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questing gm
Learned Scribe

Malaysia
99 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2017 :  07:19:41  Show Profile  Visit questing gm's Homepage Send questing gm a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I'm doing a little research on this magical radiation of the Underdark and have not found a lot of lore on it. Other than from Drizzt's Guide to the Underdark, the 3.x Underdark supplement, and the latest iteration (albeit corrupted version) in the Out of the Abyss module for 5th edition, are there any sources that I'm missing?

Was the true origins of the Faerzress in the Underdark ever explained?

Edited by - questing gm on 16 Oct 2017 07:21:05

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2729 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2017 :  11:12:59  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Faerzress is said to be the byproduct of the processes that shaped the Underdark of Toril. It's the leftover energy of those processes, and it's in the form of "magical radiation". There's a series of novels where it is suggested that the Faerzress was created by the elves after the Crown Wars, in order to keep the drow in the Underdark. However, that makes no sense at all, since the Faerzress *far* predates those events (besides, that series of novels is full of other mistakes and inconsistencies, even huge ones, to the point that some gods/factions are basically unrecognizable, and that the whole plot falls apart to the slightest examination. It doesn't help that nearly all that happens in it has been either reverted in-world, or flat-out retconned).

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 16 Oct 2017 11:13:31
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
6094 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2017 :  14:20:51  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, elves seem to like to take credit for stuff they didn't do.... makes people think twice before messing with them.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  06:33:43  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They're the clots of blood of a dead god...

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

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Hoondatha
Great Reader

USA
2400 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  07:25:24  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Which series was that, Irennen? I think I know, but I'm not adverse to asking you to name names.

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4920 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  08:35:07  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
War of the Spider Queen series. Uneven and a quagmire of lore.

-- George Krashos

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

Canada
6428 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  14:50:29  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's still possible that High Magic didn't create faerzress but did somehow change it. And we know that mythals gain their initial "spark" or "vital essence" or "sentience" or whatever from the voluntary sacrifice of an elven High Mage ... but what about one which (involuntarily?) sacrificed accursed drow or fiends? ... or one polluted by Lolth or other demons (or other Underdark gods/species) of immense power?

It might not be unreasonable to call faerzress a "Toxic High Magic" or a "Toxic Mythal". It does seem to be a "living" and perhaps even a "growing" thing, not unlike a mythal or Mystra's tangled Weave.

I wonder if the Underdark is actually something like Planescape's Border Towns or Elemental Vortices ... insofar as it has properties which somehow "blur" the boundaries between planes/worlds or it is (slowly) slipping from one to another. Faerzress seems very much like a "chaotic" and Lower Planar sort of thing, exactly the sort of dark and powerful magical radiation you'd find in the Abyss, infesting the Realms much like infernal Razorvine has infested Sigil. I'd even speculate that the Underdark is essentially an elven "Hell", very opposite to Arvandor or the Feywild - a place underground, without the sun or moon or natural light, without sylvan glades and "natural" life, without even "natural" magic, filled only with twisted darkened versions of plants and animals (and people) from the surface world - but it's somehow trapped in (under) the Realms instead of the Planes.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 25 Oct 2017 14:57:18
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2729 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  14:53:44  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hoondatha

Which series was that, Irennen? I think I know, but I'm not adverse to asking you to name names.



Lady Penitent (although WotSQ has its large share of mistakes and warping, mostly in the books written by the ones who also wrote and edited LP).

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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2729 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  14:57:02  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

It's still possible that High Magic didn't create faerzress but did somehow change it. And we know that mythals gain their initial "spark" or "living essence" or "sentience" or whatever from the voluntary sacrifice of an elven High Mage ... but what about one which sacrificed accursed drow or fiends? ... or one polluted by Lolth or other demons (or other Underdark gods/species) of immense power?

