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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  16:09:14  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 Wooly Rupert
I think it because (pardon the pun) of the nature of the beast. Neutral evil would imply that he didn't favor order or chaos, but tried to stay somewhere in the middle -- just so long as he got his way. He would be the darker aspect of nature (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing), but one that still fit into the natural order.

But Malar isn't like that. He actively glories in the savagery of the hunt and of wild beasts. It's not enough to run down the prey and start feasting, he wants to eviscerate while it's still kicking and listen to its screams. He digs the bloodlust; it's how he gets his jollies. He's not just savage because it natural for animals to be savage (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing again), he's savage because he think's it's fun.

Thus, he is CE, not NE.



Thanks for the explanation, Wooly. Your answer raises a couple of questions:

1. If it's not Malar, then is there a god who DOES represent the darker side of nature or does that fall under Silvanus' domain?
2. Since Malar can have NE followers, could they possibly be Druids?


P.S. How do you pronounce "Vilhon"? Coming from a Spanish background I'm tempted to pronounce it as VEEL-hon.

The Wanderer
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29892 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  17:35:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I think it because (pardon the pun) of the nature of the beast. Neutral evil would imply that he didn't favor order or chaos, but tried to stay somewhere in the middle -- just so long as he got his way. He would be the darker aspect of nature (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing), but one that still fit into the natural order.

But Malar isn't like that. He actively glories in the savagery of the hunt and of wild beasts. It's not enough to run down the prey and start feasting, he wants to eviscerate while it's still kicking and listen to its screams. He digs the bloodlust; it's how he gets his jollies. He's not just savage because it natural for animals to be savage (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing again), he's savage because he think's it's fun.

Thus, he is CE, not NE.



Thanks for the explanation, Wooly. Your answer raises a couple of questions:

1. If it's not Malar, then is there a god who DOES represent the darker side of nature or does that fall under Silvanus' domain?
2. Since Malar can have NE followers, could they possibly be Druids?


P.S. How do you pronounce "Vilhon"? Coming from a Spanish background I'm tempted to pronounce it as VEEL-hon.



1. Malar does represent the darker side of nature, it's just that he takes it to extremes.
2. I don't see why not... They'd certainly be the more militant kind, using all the powers of nature to kill off anyone who came into their wooded domains...

P.S. I've always pronounced it Vil-hahn, but there's nothing I can readily think of indicating that I'm saying it correctly or incorrectly.

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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1792 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  17:35:51  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I think it because (pardon the pun) of the nature of the beast. Neutral evil would imply that he didn't favor order or chaos, but tried to stay somewhere in the middle -- just so long as he got his way. He would be the darker aspect of nature (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing), but one that still fit into the natural order.

But Malar isn't like that. He actively glories in the savagery of the hunt and of wild beasts. It's not enough to run down the prey and start feasting, he wants to eviscerate while it's still kicking and listen to its screams. He digs the bloodlust; it's how he gets his jollies. He's not just savage because it natural for animals to be savage (the whole "nature, red in tooth and claw" thing again), he's savage because he think's it's fun.

Thus, he is CE, not NE.



Thanks for the explanation, Wooly. Your answer raises a couple of questions:

1. If it's not Malar, then is there a god who DOES represent the darker side of nature or does that fall under Silvanus' domain?
2. Since Malar can have NE followers, could they possibly be Druids?


P.S. How do you pronounce "Vilhon"? Coming from a Spanish background I'm tempted to pronounce it as VEEL-hon.

Talona would be a good choice for the darker side of nature... so would Talos and Umberlee. My next post will contain the complete list of all nature deities... if I can locate it somewhere on my hard drive that is...
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1792 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  17:42:01  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
Complete List of Nature Deities
Deities who can grant spells to druids and rangers of the Realms

§ Druids and Rangers must worship one of the following deities in order to receive divine spells. This deity must also be the Patron deity of the druid or ranger in question. The complete list of nature deities is: (F=Faerûnian Pantheon; E=Elf Pantheon; G=Gnome Pantheon; H=Halfling Pantheon; D=Dwarf Pantheon; M=Mulhorandi Pantheon; MM=Monster deity; EL=Elemental gods)

