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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  17:12:38  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
Now to my question for Ed; but, first I like to say I think I know how to develop this bit of Realms Lore for our homebrew games. However I would like his opinion on whether or not I got it wrong. In the games the players benefit from clerical spells that can bring one back to life, sometimes the players decided to let the character go to the Final Grand Adventure. We gloss over a funeral or just out right skip it. I think it is because the lack of knowledge of burial customs. I was wondering what Ed would know about burial customs in the Realms? For example, the Chauntean’s once a faithful has died they have a wake, in one sense off to keep critters of the body and to give friends and family time to gather, which lasts four days. On the fourth day the deceased is interred into the ground in a flexed (fetal) position. Interment would occur near a farm field or other area that is used or frequent by the faithful. Depending on the deceased status would reflect burial goods place with them. A poor farmer might be buried with an awl, while a rather ‘richer’ Chauntean might have more than an instrument maybe some expensive trinket. The mourners will also place other objects with their now gone friend or loved one. This can be fine soil from a very fertile field, seeds produced from a good crop, or rose petals. After interment on top of the grave would be a small transplanted rose mixed with grain. Or in another sect the body would be cremated then scattered across the farm land. Either way the body is returned to the Earth from which they came. In some cases a lone body of a truly faithful would be buried in the middle of a crop, and then a scarecrow would be erected to mark the spot and hope the loved one will watch over the fields.


Ed sort of answered this earlier. :) We've been begging him for such things as well. 1) TSR wouldn't touch it because of the whole satanic, D&D is evil thing going on once upon a time. and now 2) WOTC want's more crunch then fluff in thier sourcebooks. He said he'd try to talk them (or badger them!) into releasing this info but he said it probably won't happen.... :(

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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Taelohn
Seeker

36 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  17:43:39  Show Profile  Visit Taelohn's Homepage  Send Taelohn an AOL message  Click to see Taelohn's MSN Messenger address Send Taelohn a Private Message
Hey, at least he gave us some ideas for other graveyard-based activities, too.

Edited by - Taelohn on 17 May 2004 17:58:34
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  18:51:57  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Fair meeting, gentles. Thy Hooded Lady once more, bearing words of Ed:


Lashan, glad you’re back. Yours is the eldest neglected Realmslore request, so here we go.
I’m afraid any more direct revelations about your namesake, Lashan Aumersair, must remain unanswered for now, because I don’t want to get in the way of still-unfolding, still-secret Realms projects.
However, your story requests re. the House of Twilight in Tantras and the Net of Stars are my pleasure to deal with. So here’s the first one:

The House of Twilight is an establishment that has reached its current sprawling size by linking a large central hall with several adjoining standaths.
(A “standath” is the Dragonreach and Moonsea name for a rectangular stone building that has cellars -- perhaps with a shop in the uppermost cellar level, entered by a ‘duck down steps’ route from street level -- a shop on the ground floor, and two or more upper floors given over to residential suites. Sometimes the floor directly above the street-level shop is also occupied by that shop, or by another business, or by offices. In other words, the vast majority of close-crowded, square-stone-block central city buildings are standaths. A “murdath” is the same as a standath but with no cellars beneath, usually due to very hard bedrock at the surface, swampy ground, or everpresent flooding danger.)
In the case of the House of Twilight, one such link is a third-floor-up [counting the ground level as the first floor, just to settle the British and American differences on this matter] enclosed ‘flying bridge,’ but all of the other links are below-ground tunnels.
The House of Twilight fronts on the moot (T-junction) of Mountstar Street and the Stallionpost, in the Upwall district of the city.
Mountstar Street is a major east-west route crossing the southern half of the city. The House of Twilight stands in the last (easternmost) block of the eastern end of its run, on the south side of Mountstar, facing the end of the Stallionpost (a short, straight street that runs SW-NE to end in a moot with Wall Lane).
The easternmost run of Mountstar curves southeast towards the Gryphongard Tower of the city wall (meeting Wall Lane just north of that tower), from its split into Mountstar Street and Rengallon Street two blocks east of the Fountain of the Mermaid. [On the FRA map, locate “6” and go most of an inch towards the top of the page along the street the numeral 6 is drawn on, to the obvious “Y” intersection. The building in the cleft of the “Y” is The Morning Halls, the temple of Lathander, with its refectory and stables being the next building along the curve of Mountstar Street, and five buildings farther along is the moot with the Stallionpost. The large “squashed-V-shape” building across from that street is the House of Twilight.]
The House of Twilight is famous among nightclubs for its elegance. Everyone is clean, well-dressed, and quiet (there’s a sound-deadening spell in effect that reduces shouts to murmurs: even whispers can be readily heard by someone the whisperer is touching, and normal converse carries about three feet, with shouting reaching maybe five feet). The House has a huge security staff attired in dark livery, who intercept drunkards, known troublemakers, ill-dressed visitors, and anyone openly carrying weapons, and all large and menacing groups. Such guests are hustled into siderooms for interviews as to their intent, secure storage of weapons (storage of non-dangerous [not explosive or living or corrosive or obviously enchanted] valuables in the same ‘the House is responsible’ manner is possible, for fees ranging from 1 cp to 1 gp/night; weapons storage is free), baths, shaves, perfuming, and hair care (3 cp to 5 gp total charges, depending on how much is done), and costume rental. Although the House does put on ‘fancy dress’ revels in which everyone dons padded monster costumes or at least masks, or all portray parody-likenesses of dwarves or elves or stags, most “costumes” are merely formal wear of great taste and distinction. The dressers, bathers, and barbers (“barber” is a term that covers hairstylists in the Moonsea) are all pleasant, well-trained, and good-looking -- and there are dust-covered merchants and salt-stained sailors in plenty who come to the House of Twilight just to get pampered and spruced up, and never enter the club itself.
The lofty main hall of the club is always dark, lit only by dim “twinklestars” (pierced-filigree, star-shaped cages of blackened brass hanging from the ceiling-beams on pulley-chains, that each hold a single candle). The light can be increased or decreased by the number of candles lit, and altered in hue by using different-colored candles (the House has a huge variety, but most often uses uncolored candles, switching to purple for illusion-casting demonstrations, blue for mime-acting performances, and red for lust-revels). There’s a raised, oval ‘thrust’ stage (with a “backcavern” theater joined to it), a dance floor in front of the stage, tables for drinkers filling an arc around the dance floor and stage, and three tiers of balconies, with chairs set along them (that are chained to floor-bosses to prevent them being hurled down into the expanse below).
Musical perfomances and oratory are, thanks to the hush enchantments, unknown at the House of Twilight. Instead, the stage is given over to mime-acting (and short performances of tales told in a series of tableaux), acrobatics [think Cirque du Soleil], and (during lust-revels) burlesque stripteases and sexual acrobatics.
The hush enchantments don’t govern the ‘retreats’ of the club (that is, the parts of the House of Twilight located in the various sidehouses). They are rented out at high rates for trade and illicit-dealings meetings; moots of various private clubs, cabals, and gambling groups (including gatherings as odd and innocent as ‘swap meets’ of male merchants who collect and trade porcelain dolls and don’t want their city acquaintances to ridicule them or their wives to explode at the sums they spend); and to the Twilight Ladies (prostitutes employed by the House, who sees that they’re bathed and costumed, and protects them by rushing security staff to respond to alarms rung by the Ladies).
By special, secret arrangement, the House sometimes agrees to store stolen goods in hiding, or even drugged, wounded, or enspelled persons (including fugitives from justice and kidnap victims). At least one rebellious young Sembian heiress, Telchantla Erynmoon, recently “kidnapped” herself, holing up in a House room for months whilst she sent ransom demands from fictitious captors back to her family by ship.
The House of Twilight was started thirty-some summers ago by an ailing, retired adventurer-wizard, Tanathra Sundee, who may be dead by now, or may just be really wizened and confined to a hidden suite somewhere in the House. She’s either alive and magically scrying what goes on, whispering occasional tips as to trouble or interesting events to the House staff, or she’s haunting the place (and doing exactly the same thing).
The House is currently owned and run by eight to twelve (wider Tantras isn’t sure on how many owners the club has, or precisely who all of them are) local citizens, among them the wine merchant Halmidur “Oldbottle” Dransun, the dressmaker Amranthe Tantelhand, the cabinetmaker Menyurl “Manychairs” Haeltree, and at least two of the Twilight Ladies, Shamurla “the She-Stallion” Dlaevul (her nickname derives from her tall, thin stature and her long, long mare’s tail of blond hair, said by many to be a deliberate attempt to copy the locally-famous adventuress-mage Tarntassa) and Mureena Osskont. The House enjoys friendly relations with the High Council, and it’s long been rumored that several wives of High Council members are among the club owners (gossip usually ‘identifies’ the imperious Iyeirintra Ormitar, fat and lazy Wyndlanna “the Worm” Kaetril, and Suspanna Vulthyndur).
Current rumors swirling around the House involve the brusque, bearded and very aggressive-in-trade noble merchant Belmar Horthantar regularly changing his shape by hired magical means into that of a beautiful woman, and spending nights at the House selling pleasure to men; Helvel Drunstable, longtime priest of the city’s shrine to Lathander (who maintains the simple Morning Altar on Straeth Street because he has long publicly considered High Morninglord Alansyn Ambrilar a supercilious lover-of-luxuries who’s lost touch with the real folk of Tantras and the true state of everyday life in Faerun, to chase “empty fantasies of foolishness” of somehow “drawing nearer to the Light” by winning Lathander’s favour, in frivolous ways Drunstable believes Lathander scorns, such as bathing in rose-petals, conjuring up rose-pink smokes that one breathes out by the mouth, and so on) being seen often at the House meeting with mysterious outlanders; that two of the owners of the House have become locked in a deadly feud that’s going to soon be settled either by a duel between the two, shut naked in the darkened, deserted House to hunt each other with daggers -- or by hiring spellcasters to temporarily imbue them with spell ability, and fighting a magical duel; bored, jaded Umbarra Stauntcantle, an aging widow and the last living member of the rich, noble Stauntcantle merchant family, has begun preparations for a ‘treasure hunt’ in the House that should end with the finder of a jewelled token bringing it to her and receiving her hand in marriage, regardless of their gender and marital status, so they can become Stauntcantles and the family endure; and that someone is enspelling rivals into trapped existences in the House by magically immobilizing them, whereupon they’re stripped and painted to resemble stone, and set up on plinths as statues.
Oh, yes: and the House never really closes, though the main hall shuts down from dawn until after highsun every day for cleaning and ‘dressing’ (fresh candles on some tables, preparing the stage, seeing to the twinklestars, and so on). The House allows food to be brought in, but serves none -- and offers an awesome variety of drinkables, both exotic and mundane. A recent “rushsails” cellar delivery was to the House was for twelve bottles of elverquisst and six casks of Berduskan dark.

