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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2011 :  20:31:14  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
I bring a surprise quick reply from Ed, re. this from Alisttair: "If someone wanted to open up a coffee shop (similar to our world's Starbucks, or maybe Tim Horton's) in Waterdeep, what sort of expenses and other hurdles can be expected? What are the chances of a steady clientele (I'm guessing it would mostly be from the nobility)?"
Ed replies:

There are over a dozen such shops in Waterdeep already, circa the 1370s, and over thirty circa 1479 DR. The hurdles would mainly be competition. Any such shop stands and falls on two things: the price/quality of their hot food (tarts, both sweet and savory [[meat pies and fish rolls]], and pastries, including eggbread buns with sugar melted over the top of them, and bacon-fried apple fritters ditto: literally, slices of apple coated in batter and fried in bacon fat, alongside bacon), and the variety and quality of their hot drinks (hot chocolate and hot fruit-pulp drinks and teas as well as coffees).
So, get good suppliers, keep the place clean, have a serving window for the street pass-through traffic and some cozy corners and/or booths for those who want to linger and do deals/talk semi-privately...and you're golden. As in coins. Miss out on these...and you'll miss out on riches, too.
BTW: no problems re "protection" rackets and the like, because the guilds as well as the Watch wantr more places like these to frequent, and will fiercely defend them if welcomed/made to feel at home.


So saith Ed. Dispensing free Realmslore wherever he goes...
love to all,
THO
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2011 :  20:50:47  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Have there ever been ghost/spectral spirit hordes with so many mass deaths occuring throughout faerun's history? If so how were they dealt with or does the nature of ghost types keep them keyed to an area that they are unable to leave and still be "potent"?
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2011 :  21:43:52  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
Well Again All

Cormyr and Codpieces:

Did Azoun (the fourth of that name) have any enchanted or outlandish codpieces?

Do codpieces fall in and out of fashion in the court during his reign?

If there was an up and coming young dashing noble new to court, where would he buy one from? are there many makers of high-quality codpieces?

Best regards

Damian
ps same questions for ruff's please

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

Edited by - crazedventurers on 15 Jan 2011 21:50:28
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3338 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2011 :  21:56:53  Show Profile  Visit Dalor Darden's Homepage Send Dalor Darden a Private Message
Ed and THO,

I have a question regarding Theymarsh in the Border Kingdoms. In a novel, I believe it is Spellfire, it is said that Glassware is common there...

Is there anything else at all that can be shared about this tiny thorp in the Border Kingdoms? Or, for the time it takes you to answer that, is there aught you can offer about Thort or Urspreth as well?

I always loved the articles about the Border Kingdom...but I'd love to hear anything about it at all...especially those areas mentioned above as well as anything about Pirates!

Visit my Blog Page to find things for YOUR Forgotten Realms!
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wintermute27
Learned Scribe

USA
179 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2011 :  04:02:10  Show Profile  Visit wintermute27's Homepage Send wintermute27 a Private Message
Dearest Ed and Lovely Hooded One,

In "Faiths and Avatars" it talks about worshipers of Torm reciting set prayers four times a day and that there are specific litanies used for various circumstances. Could you enlighten us on what these prayers would be, if not in their entirety, then at least what kinda of things would be part of them? Thank you in advance for anything you can provide on this topic.


My Current Campaign: The Adventures of the Stonelanders
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
402 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  07:52:15  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
Ed and THO,

I have had a dilemma now for many months, and happily stumbled upon this marvelous site where I am hopeful it might be resolved as only Ed has the answer. As a fan of the Realms since "the Gray Box" and a happy Dungeon Master and player throughout, both I and my entire gaming group went into a kind of shock with the...transition...of the Realms to the 4th Edition. We loved the intrigue and challenges of the Pantheon, and felt it a cross between the Greco-Roman world and the Medieval ages. I'm sad to say that after purchasing all of the 4E books and Realms supplements when launched, we returned them because we were so very lost. Clerics/Priests and divinity were an important factor in our campaign, and "The Balance" (as originally introduced by Ao in the Avatar Series and continued throughout most recently by R.A. Salvatore in the Tymora's Stone triology) was an integral part of the game. Luck (Tymora) had unluck (Beshaba), Bane vs. Torm, Selûne v. Shar, Sune v. Talona, et cetera. We realize that all good things must come to an end, but aside from a few names, this edition has very little in common with its predecessors. The second and third editions brought new insight into the Realms, and expanded the depth of the world and our enjoyment in playing the game. I understand that Ed's Realms are darker than those published, but I'm curious A) how did Ed deal with the death of nearly all of the gods, B) will we ever learn how Mystra died in book form beyond a footnote? C)Given the importance of The Weave, we're not quite sure how Mystra could die and not have another "Time of Troubles" (and that includes this very-confused DM) and would welcome insight into thoughts on this. D) In a yes or no answer only (we know about trade secrets) will *any* of the Gods resurface in the fifth edition? And finally, E) Ao was never mentioned in Ed's original work, but what happened to Ao's mandate of the Balance, and presuming he's still alive, wouldn't he intercede to at minimum restore the Weave? (aside: we love the new Elminster novel and await the next book eagerly...we may not like what's happened to the world for game play, but Ed's writing remains top notch)

