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The Black Hand of Bane
Acolyte

USA
14 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2004 :  18:35:07  Show Profile  Visit The Black Hand of Bane's Homepage  Send The Black Hand of Bane an AOL message  Send The Black Hand of Bane a Yahoo! Message Send The Black Hand of Bane a Private Message
This one is for Ed:

I was wondering if we were going to see anymore novels with those blasted interferring Knights of Myth Drannor. Despite the fact they meddle nearly as much as those Harpers they are an amusing bunch and I think many would enjoy more stories of their adventures. (Beyond Spellfire and its' follow-ups)

"Here we may reign secure; and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." John Milton, Paradise Lost

What lies beyond
The Gates of Hell?
Find out this summer at [url=http://community.dicefreaks.com/]Dicefreaks[/url]
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Silas the mariner
Acolyte

United Kingdom
4 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2004 :  21:00:39  Show Profile  Visit Silas the mariner's Homepage Send Silas the mariner a Private Message
Greetings Ed! (and fellow candlekeepians)

I only recently found the Candlekeep Boards (having been a long-time participator on the Wizards Community Boards) and I must say that I am both amazed and impressed by the level of interaction you have with your fans! It blows me away!

Anyway, as this is a question-asking forum... on with the questions (just a few short ones!):

Have you ever contemplated/acted upon writing a script for a Forgotten Realms movie/mini-series?

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

How does law work within the major civilised cities of the realms? Is it similar to our system of courtrooms, barristers and judges... are barristers court-appointed or do defendants have to purchase their services? Or is "innocent or guilty" judged with a divination spell? How about trial-by-combat?

I see courtrooms as a perfect place to inject some interesting arguing and debating!

Thanks in advance!!


It's not the stone you see that trips you... unless you're a complete idiot.
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Faraer
Great Reader

3295 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2004 :  22:22:24  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
I'm reading along and will say more later, but... I always devoured particularly eagerly the introductions and postscripts of Realms books that gave insight into the behind-the-scenes workings, that show the Realms as a dynamic vital organism and greatly inform my reading of the fiction and lore. As often as I'm gratified by a 'I THOUGHT that was how it worked' response, I get 'Aha, THAT's how it is.'

Black Hand of Bane, Ed's forthcoming Knights novels were announced on his agent's website and are discussed on this very thread, and they're the Realms novels I've most looked forward to (and I would shudder to think too hard at the technical difficulties and juggled priorities in writing them).

Silas, Ed's article "Law of the land" in Dragon #65 answers some of your question.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  03:21:54  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, Karth. Yes, ’tis Sweethips, relaying Ed’s replies:


Hi, Karth. Getting made noble varies from place to place. In Waterdeep: forget it. It’s a “closed shop,” wherein the ‘old money’ merchant families conferred a status on themselves (in return for their support of common laws that would bind them as well as “the rabble”) that their descendants are now working VERY hard not to allow ‘new money’ merchants (or anyone else!) to gain. Folks in Waterdeep respect money, not titles, so if you’re the visiting King of Hoola-Walla, that’s nice, bub, now pay up. :}
In most realms and city-states, you’d gain a title (either fill a vacant one or more likely receive one invented on the spot) by pleasing/aiding/becoming a convenient fall guy for the ruler. Cormyr even distinguishes between ‘life’ titles and hereditary ones (i.e. Azoun IV if he’s not dead yet in your campaign, Filfaeril his queen whether he is or isn’t, and Alusair as Regent if he is, can confer a title on you that gives your offspring no title or status at all). ‘Sitting nobles’ everywhere frown on rulers adding “upstarts” to their ranks, and will often treat you with disdain (as Jim Lowder used to so aptly put it, won’t allow you to “join in any reindeer games”) regardless of what title you’ve gained. There are also “court titles” (offices) that can give you great power, but aren’t themselves a mark of nobility (although, just to confuse things, they’re usually given to nobles, or if handed to commoners, are accompanied by at least a knighthood). For instance, Alusair as Regent COULD name the nearest street urchin Warden of the Western Marches -- I just can’t see why she WOULD. :}
(In one famous ‘original campaign’ Realmsplay instance, a wounded Azoun wanted to send a PC to Filfaeril with a message, and not have any War Wizard stop them [because some War Wizards were traitors in on the plot that had tried to slay him and succeeded in wounding him], so he made a particular PC Lord High Marshal of Cormyr for a tenday, complete with royal ring, several copies of the royal commission, a War Wizard cloak, and Azoun’s own dagger. Vangerdahast was livid, and forcefully took the PC into custody -- but DID take the PC to Filfaeril, without examining the message the PC was carrying.)
In Amn, Tethyr, and any land imperilled by monsters or brigandry, one can often gain nobility by offering to police a border area. As examples we have my Baron of Hawkhill in the northeasternmost mountains of Amn, and the standing offer from the Crown of Cormyr to make anyone “Baron of the Stonelands” who can occupy, tame, police, and patrol the place (from a castle he or she has built in the Stonelands).
Personal service to a monarch AND marriage to nobility usually wins you a noble title in your own right (as opposed to something lame like “Sir Consort”), but bear in mind that if the monarch is succeeded by someone who didn’t like the monarch, the title may go away again (and your head with it!). Many nobles (like the out-of-favour families in Westgate and elsewhere) find that their status earns them exile in this way.
The Heralds govern heraldry (anything more elaborate than a ‘personal badge’ consisting of a single device) VERY strictly. In other words, if you proclaim yourself “The Dread Baron Bluto” and dress your followers in scarlet tunics with a yellow gauntlet making a fist on it, fine -- but if you add a hunting horn (a ‘second charge’) or a motto, or a formal coat-of-arms on a shield-shaped field, expect to soon receive an unfriendly visit from a Herald. What the Heralds DON’T do is police politics. They will announce the existing rules of precedence in a realm, or qualifications for a title, but they won’t forbid a ruler to change things, or deft them, EXCEPT in matters of heraldic display (it’s absolutely verboten to ride into battle in the colours or displaying the arms of someone else, as a deception, for example, and no mercenary will accept employment with someone the Heralds have deemed to have done so, for fear of themselves being declared “outlaw,” and therefore reduced to brigandry).
The Heralds DO step in to make public rulings, as dispassionate third-party judges, in disputes over court rules or noble status or heraldry, when asked to by anyone in a realm (not just the ruler or courtiers). They do NOT take bribes for anything (if they decide your breakaway kingdom is legitimate, and worthy of having its own rules as set by you the new ruler, it’s their decision, and nothing you can -- or should try to -- influence).
In general, nobility isn’t “portable.” You can arrive in Cormyr claiming to be “Lord So-and-so of Athkatla,” and be fawned over by innkeepers who want your business, but your personal influence will extend as far as your coins do, and the personal opinions Piergeiron and senior members of the City Guard and Watchful Order hold of you. You don’t automatically get “special treatment,” either in society or in law.
Many ambitious adventurers have set themselves up as nobility in the Border Kingdoms, conquering a few pastures and woodlots and declaring it a realm -- as well as giving themselves all sorts of grand (and often ridiculous) titles (such as “Lord Emperor of the Lower Middens”). That’s the usual way adventurers become noble, aside from wooing and marrying nobility (lore is full of tales of rough warriors who forcibly wooed fair noble maids, who after marriage fell deeply in love with their new lords . . . but then, lore tends to be more romantic than daily real life; in truth, a large number of such force-taken maids have poisoned or daggered their lords, too). If you just want to called “Lord,” amass a staggering amount of money, take up residence in Sembia, and proclaim yourself a Lord; it’s worked for scores of individuals in the last few centuries.

Guilds of mages vary widely across Faerun, and unofficial, secretive cabals of wizards are far more common than formal guilds. Trade in magic and lore will always take place VERY gingerly, in one of two ways: private (kept secret even from other members) deals between members, and formal deals (known to other members and regulated by intricate, written, and available-to-all-members guild rules that have been tested and refined and complained about and re-refined for decades or longer). Because of suspicion/paranoia, private deals are rare without a master-apprentice relationship or agreements that involve hostages or collateral or third-party scrutineers.
In the Watchful Order, senior members rule openly (in quorum council) on all dissemination of lore and spells between members, but often order such transfers “for the good of the Order” (i.e. to strengthen all members, or arm all Order mages to better defend Waterdeep or carry out Order aims). Claims of theft, cheating, and deception are always investigated by Order members who have mind-probing magics, and refusal to cooperate is interpreted as an admission of guilt, and usually punishable by expulsion and “defanging” (the Order sends a large force of mages to strip the offending member of dangerously powerful spells or items, to protect the Order against retaliation . . . and if a spell-battle results and the expelled mage ends up brain-burned or trapped in a beast-shape, so be it; the choice of action was theirs, so the consequences are also their responsibility). Of course, there can be a problem when the offenders in such matters ARE the senior Order members with mind-probing magics, but -- such is the stuff of Realms novels or the long-running secrets at the heart of a campaign.
The Watchful Order holds mini-moots whenever circumstances dictate, trying wherever possible not to hear matters involving specific members without those members being present, but also holds monthly moots at their headquarters or another designated place. The monthly moots are largely (‘wine and cheese’) gossip sessions wherein members are encouraged to point out trends and oddities they’ve noticed in the city, new arrivals selling or practising magic, rumors from afar brought by visiting traders, and so on -- and at any meeting Order members have the right to raise complaints and concerns with senior officers, in front of all other members present.


