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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  01:56:09  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, fellow scribes. I bring you once more the lore-words of Ed of the Greenwood, this time in response to two queries.
First, crazedventurers asked the name of the stream in Eveningstar that runs down the west side of the temple lands; Damian, Ed confirms that it’s called “Starglimmer Stream” (or more often just “the Starglimmer”). The priests of the local temple have dubbed it “Morningstar Rill” in honour of Lathander, but no one outside of the temple uses this name or would even know what it referred to, if they heard it. Some elder inhabitants of Eveningstar refer to the stream by its nickname of “Bloodwater Brook,” which came from an old battle between skirmishing nobles in the civil strife of Salember’s Regency, wherein local legend holds the waters briefly ran red with the blood of the fallen.
It strikes the eye as a shallow, fast-running, coldwater stream about eight to ten feet below the level of the surrounding land, that has cut a winding streambed about twenty feet across (as root-choked earthen banks erode and tumble down). Like all fast watercourses, it undercuts its banks on the outsides of curves and deposits large gravel bars on the insides. Children play in it (south of the temple lands, that is) and are sent to bathe in it, and occasionally a goodwife will soak a thoroughly-dirtied garment in its waters, held down by stones, for cleansing [i.e. to “wash out” a large bloodstain].
Second, Ed responds to the second of the eight Thunderstone-and-vicinity questions posted by Asgetrion back in mid-December:
“2) Are there any "extinct" local noble families, who might have dabbled into necromancy and/or demon worship, and were either exiled or executed or imprisoned?”
Ed replies:



There are indeed.
Thunderlunnar (or more recently, “Thunderlans;” both terms mean inhabitants of Thunderstone) and other locals might believe the Immerdusks are extinct, but in truth the following noble families, once locally prominent, have vanished: the Houses of Bracebolt, Drauthglas, Mallowbridge, and Tulwood.

According to what local legends once heeds, any or all of these families may well have dabbled with necromantic magic and/or worshipped or consorted with demons, but there are no local tales or suspicions of the old, old Drauthglas clan being exiled, executed, or imprisoned. “Longest gone and least remembered” is how most locals recall them, if at all; an ancient name clinging to the Hullack forest, and no more. So consider them a possible but least likely candidate, of the four choices, and pass on to the others.

The House of Bracebolt flourished in the time of King Duar, and had a reputation for handsome good looks and skill-at-arms, not any interest in magic. Most Bracebolts died in battle (fighting for Cormyr, loyal to the king of the day), but two were imprisoned for short periods on suspicion of murder; one [Lord Helaerd Bracebolt] was acquitted and the other [Lord Rorell “Rory” Bracebolt] escaped from a dungeon, never to be seen again (he was pardoned in absentia when later War Wizard evidence pointed to another person as the murderer, and was widely thought to have lived out his days either “living wild” in the Thunder Peaks or living simply as a forester under another names, somewhere in Battledale or Featherdale).
The family line went extinct in 1225 DR, when the childless, unmarried Lord Belarkus Bracebolt died fighting for the Crown in one of the many, many battle-victories of King Dhalmass.

The Mallowbridges are quite another matter. The males of this family tend to be soft-spoken, smiling men of dark hair, good looks, and cruel lack of morals, who swindle and deceive and cheat their ways through life, employing secretly-hired agents to end unpleasant problems (such as rivals or those they owe coin to) with a sharp dagger some night.
The last Mallowbridge is thought to have died a pauper’s death in the reign of Rhigaerd II, but the family (which rose to nobility in the reign of Andilber, through wealth and battle prowess and informing the Unfortunate King of several plots against him) lost its title and standing (though not properties) by the decree of King Palaghard II, earning this unusual fate because they were suspected of scores of bad deeds, but no hard evidence could be found against them. They had access to dark magic and used it, because every last War Wizard sent to investigate them died, mysteriously torn apart by unseen creatures who left no traces - - creatures who devoured or carried off the heads of the unfortunate mages, and cast many dark and powerful spells on the remains and the death-sites, that prevented other War Wizards from using spells to determine just how they died or what they saw or learned.
So this family are prime candidates for what you have in mind. The patriarch of the House when they gained noble status was Hander Tarius Mallowbridge, created Lord Tarius Mallowbridge (he never used his childhood name “Hander,” which he hated, once his father was dead; Tarius was the name of his grandsire, and his father had been Honder Mallowbridge, leaving the son heartily sick of being called “Hander son of Honder”).
Lord Baeryn Mallowbridge was head of the house when it was stripped of nobility; he was exiled, but his sons Tonthur and Naernyn were not. Both went on to have large families, that finally dwindled down to Esker Mallowbridge (a descendant of Tonthur), who died living alone as a forester in the Hullack, sometime in either the winter of 1331 DR or the spring of 1332 DR.
However, there are many local tales (mostly dark tales of malicious spellcastings) of various Lady Mallowbridges dabbling in magic, sometimes magically ruining young local men after seducing them. Although Mallowbridge wives came from many families (often of wealthy non-noble Marsemban stock), the tales generally portray them as slender, beautiful, and as having long, long dark hair. Elminster attests that many of the never-wed Mallowbridge daughters, who dwelt in various family homes and became aging aunts and then very-long-lived crones, were accomplished sorceresses or trained wizards, and aided and taught each other, waylaying and seizing the scrolls and tomes of traveling mages when they could to increase the “family power.”
The wife of Tarius was Lady Tamglaera, the wife of Baeryn was Lady Anglorae, and the wife of Glarem (the wealthiest and most powerful Lord Mallowbridge between Tarius and Baeryn) was Lady Resildra.
Tonthur’s wife was named Harellae, and she is known to have been powerful in magic, ruthless, fearless, and to have often fared far in the Hullack, walking alone and using spells to slay creatures that she then devoured raw (earning her the nickname “Wildfangs”).
Naeryn’s wife was Oloebrae, a delicate beauty who was masterful in acting and manipulation, and who probably poisoned Naeryn when she tired of him (she went on to take two subsequent husbands, both wealthy merchants of Suzail, and the first of them also died of poison, as did Olobrae’s sons Ithril and Ongammur. Only a daughter, Taeril, outlived her mother, and she did so by fleeing to Waterdeep and disappearing (probably altering her face, taking another name, and plunging into a new life as a drudge-servant or tavern dancer, though one tale whispers that she used spells to appear to be a man, and rose to become a guildmaster; this tale may well be true, or may have arisen because “Taeril” is a name borne by both males and females in Cormyr).