I know that there are a lot of questions packed in there, and if any were previously answered and I just missed them in my search, I welcome pointers to them. Otherwise, I look forward to replies when Ed graciously devotes time to this bedeviled DM.

Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells

The greatest expression of creativity is through Art.
Offense can never be given, only taken.
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  16:34:29  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello,

Ed do slime and Jelly creature starve and what happens during this process, what was size of largest slime/jelly you created in game, info?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  17:47:37  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, Azuth. Good questions, all, and I understand and sympathize with your situation. I’ve sent your questions on to Ed for a response, but in the interests of giving you some sort of answers until he replies, here are some initial stabs on my part to your questions:



“A) how did Ed deal with the death of nearly all of the gods”

In the home Realms campaign, none of this has happened yet. We’re still in the initial wild-rumors phases of the about-to-unfold Time of Troubles.
As a designer (and creator of the pantheon and most of the gods in it), I imagine Ed took it in stride. He has always, from the beginning (while understanding that gamers always have a hunger to know more about deities and the overarching “way things work”), taken the position that mortals simply can’t know the truth about many things divine, because none of their sources of information (church doctrines, what priests say, rumors, even what they themselves witness or receive as visions) can be trusted.
Even the gods deceive, and when interpreting “what really went on/is going on,” most mortals are in the position of seeing only a glimpse of a confrontation between folk they’ve never seen before, and then having to extrapolate the lives, aims, and back stories of everyone involved, and somehow, by sheer luck, getting it all correct.
You may have noticed, in Ed’s novels, some characters using the expression “the Watching Gods.” From the very outset of the Realms, before TSR ever published one word about it in long-ago DRAGON articles, Ed has murmured to players (through Elminster [[himself an “unreliable narrator,” always remember]], Khelben, various sages, and manifestations of Mystra, your namesake, and Mielikki, not to mention PC-overheard conversations among sages and archwizards) the notion that a LOT of what we “know” about the gods is spurious, that some gods have always masqueraded as others, that what priests and therefore believers see as several separate deities and demigods may well all be aspects of one entity . . . and so on.
So no one in the Realms can be certain that many gods perished. They’ve been TOLD that this happened, and may have seen events explained as being part of this or that god’s destruction, BUT . . .
(Note that Ed built this into the Realms from the very beginning for two very good reasons. One was not to offend the personal religious beliefs of individual DMs and players, by offering them a measure of “plausible deniability” so they could accept the Realms as published and happily play in it, “knowing” that the truth was other than as presented. The second was to give DMs full freedom to have “the truth” be different in their Realms, without feeling that they were “breaking canon.” Other commentators and designers have taken other approaches since, but this is Ed’s, because he has always looked ahead down the road to see implications.)
All of which is to say that perhaps not all the gods died, or this particular one, or that particular one. Did any of us SEE Azuth destroyed by Asmodeus? No. Nor did we see Mystra go down. All we “know” for certain is that the Weave collapsed - - and the Chosen of Mystra also know that they abruptly lost all contact with Mystra and Azuth, receiving instead only . . . silence.



“B) will we ever learn how Mystra died in book form beyond a footnote?”

Right now, we just don’t know. Wizards of the Coast controls the published Realms, and their current philosophy is to publish fiction set in or after 1479, the Year of the Ageless One. Certain authors have been given the leeway (or in Ed’s case, have never legally lost it) to include “flashbacks” in their works, showing events during the Spellplague or the “century jump,” IF NECESSARY FOR STORY REASONS. However, the intent has been to NOT exhaustively detail major events, in order to give future Realms authors and designers the most creative room to tell new tales/spin new adventures/write new lore. However, “ever” is a very long time, and the only constant in anyone’s ever is ongoing change . . .



