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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2004 :  11:52:34  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Sarta
[br"I'm getting better."
"No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment."



Sarta



Monty Python right?

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2004 :  15:39:59  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Hello Ed! (and Hooded One)

Your post about trade-fairs and religious holy days has gotten me thinking. Are there any known major events that wouldn't be covered in the wonderful Faiths and Avatars series? I know the major faiths and can pull info about their holidays, but perhaps there is something that I am missing? Something along the lines of the Stag Hunt? Also, what about the holidays of Malar. I know that he is still venerated in the Vast, but is that mostly the smaller and more rural dwellings? Are there hunts through the city streets of dangerous creatures in Tantras and other major cities?

I must admit that it is wonderful and frustrating to get all this great info from you. I've been developing Tantras and surroundings for my home game, but love the info I get from you. It has smashed some preconceptions on the area and made me rethink much of the work I had done. I do prefer to have something that comes from you, especially for the case if the same area ever gets developed, it won't conflict with what I have written. Your material always seems to be a bit more realistic and make more sense then what I have developed. I guess this is the issue with highly developed game worlds, no? Thank you for all the info that you give, but I still have gone on to name various districts of Tantras and whatnot on my own. My game must go on!

Hi Krash! Thanks for the coinage. It's good stuff.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2004 :  20:46:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, thom. All of this is going to sound howlingly basic, but here we go:
1. No overall concept, but yes, I DO have specific things in mind when I design ‘mini-dungeons.’ First: WHY were they created? Even using magic, it’s a LOT of work hewing through stone (or digging earth and then bracing it with stone against collapse), so who were the particular delvers/builders of this specific hole in the ground, and why did they go to all that trouble?
(It’s a safe bet that creating obstacle courses for adventurers to die in, seeded with treasure and handy monsters, is very, very seldom a ‘real in the Realms’ reason for a mini-dungeon to have started its existence, though dwarves and gnomes have been known to defend their subterranean strongholds with false or ‘trap’ entrances that lead only into dead-end slaying gauntlets, in regions where orcs and other menaces are numerous.)
2. It should be obvious from my preceding answer that the only elements that are always in my mini-dungeons are things that should logically be there. For instance: the two most popular reasons for a small subterranean complex of tunnels and chambers are: as a tomb, or as a storage cache. Either one can double as overnight shelter, which rises to become the most popular reason when the ‘dungeon’ is located on what is (or once was) a well-travelled route in dangerous terrain. So a tomb needs a burial chamber, something that identifies who’s interred, and some measure of security (either simply a sealed or formerly-sealed door to that chamber, or more rarely, traps or misdirections). Any storage area has to be designed to securely store whatever’s intended to go inside [if you want to shelter carts, the passages have to allow the carts to be easily moved in or out, right? if the stone is damp, the storage has to be elevated ‘off the floor’ and have some means of drainage] and you have to decide if the builders wanted to hide some or all of the contents (in side-niches, cavities in ceiling-support-pillars, etc.), and wanted to defeat monsters and hungry vermin (how secure are the doors, how sealed the complex?).
Anything underground that people are going to live in needs a place to store food, a place to sleep, a place for defecation and wastes disposal or storage, a means of air getting in, handy water either nearby outside or available within the underground complex (and if it is, howabout drainage?), and (if cooking’s going to take place inside the ‘mini-dungeon’) a way for smoke to get out. Moreover, if the place was constructed by folks with brains, the possibility of being trapped inside by a collapse, foe, or fire will usually lead them to construct more than one entrance/exit (even if one of them is seldom used and inconvenient).
Moreover, if this ‘mini-dungeon’ has been abandoned since its construction (often the case in the Realms, given the reverses the dwarves have suffered and the tendency of gnomes to withdraw farther and farther from human habitation [notice how seldom they’re mentioned in the 3e Realms?]), there should be some logic as to where monsters are, within them (the old “how come these monsters that would eat each other are waiting for us adventurers in adjacent rooms?” matter).
3. As a result, a lot of my mini-dungeons aren’t that “exciting” in terms of challenging adventurers. Some are very small (see “Ironguard” in DUNGEON issue 8 [I THINK it’s issue 8; Faraer?]), some are simply abandoned holes, and many don’t have treasure (if there ever was any, someone else got there first). However, as a DM looking to entertain players for an evening, I always try to make my mini-dungeon interesting. Being as my players are ROLEplayers, a monster encounter is the least desirable way to do this (unless the monster has an intriguing mystery attached to it, or an ability to teleport or otherwise be VERY effective when fighting intruders on familiar terrain). Traps should always be logical, or they’re just unrealistic nastiness (“Ha! I, the killer DM, just got you! Hahahahaha!”), so they, too, are used very sparingly.
However, the roleplaying nature of my campaign allows me to entertain players with scraps of rotting parchment with fragmentary notes on them, broken shards of weapons with distinctive runes on them, corpses of adventurers carrying the usual assortment of gear [MORE little parchment notes, spellbooks, weaponry, and little mysteries], so these realistic odds and ends are almost always present -- and can sometimes be added to, over months and years of play, in a process that fascinates players trying to puzzle out what their characters have found, and that leads to a conclusion I haven’t always detailed (or determined at all) when I start dropping the little hints.
My players were always pleased to find a little lair they could mark on their maps as a future storage cache or hideout for their own use -- and among other things, they temporarily stashed King Azoun IV, the runaway Alusair, various wounded Harpers, a trussed and magically mind-numbed Manshoon, and in the case of Torm, several angry fathers in such places. They also found a huge Zhent weapons-cache, and by magical means relocated it to their own ‘mini-dungeons’ elsewhere, forestalling a planned attack on Shadowdale.
So it boils down to two things: how did this place get there and what form will it realistically take as a result, and how can I jazz it up with later ‘in-Realms’ events to make it interesting for MY players?
For instance: some hack-and-slashers will be bored or irritated when they find a ‘mini-dungeon’ ankle-deep in pages torn out of old diaries and ledgers. After looking for spells written on these scraps for a few rounds, they may even torch it all (as two different pickup groups did, at GenCon 17). However, my ‘home campaign’ players had their characters examine all the paper, wondered aloud at why it was in such good condition after years of lying around damp underground chambers, did a few quick probing spells to make sure they weren’t in immediate peril, and then gathered it all up to carry off for a more thorough examination. They didn’t get it all (there was a secret room they hadn’t located), forcing the wizard who’d long-ago desperately ‘hidden’ himself in various letters (A, E, G, etc. letters, I mean, not “letters to the king”) on the pages to escape certain death at the hands of a vastly more powerful rival (who’d searched the place and torn up the books in a rage when not finding his intended victim) to try to communicate with them. They found the hidden room and its papers, and then had real-time months of fun trying to get the wizard back together again in a way they could control, as they quizzed him to try to make sure they weren’t unleashing someone evil, insane, or just plain dangerous on the world (after all, how many more Larlochs does the Realms really need?).
I remain committed to ‘mini-dungeons,’ thom, because they can provide a good evening of play entertainment (and a secretly ‘portable’ one that a DM carries ready in his/er notes can be a great distraction if players are heading their characters in a determined manner to some place or confrontation you’re not ready to run, yet). They can also be a great ‘blow off steam’ change-of-pace for players engaged in a long, difficult of adventure (City of the Spider Queen, anyone?): if folks are feeling silly, or need to slash and blast something after days of whispering and *****footing around delicate court intrigues, trot out a mini-dungeon that offers them a chance to unwind. (And no, Faraer, I have no plans to recycle Realms stuff into Castlemorn; much better to write new ‘fit the new setting’ material. I’ll find some other way to get them out to fans, somehow, somewhere, and somewhen.)


