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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 24 May 2019 :  21:06:46  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Moving onto Gnarhelm.

I decided a while ago that the illuskans of Gnarhelm were from Stornanter.

Now Stornanter collapsed as a realm in 841 DR after Laeral disappeared. Until that time she had been largely absent, hunting those nobles that had killed Malek Aldanek (Khelben Arunsun).

The illuskans arrived in a massive fleet in 852 DR. Initial thoughts are an invasion fleet. However, the nation of Stornanter collapsed not 11 years prior. I would imagine that the collapse of nation would bring about significant upheaval and strife which would prevent the launching of an invasion fleet. Plus feudal societies tend not to have coordinated military forces (small forces being contributed by individual nobles to form a larger force), without a strong leader there is little chance of a large fleet being formed.

So an alternative is people fleeing the collapse of Stornanter. If the cities survive why would people flee?
Initial thoughts are that the nobles Laeral was hunting regrouped after her disappearance and attempted to take over Illusk and or Port Llast. The fighting caused by that could force many to leave (particularly the losers). Because i only have the names of the evil nobles (those who killed Malek) from Stornanter i'm tempted to think they attempted a takeover of Illusk and were eventually forced out and forced to flee.
That way i can use the names of some legitimate noble houses and have an explanation for why they arrived on the Moonshae Isles and why they landed in Gnarhelm (Callidyrr would have been a much better target, but if you cant go back home you have to take the easy option).

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 25 May 2019 :  19:09:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Read up on races of faerun to try and get an idea of illuskan society so I can flesh out gnarhelm.

I found that the illuskans detailed therein matched almost exactly to the northmen, but doesn't really match up with the populations of waterdeep, the savage frontier, etc.

Apparently illuskans respect only strength, love to fight, and don't like magic.

Now there are illuskans like that, the uthgar are part illuskan and match that perfectly, the islanders operate like that, but stornanter was ruled by a wizardess, waterdeep is filled with magic users and the illuskans aren't fighting all the time, more importantly they aren't expanding very much either despite their warlike nature.

I'm beginning to think that the islanders are the illuskans as depicted in races of faerun, but those on the sword coast have been civilised and now contain a large portion of tethyrian ancestry (which value family above all).

So perhaps mainland illuskans value power above all else (be that martial, or magic, or political) and their tethyrian mixing means they are fiercely loyal to their groups which gives rise to guild rivalries and street gangs and other group warfare (explains the guild wars in waterdeep and the gangs in luskan).

So gnarhelm being founded by stornanter refugees is mostly civilised illuskan so they have more black hair than fair. They are heavily fictionalised (so the nation keeps splitting into 3 duchies run by powerful noble families), and they are happy to farm and mine and do magic as long as it makes them powerful (in their own mind) but they don't engage in external warfare all that often, instead fighting internally for more power.
The northmen of the other islands think the people of gnarhelm are soft and weak cousins.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2019 :  19:25:43  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The novels at first glance provide a similar lack of information on Gnarhelm as elsewhere in the Moonshae Isles.

Prince Brandon wears a horned helm, the royal helm of his clan. Makes sense for it to be an item brought from stornanter, magical.

Of course vikings did not wear horns on their helmets, so i've not made the northmen have them thus far. A horned helmet would make the warriors of Gnarhelm different but i need a reason as to why it is horned.

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ericlboyd
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
1512 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2019 :  20:30:02  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The novels at first glance provide a similar lack of information on Gnarhelm as elsewhere in the Moonshae Isles.

Prince Brandon wears a horned helm, the royal helm of his clan. Makes sense for it to be an item brought from stornanter, magical.

Of course vikings did not wear horns on their helmets, so i've not made the northmen have them thus far. A horned helmet would make the warriors of Gnarhelm different but i need a reason as to why it is horned.



Horned helmets can be used as weapons. (See dwarven battle ragers in Drizzt books and there were stats in one of the old splatbooks.)

Horned helmets likely represent some mythical horned beast.

Maybe the Faerunian Leviathian (see Elder Evils book) has horns?

--Eric

--
http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2019 :  21:20:06  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's not a bad idea, stornanter has a history of interactions with mythical creatures (the kraken that laeral had to drive away). I could have the horns actually be kraken tentacles, perhaps a former servant of the kraken that helped pass information to it before it attacked laeral (the beginning of a kraken society).

