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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31684 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  01:22:43  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

(THO informs me that The Sage can’t be with us, but that I must make up for that to the Lady Kazandra!)
Oooh! I'll have to warn her about behaving herself then.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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

5036 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  01:37:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Heh. Badly, I hope. Ed can be as flirtatious as I can.
Ahem.
Hello again, all. As promised, the words of Ed in response to these queries from crazedventurers: “Well again. A question (or two, or three, or....) relating to The Swords of Eveningstar book if I may? (I have just read it for about the 8th time, it’s great!)
Speera and Vangy can't scry the Swords when they enter the Haunted Halls yet Whisper can do so from his Crypt as the Swords blund, errr explore the Halls. Is this a localised effect? (i.e. you can scry within the Halls but not from without?) Or does scrying not work at all unless you find your way around the wards somehow (as Whisper has)? Do the anti-scrying wards extend to other spells and prayers related to divination?
On pg 252 of the paperback version is a small piece I have entirely missed before. Sarhthor teleports to the Stonelands and is musing on Whisper and his accomplishments and he states that Whisper has taken his Zhentarim name from Whisper's Crypt and that the crypt is not named after him. Do I take it that all Zhentarim Wizards have another name given to them/chosen by them when they join the Brotherhood? (for instance would this mean that Manshoon, Sarhthor, Hesperdan etc are not their given (birth) names etc).
Which then leads to, who was the original Whisper? or is the name a corruption of The Whispering Crypt (or something similar) given that it is infested with undead?
Re Whisper, he is listed in the OGBS as an evoker (Magic User Level 2 as was in 1E), but seems to command greater magic than that (Chain Lightning* on the Chuul etc), was this a misprint (level 2) and it should have been 12 (which would explain the 6th level spell) or was his command of the Art entirely down to Mhzentul's rings and other magic items he had located in the Stonelands?
A final question (a 'what if' really), related to the end of the book when Khelben offers the Pendant of Ashaba to the Swords. During the gameplay session was there any hesitation on the part of the players to accept the gift? And what if they had declined Khelbens offer, what next for them? Am wondering here about long term DM campaign planning. As a DM I think through the 'what if's' of the critical moments upcoming in the ongoing campaign and try to come up with a few answers/plots/solutions dependant on what the players might do/say etc. Would be interested to know how far you plan in advance? (I think I can guess the answer, but am still curious).
Thanks and best wishes,
Damian
ps a belated happy birthday
pps *am assuming it is not poetic licence but the spell, though it might be entirely a different spell given Ed's very extensive home-brewed spells!”

Ed replies:



Hi, Damian. Great questions, as usual.
No one can scry into the Haunted Halls by any known means thus far attempted, nor penetrate into the Halls with any divination magics thus far attempted, thanks to the way the wards were crafted (they “reflect” such spells back at the source but are then re-intercepted by the wards and sent back, in an endless volleying that results in “no readings at all” at the caster’s end. Whoever did this, and how, is now forgotten (except, presumably, by Azuth, Mystra, and any of her Servants who might have been involved with casting, augmenting, or repairing the wards at some time).
Again, I want to stress that the wards might not block all such magics, but have blocked all of those sorts of ‘spying’ magics thus far tried.
Yes, you CAN use of all those magics successfully within the Halls (not from inside to Halls to outside, but to another part of the Halls - - and Whisper’s Crypt really IS a farflung ‘arm’ of the Halls, as far as the wards are concerned.

No, all Zhentarim mages do NOT have a “special Brotherhood name.” A few have taken “bolder, cooler” names by personal choice when first attempting to join the ranks of the Zhentarim (usually because they are dissatisfied with their birth name for some reason), but it’s not a practice encouraged by the Brotherhood, done all that often, or undertaken to denote being accepted into (or achieving a rank within) the Brotherhood.
In this specific case, Whisper was a long-ago wizard of middling power (9th to 12th level, I believe) who fashioned his own tomb out of a “hidehold” he’d constructed for himself, earlier in life, and was interred there.
This is in the bygone days when few humans dwelt in the area, and elves dominated (Whisper was the “classic” sort of mage who wants to dwell and study in isolation, far from fellow humans who might pester, and built himself a tower in a desolate, rocky part of the Stonelands that doesn’t survive; a dragon tore it apart after his death to take any treasure that might lie therein, and to make of it a roost and perhaps nest for breeding). This “first” Whisper’s real name is now forgotten; in life, he used the nickname given to him for his normal speaking voice, which was a hissing, menacing-sounding (even when he wasn’t trying to sound menacing) whisper.
His remains had vanished (no one knows where or how; if he became undead, he never returned to “haunt” his tomb) by the time a much later Zhentarim mageling (novice wizard of low power) happened upon them after being ordered to the vicinity of Eveningstar to be the local Zhent spy and “safehold keeper” (host of a place where visiting Zhentarim members could hide in). The mageling took the name (and fell, impressive “villain behind much” reputation in local folklore of the original Whisper, which was probably largely undeserved) of Whisper, and gained much power from the magic items he found in the Crypt.

Whisper’s 2nd level status is not a misprint; he gained not just the original Whisper’s magic, but the Seven Lost Rings you refer to, and many other tomb-treasures and hidden treasure caches he found in the Stonelands, and used these items to wield Art far above his trained mastery. So, yes, he is using Chain Lightning, but it does come from a magic item (a ring of spell storing, if I remember rightly, but it could also have been from other items in the large pile he amassed).

