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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3296 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2014 :  15:51:16  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well as modelled on the designers of past products i like to leave most things vague so that people can make up their own minds.

Regarding the alignment and slavery thing. i tend not to dwell on it too much since our modern interpretation of morals does not apply to the medieval world that faerun is based upon, and furthermore alignment in D&D tends to be imperfectly implemented.

I personally tend to view it from the stance of the society themselves. The Mulhorandi regard themselves as good people and their gods as good gods. Therefore Horus-Re is of good alignment and for the most part he is (a bit zealous perhaps). Set would readily admit he is an evil backstabbing scumbag, and the Red Wizards of Thay probably recognise they have the morals of a serial killer.

Slavery in Mulhorand is not particularly harsh for the most part. It seems more like the slavery of ancient Rome where some slaves are of course worked to death (probably criminals) but others could have better lives than that of a free man in the Dalelands.

Anyways i'll leave the question unanswered because i doubt im qualified to answer it other than my personal opinion above.



As for the Dragon Queen and the Dark Lady. I may not have stated it quite so obvious in the issues but Tiamat the Dragon Queen and Tiamat the Dark Lady were two entirely different beings.

Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the 5 headed monster we all know and love. She is a god of the draconic pantheon and has been around for tens of thousands of years.

Tiamat the Dark Lady was a human sorceress/goddess that was a member of the Sumerian/Babylonian pantheon and travelled to Toril with the other gods that eventually became the Untheric pantheon. Tiamat the Dark Lady had a penchant for taking the form of a 3 headed dragon (red, green, and blue).

Despite the fact that the two goddesses had the same name (different titles) they were totally separate deities in totally separate pantheons with totally separate portfolios. I envisaged Tiamat the Dark Lady as having the portfolios of Rebellion, Chaos, Anarchy, etc.


It was an easy thing for Tiamat the Dragon Queen to take over the worship of Tiamat the Dark Lady. She just started answering the prayers of the Dark Lady's faithful and no one was any the wiser (same name, both like dragons and take dragon form, so who would know or care if they are different). The high priest of the Church of the Dark Lady (Tiglath) however has noticed her god's sudden shift towards evil, rather than being focused upon rebellion (Tiamat the Dark Lady was probably CN).

Now Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the sole being and Tiamat the Dark Lady exists only as an avatar of that god. I personally play avatars as free willed constructs that have to act within the portfolio of the god but are otherwise their own beings (makes it more interesting and allows for a god's return after being absorbed by another).

I hope to solidify the rules on deities in a later issue which should support the was in which i portray the gods for my version of FR (based on the immortals boxed set - thankyou Arcanamach for that pointer).

Now onto Typhon and Set. One major criticism of the Mulhorandi pantheon that everyone has is they are too much like the real world egyptian pantheon so i was attempting to create reasons for why they are as they are but without it being related to the real world.

The animal heads is one such glaring real world comparison and i was stumped to explain it until i came across a stray history entry that described beast cults arriving in Mulhorand and Bast subsuming one and becoming more cat like in personality.

So i decided that the absorption of deities had a physical effect as well. Mulhorandi deities do not tolerate people within their borders openly worshipping other gods (its in the sourcebooks somewhere) so they would have tried to convert these beast cultists. While the cult icons are still alive that would not work, but once the icons are destroyed and subsumed into the Mulhorandi gods themselves it would be possible.

However if some random foreign priest comes up to you and says "my god is your god" you would scoff and tell him to stick it because your god is a massive hawk and his is some human looking guy. If however the mulhorandi gods take on the physical aspects of the beast cult icons then it is more likely to have some success in converting the cultists. So wearing animal helmets/head dresses seemed like an appropriate idea.

Then that moved me on to Set and his strange physical characterists (scales, jackal head, skin as black as night) so i figured Set killed a number of powerful beings and absorbed them into himself. I had the name of the Skriaxit (some kind of powerful being of darkness unleashed by the Imaskari no doubt) but i didnt have a name for the jackal god and when i looked under Set it had the name Typhon, so i picked that one.

That Typhon is an alias of Pazuzu may or may not connect the two (i didnt know of his alias until know).

If however i was to try and connect them it could go one of two ways.

1 - Typhon was indead an aspect of Pazuzu. Pazuzu probably killed the original typhon long ago and sent that aspect to Toril as a replacement and to gain worship. Set then killed Typhon and there we have it.

2 - Typhon was some kind of primordial creature that once roamed the lands of Raurin and when the Imaskari arrived he moved into the Hordelands Basin along with many other primordials (who later became the beast cults mentioned in the history snippet i found). For whatever reason those beast cults moved into Mulhorand and Set killed Typhon and absorbed his power trying to steal his worshippers. Set was not particularly successful and a number of beast worshippers moved on past Mulhorand (spreading across Faerun). Those cultists of Typhon outside of Mulhorand are being catered to by Pazuzu while those within Mulhorand are catered to by Set.


There are many ways to play it, and i intended that the absorption of the beast cults changed the personalities of the gods themselves so whatever they are know is not what they once were.



I imagined in the distant past that gods were not so common and primordials existed in greater number. Primordials are really just unique beings of greater power than normal beings (that doesnt mean they are super powerful titans of destruction - just a jackal that is as big as a bear and can manifest a few magic abilities for instance). These primordials naturally attract worshippers (people worship beings of power as gods) but not enough worship to make them gods, so they wander the planet with their cultists. I think in early realms products Ed Greenwood referred to them as quasi deities, and i try to stick to that idea.

