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Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Jan 2019 : 16:19:25
It occurs to me that Ed has been posting Realmslore on the Twitter, and not everyone has the Twitter.

So I thought a single place where such lore could be collected would be a good thing.

Ed is a frequent poster there, adding all sorts of Stormtalons and Epic Fantasy stuff, but for the purposes of this thread, I'd like to keep it focused on his Realmslore.

(I'm also stickying this thread, to make it easier to find)

Ed Greenwood (@TheEdVerse) on Twitter

The #Realmslore hashtag on Twitter
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:24:51
On the most powerful military nations of Faerûn:


hello. i've been wondering, who are the most powerful military nations of faerun ? i'm guessing the lords alliance even tho not a nation is up there


Well, there’s mobilized/aggressive/acting, and then there’s potential.
For instance, Thay could be crushingly strong, militarily, but is currently not invading anyone because doing so harms other realms and city-states for economic exploitation. Calimshan and Tethyr are also potential powerhouses but not mobilized; Chessenta is mobilized but its city-states are so often skirmishing with each other that they are weakening each other constantly.

And so on.

And then there’s the difference between reputation and what happens when boots hit the ground. The Zhentarim have a fearsome reputation, but entire Zhent armies have in the past been wiped out by one irked wizard whose magical studies they interrupted.
So that’s a hard question to answer.

Ask anyone in the Realms, and you’re likely to get a propaganda answer: if I worship Torm more fervently than others, then Torm’s paladins will sweep all before them.

On the other hand, if I cleave to Silvanus, the forest fey can wipe out all the glittering cavalry you muster to thunder onto the battlefield.

The Lords Alliance is just that: an alliance. “Nation” means a people who identify as a group, not a land, so the term fits—but the trouble is, the Alliance stays as one when going up against rival factions, like the Zhentarim; on other issues/conflicts, the Alliance is quite likely to squabble fiercely, internally, so any armies members can field might end up fighting each other.

Or as I so often begin Realmslore replies, “Well, it depends.” ;}
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:24:19
On the most Lankhmar-style city in Faerûn:


hello! I was reading one of the Lankhmar books, in your opinion which is the most Lankhmar-style city in Faerun? Thanks for you time


If you mean the city of Lankhmar itself, it’s a trifle warmer in climate than Waterdeep, but it’s Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate that I think of, when asked to compare Realms cities with Fritz’s most famous city.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:23:48
On the months of Hammer and Flamerule:

Oct 17, 2019


In the Harptos Calender, every month has a common name. But Hammer and Flamerule already seem to be English. Would you translate them into another language (Italien, German, etc.) or keep the official names like that?

I mean, if you would translate the whole calendar


In 1e/2e D&D, the Common Tongue in the game was design-considered to be English. Hammer and Flamerule were the Common names for "Hamaer" and "Flaenrûl," respectively, and had 'taken over' in Faerûnian daily usage.

So I'd either leave all the names as is, or translate if it works better for your purposes. Clarity and a medieval/Renaissance fantasy setting 'feel' are the goals; for your gamers, what works best has to be your call. :}
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:22:53
On the Marsh Drovers:


Was spurred by the writeup of the Marsh Drovers in Elminster's Ecologies to roll one up and was wondering, what's been their status through the Spellplague and post-Second Sundering? And as a more character-specific question, do they have a big alchemical tradition?

The character in question is a half-elven Harper alchemist (the PF2 class) by the name of Zylla, as a sidenote.


A handful (five or six small families) of Marsh Drovers still inhabit the Farsea Marshes; others migrated into Cormyr for safety, many settling south of the Wyvernwater. They’re not powerful alchemists, but long ago mastered safe and beneficial medicinal and food uses of swamp plants (and some of this sort of lore will appear in AMARUNE’S ALMANAC: Swamps of the Realms, to be published on the DM’s Guild in the fullness of time).
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:20:35
On the limitations of the gods:

May 22, 2020


I wonder if I might ask a rather lengthy question about the mechanics behind the gods in the forgotten realms?


Sure. Most people do ask me lengthy questions about the gods. ;}


Awesome! Okay. So I feel that it's a reasonable assumption that within a pantheon there may be, at most, one deity that is the most powerful, who acts as a balancing force for the others, to maintain the status quo. (Io for the draconic pantheon for e.g.)

But! For all the other gods, what is it that limits their ability to affect the lives of mortals and the mortal world? What is it that limits their interactions with other deities?

Either gods are infinite or finite and if finite, what are their limits?


I’ve created upwards of forty fantasy settings (as opposed to sf, alternate real-world, and so on) over the years, with very different pantheons, but in the Realms, Ao is the Overgod (setting limits and rules “above” the pantheon), and within the pantheon, the most powerful deity is Mystra, as Toril is a magic-rich world and she IS the Weave, and until Ao forbade her and stopped her, used her ability to cut other deities off from the Weave (that is, the ability to work magic).

So in the Realms, the gods are fallible (like the classic Greek and Roman gods, they have the same faults and flaws as many humans, though they have what to a mortal are “superpowers”).

No deity is infinite, in the Realms or elsewhere, if there’s a pantheon” the existence of other deities by definition means that any one deity has limits. The Realms deities can perish or be slain (Mystra more than once, Moander, and many others), can renounce their godhood or their portfolios (Jergal), go insane (Cyric), and often make mistakes or are deceived (even by mortals).

