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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Gary Dallison Posted - 26 May 2020 : 16:01:22
So i'm going to bite the bullet and read the novels to mine them for lore.

Is anyone interested in me posting the details here so i can spare others the pain of having to read them (and for easy reference later)?
30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 May 2022 : 17:17:12
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison


Then there is Finder meeting Jamal and spending two weeks with her. My understanding was that he was released from his planar imprisoned and then placed under house arrest by CAssana in Westgate. So he must have escaped somehow, but rather than running away, he just wandered around Westgate and spent some time with a grieving widow. Not exactly out of character (since he couldnt go to the Harpers for help), but a little bit odd, even for Finder.



I don't see it as odd, at all. If you have a captive, inside a walled city, and that captive escapes, the first thing you're going to do is cover the escape routes: the gates and the port. If a few days pass and you've not found your former captive, the logical assumption is that the captive either got out before you covered the exits, or they somehow eluded your hunters.

So going to ground and waiting for the hunters to give up is a good strategy. Once they decide you're gone and stop watching the exits, then you can simply stroll out at leisure.
Gary Dallison Posted - 28 May 2022 : 15:46:18
Loved this book, one of the best so far. Awesome amount of lore, lots of realms related details.

Just a few minor details that irked me slightly.

First is Victor Dhostar tried to become Croamarkh 7 years ago but his father wouldnt support him. So it sounds like he just decided to become the Faceless and killed the current Faceless. However, i suspect that Victor was already one of the Night Masters at that point in time, how else would he be able to get close to the Faceless (who had all the resources that Victor has with the added bonus of being a doppelganger).

The doppelganger Faceless re-established the Night Masks 14 years ago. Luer Dhostar became Croamarkh of Westgate for the first time 14 years ago, coincidence????

During the Time of Troubles the doppelganger stole the tree rack that contained the domino masks that allowed him to conceal the identities of the Night Masters from magical identification. This even however happened in 1358 DR and the Faceless first re-established the Night Masks in 1354 DR, so they were vulnerable for 4 years. Presumably there were problems for the Night Masks and their leaders in the first 4 years or they were too small to be noticed.
Also one of the Night Masters said the original Faceless had a face like a lump of clay, guessing he was a doppelganger, that means the Faceless did not always have the chain mask with coins on (an artefact of Leira), so presumably the doppelganger Faceless also stole the artefact when he stole the tree rack and domino masks.


Then there is Finder meeting Jamal and spending two weeks with her. My understanding was that he was released from his planar imprisoned and then placed under house arrest by CAssana in Westgate. So he must have escaped somehow, but rather than running away, he just wandered around Westgate and spent some time with a grieving widow. Not exactly out of character (since he couldnt go to the Harpers for help), but a little bit odd, even for Finder.


Apart from those minor niggles, it was an excellent read.

I do wonder what abyssal lord Verovan made a deal with. My gut instinct says Iyachtu Xvim given his association with Westgate. Not exactly an abyssal lord but he has a link to both, and he wasnt a god at that point in time. I suspect there were more than just manes imprisoned in the pocket plane (i dont think nearly mindless manes as an evil so overwhelming Dragonbait couldnt bear to look into the pocket plane). Also plenty of things to wonder about what happened to Verovan's soul or indeed Victor's at the end (his soul turning back into his body at the end doesnt quite work for me, especially since he essentially turned into a loumara type being).
Gary Dallison Posted - 28 May 2022 : 15:30:14
Masquerades (1368 DR)
Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb

Saurial
Rose and honeysuckle – means a love sick sigh [1]
The saurial wizard Grypht arranged for Dragonbait and Alias to exchange a magic staff with Mintassan the Sage (of Westgate) for a scrying device to help protect the saurial tribe [1]
Magic staff, ornate staff of ash adorned with orange feathers and mouse skulls. Netherese in origin, a staff of the undead. Discovered by saurial patrol that found it on the decaying bodies of a Zhent patrol [1,3]
Clicks, the saurial version of grumbling [1]
Shen sight allows dragonbait to perceive good and evil [1]
Brimstone and violets – means confusion [1]
Baked bread and ham – means fear [1]
Fishy smell – means insulted [3]
Dragonbait does not believe saurials and dragons are related [3]
Lemons and roses – means happy and sad [6]
Vanilla – means amusement [7]
Chickens – means impatience [13]
Ham – means anxiety [13]
Baked bread – means fury or anger [17]

