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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1229 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2010 :  05:57:00  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is true, Richard, that inhabitants of Waterdeep have little reason to be concerned with Murghōm. And I admit that since I have not read The Captive Flame, I don't know whether the Shadovar should be concerned with Threskel, for example. But this has little to do with distance, per se.

One presumes that powerful priests routinely commune with extraplanar servitors and powerful wizards routinely divine things that are likely to be of interest to them. That is, the focus of their attention is not limited by geographical concerns, but instead with what their magic reveals as being related to their goals and interests.

This particularly applies to the Shadovar, at least in 3e. Anywhere there were Netherese ruins, survivors, descendents with pure blood or just powerful and useful magic to claim, one could expect that they could get involved. Given that their agents would travel either by flight or teleportation, distance is all but irrelevant for them.

Faerūn is honey-combed with gates, as well, which have the effect of making geography far more complex than in our world. To someone who knows about even a few of these gates, a destination 1000 miles away may be more convenient than one 50 miles away. Distance, in that case, is extremely relative.

Finally, I think that the idea that those who had access to magical means of transport would not use it for trade to be somewhat odd. If it is profitable* to travel for almost a year to a distant place, paying mercenaries all that time to guard your goods, it is also profitable to bring goods through gates and/or teleport them. Even with any risks that may be involved in that.**

Which is probably we there are many mentions of the use of gates and teleportation for trade in the Realms in previous Realmslore.

I think that thinking about the Realms as quasi-medieval is doing them a grave disservice. They are a far more cosmopolitan, complex and strange place than our world ever was. To name a few examples of how cosmopolitan, some ladies from Waterdeep travel to the Border Kingdoms at least once a year***, simply for amusement, perishable goods from all around the world are available in many large cities, some of them through a trading house which specialises in teleporting foodstuffs and curiousities to market (Aurora's Whole Realms), and travel is cheap enough to make it profitable to ship such mundane items as drinking mugs several kingdoms.

While the Realms are not our modern world either, the ease of travel and transport ensure that it is less anachronistic for the elite to think in 'modern' terms about a shrinking world where even far events may affect their trading than it is for many people to have an insular, quasi-medieval worldview.

*And it is, from examples such as Dabron Sashestar and his trip to Sossal, Maztica and the existence of the Golden Way to Shou.
**In D&D game rules, they are insignificant compared to the potential profits, but if there is any desire for consistency in the game world, a GM would have to change that in his world.
***If you look at the distances involved, this would have been unthinkable before the 19th century in our world.

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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2010 :  17:52:32  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Icelander, I see the element of truth in what you're saying, although I think it's less true of the post-Spellplague Realms that it was of the era before.

I guess that for me, this largely comes down to a question of what makes for effective storytelling. I think that for a fantasy author, there's a risk in making magic look too common and mundane. You can fail to engage the reader's sense of wonder. I like stories where magic seems miraculous and amazing, and I try to take that approach while still being true to the spirt of the Realms (where I absolutely do recognize that magic is far more common than it might be in a universe of my own creation.)

I might also mention that for a novelist, there's a specific problem with the idea that teleportation magic is as common and easy as hopping on an airplane in our world. If you postulate that and follow through on the logical implications, then why should your characters ever undertake one of those dangerous cross-country treks that are such a staple of fantasy?
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1229 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2010 :  23:20:32  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

Icelander, I see the element of truth in what you're saying, although I think it's less true of the post-Spellplague Realms that it was of the era before.

That sounds likely enough.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

I guess that for me, this largely comes down to a question of what makes for effective storytelling. I think that for a fantasy author, there's a risk in making magic look too common and mundane. You can fail to engage the reader's sense of wonder. I like stories where magic seems miraculous and amazing, and I try to take that approach while still being true to the spirt of the Realms (where I absolutely do recognize that magic is far more common than it might be in a universe of my own creation.)

That's a pickle, no doubt, but 'common' and 'mundane' need not be in direct conflict. In the Myth Drannor that Elminster visited, for example, magic is ubiquitous, but it is still wondrous.

Not to mention that sometimes, less is more. If we want magic to be rare and mysterious, have the protagonists be someone who could plausibly be unfamiliar with it. And avoid Realms-shaking events, which would logically have movers-and-shakers involved on both sides with titannic magic at their command.