They are limited by their own brains (what they can conceive and create), their own powers (perception and abilities), by other gods acting against them, by their very natures, by Ao, and by the structure of Toril and of the Planes of Existence. The gods are constantly warring with each other for more power and influence, so at every turn one deity or another will run up against resistance. And some deities (Jergal, for instance) are VERY good at manipulating other deities.


I was always under the impression that the number of followers, and the quality of the collective devotion, directly influenced the gods' power and influence in the FR.
Ed Greenwood


Your impression is correct when it comes a god's power; a deity is greater, lesser, or otherwise in direct relationship to the strength and quality of their worship.
Their influence among mortals and their fellow deities, however, is partly related to their power, but is determined more by how they wield that power: their deeds and actions.

If a mortal comes to mistrust a deity, and worships them out of fear or to keep their displeasure at bay, that worship is of 'lower quality' than eager 'love and trust' worship.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:19:50
On the laws and justice system of Ten Towns:

Sep 21, 2020


Hey @ChrisPerkinsDnD! How would you describe the laws and justice system of Ten Towns? How do they handle criminals?

Thank you for such a cool new adventure! (No pun intended)


Imo, I don't think they would have a nation wide law code. I think it would come down to each town and almost like the wild west style of law. Where taking a horse/cattle would be a death warrant


Most justice in Ten Towns is rooted in "eye for an eye" brutal simplicity, but tempered this last century by "Make a convicted do useful work to benefit the community" (useful often being "dangerous" or "painful," like working in freezing water on dock footings.

@danzimmerman19 hath the right of it, though: varies from community to community, and interested citizens often get involved in trials. Violent criminals and murderers are often "given to Auril" by being forced out on their own (exiled) into the snow, sometimes stripped of everything (weapons, tools, clothing) to perish in the cold. (Arson is considered a "violent" crime.) Mere thieves and swindlers must usually make restitution to their victims...or else.

This is the sort of thing that usually doesn't make it into a published adventure because leaving things vague allows a DM maximum freedom to roleplay trials and tailor things to a campaign, especially when PCs are involved.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:19:21
On the Lake of Steam:


Oh Great Sage, do you have any information on the western Lake of Steam region in 5e? I know Suldolphor was destroyed in 1479DR (and presumably Tulmon and Yeshpek as well). Is Mintar still under the control of Banites? How is Saelmur doing? Thanks in advance!


The Lake of Steam has been very active from 1480 DR to date, water welling up from the Underdark into its basin and increasing river flows feeding it from mountains to the north, as well as heating up (volcanically). Its shores have returned very much to their pre-Sundering locations, and fresh ore deposit discoveries have led to many open-pit mines for iron, copper, nickel, and silver, and the rebuilding and expansion of Suldolphor, Saelmur, Tulmon, and Yeshpek. Durlusk is a major port again.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:18:02
On democracies in the Realms:


My question, mostly for roleplaying purposes is: Is there anywhere in the canonical Realms that actually has or has had democracy, that could be used as an in-game reference/model?


If you can call the real-world USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand "democracies," then the Lords of Waterdeep are certainly a "democracy." There are also many city-states in the Realms that have ruling councils (majority votes decide policies).


Isn't Waterdeep an oligarchy? I mean democracy, as in somewhere all citizens (or at least a large subset, such as those who own property) decide by vote who's in charge. As far as I understand it, the Masked Lords decide who will be Masked Lords, with no input from the people?


Here's the problem with that: there are no TRUE democracies. Even ancient Athens, in which in theory all citizens had a vote, excluded women and all slaves. Canada. the UK, and most Commonwealth countries are, or started as, constitutional monarchies. The USA is a republic, and arguably as much or more of an oligarchy as Waterdeep (the Masked Lords CAN be chosen from all walks of life, and don't have to own property [they DO have to have an address in the city, but can rent or stay in an inn], whereas the US electoral college memberships are controlled by two entrenched political parties). Many city-states in the Realms have even more "democratic" ruling Councils: the guilds elect one rep, the nobles another, the burghers (wealthy moneylenders = local banks) a third, and so on. Most real-world modern folks use the terms "democracy" and "freedom" very loosely. Looking objectively at Waterdeep and the modern USA, I'd say Waterdeep is the more democratic place. In both places, wealth tends to equal power, so wealthy people tend to get into "the corridors of power" if they want to. Olden-days Waterdeep, where either warlords or nobles ruled, wasn't democratic, but the Masked Lords are masked to prevent coercion, and their ranks (although tending towards corruption by the "old boys' network" factor of people who are Lords choosing friends or business colleagues or relatives to be appointed to the Masked Lords) have been filled, in recent centuries, by people who "aren't" something (as in: aren't nobles, aren't guildmasters, etc.) which has led to the fractious Lords' meetings seen in DEATH MASKS, and Lords at odds with the Masked Lord (Neverember and after him, Laeral, were chosen because they were outsiders, not longtime city residents who might be part of one camp or another). So the Lords have to bargain with each other, issue by issue, to get votes needed to pass a new law or regulation or city policy, and many things get modified in the debate. So lawmaking is by majority vote, and the people voting represent all of the citizenry (high and low, all races and genders and ethnicities) which is the essence of democracy.

