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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2012 :  00:12:33  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Hi Ed and THO,

While I love my summers and what's turning out to be a really nice spring up here in North Dakota and don't want to see the nice weather end, I'm definitely excited for the onslaught of Realms books and novels we have coming out later this summer. Hoping we get a sample chapter of Elminster Enraged soon!

I've been mulling over some campaign specifics and was wondering if either of you could lend some insight. Specifically, how do drow generally go about breaking through a rival family's compound walls? Or do they usually try to make it through the main gates? I'd imagine the more powerful houses would have access to flat out destructive things such as disintegrate and swarms of fireballs to get them in the door, but how would lower powered houses fare? I always figured many of the smaller houses would probably have major NPC's (house wizard, matron mother, weaponsmaster etc) in the 5th to 9th level range. I'm not worried about specific edition rulesets, but how would you handle warfare between smaller houses. With the severe penalties for failing at a raid in Lolth worshipping communities, wouldn't they have some sort of specific tactics for attacks that don't rely on heavy magic support?

Thank you both. :)

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2012 :  18:08:53  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, Eilserus!
As it happens, your topic is one I overheard Ed discussing with a TSR designer at a long-ago GenCon, so I can provide you a paraphrase of his views on this.
In general, the hardest thing for a drow house to conceal in an attack on a rival house in the same city is the military buildup. So a lot of misdirection and guerilla stuff goes on, including secretly mustering way out in the "wild" Underdark and then ambushing the rival house's patrols to weaken them, for some months before the all-out assault.
In all cases where the attacker doesn't have the brute-force or magical muscle to "crash right in," the assault usually involves trying to find defensive weaknesses and gaining access hard and fast through those weak points (which usually means an assault using magic or drop-lines from cavern ceilings or both, to gain access to upper-level windows or floors and so bypassing entry doors and heavily-defended areas), and deception (coming in concealed in food wagons, or posing as members of the house returning from a patrol or business trip, etc.).
Attackers often employ "trick" wagons loaded with timber frames that can be unfolded to jam doors open, or bombs (so as to blow up front gates or firing-port defenses), and smokepot/fiery bombs to force defenders out of certain areas with thick smoke, etc.
It is almost always against local civic rules to "wholesale poison" large numbers of fellow drow (i.e. by tainting a well or common water supply or incoming food or drinkables), though poisoned weapons can be used. Usually a house that does this will be punished by the rest of the community in the same manner as if their assault had failed.
So the magically-capable members of smaller drow houses engaged in warfare would do things like cast fly spells on key warriors of their house to mount these upper-storey assaults, and then provide "fighting support" (the fireballs, the webs) to assault teams once things get underway.
Lastly, diversions and disruptions. Such as an arranged stampede of pack lizards or Underdark monsters to occupy defenders in one or more locations before the real attackers arrive in other locations. Hired or manipulated driders (outcasts, not part of the attacking house) who stage a timely/untimely raid. Avalanches or stalactite falls (magically or physically triggered), and so on.


I hope this helps. This all comes from Ed's long-ago instructions, but in game time, not much time has passed to change drow tactics in the Underdark, for such things...
love,
THO
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2012 :  19:44:31  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Hi THO,

Very nice! Thank you very much. :) Did Ed by chance mention how many soldiers one of those smaller houses tends to command? I was thinking something like 20 to 50 warriors for them. What do you think? Thanks again milady, this is great! :)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2012 :  20:17:25  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A pleasure!
I sent your queries and my reply off to Ed, and just got an e-mail back from him which reads in part:

As for troop strength...well, as much as Candlekeep scribes are growing weary of my saying "it depends," I'm going to do it again anyway: It depends. :}
But yes, 20 to 50 warriors sounds good (less than twenty is either just a patrol raid or a suicidal attack, unless it's one unit of several involved in an all-out assault, and much above fifty isn't a smaller house unless the entire city is small or ravaged by war). The only such attack I've ever roleplayed through in detail, in a TSR playtest years back, had a main force of 45 (three priestesses and two wizards leading forty warriors) and a secondary "sneak attack from the rear" force of six veteran fighters, four veteran wizards, and two novice wizards.


So saith Ed. Who is, I think, finishing up the Spin A Yarn opus right now.
love,
THO
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5249 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2012 :  22:28:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by crazedventurers

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

One of the things that only recently came to mind though, is how did Mystra react to Thay's breaking away? How did the Chosen react to Thay's breaking away?