So saith Ed. And no, I must not confirm my ‘secret identity,’ due to my real-world job. Acting mysterious has proved to be sorta fun, too. :}
Yes, you can “guess close” to who I am, but Ed and I have both been very careful not to narrow it down to just one person. In fact, looking back, I can see where everyone but Faraer (who can narrow it down to two) is really left stuck at three possibilities.
Frankly, if it weren’t for my real-world concerns, I’d tell you in a moment. Yet I AM growing sorta fond of the Hood. In fact, right now, it just might be all I’m wearing. ;}
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  03:23:49  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
The Hooded One brings you more from Ed:

Prince Forge, you’re quite welcome.
Wooly Rupert, I think Mirt and Durnan are both a trifle OLDER than 120. Still unpublished is the “essential Realmslore” short story in which they acquired as treasure certain drinkables that might be expressed in AD&D terms (the D&D game came along after I wrote the story) as slightly-variant Potions of Longevity. So, yes, they appear to be rather leathery/fat/worn-but-vigorous 50-ish males. The way the published Realms has turned out, the careers of Mirt and Durnan have been sadly neglected, but you will see their present-day selves adventuring together in my tale in the forthcoming Realms of Dragons anthology (end of 2004, I believe).
Phoebus, you’re welcome, too. :} For modern-day Cormanthor, I’d give more of the elves on patrol “well-rounded adventurer” status (sprinklings of prestige classes to bolster them), but with about half of a patrol made up of individuals roughly equal to that footman of the past (a Fighter of 1d6+2 levels). Arrr, now THERE’s a line for the old resume: “The Man Who Sired The Realms. The Loins That XXXXX” whoops, enough of that. :} Seriously, glad to be of help. In the end, match the power level to your PCs; they should ALWAYS think twice about tangling with a Cormanthan patrol.


So saith Ed.
Phoebus, when you say “most touched a nerve” in me, I’d have to say attending a GenCon when the Realms was at its height (1989 or so), and seeing Ed being asked to name babies, FATHER babies for Sharess’ sake, perform marriages, bless children, and being showered with thanks by fans who sometimes wept as they spoke to him. He was asked for financial advice (bear in mind that as a Canadian, he could say little useful about American tax laws and so on), to act as a relationship councillor, asked his opinions on all sorts of things -- and people even asked to just touch him, as if he was some sort of holy person.
And he went back to his hotel room with a plastic bag full of slips of paper on which he’d jotted down names and addresses of sick or mentally unsettled or lonely people who wanted to correspond with him (this was in the days before reliable e-mail, of course), almost in tears himself, and sat down late into the night starting lots of replies, so he’d not forget who wanted or needed what, before he got home. That was a truly awesome experience.
By the way, most people don’t know this, but at every GenCon Ed devotes some time and cash to quietly helping people out (who’ve used all their food money to buy games, or have lost their badges, or are lonely or lost, or to just give a game to kids in the exhibit hall whose parents can’t afford it). I once overheard a Milwaukee Sentinel/Journal reporter ask him why he was doing so, and he replied: “If every single person who comes to GenCon doesn’t leave with at least one happy memory of somebody being kind or helpful to them, then we’ve all failed, haven’t we?”
If you meant something in the published Realms that touched a nerve in me, it was one of the same things that ‘got’ Ed, too: reading Elaine Cunningham’s novel ELFSHADOW and thinking, “My God! This woman’s BEEN to Waterdeep! This IS Waterdeep!”
And as for comments and queries re. Sweethips: why, SiriusBlack, you can be just as bold as you dare to be. Don’t jostle Blueblade; he’s down there already. But let’s keep this forum suitable for family viewing, hmm? :}
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Bookwyrm
Great Reader

USA
4740 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  08:38:37  Show Profile  Visit Bookwyrm's Homepage  Click to see Bookwyrm's MSN Messenger address Send Bookwyrm a Private Message
::prudishly ignores the banter::

Silas the Mariner, you can find some excellent information on the Waterdeep legal codes in the Waterdeep box set from second edition. Excellent stuff in there, and (unlike some other info-packs) the 2e information doesn't really intrude on the good stuff. I can only attribute it to good authoring. Whoever wrote it knew his stuff. . . .

Hell hath no fury like all of Candlekeep rising in defense of one of its own.

Download the brickfilm masterpiece by Leftfield Studios! See this page for more.
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Swordsage
Learned Scribe

137 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  11:43:44  Show Profile  Visit Swordsage's Homepage Send Swordsage a Private Message
Greetings Ed and the Hooded One.

I'm curious as to which TSR/WotC FR product written by other game designers is Ed's favourite or impressed him the most?

Also, has he ever come across any non-official FR work done by fans or freelancers that has caught is eye and impressed him?

Thanks in advance.

The Swordsage

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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  12:08:10  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
***
Great stuff, Ed. Some follow-up questions/comments...
******************

Ed said: ...their descendants are now working VERY hard not to allow ‘new money’ merchants (or anyone else!) to gain.
***
Can you imagine ANY logical scenario - outside of "marrying in" or blackmailing the entire Wands family - that might get a freebooting commoner with obscene oodles of disposable coin elevated in Waterdeep? Saving the city from renegade GSH's, perhaps?
******************

Ed: Folks in Waterdeep respect money, not titles, so if you’re the visiting King of Hoola-Walla, that’s nice, bub, now pay up. :}
***
Comedy. My favorite nonsense/placeholder word is 'Hooba-Woppa', originally coined by one of my founding plyrs. Based on certain strategic usages of that 'term' on my part of late, one of my current plyrs is under the impression that it might be an actual in-game race that he now has an unreasoning fear of encountering. I have studiously failed to disabuse him of this notion... ;)
************************

Ed: Vangerdahast was livid, and forcefully took the PC into custody -***
No wonder the man has a near-stroke every time the word 'Shadowdale' gets mentioned... ;)
***********************

Ed: ...but if you add a hunting horn (a ‘second charge’) or a motto, or a formal coat-of-arms on a shield-shaped field, expect to soon receive an unfriendly visit from a Herald.
***
Precisely what actions would they take in such a situation: some yahoo adventurer making up his own full coat of arms and outfitting a private army in like fashion? The Heralds don't seem to have the numbers or individual battle-might to "enforce by force" in that situation. How seriously is censure from them taken? How are their dictates publicly enforced? Related: how do formal mercenary companies with unique (and intricately rendered) battle standards fit into all this?
*********************


Ed: In general, nobility isn’t “portable.”

Many ambitious adventurers have set themselves up as nobility in the Border Kingdoms, conquering a few pastures and woodlots and declaring it a realm -- as well as giving themselves all sorts of grand (and often ridiculous) titles (such as “Lord Emperor of the Lower Middens”). That’s the usual way adventurers become noble,
***
So how are such things regarded by the Heralds? At what point do they declare "Lord Lower Middens" *chuckle* to be a recognized nobleman with the publicly acknowledged right to display a coat of arms with a motto and multiple 'charges' and to field like-uniformed troops? Or are they forever snubbed and censured for their soi-disant noble status? Likewise, are those self-made Sembian Lords ever formally recognized by the Heralds or are they forever regarded as too big for their britches?