Have the shepherd boy save the inkeeper's daughter from a troll instead of having a cast of genasi, half-golems, dragons and archmages face off for the fate of the world. Again.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

I might also mention that for a novelist, there's a specific problem with the idea that teleportation magic is as common and easy as hopping on an airplane in our world. If you postulate that and follow through on the logical implications, then why should your characters ever undertake one of those dangerous cross-country treks that are such a staple of fantasy?


Sounds like the problem of cell phones with writing a suspense story in the modern world.

Fortunately for Realms-writers, many normal people, faced with normal problems, don't have access to powerful magic. So when you write about them, cross-country treks are not precluded at all.

But when someone like Khelben, Laeral or Alustriel are involved, or even just someone who is expected to face comparable dangers, it usually makes little sense to have them spend tendays to months on trekking to the site of the adventure. It's about as artificial a solution to a perceived problem as having people in a world with cell phones and Internet try to commit suicide* because of something they didn't know and the other party having to travel over a continent instead of, you know, Tweet them?

*Stephanie Meyer, I'm looking at you! You hurt Logic. Hurt him BAD. Why do you hate Logic, Stephanie Meyer?

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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 28 Aug 2010 :  00:14:00  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Icelander, what I'm taking from your posts is that if a writer tries to tell a big story in the Realms, and he doesn't portray extremely powerful magic used as frequently and as easily as it is used in a high-level D&D campaign, then in your opinion, he's not being true to the source material. If that is what you mean, you and I are just going to have to disagree on that one. Although maybe not totally. Again, if you read my stuff, you've seen that I write about lots of powerful magic, teleportation included. I just don't portray like it's as easy as hopping on a bus.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  11:09:59  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Hi, Richard!

I read your post/good news in the novels section. It's not just good, it's great news! I say WotC made the right decision in offering you to write more awesome novels.

I hope you can answer these:

In the trilogy following Brotherhood of the Griffon, is Aoth still the main protagonist? Are you bringing them back to Thay?

Every beginning has an end.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  11:27:35  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

Again, if you read my stuff, you've seen that I write about lots of powerful magic, teleportation included. I just don't portray like it's as easy as hopping on a bus.



And being your fan, I totally agree! If it is just so easy, Szass Tam wouldn't have to wait for decades to overthrow the other zulkirs, would he? (And 'tis only one of the many examples that elucidate your point.)

Anywy, Icelander, I think you should care to read Richard's stuff to really understand his point.

Every beginning has an end.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  15:00:27  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, dennis. Thanks for your good wishes. The new books will feature characters from the Brotherhood of the Griffon. Unfortunately, that's all I can say about them right now. I'll provide more info when I can.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  19:39:47  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Thanks, Richard. I really hope you could return to Thay. There's no novel set in Thay after Unholy. Even the ones that are yet to be released. (But maybe Christopher's upcoming book is.)


Every beginning has an end.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  21:06:08  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Gee, dennis, you really want to make it tough on my poor sellswords. You realize, they're not exactly welcome in Thay. Which is not to say that they may not end up back there eventually.
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Lord of Bones
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
77 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2010 :  22:04:00  Show Profile  Visit Lord of Bones's Homepage Send Lord of Bones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Richard, as a long time Realms reader and fan of your works, I can honestly say I'm thrilled that you're writing another series of novels set in Faerun.

Like Dennis, I think that any sojourn the Brotherhood may make to Thay would be wonderful. Obviously I have no idea how far ahead your books are planned, or whether they're already written in their entirety, but if the accord between Lauzoril (who may or may not have died in Unholy) and the Simbul (as written in the Simbul's Gift by Lynn Abbey), could finally be touched upon, you would be making me a very happy reader. I know it's a lot to ask, but there was Thayvian lore started up in that story that was never again mentioned. I think it'd be fantastic to see it finally resolved, and I will even send you a copy of that novel if you were so inclined to heed my request.

Thank you Richard, for so many wonderful stories, and I can't wait for these next ones!

