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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:16:24  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Cormyrean adventuring charters:



Hey Ed, hope you and yours are keeping healthy these days! I was wondering if you could explain some realmslore for me that I want to use in a Cormyr campaign. I remember reading there were “basic” and “royal, gold-leafed” adventuring charters, what is the difference?


@TheEdVerse

Legally, they're the same. However, a royal charter was personally presented to an adventurer (or their group) by a member of the royal family, usually for a personal service (e.g. Florin rescuing the King from a brigand attack). This means instant respect from loyal Cormyreans, and perhaps distrust from nobles or others opposed to the Obarskyrs, if they see the charter document (which is, indeed, burnished with gold leaf on its inaugural "swash" capital letter, and is gilt-edged).

A 'regular' charter is presented by a courtier (scribe, clerk, or Crown herald of the Royal Court), and has the royal seal, but lacks a personal royal initial (signed onto the charter by a member of the royal family).
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:17:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On other races in Uthgardt tribes:


@PastorPlague

I was wondering if any other race were ever accepted in or born in to the Uthgardt tribes. I know they hated orcs but would they accept half-orcs? Or are their any other races that are common among them?


@TheEdVerse

There is giant blood among the Uthgardt, and the occasional half-orc, but most half-orcs would not be accepted into a tribe (instead, they’d be driven forth to fend for themselves, and likely die, when seven or eight summers old), as orcs are feared and hated foes that the Uthgardt have to fight off constantly.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:17:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On pronunciations:



@xaeyruudh

I know this might seem inane, but is Chauncelgaunt pronounced tchAWN-sil-gawnt? Or is it a hard kAWN-?


@gkrashos

For what it’s worth, I’ve always gone with the “ch” in champion.


@xaeyruudh

I have too. Chauncel just keeps reminding me of Council. And since the settlers came from Chondath it would have consequences for that and Chondalwood too, right?

I'm checking the gray box, but I haven't found answers yet.


@TheEdVerse

It's "CHAN-sell-gaunt." ;}
And, yes, "CHON-dath" and "CHON-dell-wood."
#Realmslore


@xaeyruudh

The more I check the pronunciations in the gray box, the more names I realize I've been mispronouncing for the last 33 years. #128561;

Calantar really takes me by surprise, but I was off on Aglarond too.


@TheEdVerse

Never worry about pronunciations. The Realms is a big place, with lots of local accents. One person's "Sil-oon-ay" is the next one's "Sell-oon," and they both know who the other one is talking about.

So if you 'mispronounce' something, you're just sounding like SOMEONE in the Realms.

Jeff Grubb and I came up with that idea right away, because TSR folks in the same building all used their own pronunciations for the same Realms names.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:18:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On setting up evil cults in Waterdeep:


@TLMayesing

how viable would it be for an evil cult (Bhaal, Bane, or Myrkul) to set up a shrine/temple in the Waterdeep sewers? For that matter what would they offer their recruits?


@TheEdVerse

Not viable at all, considering the city inspectors, the Xanathar agents creeping around, and the gleaners (poor citizens trying to literally dredge and scrape a living from the sewer flows). However, it’s VERY viable for cults to set up just a teensy bit higher, in the CELLARS of city buildings. Many cults are already established in such places, and in “upper rooms” of city buildings, too, which has given rise to the local phrase “whispers in upper rooms” and “upper room whisperers” (where in the modern real-world we would speak of “back room dealings”).

As for inducements offered to recruits:
Bane: to be an insider in a plot to overthrow the Masked Lords and set themselves up in a new tyranny that would rule Waterdeep “properly” and exterminate all nobles, enriching the city and those newly in power (including the recruits) by confiscating all noble wealth and properties.

Bhaal: to join a cool, secretive masked by-night fellowship that captures select people and “rightfully” murders them in on-altar rituals to the god (so, the slayings are not a crime, and the cult works to protect you from arrest by the Watch and any consequences of the killings). As a joining member, you get to name one candidate the cult will kill (i.e. someone you hate or owe coin to).

Myrkul: to join a small, select faithful whom all fear, so you’ll be treated with respect; no demands or social obligations will made of you. The undead will serve you; you can command them to do your bidding, including taking your revenges on living enemies and those who owe you.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:18:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On spellfire and the Shadow Weave:


@hans_kamerman
A question if I may, something that has been bugging me for days now: is there an equivalent of spellfire in the Shadow Weave? And if so, who/what were it’s wielders?


@TheEdVerse

No, there isn't. Spellfire is a 'wild talent' way of accessing the raw power of the Weave. That raw power is like a consuming fire when in contact with Shadow Weave magic, so it destroys Shadow Weave spells.

Also, because of this, no Shadow Weave practitioner has time/opportunity to master spellfire effects; it's like trying to learn to knit with wool that's on fire and melting in your hands.

Mystra permits spellfire to spread magic use; Shar spreads loss and chaos.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:19:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On spellfire and the Shadow Weave:


@hans_kamerman
A question if I may, something that has been bugging me for days now: is there an equivalent of spellfire in the Shadow Weave? And if so, who/what were it’s wielders?