The last candidate family is the House of Tulwood, a line of arrogant, fair-haired, malicious men (and a succession of commoners who married them, because they seemed uniformly unable to attract brides from amongst the nobility of the realm) who were known for skilled swordsmanship, feuding, and personal obsessions. Some were obsessed with worshipping the Cormyrean monarch of the day, some were obsessed with married noblewomen or priestesses they could not have, and some were obsessed with collecting oddities or with mastering strange hobbies (such as tying miniature animals from knotted string, or painting miniature likenesses of lovers on the fingernails and toenails of their wives).
Aside from fighting, riding, wenching, and feuding, however, few of the Lords Tulwood accomplished much, though Lord Baerent Tulwood was that rarest of things: the head of a noble house (during most of the reign of Azoun I) who was also a master swordsmith.
The Tulwoods rose to nobility in the reign of Irbruin, ennobled for military service to the Crown (defending easternmost Cormyr against brigands, monsters, and various self-proclaimed kings of their own fledgling realms). From the first Lord Tulwood, Omburr, the family had many sons and few daughters, tended to embrace military careers, and tended to have short and violent lives. The last of the many Lord Tulwoods was Korlandur, who died in the summer of 1319 DR in a violent fall over a cliff on horseback that shattered most bones of both horse and rider (the plunge may or may not have been due to foul play; Korlandur was a cruel man known for unhesitatingly disfiguring the faces of those he disagreed with by means of his metal-barbed horsewhip, who’d earned himself many foes).
The Tulwoods were bullies who tended to hire mercenaries and wizards to beat any foe who stood up to them (though they were careful never to cross any courtier, local lord or Crown agent, the Obarskyrs, or any of the three “royal” noble families), and many of them dabbled in magic as a hobby (usually without much results, but then, those who succeed in dark summonings and the like seldom want to advertise their successes in a realm so dominated by War Wizards).
One Tulwood, a heir Rantaver (his younger brother Borovan became Lord after the death of their father, Gulthur), was exiled in the reign of Duar (for strongly suspected but not-quite-proven treason), and more than a dozen Tulwoods were imprisoned for short periods, for various violent actions perpetrated against other nobles (or in one case, a visiting envoy from Amn). There are no records of executions, but there are strong suspicions of Tulwoods being involved in dark magic and of summoning demons, so they, too, are candidates.
Perhaps you could use both the Mallowbridge AND Tulwood families, with Bracebolt as a red herring, and REALLY get your players deep into intrigues and shadowy conspiracies and shadows from the past. Heh-heh, and so forth.



So saith Ed, opening up several cans of worms with great glee, it seems to me.
Ah, Cormyr, so dear to my heart and so delightful. May your tale be told, some day and some way.
love to all,
THO
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GoCeraf
Learned Scribe

147 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  05:38:24  Show Profile  Visit GoCeraf's Homepage Send GoCeraf a Private Message
I've always found "can of wyrms" more appropriate to the setting.

I always get weird looks when I try to make that pun.