When Khelben offered the Pendant of Ashaba to the Swords, there was a lot of hesitation (Florin outright declined, there was a lot of ‘after YOU, Alphonse/No, I insist, after YOU’ stuff, and of course the Knights later fobbed it off on young Mourngrym so he could sit and rule whilst they returned to the “freedom” of adventuring).
Yes, I do plan multiple outcomes ahead of time, tied to various PC responses (but modified during play as I roleplay the NPCs and react to EXACTLY what the PCs do and say). Not too far ahead of time, because details depend on the specifics of the confrontation or other situation, but then I already know the overall goals and aims of all major NPCs involved, power groups, and governments.
If the PCs had declined Khelben’s offer, he would have gravely accepted this, then eliminated any PCs he found most evil or set against its acceptance (Pennae, definitely, and quite likely Semoor), and arranged to have someone else (a beautiful female Harper, perhaps) offer them the Pendant elsewhere, under different circumstances. If they’d refused then, he’d have begun “pressure to get them to move on from Cormyr” from one direction, and magically whisking the Pendant into their saddlebags or putting it among spare armor or down a boot among their spare footwear, and so on, trying to “wear them down” or frighten them into accepting it. (When dealing with young adventurers, Khelben is very much an “end justifies the means” guy, trying to teach said “dangerous younglings” their “proper place” in the wider scheme of things.

Hope this is of help, and thanks for the birthday wishes. I sure feel a” hunnert and two t’day, by gum.” Of course, that might be something to do with the six-full-plates family feast I had at a Mandarin last night. :}



So saith Ed. Who I once saw eat an entire LARGE smoked salmon, all but the bones (yes, eyes and skin included) at one sitting. Really smoked, mind, not this “chemical bath” nonsense diners must so often endure now. (As for eating entire shrimp rings, that’s something he does at least four times a year.) Good thing he’s watching his portions, eh?
love to all,
THO
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3521 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  02:30:14  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message
Thank you for the fascinating answer via THO Ed! I was always curious as to "how it all started". I hope I get a chance to shake your hand and thank you in person at GenCon, and hopefully snap a pic or two for Alaundo to post hear at the 'keep!

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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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  02:49:45  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
Hope this is of help,

Very much so, the lore about the First Whisper was especially kind and more than I hoped for, thank you.

Interesting comments re Khelben and his 'use' of novice types, (and more so relating to Semoor!). Got to love the old salt you always now where you stand with him (normally somewhere 'uncomfortable' ).

Thanks Ed and THO for the speedy response once more

Lammath Drios

Damian
who is off to bed to dream about getting out FRQ1 and running it again

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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maransreth
Seeker

Australia
73 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  04:42:22  Show Profile  Visit maransreth's Homepage  Click to see maransreth's MSN Messenger address Send maransreth a Private Message
Howdy all, esp Lady THO and Sir Ed!

Silly question, but one that popped inro my head while attempting to settle one of my 1 month old twin girls -

Do dummies (pacifiers, etc - what you put into a baby's mouth to quiet them) exist in the realms? If so, what would they be made of? Is there a difference along racial lines?

Also baby related - lullabies. Have you ever written any lullabies/nursery rhymes specifically for the realms?

Enjoy your weekend!
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Ergdusch
Master of Realmslore

Germany
1719 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  08:39:55  Show Profile Send Ergdusch a Private Message
Late but as the saying goes: better late than never, me thinks!

All the best to your birthday, Ed. (Who does ever start counting his years, by the way?!? Elminster certainly doesn't! )

"Das Gras weht im Wind, wenn der Wind weht."
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  15:48:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, maransreth. Yes, Ed has written lullabies, both in Elvish and Common (heh; English). And yes, pacifiers do exist, though as I recall most folks just use one of their own knuckles (smallest fingers of their hands, usually), thrust into the babe's mouth. However, Ed will provide the definitive reply, of course; your query has gone off to him. When last I spoke with him, he was in the middle of writing a chapter of ARCH WIZARD, his next Solaris book.
love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 26 Jul 2008 16:04:33
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A Gavel
Seeker

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:16:22  Show Profile  Visit A Gavel's Homepage Send A Gavel a Private Message
I have another Ed query, please.
I have always thought there's much untold about Asper (Mirt's wife and former ward) that Ed knows and has written down, in the past, and we just haven't seen it.
Is this true, and if so, when might we learn more? Can (ahem, he asked slyly) Ed share anything, er, now?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:25:06  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. This time I bring two replies from Ed.
First, A Publishing Lackey asked this: “Can Ed say anything yet about his future Realms novel plans? Or is he deep in negotiations or constrained by NDAs?”
To this, Ed makes reply:



No, I can’t . . . because, yes, I am. :}



So saith Ed. Right, there you have it. This next reply, however, conveys something of more meat and interest to divers scribes. It is a response to Broken Helm’s recent query: “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-established halfling families. Thanks!”
Ed replies:



Sure. Here goes:
• Onder Halivan [aging human male; has a large staff, is long-established and prosperous, and so has invested in many area shops and local rental housing] (custom wagonmaking, wagon repairs, wagon and harness sales)
• Laryndur Mrantaveth [charismatic, glib halfling male from Amn; not liked by the long-established local halfling families because he undercuts their prices; a tireless “wheeler-dealer” type, and handsome and agile to boot] (panderer [equivalent to pimp, but acts as a landlord to his working girls, and is NOT violent or domineering towards them], moneylender, “shady deeds done for coins,” importer of spirits [and, say, his rivals, “tainter” and “mixer” of inferior spirits], owns a local oddjob carpentry crew of ex-adventurers and other hardened misfits)
• Dahessa Darwinter [elderly human female who has used magic to restore her wrinkled and sagging looks; loves the caresses and company of young, handsome, vigorous men, and is very wealthy, though she has little coin, preferring to invest in land and crops sewn and reaped by others; has a large staff of her loyal daughters and adopted daughters, who “take care of” any man who seeks to bully or coerce ‘Old Dahessa’] (rental landlord, farm investor, maker of jewelry, dealer in curios, antiquities, and monster body parts and essences, maker of scents and healing ointments, herbalist and herb-grower)
• Sardeeyr Hallowhyl [half-elf male of stunning good looks and ruthless morals, who came from Tethyr to escape justice and is rumored to have murdered dozens of rivals and creditors there; has magic items, including ‘dancing’ weapons and rings that give them the powers of flight and short-range teleportation, that aid him in defending himself; has taken care to ‘behave himself’ since arriving in Corm Orp four seasons ago, but also made certain word got around about his past] (owns a firm of human and gnome builders who specialize in cellars, stone buildings, secret passages, and irrigation drains, is a fabrics and clothing dealer [specializing in stolen goods], and is an expert archer who runs an archery school)
• Andelorna Mrakephethaer [“Murr-RAKE-feath-air” half-elf female of great age and many scars, retired from adventuring to become a ‘lady of sophistication’ who dabbles in the arts, pays attention to Sword Coast events, politics, and fashions, and seems to have a nigh-inexhaustible stream of funds from Athkatlan rents and other Amnian investments] (owns a furniture making and repair works, is a dealer in tapestries, rugs, and draperies, breeds and sells horses, and owns a local cheese factory and many goats and dairy cattle)
• Thormgorn Beltreth [human male of middling age and weatherbeaten looks, retired from adventuring in the Vilhon and Tethyr and the Shaar; has a small staff who are intensely loyal to him] (armorer, weapons dealer, ironmonger and smith, specializing in ironbound doors, barred iron window-frames, and heavy-duty hasps, hinges, and lockplates)



So saith Ed. Whew. Instant potted NPCs, served up hot and ready. No stats, as per request, but there are the all-important “story” bases of the characters, which is all most DMs really need. I see some Corm Orp forays in certain Realms players’ futures.
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 27 Jul 2008 03:26:44
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13121 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:29:23  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
First off, Happy B-Day (a little late, sorry).

Next, a question NOT about the Realms, but about Ed's relationship with it, and one that you, THO, might be able to answer for him

It came up over at the WotC boards that almost all the questions here are pre-Spellplague, and I answered that it was because he CAN'T talk about 4e (NDAs and all that). Another poster suggested he might be able to answer post-Spellplague questions AFTER the release of the FRCG next month.

Is that so? Or has his contractural agreement with them changed (different company, VERY different setting, etc..)

Can he answer questions about the new setting, or should we keep all queries here based 'in the past', as it were?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 27 Jul 2008 03:31:26
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A Publishing Lackey
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:37:47  Show Profile  Visit A Publishing Lackey's Homepage Send A Publishing Lackey a Private Message
Thought so.
But hey, it was worth a try.
I presume you (or more likely Wizards, in the form of the usual press release) will Reveal All when the time is right.
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Broken Helm
Learned Scribe

USA
108 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:40:05  Show Profile  Visit Broken Helm's Homepage Send Broken Helm a Private Message
Ed and THO,
Many thanks for that reply. That's JUST what I was looking for.
Geez, this really is like having a free Loremaster hidden away, that we can all call on.
Thanks again!
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31684 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:40:34  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 Markustay

Another poster suggested he might be able to answer post-Spellplague questions AFTER the release of the FRCG next month.
Just to clarify... this is what I said:-
quote:
Originally posted by Old Sage

Ed's just as involved with the post-Spellplague Realms as he was with the Realms before the events of 1385 DR. Once the FRCG is released, I'm sure Ed will be just as eager to answer questions [when not prevented by the dreaded NDAs] about the Realms aspects of 1479 DR and before the Year of the Ageless One.
Whether he can actually answer some of those post-Spellplague questions is another matter entirely.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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

Edited by - The Sage on 27 Jul 2008 03:43:48
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:53:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Recently Purple Dragon Knight posted this query: “Dear Lady Hooded,
Could you ask Ed if he has considered using his basement's unpublished home campaign realms notes to create a brand new setting? I mean, anything that's scribbled on a napkin in his basement, which has not been turned into official lore for TSR/WotC, is basically still Ed's baby right?
Obviously the new setting would have to be largely different from the known Realms... but anything high magic semi-medieval fantasy would see me happy, as long as it's from Ed. I mean if some corporate heads have decided that a Realms reset was required, why not beat them at their own game, use their "knowledge" that something new is now (moneywise) better than something old, and make a brand new setting, perhaps in collaboration with Paizo?