I would suspect that Mystra would welcome the move because it encourages the use of Art amongst people (more opportunities to learn the Art now the Mulhorandi 'Tyranny' is ended) and also encourages wizards to expand their range of spells as well (so the red wizards break away and a war of succession/repression takes place, involving magic on both sides, which forces wizards on both sides to think of new spells to protect/hide/buff themselves against the new slaying spells that the opposition wizards have created to more quickly kill their enemy etc.)

I would suspect a massive increase in new and uncovered magic as well during this time. Wizards fight and die and their hidden spell books fall into other hands and more general use, also the creation and use of magic items would likely to increase as well.

We also see the emergence of a magical led society which despite its alignment will see magic flourish and become an every day occurence furthering the Art every day in every day ways.

The Thayvians also provide a nice balance against the Halruaans and the Rashemi, as well as (arguably) saving the Sword Coast North from plunging into chaos during the Orcgates Affair and providing yet another group of wizards (the Covenant) an opportunity to plot and plan and craft Art against Thay in retaliation for the Orcgates Affair.

Just my thoughts

Damian



That was where I was actually starting to lean too, which is why I'm wondering.... did Mystra and her Chosen actually HELP Thay? It'd be an interesting quandary if the people who purport to save the realms were actually instrumental in forming something which went so wrong.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  04:30:57  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

A pleasure!
I sent your queries and my reply off to Ed, and just got an e-mail back from him which reads in part:

As for troop strength...well, as much as Candlekeep scribes are growing weary of my saying "it depends," I'm going to do it again anyway: It depends. :}
But yes, 20 to 50 warriors sounds good (less than twenty is either just a patrol raid or a suicidal attack, unless it's one unit of several involved in an all-out assault, and much above fifty isn't a smaller house unless the entire city is small or ravaged by war). The only such attack I've ever roleplayed through in detail, in a TSR playtest years back, had a main force of 45 (three priestesses and two wizards leading forty warriors) and a secondary "sneak attack from the rear" force of six veteran fighters, four veteran wizards, and two novice wizards.


So saith Ed. Who is, I think, finishing up the Spin A Yarn opus right now.
love,
THO




Thanks again THO and Ed! These are the kind of great details I love that helps in world building. :) Hope you both have a great weekend!
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  11:32:05  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
That was where I was actually starting to lean too, which is why I'm wondering.... did Mystra and her Chosen actually HELP Thay?



I too would love to hear more on whether Mystra and/or her Chosen were active in the Thayan rebellion.

My thoughts:
I would suspect that Mystra probably did and that mortal agents prodded and poked the rebels along (though whether these mortals served Mystra or another deity/demon/devil is up for discussion).

I think that Mystra's Chosen have actually been a lot more active in creating, shaping and balancing countries/kingdoms/realms albeit extremely subtly throughout the 'recent history' of the Realms as a whole.

A long time ago on the Realms mailing list Geroge Krashos and I had a series of back and forth posts about The Covenant, Nimoars Hold and Ahghairon and how Khelben/Mystra was manipulating the wizards of the Sword Coast North to create a stable environment for people to live and places to flourish. Krash ended one response with
"A tangled web indeed - but not outside the Realms of possibility. And
Khelben (in disguise) did tutor Ahghairon while he lived in Silverymoon and dropped out of sight in c. 956 DR. Hmm, interesting.:)"

http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0503D&L=REALMS-L&P=R1566&I=-3

Am looking forward to further responses from the Lorelords of the Realms

Cheers

Damian

So saith Ed. I've never said he was sane, have I?
Gods, all this writing and he's running a constant fantasy version of Coronation Street in his head, too. .
shudder,
love to all,
THO
Candlekeep Forum 7 May 2005
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Veritas
Learned Scribe

195 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  16:29:34  Show Profile  Visit Veritas's Homepage Send Veritas a Private Message
Hello fellow Realms lovers. (Does that sound oddly naughty to you?)As always, thank you Ed for creating such a rich and vibrant world for us to play in.

These are brief questions to Ed (or whomever can direct me to the answers) about kiira, selu'kiira and Ar'Cor'Kerym's selu'kiira for a concept that we may be using in a campaign.

When a kiira or selu'kiira is worn, does it automatically copy its bearer's memories, or is this a gradual process? If its gradual, how long does it tend to take? Did the kiira Elminster wore in 'Elminster in Myth Drannor' copy his memories? If so, were those memories available to subsequent wearers of the kiira? Or did his Chosen of Mystra abilities prevent his memories from being recorded?

The Ruler's Blade has three selu'kiira in 650 DR, (2 black, 1 red, representing presumably at least 5,000 years of combined memories). Does the Ruler's Blade selu'kiira store the memories of the elves who wielded it? The Srinshee drew the blade and kept it in her possession for centuries. Some time ago, you (Ed) mentioned that your estimate of the Srinshee's power, in 2e/3e game terms, was around 54th level. Was that a result of her combined knowledge and power and that of the selu'kiira in Ar'Cor'Kerym, or did she attain that on her own. Is the Srinshee's knowledge stored in those selu'kiira now?

