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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  01:27:28  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Brightly met again, gentles. ’Tis my pleasure, as The Hooded One of yore (and my, for that matter), to trot out a zinger of an answer for Ed (who’s now gone back and plunged into Harrowdale, as promised):


fourthmensch, it’s time I handed out the rules to at least one of the card games of Faerun. So here’s Old Wizard:

This game is usually played with ROUND cards in the Realms, but can be played with a regular deck of modern playing cards or by using and renaming the cards of a tarot deck, with the following changes:
All cards are used, and for playing purposes, the cards are considered to be ranked in ascending order from 2 through Jack, Queen, and King, with Aces above the Kings, Jokers (four are needed), above the Aces, and a single unique card (the Old Wizard) trumping all.
Jacks are known as Knights, Queens are Queens, Kings are Kings, Aces are Apprentices, and the Jokers are Mages.
The “taking tricks” rules of euchre apply, with the game being played between two, three, or four players (very seldom in partners). For the three-player game, everyone plays alone and a dummy hand is dealt for every battle (trick) but never played.
Every player is dealt a hand of six cards, and cards aren’t reshuffled until someone runs out of cards to play (at which point every player who still holds cards can elect to keep all, some, or none of them). At every reshuffle, the first card AFTER dealing is turned face-up to choose the new trump suit.
As for euchre, tricks are won by the highest card of the declared suit, with the Knight (Jack) of the other “same color” suit (red, diamonds and hearts; or black, spades and clubs: is using a tarot deck, pair Coins and Cups together, and Swords and Wands together) being ranked just below the Knight of the trump suit. (In euchre terms, if hearts is trump, the Jack of Hearts is “Right Bower” and the highest ranking card, but the Jack of Diamonds is “Left Bower” and ranks next, above the Ace of Hearts.)
In Old Wizard, these “bower” rules apply not only to the Knight, but also to the Apprentice (Ace) and Mage (Joker) of the same-color suit -- but NOT to the Queen and King of the same-color suit. These three privileged cards are called “the Sinister Shadows.” The Old Wizard can, of course, win any trick -- but whenever played is immediately shuffled back into the deck.
In a battle, two cards are normally played by each player, with the winner of the last battle playing a single card first, followed by the player to his right, and so on; after all first cards have been played, the player who laid down the first card plays a second, and so on. When every player has played two cards into the battle, the total of their two cards is taken, and the highest total wins the battle (the exception is when Old Wizard is played, which wins and ends the battle immediately).
Every battle won is worth 1 point, a “game” is won by the first player (or pair) to reach 9 points, and a “crown” is won by being first to win 7 games. Betting on battles, games, and crowns is popular in tavern play, but not necessary.
To summarize the point totals for winning battles:
with the exception of the Sinister Shadows, any non-trump card is worth its face value, thus:
2-10, Knight (jack) is 11, Q is 12, K is 13, A is 14, Mage (joker) is 15.
2 of trump is worth 16, 3 of trump is 17, 4 trump 18, 5 trump 19, 6 trump 20, 7 trump 21, 8 trump 22, 9 trump 23, 10 trump 24, Sinister Shadow Knight is 25, trump Knight is 26, trump Q is 27, trump K is 28, Sinister Shadow Apprentice is 29, trump A is 30, Sinister Shadow Mage is 31, trump Mage is 32, and Old Wizard takes all.
In fact, that’s the catch-phrase that the game has given the wider Realms: “Old Wizard Takes All.” I may use that as a novel title someday, if Wizards will let me.


So saith Ed. Whew. We’ve played Old Wizard several times at Ed’s cottage down the years, and my advice is: don’t shy away from the math, because figuring out battles is quite simple: in almost all cases, all non-trump cards except the Sinister Shadows can pretty much be ignored. We usually used a straight cribbage board (you could subsitute a Magic life-counter or something of the sort) to keep track of points, and rows of dice to denote games won.
Not horribly exciting, but then, we weren’t playing for coins or drinks or each other’s bodies. Most of the time.
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  01:38:28  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One



Dargoth, there’s no way I’m going to hunt up all my Realmslore (the house is stuffed FULL) and exhaustively add all the temples I know about. Serpent Kingdoms just might add a few, but I’ll add a handful over the next few weeks, okay?




Ok thats cool, would make a good monthly article though, each month list the Temples of a region.......

just out of interest what percentage of the Temples do you think weve covered in that list?

