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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2004 :  19:31:41  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
Hi again Ed or THO,

This one is from Ksu_bond.

Are the weekdays in a tenday named? So what he is asking is does each day in a tenday have a specific name of the week like we have monday, tuesday, etc. Or maybe the clergies and nations of FR have different names for the days of the tenday?

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

Edited by - Kuje on 08 Sep 2004 17:25:10
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Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 07 Sep 2004 :  23:01:59  Show Profile  Visit Lord Rad's Homepage  Click to see Lord Rad's MSN Messenger address Send Lord Rad a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by kuje31

Hi again Ed or THO,

This one is from Ksu_bond.

Are the weekdays in a tenday named like our weekdays, in that they are called monday, tuesday, etc? Or maybe the clergies and nations of FR have different names for the days of the tenday?



I'm pretty sure i've read somewhere that theyre called "firstday", "second day" etc. Our Mondays are taken from various aspects of our beliefs etc so aren't relevant in the Realms. If only I could recall where I read of the day names. GRR

Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2004 :  01:18:21  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 Lord Rad
I'm pretty sure i've read somewhere that theyre called "firstday", "second day" etc. Our Mondays are taken from various aspects of our beliefs etc so aren't relevant in the Realms. If only I could recall where I read of the day names. GRR


I rephrased my question so it made more sense in what he was asking. :) I know they don't have OUR names of the weekdays so that was my fault for typing it up like that, hence the rephrasing.

I to recall that firstday, secondday, etc part now that you mention it. I don't recall what book it's in though.

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

Edited by - Kuje on 08 Sep 2004 17:25:46
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4907 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2004 :  09:48:42  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Bobby Nicholls noted on the Realms-L a loooong time ago the following:

Last year, at GenCon '95, I asked Ed Greenwood about the days of the week (Ride) in Faerun. I asked if there was a standard day or day name for the days of the ride. He responded that the days of the ride differ from geographic region to region, and usually have a religious connotation. There is no standard set of day names.

Ed went on to say that the people of Faerun use the number of days to indicate when something will happen as long as the number of days does not exceed 30. For instance, if I was to see you in 10 days, I would say "See you in a ten-day," not "See you in a ride" or "See you next ride," both of which are not as determinalistic as the first statement.

If you want to indicate an event in the future of past and this event happens within 10 days of a major event, a Realmsian would say "Bessie had her calf 3 days after the Lord came into his castle." or "Bessie's calf was born 2 days before last Greengrass."

In other words, Realmsians do not use dates like we do -- my birthday in Faerun is something like "12 days after Greengrass" not "Mirtul 12th." Now IMC, I use "Firstday," "Seconday", "Thirday", etc. for my days of the week, and I use dates like Americans do. Why? Well, to be blunt, my players don't want to try to uderstand the FR method of dating. So it is usually easier just to give in on this minor point. However, if you write fiction, you might want to follow these rules.

-- George Krashos

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

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2004 :  17:24:33  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
Ah thanks George, that's probably where I saw such text but I forgot to check the mailing list for him. :)

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

Edited by - Kuje on 08 Sep 2004 17:26:19
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2004 :  22:43:29  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 some new about Castlemorn.

"EN World user Tone Cold posted the following scoop on the current situation at Fast Forward Entertainment: Ed Greenwood's campaign setting will come out, the last quarter of this year, but not under the FFE label! A new startup company is taking over the publication of FFE's more recent/new projects, including 1492 RPG/board game and the SchizoManic card game, but not R.A. Salvatore's Demon Wars. The sports dice games (frex, Inning-a-Minute) are a "maybe" at this point. FFE will continue to support the lines that this new publisher does not pick up, such as Metamorphasis Alpha, Sundered Reaches, Demon Wars, Dungeon World, etc., albeit at a reduced pace."

http://www.enworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=99077&page=2

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

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

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

5043 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  04:58:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello to all scribes. Ed is still up to the end of his beard in family and other matters, but I managed to shift the longhaired cat who is the only fetching young lady on my naked lap (sorry, Karth) aside long enough to pound out a query to the Creator of the Realms, and managed to catch him late at night, as he arrived home and start wading through his e-mail (queries from Hollywood types into the “not bloody likely” folder; queries from game companies into the “groan, like I have TIME” folder; queries from editors into the “grovel quickly, ASAP” folder, and so on :} ).
He sent this reply:


Zandilar, the quick answer to your initial question is that every time I try to write anything non-standard regarding gender and characters who are “strong”/dominant or “weak”/submissive [strong females paired or interacting with weaker males, for example, such as Shandril and Narm] my editors have fits (“Doesn’t fit our readership! Will hurt sales! Must fix at once!”). Such things “don’t fit” the genre expectations.
In various ways, there’s been a (usually friendly) tug-of-war between me and TSR/WotC/Hasbro over various details of the Realms since my first hints of the Realms were published in (what was then) “The Dragon” back in 1979. The “original” Realms, “my” Realms, was my own imaginary fantasy setting for fiction before D&D® ever existed, and then my own D&D campaign world for years before it became an “official” D&D® setting. It was purchased to be the official ‘home’ of the 2nd Edition D&D® game, and therefore by definition had to be, and still must be, ‘all things to all people.’
In light of that prime philosophy and publishing need, it’s foolish to upset some Realms fans by stating matters too baldly and being too definite when we (various Realms designers and authors) can HINT to our collective hearts’ content -- and in doing so, leave DMs full leeway to run particular characters however best suits their principles and preferences.
In fact, it’s ALWAYS better design work to hint (“Elminster says he’s heard of many orc sightings in and about the ruins”) rather than stating things too precisely (“There are six orcs and one hobgoblin in the ruins, and they’ll be found waiting for PCs in the following rooms . . .”). Hence the very existence of unreliable narrators such as Elminster, and storytelling colour (“fluff” to some) over rules stats in most Realms writings. The Realms is people (characters) and THEIR STORIES, not stats -- and not merely their bedchamber preferences, either.
It should come as news to no one that many consumers, particularly in the United States, have religious and societal views that clash with in-thy-face lesbian, gay male, and bisexual lifestyles.
With that said, yes there are a LOT of “non-modern-real-world-American-mores-standard” relationships in the Realms. I don’t make a big issue of it for several reasons.
First, offending some fans as referred to above. Secondly, TSR Code of Ethics/WotC and Hasbro Code of Conduct prohibitions (e.g. on sodomy, incest, etc.) and editorial censorship, which has (as some scribes have already noted) by and large been relaxing over the years, but has occasionally reached ridiculous heights. For example, I once had a fight with a DRAGON assistant editor over an article (which I refused to finish, under such conditions) wherein I wrote that many Arthurian tales describe Lancelot and Guinevere as “lovers,” and was told that I couldn’t use the word “lovers” or IN ANY WAY IMPLY extramarital sex (i.e. Arthur could be assumed to make love to his wife so long as I made no direct reference to it, but I couldn’t even hint that someone else could). Sheesh. I directed the editor to the standard roster of Greek and Roman myths, legends, and fables for hardcore sexual hijinks, but she dismissed my point as irrelevant.
So what you correctly refer to as “dance around definitions,” Zandilar, is how staffers at WotC have to operate, and merely good business sense (again, those who wish to read the obvious hints re. lifestyles can do so, and those offended by such matters don’t get their noses rubbed in it so harshly that it ruins their enjoyment of the setting). simontrinity is correct in saying that I can go much farther in sexual matters (and, yes, innuendo, which I enjoy) these days than I could when I started writing Realms books. So the horizons ARE widening.
However, my great friend and Realms-champion Steven Schend has, as usual, already said it best in this thread: that we shouldn’t be defining characters by their sexual preferences. There’s far more to people than their jobs, or their hobbies, or how they like to dress, or how they engage in sexual behaviour.
I’ve actually written many gay (and far more bi- ) males and females into the Realms that NO ONE recognizes as such, purely because they DON’T adopt modern real-world sterotypical styles (such as so-called “butch” behaviour or effeminate “limp-wristed and lisping”).
In “my” Realms, there’s no general prejudice against love of same gender or love of both genders. There ARE individuals who hold such prejudices, and in general, members of nobility or royalty or any other group in which lineage and inheritance is important frown on deviance from whatever their locally accepted norm of pairing is, so that “the line can be maintained in a clear, can’t-be-challenged manner.”

