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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  04:49:10  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
I bring you now two brief inglorious moments from the annals of the Knights of Myth Drannor: our encounters with Halaster.
A portal in the ruins of the Halls of the Beast-Tamers in Myth Drannor whisked us to a certain l-o-o-o-ng hallway on the ‘first’ level of Undermountain. With collective hearty bad feelings about our unintended trip into unfamiliar subterranean unpleasantness strong in our minds, we encountered a Harper of our acquaintance running full-tilt towards us, ward-spell after ward-spell shattering at her heels. She cried out a warning to us, and Jhessail cast a spell The Simbul had given her in payment for timely aid, that twisted the Harper’s last remaining ward into a spell-reflection magic, hurling whatever magic was sent against it back at the source.
The ward promptly vanished in a crackling of energies as the expected attack-spell struck it, the Harper seized the moments she’d been given to teleport away -- and the reflected spell slammed into its caster with a satisfactory Undermountain-shaking blast.
Whereupon that caster chuckled, and I knew we were in REAL trouble. Had Dove not been with us, to call on her sisters for aid and bring both Laeral and Alustriel onto the scene, Halaster would very probably have transformed the fabled Knights into smears of blood on the passage walls in the space of a few breaths.
As it was, he gleefully attacked three of the Seven Sisters instead, and most of us were stunned senseless in a trice, as Dove slashed herself and used the leaking silver fire to spin a protective cage around us, keeping spells out and the passage ceiling from falling -- and Laeral and Alustriel traded ‘anything you can blast I can blast louder’ magics with the Mad Mage of Undermountain.
Now, readers of Ed’s novels (wherein he was encouraged to play up the magic-heavy aspect of the Realms) may think titanic spell-battles happen all the time in Realms sessions.
Not so. Silken threats do, yes, but intrigue rules our Realmsplay hours far more than swordplay or spell-hurling. This was an exception . . . and for days afterwards, all of us but Dove suffered from the tingling side-effects of the magical ‘sidewash:’ our bodies kept trying to ‘slip’ into other shapes, hues, and sizes. Most unsettling, and cost my character much dignity and even more ruined clothing.
Our return engagement with Halaster was a chance meeting in Skullport, wherein he beamed at the sight of us (recognizing us in an instant from the battle years before) and teleported us individually into various perils, in hopes of luring Elminster to our aid so he could ‘have it out’ with the Old Mage. El responded by teleporting a succession of monsters he’d trapped and spellbound over the years right back at Halaster, interrupting the Mad Mage’s fun and forcing him to defend himself. We fled like screaming children, which El pronounced our wisest collective act in years. We haven’t been back to Skullport since.

Now that’s quite enough remembering past horrors for me, Melfius, and I pass you now back to Ed for the rest of your answers:



As I recall, Melfius, we’ve now reached number ten in your questions (10. Where/When did Halaster begin training his apprentices?)
My reply is as follows:
A long time ago, specifically [NDA], in a [NDA] far, far away, a ragtag [NDA]
11. Who trained Halaster?
My reply: [MAJOR NDA MAJOR NDA MAJOR NDA ASSUME CONTROL ASSUME CONTROL]
Ahem. It will probably come as no surprise to you to learn that my answers to 12 (What would Halaster’s alignment have been a)when he began training his apprentices b)when he created Halaster’s Hold?) must also be the grim silence of the NDA fortress wall. (Sorry. I am, truly.)

Which brings me to Dargoth, and HIS question about Halaster (Does that mean that Halaster has now gone back to being Lawful Evil?)
Sorry, Dargoth, but that’s behind the NDA wall, too. This is one I’d love to answer, but I’m afraid silence must be my stern reply.

