Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Journals
 General Forgotten Realms Chat
 Threskel, Bane, and the Cult of the Dragon
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Previous Page | Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 5

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 07 Jun 2013 :  18:59:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BadCatMan

Thanks, I forgot that bit about Bane taking Fzoul.

If you're interested, I found what may be the earliest mention of Mourktar. In Secrets of the Magister, page 31, Azuth offered the position of Magister to one Faerndel of Mourktar who turned it down in 241 DR.



Interesting, that lends credence to the idea that Mourktar was an area with Faerunian deity influence in 241 DR.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2013 :  04:50:54  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
BadCatMan - That's a great find. I love little obscure things like this, and that is indeed the earliest direct reference that's been found for Mourktar. It was clear that Mourktar existed before 482 DR, as it is mentioned in the history narrative in the Old Empires along with Delthuntle and Laothkund (who rebelled in 482 DR) as struggling under the oppressive taxes levied by Unther.

quote:
Unther, which had declined greatly, could not reach the elves of Yuirwood with its traders or its armies. The cost of expansion bankrupted its treasury, and taxes were raised. Rebellions against the taxes were ruthlessly crushed, and harsh laws were brought down to preserve public order. Some of the hardest hit by these taxes and laws were adventurers, who were beginning to bring wealth from the ruins in Narfell and Raumathar and complained most bitterly against the confiscation of most of the fortunes that they fought so hard to acquire. Some of these adventurers turned to freebooting, becoming pirates in the Sea of Fallen Stars. Others led rebellions in a number of cities hard hit by the tax: Delthuntle, Laothkund, and Mourktar.
- Old Empires, pg. 4

Since we also know that Narfell and Raumathar fell in -150 DR it was my feeling that Mourktar likely existed before that date.

Sleyvas - My thoughts were similar to yours. Basically, I see Pilgrims of Bane travelling to Mourktar around -200 DR (which would be around 150 years after the ascension of the Dark Three to divinity). The Temple of the Black Lord's Altar would have already been established in Mulmaster by this time, and this would make the Black Lord's Cloak either the second or the third temple built to honor Bane.

The goal of the pilgrims was likely to begin spreading the faith in the region, but just as importantly - to take over the Untheric Empire. However, establishing themselves inside the core of Unther creates all sorts of problems. The first of the big two, probably revolves around Bane not wanting them to move directly against Unther in the beginning. Reference what happens to deities who begin interacting with other pantheons. The second big problem likely revolved around the power of the church at the time, they just wouldn't have had the ability to conquer Unther directly.

So, they established themselves in Unther's back door - in Mourktar. Threskel as a whole isn't a really valuable place. The soil there really isn't all that suited to farming, since it's so sandy. The real advantage of the place is that there seems to be a crap ton of mineral wealth (including gold!) in the mountains, but the problem with that is that they're constantly having to deal with dragons. So even though there is a ton of wealth in the mountains, getting to it has always been problematic. As a result Threskel has been more-or-less a backwater place filled mostly with small fishing villages trying to scratch out a meager living.

Thus, when the Banites arrive in Mourktar I picture it as a small (but successful) fishing village with a decent port. Being in a relative backwater it wouldn't have been of major importance to Unther. The response to their arrival likely would have been, "Foreigners have arrived? Okay. Are they attacking anyone? No? Okay, good. Are they paying taxes? They are? Okay, good. Have they pledged loyalty to Unther's cause? Okay, good. Wait - they brought a foreign deity with them, well that's to be expected - they are foreigners, are they trying to undermine my rule? No? Okay, good."

There are actually a number of different views on how to best serve Bane. The first involves the church believing that it should rule as a theocracy (see Unther and Mulhorand as a reference to what that might look like). The second involves the church supporting those who seek to rise to power by assisting them with support and resources, and then turning them into tyrants. (Tyrants whose power flows directly from Bane and his church, of course, but they'd be technically separate nonetheless.)

This was discussed indirectly in the Cult of the Dragon.

quote:
Further, Algashon had by this time wholeheartedly adopted the Banite tenet that Bane#146;s priests, as servants to the god of tyranny, should seek out tyrants and would-be tyrants and support them. In this way, they could better serve their god by enhancing tyranny and strife across the face of the Realms. Of course, this also allowed them to be the true powers behind the thrones of any weak-willed or weak-minded tyrants that could be found. (Indeed, much of the ideology Algashon espoused has much more recently been embraced and elaborated on by Fzoul Chembryl of the Zhentarim. Fzoul promotes this attitude even more vehemently now since he has adopted the worship of Iyachtu Xvim, the Godson of Bane.)
- The Cult of the Dragon, pg. 13

So, in the Banite church there are likely two major competing thoughts on how to best serve the interests of Bane in the mortal world. First, either become tyrannical leaders themselves, or second support anyone outside the church who has the potential to become a tyrant so that they can act as the power behind the throne. There may be other lines of thinking as well, but these seem to be the two major ones.

My feeling is that the priests of the Cloak had a two pronged response to taking over Unther.

The first, was to establish themselves on Unther's doorstep, but not to challenge Gilgeam directly. Instead, their goal was likely to try and get Gilgeam to acknowledge the power and authority of Bane - in effect pledging his loyalty to the Black Hand in exchange for more power.

However, if that didn't work there was the second alternative. As Unther expanded it's reach they could spread their faith into the areas that Unther conquered. The more power and control they established there, the easier it would be to have Unther itself surrounded, throw it into chaos, and attack it directly - conquering it if Gilgeam refused to bend the knee to the Dark Lord.

The advantage of this plan is that they could do both at the same time. They could attempt to woo Gilgeam, and to show their loyalty to his cause they could offer their templars and other warriors loyal to the Black Hand to Unther. Thus, as Unther expands they'd have the support of the priests of the Cloak. Of course, as it expands and they conquer new territory, guess what happens? They also spread the faith of Bane.

The problem with their plan likely came from two separate events. The first was Unther bankrupting itself. The high taxes that followed created rebellions that the church, as functionally part of Unther, could not support openly. These rebellions likely started with small uprisings that Unther put down aggressively (perhaps even with the aid of the Banites).

However, when Delthuntle and Laothkund declared independence they functionally lost control of the situation. In the bloody (and long) conflict that followed it may have even divided the church. The Banites in Delthuntle and Laothkund may have supported the rebel cause, whereas the mother church in Mourktar may have been opposed - at least publicly. After all, there was no certainty that the rebels would win the war (which they did), and if they lost it would have been disastrous for the priests of the Cloak.

