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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2008 :  19:06:03  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. I bring the latest words of Ed, this time a Realmslore reply to this query from PaulBestwick: “Hello first time posting a queation to Ed. In a thread in the Running the Realms section of these esteemed hall I posted a question about Uthmere and the Western End of the Great Dale. The most gracious THO was able to recall a series of articles penned by your good self on Uthmere and posted on the WOTC website. I have a few questions relating to the area. What is the approximate size of the three nearby settlements, Solin, Eastwatch and Lethgate? Do these places mark the furthest extent of Lord Uthlains direct influence? Is there a minor nobility in the area that owe fealty to Lord Uthlain and as such are the rulers of these small settlements?”
Ed replies:



The three settlements, plus a patrolled area of a quarter days’ ride outwards from them (mounted patrols of seven to nine “Hawk Guards,” so-named for the beak-nose, swept sallet back neckcovering shape of the helms they wear; their official title, which no one but Uth courtiers ever use, is “Trusted Lawblade”), do indeed roughly mark the extent of Lord Uthlain’s direct influence, though individuals living nearby but outside this unofficial territory can and do on occasion bring disputes and complaints to Uthmere, to see if “something can be done.” (Most “calls upon the Uth Lord” are to deal with neighbours’ feuds over boundary lines, and marauding monsters or raiding packs of beasts.)
Solin is a market town (and fishing and clam-digging port) of around 2,200 folk; Eastwatch and Lethgate are smaller, at about 1,300 each (all have recently grown greatly in population, as local peace and strengthening temples and the health care they bring, combined with an influx of persons fleeing strife elsewhere, have swelled local ranks).

Solin is ruled by its “elders,” a council of the foremost (wealthiest) dozen or so merchants, who are very much an “old boys’ network,” tempered by some local priests who head the small local temples and function as a sort of unofficial opposition. Uthmere long ago established (and continues to sponsor) a local herald, Staghorns, in Solin to serve as an observer for Lord Uthlain as well as performing the usual duties of heralds (genealogies, witnesses and retaining copies of contracts, heraldry, etc.).
Staghorns is a tall, quiet, careful retired adventurer (fighter) who is an avid (backyard) gardener and whose weekly written reports to Lord Uthlain very much resemble a broadsheet (newspaper), except that they are private (that is, read only by Uthlain and his courtiers, not “secret hush-hush”). He is supported by, and has a good working relationship with, Shieldmaster Orn Ghallow, a middling-level fighter installed by Uthmere to head the Solin garrison of sixteen Hawk Guards (they do more road patrols than policing, but Ghallow will use them as in-town lawkeepers if he sees the need).
There are constant local rumors of smuggling and “evil from Telflamm and afar” and suchlike being active in town, but neither Ghallow nor Staghorns has uncovered anything definite.

Eastwatch is ruled by Shieldlord Eskyn Raker, who is a middling-level fighter installed by Uthmere to head the Eastwatch garrison of sixteen Hawk Guards. Raker prefers to rule lightly, concentrating on patrols outside the walls and conferring behind closed doors with the local blacksmith, tavernmaster, and innkeeper (who is also the local moneylender) on all local disputes and decisions. He is married to a well-educated Uth lass of some wealth named Jalarra Preskrol, are starting a family, and COULD be considered local nobility if they ever behaved as such; they do host the grandest feasts, in the most ornate “great rooms” of their modest mansion, in Eastwatch. Yet they lack the sense of entitlement, of being “different/better” than the folk of Eastwatch, and of course lack the “generations of our ancestors have dwelt in this house on this land” thinking and self-righteousness. Eastwatch is dominated by herb-farming, mixed farming, and small-herd ranching.

Lethgate, a lumbering and mixed farming center, has a similar ruling arrangement to Eastwatch: an Uthmere-installed Shieldlord who tries to defer to prominent locals (in this case, the tavernmaster and three aging widows who own the three local sawmills and carpentry shops, which are run by their numerous and vigorous, hard-living sons) in matters of local governance. Shieldlord Eskultar Ramekhorn is an elderly retired fighter who commands the local garrison of eighteen Hawk Guards, trains a local militia of Foresters (primarily against raiding forest beasts, but also with an eye out for trouble coming north from Telflamm, whose less savoury elements have a habit of trying to hide persons kidnapped for ransom in outlying local steadings and forest huts). Ramekhorn has no wife nor children, and behaves more like (and is locally regarded as more akin to) a Black Robe (judge) than nobility.



So saith Ed, master of Realmslore, returning at last to the sort of lore reply we all enjoy. Not that he’s out of the proverbial woods yet with his official Realms writing, nor that he’s forgotten Zandilar!
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2008 :  19:10:34  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
This just in!

Addendum from Ed: Staghorns uses a triangular banner (point downwards) of midnight black, with a pair of white antlers on it. Instead of a skull or head where they meet, there's a descending, straight vertical line of four (different from each other, of course) snowflakes.

love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2008 :  19:16:55  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
This latest pair of posts raises a question (or two):
How well/often does Staghorns communicate with the other heralds scattered across Faerűn? If a conflict ever arose between his orders from Uthmere and the rules or decrees of the Heralds, who would he obey?
Thanks!
BB
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2008 :  23:02:42  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello All,

Ed can you tell us of any regions in which the kenku hold sway or have a noticeable presence, I was rereading realms novel about Astride the Wind's clan and I'm seeking more info about them in general?
Do all kenku in faerun fly or have some lost the ability?

