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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)
questing gm Posted - 24 Oct 2021 : 03:33:45
On Raven Queen in Forgotten Realms

Oct 23 2021


how is the raven queen in the forgotten realms, is before Kelemvor right?


She was doing fine, when last I saw her. ;}

She was active in the Realms long before Kelemvor was born as a mortal, let alone ascended.

Yet until the Spellplague, the Raven Queen acted subtly in the Realms, doing little more than harvesting memories that intrigue her.
questing gm Posted - 23 Oct 2021 : 02:38:09
On original Moonshaes

Oct 23 2021


Last night at #GHC I was lucky enough to see the original #DnD Forgotten Realms map that @TheEdVerse drew many years ago. It was interesting to see how the world had changed from that original concept. Look close at Ann & Tethyr. Grinning face with smiling eyes


Did you peek at my original Moonshaes? ;}


They were stuck on off to the side! I was trying to decide if one of the islands had been turned sideways later but my phone wouldn’t open up a map to compare. Smiling face with open mouth and tightly-closed eyes


I'll get you your very own image of the originals someday!


In the moonlight, under the right spells drawing on Moonwells, certain folk (and Ffolk!) can "walk" the ghostly original islands like stepping stones, and so travel dryshod from, say, Sarifel to Alaron!

Just for (cough) storytelling purposes for (cough) future adventures in the Moonshaes. And it's all canon, as I and other TSR DMs were incorporating this at RPGA adventures at GenCon back in the Milwaukee era. :}


Ok. This is pretty neat. Astonished face


Wait until I tell you about the haunted suits of armor...
questing gm Posted - 23 Oct 2021 : 02:31:46
On Elvish word or phrase that may sound like stark

Oct 23 2021


Great Sage @TheEdVerse Is there an Elvish word or phrase that may sound like stark?
I am creating an Elven Armorer Artificer and would like them to have chosen a name that might be relevant but also hope to have a name that sounds like stark... Grinning face Thank you.


How about...
jestarakh (pronounced “jess-TARK”) = crafter and cherisher of small vital details?

Jestarakh the Artificer. Hath a ring to it.
questing gm Posted - 23 Oct 2021 : 02:28:30
On hiding Hesperdan's true (draconic) nature

Oct 22 2021


Hope you're on the mend after your recent tests. Quick question that I am hoping isnt under NDA. Was Manshoon aware of Hesperdan's true (draconic) nature? ~ Regards Gareth


No. Azuth and various of the Chosen have helped, down the years, to hide Hesperdan's true nature from Manshoon and others (not necessarily with Hesperdan's knowledge). Mystra was amused.
questing gm Posted - 23 Oct 2021 : 02:21:28
On anyone becoming a wizard

Oct 22 2021


Great sage @TheEdVerse, I've been meaning to ask you, Can anyone become a wizard?

What I mean is, if you study hard enough, anyone can become a astrophysict, but is this the same case with wizards? Or do you need to be born with some kind of magical spark?


You need to have the Gift: that is, the aptitude for wielding the Art. In most cases, born with it, though some individuals develop it after being "caught" in magic, or a god imbues them with lasting spell ability as opposed to once.

That's just to become a wizard, mind; there are many other roads in the Realms to wielding magic.

And yes, the hard studying (=experimentation and casting practice) is also part of mastering wizardry.


Can the Gift be stolen from someone? Or otherwise acquired quite deliberately, through study of where to go and what to do/expose one's self to?


No, the Gift cannot be stolen.

Down the centuries, some have tried to acquire it by going to the right places, doing the right things, and having the right experiences. A few have succeeded, but...did they already have it, and just hadn't awakened/triggered it? ?
questing gm Posted - 22 Oct 2021 : 01:01:04
On Szass Tam with the dread ring, the demoncyst, and curse of the death moon orb

Oct 21 2021


Did Szass Tam's attempt using the dread rings to recreate things draw upon the athora in any way? Did the attempt in any way affect the demoncyst which had formerly held Eltab? Was Szass Tam affected in any way by the curse of the death moon orb after he got it?



No, no, and yes. Respectively. And before you ask, that yes has a still-shiny NDA bolted securely to it. ;}
questing gm Posted - 21 Oct 2021 : 01:15:16
On topography of the Yawning Portal

Oct 20 2021


Based on two maps that I found on the web I tried to replicate the Yawning Portal’s first floor. Can you tell me please if the topography of the rooms is exact? If not, can you orient me to some map that represent exactly THE Yawning Portal in your head?