I’m not sure if you’ll see a clearly lesbian or gay male character in a novel soon, because the only way to give them that status “clearly” is to engage in protracted sex scenes, which are seldom okay with editors (a story would have to be constructed that would make such matters integral to the plotline and not “gratuitous,” and although I can and have written colourful porn, it’s not something WotC would welcome in the Realms line). Let’s just see how far I can go in the Knights novels, shall we? :}
And yes, I regard your problem (“I personally would love to see characters in the Realms that I can personally relate to, and I keep coming up short.”) as something that Realms fiction as a whole should address, for as wide a variety of Realms readers as we can collectively manage. So in design or creative terms, there is or should be a “place at the table” for, say, openly lesbian characters.
Bear in mind, however, that many Realms fans delight in pouncing on me for being a dirty-minded “pervert” (most of them, of course, not even understanding the meaning of that word) for merely showing casual nudity, kissing, caresses, and even footrubs in my fiction . . . things many Canadians (and, from my conversations with them, more than a few Americans) who went to summer camp in their teens accepted as normal in such settings. (And being as the Realms is “my” setting, *I* get to define what is ‘normal’ in the Realms; that’s even in the original Realms agreement).
So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?
(I seriously want to read posted opinions here, without offending Alaundo or others by getting too explicit. Anyone who’s attended any of the annual Spin A Yarn seminars at GenCon knows that although my own flirtations encourage Realms fans to delve into matters “blue,” they’re always VERY eager to do so. I encourage the racy stuff, but the audience provides it.)

On to polyamory (committed relationships): quite common in backlands Realms villages, often ‘dressed up’ in annual festival customs (such as Midsummer Night) to make the maximum number of people comfortable with it. In many farming and frontier areas of the Realms, “families” dwelling and working together may consist of several males and several females, not “one-man-one-woman.” Again, don’t expect this to be underscored in print in official products, because it points towards incest and the polygamous controversies current in some American states, and in general upsets some folks who might otherwise happily buy Realms products. Remember the editorial fits I caused just mentioning brothelsXXXX ahem, “festhalls.” My view was that I was just reporting, a la National Geographic: ‘The native women have long, floppy . . .’ and the TSR editors disagreed violently. BTW, the very existence of all those brothels point to the number of men and women in the Realms who want casual sex, or who don’t get what they want at home, or who don’t want to wait until they get home. Sex IS alive and well in the Realms.

Please also always remember that the long-lived members of the Chosen are EXCEPTIONS to the rules: their very longevity and loss of sanity leads them to grasp at affection whenever they can, and to consider themselves so far beyond all notions of prudishness and propriety (they’ve outlived entire kingdoms full of social thou-shalt-nots, and been around long enough to see many priesthoods make major changes in doctrine) that they just don’t care what others may think of them -- unless they need the support and aid of particular “others” at the moment.
So, yes, Alustriel does take pleasure in hosting orgies in which she physically enjoys both males and females, and lots of them enjoy each other, and lah dee dee dah dah. This does not make her a nymphomaniac, an empty-headed lust bunny, or deficient in any way. In fact, she’s achieved more through seduction and founding firm friendships and making others long for another chance to dive into the comfort of one of Alustriel’s large and well-filled baths than many rulers ever manage with dozens of treaties and scores of wars, skirmishes, and threats.
If you need validation, yes, Alustriel and Zelauma make love. Storm makes love with both guys and gals (the Harpers don’t regard her as a ‘den mother’ for nothing :} ). Think of her as the comforting arms they run to, for advice and soothing companionship and understanding. However, she does as much listening and dispensing warm soup as she does riding and being ridden.

I hesitate to wander around identifying major NPCs as gay males or females, because someone else reading this may be far more comfortable in their use of the Realms if I never put such notions into their heads regarding particular characters.
So let me say just this much: most males in the Realms weep, hug, and even caress and kiss as much as real-world modern females do. How comfortable a given character is with doing such things with others of the same gender (or, for that matter, with persons of different races) varies widely -- but it’s safe to say that given the opportunity, most characters have “tried everything” at least once, and between travelers outside their own communities (where such acts might well upset family members, especially if loss of virginity is involved), there’s little or no stigma in such experimentation.
Please note the full implications of this: if your character in the Realms is part of an adventuring “party” and female or male characters in that party hop from bedroll to bedroll as nights on the trail pass, those bed-hoppers WILL NOT be generally viewed as “loose” or “perverted.” Note that I said “generally.” Couples in committed relationships whose partner goes off jumping the bones of others without prearrangement are going to feel just as hurt and betrayed as you might expect. Moreover, some characters will be uncomfortable with such behaviour, sometimes for religious reasons. Myself, I see this as best left to the roleplaying chemistry of individual gaming groups rather than shoved down anyone’s throat by my or anyone else’s Realms writings.
However, Zandilar, just between you and me (and of course everyone across the world with Net access who reads this :} ): I personally happen to be a guy who likes gals, but I’m quite comfortable kissing, hugging, and even caressing or comforting guys. Such activities don’t happen to turn me on sexually. I’m a “toucher,” and always have been: I hug and kiss a lot, perhaps more naturally than I shake hands (when greeting females formally, I was taught to kneel and kiss their hands). However, I know that such close contact gives a lot of people the creeps, and I have utterly no interest in upsetting people outside of a roleplaying session in which we’re both acting: if someone goes red or jerks away from me, oops: MY bad. That’s why I don’t want to write too forcefully about such things.
But I hint like crazy. Steven not only expressed Khelben and Laeral’s relationship perfectly, he directed you to some of his character writeups for a look-see, and I’ll do the same: look back over my Realms writings (such as the NPC sections of the Volo’s Guides) and the hints are there. Bushels of them, in fact. :}
Although overly aggressive butch lesbian behaviour and over-the-top prancing ‘mincing’ gay male behaviour both strike me as ridiculous, the relationships underlying them (including the physical sides of such relationships) do not. When the lesbians who happen to own the cottage four down from mine go out on their dock at dusk to make love, I don’t yell angrily at them, ridicule them, or rudely watch them, but if I happen to be out on my point (which is high enough to overlook their dock), I’ll smile and wave at first sight and then carry on as if they’re not doing anything. This has led to them in turn casually accepting my distant presence: they usually make love, then plunge in for a dip that includes lots of splashing and laughter, and then they climb back out on the dock to dry off (if the night’s too cold or mosquito-ridden for that, it’s on with the towels and back inside). Either way, they usually wave and call “good night” as they go.
That’s the same style and balance I’d like to strike in my Realms writings: casual acceptance of such matters for those interested in them, and a tacit agreement to overlook them for those who aren’t.

With the ground prepared, so to speak, I can now tackle your query about strong female characters choosing older, fatter, hairier males. (And for readers waiting to denounce this as my personal sexual wish-fulfillment, I proffer three words: oh, grow up. I did, after all, establish these characters and relationships when I was a skinny, young, bespectacled nerd of a youngster who never thought he’d ever either get fat or grow a beard. Old, yes, I knew that would happen if I didn’t get myself killed. But I digress. :} )
My point in depicting several “gals like old fat hairy males” relationships was deliberately to point out that these particular females chose what they wanted, and it wasn’t “brainless handsome hunks” but rather men with wits and characters they could respect.
For example, in the case of Mirt and Asper, I wanted to show a Realms instance of something that happened many times in real-world past history: a young ward growing up to genuinely love her much older guardian (yes, I’m well aware that there were even more real-world instances of guardians forcing themselves on their wards, or marrying them over their objections). I’ve written a story that you’ll probably never see (because it does include several explicit love scenes) wherein Mirt uncomfortably rebuffs his increasingly amorous ‘little girl,’ and succeeds only in driving the past-puberty-and-in-the-thrall-of-raging-hormones Asper to seduce him: she’s taken her measure of a lot of men in Waterdeep, and decided the man who raised her is the best, and she’ll have HIM, thank-you-very-much.
I, too, don’t like gals to collapse into mush whenever Macho Hero Number 36 strides manfully onto the scene. However, I have written several scenes in which women who know quite well that their physical strength and personal social standing can’t win them a clear victory over Mister Macho, and who have enough personal self-confidence not to have to be seen to “win” every moment, do the collapse act to manipulate Macho into doing what they wanted, WITHOUT a large and damaging conflict. MY pet-hate, never-want-to-write characters are STUPID females (except as passing villains who get what they deserve).