· Chauntea, F --> Most powerful deity of Faerûn, she gave birth to all life on the planet according to the creation myths
· Eldath, F
· Gwaeron Windstrom, F
· Lurue, F
· Malar, F
· Mielikki, F
· Nobanion, F
· Shiallia, F
· Silvanus, F
· Talona, F
· Talos, F
· Ubtao, F
· Ulutiu, F
· Umberlee, F
· Uthgar, F
· Anhur, M
· Isis, M
· Osiris, M
· Sebek, M
· Set, M
· Thard Harr, D
· Aerdrie Faenya, E
· Angharradh, E
· Deep Sashelas, E
· Rillifane Rallathil, E
· Baervan Wildwanderer, G
· Segojan Earthcaller, G
· Auril, F
· Fenmarel Mestarine, E
· Hiatea, MM (giants)
· Sekolah, MM (sahuagin)
· Stronmaus, MM (cloud giants, storm giants)
· Skerrit, MM (centaurs)
· Tapann, MM (korreds)
· Yeenoghu, MM (gnolls)
· Cyrrollalee, H
· Sheela Peryroyl, H
· Solonor Thelandira, E
· Talona, F
· Kossuth, EL
· Istishia, EL
· Grumbar, EL
· Akadi, EL

· Additionally, rangers may receive divine spells from one of the following deities:

· Shaundakul, F
· Tempus, F
· Garagos, F
· Marthammor Duin, D
· Corellon Larethian, E
· Shevarash, E
· Arvoreen, H
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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  18:13:42  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 Wooly Rupert


1. Malar does represent the darker side of nature, it's just that he takes it to extremes.
2. I don't see why not... They'd certainly be the more militant kind, using all the powers of nature to kill off anyone who came into their wooded domains...



Gotcha. I'm curious though as to how the Druids for the different gods get along.... If there are indeed that many deieties as PDK shows (I never knew there where so many! ) that can grant nature spells, then there are probably going to be many such organization (???), each with it's own idea of how to run things. (which still makes me wonder what would happen between druids with the same god but different land features, like a forest and a dessert; would the desert druid see the turning of his lands into lush deciduous forests as something necessarily good?)

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


P.S. I've always pronounced it Vil-hahn, but there's nothing I can readily think of indicating that I'm saying it correctly or incorrectly.



Ok... But how do you pronounce the 'I'? In English, one can use two sounds, one as in "Vile" and the other as in "Indigo".

Thanks for the quick responses and the information guys.

The Wanderer
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Faraer
Great Reader

3294 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  20:46:36  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
I think we can agree there isn't a druidic hierarchy for each 'nature deity'. That would be crowded and silly -- in the original conception, in the World of Greyhawk, there's just one. I'm sure druids of Chauntea and Silvanus and Eldath find plenty to argue about.

For me, druids are true neutral, just as paladins are lawful good. I think you can make up a new class which is like a druid but not true neutral, but you shouldn't presume to call it a druid. In some cases, 3E's removal of class/race/alignment/level limits suits the Realms; in others it introduces possibilities that aren't in the Realms and should not be imposed on the Realms by the letter of the game mechanics.

While THO and Ed are telling us how they say 'Vilhon', might they also pronounce 'Zhent' for us?
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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  21:58:20  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 Faraer


For me, druids are true neutral, just as paladins are lawful good. I think you can make up a new class which is like a druid but not true neutral, but you shouldn't presume to call it a druid. In some cases, 3E's removal of class/race/alignment/level limits suits the Realms; in others it introduces possibilities that aren't in the Realms and should not be imposed on the Realms by the letter of the game mechanics.



I agree with you here. Having played most of life with 2nd Ed, Druids for me are True Neutral. The others are simply priests, but not druids.

Originally posted by Faraer


While THO and Ed are telling us how they say 'Vilhon', might they also pronounce 'Zhent' for us?
[/quote]

I've always tended to pronounce them simply as Zents, but that is due to 'H' being silent in Spanish. There is also the possibility that the Zh is pronounced like a 'J' as in James. This letter group is often used to learn other languages, like Russian.

The Wanderer
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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  22:33:16  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

The Rapturous was sculpted over six years by the irascible, four-foot-tall bearded orgy- and melon pie-loving artisan Ruldan of Westgate (a pompous, hot-tempered and arrogant little schemer who tries to seduce every woman he sees, and who long ago was forced to abruptly relocate from Westgate to Athkatla when an outraged mother came after him with some VERY sharp knives). Ruldan directed a team of five local dwarves, and many folk are of the opinion that their skills are what made the statue so beautiful, not Ruldan’s tirades and tantrum-embroidered opinions and ‘deep vision.’