Regarding the Realms Lore scattered around Eds house: Maybe Ed could get Wizards to send you one of their Interns for a month or so to do some Data entry for him

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Arivia
Great Reader

Canada
2869 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  02:44:49  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth
Regarding the Realms Lore scattered around Eds house: Maybe Ed could get Wizards to send you one of their Interns for a month or so to do some Data entry for him



I'd do it-Ed, if you ever need some extra help and are willing to come pick up a high school student in Hamilton(or can provide transportation in some way), then I'd be willing/able to drop near everything.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29649 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  03:01:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

So saith Ed. Who was grinning like the Cheshire Cat in his last e-mail to me, because he introduced a shy young local teenage lass who was having trouble reading at school to Bone, Girl Genius, Buck Godot, Strangers In Paradise, Lucifer, and Cerebus, and now she excitedly wants more (and is trying, with Ed’s help, to figure out how to sneak Ironwood and XXXenophile home, past her mother’s watchful eye).
Ah, to be young again.
THO




I had a stepmom that was death on D&D... I used to do things like stick stuff in folders or put my own book covers on it to get it past her. Stick something in a folder, bury it betwixt textbooks or whatever, and you're home safe... I even had a book cover that I made to be removed so I could stick it on other books.

Of course, when school's not in session, then other methods must be used... I had two: I had a safe place outside where I would leave stuff, and then sneak it in later, usually late at night. The other method was to get home, lean something up against my bathroom window, then go inside and retrieve it.

I don't know if either method would help here, but you could pass them on to Ed just the same...

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4718 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  04:41:15  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Melfius
Does Ed know if there is any intention to do another Arcane Age-like product for the Realms?



During Steven Schend's tenure as lead designer there were plans for a further Arcane Age product: "Telantiwar: Land of the Drow". It never really got off the ground but some of the material got expanded and folded into LOI, DDGttU and Wyrmskull Throne.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  05:04:49  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos
During Steven Schend's tenure as lead designer there were plans for a further Arcane Age product: "Telantiwar: Land of the Drow". It never really got off the ground but some of the material got expanded and folded into LOI, DDGttU and Wyrmskull Throne.



First I ever heard of this fact. Thanks for sharing it GK.
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fourthmensch
Seeker

USA
32 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  05:23:59  Show Profile  Visit fourthmensch's Homepage  Send fourthmensch an AOL message Send fourthmensch a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
fourthmensch, it’s time I handed out the rules to at least one of the card games of Faerun. So here’s Old Wizard: ...


Sweet... I can't wait to try this out! My brother's been wanting to play some card games where we bet our characters' gold pieces...

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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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  05:55:45  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by Melfius
Does Ed know if there is any intention to do another Arcane Age-like product for the Realms?



During Steven Schend's tenure as lead designer there were plans for a further Arcane Age product: "Telantiwar: Land of the Drow". It never really got off the ground but some of the material got expanded and folded into LOI, DDGttU and Wyrmskull Throne.

-- George Krashos




Richard Baker has also hinted at some sort of Lost Empires/Lost Civilization source book for next year

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Capn Charlie
Senior Scribe

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  06:22:38  Show Profile  Visit Capn Charlie's Homepage  Click to see Capn Charlie's MSN Messenger address  Send Capn Charlie a Yahoo! Message Send Capn Charlie a Private Message
Nice. As soon as I get a couple of decks of cards to butcher I have to give this a go. Up until now I have just been using the game of Tarok. I don't suppose we will be getting any dice games from the Realms any time soon, will we?

I love the little details like this. I was especially taken with the recipe for Thaevarr potatoes, and the Delzamaeran Delicacies was just excellent. A lot can be learned about a society (and people in general) by the how, what, and why they eat. I am quite often hard put to describe the local cuisine in many places and just have to revert to Medievil Standard® fare.

I really wish that a book could be made for the people interested in the little things that I (and I am sure many others) am. Sometimes I even lay awake at night wondering what the coinage looks like in all the various nations. The sourcebooks are usually sketchy on this.

So I guess my questions are: What kinds of designs and markings are on the various types of coinage in the realms?(Especially the Thayan, and the more ancient coins)

What is the cuisine of the Vilhon Reach(especially Turmish), Waterdeep(that is unless they are actually going to cover that in the upcoming book), and Thay like?

I have lots of questions about the realms, and many of them are actually quite trivial, but I will try to control myself.

Shadows of War: Tales of a Mercenary

My first stab at realms fiction, here at candlekeep. Stop on by and tell me what you think.
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  07:33:55  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
Here's another question for Ed from a poster named Monsoon over on the WOTC boards. It sort of ties in with Wooly's question about the pantheon that was written up in Dragon.