There. That ought to be enough to begin with. Oh, and Lashan, please: it’s Ed. “Mr. Greenwood” is my father. :}


So saith Ed, who’s uttered that line about his father a time or twenty thousand before (and, Eddie-Bear, shouldn’t he really be “Professor Greenwood”? or does that courtesy not extend to Professors Emeritus?). I can add just one tale of the House: we Knights visited it and danced there, one night, only to be attacked by a Zhent foe who was also a guest -- and spread confusion, once hostilities began, with a spell that severed the chains of many of the hot twinklestars, sending them crashing down onto the heads of revelers. The staff of the House revealed that their ranks include at least one mage or sorceress, and that they can call on the swiftly-arriving aid of BOTH the Grayclaws and local Harpers, who will work together to quell problems in the House, expel or defeat combatants, and magically bolster the Fireward enchantments of the House to prevent fires spreading. And during the fray, my character personally proved that given a sufficient running start, it’s possible to leap from the stage up and onto the rail of the lowest encircling balcony -- and an obliging Zhentarim proved that one can plunge from the highest balcony right down to the floor of the main hall and survive provided one crashes through a handy table on the way, and lands on the thoughtfully-placed bodies of other Zhents.
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  18:58:53  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Faraer, I just windspoke Ed (ahem, telephoned), and he says it's fine if you post A Glimpse of Manshoon. In fact, he said, "Great!" and "Thanks!"
:}
THO
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  20:16:45  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
quote:
Roleplaying Notes: A Glimpse of Manshoon
by Ed Greenwood

As of 1367 DR, the First Lord of Zhentil Keep was a Lawful Evil human male 19th level Wizard (2nd Edition AD&D). The head of the Zhentarim and de facto ruler of Zhentil Keep, Manshoon is a cruel, calculating man, capable of any treachery, and coldly confident of his power. His looks and manner reflect this.

Manshoon most often wears stylish, sweeping black calf-length robes with a shoulder yoke, bracer-like cuffed sleeves, and an open V-front, gathered in at the waist with a wide cummerbund belt. The back of his neck is protected by a stiff, raised semi-circular stand-up cowl-collar. The robes have magical powers, including invisibility, levitate, fly, fire shield (the ‘chill’ version of this spell; the robes themselves are automatically unharmed by all heat and flame), and dimension door, and Manshoon also wears magical rings (types unknown, but various witnesses attest that one can fire a profuse number of magic missiles, and the other seems to be a ring of spell storing devoted to healing and anti-poison--including poisonous gases--magics) on his slim fingers. He also bears a rod of rulership at his belt, and often carries a staff of power (thought to have been slightly customized to his spell preferences) as well. His undergarments are of soft black silk (left rough, not shining and noisy), and he favors black bucket-top boots fitted with interior sheaths for several long, needle-slim (and reputedly poisoned) daggers.

Manshoon stands 6' tall, but is fairly slim, looking youthful and vigorous. He wears his glossy black hair slightly shorter than shoulder-length, and is clean-shaven. His eyes are dark and usually gleaming with malicious amusement, and his features fine, sophisticated, and usually expressing slightly amused disdain for the world around.

Since the time of the tale “So High A Price” (published in the Realms of Infamy anthology), which occurred in 1334 DR, Manshoon’s appearance has changed little. He has lost a trifle of his former reckless, arrogant youthful edge, and now possesses more polished smoothness than most men ever acquire.

Typical Manshoon utterances (always in a soft, pleasant, matter-of-fact voice):
· “I can’t be bothered wasting spells on them. Hang them, for the citizens to watch.”
· “These conclusions need bother us?”
· “And the approach you prefer?”
· “How deeply touching. Slay them.”
· “I fear so.”
· “A moment, good sir, of the brief time—by my command—remaining to you.”
· “Shall I decree it, or are you sensitive enough to heed a mere suggestion?”
· “You’ll understand, I trust, that as long as I am Lord here, I can allow no diabolical plans to succeed but my own.”
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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  20:45:04  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Ahhhh....! What a gold vien I have found! Much thanks for the nuggets of info. You've given me enough to crave more information. I know the list of requests is long, but I would like to add another item to it. So many questions.....I know! How about the Greyclaws? Can you give me much information on anything with them? If not, then how about some of those noble families that really peaked my interest?

Once again, much thanks, Ed.
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  21:00:19  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Thanks so much for the info Faraer!

Its strange, the Manshoon this information illuminates "feels" very different to the current 3rd Edition Official stats.

I prefer this one, he does seem to have a bit more personality.

Cheers for the help

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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Bookwyrm
Great Reader

USA
4740 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  21:05:43  Show Profile  Visit Bookwyrm's Homepage  Click to see Bookwyrm's MSN Messenger address Send Bookwyrm a Private Message
I may prefer 3e rules, but it's easy to see that 2e had, as you said, more personality. And not just limited to Manshoon. I agree completely there -- the 3e Manshoon is just a glorified stat block to throw at your players. This version sounds like the evil mastermind that the heros never meet but always feel the presence of . . . .