My feeling is that they likely tried to have their cake and eat it too. This would have involved them secretly giving the Banites who were part of the rebellion aid, while publicly denouncing their actions. So there likely would have been Banites on both sides of the battlefield, with the priests of the Cloak giving conflicting orders and secretly sabotaging Unther's attempt to retake the rebel city-states.

It was likely around this time that Gilgeam started to slip a bit off his rocker. The bankrupting of the treasury, the rebellions, and potentially even with Banites whispering poisonous words in his ear - resulted in Gilgeam starting down the road of a tyrant to hold onto power and control.

When Unther was forced to acknowledge their defeat, ending the second Untheric Empire, and beginning their slow decline; my feeling is that Gilgeam likely turned on the Banites and Mourktar at this point.

I base this off the fact that Mourktar didn't rebel with Delthuntle and Laothkund in 482 DR, despite being named along side them as suffering under heavy taxation. Then nearly 350 years later in 823 DR, Mourktar suddenly decides to up and leave the empire, and Unther doesn't respond to Mourktar's leaving in the same way. There is no statement saying that they responded against them with force, or attempted to try and retake Mourktar.

I believe the relationship between the Banites and Gilgeam began to sour after 679 DR, when Unther had to acknowledge their defeat. It likely began with small slights and accusations levied at them by Gilgeam and his priests. Over time this likely escalated to punitive actions being taken, along with serious threats. Then at some point just before 823 DR the relationship was no longer salvageable and became overtly hostile. So Mourktar - likely with the support and backing of its people as well as the clergy of Hoar - rebelled against Unther.

Now, the priests of the Cloak obviously would have had their own army. They would have used this army to assist Unther in conquering their former territories. On top of that, it was likely known that they had a good working relationship with numerous other Banite factions - including those that had rebelled against Unther - and that they would come to the aid of the priests of the Cloak should Unther respond with hostility. Seeing as how they already lost previously, and had to declare defeat once they likely decided to simply let Mourktar leave. However, this likely pushed Gilgeam even closer to the edge.

The second issue that impacted the Banite plan was Tchazzar. He shows up on the scene, unites Chessenta under his rule, successfully rebels and frees numerous city-states from the grasp of Unther then dies. It was likely at this point that Gilgeam jumped completely off the slippery slope, and became a petty tyrant that was delusional and paranoid.

Over the centuries, I believe the power of the priests of the Cloak have waxed and waned. At times they likely had complete control over all Banites in the region. Then at others, various groups outside of Mourktar likely declared their independence or their authority superseded that of the priests of the Cloak. To give an example, prior to Kabarrath taking control of the church, it's my feeling that the Banites in Thay were answering to the church in Bezantur, and not to the priests of the Cloak.

I think that Kabarrath Telthaug, after becoming the head of the priests of the Cloak, became a fantastic leader that ultimately led the church to it's most powerful and influential point in perhaps centuries. Thus, when the Time of Troubles arrived the Temple of the Black Lord's Cloak was the most powerful and largest church of Bane in all of Faerun, and this was likely directly attributable to the leadership of Kabarrath.

All of this would be taking place during a time when the Banites were fracturing elsewhere - particularly in the Moonsea - between the Orthodox and Transformed sects. This along with a string of other failures by Banites in the region, is probably what lead Kabarrath to declare his independence from the hierarchy. He was likely supported by numerous Banite factions in the south - including most of those in Thay - because they believed him to be a more effective leader.

Then the Time of Troubles arrived, Bane died, and the rest is history.

------

Okay, I apologize if any of the above seems disjointed. I'm currently a bit zonked out as I'm taking pain medication after having one of my wisdom teeth removed.
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 08 Jun 2013 :  14:48:49  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No, that was very well thought through. I like this idea and would love to see it further fleshed out in official lore. A history of the church of Bane's involvement with the Empire of Unther would be interesting (i.e. names, groups, etc...), and possibly their involvement with the Cult of the Dragon and Tiamat as well.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

BadCatMan
Learned Scribe

Australia
328 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  05:00:11  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another tidbit of history. Pirates of the Fallen Stars, page 46, says that Messemprar rebelled (following the slave riots, I presume) against Unther around 1357 DR, and that Mourktar gave some form of support, "carried by the pirates of the Inner Sea". The rebellion was still crushed however.

The "pirates" are presumably Kabarrath's own pirates of Alkoth. It's the same thing he did in 1374, supporting Messemprar against Mulhorand. So Kabarrath must have had the ear of King Theris then, the power behind the throne as it were, his forces supporting Theris's.

BadCatMan, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc.
Scientific technical editor
Head DM of the Realms of Adventure play-by-post community
Administrator of the Forgotten Realms Wiki and Candlekeep Wiki
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  08:30:09  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BadCatMan

Another tidbit of history. Pirates of the Fallen Stars, page 46, says that Messemprar rebelled (following the slave riots, I presume) against Unther around 1357 DR, and that Mourktar gave some form of support, "carried by the pirates of the Inner Sea". The rebellion was still crushed however.

The "pirates" are presumably Kabarrath's own pirates of Alkoth. It's the same thing he did in 1374, supporting Messemprar against Mulhorand. So Kabarrath must have had the ear of King Theris then, the power behind the throne as it were, his forces supporting Theris's.



Not saying he necessarily didn't have the ear of King Theris, but this wouldn't necessarily prove that he did. King Theris was known to be a worshipper of Assuran per Old Empires. Since the god of vengeance was anti-Unther, he could have just been following his god's edicts (and he was deeply religious because the athletic games to replace him as ruler were given to him by his god, supposedly).

In searching the web, I've found this same entry in at least 3 places. However, none of them have a source reference listed, and all appear to be copies of the same "timeline".... so I'm not sure if this is canon or not. I personally can't find this reference, so it very well could be someone's homebrew getting copied by people unwittingly only because he created a huge timeline. Anyone recognize it?

"King Theris of Mourktar orders his forces to seize ships belonging to the Black Lord's Cloak, on the grounds that the Baneites are importing weapons and armor from Mulhorand. In retaliation for Theris' breaking of Queen Leira's pact, Kabarrath Telthaug arranges to have Theris poisoned, rendering him sterile and slowly destroying his body."

