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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13081 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2012 :  20:29:42  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
LOL - I am almost afraid to comment, for fear of more lore.

What I mean by my Sembians/Foodies comment is that I had always pictured them along the lines of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice (In fact, I picture Sembia being very much like pre-unification Italy). I had only imagined the 'dark side' of Sembia in my mind, which is a stupid mistake, because all folk have 'shades of grey'. They are not just grasping, greedy merchants, they are people as well. You've now given them a bit of a 'Yuppie' twist I hadn't expected, which adds yet another layer onto their 2-dimensionality (my own faulty perception).

So not all of them are social climbers from a greed aspect, but rather as a 'respect' thing, which every normal person wants. In Sembia, you are supposed to want to better yourself, and one-up your peers, because its part of their culture. While this does tend to generate more of the 'greedy, evil types' then another culture would, the people themselves would see it more as a way of 'rising above' their humble beginnings. In fact, Sembia's greatest gift to the Realms may be the "rise of the middle class" (upper-middle), which contributed mightily to the downfall of monarchies (states run by the nobility) in our RW.

In that way, there is also a certain amount of good that Sembia does. Capitalism leads to democracy, so in a way, Sembia's 'evil' is just civilization going through one of its many growing-pains. In that light, Sembia is more forward-thinking then Cormyr, which still follows what most Sembians would consider an outdated monarchy (despotism).

All of that realization from just a food question. My thanks.


*Grammar correction

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


Edited by - Markustay on 11 Sep 2012 17:19:04
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Merrith
Learned Scribe

133 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2012 :  22:59:16  Show Profile  Visit Merrith's Homepage Send Merrith a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded OneYes, certain relatives did indeed receive more permission. :} I hope to someday say more.
Likewise with the alliances and treacheries regarding Alorglauvenemaus. Given time and opportunity, I’ll try to say more, in print and officially, when and where I can. (As you can guess, I VERY much want to do so. Without entirely shattering ALL the air of mystery.) Which is the tightrope I daily walk.


So saith Ed. Who devours Tolkien’s appendices and similar lorebooks and behind-the-scenes peeks whenever he can, yet understands that Knowing Ever More brings its own perils. Such as Losing the Awe, Wonder, and Magic.
love,
THO




Thanks for the quick response Ed and THO :) info or a story I would VERY much like to read/hear about at some point. In the meantime, I'm excited to see where El's story goes from here, at least one major thing to deal with still (emphasis on at least).
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3521 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2012 :  23:42:48  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Snip.....

Right now I am a paid consultant of Wizards of the Coast (working from home, thousands of miles away from Renton), and in these last few months have been very heavily involved in all sorts of things Realms related (NDAs prevent me from sharing details, of course). You’re right in thinking I don’t have much spare time, these days. :} However, I'm loving every moment of it, because I get to work on the Realms! Wheeee!
.....
love,
THO



That's why I LOVE Ed! And also why even though I've had several,chances to speak with him, I've only once done so and it was a very short thank you, love the realms please sign this kinda thing.....I almost fear to ask him a question.....,because he will answer it and any others it brings up......I don't know how he doesn't, and happily always while at it! The only explanation I have is when Ed is "working" it's not work to him, he is doing what he loves.....and I(we)get the benefits

THO I wouldn't bother Ed with this, I'd like to ask you.....between now and The Herald in 2014....what other opportunities will there be to read anything by Ed?

Possible vague spoilers



I just devoured Elminster Enraged.....I wish I had taken notes.....so much lore between all the fun I know I missed most of it. I love the pace, but I just can't strain it all out.....it was very fun to read El doling out some well earned reckoning.....how much fun Ed must have had writing that section.....and how hard to pare it down to such a small few, I was wondering if any "retribution" got left on the cutting room floor? Any scraps to share? (we scribes are an ever hungry sort.....the more well fed we are, the hungrier we get.......like the Larloch matter.....just reading that has scribes turning inside out with anticipation)

And while I hope that's not the last we see of Mirt. The place we last saw him...is a nice way to look back at him with a smile

A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." -

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963

Edited by - The Red Walker on 10 Sep 2012 23:43:09
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  00:51:54  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Ed is working late at his library day job tonight, and so won't get around to answering the heap of questions from Jeremy G from his last two Eye On The Realms columns, which he tells me are foremost on his desk right now, but he did check in with me long enough to say: "YES, exactly," re. Sembia for Markustay (the rise of the middle class and the new Sembian nobility are making Cormyrean commoners think, of course) AND to agree with The Red Walker that if he can't get back to Mirt soon, that was a good "last glimpse of him" for awhile.
As for Ed Realms fiction between now and THE HERALD, Ed has donated a brief Realms folk tale to the Wizards lorebank, there's an unpublished frontispiece tale that got left out of the second Eddie Presents Waterdeep novel omnibus, and of course there's the next Spin A Yarn (based on what was compiled at this year's GenCon funfest seminar). Add to that any chances Ed can get to sneak some short fiction passages into, say, Forging the Realms or onto thewebsite via other means.
As for NON Realms fiction, hoo boy. There are a TON of Ed-penned short stories out there or upcoming, a Golarion-set novel from Paizo, and more that he can't reveal yet. Ed IS, as ever, a busy boy.
love to all,
THO
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Euranna
Learned Scribe

USA
219 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  01:42:48  Show Profile Send Euranna a Private Message
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this thread (and Candlekeep as a whole). I love reading everything, even if I have yet to have cause to contribute. I have enjoyed reading the responses from THO and Ed, and loved pondering the questions that prompted said answers.