Also if not NDA, what effect will the spellplague have on artifacts? Will they function erractically as magic runs wild and then return to normal as plague lessens or will they be warped by the destruction of the weave?

Here's my wishes that the Shrinshree survives all of this.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  02:24:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, fellow scribes! I bring Ed’s latest response to Zandilar, in the matter of that contentious scene at the end of Swords of Dragonfire.
Which means, first, that I should warn once more:

Possible spoilers for Swords of Dragonfire!


Rather than quoting Zandilar’s entire last post, I shall present Ed’s post, complete with HIS quotings of Zandilar, and replies. So without further ado, heeeeere’s Ed:



Hi, Zandilar. Always a pleasure to talk Realms with you. So here I am. :}
I understand and respect your decision about buying future Realms products. I AM glad you will at least be flipping through the FRCG, having a look. NDAs prevent me from saying much about its contents, but I will venture this much: a big chunk of what I wrote would be useful to anyone playing a Realms campaign set at any time, using any rules system. Said chunk could be plucked up and plunked down into play, whenever but not wherever. (I so much want to say more, but I can’t). So please give the new stuff that flip through and look, at least.

I also quite understand and agree with you about expecting poor betrayals of lesbian and bisexual female characters because that’s what you usually see.
Pennae is bisexual, but has sex with men more than with women because she often uses sex as a weapon or tool for getting what she wants, and more men than women have things she wants to steal or exploit - - whereas she tends to have sex with women for sheer pleasure and companionship. I’m not saying she hates men, it’s just that she knows she can gain power over men with sex, and uses that. I won’t give away her fate, although it was mentioned in published Realmslore (long ago), and unless things change drastically she won’t meet it in THE SWORD NEVER SLEEPS. As the Knights are during these three books, she’s the most experienced, street-smart, and capable adventurer among them, and nothing is going to erode that strength. What I chafe over is the lack of good opportunities, given the fast action and fighting inherent in these sorts of books, of showing more sides of her character; she tends to come across as the defiant veteran with the sharp tongue, and too often, not much more.
I’m glad you like X, too, because the whole key to her career (in the profession we see her in) is her very real charisma and sunny nature. Yes, she can control her face, voice, and words as skillfully as any really top-notch diplomat, but she’s so good at being charming and at ease and er, unbuttoned because she really IS all of those things. So that “brilliant first impression” you speak of is what she excels at providing. :}
During my recent visit to Oz, I learned of the so-called “free trade” pact signed with the U.S. (up here in Canada, we foolishly got one too) and of its effect on discontinuing the old “simultaneous release or you have no Australian copyright protection” practice that was in effect back when I was doing my ELMINSTER: THE MAKING OF A MAGE publicity tour. I am as disgusted as all Australians must be at your having to wait for novels and game releases; it should still be simultaneous!
As for the “homosexual women are only gay until a man comes along and sets them straight” notion; yep, very strong in some quarters in North America, too, and even those who don’t personally believe that view often play that stance in scripting television shows and the like because they are afraid of hurting sales by arousing a puritanical backlash amongst more right-wing religious people if they don’t do so. As you say, they can titillate with the gal-on-gal kiss and then have Mr. Right (or just Mr. Sufficiently Hunky) step into the room and “rescue” the gals by having them “come to their senses now that they’ve seen a REAL man.” (I know you see things from a lesbian female vantage point, but consider for just a moment how cruel that message is to most GUYS, too: “So, Mr. Couch Potato Nerd, Watching This Show, Just Remember That You’re Not Mr. Right And Never Will Be, Or Women Would Be Throwing Themselves At You All The Time, Just Like This Character - - And They’re Not, Are They? Hmm, Loser?”
As for Myrmeen Lhal, there’s ANOTHER character I haven’t ever had the time to properly get under the skin of (er, tell an in-depth story about). And probably won’t get the chance to, now. (Online slash fiction, here I come. Oops, no time to write THAT, either.)
When writing Realms fiction and game material, we have to get things past editors, and editors are always concerned with producing the best possible product that time, wordcount, and so on will allow. “Best” as in selling, too, and that means not pissing off any segment of the buying public without darned good reasons. So if we have a lesbian couple, like Yanseldara and Vaerana, we’ll use words like “consort” to inform readers but to avoid rubbing anyone’s noses in it. (So someone who is deeply offended by anything other than traditional heterosexual roles could rationalize that away by saying, “It’s nothing sexual. It’s gotta just be part of the way that place is governed; they have two women, who rule in shifts, one sleeps while the other’s decreeing. And they’re married to the throne, really, both of them, and so they’re ‘consorts.’ Yeah, that’s it!” Works for them, doesn’t matter to the rest of us, and we can all go on using the published Realms offerings to play in our own versions of the Realms, as happily as before.)
As I said recently, in an interview in Wolf’s excellent KOBOLD QUARTERLY, we should by and large delve into the sexuality of characters only as it relates to plot, and as we’re not publishing porn, that means a lot of ignoring or glossing over sexuality: it’s not directly germane to the tales we’re telling.
I quite understand when you take the view that “as a feminist and a lesbian, I feel that you can do so without appearing to play into the stereotypes (note, I said appearing).” My point is that I can play into the stereotypes for the camouflage necessary to get it through editing and out into print in a form that we can explain away if someone REALLY takes offense (and remember, I’m talking banning an offending book from some states or store chains altogether; YES, it still happens), but that allows the rest of us to see what’s REALLY being said. I understand your irritation that such games still have to be played, in this day and age. Yet (unfortunately) they do.
However, I can directly refute this: “I can't help but wonder whether or not X's kissing the women would have been published without her kissing Y the way she did...”
My editor on the book was DELIGHTED with X, and made a point of telling me so right off the top, upon reading the first draft (which then lacked the Epilogue because the tale was unfinished, and so wasn’t ready for a wrap-up, and thus didn’t have that kiss with Y at all). She LOVED the surprise of X’s kissing the women rather than the royal personage everyone was expecting to get the first and best attention of her ardent lips (er, so to speak :}).
And that’s it from me, this time around.
I WILL discuss being more explicit with same-sex characters in future Realms fiction with the Books folks, and see if the lines have shifted. However, the answer may be “no,” or the shift may not be in a direction that pleases you. We’ll see.
I can say that a certain Book person winced visibly when a marketing person from another company, at a Book Expo American event, asked teasingly if they were ready to publish “Ed unbuttoned,” yet. :}



