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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2004 :  23:08:29  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Whilst not yet quite over the euphoria of THO's recent novel revelations, I was thinking about this wonderful and becoming ungainly thread of Ed's.

Mayhap we can close this one down and start a new "Questions for Ed Greenwood 2005" thread. THO has assiduously passed on all the questions, and the thread is all about Ed's answers anyway, so maybe a fresh start will make things easier for posting and allow a "2004 compilation" to be made.

Alaundo?

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  02:33:38  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
Back in June (Page 41 of this thread), Metis asked about the city of sunken Northkeep: not its present state, as the Bell of the Depths/Bell in the Deep, with cruel marels lurking around it, but what it was like before its sinking by shamans of the flind-led gnolls of Flindyke in 400 DR (when the city had been flourishing for over fifty years). The first part of Ed’s reply follows:



Today, the sunken ruins of Northkeep are about fifteen miles offshore (that is, north of the southern shore of the Moonsea) at a point about halfway between Elventree and Elmwood. In the days before its sinking, Northkeep was only about two miles offshore.
The great magic that sunk Northkeep was a divine act of titanic force, wherein the rock ceilings of a series of partially-water-filled Underdark caverns (a ‘sea beneath the Moonsea’) were blasted to rubble by humanoid deities answering the prayers of the shamans - - so the hilly island on which Northkeep stood collapsed down into the sudden hole, the Moonsea flooded the Underdark basin beneath it, and a cape that had formerly jutted out into the Moonsea, with Northkeep situated on an island off its tip, ceased to exist (also collapsing into the depths). The rolling surface of Northkeep Isle cracked in countless places as it fell, and most buildings were tumbled into rubble, but some still stand to this day on the seabed, albeit usually tilted crazily from the vertical. Extensive cellars and underground tunnels beneath the island’s surface, though cracked in countless places, largely survived their descent into the watery depths.
But enough of cataclym: back to earlier days, and the rise of what became Northkeep . . .

Northkeep was first settled continuously (as opposed to being a seasonal camp) in 348 DR. From the first, it was a supply base and defensible refuge for human traders from warmer, more southerly lands seeking the mineral wealth of Thar and the other cold lands north of the Moonsea (and in later years, as these things grew scarcer closer to home, the southerners sought bulk pelts and timber, too). From the beginning it was a citadel (hence its name), initially a timber palisade around a conical tower at the northeastern tip of the island, that swiftly grew larger.
The defensible nature of the island (separated from the mainland by a strait too wide for humanoid armies to hurl or fire things over, so would-be invaders were forced to make or seize boats or rafts to attempt invasions, and during such water-crossing assaults were easy pray for defenders using fire-arrows) was what made it attractive in the first place. The ‘Northkeep’ name was soon applied to both settlement and island, as the one grew to cover the other. (To the flind, gnolls, orcs, and hobgoblins, the island was “Haardhahr.”)
Even at its height, Northkeep lacked proper walls all around its shores, but had tall fortified towers at its northwesternmost point (Harl’s Gard), its northeasternmost point (Storm Gard), at its center (the legendary Tower of the Bells), and a row of towers linked by castle walls along its southern shore (the Battle Wall, more widely and informally known as ‘the Frowning Towers’). All of these soaring, massive keeps housed armories and were topped with huge catapults. These weapons usually hurled loads of great boulders, and were mostly used to swiftly break Moonsea ice in winter if invading armies threatened to cross it from the shore to the southern tip of the island (though in later years, Northkeep’s defenders exhaustively practised aiming and firing the catapults, and became skilled enough to readily sink vessels in surrounding waters).

Northkeep grew to entirely cover the island, which was roughly diamond-shaped, with its long axis running north-south and the ‘long narrow point’ southernmost (think of a geometrically-perfect diamond with a blocky outgrowth on the northeastern or “1 to 2 o’clock” quadrant of its narrow or northernmost end, that extended the diamond east another half of the width of a geometrically-perfect diamond). The long axis of Northkeep Isle was three miles in length, and before its transformation at the hands of the builders of the ever-expanding city, the island consisted of rolling, wooded hills of thick organic soil over clay, that in turn overlaid fissured, fractured rock, through which springs bubbled up. The island was windscoured (which kept fogs to a minimum), and the weather generally wet, but trees were everywhere and marshes few.
Until its last twenty or so years of existence, most of the middle of Northkeep Isle was occupied by farms (which grew food crops for the ever-growing city) and a steadily-dwindling ‘tall forest’ of shadowtops and duskwoods that were cut for building timbers. In the end, the city of Northkeep entirely swallowed these open lands, leaving only a few parks, many small stockyards and paddocks for grazing not-yet-butchered ‘food on the hoof’ and mounts and pack-beasts for sale to traders and explorers, and several open marketplaces.
Over time, the city-dwellers transformed this ‘crowd of cottages’ into cobbled streets lined by tall stone buildings crowded together, with extensive granary-cellars beneath (though these are often referred to as “dungeons” today, very few of them were ever intended for incarceration or as dwelling-places, but rather as armories and storage-spaces, used as easy highways only when heavy winter snows drove folk underground).
The illustration on the cover of my novel ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER is actually pretty close to the ‘look’ of the bell-towers that topped many of the city buildings from about 366 DR onwards (the bells were used to signal across the island, warning of all unfamiliar foreign vessel approaches and of other observed perils; in the early days of Northkeep, until adventurers hunted many of these menaces down, dragon and wyvern food-foraging raids were frequent). Before that date, tall stone towers were few, and most folk lived in increasingly-crowded-together thatched fieldstone cottages fronting on a maze of cobbled roads (the climate was wet, and frozen churned-up mud is no easier to traverse than soft, sucking mud).



