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Demzer
Senior Scribe

620 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2018 :  14:59:29  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

I expect that to be the practical reality for many faiths in the Realms, regardless of what the process is called.



Why would that be? All Churches of the Realms were explicitly designed to be different from real world churches, so why do you assume they should follow the same (or similar) routes?
This is why I'm warning you about making analogies, it may work for your games but it's a way of seeing the churches of the Realms which is biased at the start by you implying any connection with the real world while we know that the creator of the Realms designed the faiths to be different (beside the simple fact of the proved existence and power of the various gods in a fantasy setting, which in itself shapes the world in a completely different way).

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

From what I could tell from the power struggles in Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster between 1300-1372 DR, the church politics of the Black Lord's Altar and the wider church of Bane were actually very analogous to High Medieval to Renaissance church politics.



Care to quote or point me to any relevant material?

In the Realms we have examples of deities directly appointing people or duels, conflicts and general backstabbing as promotions into higher positions. There have been a couple of examples of lenght of service or seniority that pretty much disregarded actual divine power wielded by the individuals (meaning clerical or analogous levels, judged by access to more powerful spells and like abilities).

Even a rigged oligarchic election is a moment in which several notables/high ranking elements of the church/organization congregate and collegially decide who gets to rule/lead. To my knowledge there is nothing even remotely similar to that ever reported for any faith of Faerun (although I expect some of the more goodly faith to have something like that), and I'm pretty sure it's not the case for the Church of Bane that actually doesn't recognize at any point any kind of collegial or shared responsibility.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1531 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2018 :  15:48:36  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

I expect that to be the practical reality for many faiths in the Realms, regardless of what the process is called.



Why would that be? All Churches of the Realms were explicitly designed to be different from real world churches, so why do you assume they should follow the same (or similar) routes?
This is why I'm warning you about making analogies, it may work for your games but it's a way of seeing the churches of the Realms which is biased at the start by you implying any connection with the real world while we know that the creator of the Realms designed the faiths to be different (beside the simple fact of the proved existence and power of the various gods in a fantasy setting, which in itself shapes the world in a completely different way).

Because oligarchic co-option is probably the most common system for the transfer of power that isn't coup or civil war.

Whether you call the process an election, appointment, hire or divine selection, the reality behind a transfer of power is usually an informal process of the existing oligarchy coming to accept someone as the new master, usually one of their own. This doesn't just apply to religious institutions, it applies in pretty much any kind of corporation, organisation or social club.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Care to quote or point me to any relevant material?

See the Curse of the Azure Bonds and Ruins of Zhentil Keep. Bane doesn't step in to directly appoint the head of the Orthodox or Transformed Churches to lead his faith and the strife between them takes the form of legalistic wrangling, politics, intrigue and propaganda to convince the important people within the church to follow them.

The strife between High Imperceptor Szchulan Darkoon, High Inquisitor Ginali and Imperceptor Fzoul Chembryl was in many ways similar to the Popes of Avignon and Rome, not to mention the strife for the papacy between the de Borja/Borgia family and the Della Rovere family, or the Orsini and Colonna families. Not to mention that the First and Second Banedeaths, as well as the inquisitions after the return of Bane, had plenty of parallels to real history, which probably don't need to be spelled out.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

In the Realms we have examples of deities directly appointing people or duels, conflicts and general backstabbing as promotions into higher positions. There have been a couple of examples of lenght of service or seniority that pretty much disregarded actual divine power wielded by the individuals (meaning clerical or analogous levels, judged by access to more powerful spells and like abilities).

We know that dueling for the position is not an option that was open to any of the claimants in the Moonsea for the past century or so. Nor was open warfare likely to succeed.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Even a rigged oligarchic election is a moment in which several notables/high ranking elements of the church/organization congregate and collegially decide who gets to rule/lead. To my knowledge there is nothing even remotely similar to that ever reported for any faith of Faerun (although I expect some of the more goodly faith to have something like that), and I'm pretty sure it's not the case for the Church of Bane that actually doesn't recognize at any point any kind of collegial or shared responsibility.


It doesn't really matter whether the organisation recognises collegial responsibility, the fact is that in order for any one person to exercise authority over a large organisation, he or she needs the tacit acceptance of the established order. All the indispensable bureaucrats, middle managers and every other cog in the organisation have to decide to support the new master, or at least not to actively resist him. Otherwise, any title, divinely granted or not, would be empty.

Besides, from what I can tell, Bane selects his High Imperceptor from those who can already muster support from a lot of clergy and lay worshippers. Bane didn't select some holy child of pure faith, he selected the veteran victor of about a century of religious strife and office politics in the Moonsea, even if there were extremely legitimate concerns about his loyalty.

So, yeah, I view Bane's selection of his High Imperceptor as working very much like acclamation quasi afflati Spiritu Sancto, i.e. the divine selection usually just happens to fall upon the candidate with the best connections, support within the church and political acumen.

In ordinary times for Bane's church: "The High Imperceptor is selected from among all the Imperceptors at a special council called in Mulmaster when the previous High Imperceptor enters the afterlife or retires" (from the Ruins of Zhentil Keep). This is pretty much identical to a papal conclave and a pretty good reason to assume that oligarchic co-option is known within Bane's church.

That being said, Bane has only directly selected his High Imperceptor and then only when he returned from the death. All other titles within the faith are self-bestowed, as long as the prospective candidate can convince a higher-ranking priest to recognise the title.

That suggests to me that becoming the master of a Banite temple upon the death of the last high priest usually involved getting the approval of the sitting High Imperceptor or of one or more of the nearest Baneliches who were former High Imperceptors. As there was only one High Imperceptor and 35 Baneliches, I think that that method was more common.

Steven Schend made sure that not all 35 Baneliches were destroyed in the Tyrantfog, as it stretched from Zhentil Keep to Starmantle and the Sunset Mountains to Tsurlagol, with a second area of fog appeared between Mintar and Saradush. That leaves the area around the Black Lord's Cloak wide open and I would tend to assume that at least one and probably several Baneliches are associated with that temple.

The most probable way that Kabarrath Telthaug became the high priest of the temple is through acceptance by these Baneliches, which, in turn, was heavily dependent on their appraisal of his political support within the church, as they have no interest in a tyrant who cannot lead his own temple.

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Edited by - Icelander on 08 Aug 2018 16:08:38
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4017 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2018 :  16:09:30  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do love your realism take on the realms as it closely matches how I portray mine.

The only comment that may be off is about warfare not being a viable option. There were a number of wars in the moonsea region (although they got little mention) I think zhentil keeps entire navy was destroyed 3 times in 30 years. While the overt reason for war may not have been religious in nature, the side that attained victory may well have gained an upper hand in the struggle for religious dominance.

I do fully intend to visit the church of Bane fracturing from a more humanist point of view as it is really interesting and drives political feuds for the foreseeable future.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1531 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2018 :  16:15:36  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I do love your realism take on the realms as it closely matches how I portray mine.

The only comment that may be off is about warfare not being a viable option. There were a number of wars in the moonsea region (although they got little mention) I think zhentil keeps entire navy was destroyed 3 times in 30 years. While the overt reason for war may not have been religious in nature, the side that attained victory may well have gained an upper hand in the struggle for religious dominance.

I do fully intend to visit the church of Bane fracturing from a more humanist point of view as it is really interesting and drives political feuds for the foreseeable future.


Oh, using warfare as a political tool to further your career within the Church of Bane is every bit as legitimate as it was within the Roman Catholic Church for about half the Popes between the 10th and the 16th century.

It's just that you can't go to war and demand that you be made Pope/High Imperceptor when you win. You have to be a bit more subtle than that and provide a legal figleaf of some sort.