The Turami strike me as an ancient people much like the Talfir people of western Faerun. They were certainly outcompeted by all the other racial groups of humans in Faerun but i often wonder what they would be like. That they are ancient and there before all other humans leads me to believe that they probably worshipped the most ancient of gods (like Shar) and using that angle i tried to work in a corruption of the Mulan people (multiple references to darkness and shadows).

Anyway i hope i answered your questions. If not then by all means ask away. Im glad you are reading it and enjoying it. I think i am nearly done with the old empires. Issue 6 should include the last of the developments for that region (including a new organisation - i bet no one can guess which one but it is mentioned in the Old Empires sourcebook).


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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
497 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  08:26:10  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, a very well thought out explanation about Typhon, Set and Pazuzu, but I think that Pazuzu might be still connected to Set's corruption. Set in mythology was a good/neutral deity, that got demonized. In fact, he was originally defender of Ra. And Pazuzu is a known corrupter, even having corrupted Asmodeus from a Celestial to the King of Hell in 4e.

Interesting that you made Tiamat completely separate from her Mesopotamian/Untheric counterpart, as most d&d sources(and Pathfinder) suggest their the same being. Apsu and Kingu are even listed among the Polychromatic Dragons lovers. An-Ur, The Wandering Death, the Dragon Queen's firstborn, is also connected through his name to Mesopotamian mythology. I even have him in my homebrew as the same being as Anshar. Anshar is once referred as Tiamat grandchild, but other times as directly her son, so I went with the latter.

I'm not sure if thinking you are good, makes you good, even when dealing with abstract beings like gods. Zarus, described in described in Races of Destiny, think of himself probably as good or at least neutral, seeing his description, and of his believers, but is listed as Lawful Evil. Anhur is especially questionable case to me, as he sees a hole in a holy non aggression pact between Mulholand and Unther, in order to invade the latter. He done that, despite taking the role/alias/aspect of Ramman, so should be also a protector of Untheri now. He also took Ramman';s divine powers in a rather shady was, stealing them from a weakened Hoar that defeated Ramman. By the personal feud, Assuran/Hoar being previously exiled from Unther by Ramman, and the fact that Assuran/Hoar defeated the Thunder god, give a better claim on the portfolio to the Doombringer, rather than Anhur. It's even hard to see Anhur as a good deity, when compared to for example Hoar, whose LN, as the General of the Gods of gods actions are pretty evil when you think about it, in both modern, and ancient(more close to honor) definitions of morality/goodness.

Edited by - Baltas on 22 Aug 2014 08:31:36
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3296 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  09:17:02  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And Tyr's tireless devotion to law which results in slavery or execution is any better.

Mystras support of evil magic users who experiment on people is a good act.

Like i said the alignment system is imperfect in D&D so i tend to skip around it. If the society as a whole judges the act to be good then that is enough for me.

In our own society we promote a celebrity lifestyle as something to aspire to and yet it involves drugs, debauchery, selfishness, and greed. In fact the entirety of capitalism is based around greed which is fast becoming a virtue of most people and must therefore be deemed good (if i were to speak out about capitalism i might be accused of communism or terrorism).

In other cultures they do things that we would deem evil, and we probably do things they would deem evil (our treatment of old people is particularly questionable).

So again if the society of Mulhorand as a whole regard their deity as a good deity then im fine keeping it as a good deity. The Mulhorandi believe in the greatness of Mulhorand, they dont think slavery is evil, and they seem happy with their harsh laws (especially against foreigners). The people of Mulhorand dont seem to have ever rebelled (outlying conquered provinces excluded) so one can conclude they like things how they are.

Contrast that with Thay and the majority of people actively hate their Red Wizard overlords and think they are evil grasping scum. Even in the Moonsea regions the people there (who are somewhat greedy and backstabbing themselve) dont like the people in charge and none of them would trust their life to Bane.

Rashemen is a particularly harsh land controlled by a secret police of sorts who execute people for discovering any information about them or disobeying orders. And yet that is not considered evil, in fact the people that live in Rashemen rather like their secret police state because they protect them from an even greater evil to the south (Thay).




With regards to Set's corruption. I only concentrate on Forgotten Realms lore. Real world comparisons and history are not my forte or of interest. I steer away from the real world history because myth and legends are just that. So when it comes to ancient Faerun lore i start from the moment they enter Faerun - everything before that doesnt matter (and as Ed pointed out in a recent scroll the Tyr on Faerun is not the Tyr from earth, the names might be the same but the connection ends there - he merely used real world counterparts as inspiration for his gods).

So Set i pictured as a god of evil magic, but that didnt make him the evil destroyer he is now, he just concentrated on magic that the Mulhorandi disapproved of (necromancy, mind control, etc).
His actual corruption i have begin with the sarrukh, but i'll leave the details for issue V.
Since the history of Mulhorand was so sparse the first confirmed action i have of him is shortly after the orcgate wars when he kills his brother (quite an evil act).
However in a text about the Orcgate Wars it mentioned that the Divine Precept of the province of priador was mysteriously absent when the orcgate portal was opened.
It didnt name the precept but i knew it was a god (they were in mortal form then) and could imagine someone evil and dastardly opening it and doing a runner. The only evil and dastardly villain we have in Mulhorand was Set and he made an attempt to rule Mulhorand shortly after so i linked everything together and therefore Set is already evil by then and the orcgate wars were part of his attempt to take over.