Being sarcastic can be more telling than simply telling.
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RodOdom
Senior Scribe

USA
509 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  08:46:28  Show Profile  Visit RodOdom's Homepage Send RodOdom a Private Message
Wow, that's a good chunk of an original campaign setting right there.
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  11:47:08  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
Thanks Ed for more excellent Lore regarding Cormyte nobles and their doings. The depth of detail is easily tranferable to any game and any other kingdom (Faerun or beyond) by tweaking a name or two - just brilliant.

In general are nobles whose lands are on the edge of the Cormyr more 'earthy' (or whatever the Realms equivilent word is) in their doings and manner (they seem to like riding, hunting and fighting alot etc) than those in cities (who are perhaps more political and mercantile, or am I stereotyping too much!)? Am wondering if they can be this way because the 'reach of the Court' doesn't stretch that far and/or because the Crown take the view that as long as the nobles keep the borders as safe as possible from monsters, Zhents, brigands and creeping Semban interests then they are not overly concerened what the country nobles are doing unless its extremely bad?

Which leads to another question or three..... I know Cormyr is not Feudal as in real earth history European Feudal, but are Nobles who are stuck out in the wilds expected to keep the borders safe, is that part of the 'deal' that keeps them in their position of nobility?

Are they expected to (can they?) raise their own troop to patrol their lands and/or to support the local Purple Dragons army? If so, do the Crown/Wizards of War turn a blind eye to them raising a 'just larger than required' force of troops that they might use to extend their borders a bit further out into the wilds to secure a mine / forest / farmland / hunting preserve that enriches themselves and not necessarily the Crown or the local subjects? (assume the family are loyal to the Crown and are not raising an army to challenge the Obarskyrs).

(Brian, if you want to chime in with an answer then please feel free)

Thanks once again

Damian
who is off to update his Eveningstar map and file away the differing local names for the stream to confuse his players later

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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Asgetrion
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1564 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  15:21:16  Show Profile  Visit Asgetrion's Homepage Send Asgetrion a Private Message
Many, *MANY* thanks, Ed, once again for your *BRILLIANT*, inspiring replies!

The level of detail in your juicy piece of Realmslore is simply *AWESOME*, and thank you for the advice -- I think that is *exactly* what I'll do! Especially as I have dropped hints to PCs about a cursed, demon-haunted magical sword originally worn by local commanders and nobles along the years. The blade is now lost but sought after by the Zhentarim (the PCs foiled their first attempt, but soon realized that the Zhentarim were following a "false trail"). It remains to be seen if the PCs or the Zhentarim will eventually locate the blade (which is currently owned and hidden by a mentor of the PCs, who'll eventually be "corrupted" by it to become a major villain in the campaign). Hmmm... it may very well be that this blade was originally crafted by Lord Baerent Tulwood.

Let's throw in the Men of the Basilisk, Iron Throne, Eldreth Veluuthra... yes, intrigue aplenty -- just as I like it! =)

"What am I doing today? Ask me tomorrow - I can be sure of giving you the right answer then."
-- Askarran of Selgaunt, Master Sage, speaking to a curious merchant, Year of the Helm
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  15:33:26  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. This time Ed responds to the third of Asgetrion’s Thunderstone-related queries:
“3) Which sort of presence do the Heralds and Harper and Zhentarim agents have in Thunderstone -- i.e. do stay just "stay put" and observe, or have an active presence in the area?”
Ed replies:



There is a local herald, Bannermere, but this is a new office held by a novice, a young, slender, brown-haired man originally from Berdusk, who is polite and rather shy, and derives most of his income by designing and limning signs and writing letters for locals (he is not a Crown herald). He keeps to Thunderstone, and interested clients come to see him; it’s recently come to light (much to his embarrassment) that he secretly writes salacious chapbooks for sale in Scornubel and Waterdeep, including the popular “Rorel the Conquering Blade” series (in which the debonair, swirling-cloaked Rorel beds an endless series of willing women, often after dueling their craven and cruel wife-beating husbands). Interestingly, there’s long been a rumour that the Rorel books were penned by the same anonymous hand that once presented the now-banned chapbook “Filfaeril Bound And Willing” to a receptive Suzail and even more eager Purple Dragon posts up and down the Realm, but a blushing and stammering Bannermere denies ever even dreaming of portraying the Dragon Queen in such a light. (Another rumour whispers that Filfaeril, who has been officially silent on the work, secretly enjoyed it very much and cajoled her royal husband into acting out the events of several of the encounters therein - - but rumour, like a barking dog, oft makes much more noise and arouses more ire than it in truth should.)