So saith Ed. As for me, thom, I can remember PLENTY of "mini-dungeons" the Knights explored, but even if you’d happily read dozens of “and then, of course, we opened the door and fought the fourteen floating mind-flayers” accounts, I wouldn’t want to type them. :}
However, I’ll give you one -- and being as Damian wants to hear about the Tomb of the Archmage, by far the most dangerous and power-loaded of them all, let’s just QUICKLY summarize one of our visits there.
Picture a natural cavern in the headwaters of the Tesh, being used as a lair by various beasts (and overlooked by other caverns from which brigands with crossbows were quick to ambush all intruders from behind). There’s a drop shaft at the back of this cavern with spikes at the bottom, and various passages opening out of its sides and then sloping down into the solid rock. One such passage leads to a spell-ward-guarded side lair containing a dark naga commanding several bone nagas to slowly tunnel a way to freedom, along routes that won’t intersect with the Tomb proper.
Several others are dead ends or abandoned dwarf storage caches, one or two now home to monsters.
Yet another slopes down into the entry chamber of the Tomb, dominated by a grand but empty stone coffin on a catafalque (not a trap or false burial, but where the archmage’s beloved sorceress wife was interred; her coffin was long ago plundered and emptied by tomb-robbers). A watchghost guardian (former lover and apprentice of the Archmage [long after the death of his wife], bound to him, and reveres him still) lurks in this chamber, keeping invisible and judging intruders by their appearances, deeds, and words. She unleashes other Tomb guardians (dread wielding swords, battle horrors [helmed horrors that can blink, unleash one spell (usually magic missile), and are immune to one sort of magic (usually fire or lightning)] wielding swords that can paralyze by touch, doomguards [3e “dread guards”], a captive drell, and so on) accordingly. Most of these perils are shut into several otherwise empty rooms, in a small complex of rooms and passages ‘behind’ the entry chamber, that’s presided over by the watchghost. (One such room is where all dead intruders and their gear are dragged, and has become the lair of a shrapnyl raggamoffyn. A long-ago wizard intruder became a unique undead spirit [in 3e Ed says he’d use a ghost] and wanders the complex, avoiding the watchghost because their clashes don’t harm each other but do cause each other intense pain -- we saw one, and Ed described lightning-like arcs of negative energy springing up between them as they both shrieked and cursed -- all in eerie whispers. A few darkmantles also roam the Tomb.)
Only one passage leads on from this area, to reach a false tomb [another grand but empty stone coffin on a catafalque, this one with a false bottom and stairs descending down into a chamber that’s the lair of an imprisoned ‘big brawler’ monster of your choice: Ed had a creature there that in 3e terms would be a chaos beast of triple hit points, able to regenerate as long as it retained one of each sort of its heads -- and it kept sprouting chimera-like trios of heads], surrounded by floating, glowing books and splendidly-fashioned wands, scepters, swords, and other devices. Each of these items is an ALMOST-spent item (one or two charges or discharges left; the weapons deliver a single high-damage attack and collapse and crumble in a burst of magical radiance), because their magic has been slowly leached by the spells that levitate them, but one item, a strange ‘handgrip’-shaped piece of metal with no obvious function or discharge, is actually a key of sorts, and the only way to reach the inner tomb: possession of it when one approaches a certain wall of the entry chamber causes the wall to ‘grow’ a gate [3e portal] to another chamber entirely surrounded by solid stone, where there’s, yes, ANOTHER grand stone coffin on a catafalque, with a false bottom and stairs descending down into a chamber where the Archmage himself lies: not buried, but floating on his back in midair, withered to bones and resting atop a floating row of spellbooks. He’s not undead, and the books are very real [and the REAL treasure of this place].
Ed placed a unique guardian in this last coffin, but tells me that today he’d replace it with a nimblewright (3e MM II) magically enabled to use IOUN stones (which accompany it), and motivated by orders to slay or damage intruders as much as possible without itself being destroyed (i.e. it can flee, hide, or lure intruders to another monster if faced with likely destruction).
We fought Zhents there several times (they knew about the Tomb before we did, and were trying to get into it), but on one of our visits, we Knights ran into heavy damage destroying other monsters, guardians, and magic items in the Tomb, and then fled when a Zhent force of beholders and priests of Bane spell-loaded to deal with us tried to trap us in the place. We had to fight our way out through them, and (ahem) decided we’d seen enough of the Tomb for a loooong time. ;}
THO
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crazedventurers
Master of Realmslore