Westgate
Further into the city the quarters become more tightly packed, the alleyways narrower and strewn with the debris of civilisation [1]
Alleyways made of hard packed earth [1]
Silverpiece Way, north of the market. Travels east to west until it crosses the River Thunn at River Bridge [1,15]
Naga Way, connected to Southgate Market Street [1]
Fishman’s old place was on Southgate Market Street before the fire (red dragon crashing into Westgate????) [1]
Greenish sewage flows down alleyways and lanes, walls blackened by decades of grime and graffiti [1]
Fountains installed in poor areas to bring water to commoners [1]
The Night Masks do not like it when people resist muggings etc. They have watchers monitoring their street gangs and reprisal squads (with poison daggers) nearby to deal out punishment for those who resist. They leave a domino mask on the corpse to remind people the Night Masks really rule Westgate [1]
Poor areas the houses are made of wood and the streets are poorly cobbled with uneven or vandalised stone. Richer areas are nicely paved with stone houses [3]
The Empty Fish, tavern in Westgate in the richer area [3]
The explosion of Moander and the red dragon took out a piece of the city wall, the Dhostar warehouses and a lot of the northwestern slums. Caused chaos in the city as the nobles thought a new Flight of Dragons was attacking, they tried to save themselves and their assets. Ssentar Urdo of Family Urdo called in a favour with a Thayan necromancer to protect its docks, the necromancer was drunk and teleported the squad of skeletons into the ground of the docks, animated arms and legs trying to claw their way out the muck [3]
MIntassan wanted the skull of the red dragon Mist, but someone else got hold of it first. The Facelss has the skull of Mist in the Night Masks Treasury [3,4]
Blais House, an inn, but does not advertise, they serve exclusive clientele through recommendations only. Mintassan is an exclusive member and can recommend others. Lavish furnishings. Mercy is a 12 year old serving girl that delivers messages and food trays to rooms. According to Mintassan, Blais House has “protections” (presumably magical????) [5,9]
Lord Luer Dhostar, Croamarkh of Westgate [5]
Croamarkh is the elected leader of the city council of nobles and wealthy merchants [5]
Westgate is ruled by a council of representatives of all the major trading families along with a cluster of minor houses. Most of the council’s power is invested in the Croamarkh. [5]
Luer Dhostar was Cromarkh for 3 terms. Lansdal Ssemm was Croamarkh for a term but during his term interfamily feuding and Night Mask violence was worse than ever so Luer Dhostar was returned to office to sort out the problems [5]
House Dhostar has a mercantile empire of 12 ships, 24 stockyards and warehouses, 9 caravans, 50 representatives in cities across the Heartlands, 75 businesses and craftsmen under direct control, 150 business and craftsmen controlled in all but name, a castle, a host of servants, 10 Zakharan horses, 3 carriages [5]
Kimbel, servant and messenger for House Dhostar, sadistic and cruel. Slender, spidery man with greying blonde receding hair pulled into a bun at the nape of his neck. Gentile and polite. Once was an adventurer/assassin hired by the Night Masks to kill Croamarkh Luer Dhostar, he killed 8 guards but didn’t know enough about the Night Masks to betray them. Kimbel is under a magical geas to serve House Dhostar (he cannot harm any member of the House) until he has served the consecutive terms of the 8 guards he killed [5,6]
The Watch Docks, the Harbour Watch perform customs inspections of goods. Has a warehouse adjacent [5]
House Dhostar trading badge is a wagon wheel topped by three stars (supposed to be tawny coloured but Luer likes it gilded) [5]
Westgate Law requires expensive and limited permits to load and unload wagons on the streets (to keep them clear). Porters are instead paid to carry crates of goods to their destination [5]
The Market Triangle, has an unobstructed view of the bay and harbour to the north as it slopes gently down to the sea [5]
House Dhostar has their own docks [5]
The Night Masks have been a thorn in Westgate’s side for 15 years at least [5]
The Night Masks first demanded House Dhostar pay protection money about 14 years ago (during Luer Dhostar’s first term). Luer Dhostar responded by threatening to torch the city and slaughter them wholesale. The Night Masks have stayed away from House Dhostar ever since. [5]
Lady Nettel of House Thalavar doesn’t deal with the Night Masks because she employs her own halfling army (who bedevil the Night Masks)[5]
House Urdo and House Ssemm are heavily involved with the Night Masks, might even be Night Masters [5]
Most nobles and rich merchants of Westgate use the Night Masks to get things done that they don’t want to sully themselves with [5]
Croamarkh Luer Dhostar, a large, solidly muscled man with stonily impassive face. Wears the chain of office about his neck. Snow white hair swept back and kept in place with a gold headband. Every finger wears a ring with a large precious stone [5]
House Urdo is smuggling smokepowder into Westgate [5]
Croamarkh Luer Dhostar ignored the Night Masks during his first 3 terms. During the term of Lansdal Ssemm as Croamarkh the Night Masks became much more aggressive and a much bigger problem. Now they threaten the profitability of all merchants in Westgate, even House Dhostar [5]
Victor Dhostar, Luer Dhostar’s son. 30 years old [5]
Luer Dhostar was re-elected Croamarkh in spring 1368 DR [5]
House Thalavar livery is green, trading badge is a green feather [5,8]
Brunner, servant for House Dhostar, works in shipping [5]
House Dhostar livery is black with a tawny coloured insignia [5]
Night Masks refuse to allow halflings in the guild. Lady Nettel does a lot of business with halflings of the Shining South and hires them because she refuses to pay the Night Masks protection money so her assets get targeted a lot and the halflings help protect it [6]
Lady Nettel has a granddaughter who is learning music (from Olive Ruskettle) [6]
Drew, halfling male, Thalavar shipping clerk [6]
The Harbour Tower, has a good view of the city. Lighthouse, it marks the entrance to the harbour. An ancient conical tower built of mortared stone with an external staircase up the side. Called the Westlight by sailors. The light is a marble sphere with a continual light spell cast upon it. A bronze frame allows coloured screens to be held up to send coded messages to ships at sea (fire, plague, help) [6]
River Thunn. At high tide the waters of the river slam into the rising waters of the sea, creating a surging wave that runs the width of the river just downstream from the River Bridge, at low tide the river water and sea collide at the mouth of the bay as a rill on the waters surface. At low tide the river level drops several feet as far up as the River Bridge, revealing muddy sandbanks on either side [6,15]
Between the River Thunn’s east bank and the city wall is Castle Malavan [6]
Across the River Thunn from Castle Malavan is Castle Vhammos, it used to be the royal castle [6]
Castles Guldar, Athagdal, Thorsar, and Urdo are south of the Harbour Tower, all built at the same time by rival architects from different nations [6]
The Tower, a building in the centre of the market, serves as city registry and headquarters for the watch. An unspecified number of undergroun levels serve as jails and dungeons beneath the Tower. The Tower also houses the city counting house and treasury, offices and meeting rooms for nobles, and a barracks and armoury for the Watch. The entrance to the Tower is a stone oval with an iron portcullis and heavy gates. The gates and portcullis of the Tower hadn’t been necessary for decades (why????). Only nobles are allowed to pass through unchallenged, everyone else must register [6,10]
Castle Ssemm is against the city’s western wall [6]
Castle Thalavar is south of Castle Ssemm [6]
Temple to Talos in the northeast corner of the city [6]
Temple to Mask west of the Tower [6]
Temple of Loviatar and Temple of Gond at the base of the harbour’s arm [6]
Temple of Ilmater west of the Temples of Loviatar and Gond. Has a very tall spire [6,15]
Castle Dhostar isn’t located in Westgate, it is west outside the city walls. It was only built 3 generations (60 years) after House Dhostar moved to Westgate. Luer Dhostar ordered the castle to be built (he must be 50-60 years old as he has a 30 year old son, so House Dhostar moved to Westgate between 70 and 90 years ago and Castle Dhostar built between 30 and 20 years ago????) . Castle Dhostar is little more than a very large manor house. Kane, the butler at Castle Dhostar. In the Library is a stuffed displacer beast (Luer or one of his ancestors was a good hunter) [6,16]
About 120 years ago Westgate was a monarchy ruled by an incompetent tyrant King Verovan. He nearly bankrupted the city with his excesses and destroyed it with his intrigues. Verovan passed a grain tax to pay for a windjammer with blood red sails crewed by Turmishmen so he could race the rulers of other cities. On the day of the race the crew aimed the ship for a rocky shoal and teleported away (many believe the crew were secretly Red Wizards of Thay, avenging themselves for his intrigues against their nation). The city’s leading merchants led a revolt before Verovan’s son could be crowned. A mob stripped the castle bare. House Vhammos occupied the royal castle and the other houses took charge of governing the city. [6]
Tales of The Lost Treasure of Verovan, liches that live in the sewer or the sea serpent that lives in its harbour [6]
An invisible bridge leading away from one of the royal castle’s towers. On the other side of the bridge is an invisible portal that leads to Verovan’s lost treasure. The treasure should be real, the value of things recovered when the castle was occupied do not add up to the amount of wealth stolen by Verovan and spent on magic items and fancy things. The Lost Treasure is guarded by a portion of Verovan’s own soul and a key is required to access the portal (the key is Lady Nettel’s copper feather brooch). Only a being of Verovan’s bloodline can open the portal to the lost treasure [6,20,23]
Market Street, leads to the market [7]
House of the Wheel, Temple of Gond, on Market Street, has a plaza out front [7]
House Guldar, symbol is a black hawk. Patriarch is Lord Dathguld who has bloodshot eyes [7]
Merchant Family Thorsar, trading badge is a blue hand festooned with corn cobs [7]
House Urdo, a noble merchant house, trading badge is a cyclops head with a yellow eye. Patriarch is Lord Ssentar Urdo, a short but powerfully built man with a scarred face, dresses all in gold and black, has a large black opal set in a medallion [7,10]
The Watch wear long black leather tunics and polished steel helms, carry short swords and short clubs [7]
Sergeant Rodney of the city Watch [7]
Licence required to stage theatrical performances on the street, costs 50 gold pieces to buy a licence. Performing without a licence is a disturbance of the peace. Licences must be bought before the performance starts and do not allow daytime performances on any street leading to the market [7]
Lots of laws in Westgate are made to stop things from blocking up roads leading to the market [7]
Durgar the Just of Tyr, judge and head of the Watch in Westgate. Priest of Tyr. Broad shouldered, close cropped white hair, heavy silver moustache, steely grey eyes. Durgar founded the watch 14 years ago. Durgar used to adventure with a band known as the Invisible Hand, they ran into trouble with the Night Masks, only Durgar survived. Durgar remained in Westgate and convinced the nobles to charter the Watch. [7]
House Athagdal, patriarch is Lord Urlyvl [7]
Westgate has a rich history of employed mercenaries, but they never stayed for long [7]
Westgate does not have a temple of Tyr [7]
Westgate law against carrying poison, punishment is hard labour and banishment from the city
Fritz, old dock worker
Big Edna, runs a tavern (a plank on two barrels). Business has declined over the last 14 years due to Night Mask protection payments
One year there were summer brushfires in Westgate, not enough corn to meet demand that year, but enough for House Urdo to make a killing [9]
7 years ago a Branded One, former Night Master came to Jamal and revealed lots of information about the Night Masks in return for safe passage out of the city. He said the original Faceless (who refounded the guild 14 years ago) was slain by a newcomer. When the Branded One challenged the new Faceless for position he was branded as punishment. That same year the Faceless increased the Night Mask task (the guild fee all thieves must pay as their cut of thefts, it was doubled for guild members and tripled for free lancers, anyone not paying was Branded) [9]
Shortly after the Time of Troubles the Temple of Leira was burned and looted, a magical chain helm with platinum coins and the sigil of Leira on it went missing [9]
House Thalavar bought 120 barrels of Old Empires Fire Wine to ship west to Waterdeep. If successful it will make them a fortune, if not it will cost them lots [9]
Thalavar sheds (warehouses????) located in a shallow vale between Castle Thalavar and Castle Ssemm (inside city walls). Thalavar stockyards located outside the city walls, in a horse pen in the stock yard next to the city wall is a secret tunnel leading into the Thalavar sheds inside the city walls. Thalavar warehouses are a fortress of solid stone walls with a clay tile roof and one door large enough for a wagon with a smaller door for people (both bolted from the inside). The roof has 5 ventilation skylights covered with hinged doors and bolted from the inside. The warehouses have a loft [9]
Halfling – human relations are sometimes strained in Westgate, but it is regarded that only a coward would kill a halfling [10]
Maxwell Berrybuck, halfling in the employ of Lady Nettel Thalavar, married with 2 girls, slain by Night Masks in a raid on Thalavar warehouse [10]
Fanciful tales about their wares are a common merchants trick in southern realms (Vilhon Reach onwards) [10]
Rizzi, guard in the Watch [10]
Lord Ssentar Urdo is a long time ally of Luer Dhostar [10]
Smokepowder shipments are becoming more common in Westgate, if the Night Masks were to get enough they could destabilise Westgate (by easily assassinating individuals) [10]
The Croamarkh needs the support of the noble merchant houses to rule Westgate. A croamarkh has ruled Westgate since Verovan’s death 120 years ago [10]
The Shore, wedged between the cliff and the walls and the sea, the slums outside the city’s western walls. Full of transients (drovers, day workers, and adventurers that cant afford to stay in the city overnight) who don’t like to get involved with the Watch. The Watch do not regularly patrol the Shore. The Night Masks strike at people in the Shore with impunity. The Shore offers flophouses and food stores of low quality and prices, most inhabitants rely on the sea for survival. Buildings cobbled together from broken carts, driftwood, and shipwrecks [10,11]
The city wall makes a half circle around Westgate, but a steep cliff in the northwest forces it to turn sharply inward sharply running along the top of the cliff until the cliff reaches the shoreline. The Water Gate opens onto the cliff with a steep staircase and path leading down to the Shore. [11]
The Outside, the district of Westgate surrounding the city wall, predominantly for grazing herd animals, also home to the stockyards of the leading merchant families nestled against the wall [11]
Twig, a local tough for the Night Masks in the Shore that extorts a copper from newcomers and existing residents [11]
Lilda’s a festhall west of Westgate outside the city walls, near thick woods, has a reputation for tolerating rowdy customers. Has recently been damaged by fire (perhaps set by the Night Masks relating to insurance payments) [11]
Mulsantir’s Gate on the south or western edge of the city walls [11]
The Rotten Root, a tavern next to the Ssemm warehouses. Serves as a collecting house for Night Mask collectors to deliver their money [11]
Lady Gleason Dhostar, Luer Dhostar’s late wife and Victor Dhostar’s mother. Died when Victor was young [11,13]
Lady Nettel Thalavar, third cousin (two generations removed) of King Verovan. Outlived 3 husbands and rebuilt her family’s fortune to what it was during King Verovan’s time. Old woman but not frail. As tall as Alias. At least 60 years old. Used to have good shoulders (like Alias) in her youth [12,16]
Thistle Thalavar, nicknamed Dervish as a child, pretty teenager, blonde hair, granddaughter and heir of Lady Nettel Thalavar. Wears a diamond necklace to parties (a family heirloom) [12]
House Dhostar sends its carracks to the Easting Reach [1ser2]
House Thorsar and House Athagdal have a long standing feud fuelled by jealousy [12]
Quelzarn (a giant sea serpent) rumoured to live in the harbour and eat all the garbage. It actually lives in the sewers and hangs around the Faceless’ Treasury. Can paralyse people by looking at them [12,15]
Mardon Urdo, Lord Ssentar Urdo’s eldest son. Married [12]
Melman, a wealthy vintner, owns a big manor house on the south edge of the city (inside the city wall). He bought the house 10 years ago after the former occupant died – blasted by Cassana’s staff of power. Melman’s manor house is the same place Cassana used with the secret basement to keep Finder hidden. Melman’s manor house is used as a transfer place for One-Eye and her collections money. The secret passage in Melman’s manor house leads to the eastern end of the Ssemm stockyards outside the city [11,13]
Lord Orgule Ssemm, patriarch of House Ssemm [14]
Melman arranged the theft of a duck statue from Family Ordo for later ransom [14]
River Bridge, (also known as Thunn Bridge) crosses the River Thunn, the entrance to the Lair of the Night Masters is beneath it. Supported by 5 stone arches. Wide enough for 2 large wagons and several pedestrians to cross it. Became a dumping ground for gargoyles looted from the former royal castle when Verovan died. Curling sea serpents make up the bridges railings. Statues of ancient historical figures line the centre of the bridge dividing it into two lanes. [14,15]
The Rosebud, an outdoor ale garden [16]
Regatta Masquerade Ball, a major social event for Westgate nobility. In King Verovan’s day it was known as the Naval Ball [16]
Dawn, female, an elven dressmaker in Westgate, knows Jamal. Has been in Westgate at least 40 years [16]
Lord Luer Dhostar slain by Victor Dhostar. Victor wanted to be Croamarkh, tried to become Croamarkh 7 years ago but Luer would not support him so Victor took control of the Night Masks and came up with a plan to supplant Lord Luer as Croamarkh. Then Victor planned to become King and make Westgate a monarchy once again [17]
Victor Dhostar set up two gigantic portal mirrors in the hall of the Tower. He then set his 6 dragon headed iron golems to ambush the nobility during the Regatta Masquerade Ball. Many were slaughtered [18]
Haztor Urdo, Lady Nettel Thalavar slain by the iron golems. Most of the noble patriarchs and heirs were slain. Noble houses will end up run by second or third cousins. House Ssemm, Guldar, Thalavar, Urdo and Vhammos lost their patriarch. House Ssemm, Urdo and Vhammos lost their heirs [18,19,20]
Lady Nettel Thalavar gave Thistle her pin and brooch before she died (family heirloom, magical????) [20]
Black Eye Tavern, has an open patio and an excellent view of the market and the Tower [20]
Three days after the funeral is the official period of mourning for a ruler or noble in Westgate [20]
Maergyrm Thorsar, patriarch of House Thorsar [21]
Kretschmer, a halfling guard in House Thalavar [21]
Lady Nettel Thalavar (and now Thistle Thalavar) knew the location of Verovan’s lost treasure all along [21]
Temple of Gond has a ceremony to initiate new apprentices into various trades [21]
King Verovan was so obsessed with hanging onto his treasure that he exchanged a piece of his soul with an abyssal lord to create a planar pocket to hold his treasure. When Verovan died, the abyssal lord gave his minions Verovan’s soul in a piece of amber so they could open the pocket and loot his treasure [23]
Lady Nettel Thalavar’s grandfather – Gen Thalavar, was King Verovan’s third cousin. He was an adventurer and happened to be in Westgate on the night Verovan died. While the tanar’ri looted the pocket plane, Gen battled the key holder outside on the castle battlements and slew it. He then smashed the amber, releasing Verovan’s soul (which flew towards the treasure it loved so dearly in the pocket plane) and closed the portal with Verovan’s soul and the tanar’ri inside. Gen had a brooch fashioned from the amber pieces into the trading badge of house Thalavar [23]
The Night Masters and Night Masks were captured or slain by the watch in Castle Vhammos. [23]
The pocket plane of Verovan’s Lost Treasure is filled with manes (and possibly worse), waiting for a means to escape [24]
Victor Dhostar was slain by Alias [24]
Durgar refuses to let the city of Westgate know that Victor Dhostar was the Faceless [25]




Other Lore
Delicate Turmish paper sculpture [1]
Dwarvish tongue of the south (a regional tongue for gold dwarves????) [1]
Chondath Dark Ale [1]
Sembian style town house – the first floor is half underground, its door at the bottom of a narrow descending stairway surrounded by a brick retaining wall. The second floor is raised several feet with its door atop a broad stone stairway. Lower quarters usually reserved for servants [3]
Spell keys and other darks – planar slang for magical components and mysteries [3]
Amnite sugar cubes, Maztican influence, previously only available to nobles but last year House Dhostar bought a huge consignment and lowered the price enough for merchants and craftsmen to afford [3]
The Zhentarim have resorted to tomb robbing (in Anauroch especially) since Zhentil Keep was ruined [3]
Cogs from Aglarond and Thesk [5]
Red cedar galleys from Thay [5]
Caravels from Ravens Bluff and Vilhon Reach [5]
Carracks from Cormyr and Sembia. Multi sailed round ships. Useful for hauling large shipments of cargo but not very fast, and depends upon the wind for manoeuvrability [5,12]
Galleons, favoured by merchants on the sword coast, larger versions of carracks [12]
Galleys, favoured by merchants in the inner sea. Large enough to carry large cargoes but manoeuvrable and quick enough to outrun pirates [12]
Eastern style of puppeteering – the puppeteers where white garb and hoods and remain on stage with the puppets [7]
Mechanised water clocks made in Neverwinter [7]
Blue and purple robes, loosely tied with a white sash, a white glove on his left hand, a black glove on his right hand. The ceremonial garb of a priest of Tyr. Most priests wear a gauze blindfold to symbolise the blinding of Tyr [7]
Old Empires Fire Wine - dark, strong, spicy, expensive but worth a fortune in Waterdeeep [9]
Moonshae chestnuts in syrup [9]
Mushrooms from Brost [9]
Golden raisins from Berdusk [9]
Skronk (name for a pig????) [11]
Sembia starting to build galleas, larger and more heavily armed galleys [12]
Pirates lair in the Pirate Isles and along the coasts of Thay and Mulhorand (who do not bother to root them out quickly) [12]
Neverwinter manufacture ballistae, the mechanisms are superior to elsewhere [12]
Vilhon Blanc, cheese [12]
Turmish Brick, cheese [12]
Evermead, a sweet wine made only in Evermeet [12]
Evermeet is 2,900 miles away from Westgate [12]
Greengrocer, an adventurer term for merchant [12]
Selgaunt marble [16]
The Westgate Procession, a simple repetitive dance, the same as the Shadowdale Reel [18]
Dragon’s Bite, a highly potent southern drink [20]
The Greyclaws, thieves guild in Tantras. Murder is slightly more common there because of the dead magic zone. Every few years the guildmaster is murdered and chaos erupts as factions vie for control of the guild. This is known as the red weather in Tantras [21]
Manes without anything to eat turn misty / ethereal / incorporeal to conserve energy (they formed a mist around Verovan’s soul which hardened into a pearl case). Once food becomes available they will become manes again [24]