EVERY real-world democracy can be labeled (this one's a constitutional monarchy, that one's a republic, or this one's an oligarchy, that one's a theocracy, etc.), but as we saw in DEATH MASKS, the Masked Lords aren't free of public pressure at all, and their personal agendas (or those of the group they represent, or belong to) get derailed time and again by public demands, and by the groups they belong to not having monolithic views. And there are also criminal interests (the Xanathar, Bregan D'aerthe) who like all of this political mess and confusion, because it gives them freedom to operate in the loopholes and cracks, so they try to keep it going, in part by working to keep Masked Lord membership diverse so nobles or guildmasters never dominate (again).
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:16:36
On the God-Kings of Mulhorand:


can you post a list of Kings of Mulhorand from its founding to current times? Your world is amazing!


Herewith, the God-Kings of Mulhorand, thanks to Realms lorelord George Krashos.

(Almost all mortal descendants of the deity Horus-Re; they reigned until their deaths unless otherwise noted):

Horusret I “the Anointed” born -1077 DR, reigns -1045/-926; first of the “Undying Ones.”

Ramenhorus I b. -969, r. -926/-623 (dies in battle against Narfell)

Horustep I “the Shining” b. -653, r. -623/-339

Horuseres I b. -361, r. -339/4 DR (disappeared in a sandstorm on the Plains of Purple Dust)

Horuseres II “the Eternal” b. -30, r. 4/921 (slain by the green dragon Chathuulandroth)

Mahorustep Ib. 886, r. 921/922 (dies fighting Red Wizards of Thay)

Horustep IIb. 888, reigned for part of 922 DR (dies fighting Red Wizards of Thay)

Ramenhorus IIb. 895, reigned for part of 922 DR (dies fighting Red Wizards of Thay)

Thothibistep Ib. 861, r. 922/925 (Incarnation of Thoth; intended to rule until a suitable incarnation of Horus-Re can take the throne, but slain by the wizard Nezrak following the Spelldoom)

Thothibistep IIb. 885, r. 925/929 (stood aside when a suitable incarnation of Horus-Re could ascend to the throne; died 969 DR)

Akonhorus I “the Valiant” b. 919, r. 929/955 (slain in 976, in the Rising of the Orcgates)

Ramenhorus IIIb. 941, r. 955/1098 (dies fighting Red Wizards of Thay)

Rehorustep I b. 1066, r. 1098/1248 (killed by sahuagin while on a sea voyage)

Rehorustep II “Beastslayer” b. 1210, r. 1248/1320 (dies on a hunting expedition in the Eastern Shaar)

Akonhorus II b. 1291, r. 1320/1357 (assassinated by the Fangs of Set; last of the “Undying Ones”)

Horustep III b. 1346, r. 1357 onwards.


Did Horustep III survived the Spellplague? Who is the current ruler of Mulhorand as of 1492?


No he didn’t. All of Mulhorand was swept into Abeir during the Spellplague, paving the way for the establishment of High Imaskar.


Since there are known survivors of that event, there was a slim chance for him.
Anyways, thanks for your answer, :)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:15:51
On the Galena Mountains:


Hey @TheEdVerse, quick question. I'm going to run King Lareths council in the Galena Mountains on the 14th of Marpenoth, 1372 DR In around 12 hours. How tall are the Galena Mountains, and what temperature would it be around that time of year?



So Marpenoth is the Torilian equivalent of October, and the Galena range (named by TSR, by the way, after a resort they used to go to on retreats, which was of course named for the mineral) is roughly as northerly as “halfway north up Canada” in climate terms. The Galenas themselves are tall, jagged fangs of very sharp, rugged rock, tall enough to be permanently topped with ice and snow (which at that latitude means they must all be over 8,000 feet in elevation; my notes have them as around 11,000, with the tallest summits being just over 14,000). The range is only about 25 miles wide, with nigh NO level ground, and cascading streams and rivers rather than navigable ones (the Galena Snake being the most well-known named river), plus of course lots of hostile resident giants, orcs, hobgoblins, and goblins. There are rich iron, silver, and bloodstone deposits (and heck, to make the name fit, lots of galena). So in October, daytime in-sun temperatures would be above freezing in the lowest reaches of the mountains only. At night, particularly with windchill, “deep freeze” indeed. Yes, exposed PCs could readily freeze to death. PCs in caverns would likely be okay, but not comfortable. The Galenas are not known for gales or frequent high winds, though.


Speaking of the Galenas, the map on p.9 of Elminster’s Forgotten Realms shows that your home Realms had only a few mountains east of Thar. Is there a mountain range north of where that map cuts off, as in the published Realms, or was that added along with the Bloodstone Lands?


That map is just part of one 8.5"x11" map panel (out of 55 of them). There is a mountain range north of that, and glaciers, and lots of rugged frozen country, stretching north and east (if you go far enough east, you reach Sossal).


Are the mountains to the north shaped roughly the same as in the published Realms (a kind of reverse L)? As you might recall, I have an ongoing project in which I'm creating a variation of the Fonstad map that attempts to better reflect your home Realms.


In my original Realms, “the Glacier of the Blue Knife” covers most of the mountains east of where “THAR” is written, and winds among their tallest peaks (you can JUST see horizontal lines denoting its edge on that Page 9 map).