I have a premise for Ed too, if he so desires to use it:
"At the beginning there was nothing. The void. Then seven blue stars shot out of a tear in the fabric of the cosmos, and filled that void. The all powerful Goddess of Magic had arrived, and she suffused life into that emptiness. Rumor has it that she came from another, distant world, sacrificing herself over there to begin anew over here." ”
Well, I asked Ed, and here’s his reply:



I haven’t thought of using my basement lore to craft a new setting from, no, because to me, it’s all part of the Realms, and because FINDING it all would take me far too long to make that approach practical, and because I’m just way, way too busy right now trying to earn a basic living (by writing novels, because game writing barely pays enough to cover my utility bills, month to month) and supporting the settings I’ve already put out there (such as Castlemourn) or are committed to writing (like Embersea). I love your premise, though. :}
I like all of the Paizo guys and admire the way they do business, so working with them would be a delight (and as you know, I already have) and I’m not saying ‘no’ to a new setting, because I LOVE designing settings and have a few more up my sleeve, but just now: sorry, no time.
Please keep the faith, though, PDK, because I do hunger to design more settings (oh, and be sure to check out Embersea when it finally does come out; I am the delay there, too). You can also dip into my non-Realms fiction to glean details of Darsar (the Band of Four), Niflheim (my current Tor “Dark Warrior” series), and Falconfar (my current Solaris series).
Watching Gods Above, I’m a busy boy!



So saith Ed. Who is indeed. He has a day job, remember, in addition to writing three novels, divers short stories, a raft of game articles, and working on two or three game products, EACH YEAR. He reads, reviews, blurbs, and edits books by other writers, too, by the way, a few for pay but most just out of friendship . . .
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  03:57:46  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hmmm, Markustay and Sage, I'm not sure. I doubt his agreement has changed, but I can see NDAs under the new regime being thick, tall, shiny, and many-layered, so to speak. I wouldn't be surprised if Ed has a quiet chat in some corner at GenCon with certain Wizards senior staff, just to clarify matters.
Just from talking to him over the last month or so, I'd say one rule should still apply: on't heave 4e RULES questions in Ed's direction (as opposed to Realms lore queries). I can also say that Ed will probably be evasive when it comes to questions aimed at "filling in the century gap" between 3.5e and 4e Realms versions, because of current WotC policy.
Yet as always, Ed will answer this properly, when he can.
love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 27 Jul 2008 03:59:06
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31684 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  04:13:47  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
Thank you, my Lady.

Now, assuming Ed does learn more about the nature of his agreement at Gen Con, could he possibly share what he can with us here?

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13121 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  04:33:06  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
Hope you don't think I was dis-believing you or anything, Sage, but I figure its best to get it from the Horse's Mouth then to make assumptions (on either of our parts).

Thank you for the incredibly quick response, THO.

Also - tell Ed the 'Horses mouth' thing was in no way a jab at his ability to consume massive amounts of fish.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 27 Jul 2008 04:33:34
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31684 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  06:57:53  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 Markustay

Hope you don't think I was dis-believing you or anything, Sage, but I figure its best to get it from the Horse's Mouth then to make assumptions (on either of our parts).
No worries. When it comes to [sometimes tricky] issues like Ed's agreement on Realms development, 'tis certainly understandable.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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

5036 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  18:03:29  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, scribes. This time I bring you Ed’s reply to this, from Blueblade: “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.”
Ed replies:



Certainly. Thinner, “for looks” cloaks, if made of fabric that doesn’t wrinkle terribly, are habitually constructed with a “pocket” that runs along the collar or shoulders, so that the entire cloak can be rolled tightly up, stuffed into this pocket, and the whole thing hung from a belt or around the wearer’s neck on its own sewn-on thong, when not in use.
Of heavier cloaks, many have draw-string-closed (and then knot) mini coin-pockets along the lower edges, for easy carrying of emergency spending money (fares for conveyances, a night’s lodging, a meal), and to double as weights to keep the lower edge of the cloak down in breezes (stops women from being publicly embarrassed or momentarily blinded by having their clothing blow up into their faces).
About 1 in 5 cloaks have a small-opening, deep “handy” pocket, usually in what for us would be the “low-hanging breast pocket” area, for carrying small items (supporting the weight of a spare purse that depends from a thong around the wearer’s neck, carrying a hanky, or for thieves, a garotte/strangling cord or thongs for binding wrists and ankles of captives or victims). Larger pockets, or more pockets, would have to be custom-sewn additions, yes, and most cloaks that have such pockets have linings sewn around them that make identifying carried items difficult.
The bulk or “bulge” of such carried items can usually be seen (concealing that betraying shape is one reason many merchants wear a loose scarf knotted so as to hang in an arc across their upper chests; the scarf also serves to readily cover the mouth and nose in dusty or stinky conditions), but a good cloak will hamper identification of exactly what’s being carried.



So saith Ed. Who owns a few cloaks like that, because he lent me one once, to keep me warm in a frigid high-winds winter blizzard. Nothing interesting in its pockets, though.
love to all,
THO
P.S. Markustay, no Horse's Mouth offenses taken.
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AlorinDawn
Learned Scribe

USA
312 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  19:11:01  Show Profile  Visit AlorinDawn's Homepage  Click to see AlorinDawn's MSN Messenger address Send AlorinDawn a Private Message
Ed & THO,

Does working with dragon (or other magical beas) hide/scales require a special skil level or knowledge? If so can you tell me of any folks in Waterdeep, the Dales that have such a skill?