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  08:44:57  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the above, it could also have been a trick by the Banites on King Theris (a false vision that Theris took to be the wishes of Assuran) in order to put someone ill-prepared to rule upon his throne, so that they could assassinate him and take over Mourktar (although it could have been that Sorn the servant of Lauzoril, Zulkir of Enchantment, performed the assassination per his orders).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2013 :  17:01:11  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
BadCatMan - That's a good find! As you pointed out this would make it twice now that the priests of the Cloak have intervened to defend Messemprar. Of course, I don't suppose that should be shocking. Having influence over Messemprar is pretty important for Mourktar, as any invading army marching along the coast is going to hit them before they enter into Threskel. It's better to try and push back an army there than let one cross the River of Metals and have to fight it on their own turf. Besides, they can easily retreat and control the major fords, crossings, and bridges across the River of Metals into Threskel. That gives them a good position to defend against a larger force.

Sleyvas - I can't find any reference to that in any of the books. Although, my feeling is that the priests of Hoar in the city were likely aligned with the Banites. There is no real reason that I can see for them to be in direct opposition prior to the death of King Theris. Once Theris died the Banites move to weaken them politically, but prior to that it's likely they shared a lot of common goals and objectives. It's difficult to see where they'd be working at cross purposes, since they likely shared common enemies, and faced similar threats.

If Unther conquered Mourktar it wasn't just going to be bad for the Banites, it would be bad for the Hoaran's as well. Likewise, the same is true for Chessenta or Mulhorand, or any other group that would threaten Mourktar. Both groups also seemed to have a different area of focus in the city.

It's my feeling that the priests of Hoar likely had the ear of King Theris, but the priests of the Cloak were also respected and valued in King Theris' court. I see what ultimately happened as the Banites simply consolidating power, and kicking anyone not completely loyal to them out of positions of influence. It's likely that relations have become chilly between them as a result, but I still don't envision them being openly hostile. It seems as if the Banites allowed the Hoaran's to remain within the city and to continue to practice their faith - just under the watchful gaze of the Black Lord and his priests.

They've likely become rivals for power and influence within Mourktar, but I wouldn't classify them as enemies.

Also, an interesting point that should be put out there regarding the tournament.

quote:
The majority of the guilds believe that a tournament to replace Theris is insane, as Mourktar could be stuck with a totally inept ruler and quickly end up as part of Unther, Chessenta, or even Thay. The army, however, is fiercely loyal to Theris and is willing to put up with the successor produced by a tournament; if he#146;s the wrong man for the job, they feel they can always replace him later.
- Old Empires, pg. 59

It seems that a lot of people were opposed to the tournament, and people were prepared to get rid of whoever won if he proved unsuitable. My gut tells me that Kabarrath had something to do with Theris having the tournament, but I am unsure how... perhaps through magic in some way to lead Theris to the mistaken belief that he was called to do such a thing.

Regardless, I think Kabarrath was involved in rigging the tournament, to ensure the weakest individual won. I'm guessing Theriheb won the tournament, with Sorn coming in second place, Helyos third place, and Nebuseddar fourth place.

Theriheb was a paladin from Mulhorand. He lacked military support like Helyos had from his mercenaries, the support of Thay like Sorn, and the support of Unther that Nebuseddar possessed.

I believe that Kabarrath had already secretly worked out an arrangement with the Red Wizards, and likely knew about Sorn and his intentions. Thus, when Theriheb won the contest, he set things up so that Sorn could assassinate him. Then he made sure he had evidence of Sorn's actions, captured him, held a trial, and then sentenced him to death. The priests of the Cloak likely also hired Helyos and his mercenaries, bringing them under their thumb, and preventing him from declaring himself king.

With no clear successor, and potential chaos looming, Kabarrath stepped up to declare himself "Regent of Mourktar". He then set about consolidating power in the hands of the priests of the Cloak and their political allies within the city and region. The Red Wizards believe they have an ally (or perhaps even more mistakenly, a puppet) in Mourktar. However, Kabarrath fully intended to use them to further weaken Unther and Chessenta, and to unite all of Threskel under his rule.

Of course, those plans got shot to hell when Alasklerbanbastos showed up, and things had to be reworked to account for the new problem.
Go to Top of Page

BadCatMan
Learned Scribe

Australia
328 Posts

Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  04:23:53  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By having Theris's ear, I meant more that Theris listened to Kabarrath, perhaps as an advisor or agent, not that Kabarrath had total influence over the king. Kabarrath was already in a position of political (not just religious) authority in Mourktar.

I think I've seen that history too, but never in a sourcebook. It's almost certainly homebrew.

The events of the King's Tournament are unclear, hinted at before and after, but still vague. We know:
* Helyos "nearly won". He likely came third, as the loser of the Final Duel wasn't allowed to be raised from the dead. Or he escaped.
* Kabarrath "secretly engineered" its failure (DoF).
* However, it did produce a winner, as there was a successor. (F&A)
* The successor was assassinated shortly after. (F&A) I imagine on the winner's podium, shortly after coronation, in order for the tournament to be called a failure.

Suspects for the assassination are:
* Sorn, contestant and agent of Zulkir Lauzoril. (OE)
* The army, ready to replace an incompetent or unpopular winner. (OE)
* Kabarrath or an agent.

It seems Kabarrath either ordered or allowed the assassination, or fiddled things so there'd be a weak winner, as you suggest, whom he could either dominate or assassinate later. We know he's supported by the Red Wizards later, so he could have been in collusion with Lauzoril and Sorn. Alternatively, he could have a lot of support from the army, and one of them did the deed.

It strikes me that the King's Tournament would be quite offensive to a Banite, winning rule with no service or accumulation of power, choosing some one based on athletic ability and luck rather than fitness to rule. I get the impression that Theris was old and kind of senile, and everyone in Mourktar believed it was an insane idea.

BadCatMan, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc.
Scientific technical editor
Head DM of the Realms of Adventure play-by-post community
Administrator of the Forgotten Realms Wiki and Candlekeep Wiki
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  14:16:01  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
BadCatMan -

That's my take on the situation as well. Though I completely forgot about the bit where the loser of the final duel had their corpse burned and placed in an anti-magic field so that they could never be resurrected. (Old Empires, pg. 69)

Thus, my guess for the order of victory probably went something like this...

Winner: Theriheb (Mulhorandi Paladin)
Runner Up: Nebuseddar (Untheric Fighter Loyal to Gilgeam)
Third Place: Helyos (Chessentan Mercenary Captain)
Fourth Place: Sorn (Thayan Fighter Loyal to Zulkier Lauzoril)

We know that Helyos was either third or forth place, because he's still alive after the competition. Had he been second place he'd be dead. The winner was assassinated. We know that Sorn had orders from Lauzoril to assassinate the winner if he lost. If he wasn't second place, then we have no reason to believe that he didn't attempt to carry out an assassination attempt against the winner.

