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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13403 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2010 :  22:59:24  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
@Ralderick (and anyone else with an interest) - the novels and sourcebooks are written for us, living here on the RW Earth. Recently there was a heated discussion in another thread concerning this, and I didn't care to get involved in that one. However, I find I can no longer constrain myself ion this particular issue...

Just because something appears a certain way in text in source and novels, doesn't mean that is the way it would appear in the Forgotten Realms. THAT should be a given.

What isn't 'a given' (but should be) is that the illustrations we see - which occasionally depict 'FR writings' - are also made by RW artists working for TSR/WotC, and are showing us - with our real-world sensibilities - is something translated visually into something we, the reader (and observer in the case of art) can understand.

So just because writings are depicted a certain way (in text or in illustrations), doesn't mean that is what they would look like within the Realms.

Sorry if I have done any 'toe-stepping' here, but this has been a pet-peeve of mine for quite some time. This carries through to Elminster's 'archaic speech patterns', which Ed has discussed before. El is NOT saying 'thee' and 'thou' as if he lived during Earth's past; that is an author's device to illustrate to us, THE READER, that Elminster 'talks differently'.

Sometimes fans take things too literally.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

In the interests of fulfilling a few scribes' fantasies, I'd like to share that I'm typing this reply wearing only a Santa hat, my new (Yule present) wristwatch, a black ribbon choker, and a smile.
And I suddenly have the urge to give you a foot-massage.

Not because of any 'altruistic intentions', but rather for the rather magnificent view I will be afforded.

Glad you and Ed had a great holiday, and thanks for the response to my language question.

Now, two more, the first of which I think is straight-forward enough to get a 'fast response', and the other may require some thought (although I'm sure Ed has already done this a long time ago).

Question #1: Is there a particular reason the Inner Sea is shaped the way it is? If what I suspect is true, a simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice.

Question #2: Where the heck did the Northmen COME FROM?

I had always assumed they originated on Rauthym, but after reading Savage Frontier that is not possible. The only conjecture I could possibly come up with is that they came from a land that existed where the Moonshaes now reside, and since the water-levels of Faerûn have altered greatly over the centuries (as per some of Ed's 'lost Realms' in PftM and PftF), that seemed a valid explanation (and they could have 'returned' there after the water once-again receded, only to find Tethir settlers already living there).

However, The Wilderness booklet from The North also mentions them discovering the Moonshaes (along with all those other islands), AFTER discovering the Swordcoast.

Taking ALL of the text into consideration, they could NOT have come from the South, East, or West, and the North seems highly unlikely. Even more unlikely is the last two choices - up or down. This leaves only the '4th dimension', or in D&D terms - 'another world or plane'.

There are at least three likely suspects for that scenario, and in all three they are called 'the Northmen' (including our own Earth). However, I really don't like Toril having yet-another interloping race.

Another, even wilder, option exists, but that would probably irk some scribes even worse then the 'alternate world' scenario - that they came through time.

So they discovered the Swordcoast, and then discovered the islands, which precludes the fact they may have come from 'the west' (and since they must have arrived in MANY ships, the notion that all of those somehow missed the islands is preposterous).

It's as if they just 'appeared there'.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 27 Dec 2010 07:11:40
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  02:51:15  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ah, dearest Markustay! WELL said, re. real-world translation. Very true, and full agreement from Ed re. your comments.
As for your questions...Ed saith:

1. Yes. ;}
2. Ah, but you forgot one other possibility re. movement: gate/portal travel from elsewhere on Toril. To the rugged, rolling mountains/valleys/foothills country north and east of Luskan and Mirabar, and south of the Spine of the World.
Where the "Northmen" appeared, wandered in search of seas like those they were used to (in the same latitude, but on the other side of the planet), "discovered" the Sword Coast, and then the islands (notably the archipelago of the northeast Moonshaes, that was once explored in a long-ago TSR module, from which they spread to the other northern Sea of Swords isles, conquering as they went).

And as for your offer: oh, Markustay, I love foot-massages (and even foot-messages), but you don't have to do that for the view. I was raised a free spirit (Woodstock, 60s, and all that); with me, you can touch, not just look. Pick a feature you want to study, and study it, man. Start with your tongue.
love,
THO
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  03:56:49  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
Wow. Just- wow. Methinks things are getting a wee bit hot in here!! Does Ed know about this?!! (Don't worry, I won't tell!!) Oh, and does he have an answer to my questions? Dying to know- it is relevant to a current campaign I'm running elsewhere. (And I figured it would be a good time to ask, since we're on such titillating topics already...)

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

Lothir's character background/stats: http://forum.candlekeep.com/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=5469

My stories:
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Mickeys_Comic_Tavern/index.php?showforum=188

Lothir, courtesy of Sylinde (Deviant Art)/Luaxena (Chosen of Eilistraee)
http://sylinde.deviantart.com/#/d2z6e4u
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
2874 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  08:51:00  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message
I NEED to take a COLD SHOWER now THO...

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
2874 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  10:01:56  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message
They were such a tragic couple. I really don't think any children came out of that relationship. Which is quite sad IMO...

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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Ashe Ravenheart
Great Reader

USA
3071 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  13:25:26  Show Profile Send Ashe Ravenheart a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

I NEED to take a COLD SHOWER now THO...