Very cool! Reminds me of an artful play on the Norse tale of Freyja, her fiery necklace, and the four fiery dwarves ... or was it seven?!?! No matter, cool indeed!

Unfortunately, my appetite for art lore has yet to be satiated, and one matter that has been gnawing at me over the past week or two has been the dividing lines amongst the various kingdoms or cultures of Faerun. Not political, but in terms of architecture and aesthetic sense.

Most specifically, while there is roundly acknowledged to be a major cultural dividing line between the East, the Old Empires, Calimshan, and the North and Heartlands, Vast ... a place where aesthetic sensiblities shift in a clear and present manner ... how great is the line between Eastern and Western Heartlands? And between either of those two and the North ... primarily Illuskan?

I tend to see numerous subgroups rising up out of the ethnic groups provided in the RoF, each growing and evolving away from the protoculture based upon the influence of history and interaction with outside cultures. Thus, even within a mega-group like Chondath, there are a number of distinct styles of architecture ... with places like Thesk and Impiltur showing a strong eastern influence, places like southern coastal Sembia, Chondath, and the Akanals showing off strong core traits, and the the Sunset Vale being greatly infleunced by such western forces as pure Tethyrian (as opposed to Calish-Tethyrian) abd Illuskan .. both via the Battle of the Bones.

So, naturally, I think that the difference between the look of a Western Heartlands city and a city of the North should be as different as a Western Heartlands city and a Calishite city, but would you say this is true?

Oh, any idea on who is reckoned the greatest artist in Faerun? And what his/her works are?

"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

Edited by - Beowulf on 20 Oct 2004 22:38:55
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29892 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2004 :  22:44:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Purple Dragon Knight

Talona would be a good choice for the darker side of nature... so would Talos and Umberlee. My next post will contain the complete list of all nature deities... if I can locate it somewhere on my hard drive that is...



Yeah, but Faiths & Avatars specifically gives the darker side of nature to Malar... I believe it referred to it as his gentler aspect.

It's like death was for both Myrkul and Kelemvor. Myrkul made death a thing to fear, to try to avoid at any cost -- he pursued death just to see things die. Kelemvor, with the exact same portfolio, has made death back into a natural part of life. Myrkul was all about the ending of life, while Kelemvor considers it something that should simply be accepted.

So while other nature deities would cover nature's more brutal side, Malar is the one who delights in it and pursues the brutality for its own sake.

quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer

Ok... But how do you pronounce the 'I'? In English, one can use two sounds, one as in "Vile" and the other as in "Indigo".

Thanks for the quick responses and the information guys.



I pronounce it with the short i -- Vil rhymes with will.

quote:
Originally posted by Faraer

For me, druids are true neutral, just as paladins are lawful good. I think you can make up a new class which is like a druid but not true neutral, but you shouldn't presume to call it a druid. In some cases, 3E's removal of class/race/alignment/level limits suits the Realms; in others it introduces possibilities that aren't in the Realms and should not be imposed on the Realms by the letter of the game mechanics.

While THO and Ed are telling us how they say 'Vilhon', might they also pronounce 'Zhent' for us?



I concur. I'm used to druids being true neutral, so I think they should stay there.

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Vanguard
Seeker

15 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  06:37:40  Show Profile  Visit Vanguard's Homepage Send Vanguard a Private Message
The following is a Non FR inquiry, since ED Greenwood has written more the just FR novels and RPG books. The following is a Two part question,


First Part: How did it feeling to write a Superhero story?, to leave the world of Fantasy behind ane enter the world of Tights, Super Powers, Super Heroes and Villians, and Cliffhaing plots.


Second Part: Did Ed injoy writing that type of story if so is he willing and or wanting to do more?.



You see people Ed Greenwood wrote a sort story for Gurdian of the Order Silver Age Sentinels RPG series, and it's in there first collective story book. The reason I ask the second part is that I'm currently working on Centennial City, my Silver Age Super hero and Villan setting. That's the 1960's for those not famliar with comics,as Ed Greenwood is famous for creating Forgotten Realms I want to be known for for Centennial City world,
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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  13:44:15  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
I disagree with the conecpt of druids having to be nuetral. I like that they have more character now. I saw good use of this in Living Greyhawk where they had the druid council for Geoff. It was a balanced council of all the nature gods, including the evil ones. They were all part of the natural cycle, including the bad parts of nature. It fit well and felt right. Sure, it isn't FR, but I think it make sense overall. I mean, before you couldn't have a druid of Malar, but it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  17:38:41  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 Lashan

I disagree with the conecpt of druids having to be nuetral. I like that they have more character now. I saw good use of this in Living Greyhawk where they had the druid council for Geoff. It was a balanced council of all the nature gods, including the evil ones. They were all part of the natural cycle, including the bad parts of nature. It fit well and felt right. Sure, it isn't FR, but I think it make sense overall. I mean, before you couldn't have a druid of Malar, but it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?