Nebuseddar could have also been first place, with either Sorn or Theriheb as second place - more likely Theriheb would be second place.

Thus, I think based on the information we have the above order was likely the order things happened in.

It's a bit easier to close the loop in the lore if we assume that Sorn carried out his orders from Lauzoril, and assassinated the winner (either Theriheb or Nebuseddar). It's quite possible that Kabarrath and Lauzoril were working together to depose King Theris, and this would help explain this bit in Faiths and Avatars:

"It has been said (accurately) that only the presence of this temple [the Black Lord's Cloak], which grew to rule the entire city following the death of King Theris and the subsequent assassination of his successor, prevented the more ambitious Red Wizards of Thay from abandoning all plans to assault Rashemen and instead establishing a beachhead in Threskel from which to attack decadent Unther and fractious Chessenta." - Faiths and Avatars, pg. 39

Thus, if we assume that Kabarrath and Lauzoril plotted the take over of Mourktar together, then it helps explain why King Theris seemed to get this crazy scheme into his head in the first place - a plan that most people in Mourktar believed was insane... Lauzoril or one of his apprentices could have screwed with his mind magically, leading him to believe that Hoar was ordering him to have this event to choose a successor.

Sorn was ordered to either win the competition or assassinate the winner. We know the winner was assassinated, so it makes sense to point the finger at Sorn. Of course, the new "rightful" king of Mourktar has just been killed. This isn't something that Kabarrath can ignore, so he steps up to "find" the assassin (who he knows is Sorn), and then puts him on "trial" for his regicide. He hires Helyos' mercenary company to keep the peace, bringing them under his thumb, and then has Sorn executed for his crimes - thus cleaning up all the lose ends.

With no heir apparent for the throne, Mourktar is in danger of falling into chaos and potentially civil war. This would weaken them and potentially open them up to being annexed by Unther (likely a real and present fear that most people in Mourktar have on a regular basis). So to create order and stability in the city-state Kabarrath steps forward and names himself "Regent of Mourktar".

He is likely to have had a firm base of support within the city, and after his rule as regent was established, he then set about consolidating power in the hands of the Temple of the Black Lord's Cloak. This meant that the followers of Hoar were nudged aside.

Kabarrath was likely in the process of integrating the Banite Templars with the military of Mourktar - to make them one and the same - when seven years later after the death of King Theris in 1365 DR the issue with Alasklerbanbastos is dropped on his doorstep. During this same period Kabarrath was likely also dealing with internal church politics as a result of the death of Bane - so he had a lot on his plate.

Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 10 Jun 2013 :  14:30:32  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I also like the idea of Theriheb winning because he's listed as the only one who wouldn't cheat to win. It's sort of a karmic but tragic victory. Theriheb is the weakest of all the named contestants, the only one who wouldn't cheat, and also the only one who is good aligned - the rest are likely evil. It's likely that Nebuseddar, Helyos, and Sorn saw each other as their main competition, and cheated to find ways to sabotage each other.

On top of that it's likely that Kabarrath was also actively meddling in the tournament, attempting to ensure that the "right" person won.

So, there is Theriheb - the new benevolent king of Mourktar - and then he gets his throat cut by his competitor Sorn. But never fear, because the priests of the Cloak (who've been involved in manipulating events from the start) will obtain justice. So Sorn gets executed for his crimes - crimes that the leader of the Priests of the Cloak, Kabarrath, knew would happen all along. This allowed them to tie up all the loose ends nicely.

Then to prevent the city from falling into civil war and general chaos, Kabarrath generously steps up and names himself Regent. ...just as he planned to do all along.

Meanwhile, the potential would-be hero of the story, Theriheb is worm food. It's so Game of Thrones.
Go to Top of Page

BadCatMan
Learned Scribe

Australia
328 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2013 :  04:28:13  Show Profile Send BadCatMan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You may be missing a few key players. There are meant to be 64 contestants, cut down to 16 main contenders, including Theriheb, Helyos, Nebuseddar and Sorn. We also get example names like Sir Jheaol, Milfur of Chondath, and Murzul of Thay, probably nobodies. Plus there's one very important contender: the PC.

"The Name of the Game" is presented as an adventure scenario, and I've noticed that when adventure modules are revisited in the lore, there's a tendency for the roles of the PCs to be taken by unidentified, undescribed people or "adventurers". So, sadly for anyone who played it (I've modified it for something very different, with a Tiamatan terrorist as the assassin), the PC could be the unnamed winner who was assassinated.

Getting to the purely mechanical, another factor is their levels. Theriheb is the lowest, and might not be allowed smite evil under the no magic rule, so he doesn't look like he'd stand a chance against Helyos, Nebuseddar and Sorn (though your idea of him winning through as the little good guy no-one else thought to sabotage is nice). Sorn is the highest, but is challenged by Helyos, and Nebuseddar has his divinely boosted stats to help keep up.

The loser of the final duel doesn't necessarily have to die immediately. A knock-out or if Theriheb or a good PC choose not to kill a defeated opponent could leave the second-comer to be executed afterwards, maybe after the coronation. Say it's Helyos, and he escapes with the aid of his mercenary army camped right there. Or Sorn, and he escapes to assassinate the winner.

Helyos is actually Neutral, though his Renegades are Neutral with Evil tendencies, so Helyos is likely the same.

If Nebuseddar won, acting as a representative of Gilgeam, I don't see the people of Mourktar or the army or Kabarrath standing for it. They'd be back under Unther's thumb. Everyone would be out to get Nebu. No one would even let him win.

One gruesome outcome could be that of Arrhichion at the ancient Olympics:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrhichion
The winner is slain or assassinated in the final duel, and the corpse is crowned king of Mourktar. Maybe it still sits on the throne. So of course Kabarrath had to be the regent. :) A regent is someone who rules in place for someone too young, absent, or disabled, so Kabarrath's title of "Regent of Mourktar" suggests someone could still take over. Disabled is pretty dead, and if Kabarrath stalls on raising the winner...

I'm just confusing the issue for you. :)

Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice & Fire) is a good representation. People deride the Old Empires as being derivative of history, but Chessenta is much closer to the mercenary armies of Esteros in ASoI&F, or to 300, or, a little less seriously, to Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess.

