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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2008 :  21:13:16  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

“Father Maims Best” for CATOPOLIS (edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Janet Pack [or Janet Deaver-Pack; don’t know how she’ll be styled in print], Tekno Books/DAW, December 2008)




That looks like the "cat" book mentioned awhile back.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 18 Jul 2008 :  21:54:52  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Yeaaah!

They wrote up male medusa in Dragon Compendium but I will search for Ed's lore on them. Thanks all.
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3532 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  00:06:35  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message
At least four in the Ed Greenwood presents Waterdeep!! Very nice!!

Thanks for the info THO.

::crosses fingers and hopes for a James P. Davis novel in that series::

A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." -

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  01:52:41  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

* DARK VENGEANCE, the second Niflghar dark elf (not drow) novel (Tor Books hc, October? 2008)

* ARCH WIZARD, the second Falconfar novel (Solaris [Black Library in UK, Simon & Shuster in the USA, hc, either December 2008 or March 2009)
Oooh! I haven't even had the chance to read the first two books Ed wrote for both publishers. They're in my stacks.... but I've just had so many other books to get through before them. I'm nearly done with Weis's "Dark Disciple" trilogy though, so I think I know what I'll be reading next.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  03:56:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. Herewith, a look at The Reaching Woods (circa just prior to the onset of the Spellplague) in response to a request by Kuje. Ed writes:



The Reaching Woods

This dense, hilly forest is a damp, lush, well-watered place of many small creeks and pools (most of which eventually drain into the [navigable] River Chionthar, immediately to the west), a thick canopy of shadowtops and duskwoods, and a “more open” southeastern region (burnt out by large forest fires about forty years back, this area has regrown with a bewildering mix of different trees, some of which have been targeted and cut as saleable timber by halflings of Corm Orp, notably the Darbuck and Yester families; as a result of the fires, the woodcutting, and the struggle for supremacy among various tree varieties, the southeastern Reaching Woods have far more clearings and “thin thickets” than the rest of the forest).
No accurate maps of the interior of The Reaching Woods are known to exist, but many who have explored therein agree that a string of small pools linked by smaller streams runs roughly northeast-southwest through the forest, and can be used for “rough reckoning” navigation. This “long water” is variously known as “the String of Gems,” “Arlaveir,” (an elven corruption of an earlier, now-forgotten gnome place-name) and “Raryntar’s River” (Raryntar was apparently a long-ago local half-elf adventurer of note, said in some tales to have either fought a great victory along the banks of the pools, or to have died fighting there, his body fallen into an unmarked place among the various pools and lost). All of the water to be found in the Woods is thought to be drinkable.

Centaurs and hybsil once dominated the eastern Reaching Woods, but over the last three decades they have been heavily hunted by hobgoblins and bugbears seeking food, and only a bare score of centaurs (if that) survive, in the part of the Woods closest to Berdusk. There they wage ongoing war on all foragers from that city who dare to light fires in the wood or cut living trees; dead trees (including “ghostbranches,” the local term for still-standing dead trees) are fair game, though the centaurs watch all intruders closely, bows at the ready.
If any hybsil survive at all in The Reaching Woods, they take great care to hide from humans.
A handful of satyrs (some having the power to awaken and command treants, as told of in many wild tales related late of nights in the taverns of Berdusk, Corm Orp, and Hill’s Edge) inhabit the northwesternmost Reaching Woods. They shun the centaurs and most humans, even to the point of moving treants to form “walls of wood” to foil overly-persistent pursuers, and seem to want most to just be left alone - - with their “corner” of the Woods also being left untouched by intruders.
Curiously, the halflings of Corm Orp have many legends of runaway fugitives from persecution, valuable treasures (including magical items), and deeds to important lands in Waterdeep and the cities of Amn, all being taken into “the Satyrshadow” part of The Reaching Woods and hidden there (presumably with the cooperation of the satyrs). Tales vary as to how this assistance is obtained, how the hidden persons and items can be found, and how the satyrs can be compelled to yield them up.
As is often the way in such situations, the satyrs aren’t talking.

Harpers from Berdusk often receive training from senior Harpers in woodcraft and as rangers in the Woods, and certain Harper agents know their ways around the game trails and wooded hills and ridges of the Woods very well - - south and east of the String of Gems, that is.

There are tales in many Sunset Vale settlements of long-ago burials of various important humans, elves, and half-elves, particularly adventurers, warriors, and rulers. The fallen were laid to rest with their weapons and magic, unshrouded and without casket nor tomb, apparently out of ancient local beliefs that “vigor should be returned to the forest, that vigor spring forth anew.” Some burials are known to have been later found and dug up, to plunder the possessions of the dead, and dark tales hint that others rose as undead, and haunted the living (wandering as far from the trees as the streets of Berdusk and Corm Orp) until destroyed, or stalk The Reaching Wood yet, lurking to stalk and destroy intruders.