I wish TSR hadn't been afraid of making Manshoon as Evil as Mr. Greenwood has him. All epic fantasy needs that pure-evil element, and from what the Lady Hood tells us, he fills that role beautifully.

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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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  22:02:53  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
I was in my local gaming store today and i picked up the Epic Level handbook to see what the Epic Faerunian characters were like... i was most disappointed to see NO new character information on Manshoon... as you say his stat-block seems to be all he's good for in 3rd Edition. 3rd Ed (and 3.5?) seems to be about crunch over fluff. Now me, i like my background detail and characterisation, of both places and characters. I'd agree that its a shame Manshoon never got the full crack of the whip in his fiction appearences... he never got to be shown in his full evil (yet charming) glory.

Whilst on the subject, what does everyone think of Manshoon's current depiction in official products? His pic in ELH is a vast improvement, but still doesn't bear any resemblance to his description here (or to the rather good little b/w pic produced for the Realms of Infamy short story)... and of course his equipment selection is rather different to that Ed described in this old article... particularly due to Manshoon's battle gorget that he wears (which looks a little silly to me).

EDIT: If any of this could be taken as a question, i'd also like to direct it at Ed for his authoritative opinion on these matters!

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 17 May 2004 22:09:23
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2004 :  22:40:05  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ah, Lashan, this is your lucky day. Thy Lady Hooded, bringing Ed’s second reply, this time about the Net of Stars.


This one’s going to be rather shorter, I’m afraid, because the Net is basically just a tavern. A very good one, but still just a drinking-place.

The Net of Stars is large and popular (and hence, crowded and noisy at all hours) tavern. It’s known around the Reach for its friendly safety, its clean, cheerful, well-lit ambiance, and for the source of its illumination: huge glass three-quarter-globes (spheres with the uppermost quarter missing, so they’re open at the top) that diffuse the light of oil lamps hung at their hearts, and that are gathered together overhead in a vast network of ceiling-nets -- obviously, the source of the establishment’s name.
The Net of Stars occupies a corner location three blocks from the docks, on the northeast side of the moot of Marampur and Steth Streets, in the Oldcoin neighbourhood of the city. Steth Street is the short, curving lane that arcs northwest from the Fountain of the Mermaid, and is only a block long; Marampur Street is the longer north-south route Steth Street ends in.
Murak Sandorn, a former hiresword (warrior) of note who looks like a large, amiable bear with long, always-tangled honey-brown hair, is the owner and tavernmaster of the Net of Stars. He runs a large staff of young, eager men and women who know their drinks and how to serve them swiftly and deftly, grin when groped, and whistle for swift aid if something more serious occurs. Murak’s known to have reached an agreement with the Grayclaws: the Net of Stars is ‘safe ground’ for both the Grayclaws and those they see as potential victims (they won’t operate inside the place, except to conduct business discussions over drinks, but DO size up other drinkers, for pounce-thefts later). Murak’s on-duty staff never numbers less than a dozen, and he prides himself on training them to be good-natured, sexy and flirtatious without being wanton or ever going farther (though arranging moots elsewhere with patrons for steamier matters is allowed), and alert to trouble or a possible thirsty throat. If a patron holds up one hand overhead cupped around empty air in a ‘drink please’ signal, a staffer should be at the table asking the patron’s pleasure in three breaths or less.
Murak allows all manner of meetings and negotiations to take place in the Net, but patrons are forbidden to bring live animals inside, or any food that’s still alive, is hot, or has sauce on it or with it. Patrons are also forbidden to exchange items, with two exceptions: coins and other currency, and paper documents (in other words, a payment can be made or a contract drafted or signed, but merchants can’t directly buy or sell goods).
Murak does this to keep merchants from treating his tables like permanent business offices, not because he’s an ‘ogresnout’ (nasty authority-hurler). He gives members of the Watch free drinks, and in return gets himself not only exemplary response from the Watch whenever brawls erupt, but at least a handful of off-duty Watch members in his taproom at all times. They understand that they’re expected not to scrutinize or eavesdrop on fellow patrons in an obvious manner, and are treated like family.
As a result, the Net is the safest tavern for miles. It never closes, and serves inexpensive drinks, nuts, handwheels of cheese, small roundloaves of salty bread, and “everything in” (usually boar-scraps and barley, thickened with mashed yellow peas, always salty, and always served in tankards, with long spoons handed out when the tankard grows low) soups.
Murak and a lot of his staff live above the taproom, in a communal, everchanging family (Murak himself is best described as a “lazily tomcatting batchelor”), and has one ‘sick room’ suite up in the attic, but normally rents out no rooms, and permits no guests to stay overnight (he has been known to ‘take in’ a hunted guest as part of his family for a night).
The cellars of the Net of Stars are often flooded knee-deep by stinking harbor-water, and are haunted by the ghosts of drowned smugglers, but that doesn’t deter Murak from hiding some of the wealth he won during his mercenary days in hidden cellar chambers, or chasing his prettier serving-wenches down one of the two secret stairs (crowded with cobwebs and smuggler-chains) that link attic and cellars.
The ghosts don’t enter the secret stairs or the hidden rooms they lead to, but keep to the surrounding ring of chambers (which aren’t directly connected to the hidden rooms). These surrounding chambers are usually choked with mold, rotting barrels, and a few inches of water, are reached down several stairs from the jakes (which empty into high-sided ‘nightsoil’ carts run down wheel-trough ramps to sit under the privies on chains, and hauled up and away by mules VERY early every morning, when replacements are brought) and from locked doors around the taproom.
Murak hollowed out space under the ‘backbar’ room to serve as a wine-cellar, and abandoned the cellars to the ghosts, who attack all intruders. There is one trapdoor into the cellars that Murak can open precipitously by pulling a lever behind the bar, dumping undesirables in the taproom twenty feet down into the damp darkness. Only very small persons can be sent down into the nightsoil carts through the privy-holes, and the ghosts don’t bother anyone in the ramp area, thanks to the presence of a crypt thing.
The crypt thing, once the priestess Hurlara Snowstill, died fighting in the ramp to prevent smugglers from plundering a shrine to Tempus that once stood on the site of the Net of Stars, and was set here as a guardian. She prevents all living things, from rats to adventurers, from using the ramp as a way between the cellars and the street outside -- and more than one drunken sailor, urinating down the ramp, has been “hair-standing startled” at the sight of a red-eyed skeleton walking slowly and gracefully up the ramp towards him, clad only in the tattered ruins of a gown. The ghosts avoid her and the areas she guards, and Murak knows all about her and brings her new gowns (down the ramp, in the brief time between one nightsoil cart being removed and its replacement introduced) from time to time. A small flagstone in a passage near the privies can be lifted and set aside to allow things to be dropped down to her, and Murak sends her reading material in this way whenever he can.
Hurlara carefully keeps and re-reads everything sent to her, and can sometimes be eerily heard entertaining herself by softly reading random words aloud from several sources, to stitch together a new (and inevitably rather stilted) tale.


