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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2004 :  01:09:01  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Bakra
Today is your lucky day, I was reading Elminster in Hell while on my break from a certain hideous research paper on Dryopithecus and it is on page 342 of the above mentioned book. And it invovles Vangy.
Bakra Lord of the Outlying Thread


That's where I thought it was, but I've had people over on the WOTC boards tell me that Ed didn't mean she was a Chosen by that passage...

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2004 :  03:27:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well, Kuje31, this is indeed your lucky day. Ed had a few spare moments just now (fresh from explaining Chaucer to a young lady patron at the library), and was able to pound out a quick reply, to whit:

Yup, that passage seems pretty clear to me. Can one hint any more directly? I suppose one could mistake that passage to mean the Srinshee was a goddess, but if one doesn’t reach that conclusion, I don’t think one can read objectively and twist it to mean she isn’t a Chosen. :}
So let me state it baldly, here and now: as far as we mortals can tell, looking briefly through the eyes of Vangerdahast, a man quite familiar with magic and with the company of certain Chosen, the Srinshee IS a Chosen.
While I’m at it, let me reiterate: Mystra is the most powerful deity of the Faerunian pantheon, by virtue of the fact that Toril is so overwhelmingly governed, sourced, and powered by magic. (If Ao the Overgod exists, Ao is for purposes of this argument “more” than a deity.) This is why Mystra’s power (the silver fire) is divided up among many mortals: her Chosen. The “Chosen” of Mystra are different than the “Chosen” of other deities (who tend to be champions, advocates, servitors, and so on, who if they have any of the direct power of the deity, are lent it by the deity in a manner quite different from Mystra’s probably-unwilling sharing).
There are other Chosen of Mystra besides her willing servants (Elminster, Khelben, and the Seven), many of them as yet unidentified in Realmslore. All of them serve Mystra in their own ways.
The precise nature of what it is to be a Chosen of Mystra still hasn’t been fully revealed, and is too vast and complicated to be easily expressed in terms of prestige classes or other rules forms and details. On the other hand, mortals can never perfectly understand the gods, because mortals can only see things with mortal perceptions and senses.
So (as they say) continue to talk amongst yourselves. :}

So saith Ed. I should underscore that his “your characters, and for that matter the game designers and fiction writers of our real world, can’t possibly know and understand everything about the gods” theme is one he has reiterated to us original players for 25 years now – and for that matter, as an original player who had to “sign off” on the original Realms agreement with TSR, let me remind everyone that when Ed speaks about the Realms, he does so with absolute authority: if he says the Srinshee is a Chosen, she IS. Realms game designers and fiction writers can change that, later, with an in-game, in-the-Realms explanation or series of events to bring about the change (like the Avatar/Time of Troubles products), but in any lore dispute about the Realms, Ed wins. Sorta like Tolkien wins if we’re talking Middle-Earth, McCaffrey if we’re talking Pern, and so on.
THO
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Bookwyrm
Great Reader

USA
4740 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2004 :  09:23:56  Show Profile  Visit Bookwyrm's Homepage  Click to see Bookwyrm's MSN Messenger address Send Bookwyrm a Private Message
I find that amusing, Hooded One -- not because I dispute it, but because it seems someone on the WotC boards was insisting the exact opposite: that Mr. Greenwood's information as given here is simply fan-created material unless and until WotC publishes it.

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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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2004 :  20:31:07  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message

The Hooded One,

Another question for Ed.

Ed,

Please tell us, as much as you'd care to, about Cylyria Dragonbreast.

Many Thanks (to you both),
- S

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Metis
Acolyte

11 Posts

Posted - 01 May 2004 :  23:21:49  Show Profile  Visit Metis's Homepage Send Metis a Private Message
Athenon posted this over on the Wizards.com boards and I was also wondering what's going on:

"For those of you that don't know, the event listing has just been posted at Gen Con. I noticed, sadly that there is no Q&A with Ed Greenwood scheduled this year. What's up with THAT? That's always been a real highlight of the show."

Has it just not appeared on the schedule yet? Or is it really not going to happen this year?
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Bruce Donohue
Learned Scribe

Canada
129 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  00:11:21  Show Profile  Send Bruce Donohue a Yahoo! Message Send Bruce Donohue a Private Message
To THO and Ed,

This is a question for both of you in regards to your opinion on certain Realm matters that have transpired as of late...

I was wondering what your opinion would be if you have thought about it, or not, in regards to the Elves of Toril.