In other words: what list of specific criteria must be satisfied before the Heralds give you the nod and declare you legit? Is it all about money and land ownership? What's the difference between an openly acknowledged nobleman and a rich jerkweed with a fortified ranch house and a vivid imagination for making up silly titles? ;)

That's not really twenty-plus questions, Ed. Just a single highly focused one. Yeah, that's the ticket. *cheesy grin*
**********************

Ed: Trade in magic and lore will always take place VERY gingerly, in one of two ways: private (kept secret even from other members) deals between members
***
Let's say that two mages of respectable level meet at one of these monthly "wine and cheese" sit-downs and agree in principle to privately trade either item construction lore or a few spells in the form of scrolls (ala El, Morden, and Dalamar). What precautions would reasonably be taken by them, privately, to ensure a mutually fair deal? Assume the trade is too sweet to turn down merely due to healthy paranoia. Mutual geas enchantments could be dispelled by anyone with enough power.

How would you see them proceeding?
***********************


>>>>THO said: And no, I must not confirm my ‘secret identity,’ due to my real-world job.
***
*blinks* Now that is an interesting answer. Did I hear correctly that you are a book editor? Is it a conflict of interest issue, then? Or is it better just to drop it like a hot potato before I REALLY get burned?

I do have at least 6 lives left... ;)
*****************

THO: In fact, looking back, I can see where everyone but Faraer (who can narrow it down to two) is really left stuck at three possibilities.
***
Yep, I was going to guess from three possibilities that I'm aware of. The boys hereabouts seemed very quick to leap valiantly to your defense at the mere suggestion of bold inquiry in your direction though... *chuckle*
**************************

THO: In fact, right now, it just might be all I’m wearing. ;}
***
Well, with a nickname like Sweethips laid on you by Ed, you are probably well-justified in flaunting 'em. ;)

Keep those Knights stories coming, Lady. I'm diggin' it...

-Karth
***********************
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5579 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  14:15:50  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Karth, please try to use the quote button (the one depicting the page and red arrow) when responding. Its easier on the eyes

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
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An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  17:18:33  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, thom. Ed says you’re very welcome, and here’s my reply (oooh! A question for ME!):
In the ‘home’ Realms campaign, we Knights did indeed have ‘patron’ deities, and all of us Knights carried a token, holy symbol, or remembrance of our primary god, whom we normally prayed to briefly in the morning (if we didn’t awaken under attack or in some emergency), at moments of crisis (such as healing a wounded friend, trying to keep a sick or poisoned person alive), and, in a more lengthy private prayer, just after our evening meal. We’d pray to our deities for guidance, which sometimes came in the form of dream-visions or even ‘waking’ mental visions (snapshot scene tinged with a feeling of favour or disapproval), and VERY rarely came in the form of a ‘manifestation’ (Lathander, for example, was a rosy glow, around a weapon, or one of us, or a keyhole or secret door, or moving along a route).
Upon arrival in a town or village with a formal shrine or temple to a patron deity, we would attend a service, and give an offering (if coin-less, trophies from fallen foes would suffice [for Tempus, of course, weapons from beings we’d defeated were considered the most valuable offerings], and if we had absolutely nothing, information about our doings and what we’d seen reported to a priest was accepted). Paltry or verbal-only offerings usually resulted in a priestly request to do a service, either something as simple as “help move this temple furniture” or “confess in full to the superior priest tomorrow” or “help guard the temple doors tonight.”
If we found an untended or desecrated shrine of a patron deity during our travels, the PCs venerating that deity would cleanse it and pray there (one of the elaborate prayers, sometimes involving a chanted or sung ritual), and Ed had provided us with some prayers, small couplets of creed-advice, and even approved oaths for invocation of the god (which we uttered in play, sometimes causing great amusement). If we found a hermit or travelling priest of a patron deity, we would expect to share food and drink, and would offer to encamp with the priest and offer our protection.
If we were staying in one locale with a temple, we would attend services at least once every two days. Priests in Ed’s campaign do a lot of “influencing the laity” work by dispensing news and gossip that’s been carefully slanted to promote the importance of their god and the creed and aims of the faith, and to motivate the people hearing it to do certain things that further the work of the god, and they customarily do this at the end of formal services, sometimes while ‘blessing’ worshippers (the old “priest stands at the door to speak to everyone leaving” tactic :}). From them we also learned temple or priestly sayings that weren’t part of the official creed (example, for Tempus: “We come in peace: smite to slay!”)
Other gods were to be prayed and offered to in appeasement (we’ve got to cross the Neck in a boat, so Umberlee, please don’t sink us, and Talos, send no storms . . . and if the body of water was large, we’d be praying for navigational aid, too), and NO gods were to be treated disrespectfully. Their worshippers and clergy, yes, and sometimes (for followers of good-aligned deities opposed to human sacrifice) their altars shattered, too, but the gods themselves were considered very real -- when thwarting their mortal servants, ’tis always best to NOT defame the god while you’re at it. Mocking their holy sayings is about as far as it goes (example, when slaying a priest of Talos: “Send a storm -- now REAP a storm!”).
In practical terms, except for the tasks set by priests for our cleric PCs at each level (and in one special case, given Florin personally by Mielikki!), once we were adhering to our faiths, this all faded into the background. Like driving a car, we no longer paid a lot of attention to: “Now I’m turning the key, with my foot on the brake pedal, and now I’m -- ” . . . we just did it. Torm, of course, endlessly teases the rest of us: “Now, would Lathander REALLY want you to do that?”
Yet we’ve learned to ignore Torm or give him back as good as he gets (“Well of course I upended you into the horsetrough! Lathander told me to so serve over-clever, mouthy servants of Mask!”)
I hope that helps, thom. The Hooded One, signing off.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  17:20:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. Here’s Ed’s latest:

Lord Hobie, as far as I know, there are no gates/portals linking the Realms directly with Oerth, but a lot of portals that reach “the Wood Between The Worlds” (a la the classic fantasies of William Morris), a vast, endless forest of tall trees, blue mists, unicorns, little wandering trails, and gently rolling topography that’s riddled with hidden gates [between these two trees, atop yon stone, step into that pool] leading to many worlds. If you know which gates lead where, and manage to avoid blundering into a gate you don’t know about, first, you can easily move between Oerth, Krynn, and Toril. Among the elite magically-powerful groups (and lone, studious mages) in Faerun there’s a lot of knowledge OF THE EXISTENCE OF these ‘other worlds,’ but very little about passing events in the other places. Those groups and individuals who have the means to travel and know about such events regard this knowledge as power giving them a trade and power advantage over everyone else, and guard it jealously, even within the hierarchies of their own groups.
They also tend to spread ‘disinformation’ (um, flat lies and exaggerations) about the dangers of portals and other worlds (such as: “anyone who uses a portal will be tracked, from that moment one, by an invisible stalking creature who will always be with you, who will watch you eat, sleep, make love, fight, study, EVERYTHING -- and aid your enemies and foes by revealing your whereabouts and intentions for its own amusement, as it SLOWLY feeds off you, draining just a tiny bit of your life-force, milking you for as long as possible, and thus ensuring that your life is long . . . but miserable”) so that no one else will try to use them.
Moreover, most plane-hopping groups try to actively suppress practical “portals are here, here, and here, and this is how to use them” information. Getting it shouldn’t be easy, which is why a majority of Faerunian beings discover portals by blundering through one, or seeing another creature emerge from, or vanish through, one.


So saith Ed. I can add that as we Knights attained more levels and experience, Ed increasingly brought gates into our adventures (though most of them were from point to point in Faerun, not reaching other planes or worlds), and of course we unwittingly put ourselves on the ‘hit lists’ of groups already using the gates.
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  17:21:25  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Soft swirl of cloak, and yes, ’tis The Hooded One here again, with Ed’s latest replies. To Faraer’s answer to you, The Black Hand of Bane, Ed adds just this: he believes the Knights novels will be published one per year, beginning in 2006 (the Waterdeep collab with Elaine being the 2005 novel).
Here’s Ed himself on other matters:


Well met, Silas! Yes, I was privy to some of the FireWorks discussions (the announced Realms television series option that has expired) and have had other discussions at GenCon with other parties regarding Realms television and movie projects. If I can EVER find the time, I’ll have a stab at writing a script (I’ve been assured I’m welcome to do so). Now, if I could only figure out how to survive without ever needing sleep . . .
My favourite time of the day is: whenever I can get the chance. After that, it’s whenever there’ll be fewest interruptions -- but I took formal journalism training so I’d never be trapped into the “I can only write when I’m in the mood” or “the sun is in the west” or “I’m wearing my favourite slippers” or some such. Again, I don’t have TIME to indulge in any such prima donna-like behaviour. :}
Faraer has pointed you at a fairly good answer, but let me add some general principles: in general, even where clearly-codified laws exist, sentences are at the discretion of the ruler (the King can let a guilty party go free, or perform some task rather than enduring the usual punishment, or nobles can pay huge fines rather than being flogged and imprisoned, and so on). Also, as a general principle, no place that thrives on trade (such as Waterdeep, Scornubel, or Athkatla) will dare to allow OPEN bribery or “flawed justice.” Any rigging of results must be done ‘behind the scenes’ (i.e. by not bringing someone to trial, or “arranging” a prisoner escape) rather than in public. Also, places that survive on trade DO have clearly codified laws, separate-from-the-authorities judges (e.g. the Magisters of Waterdeep), and also tend to have arrangements to let guilds partially punish their own members (lessening the court sentence in return for guild sanctions). There must be a common belief that visiting merchants will be treated equally to residents and citizens . . . or the merchants will stop coming.
In many places, Magisters, guilds, and priests (in any case where a crime or complaint involves priests or temples as defendant, plaintiff, or witness) all have the right to call on spell aid to determine truth and falsehood (who pays for this varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). In most places, royalty and nobility have rights or privileges others in the society don’t have. Trail by combat is rarely allowed in trade-reigns places, but may occur in rural rough justice or communities dominated by a faith that allows it (e.g. a hamlet around a temple), although in Sembia and other ‘civilized’ places, battle between hired champions (or even personal duelling) is often a public entertainment used in cases where no crime has been committed because there are no laws protecting personal reputations, but a noble feels slighted by another noble, or a young woman of high birth who hasn’t yet wed is accused of being less than virginal or of good character, and wants to refute the slur (most places in the Realms have nothing resembling our libel and slander laws).
The Realms does NOT have barristers and solicitors, robed and wigged or otherwise. It DOES have some advocates, paid orators who will speak in court (always in the presence of an accused, not appearing in his or her stead) and who may know something of the law and can give advice to an accused. And yes, some orators are real ‘showmen’ who mimic the voices of people, act out things, tell jokes, and engage in furious debate in court -- which, being great entertainment, is seldom cut short even by angry judges or rulers, because the ‘common people’ like it. So by all means inject some Rumpole stuff into your play if your players like it. Mine do -- and fondly remember The Simbul appearing in court in the shape of an old woman accused of murdering a merchant (the merchant had really come to slay her, and she’d fought for her life, getting badly stabbed in the process, but managing to cut his throat with his own knife). The old woman was too badly wounded to get to court -- which would have meant a verdict of guilty, and her death anyway -- so as Harpers tended her, The Simbul took her place, and mocked a false witness (another merchant) by stabbing herself in all the places the old woman had been wounded, and then demanding of everyone in court if they seriously thought she could have killed the larger, younger, and stronger merchant when this badly hurt? (Her explanation for all the silver fire smoking forth was a local priestess of Mystra coming to court with The Simbul, to attest that the “old woman” was under the protection of Mystra so that justice could be done. The priestess neglected to tell the court that the old woman was The Simbul, but carefully told no untruths at all.)


So saith Ed. The Hooded One, signing off.
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PaulSKemp
Forgotten Realms Author

804 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  18:15:04  Show Profile  Visit PaulSKemp's Homepage
Hi Ed!

Did you pull the Sembian oaths, "Dark!" and "Dark and Empty!", out of the air, of was there some particluar inspiration? I've never had an opportunity to ask you and I've always wondered. At first, using them felt a bit awkward, but after about three scenes, I could not imagine any other oaths fitting the bill.

Oh, and when can we expect to see a compilation of Faerunian oaths and curses by region?

Last thing: I've said this to you in private, but welcome the chance to post it in public: Your creative genious astounds me.

Paul

Edited by - PaulSKemp on 19 Mar 2004 18:16:46
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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  20:06:37  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
quote:
Well met

Karth, please try to use the quote button (the one depicting the page and red arrow) when responding. Its easier on the eyes


Right. Got it. I meant to do that... *sheepish grin*

-KN
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thom
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  22:13:41  Show Profile  Visit thom's Homepage Send thom a Private Message
Thanks again oh Hooded One, for your wonderful discourse on the Knights' religious observances. You've obviously been around Ed a long time, as again it will take quite some time to digest your input & work it into my campaign! Fear not! It's well worth the effort! I see the Knights as a sort of 'benchmark' in how to encourage my players to strive for their roleplaying best. And you give all of us a priceless opportunity to glean much valuable insight into running the Realms. Many thanks!

thom
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  22:16:52  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. The Hooded One returns, with more from Ed:

Good greetings to The Swordsage. Goldurnit, I HATE trying to choose favourites. A lot of Realms stuff has impressed me, for a lot of different reasons (just to grab a few examples, Bob Salvatore’s HOMELAND and Rich Baker’s THE FORESAKEN HOUSE for ‘the power of the tale,’ ELFSHADOW by Elaine Cunningham for the three fun main characters and for getting Waterdeep JUST right, and so on). I love Steve Schend’s exhaustive weaving of history, and the Tethyr one in particular was great fun. Julia Martin and Eric Boyd did superb jobs, over and over again, of expanding the gods from my sometimes-sketchy originals into full-blown, detailed divinities. CLOAK AND DAGGER was great fun. And so on, and so on: there are a LOT of Realms things I didn’t write that I enjoy bits and pieces of. Of course, I’ve had my fingers in so many of the passing Realms pies that I should disqualify myself from a lot of products . . .
As for freelance and still unofficial at the time of writing stuff, two things in particular:
1. A fan up in Canada who wrote and hand-delivered to me a BEAUTIFUL short story of a young lady mage falling in love with Elminster, going to Shadowdale to beg to become his apprentice, being a little shocked by discovering how different the real crotchety old man was from her hero-image, and coming to love him in a different way. I treasure it, and having read a LOT of fanfic over the years, can state that its quality is professional. It needs a tiny pacing-polish here and there, but is otherwise top-rank.
2. All of the longtime Realms enthusiasts (in no particular order: Grant Christie, Tom Costa, Eric Boyd, Bryon Wischstadt, George Krashos, and others) who have spent years quietly expanding my royal family trees and noble family notes into a wealth of information on Cormyr. Hopefully it will see print in official form some day.
Yet I must stress, Swordsage, that I’ve seen (and heard: some music comes to mind!) plenty of other impressive things over the years, from garments to new-forged swords to hand-drawn maps to model figurines to folks dressing up as Realms characters and getting the ‘look’ perfectly . . . as I said, it’s VERY hard for me to choose.


So saith Ed, and I’ll echo that. We original players have seen just a little of the incoming flood of stuff, down the years, and often been impressed.
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2004 :  22:18:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met from The Hooded One, and hearken to Ed:


Hi, Karth. Glad you liked the first er, load. :} Let’s have a go:
The easiest way would be to discover who one of the Masked Lords is, dispose of him/her, and impersonate him/her from then on. “Easiest,” I said, not “easy.” There are, of course, alignment problems with this approach for many PCs, and there’s also a high risk of discovery (Watchful Order magists and fellow Lords mind-snooping, for one thing, plus all the pitfalls beyond mere changing face and form of trying to fool family, friends, business contacts, etc. of the Lord’s “daytime identity” or ‘true self.’
A slower, harder way would be to serve the city with distinction in exposing plots against it, legal transgressions, and the like, and to do so for long enough, and well enough, that you “get noticed” by the authorities and yet manage to stay alive in the face of angry surviving swindlers and plotters. This will get you VERY thoroughly investigated by the City Guard and some of the city’s “secret agents” reporting to Piergeiron or to Mirt, as well as by the Watchful Order and the Watch. If you’re truly clean of personal scandal (not ambitions, just shady dealings and intentions), you MIGHT be covertly approached to become an agent yourself. If and only if being a ‘public face’ agent would be the most useful way you could serve (not likely; ‘known’ agents are numerous already, and the Lords really need more unknown fresh faces), you’d probably be taken on in the Palace with some sort of official position, and could gain status thereby.
Of course, this would STILL mean you got looked down on by ‘old guard nobles,’ because they even look down on Piergeiron and Khelben (behind their backs, of course). Courtiers are mere “toadies” and “jumped-up power-snatchers” in their books -- but then, so are ‘junior’ noble families, because some nobles spend their entire lives ranking people and playing “I’m haughtier than thou” games. So, elevated, yes, complete with airs to match if you want to assume them . . . but don’t expect to get the full cordial “you’re one of us” treatment from certain nobles (who would cut you dead even if you married their parents, siblings, or offspring).

Aye, gotta watch those Hooba-Woppas. I hear they walk among us, just waiting their chance, and are especially bad this year. ;}

Vangerdahast is FINALLY learning to relax (not a century too soon, some say). For more glimpses of this, see ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER.