So i placed the beginning of Set's corruption before the Orcgate Wars and i made it in a manner similar to Bast and how her personality changed (i may have offed a minor god in the process but i dont anyone has ever used it in their own campaign setting so it probably wont be missed).

I also tried to explain Set's very expansive and diverse portfolio (admittely the Mulhorandi deities all had diverse portfolios but Set's is particularly bad). So when i looked at it i could see the Evil Magic which was probably his original, then there was the snake and poison, then darkness, then predators and carrion. So i looked for reasons to him acquiring those portfolios and hey presto his history and corruption is as now. And even better his physical description kind of supports the changes i made to his history.

Typhon was probably the last being Set consumed so his descent into evil was already complete by then (and he is completely alien to the other mulan gods by this point - he probably doesnt even consider himself human anymore).

But who's to say Set didnt come under Pazuzu's influence long before the orcgate wars. I like multiple layers of intrigue and try to write them into everything i do. You have the bad guy, the big bad guy controlling him, and then the secret bad guy pulling the strings from the shadows.




As for Tiamat, again real world history is not what i focus on. Ed may have used it for inspiration but the toril and earth Tiamat's cannot be the same for me.

Dragons began on Toril during the Tearfall so there cannot have been a god of dragons before that point. Tiamat arose to divinity sometime after the Tearfall (the story for which i have written in Issue VI). So her arrival on Toril again in search of the mulan makes no sense because she was already here and why would a god of dragons be concerned about a bunch of humans.

Making a separate god called Tiamat seemed the only logical conclusion. And hopefully nothing i have written actually changes the realms as it is today (well in 1370+ - i dont do spellplague). I did a different take on a few events but in the end it still results in one goddess called Tiamat and she is still the bitter enemy of Bahamut and they have human followers spread throughout Faerun, and hopefully my take on things makes more sense.

I figure our myths and legends of ancient empires and their "gods" are so corrupted that we couldnt make sense of them without the aid of a time machine. I know the egyptian mythology is particularly messy as they went through many different "kingdoms" during some of which the major genetic stock of the egyptian people changed entirely (i think Hittites invaded at one point) and the gods likewise changed with these events, they changed names, gender, theologies. Its too much of a mess to draw any meaningful conclusion from.

And being an atheist i am naturally inclined to conclude gods never existed at all so real world history for me is god less.

So my work in Faerun reflects that. If the mulan gods did come from earth then they are no longer present on earth and our stories about them are no longer relevant so i ignored them and only used FR sources for my ideas.

Hopefully i havent flat out broken any timeline events (i.e. the events no longer happened) instead they just happen slightly differently to how they are portrayed in the sourcebooks (the unreliable narrator).

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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
497 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  13:21:42  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, I understand what you are going with the good/evil things, but I still think that Mulholands deities are kind-off on the edge here. One could even present them as realisticaly machiavellian evil, who cares about it's subjects, as opposed to the more 'cartoony' evil other evil deities presented often by writters. But I do think of them more on the good/neutral border, rather than outright malevolent. Still I think Anhur violated the more ancient notions of good that Mulani adhere to, with his actions, and invaded Unther after he became it's protector, by absorbing Ramman's portfolio and aspects. He's definitely now a harmful presence to Untheri.

About Tiamat, few witters, I think Ed included, suggested that time isn't linear for deities, like for us, and that's why it's so hard to pinpoint the Dawn Cataclysm. I think ancient beings, like Tiamat can have multible origins/pasts. Compare Randall Flagg from the Stephen King novels, or Time Traper from DC. Both have diffrent pasts, with Time Trapper being even completely diffrent people of diffrent genders(including a Controller, his servant Glorith, Cosmic Boy, Lori Morning, and Superboy-Prime) that often met with each other, yet he's still one person. There are even clues/theories that Randall, the Crimson King, and Mordred, and Merlin are each others versions/aspects, on diffrent levels of existence. Tiamat can be seen also as a power that split/manifested into various beings, like the Dragon Queen, the Dark Lady/the Mythological Tiamat, and Takhisis. Especialy that Tiamat's myth tells about her being ripped apart, so maybe all of those beings are shards of the original Tiamat? Not to mention, Tiamat's myth makes her D&D version a more 3 dimensional character.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5353 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  13:53:20  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Well as modelled on the designers of past products i like to leave most things vague so that people can make up their own minds.

Regarding the alignment and slavery thing. i tend not to dwell on it too much since our modern interpretation of morals does not apply to the medieval world that faerun is based upon, and furthermore alignment in D&D tends to be imperfectly implemented.

I personally tend to view it from the stance of the society themselves. The Mulhorandi regard themselves as good people and their gods as good gods. Therefore Horus-Re is of good alignment and for the most part he is (a bit zealous perhaps). Set would readily admit he is an evil backstabbing scumbag, and the Red Wizards of Thay probably recognise they have the morals of a serial killer.

Slavery in Mulhorand is not particularly harsh for the most part. It seems more like the slavery of ancient Rome where some slaves are of course worked to death (probably criminals) but others could have better lives than that of a free man in the Dalelands.