So saith Ed. Who assures me he’s buttoned up, as I type this.
Shocking, simply shocking, the things we discuss at Candlekeep! I’m getting so hot and bothered, I may just have to take some things off!
love to all,
THO
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Vangelor
Learned Scribe

USA
182 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  04:09:47  Show Profile  Visit Vangelor's Homepage Send Vangelor a Private Message
Thanks for that frank answer, Ed (and THO)! It helps set the Realms apart, for me, if the customs, common attitudes and so on can be shown to differ from our own world.

And I agree that an unnecessary emphasis on sexuality where it is not significant to the story is a detraction rather than a merit in fiction. I only hope that we won't see things like, say (to borrow from Classical myth) Patroklos being portrayed as the cousin of Achilles to explain why the hero was so angered by his death, or the omission of Herakles from the voyage of the Argonauts rather than explain that he abandoned the quest out of grief when Hylas was drowned. That is, there are times when the bond between characters is a plot point, and I hope these won't be glossed over simply because they are not mainstream.

My questions for Ed regard elves. What term or title is given in elven to the heir of a house or clan, or to its designated speaker or envoy to a council or what have you?

And, with the end of the Retreat, is there a change in how elves who are still present and active in Faerun approach the other races? Or is this a matter still of individual elves acting as suits their own goals and ideas best?

Thanks again!

Edit - Just found a May 2007 reply from Ed giving me the term mraerital for a speaker or envoy, so no need to repeat that particular question. Still curious about house/clan heirs, and how these are called.

Edited by - Vangelor on 24 Jan 2008 16:49:18
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coastiemike
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  04:25:54  Show Profile  Visit coastiemike's Homepage Send coastiemike a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all. coastiemike, I sent your query off to Ed, who must have been camped on his computer, because he sent a reply back right away. Here 'tis:

Hi, coastiemike. There's no such thing as an "official flower" for Silverymoon, BUT there's only one flower that anyone in Silverymoon would consider using or wearing in such a ceremony. It's called either "blueshine" or "moonflower," and is a tiny white tulip-shaped flower surrounded by six triangular green leaves. The green leaves glow a vivid blue when touched by moonlight, and the white flower glows a pearly white - - and long, long ago, Silvaeren spellcasters devised a simple cantrip that duplicates moonlight closely enough to make these flowers glow under all lighting conditions, when it's applied to them.

So saith Ed. And there you have it . . .
love,
THO

Edit: Ed neglected to mention that this flower grows wild all over the Dessarin valley, among what's called "snowdrift" (a ground-hugging flower that looks like white clover). This comes from my own notes, jotted down during play over the years.



I figured since Mr. Greenwood answered the question so quickly, I'd post the link to a chapter in a campaign journal that the player who requested the info used the info to incoporate it in her character. I hope you enjoy the reading. Also, feel free to take a look at the rest of her "Diary of a Wanderlust Halfling" if you'd like to know of the history of our game. The link is found at http://guildportal.com/Guild.aspx?GuildID=47452&TabID=507692&ChapterID=13379
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1144 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  04:59:07  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message
Hey, Ed.

I personally know that you're very confident of your Realms Manifesto. I.e. that "sexual labels" as we know them Post-Kinsey (and he wasn't a real fan of them himself from what I remember) don't quite exist. Harems in Calisham will have boys and girls without anyone batting an eyelash and there's no real stigma towards any kind of favored love (though one might make a question as to how the typical heritage issues are handled with a gay man or woman---probably a "buckle up and bear it" attitude).

But out of pure curiosity, as I prepare for 4E and we move on, were any notable Realms personalities amongst MEN bisexual or gay? [Note: I understand the following is oversimplifying] We know that Alusair favored men but indulged herself with women, Penai is bisexual, Caladnei is nominally straight but makes an exception for Alusair, Quenthel is winning no one's award for a positive lesbian role-model, Eli's clergy seems rather high on female-female love, and the Seven Sisters are....well the Seven Sisters....

But not too much on the guy end (no pun intended).

Elminster seems to decidedly have his own experiments with multitudes of sexual experience (though he and Lhao were just pretending---I think) but I don't think we really have that many examples of guy NPCs whose tastes tend to favor the male. Zandilar's query brought this up but it also showed up in my games.

(I doubt Ed or anyone else on this boards wants to hear the transcript of my Gaming Group getting into a spontaneous discussion of sexuality amongst the Demihuman races and cultures of the Realms----notedly it lasted 10 minutes)

So, want to tell?