I'd taken a cold shower last night from her posts. Then I had the most loveliest dreams...

I actually DO know everything. I just have a very poor index of my knowledge.

Ashe's Character Sheet

Alphabetized Index of Realms NPCs
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  15:11:20  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Zireael

Away from that line of thought...

Could Ed reveal something about Shandril Shessair and Narm Tamaraith? I mean, what happened to them AFTER the Shandril duology? Are they alive in 1375 DR? In 1479 DR? Did they have children?
Zi



The Shandril books were a trilogy - for an answer, see Hand of Fire.

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

Poland
1190 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  18:20:40  Show Profile  Visit Zireael's Homepage Send Zireael a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kajehase

quote:
Originally posted by Zireael

Away from that line of thought...

Could Ed reveal something about Shandril Shessair and Narm Tamaraith? I mean, what happened to them AFTER the Shandril duology? Are they alive in 1375 DR? In 1479 DR? Did they have children?
Zi



The Shandril books were a trilogy - for an answer, see Hand of Fire.



Ooh. Curse my reading skillz. I didn't read the trilogy, all I saw was their stats on Candlekeep and the FR Wikia article... right... so Is Narm alive in 1375 DR? In 1479 DR?. And could Shandril be resurrected? Did they have children?

SiNafay Vrinn, the daughter of Lloth, from Ched Nasad!

http://zireael07.wordpress.com/
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Ralderick Hallowshaw
Seeker

Italy
36 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  18:46:17  Show Profile  Visit Ralderick Hallowshaw's Homepage Send Ralderick Hallowshaw a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

@Ralderick (and anyone else with an interest) - the novels and sourcebooks are written for us, living here on the RW Earth. Recently there was a heated discussion in another thread concerning this, and I didn't care to get involved in that one. However, I find I can no longer constrain myself ion this particular issue...

Just because something appears a certain way in text in source and novels, doesn't mean that is the way it would appear in the Forgotten Realms. THAT should be a given.
[...]
Sometimes fans take things too literally.


As you said, sometimes "newbie" FR fans like me tends to focus on pedantic and obscure questions that doesn't add anything to the "flavour" of the setting or its better comprehension.

Sorry for the waste of time and thank you and THO for this precious advice!

"Adventurers are best used to slay monsters. Sooner or later, they become your worst monsters, and you have to hire new ones to do the obvious thing" - Ralderick Hallowshaw, Jester - from To Rule A Realm, From Turret To Midden, published circa The Year of the Bloodbird

And forgive me for my bad use of English language!

Edited by - Ralderick Hallowshaw on 27 Dec 2010 18:47:18
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  19:46:22  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ralderick, everyone who has come to the Realms after Ed, including players like me who've been enjoying it since before it was a published setting, has been a "new Realms fan" at some time or another - - so there are no time-wasting questions.
There are, however, some questions that have been answered before in this thread, or its previous year editions (see the "So Saith Ed" compilations for these), and newcomers to the Keep are asked to read them to avoid reposting questions that have been answered before.
By way of specific reply to a part of your query, Ed sent me this in an e-mail:

Where a published Realms product might refer to "Azoun IV," the Roman numeral is unknown in the Realms. The same person is actually referred to, by heralds or sages in the Realms, as "Azoun of Cormyr, fourth reigning Obarskyr of that name" but we render it into a Roman numeral for ease of understanding and to save space (long ago, I came up with the 2e character stat contractions [example: "NG hm W14" rather than writing out "Neutral Good human male fourteenth level Wizard"] purely to save space when writing FORGOTTEN REALMS ADVENTURES).

So saith Ed. Who almost has the first River Lis reply ready.
love to all,
THO
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6167 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2010 :  20:26:11  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message
I've long been a fan of your condensed NPC codes, THO - thanx.

Roman numerals occur all over D&D (spell names, monster groups, dungeon levels, etc), though I doubt characters refer to them the same way players do. It seems evident that (almost) everybody in the Realms uses decimal-based counting systems and 26-character A-Z alphabets, though largely as a convenience for D&D players.

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 27 Dec 2010 20:26:53
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:44:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all.
Arik, I'm not Ed. I'm his mouthpiece here, one of his original players, and the person who almost dragged him online to post here, but I'm neither Ed nor his wife.
And I bring us all some bright new Realmslore from Ed . . .
Here follows Ed’s promised posts on the River Lis, the Lisen Sands, and the Flooded Forest. The first one is rather long, so I split it into shorter segments (because the Keep seems to choke on overlong posts).

Ed tells us that what he says in these posts applies to the area in question throughout the entire 1300s DR. For those unfamiliar with “unedited Ed,” the prose here, with all of its asides (“digressions”) is typical of how Ed crams ideas, useful lore details, and nuances into a short wordcount.



