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Alexander Heppe
Seeker

Germany
62 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  08:36:34  Show Profile  Visit Alexander Heppe's Homepage  Send Alexander Heppe an AOL message Send Alexander Heppe a Private Message
Well met, Creator!

Here come new questions from old europe:

We´ve now heard a LOT of specific realmslore in this forum from the mastermind himself. NOW I start to wonder if Ed has any tips/ideas for those of us who use to DM a FR-group.

1) Having all these tidbits of realmslore in mind, what do you think is the best way to portray them in-game?

2) I know that you DM a game, too. So I have to ask if you use any props and handouts, and if you could show the rest of the fans parts of it.

3) What else do you do to visualize your game? Do you show artwork to your players, or photos?

4) If 3) is yes, what do you think a DM should use to help his/her players visualize the realms, meaning photos/artwork of ceratin "earth"-areas when playing in Faerún (and I know that they´re not totally compatible, but show smaller and larger resemblances to one another) In the realms, you have wonderfully fleshed out NPCs, great, detailed cities, but I believe the landscape and wilderness should play as much part as the rest.
To put it to the point, what picture/artwork fits the following, and what "mood" accompanies these areas:
-Trollmoors/Evermoors
-Northern Sword Coast around Luskan
-Moonwood
-Area around the Fork
-Transition between desert/moderate climate around Ascore
-Nether Mountains
-Dalelands (have you seen the spectacular Shadowdale fan-artwork by MIchael Mueller already?)
-Moonsea
-Sundabar Valley
-Rauvin and Dessarin Rivers
-Spine of the world

5) Could you excuse my bad English, please?

Alex
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Adrian Moonbow
Seeker

Denmark
64 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  09:08:18  Show Profile  Visit Adrian Moonbow's Homepage Send Adrian Moonbow a Private Message
You're great, Ed! Thank you for hours of fun.

I can see (from 'Spellfire') that you like to detail magic to the fullest in every aspect. I (and a character of mine, that looks alot like me ;) ) am very interested in the small bits and pieces of magic ("If you angle your hand like this, and then pronounce it that way..."). I'd love to hear more of the wizard-to-apprentice conversations.

And Hooded One: Please tell us more of your gaming experiences. It warms my heart in this cold danish winter/spring.

"I would have wanted not to die.
I would have wanted never to grow up!"
-Quidam
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Elfinblade
Senior Scribe

Norway
377 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  16:14:58  Show Profile Send Elfinblade a Private Message
Greetings

a few for Ed

1: Lhaeo. what can u tell me about him? im running a game now, and i need info on Lhaeo. i heard that he was a prince, or heir or something.. is this true? if it is, where?

2: i was wondering about the age of some of the famous, or infamous if you will, people of the realms. And i bet you know them:P i am wondering about the age of: Elminster, Halaster, khelben, the seven, Lhaeo and Mirt. it would be great if you could share this with me.

later -Stig-
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  16:46:25  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
The Hooded One again (yes, I know, I know, I’ve ALWAYS been The Hooded One; ’tis a figure of speech, okay?), with Ed’s latest:

Hi, Lashan. You’re welcome, of course; no thanks needed. Calaunt has very few temples because of its repressive rule. It’s truly a place of grim tyranny, and the secrets of those in authority have been left mysterious to give DMs a chance to put what they’d ‘behind the scenes.’ There’s no Thayan outpost there (no market in comparison to Raven’s Bluff, unless it’s been destroyed in your campaign), and nothing public enough to give Mulmaster or Tantras a chance to attack -- but there could very well be agents from Zhentil Keep or anywhere else you’d like to pick, from unscrupulous Sembian slavers to drug-runners and pirates serving masters in Westgate. Whatever the truth, Calaunt’s temples are few and far between because its rulers don’t want priests challenging their authority and ‘influence through silent threat.’


Karth, you’re welcome, too. :} I wasn’t thinking of Heinlein when I made Alustriel act that way (for one thing, those particular novels hadn’t been written yet), but rather of some of the historical tales of the French and Italian courts where women -- especially widows of dead dukes and kings --used their charms to rule (and the troubadors did their thing, and ‘courtly love’ was the rage). I coupled that with some real-life experiences of meeting women of the 60s generation (Woodstock, coffee houses, folk musicians, the drug scene), who through their beauty, generous sharing of their own bodies, and sunny dispositions and ‘genuinely caring for others’ characters, exercised great influence on the people around them. It was a time before AIDS and widespread sexual diseases, a “free love” time of rebellion against repressive social authority, and to a young gangly nerd like me, watching awestruck with my glasses steaming over, there was something magical at seeing beautiful women strolling nude and carefree through parkland, totally at ease, laughing and chatting casually with the various long-haired, scruffy-jeans-clad guys who were inevitably accompanying them.
In the case of the Seven Sisters, I see their need for the companionship of others (and casualness when it comes to nudity and to sex) as being born not out of social rebellion or drugs or an insecure need to ‘belong,’ and be at the center of “what’s happening,” but rather as the result of living for centuries, outliving generations of friends and loved ones, and trying to make up for the ever-growing grief and loneliness of being ‘The One Who Survives, And Is Left Alone Again, and Again, and Again.’ As I’ve said before on many occasions, none of the Chosen are probably anywhere near what we would judge as sane or ‘normal’ (whatever that is :}).
That’s part of their fascination for me. Not “I can hurl godly power” but “I’ve been hurling godly power for so long, and yet can’t save the things about the world around me that I want to save, and can’t even die when and how I want to, and I’m so TIRED of it all, and what can I do to derive some enjoyment out of this.” In other words, I want to look inside their heads and see what makes them tick.
Increasingly, my books and those of other Realms authors, too, are (behind the fighting and spectacles of roaring monsters and slapstick) concerned with looking inside their characters and seeing what makes them the way they are, and how their adventures change them -- which of course is what all good books do in some manner.
(It’s also why I’m always somewhat bemused when I read yet another “Elminster’s a munchkin!” or “Elmonster’s just Greenwood’s pet erotic wish-fulfillment character!” or “Elminster’s a Gandalf ripoff!” post. I moved beyond thinking about the game and characters in that way almost thirty years ago.)

Ah, Ed, you take me back to my childhood childhood childhood, you really do. Love to all from
The Hooded One
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  17:12:08  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

2: i was wondering about the age of some of the famous, or infamous if you will, people of the realms. And i bet you know them:P i am wondering about the age of....the seven

later -Stig-



If you mean the age of the seven sisters, that information can be found I believe in more than one product including The Seven Sisters by Ed Greenwood. The birth dates are as follows:

Sylune: 761 DR

Alustriel: 762 DR

Dove: 763 DR

Astorma: 764 DR

Laeral: 765 DR

Simbul or Alassra: 766 DR

Qiule: 767 DR

From there do the math. I do think if they were in our society they'd qualify for SSI.
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  17:20:08  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

Greetings

a few for Ed

1: Lhaeo. what can u tell me about him? im running a game now, and i need info on Lhaeo. i heard that he was a prince, or heir or something.. is this true? if it is, where?
later -Stig-



Lhaeo is mentioned in the FRCS and also the Lands of Intrigue box set, which is where he was finally crowned as the king of Tethyr. However, there is still the illusion of Lhaeo in El's tower but it's actually a female apprentice of El's that he made look like the old Lhaeo.