BadCatMan, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc.
Scientific technical editor
Head DM of the Realms of Adventure play-by-post community
Administrator of the Forgotten Realms Wiki and Candlekeep Wiki
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2013 :  20:41:17  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I pretty much took those names because they were all listed as top contenders. We could claim that an unnamed "adventurer" won the contest, but that really isn't all that exciting to speculate on - considering the unnamed individual ended up dead shortly thereafter.

My feeling on Kabarrath naming himself Regent rather than King, was that he stepped forward initially to "keep the peace" until everything got sorted out. His role was supposed to be temporary until a new king was crowned, but of course no king is ever put forward. Those that attempted to oppose his rule likely got visited in the middle of the night, taken into custody, and never heard from again.
Go to Top of Page

Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  04:19:41  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Are the pirates of Alkoth canon? If so, where is Alkoth and where have these pirates been mentioned?

I'm looking for any information on the pirates that have supported Messemprar through the chaotic years since Gilgeam's death and now into the invasion of the Mulhorandi.

Also, are the Six Black Blades and the Crow Banners canon? Where can I find more information on them?

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  04:49:50  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Are the pirates of Alkoth canon? If so, where is Alkoth and where have these pirates been mentioned?


Yes, they are canon. As to where Alkoth is located... I have no idea.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Also, are the Six Black Blades and the Crow Banners canon? Where can I find more information on them?


Yes, they are also canon.

You can find the information for all of these on page 39 of Faiths and Avatars. Here is literally all the information:

quote:
The widely feared pirate fleet of Alkoth is said to have secretly served the priests of the Cloak, and it is certain that the adventuring bands the Six Black Blades and the Crow Banners (active in Murghom, Mulhorand, and Var) - and probably other tomb-robbing organizations as well - were agents sent forth from Threskel to gather magic, wealth, and less glamorous supplies for Kabarrath's temple and the greater glory of Bane.


There was some speculation, based on a passage from page 46 of the Pirates of the Fallen Stars that the pirate fleet from Alkoth assisted Messemprar in a rebellion as Mourktar was also giving aid. Here is the direct passage itself:

quote:
The ports of Unther have decayed to the point of collapse. Messemprar rebelled two years ago (with some support provided by the city of Mourktar and carried by the pirates of the Inner Sea), and the army devastated the city before ending the rebellion.


The army in question was the Untheric army led by the clergy of Gilgeam.

That's pretty much all the information. Sorry, I wish there was more.
Go to Top of Page

Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  11:50:46  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Yes, they are canon. As to where Alkoth is located... I have no idea.

Does anyone have any guesses?

It's obvious that there are pirates on the Alamber Sea, but where are their bases? Is Alkoth a part of Threskel, perhaps some area of the Long Beech, where pirates in Liburnian-like vessels often dock? Or is it a cove north of Mount Thulbane (actually would make a fair bit of sense)?

I've posited The Ship of the Gods as a stopover point for pirates operating in the war-torn waters outside of Messemprar after the Mulhorandi invasion, but I doubt it's a permanent anchorage, let alone a home base for anyone.

The Alaor is a military base of Thay and has been the scene of warlike activity from Thay and Mulhorand, recently. Not exactly likely to be so poorly patrolled as to allow pirates to set up shop.

Of course, there are plenty of coves in Thay and the Wizard Reach where there is a pirate vessel or two, but I got the feeling that those were small and local threats. More fishermen who supplement their income with a bit of raiding than proper outlaws.

The "widely feared" pirate fleet of Alkoth is something entirely different, I feel.

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

The army in question was the Untheric army led by the clergy of Gilgeam.

Interestingly, the Untheric army did not re-conquer Messemprar, as evidenced by the fact that the leaders of the rebel cause are still in power there in 1372 DR.

Of course, the invasion of the Chessentans under King Hippartes/Assuran may have had something to do with that. And the death of Gilgeam during the Time of Troubles.

Perhaps the surviving nobles and military leaders of Gilgeam's regime came to a modus vivendi with the rebels, thus "ending the rebellion", in order to face the much more serious threat of vengeful deity-led invasion?

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

That's pretty much all the information. Sorry, I wish there was more.


Ah, well, I don't mind fleshing out the adventuring companies myself. Needed names for mercenaries in the service of the Black Lord's Cloak anyway.

I do have to decide on where Alkoth is, because the pirates of the eastern part of the Sea of Fallen Stars are about to become more important. Free Unther will have to incorporate them into their military effort somehow and deal with those who refuse to play ball. The PCs will take point in any such effort, seeing as they provide most of the naval strength of Free Unther through their mercenary fleet.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 01 Jul 2013 11:51:44
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  13:26:27  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Yes, they are canon. As to where Alkoth is located... I have no idea.

Does anyone have any guesses?
I'd ask Eric Boyd in his thread.

And I, of course, am also greatly interested in where this place might be (I'm picturing a cave-town a'la Skullport below Mt.Thulbane, but thats just a shot-in-the-dark).

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

Go to Top of Page

Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  16:50:22  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I'd ask Eric Boyd in his thread.

Already done, but given that it's been over a year since he posted there, I can hardly afford to hold my breath, can I?

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

And I, of course, am also greatly interested in where this place might be (I'm picturing a cave-town a'la Skullport below Mt.Thulbane, but thats just a shot-in-the-dark).


If I don't hear anything official, I'll make it a cove off Mt. Thulbane, with a prosperous pirate town and a network of watery caves.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas
Go to Top of Page

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
15675 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  16:53:17  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yup - pirates love their booty-caves.
I'm thinking a network of inter-connected caves (run by various pirates with their own docks, etc), and one large cave with a Pirate Lord (Alkoth?) and a Skullport-like, ramshackle town. The whole thing should be filled with eery fog, because the water would be heated by the geothermal activity in the area (which would also make the water sulfurous, etc, within the complex). The steam-fog would wreak havoc on any race using infravision (I don't use Darkvision) because of the thermal masking, which would afford it a certain amount of protection from Underdark intrusions (so this is how it would differentiate itself from Skullport - its closer to the surface with little Underdark interaction).

And if Eric hasn't responded in awhile, it may be because someone is keeping him busy with something he was working on, which in the long run should please Realms fans all around.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 01 Jul 2013 16:59:02
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  19:45:03  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Yes, they are canon. As to where Alkoth is located... I have no idea.

Does anyone have any guesses?