Thank you everyone. :) You have engaged my imagination in a splendid way. :)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  04:42:53  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Euranna, you're very welcome. May you be delighted often in your readings within these halls.


Hello again, all. Ed continues charging through Realmslore with a barrage of answers for Jeremy Grenemyer’s queries about Ed’s Eye on the Realms article The Lost Dragon of Waterdeep. For ease of reading, I’ve interspersed Ed’s replies with Jeremy’s questions:

J: Ghelmer’s ability to enter other paintings that have human blood mixed into the paint…can Ghelmer sense such things in paintings? Or is his ability a function of prior knowledge of paintings made in part from human blood (thanks to his days as an artist)?
E: No, he can’t sense paintings that have human blood mixed with their pigments from afar, but if he comes into contact with them (in “wisp”) form, he knows at a touch whether or not he can enter into them. He largely relies on knowledge of suitable paintings from his “prior life,” yes.

J: If the sage Elaerla Raelingdorn was first plied with Sembian Soft Sharpnip and plenty of coin, then asked whether or not Ghelmer mixed his own blood into his paintings, how might she respond?
E: She would admit the truth: which is yes, he did. Creating quite a few hiding-places and homes for his current self, most of them scattered across North Ward and Sea Ward in Waterdeep, but extending into Castle Ward and Trades Ward as well. Not to mention Piergeiron’s Palace and Castle Waterdeep.

J: Has Elminster speculated on whether Ghelmer’s own blood is in the painting found in the Eagleshield Mansion (Highroost)?
E: No, because he has no need to speculate. El knows Ghelmer’s blood is in that painting, because he’s examined it. The Old Mage doesn’t admit all he knows, even to me in my role as scribe of these Eye screeds.

J: During his imprisonment has Ghelmer ever knowingly encountered any of his descendants (assuming he had any) from his dalliances when he was still living?
E: Yes, there were a handful of descendants, mostly female children born to noble ladies and passed off by them as legimate offspring, sired by the noble husbands of the ladies (aside from a lock of curly hair among otherwise straight hair, Ghelmer leaves no visible mark of his bloodline (recessive genes), so his daughters tend to look like their mothers, not as a group of related women with a mysterious (or obvious) father. Elminster tells me Ghelmer knows who almost all of them are, has met some of them while in the painting, and wants their identities kept secret so as not to harm their lives and noble standing. Elminster is thus far honouring those wishes.

J: Can you please describe onsler eels and tonthur nuts and where can they be found in the Realms?
E: Certainly. Onslers are pale, mottled dun-white freshwater eels found in shallow streams and deep rivers alike, throughout the Heartlands (they sicken and die if the waters are too cold or too hot for too long, and so cannot survive the worst winters in the North, or the waters of the tropics or around the Lake of Steam). Onslers are plant eaters, devouring more algae and aquatic mosses and lichens than anything else. They are placid and slow-moving, with soft, sucking mouths and darker backs than bellies, and if undisturbed live longer than humans and grow quite long and broad (big adults having flatter bodies than cylindrical thinner, younger specimens). Onsler flesh has a pleasant “rare but well-marinated steak” texture but is rather tasteless, and so is either doused in sauce or heavily seasoned (usually roasted with berries, or slit and dressed with cloves of garlic or spices thrust into the slits). If boiled or steamed in the drippings of pork, goat, lamb, or beef roasts, it will take on the taste of the dripping—and so is often used to “make the meat go farther” by innkeepers and in the kitchens of poor folk.
Tonthur nuts look like brown, wrinkled, spiky-all-over walnuts (the inner nut we real-world moderns are used to eating, that is, not the shell-covered entire nut actually produced by nature), and grow on raspberry-cane-like wandering ground thorn-vines that grow profusely in hilly and mountainous areas in Amn, Tethyr, and the interior area bounded by Starmantle, Turmish, and the Vilhon. Some goats graze on tonthur-vines, but nothing else does, so the nuts are plentiful. They are full of fat and have a rich, “heavy” (due to that fat) taste that’s rather like nutty mushrooms sprinkled with black pepper. If one has plenty of water (or broth) to douse the fiery thirst they cause, they can be eaten readily raw, in the field, and a bowl of them has made a hearty meal for many a wayfarer, drover, or caravan merchant—but when sold in the Sword Coast lands, the Tashalar, and wherever Calishite merchants travel, they are usually crushed and boiled with a dozen or so spices into fiery brown tonthur-nut sauce, used as a condiment to give bland food (like potatoes) a strong taste, but often also to cover the unpleasant taste of foodstuffs starting to go bad, or a “cook’s mistake.” Tonthur-nut sauce is sold in small, sealed clay jugs with lids, that are often reused to store lantern or cooking oils and other substances not harmed by the strong scent tonthur-nut sauce leaves behind.