Finally, assuming, hypothetically, that some character could safely drain and absorb all the memories from Ar'cor'kerym's selu'kiira, without going insane or be otherwise destroyed, feeblewitted, or impaired what would you his mage/high mage level to be in 2e/3e game terms. Conceptually (not in game terms) how would his power compare to your conception of Larloch, the Srinshee, Ioulaum, or the Terraseer?

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  17:59:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
I bring you the latest response from Ed, this time to the post by Veritas immediately above:
V: "When a kiira or selu'kiira is worn, does it automatically copy its bearer's memories, or is this a gradual process? If its gradual, how long does it tend to take?"
Ed: No, it's neither automatic nor swift. It is slow and random, being driven/fueled mostly by emotions of the bearer (longing, wistfulness, love, and rage being the strongest drivers). It can take years, depending on the level of mental activity, acuity, and depth of stored memories of the bearer. For your average "wise old wizard who's dabbled in spell creation or magic item creation or spell alteration," probably ten years for the stone to "record" everything.
A bearer who knows how to spur/goad/"aim" such a stone can successfully direct it to search for and acquire all memories of a particular person, place, or event, but NOT a concept or group of beings or sequence of events (to garner such a collection, they'll have to methodically direct the stone to recover and record memories and knowledge of this person, and then that one, and then the next one, one after another. The stone can't recover a memory of an entire adventuring band or wizards' cabal and then hunt for memories of all members, at once, on its own.
Recovery and recording can take much longer if a bearer has certain forms of insanity, or certain magical safeguards, or is of a particular nature (for example, the usual mental processes of mind flayers confuse the stones, and they literally record random and extremely truncated fragments of thought and memory images, not a coherent record . . . and Chosen of Mystra, Azuth, Savras, Lurue, and quite possibly other deities have by the nature of the divine influence they carry a natural defense against the stones - - that safeguard everything they want kept from a stone, in situations where unprotected minds would yield up memories [[e.g. "I order you not to think of the house you grew up in" would goad an unprotected mind into thinking of it, whereas a Chosen could without psionics easily achieve a "mind blank"]]. Psionics, properly wielded, can frustrate the recording abilities of a stone. The silver fire can "burn out" sections or all of a stone.)

V: "Did the kiira Elminster wore in 'Elminster in Myth Drannor' copy his memories? If so, were those memories available to subsequent wearers of the kiira? Or did his Chosen of Mystra abilities prevent his memories from being recorded?"
Ed: It copied a few of his memories, and yes, subsequent wearers could access those memories (and did, to ascertain that his claims as to how he acquired the kiira were true). His abilities as a Chosen certainly could have prevented memories from being recorded, or "fogged" those memories forever, irrevocably, by using silver fire to damage the stone, but that would only result from a deliberate use of those memories or an uncontrolled release of silver fire due to a spell battle or other calamity, not "by accident" or automatically. And no, Elminster's kiira didn't merrily record memories from his past, only memories he made while bearing the stone.

V: "The Ruler's Blade has three selu'kiira in 650 DR, (2 black, 1 red, representing presumably at least 5,000 years of combined memories). Does the Ruler's Blade selu'kiira store the memories of the elves who wielded it?"
Ed: It stores many of them.

V: "The Srinshee drew the blade and kept it in her possession for centuries. Some time ago, you (Ed) mentioned that your estimate of the Srinshee's power, in 2e/3e game terms, was around 54th level. Was that a result of her combined knowledge and power and that of the selu'kiira in Ar'Cor'Kerym, or did she attain that on her own."
Ed: Almost entirely on her own, though the selu'kiira and other items she possesses helped in minor ways.

V: "Is the Srinshee's knowledge stored in those selu'kiira now?"
Ed: NDA. Sorry.