<image of Yawning Portal 3D model:>


This is pretty close. Beautiful!

The well down into Undermountain should be a little more than twice as big, and the double doors you enter the main taproom through (from a cloakroom/bouncer guard lobby) seem to missing. Right now, I see no way in!

It should be in that stone wall beyond the two stools around the short side of the bar.
questing gm Posted - 20 Oct 2021 : 00:51:13
On docking Halruaa sky ships

Oct 19 2021


Hail and well met! Now that Halruaa has returned to Toril, how do their sky ships dock now that their docks haven’t been seen or used in 100 years?


Usually, "the old way:" turn into the wind to slow down as much as possible, then down sail and glide, and throw out mooring lines to turrets and tall towers, then it's rope bridges time (and reel in close). Then see what docks are still usable or can be repaired...
questing gm Posted - 19 Oct 2021 : 01:46:05
On Yeven’s Shrine or Yevenwood or the Pool of Yeven

Oct 18 2021


Ed would you be able to offer any hint about the namesake for Yeven’s Shrine or Yevenwood or the Pool of Yeven?


They are all named for the long-ago archmage Yeven, who dwelt on the banks of the pool, and later in a “pocket plane” tower IN the Pool (it was visible only in moonlight, as a ghostly solitary cylindrical turreted tower).

Yeven was an energetic experimenter with spells and creator of magical things, including many gates to other planes and skyships. When he died, his many links to his own wards around his home tethered his sentience and soul to the Pool and its banks and the land immediately around them, where he remains, and can be called upon as a wizshade of sorts (ghostly apparition able to cast spells, that will reform some days after being “destroyed,” every time) by those who know how. Mystra and Azuth agreed to let him exist in this manner, in return for his sharing some spells and magical lore with any who ask—so he still experiments, and tarries. Anchored in this location by the Weave, he’s a special sort of weaveghost, and the human equivalent of a ‘place spirit.’ Those who’ve met what he’s become say he’s a rather waspish “absent-minded old sage” sort. Plain black robes, fair hair, clean-shaven, handsome, seldom left the Pool, cared nothing for politics and events in the wider world, just loved magic and working with it.
questing gm Posted - 19 Oct 2021 : 01:43:26
On hand counting

Oct 19 2021


@TheEdVerse if you would be so kind as to spare a moment of your time for a question. Do the different peoples in the Realms hand count differently? I find the various methods around the world fascinating, and was very curious about this.


Yes, both by race/species and regionally. Dwarves and gnomes count along knuckles, left hand being "ones" and right hand "tens." Halflings count around bases of fingers on inside palm, tapping the center of the palm with the thumb of the base hand for every ten.

Elves count with raised forefingers and then make a cupping, sweeping motion of the left hand for every subtotal, adding the right hand in a crossing motion (cupping right palm to back of left hand) for a final total/result. I put some description of that into the Knights novels and the Shadows of the Avatar trilogy, but checking them, I see that those passages got edited out.

Many human merchants have two ways of counting: cupped-palm-hidden for private transactions, and slow/broad/showy for public totalling.


Thank you so much! That’s awesome, and is going into my games ASAP! In our own little corner of the multiverse, I find the Japanese method fascinating as it uses only one hand.


There are lots of individuals in the Realms who have to count one-handed, thanks to injuries or one hand being almost always occupied (holding into a roof or ladder, for instance), but most countings are two-handed if one can, for "look, I'm hiding nothing" reasons.
questing gm Posted - 19 Oct 2021 : 01:40:23
On Grand Tour of the Realms

Oct 19 2021



How much of “A Grand Tour of the Realms” was written by @GrubbsTweet and how much by @TheEdVerse?


Jeff was in-house (staff) lead for that. He and the editor (Julia Martin), consulting with Realms manager Karen Boomgarden, decided on the layout of the book, rewriting and editing my "raw" material to suit the space. They'd ask me for additional text as needed.
questing gm Posted - 18 Oct 2021 : 02:50:42
On Rymdyl

Oct 18 2021


Hi @TheEdVerse. Is there any lore on Rymdyl you can share? Or is it NDA?


See p84 of THE BORDER KINGDOMS, a canon-official hardcover Realms sourcebook by Alex Kammer and yours truly, available at the DM's Guild.