"What led you to use some gods found here on Earth in creating a FR pantheon?"

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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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  13:15:10  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Ed, I liked your description of Calaunt, but am curious about a segment of the population I never felt fit in with the rest of the city. Actually, two groups, now that I think about it. There is a large community of half-elves in Calaunt. They have a friendly trade war with the dwarves of the city. How do these sub-cultures fit in with such a grim society as Calaunt?
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Myst
Seeker

34 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  14:50:18  Show Profile  Visit Myst's Homepage  Send Myst an AOL message  Click to see Myst's MSN Messenger address  Send Myst a Yahoo! Message Send Myst a Private Message
Ed, I loved the Shadow of the Avatar Trilogy books and loved the Ranger's Three I know you've probably been asked already if there is anything forthcoming on them of late so I won't ask but what I will ask is this: Belkram is said to have been revived (or resurrected?) several times, it was also said by someone who brought him back yet another time that they were unsure if they could do it because of his numerous deaths? Can you elaborate on that? I wasn't sure if I was missing something when it came to him being brought back over and over.

Also I read Elminster: Temptation of a Mage a while ago and I haven't gotten to your to latest works on him yet but I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. If I remember correctly El was kinda trapp under the tutelage of the Lady of Shadows herself right?? Did he learn anything about the Shadow Weave when he was with her???

"The Cure to Ignorance is Knowledge"

-Aristotle-

Edited by - Myst on 24 May 2004 14:53:25
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  15:08:34  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Dice games: we do know how to play thabort (1993 campaign setting, Shadowdale p. 38) and Traitors' Heads (Volo's Guide to Cormyr p. 161; requires a skull).

Earth gods: "Down-to-earth divinity" in Dragon #54 doesn't answer that question directly, but says much else about the formation of the pantheon (and I wonder why most of those Beast Cults weren't mentioned again).

Sharanralee: I think it might be best to leave off featuring her until she can get a spotlight in some short story. It's not ideal that we've had all these glimpses of Mirt before his novels, though his shorts in Dragon #238 and Elminster in Hell are just fine -- Realms short stories hold no lesser status to novels in my view. But a brief summary of what an average Harper thinks she knows about her would work before seeing her close up. Not yet.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  15:17:41  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Fellow scribes, I was e-tossing the latest postings here to Ed this morn, and it seems he was at his keyboard already (sending Waterdeep chapters?), so I got back a pair of instant replies:


Kuje, please tell Monsoon that in the days when I rounded out my pantheon and then wrote that article, darn near every writer for DRAGON was trying to make everything fit the existing rules (which Gary Gygax, Jim Ward, and other staffers were expanding almost monthly in DRAGON articles of their own). There were no ‘competing worlds’ then, and everyone was trying to add little embellishments to the ever-growing castle of rules, not “fix” or challenge any part of it. Gary had used Tyr of the real-world deities, and my article was intended to show one DM’s underlying assumptions about the gods, and how that would inevitably shape the pantheon. As part of it, and drawing on the Deities & Demigods rulebook, I wanted to present other examples of incorporating real-world deities, such as Mielikki. To underscore the “multiple worlds linked by gates” concept that gives the Forgotten Realms its name (that we here in the real world used to travel back and forth between Earth and the Realms and other places, and that dragons and the like also made such trips, hence our legends of them, but that we have now “forgotten” the ways to get back and forth), I wanted deities from our world venerated in the Realms. Afraid of lawsuits if real people tried to do things from the game and got hurt, TSR downplayed the entire “close ties with the real world” aspect of the Realms, though the multiple worlds crept back in later, in both Planescape and Spelljammer: I postulated that the gates were forgotten because various power groups ended up controlling them (killing beings who used them without permission), and that a logical place for adventuring play for high-level, long-lasting campaigns to go would be to join in these battles for control of gates (3e: “portals”) and get involved in planar politics. The smattering of real-world deities was part of this.
The importation of Oriental and Egyptian pantheons into the Realms occurred later, and was done by TSR designers trying to make the Realms a welcome setting for all sorts of play (Wanna be a gladiator? A samurai? A pirate? A jungle explorer?) because the Realms was then intended to be THE host world for 2nd Edition AD&D.