Some say that when Evermeet was created, and the Sundering happened that Forgotten Realms was in essence trying to mirror some elements or shades of Tolkein. I think that over the years that some comments were made directly or indirectly that indeed that was the case. What is your opinion on that?

Some have included and mentioned that indeed the Elves of Toril were too Tolkein like. Though we have had many contributors both in game supplement form and in novel format, that included a rich history to the Elves of Toril. With the resurgeance of Dragons in the Realms, will we see some the more influencial races of Toril of yesteryear, such as Dwarves, Elves, Mulans, and now with the Netherese, take up a more or try to stamp out their unique influences more and more?

In regards to the Elves of Toril, I am extremely glad that we have them coming back to Toril, but one thing I would like to share that somewhat disturbs me in some of the vision of production we have seen of late in the Realms.

Whenever there is a mysterious, enigmatic element to be exploited , or destroyed, we seem to have the Elves right in the thick of it; why is that? Though Elves have taught much magic to the Human Race, we see less and less of the influence nor do we see how they indeed contributed. We keep mentioning their direct link to magic in general but their unique corrolation with magic and its wonders seems to have been downplayed. If magic has that much influence on the primal make-up of Elves, why hasn't that angle been further exploited... What I mean by that, well me give and example:

If Azuth lost a third of his spellcasters in the world, wouldn't it get at least his eyebrow to raise in concern, after all this would effect his portfolio and AO might challenge him that he has been neglecting his duties if he didn't try to promote more spellcasters to take up the craft. In Mystra case, if the Elves seem to have or act as some kinds of inner conduits it is sometimes hinted towards, wouldn't this concern Mystra that the level of Magic Essence on Toril is decreasing too much with the death of so many Elves, in the same light this should concern Corellon and he should be acting more on that? If there is less Magic in the World wouldn't this mean that Mystra is remissed in her duties of her portfolio and wouldn't AO tell her to start getting her act together? This could make a case in Cyonosure that Mystra should be replaced, and you can bet that Shar would like to see that happen.

The art of Mythals and the unique defenses seem to also fall so easily. I know Evereska was a bone of contention to many of us and I think what was done to it was a shame, and how to have Shadow Magic interwoven into the strength and repair of the Mythal is kind of an affront.

We place also a major importance of the Seldarine in regards to the daily beliefs and lives of the Elves, yet both on the attack on Evermeet and in Evereska we seen no indication that it disturbed the Seldarine itself. It seems that the most active of the Elven Gods, is Eilistraee in her populace and worshippers. With AO's decree since the Time of Troubles, we have heard little as to what effect this has had on the Seldarine vis a vis their worshippers.

We have seen no actions to help their worshippers, no proxies or Chosen working for the good of the "People". Even more disturbing is the fact that Corellon the patron of All Elves and Magic, did absolutely nothing in the destruction of all things Elven throughout the years. He seems to differ too much control over to Mystra, especially considering how young this version of the Goddess is. That Corellon has not even petitioned Mystra to strengthen the decaying Mythals is absolutely ludicrous. Sure she has barred certain elements in the Weave, but knowing her portfolios and that of Corellon, it would behoove them both to take greater action.

With the decline of the numbers and the prominence of the mysticism of the Elves in the Realms we also hear no rumors as to how they are rebuilding and what they are doing to solidify their positions. We also hear much about the Elven battle prowess but yet there is no real examples to it, yet the Dwarves get more credibility in that regards. Maybe it is just my opinion but we seem to be treating the Elves of Toril as easy pushovers not to be taken seriously.

We seen the Dwarves of Toril go through the Thunder's Blessing to which they population seemed to double over night and stave them off from the brink of exinction that was eluded to. Will we ever see such a thing occur with the Elves? We pulled another Tolkeinish with the creation of the Star Elves. I think that justice could have been much better served to give more depth to the present Elves, and the various subraces (showing how each contributes to Toril and their race, not just the Moon and Gold Elves), then to create another subrace with the Star Elves.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  01:53:03  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Just finished attending Great Canadian Baycon in Hamilton, and sat for FOUR HOURS talking with Ed. What a guy! He just sat at a table with us, autographing books (got my El's Daughter done, of course) answering our questions. Talked to us just like a normal guy. Full of stories about the Realms, of course, and he did say he'd been invited to GenCon again this year as an Industry Guest of Honor, so I'd say there'll be SOME sort of session there with him.
I don't think what I just had can be beat, though. He outlined how to get published for one guy, did the critical editing thing for a gal's story (made her so happy she kissed him!), answered tons of Realmslore questions, and then said he had to pick up his wife at the Botanical Gardens and drive 150 miles home in the rain to do the next chapter of the Waterdeep book. In ten minutes he gave me eight plots for DMing a Shadowdale campaign: NPCs, suggested encounters, everything.
Someone told me he did the same hours of sitting talking thing the day before, too.
Ed IS the Great Man.
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Abizoath
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  02:51:04  Show Profile  Visit Abizoath's Homepage Send Abizoath a Private Message
Heh yeah, Ed has a lot of informative things to say about Faerun. I was there myself with my friends at the Baycon on Saturday, talking with Ed for about the same time you did. He graciously answered many of our questions.