United Kingdom
1073 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2004 :  21:21:28  Show Profile  Visit crazedventurers's Homepage Send crazedventurers a Private Message
Thanks Matey for the update

just seemd to fit, climbing/crumbling stair, and also given the fact that the playtesters were Vic Selby et al (Crazed Venturers and the Knights)

Also WELL looking forward to Castlemorn - ahhh to see some LORE in a product for a change (sigh)


And thank you Good Lady for indulging my fancy and relating the tale of the Tomb - you took a few goes at it then? - to beat the Zhents to the treasure I am guessing i.e. better that the magic is in your hands than theirs!

Cheers

Damian




quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

And will any of this kind of material turn up in the Castlemorn Ruins Sourcebook? [yes/no] In fact, how much of your content is in the follow-up Castlemorn books? [none/some/lots]

Damian, you said you guessed the dungeon in CM8 was the Climbing Stair; when I asked Ed about the module he said the locations were made up for it, though with features from existing Realms stonedelves, and might be placed in the Sword Coast North in the wilderness near the Dessarin valley.


So saith Ed. I've never said he was sane, have I?
Gods, all this writing and he's running a constant fantasy version of Coronation Street in his head, too. .
shudder,
love to all,
THO
Candlekeep Forum 7 May 2005

Edited by - crazedventurers on 30 Mar 2004 21:33:30
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thom
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2004 :  23:17:55  Show Profile  Visit thom's Homepage Send thom a Private Message
Fantastic! Many Thanks for the tale Lady Hooded One, and *please* tell Ed, that (as usual) he gave *just* what I was looking for - and so much more! This is *great* stuff I *definitely* intend to work the roleplaying elements into the various mini-dungeons I've been contemplating.

thom
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Bruce Donohue
Learned Scribe

Canada
129 Posts

Posted - 31 Mar 2004 :  02:08:44  Show Profile  Send Bruce Donohue a Yahoo! Message Send Bruce Donohue a Private Message
THO and Ed, thought I would share this fun conversation about lyrics being popped into one's head about adapting certain songs to the Realms. Elaine did this one using Fernando by ABBA.

quote:
I'm about to do a Very Evil Thing and put yet another insidious tune in your head.