Cheers for the idea.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  10:16:02  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gnarhelm seems to have little appetite for raising in the source books or novels, they work in the fields, mines, and fishing. So they seem to be much less aggressive than the northmen of norland, Oman, and norheim.
They also engage in trade with callidyrr, trading metal for something (presumably food as their food production is limited which in turn affects their population).
I'm thinking that gnarhelm is the trading gateway for the other northmen islands.
I figure most traders would avoid norland, norheim, and Oman for the fear of being raided or attacked. If you aren't strong enough you are liable to lose your cargo and your freedom (enslaved).
Gnarhelm however seems quite civilised so people trade with them and then they in turn trade with the northmen.

Other things are the tripartite nature of gnarhelm kingdom, it seems to be made of three major regions, each of which vie for control of the throne. I'm considering three major noble families, each related to the first king.
The nobles and their young sons are eager to prove their place in society and so engage in constant civil strife with each other for control of the throne. That's how the storm knight and his followers gain traction among the young nobility and persuade them to become guerilla fighters in their own country.

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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1545 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  13:16:05  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The entry on the northmen of Gnarhelm in the 1e Moonshaes book, telling they are not unlike other northmen in behavior but are more prone to ride, makes me think of Tolkien's Rohirrim.

"Goodness is not a natural state, but must be
fought for to be attained and maintained.
Lead by example.
Let your deeds speak your intentions.
Goodness radiated from the heart."

The Paladin's Virtues, excerpt from the "Quentin's Monograph"
(by Ed Greenwood)
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  13:33:06  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm definitely making them the only realm that uses horses for combat and transport (rather than for caravans, but Gwyneth hires are more like donkeys in my mind).

The original source book made no distinction between the origin of gnarhelm and the other northmen islands but I have made that distinction. I'm going for a derivative of northmen culture, so whereas the northmen only follow the strongest and best warriors, the illuskans are more civilised and recognise other strengths (knowledge, magic, politics) as important, thus allowing them to have a stable hereditary nobility (unlike northmen culture which will only follow war leaders).

I just came across the tomb of cymrych hugh in the prophet. That annoys me worse than darkwell. Cymrych hugh was buried in secret just outside of callidyrr northern border (which was all part of callidyrr then) and nobody found it. He also just happened to be buried with magic items that perfectly complemented the needs and abilities of the heroes that discovered them. Not happy. But my heralds of the high king organisation solves that problem and I have a few more royal regalia items to detail.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  19:23:40  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So the King of Gnarhelm lives in a wooden lodge.

Gnarhelm is a land of hills and cliffs, there are no large forests on Gnarhelm. Wood would not exactly be plentiful, whereas stone is everywhere in a mountainous region.

Gnarhelm has a relatively large fleet, i would imagine the wood was needed for its seafaring activities.

I understand why they said Gnarhelm had a wooden lodge as the King's house, because they wanted Gnarhelm to be another kingdom of northmen and the northmen dont use stone, but of course the people of Gnarhelm mine, so stonecutting would be a skill they should possess.

So now i need a reason why the King's lodge is made of wood. The Storm Knight article mentions that the followers of the Storm Knight attack noble castles so perhaps even the King has been affected by the Storm Knight. Also i've got a decade of bad winters at the turn of the 1300s so that would have made people hungry, especially in Gnarhelm where its population is at maximum capacity for its food production.
So perhaps the castles in Gnarhelm suffered a lot during the past few decades, moreover Gnarhelm is cold and windy and castles were really cold and draughty so perhaps they were never particularly popular and now have been replaced with small lodges (that are cosier but more vulnerable to attack).

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5586 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  22:19:55  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Or perhaps it was built a long time ago when there were forests on Gnarhelm and stands as a relic and status symbol for the ruler of the isle.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2019 :  22:28:43  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also a good one but the ffolk lived there a long time ago and presumably built castles. The northmen were not averse to using the castles of the ffolk (norland), so I'd expect the same here. Plus wood doesn't do so well in damp conditions.

However, it's possible there are some forests on gnarhelm that are unmentioned (norland has a large forest but only mentioned once and later ignored).