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Demzer
Senior Scribe

620 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2018 :  20:11:36  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

See the Curse of the Azure Bonds and Ruins of Zhentil Keep. Bane doesn't step in to directly appoint the head of the Orthodox or Transformed Churches to lead his faith and the strife between them takes the form of legalistic wrangling, politics, intrigue and propaganda to convince the important people within the church to follow them.



Of course Bane doesn't step in, the Orthodox church already had a head at that point, from Ruins of Zhentil Keep we know that Szchulan Darkoon, 8th High Imperceptor rose to the seat in or shortly after 1224 DR (death of Brist, 7th High Imperceptor). It was probably a mistery to contemporary Banites while Fzoul was allowed his open defiance but we have the benefit of knowing that he was destined to great things (and the spiel about "strife is good" which I personally find distasteful but fits with the old Banite dogma) and Bane didn't care about "appointing" the head of the Transformed Church (or maybe he implicitly did allowing Fzoul's rise to power, but that's beside the point) because he already had a living head of his church. We will never know if Bane would have done something in a direct showdown because wisely both contendents avoided that and preferred the political maneuvering that you outlined.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

The strife between High Imperceptor Szchulan Darkoon, High Inquisitor Ginali and Imperceptor Fzoul Chembryl was in many ways similar to the Popes of Avignon and Rome, not to mention the strife for the papacy between the de Borja/Borgia family and the Della Rovere family, or the Orsini and Colonna families. Not to mention that the First and Second Banedeaths, as well as the inquisitions after the return of Bane, had plenty of parallels to real history, which probably don't need to be spelled out.



In which ways was it similar to the Avignon Papacy? The real world historical events were dictated by the influence of the dangerous situation in Rome and the high pressures from Philip IV of France, threatening a much greater schism. Fzoul decided of his own volition to disregard the authority of the High Imperceptor and actually split the church.

In which ways was it similar to the power struggles of the Borgia, Della Rovere, Orsini and Colonna families? All of these families were already powerful noble families with extensive holdings and connections to other noble families and royalty all over Europe, something that was automatic in the society at the time with the second male child of every catholic noble family sent into the ranks of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church actually being it's own kingdom (with the added benefit of the Pope interfering with the affairs of foreign kingdoms on "moral grounds", albeit at his own peril). No kingdom in the Realms has such extensive connections between a single church and the nobility (even in the Old Empires it was the other way around with priests automatically being pushed up the social ladder, not nobility falling into the church as a backup because they would not inherit) and it isn't said anywhere that either Fzoul or Szchulan (... which have mighty similar names now that I wrote them one next to the other, at least in the way I think they should be pronounced ...) were of noble birth, not them nor any other High Imperceptor.

The Banedeaths were Cyric's idea and the pogroms after the Return of Bane were against Cyricists so I don't see any connection to the initial problem of how does a cleric of Bane way before the Time of Troubles get his temple (the case of Kabbarath Telthaug).

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

It doesn't really matter whether the organisation recognises collegial responsibility, the fact is that in order for any one person to exercise authority over a large organisation, he or she needs the tacit acceptance of the established order. All the indispensable bureaucrats, middle managers and every other cog in the organisation have to decide to support the new master, or at least not to actively resist him. Otherwise, any title, divinely granted or not, would be empty.



If the head of the organization can casually smite to death with his divinely granted powers the opposition than you have to be sure to be as powerful as them (without counting your own divine power, in case it gets taken from you since you are going against your godly appointed leader) before opposing them. The analogy would be with a Prime Minister with power of life and death over the members of Parliament from his own political party. Or in other words, a tyranny.

That's why Telthaug did his own thing unopposed, he was mighty powerful by himself and probably favored by Bane in the same way as Fzoul but he didn't push the issue with the High Imperceptor and minded his own business so there wasn't much open strife between Mourktar and Mulmaster (geographical distance helping the High Imperceptor in overlooking Telthaug exception).

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Besides, from what I can tell, Bane selects his High Imperceptor from those who can already muster support from a lot of clergy and lay worshippers. Bane didn't select some holy child of pure faith, he selected the veteran victor of about a century of religious strife and office politics in the Moonsea, even if there were extremely legitimate concerns about his loyalty.



Which doesn't imply anything regarding royalty, nobility or being deeply invested in the political power of the region. Most of the High Imperceptors of the past are remembered because of the expansion of the Church in territories where the open worship is deeply disliked (if not persecuted) and the killing of their enemies. They are remembered not because they were attending banquets and balls and signing treaties with rulers but because they were creating plagues and killing Harpers.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

That being said, Bane has only directly selected his High Imperceptor and then only when he returned from the death.



Wrong. Bane did indeed only select the High Imperceptor, but before the ToT, after his Return it was only Fzoul, Chosen Tyrant of Bane (you can find it in Faiths & Avatars and Faiths and Pantheons).

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

All other titles within the faith are self-bestowed, as long as the prospective candidate can convince a higher-ranking priest to recognise the title.

That suggests to me that becoming the master of a Banite temple upon the death of the last high priest usually involved getting the approval of the sitting High Imperceptor or of one or more of the nearest Baneliches who were former High Imperceptors. As there was only one High Imperceptor and 35 Baneliches, I think that that method was more common.

Steven Schend made sure that not all 35 Baneliches were destroyed in the Tyrantfog, as it stretched from Zhentil Keep to Starmantle and the Sunset Mountains to Tsurlagol, with a second area of fog appeared between Mintar and Saradush. That leaves the area around the Black Lord's Cloak wide open and I would tend to assume that at least one and probably several Baneliches are associated with that temple.

The most probable way that Kabarrath Telthaug became the high priest of the temple is through acceptance by these Baneliches, which, in turn, was heavily dependent on their appraisal of his political support within the church, as they have no interest in a tyrant who cannot lead his own temple.



This is correct and extremely spot on, Telthaug had to be appointed by someone, probably of great power given the importance of the temple he took over, and one or a council of indipendent minded Baneliches sounds about right.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7261 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  00:29:29  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, given that Bane is willing to have a half-orc, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a half-dragon or a half-fiend as a priest in his service (or even a fiendish half-dragon or half-dragon tielfling.... for I can easily see an alu-fiend or tiefling and a dragon pairing just as much as I can see a dragon and a human pairing... and Unther is known for their tiefling population). So, if we accept that, then Kabbarrath Telthaug could be centuries old.

Throw into this factor that I can't see a temple of Bane existing in Threskel while Gilgeam ruled. I also kind of don't see one during the reign of Tchazzar as ruler of Chessenta in human form, unless it were Bane that helped raise Tchazzar to godhood initially. Ironically, in the original Draconomicon, it says that there's a "Banespear" which is separated into parts that can kill Gilgeam, and its known to Maldraedior, the Millenium dragon beneath Dalath in Unther. It kind of makes me think maybe Tchazzar had this weapon, and this is why Gilgeam was afraid to face him (possibly this weapon is another artifact of Bane's like the Black Lord's Cloak). Maybe after Tchazzar's death is when the spear was separated into pieces (perhaps Gilgeam's worshippers even took one portion and worshippers of Bane have the other).

Anyway, IF Kabbarath Telthaug is say a half-dragon, he could be old enough that perhaps he FOUNDED the temple of the Black Lord's Cloak (noting not all half-dragons have lizard heads... some just have reptilian eyes, exaggerated teeth, bits of scaley skin. He might even be a half-dragon dracolich/banelich with the Black Lord's Cloak serving as his phylactery. Maybe he's slowly gained political power over time, and only in the mid 1300's did the Black Lord's Cloak grow as big as it did. I do like the idea as well that maybe he got the Black Lord's Cloak off of Algashon following the fight with Tuelhalva Drakewings, and having this artifact may have helped him form the temple... maybe even with some of the Cult of the Dragon members who came down to destroy Peleveran supporting him.