Somewhere beneath the eastern Woods lies a long-abandoned-to-monsters underground ‘town’ (stone-lined labryrinth of passages and chambers) built by gnomes centuries ago. Known as Arghenrock, this “dungeon” is today dominated by grell, death tyrants controlled by some fell sentience (some say an illithid, others an illithilich, and still others say the undead beholders are commanded by a living beholder of enormous size and powers, or by this or that other horrific monster), and at its lowest levels, by various jellies and oozes. Of old, Arghenrock was a small but thriving trademoot where gnomes from all over the region gathered to trade with each other, and to treat with the Arghen gnomes to gain what they mined in veins beneath Arghenrock: copper and silver so soft and pure that it needed no smelting, but could be dug out by the handful.

And that’s where my notes run out, because this was a locale in the Realms that the Knights never ventured into. They saw it from both Berdusk and Corm Orp, but were rather busy with other matters, both times. :}



So saith Ed. So there we all have it, from Ed’s thankfully found lore-file to all of you. (So keep those questions coming; you’ll never know what they’ll cause to be unearthed, if you don’t ask!)
love to all,
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  04:05:10  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
Cool and thanks. Oh yeah, I forgot to add I did want prespellplague, so that works out nicely. :)

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  11:15:24  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
<snip stuff>

Hi, Zandilar! It’s great to hear you’re moving into the Realms. I’ll try to keep it as happy a home for your campaign as I can, starting with these lore replies, and I’ll begin with your numbered questions. By all means ask followup questions; I’m happy to reply when I can.
<snip more stuff>



Thanks for the answer! Great stuff, and will be quite useful for the campaign.

quote:
2. A handful (perhaps nine at most) Women of the Wood survived to see Alusair’s Regency begin. They approve of her, and think she’d probably make a great Queen, but have little desire to get involved in the politics of Cormyr outside the Forest, and most of them think Alusair will get heartily sick of the Dragon Throne before long (they were right about this, as you’ll see in time soon to come); if she remains Regent for a good decade, until the boy Azoun V is old enough to be king, they’ll be content with that.
If they hear of any monarch, courtier, faction, or force that threatens the Forest (e.g. by allowing unfettered woodcutting, or clearing roads through it or establishing settlements), they’ll fight to prevent that, no matter who their perceived foe is.
They aren’t interested in going down in glorious battle; they’re interested in winning, so they will strike as stealthily as they think their survival demands, make alliances with the Harpers and anyone else who’ll aid them against such threats, try diplomatic trickery and manipulation of nobles and fostering uprisings (to keep the Crown busy and its attention elsewhere) and anything else they think will work.


The small amount written about them in Volo's Guide to Cormyr seemed to paint them as somewhat like, well, to borrow a term I don't particularly like (and am unsure if these boards will filter it or not), femnazis. Are they content with the status quo that seems to be "primogeniture patriarchy" or are they taking any steps at all to change it? (I'm sorry, that question is more something I'm interested in and isn't likely to come up in the game I'm running. )

quote:

3. Alusair knew many of the Women, and regarded some of them as friends; she knows they took heavy casualties during the Devil Dragon War, and that “a bare handful” are left. She will doing nothing to harm or harry them, and instead will give orders about the Forest that should result in them being left alone as much as possible. Vangerdahast is STILL watching (but not harrying) the Women of the Wood in his altered state (I’m trying to go light on spoilers here for those who haven’t read ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER), as much as he can, but Caladnei has NOT continued his policy of regarding the Women as “not-so-sleeping perils to be watched.”


What does Caladnei make of them personally?

quote:
4. From those nine scarred survivors, the Women of the Wood have rapidly grown in numbers to around twenty, by taking in runaways, women hiding from family pressures or cruel husbands, escaped slaves (from the slavetakers and kidnappers in Sembia and Marsember), outlaws, fugitives from Suzail accused of crimes who are fleeing royal justice (either because they are innocent but don’t expect to be found so, or because they are ‘no contest’ [my term, not an in-Realms term] guilty and know what fate awaits them), and women who just don’t know where to go after all their kin die.
<snip>


Any of them you care to name? Any that are unusual? Do they have any spell casters among them (clerics, wizards, sorcerers and the like)?

quote:
6. I have no idea if the Women will survive (speaking as a game designer). In terms of in-Realms conditions: they are one of the groups least likely to be harmed much by the Spellplague and its chaos, so there’s no reason why not.


If I make the jump (and I'm not sure at all that I will), I'm sure they might still exist... but depending on how things change in Cormyr (whether the status quo of the current Realms remains or not) I am sure the organization will have changed somewhat. I suspect any questions I have here will stray into 4e FR NDAs, though, so I'll leave it at that.

quote:
On to your other questions.
Vandara "the Vixen" Thulont is indeed one of Azoun's many bastards, and she survived the Devil Dragon War (but has no means of magically prolonging her life, so she’ll be long gone by the time 4th Edition is set (probably buried under the roots of a young tree deep in the Forest, as the Women like to do with their fallen, when they can). She is merry but sharp-tongued, and will age into a sort of Katherine Hepburn I’m-still-hale-don’t-mess-with-ME warrior (if events in your campaign don’t get her killed, of course :} ).


I have a feeling the party will run into her. Though I'm not sure what the result of that will be (from the description, she's exactly the sort they tend to get along well with - so I can see them becoming allies).

quote:
By long-standing agreement, the Wyvernspurs are NDA’d (I created the family, but Jeff Grubb adopted it and Giogi is his creation, so I’ve stepped back to give him full freedom, if he ever wants to, to tell any Wyvernspur tales he wants to in the future).