J: The radiance that emanated from Lady Eagleshield’s eyes as her organs were melted—is that a common side effect of the food concoction that slew her?
E: It is if you happen to have particular magic items within your body, as Lady Eagleshield did, and they vaporize as the internal organs melt, and release their stored magical energies. The paranoid, seeing-enemies-everywhere Lady Eagleshield had swallowed no less than three enchanted gems to protect herself against foes (a gem that conferred feather fall properties on her, another that guarded against many sorts of poison, and a third that emitted a partial spell reflection effect). Otherwise, someone suffering “organ melt” will have the bright purple-green glow in their eyes, but nothing else—unless they spit or drool forth purple-green, glowing “spew” of their innards, as they die.

J: Sort of a longshot: do the Xraunrarr know about this organ melting effect? If yes, have they expanded on it? (I’m imagining a Xraun preparing some human stock for a meal and deciding it might be fun to turn dinner into a light show before consuming it, then discovering that fried-from-the-inside human tastes pretty good).
E: They do indeed, but don’t yet know all of what causes it, and are seeking to investigate (through agents), with an eye to turning this organ-melting ability to their own uses. Soon.

So saith Ed. Master of Realmslore and grower of one of the softer, nicer beards in captivity.
love,
THO
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  07:09:23  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Wow, that's just really awesome!

I realize you're quite busy and appreciate your taking the time to answer my several queries.

It's now time for an NPC or three to die of organ melt in my home campaign, and for the PCs to investigate.

[EDIT: That whole business about swallowing gems to confer magical protections has got me off on a tangent (a good idea generating one at that)...can this subject be a future Eye article, please?]

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

Edited by - Jeremy Grenemyer on 11 Sep 2012 08:14:46
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4709 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  08:08:49  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Given Ed's lore on the dragon Hoondarh, the Red Rage of Mintarn, this gem-swallowing caper harks back to Netherese practices, I reckon.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  08:19:36  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
EDIT: Thanks for the tip, George. I found the article on Hoondarrh in the Wyrms of the North archive.

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

Edited by - Jeremy Grenemyer on 11 Sep 2012 08:19:58
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  09:32:33  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Hello THO and Ed,

I had some questions regarding layout of the underdark. We have certain sourcebooks that state it's a maze of twisting tunnels, passages, caverns, etc. And then we have say the tunnels under the Old Skull, where it doesn't strike me as a total maze according to maps. Are most underdark tunnels a passage with tunnels branching off every few miles or is it more of a constant alternate routes available and branching off the main passage? Are most subterranean cities on trade routes or off the beaten path? I always pictured the underdark as somewhat well traveled trade routes with occasional branches off into the wilds that most folks won't stray into and cities would tend to fall on trade routes like their surface counterparts. I was curious if you could shed any further light on this.

Thank you both. :)
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Eli the Tanner
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
146 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  13:54:00  Show Profile  Visit Eli the Tanner's Homepage Send Eli the Tanner a Private Message
Hello Ed I hope you catch this in all your flurry.

Is there anything more that you can tell us about Tethyamar and its famed mines? What was it like in its heydey? How did it compare to other great Dwarven kingdoms?

I'm aware my next query may be NDA'd but I'm rather curious about the nature of Tethyamar's fall and the barghests, goblins and demons that took over. How pervasive are these creatures? Does most of Tethyamar lie in ruin still or have they filled the halls well?

I'm loving Elminster must Die at the moment,
-Eli

Moderator of /r/Forgotten_Realms
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  18:29:48  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Ed's at work at the day job again, so I'll tackle this one from Eilserus: "Hello THO and Ed,
I had some questions regarding layout of the underdark. We have certain sourcebooks that state it's a maze of twisting tunnels, passages, caverns, etc. And then we have say the tunnels under the Old Skull, where it doesn't strike me as a total maze according to maps. Are most underdark tunnels a passage with tunnels branching off every few miles or is it more of a constant alternate routes available and branching off the main passage? Are most subterranean cities on trade routes or off the beaten path? I always pictured the underdark as somewhat well traveled trade routes with occasional branches off into the wilds that most folks won't stray into and cities would tend to fall on trade routes like their surface counterparts. I was curious if you could shed any further light on this.
Thank you both. :)"

Sure. Here we go. Most of the Underdark is a series of interconnected natural caverns and "tunnels" (water channels) carved out by water (water percolating through limestone and other rocks containing particular water-soluble minerals creates the familiar-to-us stalactites, stalgmites, and "pillars" where stalacts and stalags have "grown together"), some of them later enlarged by the diggings and minings of various creatures.
Just as market-moots that grow into towns "happen" in the surface Realms, cities develop in the Underdark at trade-route-junctions, as well as at other strategic places (controlling travel, or where rivers/lakes and caverns meet) and sources of resources (rich gem-lodes and ore deposits). So, yes, most Underdark cities are on major trade routes.
The Underdark varies widely in composition from place to place, with the rocks and amount of water. Some parts of it are a few passages and caverns, in long, long linkages, and others ARE bewildering labyrinths of many-leveled interconnected caverns and shafts and passages.
The parts of it under the Old Skull are a mix of a few natural caverns and stream-passages, and a lot of deliberately-carved-out passages built under drow direction for defense and faciliatating trade-caravan-movements between the surface (at Castle Grimstead) and the underground lake that's just north of the Old Skull knoll itself. The lake itself is a major obstacle to invaders from the surface, and is used deliberately by the drow (who can readily control and search boats and barges crossing the lake) to control the flows of goods, people sneaking in and out and slaves trying to escape, etc.
There. That's a start. So saith me, drawing on Ed's notes and extensive play with the Knights into those under-Shadowdale areas of the Underdark...
love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 11 Sep 2012 20:17:14
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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1393 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  20:52:42  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hi again, all. Ed's at work at the day job again, so I'll tackle this one from Eilserus: (...)
love,
THO



This is very good, Lady THO. That's what I thought about the Underdak structure, but the way the drow use it... It's very good indeed! (And thank you Eilserus for making the question).