@TheEdVerse

No, there isn't. Spellfire is a 'wild talent' way of accessing the raw power of the Weave. That raw power is like a consuming fire when in contact with Shadow Weave magic, so it destroys Shadow Weave spells.

Also, because of this, no Shadow Weave practitioner has time/opportunity to master spellfire effects; it's like trying to learn to knit with wool that's on fire and melting in your hands.

Mystra permits spellfire to spread magic use; Shar spreads loss and chaos.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:19:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the colors and heraldry of Cormyr's House Illance:


Mar 17, 2020


@icequeenerika

do you have any information on the heraldry, colours, signs and so on of Cormyrean House Illance? I've checked everything and come up blank on those details for that family.


@TheEdVerse

The Illances have been around for a long, long time, and have used various blazons, down the years, but for the last two centuries have used a black raven, clutching a black lance, on a crimson (blood-red) field. The raven is facing the viewer directly, but its head is turned to look off to its right (the viewer’s left), in the pose known in real-world heraldry as “displayed” (wings and legs splayed), and in this case its talons are clutching a horizontal lance (like a jousting lance), point towards the viewer’s left. The raven’s beak is closed and horizontal, and its lone visible eye is crimson. If this is on a banner or surcoat, or painted on a shield, the royal purple field will be triangular, with a flat horizontal top, and a long, symmetrical point (an upside-down isoceles triangle).

An earlier version of the House Illance blazon, in use for almost the entire 1200s, was identical except that the field (background) was royal purple and not crimson. The raven’s eye, however, WAS crimson.

The Illances call their blazon “The Vengeful Vigilant.”
#Realmslore



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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:20:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Cormyr's version of a dunce cap:


@jayeedgecliff

What is the Cormyrian cultural equivalent of a dunce cap?

I have a character who doesn’t think highly of the Illance family – especially those near her age – and may wish to suggest to them a new piece of heraldry


@TheEdVerse

The Cormyrean dunce cap equivalent is The Cracked Helm, a heavy war-helm that's been split in two by an axe so that all that's holding it together is its heavy collar (low on the wearer's chest). One half hangs completely away from the head it's no longer protecting.

The colloquial expression is "So you're wearing the Cracked Helm these days, hmm?" or "He's a proper Cracked Helm" or "Time to fit him for the Cracked Helm" or "Plenty of Cracked Helms in THAT lot."
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:21:06  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Enclave:


@ZeromaruX

@TheEdVerse, do you know if the Enclave (that cabal of wizards of Unther) survived the Spellplague? And if they did, how was their relationship with the dragonborn of Tymanther?


@TheEdVerse

The Enclave are now a scattered handful of individuals, at least two of them mad (brains ruined by the Spellplague). As a political force, they don’t exist. Untherians believe them dead and gone. The four functional surviving mages are in hiding, not daring to use their magic except in public, and even then very sparingly. So they have no relationship with the dragonborn, or much of anyone else. Masked, hooded, and otherwise disguised, they might from time to time be in the market to hire adventures to go and do things for them in public.
#Realmslore


@RandomQueriant

Not daring to use magic EXCEPT in public? ... What would make magic unwelcome except when there are witnesses to its use?

Is this something like me only being willing to work on electricity if I know someone is there ready to call 911?


@TheEdVerse

It’s not that magic has become unwelcome. It’s that the four surviving Enclave members are trying to pose as minor wizards, casting small and useful magics in return for fees, NOT a cabal or political force, these days.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:21:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Fangshields:


@tehyoji

Do the Fangshields still exist as an organization in the current times of Forgotten Realms? I find them to be an interesting group and was wondering how they fared over the past century.


@TheEdVerse

Yes, the Fangshields still exist, though they suffered heavy losses during the Second Sundering (some deaths, and some being left in Abeir when Abeir and Toril drifted apart again), and are reduced in number to 70-some individuals. In the 1490s DR, the Fangshields are more of a “secret society of adventurers” operating against evil beasts and humans and other humanoids that oppress beasts (mistreat animals, that is; the Fangshields don’t see farmers who keep oxen or horses as oppressors unless they beat, starve, or overwork their animals) than they are a publicly known military force. Members who are wolves, centaurs, faerie dragons, falcons, and owls act as messengers between other Fangshield members, alerting them to nearby threats and coordinating Fangshield activities. Fangshields have recently broken open the menageries of certain Calishite satraps who collect animals, and freed all the caged beasts.

Lurath the Golden (a griffon with a gilded beak, who lost his right eye in battle and wears an eyepatch over it) is one notable Fangshield leader. Another is the pseudodragon Waerrus, a gruff and sarcastic sky blue pseudodragon of great age and experience, who sports an untidy wisp of a beard, and makes a good living selling secrets (overheard information) to courtiers and sages across the Heartlands.

A senior Fangshield member, the loxo Elaeruth, is known to operate a haven for Fangshield members to heal and hide in, somewhere near the Duskwood, in the foothills of the south face of the westernmost Firesteap Mountains.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:22:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the portfolio of Time:



@Yacabolet

Hey @TheEdVerse: after the fall of Netheril, the replacement of the goddess of magic a few times, the reshuffling of portfolios, and the return of Amaunator; which god (if any) is responsible for the portfolio of Time? Can't find an answer as of modern day FR.