That glacier is the southwesternmost tongue of The Great Ice Desert, a huge glacial ice sheet that buried the rest of the mountain range (which, under it, as one proceeded north, curved slightly to the northwest and then curved far farther back around to the northeast, and trailed away into ridges [under the ice] and then almost level ground. (I should get you photoblasts of my original maps.)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:15:23
On the Forgotten God of the Yak Folk:


I saw your deep lore questions & answers and so I have a wild one (and disclaimer, it's more multiversal than just FR).

So, evil Yak Folk believe they come from a Forgotten God / Faceless God who is represented by a very big hooded figure. In service to this god they came from the elemental plane of earth and had fought against the Dao (and won). But not just that, they generally sought after destruction and had rites with all four of the basic elements. (I wiki'd some of this but its from both 2e and 5e (Storm King's Thunder).

Now, this interested me so I looked up "Forgotten God" and only found another reference to this "Forgotten God" known also as Voidmazix:

From 3.5e, Voidmazix is a god seeking/being entropy and destruction, sealed away by the other gods in its own realm.

All of that sounds a lot like another god who has been intentionally "forgotten." The Chained God, Tharizdun (AKA the Evil Elemental Eye) is an evil god of destruction with ties to destruction, sealed in his own realm, and has multiple other aspects with which he has influenced entire races/subraces/cultures. And Tharizdun is a god who has touched many different material planes in his various aspects.

What's your take on these three similar entities or is there an official distinction or connection between them? Is it just coincidence?


Oh ho ho, you have indeed stumbled upon something. Sitting there in plain sight, yet not spoken of.

In my case, that "not spoken of" is due to a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). Sorry!
Let me merely observe that many coincidences aren't really...coincidences. Mmm-hmm.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:08:08
On the farmer Taburg Shen of Eveningstar, and a couple bakeries:


Hello @TheEdVerse! What can you say about the farmer Taburg Shen, a mysterious name on the map of Eveningstar?

Or what can you say about Eveningstar's bakery, not mentioned in the Volo's Guide to Cormyr ? Thanks and be well.


Taburg Shen is a quiet, polite but not outgoing, farmer of mushrooms (extensive cellar under his elevated-on-pilings house), mixed human food crops, and hay. He grows many herbs and does tree grafts to grow various tree-fruit for family use. Shen’s family hails from Durpar, by way of Chessenta; his now-deceased father Thontravur was brought to Shadowdale to settle as a young child, by his parents, and Thontravur romanced and married Velveira Almarrand, a wealthy Sembian daughter who fled her parents’ expectations and arranged marriage for a solitary subsistence life in Shadowdale; Taburg was their eldest child (his younger sister Randarla was a restless adventuring sort who joined the Harpers, traveled, and eventually died of Zhent violence in a forest ambush in Tethyr) and dwells on the farm he inherited from them with his small family: wife Shalarla, of Daggerdale stock, and three strong, capable daughters who are accomplished hunters and trappers, and help elves often against Zhent and woodcutter depredations into the forests.

(If your Realms campaign is set more recently, Shalarla outlived Taburg, to a ripe old age, and like him is buried on the farm. The burial was done by their three daughters, who now share the farm, unmarried and taking various lovers from time to time, and farming as their parents did.)

The three daughters, eldest to youngest, are: Haethe (“HAY-thh”); Raedaerle (“Ray-DARE-ull”); and Tarsarra (“Tar-SAR-uh”), Tarsarra being accomplished at arms, an energetic climber of trees and cliff-faces, and known for making literally-pain-killing wine from herbs and wildflowers found on the farm, Raedaerle being the great beauty and an accomplished cook and baker, and Haethe being the strongest and a good horse and ox trainer and tender (doctor).

As for Eveningstar’s bakery: many farms have their own sideyard bake-ovens (little mortared domes of stone with a wooden door, like a pizza oven), but the dale has had at least two bakeries from the mid-1300s DR onwards.

The most famous of these is the Eveningstar Bakery on the main road.

For many years, it was the home of its owner and baker, the gruff, tall and gaunt Urda Malo, an orphan from Riatavin who ate and drank prodigiously yet never gained weight and always felt hungry; she lived alone and made “superb” daily bread and even better sweet pasteries that local Evenor bought and ate as avidly as traveling merchants did.

As she grew old and frail, she hired live-in assistants, all local Evenor women, who became the bakers, and ran the Bakery together after Malo slipped into a senile dotage (they cared for her until her death of winterchill fever), and their descendants still do.

The other bakery in Shadowdale stood a little way south down the road to Mistledale, where the Temple Approach Way (the road that ran to face the southern entrance to the Temple of Chauntea, after the swamp was drained, and that temple was built) met the Mistledale Road, the SW-most building of the trio bracketed by roads, on the E side of the Mistledale Road.

It was the home and shop of Anthan Lokalarr, baker (who retired to Shadowdale from Selgaunt’s high prices and constant intrigue, in 1377 DR), and founded The Roundloaf. Which didn’t really compete with Malo’s bakery, but sold just one thing, almost exclusively to wagon-merchants buying in bulk: hard-crust roundloaves of nourishing bread coated in cinammon-oil-treated wax to slow mold growth until it could be sold, mainly throughout Sembia.