It's obvious that there are pirates on the Alamber Sea, but where are their bases? Is Alkoth a part of Threskel, perhaps some area of the Long Beech, where pirates in Liburnian-like vessels often dock? Or is it a cove north of Mount Thulbane (actually would make a fair bit of sense)?


Actually, I disagree with you guys. I think "the widely feared pirate fleet of Alkoth" needs to be in a more advantageous location. If I had to designate a location, I'd place it on one of the Thousand Sword islets. Those are the islands surrounding the Altumbel archipelago.

As I pointed out, these are known as the Thousand Swords, and they are a maze like group of islets and reefs which are mostly rocky, desolate, and covered with low scrub and lichen. However, Altumbel and these islands are very well known for pirates. In fact, nearly one third of Altumbel's population lives scattered across the Swords, and they routinely face pirate raids. Although, it should be pointed out that most of those pirates hail from the Swords themselves, as raiding one's neighbors is a common thing in the area and is considered local tradition.

If you want the type of culture that is most suitable for the Thousand Swords, I'd really look for inspiration from the Iron Islands from a Song of Ice and Fire.

quote:
The ironborn are independent, fierce and sometimes cruel. Theirs is a harsh land and they hold no truck with the mainland or the 'green land' way, which they hold to be soft and womanly. They use horses, who do not breed well on the islands, only as beasts of burden or conveyance, not in battle, and prefer the use of ships.

---

The Iron Islands are rocky, which makes it difficult for farming. There are mines on the islands, but they do not contain any precious metals - only iron. Iron can be obtained through backbreaking labor. Wealth is sparse here, which is why the people of the Iron Islands are known for raiding.


This seems to describe Altumbel, and particularly the Thousand Swords VERY well. So if you're familiar with a Song of Ice and Fire, then I would draw inspiration from the Iron Islands.

One of the big issues that they'd be facing is the fact that the Simbul has cracked down VERY hard on pirates - basically instituting an execute on site policy. Altumbel used to be widely known for piracy, and it's capital city Spandeliyon, was once even known as the City of Pirates. However, pirates are few in Spandeliyon now thanks to the Simbul and her harsh crack down.

However, pirates are basically criminal gangs. She's gone after one gang, and this would simply empower another to move in on the territory. So, as Spandeliyon has taken a beating - I'd argue that Alkoth has been in ascendance.

I would argue that Alkoth is one of the larger islands of the Thousand Swords located near Wavecrest. An extremely rocky island, formed over centuries by several extinct volcanoes, and later warped by the High Magic that the Elves used to destroy Jhaamdath; it appears almost unnaturally twisted and a bit warped. It is the island in the Thousand Swords with the highest amount of iron, and over the centuries countless mines and caves have been carved into the island by those attempting to harvest it.

It has one large town (around population 3,500 - including slaves), sheltered in a natural port, that is named Alkoth after the island. The town primarily consists of fisher folk, pirates, miners, and slaves (who are usually forced to do the more dangerous work in the mines). They primarily export seafood and iron, and most of their trade is done through pirates.

There is one pirate group that controls the island, and use it as their base of operations. They are led by a single High Captain. Each ship is led by its own captain who has sworn allegiance to the High Captain of Alkoth, and in return receives his protection. It is rumored that the High Captain is a powerful wizard, and he is never seen in person. He communicates only through magical means to the captains whose orders may change at a moments notice. Whether or not he's truly a wizard is unknown, as quite a number of renegade Red Wizards find protection among the pirates of Alkoth. (Some, indeed, speculate that he is a renegade Red Wizard himself.)

With the strategic position of the pirate base they're able to launch attacks from the Vilhon Reach to the Alamber Sea. Virtually all ships from Algarond, Chessenta, Thay, Unther, and Mulhorand must pass near Alkoth - making them easy targets. The majority of the wealth made by the pirates is through extortion, where merchants pay protection fees to sail their ships unmolested. Often, rival merchants will cut deals with the pirates of Alkoth to have them attack their rivals.

The High Captain himself is a devout follower of Bane. Though many assume that he is located on Alkoth Island, he is in truth located in Mourktar under the protection of the Priests of the Cloak. Few know of their strategic alliance, or the High Captain's true loyalty.

In the wake of the Simbul's attempts to stop pirate activity within the region, the High Captain has seized the advantage and brought even more fearful pirates under his protective wings. The number of ships truly under the control of the High Captain is unknown, as they vary constantly, though few doubt he is one of the most widely feared pirates in the Sea of Fallen Stars.

There... that's how I'd roll with it. We know there are pirates in that region already, and it's so strategic that it just makes sense. They can basically just sit there and snipe any ships traveling between Altumbel and Wavecrest. So long as they're effective at what they do, that gives them the earned title of "the widely feared pirate fleet of Alkoth".
Go to Top of Page

Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2013 :  21:05:35  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is clear that there are pirates on the Thousand Swords, but that's very far away from Mourktar. It's possible that Alkoth is indeed there, but that leaves the question of where the bases in the eastern sea are located.

The most likely pirate vessels will resemble those of the real-world Mediterranean and these don't operate for weeks on the open sea. They really need anchorage every night, in fact.

If there were pirates aiding Messemprar, which we know is canonical, those pirates will have required bases closer than the Thousand Swords. The Ship of the Gods will do in a pinch, but will probably lack fresh water. And there are hundreds of miles of coastline still uncovered.

I realise that often pirates will have favoured small coves with a single spring, not mapped or named, except by the crew of that boat. But if there is significant pirate shipping around Threskel and the Alamaber Sea, enough to move cargoes that make a difference to a city of Messemprar's size, they'll need better ports than that.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 02 Jul 2013 :  04:58:59  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Icelander -

I pulled out the map and did some measurements. At it's furthest, I'd say the Thousand Swords is about 600 miles from Mourktar. Based on my Google search skills, this would place the sea voyage anywhere from 3 days (fastest ship = 230 miles per day) to 10 days (slowest ship = 65 miles per day), with the average journey taking anywhere from 5 days (120 miles per day) to 7 days (88 miles per day). The fastest ships would be oar powered, rather than wind powered. Thanks to magic in the Realms, normal oarsmen are easily replaced with zombies who can work tirelessly. (A good way to deal with slaves who die in the iron mines.)

With magic that allows for fast long distance communication, the High Captain can deliver orders to his pirates regardless of distance and location more-or-less instantaneously.

