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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2004 :  18:02:32  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Hey all. I’ve just talked to someone who’ll be attending Phantasm, and he says it’ll be in the Market Hall (historic building with a tower, on George Street) in downtown Peterborough on this coming Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday afternoon Ed will be running a worldbuilding workshop (! wow! what I wouldn’t give to attend THAT!) and on Sunday afternoon he’ll be the DM for a 2nd Edition AD&D Realms game scenario he’s creating (and doing up pregenerated characters for).
Colour me green with envy . . .

P.S. Phantasm is a very small local con, but one year they had Ed and Richard and Lilly Garfield as Guests of Honour! At small cons like Pentacon and Phantasm, Ed will often sit down and shoot the breeze for hours with gamers, edit their fantasy stories, give them tips on getting published by WotC. Groan.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 23 Sep 2004 :  18:26:03  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Blueblade, Ed had sent me some con information, and here it is (text largely copied directly from the con organizer’s communications; his name is Dave Watson):

Admission is $25 Cdn for the weekend or $5 Cdn per session, payable at the doors.

Sat 3pm - 7pm CREATING YOUR OWN FANTASY WORLD (Ed Greenwood)
Whether you're trying to write a long-running saga of bestselling fantasy novels or build a memorable setting for gaming adventures that will last for decades, there are tricks, knacks, and pitfalls to making a world come to life. The creator of the award-winning Forgotten Realms setting (who also happens to be Canada's top-selling fantasy author) will share his secrets in an informal, practical face-to-face discussion for interested participants.
“Note: there are a limited number of slots for this game & most of those will be offered to storytellers first”

Sat 7-8 pm: the creator of the “Forgotten Realm” Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, and Best Selling Author Ed Greenwood will be on hand for a “Question & Answer Period” during the dinner break between 7:00pm and 8:00pm

Sun 10am - 2pm: THE CRAWLING CLAW (Forgotten Realms AD&D 2nd ed., DM: Ed Greenwood)
You and your fellow Baron's Blades have been called to a nearby hermitage to solve a little murder mystery. It seems a visiting Cormyrean envoy and several important personages took shelter from a fierce rainstorm there two nights back - - and one of the overnight guests pounced on the opportunity to murder the envoy AND the hermit. Everyone's important enough to create real troubles if falsely accused or imprisoned, but angry War Wizards don't care a whit for that - - and are on their way to the hermitage. Your job, the Baron makes it clear, is to uncover truth and administer justice before they arrive.
Oh, yes, there's just one more thing: the hermitage is haunted.

Ed Greenwood will Dungeon Master this 2nd Edition AD&D game set in the Forgotten Realms, and provide pre-prepared characters for all players. Novices to the game are welcome, and rules knowledge not necessary; roleplaying reigns!
“Note: there are a limited number of slots for this game & most of those will be offered to storytellers first”

And there you have it. Wish I could be there; Ed tells me there’s a dynamite femme fatale NPC in the Claw session.
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  03:17:15  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A Postscript to the Above:
. . . Which reminds me: Ed is superlative at doing murder mysteries and other 'heavy' roleplaying situations, with PCs having to interpret NPC 'under pressure' words, gestures, and actions.
(And then I listen to the wrong table at a con, and hear gamers who sound just like the Knights of the Dinner Table, and shudder. Oh, well, I suppose they're having fun too. I just wish it sounded more like it, most of the time.)
Swords high for now,
THO
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  08:13:19  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade
P.S. Phantasm is a very small local con, but one year they had Ed and Richard and Lilly Garfield as Guests of Honour! At small cons like Pentacon and Phantasm, Ed will often sit down and shoot the breeze for hours with gamers, edit their fantasy stories, give them tips on getting published by WotC. Groan.




I've been to Phantasm on one occasion with ol' Greybeard, and it was a great time, fun being had by all. All in all, a much better venue for meeting Ed and others, as you're not vying for attention among 10,000 people as you are at GenCon. Love that show too, but I enjoy the more human scale conventions where you're just as apt to have impromptu seminars at the hotel bar. Not that Ed and I would ever do that (mainly because Jenny wouldn't let us get away with it...)