Fair enough. They're my other half's favorite nobles of Cormyr, so I might try to include them... Guess I should get out the Azure Bonds books and have a reread. :)

quote:
The Cormaerils were stripped of their titles and holdings, so the Crown now owns their Immersea properties (and may well be renting them out, but NOT letting go ownership of them). Not all Cormaerils were exiled, and some of them even retain or have been granted new knighthoods and Court offices, but it’s to reward their performance and loyalty as individuals, not their family name. Beliard Cormaeril, for instance, one of Azoun IV’s bastards, has long been a prominent and trusted knight and envoy of the Crown, and may soon be named a Highknight.


Who is living in the old Cormaeril's mannor? Are any of the ones remaining in residence? Or is another noble family renting the property?

quote:
The ranks of the Thunderswords also include at least two bastards of Azoun IV (more on the offspring of this most lusty of kings can be gleaned from my “Realmslore” articles on the Wizards website), and there is unpublished (but WotC-owned) lore about the family. I’m quite willing, if you ask specific-scope questions like your numbered queries, above, to try to do the “dance around the NDA” and answer which specific things I can without violating the NDA, okay?


Well first off, do they have a daughter who might be kidnapped to be used in the High Hunt? Who is the current Matriarch/Partiarch, and are they the sort of hire adventuring types to find their lost child? Are there any adventuring types within the family? What kind of people are they? Are they loyal to the Crown or might they be involved in plots against the Regent and her family and friends? Are there any within the Women of the Woods the family might know (like a relative (or relative of a friendly/allied noble family) who ran away and joined them?

quote:

Keep me posted about your campaign, okay? I’m interested in hearing how things unfold.


This week's session got canceled, but I'm planning to run my game when next we play (which will be next Saturday at this point). But I will certainly let you know what's going on. (They're currently taking the body of a girl to the shrine/temple of Selune in the vicinity of Immersea - something to do with vague predictions about the girl, and the fact that she was slain by a Werewolf Lord in the last session they played (the party really messed things up and weren't able to save her... So as you can see, I'm planning to get them entangled in this other plot while they're in Immersea).

Thanks again for the answers!

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Longtime Lurker
Seeker

51 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:05:06  Show Profile  Visit Longtime Lurker's Homepage Send Longtime Lurker a Private Message
Right. I was holding off a little on my questions, knowing how swamped Ed was, but THO, you asked for more, so:

Can you tell us the names of any Sembian companies or families or individuals who trade in (not just with) Cormyr, and like Cormyr? And perhaps are fairly well regarded by Cormyreans who trade with them? (I’m not looking for villains, I need “fairly honest merchants.”) Thanks.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:07:31  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
I have – what else? – another Cormyr question. The wild, western part of the Realm, along the shore west of Suzail: how well patrolled and watched is it? By Purple Dragons, paid Crown spies who just watch and so can be old grannies, not adventurers, and by War Wizards? Could a dozen “not already suspected of anything” men slip away from Suzail separately and rendezvous at a spot on the coast without being noticed? Could an experienced adventuring band, travelling by night, approach Suzail from the west, along this shore, and then blend in with “regular inbound traffic” through the gates, without necessarily being seen?
Thanks!
BB
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A Gavel
Seeker

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:08:57  Show Profile  Visit A Gavel's Homepage Send A Gavel a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO, could you please reveal the names of half a dozen Sembian families who have adventurers in their ranks, and profitable businesses tied in some way to adventuring, exploring, lawbreaking in other countries, smuggling, piracy, or anything of that sort? I’m looking for “cheerfully amoral” families, granting that individual members might disapprove or abstain from derring-do or illicit acts, but that someone openly doing such things won’t be disowned, cast out, or betrayed by the entire family. Thank you.
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Baleful Avatar
Learned Scribe

Canada
161 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:11:43  Show Profile  Visit Baleful Avatar's Homepage Send Baleful Avatar a Private Message
Okay, I’m chiming in with my latest question:

If you were running Wizards, Ed, or got permission from them to take it to another publisher, would you do a Cormyr sourcebook? And are we ever going to see any coverage of Neverwinter that isn’t in a computer game?

(Er, questions, it turned into. Sorry. )
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:13:03  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Another one from me. THO, I’d like to know more about how much Ed develops “day jobs” for PCs, and uses them in the home campaign. If a travelling PC needs cash in a strange town and starts practicing a craft (stonemason, say, or saddlemaking), how many places have organized guilds who’ll show up and try to stop him?
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:14:44  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO, I’m looking for some sort of sport that would have organized (uniformed?) teams, that might be played in Cormyr. Do they play polo, or an equivalent? How about rugger or Australian rules football, or something of that sort? Cricket or baseball or rounders or something akin to that? Oh, and do they play darts, either in taverns at a wall target or out on the lawn (horseshoes?) In the taverns, any close equivalent to shove ha’penny? Thanks in advance.
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A Publishing Lackey
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:16:21  Show Profile  Visit A Publishing Lackey's Homepage Send A Publishing Lackey a Private Message
Can Ed say anything yet about his future Realms novel plans? Or is he deep in negotiations or constrained by NDAs?
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Sage of Stars
Seeker