"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)

Edited by - Barastir on 11 Sep 2012 21:00:31
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

704 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2012 :  22:18:49  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message
Hello THO and Ed,

I apologize in advance for the number of questions that I have; once I started with the first question others naturally followed. I'm not necessarily looking for specific answers for the questions in my examples; simply a very broad understanding of how the various religious cults function within the Realms and interact with others.

Here are my questions:

1. How different are the various faiths based on region and culture? How does culture color and influence the worship and view of the deities?

For example, how do the faithful in Calimshan view the faithful of the same cult elsewhere in Faerûn? Would the cult of Shar in Calimshan differ greatly from the worship of her among the Netherese of Shade, and would they view themselves as rivals due to cultural (and goal) differences? Would the cult of Bane in Calimshan recognize and accept the same hierarchy of the cult located around Zhentil Keep in the Moonsea? How do the more benevolent cults (such as Tyr, Torm, Lathander, and Ilmater) in Calimshan get along with cults dedicated to the same deity outside of Calishite lands; considering the social stratification, the acceptance of slavery, etc. that is deeply entrenched in Calishite culture? Would these more benevolent cults be involved in some of the more unsavory practices of the culture?

2. How common are heresies (both minor and major) in the Realms? What is the general attitude of the laypeople and the clergy when it comes to these minor and major heresies?

For example, how common are minor heresies such as additional (or fewer) religious holy days, and slight dogmatic differences? How common are major heresies such as those involving the cult of Lathander and the newly returned/formed cult of Amaunator?

3. How do racial pantheons interact with the Faerûnian Pantheon in areas where there is a great deal of multiculturalism?

For example, in Silverymoon there is both a large population of Elves and Humans. The worship of Selune is prominent in Silverymoon, as is - I'd imagine - the worship of Sehanine Moonbow. Both of these deities are moon goddesses with some overlapping portfolios. How do lay elves and lay humans deal with this? How is it not inevitable that these two faiths don't end up merging together over time? Assuming that they do begin to merge together, how would worshipers of the "old ways" (Elves in particular) view this - what I am sure is in their eyes - a heresy? Would they view it as an active corruption of elven culture and elven faith?

4. How common are clerics (and others who wield divine magic) among those dedicated to the service of a deity?

For example, if you travel to a rural village with a place of worship dedicated to Chauntea, what are the chances of that place of worship having someone who can work obvious signs of divine magic? Are these wielders of divine power similar to Chosen, in that they have a more direct line to their deity, and are given specific religious tasks to further the aims and the goals of their deity? (This is put in contrast with the more "mundane" faithful - for lack of a better word - who carry out the day-to-day services and functions of the religion.)

5. How do clerics and cults that are dedicated to multiple deities function?

For example, would a cleric that worshiped each member of the Triad equally receive their powers from each member of the Triad (or at least perceive it that way), or must a cleric by their very nature dedicate themselves to a single deity above all others? What about more loosely aligned cults such as Sune, Sharess, and Lliira; what happens if a cult appears that is dedicated to the spreading of all of those goals and worship of those deities collectively? Would they have clerics?

6. How is killing / imprisoning / harming / assaulting a cleric or other servant of the deities viewed in the Realms? What potential repercussions are there from the deity (or their divine servitors) themselves?

For example, if you murder a Cleric of Beshaba, could it lead to you becoming cursed with bad luck and misfortune? If you imprison a Cleric of Chauntea, could it lead to you having poor yields on your crops, or other harvesting related calamities? If you murder a Cleric of Cyric, is there a greater chance of people seeing through your intrigues, and finding yourself targeted for murder and assassination - no matter where you run or try to hide? Do people actively fear these types of things, and what are the chances of them happening?

I apologize again for the number of questions, but if you can answer even one or two of them, I'd be extremely grateful! Hopefully any answers you can provide will give a more fully-rounded picture of how religion, faith, and worship works in the Realms.

Thank you, THO and Ed!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  00:25:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Great questions, Aldrick! Off they go to Ed, because I'd rather you hear his nuanced and definitive replies to matters divine rather than my more bumbling ones.
I do bring an Ed response to Foxhelm, re. this: "You know I would be interested in this even if it couldn't happen but:
What if Elminster and The Doctor (Doctor Who) were to discuss their life and experiences? Perhaps go on an adventure together?
The Doctor (Especially the Doctors in the new series, and the Eleventh Doctor) seem to have a mix of lived longer then he should have but hunger for life and excitement which seems to go with Elminster in some ways.
Do you have any thoughts on that Mr. Greenwood?"
Ed replies:


I think "it couldn't happen" is very likely, I'm afraid, and aside from being a fan of the series, both original and revived, I have no contact at all with the current writers and directors of Doctor Who.
Once, long, long ago, I met Jon Pertwee (the third Doctor), and he and I exchanged books (I gave him one of my Realms novels, and he gave me his autobiography, "Moon Boots and Dinner Suits"). What a GREAT guy. (I count that as Elminster and The Doctor ALMOST getting together to discuss their lives and experiences. :} )
I have a few problems with trundling as easily back and forth in time as a Time Lord is supposed to be able to, when it comes to the Realms, but I am interested indeed in what living so long and having so many experiences does to the character of anyone, Elminster or Doctor Who or whomever, and I have been very touched by moments in the lives of the recent doctors (usually in Christmas episodes) where what The Doctor means to his companions (and former companions) and their families, have been highlighted. :}


So saith Ed. Who also wants Jeremy to know he hasn't forgotten the queries about the Haunted Battlements Eye column, and will try to get to them next.
love to all,
THO
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13081 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  04:09:38  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
The topic of extra-dimensional spaces came up in another thread. Specifically, using spells like Rope Trick to alleviate needing to pay for a room.

1) Do the wizards of Waterdeep (The Watchful Order) really keep track of who's creating extra-dimensional spaces? Besides creating 'instant inns', doesn't that mean the authorities would want to keep track of other such usages, which should probably even include bags of holding?

2) In the case of permanent places like this - pocket-dimensions of the sort people like to use for more room or as an entire hidden structure (such as the World Serpent Inn), how hard is it to create ones with more then one entrance? Are their such 'hidden rooms' that some groups use to meet in, or move about the Realms more easily? (for instance, if there was a little-known door to the World Serpent Inn within Waterdeep). I can also picture powerful (friendly) wizards building amazing libraries this way (with each of them having a door to the room in their own tower). I would cut down on costs, but have its own obvious disadvantages.


Commentary: I think the best answer to the Underdark question is Ed's favorite answer; "It depends".
In other words, the Underdark geography is just as varied and often just as spectacular as the surface Realms are.


* Grammatical edit

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


Edited by - Markustay on 12 Sep 2012 21:50:03
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Eldacar
Learned Scribe

254 Posts

Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  13:15:43  Show Profile  Visit Eldacar's Homepage  Click to see Eldacar's MSN Messenger address Send Eldacar a Private Message
I have a question or two on the nature of the Magister to pop onto my pile.

Skimming through Secrets of the Magister, I noticed a couple of bits and pieces:

"Magisters never repair or maintain the Weave (dealing with "wild" or "dead" magic areas, for example) except when charged to do so by Mystra, Azuth, or a Chosen."

As a confirmatory thing, I would be mistaken in taking that to mean there's a sort of hierarchy, yes? As in, a Chosen can't (or won't) simply pop up and order a Magister to go and fix a dead magic area or fetch them something, or teach a particular person a bit of magic, or something else implying a strong chain of command, unless it was done explicitly because Mystra asked them to do it and get the Magister's help? It seems that Mystra/Azuth could just tell the Magister themselves given how they - particularly Azuth, the "wise old uncle" - seem to interact with the holders of the office. Mystra telling a Chosen to tell a Magister (or Mystra telling Azuth to tell a Chosen to tell a Magister...) to help them fix/fix a dead magic area, or pass out this bit of magic or that, seems very convoluted, especially if the Chosen could easily get it done themselves (e.g. I recall Elminster in some of Ed's novels hiding magic items and spellbooks in tombs for people to find and thus further the Art, so the Chosen spread magic as part of their job as well).

My second question, the second bit from Secrets of the Magister, has to do with exactly why it isn't possible for a Magister to both hold the office and be a Chosen of Mystra at the same time. The interests and goals of the two "positions" would seem to intersect in several ways (although a Magister can also "rejoin the ranks of the Chosen of Azuth" if they give up the office, something that sounds interesting from the implication of Azuth's distinct Chosen, since I don't think there's been much thrown around about them?). However, despite the potential for both offices to intersect (and if a Magister isn't a particularly nasty individual, there seems to be a degree of friendship/camaraderie, after a fashion, with the Chosen), Mystra decreed that neither her Chosen nor the Chosen of any other deity could be Magisters (with the exception of Noumea, who lost the Magister office over a period of time after she became a Chosen anyway).

Would Ed be able to impart more information as to just why this directive keeping the Magister and the Chosen separate exists? Is it as simple as not putting all your eggs in one basket? Or is there some potentially dangerous interaction between being the Magister and being a Chosen of Mystra at the same time? Or do the points where the Magister and Chosen "job list" don't intersect simply outnumber the points where they do, and Mystra wants to avoid a conflict of interest? Did her directive against a Chosen and a Magister being one and the same always exist, or was it a more recent thing done in response to a certain incident somewhere? Or might she even occasionally use the Magister's office as a testing ground for new Chosen?