Thanks

Currently reading: Eyes of The Dragon by Stephen King

Long live Sniffy Wigglebottom
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  19:31:26  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. This time I bring Ed’s replies to Zandilar’s latest Women of the Wood questions, which are these: “Essentially Cormyr has a peaceful tribe of Amazons living in the King's Forest. What makes these women take to the woods to live rough, rather than trying to make it on their own in the cities and towns of Cormyr? There's nothing about women that makes them predisposed towards gathering in tribes when they've been abused or dispossessed by men, or when they've been embittered by love. So there must be some reason why they would prefer living in the wild to living in civilization... Which probably boils down to what caused the first Women to head into the wilds of Cormyr in the first place - because since then they have probably just attracted women to them as legends about them grew.
The other side of this coin is thus: The men of Cormyr obviously haven't done anything on the same sort of scale (ie: no local legends about tribes consisting only of men), have they?
////
But the tendency of the nobility and royalty is to favour the first born son, as we've seen. If Foril (the assassinated lad in the current timeline, not the King in the future) had been the second born and survived (with Tanalasta also surviving the assassination, assuming they would have tried for her had she been first born), would he have been Crown Prince? My instinct says it is likely.
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The next few paragraphs of your reply were quite enlightening. There is obviously some (not necessarily a lot, though, but enough) bias against women in Cormyr, if there's a question about whether or not their rights might be slighted under the law, and that women can be treated badly with no recourse other than to run away (or take matters into their own hands somehow).
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To change the subject just briefly, you also mentioned that some people in Cormyr (I suppose it would go for men as well as women) know that if they need help, they can contact the Harpers. Is this a common thing to do for the common people? Do Harpers travel openly in Cormyr? (They must, or how would anyone know they're Harpers except by rumour (which often is inaccurate)?)
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Why doesn't this surprise me? I've liked Caladnei since the day I first read about her in the FRCS. It's such a shame she's been largely skipped over by this 100 year leap. I'd like to know a bit more about the events of Cormyr between the end of 3e and the start of 4e, and would definitely like to know what happens to Caladnei. However, I suspect I know the answer will be something on the lines of "we're leaving it all intentionally vague for DMs to make up as they go along, with knowledge of what the endpoint is to help guide the events of individual campaigns." (Which means that stuff won't turn out the way this new information on Cormyr implies, because I don't want it to, obviously.)
I'd like to think that eventually Caladnei might join Alusair on her "ride into legend"...
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I do have a question about this one, though, as regards to her race. As you know, 4th Edition has changed Tieflings completely. Their backstory has changed, and rather than being essentially a human descended from some demonic or devilish union far back in their family tree, they seem to be a race of actual half devils. If I were to adopt the 4th Edition rules (using the current timeline), would she still be a tiefling (obviously fiendish heritage, with prominent horns, and a tail nearly as long as she is tall)? Or would her race be human and her fiendish features merely a cosmetic throwback?
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Those wanna be nobles will be quite useful, I think. I can see lots of plot hooks coming from just that one place in Immersea alone. I suppose it depends on which plots the party leader (the druid/sorcerer/arcane hierophant) latches on to... He has a tendency of somehow reading my mind and skipping to the most important plot with a single minded efficiency. That's how they ended up finishing what I was intending to be an epic campaign (epic in scope and epic in level by the end) by the time they were level 12 or so...
Anyway, on to the Thunderswords...
It was my intention for one of the daughters to be kidnapped by the High Hunt as their next victim. Maurara seems to be the most likely one - Chansaera (and the nieces you've mentioned) is (are) in the wrong place(s) for my campaign, and Delphaera could defend herself too well... Though I suppose if the High Hunt wanted a challenge for their hunting, she'd be the ideal one.
If I were a member of the High Hunt how would I go about kidnapping Maurara? How about Delphaera? (Delphaera, I'm thinking, might easily be tricked and trapped by the High Hunt by simply dropping rumors of some adventure she could have, and ambush her when she gets where they want her to go - sleeping poison from a blow gun might get her. Or maybe merely overwhelming her with numbers.)
I have a vague idea I might frame the party for it, and have them race against time to rescue the kidnapped daughter, while being chased by Purple Dragons and War Wizards and anyone else the Thunderswords might hire... That might not work so well though... Hmm...
The reason I'm picking on a female member of the Thunderswords is that I'd like them to meet with the Women of the Wood. So maybe I'm over engineering things?
The Thunderswords also seem to be a rich place to find plot hooks... I can see the party staying in Cormyr for quite some time... And another piece of the puzzle falls into place, I now know how I'm going to give them the push to get to Elversult when they need to be there... Which actually leads me into another question...
What is the relationship between Cormyr and Elversult, if any? Is Elversult the sort of place the Crown might send an envoy?
////
I didn't think Alusair's regency would last forever, but I didn't think it would end so soon either. Maybe it's just me seeing Cormyr through modern eyes, but age 13 seems just a bit too young for my liking (why not 16?). I'm not all that upset that she rode off into legend, it's a fitting end (or rather, beginning) to one such as her.
What I am upset about is that there are no women at all mentioned in positions of power. Those who are mentioned in the article are usually mentioned as merely being "the daughter of x, or the wife of y"... In other words, only as related to the men.
We've gone from being spoiled for choice as far as powerful females in Cormyr go, to having none at all. For a company that is ostensibly trying to attract new female gamers, they're going about it the wrong way. I know it's too late to change anything now, but I just want to register my dissatisfaction about the whole deal. I suppose I should write to WotC about it, but I don't even know who to start with.
////
I'll definitely keep an eye out.
When I get a better idea of the 4e Rules, I plan to slowly start converting the current timeline. I might post the conversions to my blog.
One of the first things I'll probably change about the future timeline is the presence of the spellplague. It's not likely to happen if Mystra doesn't die... I have a hard time accepting that Cyric can slip into Dweomerheart without detection to kill Mystra... even with Shar's aid*. The spellplague is the root of my problem with the future Realms.
My future Realms will look very different to the new Realms canon.
////
Interesting idea. Could make for a very interesting Cormyr. Though I think just most of the major noble families with female heads might be enough, rather than all. I wouldn't want to go too far the other way. Equality of the sexes is the goal, after all.
Anyway, Alusair, whether she's alive or not in the New Realms, cannot be counted as a figure of power. She gave it up so her nephew should be King (which is not a bad thing, mind you). At best she's a legend that people tell tall tales about in taverns.
To bring this back to asking Ed questions: If events had unfolded differently (if Azoun V had been stillborn or had died in childhood or even never existed at all), what sort of a Queen would Alusair have made?
Also, two questions for the canon Realms:
1) Can you give us any indication at all of what became of Caladnei? It seems she really got the short end of the stick as far as all of this goes. (I believe I have kind of asked this question earlier in the post, but I responded to this first before I wrote the above reply to Ed... Ah the wonders of modern technology!)
2) The other question is: is Ganarahast the son of Myrmeen and Vangerdahast, or is he the son of that child?”