“C) Given the importance of The Weave, we're not quite sure how Mystra could die and not have another "Time of Troubles" (and that includes this very-confused DM) and would welcome insight into thoughts on this.”

Heh. So would I. Perhaps she didn’t die, hmm?
Or perhaps someone, or several someones, was just much better prepared to handle consequences, this time around (i.e. as opposed to the Time of Troubles). Remember that the Weave is NOT “all magic” or even “all the natural world forces harnessed by magic” but rather a way (and for eons, THE most popular, refined, and best understood way) of harnessing those forces. There are other systems of magic, and always have been, from Ed’s initial creation of the Realms. The Time of Troubles was (as far as we mortals can determine) a war among the gods, complete with all the turbulence attending on actual combat. Perhaps someone - - perhaps Mystra herself - - prepared matters beforehand.
THERE you go. Perhaps this is all a plot engineered by Mystra and Azuth, to force magic-using humans to be more self-reliant, to thin out the ranks of their fellow deities, and to humble (the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim) or move (Halruaa) potential trouble-sources, to establish a “New Order” they can return to, to reign over more effectively.
Or perhaps not.



“D) In a yes or no answer only (we know about trade secrets) will *any* of the Gods resurface in the fifth edition?”

Neither Ed nor I nor anyone else can at this time give you any sort of answer. We either honestly don’t know (and that’s the case for Ed, me, and anyone else not an employee of WotC involved in certain roles at that company), or we’re contractually bound not to say a word about any future company projects until formally approved to “spill a little,” or both.
If/when there is a 5th edition, and anything Realmsian gets designed for it, that ultimately wouldn’t be an Ed decision anyway. He doesn’t control the Realms, and hasn’t (except by friendly influence and providing design aid that wise staffers accept and run with) since 1979, really. One would HOPE that Ed would be part of such design decisions, but it’s just a hope.
Me, I hope there is a 5th edition, and that it’s still something pencil-and-paper RPG grognards like myself recognize, because I don’t want D&D to fade away or get much more fragmented. Or the Realms to get truly “forgotten” in the process.



“E) Ao was never mentioned in Ed's original work, but what happened to Ao's mandate of the Balance, and presuming he's still alive, wouldn't he intercede to at minimum restore the Weave?”

One would certainly expect Ao to intercede, wouldn’t one? So perhaps something’s happened to him. Perhaps the Balance itself has been swept away. The point to be made (or rather, reiterated) here is that we just don’t know. Anything we say is speculation, and Ed is bound by “don’t tell” legal fetters (those oft-mentioned NDAs) anyway.
Believe me, Azuth, I would dearly love answers to most of what you’ve asked (the only answers I don’t want being those that would harm my enjoyment playing in Ed’s campaign, because I would “know too much” that my characters shouldn’t/couldn’t know). I suspect Ed won’t be able to say much beyond echoing what I’ve said here…but would love to be able to.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  17:53:54  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A postscript, Azuth:
In your Realms gaming, the "death" of a god needn't change much, except to create bewilderment and strife among the clergy of that deity: some will refuse to believe the god is gone (after all, in some cases, their prayers are still being answered by visions, guiding pronouncements, and spells, which are either provided by the deity because they've not be destroyed or banished from the Realms, or are being provided by another deity hoping to harness the power of a large new group of worshippers, who is masquerading as the former deity), and others will choose to believe the deity has been captured or oppressed in some way by other deities or other forces, and that their duty is now to "free" or "restore" the deity, or even to "pass the test" that the deity is obviously visiting upon "all true believers."
In short, the DM can have very little change in an ongoing campaign, even if the 4e situation is being accepted as canon. Or can use the 4e changes to rejigger many things, great and small, in a campaign. Or settle somewhere in between, using some of what i've just mentioned as pretext for new adventures (which is, after all, what it's all about).
I know very well this has all been said before and it's scant consolation, but . . .
Don't let anyone's changes ruin your game. It's YOUR game.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  18:01:22  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Just a brief note to wakaman, relayed from Ed:

Great mythallar questions. It's going to take me a little while to craft a proper reply to you, because much of what you ask has been designed and purchased by TSR (now WotC) long ago, and therefore can't be offered by me here. In short, I have to dance around NDAs and paraphrase, in the same way that Candlekeep scribes have to paraphrase what's said in sources rather than quoting long passages outright.
I'll respond as soon as I can. Promise.


