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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2011 :  22:05:35  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Many places, no doubt, but some of mine tend to come from songs.

Today's blog post tells a bit of backstory about Hedvig, a character in an upcoming Tales of Sevrin book. http://www.elainecunningham.com/2011/10/25/dwarf-girls-have-more-fun-no-really/

Some of you might remember Jill, the berserker dwarf from Silver Shadows. A few readers have identified the source of inspiration: Johnny Cash's song "A Boy Named Sue."

Danilo's roots include the adventure story The Scarlet Pimpernel. and Oscar Wilde's plays.

I have no idea where Liriel came from.

Anyone care to chime in with mini-backstories, sources of inspiration, and so on? Anyone can play--you don't need to be a published writer.

Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2011 :  22:21:03  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

One of my favorite characters came to life after I first heard Regine Velasquez's Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin.

[Most of Stephenie Meyer's heroes and villains are inspired by the band The Muse. I like most of her characters, but not the band.]

Every beginning has an end.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2011 :  22:23:17  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always thought that characters are created when a mommy character and daddy character love each other very much....

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  00:22:05  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

I always thought that characters are created when a mommy character and daddy character love each other very much....



Darn. Someone beat me to the obvious punch.

Steven
who's not above reaching for silly cliches, giving them better hats, and calling them archetypes

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  02:30:54  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  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

Many places, no doubt, but some of mine tend to come from songs.

Today's blog post tells a bit of backstory about Hedvig, a character in an upcoming Tales of Sevrin book. http://www.elainecunningham.com/2011/10/25/dwarf-girls-have-more-fun-no-really/
Elaine, the musician-in-me absolutely adores this latest offering from your blog.

On a related note, I'm glad to see that I am not the only wordsmith who derives unique and interesting characters from song. Because I've often been met with curious stares and strange glances from reading folk here when I say that my latest character may have originally been sourced from a piece by Gustav Mahler, for example.

I find music usually inspires my character-creation methods more so than just about any other form of media.

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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4586 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  03:17:03  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage  Send Erik Scott de Bie an AOL message Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it's pretty common to create characters from stories you admire and enjoy.

The Ghostwalker comes from the Man with No Name, of Spaghetti Western fame, mixed with the Crow, as narrated by Stone Sour's song "Reborn." (Though I think technically I heard the song after the germination of the character, but that's the idea.)

Fox-at-Twilight has nothing to do with vampires, but a lot to do with every femme fatale ever. Also she comes specifically from one Planescape: Planes of Chaos image. These days, I have only to look at the Pathfinder Shadowdancer pic to know exactly how she looks and moves.

Shadowbane is a little bit Batman as played by Daniel Craig, and a little bit my answer to the "lawful stupid" paladin trope.

No idea where Myrin originated, though I have a thing about extensively tattooed female wizards . . .

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Signature of Shameless Self-Promotion +6: Order my sixth novel, Shadow of the Winter King (Amazon, e-signing, Dragonmoon Press)

Also check out my Realms work, most recently Shadowbane: Eye of Justice, out now on e-readers everywhere! (Kindle, Nook)
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  04:13:25  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  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Erik Scott de Bie

Fox-at-Twilight has nothing to do with vampires, but a lot to do with every femme fatale ever. Also she comes specifically from one Planescape: Planes of Chaos image.
I've a few ideas about which image in may have been [the full-sheet picture on pg. 7 of The Travelogue, for example], but do you happen to recall which one it was exactly, Erik? [I'm simply curious to see how close I was with my ideas.]
quote:

Shadowbane is a little bit Batman as played by Daniel Craig, and a little bit my answer to the "lawful stupid" paladin trope.
It's strange, but I've often thought that if there were ever a film adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, I could imagine Craig in the role of the aged Batman.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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

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Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Seabus Mythforger
Learned Scribe

76 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  05:40:39  Show Profile Send Seabus Mythforger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My characters easily come from the thousands upon thousands of people that live inside my head.

~Seabus Mythforger,
Renegade Mage
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zenmichael
Seeker

USA
52 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  14:21:30  Show Profile  Visit zenmichael's Homepage  Send zenmichael an AOL message  Send zenmichael a Yahoo! Message Send zenmichael a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I once did a superhero comic but was crap at creating superpowers, and I didn't want that to be the focus anyway, so I asked all my artist friends what abandoned superheroes they had made up as youngsters & just used those (we had a man made of wax--Wax Man--and a guy with a really big helmet on his head--Helmet Head, etc. They were awesome, trust me).

I also wrote a short story whose main character was based on the guy who's Jesus' bowling partner in "The Big Lebowski," Liam. I just really wanted to know that dude's story, so I gave him one.

Realms Remembered: A Chronological Read-Through (DR) of Forgotten Realms Fiction
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  14:46:49  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seabus Mythforger

My characters easily come from the thousands upon thousands of people that live inside my head.




Remember that even if the voices inside of your head aren't real, sometimes they have some pretty good ideas.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  14:49:55  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.

Every beginning has an end.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  15:23:19  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.



What like a were-camel?

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
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Therise
Master of Realmslore

1265 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  17:10:11  Show Profile Send Therise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.