Anyways i'll leave the question unanswered because i doubt im qualified to answer it other than my personal opinion above.



As for the Dragon Queen and the Dark Lady. I may not have stated it quite so obvious in the issues but Tiamat the Dragon Queen and Tiamat the Dark Lady were two entirely different beings.

Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the 5 headed monster we all know and love. She is a god of the draconic pantheon and has been around for tens of thousands of years.

Tiamat the Dark Lady was a human sorceress/goddess that was a member of the Sumerian/Babylonian pantheon and travelled to Toril with the other gods that eventually became the Untheric pantheon. Tiamat the Dark Lady had a penchant for taking the form of a 3 headed dragon (red, green, and blue).

Despite the fact that the two goddesses had the same name (different titles) they were totally separate deities in totally separate pantheons with totally separate portfolios. I envisaged Tiamat the Dark Lady as having the portfolios of Rebellion, Chaos, Anarchy, etc.


It was an easy thing for Tiamat the Dragon Queen to take over the worship of Tiamat the Dark Lady. She just started answering the prayers of the Dark Lady's faithful and no one was any the wiser (same name, both like dragons and take dragon form, so who would know or care if they are different). The high priest of the Church of the Dark Lady (Tiglath) however has noticed her god's sudden shift towards evil, rather than being focused upon rebellion (Tiamat the Dark Lady was probably CN).

Now Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the sole being and Tiamat the Dark Lady exists only as an avatar of that god. I personally play avatars as free willed constructs that have to act within the portfolio of the god but are otherwise their own beings (makes it more interesting and allows for a god's return after being absorbed by another).

I hope to solidify the rules on deities in a later issue which should support the was in which i portray the gods for my version of FR (based on the immortals boxed set - thankyou Arcanamach for that pointer).

Now onto Typhon and Set. One major criticism of the Mulhorandi pantheon that everyone has is they are too much like the real world egyptian pantheon so i was attempting to create reasons for why they are as they are but without it being related to the real world.

The animal heads is one such glaring real world comparison and i was stumped to explain it until i came across a stray history entry that described beast cults arriving in Mulhorand and Bast subsuming one and becoming more cat like in personality.

So i decided that the absorption of deities had a physical effect as well. Mulhorandi deities do not tolerate people within their borders openly worshipping other gods (its in the sourcebooks somewhere) so they would have tried to convert these beast cultists. While the cult icons are still alive that would not work, but once the icons are destroyed and subsumed into the Mulhorandi gods themselves it would be possible.

However if some random foreign priest comes up to you and says "my god is your god" you would scoff and tell him to stick it because your god is a massive hawk and his is some human looking guy. If however the mulhorandi gods take on the physical aspects of the beast cult icons then it is more likely to have some success in converting the cultists. So wearing animal helmets/head dresses seemed like an appropriate idea.

Then that moved me on to Set and his strange physical characterists (scales, jackal head, skin as black as night) so i figured Set killed a number of powerful beings and absorbed them into himself. I had the name of the Skriaxit (some kind of powerful being of darkness unleashed by the Imaskari no doubt) but i didnt have a name for the jackal god and when i looked under Set it had the name Typhon, so i picked that one.

That Typhon is an alias of Pazuzu may or may not connect the two (i didnt know of his alias until know).

If however i was to try and connect them it could go one of two ways.

1 - Typhon was indead an aspect of Pazuzu. Pazuzu probably killed the original typhon long ago and sent that aspect to Toril as a replacement and to gain worship. Set then killed Typhon and there we have it.

2 - Typhon was some kind of primordial creature that once roamed the lands of Raurin and when the Imaskari arrived he moved into the Hordelands Basin along with many other primordials (who later became the beast cults mentioned in the history snippet i found). For whatever reason those beast cults moved into Mulhorand and Set killed Typhon and absorbed his power trying to steal his worshippers. Set was not particularly successful and a number of beast worshippers moved on past Mulhorand (spreading across Faerun). Those cultists of Typhon outside of Mulhorand are being catered to by Pazuzu while those within Mulhorand are catered to by Set.


There are many ways to play it, and i intended that the absorption of the beast cults changed the personalities of the gods themselves so whatever they are know is not what they once were.



I imagined in the distant past that gods were not so common and primordials existed in greater number. Primordials are really just unique beings of greater power than normal beings (that doesnt mean they are super powerful titans of destruction - just a jackal that is as big as a bear and can manifest a few magic abilities for instance). These primordials naturally attract worshippers (people worship beings of power as gods) but not enough worship to make them gods, so they wander the planet with their cultists. I think in early realms products Ed Greenwood referred to them as quasi deities, and i try to stick to that idea.

The Turami strike me as an ancient people much like the Talfir people of western Faerun. They were certainly outcompeted by all the other racial groups of humans in Faerun but i often wonder what they would be like. That they are ancient and there before all other humans leads me to believe that they probably worshipped the most ancient of gods (like Shar) and using that angle i tried to work in a corruption of the Mulan people (multiple references to darkness and shadows).

Anyway i hope i answered your questions. If not then by all means ask away. Im glad you are reading it and enjoying it. I think i am nearly done with the old empires. Issue 6 should include the last of the developments for that region (including a new organisation - i bet no one can guess which one but it is mentioned in the Old Empires sourcebook).