Update: rival adventuring bands have recently settled there, and are digging everywhere for Rymdyl's never-found treasure.


Nice! was that particular piece of lore leftover from the old magazines era?


Not "leftover" in terms of cutting-room-floor, no. Never put forward for publication. It's part of my ongoing "unfolding lore for NPCs because they're not static, they get up to as much as the PCs" DMing lore notes.

The Realms is ALIVE.
questing gm Posted - 18 Oct 2021 : 02:48:14
On Seven Sister spell to create turtle soup

Oct 18 2021


I remember reading that one of the seven sisters liked turtle soup so much that she created a spell to summon it. Which sister was that?


Alustriel. See page 66 of FOR6/THE SEVEN SISTERS. Her fellow sisters don't share her wild fondness for it, though some of them like it. El and Khelben use the spell more often to drench a foe's head in turtle soup unexpectedly than they do to gain a meal.
questing gm Posted - 18 Oct 2021 : 02:45:46
On 'torchtowers' in Waterdeep

Oct 18 2021


Hope your medical issues are treating you well @TheEdVerse. I have a hopefully simple question - what exactly are the "torchtowers" in Waterdeep? I get the impression they are like signal towers, but are they a specific set of towers?


I'm tired from my annual stress echo, but okay, just suffering through the 2 weeks of wearing a Holter heart monitor that gets in the way of everything.

Every tower along the city walls has three beacon-fires laid ready for lighting (if a beacon has to be kept alight a long time, the unlit two get cannibalized as fuel for the lit one, as more firewood is brought up from storerooms below in the tower), but "torchtowers" is the collective name for wall-towers that aren't also city gates or major "moot-towers" where walls meet. So any "just another tower" along the wall is a torchtower. (Every walltower contains dungeon cells, a Watch "ready room," locked storage rooms for evidence/confiscated items retention, some bedchambers and garderobes, and a tiny armory.)
questing gm Posted - 18 Oct 2021 : 02:43:11
On elves' good alignment

Oct 17 2021


@TheEdVerse guess this one isn't an easy question at all, but how can the Elven attitude to other races be considered morally 'good'? The aggressively xenophobic, sometimes homicidal immediate reaction to any non-elf in Myth-Drannor for example.


Every culture has their own definitions of good and evil, of fairness and progress, and their own moral code. These are seldom static.

Adventure and storytelling often lie in the clashes, and the learning/changing of personal and societal views.


So the alignment chart in turn can only really apply to singular characters, not a civilization or a society as a whole.



Many elves would reject the very notion of other races judging them, but as with humans, dwarves, and others, individual elves who travel more, and have more contact with other races and places, tend to have broader views (more tolerance).

Halflings who live in human-dominated cities are among the most flexible and tolerant, particularly if they live in cosmopolitan cities (like the ports of Waterdeep and Baldur's Gate) and see many different folk, from many lands.

I've always seen alignments as a baseline for determining the "usual prevailing views/attitudes" of a group (e.g. race or army), but even then, the lived experience of "this particular" group will largely determine their views. (If you're always raided by orcs, you'll see orcs negatively. If they aid you, no).


Thankyou for the response by the way! I read through the entirety of Elminster's stories again during lockdown 2020-2021 and it was a wonderful escape.


You're welcome!

In El in Myth Drannor, I repeatedly showed elves sneering at "lesser" humans...even as they displayed the same ignorance, decadence, folly, etc. they saw as "human nature."
questing gm Posted - 17 Oct 2021 : 03:43:06
On suitable name in Rashemi for a small fishing village at the mouth of River Ashan

Oct 16 2021


Dear @TheEdVerse what would be a suitable name in Rashemi for a small fishing village at the mouth of River Ashan? I'm going to run The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh in Rashemen.


Here are four possibilities, from my old, faint pencil Rashemen notes:
Ishtel, Telmar, Ultanir, Yarloran
questing gm Posted - 16 Oct 2021 : 03:06:02
On the first race in space

Oct 15 2021


@TheEdVerse what was the first race in space in the forgotten realms?


As usual, that's a "lost in the mists of time" debate.

If you mean Torilian ground-dwelling races who somehow got up into space (beyond lone powerful spellcasters), almost certainly the elves (see Spelljammer), but many races have their (conflicting) beliefs.