"It always ends. That's what gives it value." ~Death of the Endless

Edited by - Eldacar on 12 Sep 2012 13:16:26
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
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Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  16:16:23  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hi again, all. Ed's at work at the day job again, so I'll tackle this one from Eilserus: "Hello THO and Ed,
I had some questions regarding layout of the underdark. We have certain sourcebooks that state it's a maze of twisting tunnels, passages, caverns, etc. And then we have say the tunnels under the Old Skull, where it doesn't strike me as a total maze according to maps. Are most underdark tunnels a passage with tunnels branching off every few miles or is it more of a constant alternate routes available and branching off the main passage? Are most subterranean cities on trade routes or off the beaten path? I always pictured the underdark as somewhat well traveled trade routes with occasional branches off into the wilds that most folks won't stray into and cities would tend to fall on trade routes like their surface counterparts. I was curious if you could shed any further light on this.
Thank you both. :)"

Sure. Here we go. Most of the Underdark is a series of interconnected natural caverns and "tunnels" (water channels) carved out by water (water percolating through limestone and other rocks containing particular water-soluble minerals creates the familiar-to-us stalactites, stalgmites, and "pillars" where stalacts and stalags have "grown together"), some of them later enlarged by the diggings and minings of various creatures.
Just as market-moots that grow into towns "happen" in the surface Realms, cities develop in the Underdark at trade-route-junctions, as well as at other strategic places (controlling travel, or where rivers/lakes and caverns meet) and sources of resources (rich gem-lodes and ore deposits). So, yes, most Underdark cities are on major trade routes.
The Underdark varies widely in composition from place to place, with the rocks and amount of water. Some parts of it are a few passages and caverns, in long, long linkages, and others ARE bewildering labyrinths of many-leveled interconnected caverns and shafts and passages.
The parts of it under the Old Skull are a mix of a few natural caverns and stream-passages, and a lot of deliberately-carved-out passages built under drow direction for defense and faciliatating trade-caravan-movements between the surface (at Castle Grimstead) and the underground lake that's just north of the Old Skull knoll itself. The lake itself is a major obstacle to invaders from the surface, and is used deliberately by the drow (who can readily control and search boats and barges crossing the lake) to control the flows of goods, people sneaking in and out and slaves trying to escape, etc.
There. That's a start. So saith me, drawing on Ed's notes and extensive play with the Knights into those under-Shadowdale areas of the Underdark...
love,
THO



Thank you THO. :) Hope you have a great day milady.
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dravenloft
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Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  17:18:25  Show Profile  Visit dravenloft's Homepage  Send dravenloft an AOL message  Send dravenloft an ICQ Message  Click to see dravenloft's MSN Messenger address  Send dravenloft a Yahoo! Message Send dravenloft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hi again, all. I bring you now Ed’s response to these questions, from dravenloft: “As a premise of the Realms seems to be (have been? I'll admit all my stuff but a few novels are pre-3rd edition) that there are portals scattered hither and yon that might lead one out of or into Faerûn from another plane, and certainly some of our own Earthly gods do a bit of duty on that side of creation already. So, have the Knights ever met someone fresh from a radically different world? Our own, for example? Or, perhaps, found themselves transported to such a bizarre and distant elsewhere?”
Ed replies:


Yes, in “home” Realmsplay, over the years, the Knights of Myth Drannor have visited the “Otherwhen” of H. Beam Piper’s Lord Kalvan tales, Christopher Stasheff’s Gramayre, Andrew Offut’s Zhuvastou, and a few Shadows of Roger Zelazny’s Amber. They have met wayfarers from all of those settings and some other places, too. However, as their adventures unfolded, they weren’t always aware they were doing so.
Yes, they’ve visited us, too. There’s even a long-ago DRAGON article by me describing some of the details of Realms adventurers blundering about in our own real (modern) world.
One of the ideas put forward by Philip José Farmer in his World of Tiers books (that partly inspired, Roger Zelazny told me as he told others, the Amber books) was that any such system of gates/portals linking various worlds would inevitably end up controlled or dominated by a power group (or rival, warring power groups) who benefit from such control.
I have long thought that this was an ideal direction for a mature Realms campaign to head in, as the PCs reached powerful character levels: that they would inevitably get drawn into conflict with such power groups, and defending people and places they held dear from the behind-the-scenes control of said power groups.
This is a field many fantasy and sf novelists have explored, and one that continues to fascinate me.


So saith Ed. Who knew when TSR first started publishing the Realms that the “D&D controversy” of the day would force all real world/Realms connections to be downplayed or not mentioned at all.
love,
THO




Cool. Been wondering that one gor years and always forgot to ask.

I must say, the Knights seem to have some really interesting adventures.

Space Opera, Planetary Romance, Speculative Fiction and similar by me.
check it out at http://universal-nexus.com
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dravenloft
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Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  17:51:17  Show Profile  Visit dravenloft's Homepage  Send dravenloft an AOL message  Send dravenloft an ICQ Message  Click to see dravenloft's MSN Messenger address  Send dravenloft a Yahoo! Message Send dravenloft a Private Message
Yet another question for Ed 's pile (good thing these are electronic, I've a feeling in snail mail days the poor man would drown in the piles of letters!).

In particular I'm thinking of a game set in Flamerule 1357DR, and as it's about fashions so I suspect that could be important.

This is kind of a multiparter.  
First I'm just curious as a generalisation among the adventuring bands of Faerûn:  are there ever fashion trends among the dungeon delvers and other bands of warriors, wizards and sundry hangers on going about the realms looking for excitement and treasure?

More specifically, what of Cormyrians and Waterhavians?  
Even more specifically adventurers among the well-to-do?