So saith Ed. Not wanting to again cause that formatting (or perhaps just display, on some computers) problem that plagued us early in this thread when posts grew overlong, I’ll bring you the rest of his reply soon.
love to all,
THO
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5574 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  10:35:41  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Whilst not yet quite over the euphoria of THO's recent novel revelations, I was thinking about this wonderful and becoming ungainly thread of Ed's.

Mayhap we can close this one down and start a new "Questions for Ed Greenwood 2005" thread. THO has assiduously passed on all the questions, and the thread is all about Ed's answers anyway, so maybe a fresh start will make things easier for posting and allow a "2004 compilation" to be made.

Alaundo?

-- George Krashos




Well met

'tis indeed my intention to do this, George. Hast thou been peering at my private notes?!

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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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  14:22:38  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Thank you for getting down and dirty in Tantras. I do appreciate it.
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  18:19:21  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Alaundo, if there’s not some terrible technical reason for not doing this, could you leave this 2004 thread here in Novels, in the Sticky category, but locked? That way we scribes can find stuff quickly as well as hunting down your compilation.
So, start a new one Jan 1st or so: yumm, 2005, ANOTHER 75 pages of building Realmslore! It’s like having Ed trapped inside my home computer!
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5574 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  22:17:58  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade

Alaundo, if there’s not some terrible technical reason for not doing this, could you leave this 2004 thread here in Novels, in the Sticky category, but locked? That way we scribes can find stuff quickly as well as hunting down your compilation.
So, start a new one Jan 1st or so: yumm, 2005, ANOTHER 75 pages of building Realmslore! It’s like having Ed trapped inside my home computer!




Well met

Yet again, that is certainly what I will be doing, Blueblade. I have no intention of removing this amazing collection of scrolls

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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Kentinal
Great Reader

4278 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2004 :  23:16:34  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alaundo

quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade

Alaundo, if there’s not some terrible technical reason for not doing this, could you leave this 2004 thread here in Novels, in the Sticky category, but locked? That way we scribes can find stuff quickly as well as hunting down your compilation.
So, start a new one Jan 1st or so: yumm, 2005, ANOTHER 75 pages of building Realmslore! It’s like having Ed trapped inside my home computer!




Well met

Yet again, that is certainly what I will be doing, Blueblade. I have no intention of removing this amazing collection of scrolls



FWIW, having just searched all 75 pages and getting maybe 6 relevent hits, such threads in my opinin should not be allowed to get so large, or the search engine enhanced so that, in my case, only the 6 pages would be listed or at least highligted in some way so that I would not have to view all 74 pages.

If it was me, I would limit to no more then 20 pages before locking, of course starting a new one. Also it might be considered the idea of an new catagory archive novels, because of how many stickies there already exist here.

Just a few thoughts, do as you will.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2004 :  00:24:36  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alaundo
'tis indeed my intention to do this, George. Hast thou been peering at my private notes?!



Well, it's good to see that my new Netherese scrying crystal is in good working order. I'll have to pass on my thanks to Rhaugilath the Ageless the next time he sends something through to Candlekeep. That is, as long as his 'controller' allows.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2004 :  00:37:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal

FWIW, having just searched all 75 pages and getting maybe 6 relevent hits, such threads in my opinin should not be allowed to get so large, or the search engine enhanced so that, in my case, only the 6 pages would be listed or at least highligted in some way so that I would not have to view all 74 pages.

If it was me, I would limit to no more then 20 pages before locking, of course starting a new one. Also it might be considered the idea of an new catagory archive novels, because of how many stickies there already exist here.

Just a few thoughts, do as you will.



I will add a bit to this statement... It would be really great if the search engine took you to the exact page a word was in, rather than just to the thread in general...

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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Kentinal
Great Reader

4278 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2004 :  00:55:44  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


I will add a bit to this statement... It would be really great if the search engine took you to the exact page a word was in, rather than just to the thread in general...



It would also save bandwidth if search engine can be modified to make search more focused.


Oh I misstated 75 for this thread, it certainly felt like 75 or more. ;-)
I of course had hits in other threads as well. I must have done over 150 views for pehaps 20 hits that contained search word.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2004 :  03:38:25  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. The second part of Ed’s Northkeep reply to Metis follows:



Over the years, Northkeep was home to a variety of peoples, most of them Damaran humans. From the first settlement, halflings and gnomes dwelt in Northkeep; families of the latter worked tirelessly to build and rebuild the city, quarrying stone from cliffs around the Moonsea and from the spine of Northkeep Isle itself to make the fitted blocks of which the city was built (they were fond of carving the top of a block with a slight ridge or spine, onto which a corresponding ‘trough’ in the base of the block placed atop it fitted, to help bind walls together). Their architecture was simple, oversized, massive, and durable, made with ‘expansion cracks’ and the like to withstand the cruel cold, ice, and everpresent chilling winds of the island. Most buildings were entered through doors shielded from the passing wind by a small L-shaped ‘cloak wall’ that projected out from the outer wall of the building the width of a stout man, and then turned to parallel that outer wall for some twelve feet or so. Such windbreaks never guarded all entrances to a building (there were always larger, unencumbered ones for the passage of furniture, mounted men, wagons, and pushcarts), but they did shield the most commonly-used entrances, and were usually bedecked with climbing vines of edibles (such as the draeldagger, a close Realms equivalent to what we might call a ‘scarlet runner bean’).