As individuals, many Heralds beyond the “local” level can defend themselves VERY effectively using magic items of tremendous power that come with their office. However, you’re quite correct in saying they do nothing by force. What they do is censure -- and because they establish noble rankings (precedence) outside the walls of a city or the borders of a realm [explanation: those old-money Waterdhavian nobles may cut your newly-married-into-junior-noble family noble dead at a ball in Waterdeep, but the Heralds, not the old-money nobles, determine your ranking versus them if you both show up at a dinner in Scornubel and squabble over who gets the best seat; ditto nobles of Cormyr, and this is especially important for folk of Sembia or the Border Kingdoms, where all titles are recent, fanciful, and often invented by their current holders], and legitimize status, very few people dare to argue. For example, if I as a baron show up at a temple that stands in my own barony and demand audience, dinner, a bed for the night, or some assistance from the temple, and the Heralds dispute my title or my ranking, the priests will politely refuse me, as “an impostor,” even if they KNOW I’m the rightful title holder -- because the judgement of the Heralds affects even THEIR status (again, not within their faith, but in the eyes of the wider Realms around them).
Mercenary companies bow to the Heralds too, because it’s the word of the Heralds will be their only defense in instances of someone else using their battle-standards and committing atrocities whilst impersonating them. Again, the Heralds say nothing about the recruiting or behaviour of mercenaries, only about what blazons, “colours,” and badges they use.
In the case of someone adding that second charge and it being reported to a local Herald, the local Herald would consult his/her rolls. If they had ANY suspicion that this use was unlawful, they’d report it to a superior right away (so if anything subsequently happens to them, the warning stands).
Mistreating, threatening, harming or slaying, or magically influencing a Herald is grounds for instant dismissal from whatever rank you have . . . so it’s a meaningless punishment only to a brigand (“robber baron”) or a royal heir, who will still be of royal blood whatever they do. Everyone else LOSES their noble or gentle status, and can expect to be pointedly NOT recognized in negotiations (no one will sign contracts or treaties with them, no one will swear fealty to them, and so on, until the Heralds publicly pardon them, which will usually take a LOT of redress and grovelling). Royalty in disfavour can still inherit thrones and the like, but can’t rule effectively without that pardon, which means they must either abdicate in favour of offspring or rule through a Regent. All of this means the Heralds rarely have to actually enact censure; the threat is usually enough.
Remember, the Heralds do nothing if you practise regicide, have a civil war, unlawfully torture or trump up charges against rivals or rightful rulers . . . they only care about the arms you use, and how you use them, and the lineage you claim.
In the case of a self-assumed blazon (e.g. my earlier words: “but if you add a hunting horn (a ‘second charge’) or a motto, or a formal coat-of-arms on a shield-shaped field”), a Herald will show up, usually with a Harper or outlander merchant, plus a priest of Oghma and some outlanders with titles (knights of a distant realm) as witnesses/bodyguards, and politely insist on an audience with the offender.
At that audience, the Herald will explain the transgression, and request that the offender cease, immediately and forever, using this offending blazon or displaying any arms beyond a simple single-charge badge -- or on the spot petition the Heralds for formal permission to officially use the blazon. Most Heralds can tell at a glance if a blazon needs changes, and will order them, but there are a few “borderline” cases that will be passed to more senior Heralds for judgement. It’s up to the Herald whether or not the offender has to obscure (or can use) the blazon until it’s approved, modified, or denied. (In practise, this decision has a lot to do with the attitude of the offender.)
The penalties for failure to comply will be politely explained (and confirmed by the witnesses), and then it’s up to the offender.
Fees, if any, come later and are modest, typically being demanded only if the person petitioning for the blazon wants the skilled artists the Heralds can call on (whose identities they keep secret) to render a full (huge plaque, for wall or door) coat of arms, a grant of arms (on vellum) in triplicate, a painted shield or shield cover, and a banner. Once these have been delivered and the fees paid, the petitioner is free to make as many copies as they like, and will be instructed on how much they can modify these copies without “offending against the Law of Arms” (the VERY complicated and ever-being-revised private code kept by the Heralds).
Battle-banners (of mercenaries or formal armed forces) can be augmented with devices to commemorate battles without express permission of the Heralds, do long as these augmentations are done in approved ways (which the Heralds will freely explain, if asked, and most sages and army veterans also know).
So NOTHING will physically “stop” your yahoo adventurer from making up his own full coat of arms and outfitting his private army in like fashion -- so long as he never has to enter into a treaty, contract, or any other formal agreement with anyone, or avail himself of any services of a priesthood. The choice is his. :}
The Heralds don’t pass moral judgements on the taste expressed in blazons, or upon the legitimacy of holders -- as long as the holders haven’t been informed by a Herald of the Laws of Arms as pertaining to them personally, and then ignored those instructions. The Heralds are kept so busy in the Border Kingdoms and Sembia that they DO charge up-front fees for blazons (NOT self-bestowed titles, only the use of arms, remember), typically 250 gp per person, once per grant of arms, in the Border Kingdoms, and 5,000 gp for the same thing in Sembia (reduced to 2,000 for unmarried sons and daughters of less than twelve winters in age, though the moment marriage occurs or the titled parent dies, the “short” 3,000 gp fee must be paid or use of the arms has to cease until it is paid.
So Sembia and the Borders are full of “Lords” who have no arms, or use only a single device (a crescent moon, or a slantwise dagger) as a badge. In practise, the Heralds will let an individual add a sheath/scabbard, ribbons, drops of blood, and a severed hand gripping a weapon without considering it a “second charge” and worthy of their attention, but adding a field or a second, crossed weapon is definitely a “second charge.” The Border Kingdoms even boast dozens of Emperors of various sorts and stylings, and only a few of them have the right to a blazon. Land ownership, by the way, means nothing to the Heralds -- but it may matter very much to a kingdom, and if the King or High Chamberlain of Realm X says you can’t be a Baron of X because you don’t own a barony, maintain troops and castles for the King, and so on, then the Heralds will side with that complaint, and tell you to either depart the realm or remove the part of your title that alludes to the geographical region of the realm (i.e. you can still be “Baron Karth,” but not “Baron Karth of the Stonelands”). The Heralds are VERY good at noticing and denying attempts to allude to a locale by an ancient name, or claim ties to a fallen or vanished realm, and so on, and FROWN VERY SEVERELY on such distortions.
If, on the other hand, you can prove your lineage entitles you to bear a title that the King or High Chamberlain is denying you, the Heralds will insist on you being accorded it -- which is why there are lots of titled folk permanently on exile all over the Realms, far from the lands they claim. And no, there isn’t a lot of difference between “an openly acknowledged nobleman and a rich jerkweed with a fortified ranch house and a vivid imagination for making up silly titles” except for the Herald’s blessing. :}

In the case of the trade in magic you postulate, I would say the two mages involved would call in a priest or priestess of Mystra to (secretly) handle the exchange. Only clerical superiors would know about it, and even then, they’d only know WHAT was being exchanged and not BETWEEN WHOM (unless they were personally nosy and did some eavesdropping). This is one of the chief “daily uses” of clergy of Mystra: being neutral dispute councillors and trade facilitators between justifiably-paranoid mages.
This “calling in” would work like this: “Will you accept Shreena handling this?”
(Suspiciously:) “Who’s Shreena?”
“Anointed of Mystra, of the Weavehouse temple. You know, the tall quiet one with the green eyes and the hair down to here. Stands behind the scrying font sometimes, when you come to pray.”
“Oh, aye. Her. All right. Shall you go to her first, or shall I?”
“You decide, but I want this to be open: whichever one of us goes tells the name of the other to her. I don’t want her giving either of us funny looks for a tenday while she wonders who’s going to show up as the ‘other half.’”
“I’ll go. Tomorrow morn acceptable?”
“Yes. Leave word here if you can’t get to speak to her, and let that word be ‘skyblue.’ If no message is left, I’ll assume you have, and go to see her myself tomorrow even.”
And so on. Some mages view it as an honour to have a Chosen of Mystra act as their go-between, and others shun this because of the notice others may take of what they’re up to, as a result. In some VERY rare instances, mutually trusted persons who have no magic will be agreed-upon as go-betweens (other clergy, a monarch, perhaps even a person beloved by both mages).


