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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4775 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2015 :  03:17:07  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
I created a Volo-wannabe named Varlo, mentiond in my dragon write-up of Ouranalathra in my thread here in the Chamber of Sages.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13403 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2015 :  05:27:02  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
And I created his granddaughter Volarra, when 4e first came out.

Her parents were just 'normal folks', and they would have loved their child to be the same (Volo's son was embarrassed by his father's reputation in Waterdeep). But then one day, while rummaging through some old things in the attic, the young girl came upon some of her grandfather's journals... and she was hooked.

I picture her being a Rogue/Ranger combo with some small magic, better fighting skills then her grandpappy ever had, with a sarcastic wit and irresistible sense of adventure. She'd actually become better traveled (and better received) then her famous (notorious?) ancestor, and eventually with more guide-books under her belt as well.

And she could drink most men under the table... a handy attribute when one is trying to pry information out of folks.

That was one of my 4e contributions to (un-canon) Realmslore. I really did try to support it, at first. Sometimes its better to pay homage to a beloved character, then to actually bring them back.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2015 :  05:42:46  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Regarding Volo most likely ending up in Waterdeep in disguise, instead of being on the end of an Imprisonment spell, maybe he's a stone statue in Mirt's garden. Or quite possibly polymorphed into a chamberpot and languishing in the apprentice quarters of Blackstaff Tower. Halaster might have turned him into one of those bum scrubbers to be used at the Yawning Portal too.

I still hold out hope for the guy!

Sorry all, in a bit of a goofy mood tonight. ;)

Edited by - Eilserus on 10 Jan 2015 05:43:16
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2015 :  07:21:20  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Volo has certainly inspired a great many variations and identities -- both official and unofficial, I'd suspect. Some of which haven't even seen print.

In my own humble way, I've even touched on the subject. Nothing too definitive, of course, to play to the strengths of "never being too certain when it comes to lore about Volo," but there are a few ballads swinging around the taverns in my Realms that lay the suggestive groundwork for one or three offspring that the Great Travelogue *may* have left spawned here or there on his travels. It deviates from what's know of the character, I suppose, but, then, that's what great ballads are about. Half-truths and "lies-you-can-almost-believe."

Besides, I'm sure Ed would be the first among us all to admit that there existthe possibilities that Volo could have found himself in situations where the fathering of illegitimate children *might* have unexpectedly resulted from certain travels taken perhaps... a little "too far."

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 10 Jan 2015 :  16:04:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Heh. I happen to know Ed wrote at least one Forging column featuring Volo (or at least his name was in the title) because I saw it on his computer screen when I dropped in on him one day (about a year ago). I don't think that column ever went up on the website - - but if it was a "Volo is alive and kicking at the end of the 1400s DR" piece, that continuity (Volo surviving somehow into that time period) would have had to have been okayed in-house (unless things have changed markedly from the state of affairs discussed by Wizards staffers in the various GenCon Sundering seminars).
love,
THO
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3253 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2015 :  09:37:04  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message
Hi Ed/THO,

I've been working on a Netheril rewrite for a while and noticed a few things that need a bit of investigating.

First of all is quasi-magical items. What did the people of Netheril call them (I.e. what would they be labelled in the shops for commoners and what did arcanists call them).

Also ive completely missed out netherese mantle magic. What exactly is this magic other than a layering of spells. How did they learn it, was it an initial teaching of the elves that later died out or was it what the netherese arcanists created after abandoning the elven teachings in order to cope with shortcomings in their chosen type of magic.
In what era were mantles most prevalent. How did they cope with the arrival of mythallars, did practitioners of mantles die out did they go underground and form a secret society, teaching only a select few worthies how to create them.

Basically I would like to know everything about mantles as it pertains to netherese society (not so much the mechanics).

Thanks in advance.

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Duneth Despana
Learned Scribe

Belgium
243 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2015 :  14:40:52  Show Profile Send Duneth Despana a Private Message
@dazzlerdal: I've sent you George Krashos' brilliant 'The Magic of Mantles' ... I'd link to it but I forgot where it was hosted (here in the keep probably but my google-fu fails me).

« There is no overriding « epic » in the Realms, but rather a large number of stories, adventures, and encounters going on all the time. [...]. Each creative mind adds to the base, creating, defining, and making their contribution to the rich diversity of the Realms. [...]. But Ed built the stage upon which all the plays are presented. Thanks Ed. » -FR Comic no.1
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29805 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2015 :  16:02:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
It's located here, on the main site

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 11 Jan 2015 16:02:27
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3253 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2015 :  19:18:00  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message
Thankyou for reminding me of that excellent piece Duneth Despana, I've had it in my archive for some time but it slipped my mind when researching Netheril.