It's a quandary. I shall probably put all the ideas in. Ffolk castles gradually fell into ruin. They built their own imitations that were abandoned due to maintenance costs and draughty conditions eventually taking up in the old hunting lodges. Civil unrest wrecked most of those and so the illuskan society is gradually degrading towards that of other northmen islands.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 16 Jun 2019 :  14:55:44  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Going through black wizards, a bit more lore in the first few pages with more people.

Friar Nolan struck me as odd. A complete stranger among the ffolk who had worked hard to ingratiate himself among the nobles, suddenly suggests that the lords seek the ruling of the high king in crowning a new king of corwell.
Suddenly he knows a lot about the ancient laws of the ffolk and suddenly suggests the one thing that would say right into the hands of King Carrathal. Makes me think he was a secret stooge of the high king all along.

I can have the high king connected to the top priest of the church of chauntea in callidyrr, he can then start sending priests to corwell to expand the faith, but secretly they are spreading good words about the high king.

Also noted that in the novels the high king has the crown of the isles, but I'm pretty sure that was lost with high king Dolan in the invasion of gnarhelm. I think I will have Reginald Carrathal have the council fashion a fake crown of the isles to back his claim to be high king and extend his authority over all the ffolk kingdoms.



Also noted a bear called Grunt dwells in the sacred grove of the earth mother. I think I shall make him the guardian of this moonwell, and newt can be the guardian of the white well.


Lastly, king Kendrick had a favoured boar spear so I may as well make that one of the royal regalia, or make it an homage to the original regalia.

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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 16 Jun 2019 17:04:58
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2019 :  20:45:57  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A few more things notable in Black Wizards.

Newt was able to handle the Heart of Kazgoroth without being affected, despite Robyn touching it and passing out instantly. I'm tempted more and more to make these faerie dragons into a material plane manifestation of a much larger creature on the faeree plane and Newt in particular to be a fey lord of sorts.

Cyndre had a mirror that showed Corwell's great hall, and the sahuagin city. Yes Cyndre could have created it, but i prefer magic items to be very, very expensive to create so i'd much rather it is a powerful and unique item. Corwell has a Moonwell, i could easily place a Moonwell beneath the waters (there is one near Flamsterd Isle) where the sahuagin city is, the mirror could be attuned to look at Moonwells - perhaps an item made by Ordalf or Urphania.

The duergar in the Moonshae Isles, it doesnt say if they live there or not. I'm almost tempted to make them mercenaries wanting to establish a kingdom. The svirfneblin it says live beneath Caer Callidyrr, but the Duergar could really be from anywhere.



Caer Allisynn has bags of holding in it (i think they are bags of holding - they hold far more than their size indicates) and a pair of gloves that blends into the skin making them invisible (not sure of the use of such a pair of gloves unless they have additional magical powers) - such a design seems elven in nature to me.


Tavish - a bard, owns her own magical folding boat - if she isnt a Great Bard i'm going to have to make her one as she seems rather wealthy for a travelling bard.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 20 Jun 2019 :  13:10:46  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So the deep glass seems almost identical to the mirror that cyndre used. Ignoring the mythical creation story around it, it seems plausible that two powerfully magical items of similar form and function are connected somehow.

So someone at some time created two or more of these magic mirrors to allow them to view far off places and communicate easily with others in possession of the other mirror.

My initial thoughts are that the high king would want to communicate with his vessels in far off islands quickly and efficiently (boat would take days, carrier pigeon would take hours). Such an item would be in flamsterds powers to create.



Also Alexei supposedly has "high magic in his blood" I took this to have several possible meanings.
First is that Alexei is magically enchanted, hence "magic in his blood"
Second Is that Alexei is descended of someone magically powerful. This could be an elf (high magic literally meaning high elven magic) or that he is related to the line of the high king (high kings magic in his blood).


Also the druids were all turned to stone by the powers of the moon well, some power not mentioned elsewhere. I note that one the isle of Oman there is a stone wood so perhaps the moon wells have done this before to protect the druids (and guardians) or to destroy or imprison intruders.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2019 :  08:41:00  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So Alexei is thayan and cyndre trained in thay (making him mulan at least and likely thayan).

I find the idea that the sahuagin of kressilacc worship bhaal to be utterly preposterous, cant think of any way to twist that so I might just ignore it completely

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5586 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2019 :  08:43:45  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So Alexei is thayan and cyndre trained in thay (making him mulan at least and likely thayan).