From 3e FRCG
Regions: Tieflings are most common in Mulhorand because the Mulhorandi deities sometimes beget offspring with mortals. They are also found in Unther and Thay, lands with long, dark traditions
of infernal dealings.


From the original draconomicon
The Banespear: Maldraedior knows of a spear, separated into shaft and head and hidden apart, which can slay the vile tyrant Gilgeam with a single strike into the side. Both parts are carefully hidden and protected by monsters and traps of great power and peril. This is suitable only for PCs of high level, and only if you can handle the turbulence caused by a successful assassination of Gilgeam.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1531 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  17:24:38  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Of course Bane doesn't step in, the Orthodox church already had a head at that point, from Ruins of Zhentil Keep we know that Szchulan Darkoon, 8th High Imperceptor rose to the seat in or shortly after 1224 DR (death of Brist, 7th High Imperceptor). It was probably a mistery to contemporary Banites while Fzoul was allowed his open defiance but we have the benefit of knowing that he was destined to great things (and the spiel about "strife is good" which I personally find distasteful but fits with the old Banite dogma) and Bane didn't care about "appointing" the head of the Transformed Church (or maybe he implicitly did allowing Fzoul's rise to power, but that's beside the point) because he already had a living head of his church. We will never know if Bane would have done something in a direct showdown because wisely both contendents avoided that and preferred the political maneuvering that you outlined.

My interpretation of these events is that it was no mystery to contemporary Banites. This kind of political maneuvering has always been a part of the Banite church, just as the office of High Imperceptor has been.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

In which ways was it similar to the Avignon Papacy? The real world historical events were dictated by the influence of the dangerous situation in Rome and the high pressures from Philip IV of France, threatening a much greater schism. Fzoul decided of his own volition to disregard the authority of the High Imperceptor and actually split the church.

The situation in the Moonsea and the military tension, if not wars, between Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster, allowed Fzoul Chembryl to operate for almost century without the High Imperceptor being able to rein him in.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

In which ways was it similar to the power struggles of the Borgia, Della Rovere, Orsini and Colonna families? All of these families were already powerful noble families with extensive holdings and connections to other noble families and royalty all over Europe, something that was automatic in the society at the time with the second male child of every catholic noble family sent into the ranks of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church actually being it's own kingdom (with the added benefit of the Pope interfering with the affairs of foreign kingdoms on "moral grounds", albeit at his own peril). No kingdom in the Realms has such extensive connections between a single church and the nobility (even in the Old Empires it was the other way around with priests automatically being pushed up the social ladder, not nobility falling into the church as a backup because they would not inherit) and it isn't said anywhere that either Fzoul or Szchulan (... which have mighty similar names now that I wrote them one next to the other, at least in the way I think they should be pronounced ...) were of noble birth, not them nor any other High Imperceptor.


Fzoul Chembryl is from a noble family in Zhentil Keep. I've always assumed that Szchulan Darkoon was, as well, albeit probably from a Mulmastran family.

Note that in early Realms material, surnames were only possessed by those of gentle birth. Commoners had only one name, with possibly a nickname or appelation related to their profession or date of birth. So anyone listed with two actual names in 2e Realms material, like the Ruins of Zhentil Keep, is clearly of the upper classes.

Tomar of Bane and Brist of Bane, therefore, are not identifiably noble, but were probably raised within the faith, perhaps with parents in high positions within the hierarchy. Strife, as the ward of a High Imperceptor, raised as her heir, is obviously effectively aristocracy, in much the same way as the Pope's 'nephews and nieces' were accounted aristocracy in the historical Papal States. The rest of the High Imperceptors seem to be of noble families.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

If the head of the organization can casually smite to death with his divinely granted powers the opposition than you have to be sure to be as powerful as them (without counting your own divine power, in case it gets taken from you since you are going against your godly appointed leader) before opposing them. The analogy would be with a Prime Minister with power of life and death over the members of Parliament from his own political party. Or in other words, a tyranny.

It's important to recognise that the theoretical power to execute anyone who displeases you doesn't really translate into the ability to rule through daily executions. If nothing else, it means that before long, nobody in your service knows where things are in the pantry, not to mention no one having the institutional memory to exert effective control outside the direct visual range of the tyrant.

From G. Julius Caesar on, the rulers of Rome were technically 'tyrants', in that they had the ability to have people executed, whether through the position of the Dictator, like Caesar, or the combination of proconsular powers and the tribunican powers, like future Emperors. Yet this did not free them from the necessity of political maneuvering, building consensus, maintaining the support of their underlings and worrying about public opinion.

To take a modern example, Putin certainly doesn't appear to shy away from murdering political opponents, but anyone who studies the political situation in Russia cannot help but notice how much work he has to do on placating various entrenched interests, building a consensus and catering to oligarchs and apparatchiks.

Broadly speaking, there is a wide range between active revolution against a tyrant and simply not doing enough to enable that tyrant to rule effectively and if a tyrant has no public support, no connections and no political base, he'll find that his authority is effectively limited to people within his direct line of sight, because no one tells him the truth about anything that is happening further away.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

That's why Telthaug did his own thing unopposed, he was mighty powerful by himself and probably favored by Bane in the same way as Fzoul but he didn't push the issue with the High Imperceptor and minded his own business so there wasn't much open strife between Mourktar and Mulmaster (geographical distance helping the High Imperceptor in overlooking Telthaug exception).


Sure, geographical distance helped, but with the Transformed Church of Bane, the Orthodox Church of Bane, the Risen Cult of Bane, the True Church of Bane, the Old Church of Bane and so on, one does get the feeling that schism and strife was more the rule than the exception within Bane's church, even before the Time of Troubles.

Bane seems to have encouraged his servants to strive for position and not interfered in the political maneuverings that resulted. Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug was not indulging in an atypical act when he claimed the self-bestowed title of 'Dread' Imperceptor, he was doing what most senior servants of Bane have done. Once a priest of Bane gets a whole temple listening to him, it's a pretty short path from there to him thinking that his path represents the true faith of Bane.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Which doesn't imply anything regarding royalty, nobility or being deeply invested in the political power of the region. Most of the High Imperceptors of the past are remembered because of the expansion of the Church in territories where the open worship is deeply disliked (if not persecuted) and the killing of their enemies. They are remembered not because they were attending banquets and balls and signing treaties with rulers but because they were creating plagues and killing Harpers.


The church of Bane has had a position in the power structure of Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster pretty comparable to the Catholic Church in the Papal States for a long time. We don't know how long it has had a similar position in Mourktar, but it has it now, at any rate, along with Mintarn and a growing number of other places.

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Wrong. Bane did indeed only select the High Imperceptor, but before the ToT, after his Return it was only Fzoul, Chosen Tyrant of Bane (you can find it in Faiths & Avatars and Faiths and Pantheons).


quote:
Originally posted by The Ruins of Zhentil Keep

The High Imperceptor is selected from among all the Imperceptors at a special council called in Mulmaster when the previous High Imperceptor enters the afterlife or retires.

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Edited by - Icelander on 09 Aug 2018 17:27:45
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4017 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  18:05:08  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good call on the surname thing for commoners, it was common practice in medieval England as well I believe. I shall endeavour to stick to it in my realms stuff

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1531 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  20:56:00  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

So, given that Bane is willing to have a half-orc, I wouldn't be surprised if he had a half-dragon or a half-fiend as a priest in his service (or even a fiendish half-dragon or half-dragon tielfling.... for I can easily see an alu-fiend or tiefling and a dragon pairing just as much as I can see a dragon and a human pairing... and Unther is known for their tiefling population). So, if we accept that, then Kabbarrath Telthaug could be centuries old.

To be clear, I don't think Bane, personally, has any objections to the species or race of his worshippers. I simply think that achieving political power, whether within the faith of Bane or elsewhere, is a lot easier if you're born to privilege, connections, wealth and noble status.