Lashan, there are lots of sub-groups in Calaunt (respectable numbers of halflings, too). They exist by keeping their heads down (low public profile) and by portraying themselves as useful, trustworthy, hard-working skilled labourers. They also tend to form ghettoes, the dwarves actually linking many of their dwellings by tunnels, and the half-elves just trying to purchase or rent dwellings near to each other (at about the midpoint of the south bank of the city), so they are seldom visible on the streets in large groups.
The dwarves specialize in refortifying and refurbishing buildings (and in providing clever locks and traps), and the elves specialize in making salves, medicines, intoxicants, and in dancing and selling their favours in the behind-doors pleasure industry. Halflings specialize in all climbing-related work, from washing windows and fixing roof-tiles to packing and unpacking specific items in stacked-crate warehouses. Yes, these are generalizations I’m making, and almost racist as a result, but that’s the point: this is the way these groups try to present themselves to the rest of the city, however different the lives and skills of particular individuals of these groups may happen to be. Paint yourself as useful, subservient, and quiet, and you’re tolerated for your skills. The halflings are seen as potential thieves, and so take care to make pacts with the city’s thieves to head off suspicion. The half-elves are seen by the Dukes as potential troublemakers (they can dispense drugs, poisons, and foster intimate relationships, all leading them to be able to sway the loyalties of individuals), so they’ve taken great care to work with the Dukes, some of them operating as the “secret agents” of various Dukes. The dwarves likewise give the Dukes the best traps and locks, and file full details (with charts and plans) of ALL traps and locks they install, all over the city, to the Dukes…again, positioning themselves as useful agents.
And so life goes on (for now), in the restless powder-keg that is Calaunt…

So there you are, and I’m headed back to Waterdeep (with glimpses of Harrowdale during my breaks). Oh, two things more: fourthmensch, if Old Wizard plays too slowly, it’s okay to use the Moonsea Variant: take out and discard from play all the 2 through 8 cards of all suits. Faraer, Mirt and Durnan will be seen together in short-length Realms fiction soon.


So saith Ed. A bright morning to you all.
THO
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Myst
Seeker

34 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  15:32:16  Show Profile  Visit Myst's Homepage  Send Myst an AOL message  Click to see Myst's MSN Messenger address  Send Myst a Yahoo! Message Send Myst a Private Message
Hey Hooded One,
How goes it? Anywho Just wondering if you could ask Ed what other characters can we look forward to seeing in the WaterDeep book?? Mrs. Elaine C. has said that Elaith will be there I'm guessing we'll see Khelben and Danilo anythin one else that you can name??
PLzzzz

"The Cure to Ignorance is Knowledge"

-Aristotle-
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Myst
Seeker

34 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  17:11:26  Show Profile  Visit Myst's Homepage  Send Myst an AOL message  Click to see Myst's MSN Messenger address  Send Myst a Yahoo! Message Send Myst a Private Message
Aww man

As I have mentioned before I have only read up to the Elminster: The Temptation of a Mage book in Ed's El' series I just read in a post earlier on this thread (trying to catch up to you ladies and lords) that the El's daughter novel takes place in Cormyr now I was hoping to just read El in Hell and then Dive into EL's Daughter but will I get eveything?? Or should I read the Cormyr novels First (I haven't read those yet. I hope not Cause that means like 4 books before I can read El's Daughter . [insert prayer to Tymora] Can someone who has read El's Daughter and Not the Cormyr novels shed light on this dilemma for me, plzzz. And then maybe someone who has read both series' up to date (Cormyr and EL)

Any replies will be Greatly appreciated so Thx in advance

P.S. I know I should have read those Cormyr Novels already But I'm only one person and I think 30+ novels in ten months aint bad.

"The Cure to Ignorance is Knowledge"

-Aristotle-

Edited by - Myst on 24 May 2004 17:17:41
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  17:49:01  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Myst
Can someone who has read El's Daughter and Not the Cormyr novels shed light on this dilemma for me, plzzz. And then maybe someone who has read both series' up to date (Cormyr and EL)

Any replies will be Greatly appreciated so Thx in advance




I don't think you need to read the Cormyr novels beforehand to enjoy Elminster's Daughter. I certainly think it can help as having read the Cormyr novel enriches the overall experience. However, I believe the novel is written so anyone can jump right in and enjoy.
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Myst
Seeker

34 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  18:01:30  Show Profile  Visit Myst's Homepage  Send Myst an AOL message  Click to see Myst's MSN Messenger address  Send Myst a Yahoo! Message Send Myst a Private Message
http://www.candlekeep.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=202&whichpage=8