And how you define "space" also comes into it. Giants have had floating/flying cities (not all of them cloud cities) for as long as "anyone" can remember.
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:41:36
On the Stonelands

Oct 14 2021


Hi @TheEdVerse ! I read that the Stonelands is a very rocky land, with cracks, water and trees everywhere, but how do caravans or Purple Dragon's patrols can go throught it? How does Redspring inhabitants wander around their village? Thanks, it could help my current campaign :)


The Stonelands is almost all exposed bedrock, with a very thin coating of topsoil, anchored by wind- and cold-stunted trees. Except in the bottoms of the ravines, where centuries of rotted-down trees and vegetation have accumulated into often-rich soil.

The best way to picture it is: imagine a huge hill of mashed potatoes in front of you on a long platter. You take a fork and drag it right-to-left- and left-to-right through the mash, leaving horizontal deep furrows. Those are the ravines, with almost bare, sometimes knife-edged ridges between them, and lots of trees and water and tangled vines down at the bottom of them.

You’ve just made a model of the Stonelands.

So even pack mules have a hard time traversing it. Individual able-bodied folk with packs on their backs can CLAMBER through the Stonelands, but no one’s going to be marching or taking wagons through it. So no caravans go through it, except by the one wide-enough, flat-enough route (involving Yellow Snake Pass) that the Zhentarim took over and controlled; everyone else (including the Zhents) go around.

Purple Dragon patrols don’t enter it; on rare occasions, an army will be sent into it, but no one patrols it.

There’s not enough arable land to grow enough food for large settlements, and no reason to settle there. It’s hunting and foraging country.

As for Redspring: will answer later, must rush off to work at the day job now!


Hi @TheEdVerse! ...How does Redspring inhabitants wander around their village? Thanks, it could help my current campaign :)

On foot, quite happily. Except when riding in goat- or mule-drawn carts for transporting-goods reasons, or sledges in winter snow.

As I wrote in Volo’s Guide To Cormyr (although an editor removed all the commas between the place names in that sentence), Redspring lies in “ideal grazing country because of their numerous ponds and rivulets, and so numerous shepherds and keepers of herds of goats, cattle, and other herd animals have come to live here over the years.”

Which should make it obvious that it doesn’t lie in the Stonelands proper. The term “Stonelands” is used locally in upland/back country Cormyr specifically to mean the terrain of knife-edge exposed bedrock ridges with breakneck-steep ravines between, not “everything up north, there,” as a dockworker or shopkeeper who’s never left Suzail might think of it; to outlanders and folk who live in Suzail and Marsember, the Stonelands may be a big east-west band that marks where the settled realm ends, on the north, but to folk in Eveningstar and Arabel, things are more nuanced.

So there are fingers of topsoil-covered terrain reaching north into the Stonelands in several places. Redspring is in one of them. It stands in well-watered (many springs rising, and flowing down and out of it), hilly but with topsoil, ranching country.

Hillmarch is also located in the same sort of countryside: rolling hills, with very little level ground, but topsoil and not bare rock ridges. There are exposed rock faces (cliffs your sheep can fall over) here and there, but plenty of wild grass-covered dirt to walk around on.

Redspring gets its name from the reddish hue of the springs that rise in it (the local drinking water), which is red due to a lot of dissolved iron from the rocks beneath. If there weren’t richer, better iron deposits much farther south and closer to the coast, there’d likely be iron mines near Redspring. As it is, it’s ranching country, shipping wool and mutton, goats and goat-milk cheese, and smoked, salted sides of beef south to the heart of Cormyr, and east to the Dales and Moonsea lands.

- Edited on 17/10/21 to add new tweets
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:37:03
On exarchs, demigods and portfolios

Oct 14 2021


Hey Ed. In 4e it was said that Obould had become an exarch of Gruumsh. What does that mean? Is he like a demigod or something? If so, what would Obould’s portfolios be?


An exarch may be CALLED a demigod by mortals, and an exarch has extraordinary powers and is said to have “ascended” from mortality, but exarchs aren’t gods (they are lesser than gods). Many attract their own worshippers, and some can grant some spells, but they are divine servitors of a “real” deity (so, above Chosen but below a true demigod); if you’re not pledged to a deity, you can’t be an exarch.

Exarchs don’t have their own portfolios, but can reflect or specialize in an aspect of the portfolios of the god they serve (if there was a god of trash, an exarch serving that god might aid and pay attention to makers and users of trash can lids). Many exarchs of the Realms live in the Realms as opposed to on another plane, and the precise nature of their powers (like the spell granting) depends in large part on what the deity they’re pledged to grants/allows them to have (so it varies, from exarch to exarch).
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:33:28
On Vorhardruil

Oct 14 2021


I know the tweet ( is a bit old, but where can I find more information about this Vorhardruil ? If there is.