What like a were-camel?


Shh! They're saving the Invasion of the Camel-born for 5E.

Special character benefit: ability to store water and fat in back-humps.



4E Realms was awful, but it's water under the Boareskyr Bridge. Let's make 5E Realms truly shine!

Edited by - Therise on 26 Oct 2011 17:12:00
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2011 :  17:47:25  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Therise

quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.



What like a were-camel?


Shh! They're saving the Invasion of the Camel-born for 5E.

Special character benefit: ability to store water and fat in back-humps.






Don't forget "called shots" with spitting

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
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Mantis
Seeker

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  05:45:21  Show Profile Send Mantis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I create a character I usually have seen a picture of something like an ornate dagger or a twisted carved staff. Then I think what kind of character would use something like that?
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  07:48:48  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.



What like a were-camel?

Something like that. He made Fortune, a cheap cigar, the name of his poor, battered, horribly deformed, and hopelessly "unfortunate" character.

Every beginning has an end.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  14:35:35  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


My nutty friend based some of his characters on cigarette brands and their endorsers.



What like a were-camel?

Something like that. He made Fortune, a cheap cigar, the name of his poor, battered, horribly deformed, and hopelessly "unfortunate" character.



lol

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian
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Yoss
Learned Scribe

USA
259 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  15:17:51  Show Profile Send Yoss a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've come to the realization that no matter what music/movies/books I try to borrow from, I can never select a decent name for a character. Or a message board handle, even. My hat's off to you folks who can.

<---who is named after their first WoW character (the short version, since he was originally named after Yossarian from Catch-22).
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  15:30:15  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Yoss

I've come to the realization that no matter what music/movies/books I try to borrow from, I can never select a decent name for a character. Or a message board handle, even. My hat's off to you folks who can.

<---who is named after their first WoW character (the short version, since he was originally named after Yossarian from Catch-22).



A cool way to come up with unique character names is to just randomnly type on your keboard and see what comes up. Interesting names may jump out at you when you add strategic vowels or tweak it a little.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Be my friend on Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6751111-brian

Edited by - Artemas Entreri on 27 Oct 2011 15:30:56
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  17:43:23  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
Originally posted by Yoss

I've come to the realization that no matter what music/movies/books I try to borrow from, I can never select a decent name for a character. Or a message board handle, even. My hat's off to you folks who can.

<---who is named after their first WoW character (the short version, since he was originally named after Yossarian from Catch-22).



A cool way to come up with unique character names is to just randomnly type on your keboard and see what comes up. Interesting names may jump out at you when you add strategic vowels or tweak it a little.

There are a couple of sites that generate fantasy names. Some names are passable, few sound good, while most [for me, of course] are disastrously insipid.

Every beginning has an end.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  19:08:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I keep a running list of names. Whenever I think of something that could be a name, I add it to my list. Later on, when I need a name for something, I review the list. Sometimes names just jump right off the list, sometimes I start with something on my list and then tweak it a bit, other times I don't like any of the names, and come up with something new.

Brainstorming for the latter often generates new names for the list.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  19:24:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A mini-backstory... Once upon a time, I was very much inclined towards being a munchkin. I would come up with NPCs that had backstories and small magical arsenals, but no personalities... One such NPC was Sierkan Dahl, whom I later wrote up for my Lords of Waterdeep articles for the Compendium.

He was originally created to be the psionic member of an archmage's entourage (the archmage was an Elminster knockoff! ). I later scrapped the idea, but kept the name handy.

When I was working my Lords of Waterdeep project, I decided I wanted to include Sierkan, and to keep him a psionicist. I needed a reason for him to have gotten into psionics, though, and that was tough. I eventually came up with the idea of an amnesiac searching for his past -- more than a bit cliché, certainly, but it seemed a very good reason for someone to delve into the secrets of the mind. From there, it was just filling in the details.

I added in his lady Sapphire because I'd long wanted to use, in some fashion, the Alias clone that was a Waterdhavian courtesan. And I also rolled in another of my random ideas, with the psionicist who is killed by a greater doppelganger but manages to take over that greater doppelganger's mind. Both were ideas I'd been sitting on for a while, and both added nicely to the backstory.

In my write-up, I left Sierkan's early history blank, so that DMs who wanted to use him could add whatever details they wanted to his lost years. Personally, I see him as a MechWarrior in the Davion Heavy Guards, around the time of the Fourth Succession War. He was injured in combat, and had problems interfacing with Mechs afterwards. During the course of investigating this, it was somehow discovered that Sierkan (whatever his name was, then) had psychic abilities. Sierkan was officially declared medically unfit to drive a Mech, and sent to the New Avalon Military Academy as an unarmed combat instructor. Unofficially, he was actually there so the scientists at the New Avalon Institute of Science could study him and his abilities. When ComStar, masquerading as those dirty Cappies, attacked the NAIS, something happened (an experiment gone awry, perhaps, or maybe some unknown ability of Sierkan's) and chucked Sierkan off of New Avalon, and into the Realms.