THE RIVER LIS

[Part 1]
The River Lis sluggishly empties the Moonsea south into the Dragonreach (or “Dragon Reach”) arm of the Sea of Fallen Stars.
“Lis” is a human contraction of the elven name “Nuathlis” (= “Nuatha’s Way,” Nuatha [itself a contraction of “Ileiyranautha”]] being a fabled long-ago elven warrior princess of the early days of Cormanthyr {an adventurous, fiery-tempered spitfire who met a tragic end after a long career of daring exploits, monster-slayings, and successful duels to the death against more powerful elven foes}, and “lis” referring only to the sort of “way” that is a water route; when translating “lis,” some sages prefer to use the Common Tongue word “flow” rather than “way,” though to most elves, “lath” is more properly “flow” {there are about a dozen similar words for routes, but among the most mundane and popular are “norn” for “fate” or “path of destiny” or “path chosen through life” and “lir” or “lyr” for “trail” or “track” or “obvious/marked route”).

The northern end of the Lis is often called “Lisenmouth,” and of old was the site of Eueurarlor (pronounced “EEE-ewe-eee-arr-lor”), a small, unwalled, “tall-spired” elven city of magically-melted, fused, and largely opaque glass structures (almost all of them soaring towers that flared out at their bases like giant forest trees). This enclave of magical researches and experimentation was inhabited by the minor Cormanthan elven Houses of Alavaunt, Eyrcil, Imbran, Jalant, Lauryth, and Tarsyrymbar. The date of its establishment is not recorded, but elves have dwelt at the mouths of the Nuathlis since Cormanthyr was founded.
Eueurarlor was ruled by its most powerful mages. They worked amicably together, albeit with the usual petty jealousies and some ongoing friendly rivalries, seeing the wider world (even, for some Eueurarlans at some times, the rest of Cormanthyr) as foes to make common cause against. The mages of the city worked many ward-spells that hid the city in mists, cloaked it from prying magics, and kept wandering human wayfarers and explorers, and even determined intruders, at bay. (Many human vessels, and even wayfarers on foot, treading the riverbanks, managed to pass along the Lis but never saw the hidden city; others wandered, led astray by the wardings, or were turned back.)
House Jalant specialized in watching over particular formidable local “monsters,” magically aiding and abetting them from afar (so that their presence remained as much as possibly undetected) to keep these creatures alive and to make most of their battles and enterprises successful. In particular, the Jalant mages helped Raorlykh, a mighty morkoth that laired in the descending undersea banks of the Moonsea just east of Lisenmouth (though it had several “backup” tunnel networks west of the mouth of the Lis, and elsewhere), flourish for decades, becoming widely feared and a lurid staple of Moonsea tavern tales.
Eueurarlan spells also shielded the fang dragon Aehraundrel (who laired in the mountains east and south of Lisenmouth) against the magics of Mulmaster and other would-be slayers, including the numerous black dragons of the Lisen swamps (who were themselves bred, watched over, and protected by Eueurarlan mages). Aehraundrel laired with Maroareies, a gigantic gorynych that possessed—and used in battle—some ancient enchanted rods and scepters.
Yet as human settlement and magical strength in the Vast and Moonsea increased with the passing years (and the Jalantan-championed monsters were one by one slain), the Eueurarlans couldn’t elude detection forever. Ever-stronger and more persistent probes were hurled at the Lisenmouth area—and it’s thought that the mysterious inhabitants of Ironfang Keep (who had long found a city that made travel down the Lis difficult, hampered the spread of Mulmaster’s influence, and gave Melvaunt, Thentia, and Zhentil Keep a “problem” to hurl probe after strike against, to be a useful thing indeed) decided, for still-unknown reasons, to stop covertly aiding the Eueurarlans, and shatter the wardings of Eueurarlor.
However its foes learned of its true nature and defenses, Eueurarlor was attacked repeatedly by mage-led human forces from various Moonsea cities from 1241 DR onwards. It easily repulsed these forays, but was hurled down and scattered—utterly destroyed—in a spell battle in early Mirtul of 1244 DR, when a force of “many ravening beasts” (various sorts of marauding monsters, including dragons) led by unidentified powerful elven and human mages (some tales say daemonfey were involved, others insist the host’s commanders were House Starym elves of Cormanthyr, drow, or even the infamous human Malaug—or some alliance of these fell beings) stormed and conquered Eueurarlor, slaughtering all of its inhabitants. (Two tales claim not all of the city’s mages perished, but that a handful of Eueurarlans were captured and magically enslaved, either imprisoned for interrogation and later uses, or bound into magic items where they presumably still abide.)


So saith Ed. More as soon as I can post it!
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:45:50  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Part 2 of Ed's River Lis reply:


The southern mouth of the Lis was of old called Tarakt, after an infamous orc warleader slain on its banks (along with all his army), by elves of Cormanthyr in 667 DR. It empties the river waters into Mirrormoss Bay (to the elves, Neirthoura, "Stars-In-The-Water"), the northernmost end of the Dragon Reach. Today, some humans call this spot “Southmouth,” whereas elves familiar with it are more likely to refer to it as Neirlath (“Stars-flow”).
The waters of the Moonsea are deeper, colder, and darker than those of Mirrormoss Bay, and in the vicinity of Lisenmouth hold several gates (portals) linking Faerun with watery “otherwheres,” both other undersea locations on Toril and other worlds. These gates are seldom used, and presumably largely secret and/or forgotten at both ends, but “fellbarbs” (tsochari) have been known to occasionally issue from them, and either make for the Moonsea ports (presumably to “possess” citizens thereof) or hurriedly enter the Lis and make for the Flooded Forest.