Steven
Who hopes he can ever get back in print and/or famous enough to get invited to shows and can afford to attend again soon.....if only to flirt outrageously with The Hooded One (and since I don't know who she is, I'll just have to flirt with every able-bodied female )

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

5043 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  16:01:40  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A LONG time ago (mid-May, I believe, and around about page 32 or so of this compiled thread), Bookwyrm felt moved to interrupt my flirtation and ask about insects of the Realms. He later received a rather brief ‘yes to this critter, no to that’ answer, but I’d like to assure him and all scribes that the Overloaded Ed Never Sleeps, and has just coughed up this short tidbit:


I’m running into NDA troubles on Borch’s Lathtarl’s Lantern query and the Wizards’ Reach background request from Métis, but I did manage to dredge up some 1972 (! Yes, before D&D!) notes of mine on insects of the Heartlands:

tarm [singular], tarmar [plural] = clouds of tiny dancing insects that can momentarily blind and choke on contact, but do no real damage (=midges, marsh swarms)

dyne [“DIE-nn;” singular and plural the same] = whining, stinging blood-drinking insects (= mosquitoes)

murst [singular and plural the same] a.k.a. ‘tinydaggers’ = small swarming flies that leave painful bites (=black flies)

skarn [singular and plural the same] = biting flies (=horse flies)

blackfist, blackfists = any large moth

also, ants are either called, yes, ‘ants’ or they’re called ‘thella’ [plural: ‘thellen’ or ‘thelcrawl’]
termites are called ‘woodgnaws’ or ‘aezel’ (“AY-zel”), never ‘termites’



So saith Ed, who is happily hard at work on the first Knights book, some more web columns, a short story I can’t say anything more about just yet, and a big secret project ditto. Ah, I’m such a tease.
I guess, she added in a sultry whisper, you’ll just have to . . . live with that.
THO
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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  16:15:12  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


termites are called ‘woodgnaws’ or ‘aezel’ (“AY-zel”), never ‘termites’




So, what do they call a quarter pounder?

"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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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  16:31:16  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well, if I was a REALLY naughty girl, Beowulf, I'd answer your question thus:

Q: So, what do they call a quarter pounder?

A: A VERY happy wife.


Ahem.
Oops. I guess I AM a really naughty girl.
I shall just have to be spanked.
(Puts on severe teacher voice)
Now, don't always let me see the same hands . . .

THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 24 Sep 2004 :  18:04:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Well, if I was a REALLY naughty girl, Beowulf, I'd answer your question thus:

Q: So, what do they call a quarter pounder?

A: A VERY happy wife.


I think it best not to say anything else, so I'll just use that smiley again.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Ahem.
Oops. I guess I AM a really naughty girl.
I shall just have to be spanked.
(Puts on severe teacher voice)
Now, don't always let me see the same hands . . .

THO



I'm first in line!

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2004 :  01:20:30  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
To Ed the Over worked and underpayed

I was wondering if you could detail the "current structure of the Zhentarim."

Specficly how the "Zhentarim family trees" found in Cloak and Dagger have changed. Specficly which side of the Bane vs Cyric fence the various figures sit (obviously some will just be in it for the money and not care which priesthood rules)

The Zhentarim write up in Lords of Darkness only gave a bare bones description of the new heirachy.


Thanks in advance

Hooded One: Have you thought about retiring your Knights of Myth Drannor character and starting a new one? Perhaps a Cleric of Sune or Sharess!

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 25 Sep 2004 01:22:50
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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 25 Sep 2004 :  19:51:13  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
Well met!

I'm a little curious to know how hard it was and is for Ed to "let go" of the Realms and allow others to define it? Clearly, it wasn't too much a problem, or chances are it would not be where it is now, but without any need to be particular and provide examples, are there instances where someone, some author of a novel or sourcebook, takes some element of the world and carries it off in what you consider to be entirely the wrong direction? And it is it easy to get over it, or a real pain in the arse? Maybe a bit of both?