Oh yes, my question, if you would be so kind as to pass this onto Ed, seeing as how I forgot to ask him this at the convention.
Q: How come no one has resurrected Sylune? Is there some sort of reason that prevents them from resurrecting her? Or is it simply because she does not wish to be resurrected?

PS: If you want to see something amusing, if you have a chance to meet Ed, ask him to demonstrate what Mystra and Selune would do to Shar, if Shar tried to openly piss them off. You won't regret it! ^_^

Edited by - Abizoath on 03 May 2004 03:40:37
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Taelohn
Seeker

36 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  03:13:27  Show Profile  Visit Taelohn's Homepage  Send Taelohn an AOL message  Click to see Taelohn's MSN Messenger address Send Taelohn a Private Message
I'd have to second (third) that. I was there both days (beside Abizoath and across from Blueblade respectively... assuming I'm correctly assuming who he was).

Really informative... and funny, too.
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1792 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  10:55:32  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
Bruce Donohue: I feel exactly the same as you towards the elf situation. The end of the Retreat filled me with joy, but everything else from the invasion of Cormanthor by some no-name bunches of drow to the botched downfall of Evereska has me saddened to no end. And Tilverton! <sigh> I cannot wait to hear Ed's take on this, as it would no doubt shed a lot of light on what's happening, and how it "could" have happened otherwise... Akin to a Snickers(TM) bar satisfying me until suppertime, Ed's word would quell the growling, raging stomach of my occipital and frontal lobes, which demand, respectively, that word be written and logic be made of this mess.

Edit: While posting this thread and listening to Led Zeppelin simultaneously, I seem to have stumbled on a theory that would allow a particle to go faster than the speed of light (and no, I don't do drugs). Anybody here knows who I should talk to about this, or if I should talk to someone at all? (I'm a Mechanical Engineer, not a Physicist...)

Edited by - Purple Dragon Knight on 03 May 2004 11:12:55
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James P. Davis
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
244 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2004 :  20:07:11  Show Profile  Visit James P. Davis's Homepage Send James P. Davis a Private Message
quote:
While posting this thread and listening to Led Zeppelin simultaneously, I seem to have stumbled on a theory that would allow a particle to go faster than the speed of light (and no, I don't do drugs). Anybody here knows who I should talk to about this, or if I should talk to someone at all? (I'm a Mechanical Engineer, not a Physicist...)


This may be kind of roundabout (and very non-Realmsian, looking all around for Alaundo! )Check out this link and contact George Nory on how to contact one Michiu Kaku (funny name, smart guy. Leading physicist in the realm of String Theory) Here's the link:

http://coasttocoastam.com/ Just an idea, Mr. Kaku fields alot of questions and suggestions like this when he's on the show, but I'm not sure if he has his own website. Good luck!

(Turns back to the shelves, whistling and pretending to read spines of books while he sidesteps away...)

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."--Clive Barker

FR: RotD2:"Possessions"
Wizards:Bloodwalk
Citadels: The Shield of Weeping Ghosts
Wilds: The Restless Shore
Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep: Circle of Skulls (May 2010)
Book trailers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-ska7ohVk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfvFdQ8bLp0
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  00:00:15  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
Heya Ed,

Can you maybe give us your thoughts on a debate that has gone back and forth about the Shadow Weave. Richard Baker has answered this, but for some reason, even though he created the Shadow Weave, people don't believe his answer is "official".

Does the Shadow Weave extend to the planes, unlike the Weave?