I decided to steer clear of mechanics and rules and focus purely on lore when doing the rewrite.

What I'm looking for is what mantles were to the Netherese. What place did they occupy in society, were they purely for arcanists, were they for a select few elite, were they widely known, were they a closely guarded secret (if so by who), etc.

Although if it is NDA I will be looking at George's excellent article to make my own lore.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13403 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2015 :  13:58:09  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
Dazzlerdal - your question just gave me a spark of an idea. Could even be a great fix for Quasi-magical items, if I work out all the details.

They weren't 'quasi-magical' at all... they weren't nerfed; magic just changed since then.

Think about it - Arcane magical devices get powered by the Weave, and we have evidence that Shar got at least some of her power back when Netheril fell. Mystra's Weave wasn't the same as Mystryl's - it would be like plugging an American made electronic device into a European outlet (without an adapter). Could simply not work... could go 'BOOM'. The Mythallar are simply smaller versions of that original Weave - their functionality as a 'power battery' is just a fortuitous accident. Shades only tapped-into the 'dark side' of The Weave, so their stuff should have been just fine.

Just theorizing here - sorry for doing it in Ed's thread.

Guess I should ask a question: Ed, lots of folks ask you about 'The East' in YOUR Realms, but I don't recall anyone asking you about the south. What did you imagine being where Zakhara is now?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 12 Jan 2015 14:00:55
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2015 :  22:50:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Markustay, according to Ed of the Greenwood, you have the right of it re. magic items: the Weave changed, and therefore so did many enchanted things, depending on HOW they were enchanted and what happened to magic in their immediate vicinity during the first wave of the Spellplague and then the ripples/aftershocks/echoes that followed, over the next century.
And Ed also snatched time to answer your question re. the South:

Beyond Ulgarth, heading south, there was a low, worn-down (Appalachians-style) mountain range (so: wooded, plenty of habitable high valleys, "gaps," and passes), then a jutting-eastwards arm of the sea with city-states and small kingdoms all around its coasts (a "mini-Mediterranean," if you will), fed by a long, winding, major river that emptied into its easternmost end.
To the south of that was a range of hills, followed by a gigantic swamp (jungle-ish river delta, with quicksand, back "oxbow" lakes, etc., largely trackless and insect-swarm-infested and little settled by humans).
Sailing south from that large-kingdom-sized swampland, a wayfarer traversing the coast would come to another range of hills, the land rising and getting hotter and drier, and beyond that settled lands (my regional name for which was: Cimbarra) very like the published Zakhara.
And beyond that, another mountain range and then a region of sea choked with many, many islands, large and small, so navigating the waters between them would seem almost like threading through a maze. These islands would eventually give way to a long, curving, horizontal east-west continent, and beyond that open sea studded by only a few islands (mainly the tops of extinct volcanoes), the waters getting colder and iceberg-studded, and then finally a polar ice cap.
And there you have it: a potted tour of the coast. (Large continents stretching away to the east of all of this north of that maze of islands.)


So saith Ed. Revealing uncharted Toril for the first time.
love,
THO

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MaskedOne
Seeker

42 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2015 :  06:10:17  Show Profile Send MaskedOne a Private Message
Been a while since I dropped in here, so...

Pre-Spellplague:

1)Did Zalathorm have agents working on his behalf (in secret or in the open) outside Halruuan borders or was Halruua as isolationist as it liked to appear?

2) If anyone had ever been unwise enough to give Halruua cause to step outside its borders looking for trouble, just how hard would it be to stop them?

3) How good is Halruuan counter-intelligence?


Post-Spellplague:

1) This may or may not have come up in 4E materials (haven't read most 4E stuff, really not planning to go purchasing the ones I've skipped) but just how much of Halruua's people, lore and magic survived the Spellplague?

No, I'm not at all interested in isolated nations of wizards....
Really...

Edited by - MaskedOne on 13 Jan 2015 06:30:50
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2015 :  07:31:58  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by MaskedOne

Been a while since I dropped in here, so...

Pre-Spellplague:

1)Did Zalathorm have agents working on his behalf (in secret or in the open) outside Halruuan borders or was Halruua as isolationist as it liked to appear?
I have to check to be certain, but I think Elaine Cunningham may have touched on this subject [briefly] in a previous reply. I'm thinking back in 2012, but I really need to scour my archives to be sure.

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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2015 :  16:57:38  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Hi Ed and THO!

When it comes to dwarven mines, is there a standard tunnel width/height they usually dig or that veins of ore tend to follow? Such as a 5 foot wide and 6 foot high tunnel, 10x10 etc? They must enlarge certain tunnels to allow rail cart travel in heavily worked areas? Is there a certain format for this they follow such as a 20 foot tunnel, ingoing cart on left, outgoing cart on right, walking path center etc?