Few surface-dwellers know that Mirrormoss Bay is the breeding-place and abode of thousands upon thousands of sentient octopi-like creatures, “darkdrifters” (the same creatures known as “tako” in more easterly areas of the Realms; those of the Bay have hides varying in hue from inky black to a dark, mottled bark-brown) and countless fungi they farm in the Bay (carpeting it in a “spore forest” of treelike spired growths, about which vines are trained to create nets for yet more fungal growth, in layers upon layers that form amorphous-walled “rooms” in which darkdrifters can readily hide, and charge forth from to ambush intruders), as food.
Water temperatures and nutrient conditions are ideal in the Bay for the darkdrifters, and they are magically dominated by the Wet Lisen in the same way that the Eueurarlans enspelled local monsters of old, to keep the darkdrifters from internal strife and from departing the Bay.
So numerous are the darkdrifters that the Selu'Maraar sea elves of the Dragonreach largely avoid the Bay, venturing into it rarely—and only in large, well-armed warbands. Their nearest “deep” (seabottom fortress, a warren of largely-concealed caverns in an undersea ridge) is Lararrlal, some distance to the south of Mirrormoss Bay (it’s actually due west of Ylraphon).
The darkdrifters (by natural inclination, reinforced by Wet Lisen control) also prevent aquatic Moonsea denizens from migrating into the Sea of Fallen Stars, or carrying on underwater trade between the Moonsea and the Sea of Fallen Stars.


So saith Ed. Onward to part the third....
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:47:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
And as promised, Part 3:


The waters of the Lis mingle with those of the Flooded Forest to the east for the southernmost fifth or sixth of its flow. The Flooded Forest, also referred to as “the Lisen swamps,” is a vast swamp of standing dead trees smothered with vines and swampy overgrowth, that’s fed by the Lis and by another river to the east, flowing from the Moonsea down into the Flooded Forest, that goes by many names, including the Mulmaea and the River Staur (after Ingrur Anastaur, a long-ago human wayfarer who explored this area; the river name is now pronounced “store-uh”). All of the descriptions of the Lis herein apply to this second river, too.
Much of the vast swamp, the banks of the Lis all along its length, and both of the mouths of the Lis tend to be a soup of pudding-like, water-saturated sand and clumps of earth and stone knit together by the gelid waste secretions of the Wet Lisen, which the monsters use to bind materials into barriers, weirs, and lairs, floating atop water in evershifting, trackless bogs known collectively as “the Lisen Sands.”
The Lis is fed by scores of tiny freshwater streams emptying into its western verges, and by the brackish (mix of fresh and salt water) Flooded Forest swamp (itself fed by many freshwater streams emptying into it from the east and south). This makes the saltwater Lis brackish along its banks; though it carries salt water from the Moonsea, what it empties into the (salt water) Dragon Reach is brackish.

The River Lis itself is navigable, but not all that easily. It is broad, shallow, and very silty, its winding channel changing often. Its waters usually move slowly, generating lots of oxbows (“oxbow” or half-moon lakes that were once river loops, but have become cut-off backwaters), side-channels, and quicksand.
The waters of the Lis are always opaque with suspended mud, and its wide channel is usually twelve to fifteen feet deep (with a soft-chocolate-mud bottom that will allow solid objects—such as the keels of ships, or poles used to move vessels along—to readily pass or sink through it for about another six feet or so).
So ships of even deep draft can usually sail the Lis, but getting lost in the shifting channels or mired in shallow-draft bogs is a constant problem. Barges, “leaf-needle” scudders (or just “leaf-needles;” this is the Common Tongue term for canoes or kayaks; some sages prefer the more formal name “bowshotkeels,” but in daily use, that word is seldom heard) and tiny skiffs can usually pass freely along the main channel, but seagoing cogs, caravels, and the like must usually be poled with all sails down, and a skiff venturing ahead with sounding lines to cautiously “sound out the way” onward. Sometimes such tiny open boats try to set marker poles, but this practice is usually an exercise in futility.
Sail is sometimes of aid when traveling the Lis, but current (for southbound vessels) is more reliable, if much slower. Ships navigating in either direction will need long fending-poles, paddles or oars, and the very long oars (usually worked by three men or more, not by lone rowers) known as “sweeps.” Fending poles and sweeps are usually made of two or more green, still-flexible treetrunks, lashed or pegged or spell-fused together. Due to the everchanging sandbars and channels, sailing or drifting ships need such aids for steerage purposes, and northbound ships of course need paddles or oars, and poles, just to move along against the current.
Sometimes the Lis becomes impassable to deep-keeled ships, and hundreds of them have become temporarily stuck while sailing it; scores of these have gone missing, sunken by “pirates” (who tend to be swamp-dwelling outlaws, or raiders sent out by Mulmaster, Hillsfar, or Calaunt to harry merchant shipping not their own) or misadventure, or “dragged down” by the Wet Lisen. (It follows that many, many cargoes have been lost along the Lis, or even deliberately hidden by folk ignorant of the truly mutable nature of local terrain, and so usually subsequently lost, so inevitably there are many tales of “treasure” awaiting lucky seekers in the Lisen Sands or along the river bottom.)
However, the Lis has never become so choked that water cannot pass from the Moonsea to the Dragonreach. Fierce winds blowing down from the north (and hurling up racing waves in the Moonsea) often generate “Scourings” of the Lis that briefly give it depths of more than forty feet and a (relatively) clear, straight channel. Such storms can arise at any time, but are frequent every spring.
A “roarer” blowing down the Lis can be successfully “raced” (ridden end to end) by a ship, but often vessels caught in such a storm will have their seams opened and “go under,” or be driven aground, swamped, and covered by the swamp sands (the Lisen Sands form dunes that unlike ‘desert dunes’ change only by water action, not wind, as they’re well-anchored with vegetation, and tend to accumulate around, and cling to, ships and other solid objects). These sandbars change constantly; in some conditions and spots, they literally form, move, and disappear daily.
Tidal surges are locally mild and affect the Lis little, because the vast swamplands adjoining it act as a sink for inflows. So whirlpools and undertows are rare, but quicksand and changing eddies (of the slow, lazy sort) are everywhere. Surge waters usually just alter submerged sandbars, in a ceaseless process of silent underwater change that is the bane of pilots seeking to steer ships through the area.
The Flooded Forest, the Lisen Sands, and much of the Lis itself is a desolate, reeking landscape of muck, standing dead ‘drowned’ trees, lots of choking vines and stunted wetland living trees (in short, large marshes with lots of ground cover for lurking outlaws and critters) . . . and except during downpours or heavy mists (which make visibility short range indeed) thick and endless clouds of stinging insects.