As I said Rich has said that it has the same limits as the Weave but it's nice to have another game designers answer on this debate. :)

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  00:11:51  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Woo-eee, here I go: my first, er, NON-review of a book. Read ELMINSTER'S DAUGHTER last night, and I'm going to give you my reactions.
No spoilers cuz none needed. Ed already told us it was present-day, the posted chapter at WotC told us how it started, and Ed told us it went to Cormyr and we got to see Vangey in his "retirement."
First off: the dust jacket mentions "Sembia." It should read: Cormyr.
This book is a romp. Fast action, just a few "meanwhile" cutaways, and if you know Ed's books by now and don't expect to sit on the shoulder of just one character throughout, but know you're going to jump from this person to that one and on and on . . . this is a GREAT "fun" book. I'm going to go back and read the scenes with the two crooked merchants over and over -- and I want MORE. And yes, like Ed promised, there's a scene of being admitted to Candlekeep!!

One very happy reader, here.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  00:30:54  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
You’re not going to believe this.
I was just posting here from a public library internet terminal, and when I was signing out, I asked the librarian if she was going to be ordering El’s Daughter.
She told me not only had she ordered it, she’d got a copy, and had been reading it at lunch!!!
She said the official US release date is today, May 3rd, but copies shipped April 28, and most stores should have it by mid-May.
She also told me: “A fun fast-action book, not serious literature – but written by one of the few gaming fantasy authors who COULD write serious literature. There’s satire and allegory and light philosophy there, behind the blood-dripping swords and smartass banter. Recommended.”
So there you go, Ed, it’ll be professors praising you next…

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  02:56:08  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, everyone. Ed tells me that El’s Daughter officially goes on sale May 19, but started shipping early so as to “follow him around on his signing tour.” He says there were certainly “over thirty” copies sold at Great Canadian Baycon, and wouldn’t be surprised if some lucky folks find it elsewhere “from now on.” The Chapters store in Peterborough is his next stop (May 6).
He bought a copy at Baycon, BTW, so * I * could read it, and I have, and it’s a great romp. I can see places where an editor ahem, curbed Ed’s enthusiasm, but it’s worth reading at least twice. More for the nuggets of Realmslore. And he made me laugh out loud and even cry a few times, too.

As for the GenCon events, Ed says he hasn’t chatted with either the WotC or the GenCon staff about his detailed schedule, yet, but not to worry: he’s been invited as an Industry Guest of Honor, and the early event listings are really for people to pounce on the quick-to-fill-up, limited-slots ‘hard gaming’ events. It was several months later than this last year before things got finalized (usually generic event tickets work for the things Ed’s involved in). Failing all else, grab him at the con (he LIKES being grabbed, and I say this as one who should know :}) and sit down for a talk: if he’s not rushing to some promised appointment, he’ll be happy to talk. That’s what he goes to GenCon FOR.
As for the Shadow Weave question, Ed had this to say:


Rich Baker is THE expert on the Shadow Weave, but I certainly agree with him that it extends only as far as the Weave itself does: that is, throughout the Prime Material Plane of Toril (or the crystal sphere of Realmspace, if you prefer), NOT onto other planes. The best way to think of the Shadow Weave is this: it’s the echo, or literally the shadow, of the Weave itself, and therefore can’t exist where the Weave doesn’t – and the Weave, in turn, is our mortal name for the flows of natural energy we call “magic” because we can harness it (spells, spell-like powers, psionics, et al being the ways in which we accomplish that harnessing), that permeate Toril and are an integral part of all life in, on, and in the atmosphere of Toril. Such natural flows, and magic, exist on other planes, and permit travel and energy flows from plane to plane, but only on Toril are the flows known as the Weave, administered by Mystra, and possess a ‘Shadow Weave.’ Elsewhere, there may or may not be similar ‘dark counterparts’ to the forces spellcasters can harness as magic, but those counterparts, if they exist, aren’t linked to the Shadow Weave, part of the Shadow Weave, or governable in precisely the same way as the Shadow Weave (i.e. a character who can harness the Shadow Weave on Toril can’t necessarily reliably use any similar ‘dark weave’ on another plane. For that matter, spellcasters using the Weave on Toril often get a few surprises when they try to use (or regain) spells while on other planes. Not everything works the same – and results can also vary over time and location, and from individual to individual. Travel away from home, as they say, is always an adventure. :}
And while I’m mentioning Rich Baker, let me not miss the chance to urge everyone to check out his Realms novel THE FORSAKEN HOUSE (first of The Last Mythal trilogy) when it comes out later this year.
And then, of course, it’s only fair that I mention the forthcoming Thomas Reid book, THE RUBY GUARDIAN (second in his Scions trilogy), and the rest of the rip-roaring Richard Lee Byers trilogy (that I always privately refer to as “Dragons Go wild!” or just “Dragons Wild!”). Don’s book THE YELLOW SILK is a great romp, too, and it’s out already – as is Lisa Smedman’s VENOM’S TASTE, first in HER trilogy. To say nothing of Paul Kemp’s tril– what? Get back to work on MY unfinished collaboration? Yes yes yes of course!