The Forgotten Realms are not the modern Western world. There is no widespread belief in all men being born equal. Even in 'goodly' kingdoms such as Mulhorand or Cormyr, commoners have few rights compared to nobles. In pretty much any organisation in the Realms, noble blood and connections with the highest in the land are extremely important.

There are some heroes and villains in the Realms who cater to modern Western sensibilities, by being self-made and not scions of privilege. But for these to retain any kind of impact as characters, we must be careful to keep in mind that the 'normal' state of affairs is that the elite of old, established lands are mostly descended from those who have held power there before.

And Untheri culture is not accepting of non-humans of any kind. It's not even accepting of anyone who is not a Mulan of the purest blood and oldest families. From what I can tell, Chessentan culture is barely more egalitarian, with War Heroes cherished, granted, but most power still residing in the hands of old, established noble and royal families.

It's theoretically possible for a tiefling or someone with dragonic blood to rise to a position of political importance in the Old Empires. But they'd have to be able to conceal their heritage completely, have plenty of noble connections and influence, as well as possessing immaculate (if false) records of respectable bloodline.

Besides, I don't see any good dramatic reason to make Kabarrath Telthaug non-human. There are many factions in the area which are inter-related, but not identical; the Cult of the Dragon (comprising the Mourktar Cell as well as other cells) and the faith of Tiamat, the church of Bane (with its manifold divisions), the Zhentarim, etc.

If Kabarrath Telthaug were made dragonic, he'd be at a great risk of becoming simply an adjunct of Alasklerbanbastos, the Great Bone Wyrm, in a dramatic sense and in the sense of the factions represented. If, on the other hand, he represents the human, Mourktari worshippers of Bane, open to making use of the Cult of the Dragon, but not himself tied to it, then he is both more interesting and more useful in a dramatic sense.

As for making him of some fiendish bloodline, why would that be desirable? From a dramatic point of view, what would then distinguish the Mourktar church of Bane, dominated by a fiend-blooded master, from any Xvimlar cult?

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Throw into this factor that I can't see a temple of Bane existing in Threskel while Gilgeam ruled. I also kind of don't see one during the reign of Tchazzar as ruler of Chessenta in human form, unless it were Bane that helped raise Tchazzar to godhood initially.

I would imagine that the history of Banite worship in any area generally features secret priests and places of worship long before the faith becomes powerful enough to exist in open.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Ironically, in the original Draconomicon, it says that there's a "Banespear" which is separated into parts that can kill Gilgeam, and its known to Maldraedior, the Millenium dragon beneath Dalath in Unther. It kind of makes me think maybe Tchazzar had this weapon, and this is why Gilgeam was afraid to face him (possibly this weapon is another artifact of Bane's like the Black Lord's Cloak). Maybe after Tchazzar's death is when the spear was separated into pieces (perhaps Gilgeam's worshippers even took one portion and worshippers of Bane have the other).

I'm in favour of the Banespear having been known to Tchazzar, but in the history, we need to account for the fact that Tchazzar didn't actually die when he faked his death, so he would have had no reason to lose a precious artifact at that time.

On the other hand, since Tchazzar was himself a powerful creature who would have had little reason to fear most mortals and their weapons, and who was more powerful with his claws and jaws than wielding any kind of weapon, I can see why he'd want to hide away the powerful Banespear, as opposed to using it himself in his human form (and open up the possibility that when he took dragonic shape, someone could seize it and slay him).

So Tchazzar could have hidden it himself, separated into shaft and blade.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Anyway, IF Kabbarath Telthaug is say a half-dragon, he could be old enough that perhaps he FOUNDED the temple of the Black Lord's Cloak (noting not all half-dragons have lizard heads... some just have reptilian eyes, exaggerated teeth, bits of scaley skin. He might even be a half-dragon dracolich/banelich with the Black Lord's Cloak serving as his phylactery.

I do not like this idea.

For one thing, note that all the 35 Baneliches gave up their direct power in the church of Bane when they became undead. Baneliches are meant to protect, support and advise the living servants of Bane, not rule them. The fact that the Baneliches themselves had some trouble understanding this is why Bane stopped creating them.

For another, if Kabarrath Telthaug has been one of the senior servants of Bane since time immemorial, it becomes pretty hard to justify why he'd never made any attempt to impose his authority over the church in Sembia, the Western Heartlands and the Moonsea. It's a lot more plausible that he's simply focused his efforts on the eastern Inner Sea if he's had one human lifetime, instead of many centuries.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Maybe he's slowly gained political power over time, and only in the mid 1300's did the Black Lord's Cloak grow as big as it did.

I agree that the Black Lord's Cloak must have grown enormously in power and numbers after the time of the tournament to succeed King Theris, if only because that adventure was written without any mention of Bane or a temple to him in Mourktar and seems to have been written before the decision was made to place it there (or at least by an author who had no idea that it was there).

So, I'd place the official founding of the actual army of the Banite temple after 1357 DR, if only because I don't see any city-state with an army of 500 men and militia of 2,000 men allowing a temple not under the direct authority of the ruler to maintain an army of thousands.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I do like the idea as well that maybe he got the Black Lord's Cloak off of Algashon following the fight with Tuelhalva Drakewings, and having this artifact may have helped him form the temple... maybe even with some of the Cult of the Dragon members who came down to destroy Peleveran supporting him.

What's wrong with some predecessor having done so?

Making every villain ancient, non-human and utterly unconnected to the society and culture around him just makes the Realms feel like an MMORPG setting.

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Edited by - Icelander on 09 Aug 2018 20:57:56
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Demzer
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  21:35:25  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

My interpretation of these events is that it was no mystery to contemporary Banites. This kind of political maneuvering has always been a part of the Banite church, just as the office of High Imperceptor has been.



Apologies, I was not clear, mistery in the sense that they couldn't explain such a brazen and open rebellion, not that they didn't know about it.


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

The situation in the Moonsea and the military tension, if not wars, between Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster, allowed Fzoul Chembryl to operate for almost century without the High Imperceptor being able to rein him in.



And this has no similarity with the Avignon Papacy, which was a change of seat of power prompted by two external factors (the dangerous situation with the noble families in Rome and Italy, too dangerous for the Pope to live in and the threats of Philip the IV of separating the catholic church of France from the catholic church of Rome) that spawned timid reactions and much political maneuvering (with the Italian nobility trying to reclaim prominence through short-lived "AntiPopes"). Except for one, the Popes that reigned during the Avignon Papacy recognized the situation as temporary and actively worked to restore order in Rome and the Italian peninsula to get back to their ancient seat of power. In the Realms, Fzoul decided to split his branch, did it and then had no intention of uniting back again with the Orthodox Church, trying instead to win even more supporters to his cause. The High Imperceptor couldn't reign him in because Fzoul was too deeply entrenched to be easily dealt with, the Popes didn't return to Rome because Philip the IV would have carried on with his threats and the political scene in the Italian peninsula was too hot. As soon (relatively speaking, it took about 70 years) as France was busy fighting the Hundred Years War and the situation in Rome was not as bad as before, the Pope returned to it's own seat. The shorter (about half the time) period of strife referred to as the "Western Schism" was caused by the fact that the same cardinals that elected the Pope of Rome disliked him so much that they then elected a new one that established himself in the vacant seat at Avignon. Fzoul decided by himself, openly defied and challenged the authority of the High Imperceptor and went on his own business without all the secular influences that went on in the strife during the Western Schism (please don't try to equate Zhentil Keep to all the monarchies of Europe choosing their favourite Pope each one for its own political reasons).


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Fzoul Chembryl is from a noble family in Zhentil Keep. I've always assumed that Szchulan Darkoon was, as well, albeit probably from a Mulmastran family.