USA
59 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:51:21  Show Profile  Visit Sage of Stars's Homepage Send Sage of Stars a Private Message
Lovely Lady THO and Ed, do nobles of Cormyr ever have “dress up” ceremonial occasions where they would wear robes, coronets, etc. to denote their ranks? I’m thinking of regalia controlled by heralds, not just a fashion show.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:52:32  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Great Question, Sage of Stars! Ed, could we learn the answer to that exact same question, but about the nobles of Waterdeep?
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Broken Helm
Learned Scribe

USA
108 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:54:19  Show Profile  Visit Broken Helm's Homepage Send Broken Helm a Private Message
Hi Ed and THO. I’m looking for the names of a few prominent merchants in just-pre-Spellplague Corm Orp. I don’t need stats, just names and what they do, and I was hoping to find individuals, not large, well-establishing halfling families. Thanks!
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:55:28  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Thought of another one. Do cloaks in Cormyr, Sembia, and the Dales ever have inside pockets (that aren’t added by a seamstress at custom request)? If so, how well could a small, flexible item carried in one escape being noticed by someone nearby glancing at the cloak-wearer? I’m thinking rope, thinly-filled coin purse, or scrap of parchment, not a knife or a sack of nails.
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Baleful Avatar
Learned Scribe

Canada
161 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:56:56  Show Profile  Visit Baleful Avatar's Homepage Send Baleful Avatar a Private Message
Another question for Ed. If a body has been tied to something and dumped into the harbor of Marsember, and it’s underwater, not floating, but close to the surface and right beside a dock, bridge, or building window for someone to look down from, how deep does it have to be before someone couldn’t see it? I guess I’m asking how murky or opaque the waters normally are (i.e. when not stirred up), and how far down you can usually see into them, during good daylight?

Edited by - Baleful Avatar on 19 Jul 2008 17:57:31
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  17:58:32  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Ed and THO, another Suzail question. If I buy something small at a high-class shop and they wrap it for me, how customary is it for the box or bundle to be tied up with any sort of cord? WHAT sort of cord, and what sort of knots get tied in it? Are there any ornamental or “unique to a shop” knots in use?
And do high-class shops manage to advertise who they are somehow, through their wrapping/packaging? Does anyone deliver?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  18:00:36  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Whew! Ed's going to be a busy boy, I see! Great questions, all duly shovelled on in his direction, now. Should provoke another crop of cozy Realmslore for us all.

love,
THO
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2008 :  19:25:39  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
These questions on costume tie in to something I was thinking about this week: is there any sort of formalized "academic regalia" in the Realms? (I include the Orient and Zakhara as well as Faerun.) Sleeves, caps, capes ... that sort of thing. Perhaps trim or color for bardic garb. You know!





I have a mouth, but I am in a library and must not scream.


Feed the poor and stroke your ego, too: http://www.freerice.com/index.php.

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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2008 :  00:18:39  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

I just wanted to mention how deeply disappointed I am in the 4th Edition Cormyr, the backdrop of which was just published on the DDI site.

Talk about testosterone overload! Azoun V had a son, Foril, who had a son (and a daughter born six years later). Foril has an illegitimate nephew who was raised with his son like a brother (this nephew, it turns out, is a black hearted schemer, oh no! ). Head of the Purple Dragons is male. Head of the War Wizards, Ghanrahast, is male as is his second (I assume from the name Ghanrahast, he's the son of Myrmeen and Vagherdahast - or maybe the son of that child). In short, there appears to be no women in power in Cormyr as of 1479 DR. (With an all but 50/50 chance of having a daughter born, you'd think that SOMEONE would have had daughters... In a sea of males, there is one female. If there was ever a need for the Women of the Woods, it's in this Cormyr!)

About the only thing I liked about the article was the map, but I have a thing for pretty maps.

They had a chance to give us a Queen. They had a chance to give us another Crown Princess. They had a chance to give us new women in power. They had a chance to change the general patriarchy of Cormyr, and it looks like they've failed on all accounts. I think if I move my game past the end of 3e (no, not into 4e - this has made up my mind for me), I'll be diverging from canon. So here's a question: can you answer questions about "what ifs" that wildly diverge from canon?

(Pre-Posting Edit: Now I've actually finished reading the article, I'm a more incensed than ever, incensed to the point of incoherence... Tymora having been flightly, flirtatious, and well Chaotic Good has been "solemn and chaste" since the death of Tyr. I'd rail about this a bit more, but this probably isn't the place.)

Sorry for venting here, I'd have posted something like this on the WotC forums, but they've been down for the last day or so and still appear to be down. I know it's far too late to do anything about it now, but I just wanted to express how deeply disappointed (and sad and hurt) I am about what has happened to the Realms, Cormyr, and the deities therein. I am now officially lost, and I don't think there's any way anyone will be able to persuade me to even look at the FRCG in the store (Not even you, Ed. )

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.