V: "Finally, assuming, hypothetically, that some character could safely drain and absorb all the memories from Ar'cor'kerym's selu'kiira, without going insane or be otherwise destroyed, feeblewitted, or impaired what would you his mage/high mage level to be in 2e/3e game terms. Conceptually (not in game terms) how would his power compare to your conception of Larloch, the Srinshee, Ioulaum, or the Terraseer?"
Ed: Hoo boy. First of all, no one knows how to "drain" anything like "all" the memories from a selu'kiira. No matter what powerful wizards or even deities my claim.
Yet for hypothetical purposes, let's assume one can.
Okay, nothing in memories gained or shared enables a character to wield the Art if they lack the aptitude. In other words, a random person who lacks the ability to cast spells doesn't gain it by gaining the memories of a spellcaster.
So we're also going to have to assume the character who safely drains and absorbs all the memories is an arcane spellcaster or has the innate "talent" to become one.
With all that assumed, the answer is still going to be - - wait for it - - "it depends." :}
Yep. People vary in their capabilities, development, and achievements. Have a track meet with individuals who start with the same training, diet, height, and weight - - and there will still be winners and losers, not endless ties. What the memories provide is SUPERB training (because it shifts from someone telling and showing you, to you directly sharing the experience of doing it yourself, so you gain experience and not just "book learning"), that could in theory boost you by twelve levels or more.
However. :}
You still have to "go out and do it," to mesh the memories of others with your own reflexes, deftness, mental focus, and powers of concentration. Much of the training of a mage is PRACTICE in concentration, for which there is no substitute, and PRACTICE in judgment, on the spot and within the instant, rather than retrieving and considering the accumulated judgments of others.
So calling on all of those gained memories doesn't make you an accomplished spellcaster of twelve levels higher than you were before swallowing the memories. For one thing, "ordering" those memories within your own mind for retrieval, also known as "subsuming," is going to take a fair while (one to three months, most likely). For another, most D&D players who have played in tournaments or at conventions or otherwise with more than a lone, fairly "set" group of players, are familiar with differences in, say, a fourth level wizard as played by one person, and the same character as run by another. One character "knows" their standard spells fairly well, and uses them. The other knows them in deeper detail, and can readily use them in unusual or innovative ways - - and dares to do so.
That corresponds to the difference between acquired-in-a-lump memories and truly "earned" levels.
So draining those stones DOESN'T equate to cleanly and instantly gaining 12 levels. It may, with study and preparation (for example, a carefully-planned assault or sequence of round-by-round attacks), allow the memory-gainer to properly cast and wield a spell or spells 6 or 7 levels above his former capability, and start to become experienced in the use of those spells. (In other words, I'd handle it this way if I were the DM, so it becomes a roleplayed-through series of attempts and gains on the part of the character.)
As for how such an augmented character would stack up against my conceptions of Larloch, the Srinshee, Ioulaum, or the Terraseer, I'm afraid those conceptions are currently NDA (and I can't even say why), but I would remind you that all of those characters have traveled widely and experimented with other systems of magic than just the Weave, and that at least two of those characters have experience with, and a special status in regard to, deities. They all have a LOT of world experience, so in a battle between the augmented character and any of them, a lot would depend on the circumstances of the fray. If it's a "raw power" comparison, please bear in mind that we're comparing unknown capabilities on both sides of the comparison: we don't know if our augmented character can deftly handle all that they have so abruptly gained - - and we DON'T know the true powers and capabilities of any of those four named characters. We have various (conflicting) "rules snapshots" of their partial powers, and a lot of fan and designer and author opinions and depictions that are in turn subject to a lot of reinterpretation.
As creator of most of them, I "know" who's most powerful in a given situation, but I mean just that: a given situation. Hence my frequent use of "it depends." It's very difficult to reduce many variables to simple cut-and-dried answers or comparisons, without oversimplifying or leaving out things that matter.
For example, how much has been written of the psionic capabilities of Larloch, the Srinshee, Ioulaum, or the Terraseer? They all have some psionic mastery. What do we really know of their spell rosters? They have all created new spells and modified existing spells. What do we really know of their "readiness" for battle? We "know" that Larloch surrounds himself with so many servitor liches that he can afford to sacrifice them like candy, but have we ever examined in detail the nature of his control, and the spells those liches can command and hurl, to say nothing of the tactics of battlefield cooperation they have developed and use? Here at Candlekeep, in seminars and panels at conventions, and at many other sites on the Net where gamers discuss in-game lore, there are often ferocious disagreements over such details. Most of them based on the opinions individual fans have of fictional characters, places, events, and things, extrapolated from scanty or even contradictory in-print lore.
All of which means I can't tell you how such an augmented character would stack up against Larloch, et al, other then the short answer of "probably rather poorly." Is the doctor specializing in the sciences of peak athlete development likely to be able to enter an Olympic event and beat all the trained-to-peak athletes competing in it?


So saith Ed. Who tells me he doesn't mean to discourage a player running such a memory-acquiring character from trying anything they want to try, but rather "wants to very clear" on how little we really know of the capabilities of magic-heavyweight NPCs, so in the interest of character prudence/survival, wants players to roleplay through acquiring such power. (For one thing, as he pointed out to me, once every PC is a superpowered being, D&D campaigns tend to fall apart fast unless the DM and all the other players are prepared to conduct themselves accordingly.)
He also added this:

Great questions, Veritas. Fun things to delve into, to be sure.