Note that in early Realms material, surnames were only possessed by those of gentle birth. Commoners had only one name, with possibly a nickname or appelation related to their profession or date of birth. So anyone listed with two actual names in 2e Realms material, like the Ruins of Zhentil Keep, is clearly of the upper classes.

Tomar of Bane and Brist of Bane, therefore, are not identifiably noble, but were probably raised within the faith, perhaps with parents in high positions within the hierarchy. Strife, as the ward of a High Imperceptor, raised as her heir, is obviously effectively aristocracy, in much the same way as the Pope's 'nephews and nieces' were accounted aristocracy in the historical Papal States. The rest of the High Imperceptors seem to be of noble families.



I couldn't find any explicit mention of Fzoul's noble lineage, he was always cited as a member of the church of Bane and his accession to Lordship was through his raising in the ranks of the church and through his allegiance to Manshoon.

Your assumptions about surnames in the Realms is incorrect and disproved by the Volo's Guide ... series of 2nd Ed by the Realms creator. I could start a long list of people that are not nobles and have surnames but you can look them up for your own in the "Folk of ..." sections of any Volo's Guide ... at your disposal, to name a few: the farmer Ambratha Suren, the mage Argol Marammas and the druid Draguth Endroun in Volo's Guide to Cormyr, Battle-Chaplain Gordon Stakaria and Gulmarin Reldacap, priests in Volo's Guide to the Dales, Tchandrae Euinwood the gifted girl of Volo's Guide to the North, ...

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

It's important to recognise that the theoretical power to execute anyone who displeases you doesn't really translate into the ability to rule through daily executions. If nothing else, it means that before long, nobody in your service knows where things are in the pantry, not to mention no one having the institutional memory to exert effective control outside the direct visual range of the tyrant.

From G. Julius Caesar on, the rulers of Rome were technically 'tyrants', in that they had the ability to have people executed, whether through the position of the Dictator, like Caesar, or the combination of proconsular powers and the tribunican powers, like future Emperors. Yet this did not free them from the necessity of political maneuvering, building consensus, maintaining the support of their underlings and worrying about public opinion.

To take a modern example, Putin certainly doesn't appear to shy away from murdering political opponents, but anyone who studies the political situation in Russia cannot help but notice how much work he has to do on placating various entrenched interests, building a consensus and catering to oligarchs and apparatchiks.

Broadly speaking, there is a wide range between active revolution against a tyrant and simply not doing enough to enable that tyrant to rule effectively and if a tyrant has no public support, no connections and no political base, he'll find that his authority is effectively limited to people within his direct line of sight, because no one tells him the truth about anything that is happening further away.



Sometimes you got a real knack at underplaying the possibilities of someone divining your betrayal with a thought, killing you by snapping his fingers and sending the images of your body exploding to all other riotous underlings without any possibility of reprisal. That or you think everyone in the church of Bane wants to be a martyr and a freedom fighter. Putin doesn't even come close. It's useless to argue this point further since it seems our views of what powerful (both politically and magically) individuals can do are completely different.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Sure, geographical distance helped, but with the Transformed Church of Bane, the Orthodox Church of Bane, the Risen Cult of Bane, the True Church of Bane, the Old Church of Bane and so on, one does get the feeling that schism and strife was more the rule than the exception within Bane's church, even before the Time of Troubles.

Bane seems to have encouraged his servants to strive for position and not interfered in the political maneuverings that resulted.



The Orthodox one was the High Imperceptor and "official" one, the Transformed one was Fzoul's and the only one that I know actually contested and opposed actively the work of the High Imperceptor and claimed him a fraud, the True one was Telthaug's one and beside asserting it's indipendence I'm not aware of any claim on the Moonsea or other far regions of Faerun, they just wanted to be their own masters, the others are more obscure (maybe one was the name of the Banites during the Cyric/Xvim times, I don't know).

Anyway, as I already said, before the Time of Troubles Bane was apparently chained by his portfolio of Strife meaning that he actually enjoyed when powerful (not just all random nobodies) Banites vied for the top positions. Despite my personal disliking of this trait, it is canon that he allowed and nurtured strong opposition inside his own church. Luckily for me Bane 2.0 after his Return settled things straight and actually made his church behave like the true united fist of Tyranny that I like.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug was not indulging in an atypical act when he claimed the self-bestowed title of 'Dread' Imperceptor, he was doing what most senior servants of Bane have done. Once a priest of Bane gets a whole temple listening to him, it's a pretty short path from there to him thinking that his path represents the true faith of Bane.



All fine, except that the temple needs to be big and the followers fervent, otherwise every back country priest of Bane leading a shrine and 3 thugs would be his own church of Bane and we know this is not happening.
We already agreed that at some point during his rise to power Telthaug was authorized by someone to reach the top ranking position.

quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

The church of Bane has had a position in the power structure of Zhentil Keep and Mulmaster pretty comparable to the Catholic Church in the Papal States for a long time. We don't know how long it has had a similar position in Mourktar, but it has it now, at any rate, along with Mintarn and a growing number of other places.



The power structure of Mulmaster makes no mention in the canon Realms sources that I could find (Forgotten Realms Adventures, The Moonsea, Misteries of the Moonsea, the 1E and 3E Campaign Settings) to any direct influence on the ruling of the city by the Banites before the alliance between the High Blade and Fzoul after the Return of Bane. In Mourktar the influence of the church of Bane on the city's politics is proven only after the death of King Theris in 1358 DR, Mintarn was conquered by the Banites in 1362 DR.
At the time of Fzoul's schism (1263) Zhentil Keep alone is not a good analog to the Papal States, not to mention the political influence that the Roman Catholic Church had over the rest of Europe (extending well beyond the Papal States), something that the Church of Bane would trade anything for in an heartbeat.


quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Wrong. Bane did indeed only select the High Imperceptor, but before the ToT, after his Return it was only Fzoul, Chosen Tyrant of Bane (you can find it in Faiths & Avatars and Faiths and Pantheons).


quote:
Originally posted by The Ruins of Zhentil Keep

The High Imperceptor is selected from among all the Imperceptors at a special council called in Mulmaster when the previous High Imperceptor enters the afterlife or retires.




Sigh ...

From Faiths & Avatars, (page 38, top of right column): The High Imperceptor was in theory the supreme living servant of Bane (numerous former High Imperceptors survive as Baneliches) and was formerly directly recognized as such by Bane

From Faiths & Pantheons, (page 15 bottom of the right column and continued on page 16 top of the left column):
Before the Time of Troubles, Bane's church was riven by internecine strife, divided into the Orthodox sect (commanded primarily by clerics) and the Transformed church (dominated by wizards). Bane himself encouraged this struggle, appreciating the value of dissension even when applied to his own servants. His long dormancy seems to have cleared his mind on the matter, however, as he has acted personally to eradicate this divisions, even going so far as to name Fzoul Chembryl, the ruler of Zhentil Keep, as his personal Chosen Tyrant and infallible mortal representative. The formerly fractious Banites have made common cause in vicious pogroms against those clerics who turned to Cyric after Bane's "death" and who have not returned to the fold; their increased cooperation can only lead to foul tidings for the rest of Faerun.

To me both these passages and the one in Ruins of Zhentil Keep can live together: the Imperceptors around Faerun did indeed congregate in Mulmaster and Bane selected his chosen among them during prayers, rituals and whatever we want to imagin high ranking priests of Bane do when they get together, this occasionally led to someone feeling slighted and setting up his own schism once back in his home turf. After the death of Bane anything goes, after the Return of Bane Fzoul is the undisputed boss.

But if you really want to turn this into a battle of which canon is better that without a single hesitation I would go for Faiths and Avatars above and beyond the other two sources simply because it was penned by Eric L. Boyd.
But there is no need to go this far and seeing as how Julia Martin, the other lead author of Faiths and Avatars, edited Ruins of Zhentil Keep, I prefer to see both works as true and concile them in the easy way I presented (or any other easy way of keeping both sources valid you or anyone else might devise).