So saith Ed. Whose words will continue in Part 4, in (hopefully) just a few seconds...
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:48:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Herewith, Part 4 of Ed on the River Lis:


Down the years, much blood has been spilled over control of the Lis, both in difficult overland skirmishes, and in naval battles along it and at both of its mouths (the Moonsea more than the Dragonreach, but that’s because ships out of Calaunt, Sembia, and Ravens Bluff long ago reached a truce in the Reach after losses became too heavy for any of those powers to bear, and threats were made by Sembia and the Bluff to entirely blockade—and “starve”—Calaunt if hostilities went on, and to “sink any ship leaving a Sembian port” and “hurl down Sembian towers with the spells of our wizards” if Sembia tried to retaliate against the Bluff . . . and everyone saw the wisdom of just ignoring each other, and sailing past—except when Mulmaster, Hillsfar, or Zhentil Keep sent attacking ships south, whereupon Calaunt, Sembia, and Ravens Bluff (forcibly using Scrardale’s harbor as a naval base) made common cause against these threats).
The soupy terrain itself has defeated any longterm control beyond the “as far as the point of my blade/reach of my spells extends” sort. Since the destruction of Eueurarlor, no stone structure or fortification built along the Lis has lasted more than a day or so; the Wet Lisen see to that, no matter what mages and spells are used to defend the building.
There are scores of sunken buildings beneath the bogs and “backwaters” (bayous) of the Flooded Forest, including some temples and wizards’ abodes that retain enchanted items—but these are hard to find, and are almost always inhabited by the Wet Lisen and their various guardian creatures (all sorts of aquatic predators that can be kept alive in a temperate-cold swamp environment, and controlled, by the use of spells).

The Wet Lisen (also called “the True Lisen” by some sages) are evil, intelligent water nagas, twisted long ago by Netherese experimentations into creatures made evil by their hunger for ever more magic and power, and who were bred to have a ring of four long, delicate human-like arms and hands that protrude from their snake-like bodies (in two pairs; one just beneath their heads, and a second, slightly longer pair halfway down their serpentine bodies). These “Wet Lisen” are can function as well on land, breathing air, as they can underwater, and tolerate a wide variety of temperatures. Their tails are both prehensile and powerful, able to “slap” or impale foes in battle or enable the nagas to swim swiftly and powerfully. Wet Lisen can speak and write many languages (both magical and mundane), can cast and devise spells, and employ magic items, as the most capable human wizards do, and are particularly practiced at mind-influencing magics of all sorts. They can fall silent and immobile for long, patient periods, and in daily life strive to become very aware of politics and events around them, and the details of lives of other creatures, so as to know how best and most effectively to personally sway or deftly influence such creatures.
Long native to the Lisen swamps, they have tried to always remain hidden yet at the same time continuously influence cities around them (notably Mulmaster and Calaunt). They are now increasingly possessed by fellbarbs (tsochari), though almost all the remaining “untainted” Lisen (about a third or so of all Wet Lisen) are unaware of the tsochari, believing instead that certain of their brethren are forming secret societies and cabals. The few Wet Lisen who suspect what’s going on are targeted by the fellbarbs for possession or destruction, to silence them before they can persuade their untainted fellows to do something about this silent menace. (For their part, the fellbarbs regard the Wet Lisen as nigh-perfect host creatures, with one exception: they regard the nagas’ innate love of remaining hidden as a drawback, and are now driving their possessed Wet Lisen to either magically transform themselves to be able to fly, or to breed black dragons of the Flooded Forest into loyal, effective aerial steeds physically suited to carrying entwined Wet Lisen, and eager to serve such masters to the death.)