"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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Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2004 :  11:37:11  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 Dargoth

To Ed the Over worked and underpayed

I was wondering if you could detail the "current structure of the Zhentarim."

Specficly how the "Zhentarim family trees" found in Cloak and Dagger have changed. Specficly which side of the Bane vs Cyric fence the various figures sit (obviously some will just be in it for the money and not care which priesthood rules)



Oh, I echo this tenfold. This would be great The Zhentarim are one of my favorite aspects of the Realms and I have always used them in my campaigns. Seeing an updated hierarchy akin to the old 2nd edition organisation charts has been on my wishlist for a long time.

I believe there is a very old version of the hierarchy at Candlekeep somewhere.... ah, here it is.

Lord Rad

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

3302 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2004 :  14:26:14  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
At the risk of being a spoilsport, this points up one of the reasons I dislike the ongoing timeline: it forces designers to waste time making up 'updated' versions of already-described things rather than describing new things, or those things in more detail. Ed writes happily enough for the 'current' Realms, but he doesn't know it as intimately as the Realms he's responsible for, and is not (in effect) solely responsible for it as he is the kind of Realmslore WotC wouldn't care to contradict.
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2004 :  15:15:25  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Rad


Oh, I echo this tenfold. This would be great The Zhentarim are one of my favorite aspects of the Realms and I have always used them in my campaigns. Seeing an updated hierarchy akin to the old 2nd edition organisation charts has been on my wishlist for a long time.

I believe there is a very old version of the hierarchy at Candlekeep somewhere.... ah, here it is.



That heirarchy is really out of date

Lord Chess is dead

Semmemon and Ashemmi have left the Zhentarim

Cyric certainly isnt linked to Fzoul

The Church of Cyric also isnt linked to Fzoul

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 26 Sep 2004 :  19:07:03  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 Dargoth

That heirarchy is really out of date

Lord Chess is dead

Semmemon and Ashemmi have left the Zhentarim

Cyric certainly isnt linked to Fzoul

The Church of Cyric also isnt linked to Fzoul



Exactly! Hence my eagerness for a new updated version from Ed

Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1796 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2004 :  04:31:07  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
Hi Ed,

What do you think of my version of "Barrett's Privateers" on p.38 of "The Grounds of Candlekeep?"

http://www.candlekeep.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1193&whichpage=38
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2004 :  04:37:34  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

At the risk of being a spoilsport, this points up one of the reasons I dislike the ongoing timeline: it forces designers to waste time making up 'updated' versions of already-described things rather than describing new things, or those things in more detail. Ed writes happily enough for the 'current' Realms, but he doesn't know it as intimately as the Realms he's responsible for, and is not (in effect) solely responsible for it as he is the kind of Realmslore WotC wouldn't care to contradict.



I, on the other hand, love that there is an ongoing timeline. The fact that things happen as time moves onward is a huge draw for me. In fact, a good chunk of why I bailed on the Dragginglance series is because if Weis and Hickman didn't write it, the timeline never moved forward.


Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 27 Sep 2004 :  15:39:49  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ahh, Purple Dragon Knight, WELL done. Stan is still, all these years after his tragic death, one of Ed’s favourite singers. (BTW, when Ed is warmed up, he can do a stunningly accurate imitation of Stan: Ed has the depth and range, but lacks Stan’s bulk and therefore his breath.)
The Cormyte’s Boast is, of course, Ed’s parody of the famous British folksong “The Vicar of Bray” (or “Braye” if one prefers).
Are you familiar, perchance, with the ‘official’ parody of Barrett’s Privateers? (This was done long ago, when Garnet was playing fiddle in Stan’s band rather than the solo work he’s doing now, and it’s called “Garnet’s Homemade Beer.”)
Ed apparently arrived home very late last night, and I haven’t hooked up with him yet, but I have e-heard from two gamers who attended the con, who say Ed not only did a stunning workshop and game session, but spent hours explaining the ropes to some guys who wanted to start their own game publishing company, and (at her invitation, of course) helped a young gamer ready her fantasy romance story for submission to Harlequin’s Luna imprint. That's my Ed . . .
Sweet rest to thee all this night,
THO
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Athenon
Seeker

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  03:12:05  Show Profile  Visit Athenon's Homepage  Send Athenon an AOL message Send Athenon a Private Message
THO and Ed,

I have another geography question for the pair of you. This one should be pretty quick - What's the River Lis like in the home Realms campaign? I've envisioned it as similar to a slightly cleaner, shorter Mississippi in terms of current and width (I'm from Louisiana so it's what I know). Would this be accurate at all?