Edited by - Demzer on 09 Aug 2018 21:38:02
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Demzer
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  21:37:24  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Good call on the surname thing for commoners



Except that it is wrong (see my mention of the Volo's Guide ... series in my latest reply to Icelander), but you can run however you want in your own Realms.

Edited by - Demzer on 09 Aug 2018 21:41:00
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sleyvas
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  21:42:32  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is no ruling that people that have last names in the realms are of the upper classes.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Demzer
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  21:46:13  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.

Edited by - Demzer on 09 Aug 2018 21:46:48
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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  22:20:03  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.

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Edited by - Icelander on 09 Aug 2018 22:20:38
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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  22:30:57  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't see any conflict between canon in Faiths and Avatars and other sources. Nowhere does it state that Bane names the High Imperceptor, merely that Bane recognises him.

Combined with the text in the Ruins of Zhentil Keep and Faiths and Pantheons, that implies to me that Bane recognises as his supreme servant the one who can convince the rest of the church that he is the rightful High Imperceptor. Hence, the oligarchs of the church pick a High Imperceptor and Bane recognises that individual.

Note that the Code of the Harpers p. 33-34 explicitly mentions senior priests locked in fierce rivalries choosing a weak man as High Imperceptor, in order to serve as a figurehead (from context, this is Szchulan Darkoon). To me, that suggests that Bane was usually perfectly content to allow his priests to run his church and simply recognise whomever they picked as High Imperceptor, and did not make a practice of interfering in order to ensure that the strongest, most powerful or most deserving was chosen.

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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  22:48:01  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.


Aye.

As for a champion, I'm inclined to think that the battle leader closest to Kabarrath Telthaug as he rose to lead the Black Lord's Cloak is either dead, retired or at least grown old enough to serve only in the capacity of supreme general, not field commander.

His current strong right hand is likely to be the most favoured of his battle captains in the tumultuous times between 1357-1369 DR, i.e. between the write-up of Mourktar in Old Empires and the write-up of the Black Lord's Cloak from Faiths and Avatars.

Someone in his mid-forties, I should imagine.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  22:54:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hate the replying back to individual snippets which are replies back to other individual snippets because it turns the forum into unreadable stuff.

In essence, what you've said is you wouldn't want him to be a half-dragon or a half-fiend simply because you don't like it and it makes more sense to you. I submit that Kabbarrath Telthaug was a willing subject of Alasklerbanbastos, which can admittedly be for many reasons, but if he were a half-dragon of Alasklerbanbastos' brood it would make some sense. Him being a tiefling would also fit since they're considered somewhat common to the region. In fact, if he were say a child of Gilgeam's who refuses to worship Dad and has embraced an outside tyrant who may help him rise up and replace dad... (and Gilgeam may not acknowledge that he has this child because he's furious with him). Having him be human doesn't make him stand out or blend in any less than if he were one of these other options. It does however explain that rather strange ruling that Demzer pointed out of only allowing humans and half-elves by the current ruler who was possibly trying to prevent the Banites taking over by finding some hero to take his place after his death. King Theris may have fully expected the Banites to seize control, and this method was the one way he could think of to maybe prevent that happening (especially if its seen as being "divinely guided" by the people).

On the Banespear, absolutely.. Tchazzar may have split the item... he may have kept it whole too... what I will stress is that Tchazzar disappeared DURING a dracorage. I actually see Tchazzar as being afraid when he "ascended to godhood". Also, interestingly enough, during the same dracorage, the Cult of the Dragon's main Banite worshippers were descending down on nearby Peleveran and setting the Shaar ablaze. Tchazzar may have been desperate due to the dracorage, and I think it would be interesting to research who we BELIEVE raised him to godhood (Tiamat? Bane? Assuran? Someone else?). Maybe he used the banespear to slay a lesser manifestation of some sort and ascended in that way to demigod status. Heck, for all we know, maybe he had to "draw" the energy to obtain his divinity out of the banespear using a ritual and that involved breaking the weapon. Maldraedior may not even truly know the CURRENT potential of the item since he's only "heard" about the spear.

As a side note, it was also at this same time that Alasklerbanbastos was afraid of the dracorage as well and allowed himself to get turned into a dracolich by the Cult of the Dragon (though we don't know which faction Tuelhalva Drakewings and his power seekers OR Algashon and his Banites). However, it was a Cult of the Dragon Cell located in Mourktar that converted him, so IF Kabbarrath were a half-dragon or half-fiend in Mourktar at that time, he may have been involved with the Cult of the Dragon as a Banite priest. He may have even been involved with the ritual that converted Alasklerbanbastos (with maybe Algashon converting Alasklerbanbastos as the leader of the ritual).

On the idea of him becoming a dracolich or banelich or even a vampire of some sort, that's not absolutely necessary. I just threw that in there as an option. If he were simply a half-dragon, he may be the founder of the temple. Still, it also wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility that he IS undead as well. He could even be hiding it. The Mulan people for instance are naturally pale, so if he had some magical way to walk in sunlight... I could easily see him being a vampire given how the cloak drinks blood. The main thing though just revolves around "he may have been the first and only leader of the temple".

As to why Kabbarrath Telthaug hasn't sought to extend his power to the Banites in Mulmaster. Honestly that's WAY outside his wheelhouse. As a rough comparison to our world, this is like the distance between New Orleans and the middle of Montana at the top of the country. I can honestly tell you, I live near New Orleans, and I could care less what's happening in Montana for the most part. I'd be more concerned with what's happening in Mississippi. He's got enough on his plate helping keep Threskel free from Unther. I have no problem seeing him keeping himself separate from the backstabbing politics of Mulmaster and Zhentil Keep, especially if in turn they keep their noses out of his neck of the woods.

On the part about the church only growing big relatively recently, I'd imagine that after Threskel freed itself from Unther, they likely wouldn't have embraced Bane's faith. Maybe sometime in the last half century or so Kabbarrath and/or the church of Bane did something to really EARN the favour of the people of Mourktar. Maybe he sponsored pirates that sniped on Untheric shipping. Maybe he fended off some major threat and showed King Theris to be a weak leader.


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Icelander
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Posted - 09 Aug 2018 :  23:47:46  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug's heritage

I don't think it's possible to state that dragonic, deific or demonic heritage wouldn't stand out more than human heritage in Mourktar. That seems like a very strange view. Tieflings are more common in Unther than in some other places in the Realms, but that just means that they are vanishingly rare there and all but unknown elsewhere.

Also, there is absolutely no evidence that individuals of less than human heritage are accepted as respectable people within human society, whether in Mourktar or elsewhere in the Old Empires. Exotic monsters may be featured as gladiators and their spawn may survive hooded or otherwise disguised among rogues, thieves and murderers in the worst slums and they might forge a following among bandits in the wilderness, but that doesn't mean that they are acknowledged among the established noble families.

Waterdeep, Sembia or Cormyr are generally not considered places unduly obsessed with pure-blood heritage, but even there, a drop of half-elven blood is a dark secret in a noble family. The Old Empires make a fetish of pure-blood Mulan heritage; their cultures are a lot more exclusionary than is typical in the Realms. Why would anyone think that being a tiefling, half-dragon or otherwise of mixed bloodline would be socially acceptable anywhere in the Old Empires?

I think that in the absence of evidence of anything else, we should assume that Kabarrath Telthaug is a member of the majority race in his society, i.e. Mulan of Untheri heritage.

Acknowledging the Great Bone Wyrm as suzerain of Old Unther

I think that the Dread Imperceptor's modus vivendi with the Great Bone Wyrm is not evidence of dragonic heritage, any more than King Hercubes Jedea of Mordulkin has dragonic heritage. It was a simple calculation of political interest.