So saith Ed. As for me Karth, I have several day jobs. Book editing is one of them, and it’s not the one that demands discretion. I could tell you a little about the other one, privately, but then (as the saying goes), I’d have to k---
Clear enough? so yes, please drop the potato, and step back. Drop the potato NOW. (And so on :})
And as for my sweet hips, it refers to DANCING. Agility, looks clad or unclad . . . and that’s enough because we’re exciting Blueblade and, it seems, upsetting Bookwyrm. I find all the attention flattering, but I’m really here to discuss the Realms.
Speaking of which, let me acquiesce to your request and share another short Knights story: Florin Falconhand was the tallest, most handsome, and most charismatic of us all, and often acted as the Envoy of Shadowdale. Many outlanders, especially Sembians and Cormyreans, mistook him for the Lord of Shadowdale (either Doust or later Mourngrym). We came to see this as useful, because it allowed us to learn what business they had (or wanted to have) with Shadowdale, and what they were prepared to do to get it (bribes, etc.) before the person actually got to the real lord.
One stuffy Cormyrean noble didn’t tumble to his error, or cease in his clumsy attempts at bribery, until Florin actually conducted him into Mourngrym’s presence -- whereupon he flew into a proper rage, blazing from one end of his bellowing mouth to the other, challenging Florin to a duel on the spot, and complaining up and down that he’d been deliberately made a fool of.
His explosion ended when the nearest servant (upon catching a signal from Mourngrym) leaned forward and murmured, “Excuse me, milord, but, ahem, * I * have the honour to be Lord in Shadowdale.”
Immediately thereafter, Rathan stepped out from behind a tapestry that had been concealing him and announced that, no, HE was Lord of Shadowdale. Torm revealed himself, in a grinning pose, and corrected them both with the news that HE was actually Lord of Shadowdale, and the preceding gentlement were actually just two brave bodyguards trained to deal with angry visiting nobles.
He was of course followed verbally by the lordship claims of a passing Illistyl, the one-eyed old forester Willum, here to deliver some fresh coneys to her Ladyship, Mourngrym himself -- and finally Shaerl Rowanmantle (the Lady of Shadowdale, and as a Rowanmantle of Cormyr, personally known to the furious noble) spoke up: “* I * am the Lord of Shadowdale, sirrah, and no one here made a fool of you. As all Cormyr knows, you made yourself a fool long ago. Now get you gone to the inn: I’ll give no house room to men who try to bribe honest rangers.”
To which Florin added with a smile, “Or even me.”
As the red-faced noble stormed out, he almost bowled over Storm Silverhand, who’d heard the fun. She took a stance and held her ground, so it was he who ended up bouncing on his behind, whilst she stood with hands on hips exclaiming, “Excuse me, but ’tis MY turn to be Lord of Shadowdale this even! Sirrah, your bribe should have been directed at me!”
When he rose, she slapped him across the face hard enough to knock him senseless, and then caught him up on her shoulder and carried her down to Elminster’s Tower for Lhaeo to give the man a good feed . . . and her and Elminster to scare the very liver out of him when he awakened, with an oh-so-gentle interrogation as to the why of his attempted bribery. A VERY interesting little plot was uncovered that day.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30084 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  00:40:51  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Lady Hooded One, thank you for telling us how the Knights worshipped their deities! 'Tis a bit more than I had thought of, but it was otherwise pretty much what I expected a character in the Realms to do. Much appreciated.

For Ed, I have a couple deific questions, focusing on Nobanion and Lurue. After reading some of the earlier replies on this thread, I saw that you yourself created Lurue and Nobanion. These two are personal faves of mine -- Nobanion is just a cool concept, and Lurue appeals to me because I am also a whimsical sort. So I grabbed my Dragon Magazine Archive, and "flipped" thru issue 54, the one where you described the deities of the Realms.

I noticed that Nobanion was previously called Aslan. When did this change, and why?

As Lurue is my fave (one of my fave characters was a NG Waterdhavian thief who worshipped her), is there info you have on her that didn't see print in Powers and Pantheons?

And have you any further info on The Knights of the Unicorn?

Thank you most kindly!


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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  01:07:55  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Dear thom, you’re quite welcome. I find it simply a pleasure to ‘hang out’ with fellow fans of the Realms and share some of the fun that we’ve had with Ed over the years. If it makes your campaign richer, GREAT!
And with that guiltless high surging through me, I pass on these next words of Ed, direct to Realms author Paul Keep (one of most impressive of the “new blood” Realms fiction writers, in my opinion both as a book editrix and one of the first Realms fans):



Hi, Paul! Thanks for the kind words, but I don’t think I’m all that brilliant. Mentally overloaded and increasingly forgetful, yes, but brilliant, no. I’ve just been at this for a long time, now, and have had time to mould the ever-increasing mounds of my personal production of horsedroXXXXer, Realmslore into something that lures some, and fools others. :}
And, hey, your writing’s not shabby either. I’m looking forward to reading the entire Cale trilogy, and plenty more Kemp books after that!
As for the compilation of oaths, I handed one to TSR back in 1986, in the original Realms turnover (both straight-Realms equivalents of our dirty words, for use when you didn’t want characters to just say, “Oh, DUNG!” and turns of phrase like “By the steaming loins of Sharess!”) . . . and they promptly ‘lost’ it. Several times. Until I got the message. ;}
We’ve all added dozens of naughty expressions to the Realms since then, of course, because we NEED cuss-words when doing Realms fiction. Not just for comic fun, but for realism when characters are upset, facing imminent death, and so on.
Yes, I DID pull “Dark!” and “Dark and Empty!” out of thin air, because my mind works that way, but it also works like this: after they pop out, and get written down to banish the Dread Devil of Forgetfulness, I take a look at them.
Okay, for serious swearing purposes, at an author’s rock-bottom minimum, we need one short, sharp, heartfelt, pungent, and multi-purpose strong epithet (the equivalent of our “F * * k!”), and it should be a contraction of something longer, that can be gasped or said with slow emphasis by characters who are awed, or dismayed when they realize they’ve been tricked (the same way some real-world Bible-thumpers of my youth used to say, slowly and fiercely: “Hell’s . . . brazen . . . HINGES!”). So, “Dark!” and “Dark and Empty!” work, sound-wise.
They also work because a terrible thing to a Sembian of today’s generation, where money is king and everyone is greedy to get more and to splash it around, is an empty chest that one expected to be full of coins. Hence: “Dark and Empty!”
Okay, ‘dark’ equates with evil and thus can readily mean bad to most readers, but ‘dark and empty’ to a Sembian is worse. It just fits.
Having devised your cusswords, you then say them aloud, acting out a Sembian with accent and all (doing this in private is usually best :}) and if they don’t sound silly you can use them. (Anne McCaffrey invented one swear-word I just hate: “Fardles!” It would work if she was writing P.G. Wodehouse-style farce, but just sounds too silly to be true, in any other situation.)
So as a result we now have no actual dirty words to offend real-world mothers, teachers, librarians, and religious persons offended by profanity, but we do have the FEEL of someone swearing and meaning it.
This sort of detail is essential to making a setting seem real. That’s what the Volo’s Guides grew out of: I always put myself in the boots of a Dungeon Master or just an old man in your nearest bar, telling a story, and think: what “little touches” does he need to make the fantasy setting seem different? Well, he needs cuss-words. And different coinage, and names for it. And a few verbal expressions that tell you a little about his mind-set, and hopefully about the place he’s from or is telling you about (example: a person from our real-world North American prairies using an expression along the lines of “As big as all outdoors!” or that refers to the huge, overarching sky or the flatness of the land). And a way of telling times of the day, days and months and years that aren’t the same as ours. And so on: names for drinks and food, and things travellers have to do when they arrive at an inn or whatever you’re going to call it. (What’s the outhouse called? “Jakes”? “Privy?” “Garderobe”? Each one gives a different style, and it’s that style I’m after.)
And so on. I can go on and on all day about worldbuilding, but that’s how it works for me. I never want to read a fantasy novel that contains sentences like: “She flung the vhaeram wide and slaedeled out and down my thormbrar path without looking back once, tossing her yuthgla into my starntarrs, laedlyn and all, as she walked right out of my life.”
Huh? What does all THAT mean? And no, footnotes won’t make it better. :}
But I also don’t want that same fantasy author to write the same sentence in that same fantasy novel like this: “She flung the screen door wide and strolled out and down my garden path without looking back once, tossing her Tom Collins into my rosebushes, glass and all, as she walked right out of my life.”
Yup. Seems real different from our world to me. Uh-huh. Pass me a Big Mac, willya?
I’ll stop blathering now. (Chorus of: “Phew!” and equivalents, except for the guy over there who’s happily snoring.) Please don’t be offended if your question seemed to touch off a rant or a lecture. I just get enthusiastic, and out it all comes. :}
Ed


And there you have it. Yes, I can just hear Ed saying all of that. Right now, I have to scold him to get back to bed and get over his cold, because I’m sure he’s sitting bare-skinned at the keyboard, down there in his freezing basement surrounded by books and games. So I’ll sign off and start e-verbally lashing our Creator of the Realms. Who by the way is delighted that Steven Schend’s posting here, and that Eric Boyd’s back from his business trips.
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  01:39:06  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
*chuckle* Ed

That article on Realms swear words would have been real handy a couple of weeks ago when my players encountered Noristuor the tielfing Wizard living Ashabenford, at the suestion of one of my posters on the FR board I gave poor Noristuor Terete syndrome (which expained why no one in the Town likes him.)