Edited by - Zandilar on 21 Jul 2008 00:21:19
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 21 Jul 2008 :  02:51:33  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
So saith Ed. So there we all have it, from Ed’s thankfully found lore-file to all of you. (So keep those questions coming; you’ll never know what they’ll cause to be unearthed, if you don’t ask!)
love to all,
THO




I love the Reaching Woods--thanks for the answer!

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 21 Jul 2008 :  03:58:16  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. This time I bring you the words of Ed in response to Zandilar’s followup questions (oh, and a note to Zanan: Alusair’s fate isn’t ENTIRELY settled in all details at this moment, but the likely shape of it [if not where and when you’ll learn about it] is known to Ed and to a certain scribe here at the Keep whose surname isn’t James; I’m afraid NDAs prevent more specificity at this time, but there’s neither harm nor foul in guessing, if you accept from the start that neither Ed nor the Mystery Scribe can confirm anything).
For those trying to keep score, here are Zandilar’s followup Women of the Wood [and other] questions:

“The small amount written about them in Volo's Guide to Cormyr seemed to paint them as somewhat like, well, to borrow a term I don't particularly like (and am unsure if these boards will filter it or not), femnazis. Are they content with the status quo that seems to be "primogeniture patriarchy" or are they taking any steps at all to change it? (I'm sorry, that question is more something I'm interested in and isn't likely to come up in the game I'm running. )

What does Caladnei make of them personally?

Any of them you care to name? Any that are unusual? Do they have any spell casters among them (clerics, wizards, sorcerers and the like)?”

[[THO note: The following two sentences refer to the leader of the Women of the Wood, Vandara "the Vixen" Thulont.]]
“I have a feeling the party will run into her. Though I'm not sure what the result of that will be (from the description, she's exactly the sort they tend to get along well with - so I can see them becoming allies).

Who is living in the old Cormaerils’ manor? Are any of the ones remaining” [[THO note: means Cormaerils still in Cormyr]] “in residence? Or is another noble family renting the property?

[[THO note: The following paragraph of questions all refer to the Thundersword noble family.]]
“Well first off, do they have a daughter who might be kidnapped to be used in the High Hunt? Who is the current Matriarch/Patriarch, and are they the sort to hire adventuring types to find their lost child? Are there any adventuring types within the family? What kind of people are they? Are they loyal to the Crown or might they be involved in plots against the Regent and her family and friends? Are there any within the Women of the Woods the family might know (like a relative (or relative of a friendly/allied noble family) who ran away and joined them?”
Ed replies:



Hello again, Zandilar!
The Women of the Wood (or “Woods;” either form is ‘correct’ by everyday usage, and the Women themselves have no preference; some Cormyreans even speak of “the Women in the Wood” and everyone knows quite well who they’re referring to) are like any sufficiently large (that is, more than three) women or men anywhere in the Realms or the real world: though they may devotedly share a common cause or values, they see things differently from each other, may leap to different conclusions, and may well disagree violently over all sorts of things, large and small.
However, in general, the Women of the Woods as they exist “right now” (in the modern, just-pre-Spellplague Realms) are not that interested in changing the laws and customs of Cormyr. They are “outlaws” in that they pay no taxes and avoid obeying royal edicts and proclamations by hiding and “not hearing them” (forest-tree-posted edicts not favorable to them will be burned, the moment they think no authorities are near). They did begin as a fellowship of abused or exploited women (and women embittered in love) who agreed that “no man’s promises can be trusted” and that therefore no man is fit to rule - - a household, a city, or a realm, anywhere.
However, that sort of talk is rarely heard among them nowadays (with the prevalence of newcomers and the aging of the few survivors), and they have never taken any hostile action against Azoun IV or any male ruler beyond not paying taxes, eating forest game that Vangerdahast and some traditionalists believe “belongs to the king” (though Azoun and Alusair have never seen it that way; they cleave to the view that it belongs to the Crown, and therefore to whomever they [King, Queen, Prince, Princess, or Regent] allow to hunt it, and therefore nobles can’t freely hunt game except on their own lands because they are royally forbidden to do so, but everyone else can take what they need for food), and disobeying and avoiding royal edicts and agents (instead keeping to The King’s Forest, and “living wild”).

By the way, the status quo in Cormyr is by no means as male-slanted as one might think. Adult men and women are full and equal voting citizens and property owners, and inheritance rules are very egalitarian among “common folk,” whereas among nobles - - and the royals - - they vary, being specific to each family.
For instance, if a “common” husband dies, his wife gets the house if it was his, and retains it if it was hers or partially hers [spouses and even unmarried individuals who don’t cohabit at all can be co-owners or “share-owners” among many]; neither eldest sons nor daughters can override her interests. If the wife then dies, there are rules about who inherits (the Crown if there are no known descendants, and the splitting up does NOT favor gender, but rather [to a small degree] elder age, so an older son or daughter comes before a younger, but NOT to the exclusion of said younger siblings, i.e. the eldest son or daughter doesn’t get “the house and all”).
The various laws governing inheritance could fill a small book by themselves, so I don’t want to get into this in detail (because the rulings of local lords and heralds, and city laws, all play into some details of inheritance cases), but if you’ve been thinking it’s real-world quasi-medieval “men take all, women are voteless chattels,” that’s not correct.
Many mature males are physically stronger than females and exploit this if they’re raging, drunk, desperate, or just plain nasty, yes. There are many wife-beaters (and for that matter, a far smaller number of husband-beaters) in Cormyr, just as there are many “tavern drunks” who go looking for fights once they’ve imbibed enough “liquid courage.”

