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
 Ask Ed Greenwood
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Herr Doktor
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  03:25:39  Show Profile  Visit Herr Doktor's Homepage  Send Herr Doktor an AOL message  Click to see Herr Doktor's MSN Messenger address Send Herr Doktor a Private Message  Delete Topic
Ed made it known on Mortality radio that he'd send someone around candlekeep to pick up any questions people have for him. I thought it'd be best to try and keep all of these to one thread to make things easier on his rounder up. So post your questions here!

I have a question for Ed...

What do you think about smokepowder weapons? Do they have any place in the Realms you originally envisioned? Was it added by request of TSR like some of the other 2nd Edition add-ons?

Edited by - Alaundo on 07 Feb 2004 09:41:52

annadobritt
Acolyte

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  03:58:44  Show Profile  Visit annadobritt's Homepage Send annadobritt a Private Message
How do you decide how many deities are needed in a campaign setting?

btw, that was an excellent interview on mortality radio. Thank you for answering the question about how you go about creating a world.


Anna M. Dobritt
Cartography Unlimited for RPGs
http://www.cartogunlimited.com

Edited by - annadobritt on 07 Feb 2004 04:15:53
Go to Top of Page

Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5613 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  09:41:29  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Thank ye for starting this scroll, Herr Doktor. Indeed, I urge all scribes to come forth with their questions for the Great Sage o' the Greenwood.

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  17:15:17  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
You have called, and The Hooded One answers. Everything following the colon at the end of this sentence are the words of Ed himself (and so, following the original legal agreement between TSR and Ed, my wrinkled copy of which lies in front of me, can be considered "official" or as folks out on the Net now put it, canon):

Guns were in D&D from the original Greyhawk campaign onwards (read Jim Ward's "Faceless Men And Clockwork Monsters" in an early issue of DRAGON), and "doing them up for 2nd Edition and the Realms" in two DRAGON articles was my first real "contributing editor" assignment from Kim Mohan (that is, an assigned topic, as opposed to "give me more of X that you've already sent in"). I think Jim Ward's original approach (a 'strange wand' that's so rare and limited in ammo that no one sees it as distinct from magic) is probably the best one, but the published Realms has always striven to give DMs and players maximum play opportunities, and smokepowder weapons are a tool useful in some styles of play. For one thing, it creates new mercantile cargoes of vital importance (for PC dealing, theft, piracy, investment, etc.). Roger Zelazny tackled this problem ably in THE GUNS OF AVALON, the second Amber novel, wherein the abrasive known as "jeweller's rouge" in our Earth is the only firearms-useful explosive in Amber.

Re. my comments on world creation: thank you. To reiterate, I design both from "the inside out" and "the outside in." I start both with a single location or idea that inspires me (a village, or a forest glade, or a dungeon or castle) and imagine what's around it, AND with the macro-scale bases of the world (climate, population, currents of wind and water, power groups and large-scale conflicts, scarcities and trade -- which really starts as "what's going to be in these caravan wagons or ships' holds."-- and keep on designing until the two meet. As a longtime DM, I know how much detail (names and descriptions of coinage, catch-phrases and oaths, etc.) I need to have on hand to make things "seem real" before play starts. Cover all of those, and then be ready to modify and expand as play unfolds to meet the directions your players take their characters in.
Regarding the number of deities: look at my forthcoming CASTLEMORN for what I consider the minimum (anything less is quite suitable for fantasy fiction, but less so for gaming play, because it tends to lead to a Tolkien-like dominating good/evil conflict, which can restrict PC freedoms to adventure as they like, and shorten the life of an interesting D&D campaign). The published Realms reflects a maximum that designers like Eric Boyd, Julia Martin, and I can have lots of fun with, but that can be bewildering to DMs and players NOT interested in details of the gods. You may see a revelation on this topic in the future, but one of the problems with the published Realms thus far is that focus on gods has brought them onstage in novels and left skimpy detail on priesthoods (is my cleric just a fighter who can heal, or does he/she/it have a code to live by, holy aims to push for, particular garments to wear and rituals to perform, specific no-nos, and so on?).
The right answer to your question is probably: as many as you are comfortable handling, as a creator/writer or DM.
As long as you recognize the danger that a monotheistic approach can lead to unconscious adaptation of real-world faiths like Christianity (using crosses, angelic choirs, etc. because upbringing makes you associate such things with "God"), one deity can be enough. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with adapting Christian or Buddist or Zoroastrian creeds and trappings, just that it should be a deliberate, thought-through design decision and not an unconscious 'drift.'
DMs, of course, must keep what their players want in this regard foremost, and be guided by it. There's no point in bringing religious elements to the fore if it makes your players uncomfortable.
Fiction writers, on the other hand, should realize that although any religious focus can narrow readership, religion has always been (and, particularly outside North America, continues to be) THE paramount force in human society.

Thanks for your interest in the Realms. I must run now and get the Waterdeep novel finished. I will be answering the questions posed on the Mortality site there, if it's technologically possible for me. If not, I'll have The Hooded One post them here for me.

Oh, and Winterfox? A little less vitriol with my coffee, please. :}
Ed Greenwood
Go to Top of Page

SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  17:20:04  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
What tidbits of details is Mr. Greenwood able to tell us about the upcoming Waterdeep novel?

Any chance we will see a glimpse or a great deal more of Elaith Craulnober in this novel?

Thank you.

SB
Go to Top of Page

Crust
Learned Scribe

USA
273 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  19:52:44  Show Profile  Visit Crust's Homepage  Send Crust an AOL message Send Crust a Private Message
I posted a question concerning Elminster's resemblance to Gandalf. Without having to go to the website, did Ed mention anything about that?

"That's right, hurl back views that force ye to think by name-calling - 'tis the grand old tradition, let it not down! Anything to keep from having to think, or - Mystra forfend - change thy own views!"

Narnra glowered at her father. "Just how am I to learn how to think? By being taught by you?"

"Some folk in the Realms would give their lives for the chance to learn at my feet," Elminster said mildly. "Several already have."

~from Elminster's Daughter, Ed Greenwood
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  19:53:38  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ed Greenwood: Hello, folks. My life is so screamingly busy that I won't have time to constantly answer queries posted to Mortality, but the blizzard raging outside has won me a few minutes to sit down and make a first stab at things...
However, my primitive bucket-and-string rural computer setup stalls whenever I try to register, so as promised, I'm posting my answers here. SiriusBlack, could you please let folks visiting the Mortality site know that these answers are to be had here?
Alaundo, I'm not sure if you have a length limitation on posts, so I'll divide this into two posts and have The Hooded One lob them into your forums for me, okay?