::Two aged monks, wistfully viewing a shelf of lore forgotten by younger monks and left to molder...::

Do you see the dust, Alaundo?
I remember long ago the treasured volumes on this shelf.
In the candlelight, Alaundo,
You were thumbing crumbling pages, reading softly to yourself.
I could hear the ancient tales
And sounds of distant song, like memories of an elf...

There was beauty that could make you weep
In Candlekeep, Alaundo.
It was shining there for you and me
Eternally, Alaundo.
Though I never thought the past could fade
In dust and damp,
If we have to write it all again
We will, my friend, Alaundo. . .


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 29 Mar 2004 15:16:38



So I wonder what you could do if either you or Elaine were to promote your Waterdeep Novel in song? I though Green Acres' theme would be funny. heehee
Waterdeep is the place to be...

Edited by - Bruce Donohue on 31 Mar 2004 04:00:13
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Faraer
Great Reader

3302 Posts

Posted - 31 Mar 2004 :  02:28:45  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
"Irongard" is in Dungeon #18. (Ed's other Dungeon piece is "Elminster's Back Door" in #30.)

I wasn't thinking of recycling, just whether the same (similar, related) creative impulse was going to go into the Ruins book.

And there we have the Tomb of the Archmage written up at half-"Elminster's Guide" length.

As for Castlemorn,
quote:
"It's in editing right now and that should be finished by the end of next week. Then it goes to typesetting for two weeks and then it goes to the printer for four weeks. Then it takes two weeks to ship."

Edited by - Faraer on 31 Mar 2004 02:29:54
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Richtin
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  01:20:15  Show Profile  Visit Richtin's Homepage  Send Richtin an AOL message Send Richtin a Private Message
how did you get all that info on drow in the book drow of the underdark?

"Where in the Nine Hells did you ever get the notion that I would fight fair?"
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  02:18:05  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. The words of Ed, to Richtin:

Oh, dear, this is going to sound flippant: I (ahem) made it up.
That's what they pay me for.
Seriously, I was assigned a project with that title, a specified length, told to create some new drow gods, magic items, and spells, and was specifically told to add the technology bits.
I began by gathering all the published rules and lore (check out the acknowledgements: they refer to DRAGON articles, earlier TSR products, and so on) into a 'picture' of the drow, identified the gaps I had to fill and what the pre-existing rules and lore "told" us about the drow and therefore what I could logically extend and extrapolate from that...and then went ahead and made it up. That's what I DO. :}

So saith Ed. And I believe him. ;}
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  02:22:07  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
And a postscript: yes, that means Ed created Vhaeraun and Eilistraee, and developed Gary Gygax's un-named Elder Elemental God somewhat, too. The drow (and dark elves) are, of course, drawn from mythology. Ed briefly told the story of the development of the drow in D&D in his introduction to Bob's omnibus drow book (just reprinted in the hardcover of HOMELAND).
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  06:38:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
You know, that technology bit gave me a great idea for a drow NPC...

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Adrian_Blackwood
Acolyte

Mexico
1 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  07:27:37  Show Profile  Visit Adrian_Blackwood's Homepage Send Adrian_Blackwood a Private Message
Hello Lady of the hood and Mr. Greenwood!

I must thank Kuje31 because he posted a message in the WotC forums about this thread, and I thought that I should pay a visit to this library... and I'm really happy I did it, because all the information in this topic has been really interesting!, the info on Tantras was specially cool to me..

If I remember well someone asked about info on the Triad... I'm interested too.. I would like to know a little more than what is written in the 2e and the 3e books about Realms gods.. anything would be great..

But I actually came here to thank you Mr. Greenwood... for some strange reason I downloaded those books about Elminster Ecologies and was fascinated reading them... at some point I was enjoying it so much that I thought "Man, I want to be a druid!" (mmm... it was something more like wow! quiero ser un druida! )... I wanted to give thanks, because druid was the only class that I wasn't interested to play... now I've found every class is cool and funny... thank you!!!!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  09:16:33  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Well again, Lady Hooded One and Sage Greenwood!

We saw the release of more info about Alustriel's current squeeze, Larlake. Is there going to be any more, or is that it? I should like to know more about Zarasper Nyritarr and the magic he's worked on Larlake...