@TheEdVerse

No god is “responsible” for any portfolio; portfolios are mortal attempts to understand/explain which aspects of mortal life deities concentrate their attempts to influence upon (from the outset, I emphasized this by deliberately using a modern real-world word, “portfolio,” rather than an in-world term). Ao has subtly cut back access to tinkerings with time during all the recent chaos, to survive mostly as forms of stasis, and not true time travel. So no deity is now strongly associated with, or has much power over time (beyond a time stop or stasis-related spell). And as no god likes to advertise their weaknesses or failings, they just don’t talk about it.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:22:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the White Pack:


@tehyoji

Thank you ... I have a related follow up question. Whatever happened to the White Pack, who were members of the Fangshields? SCAG says that the Selűneites went on a crusade against Lycanthropes, so did they get put to the sword too?


@TheEdVerse

The White Pack still exist, though many now believe them mere legends, long dead and gone. They went “underground,” relocating, taking were-shape as seldom as possible, and becoming skulkers and pouncers more than a bold, public fighting force. They remain part of the Fangshields, and act as “enforcers” when need be (fighting or slaying on behalf of fellow Fangshields who need their aid). These days, they’re akin to a secret society.
#Realmslore



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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:23:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On water clocks:


@richlore88

@TheEdVerse, O sagacious one, I wanted to learn more about the Water Clocks of the Realms. Are they cumbersome? Do they require refilling? Is there any element of magic involved in their construction? Thank you for your time and stay safe!


@TheEdVerse

It depends. When first introduced, they filled rooms. And required constant tending/refilling due to evaporation, because they had so many open bowls and spillways. Most bore enchantments (not to construct them, but for effects they produced, to mark the passing time; linking them to horns or chimes or bells in cities or temple towers, for example).

But as time went on, waterclocks got smaller and less elaborate and better at running longer without tending. As the "proud display" of having one faded, and the need for less consumption of indoor space, and weight, took over. In hot climates, unless really humid, evaporation is a problem for outdoor clocks. In cold ones, freezing is, so waterclocks have to be indoors, at least sheltered from wind.
#Realmslore


@Greysil_Tassyr

Why use magic on a water clock instead of just having a magical timepiece?

On a related note, how widely used is magic for keeping time? How accurate is magically-kept time? Does this magic need frequent renewals?


@TheEdVerse

Magic was used on early water clocks because they were installed hastily, on public display, as status symbols, and means of mechanically linking them to existing bells, chimes, and the like (to make the passage of time audible widely, not just in the same room), was impractical, or impossible, or clumsy. The magic provided the link between clock and sounding device, in some cases.

Magic is almost never used for keeping time in the Realms. Most folk rise and go to bed with the sun (available light), or work by lantern- or candle- or torch light on a task basis (we need to mix the dough, then knead it, then form loaves and put them into the ovens Loreth has readied to the right heat, as soon as possible, THEN start morningfeast).

Although the game may seem to make magic plentiful and everywhere, in daily life most folk can't work magic, can't even dream of affording it, and wouldn't know where to access it. They hear of magic in tales, they don't use it for keeping time or anything else.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:24:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Waterdhavian noble houses who worshiped the Dead Three:


@TLMayesing

it appears the web update on Waterhavian noble houses was made when the Dark Three were in active. Are there any noble houses with secret widespread affiliations with Bane, Bhaal, or Myrkul?


@TheEdVerse

No. The ethos of those deities don’t fit with what noble houses need and want: longevity, security of the status quo with them on top, respect for life so they don’t get assassinated, and so on. All sane, intelligent humans along the Sword Coast worship ALL the main-pantheon human deities, remember, though some by alignment, interests, and inclination may cleave more to one god or a few gods than the rest. In the past, a few individual nobles were attracted to Bane as a tyrant, but Bane’s clergy by their actions threatened nobles and established rulers in favor of their own tyranny, or the tyranny of the god, so Bane’s veneration never came to the fore among nobles.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:24:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On what's written in the Realms about the Dawn Cataclysm:


@BruceDonhue
Hello Ed hope that you are well. If a Lathanderan Priest did a Commune Spell and asked Lathander, has there ever been written a full detailed account of the Dawn Cataclysm and if there answer is yes, the next question asked would be can it be found?


@TheEdVerse

Hi! I'm okay, and have your earlier question in the queue.

As for this one...

No full, detailed account of the Dawn Cataclysm has ever been written. Various priests of various deities have penned various accounts (found in a few holy books in a handful of major temples) of what the deity told them, long after the event, and such slanted, omitting-much accounts (deities tend to tell their followers versions that make themselves seem most important, and that portray them flatteringly) are all the Realms (will ever) have.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:25:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On wild talents:


@icequeenerika

@TheEdVerse are the various systems you've published for innate/wild talents all supposed to represent the same talents, or different ones? (VGtATM, El's Forgotten Realms) Does Illistyl Elventree's wild talent fall into this category or is the Invisible Art separate?