My PCs didn know what they'd struck!

“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar”

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Shadowlord
Master of Realmslore

USA
1298 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  02:08:32  Show Profile  Visit Shadowlord's Homepage  Send Shadowlord an AOL message Send Shadowlord a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

So here I am again, Shadowlord, still toiling for Ed. Yes, ye olde slavedriving lash comes down on my bared hide again and again; ’tis a good thing I like it. :} Tell you what: you can flog me, too, for not just being myself.


Well, Hooded One, tell Ed 'Thank thee for answering my questions,' and it's high time you (The Hooded One, not Ed ) took a break. I can fairly see all the whip-marks from tyrannical Ed Greenwood...

Ah, nay, I'll not whip ye, I'll just let Ed do it...

The Chosen of Vhaeraun
"Nature is governed by certain immutable rules. By virtue of claw and fang, the lion will always triumph over the goat.Given time, the pounding of the sea will wear away the stone. And when dark elves mingle with the lighter races, the offspring invariably take after the dark parent. It is all much the same. That which is greater shall prevail. Our numbers increase steadily, both through birth and conquest. The dark elves are the dominant race, so ordained by the gods." Ka'Narlist of the Ilythiiri.

Edited by - Shadowlord on 20 Mar 2004 02:20:27
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  03:25:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. Your Lady Hooded One returns (thank you for that naming, Wooly Rupert!), with Ed’s latest:


Hi, Wooly Rupert. Well, now: Nobanion and Lurue are, of course, the Lion and the Unicorn of British nursery rhyme fame (with all the meanings that go with that, too; they are among other things the supporters of the royal coat of arms for that country, and in many other coats of arms associated with England).
Yet they’re also MUCH more than that. For me, I have to be able to imagine a deity with some awe, and I often do it by attaching to them emotions evoked by other fiction. So, the Lion is also Aslan the Lion in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Christian allegorical fantasy classics soon to appear in a Disney movie that * might * turn out to be okay, and already on film in any number of BBC adaptations down the years, some of them superb). The Narnia books are hated by some, loved by others, but chock-full of little heart-wrenching scenes regardless, and are among the top-selling English-language fiction books of all time.
I didn’t mean my lion-god to BE Aslan, of course; as you saw in that DRAGON article, a lot of names were placeholders at the time, waiting for Mr. Gygax to round out the “official” (Greyhawk) pantheon. Aslan has that name because he has evoke that “awe” for me. The name “Aslan” is Indian in origin (India, not native North American), and the lion is of course a Christian symbol for ‘the King’ from way back, hence its lavish use in royal heraldry.
So “Aslan” went away the moment TSR decided to publish the Realms (mustn’t lift central characters from other authors, even in homage, though I did unwittingly [i.e. I’d forgotten] sneak one direct homage into the Realms [Aglarond, for Tolkien], and beat another well-known fantasy author to a name by coincidence, coining the name “Ashaba” for the river that runs through Shadowdale years before David Eddings used it in his Malloreon books).
Lurue is my own invented name, but it started almost as the deity’s ‘private’ name, with “Silverymoon” being her popular one (and, yes, the city of the same name was originally envisaged as the root and center of her faith). Not only is Lurue the Unicorn of “the Lion and the Unicorn,” she’s also the mysterious, eponymous unicorn from the children’s book THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge, AND she’s also meant to evoke the Unicorn of Amber, in Roger Zelazny’s classic Amber books (where the Unicorn inspires awe even among the jaded royal family who use her as their badge). She was always meant to be mysterious, and there’s very little about her that didn’t go into POWERS & PANTHEONS that doesn’t now contradict the published Realms.
Originally, Lurue WAS magic—before Julia Martin added the name “Weave” to my GenCon explanations of ‘the great web of magic that’s everywhere in Toril, binds Toril together, and IS Toril,’ Lurue was the embodiment of the Weave. As such, she could teleport without error or limit, through all barriers and spells, was immune to all known magical [and psionic] effects, could raise dead, heal, regenerate and restore with the touch of her horn—and also spew silver fire from it—and so on. Her very proximity dispels illusions and curses, purifies and neutralizes poisons and taints, and purges diseases. And on and on. [To the usual chorus of “Look, yet another all-powerful Greenwood munchkin!” I reply: Yes. Of course. This is THE all-powerful goddess, and she’s also whimsical. We can’t understand why she does what she does, so she can’t be controlled, or act like any sort of tyrannical munchkin, any more than a mountain range or an ocean can be.] She tended to be as curious as a newborn babe, utterly fearless, and kind to injured creatures. And yes, I tucked in the “patron of virgins, but can also make barren wombs bear” folklore, too. Only virgins could ride her, and those who did got that silver hair the Chosen who are Mystra’s daughters all share, and ‘wild talent’ innate magical abilities, and were marked for special tasks and achievements all their lives.
The TSR designers quite rightly (given the humanocentric core of that version of AD&D, with its level and power limits on non-humans) wanted human gods to be front and center and of the greatest power and importance, so Mystra (most important to intelligent creatures trying to USE magic) became also the Guardian or Mother of the Weave, and Lurue sort of . . . danced sideways. To become the awe-inspiring mystery she is now.
Now, as for the Knights of the Unicorn, I do have more, but dare not pass it on right now for fear of trampling on something another creative person is already working on, in the Realms. That’s one rule I’m going to be very careful not to break, no matter how much we all want to delve into lore and secrets of the Realms. So: sorry, and I hope you’ll understand.


So saith Ed. Thy Hooded One can add this much: we Knights met Lurue once, in the High Forest, on the banks of the Unicorn Run. She was dancing on her hind legs on empty air, about forty feet off the ground, in full silvery moonlight -- and we all grovelled. She LOOKED into our eyes, each of us -- and Ed had written out long, detailed notes for each of us for the dream-visions we received then. When we awakened, we were all reinvigorated, healed of all hurts, had maximum charges in all of our magic items, and so on. The one virgin among us (no, I’m not going to name her, but it wasn’t my character, all you guessers) had been touched by Lurue’s horn, and her eyes were two flames of silver fire. Also, her hair had gone silver and moved constantly by itself, as if waves of wind were passing through it. She gained feather fall and water walk innate abilities on the spot, and ironguard as long as the silver fire was in her. It remained with her as we travelled, until we had to fight a certain archdevil in Myth Drannor.
In that encounter, we were overwhelmed by devils and were going down, just being buried in numbers. The archdevil saw the silver fire and went straight for the particular Knight, and after they’d started to fight and the character was being badly mauled, the player (thank whatever gods there be) REMEMBERED Ed’s notes of her dream-vision, and what she had to do. She fled onto the altar beside the devil (that was also a gate into the Nine Hells), and when the archdevil attacked her there, she embraced it and let it slay her.
And her silver fire went BLAM and took out altar, gate, archdevil, and all the other devils within a MILE, leaving all of us Knights lying dazed, unscathed, and alive . . . except she who’d sacrificed herself. She was gone forever.
And at that moment, far away in Shadowdale, Storm Silverhand was helping a farm wife give birth to her first child, a girl—and it came out stillborn. Storm raised the tiny body to make absolutely sure before she wrapped it and turned to comfort the mother . . . and its eyes opened, and they were silver and knowing, and the mind of our lost Knight was in the now-living child and wondering how by Lurue to tell Storm who she was.
Hmm. I’m crying again, just remembering it.
Another of Ed’s beautiful little moments, that will make me treasure our Realmsplay forever.