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  15:58:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ed is deep in Waterdeep right now, but he WILL be sending oaths and so on regarding Tempus in a few days, with more deities to follow.
Wooly, he did tell me that there were only four Larlake columns, but he may say more HERE if you ask him something specific (narrow focus). :}
THO
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thom
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2004 :  17:32:34  Show Profile  Visit thom's Homepage Send thom a Private Message
Well met again, Lady Hooded One! I've got more for Ed...

Hey Ed! It seems I'm going to be running a "mini-game" for a friend and his 13 year old sons, plus a 13 year old friend of theirs. The ages involved are relevant, as you'll see shortly <g>. This is my chance to get the next generation of gamers hooked on the Realms <g>! I haven't run a game with teenagers in almost 30 years (yes Hooded Lady, I too remember vinyl records)!

I've decided to start them in Thunderstone, in Cormyr because there's so much wonderful and dangerous terrain nearby; the Hullack forest, the Vast swamp, and the Thunder Peaks. I've read through the *wonderful* Volo's guide to Cormyr, and that leads to my questions:

1] Without giving TOO much away to Our Hooded Lady, what can you tell me about "Lost Tethgard" in the Hullack forest? From its spelling I'm thinking it might be another Irongard mini-dungeon, a lost town a la Gauntelgrym <sp?> or maybe a lost elven realm? I'll understand if you can't say too much because the Knights may go there someday...

2] When Volo mentions the Purple Dragons in Thunderstone are a rough, brawling bunch; does that mean if (when! <g>) my PCs get into fights with them the worst they have to worry about is being thrown in jail to cool off? From all else I've read the dragons *seem* to be held to a pretty high standard of behavior; I assumed that's how they maintain the respect of the populace. I *can* see this being less important in a wild frontier town...

3] I know you've run library campaigns for new gamers, and I'm guessing that some of them may have been young teenagers. Knowing how action and power oriented (i.e. "hack-n-slash") young male gamers can be, what are some of the techniques *you've* used to work in the roleplaying aspects of the Realms?

As always, *thanks* for your wonderful advice! And Hooded Lady, feel free to jump in with *any* advice you might have on how I can find the right note to open the Realms to these young gamers!

thom
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Herr Doktor
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2004 :  00:36:11  Show Profile  Visit Herr Doktor's Homepage  Send Herr Doktor an AOL message  Click to see Herr Doktor's MSN Messenger address Send Herr Doktor a Private Message
Dear Ed,

I'm about to begin a campaign set largely in the Dales and I've a question about what Dalesfolk think of half-orcs. One of the PCs in my group is a half-orc.

There doesn't seem to be any sort of half-orc population there. Why is that? Do half-orcs have a rougher time earning trust in the Dales then elsewhere?

Thanks for answering all of our questions!
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lordhobie
Acolyte

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2004 :  05:08:18  Show Profile  Visit lordhobie's Homepage  Send lordhobie an AOL message  Send lordhobie a Yahoo! Message Send lordhobie a Private Message
Well met again! :D

Ed, I've got a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Directing (and work in the insurance industry LOL), and I must confess I've always been curious about the theatrical arts in Faerun. There have been tantalizing hints in various Realms products, but I guess my question is this: how prevalent are organized dramatics in Faerun? Are there analogues to mystery and morality plays? Do actors enjoy notoriety or endure scorn (or both)? Are there any theatrical forms or disciplines that are unique to a certain Faerunian culture (e.g., noh and kabuki in Japan, highly-stylized Hindu and Balinese forms)?

Thanks again to you and to The Hooded One for your time and energy!

Lord Hobie
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2004 :  06:32:37  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Ed is deep in Waterdeep right now, but he WILL be sending oaths and so on regarding Tempus in a few days, with more deities to follow.
Wooly, he did tell me that there were only four Larlake columns, but he may say more HERE if you ask him something specific (narrow focus). :}
THO



Okay, we'll try this again...

Can you tell us more of Zarasper Nyritarr? What about the magic he's worked on Larlake -- exactly what kind (broad overview) of spells did he use? Why is Larlake able to resist, and how does "Zarrie" react to this?

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Hatch68
Acolyte

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2004 :  17:30:50  Show Profile  Visit Hatch68's Homepage Send Hatch68 a Private Message
I have a question for Ed.

How important is the Salt trade in the Realms and where are the major centers of production? Historically on Earth, wars have been fought to control the substance and it was often heavily taxed. I've never seen much mention of Salt in published Realms material or the various trademaps that have been included over the years dating back to the original grey box. Are there various flavors of salt as there is here on Earth? What are some of the favorite varieties?