I'm wondering how much of this I should mix together for my own wild talents for PCs in my game; if Weave talents are different from the Invisible Art, if you only have one inherited special ability, and so on.


@TheEdVerse

Wild talents by their very nature are spontaneous, untrained (and often undiscovered) personal abilities; like divine portfolios, rules for them are attempts to define and categorize something that always battles against good categorization. Rule of thumb: keep wild talents rare and mysterious, so learning their limits and details remains a roleplaying journey. It should be VERY rare for one being to have more than one wild talent, unless the talents are related uses of what's really one ability.

D&D loses a lot of its fun if one player at the table is trying to dominate others with a character that has arcane magic, divine magic, psionics, multiple wild talents, subclasses, an arsenal of magic items...and tries to use all of them, every combat round.

The sole exception to one wild talent per being is when a deity TEMPORARILY invests a mortal with a special power while on a divine task/mission/quest...and such boons should never come without costs (obligations).
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:26:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On writing the Undermountain boxed set:


@newbiedm

All the adventures were written by @TheEdVerse. Ed, can you provide any memories or anecdotes about writing this boxed set?


@TheEdVerse

Sure. The encounter areas really only drew on Level 1 of Undermountain (not its top level, as it had 2 of those, one the thieves' citadel inside Mount Waterdeep {see Room 23} and the Fireplace Dungeon), and to swiftly get the set out, TSR drew on an existing Dave Sutherland Empire of the Petal Throne dungeon map; that's where most of the gigantic rooms came from.

At the same time, I was writing all of those mini-adventures in one week (around my library day job and its 100-mile-each-way daily commute). :}

The "home" Realms campaign was and is all intrigue and PCs have 'day jobs' as well as adventuring, and developing relationships with NPC neighbours, so Undermountain was crammed with burnt-out torches and other remnants of previous adventurers, as well as mysterious magical effects and hidden storage niches inside pillars with odds and ends and cryptic written messages inside them, so my players were constantly piecing together mysteries and stumbling over guild master and noble conspiracies in the Deep.

It was all great fun. Steve Schend was editor for the Undermountain boxed set, and had the unenviable task of paring down all of my mountain of details into something that'd fit inside that box. I think we managed to hand DMs a fun toolbox.
#Realmslore


@ReticulatingSp1

How I long for a modern revamp of this legendary boxed set. I am tired of single books with no giant maps. One of my most treasured DnD possessions.

@TheEdVerse

What I wanted to do at the time (I was just a freelancer, not on staff, remember) was have a box that size for all 9 main levels of Undermountain, then another three boxes for the side sublevels that you discover when your character is high enough level to survive them (by finding "presence keys" to secret doors, and undercovering all the intricate connections between Undermountain and the cellars of buildings all over Waterdeep), and then a final hardcover book of uberplots covering all the power groups at work in Undermountain, and what their aims are.

Then, of course, it would be necessary to properly detail the city above the dungeon, and Skullport, too...

And TSR could then sell you an embossed-with-your-name suitcase to carry all of these releases in...
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:26:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Zeboaster the Blunt:


@jason_wilson

What was the fate of Zeboaster the Blunt, @TheEdVerse? He was a highlight of 1989's "Forgotten Realms Adventures."


@TheEdVerse

Zeboaster the Blunt was an effete, perfumed-bearded sage of Ordűlin, in Sembia, who specialized in matters of theology and history among the humans of the Dragonreach shores, and was dubbed “the sage on the run” after his loud public opinions repeatedly forced him to flee the wrath of rulers, authorities, and the powerful and influential.

Zeboaster disappeared from public view during the Time of Troubles in 1358 DR, in Selgaunt, after angering the clergy of Myrkul and narrowly escaping death at their hands eight times. Grasping their deadly intent, he plunged into hiding after witnessing a fat merchant and his equally fat wife trying to murder each other; while grappling, plunging knives into each other, and wailing in pain, they fell from a luxury inn balcony past Zeboaster’s balcony, and perished when they slammed into the roof of a covered barge, breaking bones and dashing themselves senseless, then slid off it and (weighed down by the fancy-dress armor they were both wearing, from a revel they’d just attended) promptly drowned in the harbor, sinking and leaving only bubbles behind, that trailed away to nothing without them bobbing up again.

Seeing his chance, Zeboaster broke into their rooms, intending to shave off his beard and pose as the merchant. However, he discovered that the man was too short, had feet that were too small, and was too slender for any of his garb to fit. However, the merchant’s wife (thanks to a whim of the Watching Gods) was a perfect fit.

So the shaved Zeboaster crossdressed and became wealthy Zarorba Athelmoin, widow of Augrust Athelmoin, and hastily booked passage on a ship bound for Westgate. “Her” haste was a good thing, because “she” was soon suspected of her husband’s murder. So in Westgate, Zeboaster changed his name again, becoming Aumra Gulthanor, a fortuneteller, and joined a caravan bound for Berdusk, Iriaebor, Scornubel, and Waterdeep.