I don't know. The different alignments which are now allowed for Druids simply used to be(at least in my campaigns) the way in which they chose to pursue their True Neutral philosophy when protecting nature. One druid might believe in teaching people how to care for nature (perhaps he sees people as a part of nature which needs reconciliation), while another chooses to simply kill all who trespass on his protected lands (she can see people as having separated themselves from nature, therefore needing excision). Both are True Neutral, but they simply choose to work by different methods.

In Faerun though, with the abunance of gods, it is possible to have one god for every aspect of Nature (Chauntea - NG, Silvanus -N, Talos - NE), having druids of differing alignments might server the setting better. I'm curious though as to whether there are Druids in Faerun who worship nature itself (no godly face on it).

Which raises another question which I will ask somewhere else, since I want to see what Master Greenwood has to say to the ones already raised .

The Wanderer
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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  19:41:55  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
quote:

I don't know. The different alignments which are now allowed for Druids simply used to be(at least in my campaigns) the way in which they chose to pursue their True Neutral philosophy when protecting nature. One druid might believe in teaching people how to care for nature (perhaps he sees people as a part of nature which needs reconciliation), while another chooses to simply kill all who trespass on his protected lands (she can see people as having separated themselves from nature, therefore needing excision). Both are True Neutral, but they simply choose to work by different methods.




Indeed! And alot of this could be explained as having to do with the influence of civilization within a given region. Thus, where civilization is dominant and dominating, one might see the druids neutral disposition conforming to something more radical ... even evil in the eyes of short sighted men. These druids might actively oppose civilization and mercilessly prune and weed out human life for the greater good of the regions ecology. In contrast, we could take the very same druid, true neurtral, and place him in a more rural society like those of the Moonshaes or the Dalelands, and see something considerably more kindly and helpful to humankind due to the balanced existence between their nature and their way of life.

It is afterall the way of nature to allow infinite variation within certain set patterns, e.g. snowflakes, trees, people, etc. A true custodian of nature must be in tune with their times and locality, and cannot carry the ethics of one locality into another without disrupting, or further disrupting, the balance.

I'm not sure, what, exactly my point is, save perhaps that druids "should have" been left true neutral, malleable, reactionary, and in-tune with the needs of the balance. Intentionally pruning human life amongst he Bedine or other low tech. peoples, or supporting human life amongst hi-tech. peoples, could be entirely contrary to the welfare of nature and the balance.

I can see cults of various aspects of nature with nature priests, but druids serve the big picture, natuer itself, and not the "lesser portions of it that are romanticized and glorified by alienated city folk who know little of true nature."

Anyway, thems just some stray thoughts and my humble opinion on the matter ...


"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

5037 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  20:30:36  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
From years in the home Realms campaign, I can tell you that Ed has always pronounced Vilhon as “VIL-hawn” and “Zhent” as “Zzent” (silent “h” slightly lengthens the ‘z’). I’m forwarding your posts to him, and await further replies from the Greenwood.
THO
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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  21:45:13  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 Beowulf


I'm not sure, what, exactly my point is, save perhaps that druids "should have" been left true neutral, malleable, reactionary, and in-tune with the needs of the balance.



I guess in the end one could argue about the acutal philosophy behind nature. I'm nature could be looked at being in balance. One could, on the other hand, argue that nature follows very strict rules (think carrying capacity, birth rathes, etc.). Perhaps the new alignment inclusions represent these new interpretations? What is the major philosophy (view) that holds sway in the Realms?

quote:
Originally posted by Beowulf


I can see cults of various aspects of nature with nature priests, but druids serve the big picture, natuer itself, and not the "lesser portions of it that are romanticized and glorified by alienated city folk who know little of true nature."



That's why I'm curious as to whether there might be indeed Druids who follow more of the philosophy on nature. Also, if nature is an entity in an of itself, how would the gods treat it and where would it stand? Ok... I'm rambling now...