Aside from swinging a pickaxe, what sort of gadgets (if any) or must have essentials do they use to speed up or assist in their mining efforts? Would a pickaxe fashioned from umber hulk claws actually work or need to be enchanted so not to shatter? In regards to shoring up a mine tunnel, do they carve these out of the rock as they mine? Or put them in place from stone quarried elsewhere? Would dwarves even want to use wood for shoring a tunnel?

Regarding the geology of the Storm Horns, what type of rock is common? Are there rare types of rock? I get the impression that the outer parts must have lots of granite or other hard stone since mining appears really difficult? How about limestone or dolomite layers?

With humanoids such as orcs known to live in the Storm Horns and given the violent storms and lightning strikes that occur almost daily, how do they travel throughout the mountains? Do foot paths allow travel throughout to various valleys etc? And with lightning being so common, do humanoids shy away from overmuch metal armor or weapons? Would the dwarves of old have created giant pillars of iron, sheathed in stone except for the top to act as lightning rods on travel paths or would that be too high tech?

Any lore on Tempest Valley and/or The Warm Waterfall?

Sorry for the wall of text. I feel guilty even posting this block of many questions.

Thanks you two! :)

Edited by - Eilserus on 13 Jan 2015 16:57:53
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Eli the Tanner
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
146 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2015 :  00:20:42  Show Profile  Visit Eli the Tanner's Homepage Send Eli the Tanner a Private Message
Greetings Ed and THO,
I have a vampiric query for you. Are there any famed or 'noble' bloodlines among vampires? If so, how far back do any of these dynasties go and what measures do they take to preserve them? I'm curious about any vampiric genealogy amid the realms in general, are there any noted faerunian scholars who might share my interest?

Hopefully a vampiric visitor finds you both well, and grant your quills the immortality they deserve.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13403 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2015 :  12:42:16  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
Thanks you for that excellent response.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2015 :  21:32:06  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
I'll convey your thanks to Ed, Markustay.
And Eilserus, I can begin to provide a paltry first response to one of your questions: "Aside from swinging a pickaxe, what sort of gadgets (if any) or must have essentials do they use to speed up or assist in their mining efforts? Would a pickaxe fashioned from umber hulk claws actually work or need to be enchanted so not to shatter? In regards to shoring up a mine tunnel, do they carve these out of the rock as they mine? Or put them in place from stone quarried elsewhere? Would dwarves even want to use wood for shoring a tunnel?"

From Ed's notes, I can tell you:

Umber hulk claws or anything other body part from a dead creature would need to be properly preserved (pickling or magic or most likely both) to retain resiliency, or it'll dry out and shatter with continued high-stress use (and tunneling through rock IS, yes, high-stress use).
As for shoring up: one of the great skills of dwarves is "knowing" rock, so they can tell when rock is hard enough not to need any shoring/framing, and when it does (experts train younglings in the taste, feel, smell, and look of rock). Some gadgets include: thin, high-sided "trough" rubble-carts (picture a short dugout canoe fitted with many rope-handles) for passing mined rock back out of the way to a side-cavern, plentiful water in skins (brought to the workface in those same carrycarts) used to keep down dust and to cool the chisels, and many, many shaped and hard-forged chisels, used as a woodcutter employs splitting wedges on logs, hammered into rock with mallets in patterns that exploit natural cleavage-planes in the rock, so pickaxes have their blows magnified into breaking off large pieces of rock, fracturing large amounts in a short time period so the chunks can be broken up with hammer blows from all sides, the rubble scooped into carrycarts with deep-sided scoops (like some real-world fireplace ash-shovels in shape, but much sturdier).
And finally, dwarves will use wood if they have to, and if the stone is dry enough. Otherwise, it's temporary work at best, soon replaced by "arch-collars" of stone carved out of the right "really durable" sorts of rock in one place, and stored and transported to where needed. Often these collars won't "fit" along tunnels if left in one piece, and are constructed as two half-arches with a keystone/capstone (think of the old Pennsylvania railway logo) that gets hammered into place where it is needed. The capstones aren't simple blocks, they're long rectangular slabs, that when set up will run from one arch to the next, to form a "ceiling" inside the tunnel.

And there you have what I can derive from Ed's notes; the rest will have to come from him.
love,
THO
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2015 :  22:44:02  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Much thanks Lady THO. As always, you two are the best! :)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  18:00:35  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A pleasure, dear. May we always be able to answer Realmslore queries for everyone.