[Part 1]

Q: Could you ask Ed Greenwood if the Elminster's pipe is still named Fred?
A: Yes, that's the pipe's public name. It is sentient, and retains a proper name from its existence before pipe-dom. The Simbul's name for it is rather less flattering.

Q: What is your favorite version of D&D?
A: AD&D 2nd, if I have to choose one, but I don't have strong feelings about the matter. For me, roleplaying and story always trumps rules systems.

Q: You are currently working on a Waterdeep novel with the wonderful Elaine Cunningham. Can you offer fans of the City of Splendors any details about what to expect with this novel? As a fan of "The Serpent" can we expect to see a bit, a lot, of Elaith Craulnober? Thanks and I hope you are enjoying working with Mrs. Cunningham.
A: Elaine and I have been phone friends for years, have dinner together when we can, and I have a lot of respect for her as a writer (watch for news of her forthcoming new book from TOR). YES, it's wonderful to be working with her. Waterdeep is consuming both of our lives for the moment, and I can safely reveal this much: you will see Elaith, almost all of the novel takes place in Waterdeep post-Threat from the Sea, and you will meet a lot of new characters. The story is so packed that it's hard to stop and bolt on as much Realmslore details as I'd like to, but we do want to give you some of the sights and smells of the city.

Q: When are you gonna stop blowing smoke up your own arse and escape the halcyon days of the FR and start work on some real fiction again?
A: Stop blowing smoke . . . ? Up here, 'tis the only way to keep warm in winter, goodsir!
Right now, I've got so much "real fiction" on my plate that the table underneath is starting to groan. Just a few things: three Castlemorn short stories (to be inserted one to a game product), three for-charity short stories from Pentacon, a novelette entitled "Stormsong" that will appear this fall in SUMMONED BY DESTINY, edited by sf author Julie Czerneda (it's the first volume of the REALMS OF WONDER series from Trifolium, an imprint of Fitzhenry & Whiteside), a short story in the CHILDREN OF THE RUNE anthology edited by Sue Weinlein-Cook (set in Monte's Diamond Throne setting for ARCANA UNEARTHED), THE SILENT HOUSE and planned future books in my Aglirta series from TOR (SH is the fifth book, and wraps around the four Band of Four novels), no less than FOUR stop secret projects that I can't tell you about until the bell rings and my agent staggers back out of the ring, and . . . well, that'll do for now. Suffice it to say that I'm no stranger to "real fiction."

Q: Elminster bears a strong resemblance to Gandalf, whether gray or white, both in appearance and behavior (helping young adventurers become heroes in their own right). Was Gandalf a chief source of inspiration for Elminster?
Also, do you see other incarnations of Gandalf in other pieces of literature, such as Obi-Wan, Dumbledore, and Fizban, or do the characteristics of Gandalf/Elminster/Merlin (the wise old wizard) date back further than I can imagine? Is the wise old wizard something that has always existed?
A: As I blathered on regarding, on the radio show, Merlin is the real inspiration for Elminster, not Gandalf. I originally needed Elminster as an "unreliable narrator" for DRAGON Realms articles, and an "unreliable sage" for PCs to consult in my original Realms campaign. He's far more of a rogue than Gandalf, and far less sane, though it's true some of the illustrations of him over the years have looked very similar to some of the illustrations of Gandalf (but then, I recall hearing Tolkien say that he didn't much like a lot of said illustrations, either). I think the "wise old wizard" figure has always existed, and as I've said before, if "I was running TSR" I'd never have featured El as a main character in a novel, only as a supporting character. Taking him center stage makes comparisons with Gandalf inevitable.

Q: Are your Band of Four novels for Tor Books ever likely to become a d20 publication?
A: Yes, when I have the time to get to it. I did have a deal with a major d20 company for such a product, but my agent squashed it during other negotiations. The lore that would go in to such a book does exist, though not in pristine, ready-for-print form, and the verdant river valley full of warring baronies that makes up Aglirta would make a great d20 campaign setting.

Q: Will you ever do a novel in your style of writing and not the one your editor prefers?
A: I've written or co-written over a hundred books in twenty-five years largely because I can write quickly, and "to order" (in a requested style). I'm used to filling an editorial need under editorial restrictions (this length, handed in at that time, and so on), and under my own restrictions (I'm writing for this audience, so I want to use THIS style). With each bestselling book I do, I win a little more leeway or power to "do things my way," and as ELMINSTER IN HELL demonstrates, I certainly try to push the boundaries a little with each book, and am allowed to do so.
However, I grew up reading voraciously, writing pastiches of Woodhouse and Dunsany and others, and doing journalism. I'm not sure there is a single "Ed Greenwood style" of writing. I know that if I had complete freedom, my Realms novels might read like a cross between Guy Gavriel Kay and the Anthony Villiers novels of Alexei Panshin.
Yet to some extent only self-publishing is free of editorial influence, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Writers are too close to their own work to always be able to stand back and clearly see its flaws, pacing problems, and gaps. A good editor (and I've had many) DOESN'T try to change a book to what he or she would have written.
I guess we'll have to wait and see. I think writers who can only tell stories one way, in one "voice," are as limited as readers who are foolish enough to think that words said by a character reflect the personal views of the writer who created that character.

Q: When will you be doing a Forgotten Realms gaming product?
A: I was one of three principal writers for SERPENT KINGDOMS (Darrin Drader and my friend and superb master of Realmslore Eric Boyd were the others). It should be coming out soon.

Q: Why the long absence from Forgotten Realms gaming products (the last was I believe was Silver Marches in 2002)?
A: As Wizards of the Coast cut back on the number of Realms releases and at the same time the number of staff members, it only makes economic sense to give most of the design work that's left to the folks Wizards is paying to be staff designers. I have been involved as a behind-the-scenes consultant or a contributor (I wrote a handful of drugs and poisons for LORDS OF DARKNESS, for example) on almost all of the 3rd Edition Realms sourcebooks, and hope to do more Realms design work in the future. I draw your attention to the tidbits of Realmslore I'm sneaking onto the Wizards website (and, when I have time again, hopefully in the pages of DRAGON, too).