What sort of things would you like to know about Caladnei of Cormyr? I didn’t create her, but have used her in my Realms of Shadow story and in Elminster’s Daughter (the mind-meld sequences therein shared important highlights of her personal ‘back story’ with readers), and plan to reveal more of her in tales to come. To some extent, the Royal Magician of Cormyr must have some ‘air of mystery’ to be effective, and Caladnei is very much ‘learning on the job’ and growing and changing in doing so. (And if it’s hints of lesbianism you’re looking for, take a good look at Caladnei and Alusair in that Realms of Shadow story.)

I’m not sure how soon Laeral of Loudwater will reappear in print. It depends on a lot of not-yet-settled projects, but is unlikely to be less than three years or so. You may in a year or so see a rather powerful story concerning Alusair and her sexuality. Or may not; again, we’ll have to see.

Regarding slash: although I’m well aware that in this age of instant Net publishing examples of slash writing can be distressing to some authors, I personally have no trouble with it, so long as it’s always made clear it’s not the work of the original author. Satire defenses aside, I also fully understand when someone is upset by a depiction of his or her character and tries to vigorously defend the original by legally punishing the writer of the slash, or getting the slash removed from circulation, and so on.
However, I regard all fannish writing as something humans DO. Have always done. In the same way that children play with dolls, readers play with characters they develop an affection (or love-hate) for. I have read some wonderfully affectionate fan writings about the Realms, and some vicious and hilarious slash about Realms characters. (The one in which Elminster was magically cursed to continuously grow breasts and vaginas that roamed around the surface of his body, whilst he exuded an aroma that made all humans and elves [especially drow, OF COURSE] around him mad with lust for him, had me rolling on the floor whooping with laughter. I just wish the writer had been competent enough to go on to tell a good story after the few vivid scenes of debauchery. But I digress again. :} )

I hope I’ve answered your questions without overly offending anyone, Zandilar and other scribes. As you can probably tell, I’m not shy about discussing such topics, and I’m sure Alaundo and Tethtoril will step in if they think matters are getting (ahem) out of hand, so if you’ve follow-up questions, feel free. However, folks, please let’s NOT get into an endless round of “So is Manshoon gay? Is Fzoul? Okay, how about Larloch?”
I would hope there are more things to talk about in the Realms than that.


So saith Ed. Thy Hooded One will demurely add just this much to the words of the Master: Ed can parody the mincing male homosexual with devastating verve while DMing, and in our original Realms group (never shy about matters sexual) could, ahem, bring to colourful life orgies, the entry of the Knights into brothels or bedchambers, and so on. However, I’ve also seen him “turn off” this side of play completely when running sessions of younger gamers at GenCons: as he said, it’s all about what your particular gaming groups want the Realms to be for them.
And in the interests of full disclosure: I’m happily heterosexual but have enjoyed several lesbian relationships of the “cozy longtime friends who enjoy occasional fun sex” variety. And I happily offer my shoulders, back, and feet to Ed to rub whenever he’s within reach, because he’s so good at it -- and DOESN’T expect it to lead to our leaping onto the gaming table together for wild sex in the next few minutes. (Though, if he ever offered . . .)

Love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  08:17:12  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
A couple of questions for Ed

Regarding youir prevous post

Are the various clergys the source of what is morale in the Forgotten Realms?

Do some of the Clergys (or even sects of the Various religions) have differing views on Sexuality, Gender and marriage?

We know from previous realms material that Lolth either doesnt allow or limits Males from becoming clerics and in the Novel finders Bane it would seem that Bane favours Males over females in his clergy
Do most Realms deities favour there own sex when it comes to there clergy (yeah I know a Deity can appear as what ever sex they want but most seem to have a "True Sex" Lolth is Female, Vhaerun is and Bane are Male etc)

Is there a "Glass Ceiling" for clerics whose sex differs to there deity, and if so which ones?

Regarding the Liberalness of realms products Id say there getting fairly liberal

Examples: A strongly suggested lesbian encounter in the WOSQ series. An Orgy involving the main female Yuan Ti character and a Group of Human males in Venoms Taste.

As for your querstion about how much sex is to much sex in the FR

Id say the current level of descriptivness is enough, I buy FR novels for Sword and Sorcery (and as supplemental info for my D&D Campaigns)Id be quite annoyed if the novels started looking like something written by Daniel Steele. I also wouldnt like to see the FR go PC ie where its was required that there must be a Lesbian, a Gay a "Black person" an "Asian" etc in every novel

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  08:26:53  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
Holy wow. Now, that was a reply! Obviously some topics Ed has given some thought to.

Something I remembered that's sort of related to Zandalar's comments. Azure Bonds fans will recall that, in Turmish, men can and do have multiple wives. Akabar in Azure Bonds explained that while he had several wives, the WIVES in fact controled the family business. And really he was nothing more than a spokesman for their business interests. In otherwords, the wives were in charge.

---

Ed asked:
"So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?"

My reply:
I'm uninterested in indepth descriptions of sex acts. Otherwise, I'm good. Whatever you feel is appropriate is fine with me. You're the artist. I'm willing to trust your judgement. It's rather like asking me how I feel about nudity in a film. If the people producing the movie feel the nudity is important to the film, that's fine with me.

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

Edited by - RevJest on 10 Sep 2004 08:41:44
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Capn Charlie
Senior Scribe

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  11:12:08  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
My comfort zone...

Books are a look into a living breathing world of the imagination. Imposed modesty for the sake of the reader cheapens things, I believe.

Personally, I am comfortable with as great an amount of detail as the author is willing to give. A good love scene can make a experience in fantasy better. That is no reason to turn the realms into a hardcore porno settting, but in art tasteful nudity and sexuality can enhance the experience. We are all human(or a facimile thereof) and just as certain parts of our psyche long for glory and adventure, so do too others demand for blood and violence, as well as love and the physical expression thereof.

Finding a balance that works for both the audience, and the author, is difficult. Certain stories require certain elements, and do not need others. I believe that it is best for the author to do whatever they feel is neccesary to get the story they want to tell, regardless of what we want.

Some times it might ruffle some feathers, but in the end, I belive it produces a more pure piece, as it is an expression of the artist's vision, not just something written to pander to an audience and turn a buck.

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.

Edited by - Capn Charlie on 10 Sep 2004 11:19:20
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  14:47:07  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

Wow oh wow oh wowowow....

Thank you very much for such an indepth reply to my questions! I have linked this page on the forum belonging to the BG2 project I am working on - I hope that's okay.

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Zandilar, the quick answer to your initial question is that every time I try to write anything non-standard regarding gender and characters who are “strong”/dominant or “weak”/submissive [strong females paired or interacting with weaker males, for example, such as Shandril and Narm] my editors have fits (“Doesn’t fit our readership! Will hurt sales! Must fix at once!”). Such things “don’t fit” the genre expectations.


That must be rather annoying, but I do understand their concerns. (It's just that sometimes I wish they'd think about a touch more than their profits - the only way things change is by having someone stand up and just do something. It might backfire, it might cost profits, but in the end - things do change... At least that's what I tell myself. )

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In light of that prime philosophy and publishing need, it’s foolish to upset some Realms fans by stating matters too baldly and being too definite when we (various Realms designers and authors) can HINT to our collective hearts’ content -- and in doing so, leave DMs full leeway to run particular characters however best suits their principles and preferences.


This is good business sense, I suppose. I just happened to grow up when DnD was this wierd cultish thing people did, and generally find that most gamers sit on societies fringes anyway - could also be that my Role Playing will be forever mixed up with my experience of the world of BBSes (back before the internet was widely available!) and the Internet. Perhaps things have changed and RPing has become more mainstream than I thought.

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In fact, it’s ALWAYS better design work to hint (“Elminster says he’s heard of many orc sightings in and about the ruins”) rather than stating things too precisely (“There are six orcs and one hobgoblin in the ruins, and they’ll be found waiting for PCs in the following rooms . . .”). Hence the very existence of unreliable narrators such as Elminster, and storytelling colour (“fluff” to some) over rules stats in most Realms writings. The Realms is people (characters) and THEIR STORIES, not stats -- and not merely their bedchamber preferences, either.


Sometimes hints can be so obscure as to go unseen. I see my eye has not been as sharp as it could otherwise have been.

At this rate I'm just going to quote your whole post back... so maybe I'll be a touch more concidered in what I have to say.