Many Thanks!

Will Maranto

Representing the Realms in the Wilds of Northern Louisiana

Edited by - Athenon on 28 Sep 2004 03:12:48
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  05:36:28  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
I imagine the river Lis would be more like the Suez canal then a river as it links the Moonsea with the Sea of Fallen stars its probably more of a canal ie the Water in river is Salty and it probably wouldnt flow either. The nearest real world example would be the river Jordan which flows from the sea of Galilee to the dead sea in Israel although Im not sure if the River Jordan is Navigatable the River Lis is in both directions

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 28 Sep 2004 05:40:59
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1796 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  09:46:28  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

The Cormyte’s Boast is, of course, Ed’s parody of the famous British folksong “The Vicar of Bray” (or “Braye” if one prefers).
Are you familiar, perchance, with the ‘official’ parody of Barrett’s Privateers? (This was done long ago, when Garnet was playing fiddle in Stan’s band rather than the solo work he’s doing now, and it’s called “Garnet’s Homemade Beer.”)
I haven't been able to find a good sample of "The Vicar of Bray" online... all I've found are lyrics sites and wordless MIDI sound files (now I have heard the gist of the melody, but I'd like to hear a full version, complete with words, without having to dish 30 dollars on a CD containing songs that are too culturally advanced for me). Any way you could point me out or recommend a good version?

As for "Garnet's Homemade Beer," no, I haven't heard of it either, and would also like to be taken by the hand and showed where it could be found, if possible...
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  17:28:58  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, fellow scribes.
Athenon, you have the Lis correct. Let me quote from Ed’s unpublished ‘What Your Character Knows’ notes:


Much blood has been spilled over control of the Lis, but the terrain itself has defeated any longterm control beyond the “as far as the point of my blade/reach of my spells extends” sort.
The term ‘the Lisen Sands’ refers to treacherous marine navigation and flooded areas, not broad beaches or desert area. You recall brackish water from the freshwater swamps (fed by local streams and springs) emptying into a broad, shallow, VERY silty saltwater river that generates lots of oxbows, side-channels, quicksand, dunes (that unlike ‘desert dunes’ change only by water action, not wind, as they’re well-anchored with vegetation), standing dead ‘drowned’ trees, lots of choking vines and stunted wetland living trees (in short, large marshes with lots of ground cover for lurking outlaws and critters) . . . and everywhere insects, insects, clouds of stinging insects.
Through the heart of it all winds the broad, slow, mud-opaque-water Lis, sometimes impassable to deep-keeled ships, but never choked so much that water cannot pass from the Moonsea to the Dragonreach. Indeed, spring storms in particular (and fierce winds blowing up heading-south waves at all times of year) can generate ‘Scourings’ of the Lis that briefly give it depths of more than forty feet and a clear, straight channel. Usually, it’s 12 to 15 feet deep (with a soft-chocolate-mud bottom that will allow solid objects to readily pass or sink through it for about another six feet or so), and permanently cloudy.


As far as the songs go, PDK, I’ve HEARD some British folk groups (Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention) do very good versions of it onstage, but I haven’t found a good recorded version of it either. I believe this is because of its age (to put it in Canadian terms, it would be rather like Gordon Lightfoot recording “Alouette” or a prominent American folk group recording “Yankee Doodle Dandy”). Kinda . . . uncool.
And for the “Homemade Beer” parody, it’s been played on the CBC radio network many times (as part of reflections on/remembrances of Stan’s life), but of course never commercially released—like all the good (and usually legally actionable) folk parodies (although this was one that both Stan and Garnet were quite pleased about, and apparently often sang themselves).