Q: Could you talk a little about your work on Geanavue: The Stones of Peace (Kingdoms of Kalamar) (2002)?
A: Sure. GEANAVUE: THE STONES OF PEACE was a blast, though I STILL have trouble with Reanaarian names and spellings. A sequel of sorts, LOONA: PORT OF INTRIGUE, has just been released, and I urge you all to rush out and buy it (and Geanavue, too, if you haven't yet). For those who don't want to use Kalamar as a setting, here's what you get: a small, lawless, near-pirate-ruled port, with a thin strip of thinly-detailed countryside connecting it to a city that is detailed up, down, and sideways, from sewers to self-styled nobles to guilds. Think of it as a "second Waterdeep" in terms of setting detail. It's a low-magic setting, and I love it. Working on it was less fun just because I could never find enough time to fit it in around the novels that buy my food and pay my taxes (a problem that became chronic with Loona), but I jumped at the chance to do these because they were the sort of design that I wanted to do more of in the Realms: setting background. (Let me do Volo's Guides every six months for the rest of my life, and I'd be very happy. People who dislike Volo, of course, less so :}).

Q: Could you talk a little about your work on Castlemorn setting?
A: Jim Ward, who used to be the creative head of TSR back in the early days of the Realms (and was a player in the original Greyhawk campaign and a game designer of note with a string of classics to his name) asked me if I'd be interested in doing a new setting, and I was delighted to leap in and have a chance to do something that might easily grow into board games, novels, and more, and to "get back to my roots" by providing gamers with a new sandbox to play in. Picture a land (call it Mornra) hemmed in on three sides by apparently-impassable mountain ranges, and on the fourth by the ocean (or rather, a bay outlined by a semi-circular arc of islands that curves out from the mainland and then back in again, enclosing a fabled "haunted island" of crumbling castle ruins. The seas to either side of the bay are teacherous, always shrouded in mists, and contain pirates, a mysterious city of sorcerers, and any d20 adventure module a DM wants to plonk therein. The land of Mornra consists of about a dozen as-colorful-as-I-could-make-them countries, with feuds and trading relationships and underlying mysteries from a glorious past when there was more magic, an easier life for all, a dragon in every baske--ahem. Enough. I guess you'll just have to buy it and see.
Seriously, visit the Fast Forward Entertainment, Inc. site and you can see a few more glimpses of Castlemorn. I can promise that the launch product will be good old-fashioned value for your gaming dollar.

Q: Could you tell us about how you came to do a story for Children of the Rune?
A: Sure. Sue Weinlein-Cook asked me to, and for me gaming is all about friends. Like Jim Ward did for Castlemorn, she asked, so I answered the call, and consider it an honor to be invited to play in the Diamond Throne setting (and wait until you see the star-studded lineup of contributors to CHILDREN OF THE RUNE!). I love writing challenges, and had a ball writing the tale. I'd like to revisit my Lord Shield character someday, too, somehow, because he intrigues me.

Q: Could you talk about your work with the various computer games you have been a part of (including your short story "Moonrise Over Myth Drannor" in the Myth Drannor™ Forgotten Realms computer game from SSI, Inc., and your short story "Living Forever" in the Pools of Radiance II: Ruins of Myth Drannor computer game from Mattel Interactive/The Learning Company/Broderbund). You were also involved with Interplay's The Two Towers, and how you felt your lore was handled by the Baldur's Gate series of computer games.
A: I did the Two Towers because I was honored to be able to work on even a tiny echo of Middle-Earth, and I love computer games. What I haven't loved (until the recent "real-time-walkthrough" version of Myst) is their frustrating technological limitations. They can never replace the versatility of a good live Dungeon Master. However, for the solo gamer, a game with good graphics, "atmosphere," and a variety of subplots (so as to avoid the two longtime problems: "You can't go on because you neglected to get the old man in the third room to vomit up the key, so you can't open the door to the next level and now he's vanished nyah nyah." and: "We yell, 'Thursday!' and the click-clicks fall over dead"/"How did you know how to do that?"/"We bought the hint book, dummy.").
However, as the platforms they run on improve, computer games are beginning to become graphically beautiful and adventures of lasting interest. I'm still going to be annoyed if computer designers change Realmslore details "because they can," but otherwise, I'm quite happy to see this form of gaming get better and better in the Realms. I recall Steve Schend asking me for a huge list of book titles so gamers exploring Candlekeep in a computer game could see what was on the shelves. I also recall telling him that the company should burn a "bonus" CD-ROM so I could write some sample pages for each book, and make the game a Realmslore must-buy for all gamers, but no one listens to me sob choke :}

Q: What would you like to see from your fans?
A: Keep on gaming in, reading about, and enjoying the Realms. Don't let it die, and (naming no names) try not to be nasty to other fans of the Realms in chat rooms, online forums, and the like. Life's too short for such unpleasantness, and this is supposed to be FUN for all of us. I also think that online discussion works best when posters confine themselves to discussing what an author has written, and not what they think the author wrote or meant-- especially when they haven't read what they're delivering an opinion on. As with other things in life (like judging politicians, or behaving in school or the workplace), the Golden Rule applies: always mentally put yourself in the other person's place, and think about how YOU'D feel if you were treated as you're treating that person.
Another thing: please keep those queries about the Realms coming. For one thing, they spark details in future novels and game products, and remind all of the designers at work on the Realms of spots where details are fuzzy or lacking.
And from me: thank you. Creating the Realms changed my life. I'm managed to resist all the offers to father babies (no, I'm NOT kidding) thus far, and now mainly just get asked to name them, which is far safer. Er, if you want your little baby girl to be called Storm, or your toothless little guy hight Elminster. :}

And with that blast of trumpets, here endeth Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2.
Go to Top of Page

Maecenus of Westgate
Learned Scribe

USA
111 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  20:53:35  Show Profile  Visit Maecenus of Westgate's Homepage Send Maecenus of Westgate a Private Message
To Mr. Greenwood, I enjoyed listening to your interview on the Mortality radio show and have a question I wanted to ask: When you originally created the Forgotten Realms and prior to the publication of the Realms in TSR gaming products, what were the original lands that composed Faerun and what has changed or been added to that continent since that time?