^^^Here I posted the books I've read and I wanna make sure I'm not missing any FR must reads so plzz offer suggestions

Oh, and Thx for the input Sirius it is appreciated......Hmm I still don't know though, I guess I can always read the Cormyr novels after the Elminster books

"The Cure to Ignorance is Knowledge"

-Aristotle-
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  18:10:43  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Myst
Oh, and Thx for the input Sirius it is appreciated......Hmm I still don't know though, I guess I can always read the Cormyr novels after the Elminster books



You're welcome. There is a specific thread devoted to the novel

http://www.candlekeep.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2369

You might get more responses from those who have read the novel if you asked there.
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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  19:14:54  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Ah...great info! I know that you have many other people waiting, but I cannot refrain from asking. I assume to have my questions piled on at the end.

I've talked to Mr. Krashos about the history of Calaunt. We know that there are dwarven ruins underneath the city. What else is in the past of this area? Perhaps it was an old outpost of the elves of Cormanthyr? Did the orcs every reside in this location? Any other interesting tidbits of info about this city's history then to assume it was a small settlement of Damarrans about the same time as Tantras?

Speaking of Tantras (you didn't expect me to not ask something?), I'm wondering about sewer systems. There is a ridge that bisects the city. I am thinking that it would be terrific for half the city to have a sewer system that uses gravity to empty wastes into the harbor (or ocean to the side). Does Tantras have a sewer system? What about the eastern portion of the city? Perhaps gondsmen have built elaborate pumps to deposite the waste towards the sea as well? Are there other underground developments as well? What about catacombs? Where are the dead buried? Am I safe to assume in a cemetary a short distance from the city walls? Do the nobles have catacombs? What about the True and Loyal House and other churches?
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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  21:15:15  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

You know who I've wanted to know more about these many years, Ed? Sharanralee, and I'll ask about her... but not yet, not yet.

Sarelle, even though I was devil's-advocating to some extent on that monster-god thread, you were right.



Two things in your direction, Faraer:

1) If/when you lodge that promised formal request to Ed for the Sharanralee business, consider it seconded with great enthusiasm. ;)

2) I'd very much appreciate being put on the list for the re-sharing of that Ed realmslore from old Polyhedron, in whatever way you intend to make it available. For reasons that I won't bore anyone with the recounting of, I tragically missed all of it...

Many thanks,

-Karth

*********************
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29649 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  22:47:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Karth


2) I'd very much appreciate being put on the list for the re-sharing of that Ed realmslore from old Polyhedron, in whatever way you intend to make it available. For reasons that I won't bore anyone with the recounting of, I tragically missed all of it...




Ditto that! I laid hands on a single issue of Polyhedron, and that's it. I should love to see all of Ed's Polyhedron stuff compiled into one source.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Capn Charlie
Senior Scribe

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2004 :  23:00:02  Show Profile  Visit Capn Charlie's Homepage  Click to see Capn Charlie's MSN Messenger address  Send Capn Charlie a Yahoo! Message Send Capn Charlie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Karth


2) I'd very much appreciate being put on the list for the re-sharing of that Ed realmslore from old Polyhedron, in whatever way you intend to make it available. For reasons that I won't bore anyone with the recounting of, I tragically missed all of it...




Ditto that! I laid hands on a single issue of Polyhedron, and that's it. I should love to see all of Ed's Polyhedron stuff compiled into one source.



I ditto the ditto! I would give my eye teeth to get all that in one place.

Well, maybe not my eye teeth, but you would definitely get some.

Shadows of War: Tales of a Mercenary

My first stab at realms fiction, here at candlekeep. Stop on by and tell me what you think.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 25 May 2004 :  00:58:03  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met, gentle scribes all! Athenon, thy lucky day has rolled around again (at last), for Ed doth unfold divers details of Harrowdale to thee, thus:


Righty-ho. The most essential resources for Harrowdale are Rich Baker’s FRS1 The Dalelands, and Volo’s Guide to the Dales (now both available as downloads, I believe), with the FRCS providing the most recent overview. (I’m not going to repeat any lore from those sources.)