Ed replies:



Okay, let’s run through these in order, as much as possible. I’d not call the Women of the Wood “peaceful.” They’re actively trying to avenge their wronged members, remember, so they are conducting night raids, swindles, rumor-spreading, and the like to do that. Essentially they’re a bandit gang that has no general quarrel with the government, only with certain male citizens. They hide in the forest because, as you surmise, that’s where they know the Women already are, and they’re seeking safety in numbers. The Women started out hiding in The King’s Forest because certain of their early members (who had troubles with nobles, powerful courtiers, and rich and ruthless merchants) literally could not think of anywhere inside Cormyr, their homeland that they did NOT want to leave, where their various nemeses wouldn’t be able to easily track them down.
Most of those joining the Women, even today (unless it’s the dead heart of a harsh winter, when very few dare to run away from hearthfires or other warm shelter), blossom swiftly in the woods into a love of freedom from etiquette and daily cares and fusses, and the simpler life of enjoying the surroundings and just gathering food (water and bathing are never problems). It’s generally believed that the Purple Dragons and War Wizards GENERALLY turn a blind eye to the Women (and this is true, or they’d not exist at all in the Cormyr of “today”), so women running off to join them feel there is some security in the woods. Some do try to “go it alone,” but fear of rape, robbery, and perhaps being eaten by wild beasts, and apprehension over being ignorant in woodlore, drive most women into joining the Women (there have even been young lads who have dressed as females so as to gain the security of the group, though in most cases they were thrust out, as potential spies sent by the particular men various Women were running from, the moment their gender was discovered).
Some Women do return to “everyday” Cormyr outside The King’s Forest, usually when their oppressors have died or circumstances have otherwise changed so they don’t feel in the same danger, or unhappiness. (Sometimes a humbled former oppressor is a very different man. The husband who used to beat his wife bloody and/or force himself on her constantly, who is now ailing, weak, and bedridden, may cease to be a threat - - particularly to a wife who returns to nurse him as a confident, bold person who will no longer take his abuse even if he dared attempt it.)

As for males not trying the same thing: it’s easier for a man to join the Purple Dragons and request a posting far away across the realm, or run off to become a sailor - - or head for the Hullack or the Stonelands to become a “wild outlaw.” There are many independent-minded shepherding families and hermit-like individuals dwelling in subsistence-level existences on the Cormyr-side slopes of the Thunder Peaks, and showing up occasionally in the caravan-road villages and waystops to make a few coins by selling fleece, arrowheads they’ve made, and semi-precious stones they’ve chipped from rocks. Young Cormyrean males are also more likely than young females, for some reason (probably they are more willing to break family ties), to leave the realm entirely to seek happier lives elsewhere.

The tendency of the nobility and royalty is to favour the first born son, yes (though I worded my reply carefully to point out that the rules vary in details for almost every family). If Foril had been the second born and survived, with Tanalasta as older sister, he would indeed have been named Crown Prince upon attaining his “fitness for rule” (age of majority, in Cormyr’s case 13, unless he was deemed mentally “slow”), but she would have been Queen (with whomever she married styled “consort”). In other words, the “Crown Prince” or “Crown Princess” title means “designated heir.” The moment Tanalasta had produced a child, of either gender, that progeny would be the heir, and would precede Foril in the line of lawful succession. They would also, upon reaching their majority, been styled Crown Prince or Princess, and each successive child born of Tanalasta would have pushed Foril back a step farther in his claim to the throne.
Note that I’m speaking of law, here, and not “the right [ahem] of force;” as we’ve seen in what Jeff and I outlined of Cormyr’s past in our novel, Cormyr is not immune to the greedy and ruthlessly aambitious seeking to seize the throne with the backing of various self-serving nobles. (It would be accurate to say that Cormyr’s royal history has been shaped and is typified by a succession of sieges and assaults on the Dragon Throne by various noble cabals, families, and issue-based alliances.)

Yes, there is some bias against women in Cormyr, but it’s more that they can’t physically get their hands on family funds, or physically thrash and defeat an abusive spouse, that drives them to seek other means to guard their slighted rights. Remember, Cormyr has no lawyers per se, and the Watch are primarily concerned with preventing violent crimes and keeping order on the streets, not “charging into homes” to settle domestic disputes (because if there’s one thing nobles who fulminate at Court hate more than anything else, it’s ANY move by the Crown or its agents to be able to charge into THEIR homes for any reason whatsoever, and the best way to get the Crown to agree to that hands-off approach is to claim it for ALL Cormyreans, so the nobles can’t be seen to be (or accused of being) claiming “special privileges” for themselves.