Except during the harshest winter storms, large numbers of traders were always coming and going, but from the first Northkeep retained a permanent, year-round population. It became a city of hardy folk (overwhelmingly humans, most of an athletic, warlike or entrepreneurial bent) who never lost the feeling of being a garrison against cruel weather and more cruel foes. ‘Northel,’ as this citizenry were collectively called, wore their hair long and seldom shaved, preferring to stay hairy and thereby keep warm. They customarily wore furs, knitted hoods, and huge woolen cloaks, stripping down to leather breeches and vests over thick doeskin jerkins only in the warmest months.
Northel drank much small beer and wine (none of it distinguished; for such purposes, they bought something finer than local ‘warmbelly’ from visiting traders), ate much locally-made goat cheese (many goats were kept on the island) and roundloaves of bread, dined on both meats of the then-numerous wild herds of beasts (rothé and the like) around the Moonsea and fish netted in the Moonsea, and spiced their cuisine with much sage and mint and other mainland wild plants. Almost their only distinctive dish was ‘braethyn,’ a thick broth of mushrooms, sea ivy (the salty seaweed of the Moonsea that so often fouls fishing nets), wild onions, shoreleaf shoots (green young roots, very similar to potato sprouts), and diced wildfowl. Braethyn tastes like something between a stir fry and beef stew, and is still popular around the Moonsea today. Northel must have dined often on eels, because they almost exterminated them in the formerly ‘teeming with blackslitherers’ waters around the mouth of the River Duathamper (better known to humans of the time as the Elvenflow).
Entertainments in Northkeep were dominated by gambling games, betting on goods-investments for the coming season, and betting on which Northel hunters would kill the most stags (or monsters, or the most powerful monster) during the long winters. Northel also played elaborate wargames using Moonsea maps, stone tokens for fleets and armies, and cards depicting storms, beast raids, thaws, and treasure discoveries. These were most popular in the cold months, because in the warmer days such games were played ‘for real,’ in an ongoing struggle to get rich swifter than thy neighbor, and be ‘in the know’ (informed of unfolding events first and fastest, and thus able to invest more shrewdly than those slower to hear news, by using what we moderns would call “insider information”).



So saith Ed. I’ll post the last of his Northkeep lore next time.
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2004 :  01:43:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Here’s the rest of Ed’s Northkeep lore:



Northkeep was governed by ‘the Wise’ (a council of wealthy merchants and caravan masters), who commanded ‘the Lords Protector (a hired professional garrison of defenders, who in times of attack were to command a general citizen militia), but increasingly real power was held by certain independent wizards brought to the city by various merchant cabals. In time, these mages came to dominate and even hold covert power of life and death over ‘their’ merchants, and either control members of the Wise as puppets or openly become members of the Wise themselves.
These wizards were rivals, never a cohesive power group, and sages record no collective name for them except the disparaging term ‘Farspells’ (meaning: hurlers-of-spells-who-come-from-far-away) given to them by some Northel who saw their selfish machinations as an increasing peril to Northkeep.
In this view, they were ultimately correct (see the Portals of the Moonsea web article by Skip Williams, on the WotC website); one wizard ultimately betrayed the city (by giving information about some of the spells defending the island - - notably those strengthening the bedrock of the island, cast after certain mages learned of the existence of the Underdark ‘sea under the Moonsea’ - - to some humanoids, in return for fabulous wealth and a promise of rulership over Northkeep), making its doom possible.
Before that cataclysmic ending, Northkeep grew wealthy, crowded, and bustling day and night, its folk full of energy and ideas and ambition, the gem and mineral wealth of the lands north of the Moonsea flooding into its streets. Trade-rivalries were fierce, but most folk were too busy to carry on lasting feuds or try to establish a nobility; if one job or business venture didn’t work out, most folk simply turned to another. The most powerful or swift-rising Northel were always in need of new folk to work for them, and there was work and wealth enough for all (no matter how many folk flooded into the city in search of riches). The Farspells crafted gates (portals) to other Moonsea cities, even before some of those cities were more than rough outpost settlements. These magical transports were used mainly by (trade agents of) the merchant patrons of the powerful wizards who created them (and details of them appear in the Portals of the Moonsea web article).

A typical Northkeep building in the later days, when the city covered its island, was a tall rectangular block built of fitted stone, with few windows on the north or west sides (from which most winds blew) and balconies in its upper levels only. To its rear was situated a small walled yard housing an ‘on poles’ garden of edibles and a stables (with egress onto a mews-like shared back alley). It would have one level of cellars suited for food storage, a shop or business offices on the ground level, and three levels of living quarters above; a goodly number of Northel lived above shops they owned, in buildings they owned. The roof would be of fluted metal, tile, or slate, steeply pitched from a central ridgepeak to shed water, ice, and snow; its corners would have carved stone ‘beast-face’ downspouts, and the roof-sides would be fitted with periodic sharp out-thrusting vertical fins to break winter ice into small ‘tumbles’ instead of letting huge sheets of ice slide off and fall on the heads of passersby below (a frequent occurrence with unbroken metal roofs in cold climates). The building would have a central bank of chimneys, screened at the top to keep nesting birds from clogging them, with hearths on every level (so rooms were coldest at the outside walls, which were often hung with thick tapestries, and warmest near the center of the building, which is where most beds and lounge-chairs were situated). Furniture was usually of wood and of simple, massive construction -- though traders brought all manner of variety from afar, and most Northel bought at least some ‘exotic’ things from elsewhere in Faerûn to demonstrate their worldly-wise sophistication (where they in fact possessed such, or not).