That is a great answer, thank you Ed, as always! For the second bakery, you're talking about Shadowdale, but it is supposed to be Eveningstar, right?


Yes! Sorry about that. I was reading from my (faded pencil and paper) files and typing them into a computer file, to answer you, and copied out the passages about The Roundloaf from the wrong pages due to them being out of order, probably from the last time I rummaged through them to answer a TSR telephone query, back in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Sigh.

Okay, Dispel Confusion time: Thontravur Shen and his Sembian bride Velveira Almarrand fled Shadowdale to escape ongoing harassment hired by Velveira’s parents, hastily joining a caravan that took them into Cormyr, where Thontravur bought a farm in Eveningstar, which is the farm (complete with apple orchard) Taburg Shen inherited (that’s shown on the coloured version of the published Eveningstar maps).

So Malo’s bakery is in Eveningstar, and The Roundloaf is in Shadowdale.

Here’s what I SHOULD have told you about the second Eveningstar bakery: two blocks south of the High Road along the Starwater Road, on the west side of the road, stands Harhund’s House, the home and bakeshop of Ulvar Harhund and his six daughters (his wife Alra died in childbirth, along with a seventh daughter). Their wares don’t really compete with the loaves and cakes of the Eveningstar Bakery; the Harhunds make just one thing for human consumption: oat cakes.

Most of what they bake is horse bread: field peas, beans, bran, or whatever else the local Evenor farms produce an overabundance of, mixed with a little wheat or barley flour to make a heavy wet dough, and baked into small, dense loaves used to feed livestock in winter (and often stored inside homes, around the hearth, to keep them dry and inhibit mold growth, so they’re rock-hard and typically smashed with an axe or hatchet before being fed to the animals). Humans CAN eat horse bread in a pinch, but it usually tastes terrible. Brigands often steal it from barns, then slice and fry it in a gravy made from wild animals or stolen chickens, boiled down.

By the 1470s, Ulvar is dead and most of…his daughters have married gnome artisans from Suzail, and their sons and daughters have become the roofers and plumbers (guttering from roofs into troughs, cisterns, and rain barrels) for Eveningstar, cutting slate in their own quarries and making their own slow-rust alloys for pipes and gutters, as well as continuing the bakery, which has branched out into becoming a sack factory for coarse-woven grainsacks (and cheap caps worn by most locals).

Thanks for the catch, Corentin. Otherwise, Harhund might have remained hidden for years.


Thank YOU, Sir. We now have a Realms answer (I love the lore you put in there) and a trivia about your calls with TSR. Lucky us! Have a nice day!

Oh by the way, are the Harhund a gnome family? (You said the daughters married gnome artisans).


Yes, the Harhunds are (all) gnomes.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:05:42
On the fall of elven warrior Reluraun:


Dear @TheEdVerse, do you have any info of when the elven warrior Reluraun died? Thanks!


Reluraun fell in the autumn of 464 DR; his slayers included evil arcane spellcasters (avenging evil dragons Reluraun had slain) who visited magical curses on the elf hero that drove him insane and turned him chaotic evil.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:01:04
On the Dungeon of Swords:


Hey @TheEdVerse, I have a question about the Dungeon of Swords. I looked at Candlekeep for some info and The Hooded One mentioned that most of it is NDA'd. That being said, is there any more information that you could give on the place that is not in published sources?

The Sources that I found the info in were Elminster's Ecologies App 2, Lost Empires, Serpent Kingdoms, 3e FRCS, and a bit of info in Candlekeep.

If you can't say any info about the dungeon, could you mention a bit about the magical swords that are in there? THO mentioned that you made them really unique with many powers and minor abilities, she said that they were almost like people.

As always thanks for all your work, and I hope you have a wonderful day!


Sorry, it’s the swords themselves that most of the NDAs apply to, though TSR did request, and get from me, and does own, the dungeon itself (a small subterranean complex/short adventure), so I can’t publish it.

What I can tell you is that the dungeon was a trapped and guarded treasure cache for these swords, and that some of them fly about (point first) defending the rest, which hang in an underground shaft (magically hovering in place).

All of the swords are sentient, and have not just a past history, but goals/aims of their own, so bearing one might not necessarily be fun for some folk; they’d consider they were slaves to a strong-willed magical weapon with a mind of its own, that can badger them as often as it desires to, speaking in their minds (i.e. the sword can deprive them of sleep if it wants to, to get its own way).

The Dungeon was my up-my-sleeve (1976 or 1977, if I recall correctly) solution to the problem of a stable group of gamers having to split up due to leaving home for a distant university or job, moving, and so on: the DM can end up running individual characters in their own adventures, perhaps joining new adventuring bands, because “their” swords are taking them to different places in the Realms, to do different things.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 22:00:39
On the demipower slain by Shaundakul during the Time of Troubles:


In your mind, which demipower did Shaundakul destroy in Myth Drannor during the Time of Troubles?
Faiths & Avatars pg. 143


Most sages of the Realms believe Shaundakul destroyed the gnoll deity Gorellik in Myth Drannor during the Time of Troubles, but I think he slew an even older and more savage gnoll demipower: Raurautha the Devouring Mother, whose form was that of a voraciously-hungry, constantly hunting, pouncing, and devouring, bestial giant regenerating she-gnoll—after she pounced on him but impaled herself on his weapons in doing so.