People across Cormyr, male and female, do indeed know that if they need help, they can contact the Harpers. It’s not commonly done (so, last resort), and it’s not usually because Harpers are travelling openly in the realm. It’s because the Harpers long ago spread stories with various tavernmasters and innkeepers, as well as local heralds and certain “local lords” (judging each of the latter by their character before making the approach) that anyone in such-and-such a place can ‘leave word for’ the Harpers, to arrange a meeting or “surprise Harper visit” by speaking certain words at the bar of this tavern at a certain time, or at this particular well or market stall, or so on. In other words, word is left, some undercover local spy for the Harpers who is overlooking the leaving of the word identifies the person asking for the Harpers, and a Harper finds that person in a time and place where they don’t think it’s a “catch a Harper” trap, to talk to them about their needs. Harpers constantly watch over and often aid the Women in the Woods, because they long ago decided that the Women were a Good Thing or at least a Good Response to Distressing Necessity.

We would all like to know more about events in Cormyr between the time covered in THE GRAND HISTORY OF THE REALMS and the “Year Zero” of the 4e Realms books, but your suspicion as to how it will be officially handled is, I believe, right on (with the exception of a LITTLE more than the bare succession timeline seen in that Background web article; certain Cormyr scribes are working secretly on this). So yes, you can go your own way - - and yes, it’s a pity we won’t see more of Caladnei. As to riding off into legend with Alusair . . . we’ll just have to see. (As I said, certain scribes are . . . ahem.)

If you were to adopt the 4e rules, I would make the “tiefling” Woman of the Woods essentially human, with fiendish features, yes. If 4e in the fullness of time presents us with something akin to “alu-fiends” and “cambions” (from earlier rules sets), feel free to jazz her up again. :} Myself, I’d present her from the outset as having innate talents of heightened smell, ability to “smell magic nearby,” move quietly and with great balance, and the always-operating ability to see keenly in dark or gloomy conditions (just to underscore that she’s “a little more than human”).

Yes, although Delphaera would be the ideal “good hunting challenge,” as you judge, Maurara Thundersword seems the most likely next High Hunt victim.
She’s the most “important” of the three daughters in their eyes, and she can easily be lured off to a secret meeting by a false offer to meet with fellow young nobles to scheme together (to gain mutual power and wealth, so as to impress their families and the Crown). So that would be the logical kidnap method; let her get herself in secrecy to some edge-of-The-High-Forest cottage/hunting lodge (so anyone seeing her getting there will think she’s on her way to a tryst), and then pounce on her once her mount has been quietly stolen away. Confront her with a wall of threatening masked foes between her and the open country, giving her only a handy forest trail to flee down, let her get a head start, and the Hunt can begin.
The Hunt could easily frame the PC party for this by spreading rumors about seeing them chase her into the forest (perhaps rushing directly to the Thunderswords to do so). You could have Maurara run straight into the Women, and keep alive because foresters, and Harpers and War Wizards watching over the Women, get involved in protecting the Women (Maurara simply being caught up among them).
There’s much scattering and hiding of the less battle-inclined Women (again, including the frightened and bewildered Maurara), throughout The King’s Forest, as the rest of the “good guys” battle the Hunt in earnest. So then the Purple Dragons and hasty Thundersword hirelings can come charging in, looking for the PCs’ blood. “Over engineering”? Nah. :}
No more so than any DM who hurls PCs into a nasty dungeon, right?
And yes indeed, the Thunderswords can provide you with plot hooks galore. One of the best ways to craft a colourful Cormryrean campaign is to get PCs involved with two or three noble families; they’re endlessly fascinating, dangerous, and exciting “prime movers” in Cormyrean society.
Cormyr and Elversult have friendly relations (if a trifle wary, on Elversult’s part; they’re always on the watch for attempts to covertly, usually through wealth and mercantile efforts, to take them over or dominate their decision-making). Yes, Elversult is indeed the sort of place the Crown might send an envoy.

I’m not going to comment any farther (right now) about the end of the Steel Regency, because of some future possible plans re. saying more about this in another place, at another time. Beyond saying it has nothing to do with the genders of the principal characters involved, but about their personalities and the factional nature of Cormyrean politics. I think Damian (“crazed venturers”) stated things pretty well (in his post that begins “Well of course things are not right with her regency,” in the thread about the New Cormyr piece, in the WotC News and Releases section, here at the Keep [THO forwarded it to me]), if that’s hint enough.

I am in full agreement with you that there seem to be, from what we’ve seen thus far, “no women at all mentioned in positions of power,” and I agree with you that this is a blunder for a company seeking to attract new female gamers. I happen to know that the Brand Manager and Marketing areas of Wizards of the Coast are staffed by some very competent women, of accomplishment and strong character, so I’ll mention your concern to them and reference this post to underscore that this is a consumer’s opinion, not just my own. After all, the “babes in show armour” aren’t being retired as a marketing strategy, to hook the young males, so there’s no reason to spurn the still-largely-untapped market of females they have neglected to properly court in the past. I’m not (and never have been) in a decision-making position, but I can advise and cajole (and I do!). This is one “hobby horse” I’ll be proud to ride. (For one reason, if I’m told that females aren’t the target audience, I can remind them that strong female characters fascinate and attract males, and history shows us that they’ve done so for as long as recorded history exists.)