Wooly and Faraer, I’m split on the timeline matter, and I know that Ed is too. While we both believe that there must be REAL change/ongoing events in the setting (that’s its LIFE), there are two ‘mitigating factors.’ One is that we haven’t yet had the chance to paint in some of the important ‘gaps in the map,’ and are being prevented from doing so by the need for new update products on ‘the same old places.’ The other is that most humans resist and dislike change, emotionally, except for that subset of changes they mentally label as ‘exciting new ideas/opportunities for me and mine.’ And insofar as this fantasy gaming we do should be more attractive and inviting than merely watching the nightly news and seeing the forcible changes wrought in the real world, we as DMs and designers want to control change so it doesn’t mean “chaos chaos everywhere, and every character and place you love and respect is swept away — again!”

I know (from our own campaign) that Ed is reluctant to do an updated ‘org chart’ for the Zhents, for two reasons: he doesn’t want to restrict other Realms designers and fiction writers, and more importantly, discovering the relationships/hierarchy/working communications between characters is something he believes can be ‘half the fun’ for our PCs, and something he also doesn’t want to ruin. However, let me see how far I can er, bend him on this . . .

Beowulf, Ed has often been asked about how he feels about others taking the Realms in directions that might not please him. Let me quote one of his replies from several years back:

Yes, of course, it can be irritating, particularly when (example: the behaviour of most of the Shadowdale-based NPCs in the early Avatar books) characters seem to ‘act out of character’ to suit the current needs of an unfolding plot. Every inconsistency is a flaw, so if a writer ever deliberately changed things (“Let’s make this male a female, let’s change this character’s race, let’s just change the name of the deity or place,” and BTW, all of those things have happened in Realms-writing), it would be the ultimate sin of disrespect to everyone else working creatively in the Realms. I also dislike names and features that echo our real world (or our past real-world history) too closely.
However, on balance, it’s great. It means if I die tomorrow, there’s a team of people who not only love the Realms, but are experienced professionals at guiding and describing the Realms, so that (unlike, say, Roger Zelazny’s Amber) it shouldn’t wobble one bit if a single creative individual departs the scene.
Moreover, the one thing ‘my own Realms’ could never do while I was its sole creator was: SURPRISE me. I always knew what was around the next bend in the trail, because I was the one who put it all there. And that’s a great gift. The Realms is demonstrably richer and stronger because of other viewpoints: other creative imaginations at work, from Bob Salvatore and Elaine Cunningham to Jeff Grubb and Steven Schend. George Krashos, Eric Boyd, and a dozen others demonstrate a deep and abiding love of the Realms as fans almost daily with their behind-the-scenes lorework, and watching all of these good friends playing in the sandbox I built (and improving it as they go, into a sandbox mansion with hot tub and air conditioning and drinks fountains!) is a personal delight for me.
So although I may from time to time gripe about this or that detail of the published Realms or publishing decision that led to it, my gripes are those of a fiercely loving parent, not any sort of adversarial critic.


So saith Ed. And there you have it for now,
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  17:30:59  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, fellow scribes.
Athenon, you have the Lis correct. Let me quote from Ed’s unpublished ‘What Your Character Knows’ notes:


Much blood has been spilled over control of the Lis, but the terrain itself has defeated any longterm control beyond the “as far as the point of my blade/reach of my spells extends” sort.
The term ‘the Lisen Sands’ refers to treacherous marine navigation and flooded areas, not broad beaches or desert area. You recall brackish water from the freshwater swamps (fed by local streams and springs) emptying into a broad, shallow, VERY silty saltwater river that generates lots of oxbows, side-channels, quicksand, dunes (that unlike ‘desert dunes’ change only by water action, not wind, as they’re well-anchored with vegetation), standing dead ‘drowned’ trees, lots of choking vines and stunted wetland living trees (in short, large marshes with lots of ground cover for lurking outlaws and critters) . . . and everywhere insects, insects, clouds of stinging insects.
Through the heart of it all winds the broad, slow, mud-opaque-water Lis, sometimes impassable to deep-keeled ships, but never choked so much that water cannot pass from the Moonsea to the Dragonreach. Indeed, spring storms in particular (and fierce winds blowing up heading-south waves at all times of year) can generate ‘Scourings’ of the Lis that briefly give it depths of more than forty feet and a clear, straight channel. Usually, it’s 12 to 15 feet deep (with a soft-chocolate-mud bottom that will allow solid objects to readily pass or sink through it for about another six feet or so), and permanently cloudy.