It might not be unreasonable to call faerzress a "Toxic High Magic" or a "Toxic Mythal". I wonder if the Underdark is actually something like Planescape's Border Towns or Elemental Vortices ... insofar as it has properties which somehow "blur" the boundaries between planes/worlds or it is (slowly) slipping from one to another. Faerzress seems very much like a "chaotic" and Lower Planar sort of thing, exactly the sort of dark and powerful magical radiation you'd find in the Abyss, infesting the Realms much like infernal Razorvine has infested Sigil. I'd even speculate that the Underdark is essentially an elven "Hell", the exact opposite of Arvandor - a place underground, without the sun or moon or natural light, without sylvan glades and "natural" life, without even "natural" magic - but it's somehow trapped in (under) the Realms instead of the Planes.



The book states that the Faerzress has its current property of interfering with teleportation and divination because the elves created it like that. Which just doesn't make sense, because they didn't. They could have given it the ability to interfere with teleportation, but they certainly didn't create it.

IMO, it would be more logical to assume that the Faerzress would actually enforce planar barriers and make planar travels (or superposition) much harder, given the way it interferes with teleportation magic&similar.

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Edited by - Irennan on 25 Oct 2017 15:03:27
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6428 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  15:08:10  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not trying to say that the Underdark (and the faerzress which helps profoundly define it) are planar constructs, I'm only trying to say that they appear (to my understanding) to be a good fit within planeslore.

I can understand elves wanting to make faerzress impede teleportation/tranportation magics - if they meant it to be something like an exile and a prison then they wouldn't want their drow cousins to easily escape it through magical means. I can understand them wanting to make it impede divinations since it would remove the ugly blot of drow from their magical sight. The drow themselves have made much use of exploiting these magical properties to their advantage.

But I do find it odd that the involvement of elven High Magic can be criticized/condemned (because it "makes no sense at all") while also accepted as the explanation for faerzress being resistant to teleportation/transportation and scrying magics. Not consistent to have it both ways unless the explanation goes deeper.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 25 Oct 2017 15:10:20
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2729 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2017 :  15:14:23  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik


I can understand elves wanting to make faerzress impede teleportation/tranportation magics - if they meant it to be something like an exile and a prison then they wouldn't want their drow cousins to easily escape it through magical means. I can understand them wanting to make it impede divinations since it would remove the ugly blot of drow from their magical sight. The drow themselves have made much use of exploiting these magical properties to their advantage.


Once you look at it, tho, the Faerzress doesn't even prevent those spells from being cast. If you are proficient enough, you can get around it. And most drow and elven spellcasters tend to be (EDIT: Nvm, 5e made it easier, in 3.5 it was much harder. That said, given that the condition only kicks in when the distance of teleportation is larger than 1 mile, I think that it wouldn't affect teleportation from the Underdark to the surface, which would make this kind of limitation rather inefficient. You could move up in the Underdark, starting from the Upper region--Menzo can be found there, for example, 3 miles deep--and then warp a raiding party on the surface, if that's what you want to do. Or even yet, just move to a zone not affected by Faerzress).

quote:
But I do find it odd that the involvement of elven High Magic can be criticized/condemned (because it "makes no sense at all") while also accepted as the explanation for faerzress being resistant to teleportation/transportation and scrying magic. Not consistent to have it both ways unless the explanation goes deeper.



Why? I said that it doesn't make sense that the elves created it because it far predates the Crown Wars (or even their arrival on Toril). They could have modified it, as you proposed, but that wouldn't make sense either (assuming that we had reports of faerzress already interfering with teleportation before the end of the 4th Crown War).

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Edited by - Irennan on 25 Oct 2017 15:25:07
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 07 Nov 2017 :  23:26:32  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wouldn't say THEY modified IT - more like, they modified the way a specific group of people react to the already-existing energy of it. That would make more sense (like how I don't think the Imaskari bypassed Ao's 'laws of Realmspace', but rather, piggy-backed onto them).

When desiring to make changes with magic - if one of the things involved is too powerful or all-pervasive, then instead change the nature of the thing you are desiring a reaction from.