And so to Steven, old friend and dear. We MUST get together again sometime, somehow. Start an industry-shaking game company and get invited to GenCon as a Guest of Honor or something, willya?
And please, drop in on this thread ANY time, no forgiveness needed! Like you, I’ve never been overmuch interested in the gods themselves, because mortal player characters can never really know the truths about their natures and doings (and really, what does it matter to your character precisely what happened in the Dawn Cataclysm, anyway?). Priesthoods, yes, doctrines, of course . . . but for what it’s worth, your idea about Shar makes perfect sense. So let’s make it so (er, if someone hasn’t swiped that particular phrase already :}).
Shar’s failure to subvert Halaster--a battle that seems to have lasted many a century--WAS why Shar destroyed Ibrandul. She has her lynchpin of interest in the great dungeon of the North through the ibrandlin and those worshipers, but the difficulties with Halaster were why she didn't just leave Ibrandul to be a patsy/servant god of hers.
Done. :}
As for Halaster’s tittering and giggling: I’d say he’s over that, now, unless REALLY startled.

Which brings me to Gerath Hoan, and the subject of my business and lack of sleep: thanks for your kind words, GH. The Realms is and remains a labour of love (hey, if you saw my paycheques you’d certainly agree! :} ), but it’s one that rewards me daily, from pleased and satisfied e-mails from fellow scribes when we’ve collectively nailed down some obscure detail or other to the delight andf praises of gamers I meet at cons and here at Candlekeep. As long as all of you who love the Realms keep asking and probing and joking, I’ll keep on slinging the lore and stitching things together and buffing and polishing the result. Because I LOVE doing this, and sometimes can’t believe I can actually make a (bit of a) living doing something I love so much.
So keep buying and demanding more Realms stuff, folks, and make my old age colourful and happy. :}
I’ve just seen the Realms latest things G- - -, E- - - and R- - - are working on, for instance, and I’m VERY happy. So thanks, GH and all, for making me FEEL much appreciated.



So saith Ed. Who’ll have more to say tomorrow, because he has to put the recycling out now and cover the plants against the first frost of the season - - and he’s bone-weary after cutting down more than twenty dead trees today (with his son-in-law, who was visiting for [Canadian] Thanksgiving), to start the backup firewood pile.
love to all,
THO
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Vanguard
Seeker

15 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  09:38:02  Show Profile  Visit Vanguard's Homepage Send Vanguard a Private Message
Hi I've got a question for Ed Greenwood creator of FR and Elminster, forgive me if I spelled his name wrong. I wanted to know what happened to his famous hat?, I mean it was never fully explained how he lost it. That's why I wanted to created an official FR short story intitled The Magician's Hat, in it I tell how the hat found it's new owner and how it effect his life. No people E's hat has no power it just landed on his head one day and that is that start of the story, the main character is young adult just old enough to be send to magic school, but he can't go due to his Father and the fact his family doesn't have the money to pay his way.

This short story is a teaser of my main character and hopefuly I will be able to do a series od novel featuring him and some of new companions,
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  13:19:05  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
You're more than welcome for the comments Ed, you (and THO) have done us a great service by taking the time to post answers on this thread. And you've done far, far more than that over the years by sharing this world of yours in print with us.

It makes me smile just to think of the many great years of gaming and happiness i've gotten out of the Realms, so i hope some small amount of what we all must feel makes its way back to you.

GH.

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

3291 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  13:59:34  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
I don't think Elminster has ever worn a hat much. Certain paintings show him with one, but it's not mentioned in "All about Elminster" or FR7 or (much, at least) in the novels, and the best illustration of him (the Ned Dameron picture in FR7) doesn't show one. Elminster's hat seems to be a figment of Clyde Caldwell's imagination.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29649 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  14:34:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

I don't think Elminster has ever worn a hat much. Certain paintings show him with one, but it's not mentioned in "All about Elminster" or FR7 or (much, at least) in the novels, and the best illustration of him (the Ned Dameron picture in FR7) doesn't show one. Elminster's hat seems to be a figment of Clyde Caldwell's imagination.