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


Hello, all.
From years in the home Realms campaign, I can tell you that Ed has always pronounced Vilhon as “VIL-hawn” and “Zhent” as “Zzent” (silent “h” slightly lengthens the ‘z’). I’m forwarding your posts to him, and await further replies from the Greenwood.
THO



Muchas gracias, Señorita THO

The Wanderer
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29892 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  22:47:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Gents and ladies, this is already one seriously cluttered thread... Perhaps we could start a new scroll to discuss druids?

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The Wanderer
Learned Scribe

USA
132 Posts

Posted - 21 Oct 2004 :  23:27:39  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 Wooly Rupert

Gents and ladies, this is already one seriously cluttered thread... Perhaps we could start a new scroll to discuss druids?



Sorry... You're right, Wooly. I just carried away... I like the topic.

The Wanderer
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Arivia
Great Reader

Canada
2872 Posts

Posted - 22 Oct 2004 :  14:40:11  Show Profile
I've got a question.

Is there anything in the Realms akin to the classification system we use to classify plants and animals(the one created by Linnaeus)? And if so, could you provide details on how it works and how to name flora using it? I have an upcoming project this would be very helpful for.
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mauricio
Seeker

Brazil
15 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2004 :  03:49:58  Show Profile  Visit mauricio's Homepage  Click to see mauricio's MSN Messenger address Send mauricio a Private Message
Hello, fellow scribes!

I have two quick questions to Ed, if the lovely Hooded Lady would be kind enough to forward them to their destination.

1. Ed, can we expect to see the founders of Dawntree in the Waterdeep novel? That was a great article and I'd love to know more about those four moon elves...

2. This will sound stupid but anyway. In Salvatore's "Sojourn" [and some other novel as well] there was a character that really got my attention... namely Fredegar Rockcrusher, or Fret, a dwarven sage from Sundabar. Is he a creation of Salvatore's mind or was he in your Forgotten Realms already? If the latter, is there any where I can find more information about him?

Sorry if my questions seem "a bit" silly in face of the other discussions presented here, but I was just curious...

"We can learn from the past, but those days are gone. We can hope for the future, but there might not be one."
- Dream Theater, "A Change of Seasons".
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Bookwyrm
Great Reader

USA
4740 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2004 :  04:33:29  Show Profile  Visit Bookwyrm's Homepage  Click to see Bookwyrm's MSN Messenger address Send Bookwyrm a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all.
From years in the home Realms campaign, I can tell you that Ed has always pronounced Vilhon as “VIL-hawn” and “Zhent” as “Zzent” (silent “h” slightly lengthens the ‘z’). I’m forwarding your posts to him, and await further replies from the Greenwood.
THO




<-- happy dragon (having been pronouncing it correctly. )

Hell hath no fury like all of Candlekeep rising in defense of one of its own.

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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2004 :  22:53:17  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
The Hooded One, blessed of Sune and Sharess, a question for Ed.

Ed,

In "Code of the Harpers" you list a series of events in the life of a Harper bard, Mestrel Hawkmantle. Any idea what happened to Master Hawkmantle after he stepped through that magical gate?

Regards,
Simon

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2004 :  02:47:10  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. I bring some latest words of Ed of the Greenwood, on divers matters:


To echo and confirm my delightfully Hooded Lady, the pronunciations are indeed “VILL-hawn” (so, yes, The Wanderer, “i” as in “Indigo”) and (for Faraer) “Zz-ENT.”