So saith Ed. I recall Murak, but now that I know all this, will use the Net as a swift way of tipping off the Watch and Grayclaws to the Knights’ presence in Tantras without all the bother of accosting someone to make an announcement. That way both groups can start following us right away, and we can all save time.
THO
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Josh Davids
Seeker

57 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  01:37:49  Show Profile  Visit Josh Davids's Homepage Send Josh Davids a Private Message
Gerath I can slightly answer one of the questions you brought up about crunch and fluff. Working for a D20 company I sent in my assignment on monsters, everything from plants twisted by druidic and demonic magic to offspring of Dryads breed with demons etc and in the descriptions I had a lot of stuff that would be called fluff, from how they came about to some of their attacks such as poison. Got told to cut most of the fluff and just leave the crunch, which made me grumble quite a bit but did it. I got told when I asked why, because most just want the stats not what the poison does or how it effects a character. I was slightly bummed out about it but eh life goes on and I continue to work. I guess it just comes down to the publisher and editor and what the entire vision of the product is and it to be about. Still saying this half breed demon/dryad takes her time in devouring her male prey slowly after enamoring them with a charm like poison sorta takes away from the evil incarnate wood nymph type of creature I was making.
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  01:45:42  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Thanks for the insider's insight there Josh... i don't want to clutter up Ed's topic by carrying on about this, but needless to say there's a much wider discussion on the whole fluff/crunch issue. With regards to the Realms, i would have hoped on a very high fluff to crunch ratio, simply because i buy FR products because i want to get to know a WORLD, not simply use customised rules.

Ok, i'll stop this line of thinking now and let the thread get back on topic.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  03:11:54  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Josh Davids

Gerath I can slightly answer one of the questions you brought up about crunch and fluff.



Thanks for the insight JD. As you explain there and I've seen from other publishers on other boards, this shift to crunch over fluff is not simply a WOTC move.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  04:26:26  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Back again, fellow scribes, with some swift’n’simple replies from our Ed:


Krafus, when it comes to heavy-lifting Realmslore answers: yes, you’re next, I promise!

Damian, in answer to your May 8th comment in this thread, I think we ARE seeing some elven propaganda regarding the “history” that tells us they lifted humankind on Toril out of barbarism and first gave them magic. I believe some few humans of sophisticated spellcasting powers survived an earlier ‘great war’ among human civilizations, and lured the elves into Faerun through the gates so the Fair Folk could by their very presence hold the land against rampaging monsters, overly-grasping dragons, and innumerable orcs long enough for these few sophisticated humans to return to lives of contemplation, study, and pursuing pet magical projects rather than endlessly defending themselves merely to survive.
The elves did find the great majority of humans as nomadic, brawling barbarians (albeit with a great adaptability for magic and everything else), but some Fair Folk MUST have known about the few human sorcerers and wizards . . . and their xenophobic lore since has “forgotten” this, despite the evidence of the gates, half-elves (hence human/elf interbreeding, and we can’t all be fascinated by smelly savage barbarians, right?).