My feeling is that the base would be located in the Thousand Swords, but we'd find the pirate flag of Alkoth being flown from the Vilhon Reach to the Alamber Sea. They would no doubt have numerous coves and safe places to dock along the way, with Mourktar likely being a major stopping off point in the Alamber Sea for some vessels. They likely wouldn't find difficulty docking every night so long as they know where they're going and can plan ahead. The most dangerous area for them would be as they near Cimbar and the Bay of Chessenta. However, things would no doubt become less dangerous after they pass the Watchers Cape and the Drakelight. (Which is the area of land that helps form the mouth of the Bay of Chessenta on the Mordulkin side.)

They would likely find easy docking all around Threskel after that point, which is further aided by their alliance with the Priests of the Cloak.

The pirates aiding Messemprar could have easily been using Mourktar as their temporary base of resupply. It was known that Mourktar was supplying the pirates: "with some support provided by the city of Mourktar and carried by the pirates of the Inner Sea".

My reading of that is that most people assume that Mourktar was paying off the pirates in exchange for them giving assistance to Messemprar's rebels. ...which was likely the case. However, most people likely wouldn't know of the deeper and more long standing alliance.

This probably wouldn't have seemed unusual if the pirates of Alkoth frequently extorted merchant vessels. It would mean that most cities and merchants have dealt with them from time to time to pay them off. Thus, this would just seem like another deal being struck with them.

My issue with using the Ship of the Gods is that it's volcano erupted.

quote:
1369 DR, Flamerule: The Ship of the Gods volcano erupts, and priests of Geb in the Golden Forge temple within fail to prevent the eruption but mitigate the damage to Mulhorand by venting lava across the sea bed. This causes a tidal wave that swamps the Alaor and Bezantur on the third day of the month, causing much havoc and destruction. Within three days, sahuagin attack Bezantur and wreak havoc on the storm- and wave-damaged city, stealing many magical items. On the twenty-fifth day of the month, a great subsea explosion shakes rooftops in Airspur and Delthuntle and the resulting waves cause damage to the docks of their small ports. In addition, several large chunks of coral-encrusted stone fell onto notable buildings in Delthuntle, killing 30 people.
- pg. 7, Sea of Fallen Stars

quote:
Ship of the Gods
This volcanic island in the southern Alamber Sea erupted in 1369 DR, with the collapse of part of the upper slopes of the volcano as mute evidence. There are unfounded rumors of many treasures buried within its barren, black-rock slopes, though no ports dot its shores, providing no easy access for seekers.
- pg. 13, Sea of Fallen Stars

The destruction that took place in and around the island would have decimated a large fleet of ships, effectively taking the pirates of Alkoth out of commission.

My feeling is that there are a number of independent safe havens and coves used by the pirates stretching from Mount Thulbane and along the Long Beach north of Mourktar. They likely also occasionally dock in Mourktar to do business with the merchants of the city. After the fall of Unther, they likely find more safe havens in the Alamber Sea to the south of Mourktar.
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2013 :  18:08:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Icelander -
The fastest ships would be oar powered, rather than wind powered. Thanks to magic in the Realms, normal oarsmen are easily replaced with zombies who can work tirelessly. (A good way to deal with slaves who die in the iron mines.)




Just gotta say here.... good point, and can't believe I never brought this up with the Thayan Navy before. With a simple order of "row to the beat of this drum" anyone on the ship can keep the zombies/skeletons rowing (note, my preference at sea would be for a skeleton crew.... less health risks).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2013 :  20:57:31  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Icelander -
The fastest ships would be oar powered, rather than wind powered. Thanks to magic in the Realms, normal oarsmen are easily replaced with zombies who can work tirelessly. (A good way to deal with slaves who die in the iron mines.)




Just gotta say here.... good point, and can't believe I never brought this up with the Thayan Navy before. With a simple order of "row to the beat of this drum" anyone on the ship can keep the zombies/skeletons rowing (note, my preference at sea would be for a skeleton crew.... less health risks).


Good point about the skeletons vs zombies due to health risks, but yeah... it's super economical and worth the investment. They don't get tired, don't eat, don't revolt, and don't die unless physically destroyed. ...and if you're using the corpses of the slaves that died in the mines you're just recycling. (See it's even environmentally friendly! )

That's how I pictured it as well - someone using drums to control the speed and tempo of the rowing. They likely still couldn't travel at night - for risk of running into something and damaging the ship. However, they could travel non-stop during the daylight at more-or-less full speed. ...and due to the fact that they wouldn't get tired, they could easily catch up to most other ships, especially those powered by the wind.

Theoretically, I suppose if there is a wizard on board with the right spells, and a captain who is very familiar with where they're traveling they MIGHT be able to travel at night as well. However, it still would be a bit risky, but doing it this way you could probably cut the travel time from Alkoth in the Thousand Swords to Mourktar down to 1 day or 1.5 days. That's insane, and would only likely be done under the most dire of circumstances.

I'd also argue that these ships wouldn't make up the bulk of any fleet. I'd only give the pirates of Alkoth maybe three of them max, and I'd give the Red Wizards perhaps eight to ten of them. Each of them would be flagships of some importance and would be widely known and feared vessels whose only purpose would be to attack other ships or to quickly move troops from one location to another.

Basically, if you encounter one you have zero chance of out running them. Ever. In traditional oared vessels they couldn't sustain rowing indefinitely, but here with these - since we're dealing with undead - they NEVER get tired. They simply cannot be outrun. Thus, imagine the terror you'd have as a merchant when you spot one of these things coming after you.

I picture them as multi-decked Galleon-like ships with a forecastle, quarterdeck, quarter and stern gallery, poop deck, and a crow's nest. Most significantly it wouldn't include any sails, because they wouldn't be necessary to power the ships movement. In this way, they would be similar to a modern military ship. They'd have between 60 to 80 oars, with roughly five skeletons per oar (that's 300 - 400 skeletons in total per ship).

The cost to animate five skeletons to man one oar would be 1,525 gp, thus to animate a 60 oar ship it would cost you 91,500 gp, and to animate enough skeletons for an 80 oar ship would cost you 122,000 gp. This does not include the construction of the ship itself nor the hiring / payment of the living crew. Just the cost of animating that many skeletons. That's the equivalent of what... the entire equipment cost of one level 13 or 14 PC?

Also, while I'm thinking about it, the drums would have to be a magical item that is capable of maintaining control of that many undead. (Thus they'd have to be animated, then control of them released to the drum.)
Go to Top of Page

sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7262 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2013 :  00:24:26  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Icelander -
The fastest ships would be oar powered, rather than wind powered. Thanks to magic in the Realms, normal oarsmen are easily replaced with zombies who can work tirelessly. (A good way to deal with slaves who die in the iron mines.)