Jamal
Jamal, rented a room from a clothing shop owner in Westgate (the clothing shop was burned down by Night Masks when she refused their protection insurance, the shop owner was stabbed to death). [1,4]
Shop used to be owned by Old Mendle, Alias lived in the apartments upstairs as a child (in her false memories). The Swanmays then stayed in the shop when Alias was older.[2]
Jamal is an older woman with curly hair, a former thespian / playwright that made a rude play about Cassana, believes Cassana wants to kill her [3]
Finder implanted false memories in Alias about Jamal being Alias’ mother [3]
Owns Jamal’s Street Theatre, four performances daily. Specialises in the everyday hero (known as cheap hero) [3]
Jamal and Mintassan are old friends [5]
Had a daughter who was murdered in the Year of the Prince when she was 12 by a vampire (the vampire was a noble daughter and was shielded from Durgar and the watch). Jamal hired an adventuring band that killed the vampire and gave the body to Durgar (who nearly quit when he realised the nobles had hid the vampire from him). Finder Wyvernspur spent two weeks with Jamal cheering her up [11]
Jamal is a Harper Agent. She was “pinned” by Finder during his two week escape in Westgate. The Harpers do not necessarily know she exists [20,25]

Mintassan
Mintassan the Sage, Mintassan the Magnificent, Mintassan the Mad [3]
Mintassan’s Mysteries – Curios From Faraway Places. Mintassan’s shop in the lower floor of a Sembian style townhouse in the richer part of Westgate. [3]
Mintassans’ sigil is the Beastlands sign topped by a waxing crescent moon and surrounded by a circle [3]
Tall, broad shouldered, somewhat overweight. Wears gold rimmed spectacles with very thin lenses, baggy white pants and brightly coloured vest with his sigil on the lapels [3]
Knew Grypht when he was younger (Mintassan must be a planeswalker????) [3]
Mintassan discovered the secret location of Verovan’s Lost Treasure and the key required to open it about 8 years ago [25]

Night Masks
The Lair of the Night Masters, a secret room hidden deep beneath the streets of Westgate, well protected by layers of spells, its builders all slain, and its entrances regularly moved. [4]
Ruled by the Night Masters, chosen from respectable shop keepers, craftsmen, and lesser merchants. Never chosen from drunkards or nervous people or unreliable sorts. Each Night Master wears a domino mask (before entering the Lair of the Night Masters) with a unique golden glyph painted on the head [4]
The Faceless is lord of the Night Masters [4]
Night Masters and the Faceless meet in the Lair of the Night Masters [4]
The number of Night Masters has varied over history. Currently there are 10 Night Masters. 3 general managers (Enforcement, Finance, Noble Relations), and 7 regional managers (External Revenue, Harbourside, Thunnside, Gateside, Parkside, Central, Outside. [4]
Lair of the Night Masters has a table hewn from a single block of obsidian veined with gold. The Throne of the Faceless is made of the same black and gold obsidian [4,15]
The Faceless Mask is a helmet of mesh chain covered in platinum coins struck with the glyph of Leira. The chain mask magically obfuscates the vision of anyone trying to discern the face underneath. It also alters the wearers voice to grating and metallic [4] The Night Masks have been burning festhalls in the Outside District. This has caused festhalls in the Gateside District to pay more of their quota of “insurance” [4]
Supplies from the Family Ssemm have been acquired (stolen????) and moved to Elturel where they will be purchased by Family Vhammos through a company called Free Traders [4]
The Night Masters are trying to indoctrinate Haztor Urdo into the Night Masks, he doesn’t realise the Night Masters know his identity (is he trying to infiltrate them secrety????) [4]
Lady Nettel is employing lots of halflings, causing trouble with the Night Masks (the halflings also “borrow” lots from Night Mask agents) [4]
The Night Masters are unwilling to directly confront Mintassan the Sage at this moment [4]
The Night Masks have magical scrying capabilities to locate people [4]
Standard procedure for Night Masks is to always have an extra pair of eyes watching a job to confirm its completion. Some lazy Night Masters just wait for watch reports to confirm success or failure, but they get in trouble if caught out by failure [4]
The Faceless has a secret exit / entrance into the Lair of the Night Masters (a secret door accessible through the back of his throne) that leads to the sewers. [4]
The Night Masks treasury is hidden in the sewers of Westgate, filled with riches and weapons [4]
The Faceless owns a small ivory ball intricately carved with a twisting sea serpent with a gleaming ruby eye (magic, what does it do????) [4]
Mists skull is hidden in the Night Masks secret treasury, his soul is bound to it to serve the Faceless and answer his questions [4]
The Night Masters cannot be detected by magical divination (Durgar has tried for 14 years) [7]
Timmy the Ghast, thief in the Night Masks, known as a midden man because he burgles places by climbing up the midden / toilet. Never washes, smells worse than a ghast
Slick Jack, a lookout in the Night Masks, works with Timmy the Ghast
Bandilegs, Jojo, Sal (female), youths, muggers in the employ of the Night Masks. Operate one of the most successful “import” gangs in Westgate.
Littleboy and his toughs collect insurance from businesses
Night Mask problems with the halflings goes back to a blood feud when the Night Masks first started in this town (presumably 14 years ago but could be earlier????) [9]
Branded Ones, those who displease the Faceless have a domino mask burned into their face that cannot be healed by magic (evil magic prevents healing) and if done for long enough leaves a permanent scar (this exposes them as Night Mask members and they are forced to flee the city). The Faceless has a magic item (a ring) that burns this brand into their face (presumably it links with each domino mask and can activate any of them when desired [9]
The original Faceless (from 14 years ago) had a face like a lump of clay and may have been a doppelganger [9]
Estimates at 2000 members in the Night Masks [9]
The Faceless’ treasury is believed to contain a magical artefact discovered by the first Faceless which protects the identity of the Faceless and the Night Masters. A tree rack hung with porcelain masks sits in the Faceless’ Treasury. It was created by the Temple of Leira, stolen by priests of Mask, and then stolen by a doppelganger that imitated the Shadowlord of the Temple of Mask. The doppelganger used it to build the Night Masks guild. Masks must be hung there for a day, when worn for one hour or more it protects the wearer from magical detection and divination for 4 days. [9,16]
Lord Ssentar Urdo youngest son Haztor Urdo is a Night Mask agent and took part in the raid on the Thalavar warehouse [9,10]
Knost and Marcus, Night Mask thugs that work at the Rotten Root tavern / collecting house [11]
One-Eye, female, Night Mask leader of collectors at the Rotten Root tavern [11]
Kel, teenage boy, collector for the Night Masks. His father was a collector for the Night Masks until he took a dagger in the back [11]
Melman is a Night Master (Gateside) [14]
The Night Masters and the Faceless meet every other evening [14]
Entrance to the Lair of the Night Masters is on the western bank of the River Thunn beneath the River Bridge. The entrance is covered at high tide and protected by magic, requires a key to see through the illusion and unlock the door (look through the circle grip end of the key) [14]
The Faceless has some magical item that can control the quelzarn [15]
The Faceless had a magical portal mirror in his treasury to allow him to check out his lair from afar and then teleport to it (it must have a linking mirror elsewhere). Legend has it there were many of these portal mirrors in the royal castle during King Verovan’s time [16]
The Faceless Treasury had a number of dragon headed iron golems in it (at least 6), but they cannot breath poison gas (cheap Thayan variety [16,25]
Since the new Faceless had taken over 7 years ago, he had eliminated the three most powerful Night Masters that had the skill or power to question his authority [17]
The Faceless wears an amulet of misdirection [18]

Gary Dallison Posted - 26 May 2022 : 20:09:24
Came across a phrase in Masquerades

quote:
From a low pen beside a ramshackle hovel came a vicious-sounding skronk


Now this is meant to be interpreted as the sound the creature inside makes, but the wording could also mean that an animal (called a skronk) emerges from a low pen beside a ramshackle house.

As far as i'm aware there is no name for the pig analogue in the realms. We have rothe for a cow analogue, but pigs, and sheep, and goats, and chickens are all using the normal names.

Perhaps we could call pigs "skronks" as the realmsian name
TheIriaeban Posted - 24 May 2022 : 04:36:43
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The starflame sounds right, might be worth asking Ed himself, but I dont do twitter.



I got Twitter specifically to ask Ed a couple questions. Either he is ignoring me or I ain't working it right. It is almost certainly the later since it doesn't show that I have sent out any tweets even thought I thought I did. I have decided that I don't like social media enough to really learn how to work it.



Keep in mind that Ed is a busy guy, and he doesn't always have the answers right at his fingertips... And that's assuming that NDAs aren't coming into play.



I am sure it is that I am doing something wrong. Like I said, it SHOULD have a record of some sort of what I have sent and it is blank.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 May 2022 : 02:11:18
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The starflame sounds right, might be worth asking Ed himself, but I dont do twitter.



I got Twitter specifically to ask Ed a couple questions. Either he is ignoring me or I ain't working it right. It is almost certainly the later since it doesn't show that I have sent out any tweets even thought I thought I did. I have decided that I don't like social media enough to really learn how to work it.



Keep in mind that Ed is a busy guy, and he doesn't always have the answers right at his fingertips... And that's assuming that NDAs aren't coming into play.
TheIriaeban Posted - 23 May 2022 : 23:51:31
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The starflame sounds right, might be worth asking Ed himself, but I dont do twitter.



I got Twitter specifically to ask Ed a couple questions. Either he is ignoring me or I ain't working it right. It is almost certainly the later since it doesn't show that I have sent out any tweets even thought I thought I did. I have decided that I don't like social media enough to really learn how to work it.
Gary Dallison Posted - 23 May 2022 : 22:16:34
One thing that I did like was the gradual pieceing together of malaugrym history.

We have malaug go to shadowhome. He then tries to recruit others to his new home, such as Glyorgh.

At some point Malaug vanishes.

The malaugrym become ruled by a council and view faerun as a place to source broodmares while they try and conquer the planes.

The council descends into factionalism and kin strife is rife.

One foolish malaugrym tries to slay elminster and steal his magic. Elminster warns them to knock it off so they try and kill him.

Elminster travels to shadowhome and slaughters 60+ malaugrym.

The council ends after a lot of kin strife and dhalgrave takes over. He stops the malaugrym from trying to steal and murder their way through faerun (only going there to steal women).

In true ed style you learn about dhalgrave first, then the kinstrife, then elminster, then the council.
Gary Dallison Posted - 23 May 2022 : 19:26:50
The starflame sounds right, might be worth asking Ed himself, but I dont do twitter.

As for the novel itself, I really like Ed's novels, more lore than anything else and that's what I'm in it for.

I dont care that elminster is a dirty old letch. I'm 40 and I still behave like I'm 18 and I'm sure when I'm 90 or 1000 years old I will still behave like the dirty minded pervert I really am.

I love all the lore about the malaugrym, you get a real sense for their history. Yes they are evil vicious deviant with insatiable lusts, but they are still people and sometimes they just want to chat about cooking.

The lost library of funderdelve, I want to know more about that, and who built the one way gate in Daggerdale that leads to shadow home (elminster I reckon), and who made the sword sharantyr uses (elminster again i reckon), and whether shadowhome is separate from the plane of shadow (it sure sounds like it).