Thanks so much for your time,

Alan Hatcher
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Bruce Donohue
Learned Scribe

Canada
129 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  00:29:53  Show Profile  Send Bruce Donohue a Yahoo! Message Send Bruce Donohue a Private Message
Hello Lady THO and greeting Ed.

I have a few questions about Bards in the Realms.

1. Would Bardic Colleges have outdoor amphitheatres (a la Greeks) or indoor ones?

2. How would a Bardic College differ in what it teaches from what the Clerics of Milil would do?

3. What would be typical types of classes offered in a Bardic College in the Realms?

4. Would a particular Bardic College be specialized in the form of training, much as either theatrical or musical in nature, be more reputable in the muscial instruments it creates?

5. Would Bardic Colleges of the Realms resemble our own medieval history in terms of who could be admitted and how?

6. In regards to reputation, how would one graduate to various levels, and how would one College be considered the pinnacle over another College? How is reputation and reknown factored when one considers which College has the best training, the best instructors, the most talented pupils (singers, dancers, poets, actors, lore knowledge, riddlers, etc...)

7. How would Elven instruction differ in mindset and messure of teaching as opposed to other races of Faerun, especially humans? After all I think it was hinted in Elfsong, how Spellsong is a very unique talent, that is comes from within the heart, but curious as to how one is more powerful in its mastery than the other?
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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  01:11:08  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message
Hello, Quick Question...

If you guide your choice of Realms character (Good, neutral or Evil) in a short trip through our world, what do you think you would want to show them? What do you think they would want to see? And what would you think they might want to take back to the realms?

Ed Greenwood! The Solution... and Cause of all the Realms Problems!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  02:25:58  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
’Lo, everyone. Your Hooded Lady here once more, with a few quick replies from Ed (don’t worry, he’s working on the Tempus and rest of the Triad stuff, and oaths of the other deities, too):


Hi, Faraer. Thanks for the DUNGEON catch! At the moment, Fast Forward (mainly Jim Ward himself) has taken the Castlemorn ball and is running with it, expanding my overview lore notes with his own design (I handed over the bones, and he’s adding organs and flesh, as it were). I don’t think he’s really got going on the Ruins book yet (beyond drafting a general overview of its planned contents), because -- enjoying having money enough to eat just like the rest of us -- he’s seized a chance to do a novel for a major New York publisher. Please bear in mind, however, that this is my long-range view of the situation: knowing that Jim is one of the two or maybe three people in the world who are as creatively busy as I am, I try not to interrupt or pester the man too much. I very much want to see him make it big as a fantasy novelist as well as a gaming company president, so we have really good excuses for going out for drinks together at GenCon. :}

Hi, Lashan. Of COURSE you should name districts and develop detail that makes your Tantras vivid and ‘real’ for you and your players. If I post anything (or WotC officially publishes anything) that contradicts what you’ve developed, so what? Just make note of how your campaign is different, because over time it can lead to different-from-canon consequences when events (in your campaign or in the published Realms) unfold. Feel free to use or ignore just what you want to, of what I pass along; there’s no “One True Realms” any more, and hasn’t been since 1986.
Yes, there are scores of major religious observances, festivals, and commemorations not covered in the Faiths and Avatars series, and literally hundreds of ‘local variations’ on those events, too. Far too many for me to go into here (I’m talking years of work to flesh out all the details, and of course many folks don’t want such a ‘religious flavour’ in their games, and wouldn’t use such lore at all.)
Malar tends to be worshipped in hunts only in rural areas, and not through city streets, except where there’s a local tradition of ‘a night of misrule’ or ‘a night when the old gods walk’ and persons who go out often wind up as corpses lying on the cobbles in the morning. In most such situations, local worshippers of Malar take advantage of such traditions to stage their own hunts on the same nights -- and remember, a la THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, the most dangerous quarry is a fit and formidable human, so quite often an opponent of local Malarites will be the hunted.
Otherwise, urban ‘holy hunts’ will be in sewers, large walled gardens of wealthy worshippers of Malar, or within the temples themselves (sometimes with participants blindfolded and in the dark, lightly armed and unarmored, with all doors spiked open, to give the monster a fighting chance in the small confines).

Hello, Herr Doktor. Most Dalesfolk hate and fear half-orcs, because they don’t distinguish them from the orc mercenaries used so often by Zhentil Keep in Daggerdale and elsewhere, OR because local lore has taught them to hate and fear the “Beast-Men” (ogres) of Thar, and having never seen real ogres (and lived to tell the tale), your average Dale farmer will mistake an orc, half-orc, mongrelman, or half-golem for a “Beast-Man,” and reach for the nearest weapon.