(If I'm wrong Ed, please correct me!)

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

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  17:40:17  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Since you won't have time to answer questions as often as you have, perhaps I should ask a larger list of questions, so I can still have many answered :)

I'm curious about ancient treasures or ruins in the Vast. I know of the treasures listed for the various locations in the Vast in other publications, but what about ancient treasures of Rolidar? Or even of old Vastar? While Rolidar wasn't very old and couldn't have many treasures, but perhaps there is more then the "glittering swords" of orcbane used to bring down Vastar (and by the way, what happened to many of those swords?). I remember reading that back in Vastar, there weren't the current tribes that are around today, but one powerful orc ruler after another forming the precursor to tribes. With other Realmslore being added to the mix, these orcs are grey orcs and are the remenants of the Orcgate War. These orcs might have some ancient magic or hidden temples or other ruins that we have not heard of? I know that Mount Grimmerfang is lost to the knowledge of man, but is filled with some sort of treasure out there. Perhpas there is orcish treasure? Perhaps even fell and filled with danger (but what magic isn't?)? Are there even other orcish ruins about? Fortresses? Old caves?

I'm curious about the dwarves of the Vast. Those that founded Rolidar came from the north, through the passages of the "hidden way", and brought low King Grimmerfang and his court with orcbane weapons. King "Stonebeard" ruled for 40 years somewhere in the Vast, and then the Realm of Glitter Swords was no more. Various dwarf holds are in those mountains, I am sure of it, but man doesn't know of them. I know that not all encounters between dwarf and man has gone smoothly (a particular poisoning comes to mind) and so many dwarf holds remain hidden or "lost". I'm curious about these holds. Do they know of each other? Or some trying to be hidden so that orc bands don't find them? Are they mostly small clan holdings with about 20 or so families? Do the clans ever meet or interact with the outside world? Any information on them would be interesting.

Just to let you know, I am playing in 1340 DR (well before the ToT) and nothing is destroyed, though Raven's Bluff is usually called the City of Fools. They have not quite gotten their city together yet and even just recently (a few years ago) hired that tribe of gnolls to move to the Earthfast Mnts to try to dislodge the orcs there.

I am curious about the interactions between the various city-states. Has there ever been a war between the city-states? Has Sembia ever tried to invade? Has Caluant always just had a repressive govt of evil? Or was there an event that caused this to be? Or is all this left open to the DM? Personally, I would have some evil ruler in Calaunt come to power, causing a stir to the good people of Tantras. Many churches in Calaunt lead a revolt (which is lead by the church of Torm), but looses. The tyrant destroys all temples that participated, leaving only Selune's and Lovitar's temples. The town council of Tantras raises an army to assist it's fellow city. The Battle of Yonder Fields takes place, where the Sembian mercenary general displays the Lash of Lovitar. The evil leader is killed on the field of battle, but in the meantime, the city of Calaunt re-forms its own govt, without the assistance of Tantras. Things return to normal. Well, this is jus what *I* would do. Any battles in the "history books" of your mind? Any rivalries, hatreds, or other relationships between the various city-states?

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Lashan
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  17:43:28  Show Profile  Visit Lashan's Homepage Send Lashan a Private Message
Hooded One,

Thanks for the slight mention of crossing swords with Lashan! I always thought that the story of the "King of the Dalelands" was fascinating. I ran a campaign were the players were dupes of Lashan, as he hired them to retreive many magic items, which ended up adding power to his war on the rest of the Dales. The party was quite suprised and ashamed when many of the items they retreived ended up being used for evil in that war.
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Elfinblade
Senior Scribe

Norway
377 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  19:19:16  Show Profile Send Elfinblade a Private Message
quote:
Lhaeo is mentioned in the FRCS and also the Lands of Intrigue box set, which is where he was finally crowned as the king of Tethyr. However, there is still the illusion of Lhaeo in El's tower but it's actually a female apprentice of El's that he made look like the old Lhaeo.


Really? wow, that is awesome, if it is the case.. do you mean the old grey boxed set FRCS? or the new 3rd edition book? oh i hope old mister greenwood can sort this out for us.. nothing better that right from the source right?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  21:38:08  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, Ed’s reply to Foxhelm:

Hi, Foxhelm. Yes, I’ve had many covert invasions (by relatively small forces) of isolated backland areas of Faerun (through gates/portals from alternate Prime Material Planes). I’ve had the Malaugrym meddling, and even a few other shapechanging, from-elsewhere forces trying the bold “Let’s infiltrate the palace and take over this kingdom from the top!” (One of them, in a certain Sembian city a little more than a century ago, succeeded -- and no, I’m not going to tell you which one. :} Amn and Tethyr have also been successfully hit.)
Helmed horrors are as close as I got to robots in the Realms (the 3rd Edition origins for them have been twisted somewhat, obscuring this), although Paul Jacquays did put Radoc and other ‘aliens with advanced technology’ into the Realms when he did FR5 The Savage Frontier (atop the Starmounts in the center of The High Forest). And Netheril, various elves (see Drow of the Underdark), and several elder/fallen lands achieved robotic technology good enough to fashion deft, complex functional replacement metal limbs (warriors could even get latch-on blades, axe-blades, picks, and the like to swap for their hands).
For the most part, I’m uncomfortable with the ‘flavour’ that such technology brings to play, but as long as it’s kept rare and therefore awe-inspiring, it has worked as a ‘spice’ for play.
I’m not sure what you mean by “Abserve”? Absurd? If you can take another stab at this, I’ll certainly try to answer. Sorry.
I, too, am a fan of Finder; I find him Jeff and Kate’s most intriguing character (whereas Giogi is the most fun character). Now, as to empowering demigods -- well, you’d be letting loose a lot of relatively immature (hey, the way we’ve ended up depicting the lesser and greater deities in print makes most of them very immature, too) superheroes to wreak havoc. My “what would happen” answer depends on the answers to some other questions:
Would priests of everyone but the demigods lose their spells?
If Mystra (and Shar) lose all of their powers, are the Weave and Anti-Weave destroyed/collapsed/left untended? In other words, do spells still work for anyone? Is wild magic raging chaotic and uncontrolled across the world, beyond the control or influence of anyone? Would creatures with innate magic die in agony, burned out or torn apart from within? Would any being with spells memorized at the time suffer the same fate, or just go insane? Or would they, too, randomly gain initially-uncontrolled (and perhaps temporary) “superpowers”?
None of us can properly answer these questions, in ways that apply to everyone (all campaigns that use the Realms). As I’ve participated in many of them, I can reveal that both freelancers and TSR/WotC staffers debate the “true” nature of the FR gods frequently, and that one of the reasons fan arguments about the gods are largely useless except as entertainment for all involved (ahem, like the Eilistraee/Vhaeraun discussions that proceed sporadically here in Candlekeep) is that we still haven’t published some important things about the gods (in other words, the views and understandings of them held by all readers of Realms material are limited and therefore almost certainly incorrect or only partially correct). Which is a long way of saying that the tendency of gods, priests, lore-books, sages, and those who report the Realms to us (such as Elminster) to lie, distort, omit, or just pass on their own ignorance to us gives “wiggle room” to every DM to answer the blizzard of questions I posed above any way they like.
What I personally would do, if that happened, was keep the Weave operating and Mystra “alive and functioning,” transform her Chosen into killers intent on eliminating all demigods (if necessary, by manipulating demigods into small cabals and alliances and driving them to make war on each other), strip priests of all spells and add a slowly-increasing-chances wild magic element to all spells cast (except discharges of simple magic effects [“simple” being fireballs or lightning bolts, whereas mind-reading, identification, mending, or suchlike would be deemed “complex”] stored in items, and with the Chosen of Mystra and the demigods having a smaller tendency to succumb to wild magic), and have creatures of magical natures (liches and so on) start to quickly decay (and therefore become desperate). Portals (to other worlds and planes, NOT those just linking places in Faerun to other places in Faerun) would become areas of magical stability as well as escape routes from the Realms, beings with psionic powers would acquire growing influence and importance as magic crashed and burned, and Mystra would put all of her remaining strength and power into holding the Weave together (so castles held up by magic would start to fall, magic items not deemed artifacts would slowly lose their efficacy, and so on).
Bear in mind that you’d be changing the Realms markedly, because the fangs and claws of big monsters, and the number of swords a commander can bring into battle, would rise to rule in a way magic had hitherto balanced against.
The end result, of course, would depend on what happened, in the longer run, to the demigods and the Weave. I’d expect they’d tame their powers to become new lesser gods, resident in Toril, and the Weave would eventually stabilize, but one thing is for darned sure: for the common man or even for the intrepid adventurer, it would NOT be a fun time to live through.