And, as it happens, I can begin to answer MaskedOne, in a tiny, paltry way, drawing on Ed's home campaign player experience:

Halruaa does have spies outside its borders, and a tiny handful of "active agents" (who might engage in more than passive watching and reporting back, when they deem it necessary). The elders of Halruaa frown upon "young firebrands" doing things that might draw attention back to Halruaa, so they tend to act accordingly. Any active agents tend to be veterans and to be very low-key, not "blast dragons out of the sky bwoohahahah!" sorts.
I don't think many folks could stop Halruaa, if they really got going - - which is one of the reasons Thay (both before and during Szass Tam) and the Zhents and, yes, the Shadovar didn't race around the Realms blasting kings off thrones and murdering all powerful mages. The Halruaans, like Larloch, act as something of "inhibitors merely because we know they're there and how they tend to react, so . . ." to such behavior.
Note that I said "really got going." The thing is, the Halruaans really don't want to get embroiled in matters beyond their mountainous borders. It will take much to get them to do more than call in favours and use others to eliminate threats or annoyances for them, or - - in a pinch, when "it absolutely must be done right, and in a hurry" - - send a strike force of their own.
Ed and I talked about this, once, and he said that although Halruaa was largely "gone" from Faerūn in the Sundering, with many of its archwizards snuffed out or gone crazy or very busy trying to magically repair what they could, a last-ditch Halruaan strike force would wipe the floor with, say, Telamont and the Princes of Shade - - because they had been developing their magic far more cooperatively for centuries, and in far broader ways, than Telamont had seen the need to or had the time for (Telamont, for much of that time, was securing his own rule and ruthlessly eliminating or taming potential rivals within Thultanthar, and then dealing with his own fractious offspring).
Halruaa was literally the sleeping elephant in the room full of fragile china. You don NOT want to wake it up!
love,
THO
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Eilserus
Master of Realmslore

USA
1356 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  18:25:52  Show Profile Send Eilserus a Private Message
Interesting. Largely "gone", emphasis on the quotations makes me think that means gone elsewhere for now? Hmmmm. :)
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2593 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  18:38:01  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Eilserus

Interesting. Largely "gone", emphasis on the quotations makes me think that means gone elsewhere for now? Hmmmm. :)



Yeah, I too am interested in this. Also, THO, when you said ''gone in the Sundering'', was it a typo for Spellplague?

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Rymac
Learned Scribe

USA
282 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  18:50:58  Show Profile  Visit Rymac's Homepage Send Rymac a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Halruaa does have spies outside its borders, and a tiny handful of "active agents" (who might engage in more than passive watching and reporting back, when they deem it necessary).



Would it be a safe assumption that these Halruaan spies would be hidden "deep-cover" agents inside other organizations/governments, rather than just an observer who operates nearby, gathering intelligence though eavesdropping magic?
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29805 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  19:16:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
And are these Halruaan spies/agents chosen for any particular skillset, or is it more like the Harpers, with "yeah, this guy fits our needs and gets what we want"?

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  20:16:32  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Eilserus and Irennan, I did mean "Sundering." As in, there were times as Abeir and Toril passed through each other that Halruaa was "gone"/incommunicado vis-a-vis the rest of Faerūn, though when I wrote of the deaths and mental damage to Halruaan archwizards, I did indeed mean the ravages of the Spellplague.
And here's where I extrapolate, after a brief e-conflab with Ed to make sure I'm communicating his views properly...
Rymac, most of the watchers would be "deep cover" in governments or important groups (like city guilds and large, farflung costers), but a few would live as just plain folks, in strategic locations. And aside from subtle magical mental protections, many of these latter watchers wouldn't have or use much magic at all.
Wooly, the planted spies are chosen for their alertness, shrewd judgment, and strong loyalty to Halruaa. The active agents tend to be the restless "wanna DO things and travel and see the Realms and hurl my magic!" sorts in Halruaan houses, who are tried out as agents to see how disciplined they can be and how much they can benefit Halruaa. Some flame out, and some develop into good agents. Most of these active agents are by definition strong in their wizardry.
(Interestingly, a "secret agent of Halruaa" adventuring alone in the Realms was a concept Ed pitched as a novel line - - not written by him, but a series of novels all written by different first-time authors - - but that the TSR editors didn't bite on. I think it could have been great, if writers had managed to capture a fantasy feel of James Bond without copying James Bond.)
love,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29805 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2015 :  20:50:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
That response about Halruaa being gone really makes me ponder... I've always had issues with Halruaa's fate during the Spellplague, and your description makes me think Halruaa wasn't destroyed, it was just elsewhere. And that would neatly solve the issues of did it or did it not blow up that have so bothered me.

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