However, the Women of the Wood ARE darned determined that they personally aren’t going to be taken advantage of by anyone, male or female, and that their rights (and the rights of the various oppressed women they know about, often friends and neighbors who dared not “run away to the woods with them”) under Cormyrean law aren’t going to be slighted.
The laws might generally not discriminate against women, but the Women want to see and make sure that the TREATMENT of women (starting with, ahem, themselves) matches the law, which as I alluded to above, often isn’t the case.
For instance, to bring up inheritance again, anyone can willingly give up their share of an estate to a temple, or the Crown, or another sibling - - and many siblings aren’t above privately bullying or blackmailing their brothers and sisters into doing so.
If a large, strong ne’er-do-well older brother privately threatens a younger sister that if she doesn’t “give over” this or that property to him, he’ll kill her some night, she might well give in. If he’s living rough in the wilds or under another name in another town (say, in Wheloon rather than Suzail), she knows the Watch and the Purple Dragons can’t safeguard her night and day for years; he’ll “get to her” sometime - - so she might give in, or (more rarely, but increasingly) might just run off and join the Women of the Woods. They WILL safeguard her, or even tell a friendly passing Harper to find the brother, beat him up, and scare the stuffing out of him, telling him that Those Who Harp are watching him, and if he harms a hair on her head they’ll come and kill him very slowly and painfully, starting with slow, sawing amputations of fingers and toes and other body bits . . .
So the Women aren’t “man-haters,” but they are suspicious of all men they meet, and ready for trouble. They DO hate and target specific individuals who have done their members harm, but aren’t recklessly stupid, either; they won’t take down a local lord or high-ranking courtier in a way that tells others who is responsible, and would likely provoke a response from the War Wizards or Purple Dragons to capture and kill or imprison them. They will think of effective, subtle vengeance (both great and small, as appropriate; sometimes public humiliations and reputation-ruinings are enough), and patiently carry them out when circumstances are right. They do want the wrongs that were done to them righted, somehow, if it’s possible.

As for Caladnei, she has done some covert mind-reading (NOT “reaming,” which she abhors and avoids whenever possible) from afar, enough to make sure that the Women aren’t a cutthroat band of outlaws. Wronged women taking their revenges she can understand and even sympathize with (turning a blind eye, officially, to some of their deeds), and she has far larger and nastier problems to deal with (like wealthy noble families doing their darndest to mess up the Steel Regency and the general happiness and loyalty of the citizenry, demonize the War Wizards and the Obarskyrs, and foment trouble and hatred against Sembians or rival nobles or men with blue eyes or whatever whim has taken them to seethe about THIS particular tenday).
Inwardly, Caladnei (like Laspeera) sneakily admires and to some extent envies the Women in the Wood for “making their own way” in life, getting out of the Cormyrean daily Court ‘rat race.’ (The Suzailan term for our real-world term ‘rat race’ is “the pomp and round,” by the way.)
So she largely leaves the Women alone, assigning experienced War Wizards (often females, and definitely not any known to mistrust or dislike women) to use magic to spy on them occasionally, but to leave them be if nothing amiss is discovered. If such an ‘observer’ is curious about anything and wants to “go in” for a better look, Caladnei has given standing orders that they are to ask for assistance (backup wizards, plus a ranger or two, hopefully female) AND report what they’re doing, to her or Laspeera, BEFORE they go. (It follows that other Wizards of War will be assigned to farscry their foray, and make sure they don’t use their magic or status inappropriately.)

Yes, the Women of the Woods include a few sorcerers, at least one wizard, and a cleric of Selune [sorry about the lack of accent mark there; I have some technical problems with my ISP about preserving diacriticals, in transfer to the lovely THO], all of them of low level.
In terms of names and “unusuals,” here we go:

• Vandara “the Vixen” Thulont (human female Ari2/Rgr4) is quick-witted, wood-wise, and cunning. She takes care to keep well-informed of political events across Cormyr, and the Harpers (at the urging of both Dove and Queen Filfaeril, though neither knows the other is giving such direction) bring her much news, often (Filfaeril did this, with her husband’s approval, to as much as possible keep Vandara friendly to the Crown). She is tough, merry, and hard to scare, regarding threats as challenges. She has been known to use her body as a weapon (both sex and simple nudity), and cannot be shamed into anything. She is the leader of the Women, and none of them challenge her in this - - because “leader” to her doesn’t mean “tyrant” or even “autocrat.”

• Phathaspre Imriltarth (“Fah-THAS-pur”) is (a human female Ari 1/Sor2) from Arabel. Tall, slender and dark, she fled from an abusive husband who was a social climber. As a result, she has some suitable clothes, and can adopt the manners, of a highborn lady, though she prefers not to, being quiet and gentle by nature. An accomplished mimic, even of voices far removed from her own, who can and does lure or mislead intruders in the forest by this means.