Kinda like that stupid gold thing on Drizzt Do'Urden's forehead. He's never been described as wearing anything like that, but as soon as one artist did it, it became an almost-official part of his appearance.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2004 :  17:25:30  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 Vanguard

Hi I've got a question for Ed Greenwood creator of FR and Elminster, forgive me if I spelled his name wrong. I wanted to know what happened to his famous hat?, I mean it was never fully explained how he lost it. That's why I wanted to created an official FR short story intitled The Magician's Hat, in it I tell how the hat found it's new owner and how it effect his life. No people E's hat has no power it just landed on his head one day and that is that start of the story, the main character is young adult just old enough to be send to magic school, but he can't go due to his Father and the fact his family doesn't have the money to pay his way.

This short story is a teaser of my main character and hopefuly I will be able to do a series od novel featuring him and some of new companions,



I believe Ed has said in the past, either jokingly or not, that Elminster lost it when he went to Hell. :) But Ed might say otherwise when he replies with his own words.

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

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

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

5036 Posts

Posted - 13 Oct 2004 :  16:49:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. I bring you the words of Ed on matters chapeaux:

Elminster has worn various hats down the years (most of them as part of his various disguises), but Faraer is correct: the hat was largely a creation of the TSR Art Department (long robes, beard, pointy hat, staff = wizard). Check Ned Dameron's interior art for El at the Magefair, and the art in the FR comic issues 7 and 8, for the 'right' look for El, most of the time [note the tall/gaunt appearance, LONG hair and beard].
The decision to change Elminster's look was made by WotC for 3rd edition; I heard the words "look less like Gandalf," but I have no idea if it was because WotC was then bidding for the LOTR card game license or not. And, yes, the Brand Manager of the day decreed that "El lost his hat when going through the dimensional rift into Hell." He meant destroyed, not 'strayed.'
Myself, I don't mind what Elminster looks like as long as Realms readers, gamers, and fans know it's Elminster (most of the time :}). After all, he can alter his appearance at will. So long as we have an in-game reason for why he decides to appear in a particular guise, I'm fine.
Now, writing a story that uses Elminster's hat is fine for your own entertainment, but of course it's NOT okay for publication, and WotC holds the copyright and will probably defend it. Note that "publication" DOES include posting it here or anywhere on the Net, distributing it to your friends, and even reading it aloud. Sorry. Mr. Phil Athans handles the Realms fiction at WotC, and Mr. Peter Archer manages all of the book lines (I can never keep up with their current formal titles), so they would be the ones to contact for permission, but I'm afraid I don't expect that you'll receive it. Sorry.
Note that you could very well HINT that the hat "fell from the sky, through a rift reeking of brimstone" without ever mentioning Elminster or Shadowdale (or any other Realms locale or character by name; don't use the name of the world or setting, either), and thereby be free to publish it, but please be careful.
(I personally don't have any problems with folks writing Realms stories, but it's not up to me, and WotC does have trademarks and the brand associated with them to protect. I daydream of things like an Elminster iPod, wherein the Old Mage would interrupt insipid songs with an exasperated, "Ye're not going to rot thy ears and mind with THIS tripe again, are ye?" . . . but 'tis just that: a daydream.)


So saith Ed. Who's still frantically busy (book launch this Saturday, short story due before then, and -- oh yes -- a Knights of Myth Drannor novel to get done.
love to all,
THO
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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 13 Oct 2004 :  17:26:12  Show Profile  Visit The Wanderer's Homepage  Click to see The Wanderer's MSN Messenger address Send The Wanderer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

daydream of things like an Elminster iPod, wherein the Old Mage would interrupt insipid songs with an exasperated, "Ye're not going to rot thy ears and mind with THIS tripe again, are ye?" . . . but 'tis just that: a daydream.)