So saith Ed. So there, and all that.
Ed also wants everyone to know he’ll dig into the three-pages-plus of meaty Realmslore questions posted in this thread ASAP (finishing Waterdeep MUST come first), that he hasn’t forgotten you all, and that he misses “the daily answering session.” He gave me a lift a few hours ago, and I noticed he’s put 1000 km on the odometer of the old minivan since last week (going to Hamilton and Kingston for his tour). He musn’t sleep much, these days, as usual.
THO
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1792 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  04:00:30  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

<snip> and the rest of the rip-roaring Richard Lee Byers trilogy (that I always privately refer to as “Dragons Go wild!” or just “Dragons Wild!”). <snip>
"Ahem," says the Purple Dragon Knight, in his best Snoop Dog impersonation, "Wyrms Gone Wild, it's not just beautiful wyrms, it's a lifestyle."
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Arthedain
Seeker

16 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  15:06:09  Show Profile  Visit Arthedain's Homepage Send Arthedain a Private Message
Greetings Ed, The Hooded One, and everyone else!

I have a small question regarding Harpers' Hill in Shadowdale. It is mentioned in the 2nd Ed. Campaign Setting book on Shadowdale, and described as a place of eerie beauty, and it is written that it is used by Harpers for practice and meditation. Now, how would the Harpers (and the good folk of Shadowdale, who avoid the place) react if someone wanted to build a shrine/temple there??

The story behind this question is that one of my players, a half-drow ranger who worships Solonor, encountered his animal companion (a wolf) on the hill, and since it later turned out that the wolf was a trusted servant of Solonor, he has now taken this as "a sign from the gods" . He is now planning to build a temple in Shadowdale, and when trying to figure out the location, Harpers' Hill was the obvious choice.

Since Solonor is one of the Seldarine, and thus part of the founders of the Harpers (if I remember my Realmslore correctly) I figure that the local Harpers *might* not object, but on the other hand they would in a way lose "their" hill. So, if you could enlighten me with some insight I would be most grateful.

Thanks in advance.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  15:14:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed sent this reply for Malaug, late last night:

I enjoy Robert E. Howard for the colour and verve of his storytelling. At times (e.g. his suicide note) he could be lyrical, and at times (the Gent from Bear Creek tales) hilarious, but as he was writing for the pulps, most of his tales tend to follow familiar patterns. Yet there are still few writers who can match the sheer drive of his storytelling (what sf writer and critic Elton Elliott calls “the power of the plain tale”). I must admit I rarely re-read Howard, these days, but some of his Conan tales are justifiably classics. And I treasure a brief chat I had, years ago, with Lin Carter about HOW he and deCamp worked on their Conan pastiches.

So saith Ed. Me, I just liked hopping onto the altar and wearing the chains as Conan came hacking his way through the nasties to rescue me.
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29706 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  15:41:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

So saith Ed. Me, I just liked hopping onto the altar and wearing the chains as Conan came hacking his way through the nasties to rescue me.
THO




I think a lot of us would happily come charging in with Conan to help!

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  17:48:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. Your Hooded Lady returns, with the first of a few more replies from Ed, who’s tackling your queries peacemeal, thus:


Bruce, when I first envisaged Evermeet, I was thinking of a mist-shrouded, deep blue forest island realm shrouded by spells that kept the rest of the world out, but didn’t yet know who lived there (or have a name for it yet). It was ‘a great mystery’ to mainlanders in Faerun, whom I saw (once the name came along) as often saying things like: “We’ll learn THAT sometime after we lay bare the secrets of Evermeet!”
Then along came D&D in its earliest form, and with it the humanocentric rules that made human PCs paramount. That’s just fine for a game designer to decree, but a WORLDBUILDER has to come up with some in-the-setting explanation for why elves and dwarves (in particular, out of all the demi-human and humanoid intelligent races) don’t dominate in the rules. Like all folks writing for DRAGON, my task was to add to this glorious game, not pick fights with official rules, so I laid the groundwork for why elves and dwarves were ‘in decline’ in the Faerunian lands, in a way that kept their allure and mystery (Ruins full of “lost” elven magic? Woo-hoo! Lead me to them!) and made for maximum play possibilities.
Either my elves and dwarves had to be too few in number to have kept any of their knowledge and culture in an unbroken manner, or I had to come up with a ‘Great Go Elsewhere.’ My postulation of the orcs as breeding like rabbits and sweeping over the lands in periodic orc hordes, plus my desire to have demons and devils OCCASIONALLY spice up play but as much as possible protect PCs from the “they can summon their buddies endlessly, so you’re automatically toast” problem, gave me some reasons why the power of some elf and dwarf settlements could have been worn down or broken. The old “you grew too proud and big for your own britches to avoid bringing doom down upon yourselves” argument was, of course, another.
I made the dwarves go the route of “too few offspring, desperate grim survivors go away or go extinct” (akin to some real-world Native American peoples), and the elves go the route of hiding themselves behind magic walls in the heart of the nicest forest that are left. Nice forests -- Evermeet -- oh, NOW I know who lives there! Having the elves lurk among and around largely-uncaring human settlements maximizes their air of mystery and “specialness,” but must go hand-in-hand with making PC elves sundered from a lot of that power, to keep play balance at the party level.
TSR designers added the name and overarching concept of ‘the Retreat’ to this realm-by-realm, city-by-city individual withdrawal idea of mine, and over the years, yes, comments by many and writings by some have reinforced the Tolkienesque feel of this. I even once heard a TSR foreign sales rep explain D&D (to Milwaukee-area business executives dropping by GenCon to see what all this lunacy was about) as a game in which “you act out the roles of characters like those in the Lord of the Rings: elves, wizards, dwarves, fighters...magic works, and so on.”
In your posting, you hit upon a good design and commercial reason for “getting the elves out of the way.” Most readers of novels want to read books about humans they can relate to, and understand (Hamlet published in Klingon is great fun, but isn’t going to hit the bestseller lists, because your average American reader can’t understand or read Klingon, and doesn’t want to; the same goes for Dr. Seuss done in Latin). Logically, in many situations in Faerun, the elves would dominate and be center stage, and this creates a problem. (Right now, as a librarian and an observer of the field, I’d say that Wizards has this problem actively on its hands in the form of the drow: the tendency to use the dark elves becomes a tendency to overuse them, and what happens to your publishing line if, overnight, the reading public tires of them? Remember the Goosebumps popularity of R. L. Stine? Or the pick-a-path fad, before that?).
Unfortunately for some of your line of questioning, Mystra is dedicated to seeing that magic is as widespread and popular in its use as possible, NOT to preserving existing magical constructs, or the status quo of “who’s on top in the magical world.”
Perhaps Corellon and the other Seldarine view the increasing reliance on magic as a corrupting, expanding weakness in elves that should be weeded out the hard way, forcing those surviving elves to become more hardy, practical, and in touch with the changing world (i.e. more adaptable, like those successful humans) and less jaded, arrogant, overconfident, and fixated on pursuing dreamy goals of magical sophistication.
It’s hard for mortals to know the motives of gods. All we can do is endlessly examine and speculate about their actions (or what we’re TOLD are their actions), and draw our own conclusions. It may be that all patron gods of races see the necessity for purgative, restorative cycles in the careers of their races that none of us know about, and the Seldarine are enthusiastically “driving down” the elves of today in just such a cyclical downturn, to renew them as stronger, brighter, and different. We just don’t know, do we?
Now as a designer, I agree that we haven’t been shown enough of elves or dwarves (or, hey, halflings, who tend to get the one-note “smartass tricksters and thieves” treatment, or gnomes, the truly FORGOTTEN folk of the Forgotten Realms) in published Realmslore to DM their societies properly. That’s why I pushed so long for certain fan writers to get their dwarf novels published, and one of the reasons I’m so excited about Rich Baker’s forthcoming trilogy.
And yes, I agree that the “add a race” tendency of 3e products, like the “Hey, I’m SURE we need another dozen prestige classes!” tendency, must necessarily take up product space that means development of existing elements get shorter shrift. That’s an aspect of the crunch vs. fluff argument that, as a freelancer, I’m in exactly the same position as you are: I can snarl about it, and make suggestions, but ultimately, those decisions are made by others.
Perhaps that’s a good thing: I’ve no idea if an Ed Greenwood-helmed Realms would have been as commercially successful (and therefore still published at all) if TSR had hired me along with my world, right from the start. I understand loyalty and consistency and pleasing customers very well, but everything else about the business world is a mystery to me...and as the real-world headlines show us, a lot of ‘big business,’ these days, has forgotten all about those three root things to chase other goals, and done so very successfully (in some cases adorned with scandals, but hey, they still have the riches and the power, and I’m still a guy who lives in the country and struggles to pay the bills :}).