Let me leap first to the lady Arivia’s question: I’m afraid there’s no generally-accepted Linnaean classification of either flora or fauna. Elves are well aware of what’s a conifer or a fungus and what’s not, and so on, but most of them simply don’t think of ‘pigeonholing’ things (doing so is a more human characteristic).
There ARE crude “fur, scales, feathers” classifications, yes, but these revolve around “How close a match is Beast X to Beast Y, if I can’t get Beast Y-hide for making clothes or boots, or Y-flesh for my stewpot, but I CAN get X?”
Druids of the Realms are interested in “what eats what” more than anything else (life cycles, balance of life, etc.). Druids study life around them and learn from elder druids (and divine servant creatures of their deities) these ‘chains’ of “the minnow eats the water strider, the brownfin eats the minnow, the river eel eats the brownfin, the fangfish eats the river eel, the fishhawk eats the fangfish, the peryton eats the fangfish, the fang dragon eats the peryton,” and so on.
So, sorry, there’s no widely-accepted classification system. The long-dead sage Astragus of Amn began a system that divided creatures and plants first by whether they were “of Amn” or “not of Amn,” and then ignored the ‘outlying life’ in favour of concentrating on Amnian life, which was then divided into “sap” (plant) or “blood” (beast). The plants were divided into woody and “many-seasons,” and “swift season,” and then again by “greenleaf” and “eaters” (fungi, mosses, vines that lack leaves, and so on). The “greenleaf” plants were then divided into those that bore berries (which were subidivided into “edible” and “fell”), those that flowered but had no visible berry-like fruit, and those that seemingly did not flower. The “many-seasons” plants were divided into what Astragus called “daerlnor” (useful for carving and other lasting uses beyond mere firewood) and “duthlass” (useless), and the good sage then embarked upon a second layer of classification for all living things, outlying and Amnian, that sorted life for its medicinal usefulness - - a project far from completed when he died.
His servants, unpaid at his death, stole various portions of his notes and sold them covertly to various buyers, and much of what Astragus wrote was thereby lost (thus far).

Vanguard, it felt GREAT to write a superhero tale. I could barely squeeze into the old tights, and my leaping and swinging days are sadly behind me, but I can still launch the Laugh Diabolical (“The weed of crimes bears bitter fruit!”) and put a Saintly smile on my face as I drift nonchalantly into a room, dark and dapper suit bulging more than a little over my evergrowing belly - -
Ahem. Of COURSE I’m willing to do more of them. For some years now I’ve been writing tales for various anthologies edited by Jim Lowder (former head of the TSR Book Department and author of PRINCE OF LIES, THE RING OF WINTER) and some other folks, too, viewing them as opportunities to write ‘something new.’ I did a zombie horror story that got me Honorably Mentioned in the Datlow & Windling Year’s Best Fantasy anthology for THE BOOK OF ALL FLESH, I’ve done ghost stories and two-fisted pulp tales and period mysteries and Arthurian fantasies and lots of other fun stuff.
However, the Realms remains my first love and my usual date, both weekends and weeknights, and leaves me all too little time for other fun. I tend not to mention such things here at Candlekeep, where my favourite creation is the topic at hand, but I’ve written literally dozens of short stories that stray far indeed from the Realms. If you want to commission me, be warned: I’m booked up years in advance - - and to borrow a line from The Hooded One: I come easy, but I don’t come cheap. All that often. :}

Ahem. She’ll probably smack me for that one, so I’ll move hastily on into another word or two for Beowulf:
I’m afraid no one is reckoned “the greatest artist in Faerun.” The Realms simply lack the easy travel and flows of information that our modern-day real world enjoys. Not only are tastes broken up by races and faiths, few sages have seen non-mobile art in more than their own immediate area, and have the time and coin to magically peer at more distant areas in an organized, ‘miss nothing’ manner.
So art appreciation is left to those who can afford it: wealthy (often noble or royal) patrons, who commission what THEY want to see (or, having been entranced by something an artist did, want more of). Quite often the pieces they cause to be produced are for their own private enjoyment, to be shared only with select visitors and friends. Nobody is ‘keeping score’ as to greatness of achievement except within localized areas (Waterdeep, its environs as far afield as Secomber, and the places in Amn and Tethyr that Waterdhavian nobles and wealthy would-be nobles ‘winter over,’ is one such area; Silverymoon and the rest of the Silver Marches is another, and so on), and among such patrons, many artists enjoy only the brief popularity of ‘passing fashion.’
I can tell you that in Amn right now, the painter Albristaun (known for his large, grand, ‘flattering’ portraits of nobles) is popular, as is the ‘wall painter’ Malaharkos, who’s much given to sensual depictions of dancing winged women, half-seen in misty blue moonlight, and has been hired to adorn many a tavern and highcoin-club wall.
The foremost sculptor is probably Hanthos ‘Bright Hammer,’ a dreamy, almost trance-trapped man of frenzied activity, who sometimes bursts into streams of profanity and vivid descriptions of things only he can see, is known for his exquisitely-detailed little (slightly taller than the length of a long-fingered human hand) statuettes of armor-wearing human males and females of, ah, ‘heroic proportions,’ who always have some hint of strangeness about them (such as a tiny tail, or beast-talons, or an extra arm, or a long, horse-shaped head).
However, there are those who prefer Alais the Dancer, a nimble, athletic, and quite beautiful young half-elf lady who climbs along her carvings as she leads a team of grim, close-mouthed dwarves in crafting larger-than-life grand stone tableaux of family elders depicting in moments of battle-heroism, outside manor gates or in the courtyards of patrons’ mansions. Her craftings are always handsome and strong of appearance, though they’re said to sometimes little resemble the people they’re supposed to represent.