• Ammarandra Delmantle (half-elf female Rgr1/Rog4/Sor1) is an acrobatic, energetic, merry sort, openly lesbian and uninhibited, but too jovial to offend those Women of the Wood who aren’t. She is NOT a player-of-pranks, except on male intruders into the forest, but is a “free spirit” who takes many partners, holds no grudges, helps everyone, and is good at swiftly crafting snares, pitfalls, and barriers that blend in with the natural foliage. She is still busily exploring every nook and cranny of the Forest, and will always know where the nearest cave, crevice, or other shelter is.

• Maerla Hamaeryl (tiefling female Rog3/Wiz4) is burly, and except for her blazing eyes and two tiny stubs of forehead horns that are well-hidden under her copious tangle of long red hair), she looks almost entirely human - - like many a strapping backlands Cormyrean farm lass, in fact. She is restless, and often goes on long walks to work off the anger that rises in her for days. As a result, she loves combat, as it gives her a chance to let it out - - and that means fist to fist and blade to blade, not merely hurling spells from afar.

• Shymra Feintar (human female cleric of Selune5) is a small-boned, fine-featured, quiet woman who with the proper garb, can very convincingly act the part of a young girl or teenaged lass when she wants to, as a lure. She wasn’t truly running from anything; she came from a farm upbringing to the city to “follow the moon,” was horrified with the stenches, crowding, ugliness, and nastiness of Suzail and even more at what she saw of Marsember, and was directed to an older, wiser priestess of Selune in Marsember who sent her to an elderly hermit of the goddess in wildest, northwesternmost part of The King’s Forest to receive instruction and share in a holy life in a place more peaceful. There she blossomed in the service of the goddess, until her teacher (Dorouma) died. Wandering and grieving, she came upon the Women of the Woods for the first time, joined them, and has begun a new life full of friends and adventure.

Now I’ll leave the Women in your hands as DM (by all means ask more questions about them), and shift to the matter of the Cormaerils’ manor.
No Cormaerils are in residence (or in the town, for that matter) any longer. Currently the Crown is renting the sprawling, many-winged manor to three ‘wannabe noble’ rich merchant families, who coexist uneasily, none of them having the full rights of a proper owner and all of them heaping complaints and troubles onto the head of the local Crown seneschal who was installed to dwell in, and oversee the running of, the manor.
This seneschal is one Elhander Hallowmar (human male Ftr6). A short but broad-shouldered, shrewd and worldly, retired Purple Dragon who has battle-scars on his face, walks with a limp, and bites back a lot of things he’d very much like to say to his tenants, Hallowmar is popular with the poorest locals, because he hires their sons and daughters to do repair work and to spy for him (on the tenants), pays them well, and stands up for them when they run afoul of the local authorities. Elard and Beliard Cormaeril have both visited the manor while riding past, and Hallowmar has quietly put them up for the night in his rooms, parting from them as friends.
The three bickering families (each of whom have haughty, spoilt multiple sons and daughters with such names as Braera, Jessiira, Vaunla, Yansreldra, and Raeld, Morstyn, and Halivant) are the Boraunts, the Hildremmers, and the Mauntanstars. They will hire adventurers for all sorts of illicit tasks, and are spending money like the proverbial water.

Right, on to the Thunderswords. This is a large, many-branched family, but there have been many deaths recently (Devil Dragon War onwards), with the result that the “main” current branch consists of Feldrath Thundersword (human male Ftr12), who is a REAL patriarch (as in, a wrinkled, wasted, sleeps-most-all-of-the-time bedridden old man who has a prodigious memory, but can’t even stand without help). He never leaves his bedchamber, where he’ll probably die soon.

As a result, the family is ruled by his decade-younger wife Tananthra, strong-willed and sharp-tongued, who was stunningly beautiful some six decades ago, and still has large, liquid dark eyes that make many a man stop and look twice at her when they happen to see her. She is no one’s fool, with a grasp of consequences, tactics, social alliances, and human nature equal to that of the shrewdest Master Harpers.

Lord and Lady Thundersword have three daughters, all in their late twenties: Maurara, who is fast becoming a copy of, and worthy successor to, her mother; Chansaera, who has a smoky-eyed beauty that has half Suzail (the male half) panting at her feet, and reportedly has tried a good number of them out thus far, without ‘love’ having taken any root in her head, as she learns to be every whit as shrewd as her mother; and Delphaera, a hard-riding, hunting, and sword-swinging lass who wants to ride and drink with the boys and seemingly outdo Princess Alusair at such pursuits when she grows up).

There is also a (younger, in his mid-teens) son, the darkly handsome but rather shy Teltristram, who rides and hunts half-heartedly, but is really interested in becoming a writer or artist (he’s good at the latter, but his poetry and prose reek to lurid, purplish heaven), and dwelling in luxury with lots of adoring women somewhere where he’ll be showered with acclaim and coins, and not use the Thundersword name at all. Sembia, perhaps, or even Waterdeep.