“She” was on the road across the Heartlands for the worst of the tumult of the Time of Troubles, narrowly avoided being murdered in Scornubel by a band of halfling thieves who sought to seduce “her” and relieve her of her valuables, and ended up working with those thieves, the Buralt Brothers, in Waterdeep, becoming their den mother [providing them with “cover” and a home and treasure-stash] (and still a fortuneteller) in Trades Ward, where “she” eventually became the lover of several bored older noblewomen who consulted her (on larks), discovered that “she” was in fact a man, and decided their husbands would never suspect their indiscretions if Aumra was very careful to maintain her gender fiction, so they paid her well to do so.

One of them happened to be of a size with Zeboaster, and so was able to slowly cast off gowns and accessory garments, and build Aumra quite a wardrobe.

Living this life, Aumra lived to a ripe old age, dying of heartstop late in the winter of 1426 DR (having outlived all but one of his noble patrons; the last one paid for his burial on her family estate, so “her” secret could die with her—and it did. Until now.)
#Realmslore


@jason_wilson

Wow. This is so fantastic! TY, Ed!


@TheEdVerse

You're very welcome!

Oh, BTW, as a fortuneteller in Waterdeep, Zeboaster several times had priests of Myrkul, "adrift" after news spread of the demise of their god, as clients. And fooled them, thereby keeping himself alive. They never stopped hunting him.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  16:25:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On unarmed combat training and instructors:

(Okay, this one was a bit of a mess... Ed broke the question up into chunks and answered it that way. I went back and located the original question in its entirety, and I'm including that, on this post.)


@jayeedgecliff

I’m sorry but this may ramble a bit as written English seems a poor medium and Twitter a poor platform for what I’d like to ask. This is my 5th try.

So here goes: my Joydancer who I like to ask realmslore questions for is hardly my only nonviolent adventurer

I’m not a hack & slash fan. If I wish to kill things for their stuff I have cRPGs

This leaves a problem. Most game systems’ combat systems are geared toward killing stuff. I can’t even LOOK at the unarmed combat section of my early 2e DMG/PHB for all the time I spent in my teens crying as I tried to make anything like sense out of it. GURPS Martial Arts is thorough … but is cumbersome enough in GURPS never mind ported to any different system better fitted to traipsing around Faerűn.

Is there a resource you might recommend for a more peaceful mode of combat that can be comfortably (if maybe creatively) used alongside the usual options of swords and axes?

Also … anything you’d recommend in addition to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on endless repeat to get a visual on lasso fighting?

Plus a question for El, another handy sage, or even Volo: a passive, defensive style of unarmed that might be learnt by a young Lady of means & station with indulging parents in coastal Cormyr. Who might be these instructors and what are they like?

Similarly a travelled Waterhavian lass from a family with coin … from whom might she have studied to so deftly protect herself from overly amorous festhall goers (she’s a Sharessan cleric working in an upclass hall the name escapes me) with a cleverly designed fan?

I hate asking mechanical questions, and 5e D&D, surprisingly allows for making do, but if there’s something with just a little more versatility out there, especially with the hand-to-hand stuff, it’d be a boon.

Thank you.




Ed's response:


@jayeedgecliff

Question for El, another handy sage, or even Volo: a passive, defensive style of unarmed that might be learnt by a young Lady of means & station with indulging parents in coastal Cormyr. Who might be these instructors and what are they like?


@TheEdVerse

In Cormyr, in the 1300s DR and the 1400s DR, interested nobles and courtiers alike can hire instruction for themselves and their children (older than toddlers and up) in unarmed arts known as ‘Shieldwall,’ although it’s far more tumbling and sidestepping and aikido-like swaying and balancing and pivoting than it is any sort of shield-like action. The instructors tend to be old, limping, arthritic retired Purple Dragons who’re good at teaching and have patience, and many of them use linament and their tutoring to keep themselves as limber and agile as possible.

Cormyr and Marsember have a small handful each of resident tutors, and the coastal areas see another three traveling tutors who also teach swordwork and archery: hardy women in their forties who are good-natured, brawny outdoors types, slow to anger but very quick-witted and observant. They serve the Harpers as spies on any outlanders or strangers arriving in coastal areas, and the doings of such folk, they sell daggers and bowstrings and arrows, and they’ve long since befriended lonely men along their routes whose beds they can share and so get free shelter and a meal for the night.

One, Harlathra Ordlynsword, is also a dentist. She’s ash-blonde, sun-browned, and scarred all over (old sword-wounds). The second, a one-eyed (she wears a black patch over her empty right eyesocket) brunette retired adventuress who’s a masterful mimic, and has a faultless memory (she can read a document, commit its wording precisely to memory, and repeat it or write it down correctly, even three tendays later—or overhear a lengthy, involved conversation and recite it, with voices, accurately), is hight Skelvreene Amaldrath. And the third is a young but snow-white-haired, vivacious brown-eyed flirt and acrobat named Jouleene Draetha, who attracts male attention wherever she goes.

All are good, patient tutors who don’t mind being handled by patrons or repeating moves over and over until someone masters what they’re teaching, and all are far smarter and more alert than they act. Harlathra once heard a bow being strung far behind her—and at the right moment whirled around, sidestepped, and caught an arrow barehanded that had been shot at her.