So saith Ed. We traded tax tales when he was giving me a lift in his van recently, and let me just say this: most of you would probably be very surprised at how little Ed made, last year, as a writer and game designer. He doesn’t, despite the persistent gamer myth, get a royalty on every last copy of every Realms product sold (if he did, then yes, we WOULD be talking millions).
And then he could make his own Realms movies, with all of us players starring in them. Sigh; I could be embracing Sean Connery right now...
(Why, THANK YOU, Wooly. Of course I’d have to properly thank you first…if there was anything left of me after properly thanking Conan, of course.)
THO
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Taelohn
Seeker

36 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  21:01:45  Show Profile  Visit Taelohn's Homepage  Send Taelohn an AOL message  Click to see Taelohn's MSN Messenger address Send Taelohn a Private Message
Ah, while at the Con, I heard Ed mention that many of his novels originally went into greater detail with spells - material components, verbal components, exact appearance and effects, and whatnot - that was later cut out because the book department didn't want it to be that similiar to the games. He also gave a neat, rhyming phrase for the casting of a fireball... but it was said quickly and I didn't quite catch it.

What was that? And are there any other incantations you wrote for various spells?
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  21:24:23  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Hiya.

That 'invented term or colloquial naming' use of single quotes was news to me. Of course, in British English we use single quotes usually (and double quotes when nested within), which is much more elegant and sensible. I can edit in British and American English, but Canadian English is a step too mysterious for me.

Borkum Riff, by the way.

That's a pretty precise and well-informed judgement Blueblade's librarian gave. Though I think the dualistic division of 'serious literature' and 'not serious literature' has caused enough harm to be worth eschewing even as a quick figure of speech. As I said on rasalvatore.com, our familiar concept of 'entertainment' is actually problematic and odd.

The patterns of writing for the pulps were no less rigid than those imposed, of course, by the slicks...

Several of those bits of spell-process are in the published Spellfire (wouldn't it be handy to have the novels as searchable etexts?). What was said on this thread was
quote:
When my players were in the mood for “full” roleplaying, they’d make up incantations (usually a nonsense “Abracadabra”-like word for a word of activation or the last/trigger word, preceded by a rhyming couplet (here’s the one for fireball, which has no last trigger word: “By tongue of bat and sulphur’s reek/And the mystic words I now do speak/Where I wish to strike my bane/Let empty air burst into -- FLAME!”).

Edited by - Faraer on 04 May 2004 21:24:51
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  22:04:40  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. Herewith, another of Ed’s replies:


Hi, Abizoath. In answer to your question: we mortals don’t know.
Sylune very much did want to be resurrected at the time of her death, though she now seems content with her lot (as a spectral harpist, able to possess the bodies of the living or manifest in ghostly form within a certain distance from any fragment of stone taken from the floor of her hut in Shadowdale [such fragments being carried by all of the Chosen, and also carefully placed in strategic places elsewhere]).
However, Sylune’s desires and the powers her sisters wield lead to the inevitable conclusion that there IS some sort of reason that prevents her from being resurrected.
The nature of that reason is where the debate rages. Strongest among the current theories is the thinking that Mystra (not yet Midnight, but she who was mother to the Seven) didn’t want her resurrected, or that Ao or some circumstances involving her silver fire prevented that resurrection.
Azuth and Elminster believe something else, however: that Sylune, in some ways the wisest of the Seven, was ‘ready’ for another step in the progression or ‘life-cycle’ of a Chosen of Mystra, ascending to another form of existence more closely bound to the Weave.
And that the Weave itself, or Mystra’s innermost self, or Ao or some greater power or intellect, was aware of this, and saw Sylune’s transformation as necessary.
Perhaps we’ll all know more someday. Perhaps I can seize the chance to write a novel about it, a few years from now. The debate will doubtless continue. What we do know for sure is that Sylune’s abilities continue to change and grow, that she is now almost an intelligent, mutable mass of silver fire more closely attuned to the Weave than any mortal, and that she knows only a little more of what she can now do than the rest of the Chosen do.
I’m thinking she’s going to surprise us all . . .