Lots of lore and names and people and places.
TheIriaeban Posted - 23 May 2022 : 15:50:53
The "Alliance of Mages" may well be The Starflame. Ed mentions this on page 288 of So Sayeth Ed (2010-2016):

The Starflame, a "court of conduct" for independent mages that meets in Scornubel at least once a year (but more often if crises arise) to debate laws and treatment of independent arcane spellcasters by various rulers (and priesthoods, and costers, and guilds). This cabal (as most non-members refer to it) has fallen silent, or retired into secrecy, several times over four centuries or so, but risen to public prominence time and again. Famous/infamous members have briefly included the Blackstaff (Khelben Arunsun), Sememmon of the Zhentarim, and Lauraud, one of the Sceptanars (city rulers in Chessenta).
Gary Dallison Posted - 23 May 2022 : 15:04:12
Cloak of Shadows (1358 DR)
Ed Greenwood

Malaugrym
Shapeshifters and sorcerers of ancient power [prologue]
Long feared to challenge Elminster, for he slew them whenever they ventured into lands he held dear [prologue]
Milhvar, a malaugrym, his brother was slain by Elminster. Has a runeblade. Resides in the Castle of Shadows. Slew a priest of Mystra on 29th Mirtul 1358 DR with his runeblade to enchant a cloak of shadows. Used magic to steal information from Bane while he visited Faerun [1]
Castle of Shadows (on the Plane of Shadows????) [1]
Clan Malaugrym ruled by Dhalgrave in 1358 DR. At this time none of the Malaugrym even date set foot on Faerun thanks to Elminster and the Chosen [1]
The Great Hall of the Throne, room in the Castle of Shadows [2]
Halastra, Malaugrym, niece of Dhalgrave [2]
Thalart, Malaugrym, get of Galartyn and Chasra. Plotted to kill Dhalgrave and was sent to kill Elminster as punishment, slain by Elminster Shalantyr Itharr and Belkram [2]
The Shadow Throne, a vast spindle pulsing with amethyst magic and amber bloodfire. Sits in the Great Hall of the Throne [2]
Sixty plus Malaugrym in Clan Malaugrym [2]
Dhalgrave, head of Clan Malaugrym. Has the title of Shadowmaster. Human form is a naked, sexless, ivory body with a long delicate tail and lion pads for feet, his flesh swarms with fanged mouths. He won through vicious kin-strife down the ages to become head of the clan. Possesses and uses the Shadowcrown and Doomstars. Holds the title of Shadowmaster High or Shadowmaster Supreme. A powerful caster, able to redirect the seeking eye of the Great Portal about Faerun, levitate the Shadow Throne about the Great Hall, speak to errant Malaugrym, bring his own shape out of invisibility, change the Great Portal’s size and location and override its spell defences and do all at once. Very few Malaugrym are powerful enough to do these things [2,8]
Malaug took the title Shadowmaster during the strife of dawn (early???) human kingdoms), he then conquered the demiplane of Shadow and created the vast and everchanging Castle of Shadows [2]
The Shadowcrown (otherwise known as the Crown of Malaug), created by Malaug when he became Shadowmaster. Pulses and winks with darkness, allows him to read the minds of anyone with the blood of Malaug. Also acts as the centre of a web of spells and counterspells set to defend him or be unleashed on his death. The Shadowcrown also holds other powers that are rumoured but little known. Augments the wearer’s voice, commands of the wearer can magically compel or rebuke the listeners. The spirit of past wearers are pulled into the Shadowcrown upon their death, they can whisper to the new Shadowmaster that wears the crown, the crown is filled with the spirits of many elders. [2]
The Doomstars (otherwise known as the Stars of Malaug), four spherical stones of pale blue radiance (ioun stones) that orbit a bracer (also crafted by Malaug). Can emit a dozen rays of light that can hold a shapeshifter paralysed, force him to shift into any form desired (from worm to mushroom) and then trap him in that form forever by permanently stripping away all shapeshifting powers. The Doomstars have been used effectively to end a kin-strife between Clan Malaugrym. The secrets of the Doomstar Bracer was lost with Malaug [2]
The Malaugrym dream of greater power in Faerun and the Etherimm (what is this place????) [2]
The fabled Cloak of Shadows, Malaug’s lost secret, it is said the wearer will lead Clan Malaug to true greatness [2]
Malaug disappeared one day, it is rumoured he died by Elminster’s hand, but no Malaug remember his death, only the many rumours surrounding his disappearance. [2]
The Great Hall of the Throne houses a large scrying portal used to spy on Faerun. Houses a bell which tolls to summon the Malaugrym. The bell tolls to announce the death of the Shadowmaster High. The Great Portal can have its scrying destination changed, and its size and location can change [2,3,5,8]
Neleyd, younger Malaugrym [2]
Bheloris, elder Malaugrym. Has seen 60+ Malaugrym slain over the years. [3,5]
Huerbara, younger female Malaugrym, has a real temper, nearly a Shadowmaster. Daughter of Ahorga, student of Milhvarr [3,11,17]
Malaugrym may shape their body into any part animal (lion, scorpion) part inanimate object (sword, spike) or any combination of the two [2,3]
Malaugrym must have children with human or elven maids (and men presumably) [3,5]
Kostil, elder Malaugrym, older than Bheloris, has seen more Malaugrym slain [3,5]
Taernil, younger Malaugrym, son of Oracla. 15 Kythorn 1358 DR at Irythkeep tried to kill Elminster and failed (but was saved by Kostil’s magic and whisked back to the Castle of Shadows). Lean, dangerous, and knows it. Huerbara’s partner [3,4,12]
Issaran, younger Malaugrym, powerful in magic, moreso than many elder Malaugrym would believe. Paid Milhvar to open a portal so he could attack Elminster. [3]
Use spellstones (what are they????) as payment. [3]
Yabrant, elder Malaugrym, cares about Eldargh [4,7]
Eldargh, elder Malaugrym, slain by the Simbul while attacking Elminster at Irythkeep [4,7]
Elder Malaugrym earn the title of Shadowmaster. In years past (when the Malaugrym were more rash and more numerous, they used to earn the title by attacking Elminster and surviving) [4]
The Shaft of Many Stairs, (a stairway or a portal nexus????) in the Castle of Shadows [5]
Castle of Shadows has many scrying portals, before Dhalgrave’s time many of them were trapped and slew other Malaugrym. [5]
Before Dhalgrave’s time, the Malaugrym were concerned with ruling other planes and viewed Toril as a place only to steal breeding stock (elf and human maids) from [5]
Rahorga the Brawler, an elder Malaugrym from before Dhalgrave’s time as Shadowmaster. Slain long ago by a manyjaws while closely viewing a scrying portal that showed a scene of nude mermaids [5]
Malaugrym are ordered to view Faerun as a garden to be nurtured, wanton destruction is not to be tolerated except against Elminster [5]
The Malaugrym seek to replace the rulers of powerful lands in Faerun [5]
Malaugrym often bring people from Faerun to the Castle of Shadows (for breeding) or as pawns and servants [5]
Olorn, elder Malaugrym, plans to steal spells from Zhentarim. Desires to be the next Shadowmaster Supreme. Forms factions and groups with weak witted individuals. His secret allies are Iyritar and Argast, younger Malaugrym [16] [5]
Malator, elder Malaugrym, serves as Dhalgrave’s champion and bodyguard, very large Malaugrym [5]
Dlagim, elder Malaugrym, brother of Malator [5]
Night-worms in the demiplane of Shadows, Malator often wrestles the marauding night worms [5]
Last time Elminster entered the Castle of Shadows, he ordered the Malaugrym to stop their machinations in Faerun. The Malaugrym attacked Elminster and he slew over 40 of them and burned away most of Dlagrim [5]
Amdrammar, elder Malaugrym, desires to be the next Shadowmaster High, loner [5]
Dralarca, young sorceress of the Malaugrym [7]
Albarat, slain by a soulcage long ago [7]
In the past Elminster was trapped by 6 elder Malaugrym at Shimmerglade (a place in Damara or Impiltur), however all were slain in spell battle [7]
On Kythorn 16 1358 DR, the Malaugrym name the Simbul a Great Foe [7]
The Castle of Shadows has a huge sapphire glowing blue with inner fire, floating above a dark pool (whose thick black waters had been used for many potions). This is a spell library of ancient Netheril which holds many powerful spells. The Shadowmaster High can instruct the gem to slay any that touch it
Malaugrym can call upon the power of the spell library (like a spell pool????)
Malaugrym are relatively unaffected by poisons, heart attacks, diseases, organ failure. They decline slowly, losing their shapeshifting ability and their memories until they are slain.
Centuries ago the Malaugrym stole spells and magic items from all over Faerun, competing with each other. They often killed wizards to have a free hand in plundering their magic. When they tried to do so to Elminster he slew that Malaugrym and warned the others to stop. That made the Malaugrym determined to eliminate him. [10]
Elminster believes there are 70+ Malaugrym of any note (that was before the Simbul killed lots of them [10]
Malaugrym are hardy, but vulnerable in the shape they have taken form (what will kill a horse will kill a Malaugrym that looks like a horse), but they often moved their vital organs out of the way and into unexpected places. [10]
Malaugrym like to take human form. Among their own kind they are suspicious and constantly change shape and have multiple heads and bodies etc. [10]
Silver is corrosive to a Malaugrym and any tissue it touches [10]
Kuervyn and Andraut, younger Malaugrym of no consequence, fond of visiting Faerun’s brothels and leaving without paying [11]
Balatar, younger Malaugrym, wild, dangerous, loves cruelty and killing, dislikes taking orders. Son of Alcarga [12,13]
Jarthree, younger Malaugrym, female, cold calculating, but all style and no substance (yet) [12]
Malaugrym are able to intercept gates linking other places [12]
Elminster killed so many Malaugrym that Dhalgrave kept them out of Faerun for centuries [13]
Shadowhome is the name of the demiplane ruled by the Malaugrym. It transforms humans into Malaugrym (Itharr and Belkram grew tentacles and claws when they arrived. The mists and shadows of Shadowhome are alive and mutate the bodies of living beings [13,14]
There is a ritual involving slithering and chanting, forbidden by Shadowmaster High for some centuries (did Dhalgrave forbid it????)
Phenanjar, Malaugrym, slain by Sharantyr [15]
Amdramnar, son of Chasra, hates Phenajar and Olorn [15,16]
Alja, Malaugrym [15]
The Well of Shadows, also known as the Deep Well. A room in the Castle of Shadows, it doesn’t hold water, but the shadows are thickest here. Some say It is the heart of Shadowhome [15]
The shadows are alive in Shadowhome [16]
The Castle of Shadows is made of Shadow, as are many of the furnishings. They change over time but Malaugrym can mould them into shapes. The shadows of Shadowhome alter the bodies of the Malaugrym and the Malaugrym can learn to control it, but underneath it all they are still human [16]
Red Wizards of Thay and Zhentil Keep have both hunted Malaugrym for the powers they possess [16]
Female Malaugrym are barren [16]
Malaugrym duel to settle insults [16]
Shadowslugs inhabit Shadowhome, they are used as food by the Malaugrym [16]
Iyritar and Argast, Shadowmasters but younger, secret allies of Olorn, very good mages [16]
Tombwoms, live in the castle foundations in Shadowhome, taste like roasted almonds [17]
Netherbird brains and shadowdark wine, delicacies in Shadowhome [17]
Ahorga, Malaugrym, father of Huerbara, Shadowmaster elder for centuries [17,19]
The Malaugrym used to sit in a council of elders (Shadowmasters) in the Red Chamber) until Dhalgrave dissolved it [19]
Glyorgh's Chamber, room in the Castle of Shadows. Glyorgh was the closest friend of Malaug, a sorcerer of Faerun and the first to embrace the way of shadows. Rests in magical stasis in the Chamber of Glyorgh since before people dwelt in the Dragon Reach lands [19]
The Lute Gallery, room in the Castle of Shadows. Enchantments play soothing music all the time, Malaugrym come here to relax [19]
Hall of Stars, a gaming room in the Castle of Shadows where Malaugrym mages practice spell hurling [20]
Cortar, elder Malaugrym [20]
Indyl and Thaune, Malaugrym, allies of Milhvar [20]
Drelorr, Malaugrym [20]
Library in the Castle of Shadows [20]

Raurin
Mirtul 29 1358 DR, a mist shrouded battlefield where snarling beings hack at each other with bloodied swords. This battlefield caught the attention of Bane [1]

Savage Frontier Backlands (Fallen Lands????)
A throne deep in the ruins of a fallen city of Netheril (enclave?????). Bane likes to visit and sit in the throne [1]

Cloak of Shadows
Milhvar discovered the real Cloak of Shadows (formerly owned by Malaug) it shifts its shape with Milhvar perfectly. MIlhvar hopes the cloak is able to foil the magic of any follower of Mystra including the Chosen and even Azuth himself (uses shadow weave magic????). Able to hide Malaugrym from the spells of the Chosen [1,11]
Can roll itself into a ball with a command [1]
Made using the soul of a priest of Mystra [1]
Milhvar can use to make a cloak of spells that will emulate some of its abilities and can be bestowed upon others but its power is link to the Cloak of Shadows and can be removed at will [18]