Harrowdale is well-travelled farming country. Although there are rolling-hill sheep ranches and orchards at both the northerly and southern ends of the dale, its heart has always been a northwest-southeast gentle-sided river valley. The river “sank” below ground centuries ago for reasons unknown (probably something to do with Underdark mining), leaving behind a series of ponds and tiny wandering creeks that have been diverted into many drainage ditches and small, private pond-reservoirs. Drought is unknown, because water from the Elvenwoods still moves steadily down to the Dragonreach through Harrowdale, but irrigation has almost obliberated the local marshes.
The valley has been tilled and harvested for centuries, and is crisscrossed by meandering cart-lanes, two of them (known collectively as “the Harrow Ride”) running the length of the valley on either side of the former riverbed (linked together by cross-lanes in many places). At the Reach end of these lanes is Harrowdale-town, and at the upstream, wooded end of them, several hundred feet higher, is Velartree (at the mouth of the Halfaxe Trail). Two crossroads settlements, so small that they’re missing from most maps, stand on the Ride between Velartree and Harrowdale-town. Each offers little more than a market-paddock, an inn-and-tavern, a mill or smithy, a few private residences, rooming-houses for seasonal farm labourers, and a discreet house of pleasure. Dead Oak is the upstream hamlet, and Lanfroe the downstream one. Velartree itself is similar in size and amenities.
The Council of Seven Burghers has hired and trained four constables to keep order (and report back events, including who visits or passes through and what goods they’re carrying) in the two road-hamlets, recruited a dozen more Grey Riders who work out of a base in Velartree, and recently established a ten-man Watch in Velarsburg (the second-largest settlement in Harrowdale, and the mercantile center of its northern hills).
They’ve also extended to the Grey Riders the right to make arrests, keep persons in captivity and transport them bound to Harrowdale-town for Council justice, and fight to protect Harrans (“Harrans” are citizens of Harrowdale; the term “Harrovans” is also sometimes used, “Velarr” means the same thing in some older written sources, and Sembians and Cormyreans sometimes say “Harrowdalesmen,” though a Harran would raise a disgusted eyebrow upon hearing that naming). All Harrans have always had the right to burn or bury corpses to prevent the spread of disease (though this has undoubtedly led to coverups of many murders, down the years).
Like all busy ‘crossroads’ trading places, Harrowdale is tolerant of outlanders, folk of many races, and new goods and ideas. The innate conservatism of its farmers was overwhelmed generations ago, probably at about the time farmer after farmer was approached to be a paid way-storage place and goods and information drop by merchants working the routes between Sembia and the Moonsea, in return for pay that made the difference for the farm family surviving the hard, deep-wet-snow winters, or not. It was this practise that led to the Harran custom of stone-lined, mud-cement-sealed storage cellars (much larger than the ‘root cellar’ food storage needs of even the largest farm family) dug into hillsides near farmhouses.
The land of Harrowdale isn’t particularly rocky, and centuries of building needs have made stones too scarce for use in farm fences. Stump fences and zigzag-rail fences were both common in bygone years, but the passing seasons have transformed most of these into thicktangle hedges, particularly since Harrans discovered many berry-bushes and vines grow well in Harrowdale’s soil and climate. Wildlife and generations of Harran children have both found these hedges to offer ample cover and ‘secret hideouts,’ and it’s not uncommon for a farmer needing to hide something in a hurry to look to his hedges for the place to do so.
Roof-thatches (most Harrowdale cottages are mud-cement-sealed, whitewashed stone buildings with thatched roofs covered with a thin layer of earth and growing gardens) offer another traditional place of concealment, but it’s a rare farm cottage that’s large enough to have ‘enclosed’ inward roof-slopes that could conceal a person or corpse “up above” during daylight hours.
To keep yields of berries and herb-leaves high, trees in Harrowdale hedges are kept pruned, but many Harrans maintain small, orderly woodlots. These began as a means of appeasing elves clearly made furious by the Halfaxe Trail incursions, and are now seen as useful mushroom-growing patches, shade spots for livestock, and ready sources of private lumber.
Harrowdale offers the visitor pleasant vistas of cultivated fields, small clusters of farm buildings, and greenery, and can be truly beautiful at sunset and near highsun on bright, cloudless days.