I look forward to any future work that you may contribute into the ever-expanding world of Toril!
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 07 Feb 2004 :  22:38:34  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
And from Ed:

[Part 2]

Q: Looking back over your work, what, if anything, would you have done different?
A: I would have been born as a fantastically-rich, incredibly brilliant human female of breathtaking beauty, with the supernatural powers of flight, silence, and invisibility (all usable at will), and I wou--
Oh. Ahem. Heh-heh. My work, eh?
Well, now. SPELLFIRE would have been its original length and prose, which would give many of its critics the book I really wrote to sneer at. :}
All Realmslore would have been published without gaming stats or rules details, in leatherbound volumes with little sewn-in cloth-ribbon bookmarks (at least three per book). Simple plain-paper black-and-white pamphlets would have been released with the gaming stats for places, so game edition updates would have no effect on the Realmslore. Table- and wall-sized maps as beautiful as the mappers could make them would be available in VERY sturdy storage tubes. Realms products would set out to detail the entire surface of the globe. People, places, and things of the greatest fan interest would receive their own regular update products, online newspapers, and television shows. Peter Jackson would set to work on twelve full-length feature fil--
Oh. Aha. I'm doing it again, aren't I?
Okay, my dream job would be as a stunt man in porno movies, and--
[slaps self]
Seriously: I would have negotiated a royalty on all Realms products, with a proviso that I could trade it away, product by product, in return for absolute artistic control over that particular product. That way, I'd now be VERY wealthy and/or have the Realms I personally wanted. But 'what if' questions are always, to some extent, futile. One big regret: It was intended from the outset that I write a novel a year for the Realms, and I regret that early seven-year gap in which I did game products only, because I didn't get the chance to properly introduce Mirt and some of the other Realms characters who are little more than names but should be part of the 'stock stable' of every Realms player, DM, and novelist.

Q: Do you still play D&D and if so who with and how often?
A: Yes, I still play and DM, usually at conventions, but (I'm afraid) not very often, these days, and 2nd Edition only (because I'm still not comfortable using a lot of the 3e rules). Up in Canada, the first weekend in August is bracketed by a holiday (known, imaginatively enough, as Civic Holiday), and the traditional gathering-times for the original Realms players are that weekend, up at my cottage, and on New Years Day (hangovers and all), for glorious sessions in the Realms.

Q: What are your plans for the far future?
A: Grow old and die.
Hopefully several centuries from now.
Oops. Well, you asked. Seriously? I've retired from a full-time day job with a two hundred miles a day round-trip commute to a part time job with an eighty mile round trip, so I'd like to eventually retire completely, pay off my house, travel a little bit (gaming has taken me all over the world, but usually at breakneck pace and through a lot of airports that I've hated), and write novels. More novels, big gloriously fat novels, little silly novels, and shapely novels in between. Then I can visit all my gaming friends, shoot the breeze, play fun beer-n-pretzels games, buy glorious fantasy art, and talk about how much greater things were in the old days. Hmm, sorta like non-gamers do.

Q: Any chance for an Ed Greenwood webpage?
A: Yes, as I explained on the radio show. Time to provide a steady flow of content is the problem. I'd much rather have no website at all than a bad one. And given a choice between writing six books a year and having no website, or two books and puttering weekly on web work, the six books wins every time.

Q: What is your opinion of places like candlekeep.com?
A: Great gathering-places for fans of the Realms, if they can be kept free of the trolling, flaming, and gratuitous trashing that so infected the WotC novel board and some others. I've yet to figure out why folks who don't like the Realms derive any enjoyment at all from crashing the party of those who do, or in doing hatchet-jobs on particular Realms authors, books, computer games, or WotC business practises they don't like. Yet none of these troubles should ever be allowed to triumph over the great sense of community and opportunities to exchange information that Candlekeep and similar sites provide. Please keep this place going.

Q: What is the true red-letter day that the Forgotten Realms came into existence? How old were you at the time of its Birth? How is your new campaign setting coming along?
A: I'd been writing about the Realms throughout 1967 without consciously naming it or thinking of it as a unified world until late summer of that year, when I was eight (I was born in 1959, but don't remember much about it because I was rather young at the time :}). So it predates D&D by seven years.
As for my new campaign setting, which one? I've several up my sleeves, not just Castlemorn. But enough teasing: see Part 1 for more about Castlemorn.

Q: Mr. Greenwood, when you create a setting, do you start with a specific location or create the entire world first, then work downward?
Also, how do you determine how many deities are needed for a campaign setting?
A: Again, see Part 1. The short answers are I start both ways and work until they meet, and as many as fits the needs of the DM or novelist.

Q: Is the realms of today what you envisaged when you handed the license over to TSR?
A: More or less, yes. It is readily recognizable as the world I created. I think the too-close-to-our-real-world additions like Maztica, the Hordelands, and Kara-Tur were a mistake in style (pulls gamers out of roleplaying into disputes about historical details, for one thing), but if the Realms was to be the home for 2nd Edition AD&D, it had to have room for all styles of gaming (pirates, jungle, Hollywood Arabian and Oriental, etc.). I knew I'd built a world detailed enough to last thirty or more years, and it's done that. In my "mind's eye" I can walk around the Realms, and then look at the published Realms, and they're not really much farther apart than the different "takes" on a real-world place that, say, six different visiting tourists might have.

Q: If you had your way what would you keep about the current history/plots around the realms and what would you put in yourself?
A: I'm not sure what's being asked, here. If it's keep secret versus revelation, I always prefer the "confused rumor and bad local communications" situation because it's more realistic and gives the DM more elbow room to change things. If it's what do I like and would use of current Realms novel plots/major events, and what do I dislike and would omit, my views on leaving the gods personally out of things, as much as possible, and telling "small-compass stories" rather than world-shaking epics are well known. Yet although most humans hate change unless they can see that it's swiftly and clearly for the better, for the Realms to be 'alive' it must have change. Things Must Happen.

Q: Do you read any of the other FR authors to see what they are doing, or do you keep those novels at arm's length?
A: I enthusiastically read them all (and am often asked to, before publication, for comments or to check Realmslore). I consider this my reward for sharing the Realms: getting to read new tales of the Realms that I didn't have to write, myself, so I can get surprised. And, yes, I HAVE to know what's going on, and TSR/WotC contractually has to keep me informed, so that I don't write something that contradicts something I didn't know about.

Q: When is the next Elminster book due out? What can we expect briefly about it without giving away too much detail?
A: The next Realms novel with El in it is ELMINSTER'S DAUGHTER, which is to be released, I believe, in May (it was finished and handed in some months ago, and proofed before this year began). It's set in present Realms time, is linear storytelling rather than jumping around chronologically like ELMINSTER IN HELL or moving through the generations like CORMYR: A NOVEL, and aside from Elminster, I can say that there are (sometimes very) brief appearances by Alusair, Vangerdahast, The Simbul, Mirt, Myrmeen Lhal, Glarasteer Rhauligan, and . . . others. Not all of them human. :}

Q: Do you still roleplay? If so, do you use the Realms as your setting? What edition do you use? What do you prefer more - DMing or playing?
A: Yes, usually, 2nd Edition AD&D mostly, and DMing if it's the Realms.