Speaking of the well-to-do, what sorts of basic day-to-day, and high party wear might be expected of a Cormyrian noble's daughter from Suzail?  Or a well to do Waterhavian Sharessin priestess who, until caught up in an adventure, served her Lady via one of Waterdeep's finer festhalls?

I've been dying for a way to word that one for awhile.  One of the greatest things of sci-fi and fantasy alike is imagining what the sorcery or science of the imagination might dress and decorate folks in.

Space Opera, Planetary Romance, Speculative Fiction and similar by me.
check it out at http://universal-nexus.com
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 12 Sep 2012 :  18:09:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Oooh, great question!
dravenloft, I can clearly recall a sudden fad among adventurers in the Moonsea North, Dales, Sembia, Cormyr, and Lake of Dragons area, in 1357 DR, for using bucklers (the small, round, hand-sized shields). Great in unexpected duels or close-quarters taverm brawls, but of less utility against orcs or barbarians whaling away at you with huge axes or two-handed swords.
That fad was followed by a fashion that lasted for four years (and in some cases clung for another decade or so) for wearing a huge plate-armored "battle arm" (sleeve, fastened at shoulder and wrist, and covering one arm in a properly-jointed but massively armored [[and adorned]] assembly of overlapping and sliding armor plates that covered one arm from shoulder to wrist. Worn even with festive clothing, not just "when armored and ready for war."
As the creator of all of this, Ed can, of course, elaborate.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2012 :  00:52:21  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, fellow scribes. Ed’s Realmslore answers continue with yet another basket of lore responses for Jeremy Grenemyer, this time in response to questions about the Eye on the Realms article The Haunted Battlement:
“1) The word Naeth: is this from the Alzhedo language? Is it correct to interpret this word as meaning “the first level below the ground floor of a dwelling?” Or does the word mean something like “cellar” or “dungeon”?
2) The tower called the Eiyaerat at the Phelhelra: is that tower name also a word in Alzhedo or Common (or another language)? If yes, what does it mean?
3) The word “durthdra” (dumbwater): is that Alzhedo?
4) The blades found by adventurers within the Phelhelra that are capable of vaporizing creatures of elemental nature: can you tell us if the adventurers have given a name to these blades or if they’ve since been examined by wizards or sages? Also, can you tell us anything about those adventurers (adventuring company name, personal names, interests, enemies, fates)?
5) The article mentions a place called Karamhond, which is now part of Athkatla. I take it this was a nearby town that Athkatla grew and overtook? If yes, is Karamhond still known as a neighborhood in Athkatla?
I enjoyed this article, particularly the information about elralenth stone and its use as a coating for metal armor. Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer all these questions.”
Ed replies:

1. “Naeth” is a word found in various Southern tongues (as is the related word “naed,” which means “sh*t” . . . in much of the South, outside of cities that have sewage systems or dung-wagons, excrement is usually shallow-buried by turning over the topsoil and putting it beneath).
In Alzhedo, “naeth” literally means “below,” but is actually used to mean “just below” or “shallow below” (whereas “naelal” means “deep”), and is usually employed as the name of a shallow cellar level (where we real-world moderns would say “basement”) or to refer to something (a corpse, treasure, hidden or stolen goods) that is shallow-buried. So, yes, one of the meanings of naeth is indeed “the first level below the ground floor of a dwelling.” In Calishite palaces and mansions, “the Naeth” refers to a JUST-below-the-ground-floor level of rooms, passages, and stairs that the servants use to scurry around from “room above” to “room above” without intruding on their employers (and guests) in those ground-floor rooms. (“Naeth” is never used to refer to deep cellars, but some Calishite shopkeepers use the word to refer to a lone storeroom dug out of the earth, and usually accessed from under the stairs.

2. “Eiyaerat” is a name, made up of the word “erat” in Alzhedo, meaning a tower, peak, or isolated height (such as a horn-shaped tor or fang of rock; the latter are often being used as landmarks) and the name “Eiyar,” who is the Calishite man “built” (in this case that means designed or engineered) it. So the name means “Eiyar’s tower” (or more properly, as Calishites speak, “tower of Eiyar.” Eiyar’s rank, life story, and the like are (thus far, until I or someone else writes something) unknown.

3. “Durthdra” is another invented compound word, made up of two words found in Alzhedo and other tongues of the south: “durth” (level or rude/simple floor or platform or landing) and “uldra” (the apparatus for lifting something up and down a shaft; almost always, this refers to a rope, pulley, pulley stand/hoist, and bucket, used to reach up water from a well). So although many speakers of Alzhedo would never have seen a dumbwaiter or elevator, or heard the word “durthdra,” if it was said to them, the very word “durthdra” would tell them a platform that could be raised and lowered by some mechanical means was being spoken of. So, yes, it is a little-known word in Alzhedo that may or may not persist and spread.

4. Those dozen-some magical blades were dubbed “smokesteel” swords, because they turned the flesh of genasi to thick swirling vapor (like smoke, but called “bloodmist” by some sages). Their origins remain unknown—and all of the swords and the adventurers who wielded them have since disappeared.
So far as Elminster knows, no sage or “mage of accomplishment” got a chance to examine the swords. A few names of the adventurers involved survive, perhaps distorted by rumor and retellings: the debonair rogues (and married couple) Shandreth and Immyira of Tashluta; the Jadorn Blades adventuring company from Sheirtalar, and the thief Brel Onstryn of Athkatla, deadly foe of the hidden rulers of Amn.