So saith Ed. GOOD question, Abizoath, because these are the sort of answers Ed has always given us, as our DM, when his mind is leaping ahead into new cleverness. You’ve sparked something (probably turned him back to thinking about something he left unfinished), and we may all be richer for the result.
Ah, I love the Realms. Thank you, Ed.
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  22:08:28  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met again, all. Ed replies to Arthedain:


Hi, Arthedain. Well, it’s like this: Harpers' Hill is a place of eerie beauty because it’s a center of natural power (a focus or node of magic that ‘grew’ out of the natural processes of the land, not out of any casting or work by intelligent creatures). These rare locales, when in woodlands, are sacred to the elves, and are thought by some to be the work of Eldath, Silvanus, or other gods. (Those underground are of course sacred to dwarves and gnomes.)
By long-standing agreement with the elves of the Elven Court and among each other, the Harpers have kept the Hill clear of any permanent structure and any dedication to a specific god (no altars, though one can perform a ritual using any stone, and no buildings, though one can pitch a tent on the Hill, if one doesn’t mind being under constant Harper surveillance).
The Harpers (and the few elves who’ve clung to life in the woods around the Dales, throughout all the recent troubles) will want to keep the Hill clear.
Moreover, Harpers often use it as a rendezvous, and Elminster and others performing powerful castings sometimes use the ‘shield’ of its powerful magic as a cover for their work (i.e. show up on the Hill to hurl and even augment their magics). The Hill ‘twists’ translocation magics (teleports, etc.), and thus, no gate/portal/teleport will work [to a precise destination] directly to or from it (though the air above it and the land immediately around it are fair game).
If I was the DM, in this situation, I’d send the PC some visions from Solonor discouraging use of the Hill itself, and “suggesting” a particular, hitherto-unknown tiny glade or pool in the forest near Shadowdale. Finding that spot will be an adventure in itself (trying to work out some way to share the memorized vision with Storm Silverhand, say, or the ghostly Sylune, or a resident elf, so as to be guided), and in that locale there may well be another adventure to uncover, such as an underground mini-dungeon. Cryptic guidance from Solonor could well continue.
As for building any “official” temple or shrine in Shadowdale: your PC must apply to Mourngrym, who is VERY suspicious about such things (after years of Zhent envoys trying to persuade him to let them found this temple, or that, and his own personal mistrust of self-important, self-interested clergy of ANY faith). Siting the temple deep in the forest is the obvious solution, because it allows Mourngrym to officially ignore it. The very application would bring down a covert Harper investigation on all of the PCs, not just the half-drow ranger (whose blood heritage should lead Those Who Harp to already be keeping an eye on him), to make sure that the ranger isn’t being duped by other PCs, or the party being duped by someone else, to establish something they can use as a base, smuggling cache, or hideaway. (If I was a Red Wizard wanting to spy on Elminster, hiding out in the attic of a temple is probably as good ‘cover’ as I can get.)
Of course, this is YOUR Realms campaign. If you would like your player to succeed in having his PC establish a temple on the Hill, let him succeed. I wouldn’t for the reasons outlined above, and because I always want PCs who try to build a temple to find themselves thigh-deep in headaches right away (fees, permissions, and permits from local authorities, vandalism from those who dislike the particular faith, organized opposition from clergies of rival faiths, attempts by clergy of the PC’s faith to control everything AND coerce the PC into running the temple or at least serving as its full-time, on-site caretaker [“What, you want to go on adventuring? No, no, the holy god wants you to do THIS now! He personally told me so last night -- me, the Highest of all his high priests! Of course he said nothing to you: you are but as the dullest and most clumsy of his servants, a barely-forged tool that it is my sacred duty to temper and develop! So obey!”], and so on, and on, until the player groans, “How did I ever get mixed up in all of this?”). But then, I am the gentlest and fairest of all DMs. :}


So saith Ed, grinning evilly as he buffs his halo. You don’t fool ME, old Weirdbeard! Oh, no! I’ve seen your other side, felt the edge of your tongue (it felt very nice, actually ), know better than to...well, no, I think I’ll stop now. Blueblade and Wooly are probably already straining for control at their keyboards.
THO
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2004 :  22:33:19  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
I heard that Realms of Taxation was on the tentative schedule for 2006, to be followed if successful by Realms of Fiscal Accountability.
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