Hi, Bruce! I’ll get back to you about the five as soon as I can, okay? About song: well, Elaine is a trained opera singer, and I spent years singing Gilbert & Sullivan and classical choral music (my father met his second wife while they were both singing in a professional choir, we all sang in a church choir, and the elder of my two younger sisters spent some years touring England singing in cathedrals every summer). So I’ve rewritten G & S patter songs and devised new lyrics to show tunes for actual performance for years. (I made a devastatingly dastardly Pirate King, I’ll have you know. :}) However, right now we have to get the novel WRITTEN before we dare to indulge in filking about it. :} If I weaken, I’ll let you know.


So saith Ed. I can confirm that before his throat surgery, Ed could produce an almost Paul Robeson rich bass, although he was always a better mimic than performer. These days, aging has probably robbed him of a little of his lowest register and a lot of his wind (ha ha, spare us all the comments), but he can still thrill me to tears when he picks up the phone once a year and sings Happy Birthday to me. It’s sorta like having your own private Thomas Hampson. :}
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  02:28:49  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hail and well met again, all. Your Hooded Lady once more, with a reply from Ed (vinyl records, of course; I still have several hundred at home -- and Ed has THOUSANDS):


Hi, thom. It gives me the greatest pleasure to help you corrupXXX er, seducXXX ahem, introduce new blood into love of the Realms. And I know by now from your posts that with you as DM, they’ll be in good hands. So, without further ado:
1. Tethgard appears briefly in CROWN OF FIRE (Chapter 6), when Mirt guides Narm, Shandril, and Delg to its overgrown ruins. Before Cormyr existed as a realm, ‘very long ago,’ Lady Duskreene ruled a small area (now deep in the Hullack Forest) from her castle of Tethgard. Her watchghost still roams when ‘awakened,’ though not far from its crypt.
Today, Tethgard isn’t much more than a few tumbled stones, crazily-leaning low walls running among the trees, and a leaf-choked pit (collapsed cellar entrance) or two, with the stone stumps of what were once round towers here, and the heaved and broken-by-trees flagstones of what were once floors over there . . . yet tiny traces (glades, stone-and-stump farm fences, traces of cart-roads, foundations of stables and cottages and outlying huts) of Duskreene’s lands remain, overgrown by the forest. Yes, some of these cellars could well be ‘mini-dungeons.’
2. What Volo means is that the Purple Dragons in this dangerous-due-to-monsters-and-brigands area of the realm, far from the niceties of Suzail, are like a lot of small-town, good-hearted (NOT corrupt) policemen in our modern real world: yes, they throw folks in cells overnight to cool off, and for all but the most serious crimes, rather than charge and hold miscreants and send for officials to come and try them, they’re quite apt to scare them and beat them up (with bare fists), and then send them on their way, with growls of: “Don’t come here and try such foolishness again!” (Volo with his questions and peering into everybody’s business would be seen as a spy for outlaws, seeking easy targets, and certainly given this ‘rough ride out of town’ treatment.) I’d play these Purple Dragons as wily, salt-of-the-earth, cunning veterans who know the local terrain and hiding-places, know who in town is crooked and might fence stolen goods, and who won’t easily be caught in ambushes or duped: there are no haughty, I-never-get-my-hands-dirty “high-nosed city brightcloaks” among them.
3. Ah, the big meaty question. :} Yessssssss. :}
First of all, hand your players mysteries, both big and small. Small: they find little cryptic notes. One of my favourite “treasures” for mini-dungeons were potions of healing, in stainless-steel, cork-stoppered and wax-sealed vials. Quite a few such vials had messages or maps wrapped and tied around them. Maps of where? Lists of passwords and directions to what cult or private club or secret cabal? Messages (of treason, or shady negotiations) to whom? Leave that for your players to figure out.
At the same time, whenever they CAN’T stop to pursue or question the guy, have someone the PCs don’t recognize, someone nondescript, ALWAYS there when they go to a tavern (he goes upstairs, but if PCS follows, they can’t find him even if they turn the place upside down searching -- hmmm, secret passages, I guess :}), or down a crowded street (he vanishes in the crowds), or along the docks (he’s on a boat, pulling away). Obviously, he’s watching them -- but why? Who is he? Let them speculate, and an answer that might just fit one of their speculations will occur to you -- and let you draw them into a cool adventure. At the same time, the mere speculation is making them think in character, and jolting them out of hack-and-slash.
When the PCs do fight monsters, have a few of them (straight out of the Monster Manual) look like OTHER monsters (also straight out of the Monster Manual); this forces them to “fight the unknown” rather than reading up on monsters and doing the ho-hum hacking of “things they know.” And have monsters that can speak say something cryptic as they die (slain by PCs), such as: “Thurvan will hear of this!” or “Thurvan will . . .” or just, “Thurvaaaan.” Pretty soon, they’ll be WILD to know who in tarnation Thurvan is. :}
Force PCs to talk rather than just hack or bully, both by situations (talkative beggars, talkative innkeepers, talkative prostitutes -- particularly if any of these aid PCs by showing them a back way out, or telling them where they can get a wagon wheel fixed or buy a cage or net, inflict a lot of “interesting gossip chatter” (the NPC just has what we used to call “verbal diarrhea,” rabbiting on about their sick sister and the cat not liking pink things and the state of the drains and their noisy neighbours who fight with flying daggers all night, daggers that fly because of the spells they cast . . . and so on, AND: Watch officers and Purple Dragons and other authority figures that PCs daren’t flee from, ignore, be rude to, or attack, who ask the PCs questions: “So, let’s see your charter -- why’re you out HERE, anyway?” If the PCs answer in a friendly, talkative manner, have the authority figure start to ‘open up’ -- “Like knife-throwing, do you? So do I! My mother was a dead aim with a knife! Why, I remember once she . . .”) and through items: the PCs find a sword (or a lantern, or a doorknob that’s lost its door) in a dungeon that has only three magical properties: it can glow upon command, it can see with darkvision, and it can talk (AND talk, and TALK). It might not have much of an intellect, or coherently ordered memories that the PCs can plunder for useful information --but it does, right away, reveal that it knows SOME useful things, AND a lot of intriguing things (“King Azoun hid a coffer of rubies around here somewhere; I saw him do it! Never came back for it, neither! Where? Well, SOMEwhere near here.”). So PCs have good reasons to talk to it, from time to time.
Again, you’re training them to roleplay.
Encourage everyone to speak as their character (NOT necessarily funny voices, just...speak as their character, rather than as a modern person playing a game [player: I go up and tell the innkeeper not to mess with my friend. DM: Okay, so do that: let me hear you tell him). You as DM do this, too, saying the innkeeper’s lines rather than telling them, “The innkeeper rents you a room for the night.” Again, we’re establishing the roleplaying habit.
It makes everything so much more vivid and meaningful and memorable. And never, never forget that your job is to entertain your players: lift them up when they're tired or depressed, amuse them with occasional slapstick humour, challenge them with fights that awe them and occasionally let them exult in victory.