A feat they still talk about in Moonever, where this befell.
#Realmslore


@jayeedgecliff

…Similarly a travelled Waterhavian lass from a family with coin…from whom might she have studied to so deftly protect herself from overly amorous festhall goers (she’s a Sharessan cleric working in an upclass hall the name escapes me) with a cleverly designed fan?


@TheEdVerse

Eddie doth reply:

In Waterdeep, wealthy folk and nobles can hire many traveling tutors (that is, they make appointments for training sessions of about two hours in length at certain times a tenday, and so go from pupil to pupil in the city) to teach all manner of self-defense, from “dirty alley tricks” like kneeing and eye-gouging and throat-punching to elegant dancing that happens to include hold-breaks and disarms and takedowns. And yes, using a fan like a baton to break fingers or numb nerves (the old “bash the funnybone,” but also the hits that make a tight grip spasm open). Most of these tutors are aging but still supple human or half-elven men or women of social elegance and manners, who charge two to five gold per training session, and also hire themselves out as ‘arm candy’ light bodyguards from time to time, attending feasts and revels and so picking up a free meal in the process.

If you’re in the mid-1300s DR, some names of such tutors include the human males Rondarl Stormfeather (white-haired, slender to bony, impeccably dressed and with ‘perfect’ manners) and Morlyn Dyre (yes, related to the Dyre family who appeared in Elaine and my Waterdeep novel; darkly handsome, a master actor in perfect control of face and voice; accomplished at mimicry, and dancing), the human females Janessra Haeleeyaro (who can act the part of the ‘perfect noblewoman’ and looks matronly rather than beautiful; she hails from Telflamm, and is an expert at picking locks and sewing intricate clothes, often lightning-repairing garments torn by her pupils in their exertions) and Vaelarra Hamartranth (from Tethyr, an acrobat who once made a living as a ‘human statue,’ posing immobile at feasts and revels in strange costumes or vivid body-paint; she has an impish sense of humor, and is expert at hurling and catching small objects), and the half-elf androgyne (true hermaphrodite, usually prefers to dress and act female, but will readily switch if hired to do so; a not-so-former actor and prostitute) Phandarla/Phandarl Immerstorn.

The most famous such tutor of Waterdeep was Elender Tanturho, who died of heartstop in 1242 DR; it’s still city slang to ask “Got yourself a tanturho, have you?” or ask, “Tanturhoing?”
#Realmslore


@jayeedgecliff

…For a more peaceful mode of combat that can be comfortably (if maybe creatively) used alongside the usual options of swords and axes?


@TheEdVerse

I’ll let you in on a secret: the home Realms players include some veteran wargamers, but we long ago decided that we didn’t want to slow down our roleplaying to play another game for unarmed combat, for the sake of “realism.”

So we went to Mind Wrestling in issue #25 of THE DRAGON (yes, we’re ooold), which if you can’t get the issue boils down to this:

Draw a straight track of spaces big enough for a penny or other handy marker (a meeple). Eleven or thirteen squares long, or less (7 or even 5, but an odd number) if you want combat to go faster. For fisticuffs or unarmed combat or simple martial arts (I’m wearing knuckledusters or holding a handy vase and swinging it, or snatching and hurling handy furniture, but otherwise bare-handed), player says what they’re trying, DM says what NPC is trying, and they both roll a d10 or 12; high roll wins. Move the penny from the center square of the track where it starts (hence, odd number) one space closer to the losing character’s end of the track. Repeat, saying again what you’re trying (so, DM can describe the fight, with tables being smashed, that vase shattering over a PC’s head, or whatever; this description gives opportunities for someone to throw away a key, or toss something to a third party or into a fire, or open a door or some other “not pure fighting” action, during the fray).

Move the penny again. What the DM describes, happens, until someone surrenders, flees, or gets disabled. If the penny reaches one end of the track, the character at that end loses definitively (knocked cold, limb broken, captured or pinned helplessly, manacled; whatever fits).

Some gamers will condemn this as too simple. We just want to get on with the story.

Players who think this simplistic little system is too unfair to their character avoid unarmed combat situations.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:40:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On a Thayan house-slave mage and her barbarian bodyguard:


Mar 25, 2020


@clackclickbang

Hi Ed! I'm currently running a Forgotten Realms campaign set in Thay (which is among my favourite stomping grounds) and @xLadyGamerx is playing a former house slave adopted into a noble Thayvian family. The Alemok family hasn't taken her in out of altruism, but due to her possessing magical aptitude, which the family in general lacks. What's your view on a non-magically inclined family adopting a girl for her magical ability so they can "grow their own Red Wizard", and how such a family might treat such a potential asset?

Additionally, @GhostOfCinders is playing a Thayan barbarian and former gladiator slave, recruited by the family to act as her bodyguard. Who might such a person adopt as a patron deity in Thay, and how are barbarians viewed in Thayan society?


@TheEdVerse

In general, slaves in Thay are expensive, valuable commodities, considered by most owners to be inherently more loyal than free, middle-class Thayans because they have to be; there’s no place for them to survive in Thayan society if they aren’t, and a wise owner rewards good behavior and achievement so a slave sees clear benefit in ‘being good.’ So slaves get training to become the practical hands-on experts an owner needs (gem polisher, cook, smith, vintner, etc.).