Right here. ;} Nothing's been published elsewhere, he's from my home Realms campaign lore. He lives in the overgrown ruined city in the heart of the Wealdath, when he's not traveling the Realms destroying "troublesome" undead (many of his targets are in large cities).
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:17:33
On Star Elves and Orcs in 15 century on the Sword Coast.

Oct 14 2021


1) Dear Mr. Ed Greenwood, would you help a noob brazillian player of D&D?
I’m doing my files to a new campaing and i really like to create solid character, with tight backgrounds but i’m looking for certain infomations and can’t find it anywhere.

2) I would like to ask you some informations about Star Elves and Orcs of 5e during 15 century on the Sword Coast.
About elves i need to know where they lived during this time and which elves were notorious (wizards, noble, important families and such).

3) And about Orcs i need to know which barbarian tribes lived on the Sword Coast in that time and the class of each tribe. Sir, if you could help me i would be tremendously grateful.
Or if you could only point me where on the books i could find it it would be excellent also.

4) The adventure goes by the 1490 DR.
Can you help me with this answers? i would be eternally grateful.
Thanks in advance! and thank you very much for all your amazing work on D&D


Hi, and well met!
Happy to help, but I’m not sure what you mean by the “class” of each orc tribe: ?

Star elves are still few and reclusive in the 1490s DR Sword Coast lands; most dwell far to the east, in the Yuirwood (Aglarond). Those who live in the Sword Coast lands tend to keep to forests (notably The High Forest, but also in the southernmost Moonwood [southernmost Glimmerwood], the Misty Forest, and Westwood), and to have willing contact with sun elves, wood elves, wild/green elves, moon elves and half elves; they detest everything about crowded cities (especially the smells) and mistrust humans (whom they see as too swift to violence in all disputes; “you never know when a human will turn on you, blade in hand”). Many humans may mistake a star elf for a moon elf at a chance meeting, and there are star elves who travel, explore, and adventure in the Sword Coast North (not so much in Amn, Tethyr, Calimshan, and other heavily populated areas farther south).

Among these are the star elf merchant families of Evemdrel and Saeyil, and the noble family House Dahlmkess (who believe assimilation in a “sentient civilization” of all “civilized” races, against “the Rapacious Ones” [orcs and other goblinkin such as goblins and hobgoblins, illithids, beholders, and Lolth-worshipping drow] is inevitable, and is better managed—so star elves can end up controlling or influencing the “unfortunate” belligerent tendencies of humans—than resisted). In this, Dahlmkess differs from most other star elf nobility, notably the conservative houses of Lalaundura and Rannekho.

Powerful star elf wizards include Varlroke, a gruff and prickly loner (male, old, mysterious); Avaeya Fonril, a kindly advisor and tutor to many (female, charismatic, seen as wise and caring); the star elf adventurers Shasslammaera “Tash” Relouvrin (fiery-tempered, acrobatic, agile, and worldly-wise, usually having back-up plans ready in case of treachery) and Telharl Velvoor (gleeful, whimsical, young, sword-tongued, and fun-loving). Among (all) elves in the region, as much about these individuals is commonly known as I’ve given here (with Tash being the best known), but in, say, human cities and among human sages, only Varlroke has been heard of.

Some star elves of the High Forest are planning a military conquest of The Reaching Woods, to make it a new home and exterminate or drive out the gnolls. Others think this is an unwise, overbold idea that will inevitably give star elves too high a public profile.

As for the orcs, the descendants of Obould continue to rule an orc kingdom from Dark Arrows Keep (Lorgru ascended the throne in 1485 DR, after orcs in the region were defeated in the War of the Silver Marches), but there are “barbarian” orc warbands wandering the Sword Coast North as there have always been (just as hobgoblin warbands, usually 20-30 strong, wander to this day). Regardless of the politics of any particular moment, the root causes of orc behaviour in the Sword Coast North remain: orcs breed like rabbits in many caverns in the mountains across the North, out-populate their available food and must forage farther and farther afield in their food-hunts, and in the end either form an orc horde and sweep south plundering until exterminated, or if no strong orc leader arises who wants to command a horde, individual warbands of starving orcs go out in search of food and wander the lands. In the 1490s DR, the mountain-orc-dominated Kingdom of Many Arrows is free of starvation, thanks to cultivation, to trade, and to rearing “meat herds” of rothé and other livestock in mountain valleys. It also nows civilized discipline. So aside from renegade warlords (as the ill-fated Hartusk) on the fringes of the kingdom, there will be patrols and hunting bands, but no Many Arrows warbands.