For years outlanders have followed the lead of other Dalesfolk in thinking of Harrans as dull-witted, placid farmers, contentedly ignorant of events, realms, customs, and folk in the wider Realms -- in short, “country bumpkins.” Aside from the contented “we’ll get through this, as we’ve got through all other troubles before it” Harran outlook (which is very true), this has always been a slanderous misrepresentation. Proximity to the boiling intrigues of Scardale and exposure to both the views and wisdom of the neighbouring elves and the stream of new ideas and dress and ways from travelling merchants, have always made Harrans far more than simple farmers. Their dull-witted reputation comes from a wise reticence about talking too loosely in front of strangers.
The Velarwood remains a dangerous place (see the FRCS), and rather than try to tame it as folk elsewhere might have done, Harrans have left it largely alone (patrolling around it with the Grey Riders to prevent any spread of woodland monsters). Local woodcutters have concentrated instead on coppicing and organized planting and nurturing practises, sited between Velarsburg and the Elvenwoods, with the cooperation of local elves. This large region of young new woods is sometimes called “the Green” (as in: “up Green way,” or “he’s deep in the Green right now”). Felling trees from either the “fore-edge” of the wild forest of Cormanthor, or of the Velarwood, is now forbidden.
Recent events in Scardale have made disease strongly feared in Harrowdale, and travellers are now encouraged (and given facilities at paddocks and at inns) to bathe often and vigorously. A typical paddock or inn has a horsepond that all arriving beasts must be led through (and inn stablemasters also wash the legs and hooves of all beasts stabled overnight, regardless of claims that they’ve been “ponded”), and a sand-bed or mud-bed for people to ‘dry scrub’ in, right beside a pond they can then wash in. (How much this merely transfers taints and conditions from one traveller to the next is a matter little understood or debated, but local temples do betimes cast purifying spells on such waters, as well as maintaining clean baths for clergy and for guests of their own.)
The Kathtan (captain) of the Watch in Harrowdale-town, the elf fighter-mage Naumys Ellarian Dawnhorn, seems to be mellowing somewhat (or as Elminster put it, “learning to live with adventurers”), but still has little use for outlanders who swagger, throw their brawn around whilst trusting in their blades and spells to keep them from being sharply curbed, and fail to confine pranks and horseplay to inside the walls of the Fall of Stars. It’s whispered that some of this gentler attitude has come from the kathtan’s several recent romances with handsome visiting adventurers, but no gossips seem to agree on the names and likenesses of Dawnhorn’s lovers.
Harrowdale doesn’t yet have its much-debated sea-tower to discourage pirates, but does now boast two new low, fast Watch “cutters” (boats with many “seagouts” mounted on their decks; seagouts are large double-crossbows, too small to properly be termed ballistae, that can be fired with the pull of a single cord from behind an armored shield) that can be swiftly sent forth if need be. Many Harran farmers regard these as “wasteful toys,” as they haven’t yet seen much use, but they’re regarded up and down the dale as far more favourable evils than building “an empire-fools’ tower” would have been.
In darker recent news, bandits have become an everpresent plague on the caravan-road between Harrowdale and Scardale, and rumors are arising that certain Sembian interests are sponsoring these road-bandits, under orders to let only “friendly” wagons through (those who’ve paid some sort of safe-passage fee in Scardale or Sembia). Lurking among these brigands, recent reports suggest, is something more sinister: four or more ragewinds (see the 3e MONSTER MANUAL II). Where these rare undead are coming from, or --or, if you prefer other tales, who summoned them -- are matters of much whispered speculation.
Moreover, Harrowdale-town is full of the usual gloomy rumors of Scardale’s intrigues slyly coming north, brought by undercover agents intent on subverting Harrans. Elminster cautions that such everpresent gossip thrives enthusiastically, and has done every since Lashan’s invasion.
Harrowdale was once called Velarsdale after its founder, was briefly dubbed “Harrowdale,” reverted to Velarsdale, and later (when ruled by the ruthless lord Halvan the Dark, who began the Halfaxe Trail) became Halvan’s Dale. After Halvan’s fall, “Halvan’s Dale” swiftly became “Harrowdale” again, a name derived from the multiple-tined plows invented locally, and has remained Harrowdale ever since. Invaded many times over its history, Harrowdale has kept its borders and many of its ‘oldblood’ farmfolk families (such as Brondas, Dyzur, Mumfyrd, and Routhgaer) from its founding, and proudly claims to be the oldest of the Dales.
Just how old that makes it is a matter for sages to argue over, but the most interesting time in its history, for treasure-seekers at least, befell in the sixty or so years preceding Halvan (whom most sages agree flourished in the 1180s DR), when adventurer after hiresword after adventurer came north from Sembia, seized Velarsdale from whomever was lord of it at the time, and proclaimed themselves ‘Lord.’