In the case of this former house slave, she would be a ‘house treasure’ if she’s good at the Art and can be developed into a powerful mage. They would indeed get her a bodyguard, and try to keep all word of her talent utterly quiet. If she did any spellcasting training, they’d want it to be in a private cavern or a very secluded outdoor spot far from habitation, to keep anyone else from seeing it. They’d not speak of her training, or her at all, where non-family members and non-their-household staff could hear. And for her tutors, they’d likely hire outlander wizards or renegade Red Wizards outcast for past indiscretions (or, far more often, being on the losing side in some internal power struggle or other), and preferably the former, to cut down on the chances of word getting out and around in Thayan society. As the Alemoks generally lack aptitude for the Art, the former house slave is a treasure beyond price to them. She will herself be watched, of course, to make sure she doesn’t use her developing skills against the family, or ally or befriend others who might be family rivals or whom she might confide in, and so on (in other words, her bodyguard will be keeping her apart from most public contact).

Adroit segue to discussion of that bodyguard. Barbarians are viewed in two ways: dangerous, disposable fodder (and to a Thayan noble, anyone at all who’s not a Thayan noble or a powerful mage or a cleric is a barbarian), and useful but expendable tools, if they can take a modicum of training. A former gladiator-slave is obviously in the second group, and therefore his or her position now is perfectly understandable (even to someone who has no idea that the recruited barbarian is the former house slave’s bodyguard, and just think he or she is an Alemok family bodyguard, guarding the former house slave because she’s a family asset currently considered useful/worth guarding for some reason—and it might be something so mundane as being in training to be a good cook, when the family only has lousy ones, or being trained to be a gemcutter and polisher when the family has had to overpay for outside third parties to do such services for them).

A barbarian running around loose is a peril to be slain, or captured and enslaved, but a barbarian who’s obviously a slave and therefore the property of a Thayan house (i.e. wearing harness with an Alemok badge or livery) would be assumed to be working for the house if not running amok and attacking random folk in public, and would be accepted for that and not even arouse much interest, unless they were themselves visually interesting or doing something interesting (like carrying a sheep on either shoulder, or a struggling trussed human).

This barbarian-heritage bodyguard would be most likely to venerate Malar or Kossuth (or, if he or she has worked as a a soldier, Helm) as patron deities, but could have Gargauth as a patron if they feel ‘apart’ and ill-regarded in Thayan society, Loviatar if he or she is sadistic or masochistic, and even Shar if they want Thayan society to come crashing down and be swept away.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:41:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Bane remaining in the mortal world:


@LeslieCourtne14

Why would Bane, god of tyranny, seemingly give up his greater god status to become a mortal again just so he could meddle more in mortal affairs? I suppose the same question is true of Bhaal and Myrkul, who have died before too.


@ShamusGWilliams

This could be a similar situation to Iuz on Oerth. He was allowed far greater influence on the world because he was on his home plane. He could bring to bear godly might against mortals, while deities who were ostensibly mightier were restricted.


@LeslieCourtne14

That could be a possibility, indeed. I guess if I had already been killed before, I’d be a little more cautious about making myself mortal. And Bane just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would make himself weaker, to me. But maybe he’s just dumb?


@TheEdVerse

Not dumb, but...we mortals have seen that Bane is rash, impetuous, and arrogant. He's no patient, long-term schemer, but lives in the present moment (he wants results NOW). And his pride often makes him over-estimate his own prowess, and ignore his own faults.

However, the fact that all of the Dead Three have elected to stay in the mortal world makes me think they're up to something. Like @Rashamonn, I think it's a bid for more power. NOT masterminded by Bane, but irresistible to him because he hungers for more power.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:42:14  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Batrachi and Aearee:


@RidianG

So i know the sarrukh have a stat block but why not the Batrachi or Aearee? If they were to have stats or if I were to custom build them what abilities and powers would they have?


@TheEdVerse

Likely no stat block because they’re extinct in the Realms. If you really want to end the world as we know it…Batrachi: cross a slaad with a kuo-toa, and add doppelganger shapeshifting. Aearee: a wyvern but with a human human lower body and arms, covered with scales, but the wings have feathers, also a line of feathers down the outsides of the arms. In both cases, the result should be as smart as the smartest humans, and have the hit points and CR of the strongest critter in the mix plus half of the weakest. And when you’ve created the reptilian Creator Race and the reptilian avian one, RUN! RUNNNN!


@RidianG

Both medium sized or larger? And the shapeshift is still as limited as a normal doppelganger right?

Also which slad as their are a lot of them even the epic versions as well. I'm building using 3.5 btw and thank you for yiur response i appreciate your attention and btw i love the FR setting and heavily base my custom one on yours.


@TheEdVerse

I'd use the 3.5e green slaad as a base, myself.
But then, I do many foolish and questionable things. ;}

Larger rather than medium-sized, and shapeshifting far less limited than a doppelganger.


@RidianG

On another note would the batrachi and aearee have an ability similar to the sarrukh in that they can actively reshape the races they made?