However, there are many warbands of other orcs, orogs, half-orcs, and the like wandering the Sword Coast lands.

Orc barbarian tribes with names like Evil Eye, Death Moon, Broken Bone, Vile Rune, and Rotting Eye are found in the Greyhawk setting.

In the Sword Coast North of the Forgotten Realms, the only similar orc name is “the Broken Rune,” and it’s not a tribal name, but an allegiance/philosophy: the Broken Rune refers to an orc legend about a pact (the Rune) among orcs, elves, and dwarves, broken millennia ago, that orcs believe the other two races broke, and that this justifies orc raids “to get even.”

Orc warbands will bear the name and device their leader favours, so in the 1490s: The 40-50-strong warband led by Othrogh Four-Arms, a battle-scarred, cunning old veteran with graying skin and four arms, has a badge (and name) of Four Fists, drawn in a counter-clockwise, crooked-down-to-punch pinwheel. The 30-plus warband of the shrewd, sneering Guthmur, a mountain orc with a deep scar that clefts his left jaw, is the Reavers, and its badge is a black scythe-blade, dripping many drops of red blood, on a white banner field. The almost-40-strong warband of the grim, gigantic orc brothers Durth (the talker) and Targh (the silent mountain) are The Mighty. Their badge is an upright, fingers-to-viewer orc left fist that’s jutting spikes all around.

The Maragog orc tribe of (caverns deep in) The Crags sends out three to five “bring back food and prove yourselves” warbands of young members (all classes and genders) every year. All fly a maroon banner adorned with a row of four black talons. They bear the names Pride of Maragog, Valor of Maragog, Reach of Maragog, Thirst of Maragog, and Fang of Maragog, and these names get endlessly recycled, with different personnel.

There are also many smaller, lesser-known, or recently formed warbands led by powerful orcs, or an orc shaman-plus-two or three brute warriors nucleus, and they tend to be named for their leaders.
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:07:55
On the right pronunciation for Lolth

Oct 14 2021


Pardon, would you settle a disagreement? How do you pronounce Lolth? My partner and I agree that both our pronunciations are acceptable. But you, quite literally, wrote the book.


ALL pronounciations are acceptable, because regional accents across the Realms (above and below the surface) have different vowel sounds and emphases. "LO-ull-thh" (but faster) is common around Waterdeep, but as you go east and north, you'll hear "LOW-th." And so on.
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 01:01:27
On toilets in Waterdeep

Oct 15 2021


If there are sewers in Waterdeep, does that mean there are toilets too?

AND are there canonically any poorer areas where there are cesspools, simple latrines, or even areas where night soil is thrown out of chamber pots down into the street? Are there any laws preventing this?


Oh, yes. This has all been covered, multiple times. (There's even a scene in Cormyr in one of my novels where a character is paying to empty her chamber pot into the regular nightsoil wagon.) TSR did tend to censor graphic details of garderobe/privy/jakes use.

So, the quick answer is that clubs, eateries, and the homes of the noble and wealthy have garderobes (toilets), that flush with foot-treadles; the water comes from rooftop rainwater cisterns that can be filled in dry weather by pumping. Hand-pumps serve most washbasins adjacent to them, and everyone has a standing-right-by ewer for pouring water to flush, and for carrying water elsewhere or dumping it over your head while washing hair.

And everywhere has a bumstick and a sluices-stick (they go by various politer regional names, such as “athorn” and “dollurd,” respectively, in Waterdeep). You use the former to scrub your behind, and the latter to clean the toilet seat and area; both otherwise reside in receptacles of pleasantly-scented water that submerges their “business ends.” Both are stout short sticks with old towels, handcloths, or scraps of clothing affixed to one end.

They’re normally made to look clearly different from each other, so one won’t be mistaken for the other, but otherwise tend to be of similar construction and form.