There are no publicly-known Zhentarim agents in the area, but “everyone knows” they do pay locals for spying and passing on information, and that there IS a Zhent paymaster somewhere in Thunderstone. It’s almost certainly a shopkeeper, and the local Purple Dragons do keep close watch over one Tunstal Draeger, a seller (but not maker; his wares come from the docks of Marsember) of rope, cord, and wire.
However, the Dragons and even Draeger are unaware that Draeger is a decoy Zhent spy and paymaster, who continues to operate and be paid by a travelling Zhent master (a Selgauntan “manywares” caravan merchant by the name of Drustigo Parltath) despite the fact that the authorities are “on to him,” and the Zhents know this. While the attention is on Draeger, the REAL local Zhent spy, the scent and potion maker and seller Naerilda Jackalane, does the real spying. She’s a bone-thin, long-nosed, rather homely woman who’s a superb mimic and actor - - and VERY careful not to attract attention to herself. She openly makes regular herb-gathering and buying trips (gathering on the banks of the Thunderflow and in the verges of the Hullack Forest, and buying from specific farms), tries to carry on romances with several local Purple Dragons (purportedly because she’s lonely and desperate for a mate and has a “thing” for “men in Crown uniform,” but actually to allay suspicion and to learn what she can of local Dragon gossip), and is known to discreetly visit local households after dark to deliver love-potions and herbal ointments that aid in “love’s arts” (lubricants and stiffeners, to put it less delicately). She has no public skill in healing, but is known to make and sell very effective ointments that effectively deaden all pain (and itching sensations) in a localized body area, and secretly possesses about a dozen magical healing potions for her own use and to aid wounded Zhents who might need them. Her Zhent name is “Thunderblade” or just “Blade,” but Zhents who think they might be overheard while speaking of her are supposed to refer to her instead as “Thunderflow” so that what they say will be mistaken either for the river, or as a SECOND agent.

The Harpers have two safe-houses and lore-moots in Thunderstone, both the homes of retired, aging, limping from old wounds ex-Dragons (who are now covert Harper agents). They do nothing at all to attract attention to themselves, beyond opening their doors after dark when certain signals are given, and taking in guests they hide in their cellars, in secret passages, and in hidden attic areas. An ever-changing succession of younger and more active Harper agents move through the area and do all the fighting, skulking, prowling, and spying (the Harpers in Berdusk regard the Thunderstone area as a good “training-ground,” but also send more experienced Harpers to watch over the novices, both to rescue them if need be and evaluate them).
The two elderly Harpers are the grizzled and laconic (most known for his severe limp and his jutting, oversized, sharp-pointed lower jaw) Pharvukh Bonehondur, once an ornrion in the Dragons who came from Teziir and joined the Dragons as a youth, in a hiring fair in Suzail; and Malaeva Irlingbreak, a sharp-tongued, tall but stooped by her aches, slightly-limping and cane-using woman who has long, untidy white hair, piercing black eyes, and a habit of purring audibly when contented or amused; she was once a constal in the Dragons, at High Horn, and earlier in her career, when holding much lower ranks, served for many years in Arabel.
Both of them are expert at tending wounds and keeping their mouths shut; Bonehondur runs a knife-and-tool sharpening service out of his home, and Malaeva makes carved and ornamented wooden front doors and shutters (and a few small carry-coffers, too).



So saith Ed, who seems to be really building up lore so Asgetrion, Damian, and anyone else who wants to can use this area for a campaign setting. Whee!
(I know Ed expects to have an answer for Asgetrion's fourth question next, then Damian's most recent query. Glancing over Ed's reply, I want to emphasize that the Zhent agents he mentions are NOT the only ones, just the only long-term-resident ones; to avoid being easily exposed, the "do the dirty stuff" Zhent agents, of whom there are probably around six to eight at any one time in the Thunderstone area, "move through" the district and on to elsewhere, being replaced by "the next wave.")
love to all,
THO
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Menelvagor
Senior Scribe

Israel
352 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  17:57:12  Show Profile  Visit Menelvagor's Homepage Send Menelvagor a Private Message
Was this “Filfaeril Bound And Willing” ever mentioned before? And how did the Crown and Fee react (publicly and privately, please) to this? Did they even read it? (I can guess at its contents, so no need to ask about that)

"Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly.
How much less them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation in the dust, are crushed before the moth?" - Eliphaz the Temanite, Job IV, 17-19.

"Yea, though he live a thousand years twice, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?" - Ecclesiastes VI, 6.

"There are no stupid questions – just a bunch of inquisitive idiots."

"Let's not call it 'hijacking'. Let's call it 'Thread Drift'."
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  18:18:20  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Well, Ed has certainly mentioned it before (verbally, at GenCon seminars). Of course, if he wrote it into a novel or Realms game article, it is JUST the sort of thing that (understandably) would get edited out before the wider reading/gaming public saw it.
BB
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  18:20:41  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Dear and Ed and THO,
A quick lore questions. Is gambling (card, dice, etc. games, played by the gamblers, not betting on what the weather will be tomorrow or some other "outside" event) tolerated among the Purple Dragons? Ignored by officers? Encouraged? Or Banned? (Or . . . ?)
Thanks!
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  18:27:01  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Oops, forgot to post my second question.
Are off-duty Purple Dragons likely to still be in uniform? Or partial uniform? (I don't mean if they stop to buy food or drink on the way home, I mean if they go out carousing most of the night.) Are there rules against wearing your uniform to brotheXXX ahem, festhalls? Or anywhere else?
Thanks!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  18:28:44  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
I seem to remember this coming up in play with Ed as DM, and the answer was: it varies according to the local Purple Dragon commander. I THINK. Off to Ed for a proper reply, of course.
love,
THO
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  18:41:21  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
Wow, thanks for all this great Cormyr lore!