Of course you’ll change “your” Realms to be whatever best suits your campaigns and style of play. Everyone does, and that’s just fine. As things diverge more widely from the published canon Realms, it makes more work for you as the DM, but that’s just the price for “having things your way,” which is a beauty of this game form that shouldn’t be sacrificed on that particular altar. As for the Spellplague: remember that mortals can NEVER know the truth about godly events, only the “accepted wisdom” taught by clergy and based on what the gods want their followers to think. So what has been written about the Spellplague thus far could be very wrong, and almost certainly has some details wrong. All that is known is that the Weave is gone, that Mystra has fallen silent, and that the collapse of the Weave caused a widespread (and still not entirely finished) calamity dubbed “the Spellplague.”
That’s all people dwelling in the Realms really know - - and of course, in your Realms, any or all of those three things might not have happened. Perhaps just some of the Chosen have disappeared, and there’s much strife among rival churches arguing about “something” that happened among the gods. Perhaps some lands did change, perhaps not.
And I don’t expect ANYONE who’s having fun running a perfectly good, stable campaign set in the Realms at a particular time to change ANYTHING about their game until that campaign winds down, or their players or they get restless or want to adopt some of the 4e things they’ve seen or heard about. The one good thing about the century jump is that it lets you just keep going, as the decades pass, and the Spellplague (if you do want to make the changes) “just hasn’t happened yet.”
And perhaps, in the future Cormyr, male nobles have become hunting/jousting/posing snobs and “upper-class twits” clinging to a world of pomp, pageantry, and the etiquette of yesteryear (duels, perhaps), while their far more practical (and exasperated) wives TRULY run things, running the business affairs of the families and making Lady-to-Lady agreements on what disputes to just set aside, when to collectively humour their men, and acting in concert (or in strong, opposed factions) at court to influence Crown decisions and in truth lead and shape life in Cormyr. Boy, as a ham-actor DM, I could have fun with that conception! All of the monacle-dropping, large-moustache-quivering, sneering and prancing grander-than-thou Lords, and their gently-sighing, steering-them Ladies . . .

And I know your Alusair as Queen question is hypothetical and must be taken with the usual other-factors-we-can-only-guess-at caveats, but in my opinion (as, ahem, the creator of Cormyr and Alusair), I think she would have reigned as a female version of Azoun IV: lots of energy, fearless in battle as loved by her soldiery for it, cheerfully bedding men in all directions whenever she felt like it (though in her case, I’d say a few women, too), impetuous and dismissive-of-tedious-pomp and bureaucracy, but willing to listen to advisers she trusts, and mellowing into an increasingly-strong monarch. I can also see her as being better than her father in regards to the succession, ruthlessly dealing with nobles and even treacherous kin as she ages, to produce a situation where there is a clear heir, a protected spare, and loyal courtiers and nobles dedicated to transferring rule to her successor peacefully, swiftly, and surely. Alusair may have been a brat in her youth, but she became the greatest ruler Cormyr never had (of the Obarskyrs; a strong case could be made for many of the Royal Mages having a better claim to that particular title than any Obarskyr).

1. I’m afraid I can’t really say much about the fate of Caladnei yet. There’s a nice new NDA on this one. I or another Realms creator will reveal Caladnei’s fate as soon as we best can.

2. I’m trying to avoid saying much about the 4e Realms until I have a good heart-to-heart with certain folks at Wizards, but I don’t think it does great harm to consider that Ganarahast is the son of Myrmeen and Vangerdahast, not a grandson or nephew or something else.



So saith Ed. First and Greatest Master of Realmslore.
love to all,
THO
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 28 Jul 2008 :  00:40:10  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
Having just seen the Met's telecast of The Scottish Opera, I would like to know what were the most famous half dozen or so acts of treachery which have been committed on Toril -- the sort which are proverbially wicked (or notorious for their stunning success) decades or hundreds of years later and which even common folk in other countries can recognize by even a casual mention? Additionally, I would appreciate it if Ed would also tell us which bards or writers so publicized particular acts of treachery that all educated folk know their versions (such as "X's story of Y"). Much graces!





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monknwildcat
Learned Scribe

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Posted - 28 Jul 2008 :  01:26:08  Show Profile  Visit monknwildcat's Homepage Send monknwildcat a Private Message
Props to Ed for intriguing replies to Zandilar! And props to Zandilar for asking such inciteful questions!

Ed and THO, thanks for being consistently accessible and interactive with the fans. Definitely above and beyond my expectations!

May I please be added to those consumers desiring gender parity in strong NPCs? Unless the 4E FR are intended to be culturally regressive from 3.5!
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

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Posted - 28 Jul 2008 :  01:28:08  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by monknwildcat

Props to Ed for intriguing replies to Zandilar! And props to Zandilar for asking such inciteful questions!




Seconded!

quote:
May I please be added to those consumers desiring gender parity in strong NPCs?



Add me too.

"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

5036 Posts

Posted - 28 Jul 2008 :  16:03:04  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. A reply of sorts from me to Jamallo Kreen this time, re. the Dungeon of Swords:
It's one of those places in the Realms that was developed by others in a different direction than Ed's original.
Which I recall as having a large, square-cross-section shaft (descending about 700 feet or so) with magical swords floating in it that attacked anyone descending over the lip of the shaft (from the underground tomb that opened into it). Treasure levels of the dungeon opened off the sides of the shaft at much deeper levels. A NASTY place, but we did end up with some powerful enchanted blades as treasure, once we learned how to control them. The canon version, however, may be quite different.
love,
THO
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