That has got to be one the funniest things I've ever heard

The Wanderer
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Vanguard
Seeker

15 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  03:22:58  Show Profile  Visit Vanguard's Homepage Send Vanguard a Private Message
Well I know that WOTC would have to approve of my short fiction story, and I like the idea of E's Hat falling out of the sky from rift opened in Hell. You see as far as my character knows that Hat landed on his head by gust of wind,


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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  15:29:22  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
Sorry for the short notice, but I've just received word that, as part of noticing World D&D Day on Saturday (during which Ed will be at BakkaPhoenix Books in Toronto from 3 pm on, launching a fantasy anthology, SUMMONED TO DESTINY, that he has a novelette in), Ed Greenwood will be the guest on Alan Neal's phone-in show on Radio One, on CBC (Canada's national radio network), from 1-2 pm tomorrow (Friday).
So you can call in and speak to the Great One directly. :}
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 14 Oct 2004 15:30:47
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5564 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  15:33:42  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Thank ye for sharing this information with us, Hooded One.
If any scribes herein manage to obtain a recording of this interview, then please contact me in order that we can make it available at Candlekeep.

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
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BobROE
Learned Scribe

Canada
106 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  16:35:50  Show Profile  Visit BobROE's Homepage Send BobROE a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alaundo

Well met

Thank ye for sharing this information with us, Hooded One.
If any scribes herein manage to obtain a recording of this interview, then please contact me in order that we can make it available at Candlekeep.



You can listen to it on the internet here http://www.cbc.ca/listen/index.html
just select toronto.

Adam
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  19:30:02  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Adam/BobROE,
just a quick question: you say "select Toronto."
Does it make any difference that the show originates from Ottawa? I can't remember if this phone-in is network-wide, or is different regionally (across Ontario).
I do know that Ed will be sitting in a studio in Kingston (ina basement at Queen's University, actually), rather than actually in Ottawa OR Toronto. The host, Alan Neal, will be in the Ottawa studio, I think.
This was set up on short notice, and Ed hates trying to get to the (Toronto) Broadcasting Centre, in the Land of $25 Parking, in a building known for its crazy security checks and card-keys that fail to unlock the doors they're supposed to (many shows have gone to air without their guests, who are trapped in some other part of the building unable to reach the right studio!).
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  19:44:27  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
Ed,

We've been having a debate that's gone on for 13 pages now over on the WOTC boards. It is about the amount of evil in FR and WOTC's influence towards it. Do you believe in WOTC run FR that evil is not as "balanced" or active as the states/nations/coutries/towns, etc, that are run or ruled over by the forces of "good."

A few posters, who only have the 3e FR sourcebooks, are concerned that evil isn't as active or powerful as the good or evil groups and that good groups overpower the evil groups. I was just curious about your thoughts on the balance of good groups vs. evil groups in WOTC run FR.

Edit: Also if possible, can you detail how evil works on your own games and what thier influences are? So we can have a comparison between the canon setting by WOTC and your version. :) *Innocent smile*

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 14 Oct 2004 19:47:06
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ijkay
Seeker

Canada
17 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  21:29:57  Show Profile Send ijkay a Private Message
Well met all

I've been lurking about for a while but decided its high time to delurk and ask a couple of questions.

First off, I'd like to ditto the many others, and say thank you to Ed (and the Hooded One for acting as his voice) for all of these glorious tidbits about the Realms.

That done, question one:

Can we ask questions about some of your Wizards web published material, when I suspect not all of the material you provided has been used in the 'publication' in its present form. Case in point is the recent Nimbral material. (very cool stuff by the way) When the series is finished can you answer clarifying questions without violating your NDA? Or does the 'extra' non-published portions generally prevent you from doing so.

Question 2

In Volo's guide to Cormyr under the entry for Juniril, you mention a ruined temple to Helm. You state the temple was never rebuilt due to the 'Curse of the Blood Royal'. However I don't quite understand from the related story how the temple came to be ruined, and why the curse would prevent the temple from being rebuilt.


Ian Franks

"So I thought to myself who gives a damn if all the jobs are gone, I'm going to be a Pirate on the River Saskatchewan!", The Arrogant Worms
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Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  21:55:38  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ijkay
In Volo's guide to Cormyr under the entry for Juniril, you mention a ruined temple to Helm. You state the temple was never rebuilt due to the 'Curse of the Blood Royal'. However I don't quite understand from the related story how the temple came to be ruined, and why the curse would prevent the temple from being rebuilt.
I'll summarize the issue as best I can without spoiling too much of other stories for everyone:

Kathla was the daughter of King Galaghard III and a priestess of Helm. When attacked by the described brigands, both her own bodyguard and the townsfolk who leapt to her defense were all slain, leaving the Princess to be transfixed to the doors of the temple by a sword. She cried out a dying curse, and the temple itself exploded into shards of light, each of which became a sword impaling one of the bandits.