Chansaera spends much of her time in Suzail, at the Thunderswords city house where her uncles Nalthar, Raien, and Dunstrar dwell (all of them saturnine, worldly men who live to daily get richer in the cut-and-thrust of trade; they are loyal to the family, above all [think the fictional Mycroft Holmes, brother of Sherlock]). They let her play as she pleases, so long as she doesn’t overmuch hamper THEIR little conquests and happy trade-feuds with local rich merchants.

The rest of the main branch of the Thunderswords spend most of their time in the country estates of the Thunderswords, and their loyalties can be summed up thus: Maurara and Chansaera are truly loyal only to themselves, though Maurara always plays her mother’s trick of cloaking what she wants in the guise of “what’s best for the family,” Delphaera is truly loyal to her mother and the family, and Teltristram is truly loyal to the family but often thinks his mother is anything but; when he can, he sneaks in, wakes up his father, and asks HIS advice on things and permission and direction in matters, then ignores whatever his mother says as beside the point, because he already has Father’s wishes or opinions, which are (to him) the TRUE interests of, or position and views of, the family.

Any of the main branch of the Thunderswords would hire adventurers without hesitation. The extended Thunderswords family include one female and three males (a niece and three nephews) who are vigorous adventuring types, all in their second decade of life, but they are all far afield (Waterdeep, the Vilhon, Amn, and the Tashalar) finding their own fortunes. (Let me know if you want me to provide more details of these, because this is where the NDAs come in, and I’ll have to dance about VERY carefully.)

The Thunderswords are all over the map in terms of personal loyalty to the Crown, but the family has avoided openly standing against the Obarskyrs, and so has thus far eluded being regarded as “disloyal” or even “troublesome” to the Crown by the Highknights and War Wizards. Tananthra and Maurara could well be involved in “plots against the Regent and her family and friends,” but only if they saw and clear (and likely) eventual personal benefit in doing so - - and they would be VERY discreet, covering their involvement well. The rest of the family would only be involved in such things unwittingly, as dupes or if the entire family has been manipulated into doing something. The Thunderswords can’t effectively be blackmailed, because they have no dark secrets they are afraid of being revealed.

And so far as I know, they have no relatives, or relatives of friends, who have run off the join the Women of the Woods. To them, the Women are a colorful legend (they know they exist for real, but believe half the tales told of them are “bright lies or stretchings of the truth,” and can’t think they’d ever come into contact with them).

As for your reaction, posted here, to the 4e Cormyr backdrop piece, I understand. And sympathize.
Let me just say this much: Brian (and behind the scenes, Garen Thal and to a small extent, yours truly) had the task of tracing, inventing, and convincingly writing down “what happened” to link “what we know of Cormyr now” [as in, pre-Spellplague, though we never got the chance to do a 3e sourcebook, and as all scribes know, enough lore was amassed and even assembled to readily do one] and “what we know of Cormyr nigh a century later.” In other words, the “new status quo” the article had to arrive at was written in-house. I, too, lifted my eyebrows at the paucity of strong female characters. Not at Alusair riding off (a regency has to end somehow, and what has been said in print thus far is true to her individual character), but at the lack of much of anyone else prominent in the local Cormyrean picture who is female.
However, I and some others have some fiction plans that will hopefully touch on the “new” Cormyr. If or when they come to fruition, I hope to be able to post here a message for you to the effect that there’ll then be something you can enjoy in the later Cormyr.
Until then, I am quite happy to answer lore replies here about the older Cormyr, and provide lore like this for you and everyone to deepen (I hope) your enjoyment of the Realms. Your campaign need not make the big time-move if you don’t want to; how much or how quickly the Spellplague affects a particular locale is up to you (for a decade or more of in-game time it can easily be “bad news from elsewhere,” happening offstage). It’s YOUR campaign; as I have said for years, don’t let anything published ruin the fun for you and your players.
For instance, let us suppose your players WANTED to move to the later, post-Spellplague Realms, and play in Cormyr. Right, we’ve said very little about the noble families of this “newer” time (other than that the Goldfeathers were restored). You could easily, without contradicting any lore (caveat: there may be something in the forthcoming FRCG that would contradict this, OR contradict what I’ve just said about no strong female Cormyrean characters being evident in the Cormyr of the 4e Realms), make the current heads of all the major noble houses be female. ALL of them. You could even have some of them putting intense pressure on the Crown to provide female envoys and female courtiers in dealings, either as a deliberate move to advance the status of females or just as the mass effect of personal preferences of said matriarchs - - or far that matter, the Obarskyrs who aren’t married yet to be paired off with their daughters, some of whom could be VERY strong-minded, and have up their sleeves all sorts of plans for legal changes they might make in the realm once they were in the Royal Palace, to change the status and role of women).
Other gamers might roll their eyes at all of this, but again, we’re talking about YOUR campaign. Do what you want; the seeming “lighter level of detail” we’ve seen in the 4e Realms thus far would seem to allow you far more freedom to do that without having to worry about “straying from canon.”
As always, I hope this is of help.
Hugs,
Ed



So saith Ed, who despite being a flirt, is one of the least sexist, racist men I know. Comes from being raised by all those strong women, and working for more than three decades under female bosses, I’d say. (And, yes, he’s already heard all the jokes about working UNDER female bosses . . .)
love to all,
THO
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