Shadowdale
14th Kythorn 1358 DR Sharantyr, Belkram, Itharr in the Old Skull Inn after saving Highdale from Zhents. [1]
Sharantyr knows a linking spell known to some elves and elf friends that sends a vision to the linked recipients of the last 9 breaths of the caster. Her vision was of a friend, Flambarra (a Harper) being slain by a brigands arrows [1]
Flambarra was found by Elion of Talltrees and lives again [1]
A good harvest of potatoes and barley in Shadowdale and other good harvests across the Dragonreach this year [1]
Elminster is always protected by an ironguard spell [1]
Elminster, Sharantyr, Belkram, Itharr slay the Malaugrym Thalart (get of Galartyn and Chasra in the Old Skull Inn on 14th Kythorn 1358 DR. [2]
Sylune, the Silent Sister [2]
The Simbul, her name is Nethreen [2]
Brion, guardsman in Shadowdale [3]
Belkram Hardeth of Everlund, Harper. Travelled the seas of the Sword Coast as a hiresword. Journeyed to Athkatla and got into a fight with a merchant and his six bodyguards (he slew them all). Has been slain twice and brought back by spells [6]
Itharr Jathram, Harper, burly, normally quiet, but has an uncontrollable rage when roused, forces him to brutally slay people on occasion [6]
Sylune can manifest anywhere the stones of her house are. If a stone is placed within a body, Sylune can animate that body and cast spells through it and activate magic items [5,6,7,8]
A flowshaft in the cellar in Elminster’s Tower leads straight up to Elminster’s bedchamber [12]

Other Lore
Salt wine of Tashluta [1]
Elminster has had many names since Athalantar [2]
Elminster and Lady Saharel are the only beings alive today (other than the Malaugrym) that know how to wield the Shadowcrown and Doomstars [2]
Summer 1357 DR, the Simbul sent one of her very pretty agents into Thay (not for any reason, just to have the Thayans fight over her). She then sent slaying spells after anyone that sought to kill the agent, she discovered they slew two Malaugrym [2]
Kythorn – mists often cloak the Dragonreach lands before dawn [3]
Kythorn 15 – gods fall to Toril. A falling star lands south and east of Daggerdale (in the Vast perhaps) [4]
Ten years ago a Zhentarim caravan swindled several crooked Elturel merchants. The Master of Twilight Hall let it happen and attacked the Zhentarim after (Belkram was involved in the attack) [6]
Kythorn 16 1358 DR, Elminster battles a horde of orcs in the halls of Dragonspear Castle. The orcs are wearing ancient spired and fluted army from the dawn days of Netheril or maybe Nimbral
In ancient Netheril, powerful spell libraries were huge sapphires (as big as a person’s head). There are spell libraries like this hidden away in vaults since the fall of Netheril
Zzar has a distinctive almond scent
18 Kythorn 1358 DR, Elminster convinces a few frightened archpriests in Baldur’s Gate not to start a religious war (he terrified them by collapsing the temples) [9]
18 Kythorn 1358 DR, Elminster cowed rival factions of mind flayers in a city deep in the heart of Raurin (to stop them eventually hurting innocents around them). The mind flayers are sitting on enough battle spells (of Imaskar????) to flatten half the eastern realms. Elminster collapsed the vaults filled with battle spells that would take the mind flayers a century or more to dig out (so they cannot use them on anyone else) [9]
Elminster believes a lot of folk from Westgate will be fleeing to Hawkgauntlet from Flamerule 1358 DR onwards (why????) [10]
Elminster spent several hundred years trying to forge treaties and handshakes across Faerun, most rulers only stuck to the agreement for a year or two. Elminster then started telling people the price for breaking the treaties (and slaying those that did break them). It allowed humans to grow and spread across Faerun, while the elves and dwarves grew few and hunted. Then humans went to war with themselves. [10]
Leapknights, a game played on a board (like chess?????) [11]
Elminster raised Sylune as a babe, but not in Shadowdale [12]
Elminster’s Safehold, well out of reach of the avatars during the Time of Troubles. Has 2 doors, one into the wood with leaves tinged blue leads to Evermeet, and one in the stone passage that leads to a cellar in Elminster’s Tower [12]
Pelmurt’s Diaries, volumes about the wizard Pelmurt. The books currently reside in Blackstaff Tower. The diary details an account of the 8th magefair [13]
Pelmurt opened the Door Obler Had Forgotten – which leads to the Lost Library of Funderdelve (where Eltaran Earthshaker and 6 other powerful mages of Netheril had stored their spells [13]
Bluturt, an ancient Sword Coast obscenity [13]
Bloodcowls, a derisive name for Red Wizards of They [14]
Rain of Fire, a spell last used 3 magefairs ago [14]
Commentaries of Iyrauthor, a collection of related records, rumours, legends and testimonials about the Mad Sage Alaundo’s ramblings. The copy owned by Candlekeep was annotated by First Reader Taltro about 600 years ago (most of them nonsense). This copy is currently held by Elminster (without Candlekeep knowing) [15]
Esserae, young and beautiful woman from Myth Drannor, knew Elminster, had blue-green glossy hair. Mystra forbid Elminster to bring her back to life [15]
Lansharra, woman of Myth Drannor, Elminster gave her a necklace with a king’s tear on it. He retrieved the necklace after her death [15]
Glorym and Pike, half orc brigands somewhere in Faerun, slain by Elminster [17]
Mielikki referred to Eldath as Datha [17]

Harper Lore
"A Harper needs no roof nor servants, but is happy to sleep under the stars, where the air is fresh, the living earth is closer, and the body has no chance to become pampered and weak." From the Code of the Harpers (this passage was written by Elminster) [3]
Some of the Code of the Harpers was written by Elminster [3]
Madcap Harpers (those that challenge orders and don’t do as they are told) are sent to Storm and Elminster for training [6]
Itharr once uncovered a brothel full of doppelgangers (the mistress in charge was unaware) [15]

Daggerdale Lore
Irythkeep, an old ruin in Daggerdale. Once a grand keep, toppled by a besieging orc horde led by a Zhentarim mage (who conjured a fire spitting hydra within its walls). All that is left is a stone ring outlining the outer wall, a few overgrown outbuildings and stables next to fingerlike towers. The ruins of Irythkeep are all but destroyed by the fight between Elminster and the Malaugrym [3,6]
Arashta Tharbrow, Zhentarim sorceress. Apprentice to Thundyl. Sent to Daggerdal by Thundyl to slay Randal Morn as punishment (for a failure, or for sleeping with someone she shouldn’t have????). Young woman, green eyes [5,7]
Brammur, warrior serving with Randal Morn, grey eyes and grey moustache [6]
Thearn, head archer serving Randal Morn, cautious, grim [6]
A Harper Cache hidden between the two largest exposed roots of the third shadowtop tree south of Dagger Rock. Orc bones are buried above the cache. The cache holds healing potions, equipment, a cave big enough to hold six. Only those with a Harper Pin can safely access the cache
An old manor, about the same age as Irythkeep [9]
An old bridge off the road to the manor, has a one way gate to the Castle of Shadows nearby (why, who put it there – Elminster perhaps????) [12,14]


Zhentarim Lore
Raglar and Morgil, Master of Magelings (do they train or oversee Zhentarim magelings). Owns a nearly spent wand [5]

Tunland Lore
Roarald, old priest of Tempus. Known to Elminster as too good a man to lose but stubborn as an old post [9]
Symon, old warrior [9]
Symon, Roarald and other armsmen were battling goblinoids (orcs and goblins) on the High Road south of Tunland near Hawkgentle on 18 Kythorn 1358 DR. Roarald was fatally wounded, Elminster impersonated Tempus and healed Roarald. He bid the priests to travel to Luskan and battle dark wizards (the Hosttower Arcane????) that were attempting to magically dominate the Uthgardt with potions and spells and march them on Neverwinter and other cities of the north [9]
Mider and Albrar, caravan companions or guards travelling through Hawkgauntlet. Slain by a pair of dopplegangers. Elminster paralysed the dopplegangers mid change and left them to be discovered (and slain) [9]
Hawkgauntlet, a small hamlet north and west of Ilipur and two small to appear on a map. Has a tavern known as the Hawkgauntlet Arms – has a privy bench far away from the caravan camp – run by Galdus. [9]
Galdus, runs the Hawkgauntlet Arms. Long ago (over 40 years) he met Elminster at a mage fair when a mage named Almanthus tried to make the mountain fly. 40 years ago Galdus was caught between two warring priests in Sembia whose temples had grown in size and splendour. Galdus was permanently stripped of all but one spell and his health permanently damaged (he hated the gods ever since). Has a wife and two daughters and hires another girl to help with the Hawkgauntlet Arms [9]
Baerlus leads a small group of bandits in the Tunland around Hawkgauntlet [9]

Sharantyr
Was captured by drow, was to be bred with a spider to create intelligent, commandable spiders to be used in a war with a rival drow city. They used glowing oozes to clean her wounds and heal her (and drain her energy). She escaped by fleeing through a tomb in the underdark [11]
Sharantyr meets Mystra near Myth Drannor in the form of a will-o-wisp (a form Mystra inherited - Midnight is now Mystra so she must have inherited it from Mystra - and that she cannot wear well and will wear no longer). She gave Sharantyr a sword that can slay Malaugrym, locate gates / portals, and act as a portal key for many gates (is the sword from Myth Drannor????) [11]
Sharantyr’s sword can blaze bright blue fire at will [12]
Sharantyr’s sword stops her body from mutating in the shadows of Shadowhome [14]
Sharantyr’s sword can purify food and drink [15]
The Malaugrym recognize the sword so must have encountered it before [15]
Sharantyr’s sword can break magical effects wherever it strikes [20]
Sharantyr’s sword can reflect magic back at the caster [21]
The Chamber of the Veils, the last antechamber before the Great Hall of the Throne [21]

Silverymoon
Shantra the Underdresser, a maid in Alustriel’s court (slain by Huerbara of the Malaugrym), beloved of Haerarn [11]
Silder, guard in Silverymoon palace [11]
Haerarn, guard in Silverymoon palace, beloved of Shantra [11]
Mistress Iraeyna, Chief Dresser of the Ladies’ Wardrobe, double chinned lady with an enormous bosom, wears a black silk corset with Harper pin beneath her dress. Harper agent. Carries a silver sword, knows about Malaugrym [11]
Guards in Silverymoon are bound by the decree of High Lady Alustriel to follow the orders of any Harper [11]
Lady Amathree, resident at Silverymoon Palace, possible Harper Agent [11]
Swords of the Guard, how the palace guardsmen in Silverymoon Palace are known [11]

Blackstaff Tower
Always quiet in Blackstaff Tower due to shielding magics [13]
A gate links Blackstaff Tower and Evermeet. At least 3 other gates link Blackstaff Tower to other places in Faerun [12]
19 Kythorn 1358 DR, Khelben is in Elturel sitting in spell-court at a long running dispute between two arch mages [13]
Tath, senior apprentice in Blackstaff Tower, shy, nervous, cautious, OCD about checking things [13]
Baerista, impulsive, reckless, with occasional flashes of brilliance [13]
Ushard of Athkatla, apprentice in Blackstaff Tower, lazy idiot (slain by Taernil) [13]
Rylard of Neverwinter, wizard in the Alliance [13]
Wizards of the Alliance often visit Blackstaff Tower (what Alliance????) [13]
Spectral doomguard watches over the gates into Blackstaff Tower [13]
Detection fields and screening spells guard the entrances (including gates) into Blackstaff Tower [13]
An apprentice is always on guard using a scrying orb that alerts to any visitors (via gates or door). Apprentice is able to easily trigger magical alarms [13]

Thay
Szass Tam has an elusive goal – the destruction of Rashemen [14]
The Masked One, a Red Wizard who desires to change the School of Necromancy in Thay and remove Szass Tam. He is bitter and pretends his powers are failing. Secretly he can magically dissolve people and absorb their powers. He spends years secretly removing those that come to kill him and growing in power until he can manifest a dark giant. The Masked One intends to use the giant during the Time of Troubles to kill the avatar of Hoar [14]
The Masked One’s giant can ensnare mages and cast multiple fireballs, freezing spheres, lightning bolts, delayed fireballs, meteor swarm, prismatic ray, petrification. Anything the giant kills sends its spells and memories to the Masked One [14]
The Masked One’s giant is powered and controlled by a sceptre at the heart of the clouds of darkness that form the giant [14]
The Masked One is slain by Szass Tam and Lauzoril [14]

Thar
Tribe of the Nose Bone – hobgoblins [17]
Tribe of the Splintered Sword – hobgoblins [17]
Askarr and Battlegar – titles among the hobgoblin tribes of Thar [17]

Misty Forest
Ramtharage Druin, Keeper of the Fastness [18]
The Fastness, formerly known as Eldath’s Waters (over a century ago), a pool in the Misty Forest sacred to Eldath and protected by Ramtharage and his fellow priests [18]
19 Kythorn 1358 DR the Fastness was struck by a falling star and damaged [18]

TheIriaeban Posted - 22 May 2022 : 22:03:01
Maybe it is like the silver cord in astral travel. A "cord" is created by a gate between two locations and they are able to detect that cord and interact with it. Since there are several "cords" coming out of the tower, he isn't exactly sure which one is which so he warns 'em they may not end up where they want.
Gary Dallison Posted - 22 May 2022 : 20:36:38
So, reading chapter 12 it sounds like the Malaugrym are able to intercept portals linking other places in Faerun.