So saith Ed. Who is shoulder-deep in beholders right now (don't ask me why; he didn't say - - but he IS learning to cook ).
love to all,
THO
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Daviot
Senior Scribe

USA
367 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  21:02:15  Show Profile  Visit Daviot's Homepage  Send Daviot an AOL message Send Daviot a Private Message
This is something of a pesky "still interested" reminder, but...
Back in 2009, I asked about a series of lesser-known Cormyrean noble families: The Arcantlets, Bryarns, the Haldoneirs (and their wayward daughters), and finally, the Sorndrakes. I'm sure the numerous distractions of life got in the way, but if and when Ed gets time, I'd still love to hear about the Sorndrake family.

One usually has far more to fear from the soft-spoken wizard with a blade and well-worn boots than from the boisterous one in the ivory tower.
Want more adventure? Into the Dark (PF Beginner Box 2nd level) | The Red Leaves Enigma (3.x/PF 3rd/4th level) | In Iron Clad (3.x/PF 14th lvl)
My Tabletop Writing CV.
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Daviot
Senior Scribe

USA
367 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  21:44:41  Show Profile  Visit Daviot's Homepage  Send Daviot an AOL message Send Daviot a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mr_Miscellany

Daviot, I believe your questions were answered. The "All About Cormyr" scroll has nicely collected those replies. See this link and scroll down to start reading. :)


I had indeed double-checked through Ed's previous replies (including those on the linked scroll) before I asked, and Ed never got a chance to go into detail on the Sorndrakes.

One usually has far more to fear from the soft-spoken wizard with a blade and well-worn boots than from the boisterous one in the ivory tower.
Want more adventure? Into the Dark (PF Beginner Box 2nd level) | The Red Leaves Enigma (3.x/PF 3rd/4th level) | In Iron Clad (3.x/PF 14th lvl)
My Tabletop Writing CV.
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
402 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2011 :  22:53:54  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
Thanks, THO.

As an author myself, I know what happens once you turn control of a script over to "the editors," and can only imagine what happens when an entire world is turned over to a company.

Perhaps someday Ed can start saying, "Well, if I ran the Realms, this is what I would say..." (This is how anyone not a physician can legally not-give advice on what to do when talking with someone who has a cold, for example. "I would take Tylenol" is different than "you should take Tylenol..." but I don't know the particulars of his NDAs.)

How truly amazing it must be to play in Ed's Realms. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous, and truly, I think that's one reason we've collectively not moved to the 4E books... right or wrong, we don't feel that they're the Realms as we've come to know and love them. In all sincerity, I think that the THAC0 system was superior in some ways, and if "there was an App for that" then it'd work just fine. Having run a group for over 20 years now, I realize that the gods (as much as the NPCs) are ways through which I can interact with my party as a DM. Anyway, I look forward to Ed's replies, whatever they may be. His books continue to delight, and when I master world domination, he'll be named Overlord of WoTC (we'll have to change the name) and then he will own his Realms again.

Cheers,

Azuth, the First Magister.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

A postscript, Azuth:
In your Realms gaming, the "death" of a god needn't change much, except to create bewilderment and strife among the clergy of that deity: some will refuse to believe the god is gone (after all, in some cases, their prayers are still being answered by visions, guiding pronouncements, and spells, which are either provided by the deity because they've not be destroyed or banished from the Realms, or are being provided by another deity hoping to harness the power of a large new group of worshippers, who is masquerading as the former deity), and others will choose to believe the deity has been captured or oppressed in some way by other deities or other forces, and that their duty is now to "free" or "restore" the deity, or even to "pass the test" that the deity is obviously visiting upon "all true believers."
In short, the DM can have very little change in an ongoing campaign, even if the 4e situation is being accepted as canon. Or can use the 4e changes to rejigger many things, great and small, in a campaign. Or settle somewhere in between, using some of what i've just mentioned as pretext for new adventures (which is, after all, what it's all about).
I know very well this has all been said before and it's scant consolation, but . . .
Don't let anyone's changes ruin your game. It's YOUR game.
love,
THO


Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells

The greatest expression of creativity is through Art.
Offense can never be given, only taken.