Northel roads began as simple two-wagon-wide strips of loose-laid cobbles, always ‘crumbling away at the edges,’ and by the time the city had grown to cover the island, had advanced to being a little wider, built with a center ‘crown’ or high spot/ridge, sloping to drainage gutters at both edges consisting of two rows of cobbles laid on edge, on either side of a row of cobbles laid flat. One edge-row ran along the edge of the cobbled road, and the other along the edge of building-curbs, and the lower-down flat row between them was sealed with cement (yes, this ‘hard sand’ mix is known in the Realms, particularly among gnomes and dwarves) to form a smooth-ish channel for water runoff. The early roads were laid directly on soil, and the later ones atop a layer of tamped-hard fine gravel put on the soil under the cobbles.

The south shore of the Moonsea closest to Northkeep was dominated by dozens of privately-built wharves that were usually crowded with large barges and ‘storm-wallow’ cogs (so named for their handling in rough seas). These developed over the years, in muddy competing profusion, and the Wise were careful to make sure (by covert murders, if need be) that no one person or cabal came to own, control, or dominate a majority of them, so as to keep access to Northkeep as cheap and easy as possible (and prevent any treachery through any dock-owner having private dealings with humanoids or Northkeep’s rival trading cities farther south).
This area was known simply as ‘the Docks’ (though elves called it ‘the Stinking Mud’ for good descriptive reasons), and though the Lords Protector eventually established large armed patrols and an armory there to keep order, it always had a certain air of lawlessness, with bodies turning up floating in the shallows or found huddled behind wagons on many a morning. Many roads and wagon-trails converged on the Docks, and although there were usually many caravans encamped and mustering (or dispersing), and enough human trading traffic (complete with warehouses, wagon-makers, blacksmiths, and brothels) to make elves more or less permanently withdraw from the shoreline, few folk actually lived in the vicinity of Northkeep along that south shore. For one thing, there were always a few lurking brigands, and for another, the land was thick woods swiftly being cut down for firewood and reduced to rutted mud rather than being cultivated and looked after.
There were exceptions: about a day’s ride west of the Docks was Smiling Lady Well, where the Faithful Sisters of Tymora had a temple-farm (the closest thing to ‘nuns of Tymora’ that Faerûn has ever seen) that provided a lot of table vegetables, herbs, and grains for Northkeep, and west of there (and starting about three days’ ride east of the Docks) were several small coastal fishing-hamlets, most housing no more than forty-odd humans. Sages know the names of some of them: the first west of Smiling Lady Well was called Rorthimur, and the one west of that was Ryll’s Rocks; and the closest one east of the Docks was Marthelspike.
All of these places sank along with Northkeep, and no trace of them (visible ruins) can be seen on the Moonsea seabed now.



So saith Ed. Whew; another thick slice of Realmslore, once you pile the three posts together. Metis, hope this is of help, and comes not too late for your play purposes. Ed continues to be the World’s Busiest Freelance Worldbuilder . . .
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2004 :  03:33:07  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
I have another question for the "World’s Busiest Freelance Worldbuilder"

Where in the Dalelands/Cormyr/Sembia/Moonsea regions would one find Copper Dragons? (aside from Glen in Mistledale)

Monster manual says the Copper Dragons enviroment is Warm Hills now looking at the map on page 117 of the FRC it looks like there might be "Warm hills" in Tassledale, Battledale and Featherdale or maybe the Hills between Shadowdale and Daggerdale.

One of my players running a Half Elf Sorcerer has decided to take the Dragon Familar feat from the Draconomicon and has decided he wants a Copper dragon so Im currently trying to throw together a module that would allow him to come in contact with a Copper Dragon.

At the moment Im thinking of making the PC have to beat the Copper Dragon at some sort of contest before it will concent to being the Sorcerers Familar. So feel free to throw in any Draconic Riddles or puzzles you may have come up wioth over the years.

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 08 Dec 2004 :  11:55:07  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth
Where in the Dalelands/Cormyr/Sembia/Moonsea regions would one find Copper Dragons? (aside from Glen in Mistledale)



There's Othauglarmar, an old copper he-dragon who dwells in the Desertsmouth Mtns, north of the Spiderhaunt Wood. He's a friend of Dove Falconhand - see "Seven Sisters", p.25.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2004 :  01:49:38  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed and I both hold high regard for Faraer, one of the most erudite scribes among us, and he’s been waiting a LONG time for some details of two ladies of the Realms: the Harper Sharanralee, and the innkeeper Jhaele Silvermane. Well, one at a time, and the Knights trilogy takes Jhaele out of the running for some time to come. Mindful of Faraer’s earlier request not to show us ‘too much’ of Sharanralee until she’s made her Realms novel debut, Ed provides this careful ‘softly, softly’ answer:



Sharanralee Crownstar is legendary among Harpers. A tall (6-foot-four-inches), slender fighter of (to use Elminster’s words) “quiet grace, great dark eyes, and a magnificent fall of glossy dark brown hair that when unbound usually reaches the backs of her knees,” Sharanralee has a sunny disposition, is gentle of speech and unassuming of manner, and (to quote Storm Silverhand) has “been everywhere, seen everything, and remembers all the back trails and alleys - - and who dwells or lurks along them.”
Her knack is to easily befriend everyone she wants to, and make them feel special (a morale-building touch for many young Harpers, many of whom revere her), and her greatest skill is having a perfect, never-failing, apparently-limitless memory: Sharanralee DOES remember every last detail of snatches of conversations she overhears, particular smells, peoples’ faces, tiny items worn or displayed on crowded market tables [the configuration of the ‘business end’ of a key glanced at momentarily, for instance], and so on. She spent her youth travelling the Realms widely and having many adventures, often in the company of rangers and explorers. She’s always loved maps and seeing new places (and squaring the two, to make maps ever-more-accurate), and has proved herself very useful in guiding travellers or telling folk about navigational details of distant, unfamiliar cities and trade-routes.
Her mother, Miralee, was ‘a dark beauty’ from Mintarn (Sharanralee was named for her grandmother, dead for some years before she was born), and her father Taerazaun the head of the proud and wealthy Crownstar merchant-trading family of Athkatla (many Crownstars are now gem-dealers in cities along the Sword Coast from Baldur’s Gate south to the Tashalar). They were slain by caravan-raiders (while travelling outside of Amn, with their daughter left ‘safe’ at home in their Athkatlan mansion) when Sharanralee was young. Her servants and relatives soon conspired to steal much of the Crownstar wealth and discredit Sharanralee (as an impostor, not a true Crownstar, and hence entitled to nothing of the family wealth and houses). When she refused to be thrown out of the Crownstar mansion in Athkatla (or rather, was thrown out several times but kept climbing back in unattended upper-floor windows and trying to resume her life as if she’d never been expelled), attempts were made to murder her. She escaped several such, but when she overheard (from hiding) one of her uncles conspiring with the grooms to have them abduct her, ride her to the mountains, and there take their pleasure of her before slaying her and bringing back her heart and eyes as proof, she decided to run away - - and did so.
Harpers took her in, Harpers took her all over the world, and she grew to love the life of adventuring in the wilderness.
At some point she gained a small, wearable magic item of some sort that enabled her to alter her looks (including stature and apparent gender), and the disguises this has helped her assume have aided her greatly in Harper work and in travelling to many places without being identified as Sharanralee, or molested as an outlander, a woman, or a non-member of whatever group she’s walking among.
She has become a veteran of Harper missions and life in the wilderness, famous among Those Who Harp and a trusted friend, confidant, and agent of Alustriel. She’s also acquired a husband, to whom she’s very happily and passionately married, considerable wealth (on her own; she’s apparently never tried to take any revenge upon her Athkatlan relatives, or gain a single coin of her inheritance ‘back’ from them), and owns several businesses and many properties in Everlund.

And yes, I’m very much glossing over the great bulk of her life and career thus far. Having sketched out her roots, I’d rather leave the rest until, as you requested, you see her walking and talking in the pages of a Greenwood-penned Realms novel. She’s based in part on a real person (no longer living), and, like Storm Silverhand, I love her more than a little, despite her being an imaginary character I created. I’m sure that will be readily evident when you see her ‘alive’ in my Realms fiction.



So saith Ed. Who showed we Knights this Sharanralee of his only for a few brief occasions. I, too, hunger for more of her (not THAT way, Wooly, so stop tugging on that leash! ). Soon, Lord of the Realms?
love to all,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30019 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2004 :  03:39:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

So saith Ed. Who showed we Knights this Sharanralee of his only for a few brief occasions. I, too, hunger for more of her (not THAT way, Wooly, so stop tugging on that leash! ). Soon, Lord of the Realms?
love to all,
THO


I am ever awaiting your call, my Lady.

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Faraer
Great Reader

3295 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2004 :  15:23:02  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Shining line curves round from Toril's unlit side and intersects the pulsing webwork.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  02:36:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed replies to The Blind Ranger:



Dueling is widespread across the Realms, especially within the nobility of a realm (it’s usually discouraged or expressly forbidden ‘across borders’ because of the danger of causing family feuds that all too easily become wars between realms), and even (in the past, though some ultra-conservative zealots still cling to beliefs that dueling is fine with the deity, merely disallowed by “decadent superiors desiring to maintain their lofty ranks”) within certain priesthoods (Bhaal, Hoar, Myrkul, Shar).
Among commoners, because of the possibility of unrest (and particularly in ports, where trade could be permanently disrupted if the place acquires a ‘too dangerous to venture there’ reputation) dueling is usually illegal. This means no duels in public, not no duelling; persons having disputes go outside the city or town walls, to places where patrols from the city or town won’t see them (or meet inside private clubs [who may use such combats as entertainments for their members] or warehouses, by night) and duel there. There are even some guilds that formally specify duels as a means to settle certain disputes.
Honour is viewed very differently from place to place and race to race: an orc duel is almost always a duel to the death, by any means (there’s nothing considered “unfair,” including goading bystanders to take part), whereas a duel between elves is more often until “first blood” or “yielding” or “four touches” rather than death (although in cases of hatred, death of course often occurs). Many human duels between nobility must be conducted in the presence of royalty or a particular court official, who governs the rules of the duel and will often specify that a duelist who slays an opponent will be executed, so the duel MUST be to some lesser defeat.
To most commoners (especially farmers), dueling is viewed as vicious stupidity, a waste of life (hands that could be put to work). Brigands and thieves are to be killed or ‘run off’ (pursued out of the district, with captured thieves often being forehead-branded ‘THIEF’ and/or having hands broken so they won’t be nimble-fingered for a long, long time), but everyone else is simply beaten up to settle scores - - in other words, there aren’t duels so much as frequent fistfights.
Beowulf is quite correct in his partial listing of historical real-world reasons for dueling, and Lashan has put his finger on not just a Mulmaster example, but the general principle I use when crafting customs in the Realms for places where dueling is ‘viewed as a public sport:’ local authorities are always involved in adjudicating the duels. Again, this to make sure things don’t get out of hand and become a general street brawl that could grow into mob violence or a wider uprising of the local downtrodden (in other words, said local officials will have large and well-armed bodyguards with them who are under orders to quell violence right away with, well, violence. :} )
As an extension of Beowulf’s examples, there have been instances (in the past during the elves-vs.-dragons struggle for early Cormyr, and in Tethyr and the Vilhon region, as well as others that don’t spring to mind just now) of champions battling each other to decide something that would otherwise plunge their peoples into a war. (For such contests to truly settle matters, of course, both sides must REALLY believe in, and abide by, principles of honour.)
There are no universally-accepted standards for dueling, but usually in the Realms it’s one-on-one fighting, with adjudicators but NO ‘seconds’ (in other words, one being battles another being; both may have supporters watching, but those supporters will not be expected to fight under any circumstances). The contest will be under rules (particularly governing the ending: yeild, wounding, first blood, or death) decided by local law and enforced by the adjudicators (often a local priest, if there’s no Watch commander, garrison commander, or judge handy), or decided by the adjudicator, or agreed-upon by the two duelists in the presence of the adjudicator. In most of the Heartlands duels tend to be: one hand weapon (usually a short sword) plus a dagger, and light armor, or: daggers only, with duelists both stripped to the waist. Some sadistic clubs customarily blindfold duelists for extra fun, and others drug them to make the duel slow, with single weapon-strikes less likely to be instantly fatal. Smokepowder and any sort of missile weapon duels are almost unheard-of (and would be deemed ‘not really dueling’ by most folk of the Realms, I’d say), and yes, a public challenge (usually by the hurling down of a glove or gauntlet, complete with SHORT public oration (one ro two lines identifying the complaint and the complainer, plus perhaps an insult) is the usual manner in which formal duels (especially between nobles) are announced.
Please be aware that in most places in the Realms there’s no dishonour at all in refusing a duel from someone of different rank (i.e. youngest knight or baronet who challenges an aging duke would be sneered at by all, not just his intended foe, but if the duke WANTED to ‘teach the young puppy a lesson,’ he’d be perfectly free to do so).