Milhvar sends 3 Malaugrym to a gate that links Blackstaff Tower and Evermeet, but warns there is a chance they might be drawn into one of three other gates in Blackstaff Tower.

Its almost like the gates are a tunnel and the Malaugrym are inserting themselves through the tunnel wall to reach one of the destinations (rather than walking through the tunnel entrance to reach the other side).

I'm not sure if there is magic that allows you to do this already published, but it definitely shows these Malaugrym have access to something others do not (and i still think its the Infinite Staircase)
Gary Dallison Posted - 20 May 2022 : 17:33:44
It's possible I suppose but the infinite staircase is fairly difficult to get to otherwise everyone would use it to access the planes.

Malaug was an incredibly powerful spell caster in his day and the malaugrym obsession with the planes and seemingly unlimited portal access to anywhere makes me think they have access to something others dont.

If they did connect to the staircase it might also explain how elminster has had access to their domain several times and another reason why he chose to live in shadowdale which had an access point to the staircase until very recently.

Just a thought
TheIriaeban Posted - 20 May 2022 : 14:58:57
If the Malaugrym can use the Staircase, whose to say that it couldn't have been used by other extra-planar groups. Perhaps that is how The Night Parade first made it to Toril. That would mean that there is a Staircase entrance in or around Calimport. Their Apparatus was invented as a shortcut because it was so dangerous to travel the Staircase.
Gary Dallison Posted - 20 May 2022 : 12:32:34
So the Malaugrym seem to be able to scry anywhere on Faerun and appear anywhere on Faerun whenever they want.

Not an impossible task for a sufficiently powerful magic user, but it is used so often that i get the feeling there is something else behind this power.

One of the locations in the Castle of SHadows is called the Hall of Many Stairs. This location was referred to while discussing scrying portals.

It was noted that in the past, those looking into the scrying portals too closely may have found themselves looking at a false image or falling victim to a trap (one Malaugrym was devoured by a manyjaws - deepspawn i guess - while looking at a scene of nude mermaids.
This implies the Malaugrym do not have control over their scrying portals and that the portals are not just for scrying, they almost act like visual gateways.

Now it could be that the Malaugrym deliberately trapped the scrying portals to slay their kin. Not impossible given that kin strife is known among the Malaugrym.

What if the Hall of Many Stairs is actually connected to the Infinite Staircase, that would explain the name, how they get access to so many places, why they do not seem to have complete control over the scrying or the portals themselves.
George Krashos Posted - 20 May 2022 : 00:39:19
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I do love the Ed Greenwood novels, so much lore in each page.

Shadow crown and Doomstars for new items.

A new place I've never heard of (although this one might not be on toril) the Etherimm.

New Harpers, new malaugrym.

New bits of history (elminster had many names since athalantar, maybe he did the identity swapping thing like Khelben).

Lots of new info about the malaugrym that I didnt know before



I think "Etherimm" might be the malaugrym collective term for the Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadow, given that in 2E they were contiguous.

-- George Krashos
Gary Dallison Posted - 19 May 2022 : 22:11:33
I do love the Ed Greenwood novels, so much lore in each page.

Shadow crown and Doomstars for new items.

A new place I've never heard of (although this one might not be on toril) the Etherimm.

New Harpers, new malaugrym.

New bits of history (elminster had many names since athalantar, maybe he did the identity swapping thing like Khelben).

Lots of new info about the malaugrym that I didnt know before
Gary Dallison Posted - 14 May 2022 : 10:25:57
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?



It's in the final chapter of Shadows of Doom (I think chapter 24, titled "The Void, Love and Doom" in the printing I have). He reliquishes back to Mystra the divine power he had absorbed (so he's not supercharged and doesn't risk going in overload and blowing up anymore) and starts casting magic again.



Ta, i completely forgot about that bit.

So it looks like Shadows of Doom is set right at the start of the Time of Troubles. Then Mystra goes to face Bane and gets captured at Castle Crag i think and sends some of her power to Midnight. Then Elminster kills those Malaugrym in one of the Avatar books and presumably that is the brother of Milhvar who is the Malaugrym at the start of Cloak of Shadows.

I wonder if anyone has actually plotted out all the events from the Time of Troubles around Mystra and Elminster because this could get really complicated.
Demzer Posted - 14 May 2022 : 04:31:29
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?



It's in the final chapter of Shadows of Doom (I think chapter 24, titled "The Void, Love and Doom" in the printing I have). He reliquishes back to Mystra the divine power he had absorbed (so he's not supercharged and doesn't risk going in overload and blowing up anymore) and starts casting magic again.
ElfBane Posted - 13 May 2022 : 23:50:17
Oh jeez! WOTC knows that they have created a "superman", whose spell abilities should be able to solve virtually ALL problems. Realizing what they have done, and since they don't have kryptonite, they have to create plot devices that hobble Elminster. He's virtually a demi-god, even though he's "just" a Chosen. WOTC has probably handled it as best they could... by not using Elminster much in the last few years.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 May 2022 : 22:07:33
Here's a question for the sages

I'm reading Cloak of Shadows, and in Chapter 1 in the month of Kythorn Elminster casts a spell, not using a magic item but actually casts a spell.

Now in Shadows of Doom (set before this book although i dont know the dates) he decides he cannot cast any spells for fear of destroying the Weave and possibly the entire planet.

In the Avatar Trilogy we see Elminster battling away with spells many times, and i'm fairly certain those books are set after the Shadows of the Avatar trilogy.

So at some point between Shadows of Doom and Cloak of Shadows Elminster realise he is able to cast spells, or he finds some way of ensuring he doesnt blow up the Weave when he casts spells, or i've got my timing off and Cloak of Shadows is set after the Avatar books where Elminster gets rid of the bit of Mystra hiding inside him (presumably when that piece of Mystra jumps into the rift in Shadowdale and turns into some magic golem).

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?
Gary Dallison Posted - 25 Apr 2022 : 21:07:53
I just cant finish that novel. I got as far as page 53 and gave up.

On to Cloak of Shadows.
Gary Dallison Posted - 25 Apr 2022 : 15:12:27
Wish I'd known that before I started mining it for lore.

It does have some possibilities though the story about a chultan king being rescued by 3 citizens I might use for the tale of a Bara
George Krashos Posted - 25 Apr 2022 : 13:38:27
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Really not enjoying Once around the Realms. It started out okay, with some interesting lore, but has quickly degenerated into a whistle stop tour of every place in the realms. Thanks to this novel i know that Thay has the Red Wizards, the Sea of Fallen Stars has pirates, the Shaar has bandits, Halrua has airships, and Chult has dinosaurs. And thats about all i have learned.

The names are the worst, a bad parody of real life people and places, on a par with the Netheril boxed set.



It and the Double Diamond books have the distinction of being declared Realms fiction. As in, fiction created in the Realms by Realms writers. They are not standard FR novels in that sense and confirmed as not being "canonical" way back when.

-- George Krashos
Gary Dallison Posted - 23 Apr 2022 : 20:00:46
Really not enjoying Once around the Realms. It started out okay, with some interesting lore, but has quickly degenerated into a whistle stop tour of every place in the realms. Thanks to this novel i know that Thay has the Red Wizards, the Sea of Fallen Stars has pirates, the Shaar has bandits, Halrua has airships, and Chult has dinosaurs. And thats about all i have learned.

The names are the worst, a bad parody of real life people and places, on a par with the Netheril boxed set.
Gary Dallison Posted - 18 Apr 2022 : 14:59:50
I think the big issue is that people use the novels as the milestone to measure all interactions with the gods, when in reality that is probably the exception of interactions.

First thing to consider is gods are not all powerful, they are more powerful than mortals but they still have limitations. A greater god can only create and control 10 avatars at a time. Assuming they can multi task by a factor of 10 beyond that it would mean that they can do at a maximum 100 things at a time.
So that's 100 manifestations or 100 visions or 100 miracles etc or any combination of them.
Now the number of priests in Faerun for a god can number many thousands of individuals, each of them calling upon the deity many times a day to get their attention. Then add in the lay worshippers which can number in the millions, any of whom can be requesting aid at any point in time.
If you break a day down into seconds that is 84,600 seconds, and assuming only 1,000,0000 people invoke a god's name or request his aid in a given day then that is 11 requests every single second.
I always refer to the Bruce Almighty scene with the emails as to how a god might deal with a request for aid.
In short, it is likely that less than 0.1% of all requests even get noticed by a deity let alone get answered. In the novels we are probably seeing the 0.01% of communication.

The next point is that gods are not omniscient. Portfolios are a human construct (according to Ed on Twitter). Mask does not know everything about intrigues because that is his portfolio, similarly Tyr does not know everything about Justice or Bhaal everything about violent death.
Linked back to gods are not omnipotent, they can likely only know whatever they happen to be made aware of by their priests and divine servitors as well as whatever they happen to be monitoring that is of interest to them (i imagine they can scry on mortals that interest them).
So just by ringing up a god and asking a question does not guarantee that they will know the answer. In fact it is probable that their knowledge is limited and so they would respond in cryptic replies if at all (assuming this is the 0.01% of interactions).


Then we get onto the part of gods directly interfering in mortal affairs. As we are seeing in the modern world, entities of unlimited power engage in a conflict of escalating responses until one side runs out of power to escalate to the next level. They do this because the ultimately result of any conflict is Total Annihilation, and so beings with any modicum of intelligence realise that a pact of Mutual Assured Destruction is required in order to limit the conflict to normal levels and to prevent the death of everyone and everything.
Gods have unlimited power when compared to mortals (but they are not actually omnipotent). A handful of gods are more than capable of destroying Faerun and everything in it, a problem made worse by the alliances and oppositions between them that resemble axis and allies powers of modern conflicts. As they are intelligent beings it only makes sense that they would set out the rules of any engagement to prevent the inevitable destruction of what they need (worshippers).
Thus it cannot be allowed for gods to directly slay the worshippers of others or directly do anything. Intermediates must be used and powers must only be manifest at the request of the faithful.
All beings however seek to circumvent the rules as agreed, avatars are allowed when called upon, miracles are allowed when called upon. Manifestations of random things that do nothing in themselves direct worshippers towards the wishes of the deity as do visions.

What we are seeing with Cyric is likely the activities of a being not familiar with the rules, and the response of other beings. Anytime a god appeared it really should be considered whether this was actually an avatar or not (unless they are a new deity like Cyric) and called upon by the faithful.
Bhaal's appearance in the Moonshaes was called upon by Hogarth so likely an avatar. It was also spectacularly badly done, he is enormouse, filled with godly power (Lathander's appearance nearly destroyed everyone that witnessed it) and yet all the god manages to do is repeatedly stomp on Tristan and fail to kill him in a singular demonstration of Bhaal as the stupidest divine being in existence.

And lastly, one thing i always apply to divine communication. Gods are not material beings, they do not possess a single body, they can be split into multiple avatars at the same time and multitask many things at once. Without a body they may not even interpret time and space in the same way as material beings do. Why would it be that when communicating with a divine being they would even be capable of speech and in a manner that we could interpret. It seems far more likely that they would just force the information into our mind in a single moment. Such a forceful event could likely appear jumble in time (as they have little concept of it being an immortal and bodiless being) and be a confusing mess of desires and outcomes and suggested methods all in one go. In the film Dogma anyone that heard the voice of god exploded immediately, anyone that looks upon Lathander's avatar goes blind, why wouldnt the same apply to anyone hearing the word of a god.


Just my thoughts, but everything i read about the gods just makes me think more and more that using these novelised events as a standard for interactions with the divine is completely unworkable in a world building sense.
Charles Phipps Posted - 18 Apr 2022 : 10:44:03
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Too many points to argue so i will pick just two.


My apologies, not trying to argue the points in your thread. Just give some thoughts. If you would like me to avoid mentioning any other of your past posts, please say so as I had a huge amount of fun with them and was going to do one for the Crucible as well.

quote:
Regarding getting the answers to problems from deities and their servants. The main problem with this is that it takes away player and people agency. If ever there is an issue that cannot be solved, a priest (or priests) could just contact the deity and ask for an answer. It would seem (based upon the interaction in this book) that even secrets known to very few individuals are not unknown to the gods.


This can be very frustrating I imagine. I suppose in this case I would have the messages obscured by other deities and the people involved like praying to Mask God of Secrets or Cyric God of Lies and part of the reason that people pray to them. I understand that might be very involving but I admit I love a very integrated pantheon.

quote:
Using the above as an assumption of truth means that there would be no murders or intrigues or plots involving the ultra rich (kings, etc) because they can just pay to have priests provide them the answers. A new guy appears on the scene in court, the king wants to know about this enigmatic courtier that is making new friends fast and gathering political power, he uses dial-a-god and immediately knows all the plans of his new rival.