Edited by - Azuth on 17 Jan 2011 22:56:58
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  00:21:41  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Heh. So would I. Perhaps she didn’t die, hmm?
Or perhaps someone, or several someones, was just much better prepared to handle consequences, this time around (i.e. as opposed to the Time of Troubles). Remember that the Weave is NOT “all magic” or even “all the natural world forces harnessed by magic” but rather a way (and for eons, THE most popular, refined, and best understood way) of harnessing those forces. There are other systems of magic, and always have been, from Ed’s initial creation of the Realms. The Time of Troubles was (as far as we mortals can determine) a war among the gods, complete with all the turbulence attending on actual combat. Perhaps someone - - perhaps Mystra herself - - prepared matters beforehand.
THERE you go. Perhaps this is all a plot engineered by Mystra and Azuth, to force magic-using humans to be more self-reliant, to thin out the ranks of their fellow deities, and to humble (the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim) or move (Halruaa) potential trouble-sources, to establish a “New Order” they can return to, to reign over more effectively.
Or perhaps not.
I find this very, very interesting Ed. And it slightly underlines some of my own pending theories about Mystra 2.0, her death, and the potential for her return. [Including delving into some old stuff involving Mystryl.]

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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
402 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  00:24:11  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
Mystral, Jergal, and Tyche could all be staging a big comeback to greater-power status? Intriguing.

quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Heh. So would I. Perhaps she didn’t die, hmm?
Or perhaps someone, or several someones, was just much better prepared to handle consequences, this time around (i.e. as opposed to the Time of Troubles). Remember that the Weave is NOT “all magic” or even “all the natural world forces harnessed by magic” but rather a way (and for eons, THE most popular, refined, and best understood way) of harnessing those forces. There are other systems of magic, and always have been, from Ed’s initial creation of the Realms. The Time of Troubles was (as far as we mortals can determine) a war among the gods, complete with all the turbulence attending on actual combat. Perhaps someone - - perhaps Mystra herself - - prepared matters beforehand.
THERE you go. Perhaps this is all a plot engineered by Mystra and Azuth, to force magic-using humans to be more self-reliant, to thin out the ranks of their fellow deities, and to humble (the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim) or move (Halruaa) potential trouble-sources, to establish a “New Order” they can return to, to reign over more effectively.
Or perhaps not.
I find this very, very interesting Ed. And it slightly underlines some of my own pending theories about Mystra 2.0, her death, and the potential for her return. [Including delving into some old stuff involving Mystryl.]


Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells

The greatest expression of creativity is through Art.
Offense can never be given, only taken.
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Veritas
Learned Scribe

203 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  00:57:40  Show Profile  Visit Veritas's Homepage Send Veritas a Private Message
Some of the previous replies raises the question to my mind..., what could possibly dispense with or do away with Ao? (Other than Publisher fiat).

Note that I'm not asking what, if anything actually did away with the old man, but what potentially could?

Mayhap he feasted overmuch on Volo's Voluminous Cinnabons and his girth grew so large as to *ahem* break his weave.
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Azuth
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USA
402 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  01:03:18  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
Well, in Waterdeep he does report to a "Master" at the end of the book (is that a spoiler this late in the game?) but I think Publisher ignorance/fiat is really the only explanation. I believe I read that Ao "willed himself into being" or something similar to that (hence my question to Ed on Ao's origins) and if Ao were gone, wouldn't his gods fade as well? At least the ones that were previously in his pantheon, thus his creation, if nothing else?

Hmm.

Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells

quote:
Originally posted by Veritas

Some of the previous replies raises the question to my mind..., what could possibly dispense with or do away with Ao? (Other than Publisher fiat).

Note that I'm not asking what, if anything actually did away with the old man, but what potentially could?

Mayhap he feasted overmuch on Volo's Voluminous Cinnabons and his girth grew so large as to *ahem* break his weave.


Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells

The greatest expression of creativity is through Art.
Offense can never be given, only taken.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  02:40:00  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Well, I'm not Ed, but I can answer part of the bit about Ao's current status. About two-and-a-bit years ago, Rich Baker stated on the Wizards boards, that Ao was largely being ignored and, effectively, written out of the post-Spellplague Realms.

From my own POV, Ao was a clumsy personification of certain divine and cosmic rules and forces anyway. I won't loose any sleep on seeing him depart from the setting. However, he does still represent a fundamental aspect integral to the divine in the Realms -- that being, the check on godly power. And ignoring that aspect of checks on divine action, I think, opens the door for some rather harsh abuse re: just what gods can and cannot do in the Realms.