A sentiment I echo.
love,
THO
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Veritas
Learned Scribe

195 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  18:57:18  Show Profile  Visit Veritas's Homepage Send Veritas a Private Message
To THO and Ed, I'm extremely grateful for the prompt and exhaustive response to the my questions. I had the great pleasure of meeting Ed at a couple of Cons roughly ten years ago (and still treasure my signed copy of 'Secrets of the Magister').

To follow up, the truncated background for the questions is that a villainous entity with a unique memory stealing ability would attempt to run off with the knowledge of the selu'kiira (not unlike the concept of Elminster in Hell). His Achilles heel is: NDA ;). We're sadly a little too old for the "my character can beat up Larloch!" narrative but we're big fans of Ed's lore and are glad for his shared perspective. Its worth noting that now we know our unfortunate villain won't be running off with the Realms shaking command of Art he thought he would be.

My final questions on this particular line: Cormanthyr, and more recently the Lady Penitent trilogy, revealed that selu'kiira can grant the knowledge to wield high magic. I'm confident that knowledge is acquired according to the capabilities of the kiira bearer. Roughly, from a lore (rather than mechanical) perspective, how long from your perspective would it take a highly gifted elf spellcaster to integrate that knowledge?

Thanks to both of you, Ed and THO for collaborating with us on our adventure.

I also have to ask what I'm sure is a constant refrain. Where is Volo now?
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  19:54:00  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Hello Ed and THO,

Ed, what can you tell us about doll houses in Cormyr?

Do they exist? Are or were they ever popular? Are or were there any merchants or crafters of surpassing skill (in or out of Cormyr) who took on noble or Royal patrons and made doll houses and/or lifelike miniatures for the noble's children?

Did any of these craftsmen use magic to animate their creations, create magical constructs or create clockwork versions of maids, doorjacks and so on that move about in the dollhouse and/or can respond to commands of the child as though the child were the head of the family?

I have an idea for an NPC noble, who is head of his house and was shrunk down via magical calamity, for whom his wife is forced to find doll house-like accommodations while she looks for a cure and tries to hide his condition from rivals, war wizards, maybe the house wizard (during King Foril's reign, must all house wizards be war wizards?) and even the children, so any info you can provide would be most appreciated.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  19:59:31  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy Grenemyer

Hello Ed and THO,

Ed, what can you tell us about doll houses in Cormyr?



Ooooh I like this question, the evil-DM (tm) in me can see some fun with lifelike models and animated toys and houses being used as safeholds and scrying focuses

Cheers

Damian

So saith Ed. I've never said he was sane, have I?
Gods, all this writing and he's running a constant fantasy version of Coronation Street in his head, too. .
shudder,
love to all,
THO
Candlekeep Forum 7 May 2005
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  20:19:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, fellow scribes.
Ed is obviously at the keyboard and firing on all cylinders today, because he's fired back answers already to the most recent posts, relayed to him.
From Veritas: "Roughly, from a lore (rather than mechanical) perspective, how long from your perspective would it take a highly gifted elf spellcaster to integrate that knowledge?"

Ed: It depends. :} Seriously, if the highly gifted elf spellcaster dropped almost everything else to concentrate on integrating that knowledge (including practice spellcastings): almost nothing useful for the first tenday, then a surge of mastery throughout the second tenday, then much slower accomplishments for the next three tendays, with the first of those three yielding the most results. In other words, three tendays of continuous concentration would result in mastery of most of it. Interruptions, or doing other things beyond mere subsistence living (eat, sleep, bathe, dress and defecate, cook, then repeat the cycle), will slow mastery - - and three accumulated tendays of work will yield FAR less results than three consecutive tendays. Full mastery depends on use; if the spellcaster spends a month in hard study and work, but then goes back to their former pursuits, additional mastery will come very slowly, but if they use their new knowledge/powers regularly, additional mastery will slowly and steadily be theirs.

Veritas: "I also have to ask what I'm sure is a constant refrain. Where is Volo now?"

Ed: NDA, I'm afraid. Really. Some things have to be discussed and settled before your question can be answered - - perhaps not here or by me. Rest assured this is a matter I was already working on, and will continue to work on. At GenCon, There Will Be Discussions, Perhaps Even Fruitful. :}


So saith Ed. Who has also sent an answer to Jeremy's dollhouse request, which follows...
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  20:27:53  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
And as promised:
Jeremy asked: "Ed, what can you tell us about doll houses in Cormyr? Do they exist? Are or were they ever popular? Are or were there any merchants or crafters of surpassing skill (in or out of Cormyr) who took on noble or Royal patrons and made doll houses and/or lifelike miniatures for the noble's children?"