Anyway, without quoting... We have similar problems with "mainstream" acceptance over here in Australia. Our current government (the Liberal party - who are actually conservatives ) just recently pushed through a bill to prevent two homosexual couples (who had been married in Canada) from having their marriage recognised in Australia by the High Courts. In fact, the bill they passed has ensured that homosexuals married in countries where it is legal, will never have their marriage recognised here. So no, "conservatism" on these issues comes as no surprise to me.

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For example, I once had a fight with a DRAGON assistant editor over an article (which I refused to finish, under such conditions) wherein I wrote that many Arthurian tales describe Lancelot and Guinevere as “lovers,” and was told that I couldn’t use the word “lovers” or IN ANY WAY IMPLY extramarital sex (i.e. Arthur could be assumed to make love to his wife so long as I made no direct reference to it, but I couldn’t even hint that someone else could). Sheesh. I directed the editor to the standard roster of Greek and Roman myths, legends, and fables for hardcore sexual hijinks, but she dismissed my point as irrelevant.


My goodness, that's taking it to an extreme! Gods!

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However, my great friend and Realms-champion Steven Schend has, as usual, already said it best in this thread: that we shouldn’t be defining characters by their sexual preferences. There’s far more to people than their jobs, or their hobbies, or how they like to dress, or how they engage in sexual behaviour.


Indeed. A person is more than just the sum of their parts.

My questions were more in order to get a feel for general attitudes of the people of the Realms, rather than the attitudes of particular characters.

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I’ve actually written many gay (and far more bi- ) males and females into the Realms that NO ONE recognizes as such, purely because they DON’T adopt modern real-world sterotypical styles (such as so-called “butch” behaviour or effeminate “limp-wristed and lisping”).


Which is how it should be.

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In “my” Realms, there’s no general prejudice against love of same gender or love of both genders. There ARE individuals who hold such prejudices, and in general, members of nobility or royalty or any other group in which lineage and inheritance is important frown on deviance from whatever their locally accepted norm of pairing is, so that “the line can be maintained in a clear, can’t-be-challenged manner.”



Thank you very much for this paragraph. This is exactly what I was looking for. I can now address the attitudes of the PC's companions in the mod I'm writing for with a better idea of what I'm doing. (I know you emphasised "my", but that's been the way I've viewed "my" Realms too.)

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I’m not sure if you’ll see a clearly lesbian or gay male character in a novel soon, because the only way to give them that status “clearly” is to engage in protracted sex scenes, which are seldom okay with editors (a story would have to be constructed that would make such matters integral to the plotline and not “gratuitous,” and although I can and have written colourful porn, it’s not something WotC would welcome in the Realms line). Let’s just see how far I can go in the Knights novels, shall we? :}


There are ways of portraying homosexual people without resorting to gratuitous porn scenes, though... I mean, I took a look at Veiled Dragon again the other day, reading through it in light of the word "consort" used to describe the relationship between Vaerana and Yanseldara. There's some pretty powerful emotions shown by the Lady Constable at times, that it was almost main-textual when taken in context with the description in the FRCS.

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And yes, I regard your problem (“I personally would love to see characters in the Realms that I can personally relate to, and I keep coming up short.”) as something that Realms fiction as a whole should address, for as wide a variety of Realms readers as we can collectively manage. So in design or creative terms, there is or should be a “place at the table” for, say, openly lesbian characters.
Bear in mind, however, that many Realms fans delight in pouncing on me for being a dirty-minded “pervert” (most of them, of course, not even understanding the meaning of that word) for merely showing casual nudity, kissing, caresses, and even footrubs in my fiction . . . things many Canadians (and, from my conversations with them, more than a few Americans) who went to summer camp in their teens accepted as normal in such settings. (And being as the Realms is “my” setting, *I* get to define what is ‘normal’ in the Realms; that’s even in the original Realms agreement).


Yes, I have noticed that tendancy among some fans. It makes me wince and think about how disrespectful they're being. How can they call themselves Realms fans and not respect the creator of the Realms?

As for exactly what they're calling perverted... Well, I keep pointing out to some people that basically we shouldn't be confusing Judeo-Christian Morals with Realms Morals, mostly because of the absence of judeo-christian religions in the Realms.

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So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?


I think for me, it goes without saying. I am very open minded and find very few things truely phase me. There are some things I would never want to see - incest involving minors, child abuse of any kind, bestiality, snuff (sex involving the death of one or more participant in the act), and torture (as opposed to consensual BDSM)... That's my line of comfort.

Personally, I'd rather see portrayals of love/sensuality between consenting adults, rather than outright porn or anything else.


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Remember the editorial fits I caused just mentioning brothelsXXXX ahem, “festhalls.” My view was that I was just reporting, a la National Geographic: ‘The native women have long, floppy . . .’ and the TSR editors disagreed violently. BTW, the very existence of all those brothels point to the number of men and women in the Realms who want casual sex, or who don’t get what they want at home, or who don’t want to wait until they get home. Sex IS alive and well in the Realms.


Interesting, that thought hadn't occured to me... And now it has been pointed out, it's pretty obvious. Did you know a festhall was taken out of Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark aparently due to Hasbro's policies? HotU was set in Waterdeep.

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So, yes, Alustriel does take pleasure in hosting orgies in which she physically enjoys both males and females, and lots of them enjoy each other, and lah dee dee dah dah. This does not make her a nymphomaniac, an empty-headed lust bunny, or deficient in any way. In fact, she’s achieved more through seduction and founding firm friendships and making others long for another chance to dive into the comfort of one of Alustriel’s large and well-filled baths than many rulers ever manage with dozens of treaties and scores of wars, skirmishes, and threats.
If you need validation, yes, Alustriel and Zelauma make love. Storm makes love with both guys and gals (the Harpers don’t regard her as a ‘den mother’ for nothing :} ). Think of her as the comforting arms they run to, for advice and soothing companionship and understanding. However, she does as much listening and dispensing warm soup as she does riding and being ridden.



Wow. Thank you.

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However, Zandilar, just between you and me (and of course everyone across the world with Net access who reads this :} ): I personally happen to be a guy who likes gals, but I’m quite comfortable kissing, hugging, and even caressing or comforting guys. Such activities don’t happen to turn me on sexually. I’m a “toucher,” and always have been: I hug and kiss a lot, perhaps more naturally than I shake hands (when greeting females formally, I was taught to kneel and kiss their hands). However, I know that such close contact gives a lot of people the creeps, and I have utterly no interest in upsetting people outside of a roleplaying session in which we’re both acting: if someone goes red or jerks away from me, oops: MY bad. That’s why I don’t want to write too forcefully about such things.


It's a shame that many people just can't tell the difference between love/affection and lust/sexual desire.

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But I hint like crazy. Steven not only expressed Khelben and Laeral’s relationship perfectly, he directed you to some of his character writeups for a look-see, and I’ll do the same: look back over my Realms writings (such as the NPC sections of the Volo’s Guides) and the hints are there. Bushels of them, in fact. :}


I think I need to do a whole lot more reading. Sometimes I just don't quite catch hints well enough, as embarassing as that is to admit.

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<snip bit about neighbours>
That’s the same style and balance I’d like to strike in my Realms writings: casual acceptance of such matters for those interested in them, and a tacit agreement to overlook them for those who aren’t.



Yes, that's exactly the impression that I got from that post so long ago on the Realms-L. But, amazingly, I've found people can be even more obtuse at spotting hints than I am, even when they're blatantly spelt out for them.

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With the ground prepared, so to speak, I can now tackle your query about strong female characters choosing older, fatter, hairier males. (And for readers waiting to denounce this as my personal sexual wish-fulfillment, I proffer three words: oh, grow up. I did, after all, establish these characters and relationships when I was a skinny, young, bespectacled nerd of a youngster who never thought he’d ever either get fat or grow a beard. Old, yes, I knew that would happen if I didn’t get myself killed. But I digress. :} )
My point in depicting several “gals like old fat hairy males” relationships was deliberately to point out that these particular females chose what they wanted, and it wasn’t “brainless handsome hunks” but rather men with wits and characters they could respect.


Well that's interesting. I'm feeling like I'm about to tread on toes around now, but... There are other ways to depict the same thing. It also seems a touch chauvenistic in intent... If that makes sense? That in order to demonstrate that she has a choice, she has to choose someone who is more than twice her age, and raised her from birth? A woman can still choose... And it can still be portrayed as a choice. Shandril chose Narm for some reason, and yes it was certainly her choice (actually I rather think they chose each other).