Athenon, your glimpses of Calaunt and Harrowdale should follow the reply Krafus is waiting for. Glad you liked the wilderland terrain parts of the Silver Marches: the kudos you offer me should actually belong to Rich Baker, who made an outline of what was to go into the book and carefully made sure that all of those features were covered (me, I could have filled the thing just with Silverymoon, and then done it all over again with Everlund, and then -- well, you see why they don’t let me manage any sort of game department :}).
I certainly hope that Wizards will hurl forth similar products on the Dalelands, Cormyr, AND Sembia in the near future, but I can honestly say I don’t know of any definite plans to do so. As the old adage goes, “Ask and buy, and ask again, and perhaps, just PERHAPS, in the fullness of time . . .”

On the unfolding tidbits about The Simbul, well, George, I can add this much: she DOES have a close friendship with a dragon who lairs somewhere northeast of Thay, and can in fact call on this wyrm for aid as a steed, pounce-rescuer, and even diversionary attack force. The name, breed, and locale of the dragon and its domain are details I’ve yet to unearth in my elder lore-notes. Elsewhere I’ve talked about the long, tender, half-bullying manner in which The Simbul brought Elminster back to sanity and mental strength after his excursion into the Nine Hells, but you can be sure that during their lovemaking, which usually involves mind-to-mind caresses as well as the physical contact, she laid down some very vivid mind-visions to remind him of the consequences of overly willful behaviour. The fact that this is very much the kettle calling the chamberpot black is beside the point; I think we’ll see a lot less of the wayward bed-all-handy-wenches El henceforth (ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER revelations notwithstanding).

Borch, I haven’t forgotten you either! When I finally get the Waterdeep novel and my public-appearances obligations out of the way, I’ll start moving on the Realmslore a little faster. If you’ve ever wondered why oldtime D&D gamers had to wait forever for more Greyhawk lore from Gary Gygax, well, now you know why: like me, he was constantly busy with everything else!

Proc, a few Watch notes to start on: Watch officers customarily address male citizens as “goodsirs,” except for persons they know to be Waterdhavian nobility (and every veteran Watch officer knows at least the heads and heirs of all Waterdhavian noble families on sight, plus the troublemakers), whom they call “gentlesirs.” Mixed-gender noble groups of people are “gentles.”
Non-noble women are “goodwives” unless young, whereupon they become “goodlasses.” Young males are usually called “jacks” or “my jacks” (as in: “What befalls? Hold and deliver truth, my jacks!”)
“Hold!” ( = ‘Freeze!’) and “Down arms!” ( = ‘Drop your weapons!’) and “Talk truth!” ( = ‘Answer me!’) are frequent Watch commands.
I’ll get into addressing fellow officers and salutes properly later, but here’s just one: a salute made by a Watch officer that indicates respect for someone’s judgement, prowess at arms, or bravery is to draw oneself to attention, look at the person to be honoured, and while doing so, sharply rap the hilt of a sheathed weapon (usually belt dagger) with one closed fist. More anon, as I have time.

Foxhelm, a quick start on planar answers for you. Yes, there are living people on the planes, and in many cases in cities and towns located around portals, a few of these being as crossroads/lawless as Planescape’s Sigil. As to who inhabits such places -- again, I’ll get to this.

Metis, likewise with the Reach: I’ll whip up some more lore as soon as I can (this truly IS a neglected area, because aside from shipwrecks and pirate-chasings, the Knights seldom went there).

Garen Thal, I look forward to talking Realmslore with you at GenCon at as great a length as we can manage. Owing to my increasingly failing wits (old age, the stress of being a stunningly beautiful supermodel by night and a fat bearded gamer by day, and so on), I’ve begun to forget details of Realmslore and have to consult my notes (holding the entire Realms in my head was easy when I was the sole creator, but much harder ever since), so if you quiz me on arcane details, expect to hear me admitting my forgetfulness . . . but hopefully there’ll be enough left of my brain to yield up SOMEthing useful then.
That goes for all fans of the Realms: although I agree to participate in certain events and then have to do so, I otherwise attend GenCon to see old friends (often gamer colleagues) and to ‘talk Realms’ with fans, so don’t be shy: tackle me (especially if you’re female and look as good as The Hooded One).

Bookwyrm and The Sage, yes, the Realms boasts the usual insects (gnats, stinging midges, mosquitoes, wasps, bees, plus giant versions of all of these, as well as stag beetles, rhino beetles, ant lions, and so on. Cicadas, I don’t think so, but I’ll have to check my notes. Dragon twice rejected “everyday, not monster” insect article ideas in the past, but over the years my spell ink formulae, potion formulae, spell component notes, and similar Realmslore have mentioned a fair variety of insects. Yes, I’ll have to delve into more detail. I can say that the existence of a lot of the aerial monster life found in the rulebooks means that a LOT more insects would get devoured in the Realms than in our present-day real world.

In similar vein, kuje31 and Bookwyrm: yes, germs exist in the Realms just as in our real world, though knowledge of them is rare and confused. As far as is known, there are no magic-resistant germs (beyond the fell experiment mentioned in CORMYR: A NOVEL).

Gerath Hoan, Arabel was swiftly reclaimed and what minor damage there was (a lot of looting, a few buildings burned) was quickly set right. The majority of citizens have returned, because the Crown very much wants to hold Arabel as a strong city: there’s a long-standing fear that to let it stand weak or abandoned will mean the loss of most of Cormyr to the Zhents, the beasts of the Stonelands, and now, perhaps, the machinations of Shade.