So saith Ed. Who’s got plenty of Realmslore requests to wade through, but also these little things called novels . . .
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  02:58:24  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Oh, Lady Hooded: if YOU were given the chance to write a Realms novel, what (and who, and where, and when) would you choose to write about?
And no, I'm carefully NOT joking about near-porn or anything like that. This is a serious question.
Thanks,
BB
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Shemmy
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USA
492 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  03:17:43  Show Profile  Visit Shemmy's Homepage  Send Shemmy an AOL message  Send Shemmy an ICQ Message Send Shemmy a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


In my opinion, Planescape materials are often (because of the ‘give us funky adventure stuff, and none of the boring stuff’ design philosophy that reigned at the time, and the absence of outlets such as web enhancements for publishing the boring-but-necessary foundation stuff) inferior to some of the root materials they drew on, because when examining them I see precious few balanced ecologies in the Outer Planes. How do devils ever get enough to drink? Where do their droppings go? What causes changes in the weather in the Hells? (And so on.) I provided biological details of the effects of the Styx and the Lethe, but in Plaenescape products, such things were simply tossed aside to make room for the next cool battle encounter.



I meant to ask for a clarification from Ed here but I've been tremendously busy with finishing some thesis work.

First of all I'd like to thank Ed for his lengthy and courteous response to the previous question, but a bit of it that I've quoted above made me more perplexed than anything else, among a number of other folks on Planewalker and the WotC planes boards.

Given what's above, I find the opinion that Planescape tossed aside ecology information in the name of making 'room for the next cool battle encounter' well... odd considering that Colin McComb's 'Faces of Evil: The Fiends' is generally regarded as being both the seminal work on the ecology of the fiends in DnD, and one, if not the, most detailed and best written monster ecology ever written in DnD. It goes into everything from Tanar'ri sleep patterns, Baatezu bone structure, Yugoloth standards for ascention to higher castes, etc.

I simply have to take Ed's opinions above and think to myself, 'what Planescape are you talking about?' because it's certainly not the one I found and adored after getting into DnD (in 3e). As for boring details being pushed aside in the name if any 'funky design philosophy' or urging for 'the next battle encounter', the entire philosophy behind Planescape was that of belief = power, the clash of philosophies and alignments, and that not everything could be penned into the dead book by someone with a grudge and a sword in their hands. Combat in some instances was suicidal and it was downplayed most often that direct hacking and slashing simply wasn't going to work on the planes.

So perhaps some clarification of ideas here if Mr Greenwood could find the time, because I'm honestly curious here what's the basis for his previous statements. I hate to presume, but I have to wonder if you aren't wholly familiar with all of the wealth of lower planar material written for Planescape, not just having been reviewed over any Baator materials by the line editors, but works like Faces of Evil, Hellbound:The Blood War, etc which are typically regarded as some of the finer 2nd edition products made by TSR. I think you're in for a surprise at the level of detail therein if you're not yet familiar with it.

With all respect,
Shemmy

Shemeska the Marauder, King of the Crosstrade; voted #1 best Arcanaloth in Sigil two hundred years running by the people who know what's best for them; chant broker; prospective Sigil council member next election; and official travel agent for Chamada Holiday specials LLC.
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Capn Charlie
Senior Scribe

USA
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Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  03:26:09  Show Profile  Visit Capn Charlie's Homepage  Click to see Capn Charlie's MSN Messenger address  Send Capn Charlie a Yahoo! Message Send Capn Charlie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Blueblade

And no, I'm carefully NOT joking about near-porn or anything like that. This is a serious question.
Thanks,
BB



and from what I have gathered about our precious Hooded One, she would most definitely *not* be joking if she gave such a reponse.