In the case of The Drow, I think its more of an addiction (at this point). The change in skin color was actually a byproduct of taking out the chlorophyll-like substance in elven skin* (Elves - CANONICALLY - require sunlight; they get sustenance from it). By denying them the ability to absorb sunlight (even we humans absorb and use some of it), it altered their entire body chemistry. Thus, 'Faerzress' is a very poor substitute, but it keeps them alive. It also changes their nature (I have a theory that those nodes are really just leftover globs of primordial), which are why drow are so nuts.

Of course, thanks to FR, Drizzt, and all the 'Drizzit Fanbois', we have Drow walking around on the surface now, which is NOT the way it was ever supposed to be. Thus, I think the curse has weakened over time, and/or the drow have started growing 'immune' to the corrupting effects of faerzress radiation. I think Drow have gotten so used to absorbing other kinds of energy, they can substitute other things for it now (this is my way of explaining why drow have changed in the last century). It could just be that the curse has finally ru its course, or because of crossbreeding their blood has become diluted (they take other elves and also sorts of nasty creatures - like humans - to their beds). In fact, the legendary 'drow promiscuity' may be an evolved (magical) defense mechanism - their bloodlines have gotten to the point where 'the universe' no longer recognizes most of them as true Drow. It probably happened over the course of the last few thousand years, but since Drizzt has been parading around topside - without keeling over dead - they've come to realize they can 'walk in the sun' once again.

He single-handedly caused a drow social revolution. He truly is 'Favored of Lolth'.


*I actually think its the other way around - their skin was changed so it would no longer absorb sunlight (which is odd, I know, because 'black' actually absorbs sunlight way better than lighter colors. Its an 'elf thing'). So whatever that chlorophyll-like substance is that elves have, its blocked in drow.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 07 Nov 2017 23:58:02
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2729 Posts

Posted - 07 Nov 2017 :  23:51:35  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

I wouldn't say THEY modified IT - more like, they modified the way a specific group of people react to the already-existing energy of it. that would make more sense (like how I don't think the Imaskari bypassed Ao's 'laws of Realmspace', but rather, piggy-backed onto them).

When desiring to make chnages with magic - if one of the things involved is too powerful or all-pervasive, then instead change the nature of the thing you are desiring a reaction from.

In the case of The Drow, I think its more of an addiction (at this point). The change in skin color was actually a byproduct of taking out the chlorophyll-like substance in elven skin* (Elves - CANONICALLY - require sunlight; they get sustenance from it). By denying them the ability to absorb sunlight (even we humans absorb and use some of it), it altered their entire body chemistry. Thus, 'Faerzress' is a very poor substitute, but it keeps them alive. It also changes their nature (I have a theory that those nodes are really just leftover globs of primordial), which are why drow are so nuts.

Of course, thanks to FR, Drizzt, and all the 'Drizzit Fanbois', we have Drow walking around on the surface now, which is NOT the way it was ever supposed to be. Thus, I think the curse has weakened over time, and/or the drow have started growing 'immune' to the corrupting effects of faerzress radiation. I think Drow have gotten so used to absorbing other kinds of energy, they can substitute other things for it now (this is my way of explaining why drow have changed in the last century). It could just be that the curse has finally ru its course, or because of crossbreeding their blood has become diluted (they take other elves and also sorts of nasty creatures - like humans - to their beds). In fact, the legendary 'drow promiscuity' may be an evolved (magical) defense mechanism - their bloodlines have gotten to the point where 'the universe' no longer recognizes most of them as true Drow. It probably happened over the course of the last few thousand years, but since Drizzt has been parading around topside - without keeling over dead - they've come to realize they can 'walk in the sun' once again.

He single-handedly caused a drow social revolution. He truly is 'Favored of Lolth'.


*I actually think its the other way around - their skin was changed so it would no longer absorb sunlight (which is odd, I know, because 'black' actually absorbs sunlight way better than lighter colors. Its an 'elf thing'). So whatever that chlorophyll-like substance is that elves have, its blocked in drow.



That I know, their skin was directly changed by Coreelon's curse. It wasn't a side effect of exposure of Faerzress. In any case, those novels claimed that the telepor&divination-impairing effect that the Faerzress were made by the elves to trap the drow (in addition to the addiction-inducing effect), which is why I don't think that assuming that the elves restricted it to the drow would make it plausible.