The fact is that no one in Threskel or anywhere else can stand against Alasklerbanbastos if he were determined to destroy them. It is also a fact, however, that even as a dracolich, Alasklerbanbastos will spend most of his existence slumbering and that even while he is awake, he cannot rule directly over all the lands of Old Unther or even any significant part of it.

Thus, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Dragon-King of Old Unther probably costs the Regent of Mourktar very little in terms of actual authority, while it gains him the allegiance of a number of dragons, which allows him to project power much more effectively than he could with an infantry army.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  00:23:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

I fear this whole "Telthaug is not human" thing may have been sparked by my whacky ideas for his champion. While I can readily see an half-orc, duergar, half-troll or whatever as the battle leader and strong-arm of the Banites of Mourktar I have to agree with Icelander that nothing that we know of Threskel or Mourktar suggest that Telthaug was anything other than human (maybe half-orc or half-elf, but that would be stretching it).

I definitely don't see him as having any draconic heritage due to how his 1370s dealings with Alasklerbanbastos and its servant dragons make no mention of his affinity to them or any difference between his treatment and that of the other human rulers.



Oh, I'll point out, I'm not pushing for either way. I'm just pushing against the "it can't be that way" statements. There's a world of possibilities.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  00:24:32  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.



And yet at the same time, how many references can we find that refute exactly that claim, where there's someone who DOES have a last name and yet they were a farmer or something.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  00:28:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

quote:
Old Grey Box

General guidelines on naming
are as follows.
Common Humanity. The greater bulk
of humanity takes a single name, such
as "Doust" or "Mourngrym", with a secondary
name added if there is confusion,
either from profession ("Doust the
Fighter"), location ("Doust of Shadowdale
"), or lineage (the latter in particular
if some legendary figure was in the
family line, such as "Doust, Grandson of
Miniber the Sage").
[...]
Human Nobles and Gentry. These
individuals tend to retain the "family
name", a name usually derived from the
individual who established the family's
fame, position, or prowess. Such names
are retained even after the nobility has
fallen from grace or power.

Surnames are certainly possessed by many individuals in the Realms currently not in a position of power or influence, but using a surname is generally a claim to gentility.

Also, farmers who own their own land, i.e. yeomen, are very close to gentility already. Common folk are those who work the land of others.



And yet at the same time, how many references can we find that refute exactly that claim, where there's someone who DOES have a last name and yet they were a farmer or something.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  07:01:21  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are always exceptions to any rule. Educated commoners might wish to imitate the gentry and chose a family name that then gets passed to their descendants.

Nobles do not remain noble across all generations, some members become penniless and their descendents may be commoners but with a family name. Across thousands of years of human history it is likely that more than a few commoners now have family names but I will generally use the rule that Icelander found.

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Demzer
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  09:33:21  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, sorry for the confusion with the multiple quoting, I'll go with sort of bullet points and maybe it's more readable.

Surnames:
I see the rule that you reported, Icelander, as more of an aid for DMs than anything else (as in "you don't have to create a surname for everyone"), but seeing as in the published Realms we have an awful lot of people with surnames that have no ties whatsoever with nobility or want to have any (druids claiming gentility?), then the assumption that having a surname makes you a noble is incorrect or at least is not a reliable way of determining the fortunes of someone (as in, it's a necessary but not sufficient condition).
For priests and other religious people I can even see some renouncing their surnames and substituting that for "of Bane/Ilmater/Cthulhu" as a sign of fervent adoration and submission to their role in the church as opposed to their secular lives.
In the specific cases of Fzoul and the High Imperceptor we have no report (at least that I know of) of anyone else sharing their surname and no statement that they were nobles. Seeing how the "True History" section of Ruins of Zhentil Keep was written I believe that if Fzoul was of noble blood and of an ancient and respected Zhentish family it would have been stated much as it is for Manshoon and other Lords seen in a good light by Zhentish-propaganda that composed that timeline.

Regarding the yeomen comment, that's how it worked in feudal Europe, not in Cormyr where any farmer, craftmen or merchant is a commoner (thus not entitled a surname by the rule, and yet ...). This is why I always caution against too deep analogies between the Realms and the real world, it's too easy to be carried away into incorrect assumptions.

High Imperceptor's office:
Fair enough, it's clear that "recognizes" doesn't imply a direct choice but more the approval of one. Although given the record of the first seven High Imperceptors I would be hesitant to say that choosing a puppet was the common way of resolving the issue among the Banites, maybe Szchulan was an exception, but that's just my feeling colored by my personal taste.

Telthaug's ancestry:
Honestly it's just the draconic heritage that doesn't work for me, I don't see any need to relate him to the nobility of the region so the human part may freely fall by the wayside. Yet he rose to a position of great power in the church of a human god so I would not go with any race that has it's own established pantheon. Half-human could work perfectly but I don't see him being half-orc due to their short-lifespan (back to this in a moment), he could be a tiefling (or aasimar) or half-fiendish (more from the more human-like fiends, like incubi, succubi or erynies), he could be a descendant of the line of any Untheric old god (I would avid Gilgeam for his paranoia regarding potential rivals but I can see an offshoot of a family of descendants of Druaga or Nergal establishing themselves in secret in barren Threskel and a scion of the family rosing to fame using his augmented powers). Also divine and extraplanar lineage don't exclude each other, we know the gods can be naughty too.
Regarding his lifespan I would say that I see no reason why he couldn't have extended it, maybe even using the powers of the Black Cloak (if it has some vampiric like power of sucking life of victims and transfering it to an appointed possessor). I have this nagging feeling that the Black Cloak as some relation with the nearby Citadel of the Fiendish Slayer in the Underdark, a place on which I could find almost no information. But it's just a feeling.

The Banespear and Tchazzar:
I was unaware of the Banespear, I need to think on it a bit further to offer anything. I admit that later events and his trashing of Unther make me storngly lean on Tiamat sponsoring his godhood (probably even foreseeing him as a possible backup plan that she actually used in the Time of Troubles). Regarding the involvement of the Cult of the Dragon in the region I admit that I never put too much thought on it but I can readily see how the Banite presence in Threskel may have started as merely a Cult of the Dragon cell (going after the hints of draconic presence due to the history of Tiamat/Bahamuth in the region) around the 1000s and evolved from that to the temple we know. With Telthaug being a scion of fiendish/divine bloodline finding in the church of Bane the chance to rise in society that was not given him by the heavily Assurite-dominated upper classes of Mourktar.

Telthaug disinterest in Mulmaster:
Exactly what I was saying. The fact that Telthaug did his own thing in Mourktar had no bearing on the general situation of he Banites church because he is far removed and in the middle of contested territory (pantheon-wise). So at worst the High Imperceptor could ignore him and at best he could claim his indipendence was bestowed to give him a free hand in expanding the church of Bane in new territories (the Old Empires).

Recent growth of the Banites of Mourktar:
I too see the Banites as having grown only recently (1340s-1350s), probably with breakthroughs during the waning years of King Theris rule. If Telthaug started to build his military power when the King was growing weak I can see him gaining a lot of traction with the populace with the Banites troops winning battles and skirmishes with Chessentan cities and Unther (while the regular army of Mourktar, having to defend the city could not muster enough manpower to invade the surrounding territories, the Banites could be totally devoted to be an offensive force). This would have quickly boosted the power and influence of the Banites and led to their eventual takeover.

Edited by - Demzer on 10 Aug 2018 09:36:12
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sleyvas
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  13:16:31  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

Dread Imperceptor Kabarrath Telthaug's heritage

I don't think it's possible to state that dragonic, deific or demonic heritage wouldn't stand out more than human heritage in Mourktar. That seems like a very strange view. Tieflings are more common in Unther than in some other places in the Realms, but that just means that they are vanishingly rare there and all but unknown elsewhere.