I find the idea that the sahuagin of kressilacc worship bhaal to be utterly preposterous, cant think of any way to twist that so I might just ignore it completely



They don't know they are worshipping Bhaal. They think they are worshipping Koraxis "the Ravening Maw", a deific guise Bhaal uses to divert sahuagin worship from Sekolah.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2019 :  09:40:08  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That is an explanation I can get behind, however when using a non God centric model of religions it is difficult for aliases to arise without secret cultists from the original religion (bhaal) setting up a cult under a different name in another region.

The problem I now have is that the sahuagin are very much separated from any other bhaal worshippers which makes the spread of his worship problematic.

I shall add in koraxis though (cool name) while I figure out how

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2019 :  21:29:56  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So within 3 pages of the novel Darkwell, i've already found a note that will no doubt prove problematic.

quote:
for two centuries the Kendricks ruled only the small, sparsely populated land of Corwell.


This could mean several things.

Either the Kendricks are a new line of the royal dynasty that rules Corwell - i think this might not be possible according to info we have on members of the Kendrick dynasty however (i need to check).

Or the Kings of Corwell also ruled another island / kingdom at some point until 2 centuries ago. In 1266 DR Flamsterd buys the isle of Flamsterd from Corwell but that happened one century ago, not two.


This is the kind of lore nugget i was hoping to find in the first two novels, and now i've found one i really wish i hadnt.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2019 :  14:44:47  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So Robyn is the daughter of Brianna Moonsinger, her father is as yet undetailed (i'm at the start of Darkwell).

Robyn tells Tristan that if she becomes the Great Druid then she cannot get married, she must remain chaste. Kind of odd given that Brianna Moonsinger had a daughter (Robyn) and was the Great Druid of the Moonshae Isles, although we do not yet know if the two coincided.

I'm wondering if perhaps Robyn and Tristan are not related.

Robyn is an anagram of Bryon. Bryon's wife died shortly after Tristan was born and he sank into a great depression. Brianna Moonsinger knew him well enough to trust him with the safety of her child, despite his depression.
Perhaps when Bryons wife died he found solace in Brianna Moonsinger and fathered a child in 1329 DR. She then leaves to deal with the growing power of Kazgoroth and is killed.

It of course makes later events a bit icky, but if i'm making the Moonsingers part LeShay then fey genetics dont work the same as humans so it doesnt cause any genetic or social problems.
I could also slightly rewrite future history and make Alicia and Deirdre twins (which are a bad sign in fey culture - or so i hear as one of them almost always ends up bad).

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4723 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2019 :  10:22:03  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Daryths death was brutal. I'm enjoying darkwell more than the other books (despite it being more God based than the others). It has more of a realmsian feel to it and more lore.

So codscove was conquered by northmen in the last century.

Tristans silver chain shirt is very light and unblemished, sounds like mithril to me. It completely absorbed a blow from an owl bear so it's got to be more than normal steel.

The scrolls of arcanus are interesting but very deus ex machina. Supposedly penned before the time of cymrych hugh, they are meant to be clerical and related to a God of nature. I'm tempted to tie them to Ebenfar and or Netheril. Arcanus could be a corruption of the title Arcanist, and a number of Netherese archwizards explored both divine and arcane magic. The talfir that would become the ffolk left the sword coast, but there is no reason to believe they all left, perhaps a few persisted in Amn and Tethyr for a time and the scrolls of Arcanus are relics left over from these ffolk precursors (hence the similarities in runic script).


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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 29 Jun 2019 09:08:10
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 29 Jun 2019 :  09:16:32  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Myrloch vale gets devastated and turned into a wasteland of rotting vegetation. The book blames this on bhaal and the death of the earth mother.

A few events give me much room to expand on the underdark, tar pits forming and the ground collapsing into caverns filled with volcanic gas (and other sinister substances) mean that there is a volcanic instability in the underdark. I can use the place where kazgoroth clawed his way out of the ground to explain the volcanic rift deep underground, the other sinister substances can be negative energy from the shadow fell that is draining the land of vitality (and gets bigger each time people use the earth mothers magic).


The original books are very clear that the earth mother is not linked to chauntea in any way, and she is not in the outer planes but instead is the moonshae isles themselves (almost exactly how I'm depicting them). I'm surprised that later lore made her a God and then an aspect of chauntea given the original stories.