And Shaundakul revealed that he could subsume divine flesh, transforming its regenerative powers into an ability to fuse with his own substance, so he grows stronger and that which he melts into him ceases to exist as its former self.


Is this ability one that's unique to Shaundakul, or rare among deities? Had Shaundakul done this before, perhaps on the path to apotheosis?


It’s a rare, not unique ability; for obvious strategic reasons, those who know they have it (most don’t) keep it quiet. AFAIK, Shaundakul hadn’t done this before, and may not even have known he could until this battle.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:59:29
On the Dark Moon/New Moon Heresy:

Jan 21, 2018


Oh great and powerful @TheEdVerse, creator of the Realms, he who is more or less Ao, was the Dark Moon/New Moon Heresy begun before or after the Time of Troubles?


The BELIEF that Shar and Selune are but two faces of the same goddess is a very old one, but the organized, named Dark Moon/New Moon heresy was begun by Alorgoth as a ruse to lure followers into his clutches, very soon after the Time of Troubles.

Oct 28, 2020

I'm gonna necro this and ask, is there further information on this? 'Power of Faerûn' has a small excerpt on it, but not a lot of clarifying details. Was this a situation of keeping it vague for gamemasters to make up their own material?


It was keeping coverage scanty so DMs who didn’t want to deal with religious schisms in their Realms campaign didn’t have to; we weren’t basing published adventures on it or tying it to the secular rulership of a place (and so, making it unavoidable for DMs).

So here’s a smidgen more: the heresy has far outgrown Alorgoth’s scam (which was to lure worshippers to the Twofold Temple, where he slew them). The clerics of both deities who succumbed to this heresy received spells from Shar, and Shar believed she was duping and weakening Selûne by means of this heresy, but—like a judo throw that twists, and so uses, an opponent’s own force and impetus against them—Selûne was using the situation to ultimately weaken Shar and her mortal followers, without any open warfare (Shar believed she was prevailing, but Selûne was learning not only full details of Shar’s clergy and their schemes and the precise location of their wealth and other resources, but testing her own clergy and worshippers; some would fail her and cleave to Shar, but others would in the end use their cooperation with Sharrans to frustrate Sharran plans, seize Sharran resources, and lead Sharran clergy and agents into untenable overreachings where their evil would be exposed, and they’d suffer reprisals from others for their actions).

Shar’s besetting weakness is her overconfidence, which blinds her to the faults in her plans, or leads her always to the conclusion (often justified) that failures in those plans are due to the fallibility of her human followers. Selûne starts from the assumption that mortals are fallible, and have their own rights (they are not, and should never be treated as, mere tools). So this heresy continues because it’s still benefitting Selûne, while Shar still believes it’s benefitting her. However, the inevitable losses (deaths) mean that the numbers of mortals involved in this heresy is dwindling, and they are far more heard of, than seen, these days (the cult is increasingly ‘going underground,’ [not literally]). Shar sees this as success (we’re getting down to the really effective mortals, the cream of the crop; loss and destruction and chaos and mortal despair are all “wins” to her, remember) and Selûne sees this as succeeding in deeply impairing Shar’s influence and power in the Realms, especially when it comes to acting against Selûnite clergy and faithful worshippers.

As Elminster says, “One of these goddesses is right—and it isn’t Shar.”


It always made sense to me how Shar's prevailing narcissism both insulated her from the opinions of her peers, as well as isolated her from her worshippers. It's almost pitiful that the Lady of Loss doesn't realize she herself can never truly be 'found'.


"God is an iron" as the saying hath it.
In the Realms, many gods are irons. ;}
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:58:13
On the current Magister:


Whatever happened with the Magister of Mystra? That was probably one of my favorite pieces of lore from back in the day and seem to never hear anymore about the office.

And would it be possible for a newcomer to claim that title in lore?


The Magister went insane and then her head literally exploded when the Weave ‘went wild’ at Mystra’s death/the onset of the Spellplague. So there was no Magister for some time. Then there was a flurry of ambitious young spellcasters challenging for the office, and either gaining it only to soon be themselves challenged, or failing and dying in the duel.

The office is claimed by challenging and spell-defeating the current Magister, so that’s how a newcomer could become Magister. On rare occasions, a Magister resigns (usually to accept death or to enter Mystra’s service as a Weaveghost, leaving their body behind) or perishes by misadventure, and a likely successor may be approached by a manifestation of Mystra or Azuth, or a Weaveghost servitor of Mystra, to take the post. If they accept, they gain the insights and abilities of the office instantly (described by some as “the ultimate rapture”).

There have even been Magisters who have peacefully surrendered to a challenger, handing over the office without strife.

Elminster hasn’t revealed to me who is Magister at this moment, and neither has any other Chosen or servant of Mystra.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:57:21
On the Court Herald of Iriaebor:

Apr 19, 2020


Quick question @TheEdVerse, In Power of Faerun it gives an example of the Court of the High Tower of Iriaebor, and since I'm working with Iriaebor I thought I'd ask something. Power of Faerun mentions a Court Herald that commands two heralds-in-training. Now is that the same Local Herald that is mentioned in FOR4 – The Code of the Harpers pg 76, Oakenstaff? If it is, I thought that Local Heralds were the lowest tier, yet in Power of Faerun it seems that the Court Herald, Oakenstaff, commands two heralds-in-training known as Master Vigilants.