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For example, in the case of Mirt and Asper, I wanted to show a Realms instance of something that happened many times in real-world past history: a young ward growing up to genuinely love her much older guardian (yes, I’m well aware that there were even more real-world instances of guardians forcing themselves on their wards, or marrying them over their objections).


I do know these things happened. I guess in some ways this is hard for me to personally wrap my brain around. I can't see myself ever falling for my step-father, and he's just 6 years older than me. Might just be a me thing.

(And on the ages of characters - as an aside, I was under the impression that Myrmeen Lhal was in her mid 30s or so... That is a very old impression that I've held of her ever since I first read about her... Am I wrong? Did I miss something?)

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I, too, don’t like gals to collapse into mush whenever Macho Hero Number 36 strides manfully onto the scene. However, I have written several scenes in which women who know quite well that their physical strength and personal social standing can’t win them a clear victory over Mister Macho, and who have enough personal self-confidence not to have to be seen to “win” every moment, do the collapse act to manipulate Macho into doing what they wanted, WITHOUT a large and damaging conflict. MY pet-hate, never-want-to-write characters are STUPID females (except as passing villains who get what they deserve).



Those kinds of manipulations are interesting, but only if you get to see inside the woman's head at the time. Because if you aren't shown the motivations behind the actions, it's easy enough to interpret what you are actually seeing incorrectly.

I hope very much, that in my writing career I don't end up writing exclusively STUPID males, because I'm very much biased towards writing female characters who can stand on their own. I'd like them to stand on their own because they are strong, not because the males in their lives are stupid.

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What sort of things would you like to know about Caladnei of Cormyr? I didn’t create her, but have used her in my Realms of Shadow story and in Elminster’s Daughter (the mind-meld sequences therein shared important highlights of her personal ‘back story’ with readers), and plan to reveal more of her in tales to come. To some extent, the Royal Magician of Cormyr must have some ‘air of mystery’ to be effective, and Caladnei is very much ‘learning on the job’ and growing and changing in doing so. (And if it’s hints of lesbianism you’re looking for, take a good look at Caladnei and Alusair in that Realms of Shadow story.)


Let me just start by saying I'm the victim (self-inflicted and deliberately so) of reading spoilers for Elminster's Daughter since I haven't got the money to buy the hardback yet (which is $70 Australian, as other Aussies on this forum can attest)... I haven't read too much about her mind-meld sequences. So maybe I'll keep my questions until after I have read the novel? She's a very interesting character who has well and truely caught my attention. She just came out of nowhere, and I was half expecting her to be a long lost child of Vangy to be honest.

Okay, here's a question about her... From her portrayal in "When Shadows Come Seeking a Throne" she seems to be almost psionic rather than sorcerous (from that bar of force sparring sequance). Was that the impression we were supposed to get? Her write up in FRCS shows her to not be so powerful as other spell-casters in the Realms. Is she supposed to more survive on her wit and diplomacy than her arcane ability? Or are we missing some other aspect of her? (Smack me if these answers would be made clear in Elminster's Daughter!)

(The DM of the game I play in boosted her (and Alusair, I might add) to Epic kinds of levels (though I know that idea is probably not terribly popular among some people).)

On the subtext in above mentioned short story: Oh yes, I spotted that all right. Even wrote a little pre-slashy (non porn) fanfic follow up for that particular scene. The only problem is, we've had Alusair's male conquests thrown in our face time and time again in just about everything I've read about her (which is not to say I've read everything) - some people would say that's enough evidence to conclude that she's totally heterosexual. (Still, I saw the subtext and responded to it! )

(Actually, the same argument was used to me about Viconia (the character I'm writing the BG2 mod for), who was aggressive in her pursuits of males in BG2 - because she was so aggressively portrayed that way she couldn't possibly be bisexual!)

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I’m not sure how soon Laeral of Loudwater will reappear in print. It depends on a lot of not-yet-settled projects, but is unlikely to be less than three years or so. You may in a year or so see a rather powerful story concerning Alusair and her sexuality. Or may not; again, we’ll have to see.



I felt quite drawn to Laeral of Loudwater as a character - and basically wondered who she was, where she came from, what relationship she has to the world around her. Once again, to me she seemed to come out of nowhere, but was fascinating regardless.

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Regarding slash: although I’m well aware that in this age of instant Net publishing examples of slash writing can be distressing to some authors, I personally have no trouble with it, so long as it’s always made clear it’s not the work of the original author. Satire defenses aside, I also fully understand when someone is upset by a depiction of his or her character and tries to vigorously defend the original by legally punishing the writer of the slash, or getting the slash removed from circulation, and so on.


So you don't have problems with slash. Good. Maybe I can stick some of my Realms slash up on the web somewhere.

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However, I regard all fannish writing as something humans DO. Have always done. In the same way that children play with dolls, readers play with characters they develop an affection (or love-hate) for. I have read some wonderfully affectionate fan writings about the Realms, and some vicious and hilarious slash about Realms characters. (The one in which Elminster was magically cursed to continuously grow breasts and vaginas that roamed around the surface of his body, whilst he exuded an aroma that made all humans and elves [especially drow, OF COURSE] around him mad with lust for him, had me rolling on the floor whooping with laughter. I just wish the writer had been competent enough to go on to tell a good story after the few vivid scenes of debauchery. But I digress again. :} )



Yes I agree about fannish writing. We just do it. One just has to look at the number of stories that can be found, say, on fanfiction.net.

Personally, I generally write fan fiction from the position of utmost respect for the original author. After all I don't tend to write about characters who haven't touched me in some way (positive or negative, though usually positive) - and sometimes it's nice to be able to see a character in context you might never seem them otherwise. Which is why slash is such a popular form of fan fiction. Out of respect for the original author I generally try very very hard to portay their characters as "in characterly" as I can, generally with a few tweaks (mostly their sexuality). The trouble is, sometimes characterisation is coloured by our own perspectives. So while I might see Caladnei one way, someone else might have a completely different view of the same character.

On the wierd story: Sounds... wierd. LOL.

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I hope I’ve answered your questions without overly offending anyone, Zandilar and other scribes. As you can probably tell, I’m not shy about discussing such topics, and I’m sure Alaundo and Tethtoril will step in if they think matters are getting (ahem) out of hand, so if you’ve follow-up questions, feel free. However, folks, please let’s NOT get into an endless round of “So is Manshoon gay? Is Fzoul? Okay, how about Larloch?”


Takes a lot to offend me. Well, actually... Narrow mindedness and prejudice generally offend and annoy me (even my own - so I occasionally appreciate having hipocracy or narrow-mindedness in my views pointed out to me )

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I would hope there are more things to talk about in the Realms than that.



There are plenty of things to talk about in the Realms. But I thank you very much for the time you took to respond to me (as in time you took out of your very busy schedule to actually type a responce, not the length of time it took to get one ). *bows respectfully*

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And in the interests of full disclosure: I’m happily heterosexual but have enjoyed several lesbian relationships of the “cozy longtime friends who enjoy occasional fun sex” variety. And I happily offer my shoulders, back, and feet to Ed to rub whenever he’s within reach, because he’s so good at it -- and DOESN’T expect it to lead to our leaping onto the gaming table together for wild sex in the next few minutes. (Though, if he ever offered . . .)


Ah, as my husband says, sexuality is fluid. (Yep, lesbian who is married to a man, and is awaiting her US girlfriend to have her immigation to this country approved! I have a wierd life.)

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Bakra
Senior Scribe

617 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  16:47:32  Show Profile Send Bakra a Private Message
What is my comfort zone?
Well I prefer the James T. Kirk method, we see the hero hook up and the next thing you know it is morning and he is putting his boots on. There is no way anyone can write anything that is better than my imganination. It is like watching a horror movie...well you get the idea...
I do draw the line at pedophilia and beastiality. Period. No room for arguements.