So saith Ed, who isn't done yet; Part 5 looms just ahead!
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:50:30  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
And as promised, Part 5 of Ed's epistle on the River Lis:


The princes of Shade must be aware of the Wet Lisen and their attempts to influence nearby cities, but have thus far ignored and avoided them. According to Elminster (our only source of information on these matters, as he is on most lore of the Realms), this is not due to overlooking or belittling the nagas, or intending to spare rather than ultimately conquer or destroy them, but because of some great, pulsing drowned magic beneath the Flooded Forest, that is inimical to the very nature of a shade. When within a dozen miles or so of it, shades are always aware of its presence (as a “soundless thunder” in their heads), become wracked with pain or nausea if they venture too near, and actually melt away to nothingness if brought too close (individual limbs will slump into liquidity, as the shade writhes in shrieking agony, at a slightly greater remove from the destructive magic). Just what this magic is, Elminster isn’t certain, but it’s been there since before his birth, has nothing to do with the Weave or (so far as he knows) with Mystra or her works, and is of godlike power/intensity—so it may well be a god, or Primordial. Or not.

Elminster tells us the Wet Lisen live for four to six centuries, if not slain earlier, and are descended from nagas that the reclusive Netherese archwizard Ragruular magically augmented and altered, to be his servants and guardians. Eventually they became his apprentices, he shared all of his magic with them, and they avenged him after his death in a spell-duel with a rival archwizard, Ommanaunth Vraer. Vraer’s kin initially thought that various Netherese were taking the shapes of four-armed nagas to hide amongst “Ragruular’s slave-beasts” and so conceal their identities, and started hunting down all nagas they saw, but earned the enmity of another archwizard, Durlarion, who was breeding and spell-taming nagas (without arms) for very different purposes, when they mistakenly slew some of Durlarion’s creatures.
In the war that followed, a handful of Ragruular’s naga’s outlasted Vraer’s kin and apprentices, but learned that all Netherese would consider them potential slaves or worse.
So they fled Netheril to the Lisen swamps (then much smaller than they are now, for the land around them has slowly sunk over the years due to collapsing caverns in the Underdark beneath, flooding and drowning much elven-ruled woodlands and creating the Flooded Forest) because of the presence of the great hidden magic that melts shades. The nagas can feel this magic, too, but it harms them not, nor causes them discomfort. They know not what it is, and disturb it not for fear of destroying or lessening it out of ignorance, but know that where they can see and touch it (in certain deep-drowned caverns, ruins, and muddy deeps of the Lisen swamps), it appears as a vast, pulsing, living gelid mass that can grow eyes and tentacles and great toothless met maws, and swallow anything or anyone that touches it.
The Wet Lisen of today consist of a few elders and scores of younger nagas, all of them wizards of varying powers. The young hide deep in the swamps and never attack intruders; all who do hurl spells against, say, a PC adventurer will be a wizard of 16th or higher level (most will be W22s to W24s), and any formidable band of invaders will soon face the scrutiny, mustering of swamp monsters, and spells hurled from afar of several W26s and higher. Elminster believes that the tsochari only augment the magical knowledge and capabilities of Wet Lisen they inhabit, hampering them not at all.


So saith Ed. A sixth and final part should wrap up Ed's River Lis reply, hopefully in just a few moments . . .
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:51:39  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
. . . And here 'tis! Ed wraps up his reply about the Lis, with this sixth part:


The misty, boggy, everchanging, monster-haunted conditions of the Lis and the Flooded Forest make the area a haven for the most desperate outlaws and those pirates who foolishly dismiss the many tales of deadly swamp monsters. The Wet Lisen are wise enough to let many of these “drenched fools” flourish, sometimes for several seasons, to give more organized intruders (such as military forces sent by Zhentil Keep, Hillsfar, or Sembia) one more foe to deal with.
Most outlaws lead a hand-to-mouth existence, but the pirates usually trade some of their booty, and with their assistance (usually as guides and guards, in return for stiff fees or “a third-share of the take”) stolen or illicit goods (the former often being gems or metal tradebars, but sometimes furs or even enchanted items, and the latter usually being slaves) are smuggled down or across the Lis, or hidden in the Flooded Forest for a time, until scouring searches die down.
The biting, stinging, bloodsucking insects and small, “mundane” monsters (giant wasps and stirges, zairtails and spiders and snakes, not to mention all manner of carnivorous plants) bedevil most humans who venture into the Lisen Sands or the Flooded Forest, even if they never see anything more sinister. For one thing, falling asleep is usually a death sentence given all the hungry hunting creatures, and for another, the outlaws and pirates usually lurk along the verges of the swamps, stalking and then ambushing all intruders. Lighting a fire creates a beacon that will draw endless attackers down on anyone near the flames, tracking by scent (or even eating without nausea) is difficult to impossible amid the overpowering reek of decay, and the everpresent mists make keeping anything dry for long a doomed aim, as well as reducing visibility to two spearlengths at times (making navigation hard, and spotting approaching monsters harder). Watchful Wet Lisen often cast spells from afar to make small boats founder and reduce those in them to frightened, struggling intruders rather than wayfarers of confident purpose . . . and angering a Wet Lisen with the wrong sort of response can goad it into forcing monster after monster—up to and including young, small black dragons—to attack the offending intruders, who typically can never find the lurking sentience directing these attacks, before they are harried into headlong flight . . . or slaughtered to the last terrified man.