Are you linking Tiamat the Dark Lady in any way to Dahak (the three headed dragon spirit of death from Babylonian mythology)?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3296 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  14:04:07  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well Anhur is a mulhorandi deity. He stepped into Ramman's shoes to take his worshippers, but that doesnt mean he was under any obligation to protect Unther, he certainly has no portfolio of "protection of Unther" and he was probably more interested in gaining the deific power from Rammans worshippers and ensuring no one else got it (like Hoar) than he was fulfilling his duty as war god of Unther.

Ramman's status as protector of Unther was largely symbolic as well, he did little to protect the people from Gilgeam's tyranny, and he had at least a thousand years to try.

The only thing stopping Mulhorand from invading Unther was an old alliance between the two empires to stop them destroying one another while they were at their peak. With Gilgeam gone and Unther's government destroyed (which it undoubtedly was), Unther no longer existed as a state.

For the invasion to take place it had to have the backing of the Pharaoh and the presence of Lord Khemenet means that the church of Horus-Re was also involved.

My personal opinion on the gods is that they have very little direct involvement with the lives of their worshippers so the decision to invade would have been made by a human being, probably the high priest of the church of Anhur, who approached the Pharoah who agreed and then the church of Horus-Re wanted a piece of the action. The mulhorandi are probably quite happy that their eternal empire is expanding once more. And while they might feel sorry for the death of Unther that wasnt their fault and it would be foolish not to exploit the opportunity.



Of course non of my opinions are any more valid than your own, im just presenting my alternate version. The more i read about the various sources for Tiamat the more difficulty i had reconciling them with the goddess herself.

She has a high priest (Tiglath) that doesnt like her, she existed in Faerun since -31000 DR and then travelled across the universe to rescue her worshippers (just manifest an avatar like any other god and walk to Imaskar). She had multiple and varied avatars when most gods only had the one, and she was only a demipower. She was a lawful god of dragons and yet had a title of "Queen of Chaos", and was known in Unther as a deity of chaos and rebellion. She died during the Time of Trouble so many times and yet still had enough power left to kill Gilgeam. She was listed in early sources as being a quasi-deity that used to roam Faerun (so she wasnt even a proper god at that point). And dont get me started on the official explanation of the battle between Tiamat and Gilgeam (Tiamat avatar kills Gilgeam avatar, real Gilgeam kills Tiamat avatar, Real TIamat kills Real Gilgeam????)

So i came up with an explanation for all of the above that made sense to me. If it makes sense to you and you like it then by all means use it. If not then any other explanation will be just as good.

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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3296 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  14:11:21  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Are you linking Tiamat the Dark Lady in any way to Dahak (the three headed dragon spirit of death from Babylonian mythology)?


I make no links before their arrival on Toril (keeps things simpler that way and why bring real world history into a fictional setting when one of the major gripes people have about Mulhorand and Unther is that they are too much like real world counterparts). I did have a look into beings like Dahak and Druaga and other monster gods of the pantheons but decided against any links before their arrival on Toril.

Real world history is too messy and muddied by modern interpretation of a language that no one has spoken for millennia. I just dont see how we can know anything about it that could be relied upon.

So i skip the messy stuff in favour of what i know (and thanks to the Spellplague it is unlikely the history of Toril will be altered or added to, so it should remain fairly static and reliable from now on).

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Demzer
Senior Scribe

530 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  14:16:38  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

Still I think Anhur violated the more ancient notions of good that Mulani adhere to, with his actions, and invaded Unther after he became it's protector, by absorbing Ramman's portfolio and aspects. He's definitely now a harmful presence to Untheri.



I don't understand this.

In 1358 we have the ToT and a lot of stuff happens, among other things Ramman bites the dust and Anhur, enforcing the millenia old pact of alliance between the Mulhorandi and the Untheri God-Kings, steps in to avoid disaster and beat back the Chessentan army.

Then the ToT ends, the Mulhorandi God-Kings disappear and from then on it's just mortal servants of the various gods that act. It's not Anhur invading Unther, it's the mortal army of Mulhorand invading Unther, with some mortal servants of Anhur inside and on the other side of the fence there are probably a few mortal servants of Ramman (Anhur) trying to stop them.

Anhur isn't violating anything, he's not on Toril anymore.

Now, if you really want to find a fault in Anhur specifically i would ask how the f**k could he accept worshipers in Thay (as Ramathant), since he personally warred with them for four hundred years (and even lost an incarnation ... or manifestation, crap i always mix them ... to them).
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  14:22:45  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Now, if you really want to find a fault in Anhur specifically i would ask how the f**k could he accept worshipers in Thay (as Ramathant), since he personally warred with them for four hundred years (and even lost an incarnation ... or manifestation, crap i always mix them ... to them).


And the answer to this one is that he probably isnt answering the prayers of the Red Wizards (who are undoubtedly his mortal enemy), but there are plenty of common people in Thay who are just hard put upon peasants trying to eke out an existence.

They pray to Anhur and the other Mulhorandi gods (because once upon a time the Mulhorandi were in charge in Thay) for salvation from the evil oppressors.

Thay really does not like religion (at least according to the dreams of the red wizards sourcebook), they limit where they can have temples, have the priests arrested all the time for made up crimes, and they make sure the highest ranking priest is little better than a novice (in game terms it means he is low level).