So saith Ed. Your Hooded One will return soon with his next replies.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  21:44:40  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met, fellow lovers of the Realms. The Hooded One, relaying Ed’s latest replies:

Hi, Alex. Your English is just fine. As for your questions, well, the best way to use Realmslore in a game is whatever way works best with your players. Some folks want to play the game “out of character,” discussing and consulting rules openly. Some love maps and using miniature figures, and some prefer to ‘do it all in their heads.’
For MY players, I act out the dialogue of all NPCs ‘to the hilt,’ and PCs can question them or try to eavesdrop on them. If you treat the Realms as real, and let the players determine the speed of play and where their characters go, it’s up to them how they gain information. Let them (‘in character’ ) discuss what they’ve heard or learned, and where they’ll go and what they’ll try to do next (the “council-of-war”). Then, when they learn things, it all seems real.
I don’t have any good way, with my primitive e-mail, Net connection, lack of website, and inability to post attachments here or anywhere, of showing props or handouts, but yes, I occasionally use them -- usually written letters, royal documents, or notes (and usually when PCs are snooping and trying to solve a mystery). I prepare drawings of runes and heraldic devices beforehand and hand these over in play. I also draw head-and-shoulders pictures of characters (NPCs) to display, and have an extensive library of books with illustrations of armor, medieval garb, old buildings, bridges, landscapes, and the like that I occasionally display during play. I say “occasionally” because my players are such good actors and ‘imaginers’ that they prefer not to slow down play by extensive use of such things (for instance, they only want to use figures if we’re doing a large setpiece battle, like defending Shadowdale against a Zhent attack). My job as a DM is to entertain my players (after all, I’m wasting hours of their lives with this game), so what they want is paramount.
I fully agree that landscape pictures are VERY useful, because for many players that’s the hardest thing to “get” in their minds, and the best way to establish a mood. The most effective way of doing this, of course, is always mentioning aloud a place that the DM and players have both been to, together (sunrise at a particular spot when camping, for example), but when you can’t do that, by all means use magazine photographs or pics you can glean from the Net (unless your players say they hate it; ask them at the end of the play session). Long ago, the Automobile Association in Britain published a grey binder full of cardstock ‘country walks’ (if someone reading this is familiar with it, please tell us all the real title; was it “Off The Beaten Path” or something like that?). These were small ‘leave your car, walk around for an afternoon, and circle back’ treks around a country neighbourhood, and each one was illustrated by a panoramic ‘from a few hundred feet up in the air, looking down’ painting of the route. They’d make MARVELLOUS rural-location play aids.
Here’s my attempt to help with your specific locales:
Trollmoors/Evermoors: the high, bleak moors of Scotland: lots of bare rock, scrub lichen, stunted shrubbery, frost, and clawingly cold wind, with small “winding crack” ravines holding more lush greenery. Ground-hugging junipers, “wandering star” ground cedars, and so on.
Northern Sword Coast around Luskan: Alaskan Panhandle, northern British Columbia coast (Prince Rupert), Queen Charlotte Islands
Moonwood: at the north end, the dark “all tall pine” forests of Scandinavia and the Rocky Mountains of Canada, and at the south end the dense, dark Black Forest as it used to be (just post-World-War-II, before acid rain thinned it out to today’s shadow of its former past).
Area around the Fork: Exmoor or Dartmoor (the barer parts, with little stands of trees but no human farming) in England
Transition between desert/moderate climate around Ascore: this is a cold desert area, and I’ve always seen it as resembling the high, rocky pleateau country in Tibet, running into (as one moves west, away from Ascore) the verges of a cold alpine forest
Nether Mountains: the tepuis (accent over the “i” that I can’t do on my e-mail, sorry) mountains of Venezuela (Angel Falls) on the southeastern flanks, but sharper peaks elsewhere in the Nether Range (like the crags cradling the hot springs of Waimangu in New Zealand)
Dalelands: yes, I’ve seen the nice Mueller artwork (thanks to Faraer and others directing me), and I see the dales as a cross between the Canadian Shield (with its bare rock outcrops, like the Old Skull, and temperate mixed forest dominated by maples, oaks, beeches, and elms) and the English farming countryside of the Cotswolds (the southern and western dales are surrounded by forests whose verges resemble the New Forest in England)
Moonsea: the eastern end resembles the fjords of Sweden and Norway, but the southern shore is more like Loch Ness in Scotland: farms and trees on relatively gentle (not high) banks. The northern western shore is more like Windermere, in the Lake District of England
Sundabar Valley: the most tamed (farmed) parts are like the rather bleak northern Yorkshire (mountain-cradled) dales of England, and the more rugged parts are like the river valleys in the Elburz Mountains of Iran (not the desert ones, but rather the wetter high alpine ones), while the various valleys to the north of Sundabar Vale, that stretch north past the Moonwood and Cold Wood, are like the Alaskan taiga
Rauvin and Dessarin Rivers: like the Mackenzie, Nahanni, and Yukon rivers of the Canadian Arctic
Spine of the World: the western face of the northern Rocky Mountains of Canada (a towering wall of cold, snowcapped bleak rock mountains, falling abruptly down into a rugged but pine-forest-cloaked landscape of finger lakes, cascades, bogs, and rock outcrops)