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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2010 :  00:07:39  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Lord of Bones: You're more than welcome, and thank you for the kind words. I'll keep your suggestion and your offer in mind, although I imagine you realize that bringing both Laurzoril and the Simbul back as active participants in a novel set in the current Realms could be somewhat tricky.
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Lord of Bones
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
77 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2010 :  10:15:41  Show Profile  Visit Lord of Bones's Homepage Send Lord of Bones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

Lord of Bones: You're more than welcome, and thank you for the kind words. I'll keep your suggestion and your offer in mind, although I imagine you realize that bringing both Laurzoril and the Simbul back as active participants in a novel set in the current Realms could be somewhat tricky.



Oh, don't worry. That's totally understandable, and I wouldn't expect to see the Simbul as an active participant in any book not written by Mr. Greenwood at present. The offer does still stand however, as I'm sure if anyone can make good on the proffered deal between the two of them, you can. You have a damn good grasp on how these Thayvian / Thayan - I can't recall - types think and act!

Come watch the Gentleman's Guide to Gaming!
http://www.youtube.com/user/clackclickbang

On my channel I review and dissect role-playing games with great gusto. Please do take a look and let me know what you think.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2010 :  12:59:28  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord of Bones

Obviously I have no idea how far ahead your books are planned, or whether they're already written in their entirety, but if the accord between Lauzoril (who may or may not have died in Unholy) and the Simbul (as written in the Simbul's Gift by Lynn Abbey), could finally be touched upon, you would be making me a very happy reader.



I actually started a thread on this a few months ago, entitled The Simbul's Debt to Lauzoril. And my theory as to the survival of the Zulkir of Enchantment is that he asked the Simbul (probably at the beginning of Thay's civil war) to grant him an artifact/jewel/spell that will save him; maybe teleport him to a refuge sans uttering a trigger-word - the kind of spell that "automatically" determines whether the person it's cast upon is in mortal danger. And of course, 'tis just one of the many theories I have regarding his possible survival.

Every beginning has an end.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2010 :  13:03:32  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

Gee, dennis, you really want to make it tough on my poor sellswords. You realize, they're not exactly welcome in Thay. Which is not to say that they may not end up back there eventually.



I was hoping they'd have some powerful backups- perhaps the Red Wizards from the various enclaves who haven't (yet) fallen into the iron-clad rule of Szass Tam, or maybe the surviving zulkirs themselves.

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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2010 :  04:04:10  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  Reply with Quote
Found this post floating in the ether, for Richard:-
quote:
Originally posted by Sandstorm

Hey Richard. Just thought I'd let ya know that your book got one of my coworkers hooked on Faerun writing a few days ago. I had left book one of the "Brotherhood of the Griffon" series in the staffroom, and when I came in I caught her reading it. She was halfway through chapter one when she said "Ryley, this @#&@ is @#*!@D". . . which was shortly followed up by "Can I read this when you're done?"
Long story short, I told her it was a bad place to start, especially since she hadn't even read the Undead series. So I gave her something lighter to begin with.

But on to my actual question. Do you have any backstory on where Aoth and his men are actually procuring their griffons from? Also curious as to why Aoth is the only one achieving a particular link. I'm assuming it has something to do with Brightwing and Jet being sort of his familiars in a sense, but where does that speak for their particular intellect? Just would like some backstory here if you wouldn't mind.

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Sandstorm
Learned Scribe

Canada
80 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2010 :  05:06:13  Show Profile  Visit Sandstorm's Homepage  Click to see Sandstorm's MSN Messenger address Send Sandstorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
whoops. Thanks though Sage
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2010 :  02:04:41  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, Sage and Sandstorm.

Good to hear that a new reader has found the Realms in general and my stuff in particular.