As for it being an addiction (or needed to keep them alive), even back in 2e, the drow could go to the surface and normally live without faerzress (and without withdrawal symptoms). It's not a change caused by Drizzt's popularity, the drow were able to live on the surface even in Ed's realms (given that he created Eilistraee for his own setting). Before 3e, they just used to lose their innate magic resistence and powers (that are indeed caused by faerzress), until Liriel used the Windwalker to allow the drow to keep faerzress magic even when far from it. There have never been any mention of addiction anywhere except in that book, but it has essentially been retconned (like most of what happened in those books anyway).

I also wans't aware that elves were able to perform photosynthesis, but would like to know more about that.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 08 Nov 2017 :  00:19:03  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now you guys have me thinking about this (not that my brain wasn't already running in 97 different directions). I had this idea about Faerzress nodes for a long time now - that they were some sort of 'laftovers' from when the world was made. The WotSQ series kinda alludes to that as well (although like usual, the elves are trying to take credit). S owe have this whole "ceadle of Life" and 'Magic Weave' thing going on on Toril, and Ed has said Magic = 'Life' (and thus, The Weave = Life).

But NOW I'm thinking magic is actually based on chaos, A world of 'Law' is a world of technology, which grows duller, and greyer, and less 'full of life' as time goes on. Pure (Raw/Heavy) Magic is pure, unfiltered Chaos. The Weave takes that Chaos and refines it into something mortals can use (without getting hurt). So in other words, the Weave is just 'refined Life Energy'. Also, now that we know about the primordials all hidden under our feet, I think Faerzress is what I have always though ti was - leftovers, but now I know from what. Call it chunks of meat, call it 'drops of blood' (to wax poetic, as some of our canon lore does), call it whatever you want, but those are 'leftover bits' from the Dawn War, and they are PURE CHAOS. A least, the Faerzress ones are (we also have elemental nodes, etc.)

Thus, magically oriented creatures -such as elves, and dragons, etc., are attracted to them "like moths to a flame". They can't help it - that high concentration of pure magical energy just makes them "Go cocoa for cocoa puffs". We even see that in the Liriel novels - that two-headed dragon is hanging around next to a node, even thought hats what's mutated her! She can't leave - its like an addiction.

Now, what if the thing Elves get from sunlight is Positive energy (radiant Energy, whatever)? Its a another flavor of magic thats been refined, like Divine Energy. Elves being magical creatures (due to their fey origins) need this magical energy - this 'arcane radiation' - to live. In fact, one can even say nature itself is 'magical' (which it is), because flora absorbs sunlight, and fauna eats the flora. Its just one more way all that good 'Life Energy' keeps moving around.

But what Corellon did - as the Elven God of Magic - was alter drow skin so it could no longer absorb magic (sunlight/radiant energy). They are banned from it. This is why they build their settlements close to faerzress nodes (which is canon) - they have to supplement their lack of radiant magical energy with pure, RAW magical energy (Chaos) from those nodes. And because its chaotic in nature, so are the Drow, and its also why they gained exotic abilities (they're basically mutants). Pure, unfiltered (Raw) magic is dangerous to living things (just as the old Plane of positive Energy would kill you) - its 'life run amok', which is cancer in a nutshell. Yet, it is addictive to magical creatures. The more magic potential of the being, the more they are drawn to 'nodes of magic'.

This ties into some other theories regarding the nature of magic I am putting together, so the timing here with this thread is perfect.

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


Edited by - Markustay on 08 Nov 2017 00:27:23
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1489 Posts

Posted - 12 Nov 2017 :  23:10:47  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Yeah, elves seem to like to take credit for stuff they didn't do.... makes people think twice before messing with them.

Also, after a while makes others dismiss wild stories about stuff elves actually did, but don't want any credit for it as more "when the world was young and we fought dragons barehanded moon in and moon out" tall tales?

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch

Edited by - TBeholder on 12 Nov 2017 23:20:24
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