So saith Ed. I'll add just this: often Ed roleplayed three or four merchants sitting talking, where we Knights could overhear (sometimes when we'd sneaked in somewhere and had to hide, so were now a captive audience). He'd put on three or four voices, and have long, gossipy conversations about all sorts of things, and we'd frantically take notes and try not to miss anything. He ALSO made it clear through NPCs in Shadowdale that whenever caravans came to town, the locals rushed to the Old Skull to buy a few tankards for thirsty merchants, and in return get "all the news." So we knew we could join in and do the exact same thing. Ed had pre-prepared pages and pages of little snatches of gossip and "big news," all intermingled, and it really made the Realms seem real and alive, hearing all of it.
lordhobie and Wooly Rupert, Ed has your messages and will reply ASAP (probably tomorrow).
Love to all,
THO
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Tyros
Acolyte

12 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  03:00:07  Show Profile  Visit Tyros's Homepage Send Tyros a Private Message
Hail!

*****
Hello, Herr Doktor. Most Dalesfolk hate and fear half-orcs, because they don’t distinguish them from the orc mercenaries used so often by Zhentil Keep in Daggerdale and elsewhere, OR because local lore has taught them to hate and fear the “Beast-Men” (ogres) of Thar, and having never seen real ogres (and lived to tell the tale), your average Dale farmer will mistake an orc, half-orc, mongrelman, or half-golem for a “Beast-Man,” and reach for the nearest weapon.
*****

I'm curious about this as it seems to me that many half-orcs are the result of orcii raids and the rape of human women by orcii. The Dales, and especially Daggerdale, would thus seem a very likely place to find half-orcs. So, it would seem that many a half-orc might very well have been born a Dalesman; as opposed to just having been some (foolish) freebooter out to meet new and interesting friends friends.

Now, I know that being born in this land or that land is no safe assurence against prejudice, but it would just seem that these communities have folk who helped deliver the half-orc, fed them, clothed them, let their children play with them. Why waste all of those valuable resources just to despise it? Why not abort, or set it out as a babe?

Frith!
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 03 Apr 2004 :  03:01:46  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Got a big question for Ed

The FRC details the "Civilised" races in Dalelands/Cormanthor/Dragonspire Mts/Desertsmouth Mts/Thunderpeaks but what about the Humanoids/Giants do you have specfic info on humanoid tribes and where they live in those areas?

Thanks in Advance!

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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