As far as the songs go, PDK, I’ve HEARD some British folk groups (Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention) do very good versions of it onstage, but I haven’t found a good recorded version of it either. I believe this is because of its age (to put it in Canadian terms, it would be rather like Gordon Lightfoot recording “Alouette” or a prominent American folk group recording “Yankee Doodle Dandy”). Kinda . . . uncool.
And for the “Homemade Beer” parody, it’s been played on the CBC radio network many times (as part of reflections on/remembrances of Stan’s life), but of course never commercially released—like all the good (and usually legally actionable) folk parodies (although this was one that both Stan and Garnet were quite pleased about, and apparently often sang themselves).

Wooly and Faraer, I’m split on the timeline matter, and I know that Ed is too. While we both believe that there must be REAL change/ongoing events in the setting (that’s its LIFE), there are two ‘mitigating factors.’ One is that we haven’t yet had the chance to paint in some of the important ‘gaps in the map,’ and are being prevented from doing so by the need for new update products on ‘the same old places.’ The other is that most humans resist and dislike change, emotionally, except for that subset of changes they mentally label as ‘exciting new ideas/opportunities for me and mine.’ And insofar as this fantasy gaming we do should be more attractive and inviting than merely watching the nightly news and seeing the forcible changes wrought in the real world, we as DMs and designers want to control change so it doesn’t mean “chaos chaos everywhere, and every character and place you love and respect is swept away — again!”

I know (from our own campaign) that Ed is reluctant to do an updated ‘org chart’ for the Zhents, for two reasons: he doesn’t want to restrict other Realms designers and fiction writers, and more importantly, discovering the relationships/hierarchy/working communications between characters is something he believes can be ‘half the fun’ for our PCs, and something he also doesn’t want to ruin. However, let me see how far I can er, bend him on this . . .

Beowulf, Ed has often been asked about how he feels about others taking the Realms in directions that might not please him. Let me quote one of his replies from several years back:

Yes, of course, it can be irritating, particularly when (example: the behaviour of most of the Shadowdale-based NPCs in the early Avatar books) characters seem to ‘act out of character’ to suit the current needs of an unfolding plot. Every inconsistency is a flaw, so if a writer ever deliberately changed things (“Let’s make this male a female, let’s change this character’s race, let’s just change the name of the deity or place,” and BTW, all of those things have happened in Realms-writing), it would be the ultimate sin of disrespect to everyone else working creatively in the Realms. I also dislike names and features that echo our real world (or our past real-world history) too closely.
However, on balance, it’s great. It means if I die tomorrow, there’s a team of people who not only love the Realms, but are experienced professionals at guiding and describing the Realms, so that (unlike, say, Roger Zelazny’s Amber) it shouldn’t wobble one bit if a single creative individual departs the scene.
Moreover, the one thing ‘my own Realms’ could never do while I was its sole creator was: SURPRISE me. I always knew what was around the next bend in the trail, because I was the one who put it all there. And that’s a great gift. The Realms is demonstrably richer and stronger because of other viewpoints: other creative imaginations at work, from Bob Salvatore and Elaine Cunningham to Jeff Grubb and Steven Schend. George Krashos, Eric Boyd, and a dozen others demonstrate a deep and abiding love of the Realms as fans almost daily with their behind-the-scenes lorework, and watching all of these good friends playing in the sandbox I built (and improving it as they go, into a sandbox mansion with hot tub and air conditioning and drinks fountains!) is a personal delight for me.
So although I may from time to time gripe about this or that detail of the published Realms or publishing decision that led to it, my gripes are those of a fiercely loving parent, not any sort of adversarial critic.