A “Court Herald,” by definition, is not part of the High Heralds, but a courtier on staff to that ruler, at that court, who keeps track of protocol (who gets invited to events, where they get seated, what coaching/guiding to the venue and within the venue, if any, they receive, and so on). They are more of a protocol scribe than a true herald, but they DO police the blazonry like a ‘real’ herald (i.e. with many folk not knowing how to read or read well, they use heraldic badge drawings to denote the seat or table place setting for a particular guest).

So, no, that Court Herald is NOT Oakenstaff or any Local Herald. ;}

Court Heralds who demonstrate a proper mastery of heraldry might get hired as a Local Herald (elsewhere) if ever dismissed by their employer (i.e. from their Court Herald post).

{The situation is somewhat akin to a modern real-world politician serving as an Attorney-General but not necessarily personally being an attorney. Some jurisdictions require persons named to such posts to be qualified as attorneys, others don’t.}
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:56:35
On the Border Kingdoms book being canon:


There's a debate going on regarding the canonicity of The Border Kingdoms in FR wiki. The argument is that since the only proof there is about it being canon atm is the line in dmsguild product entry, nothing from WotC that we see, it isn't canon. Can you help?


Certainly. Anything I write about the Realms, by definition, is canon, unless or until contradicted/rendered out-of-date by Wizards-published writing. That's in the original Realms agreement, that Wizards inherited from TSR; Wizards can't change the agreement without negotiating with me (so I'd know about any change). So it's canon, by definition. (Folks on the FR wiki should know this; it was all explained years back.) The BK book is also canon because Alex Kammer made sure it was okay with Wizards to call it so.

I know some fans like to decide for themselves what's canon or not, in any IP, but no one but players in my home Realms campaign would have seen more than DRAGON-glimpses of the Realms without the agreement, so it's the baseline for FR canon.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:55:19
On insults in Ten Towns:


Got a quick question. What are some of insults, slang, or names that people of the Ten Towns would use to describe southerners that are vacationing (adventuring) in Icewind Dale?


As aforementioned, “warmskins” is the polite term across the region north of the Spine of the World from people who come from the south.

“Trophy-kissers” is a less polite term for people who come to hunt, but don’t want to endure cold, direct danger from beasts and the land (crevasses, snowstorms, exposure, falling through ice into frigid waters, etc.) so much as they want a huge pelt, rack of antlers, set of tusks, monster skull, or other trophy to take home so they can brag about their bravery in hunting and personally slaying the trophy source, and so are likely to either rely on paid guides to do all the dirty work of a hunt, or just buy a trophy outright from some Ten-Towner (folk of the region have all learned to keep such trophies in their rafters or “cold-crawlspaces” [attics, not in contact with the ground!!!] for just such opportunities; they can make more from one such sale than some of them will earn in two or three seasons of hard daily work!).

“Soupbrains” is an even less polite word for idiot southerners (if you don’t just want to say “idiot southerners”), and refers to the local belief that living in too warm surroundings melts your brains to soup, so you do inane things, all the time.

“Ironlicker” is about the same level of open contempt for idiocy, referring to southerners who don’t know that human tongues freeze to cold metal.

And then things start to get linguistically ruder, fast, from “Doesn’t know enough to cover his backside in a blizzard” through “Thinks every goat’s an ice dragon” to “Can’t outthink a frozen-stiff corpse” and “So spineless and stupid as to be just waiting to be killed by the gods.”

The Ten Towns equivalent of “f**khead” is the word “raddank,” which means “dangerous, reckless, unkind-to-others shit-for-brains.”

And if someone makes you REALLY angry, and you hail from one of the Ten Towns, you’re likely to refer to that person as a “dragonf**ker.” Because only an utter mad bastard would seek sexual congress with a dragon.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:54:18
On strawberries:


Wisest @TheEdVerse we know strawberry exist in the realms and is eaten raw for breakfast. Are there any interestingness local uses? Wine? Strawberry tapenade roasted wolf chops? Are the berries huge or tiny like wild strawberries are on Earth?


Wild strawberries vary in size according to how much water, sun, and soil nourishment they get, and have always been eaten as raw berries in the Heartlands and farther south.
In the Vilhon, Tethyr, and Chessenta, they’ve long been cultivated, being a “manure crop” (the bushes get farm animal manure root dressings). Strawberries are made into strawberry wine, strawberry puddings and tarts, and used as an ingredient in hearth pottages (stews).
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:53:18
On the souls of sacrifices:

May 16, 2020


from a convo on Reddit:what happens to souls of goodly creatures sacrificed to evil deities? Does the evil deity devour their soul, or is it enough to feed of their pain during sacrifice? Do the souls still end up with their intended (good) god?


The soul should, unless something else happens to it, eventually end up with the god they have most reverenced (=good deity).

Although some deities “devour” souls, as do some creatures, both are really always consuming the emotions (and some memories) attached to the soul; the devoured soul itself will recoalesce, later, and drift to its intended goal. Such damaged, lessened souls are nearer to empty vessels than those who die and go more directly into the embrace of ‘their’ deity.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:52:25
On Sharess/Bast:


@TheEdVerse, question... Is Sharess still a thing in 5e? Or has the Second Sundering claimed another deity?