So latest idea is druid use magic, this drains earthmother and causes rifts to the shadow fell (part of faerie linked to the plane of shadow) to expand which drains life from its surroundings. That is what is killing the earthmother, people using her energy reserves without thinking.

So I'm assuming that the myrloch values gets restored and the books probably link it to some divine intervention of chauntea with Robyn's help, but I'm going to link it to the destruction of almost all the druids (which stops the drain on magic and allows the earth mother to recover a bit).


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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
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Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  15:14:38  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the Earthmother was identified with Chauntea, as it was seen as an attempt to integrate the Moonshae Isles with the rest of Toril, and to "streamline" the pantheon.

This was further attempted to be cemented, by having Chauntea in past - as Jannath - be more similar to the Earthmother, up to Jannath being known as "the Earthmother".

Our of this though, I started to think maybe Jannath is the Earthmother (whose cult was present in Netheril, which could explain some things), while Chauntea is another being, possibly Othea.

Also continuing about Eladrin - I don't think LeShay (or another group of Drine) influencing/changing Arborea to have petitioners become Eladrin, is outright soul stealing, rather changing the mechanisms of the plane if for the drine's own good and "survival' of their species in their own way, but still "mortally gray" enough to fit the LeShay. When one thinks about is also not different from (if I remember right) non-elven petitioners of the Seldarine being given an elven forms on Arvandor.

There is also the fact it seems the Seelie Court/Faerie Demiplane in 2E wandered between Arborea, Ysgard, and the Beastlands, and the Unseelie court in Pandemonium, and there were described as dwelling the Fey of the Seelie and Unselie courts.

Although to be clear, I personally have the Faerie/Feywild Fey/Elven Eladrin and planar Eladrin as separate, but related beings.

[EDIT]

Some interpreted the stories of Changelings, as abducted by Fairies children overtime themselves become Fairies, like in Changeling: The Lost.

There is something similar in Slavic folklore, with Rusalkas and Vile being incarnated souls of young women or girls (ie Rusalkas from virgins that weren't married, or drowned, while Vila from unbaptized girls), although this is connected with the (pagan) Slavic belief in reincarnation.

Edited by - Baltas on 01 Jul 2019 15:26:00
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  16:26:32  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wont make the Earthmother and Jannath the same, but the talfir fled former netherese territory and so likely inherited some form of Jannath based religion that survived in some form until they arrived on the Moonshae Isles and this allowed them to easily accept the teachings of the llewyrr about balance and the earthmother.
The above is also how I will explain the scrolls of arcanus being similar and understandable to the ffolk - it was also created by people that inherited Jannath worship which eventually morphed into chauntea through immigration of northmen or jhaam or calishite people.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  16:36:30  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I did note the rumour in the norheim isles that northmen dislike were seals (realms bestiary) because they think they are stealing their children. I've solved that myth through sea wolves (sea wolves and were seals look the same from the surface)

However northmen fear of Fey and child stealing goes much deeper. I decided since the northmen arrived ages ago (-2000 ish) that they landed on the moonshae but were driven away, hence their deep rooted fear and mistrust of the islands and all things fey.

This landing coincided with kazgoroths first war and I figured they northmen were unwilling conscripts and their children became breeding stock for more fey cannon fodder.

I hadn't decided if any survived in faeree but I did conclude most northmen were slain and the few survivors headed south to amn and tethyr, slowly moving up the coast until reaching the sword coast north.

I suppose the enslaved women could become Veela like, the men could be the guardian trolls in the novels

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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
622 Posts

Posted - 01 Jul 2019 :  20:08:25  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually quite like it - it makes more sense than Netherese knowing the Earthmother, but her Jannath's faith influencing the Talfir who came to the Moonshae Isles, works very well.

With the Changelings, Rusalkas and Veelas, I mentioned them to set precedence for Eladrin, but I really like your idea/take on it with Kazgoroth - especially that it uses a version George's Krashos idea of Northmen coming from Moonshae Isles, although here it being an important (in unlucky) landing point for them from which they (or a portion of Northmen) spread to Amn and Tethyr, and the Sword Coast, to Sword Coast North (which connects to their classic origins.)

Edited by - Baltas on 01 Jul 2019 20:16:57
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