@TheEdVerse

Likely, but not "wave a hand and happens right before your eyes." More a series of long rituals, like magical micro-surgery.


@RidianG

So yes but mechanically it requires more time and an optimal lab setting?


@TheEdVerse

And likely several "treatments" per being, to avoid death from system shock.


@RidianG

How about 1 tenday per alteration in an optimal lab setting (value 1k gp or something) and it can grant any ability it has to a subject (other than the Alter Form ability; that's what I'm calling it) or abilities it can get from creatures it has on hand (or parts)


@TheEdVerse

I'm very wary of "automatic success" rules. How about it has a 35-percent chance of success of granting any one ability, AND an unavoidable 5 percent chance of killing the being it's attempting to alter, with an additional 5 percent chance of maiming it so it can't be further altered (short of a Wish spell). Otherwise, this becomes an opportunity for tasking batrachi with turning out armies of augmented servitor creatures, and inevitably some power-hungry player will want their PC augmented, or become the army-maker.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:42:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On conflict between Claugiyliamatar and Palarandusk:


@webjr1981

Given how much the Kryptgarden forest has shrunk in recent years, and its proximity to Ieirithymbul, have Claugiyliamatar and Palarandusk had any run ins?


@TheEdVerse

Possibly, but not that I’ve heard of. Palarandusk is smart and calculating enough to avoid all unnecessary conflicts, as not worth the time, trouble, and risk. And Claugiyliamatar’s attention is on Waterdeep. Also, as noted in DRAGONS OF FAERUN, Claugiyliamatar was attacked by green dragons from Neverwinter Wood during the Rage of Dragons, and had to flee; she was intercepted by members of the Cult of the Dragon, who offered her dracolichdom.

As she’s not been seen in the Kryptgarden since, we don’t know if she accepted, or went to dwell in Waterdeep in human guise, or went elsewhere to pursue other schemes.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:43:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On criminal groups in Waterdeep:


@_waterbeemd_

Hey @TheEdVerse, I am a new DM and I am currently running a campaign in 5e. It's located in Waterdeep and is going to revolve around the criminal underworld in the city. Could you tell me about all of the different (semi)criminal organisations and factions?


@TheEdVerse

While many of the nobles, guildmasters, and even Masked Lords have been known to engage in shady dealings (often employing adventurers or mercenaries as agents, so as to avoid "dirty hands"), the Zhentarim have in the past openly engaged in nastiness, but these days employ others (adventurers, dupes) for such work, and the Xanathar Guild (which isn't a guild at all, despite the name) is a front for the criminal gang run by the Xanathar, a beholder (or rather, a succession of beholders, using the same title, like the Dread Pirate Roberts in the Princess Bride movie, though the Xanathar was around before William Goldman wrote that movie script) located in the sewers of Waterdeep. The city has no Thieve's Guild, but the Shadow Thieves keep trying to get back into the city, and there are remnants of criminal groups like the Bloody Hand, as well as several gangs based down in Skullport. One of these is Bregan D'aerthe, a drow mercenary group headed by Jarlaxle Baenrae.

And informal cabals of a handful of thugs and/or sneak-thieves, often sponsored by an unscrupulous merchant, are constantly forming and trying to operate unnoticed in the Deep. They rarely succeed escaping the scrutiny of the Xanathar for long. WATERDEEP: DRAGON HEIST provides a good overview of these in its opening pages, and you can get a feel for some of the independent seedy operators in the city in my novel DEATH MASKS. Or for Waterdeep a century earlier, subtract Bregan D'aerthe and look at Elaine Cunningham's novels ELFSHADOW, ELFSONG, etc. (For Waterdeep in between these times, see the six-novel "Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep" series, all of which impart the feel of the seamier sides of Waterdeep.)
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:43:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On cross-racial pantheon worship, and multi-faith temples:


@rwgs76

Dear @TheEdVerse, maybi bother you with two questions?

We know humans in Faerűn worship all the gods, even though some people may favor some deities over others.

However, is it be possible for some, like half-elves, to worship both elven and human gods?

Also, how common are temples dedicated to all (human) gods of Faerűn as opposed to temples dedicated to individual deities?

Thanks in advance!


@TheEdVerse

It is very possible, and even popular, to venerate both human and elven gods regardless of the race of the worshipper. Quite a few halflings, gnomes, and humans pick an elf ‘patron’ deity to worship as well as ‘their own’ gods.

All-faiths temples (like The Plinth in Waterdeep) are rare, but all-faiths SHRINES are found in many, many way-hamlets, villages, and market towns (i.e. places too small to have an array of temples specific to a deity each).

Some shrines are little more than an altar with a weather-roof overhead, lacking any attending clergy and kept clean and tidy by local devout “just plain folk” (lay worshippers). Others are more natural, consisting of an open-air spot associated with some deed, miracle, or manifestation of a particular deity, where folk go to pray and leave offerings (often this is a spring, a pond, or a distinctive tree or rock). A few are substantial stone buildings, maintained, cleaned, and guarded by priests—but not sanctified as ground holy to just one deity, and not dedicated to just one deity, but open for all to worship any or many deities.
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