Q: What is your opinion on the other campaign settings TSR/WOTC brought out after the Realms? Were they good/bad/indifferent?
A: All of them have been interesting, and as a gamer and game designer I've devoured them all, just as I'll eagerly look at Eberron when it appears. I disliked Dark Sun when it first appeared because there didn't at first appear to be any logical way all these harsh-desert-planet creatures could produce enough food or get enough water to survive, but the answers to that were revealed soon enough. I think Birthright and Ravenloft are both fascinating approaches, and I want to make it clear that I've never viewed other campaign settings as rivals, only as other neat things to check out. I'm a gamer and a fantasy writer: anyone who gives me new toys to play with is golden in my book. When my friends at Pentacon gave me a copy of the Darkus Thel rules, I was delighted. When Kalamar started to come out I snapped up each product, and did the same when Monte started rolling out Arcana Unearthed and the Diamond Throne setting. I'll never have time to play in all of these worlds, but I love reading about them.

Q: What is your opinion on some of the other campaign settings floating around know with the advent of d20? By this I mean the flavour and also how much the publishers give information-wise about the setting?
A: See my preceding answer for my interest in such things. As I said on the show, most of my local gaming stores vanished just before the d20 explosion, so I cruise the exhibit hall at GenCon trying to make sure I don't miss anything. I know I have missed a lot of stuff (I only have one or two Scarred Lands releases, for example). Without seeing the contents of an unfolding product line, I can't fairly judge flavour and depth of detail, but I can say that my preferences are always for roleplaying, story, and color, not stat blocks. If you've bought the rules, you've already paid for stat blocks galore, right? I'd use that space for more background, so an adventure can be played several ways, or a DM can readily improvise rematches with the villains or sequels to the main adventure.

Q: Is there a particular setting that you like? What are the reasons for this?
A: The Realms, of course. Not to mention Castlemorn. :}
Seriously, I like any setting that inspires me to get playing, or work out some subplots, or put on funny voices and get playing those NPCs.

Q: Do you have your own website that you or someone else regularly updates? What content does it contain?
A: No, I'm afraid not, as explained above. At least, not yet. Time, time, time. Folks, I still need to sleep at least three hours a night, I do have a family and a day job and have to go shopping for food and suchlike, and I am a novelist and a librarian: both for work and for pleasure I read at least a novel a day, plus spend time writing my own. And then, of course, there's the time I spend shopping for books. :} And attending conventions to do so.
I'd love to have a website, but...

Q: Do you prefer the northern area of Faerun as compared to the rest of the world? (Silver Marches, Savage North, Waterdeep etc.)
A: The most developed parts of the original Realms were what Jeff Grubb dubbed "the Heartlands" (Waterdeep and its immediate surroundings, Eveningstar and Cormyr around it, and Shadowdale and the rest of the Dales around it). These were places where longterm PC adventuring parties were based and did their things. (There were many short-term campaigns and adventuring companies, too, in library programs I've run over the years. In fact, I came up with the idea of chartering adventuring companies so as to give such short-term players specific goals and boundaries.)
I think all of the Realms needs far more detail than we've been able to give it, thus far (for instance, I've never had the chance to REALLY detail the feuds, histories, and intrigues of the nobles of either Waterdeep or Cormyr, or properly map and describe Silverymoon or Everlund or Neverwinter, and yet I hear some folks complaining that we've covered Waterdeep and Cormyr "over and over again"). As a result, I'd love to go back and 'do' all of those places again.
Yet I also want to properly describe Scardale and Sembia and the Border Kingdoms and lots of other neat places that we've barely touched on, thus far. In the pages of POLYHEDRON, for years, I tried to fill in details of this place and that, but, well, my excess detailing-the-Realms time vanished at about the same time as that venue. Perhaps next year, in DRAGON, and slowly, on the Wizards website . . . I do know of some still-secret Realms products in the pipeline, however. We'll have to see what the future holds.

Q: Are you planning on writing anything with Mirt as the main character?
A: As THE main character, no. I fully intend to give him larger and larger supporting roles, but I can't see a chance to really let him rip, alone. He works best with Asper as a foil, and (especially in his younger days) with Durnan (the close-mouthed "thinking man's Conan") at his side. For an example of the latter partnership, have a glance at REALMS OF DRAGONS when it comes out.


And it guess that wraps up Part 2. Thanks for your interest, for the chance to blather, and to The Hooded One for doing my donkey-work again.

Ed Greenwood

:: You're welcome, dear. You're ALWAYS welcome. ::
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2004 :  03:11:59  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
To Maecenus of Westgate, Ed of the Greenwood doth make answer this cold, snow-ruled day:

If you would seek the original Realms, picture a huge rectangle composed of 8-and-a-half-by-11 inch pages laid together to form a map, long in width rather than height (with, as is customary, "north" at the top). This is the original Realms, consisting of the familiar continent of Faerun and lots of sea. Its western border is Evermeet, floating alone (along with a few isolated islands, used in my Anchorome adventures) in the middle of a lot of otherwise empty ocean.
Those waters extend east to the Sword Coast, and as far south as "the Utter East" coast south of Ulgarth. Going ashore there, the map edge runs overland due east to a longitude just east of the mountain range known as the Glittering Spires (east of Winterkeep), and then runs north along that eastern edge as far as a latitude in the Great Ice Sea that will allow the northern boundary of the rectangle to be brought back westwards in the Endless Ice Sea, north of the Spine of the World.
That's the original 'master map,' with unmapped islands to the west and southwest, and unmapped, "unknown" (but understood to be extensive) lands extending to the east of Raurin, Murghom, and Semphar, and to the south and east of Ulgarth. Lantan, Nimbral, Ruathym, and Uttersea were part of my original Realms.
Now TSR makes some minor changes. A glacier is "pushed back" to make room for their additions of Vaasa, Damara, and the Bloodstone Pass. (The reason for the glacier's southerly extent wasn't revealed until fifteen years later, with the recent publication of the EPIC LEVEL HANDBOOK, which showed Realms fans my character Iyraclea for the first time. A note to Realms fans: some of my other original "Secrets of the Realms" haven't yet been revealed, bwoohahahah and so on.) TSR designers also named the Galena Mountains, after a resort that the TSR brass went to, "on retreat," just as they celebrated some staff designers with Waterdeep street names with the publication of CITY SYSTEM.
On the east side of the Dragonreach (the coastal lands known as the Vast) my port of Sarbreenar was sunk so Raven's Gate could be built atop it for the RPGA. The name of this city promptly changed to Raven's Bluff (I think a romance novel had used the Raven's Gate name, and so prevented it being trademarked).
The nature of the Great Glacier changed when it was detailed by a freelancer (I had to abandon that project to do the first Volo's Guide), and Troy Denning's novel THE PARCHED SEA (first in the Harpers series) made some changes to Anauroch, which I developed when I did the Anauroch sourcebook.
The original Realms maps showed the Endless Ice Sea north of the Spine of the World (Bob Salvatore added Icewind Dale and the Ten Towns), and "my original" Moonshaes were many small, rocky islands inhabited by fisherfolk (rather like the real-world Hebrides or Ursula LeGuin's fictional Earthsea), but were replaced by the Celtic continents Doug Niles had already developed for his own project (hence the first Realms novel being Darkwalker on Moonshae). This with done with my approval, because the alternative replacement location was the Pirate Isles in the center of the Sea of Fallen Stars, which just wouldn't have worked.
If you have a copy of the original (print, not CD-ROM) Forgotten Realms Atlas, which was derived from my original maps and from the events and maps of the early novels, pages 4 through 11 cover most of the extent of my original maps, although Evermeet has been "pushed closer" to the Sword Coast (to do away with a lot of that empty sea in the maps), and names added in the Hordelands and Kara-Tur design have started to creep into the regions shown on the western half of page 7.
A lot of my dungeon and village maps were never used, and many locales since then have changed to suit the needs of novels or adventures written by others. Some of my historical maps were drawn on for the histories of Netheril and Cormanthyr, and as the years have passed, many minor changes have been wrought (for instance, several designers have done things with Turmish, Chondath, and the Vilhon Reach, from my own original notes and POLYHEDRON articles, to the early SWORDS OF THE IRON LEGION accessory, to Jim Butler's Emerald Enclave, and the addition of Eles Wianar).
Please note that I'm not complaining about these changes. Alterations are the very nature of a shared world, and I gladly agreed to share the Realms with TSR and all of you.
However, even today, the vast majority of people (from Elaith 'the Serpent' to the Harpells to the Wyvernspur noble family, though not Giogi and Kat) and places in the Realms are of my invention and naming. So I still feel right at home when perusing Realms products.
In recent years, wherever possible (such as in my website and POLYHEDRON articles), I've tiptoed around the edges of the published Realms "painting in" details of areas not yet covered in any depth, and many Realms products that don't have my name on them anywhere have made use of these notes, suggestions, and even maps. Moreover, dedicated Realms scholars like Eric Boyd, George Krashos, Tom Costa, Grant Christie, Bryon Wischstadt, and many more have enthusiastically detailed and "fixed" Realmslore and continue to do so, as well as fans who focus their energies on such places as Silverymoon and the Great Dale.
And I did it all in the first place for my players, like the beautiful lady known to you as The Hooded One, because they demanded that level of detail, and wanted a world they could care about and believe in. Long may the Realms endure, and long may more of you want and demand those same things of it.

Ed Greenwood

(Here you go, Alaundo. I hope I didn't get this scroll too damp when sniffling over it. Ed does that to me when he trundles down Memory Lane.
Your servant in Realmslore.
The Hooded One)
Go to Top of Page

Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5613 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2004 :  10:19:27  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Thank ye, The Hooded One, for presenting these scrolls to us at Candlekeep, they are highly valuable and a great gift to us

Ill have these scrolls duplicated and displayed in the library for future reference soon.

If you could also relay my thanks and the thanks of the scribes here at Candlekeep to Ed of the Greenwood, then i'd be very grateful.

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep

Edited by - Alaundo on 08 Feb 2004 10:20:08
Go to Top of Page

The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31701 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2004 :  12:40:36  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
I would just like to second Alaundo's 'THANK YOU' Hooded One.... This is fantastic material, and we all very much appreciate you posting it here for all our perusal.

Keep the Realmslore coming...

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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

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

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2004 :  15:41:56  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
'Tis my pleasure. Ed is my friend and the best Dungeon Master I've ever played with. I'd do just about anything for him.
I know he is wildly busy right now doing two novels at once (one of them the collaboration with Elaine Cunningham most of you are eagerly awaiting), and he specially wanted me to tell the three charitable donors from Pentacon that he's started writing all of your stories and hasn't forgotten you.
So his time to answer queries will drop off sharply, but I will still relay them to him, and post his replies when he can write them. 'Tis the least I can do, seeing how many folks here love the Realms.
Go to Top of Page

SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 08 Feb 2004 :  17:02:44  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

However, my primitive bucket-and-string rural computer setup stalls whenever I try to register, so as promised, I'm posting my answers here. SiriusBlack, could you please let folks visiting the Mortality site know that these answers are to be had here?



Done. Thank you to Mr. Greenwood for taking the time to answer the questions posted here and for taking part in the Mortality show. It's nice to see someone who has creative talent and class.
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2004 :  23:05:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
I relayed the Waterdeep novel query to Ed, and he warned me that novels have a way of changing as they're being written, but that readers MIGHT see: some new nobles, Elaith at a party, someone falling off scaffolding, Mirt sneaking into Blackstaff Tower, a monster or two, and even (gasp) a scene set in...Candlekeep!
Go to Top of Page

SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2004 :  02:32:01  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

I relayed the Waterdeep novel query to Ed, and he warned me that novels have a way of changing as they're being written, but that readers MIGHT see: some new nobles, Elaith at a party, someone falling off scaffolding, Mirt sneaking into Blackstaff Tower, a monster or two, and even (gasp) a scene set in...Candlekeep!



Now that's a well done teaser. Thanks for the relay The Hooded One.
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  15:48:27  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
I teased Ed about the teaser, and he grinned and said, "Tell them these, too: Elaith sparing someone, a building collapsing, and wild revelry. Oh, yes, and festhalls."
:}
Vintage Waterdeep, I'd say.
Go to Top of Page

Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2004 :  16:02:33  Show Profile  Visit Lord Rad's Homepage  Click to see Lord Rad's MSN Messenger address Send Lord Rad a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

I teased Ed about the teaser, and he grinned and said, "Tell them these, too: Elaith sparing someone, a building collapsing, and wild revelry. Oh, yes, and festhalls."
:}
Vintage Waterdeep, I'd say.