Bakra, Lord of the Outlying Thread

I hope Candlekeep continues to be the friendly forum of fellow Realms-lovers that it has always been, as we all go through this together. If you don’t want to move to the “new” Realms, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either you or the “old” Realms. Goodness knows Candlekeep, and the hearts of its scribes, are both big enough to accommodate both. If we want them to be.
(Strikes dramatic pose, raises sword to gleam in the sunset, and hopes breeches won’t fall down.)
Enough for now. The Realms lives! I have spoken! Ale and light wines half price, served by a smiling Storm Silverhand fetchingly clad in thigh-high boots and naught else! Ahem . .
So saith Ed. <snip>
love to all,
THO
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5584 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  16:51:45  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Ahem, erm...well...met

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

I hope I’ve answered your questions without overly offending anyone, Zandilar and other scribes. As you can probably tell, I’m not shy about discussing such topics, and I’m sure Alaundo and Tethtoril will step in if they think matters are getting (ahem) out of hand, so if you’ve follow-up questions, feel free. However, folks, please let’s NOT get into an endless round of “So is Manshoon gay? Is Fzoul? Okay, how about Larloch?”
I would hope there are more things to talk about in the Realms than that.




Not at all, O' great Sage. 'tis indeed a very interesting piece of Realmslore ye has shared with us. As to whether I can look Alustriel in the eye again, is a different matter

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep

Edited by - Alaundo on 10 Sep 2004 16:53:22
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  17:01:23  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?



I'm not sure I have a line of comfort. My comfort comes with the question, "Is this descriptive scene of sexuality adding something to the tale or is it just there for shock effect?" I read George R.R. Martin's saga and his books have some sexual themes that would make some readers very uncomfortable. However, I feel that Martin addresses the themes for a reason and his words are necessary for the story's telling. I can't recall any Realms novel that made me feel uncomfortable.

Thanks to Ed Greenwood for maturely addressing this topic. And thanks to THO for being the message bearer and for revealing something intimate about herself...she has a cat. As I said to an email recently to another scribe who has a cat, I knew there was a reason I liked you.
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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  17:44:01  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Bakra

What is my comfort zone?
Well I prefer the James T. Kirk method, we see the hero hook up and the next thing you know it is morning and he is putting his boots on. There is no way anyone can write anything that is better than my imganination. It is like watching a horror movie...well you get the idea...
I do draw the line at pedophilia and beastiality. Period. No room for arguements.



I'd have to agree with this for the most part. We are reading sword and sorcery, not pornography, and while it might be nice, even important, to know that this or that character is human, and/or how they are human, or that "vile and degenerate" is how, I certainly don't think we need all of the gory details.

I figure that their are plenty of magazines and websites, with some very graphic visual aids, if what a person is really after is sexuality. For everything else, I prefer if folk keep their bedroom doors closed, thank you.




"Ill tempered the wretch, who laughs at everyone. He cannot recognize, as he should, that he is not without faults." the High One, Poetic Edda
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Bruce Donohue
Learned Scribe

Canada
129 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  18:21:39  Show Profile  Send Bruce Donohue a Yahoo! Message Send Bruce Donohue a Private Message
I think that in regards to this topic, which I think is great that we can discuss this in a civil fashion. I agree with you Ed wholeheartedly.

In regards to my comfort zone, I think that the same rules and guidelines that govern displays of emotion, expression of feelings, and love to the heterosexual characters could and should also be applied to any homosexual ones. After all they are human or humanoid characters and the same feelings and emotions that apply to the hetero couplings also apply to the homosexual ones.

A question to THO and Ed...

In regards to Semmemon, what sigil does he have and what does it look like and would he have a signet ring and what would it look like and be made of?

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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  19:36:22  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
Well now,

I'd go with Sirius, if it adds something to the story then be my guest. But if it seems out of place and stuck into the story just for the Nine Hells of it, then forget it. :)

After reading all of your Band of Four novels, they have scenes that I know TSR would have cut or made you change. :)

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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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  20:17:44  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Donohue
A question to THO and Ed...

In regards to Semmemon, what sigil does he have and what does it look like and would he have a signet ring and what would it look like and be made of?



I can answer that simple one, as I just so happen to be looking through the Old Grey Box....

"Sememmon's personal sigil is a black equilateral triangle, point uppermost, with its base encircled by an oval."

I'm sure he's got that either on an amulet or a signet ring, but I honestly doubt he wears either openly at present, given his refugee/hiding status. As for what it'd be made of, I'm led to believe Sememmon's tastes are spartan and simple, so solid silver would most likely do for his jewelry. He only gets elaborate in his gifts to the love of his life, Ashemmi.

Steven Schend
Who doesn't mean to butt into Ed's group, but `tis a simple question I can clear for you to worry about the other bigger questions....like just how many pies Mirt put away in the Yawning Portal's last Midsummer Pie Eating Contest...

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 10 Sep 2004 :  23:24:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hail-ho again, fellow scribes. Thy Hooded One, back in harness again, bringing the latest words of Ed, to whit:


Dargoth, all of the priesthoods have their official (doctrine) and individual (varying from priest to priest, but with most priests bolstering their personal views with “righteousness”) on morals (including sexual matters), and (subtly) promote these regardless of local laws. However, most organized churches benefit from social stability and the rule of law, and so tend to more or less agree on such matters. Where they disagree, they tend to offset or counterbalance each other.
Some deities prefer specific races and genders among their priests, as you’ve noted, but only in a few cases do they favour ‘their own’ customary gender. Lolth has a no-males policy among her ‘upper clergy,’ but this is an exception, and I don’t know of any “glass ceilings.”
And yes, I’d not like to see ‘politically correct’ Realms novels that dictated character rosters or topics.

simontrinity, thanks for raising the Turmish reminder. This is another example of something not emphasized overmuch to avoid ‘turning off’ those who wouldn’t find it inviting -- that as a result of not being dwelt upon, tends to get forgotten by the majority of Realms fans. And to both you and Capn Charlie: exactly, we should include the amount of sex appropriate to the story we’re telling. The story arcs attempted thus far haven’t required detailed descriptions of sexual acts, and that’s unlikely to change.

Zandilar, you’re welcome, and if it’s fine with Alaundo to link to the page, it’s certainly fine with me. Your mention of the Howard government’s new law not recognizing homosexuals married in countries where same-sex marriages are legal is a prime example of “having one’s cake and eating it, too.” Such a law CAN’T be legal under the existing passport-recognition, diplomatic, and extradition treaties (both United Nations and Commonwealth) Australia has signed and remains party to. Oz can’t demand, say, Canada recognize its passports and diplomatic immunities and the like while at the same time refusing to recognize any marriage that is legal in Canada. (The United States is currently trying to pull the same sort of thing: demanding captured war criminals face justice at the International Court of Justice, a.k.a. the “World Court,” in the Hague but at the same time trying to argue that American citizens should be exempt from the jurisdiction of that same court.) However, such political machinations have always taken place, will continue to do so as the ages and cultures pass, and can be drawn on by Dungeon Masters for fascinating in-campaign intrigues that I find make for far richer play than open warfare.
And, yes, of course there are other ways to show female choice besides having strong gals pick old fat hairy males, and I’ve used many of them (unnoticed, it seems :} ). Some, such as the notorious female noble at the subterranean revel in Elminster’s Daughter, choose by ‘not choosing’ (or rather, not confining themselves to one choice). I can see where the older male thing might seem a touch chauvinistic in intent, but in both the seduction-of-Mirt story and the initial tryst involving Vangey in Elminster’s Daughter, the older male is portrayed as being astonished-to-disbelieving, reluctant, flattered, and shyly tentative at the advances of the female, never as making the advances himself, or “accepting his due,” or “awaiting her inevitable coming to her senses by picking me.”
Myrmeen Lhal is in her late forties by now (darn those passing days; just can’t stop them), though she doesn’t look it, in two ways: she’s always been ruggedly fit and blessed with “fine cheekbones” good looks that weather well; and she’s always led a life of action and looked a trifle battered as a result -- so as the years pass, she hasn’t visibly aged all that much.
I can see how Caladnei’s sparring sequence in “When Shadows Come Seeking a Throne” might make her seem almost psionic; what I was striving for was Alusair using a real everyday weapon, and Caladnei trying to strengthen her own concentration and mental endurance by maintaining and animating a spell-spun parrying blade. And yes, she is supposed to be ‘learning on the job,’ a mage of less power in Art than many War Wizards, having to survive through wits and diplomacy rather than brute force-of-spells. Smack you, you say? Oh, no: I’m in enough trouble already! :}
I remember the titanic Oz book prices from my Australian tour (1992, I think), and they still make me wince. And here I thought Canadian (typically two-thirds higher to twice as high as American) book prices were steep! Sheesh; you folks are DEDICATED Realms fans.
I’d not have done what your DM did with either Alusair or Caladnei, but on the other hand both can call on heavy War Wizard aid (everpresent bodyguards, if you’d like), inherited “magic items of office” or of royal ownership, and a reputation throughout Cormyr (thanks to Azoun IV and Vangerdahast) of being able to do just about anything. In other words, if they don’t blow it, both women can “fool a lot of the people for a lot of the time to come.”
I quite see where characters like Laeral of Loudwater seem to pop up out of nowhere. I carry the ongoing tapestry of the Realms in my head, including literally scores of short stories you’ve never seen and may never see, some of them written literally decades ago. So Laeral didn’t ‘pop up out of nowhere’ for me, but of course she seemed to, for you. I’ve several dozen characters I’d like to develop more fully, but the WotC reliance on “signature characters” and series about them makes this difficult. I have to repeatedly sneak people like Mirt and Glarasteer Rhauligan in, as supporting characters.
Thanks for your questions, as always. I regard those who share my love of the Realms as firm friends, even if we’ve never met. Be well, and may happiness find you often.
Ed