Of course, there is still Sharess. Bow before her, and feel her caress. ;}


She's not listed in the Sword Coast book or the 5E phb.

Did she revert to Bast during the second sundering?


Sharess is still around, but is one deity who lost many temples and public veneration in the wake of the Sundering. Such matters are always in flux, so it remains to be seen how long she stays obscure. Chances for sloth and hedonism have been few for many, recently.


Thanks so much for answering! Since The Sword Coast mentioned Mulhorandi Pantheon, but Sharess is not mentioned in anywhere I could find, I thought she might have reverted to Bast (who is listed in the PHB, but Sharess is not).


You're very welcome! Sharess is still Bast, and the majority of her surviving "her-first-before-other-gods" followers right now venerate her as Bast, so that fits. :}
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:51:49
On Selûnarra:


Whatever happened to Selunarra, Shade's "good twin"?


Selûnarra (Opus) itself (the floating city) crashed and was destroyed at the same time as almost all of the other flying cities of Netheril (in the event remembered as Karsus’s Folly”). It was widely and correctly believed among Netherese survivors (almost all of them of Low Netheril, meaning they were ground-dwellers serving those aloft in the lfying cities) that many Opans survived by magically teleporting elsewhere just before the wild Weave-surge caused by Karsus trying to seize the power of Mystra. The rest were snatched to safety by the goddess Selûne.

The first group were scattered across Toril, and were both bewildered at the sudden ending of their lives of luxury, and horrified at what had happened. They soon found themselves fleeing and fighting off all manner of creatures who’d resented what the Netherese had become and done, and wanted them destroyed.

The second group were delivered by Selûne’s grace to a distant, wild continent of Toril, where they had to start over, homesteading in the wilderness. Most of them chose to live simple, quiet subsistence lives, using magic as a last resort rather than a casual daily tool.

Their fate in “today” Realmsdate? NDA.


But this seems to be in conflict with other information. Lost Empires of Faerûn and The Grand History of the Realms both say the city was saved; LEoF explicitly has the city intact in Selûne's divine realm.


"Seems to be" is key, here. Selûne recreated the city, as a home for those who wished to continue to dwell in it. Almost none did. Both LEoF and the Grand History are written by unreliable narrators looking at the past from much later; everything in them is subject to the same distortions of history that happen in the real world, when we moderns look back and misinterpret writings and artefacts of ancient civilizations from our modern points of view.

This is absolutely key to understanding the Realms: from my earliest writings about it, long before it was a D&D world or D&D even existed, we were seeing the Realms through the eyes of unreliable narrators. The published D&D Realms setting has always been "brought to us by" Elminster (and Laeral, and Volo, and a few others, and I've repeatedly warned all readers and gamers who'll listen that they are unreliable narrators. Some sages WANTED Opus/Selûnarra to survive, so they wrote it so.

You see, in the early days of D&D there were many "canon warriors" or "rulebook lawyers" who would argue with DMs at the gaming table that they were straying from What Had Been Written (in other words, they wanted to use their metagame knowledge in-game).

The use of unreliable narrators builds in a canon, in-game justification for DM creativity/changes, which in turn returns the game to a roleplaying experience, not an "insider-trading advantage" experience.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 25 Nov 2020 : 21:50:26
On chilling and selling bottled beer and milk:

May 19, 2020


@TheEdVerse in the Realms are bottled milk and beer served in ten packs due to the ten day?


No. ;}

Milk and beer are transported by the cask (big) or keg (the "barrel" you're used to) or handkeg (small, rope handles both ends or in a net around it, for easy handling), and only poured out of these into flasks for serving. Some large city establishments (large inns, big taverns, clubs, guildhalls) have tuns (GIANT casks, that never move, rest in cradles, and have spigots) in their cellars that are filled from incoming casks.

Milk and beer are usually poured out of such storage containers into glass flasks or stoppered decanters only for serving. Only the high-volume establishments listed above would bottle them, and it's a matter of funnel-pouring into bottles (the funnel being topped up before uncapping, and pre-sized to hold a "bottle-full"), then the filled bottles corked and either chilled or later serving, or taken straight to table, depending on what liquid's inside and how particular patrons prefer the temperature of their quaff.

Some places (like a real-world British off-license, back in the day) may fill a jug or ewer brought by patrons to a side-window, and a few will sell a bottle of beer (not expecting to ever get the bottle back, so priced accordingly), but no one sells "packs" of beer, cider, or anything else. Many places sell a handkeg of ale (ranging from about 8 US gallons, so a very rough equivalent to half of a modern real-world "pony keg" or "quarter barrel," up to a whole one) and the cost is typically 1 gp (2 sp for the keg, so refunded upon return).

Which doesn't mean your characters couldn't start a fad of assembling and selling packs...which just might catch on!


I love reading about the mundane, day to day details of realms life.


Me, too. It makes it all seem more real, and you can hang thousands of adventures off those details, and give PCs and NPCs 'day jobs' galore. All good. :}


How would they chill liquids?


Most taverns and eateries have an ice-cellar. (Lots of blocks of ice. Purchased from ice-sellers. In summer, Auril clergy make LOTS of coin selling ice they've made.)

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