"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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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  00:21:37  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

Wow, thanks for all this great Cormyr lore!


Indeed!

Thank you to Ed for responding so generously and THO for posting the replies so promptly and 'filling in the gaps' around the edges.

Cheers

Damian
ps "All about Cormyr" thread updated

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

5043 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  03:24:56  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Thank you! But (hah-HA!) we're not done yet!
Yes, hi once more, fellow scribes. This time Ed tackles the fourth of Asgetrion’s Thunderstone-related queries:
“4) Are there any notable castles or keeps in or near Thunderstone?”
Ed replies:



Aside from those already mentioned for the various noble families (including the Summerstars, back in my 2004 reply and in the novel STORMLIGHT that preceded it), no.
There IS “Ravaer’s Stronghold,” an “earthen-ring-wall-surrounded by ditch” defensible redoubt for the use of Purple Dragons trying to repel any invasion in force from the Thunder Peaks, that stands in the open countryside (rolling, unfenced common ranchers’ fields) not far west of the mountain foothills. It’s exactly what its name implies: a grass-covered series of earthworks, with a single entry “lane” or elevated “ride” leading into it from the west, this lane having precipitous ditches on both sides, being just wide enough for a small wagon or two riders abreast, and having a “dogleg” bend in it to make charges difficult and aid defenders. This feature is named for a long-ago Purple Dragon commander who died defending Cormyr from a Sembian-sponsored raiding force there, and is notable for having a single stone-lined subterranean “refuge room” at its heart, a chamber about twenty feet square (“about” because its walls are a series of embrasures or niches ending in sleeping benches) that has three stone caskets (like coffins) at its center that can serve as coffins, or tables, or food and water storage (Purple Dragon patrols keep them stocked with skins of water, raw cabbages, sausages enclosed in clay to keep mold from growing on them, and firewood). The refuge room is reached down a long, narrow ramp from a hole in the ground covered by a single stone slab and sheltered by a three-sided earthwork “cave” that can provide some small shelter for hobbled horses; the cave has several hitching-rings set into its sides.

Perched on the sides of the lowest Thunder Peaks are the crumbling, open-to-the-sky remnants of several ancient “robber baron” castles; simple keeps that are much used by roosting birds (and, from time to time, perytons and even wyverns, though the Purple Dragons call in War Wizards to exterminate such unwanted inhabitants, whenever they’re noticed). These serve more as landmarks (meeting-moots and the sites of occasional smuggling caches) than as shelter; the best-known are Kaliphur’s Keep, Imbral’s Tower, the Wyvernteeth, and Black Heldar’s Roost.

A wealthy but non-noble family from Suzail, the Varvrail family, bought a cluster of a dozen farms about a quarter-day’s ride south-southwest of Thunderstone, and there started construction of a grand fortified stone mansion. However, the clan ran out of money after several investments went bad and their participation in smuggling from Westgate to Suzail was uncovered. (Several members were jailed, and the family now toils as shopkeepers in Suzail, in much reduced circumstances.) The mansion was barely begun, and consists of heaps of earth, a large pit, and the beginnings of a front wall with a row of high arched windows; the surrounding farms and the piles of cut lumber and dressed stone blocks assembled at the site but not yet used in the construction were sold off to pay family debts, leaving just the one unfinished wall, plus its temporary timber supporting buttresses and a scaffold that has long since sagged into a crazily unsafe state. It was to have been called Varvrail Hall, but is locally known as “Folly Hall.”


So saith Ed. Who adds that he left the depths of the the Hullack Forest, the heart of the Thunder Peaks, and the Vast Swamp out of this, as being not part of the "Thunderstone area," but rather its borders. All three contain both human and elven ruins (and of course there are also dwarven, gnomish, and orken ruins in the Thunder Peaks), as it happens, but many of them are tied up in all sorts of NDAs, some even linked to the old SPI (TSR-acquired) Dragonquest game (in other words, the Watching Gods alone know when we'd ever get those sorted out, to say nothing of lifted).
love to all,
THO

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Kyrene
Senior Scribe

South Africa
648 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  07:43:39  Show Profile  Visit Kyrene's Homepage Send Kyrene a Private Message
Ed and/or THO and/or others,

Time for this year's annual question. I thought I'd get it in early in the year...