So saith The Man. I echo his sentiments, and will add a few more passing comments.
kuje31, Eric Boyd’s your man to ask about Trenahes. He did all the lore work for the CD, compiling scores of ‘map tags’ out of pure love of the Realms. The place isn’t familiar to me from Ed running the original Realms campaign, and we traversed the trails betwixt Shadowdale and Mistledale more than a dozen times that I can remember, without seeing much more than a few abandoned-under-elven-encouragement woodcutters’ glades.
Bruce, I’m fine, thanks -- and hello right back! I’m sure Karth and Wooly will be happy to know that I’m as bare as usual, curled up in front of my keyboard with a mug of warm green tea and a tankard of cold mint lemonade within easy reach, taking alternate sips and happily remembering adventuresome moments in the Realms. Wooly still has hold of the other end of my leash, as I recall, but I’m afraid I was just kidding about the piercings. The near end of said leash ends in clamps, yes, but piercings, no. Which is probably more than enough teasing detail for some scribes.
Vanguard, a few pages back (48, to be precise), you asked about the advancement of science in the Realms. I’ve discussed this informally with Ed, and here’s a sort of general reply: science is quite advanced, but aside from ongoing Lantanna ‘tinkering engineering,’ which tends to be quite organized (via the Church of Gond, ideas are shared, or rather, one inventor of Lantan often gets a chance to examine the work of another), almost all scientific knowledge is held by individuals, or passed on verbally as ‘folklore’ and inevitably distorted in the process. In other words, sages write incomplete, opinionated, and often quite skewed books, but aside from short, just-the-basics chapbooks sold in Waterdeep and by wagon-merchants and peddlers elsewhere, there are no generally-available ‘textbooks’ or commonly-accepted body of knowledge. This keeps the ‘advance’ of science at a slow, unpredictable pace: the wild acceleration seen in our real world through improvements in communications hasn’t happened and shows no signs of happening. Temple libraries, of course, from Candlekeep to the private collections of priests of other deities who just “have to know the Inner Truths and Great Secrets,” help to preserve knowledge (and misinformation, too), but there’s no way to access most of it except by busting in and stealing the books. Now THAT would make for a fascinating campaign.
But this post grows lengthy, and I do have real-world work to do, so I’ll sign off for now. I feel a tugging that means Wooly might be getting closer . . .
Love to all,
THO

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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  00:06:16  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
Well met!

Sorry if I'm jumping the gun here, but suspecting that I may have been lost in the shuffle, I was wondering how the name Lathander is pronounced?

Is it with a soft th-, as in lather (one's hands with soap), or a hard th- as in (La-)THunder, but with an a instead of a u?

Hoping that it's the latter,
Grendel's daddy

"Ill tempered the wretch, who laughs at everyone. He cannot recognize, as he should, that he is not without faults." the High One, Poetic Edda
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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  02:13:12  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:

And, yes, of course there are other ways to show female choice besides having strong gals pick old fat hairy males, and I’ve used many of them (unnoticed, it seems :} ). Some, such as the notorious female noble at the subterranean revel in Elminster’s Daughter, choose by ‘not choosing’ (or rather, not confining themselves to one choice). I can see where the older male thing might seem a touch chauvinistic in intent, but in both the seduction-of-Mirt story and the initial tryst involving Vangey in Elminster’s Daughter, the older male is portrayed as being astonished-to-disbelieving, reluctant, flattered, and shyly tentative at the advances of the female, never as making the advances himself, or “accepting his due,” or “awaiting her inevitable coming to her senses by picking me.”


As I've said before, I've not read everything. Besides which, you don't have to prove that the girls concerned made a choice on their own, because generally in Realms fiction it's obvious. Where as someone not reading everything in the background about Mirt and Asper might just get the wrong idea...

But it's really not my place to be judgemental, and if I have been - my sincerest apologies.

quote:

Myrmeen Lhal is in her late forties by now (darn those passing days; just can’t stop them), though she doesn’t look it, in two ways: she’s always been ruggedly fit and blessed with “fine cheekbones” good looks that weather well; and she’s always led a life of action and looked a trifle battered as a result -- so as the years pass, she hasn’t visibly aged all that much.


*adjusts her mental picture just slightly*

quote:

I can see how Caladnei’s sparring sequence in “When Shadows Come Seeking a Throne” might make her seem almost psionic; what I was striving for was Alusair using a real everyday weapon, and Caladnei trying to strengthen her own concentration and mental endurance by maintaining and animating a spell-spun parrying blade. And yes, she is supposed to be ‘learning on the job,’ a mage of less power in Art than many War Wizards, having to survive through wits and diplomacy rather than brute force-of-spells. Smack you, you say? Oh, no: I’m in enough trouble already! :}


Interesting. Just the whole bar of force think kind of reminded me of something a touch more psionic than magical - like using the Force rather than the Weave.

On her relative power: I thought that might be the case.

On smacks: Aww...

quote:

I remember the titanic Oz book prices from my Australian tour (1992, I think), and they still make me wince. And here I thought Canadian (typically two-thirds higher to twice as high as American) book prices were steep! Sheesh; you folks are DEDICATED Realms fans.


I'm rather lucky in that I know someone who can get wholesale prices on most Realms books for me. We buy directly from the Victorian distributor (Jedko/Military Simulations) - so I can get books cheaper (I'm just short of cash at the moment, and haven't been able to get there for a few weeks). Generally, though, for non-Realms books of the fantasy or science fiction genre, the costs are high because they've been directly imported by the retailer (I believe).

quote:

I’d not have done what your DM did with either Alusair or Caladnei, but on the other hand both can call on heavy War Wizard aid (everpresent bodyguards, if you’d like), inherited “magic items of office” or of royal ownership, and a reputation throughout Cormyr (thanks to Azoun IV and Vangerdahast) of being able to do just about anything. In other words, if they don’t blow it, both women can “fool a lot of the people for a lot of the time to come.”


If I ever DM again (and it's been years since I have), I think I'll take a leaf out of your book for running them. In the game I'm playing in with epic level Regent and Court Wizard, our characters are the same kind of level as Caladnei is shown to be in the FRCS - the PCs are powerful, but then, so is everything else.

quote:

I quite see where characters like Laeral of Loudwater seem to pop up out of nowhere. I carry the ongoing tapestry of the Realms in my head, including literally scores of short stories you’ve never seen and may never see, some of them written literally decades ago. So Laeral didn’t ‘pop up out of nowhere’ for me, but of course she seemed to, for you. I’ve several dozen characters I’d like to develop more fully, but the WotC reliance on “signature characters” and series about them makes this difficult. I have to repeatedly sneak people like Mirt and Glarasteer Rhauligan in, as supporting characters.



I sort of understand where you're coming from on this. I have my own world I've been writing about and thinking about since 1984 or so. But I don't think I'm anywhere near as prolific in the writing/designing/making notes department as you seem to be.

I think it would be interesting to see less signature characters and more just "regular" adventuring folk in the Realms. Hmmm... I might just try something like that for my own world.

Once again, thank you for your time.