5. Yes, Karamhond was indeed a nearby town that Athkatla grew and overtook. It’s now “hidden in plain sight” as part of southeastern Athkatla, specifically the southernmost part of the Bridge District. This neighborhood is known as Hamhaeldra (or “Streets of Haeldra,” after a fondly-remembered “good” civic leader named Haeldra who was born and raised there), the “Karamhond” name surviving only as the major street known as the Karamahar, the Karamhdhyn inn, and the Arjelelkaram tavern.

By the way, elralenth stone is a deadly poison if ingested in powdered form or dissolved in strong spirits (certain liquors can dissolve it, and sages—Elminster among them—are reluctant to say which ones, for fear of precipitating a new rash of poisonings). Elralenth smells strongly, like vanilla, while dissolving. The wizard Horlaung of Tharsult knew how to magically combine elralenth with other substances to create an unguent that purged rust from metal, transforming it back into “like new” metal, but the secret of making this remedy may have died with him.


So saith Ed. Who adds that we should watch for a character in a soon-to-appear Eye column whose surname is the same as a certain food source discussed in his last set of replies to Jeremy. That’s not a mistake, but the result of a not-yet-told tale of the character’s heritage.
love to all,
THO
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dravenloft
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Posted - 13 Sep 2012 :  03:09:56  Show Profile  Visit dravenloft's Homepage  Send dravenloft an AOL message  Send dravenloft an ICQ Message  Click to see dravenloft's MSN Messenger address  Send dravenloft a Yahoo! Message Send dravenloft a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Oooh, great question!
dravenloft, I can clearly recall a sudden fad among adventurers in the Moonsea North, Dales, Sembia, Cormyr, and Lake of Dragons area, in 1357 DR, for using bucklers (the small, round, hand-sized shields). Great in unexpected duels or close-quarters taverm brawls, but of less utility against orcs or barbarians whaling away at you with huge axes or two-handed swords.
That fad was followed by a fashion that lasted for four years (and in some cases clung for another decade or so) for wearing a huge plate-armored "battle arm" (sleeve, fastened at shoulder and wrist, and covering one arm in a properly-jointed but massively armored [[and adorned]] assembly of overlapping and sliding armor plates that covered one arm from shoulder to wrist. Worn even with festive clothing, not just "when armored and ready for war."
As the creator of all of this, Ed can, of course, elaborate.
love,
THO


thanks Milady.

I can certainly dig the battle arm fashion, that woukd have a certin … flair about it. I could even see a few dandies trying to appear more exciting strutting aound with gilded ones bedecked ith jewels and similar. Oh, the fun that could be.

I eagerly await Ed's elaborations. If glimpses of such things in the likes of Stormlight, City of Splenders, and Cormyr are anything to judge by.

Space Opera, Planetary Romance, Speculative Fiction and similar by me.
check it out at http://universal-nexus.com
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2012 :  04:38:10  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Thank you very much THO and Ed for that last batch of answers. Now to update the entry in the Glossary of Phrases, Sayings & Words of the Realms.

You know, even though the Eye articles come out one a month, I still can't fit everything in them into my games (though I wish I could).

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

USA
586 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2012 :  01:49:11  Show Profile  Visit Tyrant's Homepage Send Tyrant a Private Message
I finished Elminster Enraged last night. I really enjoyed it and the interesting tidbits revealed within. I do have a quick question about the book when Ed has a minute. I don't have it right in front of me so I don't have a page number, but my question is about a comment Manshoon makes. I don't believe this is a real spoiler because it is one line that is not referred to again. He is talking about his modified Beholders and mentions watching people in Waterdeep not being time wasted. Edit: It's on the bottom of page 293: "Yes, augmentations. Spending all that time farscrying those deluded cultists in the sewers of Waterdeep had been wearying indeed- but in the end, time not entirely wasted." Was this a referrence to the Amalgamation group in the novel Waterdeep: City of Splenders?

I also have another, seperate question. Apologies if this or something similar has already been asked. This has to do with magic in the Realms. This is more from a story/how Ed sees it angle than an RPG mechanics angle (I would just make something up for that). Does learning one system of magic have any impact on attempting to learn another? By that I mean, suppose a character were a Battlemage (like Aoth Fezim in RLB's Haunted Lands and Brotherhood series) and he desired to pursue becoming a more traditional Wizard. Would his prior experience as a Battlemage be a help or would it hinder his goals? Is it a case of different paths to the same goal (greater magical power, greater understanding of the Weave, etc)? I would think where there is overlap (specific spells most likely) that a character like that would either more readily understand how a Wizard does it (if it's any different) and possibly gain a greater understanding of that particular spell by knowing more about how to access it, but I thought I would ask for Ed's insight.

A similar and related question would be the same situation only with a Sorceror trying to become a Wizard. Would their inner connection to the Weave give them greater insight, or would it hinder them because Wizards approach things from a different angle?


Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.
-The Sith Code

Teenage Sith zombies, Tulkh thought-how in the moons of Bogden had it all started? Every so often, the universe must just get bored and decide to really cut loose. -Star Wars: Red Harvest

Edited by - Tyrant on 14 Sep 2012 04:29:13
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