So saith Ed. And there you have it for now,
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  17:32:13  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
While I’m warmed up to do more ‘tidying up Realmslore,’ it’s time to return to Proc’s long-neglected request about the Watch (last addressed on page 34 of this thread, I believe ). Ed has provided these additional tidbits:


A covert salute from one Watch officer of any rank to another of any rank (used in exaggerated, not-trying-to-hide form by officers not certain of the rank of the unfamiliar person they’re saluting): Put heel of horizontal right hand on one’s own belt, then swing fingers together in a single ‘tap’ against the belt (as if patting one’s own belly). If this is IMMEDIATELY followed by a move to scratch one’s own left shoulder, it means, roughly, “Hi, there! I’ve got trouble, big trouble, and need you to stay and confer with me. Contrive to get close to me in some non-obvious manner, so we can talk.”
A salute from a low-ranking Watch officer to one of a higher rank: bring one’s swordarm from down alongside one’s leg (with hand empty of weapon) sharply up and across the breast to slap one’s own opposite shoulder with the flat of that sword-hand.
A salute from a high-ranking Watch officer to one of a lower rank: bring one’s swordarm from down alongside one’s leg smoothly up to the middle of one’s chest, extending one’s thumb to touch the middle of the chest whilst the hand and fingers are held together and outstretched (as if one was about to slap the shoulder, as in the other salute). This position should be held for a single inhalation or exhalation; to just jab with the thumb and end the salute is considered insulting.
(All three of these salutes are used as responses, when one has been saluted.)
When addressing officers of superior rank, the word “sir” is the all-purpose formal address. “Sorn” is an added term of respect, somewhere between “trusted” and “worthy” in meaning, and is applied thus: “Sorn sir.”
“Sorn” is also used in the other direction (by higher ranks addressing lower), but instead of “sir,” it’s added (or not added, if the speaker is grumpy or disapproving or merely bored) to the word “trusty.”
Moreover, in general (i.e. when speaking in barracks or the streets, not in front of a Lord or Palace official or at a nobles’ revel), Watch officers tend to ignore rank formalities when their ranks are similar (for instance, the leader of a Watch patrol would think something was wrong, or he was being mocked, if the men of his own patrol started calling him “sir” or “sorn sir,” and so would a senior commander, if officers one rank lower than him did the same thing. This is due in part to the practice, now almost universal in the Watch, of carefully being VERY formal and polite when you think your superior is making a mistake, or breaking the rules, or just being an ox-haunch (= making an ass of him/her –self): in other words, clearly indicating your disapproval by tone and excessive formality without actually saying a single word of disagreement.
It’s important to note that the Watch places far more importance on diligent behaviour on duty, and springing to the aid of/thoughtfulness towards one’s fellow Watch officers, than on matters of etiquette. There’s little or no discipline (beyond a sharp comment) for missing a salute or stumbling over another officer’s title; the Watch prides itself on being ‘family’ (albeit a gruff, ungentle ‘slap-on-the-back, mock-one’s-fellows’ family) and not ‘a bunch of sniff-nosed, post-headed warriors.’
Various Realms sources have described Watch patrols as using a variety of ranks, uniforms, and strengths, for the very good reason that the Watch is continually varying such things, experimenting with this and that and trying to manage two impossibly-conflicting aims: to SOMETIMES catch miscreants by surprising them with persons they don’t identify as Watch officers, and to USUALLY reassure citizens and enable them to cry for ready aid by allowing them to readily identify Watch officers from afar, on sight, due to distinctive uniforms (and at night, distinctive lanterns and the like). What can be said with certainty is that all Watch patrols will be armed, and will have more than one ‘Watch horn’ among its officers (signal horns that officers can blow various [and slightly altered from time to time] patterns of calls with, to: summon aid; let others know that an alert or search is now ended/someone has been found; warn Watch away from a dangerous spot or delicate situation; call in magical assistance or healers . . . and so on). Inevitably Watch officers become experts in particular neighbourhoods, but the Watch has made an effort in recent years to rotate patrol duties, mixing ‘area veterans’ with men from other areas of the city, so every Watch officer at least knows the street layout (and places of treacherous footing or bad visibility or particular ambush danger) of the entire city.
Some Realms sources give the names of various Watch officers, usually of high rank, but here are two hardy, experienced Watch veterans (men of low and middling rank who’re happy to remain so):
Burlagh Stementor: a fat, hairy man of great sagging jowls, breasts, and belly-folds, who grumbles, wheezes, farts, and growls almost constantly as he lurches along the streets. He can’t climb any longer, but can run (and tackle) with astonishing speed, is a strong swimmer, and has arms and shoulders of prodigious strength (he can bend iron bars and gates open). Never forgets a face, and ‘knows everyone’ in Dock Ward and South Ward.
Heldrokh Murtim: a tall, thin, poker-faced man of nondescript looks and very dry humour (never known to laugh, and rarely known to smile), who remembers and recites legal statements, proclamations, contracts, and conversations PRECISELY. An expert in North Ward.