Just what the Curse of the Blood Royal is isn't clear, but there are many rumors about it. Some say that places where royal blood is spilt should be left as they are, never to be rebuilt or to have stones erected. Others say that to rebuild Helms Everpresent Shield would be to bring a curse down on the Royal House, reversing Kathla's dying wish and thus restoring a danger to those of royal blood (though obviously not these same, long-dead brigands). Still others say that Volo made it up. What it comes down to, however, is mainly this: a priestess and a princess both commanded the temple destroyed to avenge the shedding of royal blood, and none, save those of the status of Helm's Daughter (as Kathla was known), may reverse that command.
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BobROE
Learned Scribe

Canada
106 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  23:25:03  Show Profile  Visit BobROE's Homepage Send BobROE a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Adam/BobROE,
just a quick question: you say "select Toronto."
Does it make any difference that the show originates from Ottawa? I can't remember if this phone-in is network-wide, or is different regionally (across Ontario).
I do know that Ed will be sitting in a studio in Kingston (ina basement at Queen's University, actually), rather than actually in Ottawa OR Toronto. The host, Alan Neal, will be in the Ottawa studio, I think.
This was set up on short notice, and Ed hates trying to get to the (Toronto) Broadcasting Centre, in the Land of $25 Parking, in a building known for its crazy security checks and card-keys that fail to unlock the doors they're supposed to (many shows have gone to air without their guests, who are trapped in some other part of the building unable to reach the right studio!).
THO



No idea, I made the (obviously faulty) assumption it was going through the toronto office. Ok then, select Ottawa. I shouldn't make a difference since we're getting it over the internet. Shows just may be on at different times in different cities (don't see why they would since they're both in the same time zone).
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ijkay
Seeker

Canada
17 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  23:29:30  Show Profile Send ijkay a Private Message
Can you give a reference(s) of where the below comes from?

Thanks

quote:
Originally posted by Garen Thal

Kathla was the daughter of King Galaghard III and a priestess of Helm. When attacked by the described brigands, both her own bodyguard and the townsfolk who leapt to her defense were all slain, leaving the Princess to be transfixed to the doors of the temple by a sword. She cried out a dying curse, and the temple itself exploded into shards of light, each of which became a sword impaling one of the bandits.

Just what the Curse of the Blood Royal is isn't clear, but there are many rumors about it. Some say that places where royal blood is spilt should be left as they are, never to be rebuilt or to have stones erected. Others say that to rebuild Helms Everpresent Shield would be to bring a curse down on the Royal House, reversing Kathla's dying wish and thus restoring a danger to those of royal blood (though obviously not these same, long-dead brigands). Still others say that Volo made it up. What it comes down to, however, is mainly this: a priestess and a princess both commanded the temple destroyed to avenge the shedding of royal blood, and none, save those of the status of Helm's Daughter (as Kathla was known), may reverse that command.


Ian Franks

"So I thought to myself who gives a damn if all the jobs are gone, I'm going to be a Pirate on the River Saskatchewan!", The Arrogant Worms
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Jabbakuk
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  23:46:41  Show Profile  Visit Jabbakuk's Homepage Send Jabbakuk a Private Message
Greetings all,

Got a question to any who wish to answer - especially Mr. Greenwood.

Are there any plans for novels dealing with drow or other underdark denizens in future Elminster novels? If not, how come!?!

Beside Silverfall and a few other novels referring to drow, illithids, beholders and phaerimm - Mr. Greenwood has never ( to my knowledge ) divulged much info about the underdark and its diverse and powerful dwellers. I find it would be fitting to expand about their goings and histories - especially considering Ed's writing style.