Hi, Adrian. Great? Well, I’m not so sure, but if you were a pretty lass I’d certainly pretend to be. :} As for the hours of fun, THAT’S great: the Realms is working!
As you inferred (see also a post by The Hooded One in the Chat forum of Candlekeep, under “Vancian magic?”) I often delve into the details of magical research, with spell inks, players jotting down observations like students taking notes, for later attempts to modify spells or create new ones (always easier to twist and modify an existing spell, BTW). When my players were in the mood for “full” roleplaying, they’d make up incantations (usually a nonsense “Abracadabra”-like word for a word of activation or the last/trigger word, preceded by a rhyming couplet (here’s the one for fireball, which has no last trigger word: “By tongue of bat and sulphur’s reek/And the mystic words I now do speak/Where I wish to strike my bane/Let empty air burst into -- FLAME!”).
And yes, wizards and apprentices have many ‘how to’ conversations (usually larded with advice: “The greatest wisdom, lad, lies in knowing when NOT to use this spell”) in my campaign. Most of them center around the dangers of using a particular spell effect in specific circumstances (when too near a moat or a low ceiling, for example) or how substituting alternative material components will change a spell’s effect (“If ye lack any means of making a flame, lass, bite thy cheek or tongue and spit forth some blood as ye incant -- but be aware that the spell will then . . .”
I could of course go on with examples like this forever. The best teachers let students try the castings themselves, over and over, until they’ve got it right -- and let them make their own mistakes so the lessons learned really stick, too. For more fun of this sort, if you have access to The Best of the Realms Volume 1 paperback, or the original Realms of Valor, read my tale Elminster At The Magefair (just to see the crowd chatter at the Magefair).
And yes, The Hooded One warms my heart, too (no, she’s not my wife, folks, and I just said “heart,” not anything else. :} I can see her sticking her tongue out at me right now, straight through this Internet connection.)

Hi, Elfinblade (okay: Stig). As King Haedrak III, Lhaeo is currently ruling Tethyr (with his wife, Queen-Monarch Zaranda Star Rhindaun. However, if you visit Shadowdale today, you’ll find the same scribe, cook, and house-servant in Elminster’s Tower that the Old Mage has had for decades: the effeminate rose-grower and master-of-all-egg-based-cuisine Lhaeo. For details of who’s wearing that shape right now, check my Realmslore columns on the WotC website (probably not before this fall). Yes, Kuje31, you’ve got it right. :}
As to the ages of some infamous Realms characters: well, as SiriusBlack has just posted, they are ALL older than we’d think they are, except Lhaeo (who actually appeared a trifle older than his true age when in his Lhaeo guise). Many of them (the Chosen, including Elminster, Khelben, and the Seven) are practically immortal due to Mystra’s silver fire, and look to be whatever age they choose to (Elminster and Khelben tend to look like vigorous sixty-ish guys these days, El a little whiter-haired and thus older than the Blackstaff, and the gals a sort of lush late-thirties-threshold-of-forty-can’t-tell-and-too-dang-beautiful-to-matter-anyway). Haedrak (Lhaeo) looks to be in about the same age range as the Seven. Halaster looks like an old man (late sixties, early seventies) but very vigorous, and he, too, is maintained by enchantments. Mirt has imbibed many potions of longevity down the years, and looks like a fat, heavily-muscled but wheezing and lurching sixty-ish man (no longer quite as vigorous as he likes to think he is). The true ages of all these folk (except Lhaeo) are much greater, but the precise measure of their days really doesn’t matter: it’s how old they appear to be when you meet them/see them do things, and how old “everyone” thinks they are.

So saith Ed. And now, as requested, the Hooded One will reveal a little more (after all, Adrian, your heart’s going to need ongoing warming and not a single short, fiery blast, right? :}):
Picture an snowbound winter evening in Toronto: a blizzard, but warmish and therefore the Christmas-postcard snow is wet and slithery. It takes us hours to arrive at Ed’s, where Jen has hot chocolate (and gently warmed Bailey’s) waiting, along with little tart-sized warm quiches. We sink gratefully into the various armchairs around Ed’s vast living room of the time, and chat wearily. Play takes a long time to get going, as various of us straggle in, so Ed starts us off on a warmer-than-usual winter morning in the Twisted Tower, as the Knights awaken and wander into the morning room in their robes [ = housecoats/bathrobes/whatever you call them locally ], where the servants have laid a breakfast (on the hob, in covered platters) and withdrawn. We dine and chat, discussing what we Knights should do next (and Jenny, bless her, quietly brings in bacon and sausages and waffles to make the illusion stronger).
When we’re all assembled (and fortified with food), a six-foot-tall, nude, covered-with-strange-tattoos bronze-skinned woman we’ve never seen before bursts into the room, swearing, with guards pounding along after her. She vaults over and around us, snarling that she’s Mourngrym, gods spit on all, and will we stop Tharth and Brengur here from gutting her?
So we do, ordering them out and barring the doors while we interrogate the lass (and she wolfs down food like . . . well, like a starving Mourngrym). She tells us she’s Mourngrym, she has no idea how her body got like this, but just woke up like this in a bed that didn’t have Shaerl in it -- and promptly startled a servant who cried for the guards who went for her -- and so here she/he is, and will we PLEASE get to the bottom of this? Who did this, how, and WHY? But, she added (and this is what convinced us that it was Mourngrym, before any spellcasting or “What’s the name of the guardsman Horl’s pet frog?” questions were necessary), this MUST be a diversion (otherwise, why do it?) or a magic worked by someone needing to borrow HIS likeness, so we must be alert for mischief afoot in the dale or involving the Amcathras or perhaps diplomacy with Cormyr or the Zhents or other dales. And so we were off on another puzzling adventure, all of our cold and weariness forgotten, running around Shadowdale on the bright, warm morning of a sudden winter thaw . . .
Just another little bit of Ed magic. And the reason for the tattoos was REALLY interesting.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  21:50:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Alaundo, the two posts I just made here for Ed display on my machine as "running off the right margin into darkness," losing the last bits of every line. Is this the same for everyone? And if so, do you need me to repost? (And if I do, how can I avoid messing up again?) I'm running an iMac with Internet Explorer 5-5.
Love,
The Hooded One
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  22:00:04  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, Ed’s reply to Foxhelm:

Hi, Foxhelm. Yes, I’ve had many covert invasions (by relatively small forces) of isolated backland areas of Faerun (through gates/portals from alternate Prime Material Planes). I’ve had the Malaugrym meddling, and even a few other shapechanging, from-elsewhere forces trying the bold “Let’s infiltrate the palace and take over this kingdom from the top!” (One of them, in a certain Sembian city a little more than a century ago, succeeded -- and no, I’m not going to tell you which one. :} Amn and Tethyr have also been successfully hit.)
Helmed horrors are as close as I got to robots in the Realms (the 3rd Edition origins for them have been twisted somewhat, obscuring this), although Paul Jacquays did put Radoc and other ‘aliens with advanced technology’ into the Realms when he did FR5 The Savage Frontier (atop the Starmounts in the center of The High Forest). And Netheril, various elves (see Drow of the Underdark), and several elder/fallen lands achieved robotic technology good enough to fashion deft, complex functional replacement metal limbs (warriors could even get latch-on blades, axe-blades, picks, and the like to swap for their hands).
For the most part, I’m uncomfortable with the ‘flavour’ that such technology brings to play, but as long as it’s kept rare and therefore awe-inspiring, it has worked as a ‘spice’ for play.
I’m not sure what you mean by “Abserve”? Absurd? If you can take another stab at this, I’ll certainly try to answer. Sorry.
I, too, am a fan of Finder; I find him Jeff and Kate’s most intriguing character (whereas Giogi is the most fun character). Now, as to empowering demigods -- well, you’d be letting loose a lot of relatively immature (hey, the way we’ve ended up depicting the lesser and greater deities in print makes most of them very immature, too) superheroes to wreak havoc. My “what would happen” answer depends on the answers to some other questions:
Would priests of everyone but the demigods lose their spells?
If Mystra (and Shar) lose all of their powers, are the Weave and Anti-Weave destroyed/collapsed/left untended? In other words, do spells still work for anyone? Is wild magic raging chaotic and uncontrolled across the world, beyond the control or influence of anyone? Would creatures with innate magic die in agony, burned out or torn apart from within? Would any being with spells memorized at the time suffer the same fate, or just go insane? Or would they, too, randomly gain initially-uncontrolled (and perhaps temporary) “superpowers”?
None of us can properly answer these questions, in ways that apply to everyone (all campaigns that use the Realms). As I’ve participated in many of them, I can reveal that both freelancers and TSR/WotC staffers debate the “true” nature of the FR gods frequently, and that one of the reasons fan arguments about the gods are largely useless except as entertainment for all involved (ahem, like the Eilistraee/Vhaeraun discussions that proceed sporadically here in Candlekeep) is that we still haven’t published some important things about the gods (in other words, the views and understandings of them held by all readers of Realms material are limited and therefore almost certainly incorrect or only partially correct). Which is a long way of saying that the tendency of gods, priests, lore-books, sages, and those who report the Realms to us (such as Elminster) to lie, distort, omit, or just pass on their own ignorance to us gives “wiggle room” to every DM to answer the blizzard of questions I posed above any way they like.
What I personally would do, if that happened, was keep the Weave operating and Mystra “alive and functioning,” transform her Chosen into killers intent on eliminating all demigods (if necessary, by manipulating demigods into small cabals and alliances and driving them to make war on each other), strip priests of all spells and add a slowly-increasing-chances wild magic element to all spells cast (except discharges of simple magic effects [“simple” being fireballs or lightning bolts, whereas mind-reading, identification, mending, or suchlike would be deemed “complex”] stored in items, and with the Chosen of Mystra and the demigods having a smaller tendency to succumb to wild magic), and have creatures of magical natures (liches and so on) start to quickly decay (and therefore become desperate). Portals (to other worlds and planes, NOT those just linking places in Faerun to other places in Faerun) would become areas of magical stability as well as escape routes from the Realms, beings with psionic powers would acquire growing influence and importance as magic crashed and burned, and Mystra would put all of her remaining strength and power into holding the Weave together (so castles held up by magic would start to fall, magic items not deemed artifacts would slowly lose their efficacy, and so on).
Bear in mind that you’d be changing the Realms markedly, because the fangs and claws of big monsters, and the number of swords a commander can bring into battle, would rise to rule in a way magic had hitherto balanced against.
The end result, of course, would depend on what happened, in the longer run, to the demigods and the Weave. I’d expect they’d tame their powers to become new lesser gods, resident in Toril, and the Weave would eventually stabilize, but one thing is for darned sure: for the common man or even for the intrepid adventurer, it would NOT be a fun time to live through.


So saith Ed. Your Hooded One will return soon with his next replies.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  22:03:00  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well met, fellow lovers of the Realms. The Hooded One, relaying Ed’s latest replies:

Hi, Alex. Your English is just fine. As for your questions, well, the best way to use Realmslore in a game is whatever way works best with your players. Some folks want to play the game “out of character,” discussing and consulting rules openly. Some love maps and using miniature figures, and some prefer to ‘do it all in their heads.’
For MY players, I act out the dialogue of all NPCs ‘to the hilt,’ and PCs can question them or try to eavesdrop on them. If you treat the Realms as real, and let the players determine the speed of play and where their characters go, it’s up to them how they gain information. Let them (‘in character’ ) discuss what they’ve heard or learned, and where they’ll go and what they’ll try to do next (the “council-of-war”). Then, when they learn things, it all seems real.
I don’t have any good way, with my primitive e-mail, Net connection, lack of website, and inability to post attachments here or anywhere, of showing props or handouts, but yes, I occasionally use them -- usually written letters, royal documents, or notes (and usually when PCs are snooping and trying to solve a mystery). I prepare drawings of runes and heraldic devices beforehand and hand these over in play. I also draw head-and-shoulders pictures of characters (NPCs) to display, and have an extensive library of books with illustrations of armor, medieval garb, old buildings, bridges, landscapes, and the like that I occasionally display during play. I say “occasionally” because my players are such good actors and ‘imaginers’ that they prefer not to slow down play by extensive use of such things (for instance, they only want to use figures if we’re doing a large setpiece battle, like defending Shadowdale against a Zhent attack). My job as a DM is to entertain my players (after all, I’m wasting hours of their lives with this game), so what they want is paramount.
I fully agree that landscape pictures are VERY useful, because for many players that’s the hardest thing to “get” in their minds, and the best way to establish a mood. The most effective way of doing this, of course, is always mentioning aloud a place that the DM and players have both been to, together (sunrise at a particular spot when camping, for example), but when you can’t do that, by all means use magazine photographs or pics you can glean from the Net (unless your players say they hate it; ask them at the end of the play session). Long ago, the Automobile Association in Britain published a grey binder full of cardstock ‘country walks’ (if someone reading this is familiar with it, please tell us all the real title; was it “Off The Beaten Path” or something like that?). These were small ‘leave your car, walk around for an afternoon, and circle back’ treks around a country neighbourhood, and each one was illustrated by a panoramic ‘from a few hundred feet up in the air, looking down’ painting of the route. They’d make MARVELLOUS rural-location play aids.
Here’s my attempt to help with your specific locales:
Trollmoors/Evermoors: the high, bleak moors of Scotland: lots of bare rock, scrub lichen, stunted shrubbery, frost, and clawingly cold wind, with small “winding crack” ravines holding more lush greenery. Ground-hugging junipers, “wandering star” ground cedars, and so on.
Northern Sword Coast around Luskan: Alaskan Panhandle, northern British Columbia coast (Prince Rupert), Queen Charlotte Islands
Moonwood: at the north end, the dark “all tall pine” forests of Scandinavia and the Rocky Mountains of Canada, and at the south end the dense, dark Black Forest as it used to be (just post-World-War-II, before acid rain thinned it out to today’s shadow of its former past).
Area around the Fork: Exmoor or Dartmoor (the barer parts, with little stands of trees but no human farming) in England
Transition between desert/moderate climate around Ascore: this is a cold desert area, and I’ve always seen it as resembling the high, rocky pleateau country in Tibet, running into (as one moves west, away from Ascore) the verges of a cold alpine forest
Nether Mountains: the tepuis (accent over the “i” that I can’t do on my e-mail, sorry) mountains of Venezuela (Angel Falls) on the southeastern flanks, but sharper peaks elsewhere in the Nether Range (like the crags cradling the hot springs of Waimangu in New Zealand)
Dalelands: yes, I’ve seen the nice Mueller artwork (thanks to Faraer and others directing me), and I see the dales as a cross between the Canadian Shield (with its bare rock outcrops, like the Old Skull, and temperate mixed forest dominated by maples, oaks, beeches, and elms) and the English farming countryside of the Cotswolds (the southern and western dales are surrounded by forests whose verges resemble the New Forest in England)
Moonsea: the eastern end resembles the fjords of Sweden and Norway, but the southern shore is more like Loch Ness in Scotland: farms and trees on relatively gentle (not high) banks. The northern western shore is more like Windermere, in the Lake District of England
Sundabar Valley: the most tamed (farmed) parts are like the rather bleak northern Yorkshire (mountain-cradled) dales of England, and the more rugged parts are like the river valleys in the Elburz Mountains of Iran (not the desert ones, but rather the wetter high alpine ones), while the various valleys to the north of Sundabar Vale, that stretch north past the Moonwood and Cold Wood, are like the Alaskan taiga
Rauvin and Dessarin Rivers: like the Mackenzie, Nahanni, and Yukon rivers of the Canadian Arctic
Spine of the World: the western face of the northern Rocky Mountains of Canada (a towering wall of cold, snowcapped bleak rock mountains, falling abruptly down into a rugged but pine-forest-cloaked landscape of finger lakes, cascades, bogs, and rock outcrops)