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

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

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  03:16:04  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
An interesting insight. I never had any problems with Ao - it was clear in all of the literature that he utterly ignored mortals, but I liked his role in the Avatar Series books, especially the last two by Ciencin and Denning. What you stated about the check on godly powers is (in my opinion) why Ao is needed. I particularly like how the gods were tied to worship, and losing worship meant losing power. I find the fact that the Wizards people quietly wrote him out (AKA ignoring him) without officially doing so in the core rules in effect gives them (for the point of argument) an equally-weak plot tool to bring the gods back if they so choose. On the one or two occasions when I've used Ao in my game, it was in connection with some supposedly beyond-godly artifact (I love tomes in particular) that the characters must find. Of course, it never existed, but it's all about good storytelling and fun campaigns anyway. All that being said, I would be sorry to see Ao written off - he was a good "check and balance" on the gods of Toril, and a great balance - no pun intended - on making sure the gods weren't too powerful. With respect to what THO said about him, I'm curious about Ed's take on the situation as it's still unclear to me who created Ao: Ed, or the TSR people behind "Avatar?"

Azuth, the First Magister…perhaps an undead god of immense power
Lord of All Spells


quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

Well, I'm not Ed, but I can answer part of the bit about Ao's current status. About two-and-a-bit years ago, Rich Baker stated on the Wizards boards, that Ao was largely being ignored and, effectively, written out of the post-Spellplague Realms.

From my own POV, Ao was a clumsy personification of certain divine and cosmic rules and forces anyway. I won't loose any sleep on seeing him depart from the setting. However, he does still represent a fundamental aspect integral to the divine in the Realms -- that being, the check on godly power. And ignoring that aspect of checks on divine action, I think, opens the door for some rather harsh abuse re: just what gods can and cannot do in the Realms.



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The Sage
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  04:24:31  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Ao was not something Ed created. TSR come up with the concept of Ao and he was brought into the setting during the Time of Troubles -- through the 1e to 2e change over. As it stands, Ed has no idea on where TSR came up with the concept of Ao.

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Azuth
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  04:36:11  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message

My suspicion would then lean toward the authors of the original Avatar Trilogy, given Ao appears in the prologue of book I. I suppose that while Ed is often juxtaposed with Elminster, he truly is Ao having created the Realms. I'd really be interested in his thoughts on Ao from an academic standpoint, as he can't comment on them from a professional one, I suspect. Did Ed create the concept of the Weave?

Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells


quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

Ao was not something Ed created. TSR come up with the concept of Ao and he was brought into the setting during the Time of Troubles -- through the 1e to 2e change over. As it stands, Ed has no idea on where TSR came up with the concept of Ao.



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The Sage
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  05:34:31  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
The Weave is indeed an Ed-creation. You can search through his past replies [see the "So Saith Ed" archives in my signature], for more on this.

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Azuth
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  06:05:35  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message

Wow! Ed's posting on March 11, (2004!) really adds some perspective, and emphasizes the fact that WoTC really doesn't follow Ed's much-better musings and illuminations nearly often enough- to their own folly based on my readings.

What still remains a mystery to me is how most people can still use magic in Faerûn without the Weave? Perhaps I should rephrase: how long-lived beings and items bound to and trained through magic via the Weave could continue to function. Pardon the terrible analogy, but if a car that runs on fossil fuels no longer has fossil fuels, it cannot just "learn" to run on alternate forms of energy.

I always found the Shadow Weave an intriguing concept, but I can't find any answers as to its fate after the Spell Plague. I know that Shar was one of those responsible for the murder of Mystra, so it makes sense that the Shadow Weave could exist, but as I understand it (verily, not very well at all) switching from the Weave to the Shadow Weave causes madness of some sort. I guess I'll chalk that up as another question for Ed. Thanks to The Sage for the pointer. So Saeth Ed has a lot through which to read, but I am working on it!


Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells


quote:
Originally said by Ed

If Mystra (and Shar) lose all of their powers, are the Weave and Anti-Weave destroyed/collapsed/left untended? In other words, do spells still work for anyone? Is wild magic raging chaotic and uncontrolled across the world, beyond the control or influence of anyone? Would creatures with innate magic die in agony, burned out or torn apart from within? Would any being with spells memorized at the time suffer the same fate, or just go insane? Or would they, too, randomly gain initially-uncontrolled (and perhaps temporary) "superpowers"?…

What I personally would do, if that happened, was keep the Weave operating and Mystra "alive and functioning," transform her Chosen into killers intent on eliminating all demigods (if necessary, by manipulating demigods into small cabals and alliances and driving them to make war on each other), strip priests of all spells and add a slowly-increasing-chances wild magic element to all spells cast (except discharges of simple magic effects ["simple" being fireballs or lightning bolts, whereas mind-reading, identification, mending, or suchlike would be deemed "complex"] stored in items, and with the Chosen of Mystra and the demigods having a smaller tendency to succumb to wild magic), and have creatures of magical natures (liches and so on) start to quickly decay (and therefore become desperate). Portals (to other worlds and planes, NOT those just linking places in Faerun to other places in Faerun) would become areas of magical stability as well as escape routes from the Realms, beings with psionic powers would acquire growing influence and importance as magic crashed and burned, and [b[Mystra would put all of her remaining strength and power into holding the Weave together[/b] [emphasis mine] (so castles held up by magic would start to fall, magic items not deemed artifacts would slowly lose their efficacy, and so on).