I bet Red Wizards really crack down up the worship of mulan gods so it survives as an underground religion.

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Baltas
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  15:46:19  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The problem is that Anhur's action of cheating out Hoar, and finding a hole in the ancient pact would thought as rather something bad/immoral, even if we go with Ancient Egyptian morality. And he's CG deity, finding holes in agreements is their thing, but using it to invade an another country seems like an Anathema to CG. In facts, it sounds more LE.

And if go such route, Hoar, Shevarash, and Vhaeraun should be good aligned. Even Shar could get a shot at neutrality, as technicaly she's right that darkness and nothingness is original state of being, and there would no suffering in inexistence.
And I think that Unther had a chance rebuilt itself after Gilgeam's death, as did defend itself for years against Mulhorand. And Hoar, if empowered by Ramman's energies, could help.


Edited by - Baltas on 22 Aug 2014 16:02:53
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  16:00:48  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well having researched it extensively the clincher comes in 1365 DR when Alasklerbanbastos reappears.

His draconic vassals begin to take control of large areas of Chessenta and Unther. One such vassal becomes lord of Unthalass and at that point Unther ceases to exist because it has already been invaded and conquered by a foreign power.

Was it a good action for Anhur to take worshippers that Hoar wanted, probably not. Was it an evil action, probably not. Is war ever a good action, probably not. Is war always an evil action, again probably not.

Thats why i keep alignment out of the game as much as possible, even real life actions can be ambiguous in morality. People are people and can do good an evil things in equal measure, the same goes for the people and gods of Toril. I just go with the majority concession that compared to the likes of Bane, Talona, and Talos, Anhur is quite a nice god.

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Baltas
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  16:02:33  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, these are the principles of Maat, laws of Egyptian morality, that Anhur did break(I think):

I have not stolen - he stole Hoar's prize
I have not been an eavesdropper. - must have spied Hoar and Ramman to do so.
I have not caused the shedding of tears. - A lot uf Untheri shed their tears
I have not dealt deceitfully. - Manipulated and ancient pact, somehow stolen portfolios that Assuran should get.
I have not envied or craved for that which belongs to another. - the situation with Ramman and Hoar again.
I have never magnified my condition beyond what was fitting. - Again the pact thing.

There are possibly a few more, but I'm not sure if they fit what Anhur done, or they repeat themselves.

[EDIT]
Well, Azuth, Hoar, Wee Jas, old Mystra, Helm and even Vhaeraun are nice when compared to those guys...

And I still think Unther had a good chance to defend itself, seing it lasted a few decades after that.

Edited by - Baltas on 22 Aug 2014 16:11:45
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  16:54:57  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unther was definitely dead and gone.

Gilgeam died in 1358 DR along with Ramman. In fact all its original gods were dead. The only gods remaining in the Untheric pantheon were Mulhorandi and other interlopers (except Tiamat although i class her as an interloper as well).

In 1359 DR the priests of Gilgeam (who make up the government) are driven from Unthalass and flee to the citadel of Black Ash which later explodes and kills them all.

1365 DR Alasklerbanbastos reappears and his draconic vassals seize Threskel and much of Chessenta and Unther.


At this point there is nothing left of Unther except its people. The above are all canon events and during the Alternate Dimensions project i have been expanding upon them to make sense of the situation in Unther. If the government was gone who was running the show, how did the arrival of the dragons of Alasklerbanbastos change all that.


In looking to decide if Unther survived i checked to see what defined it and unfortunately for millennia, Unther was defined by Gilgeam, he was a tyrant that completely dictated everything in Unther society. If anyone disagreed with him they were slain or enslaved.

When Gilgeam was killed Unther ceased to be. There were lords of Unther, but most of those were as evil and grasping as Gilgeam himself and they were either killed by the people following Gilgeam's death or set themselves up as petty tyrants of the settlements they ruled.

Messemprar was independent as of 1358 DR. Unthalass was under the control of Alasklerbanbastos. Firetrees was run by the Cult of Tiamat and Dalath was run by merchant houses that were loyal to Maladraedior. There was no ruler of Unther, no government to organise it, just chaos and confusion.

Mulhorand invading probably did the people of Unther a favour as it gave them something to unite against.




However saying all that, i quite like Unther, so i saved it. As of 1375 DR Unther is back and ruled from Messemprar with Unthalass acting as a buffer between Unther and Mulhorand and controlled by both.



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Baltas
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  20:18:46  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmm, that makes sense I think. And yeah I like your version of Unther, is miles better than their fate in 4e...And I love Akanu!
I may had got I bit overexcited about the Anhur/Hoar/Ramman/Unther deal, but it just bugged me for a long time.
Also about the Mesopotamian pantheon in D&D, they're an odd bunch, that split into two diffrent pantheons. Anu even aparently split into 3 beings, the Sumerian An, the Babylonian Anshar and Anu(and those two are father and son). Inanna is LE, and Ishtar is TN. I think Tiamat, being related to such a bizzare pantheon, can have some strange things going on about her. Maybe the Polychromatic Dragon is the Sumerian Tiamat, and The Dark Lady was the Babylonian one, or vice versa? And there is is still Takhisis...
But still, your convergent genesis explanation(that they are two unrelated beins that became similar) is very good, if there is any.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 22 Aug 2014 :  20:37:10  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well thankyou very much, im glad that you like it.