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  09:47:28  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
Hello Ed and the Hooded One. A happy new year if I haven't said so already.

This should be a simple question (I hope).
In one of the "deity-books" (can't remember which one, but I think Faiths & Pantheons it says that dancing is a common artform among the clergy of Sune. Would it, based on that statement, be wrong to assume that, in at least some of the Sunite congregations, dancing have become part of some or maybe even all religious ceremonies?

(For anyone interested in what I'm getting at, the thing that got me thinking about this was a TV-program about Balinese temple-dancers.)

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  12:26:34  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:

Possible spoilers for Swords of Dragonfire!


And still more possible spoilers... but maybe not as much as before...

quote:
Hi, Zandilar. Always a pleasure to talk Realms with you. So here I am. :}


And always appreciated. :) Thank you again.

quote:
I understand and respect your decision about buying future Realms products. I AM glad you will at least be flipping through the FRCG, having a look. NDAs prevent me from saying much about its contents, but I will venture this much: a big chunk of what I wrote would be useful to anyone playing a Realms campaign set at any time, using any rules system. Said chunk could be plucked up and plunked down into play, whenever but not wherever. (I so much want to say more, but I can’t). So please give the new stuff that flip through and look, at least.


I will definitely take a look, you've piqued my curiosity. Also, today I realized I had lied about my collection ending - Arriving on my doorstep not more than an hour hour ago (from when I first started to write this reply, that is) was a 1st Edition FR Campaign Set I recently bought on eBay... Years ago I sold my original, not having much time for the setting at the time, but have regretted it a lot since then... Maybe I'll be buying more 1st Edition and 2nd Edition products, just to fill out and maybe complete my collection one day (I really only started collecting FR with 3rd Edition, as it gave me a good place to start).

quote:
Pennae is bisexual, but has sex with men more than with women because she often uses sex as a weapon or tool for getting what she wants, and more men than women have things she wants to steal or exploit - - whereas she tends to have sex with women for sheer pleasure and companionship. I’m not saying she hates men, it’s just that she knows she can gain power over men with sex, and uses that. I won’t give away her fate, although it was mentioned in published Realmslore (long ago), and unless things change drastically she won’t meet it in THE SWORD NEVER SLEEPS. As the Knights are during these three books, she’s the most experienced, street-smart, and capable adventurer among them, and nothing is going to erode that strength. What I chafe over is the lack of good opportunities, given the fast action and fighting inherent in these sorts of books, of showing more sides of her character; she tends to come across as the defiant veteran with the sharp tongue, and too often, not much more.


I guess that doesn't bode well for her. Any chance you could give me a hint where to look in Realmslore for it? I spotted a mention of her in the entry for the Knights of Myth Drannor in the 1st Edition Cyclopedia, but it said nothing of her fate, just said she was no longer a member and didn't give a reason.

I can see how the typical DnD novel style/pace would be detrimental to much character development, but despite that I still like her. She's pretty spunky (gods that's an old word!).

quote:
I’m glad you like X, too, because the whole key to her career (in the profession we see her in) is her very real charisma and sunny nature. Yes, she can control her face, voice, and words as skillfully as any really top-notch diplomat, but she’s so good at being charming and at ease and er, unbuttoned because she really IS all of those things. So that “brilliant first impression” you speak of is what she excels at providing. :}


I look forward to seeing more of her in the next novel, though I suspect that she will be overshadowed by the main characters (as well she should).

Which brings me to think of NDAs... Once 4th Edition Realms is published, is there any chance that some of the NDAs pertaining to current (as in pre-TGHotR) 3rd Edition Realms might be lifted?

quote:
During my recent visit to Oz, I learned of the so-called “free trade” pact signed with the U.S. (up here in Canada, we foolishly got one too) and of its effect on discontinuing the old “simultaneous release or you have no Australian copyright protection” practice that was in effect back when I was doing my ELMINSTER: THE MAKING OF A MAGE publicity tour. I am as disgusted as all Australians must be at your having to wait for novels and game releases; it should still be simultaneous!


Now this, I didn't know about. All of a sudden we stopped getting things when the US did, and for no apparent reason. I only really noticed it when I tried to buy TGHotR last year when everyone else in America had it - and I kept looking and looking and asking about it, but no joy until January! Maybe I'll have to order my copy of the Annotated Elminster direct from the US (and any further novels I want to buy... I think I'll also have to call my FLGS and ask them if they're going to get 4th Edition stuff at the same time as the US.)

quote:
As for the “homosexual women are only gay until a man comes along and sets them straight” notion; yep, very strong in some quarters in North America, too, and even those who don’t personally believe that view often play that stance in scripting television shows and the like because they are afraid of hurting sales by arousing a puritanical backlash amongst more right-wing religious people if they don’t do so. As you say, they can titillate with the gal-on-gal kiss and then have Mr. Right (or just Mr. Sufficiently Hunky) step into the room and “rescue” the gals by having them “come to their senses now that they’ve seen a REAL man.” (I know you see things from a lesbian female vantage point, but consider for just a moment how cruel that message is to most GUYS, too: “So, Mr. Couch Potato Nerd, Watching This Show, Just Remember That You’re Not Mr. Right And Never Will Be, Or Women Would Be Throwing Themselves At You All The Time, Just Like This Character - - And They’re Not, Are They? Hmm, Loser?”