Amusingly, this is similar to an argument that I had with a friend who said that Priests of Tyr would be everywhere like the Thought Police and providing information. My argument was that divination magic, arcane or otherwise, would be reserved for the highest levels of society and plots there would have magic counteractng that. In the classic module, THE ASSASSINS KNOT, for 1st Edition, the book states the Duke can't be contacted by Speak with Dead or Resurrected as part of the mystery.

quote:
Inside priesthoods themselves there could be no intrigues or power plays, particularly among the most powerful priests, as they will always have the ear of their god to warn them of any secret plots and intrigues.


I added "Heretical Priest" as a class in my D&D lore so I definitely feel you but I also note that depowering heretics and criminals seems like something you'd want your god to do.

quote:
Such an idea of direct communication and omniscience over a god and their portfolio creates nothing but problems as to how a world could work.


On the other hand, doesn't it make a god less godly? What's the point of worshiping a deity that is real, interventionalist, and ever present to the point it provides magic if they're not paying attention to their own followers' deeds. Mind you, I view this as a flavor of the Realms rather than a flaw.

quote:
Then onto Avatars. We have no information about the workings of an avatar, particularly cost (beyond a limit based upon deity status - lesser, intermediate, greater, etc). But it is safe to say because there is a limit on number there is an associated cost. Furthermore, because every god does not have the max number of avatars wandering around at all times that is further support to the idea that avatars have a cost to maintain (if not create).


True. I always was bugged by the CULT OF THE DRAGON bit where Lathander's avatar smites Sammanster. It seemed very strange and made me wonder why Lathander's avatar was just randomly running around.

quote:
Maintaining an avatar longterm for no particular purpose (that we know of) seems wasteful and foolish given the presumably expensive cost (if a greater god can only maintain 10 at a time they must be hellishly expensive).


You've convinced me. I could imagine Godsbane as a major Maskian relic created by his church that he has the ability to speak through before the ToT or affected by being his host during the ToT but as just an avatar he's made, that is weird and invites a lot of questions. Thanks for answering.

quote:
I tend to use the OD&D immortals boxed set when looking at the divine, and that provides an idea of costs associated with all divine activities.


Odd fact: Our current game is adding Immortals with the PCs now dealing with the gods.

quote:
Godsbane as an ancient avatar is problematic as we do not have an answer as to the age of Mask as a deity, i vaguely recall he might be relatively new as a god. Also there is the problem of the sentience inhabiting the sword which is clearly at odds with the sentience of Mask himself (certainly the one that the priests promote). Godsbane is blood thirsty, controlling, murderous, and extrovert, whereas Mask is about stealth and intrigue and thievery.



I took this to be a matter of the writers having different interpretations of Mask. Everis Cale's view of Mask and his writings is a far more benevolent deity than the one in Prince of Lies and the Avatar Trilogy. The one in the Avatar Trilogy is encouraging Cyic's bloodlust because it's feeding on the carnage as a way to empower itself because all of the gods seem to be desperate to increase their power.

Mind you, my own bias is showing as I have Vhaeraun and Mask as related deities. I've always enjoyed deities "wandering in" to the Faerun pantheon from their home pnatheon and assuming new guises. Then again, my interest in RL mythology and anthropology means I've overly fascinatied by the subject. I also attended a religious school for twelve years.

quote:
The depictions of gods in novels seems to be disappointing to everyone, i dont understand why TSR and WoTC kept on depicting them. They are always the weakest part of a novel in terms of storytelling and plot. After reading around 30 novels i find that the depiction of the gods does not always match how people remember the gods being depicted.


YMMV. Prince of Lies and The Crucible are easily my favorite of the novels in terms of the actions with the Elminster novels use of Mystra as well as Drizzt novels' direct use of Lolth also something I enjoy. For me, the gods of the Realms being incredibly activist and involved is part of the appeal of the setting.

Evermeet: Isle of Elves and the Moonshae Trilogy have Lolth and Bhaal acting as the Big Bads of the armies directly rather than through proxies.

Mind you, I like it when the humans can strike back and the fact that Moander gets KILLED trying to pull off these sorts of things.

quote:
Very few of the novels show direct communication between gods and people (excluding in person encounters), in several novels it is mentioned such communication takes the form of visions, which means misinterpretation is entirely possible and plausible.


This is true. I also hate one moment from Prince of Lies where Cyric shows up to personally screw with Gwydion's spiritual development by pretending to be Torm. That not only seems like it would break some divine "rule" but it also is immensely petty for any god.
Gary Dallison Posted - 18 Apr 2022 : 08:42:33
Too many points to argue so i will pick just two.

Regarding getting the answers to problems from deities and their servants. The main problem with this is that it takes away player and people agency. If ever there is an issue that cannot be solved, a priest (or priests) could just contact the deity and ask for an answer. It would seem (based upon the interaction in this book) that even secrets known to very few individuals are not unknown to the gods.

Using the above as an assumption of truth means that there would be no murders or intrigues or plots involving the ultra rich (kings, etc) because they can just pay to have priests provide them the answers. A new guy appears on the scene in court, the king wants to know about this enigmatic courtier that is making new friends fast and gathering political power, he uses dial-a-god and immediately knows all the plans of his new rival.
Inside priesthoods themselves there could be no intrigues or power plays, particularly among the most powerful priests, as they will always have the ear of their god to warn them of any secret plots and intrigues.

Such an idea of direct communication and omniscience over a god and their portfolio creates nothing but problems as to how a world could work.



Then onto Avatars. We have no information about the workings of an avatar, particularly cost (beyond a limit based upon deity status - lesser, intermediate, greater, etc). But it is safe to say because there is a limit on number there is an associated cost. Furthermore, because every god does not have the max number of avatars wandering around at all times that is further support to the idea that avatars have a cost to maintain (if not create).

Maintaining an avatar longterm for no particular purpose (that we know of) seems wasteful and foolish given the presumably expensive cost (if a greater god can only maintain 10 at a time they must be hellishly expensive).

I tend to use the OD&D immortals boxed set when looking at the divine, and that provides an idea of costs associated with all divine activities.

Godsbane as an ancient avatar is problematic as we do not have an answer as to the age of Mask as a deity, i vaguely recall he might be relatively new as a god. Also there is the problem of the sentience inhabiting the sword which is clearly at odds with the sentience of Mask himself (certainly the one that the priests promote). Godsbane is blood thirsty, controlling, murderous, and extrovert, whereas Mask is about stealth and intrigue and thievery.



The depictions of gods in novels seems to be disappointing to everyone, i dont understand why TSR and WoTC kept on depicting them. They are always the weakest part of a novel in terms of storytelling and plot. After reading around 30 novels i find that the depiction of the gods does not always match how people remember the gods being depicted.

Very few of the novels show direct communication between gods and people (excluding in person encounters), in several novels it is mentioned such communication takes the form of visions, which means misinterpretation is entirely possible and plausible.
Charles Phipps Posted - 18 Apr 2022 : 04:30:03
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Prince of Lies (1368 DR)

Gwydion Lore
Gwydion “the Quick”, a Purple Dragon soldier, beat every challenger in a footrace, running along the Promenade in Suzail. [prologue]
Scout during the Tuigan crusade, and messenger. Left the Purple Dragons after the Crusade [prologue]
Now a sellsword and adventurer on foray into the Great Grey Land of Thar with Lady Cardea and Aram Scragglebeard [prologue]
Lady Cardea had a priceless elf crafted bow, slain by Thrym the giant [prologue]
Aram Scragglebeard, had many enchantments (mage) slain by Thrym the giant [prologue]
Follower of Torm the True
Slain by Thrym after delusions made him believe he was blessed by Torm [prologue]
Gwydion, son of Gareth the Blacksmith, born in Suzail 30 years ago [1]

Thar Lore
Thrym the giant, wears a breastplate that used to be one of the front doors of a Vaasan Palace. Blue eyes, battle axe (frost giant????) [prologue]
Marble chute in a fissure that leads to a man made chamber where an avatar of Torm appears to Gwydion. Torm wears ancient, ornate armour hued a dusky purple (like great warriors dedicated to Torm’s cause). Spikes carved from the bones of evil dragons slain in his name jut from elbows and knees. [prologue]
Shrine of Alban Onire, holy to Torm, was the final resting place of Alban Onire, Holy Knight of Duty, known as a foe of all evil giants. Alban Onire, a handsome young man slain centuries ago, his body is magically preserved wearing his dusky purple plate mail. His soul is at rest, his body will remain until someone comes forth to take his place as a bane to giants and dragons [prologue]
Alban Onire’s sword was called Titanslayer, a silver white blade with a gem encrusted scabbard. One touch from the sword will slay any giant and no giant may harm the wielder of Titanslayer [prologue]
Kelemvor and his 8 adventuring companions (including Cyric) fought with Thrym and his frost giants before the Time of Troubles, searching for the Ring of Winter. The frost giants slew everyone but Kelemvor and Cyric both of whom fled [9]
Thrym and the frost giants of Thar worship a frost elemental creature called Zzutam [9]
Someone had been spreading rumours that the Ring of Winter and the lost crown of King Beldoran could be found in their lair. The rumours were false but led a steady stream of adventurers to their deaths and the hands of Thrym and his frost giants [15]
Zzutam had been the deity of Thrym’s forefathers. Thrym is chief of the frost giants [15]
Zzutam ordered the frost giants to lead an army of goblins and gnolls against Zhentil Keep (Zzutam was commanded by Cyric) [15]

Other Lore
Torm the True, God of Duty, Patron of Loyalty, Torm the Brave [prologue]
Astolfo of Highpeak slain [1]
Frode Silverbeard, slain [1]
Magnes son of Eldryn, slain [1]
Hemah, foul knight of Talos, slain [1]
Perdix and Af, divine minions of Cyric [1]
Priests of Torm must learn the words for Duty and Loyalty in as many languages as possible (they spend the first year of their service sequestered in their cell learning the words. [1]
Godsbane (the sword wielded by Cyric – not its original name – named Godsbane after the Time of Troubles) had destroyed many soldiers and kings that had tried to bend it to their will [2]
Church of Cyric sent groundlings to hunt priestesses of Mystra in Sembia [4]
Church of Cyric desecrating Torm’s shrine in Tantras [4]
Church of Cyric disrupting holy rites of Tyr in Suzail [4]
Church of Cyric betraying agents of the Church of Mask in the city watch of Waterdeep [4]
Church of Cyric, for a decade had every available resource trying to divine the location of Kelemvor Lyonsbane’s soul [4]
Cyric’s agents spread lies about Kelemvor murdering Leira to gain sympathy with the Church of Leira hierarchy. Assassins of Cyric killed those Leiran faithful who were vocal in their opposition to allying with Cyric’s clergy. [4]
Mask the Shadowlord, Gond the Gearsmith [4]
Perverse examples of worship. A canvas painted by a Deneiran using the blood of her own children. An axe used to enforce the judgement of a mad king who ruled in the name of Tyr. A single silver nail used by a worshiper of Sune after he saw a vision of her and believed he would never see anything as beautiful ever again. A worshiper of Chauntea who slit his wrists thinking his blood would make crops grow faster. A druid of Eldath who drowned everyone that ventured near his secluded pool because they disturbed the peace. A knight of Torm who tortured anyone that told even the most insignificant lie. A Gondsmith who chopped off his own left hand so he could replace it with a mechanical one he dreamed about the night before. [4]
Jergal has yellow, poisonous blood, yellow eyes, grey skin [6]
Godsbane can destroy any creature including outer planar beings and gods (Jergal is afraid of it) [6]
Jergal suggested unleashing the Chaos Hound. Godsbane seemed afraid of the mention of the Chaos Hound [6]
Cyric owns an ornate silver cup ever full of the tears of disillusioned dreamers and brokenhearted lovers [6]
Harsh winter in 1368 DR in Cormyr lasting several months and blanketing everything with snow [7]
The Church of Cyric has sent many assassins to kill High Priest Adon of the Church of Mystra [7]
Adon possesses a magic ring (supposedly created by Mystra) that warns him of Cyricist assassins [7]
The Golden Quill Society in Waterdeep, bards run an asylum to care for those driven mad by magics gone awry (a branch of the Church of Mystra). King Trebor is a patient he keeps saying “the angels have fangs”. [7]
After killing his father and elder brother, Kelemvor wandered the cities of the Heartlands, not staying in any longer than a tenday (Lyonsbane Keep must have been near or in the Heartlands????) [9]
Lord Chess slain while helping Mask try to bind Kezef the Chaos Hound atop Blackstaff Tower in Waterdeep [9]
Kelemvor once spent a month in a Sembian jail cell (what for????) [10]
Godsbane can channel the energy of soul to its wielder, can store it for later, or can use it for herself [10]
The 398 (including Bevis) failed scribes of the Cyrinishad where transformed into Burning Men in Cyric’s Castle of Bone [7]
The soul of Gwydion the Quick and 8 other insurrectionists are transformed into the clockwork inquisitors and unleashed upon Zhentil Keep to destroy all that speak out against the Church of Cyric within Zhentil Keep’s walls [11]
Gargauth’s Journal (currently resides in Oghma’s keeping), details primordial battles between greater powers and weird things even mightier than Ao. Contains a magic to breach all divine barriers and see through all godly deceptions [14]
Mask describe’s Godsbane as a god slaying blade. Mask has been helping the sword hide Kelemvor’s soul from Cyric. Godsbane will release Kelemvor’s soul in return for vengeance against Cyric [14]
Gwydion and the clockwork inquisitors are released from their servitude to Cyric by Mystra and Gond and sent back to the Cyric’s realm to stir up a rebellion. Gwydion is given the sword Titanslayer by Torm [17]
60,000 priests and worshippers of Cyric in Toril [18]
The True Life of Cyric the Mad protected by enchantments, any weapon striking the tome is broken [18]
Lord Harcourt, led a cavalry unit of the Army of the Alliance during the Crusade [19]