I find it is always best to keep things simple. Break something down into its simplest components or the facts that you know for sure. From there you can build up a picture however you want.

I have a few nation write-ups for Unther coming in issue VI so you could run Unther between 1365 DR or after 1375 DR with a bit more information, and hopefully the campaign arc in Issue V for the invasion of Unther will give a few more adventuring ideas during the invasion itself.


There is space for many of the gods of Unther to return. In the sourcebooks it states that Gilgeam drove off or destroyed many of the gods of the Untheric pantheon. We have no details of which ones were driven off and which ones were destroyed.

If the gods were driven away there is only one place they could disappear to. We can assume they didn't go to Chessenta, Thay or the Faerunian pantheon because there would be some mention of them.

Unther in its early incarnation (before Gilgeam) controlled Shaar so I reckon many of the gods ended up there. I realise it states deity sourcebooks that the Shaar is part of the Faerunian pantheon but given its distance from the rest of the pantheon and the proximity to the Old Empires it is far more likely to be a contested region and so you could have any number of mulan gods running around (they would probably be demi-gods or even lesser than that).

Prior to Tiamat's arrival she could have been anything, and following the arrival of the mulan gods there is a thousand years until Tiamat takes any meaningful action during the Orcgate Wars. Who or what she was until that point is entirely up to you. She could have acquired her dragon form during that time or maybe she had a terribly magical accident and merged with three dragons.

My own personal theory was more mundane that, she used magic to assume dragon form (so often that it became innate) and she spent many centuries involved in breeding experiments with dragons (usually personally). So basically she is a powerful human sorceress with a serious dragon fetish.

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Baltas
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Posted - 23 Aug 2014 :  12:42:35  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So is the Dark Lady a powerfull human sorceress, who played a goddess and/or ascended into one, or is she the real mythological Tiamat? Or was the sorceress mortal with who(the mythological)Tiamat fused with, to create the manifestaion?

Also, it's minor fact, but aside from Apsu, and Tiamat, there was a third primordial being in Enuma Elish, called Mummu. While his name literaly translates as "the one who has awoken", in context it should be tranlsated as detransformation, the return to chaos, demanifacturing, or simply just ....Entropy. Almost certainly a pure coincidence, but an interesting thing...
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 25 Aug 2014 :  19:39:22  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well the answer can be whatever you wish it to be.

The Dark Lady is now the Tiamat of D&D mythology (the five headed monster) after Tiamat took the Dark Lady's worshippers and started answering their prayers and consumed the remaining divine essence of the Dark Lady. The Dark Lady now only exists as an avatar of the Dragon Queen herself (except for the Rings of Tiamat and Tiamat's children).

If you are talking about Real World mythology then I'm afraid I don't delve into that area, but you could have Tiamat the Dark Lady be the real world Tiamat (who then gets killed and eaten by the FR Tiamat).

It could be that the Dark Lady, after arriving on Toril stole some of Tiamat's (The Dragon Queens) power for herself (hence the three headed form) and Tiamat spent the next few millennia trying to get it back. I left as much of the history blank as I could so that people can still spin it however they want.


My personal preference is the more normal story. Tiamat the Dark Lady was a very powerful (bordering godhood) sorceress from another planet that travelled with the mulan avatars to Toril. Once on Toril she became fascinated with the most powerful creatures she encountered there (dragons).

After centuries of experiments she managed to infuse herself with the essence of dragons in the area (red, blue, green) and was able to take on draconic form as she desired. She birthed a number of dragons herself and even created a new dragon type (brown). The astute will notice this explains in my version why the dragons in the Old Empires region pay respects to (dragons don't really worship anyone anymore) Tiamat the Dark Lady and not Tiamat the Dragon Queen.

Her power and arrival with the other mulan gods meant the mulan of Imaskar believed she was a god and worshipped her as one (which of course meant she became a god). However the Imaskari Planar Barrier prevented the "gods" from leaving the Material Plane which meant they were as powerful as gods but could be killed.

When the barrier dropped, Tiamat the Dark Lady moved her essence to the outer planes like everyone else.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 29 Aug 2014 :  21:08:34  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just in case anyone is worrying I'm just waiting on one additional article before I release issue 5. Should be Monday sometime.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 01 Sep 2014 :  21:02:36  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For those of you that have been waiting. Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Issue 5 is now available.

Issue 5 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx2yr4B9kIXPMFI3eEZPYk12TnM/edit?usp=sharing

The list of contents is as follows

Dragons of the South: Alasklerbanbastos “The Great Bone Wyrm”
Welcome to the Jungle: The Magic of Maztica
When is a House Rule Not a House Rule: Skills
Alternate Dimensions Presents: Old Empires – A History of Thay
The Bloodstone Lands: Adventure Path – Episode 4
Alternate Dimensions Presents: Old Empires – A Modern Timeline
Deities With a Difference: Set
Laerakond: The Hundar Isles
Rulesword: Trimming 3rd Edition One Step at a Time
Alternate Dimensions Presents: The Church of the Dark Lady
Alternate Dimensions Presents: The Conquest of Unther Campaign
The Knights Below: Adventure Path – Episode 5
The Knights Below: Campaign Journal


I'm proud to announce the addition of Seethyr's Maztica related articles to the magazine entitled "Welcome to the Jungle", starting off with the pluma and hishna magic schools for 5th edition.