As for your query about lines of “architecture and aesthetic sense” demarcation in the Heartlands and the North: aside from differences that arise from use of local building stone (different from place to place) and timber (or lack of same), and different cultures over the passage of much time (i.e. the fashion in Netheril differing from the styles of present-day Waterdeep), there aren’t a lot of clear differences based on geography.
The Sword Coast North and the Moonsea North have been so lightly and so recently settled, by comparison with other areas, that many human builders have ‘come from away’ and brought their styles and ways of building with them - - and the beleaguered dearves have tended to build whatever they’ve been hired to build, adding their own touches but cleaving to their own preferences only in their own building and delving.
Your view of local inhabitants ‘growing away’ from each other is quite correct, but the influence of trade and migrations (especially those displacements forced by orc hordes and wars) has caused most places to have a hodgepodge of architectural styles.
There are exceptions, such as Silverymoon - - but many of these exceptions, Silverymoon being a prime example, are attempts to recapture the glory of previous times and societies, and tend to deliberately copy the architecture of those long-ago places. Climate dictates many differences between a hot, sunbaked southern city and a cold, wet northern city, yes, but quite often there’s no ‘look’ of the sort you’re envisioning, that can let a scrying-crystal user tell at a glance, “Ah, I must be looking at somewhere in Thay” or: “Thesk, beyond a doubt.”
There are architectural DETAILS (downspouts, roof-tile patterns, carved adornments) that betray realm or region, yes, but I haven’t the time or space here to start listing such things, sorry. I will toss out artistic tidbits from time to time, though, now that you’ve demonstrated the interest exists.

Mauricio, there are no silly questions about the Realms, really. Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing the visionaries of Dawntree in the Wayerdeep novel, no. Fret is Bob’s creation, and as far as I know, there’s no “hidden lore” lurking in obscure print anywhere about him. Ask me anything, anytime. :}



So saith Ed, who’s very busy crafting art of his own, as usual. Keep those cards and letters coming, and thy faithful Hooded One, purring with each tug on her leash by Wooly, will endeavour to pry answers out of the depths of the Greenwood.
love to all,
THO

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Lauzoril
Seeker

Finland
71 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2004 :  09:55:17  Show Profile  Visit Lauzoril's Homepage Send Lauzoril a Private Message
Greetings, everyone

Few questions to Ed.

I recall reading from somewhere that there are minotaurs in the Realms, but they are very rarely seen or mentioned. Why is that?

How much of the Zhentarim elite from pre-ToT are still alive? I know there are Fzoul, Manshoon and Sememmon, at least.

Is there any significance behind name of the 'Year of Much Ale' mentioned in the Making of a Mage.

Thanks in advance to you THO and Ed.




"Death to the enemies of Bane."
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tauster
Senior Scribe

Germany
399 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2004 :  15:57:38  Show Profile  Visit tauster's Homepage Send tauster a Private Message
...a particular comment of Ed got me thinking:
quote:
The Realms simply lack the easy travel and flows of information that our modern-day real world enjoys. Not only are tastes broken up by races and faiths, few sages have seen non-mobile art in more than their own immediate area, and have the time and coin to magically peer at more distant areas in an organized, ‘miss nothing’ manner. [...]

Faerun is riddled with portals, so why not introducing another small network with limited access to only a selected group of users?

i did a (growing larger than expected) writeup of a minor npc in one of my campaigns and added a plot hook that focuses on the "lack of easy travel" that impedes the spreading of art:

http://www.candlekeep.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3296

tauster
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Capn Charlie
Senior Scribe

USA
418 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2004 :  19:56:32  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
I would imagine, Tauster, because it is desirable they do not. In theory, with magic, we could set up the realms to have all of the benefits and conveniences of modern society, and then some, with magic... but would we really want it?

Portal networks for commerce and communications starts you down a slippery slope to a world of magitech, and I for one would rather not see the realms go that way.

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 24 Oct 2004 20:04:09
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