Jabbakuk
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Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2004 :  23:59:00  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
ijkay, I can only provide references for some of it. The tale comes from a combination of Volo's Guide to Cormyr, the behind-the-scenes notes we lore-forgers use to keep Cormyr's history straight (and which we continually revise and re-revise to ensure we aren't contradicting any print information), and my own understanding of Cormyr and the House Obarskyr. There is much that has not been revealed about Cormyr's history, and perhaps the most powerful (from the perspective of its citizens) is the mystical connection between the land itself and the people and creatures that inhabit it.

That said, I have many, many notes on Cormyr, and have had quite a few conversations with Ed on the Forest Kingdom. I'll leave it to him to define the Curse of the Blood Royal (assuming his take is different from mine), but beyond VGtC, no one has really gone into it just yet.

As for the rumor that Volo made it up, well, plenty of people think Volo makes everything up...
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The Blind Ranger
Seeker

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2004 :  00:37:39  Show Profile  Visit The Blind Ranger's Homepage  Send The Blind Ranger an AOL message Send The Blind Ranger a Private Message
Well met, and well said all -- as I have been observing for some time now -- and I have recently discovered that I can do far more than simply read what's here (fancy that!) and have come forth with a question for He Of The Greenwood. Corcerning the upcoming novel you co-wrote with Elaine Cunningham, how did the two of you decide who would write what? Was there a specific 'new feel' or set of ideas that you had in taking this next look at Waterdeep? Will we be taking a peek at Skullport at all?

As a side, I wanted to let you know that the Forgotten Realms has never ceased to entertain me and provoke my imagination, and for that alone you are FAR worthy of my respect and thanks! Thanks in advance, also, for any answers you can provide.

From one whose imaginary vision is expanded each time he looks at the Realms,
The Blind Ranger

I see what I need when my sight is not enough.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2004 :  01:27:12  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Uh, Jabbakuk, you know that Ed Greenwood wrote THE drow rulebook, Drow of the Underdark (it contains the drow gods he created, Eilistraee and Vhaeraun, and Ghaunadaur, his adaptation of Gygax’s Elder Elemental God), right? And that he was the lead designer for the Menzoberranzan boxed set? So gamewise he’s done drow for the Realms, all right.
As for fiction, Ed once said at a GenCon panel that the Books people at TSR wanted writers to be different in the places they wrote about, the characters they used, and things they specialized in (psionics was for Dark Sun and not the Realms, “Bob” got the drow and monasteries, Elaine got Waterdeep, etc), so once RAS was doing drow books, everyone else steered clear.
I remember hearing RAS at another GenCon panel tell how he and Ed got together in some storeroom at GenCon so Bob could ask Ed if it was okay to use Malchor Harpell and Alustriel in Streams of Silver. That’s probably why you didn’t see Ed putting drow into his fiction until Steven Schend made the seventh Sister one of them (Ed put her into Silverfall).
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2004 :  01:51:54  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
Blind Ranger, Ed’s busy fixing a friend’s novel tonight, but I can begin to provide an answer for you (until he becomes available again, probably Sunday, and does a far more eloquent job himself) by quoting these earlier words of his on this same topic:


My first reading of Elfshadow made me think Elaine had somehow flitted wraithlike into our game sessions and eavesdropped: she got Waterdeep (especially Elaith) EXACTLY right. So for a long time I’ve wanted to work with her on a Waterdeep novel, and now we’ve got the chance.
I’ve done several collaborations now, and the fun part of each of them has been the challenge of “doing things someone else’s way,” so I always ask how my collaborator wants to divvy things up, and go along with it.
In this case, we tossed ideas, characters, and elements we wanted to put into the novel back and forth (with our editor, Peter Archer, too), and then Elaine came up with a plot and some characters.
I shot holes in the plot and added some suggestions and some more characters, and Elaine rewrote the plot.
We took the plot to Peter at last year’s GenCon Indy and HE shot holes in it. We talked, and Elaine came up with the “final” (ha ha) plot. This time with a chapter-by-chapter outline deciding who would write what. We tinkered briefly with that, and then got to work writing the first draft.
And (of course!) being a Waterdeep novel, the danged thing took on a life of its own and started changing as we wrote it. So we were both riding bareback, hanging on for dear life and writing hard and hoping we didn’t introduce TOO many screw-ups (ahem: “features”).
By THIS year’s GenCon Indy, Peter Archer had read the draft and noted things we should fix or amplify or polish. So now we’re doing that.
The result will be a pulse-pounding, Realms-shaking . . . ohh, forget all THAT. I can say this: no Danilo and Arilyn, precious little Mirt and Durnan and Piergeiron and Khelben and all that gang, and no Skullport, but nobles coming out the wazoo, Elaith, new characters, and some social issues looked at HARD.
I wanted a book that from time to time would let the reader smell Waterdeep, feel its cobbles underfoot, see and taste and ‘be there,’ and I think we’ll manage to achieve that, here and there.
And my admiration for Elaine has increased.



So saith Ed, in an e-mail to several of us Knights. A peek behind the curtain, as it were.
love to all,
THO
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The Blind Ranger
Seeker

USA
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Posted - 15 Oct 2004 :  02:24:27  Show Profile  Visit The Blind Ranger's Homepage  Send The Blind Ranger an AOL message Send The Blind Ranger a Private Message
Lady Hooded One, your promptitude ( if there is such a word) and willingness to keep us informed are blessings that many of us take for granted. Many thanks, as I contentedly await He Of The Greenwood's forthcoming response.

May the gods smile on us all,
The Blind Ranger

I see what I need when my sight is not enough.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 15 Oct 2004 :  04:26:12  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
I’ve been busily flinging your posts on to Ed’s inbox, not expecting any replies soon because of all he’s dealing with, just now, but I was surprised to get one swift reply back.
Accordingly, I bring the reply of Ed of the Greenwood to kuje31, as follows:


I rarely think of the Realms in clear-cut ‘good’ versus ‘evil’ terms: if one considers it a ‘real’ place, most creatures are ‘gray’ rather than black and white: they’re essentially selfish, but lack a vicious, predatory side to their everyday behaviour.
I don’t think evil and good are essentially out of balance in the Realms. What happens, over the years of publishing geographical-focus Realms products (e.g. Waterdeep, Cormyr), is that inevitably there’s a focus on organized communities where there’s law and fairly reliable ‘order’ on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve never understood why some gamers and readers of Realms fiction (given that so many game adventures and FR novels concentrate on treachery or war or murders or plots to unseat rulers or steal things) seem to think there’s ‘too much good’ in the Realms, or that champions of good are too numerous or too powerful. I have realized over the years that too many folks glancing at the Realms think that the Chosen of Mystra and the Harpers are all clear-cut champions of good, which isn’t quite the case.
The old TSR Code of Ethics forced us to show good always winning, and evil NEVER profiting from evil deeds, and as a result the organized forces of evil were sometimes portrayed as bumbling. However, it’s my belief (as, hey, THE expert on the Forgotten Realms) that the forces of good are all too often weak, riddled with corruption or just dissent, and woefully small compared to the rapacious, raiding forces arrayed against them, from prowling hungry monsters to racial tensions to authoritarian rulers to worshippers of out-and-out evil deities.
What explorations of the Sword Coast Heartlands, Waterdeep, Cormyr, and the Dales have shown us (and what little we’ve been told about Sembia, Amn, and Tethyr have reinforced) is that a LOT of beings in the Realms see the benefits of trade, and of keeping enough safety and rule of law in place governing trade routes and trading centers (such as port cities) to make sure trade continues, as being worth all the trouble and bloodshed -- and, in fact, being necessary for the survival of humankind in a world where orcs are more numerous and brutal, dragons are far more powerful, elves formerly had better magic, and so on.
From the first, the reason for the published Realms was to give D&D gamers who’d already mastered dungeon crawls and large sandtable (first version of CHAINMAIL) setpiece battles a WORLD to play in, something ‘outside the dungeon’ to provide a frame and a meaning for it all. Of necessity, that setting had to offer intrigues and healing and something else besides “a dungeon next door” or “more orcs” or “the next dragon’s lair,” so TSR picked up my world with its histories of lost magical books and feuding nobles and secret societies. Those things posit realms with some social sophistication, and so inevitably there’ll be laws and rulers. Yet “law” and “order” DOESN’T precisely equal “good,” and it’s just as valid to view the Realms as a series of tiny outposts of good (tiny twinkling stars) in a vast world of darkness (lawless, ‘rule of claw and blade’ evil). After all, if the forces of good WERE all-powerful, there’d be no need for adventurers, would there?
Gamers familiar only with the 3rd Edition Realms books must be missing LORDS OF DARKNESS, UNDERDARK, SERPENT KINGDOMS, and CITY OF THE SPIDER QUEEN, and to have ignored large sections of SILVER MARCHES, UNAPPROACHABLE EAST, and THE SHINING SOUTH, to have ever come to the conclusion that good “overpowers” evil.
About as far as the prevalence of good goes is this: personal daily life can be fairly good, for those who have good health and money enough, in parts of Waterdeep, Cormyr, the Dales, and Sembia -- most of the time.
Let’s see, now: orc hordes every few decades, Thay spreading tentXXX ahem, enclaves across the known Realms, the drow on the move, the daemonfey ditto, even dragons now getting into the act in a large-scale and organized manner, the Zhentarim, the Twisted Rune and the Arcane Brotherhood and half a dozen other evil sinister cabals of note, Larloch and his plots, the lurking clones of Manshoon, the Zhentarim, the Cult of the Dragon, slavers and pirates and . . . no, I’m sorry, I just don’t see how the nebulous ‘forces of good’ overpower all of these. Not with the evil we know is lurking in Calaunt and Mulmaster and Telflamm and Westgate and various Calishite cities, too, the intrigues endemic to the nobility of Amn, Tethyr, Waterdeep, and Cormyr, and serious schisms in the Harpers and in the League of the Silver Marches. To say nothing of the Malaugrym, the Phaerimm, the Shadovar, users of the Shadow Weave popping up everywhere, a concerted attack on the dryland realms from undersea forces only a few years back, the rise of a major new evil god (Cyric) . . .
Hmmm. Are you SURE these folk who think good overpowers evil are truly familiar with the Realms? Or have they just formed an impression, and see only what reinforces it?
Are they entirely unfamiliar with (gasp) Volo, Master of Evil? :}
Now. to answer your second question:
In my own games, these days, there’s very little monster-fighting, and in fact very little drawing of weapons at all. What there IS, is lots of spying and talking and taking part in intrigues, uncovering the deceit and corruption and ‘shady little deals’ that influence almost every throne in the known Realms. The kidnappers of heirs and wealthy persons (to be sold into slavery or ‘broken’ into a new faith [subverted, person and coin, to the control of a priesthood]) to be thwarted, traitors unmasked, and unscrupulous traders to be curbed. Politics to be engaged in, murder mysteries to be solved, false rumours to be countered and those spreading them stopped.
This isn’t so distant from the hints and ‘second level’ of play hinted at and built into every good Realms sourcebook. However, WotC must assume many buyers are unfamiliar with the area or topic any Realms product covers, and so must ‘go over the basics.’ They must also provide something for the monster-bashers and the explorers of unfamiliar terrain and every other sort of D&D play -- whereas I as a DM am bound to the foremost duty of providing my own players with the style of play they like, and have settled into.
Hope this helps to provide an answer. Something else that I should mention before I shut up is this: for the Realms to be a place we like to escape to or game in, it has to have some shining allure, some good things: moments of heroism and beauty and noble behaviour for us to cherish. I make no apology for putting those on display rather than wallowing in the butchery of raw evil. Realms designers have given Dungeon Masters who prefer a darker tone plenty to work with. Truly.


So saith Ed, and rather emphatically, too.
love to all,
THO
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