Ack, now the great master is just trying to drive us insane with anticipation! AARGGHH

I must say that looking back on Cormyr: A Novel, it was fantastic, makes my spine tingle at the thought of some of the events.... I can only hope that the new Waterdeep novel is even half as good as Cormyr

Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
Go to Top of Page

SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2004 :  04:56:14  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

I teased Ed about the teaser, and he grinned and said, "Tell them these, too: Elaith sparing someone, a building collapsing, and wild revelry. Oh, yes, and festhalls."
:}
Vintage Waterdeep, I'd say.



<Groan> I Want this book soooo bad! It's reaching the Martin level of anticipation. Big Thanks for relaying the added tease The Hooded One. Tell Mr. Greenwood thanks as well.

Elaith sparing someone? I hope the Serpent isn't going soft. <Looking around nervously> I also hope he didn't hear that.
Go to Top of Page

Herr Doktor
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2004 :  01:39:56  Show Profile  Visit Herr Doktor's Homepage  Send Herr Doktor an AOL message  Click to see Herr Doktor's MSN Messenger address Send Herr Doktor a Private Message
The following are a few questions that people on the REALMS-L list said they'd ask Ed if they got the chance to interview them himself:

I would love to hear about some of his old' (or new) campaigns that he use to play. Sorry if this sounds out of touch.. but was The Knight's of Myth Drannor actulally player characters that played in his campaign? And how did he use Elminster in his campaign's (like the novel's?). And last but not least.... If he could have and earth shatering event happen in the Realms (like the Time of Troubles for example) what would it be?

-----

Ok hear's a big one that just poped in my head.... *IF* Elmister died how would you envision his death? living out his years in as a old sage.... who maybe comes out of retirement one last time to save the Realms with his life, or something a little less dramatic. Please don't take this question as an "I hate Elmister and wish him to die" comment, I love the Old Goat and use him in my campaigns all the time.

-----

I'd like to know what his favorite elements in the Realms are? His own
personal choices on what he enjoys and why.
Go to Top of Page

The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31701 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2004 :  02:50:36  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Hmm...there's some very interesting thoughts on Elminster there.

It seems curious that Mr Greenwood would not already know these things, but them...I suppose unless you have to deal with them in actuality, you really do not think about these types of things with regards to your characters.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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

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

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5055 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2004 :  02:41:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Answers for Herr Doktor:

Ed e-handed these replies to me, to post for you, Herr Doktor, so without further ado (Mother Mystra, I’m starting to sound like Ed! Quick, check the mirror . . . whew! No beard! It’d look funny, with my breasts and all):