Zhentil Keep Lore
Bevis, illuminator (illustrator of books and manuscripts) for hire. Hired by the Church of Cyric to add minor illustrations to the Cyrinishad, a work detailing the events of the Time of Troubles (from Cyric’s point of view). His daughter used to be an illuminator [2]
Illuminator’s Guild in Zhentil Keep [2]
Xeno Mirrormane, high priest of Cyric. Silver white curly hair. Murdered his brother Maskul Mirrormane (former high priest of Cyric) [2]
Lord Chess, fat nobleman of Zhentil Keep, bulbous nose, used to worship Leira but hasnt been a practising cleric in years [2,5]
The crypts of Zhentil Keep once held the honoured dead of Bane, warriors, priests and statesmen. After the Time of Troubles the faithful of Cyric plundered the crypts and dumped the remains of Bane’s faithful in the River Tesh [2]
A group of assassins operate out of the now empty crypts. Wizards perform magical experiments in the empty crypts. The crypts are slowly filling with Cyric’s faithful and monasteries to Cyric [2]
Hundreds of scribes and illuminators in Zhentil Keep (397) have been tortured and executed after working on the various versions of the Cyrinishad [2]
Fzoul, red hair braided with bands of silver from the forest of Lethyr, hates Cyric [2]
Cyrinishad pages and binding are made from the skin of scribes of failed versions [2]
Rinda, green eyes, brown hair, slender, medium height, daughter of Bevis, lives in a one story hovel in the poorest part of Zhentil Keep working as a scribe for the poor and unfortunate people (which the Scribes Guild don’t do), and helping people learn to read and write. Helps women escape from Madame Februa who runs the local brothel [5]
Hodur, dwarf, beard and hair a tangled mop of black and silver. Grey eyes, a brown eyepatch circled with silver studs covers one eye. Is a Zhentarim agent sent to spy on Rinda (she was good at smuggling people out of Zhentil Keep, used a cover as a drunkard until Rinda saved him to get close to her [5,6]
The Serpent’s Eye, a tavern or inn in Zhentil Keep [5]
Var and Worvo, thugs in Zhentil Keep in the employ of the Church of Cyric, identifiable by red armbands with a leering white skull surrounded by a black sun [5]
The slums are a deathtrap for those walking at night, press gangs, assassins, creatures hungry for human flesh, the naug-adar [5]
Naug-adar “devil dogs”, Zhentarim wizards searching for victims to subject to sadistic experiments. The Naug-adar even prey on members of the Church of Cyric [5]
The Black Network has no respect for the Church of Cyric [4]
Common practice for the Church of Cyric to hire messengers and then have them killed after the message is delivered [5]
Cyric was born in a house that today is a parchment makers shop in the slums of Zhentil Keep (making parchment from animal skins). Cyric’s father, possibly a leader of the Zhentilar and an agent of the Black Network. Cyric’s mother was murdered by his father and other assassins of the Black Network (why was she so important). Cyric escaped into the sewers as a child. Cyric was found by Astolpho a vintner from Sembia who took him away (to a town in Sembia). Cyric lived with them for a dozen years but left (when he was 16 ish????). Astolpho was found murdered, spiked to the town gates, Astolpho’s wife was never found (did Cyric murder them or was it assassins sent by his father????) - From the Cyrinishad [5]
A bottle of gin, ten coppers, cheaper than clothes [6]
Ivlisar, elf, knows Rinda and Hodur, works as a body snatcher / grave robber selling corpses to merchants and mages [6]
General Vrakk, an orc Zhentilar, decorated with a commendation from Azoun IV for his service during the Crusade [6]
Church of Cyric has persuaded the Zhentilar to limit the opportunities for orcs within their ranks (no promotions only minor tasks [6]
An underground movement against the Church of Cyric has arisen among the inhabitants of Zhentil Keep. It includes Fzoul, former priests of Bane, Myrkul, and Leira, illuminators, some merchants, and Zhentilar orcs. Hodur and Ivlisar are also part of the underground [6]
Cyric was born to a destitute bard who sold herself to Zhentilar to survive. Cyric’s father was a low ranking Zhentilar. She tried to beg money out of him to pay for the child, he killed her and sold Cyric into slavery. Cyric was bought by Astolpho the vintner of Sembia, they eventually grew to regret buying Cyric. Cyric found out he was from Zhentil Keep when he was 10 and ran away but was caught and returned to Astolpho. At 12 years old Astolpho’s business failed and they told Cyric they wish they’d never bought him. Cyric left and Astolpho and his wife were found murdered the next day. Cyric wandered north where he was found by Zhentilar and enslaved once more in Zhentil Keep – from the True Life of Cyric the Mad [6]
Cyric was enslaved in Zhentil Keep from the age of 12. He was bought by the thieves guild of Zhentil Keep and put to work. Eventually he was helped to escape by kind hearted strangers (people like Rinda). There he went searching for the Ring of Winter in Thar but was captured by frost giants and rescued by Kelemvor – from the True Life of Cyric the Mad[11]
Priests of Cyric in Zhentil Keep wear deep purple robes and silver bracelets (the bracelets are symbols of their enslavement to Cyric) [12]
Ygway Mirrormane appointed new lord of Zhentil Keep (after Lord Chess disappeared – his death is unknown) by the Church of Cyric. Simpleton, stammers, plays with toy soldiers. Nephew of Xeno Mirrormane [12]
Worshipping any god other than Cyric, and possessing a holy symbol of any god other than Cyric is made illegal [12]
Bane’s symbol had been scourged from Zhentil Keep after the Time of Troubles [12]
Insanity runs in the Mirrormane family (according to rumours) [12]
Mirrormane family are noble in Zhentil Keep [12]
Travel in and out of Zhentil Keep forbidden unless approved by the Church of Cyric [12]
Most orcs and half orc Zhentilar have been given the punishing duty of repairing the twin bridges crossing the river Tesh [12]
Knucklers, pickpockets that work the crowd at shows and gatherings. If a pickpocket is not a member of the thieves guild then they chop his hands off if they catch him thieving [12]
Otto Marvelius, puppeteer, returns to Zhentil Keep every year, has a permit to put on shows [12]
Clockwork inquisitors sent to Teshwave, Yulash, Mulmaster, Darkhold, Citadel of the Raven [13]
Force Bridge, a long stone bridge that spans the River Tesh [13]
Elusina the Grey, old woman, fortune teller, known to the Zhentilar for her soothsaying (sought by Sergeant Renaldo and his commander before him to tell their future). Guarded by Brok as tall and as wide as an ogre, his nose been broken 3 or 4 times. Former actress that toured with a lesser and disreputable troupe around the Cormyrean countryside. Practiced her pickpocketing on the side. Has no fortune telling ability but puts on a good show. [15]
Sergeant Renaldo of the Zhentilar [15]
Young white dragon abducted by the Church of Cyric, paraded through the streets, branded with Cyric’s symbol and then beaten to death for sport. It reanimated as a zombie dragon and returned to its clan to let them know who killed it. [12,15]
Shanalar, a wizard of Zhentil Keep, purchased white dragon eyes from the Church of Cyric for his dark experiments [15]
Bryn, female Zhentilar soldier. Ulgrym is her Zhentilar commander [15]
Everyone in Zhentil Keep commanded to perform 6 rituals (from the Journal of Gargauth) to locate Kelemvor’s soul, or Zhentil Keep would be destroyed by an army of giants and dragons and goblinoids sent by Cyric.
The Day of Dark Oracles when hundreds of mystics foresaw the destruction of Zhentil Keep. Xeno Mirrormane commanded the Six Services (rituals of Gargauth) be performed to save the city from Cyric’s wrath. The True Life of Cyric the Mad was finished by in secret by Rinda. [15,16]
A flight of white dragons surrounded Zhentil Keep, destroying all caravans and travellers and soldiers they encountered. A force of 300 zhentilar from the Citadel of the Raven were destroyed [16]
The Fourth Service (ritual of Gargauth), maim the voices of two score and ten and send them to sing the praises of Cyric along every alley and path in the city [16]
The Second Service (ritual of Gargauth) involves collecting the body parts of young women [16]
The First Service (ritual of Gargauth) involves a continual supply of corpses for a pyre [16]
Johul the Fletcher, owned a fletchers shop in the slums. His son hated him. Slain as a heretic [16]
Rinda made the guardian of the Cyrinishad by Oghma, given a small scroll made of a single pure diamond which will make her invisible and undetectable to all divine powers, and also identify her to all Oghmanites as the guardian of the Cyrinishad and give her any aid she requires [16]
Xeno Mirrormane slain by Fzoul summoning pillar of fire atop him in the temple of Cyric at the black altar. Fire from the column consumed the temple of Cyric and more than half of Cyric’s faithful perished in the inferno [17]
The Western Gate is enchanted to petrify the first three to strike the gates (it petrified 3 frost giants). 50 Frost giants attacked the western walls and made a breach in the black walls. Magical fire consumed the temple of Cyric. The white dragons blockaded the roads cutting Zhentil Keep off from the thousands of Zhentilar stationed on the Long Road and the Citadel of the Raven. An army of goblins and gnolls approached from the north and west waiting for the giants to breach the walls [18]
Tesh Bridge to the east, Force Bridge (twin towers mark either end of the bridge) to the west [18]
Zadoc and Garm, orc soldiers in the Zhentilar [18]
Wealthy Zhentish families live on the southern end of Force Bridge. Orcish Zhentilar (led by General Vrakk) looted the noble houses (the nobles having fled to the better protected northern end of Zhentil Keep) [18]
Orcish Zhentilar troops sided with the giants and dragons attacking Zhentil Keep. They barricaded Force Bridge and Tesh Bridge to stop people fleeing south. Then they rigged the bridges to explode as the mob tried to escape. Force Bridge and Tesh Bridge destroyed. [18]
Giants and dragons and goblinoids likely to maraud into the Dales after the siege. Vrakk warned Rinda not to stay there [18]
General Vrakk gave Rinda his medal, the Special Order of the Golden Way, given by King Azoun IV to his generals during the Crusade. [18]
Lieutenant (field promotion) Renaldo survived the initial assault but was killed by gnolls searching the ruins [20]
Goblins took up residence in the sewers along with existing residents (giant rats, carrion crawlers, and beholders [20]


Dendar
"In Shar's domain of night I rest,
So dreams may show me how I'm blessed.
If screams of terror break my sleep,
Then Dendar's sunk her fangs too deep." [4]


Orc Language
Dglinkarz – orcish curse used to refer to dwarves [6]




Now that I'm caught up, some other random thoughts:

Prince of Lies

+ I think this is one of the most evocative uses of the gods in the Realms but also one of the most problematic as depicting them as all insane with monofocus on their portfolios isn't really a very good thing if you think any of them are actually worth following.
+ I feel like Cyric's incompetence is incredibly overstated here and while that's the point of it and its sequel, it doesn't really make for a very good character. After all, if the villains are doing their own side in then what's the point?
+ A shame about Lord Chess, I really always liked that character.
+ I don't see any problem with Mask having been Godsbane for however long he wants to be as I don't think there's a time limit on Avatars. Having Mask one of his avatar "slots" being a sword is fine. Also, he might have simply chosen the sword to house his avatar during the Time of Troubles and kept a part of himself there to manipulate Cyric.
+ There's a big question I have that I'm surprised you didn't bring up. Which is the fact that Ao says that Cyric is doing his job as being the God of Evil in murdering other gods as well as generally raising hell. Aren't the Gods of Good supposed to oppose him? Mystra seems to be the only goddess doing any good. The gods of justice don't need Ao's permission to beat up Cyric or kill him for his actions.
+ Random aside but Xeno Mirrorman is one of the most awesome names in the realms.
+ Also, wouldn't Gwydion have died fighting in Torm's name even if Cyric had impersonated him? You'd think that would have been automatic for his ascension.

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