Ed: Yes to all of those. "Houses" (as in: mansions, or little three-room "archaels" [one-open-sided fanciful buildings representing three linked rooms for dressup dolls representing royalty or nobility or wealthy fashionplate women, and their servants) were popular only among nobility and the highcoin-wealthy "wannabe noble" wealthy merchants. For everyone else, toy or dollhouse farms or castles (or "waykeeps," which might best be described as lone turret fanciful cut-down castles) were popular.

Jeremy: "Did any of these craftsmen use magic to animate their creations, create magical constructs or create clockwork versions of maids, doorjacks and so on that move about in the dollhouse and/or can respond to commands of the child as though the child were the head of the family?"

Ed: Yes, but now you're talking the rarest and most expensive examples, more talked-of than ever seen, for most of the populace.
Many crafters used concealed pull-rods, levers, and even buttons to be depressed, to operate mechanically-opening doors, little water cisterns that poured real water, and so on, in the miniature houses they built and sold, but magically-animated are REAL luxuries.

Jeremy: "I have an idea for an NPC noble, who is head of his house and was shrunk down via magical calamity, for whom his wife is forced to find doll house-like accommodations while she looks for a cure and tries to hide his condition from rivals, war wizards, maybe the house wizard (during King Foril's reign, must all house wizards be war wizards?) and even the children, so any info you can provide would be most appreciated."

Ed: That's a GREAT idea. There are wizards and disloyal servants and even one noble I know of who got shrunk and "frozen" into chessmen, still in use around the Royal Palace in Suzail by the unwitting. I'll have to check to see what else I can say here without running into NDAs, though.


So saith Ed. Who is hard at work on more Realmslore for us all, of course.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  21:07:32  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Whoops! Sorry, Jeremy, I missed cutting and pasting one last little bit of Ed's replies to you.
Re. this: "during King Foril's reign, must all house wizards be war wizards?"
Ed's response is:

No, in theory house wizards are hired wholly independently of the Crown, by their patrons.
In practice, during Foril's reign, they are either Wizards of War or under the thumb of the War Wizards in some way or being spied upon attentively by the War Wizards. Caladnei and her successor Ganrahast are both far more rule-abiding than Vangerdahast when it comes to the rights of citizens (Vangey might privately say that non-Obarskyrs don't have any rights, just whatever privileges I allow them), but such things as wizards needing official Crown permission to work magic within the kingdom allows them to prevent Cormyreans hiring outlanders (unless the Crown allows them to; most don't even try). When you are thus at a stroke reduced to hiring Cormyrean wizards, it's nigh impossible to find someone of any accomplishment-in-Art (i.e. 5th level or higher) who isn't either playing ball with the War Wizards, or deep in their suspicion and being attentively watched (and the War Wizards PREFER to gently blackmail someone's good behavior, if they can "get the goods" to do so).
All of which means any house wizard must be considered a spy for the War Wizards, if not an active agent (most who aren't actually War Wizards themselves will refuse to "act for" the Wizards of War beyond passing on warnings, suggestions, and other messages, and reminding patrons of relevant laws, on the grounds that doing more than that for the Crown would be betraying the people who are paying them, which would also be lawbreaking and would also ruin their reputations for any employment elsewhere).
Hope all of this helps.


So saith Ed. "All of this" of course refers to all of his replies, not just this last bit I missed including earlier.
love,
THO
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13403 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  21:55:27  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
Great question Jeremy - thanks for the answer THO (and Ed).

@Veritas - although 3e seem to have folded Elven High Magic into epic magic, in earlier editions there was a subtle difference - there is a divine component involved (making it similar in some ways to 'Southern Magic' - another oldy but goody we sadly lost).

So its not only about having the experience (power) and knowing the right rituals (knowledge), but the High magic itself needs an 'okay' by the Seldarine to work properly. In later years, archmages learned how to duplicate many of the effects without divine aid, hence epic magic. You'll note canonically there is a difference between normal mythals and the later-invented 'Arcane Mythals' - the old-school versions required that divine spark to create.

And before epic magic, there was level 10+ magic - both requiring The Weave (and the Weave itself may be that 'missing ingredient', and why they didn't need divine aid). I almost get the idea that the only real difference is that high Magic requires permission, and Weave magic needs no consent (which proved to be a fatal flaw for Mystryl).