So saith Ed. Who won’t be nearly so verbose in his next two answers (about Hoondatha’s take on the River Lis, and the Battle of the Lisen Sands that Asharak first asked about, to spark all of this interest in the river and what history has unfolded in or around it). Expect that lore soon.
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
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USA
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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  00:53:37  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Hoo-boy! My Realms Christmas might be a few days late, but it’s here now! Wah-hoo! Thank you thank you thank you, Ed and THO!
Have I mentioned before how I can’t thank you enough for the time and work you do for we scribes here at Candlekeep?
Well, I still can’t. Just . . . thanks, and long may it keep coming!
Wheee!
BB
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6167 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  02:43:28  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message
quote:
The Hooded One

Arik, I'm not Ed. I'm his mouthpiece here, one of his original players, and the person who almost dragged him online to post here, but I'm neither Ed nor his wife.
Thanks for the clarification, THO. I'd assumed your mysterious identity was something of a convenient way for Ed to communicate with Candlekeep through his herald (you) or even in person (sneaky old scamp that he is). I'll admit I really don't know who you are; your profile gives no information of the sort, I've never attended any of the particular conventions and events you have, I know of Ed only from what he's written and what's been written about Ed in Candlekeep. Who Ed is doesn't have as much direct impact on me as what Ed creates ... I thought it would be a little rude to ask for personal information that wasn't offered.

[Edit: Thanx for the fantastic Lis-lore, btw. That lore was much needed and much appreciated.]

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 28 Dec 2010 02:45:19
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Mr_Miscellany
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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  02:45:14  Show Profile Send Mr_Miscellany a Private Message
That was a pretty awesome read. Thank you Ed for writing it and THO for posting it.

Quick link to a page on the WotC site that describes that tsochari are: linky

Edited by - Mr_Miscellany on 28 Dec 2010 02:49:42
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  02:57:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, fellow scribes!
Herewith, the promised second answer from Ed, this one to Hoondatha. As before, I’ll split it into chunks short enough not to choke the Keep, in this case just two of them.


IF THE RIVER LIS WAS LIKE HOONDATHA'S VERSION

Hoondatha posted, in part: “In my own campaign I decided to make the Lis a broad, deep, extremely swift river with sandy or more often pebbly flanks and no fords. So . . . if we replace the swampy Lis with the one I describe above, and its surrounding land with something a bit drier and more accommodating, how would you see the southern Moonsea dynamic changing? Would we see cities building (or fighting over) bridges over it? Would enterprising merchants try to found a city at its northern mouth? If so, who would support, who would oppose? I was hoping you could walk a little with me down this thought experiment.”
Ed replies:



With the greatest of pleasure, Hoondatha. This change (let’s assume the Flooded Forest still exists, fed by that other, more easterly river, which will “take up space” that would be necessary for, say, a realm to be founded by humans or orcs along the southern part of the eastern bank of the Lis, during the time of the Retreat) would make the Lis a vitally important water-travel route to bring the mineral riches of the Moonsea North down to the ever-hungrily-consuming cities around the Inner Sea, the lands “behind” them, and, via trade-caravans, the wider Realms beyond.
So certainly there would be attempts to control the Lis, fortifying its mouth or bridging it or even founding a kingdom to straddle it. And elven resistance to all of this, and inevitable repeated attempts to conquer whatever is built.
The Moonsea has vast woods, so it might be economical to just make endless barges (or log-boom rafts, with the raw logs sold in Sembia for lumber) to carry much of the trade-bars or raw ore south. Some merchants might prefer this, transshipping goods at Scardale or other harbors (Ylraphon [which would become and remain far more important than it is “today” in the Realms], Calaunt, and so on) from barges to ships for more southerly trade.
If not, getting ships north against the fast flow of the Lis is going to be a matter of towpaths on either bank, large teams of mules or rothé or oxen or the like, and inevitably northbound trade-roads paralleling the river on both sides—with military patrols using them, and probably forts/keeps built along the river at various points (as well as at both river-mouths).
Assuming the same general geopolitics of the Realms in the region as we know from Realmslore (and the absence of the Wet Lisen or overmuch meddling from such wild cards as Ironfang Keep or, say, the Srinshee), Mulmaster, Hillsfar, Calaunt, Zhentil Keep, and to a lesser extent the other Moonsea ports and Dragonreach ports (Ravens Bluff, Scardale, et al) would be the most persistent attempted conquerors or dominators of the Lis and its banks.
Inevitably, of course, the Princes of Shade, the Red Wizards, and other power groups—not to mention lands such as Sembia and Cormyr, and various independent merchant cabals within such lands, as well as city-states like Westgate—would work to support or subvert various of these players, as would the elves (and we should not forget the forces of the Underdark, or a working of magic by a desperate surface power to collapse the uppermost caverns beneath the Lis and cause it to plunge into the Underdark’s depths, interrupting its surface flow and inevitably wreaking havoc as the Moonsea and/or the Dragonreach inundate the edges of any such subsidence, “growing” a larger cataclysm and altering everything).
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that there are too many variables at play to make any one outcome inevitable or even likely, beyond the fact that there WILL BE attempts by everybody with sufficient ambitions and muscle to control the Lis. With, at the very least, castles and fortified harbors at both its mouths, fortresses along the length of the river, and riverbank roads.