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  12:54:00  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
Let me start by giving thanks to the Hooded One and Ed (Mr. Greenwood? Mr Ed? The Bearded One?) for the excellent answer to Zandilar's questions. And then leap head on into my thoughts about it.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

The “original” Realms, “my” Realms, was my own imaginary fantasy setting for fiction before D&D® ever existed, and then my own D&D campaign world for years before it became an “official” D&D® setting. It was purchased to be the official ‘home’ of the 2nd Edition D&D® game, and therefore by definition had to be, and still must be, ‘all things to all people.
In light of that prime philosophy and publishing need, it’s foolish to upset some Realms fans by stating matters too baldly and being too definite when we (various Realms designers and authors) can HINT to our collective hearts’ content -- and in doing so, leave DMs full leeway to run particular characters however best suits their principles and preferences.



quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
It should come as news to no one that many consumers, particularly in the United States, have religious and societal views that clash with in-thy-face lesbian, gay male, and bisexual lifestyles.
With that said, yes there are a LOT of “non-modern-real-world-American-mores-standard” relationships in the Realms. I don’t make a big issue of it for several reasons.
First, offending some fans as referred to above. Secondly, TSR Code of Ethics/WotC and Hasbro Code of Conduct prohibitions (e.g. on sodomy, incest, etc.) and editorial censorship, which has (as some scribes have already noted) by and large been relaxing over the years, but has occasionally reached ridiculous heights.
So what you correctly refer to as “dance around definitions,” Zandilar, is how staffers at WotC have to operate, and merely good business sense (again, those who wish to read the obvious hints re. lifestyles can do so, and those offended by such matters don’t get their noses rubbed in it so harshly that it ruins their enjoyment of the setting). simontrinity is correct in saying that I can go much farther in sexual matters (and, yes, innuendo, which I enjoy) these days than I could when I started writing Realms books. So the horizons ARE widening.


Now, I may be dense, but isn't there a possiblity that showing openly gay male and female characters in a positive light might just actually make one or two of those that would be, if not offended so at least, uncomfortable at first seeing such a character look on the whole thing in a slightly different (more tolerant) light.
I know this has worked on me - heterosexually male and the product of the not extremely tolerant in matters of sexual "deviance" (not my term) environment of swedish blue-collar working-class. Getting to see homosexual characters (real and fictitious) that were more than just gay helped me to realize at a fairly early age that maybe that whole thing wasn't very important. (Then again I was raised by a pair of die-hard socialists, and that does entail a certain ideology of tolerance towards anyone that's not filthy rich - unless it's your neighbour who just won the lottery)

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
I’ve actually written many gay (and far more bi- ) males and females into the Realms that NO ONE recognizes as such, purely because they DON’T adopt modern real-world sterotypical styles (such as so-called “butch” behaviour or effeminate “limp-wristed and lisping”).


But acting the limp-wristed and lisping gay is one of my best comedy-acts. If not one I pull out when I'm with gays who don't know me well enough to realise that I'm actually making fun of the prejudice rather than being prejudiced myself.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
I’m not sure if you’ll see a clearly lesbian or gay male character in a novel soon, because the only way to give them that status “clearly” is to engage in protracted sex scenes, which are seldom okay with editors.


Well you could always let one of them simply slip somewhere in a conversation that they'd really fancy having a tryst with -insert character name here- who just so happens to be of the same sex they are. Or let a friend of the character in question tease them about his/hers relationship with a character the readers know to be of the same sex as the teased one. But yes, I suppose one or two very dense (or unwilling to see) people would fail to realise what this meant.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?


I'd have to go with what several others have already said: It depends on its importance to the story. As for casual descriptions of sexual realationships - situations where it may be important that the reader knows that he and she (or she and she or he and he) is doing the under-the-sheets-fandango but the how they do it isn't important - I'd say that my line of comfort would be that point where the preluding kissing and cuddling starts to turn rather um ...heated. But basically as long as I don't feel that a sex-scene is put in there to have a sex-scene in the story I'm happy with it.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
Sex IS alive and well in the Realms.


What?! Even after Azoun's demise?

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
However, Zandilar, just between you and me (and of course everyone across the world with Net access who reads this :} ): I personally happen to be a guy who likes gals, but I’m quite comfortable kissing, hugging, and even caressing or comforting guys. Such activities don’t happen to turn me on sexually. I’m a “toucher,” and always have been: I hug and kiss a lot, perhaps more naturally than I shake hands (when greeting females formally, I was taught to kneel and kiss their hands). However, I know that such close contact gives a lot of people the creeps, and I have utterly no interest in upsetting people outside of a roleplaying session in which we’re both acting: if someone goes red or jerks away from me, oops: MY bad.


And let me as a fellow "toucher" ask you to keep it at. Perhaps if more people would be like that we'd not have to worry about others being uncomfortable with physical contact with a person of the same sex. - It always strikes me as funny how the guys in my football-team
(soccer to the uncivilised) was quite prepared to hug and kiss each other, even lay down in a big pile of bodies whilst on the pitch, but then would be extremely uncomfortable about getting hugged by someone off the pitch if they were in need of comforting or anything like that.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
The Realms is people (characters) and THEIR STORIES, not stats -- and not merely their bedchamber preferences, either.


Hear, hear

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
I hope I’ve answered your questions without overly offending anyone, Zandilar and other scribes. As you can probably tell, I’m not shy about discussing such topics, and I’m sure Alaundo and Tethtoril will step in if they think matters are getting (ahem) out of hand, so if you’ve follow-up questions, feel free. However, folks, please let’s NOT get into an endless round of “So is Manshoon gay? Is Fzoul? Okay, how about Larloch?”
I would hope there are more things to talk about in the Realms than that.


There certainly is a lot of things to talk about in the realms. I'm definately going to try and come up with something to ask here, and it probably won't take more than a minute or two.
But... Is Manshoon gay?

Anyway, once again, thanks to the Hooded One and Ed for the attention they lavish on this community, it is most definately appreciated by this newcomer.

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett

Edited by - Alaundo on 11 Sep 2004 18:28:31
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  14:24:53  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
And now for something completely different...

I'm working on a small piece of fannish writing set in Amn, basically the write-up of one of my campaign's NPCs backstory gotten out of hand and was wondering if you could provide a bit more information as to the mode of dress in said country than appears in the Lands of Intrigue and Empires of the Sands publications in much the same way you've done for Silverymoon earlier on this scroll. Any information as to this topic would be most appreciated.

Your humble servant (and devout reader) Kajehase

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett
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Krafus
Learned Scribe

246 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  14:40:25  Show Profile  Visit Krafus's Homepage  Send Krafus an AOL message Send Krafus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

So let me turn this matter back to fellow scribes: how much overt sex would YOU like to read in, say, Ed Greenwood-penned Realms novels? Where’s the “line of comfort” for you?


I'm normally happy to just lurk here, but I wanted to answer Ed's question.

Personally, I'd like to see more sex in Realms novels (and in fantasy novels in general, for that matter). It's a part of life. Our parents have done it (otherwise we'd not be here), and most adults have done it. Also, I've come to develop a dislike for what I see as hypocritical authors, who give us blood and gore by the bucketful but shy away from anything overtly sexual (David Eddings in particular comes to mind here). As for the line of comfort... I'd rather not read about bestiality, necrophilia, and really underage (15 years old or less) sex. But I'm certain that more overt sex, as long as it's not gratuitous, would enhance Realms novels.

Edited by - Krafus on 11 Sep 2004 14:45:42
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Proc
Seeker

Canada
32 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2004 :  17:32:22  Show Profile  Visit Proc's Homepage  Click to see Proc's MSN Messenger address Send Proc a Private Message
Krafus touches on a good point, with all the blood, gore, death and maiming that goes on within some Realms books, it makes the argument about descriptions of sexual behaviour seem somewhat silly.

People seem happy to accept that characters are beheaded, run-through and torn appart by spells in the realms readily enough, but can balk at sexual situations. I know it's not quite the same thing (especially concerning homosexual/bi situations) but they can both affect readers strongly.

As for myself, I will echo previous posters in saying with whatever the author feels will enhance the story and not detract from it is fine with me. I'd be comfortable with a more graphic depiction, but then, I'm a little older now then when I first started reading Realms novels. I can bet there are quite a few young men and women who read Realms novels who might be uncomfortable with more graphic depictions. (Not to mention their parents). I can remember reading a certain "graduation" ceremony concerning the Drow in one of Salvatore's novels - had my parents known I was reading something like that at the time, I doubt they would have let me continue.

"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house."
- George Carlin
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