As a motorcyclist myself, I have lately wondered if anyone in the Realms make use of two-wheeled forms of transport—be they bicycles or some magic/steam/other self-propelled vehicle. I can just picture the “Not the Neverwinter Nine” adventuring party all clad in leather/studded leather armour, pot helmets, boots and gloves taking the “breakfast run” to Leilon—or perhaps Port Llast—and back every tenthday morning. Does such transport exist?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Lost for words? Find them in the Glossary of Phrases, Sayings & Words of the Realms

I am a sexy, shoeless god of war!

The Sellplague began, for all intents and purposes, in the dominions of the Corporation. Greed murdered Good Design, unraveling common sense in the cosmos and destroying her dominion. At the same time, Sales Fears and Warcraft Envy happened into alignment. This cataclysmic coincidence led to upheaval, shaking apart the primeval order, opening up holes in wallets, and reshaping everything...
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Darkhund
Seeker

34 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  16:14:46  Show Profile  Visit Darkhund's Homepage Send Darkhund a Private Message
Dear Ed,

Theres a common theme of Elven and Human ruins scattered about Faerun, but are there any notable Halfling ruins?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  20:03:09  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Darkhund, your question has been sent off to Ed, but here's something on the topic from his notes, in the meantime:

Human ruins are numerous across the Realms, those of orcs, dwarves, gnomes, elves, and halflings less so.
Elven ruins are sparser thanks to racial numbers and because many elven dwellings were "alive" (trees), and have not survived in any recognizable form. The other races all had many subterranean or "dug out" dwellings, and these have often collapsed, been taken over and enlarged by later users, or built on by humans (gnome and halfling abandoned dwellings especially).


So saith Ed. Who thinks of all things.
love,
THO
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khorne
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1071 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  21:21:52  Show Profile  Visit khorne's Homepage  Click to see khorne's MSN Messenger address Send khorne a Private Message
Ed,

I was wondering about how many war wizards there are. I began pondering this after reading swords of dragonfire, since a ridiculous number of war wizards got pulverized in that book. I don't think competent wizards grow on trees, so wouldn't the loss of between 30 to 40 war wizards in less than a day(that's my rough estimate on the number of wizard casualties) be considered near catastrophic?

If I were a ranger, I would pick NDA for my favorite enemy

Edited by - khorne on 14 Jan 2009 21:22:20
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  02:22:57  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
When I read that scene, I thought it WAS portrayed as catastrophic.
However, that aside, I think Ed's answered questions here at the Keep before, in one of the years of this thread, about the numbers of War Wizards, and losses of 40 (to take your upper end estimate) wouldn't even reduce them to half strength.
A real setback, yes, annihilation of the organization, no. Particularly since some of those casualties almost HAVE to be novices.
BB
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  02:25:28  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. This time Ed responds to these queries from crazedventurers: “Thanks Ed for more excellent Lore regarding Cormyte nobles and their doings. The depth of detail is easily tranferable to any game and any other kingdom (Faerun or beyond) by tweaking a name or two - just brilliant.
In general are nobles whose lands are on the edge of the Cormyr more 'earthy' (or whatever the Realms equivalent word is) in their doings and manner (they seem to like riding, hunting and fighting a lot etc.) than those in cities (who are perhaps more political and mercantile, or am I stereotyping too much!)? Am wondering if they can be this way because the 'reach of the Court' doesn't stretch that far and/or because the Crown take the view that as long as the nobles keep the borders as safe as possible from monsters, Zhents, brigands and creeping Sembian interests then they are not overly concerned what the country nobles are doing unless it’s extremely bad?
Which leads to another question or three..... I know Cormyr is not Feudal as in real earth history European Feudal, but are Nobles who are stuck out in the wilds expected to keep the borders safe, is that part of the 'deal' that keeps them in their position of nobility?
Are they expected to (can they?) raise their own troop to patrol their lands and/or to support the local Purple Dragons army? If so, do the Crown/Wizards of War turn a blind eye to them raising a 'just larger than required' force of troops that they might use to extend their borders a bit further out into the wilds to secure a mine / forest / farmland / hunting preserve that enriches themselves and not necessarily the Crown or the local subjects? (assume the family are loyal to the Crown and are not raising an army to challenge the Obarskyrs).
(Brian, if you want to chime in with an answer then please feel free)
Thanks once again
Damian
who is off to update his Eveningstar map and file away the differing local names for the stream to confuse his players later”
Ed replies:



Hi, Damian. You’re very welcome. I love doing this, and am always happy to help explore the Realms.
Yes, border nobles (the polite term used in Cormyr is “upcountry nobles” and the less polite one is “backcountry nobles,” which begins a slide into “backcountry bumpkins” and progressively ruder terms) do tend to be more earthy (or “rustic,” which is the more polite disdainful expression) . . . but most of them in return look down on “citified” or “dandified” nobles who “lack all real connection to this great land of ours.”
It’s not out of any blind eye turned by the Crown or the Court, because very few upcountry nobles (except the elderly or ailing) miss any chance to get to Court in Suzail for important Councils, feasts, receptions, and times of important decision-making (which their own house wizards, the local lords and Crown heralds, and local Purple Dragon commanders all take great care to keep them all informed about, because the last thing any occupier of the Dragon Throne wants is unrest among nobles because something happened “behind their backs” because they weren’t told about something that was going on).
It’s simply because they spend more time hunting, riding on woodland trails or trysting out in open countryside or otherwise “taking the air” and enjoying simple pleasures (bobbing for apples, anyone? dancing with village lasses at various farming “fests”?) than do nobles who keep to Suzail and concern themselves with gossip, intrigue, investments (and lather, rinse, and repeat).
It IS true that nobles who help police border areas are allowed more leeway in deeds and speech than a city-dwelling noble would be, because local Purple Dragons know them better and know the scant resources and the problems (brigands, roving monsters, Sembian and Zhent and other organized subversive forces) they and the Dragons themselves face, and (to use a modern real-world term) “cut them some slack” because of this. It’s also true that for years Vangerdahast secretly pursued a policy of letting everyone think his vigilance was sadly lacking “out in the upcountry,” so nobles would “get up to things” (often using their hunting lodges for meetings, as certain nobles did in SWORDS OF DRAGONFIRE) and thereby reveal something of their plots and how energetic and committed their opposition to the Crown (if any) really was. It gave his War Wizards something to work with - - and a place to practice using nasty spells on bad guys in a way that would have set any of the three cities of the Realm into rioting, if repeatedly done in their streets.
All nobles are responsible for policing (as in, seeing that Crown law is not ignored, and applied selectively) their own lands (though locally-stationed Purple Dragons and the everpresent War Wizards also do so, as well as watching over the nobles to see how well they do it; the various “local lords” installed by the Crown are largely there to apply justice to the servants and property and minor actions of nobles, and to give commoners someone “objective” to appeal to, if they think nobles are abusing their rights and powers). In border areas, yes, this means resident or property-owning nobles help pay for the militia and see to it that a goodly number (it varies; the local lord will tell them if he thinks they’re shirking) of their servants are part of the local militia and trained and equipped accordingly (these skills should benefit the nobles, too, in case any of their buildings or lands come under attack). In times of declared war, the Crown has the legal right to demand any noble contribute trained and equipped warriors (or mounts and supplies and a large amount of coin in lieu) to the cause; often loyalty is measured in whether or not the nobles themselves (or at least their young and vigorous sons or nephews or even nieces and daughters) “take up saddle and sword” and fight alongside the Crown forces.
This indeed resembles real-world nobles’ duties, but of course where the comparison to feudalism breaks down is in land ownership and the status of commoners. Cormyr is far more like a modern “First World” or “Western” democracy (no serfs or villeins or slaves, genders legally equal, etc.) than medieval real-world feudalism. (Tenant farmers, yes, but they are free to move on and there are strict limits on what any noble can command any commoner to do; except privately, within a family, it’s very hard for a noble - - or anyone else in Cormyr - - to legally get anyone into a situation of “slavery in all but name”).
So, yes, a noble legally can (and are expected to) raise strictly-limited private armies, as personal bodyguards and to defend their homes and other properties. They are expected to lead them, or at least send them, to aid local Purple Dragons (under the command of said Dragons or another ranking Crown official like a senior War Wizard, NOT under their own command, though again, many nobles hold or are given temporary Dragon “battlefield ranks” in the event of war or widespread armed strife). However, arming too many men, and/or sending them to do things that may have something to do with protecting their noble master’s interests or settling his/her feuds, but NOT with directly proftecting the noble’s person (or that of his kin or undisputed property) is a serious crime that will almost always be met with War Wizards immediately casting spells on the men and the noble, and imprisoning them all to await the “justic and pleasure of the King” (or Regent, or ruling Queen; in practice, Vangey often decided things before the Obarskyrs found out, and Bhereu and Thomdor were also trusted to speak for the King). So amassing too many men gets them called a “private army” and that’s bad, but sending servant after servant for full and regular refresher weapons-training and fitting them with armour and arms personally suited to them is good.
Nobles have always (in fact, constantly) tried to arm too many private soldiers and use them to patrol and then use larger and larger border areas, with a fair degree of success (land with structures on it is obvious, but ranching land dotted with small plantings of crops could be the work of someone who “just moved on,” or “the monsters just got ’em” . . . and who’s to tell when a noble’s servant trained to weapons like a good militia member is part of that noble’s private army, or not?).
That’s why house wizards were installed - - and the War Wizards keyed on mindscrying the few house wizards that particular nobles insisted on choosing, rather than having a War Wizard as a house wizard; it was to prevent nobles (such as the usual malcontents in Marsember and Arabel) from quietly assembling dangerously large private armies, or annexing great amounts of territory without requesting (and paying for) formal title.
So minor expansions, yes, particularly if the nobles build or improve roads, but if they then fence off those roads, or become too greedy, Vangerdahast and an Obarskyr (or in later days, Alusair and Caladnei and a large bunch of other War Wizards and Purple Dragons) will pay the offending noble a “friendly visit” at which they’ll be bluntly but privately told their activities have been noticed, and will cease if they desire to retain their heads. If the noble then remains friendly, so will the Crown. However, the noble has been reminded that they are being watched, and will receive subtle later reminders, too (reports from house wizards, sightings of groups of War Wizards strolling through the noble’s land examining wells and granaries and barracks, servants being politely questioned, et cetera).
Heh. Hope this is of help.