Shadows of War: Tales of a Mercenary

My first stab at realms fiction, here at candlekeep. Stop on by and tell me what you think.
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Lauzoril
Seeker

Finland
71 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  20:05:07  Show Profile  Visit Lauzoril's Homepage Send Lauzoril a Private Message
To Ed, who is so busy it makes me feel bad to ask this right now but I feel it's better to ask this now than carry it to the new year.

What's the point of Candlekeep (the Realms equivalent, not the one in here)? I know it's to preserve the knowledge and history of Faerun and all but it feels kinda weird that most of the ordinary people who might want to know about some things, mundane or otherwise, never have the chance to access that knowledge because of Candlekeep's strict entry policy.
I mean, where on Faerun could some commoner find a rare book or some other knowledge which would satisfy the monks to let them in? To me it feels like they're hoarding the knowledge mainly for themselves and those with means and privilege to access them. Who benefits from knowledge which is locked away?
And what about magic. Doesn't it bother Mystra at all that Candlekeep is storing magic spells in its walls instead them being shared around and put to use. Or are they too powerful and dangerous to see the light of day?
What options do those commoners have who manage to travel to the Candlekeep in search of knowledge to gain entry? Even some very steep entrance fee or performing a deed would be nice a option to those who can't acquire rare knowledge. Or do they have to ask someone who can access the place freely to find out something for them e.g. priests of Oghma. Or then I've misunderstood something about the Candlekeep's function entirely.

Thank you kindly for your time.



"Death to the enemies of Bane."

Edited by - Lauzoril on 10 Dec 2004 20:09:38
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  20:26:59  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed replies to Shemmy:

Well, quoted out of context like that, yes, I can certainly see why you (and others on other boards) would find my contention puzzling. I trust you’ll pass this entire reply along to those same forums to clarify matters.
If you ‘got into D&D’, as you say, with 3e, then of course the Planescape that’s been available to you from your beginning is the complete, mature product line. Colin’s superb product (published in 1997) is an example of the necessary design infill work that had to be done to give gamers enough hard information so that they could run a campaign wholly or largely set in the Planes (as opposed to “your characters in a dungeon on the Prime Material step through a doorway and ZAP, you’re briefly visiting ‘Somewhere Else’” play that necessarily dominated D&D campaigns before Planescape came along).
I wasn’t discussing or disparaging the merits or collective achievement of Planescape. I was specifically disagreeing with your contention that the Nine Hells had been largely developed and detailed in Planescape products, speaking as an insider who knew just how many hundreds (yes, hundreds) of manuscript pages of my Hells material were tossed into the trash or put into computer files that got used in the Manual of Planes and/or passed on to the designers of the first few Planescape products. I was privy to design discussions in which the then-Creative Manager of TSR expressed his amazement at the level of detail (and sheer AMOUNT, which was what triggered the “hey, we could do entire BOOKS of this stuff, you know?”) that I’d generated for the Hells (and, with Stephen Inniss, for Limbo, a project that was never used, though Stephen’s lillend did squeak through into print, and still appears in the 3.5e game today). You can of course only see the published results, not eavesdrop on the design genesis from those (1982 through about 1989) discussions.
Some of the other posters on the Elminster In Hell thread were obviously active gamers back then (when everybody in FRP gaming read The Dragon every month, and game store owners carried the rumors from GenCon and Winter Fantasy and Spring Revel back to their local faithful, and “everybody discussed everything”) and obviously recall what leaked into public hearing of the saga of my Hells designs (involving Gary Gygax, Frank Mentzer, Kim Mohan, and Jim Ward among others).
My complaints with the early Planescape products centered on the problem Jeff Grubb wrestled with when doing the Manual of the Planes: the moment you introduce ‘different’ planar environments than the familiar Prime Material into the game, you are dealing with inspiring ‘sense of wonder’ (or ‘gosh-wow,’ if you prefer) settings and possibilities that can make for marvellous gaming, but published products covering such settings quickly become very hard to use, without a LOT of DM preparation, if you don’t clearly answer all the life-cycle, ecological details I referred to, from the outset.
If the approach had been from the previously-used “your characters get plunged from the Prime Material Plane into Plane X, now what?” then the “okay, I’m on Avernus and my character’s thirsty/has to go to the bathroom/wants to build a hut; now what?” questions would have been covered right away. Instead, the earliest Planescape products made the same mistake the Manual of the Planes (and many of our 3e Realms products) have done: setting too wide a scope, and as a result covering “too much too lightly.” What was intensely frustrating to me - - and to many others involved - - was the ‘too much white space, too much “cutter-berk style” where we wanted more substance’ appearance of the early Planescape products. That was my complaint when I posted here, and my complaint as a consumer as the Planescape line started to unfold - - and in the case of the Nine Hells, I KNEW a lot of the work I’d done was missing.
If you infer from this that I’m criticizing Colin or any other game designer, you’re wrong. I know (believe me, I know!) that the final title, size, scope, and specific content of gaming products are only rarely determined by the folks who design them. Designer (or designers plural) writes, developer or editor chops a lot of that and rewrites the remainder, someone else reviews and rewrites again, and the result may bear very little resemblance to what the designer initially handed in. This can be very good, because multiple viewpoints and scrutineers make for a better-written, more widely-balanced product, but it often results in lots of material ‘going away.’ Today we have the web enhancement, but in those days, losses were either shoved into a future product (and yes, this happened with Planescape as well as with the Realms) or vanished forever.
I have, so far as I know, all of the TSR/WotC published planar materials. I’m familiar with them all, have used them in (2nd Edition) D&D play, and all in all, I love them. Yet I would still have preferred, rather than the line we got, a succession (right from the outset, not now in 3.5e) of hardcover rulebooks (not boxed sets), starting with an overview book (call it, ahem, Manual of the Planes), a full-length book on Sigil, a full-length adventurers’ book (call it, ahem, Planar Handbook), and full-length books on all of the other planes, one plane to a book. (If the line started to ‘run out of gas’ sales-wise after the first dozen or so planes were covered - - and of course the Nine Hells and the Abyss and Limbo and Hades should be ‘right up there’ in the first few books of the sequence - - then certainly start putting shorter coverage of several planes into one book.)
You are looking at Planescape ‘from the other end,’ so to speak, examining its coverage once everything had been published and the details filled in. I agree that Colin’s FacesFiends is the definitive coverage of matters devilish, and I don’t disagree with “these planar adventures of Ed’s Realms should really go into a separate high-level campaign line, along with the other planar ideas we’ve been toying with” thinking that won the day back then (it was certainly superior to the other design approach of the day, which was to take many things that weren’t originally part of the Realms and weren’t “sandpapered down to fit,” slap a Realms logo on them, and so ‘make’ them part of the Realms :} ).
To give a purely design example of the problem I was speaking of in my original El in Hell explanation, let’s look at the 3.5e FR Players Guide to Faerun. Flip to the Cosmology section, look up Brightwater (nice place, my PC wants to go there!), and: I’m not given enough. Show me some sights, at least give me a paragraph describing my initial sensations (color of sky, smells, fauna and flora, topography). Why isn’t there enough? Well, because we’re trying to cover every plane in a little bit of this one rulebook, that’s why. Planescape was guilty of this too: PRECISELY the same problem or deficiency is obvious in ON HALLOWED GROUND. It provides much better coverage than the PGtF does, giving aerial views of planes if not maps, but there’s still not enough flora and fauna. Spare me the endless deity-games-stats stuff [which should be, and had been, previously covered in other rulebooks] and provide instead a couple of pages of “On this plane, Resident Deity X can do thus and thus, even if you try this, or Resident Deity Y tries this. Here on this plane, Resident Deity X tries to/wants to/spends his-her-its days doing . . .” (I believe this sort of focus is what you’re alluding to when you speak of Planescape’s philosophy, and combat often being suicidal.) In short, as a DM, I can’t pick up either expensive rulebook and quickly run an adventure set in a plane they 'cover' without filling in a LOT of details myself. And as you might have noticed over years and years of Realms products, filling in lots of details is the hallmark of the Realms.
You have every right to prefer the Planescape version of the Hells. I have the right to prefer mine (and yes, as a designer, “I speak for the Realms,” as enshrined in the original agreement that gave TSR copyright ownership of the Realms; TSR and now WotC can ‘correct’ me by subsequently publishing different details on topics [remember that, aside from here at Candlekeep, I can’t just “say whatever wild thing I want to” about the Realms; in DRAGON and on the WotC website and in Realms products, I’m always working through editors], so the 'first word' on an aspect of the Realms is often mine).
The differences in cosmology are one of the reasons Planescape became a different product line: the fact that Planescape and the Realms are two distinct product lines allows two differing cosmologies to exist.
You can certainly choose the one you prefer, but when writing a Realms novel set in, yes, the Realms, I’m going to stick to the Realms cosmology, and I’m going to disagree with criticism of that Realms novel advanced by you that tries to deem me “wrong” in my coverage of the Nine Hells because I in some manner don’t follow Planescape cosmology. To me, it’s as if you aren’t happy that Captain Kirk doesn’t seem to follow Darth Vader’s command structure. :}
I hopes this makes things clearer. I neither wanted Planescape to be a different product line nor did I want two different cosmologies to develop, but we’re stuck with them. If you’d like me to follow Planescape, then I need the Planescape materials republished with Nine Hells-specific details changed to match all of the already-published Realms work, because consistency MUST trump all. As it was, I danced around a lot in plotting and writing ELMINSTER IN HELL so as to contradict differences as little as possible, yet you obviously still weren’t happy with the result. Well, so be it, I’m afraid - - but if you’d like to e-chat about this some more, I’m perfectly happy to do so.
Good luck with the thesis work. Are you deep in writing, or defending?



So saith Ed. Who’s busybusybusy right now, but promises to continues answering scribes as usual.
love to all,
THO
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  22:12:24  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
I've got a question for Ed.

In the Sea of Swords, there's a little grouping of islands just northwest of Candlekeep and southwest of the Cloakwood. There are three islands roughly 10 miles across in a line northwest to southeast, and if extended that line would extend straight to Candlekeep. Ther are also three small islands about 1 mile across, in an east-west line, a few miles south of the southeasternmost 10-mile island. Is there any lore about these islands? Are any of these islands named? Are there any permanent inhabitants or dangers?

Thanks for any lore you can provide!
Jerry
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2004 :  22:27:47  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
I've got a question for Ed.

In the Sea of Swords, there's a little grouping of islands just northwest of Candlekeep and southwest of the Cloakwood. There are three islands roughly 10 miles across in a line northwest to southeast, and if extended that line would extend straight to Candlekeep. Ther are also three small islands about 1 mile across, in an east-west line, a few miles south of the southeasternmost 10-mile island. Is there any lore about these islands? Are any of these islands named? Are there any permanent inhabitants or dangers?

Thanks for any lore you can provide!
Jerry
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