You know what? I've never thought of it that way. But that really could include heterosexual females as well. At least the ones who throw themselves all over the hunky men. (Did I really just use that term? Ugh! *shudder*) Bias in the media does effect everyone in the end.

quote:

As for Myrmeen Lhal, there’s ANOTHER character I haven’t ever had the time to properly get under the skin of (er, tell an in-depth story about). And probably won’t get the chance to, now. (Online slash fiction, here I come. Oops, no time to write THAT, either.)


I gave her the beginnings of a happy ending in a fan fiction I wrote (and yes, it was with a woman). Perhaps I'll post it to my LiveJournal one day for all the world to see. I'd ask if you would like to read it, but I suspect given the amount of time you have to yourself, not to mention the legal issues of an author viewing fan fiction based on their work (not wanting to be seen to steal ideas etc), would probably prevent you from being able to say "yes".

quote:

When writing Realms fiction and game material, we have to get things past editors, and editors are always concerned with producing the best possible product that time, wordcount, and so on will allow. “Best” as in selling, too, and that means not pissing off any segment of the buying public without darned good reasons. So if we have a lesbian couple, like Yanseldara and Vaerana, we’ll use words like “consort” to inform readers but to avoid rubbing anyone’s noses in it. (So someone who is deeply offended by anything other than traditional heterosexual roles could rationalize that away by saying, “It’s nothing sexual. It’s gotta just be part of the way that place is governed; they have two women, who rule in shifts, one sleeps while the other’s decreeing. And they’re married to the throne, really, both of them, and so they’re ‘consorts.’ Yeah, that’s it!” Works for them, doesn’t matter to the rest of us, and we can all go on using the published Realms offerings to play in our own versions of the Realms, as happily as before.)


It is still very frustrating. I have written a novel I'd very much like to get published somewhere, but unless I go for a niche publisher (one that caters to a queer audience), I have serious doubts I'll ever get it published. My mother and other half both insist that I should try mainstream publishers, but when you have as many lesbian or bisexual characters as this novel has (five fairly major characters at last count)... It's dead in the water, me thinks...

The novel, by the way, is by no means pornographic. There's about as much romance as you'd find in a fantasy novel series, and the sexualities of these characters come up because they have partners. This is why I'm always confused when people (as you have in your post) say things like this:

quote:
As I said recently, in an interview in Wolf’s excellent KOBOLD QUARTERLY, we should by and large delve into the sexuality of characters only as it relates to plot, and as we’re not publishing porn, that means a lot of ignoring or glossing over sexuality: it’s not directly germane to the tales we’re telling.


Character A and Character B are involved with each other. The outward signs you see in the story are the fact that sometimes they exchange a kiss, or they might hold hands, or they may even refer to the other with an affectionate nick name. That's what I mean by showing a character's sexuality. You don't need to get into blow by blow sex scenes to show a character's sexuality. If A and B were opposite sex partners, the kinds of things I've mentioned wouldn't even attract a raised eyebrow! But if A and B are the same sex, then all bets are off! A and B holding hands as they walk down the street may as well be as "dirty" as a full on pornographic description of them in bed together! This hand holding and kissing could even be incidental to the story, just something that occurs naturally in the scene - a way of giving extra depth to the characters. If A were in the novel on their own, and was queer, then we'd have no way to know what their sexuality is... But not every character in every novel need be single!

quote:
I quite understand when you take the view that “as a feminist and a lesbian, I feel that you can do so without appearing to play into the stereotypes (note, I said appearing).” My point is that I can play into the stereotypes for the camouflage necessary to get it through editing and out into print in a form that we can explain away if someone REALLY takes offense (and remember, I’m talking banning an offending book from some states or store chains altogether; YES, it still happens), but that allows the rest of us to see what’s REALLY being said. I understand your irritation that such games still have to be played, in this day and age. Yet (unfortunately) they do.


Well I have to give you that, given my own suspicions regarding the publication of my own novel.

Thank you for sneaking in what you can!

Going back to what you said about Yanseldara and Vaerana earlier in your post, that's a very round about way to explain the use of the term consort. It might be easier for the denier to just assume the word consort was used in the same sense as cohort - if they can ignore all the other instances of the word consort as used in the Realms!

quote:
However, I can directly refute this: “I can't help but wonder whether or not X's kissing the women would have been published without her kissing Y the way she did...”
My editor on the book was DELIGHTED with X, and made a point of telling me so right off the top, upon reading the first draft (which then lacked the Epilogue because the tale was unfinished, and so wasn’t ready for a wrap-up, and thus didn’t have that kiss with Y at all). She LOVED the surprise of X’s kissing the women rather than the royal personage everyone was expecting to get the first and best attention of her ardent lips (er, so to speak :}).


Excellent. I always like it when I'm proven wrong on these things! Sometimes I'm too cynical for my own good.

quote:
And that’s it from me, this time around.
I WILL discuss being more explicit with same-sex characters in future Realms fiction with the Books folks, and see if the lines have shifted. However, the answer may be “no,” or the shift may not be in a direction that pleases you. We’ll see.
I can say that a certain Book person winced visibly when a marketing person from another company, at a Book Expo American event, asked teasingly if they were ready to publish “Ed unbuttoned,” yet. :}


Well I hope for some steps in the right direction, but expect status quo... and I think we'd all like to see "Ed unbuttoned"... err... the novel, that is.

quote:
So saith Ed. Who assures me he’s buttoned up, as I type this.
Shocking, simply shocking, the things we discuss at Candlekeep! I’m getting so hot and bothered, I may just have to take some things off!



You're such a tease, my lady THO.

Edit: Oh, and I nearly forgot... I echo Charles Phipps's question! I'd like to see that answer too.