Ladies and gentlesirs, I give you: the Realms!
The Hooded One
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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  15:20:53  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
Ed, since the Wizards folks seem unlikely to ever take a risk on publishing a treatise on swear words, would you be willing to dig up that bit of lore and share it with us? Pretty please? *cheesy grin*

*takes deep breath* Ok: follow-ups from previous:

quote:
Courtiers are mere “toadies” and “jumped-up power-snatchers” in their books -- but then, so are ‘junior’ noble families, because some nobles spend their entire lives ranking people and playing “I’m haughtier than thou” games.


Unless I am misunderstanding you, the term "junior" noble family seems to imply that at least a few new hereditary titles and grants of arms have been warranted in Waterdeep since the initial organization of the Lords, probably much to the chagrin of the "Old Guard". A courtier position, with its easily-revoked and non-hereditary status is not really what this particular greedy plyr of mine is chasing so devotedly. ;)

So, as a further elucidation, would you be willing to briefly summarize exactly how you see the most recent original noble family to be coined in Waterdeep managing to achieve that feat, despite the machinations and protestations of the "old guard"? Clarification: by original I mean NOT an offshoot of an existing noble family or unforseen inheritance of an existing but vacated noble mantle. I mean a commoner with great wealth and personal puissance who managed to get himself and all his future progeny recognized as a "junior noble family" by the Heralds as well as the Lords and existing Old Guard nobility of Waterdeep, no matter how grudgingly or resentfully the recognition was given. The latest noble family to be "made" from commoner or merchant stock in Waterdhavian history before the "shop" was closed, in other words.

I'm looking for an example of how it is done. A template, so to speak...

quote:
Aye, gotta watch those Hooba-Woppas. I hear they walk among us, just waiting their chance, and are especially bad this year. ;}

In the words of the inimitable Christopher Judge: "Indeed..." ;)


quote:
Mistreating, threatening, harming or slaying, or magically influencing a Herald is grounds for instant dismissal from whatever rank you have . . . so it’s a meaningless punishment only to a brigand (“robber baron”) or a royal heir, who will still be of royal blood whatever they do. Everyone else LOSES their noble or gentle status, and can expect to be pointedly NOT recognized in negotiations (no one will sign contracts or treaties with them, no one will swear fealty to them, and so on, until the Heralds publicly pardon them, which will usually take a LOT of redress and grovelling). Royalty in disfavour can still inherit thrones and the like, but can’t rule effectively without that pardon, which means they must either abdicate in favour of offspring or rule through a Regent. All of this means the Heralds rarely have to actually enact censure; the threat is usually enough.



Got it. This reminds me very much of Vampire LARP with the status system and Harpies (in our case Heralds) to back it up. It can be brutal, to say the least. It also sheds a great deal of light on exactly why the Heralds seriously can't be seen to associate closely with Harpers. Their authority (and the entire system of noble status) depends on the perception of being as impartial as death itself. It becomes understandably important where the ability of a king to sign treaties and rule his realm is in question.

The Harpies, the Heralds, the Harpers: Oh My!

quote:
At that audience, the Herald will explain the transgression, and request that the offender cease, immediately and forever, using this offending blazon or displaying any arms beyond a simple single-charge badge -- or on the spot petition the Heralds for formal permission to officially use the blazon.

previous from you: ...if they decide your breakaway kingdom is legitimate, and worthy of having its own rules as set by you the new ruler, it’s their decision, and nothing you can -- or should try to -- influence...



This business of petitioning seems to leave room for someone demanding to be recognized as noble. If our "yahoo adventurer" clears out a couple hundred acres in the Border Kingdoms that are previously unclaimed by any noble authority, plants a respectable fortified structure on it, and then starts serious road patrols and tax collections, can he successfully petition that his dominion and right to set rules for his new "kingdom" be recognized by the Heralds with appropriate noble title (King or noble Lord) and formal grant of arms? I mean the "real deal", not just the right to display a simple blazon. If not, then what specific qualifiers is he then lacking in the sight of the Heralds? There is no existing hierarchy to challenge his dominance. Is it a particular number of subjects that he must rule over and protect? A particular amount of land that he must control over a span of time? A particular size of standing army to enforce his edicts? Is it passing on the land though one generation and thus establishing precedent for hereditary rule?

Put another way: the Obarskyr family were originally just farmers that got shanghaied into taking responsibility for their neighbors so the elves wouldn't cut 'em down, right? The elves might have given them the nod, but what made human authorities like the Heralds declare the Obarskyrs to be noble so that they could then "mint" others in turn? Likewise, the nobles of Waterdeep were just the "rich jerkweeds" I mentioned. So by your own account, the richest merchants apparently just got together one day and mutually agreed that they were all noblemen with an agreed-upon local code of laws between them? Sounds like a sweet deal. My buddies and I could have a sit-down and agree to that just as easily. Minus the rich part, of course. So what changed? When and why did the Heralds suddenly begin recognizing them as nobles with "the right to bear arms and mete justice"? What did they do that qualified them above Joe Iron-Noggin the Robber Baron? Why do the Heralds say yea to one self-important tyrant and nay to another? ;)

Related question, and I probably know the answer but just have to ask: would the Obarskyrs ever give hereditary title to an elf? Let's imagine an elf that publicly, visibly saved the entire kingdom from annihilation, just for clarity's sake. An elf obviously deserving of the crown's gratitude... I suspect the answer is no, but I'm curious what their public justification for it would be, either way. Beautiful, graceful, nearly immortal elves are an obvious threat to the authority of human nobility and their status above "rough commoners", so I imagine there'd be no end of protests and assassination attempts if it were done...

quote:
Once these have been delivered and the fees paid, the petitioner is free to make as many copies as they like, and will be instructed on how much they can modify these copies without “offending against the Law of Arms” (the VERY complicated and ever-being-revised private code kept by the Heralds).



You seem to be assuming a basic knowledge of heraldry here that I unfortunately lack. Can you either define what constitutes common sense in such matters or recommend the equivalent of "Heraldry for Dummies" so that I'm not wasting your time with boilerplate questions? I know what 'sinister' means but I have no clue about the significance of 'charges'. What would you recommend as a crash course in heraldry for the novice?

quote:
In the case of the trade in magic you postulate, I would say the two mages involved would call in a priest or priestess of Mystra to (secretly) handle the exchange.


Ha. Like most things that involve common sense, it seems obvious now that you've said it. That solves my problem right there. Thanks, Ed.

quote:
I’ll stop blathering now. (Chorus of: “Phew!” and equivalents, except for the guy over there who’s happily snoring.) Please don’t be offended if your question seemed to touch off a rant or a lecture. I just get enthusiastic, and out it all comes. :}



Jumping threads: No apologies. Your attention to that kind of detail is what makes bright jewels like the Volo's Guides so indispensable. The folks at Wizards need to let you have at it again. Not that I'm complaining exactly: we are getting the shotgun equivalent of several Volo's Guides just by friendly interrogation on this thread.

You are a rare breed of hero to be kicking all this down to us, Ed. Thanks again... ;)

Loved the sample chapter of Elminster's Daughter, btw. El paying impromptu child support: comedy.

-Karth


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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  15:27:05  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Awwwww. * Sniff. * Hooded Lady, that was a beautiful story. Wow. It must be some honour, to play in the 'real' Realms campaign.
Now, I'm not trying to be snide here. I'm honestly curious. Can you tell us of a time when Ed screwed up as a DM? When something went 'funny wrong'?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2004 :  15:42:42  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
LOL! Yes, I can, Blueblade. Ed keeps a beautiful little hand-carved Indian wooden box (the top all pierced “filigree” containing four 90-minute cassette tapes. They are an experimental campaign record of a Zhent military expedition (one ambitious commander and his troops plus a posse of “new, ambitious” Zhentarim magelings, NOT a big army) trying to conquer Shadowdale. We did the wargaming ‘move on the big tabletop map’ procedure, and yes, it took even longer than those tapes cover, as various Knights raced back and forth from fire-fight to pitched battle to Zhents torching cottages to fire-fight again. The funny bit is this: one Zhentarim and one Knight engaged in psionic combat, using the AD&D rules of the day, and as everything else happens, there are these running-gag interruptions of said player saying: “But if my Intellect Fortress was holding up and I…” and Ed quickly doing a few rounds of the mind-wrestling, then back to the sweat-and-blood battle, and then the player saying, “Okay, I’ve recalculated the points, and I think…” Ed jumps back in to deal with this, and then back to the battle, and then back to the player saying, “But…” and so on. It goes on for ALL four tapes! Hilariously frustrating to listen to, even now. I recall Ed triumphantly ending the psionic combat with the Zhent’s head exploding and the gore spattering the PC’s front with three letters: FNA [F***king Never Again!]. :}
The Hooded One
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