So saith Ed.
To this, I should add that Ed’s short story in REALMS OF DRAGONS has some brief scenes involving Watch patrols, in the streets, under duress.
Ed has a houseguest this week and will probably remain rather e-silent, but Thy Hooded One remains on duty, as ever, to field Realmslore requests, juggle them uneasily for a few days, and whenever possible concoct answers from Ed’s notes.
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 29 Sep 2004 15:50:09
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FoolishOwl
Acolyte

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  19:00:56  Show Profile  Visit FoolishOwl's Homepage Send FoolishOwl a Private Message
I've long had the impression that the progressive movements of the sixties and seventies had a big influence on Ed Greenwood's design of the Forgotten Realms: particularly the attitudes towards gender and sexuality, and the concern for the environment. I haven't seen any discussion of the latter, but it seems to me that it's a big part of the Forgotten Realms setting. For instance, the history of the Dales, and the relationship of the Dalelands to the elves and to Sembia seems to go well beyond the usual "elves love trees" and into a broader concern with how to balance nature with civilization. (Oh, right -- that word "balance.")

I'm wondering how much Ed and his players believe that environmentalism influences their ideas about the Forgotten Realms.

By the way, my favorite pieces of writing about the Realms are the narrative vignettes in "Elminster's Ecologies."
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Faraer
Great Reader

3302 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2004 :  21:47:56  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
My thoughts on ongoing timelines in principle are coloured by the one we actually have -- speaking as someone who *can* be surprised by the Realms without flying into the future, of course. You know why I don't like it, but I'll itemize anyway:
  • the interruption of perceived commercial imperatives: some game department changes, the book department's tendency to RSEs and similar gigantism at the expense of individual campaigns
  • the 1360s (1990s) is an uncoordinated, unconvincing mess; I feel the jumping of 10 Realms years beteen the 1987 and 1993 sets as a hole
  • the 1370s (2000s) is an overchoreographed, unconvincing mess
  • too many things have yet to be detailed in print as it is
  • neophilia, the fetishization of the new and latest, moves the Realms towards passively-viewed reality TV and away from a timeless secondary world
  • the prevalence of novels and trilogies over short stories misrepresents the massively plural and parallel nature of the Realms
  • all change is entropic (as Gene Wolfe writes in an essay about The Lord of the Rings linked to in Neil Gaiman's blog) and must be done with great imagination and care in order to replenish the setting as much as it's being used up
  • as someone aware of time and mortality, I don't enjoy a fantasy world ageing, young characters growing old, almost as fast
I think 'faster faster more more' is a lousy way to make a setting live. New lore, novels and short stories (which don't have to be set 'now'), and current clack do that just fine; and maybe (I just realized) a slow passing of 1 Realms year for 5 Earth years, that's plenty.

Edited by - Faraer on 29 Sep 2004 14:20:58
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