Bear in mind that you'd be changing the Realms markedly, because the fangs and claws of big monsters, and the number of swords a commander can bring into battle, would rise to rule in a way magic had hitherto balanced against.

The end result, of course, would depend on what happened, in the longer run, to the demigods and the Weave. I'd expect they'd tame their powers to become new lesser gods, resident in Toril, and the Weave would eventually stabilize, but one thing is for darned sure: for the common man or even for the intrepid adventurer, it would NOT be a fun time to live through.



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Veritas
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Posted - 18 Jan 2011 :  19:32:14  Show Profile  Visit Veritas's Homepage Send Veritas a Private Message
Richard Baker stating that Ao is being ignored would fall under the “Publisher fiat” blocking Ao. Other than that we have no explanation for his taking a backseat. It was hinted above that perhaps he was unable to intervene (as opposed to choosing not to) which raises the question as to what could possibly be powerful enough (other than Publisher fiat) to prevent Ao from doing anything he wanted. The only suspect we currently have is Ao’s obscure master whose two or three line appearance at the end of Waterdeep has long been considered to be a representation of the Dungeon Master or the Publisher.
It should be noted that our Realms are not and have not been entirely Ed’s Realms for a long time. As far as I know, Ed’s Realms still predate the Time of Trouble. No Midnight. No Cyric. No Kelemvor. No Ao.

However Ao is a part of the Realms we have and has been since the ToT. Ao even makes an appearance in Ed’s own Shadows of the Avatar Trilogy sending Elminster on a slay and fetch quest.

Writing him out is also a tricky proposition in that he stands for a power that is above and outside the divine ranking system. There are at least three epic destinies in the 4th edition which account for characters becoming more than divine. (Immanence, Parable, and Demiurge all spring immediately to mind). Therefore the concept of overpower like beings is now enshrined in the current edition, moreso than any other.

On a different note,
As interesting as I find Ed’s tantalizing theory that the unraveling of the weave was a deliberate plot by the gods of magic to put wizards in their place, a theory which respectfully I find unpalatable based on Mystra’s continuing ability to restrict magic to races and peoples without a wholesale cataclysm (e.g. preventing humans from accessing 10th level magic in 2e post Netheril in addition to driving her own champions insane. In addition it would at least presumably void the Cyric big imprisoned aspect of the story as well. So he’s not imprisoned then or was imprisoned for something else? It just doesn’t mesh (to me).
However presuming Mystra was truly dead and gone, what is to prevent another god from creating his own weave to access magic however he chose? It would go a long way to restoring divine power to what it was before the spellplague, as deities seem to be much weaker now. Did the deific abilities to warp reality (Alter Reality Salient Divine Ability) disappear with the weave? If so there would be little incentive for any deity not to hurry about imposing their own interface on the raw magic to restore those powers. Bane comes to mind as one of the deities who would be in the greatest hurry to make a weave of his own.

And hey, Azuth, aren’t you dead? ;)

Edit: Just had a sudden insight on who has been keeping Ao in check. It seems like they found a way to make Pun-Pun canon after all!

Edited by - Veritas on 18 Jan 2011 23:01:12
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Azuth
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Posted - 19 Jan 2011 :  00:03:47  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message

I so enjoy and look forward to reading this thread, although it's becoming close that it might be prudent to create a new thread of Musings on Ao.
All good points, Veritas. Which is why I really need Ed's insight onto how he envisions the Weave to work. Karsus' attempt at divinity (if memory serves) caused Mystryl to sacrifice herself and the Weave failed momentarily: enter the demise of Netheril. She was (nearly) immediately reincarnated as the original Mystra, indicating that the Weave couldn't be destroyed. (Again, this is where I feel clarification from Ed would be helpful). What continues to confound me is that, purportedly, Cyric and Shar colluded to kill Mystra, thus bringing about the Spellplague. However, Midnight/Mystra was able to deny Cyric access to the Weave with a mere thought in Prince of Lies and although she relented, one would assume she could do so again in self-defense. More plainly put, it makes no sense for Shar or Cyric to kill Mystra as she is (again, as I understand it) a manifestation of the Weave. Even assuming she can die, wouldn't yet another manifestation of Mystra return? Perhaps what troubles me the most is Ao, yet again. I must assume that he upheld the Weave during the period within the Time of Troubles from when Helm killed Mystra (but did not collapse the Weave) and Midnight ascended atop Mount Waterdeep.