Bookwyrm, I’m very pleased your mother liked Volo’s North. I had to write most of those Volo’s books far faster than I would have liked, and the art orders were killers that ate up too much time, too, but I’d willingly have undergone far worse punishment if I’d been allowed to cram a lot more lore into them. Some of them were VERY heavily edited (check the credits, and you’ll see that one of them was “gang-edited” :}), with lots of bitchy Volo restaurant reviews hitting the cutting-room floor. If I’d been allowed to make the books long enough, or rather cover smaller areas in each one, they’d have been crammed with local colour and stories. They’re still my favourite style of product, and I regularly ask Wizards folks for a chance to do new ones.
And I know just what you mean about enjoying descriptions of places you can no longer go. For years, one of my library bosses, a fat woman who lived alone, ordered every cookbook that was published for her branch -- and took them home to bed with her, and read them as “food porn,” imagining what everything tasted like without ever daring to follow the recipes and consume the result.
Because none of us can ride dragons or hurl spells, and only imagine it, I have to do my darndest to make it “feel real.” I spent years volunteering at a childrens’ hospital for severely disabled kids, describing dragonback flying to some of them who could never walk -- and watching their eyes fill with wonder. It’s that light in the eyes I’m always striving for, when I write.
And yeah, it IS a shame about those royalties. I coulda been a contendah!


Ed ran out of time here, and tells me he’ll finish with the quickies (ahem) when he can. Possibly late tomorrow.
Until then,
Blades high and bright, all!
THO
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Josh Davids
Seeker

57 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  05:48:49  Show Profile  Visit Josh Davids's Homepage Send Josh Davids a Private Message
You are welcome both of you, but I am far from an industry insider just yet, so far just a freelance writer with game design skills, mostly game design since the fluff was limited. In truth I agree with you both I enjoy the fluff more then the crunch hence why I went into detail how a plant, a normal ivy vine was twisted and changed by druidic and demonic magic combined into a creature that drains victims of blood till they are a corpse, then the evolved version of that plant that does the same thing but turns the blood into an elixir that creates a form of undead once re-injected back into the dead body. In the end some of the fluff stayed in others got removed, but it is far from the lurking menace in the quiet woods that somehow became haunted and a dangerous place. I like fluff for one reason, when I started to role play I started in the realms but then the group disbanded and I moved online. From there found a free form role play site where no rule systems were established just imagination. So no die rolls, no hit points to spell slots it was limited to imagination and character design. Miss that type of RP where the only limit was the imagination, so fluff is always dear to me unlike stats which for the longest time I never used, if it was in my character to dodge this or that sword strike he did, if it wasn’t he got an arm lobbed off. Some of my most colorful characters started then, and one an archmage cursed with immortality and burdened by souls that are not his yet they are part of his soul for eternity I want to turn into a novel series but in do time. After I finish god knows how many other books, a pet project that I will finish in time. But sadly it seems to be this way, I guess so many want to get their rule variant out that they skip over fluff if it isn’t needed, plus honestly it does save money in the long run for a start up company to limit how much is printed in any given book.

Though honestly you got Ed to thank for that as well, started rp while reading his books and FR, that styled the types of characters I came up with at the time and the way I played and now lends itself to the stuff I write and design.
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fourthmensch
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USA
32 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  10:15:29  Show Profile  Visit fourthmensch's Homepage  Send fourthmensch an AOL message Send fourthmensch a Private Message
Ed,

Have I mentioned that this thread is fantastic? I know we keep saying it, but bears repeating: a great and hearty thanks to both you and Lady Hooded for all the fantastic stories and information that has been scribed into this scroll.

Onto the question: There is a tantalizing hint in Volo's Guide to the Dalelands that the lowest level of the Tower of the Rising Moon in Highmoon contains ancient secrets and powerful magic. I'm planning on sending my players down there in an upcoming game session, and I was wondering if you could tell me any more about what is down there.

I want you to go home and ponder the meaning of the word subversive.

Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination.
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  13:23:16  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
I think I haven't done my 'don't say "fluff"' bit on this thread. Briefly: the term used to describe lore/background/world-and-story content is undescriptive (the material is substantial), ambiguous (understood differently by different people, and used in entirely different senses e.g. the REALMS-L keyword), derogatory (originating in a clearly disparaging context), and insulting to every author who ever wrote anything except RPG stats (and hence absurd and demeaning to everyone who uses the term). To those who use it because 'everyone else is': that's never a good reason to use bad language that makes communication harder and makes idiots out of people who use it. Everyone else is not, yet, but if they do it will normalize the rules-dominance of RPG sourcebooks as surely as anything.

...