I could spend literally days just listing all of the many Realms mini-campaigns (usually 13 consecutive once-a-week sessions) I ran as library programs over the years. The Company of the Unicorn, the Company of the Manticore, and so on. I introduced the idea of charters for adventuring companies in Cormyr, and used them for every library program, because I could use the conditions of the charter to guide the player characters into their first mission (heh-heh, adventure), and the short length of the campaigns meant I had to do this.
However, my own long-running campaigns centered around two groups: the Company of Crazed Venturers, based in Waterdeep (whose members included the wizard Malchor Harpell of Longsaddle, whose crazy family Bob Salvatore later made famous in his early novels; the cleric Tolgar Anuvien, who established the “granary of the North,” the temple-farm known as Goldenfields; the wizards Savengriff and Nain, who have both appeared in Realms game products; and many, many more, including Trunnian Regallis, who was the first mainlander in game play to go off and explore Evermeet (he rescued a captive elf maiden in Undermountain, took her through a gate to Evermeet that’s still there in the vast dungeon, waiting to be rediscovered by someone working on the published Realms. This band of adventurers hobnobbed with nobles, explored Undermountain and its offshoot the Dungeon of the Crypt, and had many adventures in the Sword Coast North. The mainstay players were Victor Selby (now an eminent publishing lawyer in Toronto), Ken Woods (now co-owner of a superb brewery known as Black Oak, based in Oakville, Ontario), and Tim Turner, soon joined by Andrew Dewar (now a university librarian in Japan).
Andrew and Victor continued on into the second major adventuring group, which also featured my wife Jenny (a retired library clerk and my partner now for 24 years), the Hunter brothers (John Hunter, now a tenured professor at a university in Pennsylvania, and Ian Hunter, a globetrotting software designer who became the “First Lore Lord of the Realms” for his keen memory of Realmslore details), Jim Clarke (a computer expert now with the Canadian military), Anita Buttemer (an accomplished musician also now teaching at an American university), Cathy Widdowsom (also a teacher), and various other guests, down the years. This second group, whose first major adventure was exploring the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (a TINY slice of which was published in the module of the same name), became known as the Knights of Myth Drannor, and I will be writing a trilogy of novels about the Knights, almost certainly one per year, that will be published beginning in 2006. In that group, Andrew played the clerics Doust Sulwood and Rathan Thentraver, Victor was Jelde Asturien and later Torm, John was Florin Falconhand, Ian was Lanseril Snowmantle, Jim was Merith Strongbow, Anita was the second player to run Jhessail (my wife Jenny was the first), and Cathy was Sharantyr. Everyone briefly ran other characters, too, and yes, “The Hooded One” is one of my players, though neither of us is going to reveal which one, so please stop asking. :}
The Knights had adventures all over northern Cormyr, the Stonelands, the Dales, Myth Drannor, and (via gates: 3rd Edition “portals”) Waterdeep and various places in the Sword Coast North, plus northern Sembia, and brief visits to many other locales in the Realms. At higher levels, they plane-hopped through gates into parallel Prime Material Planes, and fought shadowy power groups who wanted to control said gates (a concept that TSR sliced off the Realms and turned into the Planescape product line). I haven’t time to bore you all with endless “and then they did this, and then they killed that, and then they went there” Knights stories; suffice it to say that most of the depth and colour of the published Forgotten Realms is due to the energy, curiousity, and high standards of realism and roleplaying of these superb players. They are my friends, and in some cases family and lovers, too, and I love and cherish them deeply. I can’t praise them enough.
As Dungeon Master, I played NPCs among the Knights such as Dove, Islif, Illistyl, and so on, as well as all the NPCs who weren’t part of the Knights (aka “the rest of the Realms,” from innkeepers to Zhents to Elminster).
In this ‘home’ Realms campaign, Elminster was a seldom-available (he was always vanishing to other planes or places to do large and small things to further’s Mystra’s goals) source of wise-ass advice. He was NOT a player character or “hired gun” spellcaster to help the Knights, who regarded him more as a friendly pain in the behind more than anything else. “Never there when you need him,” Torm often grumbled.
He did function as a low-coin (“drop a copper in my pot, yonder, hey?”) sage for everyone in Shadowdale, when he was at home, and kept turning up and winking in the most unusual and inconvenient places (such as when some of the male Knights were, ah, “exploring” a brothel [oops: “festhall” . . . yes, that’s it, it was a FESThall] in Waterdeep, and a lovely lass minced in to warn them that men with swords were on the way up the stairs, advice they dismissed until said lass grew Elminster’s face and added, “I really mean it, idiot lads! Nice knowing ye!”).
Elminster had been “around for ages,” and the Knights slowly grew to learn how important he was, especially after some of them joined the Harpers, but he didn’t have the high public profile in the Realms that reading the published Realms might suggest. THAT came about through two things: my using Elminster as a narrative mouthpiece in DRAGON articles (otherwise, I couldn’t build in “DM elbow room” by saying, “There are rumours of orcs in the ruins,” because the accepted omniscient narrative voice in DRAGON game articles requires definite statements like “There are six orcs and a kobold in these particular rooms of the ruins”), and TSR’s insistence on fiction writers concentrating on “iconic” or “signature” characters. Left to my own devices, I would never have written a novel using Elminster as a main character, only as a supporting character, but I was bluntly told that if I didn’t someone else would be assigned to write Elminster books, so . . . I started doing so almost as ‘Damage Control.’
Which brings us to the RSE question. In general, I hate Realms Shattering Events because they do just that, jarring the setting and upsetting ongoing campaigns for the sake of a brief Cecil B. DeMille grand effect, when we could be telling just as effective but smaller-scale stories in the books. Gods this, gods that . . . so, of course, if you forced me to put an RSE into the Realms, I’d use . . . the gods. :}
Yet I’d do it much differently. Like this: all of a sudden, priests can’t get prayers answered (no spells, and soon, horrible reprisals from folks who realize that priests and temples are now “sitting targets”). Strong armies and war-leaders gain the upper hand again, BUT: there’s a Big Mystery, or rather, a lot of smaller mysteries: all sorts of long-dead people are back alive, not as undead, but as living, younger, and very bewildered versions of themselves, stumbling around the Realms driven by cryptic dreams to do small things that don’t (at first) make any coherent sense to them, or to anyone else. Why? Well, that’s why I’m calling it a Big Mystery: I’m not going to say why. [truly evil grin] Meanwhile, temples frantically enter into alliances with local rulers or small-town kingpins so as to survive, the wealthiest and most influential priests hire sorcerers and wizards to “hide behind the altar” and work magic, or to openly defend property and persons of the faith, and no, we don’t see the gods or their avatars striding around fighting, destroying things, or doing anything. We simply have an unsettling change that no one knows the duration (or permanence) of. Meanwhile, raiding monsters grow stronger (it IS high time for another orc horde), and some folks eye that long caravan route linking the Sea of Fallen Stars lands with the Sword Coast lands, and figure that a central kingdom, established with a ring of fortresses and large herds of edible livestock, couldn’t help but be a great success . . . with them on the throne, of course. Fortresses? Offer the scattered dwarf and gnome clans ownership of boundary lands, if they build fortifications and establish granary-caverns and watchposts. Some of them accept, and the inevitable rush to establish political ties and influence with them begins (in Thay, money-to-spare Amn and Sembia, and so on). At the same time, elves returning to mainland Faerun want to rebuild Evereska or start anew somewhere else (see my recent WotC web columns). And Qilue gets to thinking . . . ahem. Enough for now.
There. That ought to inject some fun into a few Realms campaigns. :}
Which brings us to the death of Elminster. The truth is, he’s already died many times (if you read carefully, he and others even allude to this, in already-published material). And yes, more than once he did so willingly sacrificing himself for the good of the Realms. You might even someday see a story of mine entitled “The Death of Elminster.” So I have no trouble at all visualizing his death, or the Realms without him. I created a huge world full of people, and he’s just one among them all. A fascinating Merlin/Old Guide figure, yes, and there must be some spark about him (or so many readers and gamers wouldn’t hate him so much :}). He’s useful, and (from a publishing standpoint) I wouldn’t want to “throw away” his death by having it occur offstage or in a meaningless manner.
Thank you, Herr Doktor, for saving the best for last. My favourite elements OF the Realms are its “feel” of realism or life, the friendships I’ve made writing and gaming with it, and seeing what other creative folks do with it (particularly those like Eric Boyd, George Krashos, and Steven Schend, who carefully take little details and comments of mine and dovetail them with other details to make the whole framework stronger and more interesting).
My favourite elements IN the Realms are the intrigues of the power groups, the “bubbling life” of Waterdeep and the Dales and Cormyr (and from both of these factors, the fun one can have speculating about ‘what will happen next’), seeing some characters become richer and more intriguing, so that more and more readers and gamers get interested in what happens to them, and the beautiful landscapes I can imagine (the sylvan, misty green fastnesses of the Unicorn Run; the elegant stonework and ‘garden’ effect of the Silverymoon streetscape; the rugged grandeur of the snow-capped mountains of the Sword Coast North; the finery and beautiful architecture of Cormyrean nobles . . . and on and on).
From the dusty rooms and secret passages of Candlekeep itself (which reminds me: there’s a unpublished Realms short story I must unearth some day, entitled “The Endless Chants of Alaundo”) to the perilous ruins of Myth Drannor . . . I can walk or drift through all of these places in my mind, seeing details and thinking of stories yet untold . . .
Years ago, you see, I got a life. And it was: the Forgotten Realms.


Whew! Not much I can add to that, except this: once, up at his cottage on a hot, still summer night, we all lay on our backs in the darkened gaming cottage, staring at the ceiling, while Ed took us on a verbal jaunt down through Cormyr and into Suzail, as if we were flying unseen through the air of a hot, still summer night. He softly described aloud everything we saw as we drifted past the windows of the palace, and then the Royal Court, and across the Promenade to the taverns and inns, and houses with their ground-floor shops shuttered until morning, and slowly down to the docks past moored boats and then out to sea, where a few marine monsters were sporting on the waves. It was beautiful, and at least two of us cried at the time (I was one of them). I still get shivers, remembering it.
Folks, this man is a genius.

Go to Top of Page

Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5613 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2004 :  08:56:07  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Yet more writings from Ed!?

Could all scribes please direct any questions to Ed over on this scroll, that way we can keep all such Realmslore together

Thank ye

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000