Hi, Adrian. Great? Well, I’m not so sure, but if you were a pretty lass I’d certainly pretend to be. :} As for the hours of fun, THAT’S great: the Realms is working!
As you inferred (see also a post by The Hooded One in the Chat forum of Candlekeep, under “Vancian magic?”) I often delve into the details of magical research, with spell inks, players jotting down observations like students taking notes, for later attempts to modify spells or create new ones (always easier to twist and modify an existing spell, BTW). When my players were in the mood for “full” roleplaying, they’d make up incantations (usually a nonsense “Abracadabra”-like word for a word of activation or the last/trigger word, preceded by a rhyming couplet (here’s the one for fireball, which has no last trigger word: “By tongue of bat and sulphur’s reek/And the mystic words I now do speak/Where I wish to strike my bane/Let empty air burst into -- FLAME!”).
And yes, wizards and apprentices have many ‘how to’ conversations (usually larded with advice: “The greatest wisdom, lad, lies in knowing when NOT to use this spell”) in my campaign. Most of them center around the dangers of using a particular spell effect in specific circumstances (when too near a moat or a low ceiling, for example) or how substituting alternative material components will change a spell’s effect (“If ye lack any means of making a flame, lass, bite thy cheek or tongue and spit forth some blood as ye incant -- but be aware that the spell will then . . .”
I could of course go on with examples like this forever. The best teachers let students try the castings themselves, over and over, until they’ve got it right -- and let them make their own mistakes so the lessons learned really stick, too. For more fun of this sort, if you have access to The Best of the Realms Volume 1 paperback, or the original Realms of Valor, read my tale Elminster At The Magefair (just to see the crowd chatter at the Magefair).
And yes, The Hooded One warms my heart, too (no, she’s not my wife, folks, and I just said “heart,” not anything else. :} I can see her sticking her tongue out at me right now, straight through this Internet connection.)

Hi, Elfinblade (okay: Stig). As King Haedrak III, Lhaeo is currently ruling Tethyr (with his wife, Queen-Monarch Zaranda Star Rhindaun. However, if you visit Shadowdale today, you’ll find the same scribe, cook, and house-servant in Elminster’s Tower that the Old Mage has had for decades: the effeminate rose-grower and master-of-all-egg-based-cuisine Lhaeo. For details of who’s wearing that shape right now, check my Realmslore columns on the WotC website (probably not before this fall). Yes, Kuje31, you’ve got it right. :}
As to the ages of some infamous Realms characters: well, as SiriusBlack has just posted, they are ALL older than we’d think they are, except Lhaeo (who actually appeared a trifle older than his true age when in his Lhaeo guise). Many of them (the Chosen, including Elminster, Khelben, and the Seven) are practically immortal due to Mystra’s silver fire, and look to be whatever age they choose to (Elminster and Khelben tend to look like vigorous sixty-ish guys these days, El a little whiter-haired and thus older than the Blackstaff, and the gals a sort of lush late-thirties-threshold-of-forty-can’t-tell-and-too-dang-beautiful-to-matter-anyway). Haedrak (Lhaeo) looks to be in about the same age range as the Seven. Halaster looks like an old man (late sixties, early seventies) but very vigorous, and he, too, is maintained by enchantments. Mirt has imbibed many potions of longevity down the years, and looks like a fat, heavily-muscled but wheezing and lurching sixty-ish man (no longer quite as vigorous as he likes to think he is). The true ages of all these folk (except Lhaeo) are much greater, but the precise measure of their days really doesn’t matter: it’s how old they appear to be when you meet them/see them do things, and how old “everyone” thinks they are.

So saith Ed. And now, as requested, the Hooded One will reveal a little more (after all, Adrian, your heart’s going to need ongoing warming and not a single short, fiery blast, right? :}):
Picture an snowbound winter evening in Toronto: a blizzard, but warmish and therefore the Christmas-postcard snow is wet and slithery. It takes us hours to arrive at Ed’s, where Jen has hot chocolate (and gently warmed Bailey’s) waiting, along with little tart-sized warm quiches. We sink gratefully into the various armchairs around Ed’s vast living room of the time, and chat wearily. Play takes a long time to get going, as various of us straggle in, so Ed starts us off on a warmer-than-usual winter morning in the Twisted Tower, as the Knights awaken and wander into the morning room in their robes [ = housecoats/bathrobes/whatever you call them locally ], where the servants have laid a breakfast (on the hob, in covered platters) and withdrawn. We dine and chat, discussing what we Knights should do next (and Jenny, bless her, quietly brings in bacon and sausages and waffles to make the illusion stronger).
When we’re all assembled (and fortified with food), a six-foot-tall, nude, covered-with-strange-tattoos bronze-skinned woman we’ve never seen before bursts into the room, swearing, with guards pounding along after her. She vaults over and around us, snarling that she’s Mourngrym, gods spit on all, and will we stop Tharth and Brengur here from gutting her?
So we do, ordering them out and barring the doors while we interrogate the lass (and she wolfs down food like . . . well, like a starving Mourngrym). She tells us she’s Mourngrym, she has no idea how her body got like this, but just woke up like this in a bed that didn’t have Shaerl in it -- and promptly startled a servant who cried for the guards who went for her -- and so here she/he is, and will we PLEASE get to the bottom of this? Who did this, how, and WHY? But, she added (and this is what convinced us that it was Mourngrym, before any spellcasting or “What’s the name of the guardsman Horl’s pet frog?” questions were necessary), this MUST be a diversion (otherwise, why do it?) or a magic worked by someone needing to borrow HIS likeness, so we must be alert for mischief afoot in the dale or involving the Amcathras or perhaps diplomacy with Cormyr or the Zhents or other dales. And so we were off on another puzzling adventure, all of our cold and weariness forgotten, running around Shadowdale on the bright, warm morning of a sudden winter thaw . . .
Just another little bit of Ed magic. And the reason for the tattoos was REALLY interesting.
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
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Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  23:13:43  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Alaundo, the two posts I just made here for Ed display on my machine as "running off the right margin into darkness," losing the last bits of every line. Is this the same for everyone? And if so, do you need me to repost? (And if I do, how can I avoid messing up again?) I'm running an iMac with Internet Explorer 5-5.
Love,
The Hooded One



Well met

Hmmmmm, your entries look fine to me, Hooded One and I have viewed this on a couple of locations using different methods. If anyone else if experiencing the problems mentioned by The Hooded One then please let me know. Ill try to see if I can reproduce the problem and provide a solution. I can only take a guess that the length of the posts may have something to do with it....... of course, its the length (and content) of the posts that make them so amazing, so dont let that put you off Ed\Hooded One

Alaundo
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An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
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Kuje
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USA
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Posted - 11 Mar 2004 :  23:44:17  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

quote:
Lhaeo is mentioned in the FRCS and also the Lands of Intrigue box set, which is where he was finally crowned as the king of Tethyr. However, there is still the illusion of Lhaeo in El's tower but it's actually a female apprentice of El's that he made look like the old Lhaeo.