Because of that part of his backstory, and also because I was avoiding the tall/handsome/young dude cliché, I based his appearance on another BattleTech character, Jaime Wolf of Wolf's Dragoons.

And that's how Sierkan's backstory and concept came about.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Yoss
Learned Scribe

USA
259 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  21:22:17  Show Profile Send Yoss a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I keep a running list of names. Whenever I think of something that could be a name, I add it to my list. Later on, when I need a name for something, I review the list. Sometimes names just jump right off the list, sometimes I start with something on my list and then tweak it a bit, other times I don't like any of the names, and come up with something new.

Brainstorming for the latter often generates new names for the list.



That's what I need, a list. When swtor comes out, I can't be running around with a sith assassin named after Artemis Entreri. That would just be silly.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  22:14:17  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Yoss

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I keep a running list of names. Whenever I think of something that could be a name, I add it to my list. Later on, when I need a name for something, I review the list. Sometimes names just jump right off the list, sometimes I start with something on my list and then tweak it a bit, other times I don't like any of the names, and come up with something new.

Brainstorming for the latter often generates new names for the list.



That's what I need, a list. When swtor comes out, I can't be running around with a sith assassin named after Artemis Entreri. That would just be silly.



It wouldn't be uncommon, either... In LotRO, I've seen several toons named after RAS characters. A few from other FR books, but mostly from RAS.

I also once saw Frohdoh and Legulass running around... That was simply painful, to me.

Out of nine LotRO toons, I have one that doesn't have an original name -- and that one is an alternate spelling of an Egyptian deity.

During my brief forays into SWG and WoW, each of my toons had original names.

The SWG toon I wound up heavily modifying and using as one of my other Lords of Waterdeep. By the time I was done, it was mostly a very loose concept of how I played that character, but it still was the basis for Taethen Caliel.

One part of the backstory involved a deliberate name change -- the toon's name wouldn't work well in the Realms, so I was trying to explain why the character had such an unusual name. I eventually tossed the name aside -- it just wouldn't work. But the idea behind the name change worked for me, so I left that as part of his backstory. Having a need for the guy to want to change his name made for a good part of his history, thinks I.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!

Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 27 Oct 2011 22:15:25
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Yoss
Learned Scribe

USA
259 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2011 :  22:26:35  Show Profile Send Yoss a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Yoss

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I keep a running list of names. Whenever I think of something that could be a name, I add it to my list. Later on, when I need a name for something, I review the list. Sometimes names just jump right off the list, sometimes I start with something on my list and then tweak it a bit, other times I don't like any of the names, and come up with something new.

Brainstorming for the latter often generates new names for the list.



That's what I need, a list. When swtor comes out, I can't be running around with a sith assassin named after Artemis Entreri. That would just be silly.



It wouldn't be uncommon, either... In LotRO, I've seen several toons named after RAS characters. A few from other FR books, but mostly from RAS.

I also once saw Frohdoh and Legulass running around... That was simply painful, to me.

Out of nine LotRO toons, I have one that doesn't have an original name -- and that one is an alternate spelling of an Egyptian deity.

During my brief forays into SWG and WoW, each of my toons had original names.

The SWG toon I wound up heavily modifying and using as one of my other Lords of Waterdeep. By the time I was done, it was mostly a very loose concept of how I played that character, but it still was the basis for Taethen Caliel.

One part of the backstory involved a deliberate name change -- the toon's name wouldn't work well in the Realms, so I was trying to explain why the character had such an unusual name. I eventually tossed the name aside -- it just wouldn't work. But the idea behind the name change worked for me, so I left that as part of his backstory. Having a need for the guy to want to change his name made for a good part of his history, thinks I.



Frodoh, OUCH. That's up there with Yoduh in terms of painful.

Ya, I know it's not uncommon at all. I've seen a Danilo (although I think he had an extra N or L), far too many variants on Drizzt, my buddy called about 3 different druids Khelben (he has a habit of re-starting toons like you would not believe), and I found it endlessly hilarious to run around on my rogue named after Entreri with another guildie's hunter named Catti-brie (he's got a Qilue as well), a Gromph (who I didn't notice was in a battleground with us til he pointed out in chat that Entreri and Catti-brie were on the same team) etc. Never mind all the non-Realms books I've named video game toons after...

The friend who got me hooked on FR came up with a pretty in-depth backstory for an army of toons once swtor comes out, and while I did the same for an Imperial Agent I may or may not play, I can't even name the thing.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 28 Oct 2011 :  00:57:17  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  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I keep a running list of names. Whenever I think of something that could be a name, I add it to my list. Later on, when I need a name for something, I review the list. Sometimes names just jump right off the list, sometimes I start with something on my list and then tweak it a bit, other times I don't like any of the names, and come up with something new.

Brainstorming for the latter often generates new names for the list.

Pretty much the same for me as well.

The only difference for me is, I also have a "splicing name" side-list, which features names, titles, and other assorted naming conventions that I like to play with from time to time. Mixing and matching half-names with other names that wouldn't otherwise go together.

It's all for fun, really, and rarely something I use in my serious writings. I just like playing with names.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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

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

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

Edited by - The Sage on 28 Oct 2011 01:01:12
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