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 Jan 2008 12:27:54
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1144 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  13:09:37  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message
quote:
It is still very frustrating. I have written a novel I'd very much like to get published somewhere, but unless I go for a niche publisher (one that caters to a queer audience), I have serious doubts I'll ever get it published. My mother and other half both insist that I should try mainstream publishers, but when you have as many lesbian or bisexual characters as this novel has (five fairly major characters at last count)... It's dead in the water, me thinks...


As a fellow writer, I wish you the best! I try to insert a lot of non-traditional arrangements into my works to liven up things because I think they're important. My first attempts at writing were just typical male fantasy stuff with a philandering lead but then I realize; well what if I make other cast members guy, have the females equally philandering, and insert some other issues. I think they make the stories better.

(Though, like Ed, I'll probably have hundreds of novels in my house by the time my career ends but *unlike him*....very few of them read by anyone)

quote:
Going back to what you said about Yanseldara and Vaerana earlier in your post, that's a very round about way to explain the use of the term consort. It might be easier for the denier to just assume the word consort was used in the same sense as cohort - if they can ignore all the other instances of the word consort as used in the Realms!


Yes, that's pretty clear. But I was always annoyed by this description as well, rather than happy about it. Primarilly because my reaction went something like "Hmmmm, interesting. There's a gay couple in the Realms." and then pause "Is there anything else about these people, anywhere?"

*Jeopardy theme plays*

I was disappointed that there was only a short mention of them and no more details! I actually was interested in sending my player characters there just because of the happy couple! It may be odd but I'm interested in the Realm's gay characters. I wanted to know more about Llirra's brief girlfriend too!

I always get annoyed that Comic Book Editors have realized that most of their fans are adults but D&D, made for college students, never has quite shaken the idea that other companies have embraced that it should be for adults (Like a certain Albino Doggie company has). Under Hasbro, that's unlikely to change.

quote:
If A were in the novel on their own, and was queer, then we'd have no way to know what their sexuality is... But not every character in every novel need be single!


I'm reminded of the Homosexual Pirate in R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt series. The "evidence" was she wore Men's clothing and refused the advances of a scumbag. On Earth, let alone the Realms that doesn't qualify for subtext!

If Buffy can do it, the Realms should be able to.

But overall, Ed, we all appreciate your attempts to navigate the Editor and their chainsaw.

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3524 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  14:03:14  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message
I think when one reads Ed, they had best leave their glasses(be they rose colored or not!), Blinders, pre-conceptions and and expectations (besides a fun, informative read) at the door.

I do not think that you can fit Ed in to a box of any shape as he is far to multi-faceted! You can however do so with an editor with their rigidity(often forced by society) they will fit into any box roughly 2 inches by 4, 5 to 6 feet long!

That is were I place any frustrations I have with his work. Then when I remember I can Ask him and get the "real deal" straight from the Horses mouth (sorry for the Mr. Ed parralel), I let it slide away and come here to read his scroll!

Thanks Again Ed.

P.S. And the innuendo, humor and sexiness of THO is just an added bonus and in no way influence me to read your scroll

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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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  14:14:41  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
Just a quick literary suggestion for anyone who wants to read a fantasy(ish) novel with Gay/Bi/Lesbian/? characters in many of the lead roles: Swordpoint, The Fall of the Kings, and The Privilege of the Sword. All by Ellen Kushner (although Fall was co-written with her partner Delia Sherman.

It's no Sword & Sorcery, but the language is brilliant, and the characters come of as "real" for the most part.

Right...Off Topic transmission ends here.

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett

Edited by - Kajehase on 21 Jan 2008 14:15:27
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  15:20:28  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Actually, it's not really off-topic. Ed voted for PRIVILEGE when judging the World Fantasy Awards, last year, as it happens. So there is a strange roundabout, back door Ed Greenwood link.
Some great posts here, folks, and all of them have been whisked off to Ed. Who is still frantically pounding that keyboard, but starting to smile from time to time. When I asked him why, he said, "Light at end of tunnel visible again - - and I have more up my sleeves than just my arms."
Ho HO. Must personally check . . .
love to all,
THO
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1144 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  21:59:27  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message
Thanks the Hooded One.

Darnit, it's just wrong Harry Potter has a gay lead first!

;-)

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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Mandras
Seeker

Estonia
51 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  23:09:02  Show Profile  Visit Mandras's Homepage Send Mandras a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all. Mandras, let me try to provide what little information I can on the Mirrormanes.
Here we go:
Xeno was not created by Ed, but Maskul and the Mirrormane family were.
There is family background lore on the Mirrormanes, created by Ed and abandoned when other designers started working on Zhentil Keep (Ed wanted them to have a "free hand" rather than being bound by his unpublished and fragmentary lore).
The Mirrormanes were and are "nobility" in the sense that all Zhent nobles are: wealthy, successful local merchant families who give themselves the titles of lords and special privileges. Many of the Mirrormanes entered various clergies and rose through their ranks, shielding themselves a trifle from the cut-and-thrust of secular nobility feuding with each other. Yes, Maskul was a member of the High Imperceptor's trusted advisors and envoys among the clergy of Bane (Xeno of course I can't speak for, but I would assume he was also a high-ranking priest of the faith, for his later status [the "right place" he was in] to make any logical sense) before the Time of Troubles.
No one in Zhentil Keep knew or had any connection with Cyric the mortal before the Godsfall (and Cyric's rise).
I hope these "quickie" answers help. Ed was looking for his Mirrormane family lore to share with you, and probably hasn't found it yet. No surprise to anyone who's seen his study or his basement.
Otherwise (I ran these replies past him) this is pretty much what he would have told you.
love,
THO



Truly, really thanks. Just what I needed and not a second too early :)

Best Regards,

Mandras

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."
Oscar Wilde
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Vangelor
Learned Scribe

USA
182 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2008 :  23:21:34  Show Profile  Visit Vangelor's Homepage Send Vangelor a Private Message
Well, J.K. Rowling has her own approach to social issues, and her world is a good deal closer to the issues of our own. Also, you will note that even Jo waited until her series was all wrapped up and her work with it pretty much done before opening that particular can of worms.