There is a reason why Aoth's mounts are so intelligent and he has a psychic link with them. I think I explained it in Unclean, but maybe I'm remembering wrong. Anyway, though Aoth is first and foremost a war mage, he has picked up some other magical tricks along the way. He knows how to alter a griffon in the womb so that it's born smarter, stronger, capable of speech, and capable of establishing a psychic link with a wizard who adopts it as his familiar. He did it to Brightwing, and her descendants, including Jet, have bred true.
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Sandstorm
Learned Scribe

Canada
80 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2010 :  03:28:43  Show Profile  Visit Sandstorm's Homepage  Click to see Sandstorm's MSN Messenger address Send Sandstorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ya, my friend was just over, who is reading The Captive Flame right now, and he said "Ya ya, they explained that in the first book. How we works on the womb first etc..." But I read Unclean some 12-15 months ago, so we'll call that "my bad". Have to say though, that I've really become more and more a fan of your writing since your earlier stuff.
The Rage, The Rite and The Ruin, I enjoyed them to a degree, but in the end, I enjoyed the characters more than the story. I loved Wilemac Turnstone and Pavel (cant remembed last name), but something was missing in that trilogy. That "page turner" quality so to speak.
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Sandstorm
Learned Scribe

Canada
80 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2010 :  03:37:21  Show Profile  Visit Sandstorm's Homepage  Click to see Sandstorm's MSN Messenger address Send Sandstorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
whoops... wasn't finished.

But then you came out with the Undead seriers, in which I was utterly blown away. It was so in depth, you had captured Szass Tam perfectly, and the mindsets of the Zulkirs and how they interacted with one another and their subordinates... it was truely Thayan. The plots intertwined, and stuff from earlier on would creep back in etc... My favorite moment was when the priests of Kossuth enabled their rods and they blew up in their faces, it was just perfect. You had got me "turning pages".

I then read the Captive Flame, excited as all hell that you had continued with The Brotherhood of the Griffon. Because you have something going with these characters, and I did leave off from Unholy wanting to read more abouth Khouryn. (p.s. as if you left the Brimstone situation clear out of it after the prologue. TOTAL tease)
What you did well with The Captive Flame as opposed to the Undead series (and this might just be because it was set in Thay), was that this book had more readability. My coworker who has no more knowledge of fantasy than the Twilight series, wanted to read this book, where as had she picked up Unclean, I doubt she would have had the urge. Because the Undead series was a 'tough' read. If you weren't hard core into Forgotten Realms or Dungeons and Dragons, I doubt you could get through the Undead series. I had no problem reading it, though I could admit that it was a tough read. Whereas the Captive Flame, I think you hit that happy medium. Baby bear would read this book (Goldilocks reference... not sure.. ) Anyways, that was a long ramble just to say "well done" :)

Can't wait for the next one. November I think?
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2010 :  14:57:53  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yep, Whisper of Venom is due out November 2nd. Meanwhile, anyone who's jonesing for a dose of my work should check out the Paizo site. I have a four-part Pathfinder novelette going up there. Chapter One will appear tomorrow, I think.
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Sandstorm
Learned Scribe

Canada
80 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2010 :  04:58:19  Show Profile  Visit Sandstorm's Homepage  Click to see Sandstorm's MSN Messenger address Send Sandstorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Can't wait. I'm currently reading The House of Serpents Trilogy by Lisa Spedman, but I can see myself putting it down for book two.

Any teasers of what to look forward to? I'm really interested to see what happens with that one dragonborn trying to infiltrate the Tyamat fanatics.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2010 :  15:46:29  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi, Sandstorm. I'm reluctant to give very much away. But you will see Balasar infiltrating the Platinum Cadre, war between the dragonborn and the ash giants, war between Chessenta and Threskel, and Aoth and his buddies trying simultaneously to win the wars and to solve the mysteries underlying recent events.
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2010 :  17:45:21  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just checking in to point out that Richard's serial novella over at Paizo won't appear until next week. (James L Sutter has been sick, and is now out travelling according to an announcement on the Paizo blog.)

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett

Edited by - Kajehase on 27 Oct 2010 17:46:36
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1770 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2010 :  18:16:33  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the update.
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Sandstorm
Learned Scribe

Canada
80 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2010 :  21:21:26  Show Profile  Visit Sandstorm's Homepage  Click to see Sandstorm's MSN Messenger address Send Sandstorm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wouldn't expect you to give up anything Crazy Richard :) Just hearing you talk about it though gets me excited. I'm looking forward to the battle with the Ash Giants. That was probably my favorite part in the last one. With Khouryn and the Dragonborn hacking into them. P.s. those tornados of ash that the Adepts were moving around, were those your own creation, or did you pull those from some tome of knowledge about the Ash Giants?
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