These Lords of Harrowdale held themselves to be the equals of any king, and styled their offspring “princes” and “princesses” (of them all, the handsome and skilled hunter Lord Prince Arlan is almost the only one still remembered, thanks to the ballad “Arlan Beheld An Elf-Lass Fair”). Very few of these children ever got to warm a throne, because their fathers usually ruled for only a handful of seasons. In swift succession, the dale was held by the Lords Thaundass Rahr, Orimmon (who first dubbed the dale “Harrowdale”), Feltaern Urnsarr, Imbar Thaelwood, Elzar Darth, and Harlstakh “Har-Stag” Kethtor. Kethtor was butchered on his throne by a strong, well-respected warcaptain out of Sembia, Elmaer Oraun—and the Lord Oraun then reigned for almost twenty seasons, becoming popular and widely respected, before fell magic and poison marked the coming of Halvan. During that time, Oraun built cordial relations with his neighbours (though there were more than a few rumors of both rivals and unwelcome envoys disappearing while visiting him), made peace with the elves, and in the last few years of his reign, restored the name “Velarsdale” to his tiny realm.
It’s rumored that Halvan had ‘dark aid’ in his bid to take the throne, and some say that when Oraun was defeated at the battle of Marak’s Stile, elven magic snatched him away from certain death -- and the jaws of Halvan’s war-dogs savaged only his bodyguards.
It is certain that both Oraun’s son Erammon, and his swordmaster, Thaeron, vanished that same day, leaving Oraun’s armsmen leaderless and the gates of Harrowdale-town undefended against Halvan’s riders.
Certain bold traders swear they saw Oraun and Thaeron in Elventree, some fifty summers later, escorting a “great elf lady” around the shops -- and neither of them looked a day older than they had at the coming of Halvan!
Many Harrans believe this tale because of something that befell in the heart of the hard winter of 1351 DR, when a dying Harper staggered through the snows to a farm in northern Harrowdale, delivered an unknown message to a farmhold there, and perished. On that night, fey blue mage-fire was seen raging above the hilltop farm -- and in the morning, the three brothers who’d come out of Sembia a dozen years earlier to claim that steading, upon the death of their father, walked and talked the same as they always had, but looked quite different. The three-hundred-year-old “Wandering Wizard” Arauntan of Selgaunt, who saw them on his travels, swore to his dying day that the youngest brother, Torstan Morgath, looked very like the happy-go-lucky Lord Erammon, son of the Lord Oraun; the oldest Morgath brother, Durthar, was the swordmaster Thaeron, or his very brother-image -- and the ’tween brother, Ulbaern Morgath, was the very likeness of the Lord Oraun himself.
Erammon or Torstan vanished from the farm a season later, and has not been seen in Harrowdale since. Durthar Morgath rallied the men of northern Harrowdale to fight Lashan during the invasion of 1356 DR, revealing himself as “Thaeron, Rightful Swordmaster of Harrowdale,” and perished in battle . . . and two summers later, Ulbaern or Oraun was found dead of heart-stop in the Morgath farmhouse, his fields untended. A ghostly image was hovering over his sprawled body, and the farmers who found him, level-headed men all, swore it had the likeness of a very tall, very thin elf lady, armored and cloaked, with a drawn sword in her hand. She was gazing down at the dead man in sadness when they first beheld her, but turned to regard the gaping farmers, saluted them solemnly with upraised blade, and said: “So passes one who was great. Find what he left behind here, and make this land he loved greater still.”
Then she vanished, passing the dumbstruck farmers like a chill wind. They spread word of what they’d seen almost as swiftly, but though greedy men have since thrown down every stone and board of the Morgath steading, and dug up its yard and pasture and very middens, no trace of treasure has ever been found, and the meaning of the phantom’s words -- or indeed, who she was -- remains a mystery.


So saith Ed. More essential Realmslore for the files. :} Ed tells me that George Krashos and Eric Boyd, in particular, should be interested in this for “lore-fixing” reasons.
And with love I now leave thee,
THO
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Hymn
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Posted - 25 May 2004 :  02:01:35  Show Profile  Send Hymn an AOL message  Send Hymn an ICQ Message  Click to see Hymn's MSN Messenger address  Send Hymn a Yahoo! Message Send Hymn a Private Message
I just love this new part of the forum Any how I posted this on an other location and haven't recived any answer, except that I should post it here. So that's what I am going to do.


Pillars of the King
"I was wondering if any one had some info on these ancient Ishaari ruins lying in the eastern Shaar."

/Thnx, Hymn

Sauro moki kara ochiro - Even monkeys falls from trees.

The path that leads to truth is littered with the bodies of the ignorant - Miyamoto Musashi

Edited by - Hymn on 25 May 2004 02:07:31
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