At lest Corellon was smart-enough to control when his 'children' played with the toys. Anyhow, what this basically means is that even if you have all the knowledge in the world about something, it doesn't mean you can 'do it'. Absorbing all of Bruce Lee's knowledge will not make you a blackbelt.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 05 May 2012 21:59:02
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2012 :  22:07:10  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
I came back inside from working on the garden hoping there would be a response and low and behold there was.

Thank you both so much for the swift reply! I know that's not always possible, so it's doubly appreciated.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29798 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  00:42:46  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jeremy Grenemyer

I have an idea for an NPC noble, who is head of his house and was shrunk down via magical calamity, for whom his wife is forced to find doll house-like accommodations while she looks for a cure and tries to hide his condition from rivals, war wizards, maybe the house wizard (during King Foril's reign, must all house wizards be war wizards?) and even the children, so any info you can provide would be most appreciated.



That's a nifty idea. I'd like to see more of it, when you are ready to share it.

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31687 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  02:23:38  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

Caladnei and her successor Ganrahast are both far more rule-abiding than Vangerdahast when it comes to the rights of citizens (Vangey might privately say that non-Obarskyrs don't have any rights, just whatever privileges I allow them), but such things as wizards needing official Crown permission to work magic within the kingdom allows them to prevent Cormyreans hiring outlanders (unless the Crown allows them to; most don't even try).
Can you share anything further on Ganrahast's views on the rights of non-Obarskyrs in Cormyr, Ed?

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Veritas
Learned Scribe

195 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  03:52:55  Show Profile  Visit Veritas's Homepage Send Veritas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

...I would remind you that [the Srinhsee, Larloch, Ioulaum, and the Terraseer] have [] experimented with other systems of magic than just the Weave....



Ed's comment had me thinking.
3E saw an introduction of sorcerers who learned spells innately. Does some version of the sorcerer exist in your realms?

The Simbul's 3e "rules snapshot" (which we know isn't entirely accurate) recast her primarily as sorcereress but we saw she was an accomplished spellcrafter, developing spells that outstripped her snapshot wizardly capabilities. Was the 2e or 3e version of the Simbul closer to your vision of the character?

How did the sorcery of that era work? More specifically, were the sorcerers of that era generally tapping into the weave/shadow weave? Were sorcerers (generally) shaping spells that mimicked arcane spells, or were they channeling existing spells similar to how Midnight pulled spell rosters from the Weave. Could a sorcerer opt out, or explore non-weave magic, or was wizardly training and/or psionic powers necessary to recognize non-weave magic systems. Since their powers were, to a degree, innate, could a pure sorcerer experiment with other kinds of magic than the Weave? How?

And also, how did the heavyweights without divine assistance discover non-weave methods of accessing magic?

How different were the non-weave systems that were experimented with? What was different about them?

Are any of the non-weave systems still viable post spellplague? (NDA) :}

All these are but a grain of sand to the Anauroch of questions I'd love to ply Ed with. Ed and Lady THO have already lavished me with lore this day. I'm sure that many of these questions will run up to the NDA to some degree. If you are willing, can you speak to these questions to the extent permissible?


quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

We "know" that Larloch surrounds himself with so many servitor liches that he can afford to sacrifice them like candy



That must be quite a few servitor liches considering that Larloch must have a legendary sweet tooth. Just look at those rotted teeth!

Edited by - Veritas on 06 May 2012 03:59:17
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  04:42:21  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hiya, all!
Veritas, sorcerers and sorceresses (people who could cast magic without needing somatic, verbal, or material components, and usually without selecting/memorizing anything before they unleashed magic) were in Ed's Realms from the beginning (as in, before D&D of any edition existed). Some NPC sorcerers/sorceresses got changed to magic users by TSR, when they first started publishing the Realms as a game setting.
I've sent your post to Ed for a proper reply, of course, but I think Ed's offline right now, rushing to finish something (he didn't say what, which means NDAs apply).
So hopefully we'll hear from him on the morrow . . .
love,
THO
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5249 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  16:11:16  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by crazedventurers

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
That was where I was actually starting to lean too, which is why I'm wondering.... did Mystra and her Chosen actually HELP Thay?



I too would love to hear more on whether Mystra and/or her Chosen were active in the Thayan rebellion.

My thoughts:
I would suspect that Mystra probably did and that mortal agents prodded and poked the rebels along (though whether these mortals served Mystra or another deity/demon/devil is up for discussion).

I think that Mystra's Chosen have actually been a lot more active in creating, shaping and balancing countries/kingdoms/realms albeit extremely subtly throughout the 'recent history' of the Realms as a whole.