As always if anyone wants to get involved with articles of their own, or proof reading, or artwork, or any other skills they have then I would be glad of the help.

If anyone has any feedback that would also be greatly appreciated. In particular I'm looking for feedback on "The Conquest of Unther Campaign" article as I hope to write more articles for RSE's that until now have been spectator events only. In particular I'm looking for ideas on the layout and content and what information is helpful or not.

If anyone wants to contact me about any of the above then PM me with your email address and we can talk.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 02 Sep 2014 :  20:17:38  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've had one request from someone over on the paizo forums for an alternate take on the Brotherhood of the Griffon.

I must confess I have no idea what this organisation was until he mentioned it.

If anyone has any details or information it would be much appreciated since I haven't got any novels or any 4th edition sourcebooks.

Looking at the wiki's its about this guy that was blind who rides a griffon and goes around righting wrongs.

I have a few ideas but need a bit more information to do it justice.

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Baltas
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Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  14:11:13  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, now rereading issue 4, after reading 5, reminded me some stuff, I wanted to write before, but I forgot. The stuff you did with Chessenta/Akanul/Akanu/Unther, and deities reminded of stuff that I did in my campaign. Although I made that on Toril, Enlil never did arrive, only his Babylonian Twin Ellil, who was LN, to justify the fact that the gods of Unther were supposed to always be harsh, which did not match 100% the NG Enlil to well(I was inspired by ripvanwormer's take on the Babylonian and Sumerian Pantheons, in this thread: http://mimir.planewalker.com/forum/mesopotamian-pantheon).
I had that Ellil sacrificed his father Anu, right after defeating the Imaskari(Anu and Ptah were ancient Raurini deities, in my campaign). Ellil was in turn tricked into leaving the Realms by Gilgeam, creating a Ouranos-Cronus-Zeus like situation.
It's also inspired by Hittite and Hurrian mythology, were Anu was dethroned by his son Kumarbi(who was often, although not always, identified with Enlil), who in turn was dethroned by his own son Teshub.
Researchers theorize that it is this myth that inspired Hesiod#8217;s Theogony.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 08 Sep 2014 :  20:17:00  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well if we both came up with similar events then I must have done something right, and since I took the bits I wanted from canon to make my own version then maybe you will find something worth taking from my version.

I did briefly look at the real world history bit when looking for a bit of inspiration for Ereskigul. Not being particularly au fait with real world myth and legends however I don't generally feel comfortable using it for much more than general inspiration.

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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 09 Sep 2014 :  20:47:31  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Out of interest Baltas (and anyone else that has read it), what did you think to the campaign write-up for the invasion of Unther. Feel free to be as critical as you like, im looking to improve it so honesty is helpful (although try not to make a grown man cry). I ask because I already have another in the works for the Dracorage storyline and I would like to do one for the return of the archwizards, but without any idea of how well the first article worked i'm reluctant to finish the others.

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Baltas
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Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  15:33:42  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, your version of Unther's Invasion is done very well. I would use Shupprak and Ningal more, but that's a matter of personal taste. And you did have a significant involvement of Nanna-Sin and his legion in here, so it balances a bit out. Although I thought that Nanna-Sin was actually an aspect of Selune for a longer time, possibly even since the Orc Gate Wars, as Nanna-Sin was described somewhere as a goddess. Although one could say that Selune only used the Untheri god#8217;s guise, to not have the fellow moon god forgotten, and gave the worshippers back when he awoke. There also was no involvement from Bahamut in his Marduk guise, but I guess it would be for the best, as the Tiamat/Bahamut conflict would be deterial for Unther, and would need a lot of place to properly describe.

I loved the Stuff you did with Gilgeam and Ereshkigal, is the aspect imprisoned in the spelljammer is Gilgeam's goodness?
Ereshkigal as a Lamia queen reminds me her presentation in Pathfinder as a Sphinx Demon Lord(spelled there Areshkagal), but I guess that's a coincidence.
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dazzlerdal
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Posted - 10 Sep 2014 :  15:47:53  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well its good to know it wasn't all bad. Thanks for the feedback, at some point I will be revising the issues to include artwork so I might put in a few extra bits to the campaign.

Ereshkigul was actually mentioned in canon sources as a lamia queen beneath Unthalass, I made her exiled there with allusions to her being a goddess of Unther at one point in the past (cursed into lamia form and banished from Unther for some unspecified crime - probably by Gilgeam since he supposedly drove off or destroyed the entire Untheric pantheon, although I could easily see Enlil cursing Ereshkigul as well).

Bahamut god the nod in the campaign as the Talons of Justice (who were there primarily to foil the church of Tiamat).

I didn't envisage anything of Gilgeam's goodness remaining (but that's because I wanted to keep him as he was in Old Empires - an evil tyrant). He started creating the aspects after he was poisoned/infected so the first aspect was the least evil creation, but his "goodness" was fast being erased by the poison in his veins. I tried to include a less evil version of Gilgeam as one of the personalities for his avatar, that would be reflected in the aspects that were imprisoned so at least one should be a slightly selfish but not entirely evil hero (and maybe make him a bit cowardly when faced with real danger).

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