Just gotta say here.... good point, and can't believe I never brought this up with the Thayan Navy before. With a simple order of "row to the beat of this drum" anyone on the ship can keep the zombies/skeletons rowing (note, my preference at sea would be for a skeleton crew.... less health risks).


Good point about the skeletons vs zombies due to health risks, but yeah... it's super economical and worth the investment. They don't get tired, don't eat, don't revolt, and don't die unless physically destroyed. ...and if you're using the corpses of the slaves that died in the mines you're just recycling. (See it's even environmentally friendly! )

That's how I pictured it as well - someone using drums to control the speed and tempo of the rowing. They likely still couldn't travel at night - for risk of running into something and damaging the ship. However, they could travel non-stop during the daylight at more-or-less full speed. ...and due to the fact that they wouldn't get tired, they could easily catch up to most other ships, especially those powered by the wind.

Theoretically, I suppose if there is a wizard on board with the right spells, and a captain who is very familiar with where they're traveling they MIGHT be able to travel at night as well. However, it still would be a bit risky, but doing it this way you could probably cut the travel time from Alkoth in the Thousand Swords to Mourktar down to 1 day or 1.5 days. That's insane, and would only likely be done under the most dire of circumstances.

I'd also argue that these ships wouldn't make up the bulk of any fleet. I'd only give the pirates of Alkoth maybe three of them max, and I'd give the Red Wizards perhaps eight to ten of them. Each of them would be flagships of some importance and would be widely known and feared vessels whose only purpose would be to attack other ships or to quickly move troops from one location to another.

Basically, if you encounter one you have zero chance of out running them. Ever. In traditional oared vessels they couldn't sustain rowing indefinitely, but here with these - since we're dealing with undead - they NEVER get tired. They simply cannot be outrun. Thus, imagine the terror you'd have as a merchant when you spot one of these things coming after you.

I picture them as multi-decked Galleon-like ships with a forecastle, quarterdeck, quarter and stern gallery, poop deck, and a crow's nest. Most significantly it wouldn't include any sails, because they wouldn't be necessary to power the ships movement. In this way, they would be similar to a modern military ship. They'd have between 60 to 80 oars, with roughly five skeletons per oar (that's 300 - 400 skeletons in total per ship).

The cost to animate five skeletons to man one oar would be 1,525 gp, thus to animate a 60 oar ship it would cost you 91,500 gp, and to animate enough skeletons for an 80 oar ship would cost you 122,000 gp. This does not include the construction of the ship itself nor the hiring / payment of the living crew. Just the cost of animating that many skeletons. That's the equivalent of what... the entire equipment cost of one level 13 or 14 PC?

Also, while I'm thinking about it, the drums would have to be a magical item that is capable of maintaining control of that many undead. (Thus they'd have to be animated, then control of them released to the drum.)



On the cost factor, not sure how you're getting 1525 gp for 5 skeletons. Should just be 25 gp per skeleton for the onyx, or 125 gp. A warship is stated as having 60 to 80 rowers and is slightly smaller than a galley. Thus a "skeleton crew" of 80 rowers would just be 2000 gp, with an added bonus of they can act as marines in dire straits. If you wanted a bigger ship with more rowers to make it faster, shouldn't be the much of a huge cost increase.

However, the control factor wouldn't be so easy to overcome. In the case of Thay, I've always imagined there being a lot of dread necromancers (the class from Heroes of Horror) and warmages to allow for those with charisma to pursue a class besides sorcerer, so there being a few dread necro's on board could help. Otherwise a pair of moderately leveled red wizards could control all undead on one ship (or one moderately leveled red wizard with devices to increase their number controllable undead hit dice)..... Still, it would be infinitely better to have the undead under the control of an item, or another undead (a zombie crew managed by a morgh... though this instance likely wouldn't see other humans aboard).

You know, its ironic, there's a handful of beings that can manage numbers of spawned undead, but there's no undead lieutenant that can manage minor undead like skeletons that I can think of outside of 3rd party resources.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
Go to Top of Page

Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2013 :  02:41:05  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

On the cost factor, not sure how you're getting 1525 gp for 5 skeletons. Should just be 25 gp per skeleton for the onyx, or 125 gp. A warship is stated as having 60 to 80 rowers and is slightly smaller than a galley. Thus a "skeleton crew" of 80 rowers would just be 2000 gp, with an added bonus of they can act as marines in dire straits. If you wanted a bigger ship with more rowers to make it faster, shouldn't be the much of a huge cost increase.


Yes, the cost of the onyx is part of it. However, wizards don't work for free - even if they work for you. Unless you have some wizards as slaves, they're going to want to be compensated for their work. Thus, I used the hireling spellcaster formula. A wizard casting Animate Dead must be at least 7th level since Animate Dead is a forth level spell.

The formula is: Caster level * 40 gp.

We need to add the material component (the onyx) to that, which costs 25 GP.

Thus, the formula for a skeleton looks like this: (7 * 40) + 25 = 305 gp for one skeleton. Multiply that by five to get 1,525 gp. Multiply that by sixty oars (300 skeletons) to get 91,500 gp. Then go back and multiply 1,525 gp by eighty oars (400 skeletons) to get 122,000 gp.

Anyway, that's where my math came from.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

However, the control factor wouldn't be so easy to overcome. In the case of Thay, I've always imagined there being a lot of dread necromancers (the class from Heroes of Horror) and warmages to allow for those with charisma to pursue a class besides sorcerer, so there being a few dread necro's on board could help. Otherwise a pair of moderately leveled red wizards could control all undead on one ship (or one moderately leveled red wizard with devices to increase their number controllable undead hit dice)..... Still, it would be infinitely better to have the undead under the control of an item, or another undead (a zombie crew managed by a morgh... though this instance likely wouldn't see other humans aboard).


I just think it's infinitely easier and more effective for them to pass control of the skeletons to an item. I mean, I think most individuals with arcane spell casting ability would be insulted if their entire existence was relegated to controlling very weak skeletons. Sure, their job is super important, but if you have an item that allows you to pass control of a bunch of 1 HD skeletons to it, then you can use your animating power on controlling things that are even more useful.

It basically comes down to a bad allocation of resources, and would be worth the money spent on the item.

It's not as if those Dread Necromancers are just going to be chilling out on your ship for free. Someone with that type of specialized skill is going to cost, and they're going to cost a lot.
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 5 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page | Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2018 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000