So saith Ed. Ongoing and enthusiastic creator of Cormyr and all of this fun!
love to all,
THO
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Ergdusch
Master of Realmslore

Germany
1719 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  07:41:18  Show Profile Send Ergdusch a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO!

I know a lot of 'Cormyr'-related questions are being answered atm. Maybe there is a chance that you'll answer yet one more:

What would the real estate prices have been like in Arabel before and after the Dragon War? Compared to maybe Eveningstar (most like cheaper), Suzail and/or Marsember.

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Best Regards, Ergdusch

"Das Gras weht im Wind, wenn der Wind weht."

Edited by - Ergdusch on 15 Jan 2009 07:46:53
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RodOdom
Senior Scribe

USA
509 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  10:28:54  Show Profile  Visit RodOdom's Homepage Send RodOdom a Private Message
Dear Ed and Lady THO,

I hate to pile on another question impatiently, but I'm excited about this one (I an easily excitable fellow.) The Knights of Myth Drannor were probably quite high on the Zhentarim enemies list. While many of them were given a good personal thumping by the Knights, most never actually fought them. How were they viewed by the rank and file of the Zhents? What did they believe to be true about the Knights ?

Edited by - RodOdom on 15 Jan 2009 10:31:41
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ErskineF
Learned Scribe

USA
326 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  15:21:13  Show Profile  Visit ErskineF's Homepage Send ErskineF a Private Message
Hello to Ed and THO,

I've been reading some excellent information on Randal Morn provided by Ed in a previous column. I was wondering, though, if he could provide dates for some of the events. To wit:

The year of Flars' birth.
The year that Flars retook Daggerdale.
The year that Randal was born.
The year that Silver was born.

--
Erskine Fincher
http://forgotten-realms.wandering-dwarf.com/index.php

Edited by - ErskineF on 15 Jan 2009 18:10:42
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  15:32:24  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO,
Some related questions for you: do you envisage Arabel having extensive cellars, underground passages (secret or otherwise), and wells? How high is the water table under the city? If someone tried to enlarge their cellar, how far could they go before they broke into a sewer or water pipe or some other subterranean open space? What if they tried to dig a small secret passage across an interior (not near the walls or civic buildings) street, linking the cellar of one building with the cellar of another?
Thanks!
BB
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Zanan
Senior Scribe

Germany
942 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  16:42:02  Show Profile  Visit Zanan's Homepage Send Zanan a Private Message
Vendui to The Hooded One!

While reading The Sword Never Sleeps I noted that some creatures apparently have a "technical term" as well as something else, a "common" name (in that region?). Example in this case was the dirlagraun, "displacer beasts most mages called them".
Now (for some reason) I remembered the lengthy article by Ed about the different names for the "ladies of easy leisure" within Realmspace and I wondered whether some classes would actually have regional / racial names too. While most sorts of fighters or barbarians would simply go as "warriors" (not the NPC class of the DMG, but, of course, just the folk of the axe- and sword-wielding profession), many clerics or hierophants et al as "priests", wizards, necromancers and sorcerers as "mages" or "sorcerers" (again, more with regards to the profession than the class denomination). But what of this more "specialized" or "mysterious" ilk, like the warlocks (Complete Arcane), hexblades (Complete Warrior) or duskblades (elven fighter/mage-style people described in the PHB II, all, incidently, 3,5E)? Even if they do not all have dirlagraun-style FR names, are their more denominations for these people than thief, warrior, priest and mage? I would assume Old Grey Beard can give us a list of 20odd such FR names without even starting to think, can he not?

Aluve, Zanan!

Cave quid dicis, quando et cui!

Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel!

In memory of Alura Durshavin.

Visit my "Homepage" to find A Guide to the Drow NPCs of Faerûn, Drow and non-Drow PrC and much more.

Edited by - Zanan on 15 Jan 2009 16:44:48
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