Less affluent addresses may lack a cistern, or access to it for all garderobes. When that access doesn’t exist, the facilities will still have the two sticks and the ewer (and a by-the-sink handpump, unless it’s elsewhere and the water is brought to the garderobe by ewer), and the water from the ewer is poured down the garderobe to flush it. Busy garderobes may have a row of filled ewers, with “house rules” about taking down an emptied one and returning it filled, if you poured it.

Most rooftop cisterns are screened to keep dead birds and critters and leaves from clogging the water-flow, and they drain roof slopes into the cistern, which has its own overflow into any rooftop garden or greenery, and then another overflow into downpipes, which take excess rainwater down to balcony plantings or windowboxes, and then the street (where drainage gutters should carry it away, often using alleys for this rather than major streets).

Really poor addresses, and garderobes or servants’ sleeping areas, may use chamberpots (metal or ceramic vessels, without or without lids, but usually having stout handles) for facilities; these have to be carried and emptied into a nightsoil bin (often a water-filled cistern, to keep the smell down, out of which solids are “dipped” with a giant ladle that hopefully doesn’t get used for anything else, into a nightsoil wagon to carry it away.

In the Deep, that “away” destination is usually the Rat Hills, well to the south of the city.

Many nobles buy stable waste, and the manure of their own stables, for wagon-carting as fertilizer to their own country estates, up “the Amphail Road.” They would very rarely trust dung from any other source for this purpose.

One last note: some older garderobes flush with pull-levers on the wall, rather than foot-treadles.


Most excellent information. Thank you!

Do the garderobes have traps to keep the smell of the sewers/cesspools out? Or has that innovation not been discovered/implemented?


Garderobes in wealthy homes have "two-steps." There's a water trap part way down the garderobe shaft [which may be shared by several garderobes]: foot-treadle opens its floor to dump water and sewage; when it closes, water from a holding tank refills, shut off by float. A second water trap (same mechanics, but usually larger) is in the cellar, where all shafts enter a common pool, right above the drop into the sewers. ALL city properties must, by Lords' decree, have a "sewer trap" (what we would call a "backflow preventer") thanks to tides entering the sewers (which is what "washes them clean," daily). This decree quietly doesn't extend to properties east of North Ward, at the bottom of the cliff.


I want to see illustrations of water deep with roof cisterns because I don’t recall ever seeing one


They're in the attic space (if Waterdhavian houses were built like modern North American ones, within the roof trusses, so UNDER the roof-slopes), and filled by roofpeak drain-holes, so the house heat keeps them from freezing in winter.


Hi Ed. In a long-ago post at Candlekeep you named the "sticks" as "garl-sticks". Is that a moniker used in a particular area of the Realms? You also mentioned "thareea" (wiping cloths). Are the use of these widespread or again particular to a particular region?


Garlsticks is the collective term for both sticks; in Waterdeep, there are always 2 (1 for a user's behind and the other for scrubbing the garderobe seat, lip, and shaft). Fastidious nobles (and wannabe nobles aping them) may use thareea, but no one else in the Deep.

- Edited on 16/10/21 to add new tweets
- Edited on 17/10/21 to add new tweets
- Edited on 19/10/21 to add new tweets
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 00:49:25
On ignoring the Spellplague

Oct 14 2021


Can a DM just ignore the spellplague? Would it be a lot of work to convert the 5e Realms adventures to the 1370-1380s DR?


A DM can ignore anything they like. And no, if you put STORY first (and that's really CHARACTERS first), it's never a lot of work to convert. "Reality" at your gaming table is what the PCs experience. Lorebooks different? I guess Volo lied again. He does that a lot.
questing gm Posted - 15 Oct 2021 : 00:46:55
On the new Thay book

Oct 14 2021


Our new Thay book (@TheEdVerse Alan Patrick and myself) is really coming together nicely. It is going to pull back the veil on Thay and let every see what life in Thay really is like. I am excited to get this out to everyone soon!


Thay behind the curtain. I was going to say behind the red robes, but that's another book entirely. There's enough in this book to tour Thay, at the gaming table, and not leave the poor DM frantically inventing the unfolding countryside.

Bring Thay to life at LAST.


How do the Red Wizards feel about Rath Modars Thayan Resurrection and betrayal?


As in, an official position? They've been silent. (And an official position is about the only way by which the Red Wizards would have a monolithic, uniform view.) It's safe to conclude that Szass Tam disapproves, but it's not safe to conclude anything else.


Will the book consider the events after the Haunted Lands trilogy?


The book is set "right now" Realms-time.

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