So saith Ed. I'll send the second half of his reply as soon as I can (Net connection a little rocky right now),
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  03:08:08  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, everyone. As promised, the second half of Ed's reply to Hoondatha about the theoretical shape of the Realms with a fast-flowing, easily-navigated (at least southbound) River Lis:


Everyone from beholders and mind flayers to the ruling families of Amn, and the zulkirs of Thay (or just Szass Tam, if your campaign has gone in that direction) will try to control or at least dominate the River Lis transportation corridor. Many of the players I’ve listed in this paragraph are the secondary sort of foe (like the tsochari) who would prefer to let someone ELSE go to all the trouble of conquering, clearing fortifying, and building—and then just come along and take over, or stand behind the thrones and let others be the targets and do the work, while they enjoy the fruits and the delight of stealthy power through manipulation.
Nor are the Chosen or Harpers unlikely to resist the urge to show up and oppose such manipulators. And why not the magically-powerful families of Halruaa, if your campaign is pre-Spellplague, using their skyships? Or if you embrace the Realms depicted in the 4e FRCG, the Five Companies? In the same way that the great canal system notion (developed by Phil Athans in his Watercourse trilogy) has the potential to alter the balance of power across most of Faerûn, and so lure all who have or seek power to get involved in this important new matter, a clear and fast-flowing River Lis will be a magnet for all who seek wealth and power in this part of the Realms.
Which will really put the woods of Cormanthor under pressure, causing the elves to Retreat in earnest (perhaps even booby-trapping the ruins of Myth Drannor, and/or Tangledtrees, to REALLY take a toll of invaders, in their wake) and for good, or spurring them to muster all the arms, magic, and allies they can and hold Cormanthyr, the Lis and both its banks and all. They’d have to fight endless wars to hold it, of course (even if there are no daemonfey armies in your Realms, and no resurgence of the orcs of Vastar), and this could become the centerpoint of a very interesting Realms campaign.
One could even set a campaign at a point in time when whoever holds the Lis has become old and decadent, the river is one long fortified canal lined with keeps crammed with bored guards and “duty wizards,” and the time is ripe for corruption, intrigue, stealthily-opened gates/portals, and an internal war for control of the Lisen Run.
Definitely whoever held a clear and fast-flowing Lis would become the wealthiest and most dominant territory in the Moonsea region—or a shattered battleground held by no one and traversed by battle or under uneasy truces punctuated by repeated skirmishes. In the history Realmslore gives us to date, Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep are the most successful of the Moonsea powers, but if others combined to destroy them (as Phlan and long-ago Irongarth were destroyed), Melvaunt or Thentia or Hillsfar could well take their places as the most dominant cities. Even a Rage of Dragons, an earthquake or city-swallowing rift opening into the Underdark below (with the resultant tidal waves that would crash around the Moonsea; recall the fate of Sulasspryn), or a self-invoked (through careless or reckless magic, or an internal spell-struggle) devastation could destroy or humble a city overnight or in a tenday, and change everything.
In short, the sort of interesting times that humble everyone—and forge REAL adventurer-heroes.



So saith Ed, who will now turn to the Battle of the Lisen Sands so enigmatically mentioned in Realmslore (by him, long ago, without any of the details he’d created about it making it into print).
Sorry, Markustay, but the date given is correct: 1346 DR. Let’s see what else Ed will reveal about it, in the next exciting offering of Realmslore before the need to pay his bills and taxes snatch Ed away from us again, back into real-world writing and distractions . . .
love,
THO
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Knight of the Gate
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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  03:51:04  Show Profile  Visit Knight of the Gate's Homepage  Send Knight of the Gate a Yahoo! Message Send Knight of the Gate a Private Message
Too. Much. Realmslore. Brain shutting down now.

Amazing stuff, Ed! Many, many thanks to you and the lovely and variously talented THO.

How can life be so bountiful, providing such sublime rewards for mediocrity? -Umberto Ecco

Edited by - Knight of the Gate on 28 Dec 2010 03:51:54
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Hoondatha
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USA
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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  05:29:12  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message
[pole-axed steer look]Holy cow.[/look]

That's flat-out incredible, Ed. The Lis-as-is and Lis-as-I-changed-it both. I'd no idea I was making such a mammoth change just with a bit of terrain substitution, but now that you lay it out, it makes a whole lot of sense. And, of course, to your list of players I'd add the sea elves of Selu'Maraar, who have a very vested interest in the river.

Wow. I'm close to speechless (though thankfully I can still type ). Lots of great ideas. That group may be getting together in the near future, and now I know what'll be coming their way. The poor water breathers are about to be inundated with air breathers.

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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Knight of the Gate
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Posted - 28 Dec 2010 :  05:38:38  Show Profile  Visit Knight of the Gate's Homepage  Send Knight of the Gate a Yahoo! Message Send Knight of the Gate a Private Message
Another differentiation between the swampy and swift-running Lis would be (I would think) that the Zhents wouldn't have been forced to push so much trade overland, given the access they could have to the SoFS via a deep and broad River Lis. It might be that the Zhents were never forced to blaze the trade road across Anauroch, leaving them with increased influence in Sembia and Cormyr.

How can life be so bountiful, providing such sublime rewards for mediocrity? -Umberto Ecco
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