Also, there is absolutely no evidence that individuals of less than human heritage are accepted as respectable people within human society, whether in Mourktar or elsewhere in the Old Empires. Exotic monsters may be featured as gladiators and their spawn may survive hooded or otherwise disguised among rogues, thieves and murderers in the worst slums and they might forge a following among bandits in the wilderness, but that doesn't mean that they are acknowledged among the established noble families.

Waterdeep, Sembia or Cormyr are generally not considered places unduly obsessed with pure-blood heritage, but even there, a drop of half-elven blood is a dark secret in a noble family. The Old Empires make a fetish of pure-blood Mulan heritage; their cultures are a lot more exclusionary than is typical in the Realms. Why would anyone think that being a tiefling, half-dragon or otherwise of mixed bloodline would be socially acceptable anywhere in the Old Empires?

I think that in the absence of evidence of anything else, we should assume that Kabarrath Telthaug is a member of the majority race in his society, i.e. Mulan of Untheri heritage.

Acknowledging the Great Bone Wyrm as suzerain of Old Unther

I think that the Dread Imperceptor's modus vivendi with the Great Bone Wyrm is not evidence of dragonic heritage, any more than King Hercubes Jedea of Mordulkin has dragonic heritage. It was a simple calculation of political interest.

The fact is that no one in Threskel or anywhere else can stand against Alasklerbanbastos if he were determined to destroy them. It is also a fact, however, that even as a dracolich, Alasklerbanbastos will spend most of his existence slumbering and that even while he is awake, he cannot rule directly over all the lands of Old Unther or even any significant part of it.

Thus, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Dragon-King of Old Unther probably costs the Regent of Mourktar very little in terms of actual authority, while it gains him the allegiance of a number of dragons, which allows him to project power much more effectively than he could with an infantry army.



This I can agree with. Yes, there is nothing to suggest that he is of another race. There are things in either direction that could be worked to make them feasible for any of these ethnicities.


On the part about the race being unacceptable for the region, one thing to bear in mind is that not all tieflings or half dragons are immediately apparent, and magic can be used to conceal things from people on a mass scale. After all, how long did the majority of the people of Thay believe that Szass Tam was still alive?


For me, its about what can we do with the story of it. I had two main reasons to consider other races. They were to

A) fit the reason why the Banites didn't enter the contest in the odd loophole Demzer brought up. I don't buy the idea that their champion wouldn't work, because Kabbarrath probably has access to other possible claimants he could have tried to use. I do buy that HE couldn't work, and no one wanted to dare cross him from within the church. He doesn't seem to be the type of Banite Tyrant who is into propping up another Tyrant... he seems to be the type to want the power himself.

and
B) I figured if he'd been the one to start the temple and grow it over say 350 years, that might be why its been wildly successfully gathering claimants (i.e. their grandfathers know him and perhaps he has periodically helped protect Mourktar from Gilgeam's forces advances). Based on the statements about Alasklerbanbastos getting changed by a group of Cult of the Dragon cultists located in Mourktar, I get the feel that the Banites were down here as Cult of the Dragon members. This makes me think as well that the church in Mourktar may have had dracolich allies (lesser ones mind you) that it kept relatively nearby... and oddly enough, perhaps dracoliches have in the past defended Mourktar from Untheric forces. I could also see dracoliches and pirates allied with dragon cultists being a problem for shipping in the area, targeting specifically traffic enriching area outside Threskel.


I'll also note, he doesn't have to be another race to have founded the temple. He COULD be some kind of undead instead OR perhaps he's somehow tied to the Dark Lord's Cloak such that when it drains the life from someone by drinking their blood, it can create something akin to a potion or effect that stops aging. Anyway, its all just options to consider. If he's truly the leader of the largest temple of Bane in the world, I would kind of expect the guy to be somehow different... whether its that he's changed himself to gain power, or he inherently held it and was thus able to survive and advance. We already have several entirely human Banite leaders (Fzoul Chembryl, Teldorn Darkhope, the church in Mulmaster, etc...), so having a few that are a little different mold might be worth looking at.

One thing I do see him mad about though is that Alasklerbanbastos has allied himself with his traditional enemy, the Church of Tiamat.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 10 Aug 2018 :  13:38:30  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

Yeah, sorry for the confusion with the multiple quoting, I'll go with sort of bullet points and maybe it's more readable.

Telthaug's ancestry:
Honestly it's just the draconic heritage that doesn't work for me, I don't see any need to relate him to the nobility of the region so the human part may freely fall by the wayside. Yet he rose to a position of great power in the church of a human god so I would not go with any race that has it's own established pantheon. Half-human could work perfectly but I don't see him being half-orc due to their short-lifespan (back to this in a moment), he could be a tiefling (or aasimar) or half-fiendish (more from the more human-like fiends, like incubi, succubi or erynies), he could be a descendant of the line of any Untheric old god (I would avid Gilgeam for his paranoia regarding potential rivals but I can see an offshoot of a family of descendants of Druaga or Nergal establishing themselves in secret in barren Threskel and a scion of the family rosing to fame using his augmented powers). Also divine and extraplanar lineage don't exclude each other, we know the gods can be naughty too.
Regarding his lifespan I would say that I see no reason why he couldn't have extended it, maybe even using the powers of the Black Cloak (if it has some vampiric like power of sucking life of victims and transfering it to an appointed possessor). I have this nagging feeling that the Black Cloak as some relation with the nearby Citadel of the Fiendish Slayer in the Underdark, a place on which I could find almost no information. But it's just a feeling.

The Banespear and Tchazzar:
I was unaware of the Banespear, I need to think on it a bit further to offer anything. I admit that later events and his trashing of Unther make me storngly lean on Tiamat sponsoring his godhood (probably even foreseeing him as a possible backup plan that she actually used in the Time of Troubles). Regarding the involvement of the Cult of the Dragon in the region I admit that I never put too much thought on it but I can readily see how the Banite presence in Threskel may have started as merely a Cult of the Dragon cell (going after the hints of draconic presence due to the history of Tiamat/Bahamuth in the region) around the 1000s and evolved from that to the temple we know. With Telthaug being a scion of fiendish/divine bloodline finding in the church of Bane the chance to rise in society that was not given him by the heavily Assurite-dominated upper classes of Mourktar.



Kind of funny... we both hit on the idea that the blood sucking cloak may be keeping him young.

Yeah, not stuck on half-dragon... though it could make sense if the banites down at the time were cult of the dragon members. I can see half-dragons being part of the cult, and if the cult at that time were primarily Banites, the a half-dragon Banite priest makes sense.... However, I'm just as happy with the idea of some kind of fiend blood. In fact, I really do like the idea of an alu-fiend and one of the local manifestations OR even one of the god-kings. If Assuran were a manifestation, it might or might not be really interesting if his child birthed on either a human or a devil/succubus/alu-fiend turned to Bane. He might consider it an odd form of justice that his neglectful father not reap the benefits of his worship, and he might specifically be targeting de-powering his "father" by lessening the church of Assuran.

On Tiamat raising Tchazzar, I only just recently realized... that may not have been possible in 1018 DR. She only recently returned to Faerun in the 1346 or thereabouts according to some sources. However, I also see a GHotR entry that has her cultists in Surkh in 971 DR. So I actually think it IS still possible, but just throwing it out for research reasons (it seems that Tiamat held a swathe going from Unther to the Vilhon).

962 DR Year of the Shandon Veil
The Cult of the Dragon [950, 971] reaches farther south than ever before with the creation of a cell in, around, and beneath the city of Hlondeth in the Vilhon Reach.

971 DR Year of the Children
The Cult of the Dragon’s [962, 972] further expansion in the south is halted by the church of Tiamat when an underground Cult cell “trespasses” on a similar group worshiping the Dragon Queen in the city of Surkh.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 10 Aug 2018 13:41:14
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