Different authors write differently. Any reader of, say, Mercy Lackey's Last Herald-Mage series is going to know off the bat that Vanyel Ashkevron is gay, and faces discrimination because of that similar to that in our own world. Readers of LeGuin's Earthsea are going to have to pay very close attention to a single throwaway line to reach a similar conclusion regarding Erreth-Akbe - but the clue is there.

That said, I love the Realms as Ed writes them and am confident that he does all he can to show us as much local color as his projects permit. Personally, I have my suspicions regarding some male bit-characters in Elminster in Myth Drannor, but maybe I am reading too much into a warm elven friendship. ;)

Edited by - Vangelor on 21 Jan 2008 23:23:23
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  04:31:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all! This time I bring a Realmslore reply from Ed to crazedventurers, specifically this query: “Good Lady - could you explain how the Knights met Neiroon? He who lived in the Hut near the river Lis - from the Realms Atlas, (the proper one I mean, the paper one [:)).
And is this the same Neiron 'the schemer' from the OGBS who is listed as a Ranger who is not a harper and wanders the stonelands?
I am guessing not given Ed'd like of similar names to confuse us all (Astoroth etc )
Thanks, Damian”
Ed replies:



No, they’re two different people, and you’re quite correct to think I named them thus to give my players more than a moment of “Hmmm” and sending their characters to do a little more delving. Makes it all seem more real, I find.
(Oh, BTW: one of the things they discovered is that the schemer has pretended to be the hut-dweller, more than once. Why this deception, they’re not quite sure. Yet.)
As for how the Knights met Neiroon, that befell only a year or so after they first arrived in Shadowdale, when they had occasion to go to Elventree (a long story, adventure-related), and heard of him and some other interesting NPCs from interesting NPCs they met in Elventree. They decided he sounded interesting enough to meet, and did something about that. :}
That’s the short version, anyway. The in-depth recounting unfortunately involves far too many campaign subplots to properly explain here; if I got started, that’d be the end of all the writing Wizards and others are impatiently waiting for, that they’re PAYING me to do. :} Suffice it to say that the “home” Realms campaign is far more intrigue and plots upon plots and roleplaying daily life and commerce and politics and the like than it is drawing swords and hacking monsters.



So saith Ed. THE master of the Realms. As more than this particular purring temptress have remarked, down the years.
love,
THO
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  08:22:30  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by tauster

Dear Ed,

First of all, a happy new year to you and your kin, and thanks for giving us the best sandbox we all could have ever wished for!

I dm a campaign who’s main plot centeres around an aboleth schmeme to rule the world (the “Night Below” box written by Carl Sargent) and have a few questions about aboleth in the Realms. I don’t need them urgently answered, so take your time. However I would be happy if I could read your opinion still in 2008 (I know there are unanswered questions older than that, and I feel bad when jumping the queue). Many thanks in advance! :o)

(snip)

Here are my questions (and sorry for them to be so drawn-out!):
1) When an aboleth consumes someone, he gains all(!) the knowledge of that individual, and when aboleth spawn, their offspring inherits all(!) of their parent’s knowledge. I cannot begin to imagine how vast their intellet must be and how quickly this mechanism might lead to intellects that unbalance these creatures, making them far too clever to be used as villains. At least this feature was countered in 3rd editions “Lords of Madness” by stating that their ancestral knowledge is not readily accessible and has to be searched for specific facts in protracted mind-wanderings. Still, when a whle city of aboleth comes up with a plan for world domination, I expect it to be quite bullet-proof.


(snip)




Strange that you should ask ... I was reading the aboleth chapter in Lords of Madness a few days ago and a thorough reading helped to clear up one of my misconceptions (which has at least a defense in an Elaine Cunningham novel). As you say, aboleths must search for their ancestral memories, but apparently it is even more difficult for them to recall the memories of their food. There is an aboleth feat which allows them to have a daily skill bonus because they can more easily recall some of what they have chowed down upon, but I don't think I've seen any aboleth singled out as actually having the feat, so presumably the memories of the prior dinners of the vast majority of aboleths are all jumbled together in an incoherent babble. Aboleth Savants don't recall their memories with any greater clarity than other aboleths most of the time, but twice in their lives (when they "level") they apparently have an "a ha!" experience, some of those memories fall into place, and they get a stat boost.

Elaine, however, has written of an aboleth who had a plan of his own and went about selecting meals to get the information he required. In game mechanical terms, he probably had the feat which allowed him a daily skill bonus.


quote:
Originally posted by tauster

4) And the last question: How do you envision the aboleths in the realms? How commonly known are they among sages? Are they seen as legends or real dangers that luckily concern mostly the dwellers of the underdark? Who in the realms would most likely have reasonably solid lore about these monsters? I am tempted to send my players to cosmopolitan underdark cities like Sshamath, for example...