It certainly could be argued that, as God of Murder, Cyric's role is to try and murder other gods, but if that is true, then Bhaal was a lousy god of assassins. My reading is that a god's portfolio of duties pertains to the Realms, so Cyric's job is to promote murder in the Realms, not between gods.

I agree wholeheartedly that the post about Ao's superior alludes to the DM, although some religious people have said they felt it was a platitude to people that even Ao was beneath the Christian God (I am not among that group).

I've read mixed accounts, none "official" of which I am aware, that the Shadow Weave cannot exist without the Weave. Since Mystra/Mystryl's body was wrought from the Weave itself, it would seem in my mind's eye that no other god could take on its care without losing his or her other aspects of influence. In summary, I just don't believe you can have the Realms (with magic, anyway) and not have the Weave.

Not to fall on my staff, but the lesser powers' powers could easily be subsumed by a greater power, but the major powers seemed to generally focus on one area. Azuth may have been the first magister and thus awarded godhood over mages, but the role of "Lord of All Spells" could very easily be within the domain of Mystra/God(ess)of Magic. Thus, while Ao may not have been a part of Ed's original campaign, he almost seems, of necessity, to be a part of the 4E world for magic to exist.

I remain unhappy with many of WoTC's decisions since taking over D&D, although I did like their update to the brand for the third edition. On that note, could The Sage, THO, or anyone else share with me who designed the specatcular Candlekeep logo for this site? The lettering is superbly done.

I may be dead now, but I wasn't when I wrote this, and I may decide I'm not again in the future: you have been warned.

May all your spells go off as intended,

Azuth, the First Magister
Lord of All Spells



quote:
Originally posted by Veritas

Richard Baker stating that Ao is being ignored would fall under the “Publisher fiat” blocking Ao. Other than that we have no explanation for his taking a backseat. It was hinted above that perhaps he was unable to intervene (as opposed to choosing not to) which raises the question as to what could possibly be powerful enough (other than Publisher fiat) to prevent Ao from doing anything he wanted. The only suspect we currently have is Ao’s obscure master whose two or three line appearance at the end of Waterdeep has long been considered to be a representation of the Dungeon Master or the Publisher.
It should be noted that our Realms are not and have not been entirely Ed’s Realms for a long time. As far as I know, Ed’s Realms still predate the Time of Trouble. No Midnight. No Cyric. No Kelemvor. No Ao.

However Ao is a part of the Realms we have and has been since the ToT. Ao even makes an appearance in Ed’s own Shadows of the Avatar Trilogy sending Elminster on a slay and fetch quest.

Writing him out is also a tricky proposition in that he stands for a power that is above and outside the divine ranking system. There are at least three epic destinies in the 4th edition which account for characters becoming more than divine. (Immanence, Parable, and Demiurge all spring immediately to mind). Therefore the concept of overpower like beings is now enshrined in the current edition, moreso than any other.

On a different note,
As interesting as I find Ed’s tantalizing theory that the unraveling of the weave was a deliberate plot by the gods of magic to put wizards in their place, a theory which respectfully I find unpalatable based on Mystra’s continuing ability to restrict magic to races and peoples without a wholesale cataclysm (e.g. preventing humans from accessing 10th level magic in 2e post Netheril in addition to driving her own champions insane. In addition it would at least presumably void the Cyric big imprisoned aspect of the story as well. So he’s not imprisoned then or was imprisoned for something else? It just doesn’t mesh (to me).
However presuming Mystra was truly dead and gone, what is to prevent another god from creating his own weave to access magic however he chose? It would go a long way to restoring divine power to what it was before the spellplague, as deities seem to be much weaker now. Did the deific abilities to warp reality (Alter Reality Salient Divine Ability) disappear with the weave? If so there would be little incentive for any deity not to hurry about imposing their own interface on the raw magic to restore those powers. Bane comes to mind as one of the deities who would be in the greatest hurry to make a weave of his own.

And hey, Azuth, aren’t you dead? ;)

Edit: Just had a sudden insight on who has been keeping Ao in check. It seems like they found a way to make Pun-Pun canon after all!



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Offense can never be given, only taken.
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