateau realm deadly to all elves -- and so exterminated its inhabitants.

According to Thalaphondas, Elminster (an accomplished shapeshifter) then seduced various wealthy women by posing as husbands, lovers, and men for whom they longed. Translocating them to Tharnwood, he spell-imprisoned them there, using "dark rituals" to make them his slaves and "helpless, talentless channels" through which he could cast multiple simultaneous spells at foes. Thalaphondas urged "all of the Art" to "rise up in unison" to slay Elminster before he destroyed them all individually -- and it's this, Mysrym believes, that years of mages' gossip has built into the fanciful Tharnwood lore of today. The diligent monk of Candlekeep warns that much trusted lore of Faerûn may contain as many distortions."

That is a telling point. This is the paragraph that describes Elveraun Mysrym:
"This monk, Great Reader Elveraun Mysrym ("ELL-vurr-aun MISS-rim"), is a quiet, calm-in-the-face-of-all man of small stature and great lore-learning. Mysrym believes the lurid and ever-deepening legends of Tharnwood, however unfair they may be to Elminster of Shadowdale, are both good entertainment and a useful curb on those who might otherwise act more boldly against Elminster, Alustriel, elves in the Sword Coast North, or the Silver Marches."

While he doesn't say that "no lore is the absolute truth", he does say that there are very likely some inaccuracies. And that is why I take the novels with a grain of salt. Novels are first and foremost a story meant to entertain.


Lord Karsus Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 03:18:23
-Agreed. Things that we are supposed to take with a grain of salt, we're basically told to take them with a grain of salt and are written as such. Everything else is otherwise presented as matter-of-factly.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 02:44:23
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Didn't Ed say something like "no lore is the absolute truth". I would definitely put the novels (actually, chapbooks) in that basket.


I reject that stance, because we have to have some absolutes or we don't know anything at all.
Lord Karsus Posted - 16 Feb 2020 : 00:57:38
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

So they essentially had various agents return to the Material to soften things up for a big comeback? That makes sense. When you say late 3e era, do you mean novels or the adventures?



-Both. They were kind of omnipresent for all of 3e, but I think things really just kicked into high gear towards the end. The city returned in the Return of the Archwizards trilogy, which was near the beginning of 3e, and then there was The Black Bouquet (2003), Mistress of the Night (2004), but then the Twilight War trilogy featured them heavily (2006-2008), and the Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave/Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land/Anauroch: The Empire of Shade adventure trilogy (2007)...I'm probably forgetting some novels where they made important appearances, but yeah.
Ayrik Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 22:21:43
The Princes Shade spent a lot of their power on their initial assault.
Consumed the Vaasan mercenaries (and darkswords) they'd invested into generations ago.
Used their mighty Kraken until it died.
Abused their mythallars at Shade and Sakkors.
Burned their political bridges by manipulating all their allies in Sembia.
Betrayed their goddess Shar.
Pressed a very angry Mephistopheles into servitude.

All these things required substantial investments (in time, effort, magic, and materials) to set up. Most of them were "one shot" consumables, depleted resources/opportunities/advantages now lost forever. And some of them will exact their true costs at a later time, payments which could only be made if their initial purposes were successful. Shade played a big game, it gambled large, and it lost large ... so Shade is now forced to make the best of a rather bad situation.
TheIriaeban Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 17:11:37
Didn't Ed say something like "no lore is the absolute truth". I would definitely put the novels (actually, chapbooks) in that basket. A novel is simply a story told from a point of view. Some storytellers "embellish" to make the people that are the focus of the story more heroic while other storytellers try to act more like historians and just record the events as is. It also depends on the source of the story for the scribe. Some participants of the events will remember things differently or not at all and it is up to the scribe to pick which version to use or fill in the holes themselves. For example, a story has been spread about how El founded and later hid a village of women that he has kidnapped for him to "dally with" and use them to create an army of wizards. That doesn't fit in with other things said about El so lots of people tend to disregard it.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 16:43:37
I, personally, had issues with those novels... Mainly because the only white hats in the books that had any kind of competence were the author's own. Any existing characters he used seemed to go out of their way to ignore advice and make the situation worse.
Tarlyn Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 16:30:36
The city of Shade returned at the start of 3e. It was part of the Forgotten Realms Campaign setting book. I think all the Princes get a paragraph in the Lords of Darkness supplement. The novels told the story of the return in the Archwizards series by Troy Denning. I think the titles are the Sorcerer, the Siege and the Summoning.