OK, I guess that’s enough stuff to answer. You can keep your replies short – I know you don’t have the time for answering every question in detail. ... not that I woulnd’t like the long versions, mind you! ;o)

Tauster



You, I, and at least three other people here have asked Ed many questions about aboleths in the past couple of years, and most of those questions have gone unanswered, presumably hidden by Otiluke's NDA Screen!




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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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4818 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  10:59:22  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
For Zandilar: FR7 Hall of Heroes, p.111.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  11:31:55  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
No, they’re two different people, and you’re quite correct to think I named them thus to give my players more than a moment of “Hmmm” and sending their characters to do a little more delving. Makes it all seem more real, I find.
(Oh, BTW: one of the things they discovered is that the schemer has pretended to be the hut-dweller, more than once. Why this deception, they’re not quite sure. Yet.)



Good Lady, my thanks to Ed once again. Nice piece of Realmslore tidied up and filed away for future reference. I just love the fact that Neiroon's Hut made it into the FR Atlas and has never popped up again (AFAIK) in any Realmslore published article. One more question to Ed, how close are the the maps in the FR atlas to his own original drawings? Was there much 'poetic licence' involved in redrawing the Heartlands/Inner Sea areas etc to 'better fit' the published Realms? (I am discounting the Moonshaes and Vaasa/Damara as I know they were added/changed for the published Realms).

As an addedum to ED's answer:
THO can I ask how you as players kept up with all the intrigues/plots/names etc, just from memory or did one or more of you keep copious notes? I know that Ian Hunter was known as the 'First Lorelord of the Realms', did the players rely on one member to remember/write up or was it a group effort?

Thanks

Damian

So saith Ed. I've never said he was sane, have I?
Gods, all this writing and he's running a constant fantasy version of Coronation Street in his head, too. .
shudder,
love to all,
THO
Candlekeep Forum 7 May 2005
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  16:08:48  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Damian, I can answer your maps question: Karen Wynn Fonstad (RIP) had Ed's original and very detailed maps to work with (the man could make a living as a professional cartographer; his maps are that good) to work with, so the overall maps (as opposed to the locale maps she "built" from novels written by others) are VERY close to Ed's originals. The difference is more a matter of "projection," in map parlance, than any shifting of things around (except for, as you say, the Bloodstone Lands glacier rollback shift).
As for our playing habits: we all use clipboards and make notes. Brief, occasional notes, because we all value the roleplaying (acting) over mentally "stepping out of the game" to keep records. All of us recall things from memory (more realistic, yes? In the middle of a dungeon, our characters would have to rely on their memories and perhaps a hand-drawn map, and not a failing cabinet full of notes, after all), but Andrew Dewar and Ian Hunter were the best at actually putting names, times, and other specifics onto everyone else's "We've seen this guy before, I KNOW we have" recollections. For fun, Ed wrote several trivia quizzes (to make up a hypothetical question: "You were once told who owned Tharn's Keep before the Baron. Three owners, in fact. Who was the second one, who followed the builder and first owner, and how did he gain control of the Keep? How did he lose it?") for we players to have fun with. Ian "won" all of those, hence his Lorelord title.
So saith me.
love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 22 Jan 2008 16:20:34
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  16:15:29  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A postscript to the above: my hypothetical question was labelled as such because it wasn't part of any of those quizzes; I drafted it to illustrate the style and depth of Ed's quiz questions.
Tharn's Keep is, however, a real place (as far as any location in the wholly imaginary Realms can be said to be real, of course). It's a tiny "protect a sheep-ranching valley" keep in the foothills of the mountains that form the northern border of Amn. One of dozens of such keeps.
love,
THO
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  17:59:20  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

A postscript to the above: my hypothetical question was labelled as such because it wasn't part of any of those quizzes; I drafted it to illustrate the style and depth of Ed's quiz questions.
Tharn's Keep is, however, a real place (as far as any location in the wholly imaginary Realms can be said to be real, of course). It's a tiny "protect a sheep-ranching valley" keep in the foothills of the mountains that form the northern border of Amn. One of dozens of such keeps.
love,
THO



Darn. If I'd known that when I was writing Lands of Intrigue, it would have been in there. Then again, I don't recall looking terrifically closely at the mountains north of Amn in much detail. Dropped a Doctor Strange homage into the Umar Hills to the south, but still.....

Steven
who was so busy getting minutiae from other readers he may have forgotten to ask Ed for any further details on Amn and Tethyr that weren't in print....

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3524 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2008 :  18:48:40  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

A postscript to the above: my hypothetical question was labelled as such because it wasn't part of any of those quizzes; I drafted it to illustrate the style and depth of Ed's quiz questions.
Tharn's Keep is, however, a real place (as far as any location in the wholly imaginary Realms can be said to be real, of course). It's a tiny "protect a sheep-ranching valley" keep in the foothills of the mountains that form the northern border of Amn. One of dozens of such keeps.
love,
THO



Darn. If I'd known that when I was writing Lands of Intrigue, it would have been in there. Then again, I don't recall looking terrifically closely at the mountains north of Amn in much detail. Dropped a Doctor Strange homage into the Umar Hills to the south, but still.....

Steven
who was so busy getting minutiae from other readers he may have forgotten to ask Ed for any further details on Amn and Tethyr that weren't in print....




Steven,

W.W.E.D.

What would Ed do?

When in doubt Ask "The Master" as THO calls him!

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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