Really? wow, that is awesome, if it is the case.. do you mean the old grey boxed set FRCS? or the new 3rd edition book? oh i hope old mister greenwood can sort this out for us.. nothing better that right from the source right?



The FRCS is the main 3e FR sourcebook. :) Also if you didn't know WOTC has the Lands of Intrigue box set for free download on the link below.

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/downloads

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

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

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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  01:17:59  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
some MORE questions for Ed

1) What can you tell us about the Dragon egg trade in the town of Glen in Mistledale? It seems rather odd that this town has not been subjected to a Dragon rage or at least raids by the cult of the Dragon who would be rather keen on obtaining Dragon eggs

2)Regarding yours and Elaines "Waterdeep" novel have you decided on what the novel will be called (I assume your not going to call it Waterdeep a theres already a novel with that name)

3) Also other than the Demon Lord Eltab and our old friend Tyranthraxus from pool of Radiance are there other Arch devils/Demon Lords are specfic to the FR

4) Do you intend "restoring" some of the realms NPCs back to there 1ed flavour? For example 1ed Elminster had psionics which where removed when the setting was updated to 2ed. Also will you be giving Mourngrym Amcathra and Caladorn levels in the Cavalier PrC when you eventually stat them out?

5) Any word on what the "Risen cult of Bane" is up to in 1373? and how do they fit into the Zhents/Church of Bane?

Thanks in advance

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
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Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  02:00:36  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message
A quick questions.

In Races of Faerun, it mentions that some Aasimar turn to evil and follow Shar and Set (Who tries to convert them to evil.) I'm curious to other dark gods evil Aasimar are attracted to?

Plus what gods would good Tieflings follow? (I can see many of them following Lathander and Selune, and a growing collection of them following Finder as his life/accension is an example of redemption. But who else?)

Also, I love the Finder's Stone Trilogy. But I was thinking of the potential of the Alias vessels hasn't been used to the max. Do you think there will be an adventure or novel that will explore that idea? Is their stats gieven anywhere other than the Web Erretra of 3 ed Faerun monsters that is on the net?

Also would an Alias vessel copy of a spellfire user be able to use spellfire?

Just curious.

Thank you very much.

Ed Greenwood! The Solution... and Cause of all the Realms Problems!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  02:17:38  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Thanks, Alaundo. I’m relieved. My display problems I can live with; I was just afraid I wasn’t getting Ed’s words to everyone intact. :}
Speaking of which:

Elfinblade, is the Lhaeo info okay?
Lashan, I’m curious about ancient treasures or ruins in the Vast, too. :}
The Earthspur Mountains, along the eastern boundary of the Vast, are riddled with caverns: natural, orc-hewn, and dwarf-made. These days, the dwarves are almost entirely gone (and their treasures with them), and the orcs dwell in those many, many caves and passages. The individual tunnels and chambers may be small, but I’d judge their combined space, with all levels added together, to be easily equal to the surface area of the Vast. (Mount Grimmerfang is one of the more northerly Earthspur peaks, and almost certainly not one of those “on the edge” of the open Vast.) There could be any amount of orc treasures scattered throughout this vast orc kingdom, but orcs aren’t much for baubles. They often use gold coins as lures for humans (so trails of spilled coins and the occasional merchant’s chest of wares can sometimes be found in caverns easily accessible from the Vast, but such finds are always guarded by orcs who can roll or rain boulders down on humans who come looking -- after all, a hungry orc doesn’t mind a meal of tenderized meat).
In my opinion, most riches of Rolidar would long ago have been carried away by the retreating dwarves, and most dwarf holds and tombs of any sort long since broken open and plundered by orcs. An orc would covet a good weapon (of a sturdy sort like a sword), so finely-made or magical blades may well be carried by orc chieftans and war-leaders in the Earthspurs. However, I’d not expect to find enough treasure in the entire range to make the risk of battling through thousands upon thousands of orcs worth it.
As for dwarf holds, I know that a few small family holds (defensible clusters of caverns, with roll-rock doors and entry traps) are still (sparsely) inhabited in the Earthfast Mountains (where the might of the orcs has been broken, and surviving tuskers are few and scattered). Most of these dwarf-holds are self-sufficient, and have little directly to do with humans (individual dwarves sometimes make long treks to surface-connected caverns to go trading in Tsurlagol or Priapurl, but they take care not to be tracked back to their holds). I’d say most such holds have total populations of not much more than 70, of 4 families at most.
Certain intrepid dwarves do travel from hold to hold, trading medicines and carrying news. Elminster has given me two names of such ‘farfarer’ dwarves: Ethskrin ‘Stonebrow’ Shiverstone (a merry, reckless, agile sort “who acts almost like a halfling taken with drink!”) and Maurhoun Sunderfist (a short, stout, magnificently black-bearded down to his toes grim traveler who forgets nothing, and can draw detailed maps from memory).
There are much larger dwarf-holds well to the east, in Impiltur, but they’d not come to the rescue of any Earthfast hold that suffered attack, or even trade regularly with each other.
A few of the Earthfast holds have veins of gemstone that they mine from time to time when they need wealth to sell (typically taking ship in Tsurlagol for Sembia, to unload the gems there for coin to buy boots, raw leather, textiles, preserved foods, and books -- yes, books: it seems many dwarves are avid readers of romantic and humorous human sagas (of the sort that are all the rage among young men and women of wealth and much leisure time, in Cormyr and especially Sembia).
As for the city-states, Calaunt and Tantras have sparred (little skirmishes in the farmlands between them, nothing larger) many times (the reason their road-patrols were started was to give warning of each other), but --since the current regime took over in Calaunt -- settled into a wary state of ignoring each other. One gets rich faster that way than by hacking at one’s neighbour every night. :}
Calaunt’s current rulership took power by poisonings and stabbings in the night among the self-styled lords of that city, until the present incumbent (and the evil mages who back him, making his rule supreme) could openly take control. The folk of Tantras, a wealthy and bustlingly prosperous lot, were busy at the time squabbling over whether or not the Church of Torm should be allowed so much power and influence over the city (a bloodless struggle that the Tormites eventually won, but not before some of the most unscrupulous coin-chasing Tantrans [“Let there be no laws that stand in the way of the coins that are rightfully mine! If I’d wanted to live under the yoke of Torm, I’d have gone to live in a temple of Torm -- let that temple not come to me, and raise its hand over MY city walls, and declare all that is free and Tantran to henceforth bow to the writ of Torm! This is no one-god city!”] had decided to relocate to Scardale or Sembia).