I enjoyed reading the books, but I normally don't use that exact line of events. I prefer to imagine the Shades as on par to other power groups rather than a clear cut above.
_Jarlaxle_ Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 13:11:35
Yes, but they are not the super power anymore they once where. Now they are probably one of many (still powerfull) evil groups.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
Their only other options are to somehow hoard power (steel, magic, gold, and allies) in the Shadowfell

It was always implied in novels, that they had holdings in the Shadowfell. So there are probably some kinds of lords left there that rule over their villigaes or castles or whatever and might or might not work together.
Ayrik Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 11:50:09
Shadovar still gotta live somewhere. If not in lofty sky cities then in muddy dirt villages.

If they didn't concentrate all their power in their cities (that is, they have access to something like the above-mentioned world-spanning network of distributed power) then they would still possess a lot of real power after their cities crashed. Their only other options are to somehow hoard power (steel, magic, gold, and allies) in the Shadowfell ... or to be powerless.
_Jarlaxle_ Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 10:19:41
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
so forcibly extracting the Shadovar from the Realms (now, after the passage of a couple Editions) would certainly cause dissent and ugliness.
It's just better to passively set the Shadovar aside, leave them alone. Assume they're no longer very interested in conquest but they are also not very interested in playing nice with their neighbours (or in tolerating trespassers).

Uhm you know Shade crashed down and was destroyed? So I doubt whoever survived has much of a powerhouse left in Faerun.
Ayrik Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 08:26:42
Melegaunt apparently explored the Realms since about 1222DR. He'd travelled widely across the Heartlands, Kara-Tur, Chult, Halruaa, the Underdark. He formed alliances with Vaasan clans (and provided them with darkswords). He built the Granite Tower. He battled phaerimm.

In short, Melegaunt was quite busy for some 150 years before Shade arrived. Exploring, scouting, spying, mapping, learning the languages and cultures, living the history, building allies and identifying enemies wherever he went. Always in the shadows, gathering intel and setting groundwork for the Shadovar to exploit.

So, in a way, the Shadovar already had something of an established world-spanning (distributed) power network since the moment they arrived, quite a head start, and they could've easily leveraged or maintained their advantages by lurking in the shadows ever since.

Plus, of course, WotC arbitrarily decided that the Shadovar are favoured by Shar and Shar is suddenly the new Big Bad Boss - and the Shadovar were an immensely popular addition the Realms, for a time - so forcibly extracting the Shadovar from the Realms (now, after the passage of a couple Editions) would certainly cause dissent and ugliness.
It's just better to passively set the Shadovar aside, leave them alone. Assume they're no longer very interested in conquest but they are also not very interested in playing nice with their neighbours (or in tolerating trespassers). You never know when they're lurking in the shadows, you never know when (because of popular fashion) you might need to use them again.
keftiu Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 01:58:59
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-The late 3-era books are full of Shadovar all over the place, and that's kind of the story there. A whole lot of subtle (and not so subtle) political machinations left places like Sembia and parts of the Dalelands either directly under their control, or puppets. Combined with the raising of Sakkors and their tending to the Anauroch to make it fertile again, and they had some actual territory they could call their own.



So they essentially had various agents return to the Material to soften things up for a big comeback? That makes sense. When you say late 3e era, do you mean novels or the adventures?
Lord Karsus Posted - 15 Feb 2020 : 00:54:03
-The late 3-era books are full of Shadovar all over the place, and that's kind of the story there. A whole lot of subtle (and not so subtle) political machinations left places like Sembia and parts of the Dalelands either directly under their control, or puppets. Combined with the raising of Sakkors and their tending to the Anauroch to make it fertile again, and they had some actual territory they could call their own.

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