A long time ago on the Realms mailing list Geroge Krashos and I had a series of back and forth posts about The Covenant, Nimoars Hold and Ahghairon and how Khelben/Mystra was manipulating the wizards of the Sword Coast North to create a stable environment for people to live and places to flourish. Krash ended one response with
"A tangled web indeed - but not outside the Realms of possibility. And
Khelben (in disguise) did tutor Ahghairon while he lived in Silverymoon and dropped out of sight in c. 956 DR. Hmm, interesting.:)"

http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0503D&L=REALMS-L&P=R1566&I=-3

Am looking forward to further responses from the Lorelords of the Realms

Cheers

Damian




Yeah, as I think on it more.... Mystra MAY have aided in the formation of Thay... Mystra prevented her Chosen from wiping Thay from the face of the earth... did Mystra foresee something involving Thayan wizards that has yet to be revealed? Did she foresee Velsharoon's rise? Might they be involved in her return?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5249 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  17:23:53  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Veritas

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

...I would remind you that [the Srinhsee, Larloch, Ioulaum, and the Terraseer] have [] experimented with other systems of magic than just the Weave....



Ed's comment had me thinking.
3E saw an introduction of sorcerers who learned spells innately. Does some version of the sorcerer exist in your realms?

The Simbul's 3e "rules snapshot" (which we know isn't entirely accurate) recast her primarily as sorcereress but we saw she was an accomplished spellcrafter, developing spells that outstripped her snapshot wizardly capabilities. Was the 2e or 3e version of the Simbul closer to your vision of the character?

How did the sorcery of that era work? More specifically, were the sorcerers of that era generally tapping into the weave/shadow weave? Were sorcerers (generally) shaping spells that mimicked arcane spells, or were they channeling existing spells similar to how Midnight pulled spell rosters from the Weave. Could a sorcerer opt out, or explore non-weave magic, or was wizardly training and/or psionic powers necessary to recognize non-weave magic systems. Since their powers were, to a degree, innate, could a pure sorcerer experiment with other kinds of magic than the Weave? How?

And also, how did the heavyweights without divine assistance discover non-weave methods of accessing magic?

How different were the non-weave systems that were experimented with? What was different about them?

Are any of the non-weave systems still viable post spellplague? (NDA) :}

All these are but a grain of sand to the Anauroch of questions I'd love to ply Ed with. Ed and Lady THO have already lavished me with lore this day. I'm sure that many of these questions will run up to the NDA to some degree. If you are willing, can you speak to these questions to the extent permissible?




Just a note, if there were any "ultimate magus" prestige class NPC's in the realms, I'd believe that the Simbul would definitely be one of them. Since she has 32 levels, I'd personally put her as a 10th wiz / 1st sorceror / 10th ultimate magus/ 2nd archmage/ 9th master transmogrifist. The way I'd split up the caster levels would make it 19th sorceror and 17th wizard. This build takes into account that the Simbul has always been known as a master of shapechanging magics (thus the master trasmogrifist). There's another part of me that says take away 5 of the wizard levels and invest in dread witch (from heroes of horror), because she's "a witch" and she's always represented as giving off a vibe of someone to fear.... maybe its not coincidence. That would force the reduction in one of the caster levels though, but the ability to imbue a fear effect into 2 spells a day and thus increase their DC's by 2 just screams something the Simbul might do (and could help explain away the efficacy of her magic).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2012 :  18:00:43  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Hello Ed and THO,

Ed, I just finished reading your latest Eye on the Realms article (The Storm Bird in Dragon #411) and have a few questions:

How does Ithrim Cauldart, Purveyor to the Titled, do his side business of acting as the "voice of the nobles" exactly? Does he simply render their opinions as though such were his thoughts when he's amongst others and a topic comes up for which one of his noble clients has a strong opinion?

If so, does he turn conversation in the direction he wants so he can render such opinions?

Or does he get out in the middle of Waterdeep and announce things like a town crier, in the manner of "certain wise nobles see things thus..."?

Can you give us any hints as to the recent doings of Awntrus “Black Glove” Malaver when he was in Neverwinter?

Really great article Ed. I want to park the Storm Bird in the skies over Suzail on a stormy night, right over the heads of the PCs in my game as they are getting ready to rest and recuperate from their last adventure.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).

Edited by - Jeremy Grenemyer on 06 May 2012 18:02:37
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1394 Posts

Posted - 08 May 2012 :  12:25:21  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message
Hi Ed, THO and sages!

I have a question for Ed that can be expanded to those who can help: which magic itens from Netheril were published into Realmsian canon? Are there other non-published items? I'm not refering to quasimagical items from the Netheril boxes, but to fully magical items, as developed by Ed - like blast scepters, for example. I'd also like to have the references of where (book name, Dragon or Dungeon magazine number) each item was published, if possible. Thank you in advance. :)

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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