True, half Manshoon's 3E writeup is stat block, half the description ('flavor text' in gameist newspeak) relates the Cloak & Dagger events but removes most of the clones, thus cancelling that plot's point. Maybe the battle gorget is what all the luchadores are wearing in Hillsfar.
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BobROE
Learned Scribe

Canada
106 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  14:01:37  Show Profile  Visit BobROE's Homepage Send BobROE a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


Proc, a few Watch notes to start on: Watch officers customarily address male citizens as “goodsirs,” except for persons they know to be Waterdhavian nobility (and every veteran Watch officer knows at least the heads and heirs of all Waterdhavian noble families on sight, plus the troublemakers), whom they call “gentlesirs.” Mixed-gender noble groups of people are “gentles.”
Non-noble women are “goodwives” unless young, whereupon they become “goodlasses.” Young males are usually called “jacks” or “my jacks” (as in: “What befalls? Hold and deliver truth, my jacks!”)
“Hold!” ( = ‘Freeze!’) and “Down arms!” ( = ‘Drop your weapons!’) and “Talk truth!” ( = ‘Answer me!’) are frequent Watch commands.
I’ll get into addressing fellow officers and salutes properly later, but here’s just one: a salute made by a Watch officer that indicates respect for someone’s judgement, prowess at arms, or bravery is to draw oneself to attention, look at the person to be honoured, and while doing so, sharply rap the hilt of a sheathed weapon (usually belt dagger) with one closed fist. More anon, as I have time.




Since I'm running the game that Proc is playing in, I thought I'd add to the questions about the watch.
How much do they get paid?
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ericlboyd
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
1253 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  14:58:17  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message
Fourthmensch asked:

<<< Onto the question: There is a tantalizing hint in Volo's Guide to the Dalelands that the lowest level of the Tower of the Rising Moon in Highmoon contains ancient secrets and powerful magic. I'm planning on sending my players down there in an upcoming game session, and I was wondering if you could tell me any more about what is down there. >>>

I'm not Ed, but I can answer this in part. Some of which you seek can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20020529a

--Eric

--
http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  17:40:30  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
My apologies Faraer, my time on the forums is as yet brief, and my use of terminolgy reflects that.

My use of the term "Fluff" was never meant in a negative light; as can be seen from my posts i'm actually in favour of a greater story/background content in my Wizards RPG products.

I'll watch how i use my language in future, so as not to misuse terms or cause offence.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  18:20:40  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Hey, make up your own mind based on the arguments, some people think the term's OK. I'm not personally offended, I just think it's a nasty potential linguistic drift that's worth trying to stop. Some people do use 'fluff' who like it, while others use it with derogatory intent. (Compare the appropriation of 'dyke' by lesbians.) Apart from anything else, I don't like insular RPG jargon. And it's awkward to explain 'we actually like fluff, we're using it without the negative connotations inherent in the word' every time you use it talking to someone not embedded in that online 'gamer' culture...
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  18:26:38  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
To be perfectly honest i hadn't thought about the semantics of the whole thing, i simply assumed i'd be understood. Thanks for pointing the potential amiguities to me.

I will form my own opinion on the matter, but i think its best if i play things cautiously and use the terminology i can expect the most people to understand, so i'm taking on board your points with regards to what i post on this forum.

Apologies again, especially to any reader i may have confused.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  18:45:45  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
And Now, More About Rothé
quote:
Surface Rothé
Bigger than their subterranean cousins, so-called “high” or “surface” rothé have longer legs, and hence are faster runners and more nimble rock climbers (move 12). They have heavier coats and their pelts are always suitable for use as clothing.
Large herds of rothé roam near Mt. Ghaethluntar and the glaciers east and north of it (in the Moonsea North), and in the snowy wastes north of the Ice Mountains (in the Sword Coast North). When attacks from gnoll, flind, and orc bands grow too fierce, the rothé herds tend to move out onto the frozen, icy dunes of Anauroch (The Great Desert), drinking water melted with the heat of their muzzles. They eat windblown lichens and iceflowers. Iceflowers are harmless white plants of the arctic areas of Faerûn; they resemble sunflowers growing flat on the ground, with long, waxy dark green creeping arms and leaves.
The presence of frozen ponds and sunny ridges cloaked with lichens and ground pines make the verges of Anauroch just north of ruined Ascore particularly hospitable to ranging rothé. In the wide-open dunes, rothé can freely wheel to scatter or charge, and few ground-based foes can stand against them.

Ghost Rothé
These giant rothé are named for their white coats, their nocturnal gallops, and their ability to use jump and silence 15' radius once each per day as 2nd level casters; they can use both these powers in a single round. Many wayfarers in the North have been startled by a silent white rothé suddenly leaping over their campfire and galloping off into the night.
Ghost rothé dwell only on the surface—but can be found in caverns opening onto the surface, and in meltwater tunnels beneath glaciers when the weather is fierce. They inhabit cold lands, such as tundra, alpine meadows, and ice deserts, and are a favorite food of remorhaz and polar bears.
Quick, what's the source?
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  19:03:42  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
I don't know if you're addressing me there or not, Faraer, but the source of that text is the FRCS, in the section adding new creatures to the game.

EDIT: Oops, my mistake. Much of the opening paragraphs would seem to be lifted from the 3e FRCS (or the FRCS lifts from them) but the rest of the info is new to me.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 18 May 2004 19:11:33
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 18 May 2004 :  20:58:29  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Hi Ed,

Here's a new question for you, one that was sparked from discussion elsewhere on these boards.

With regards to Myrmeen Lhal - was she always a Ranger of Tymora in your Realms campaign? The reason we've been wondering about this is because in the 3rd Edition campaign setting she's listed as such, directly contradicting an earlier statement in the book that all Rangers MUST follow a nature deity. How do you see this problem? Is Myrmeen an exception in the Realms, or are there small numbers of other Rangers worshipping non-nature deities?

Also, for SirusBlack's sake, could you clarify for us what happened to Myrmeen's daughter?

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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