So saith Ed. Ye Hooded One, saying nighty-night for now.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  02:24:41  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Dargoth, Ed answered your first three questions (sort of :}) partway through his reply that I posted on March 10th [on page 7 of this thread]. I'll send the other two on to him, though. :}
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  02:58:22  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Dargoth, Ed answered your first three questions (sort of :}) partway through his reply that I posted on March 10th [on page 7 of this thread]. I'll send the other two on to him, though. :}



damn he did to, i missed it

*suspects Glen will appear in Richard Byers Dragon series or maybe Serpent Kingdoms*

Well Ed youve just made my brothers day.

Hes playing a Dwarf Ranger/Druid from Glen and Ive just shown him Glens entry in Volos guide to the Dalelands. I informed him that if he comes up with enough money and takes the Dragon cohort feat then Ill let him have a Dragon cohort when he reaches 9th level

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 12 Mar 2004 03:40:24
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  03:37:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. The Hooded One posts among you again, to whit the words of Old Ed:

Hi, Dargoth. Well, as to “restoring” 1st Edition flavour to the Realms, giving Mourngrym and Caladorn cavalier levels, and so on: WotC controls the Realms, not me, so I’ve no direct say in what products will be published, what the topics or content of those products will be, and what exact words will end up in them (even if I write all or a lot of it, design text goes through a development team = rules rationalizers, and then editors), so I simply can’t do things like that, whether I want to or not.
What I CAN do (again, through two levels of editors) is post Realmslore columns on the website, “filling in” gaps in the hitherto published Realms -- and there are still so many gaps to be filled that I haven’t the time to go back over what’s already been published trying to ‘fix’ it. After all, my fix would just be my opinion, and the Realms isn’t my world any more: it’s OUR world.
Ah, the Risen Cult of Bane. Scattered from their base in the Moonshaes to several small underground ‘congregations’ in Amn, Tethyr, Scornubel, and Iriaebor, they have become the zealous ‘police of the faithful of Bane,’ rooting corruption and lax worship among the clergy of the restored god. There are rumors that Bane has personally given some of them highly secret missions -- and even new powers and forms (bodies) with which to carry out those tasks . . . but what those tasks and semblances are, or if this is more than mere hearsay, current clack across Faerun is unsure.

Foxhelm, beings in Faerun worship many gods: as a rule, only zealots and clergy venerate just one deity. In other words, a farmer will mainly reverence Chauntea, but also pray to appease Talos (to keep crop-damaging storms away or at least few and light), Malar (to keep beasts from attacking him or his folk in the fields, and to send vermin elsewhere), and so on. So tieflings and aasimar can turn to worship many gods (the rules entries tell you what large numbers of them do, and what god they are most likely to worship). If you want to have a tiefling who worships Clanggedin of the dwarves or Ilmater, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that -- so long as the background story of the character makes sense, and the player can portray the character properly in light of it (it’s no fun at all playing a self-tortured, conflicted, confused creature torn by clashing loyalties and natures, unless that’s what the player WANTS to do).
Although I know that Jeff and Kate do still have some Alias-related ideas in the backs of their minds that they’d like to explore, some day (because they’ve said so), I don’t think there are any current plans to use Alias vessels in fiction or game material (but then again, as I just told Dargoth, I don’t control the Realms or run WotC, either, so if one was being written right now I wouldn’t know :}). In my opinion -- and it’s just my opinion; Skip Williams did the latest revamp of spellfire, so he’d be the real expert on this -- an Alias vessel copy wouldn’t be able to wield spellfire, and if somehow magically ‘given’ spellfire, wouldn’t survive for long (the body would start to crumble under the strain, ‘melting’ into blobby bonelessness and wisps of smoke).

So saith Ed. The Hooded One signing off, but only after adding (for Adrian): the tattoos were all spell foci, of course, but unlike those worn by Alias, had nothing to do with powers Mourngrym’s transformed body could use. Rather, his body was the ‘storage center’ for dozens of spells cast on other beings, who were engaged in murdering a family in Sembia, led by someone who was -- of course -- wearing Mourngrym’s likeness and claiming to BE Mourngrym. A Zhent was behind this, of course; it was his intention both to enrich himself by taking the wealth of the murdered merchant family, and to cause Sembians seeking to avenge the loss of their investments to mount an attack on Shadowdale, destroying it or weakening it so much that the Zhents could easily conquer it.
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Prince Forge of Avalon
Learned Scribe

USA
117 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  08:43:04  Show Profile  Visit Prince Forge of Avalon's Homepage Send Prince Forge of Avalon a Private Message
Dear Friends,
This is my first time at this fabled Keep of Lore, I've heard from another great sage ( Mr. Richard Baker) that certain great personages sometimes visit here, and though he was unable to anwser my query, perhabs someone her might be able to help with my research.
My question Araumycos- Who or what is it? Is it sentient?
What does it guard? Why do the gods of Toril never speak of it?Does it guard anything? Why are the shades intrested in what it covers?

Ive taken the time to read the FRCS pg 211, the Underdark pg 126, but all that does it hint at something else, any help would be greatly appreciated. My thanks to all.
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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  14:48:57  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
Got another one for you, Ed. Hypothetical...

Given the current structure of the Zhentarim, @ 1370, what would be the likely reaction to one end of the Anauroch trade route being seriously disrupted in a way that they could not quickly overturn? By this I mean either Dagger Falls being retaken by Randall Morn with good local support or Llorkh being taken by a powerful force allied to the Lords' Alliance and Harpers. In this scenario, assume that taking back the lost territory is not viable for the Zhents in the near term and they are forced to explore other options to re-link their trade route across Anauroch.

As you would play it, what are their first three choices as alternate routes or trade scenarios?

Hooded One: Thanks for the glimpse at a "snowbound winter evening in Toronto". You put a great big grin on my face... ;)

-KN
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2004 :  16:32:10  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
The Hooded One here once more, carrying the words of Ed:

Prince Forge, well met! Your question concerns one of the great mysteries of Faerun -- and one, I’m afraid, that must remain largely mysterious. Eric Boyd may well be the sage who knows the most about Araumycos. All I could get out of Elminster is this:
“Araumycos is alive and sentient, but does not think as we do. It is magically bonded both to The High Forest above it and to the Weave which it in part anchors. The strong innate magic of that spot both feeds it and was the lure for those things it guards, simply by smothering them in its own body: the abandoned domiciles of ancient, now-vanished beings of several races who desired to master magic. Think of it as unslayable, un-conquerable -- and best left alone. There ARE a multitude of far easier foes and treasures in Faerun, awaiting even the most stubbornly foolish adventurers.”
Hmmm. Sounds like a ‘pay no attention to what’s behind THAT curtain’ warning to me . . .

Ed’s words end, for a moment. I’ve decided to split his answers by questioner, in case the overlong posts are the cause of display problems for others besides me. Your Hooded One will be right back.
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