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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:44:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On elven origins:


@StateMagister

Hi Ed, did elves originate or arrive on Toril and do they have their own superannuated calendar? Thanks.


@TheEdVerse

The elves (and eladrin) have their own legends of "arriving" on Abeir-Toril (united worlds, back then) long, long ago, as opposed to originating there...but who alive today really knows? And yes, they've had several calendar systems; see hints in LOST EMPIRES OF FAERUN, THE GRAND HISTORY OF THE REALMS, ELVES OR EVERMEET, and several novels, such as Elaine Cunningham's EVERMEET.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:44:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On half-dwarves:


@HalfElfatHeart

What would the general opinion of half-dwarves in larger cities along the Sword Coast look like? I wasn't sure if they were so rare that it would provoke extreme attention.


@TheEdVerse

Half-dwarves that someone glancing their way will THINK are half-dwarves are rare indeed; most half-dwarves so favor either the human or the dwarven parent (usually the latter) as to pass for human or dwarf. A “pass for human” half-dwarf will usually be short, stocky, and burly of muscle. A pass-for-dwarf half-dwarf will look like an unusually tall dwarf. A visibly half-dwarf will be even taller, and will attract attention, but will only stand out when walking alone or with one or two companions of different heights; otherwise, there’s enough variation in human heights, especially when youths are in the mix, that the half-dwarf will tend to “blend in with the crowd.”
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:45:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On how adventurers are treated in Calimshan:


@Hipstertastic

what would the greeting be like for my adventuring party as they enter Calimshan? None of them have moved far from the Sword Coast, and the party has several rarer races (Tortle, firbolg, tiefling.) Would it be more unkind than their experiences in Waterdeep?


@TheEdVerse

Calishites tend to be wary of obvious “outlanders,” and of adventurers. However, if the adventuring party travels with apparent purpose (as opposed to wandering, or publicly discussing where to go and what to do), most who see them will assume they’ve been hired by someone in Calimshan to undertake a mission. They are still to be watched (as armed ‘potential trouble’) but not a cause for alarm, arming up, or informing any authorities. Unless they’re seen breaking and entering, stealing, or being arsonists, of course. Personal reactions to the rarer races will depend on the NPC's past personal experience (is this a monster? Tiefling = a genasi?)
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:46:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Jarlaxle investing in Mistshore:


@codeGlaze

Thoughts on Jarlaxle leveraging the greatly diminished property values of Mistshore to buy up space and attract investors? Maybe clearing out some space for a private dock and HQ fronted by year-round circus/freak attractions?

Give the local people jobs and utilize them for local Intel gathering.


@TheEdVerse

A far less tempting prospect than, say, buying up run-down properties in North, Trades, and Castle wards, refurbishing, and making much higher profit margins. Mistshore was largely dismantled on the orders of the Lords, after several terrible fires and a persistent crime problem. NO ONE gets to build "private docks" in Waterdeep, because the nobles AND guilds (and more than a few private individuals) all tried it in the past and there's no room for a working port (root source of most income in Waterdeep) if you let them. They'll literally fill up the harbor basin. So if Jarlaxle or anyone else starts trying to rebuild Mistshore in a large enough way to make a profit, they'll attract immediate attention of the sort Jarlaxle is far too wise to want to attract, as constant scrutiny make his sort of operations very difficult to pull off, and even less likely to make large profits. Using a foolish noble or guildmaster as a front will attract that same scrutiny; Laeral, the Blackstaff, and the Watch are all wise veterans.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:46:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Lliirans:


Mar 29, 2020

@jayeedgecliff

Sir @TheEdVerse, I wonder if you might indulge the boredom of a rainy sunday/w a few moments of your wondrous world building, if you’ve any to spare.

What, pray, is the daily life of your avg Jillian the Joydancer actually like, please? How’s this contrast/w just Larry Lliiran?

Uhm … if it matters pre-time of troubles, I guess?


@TheEdVerse

Aside from bathing, cooking, eating, and tending (nursing, feeding, fetching for, and otherwise aiding) others, a Joydancer’s every waking moment is devoted to spreading joy. Singing, telling jokes, and doing kindnesses are a big part of this, but so is knowing and befriending folk so what the joydancer says and does to try to make them joyful will be appropriate to each person (and so, will have a good chance of success). Joydancers are often accomplished singers, dancers, mimics, actors, and graceful people, but they need not be. Devout worshippers of Lliira will try to do kindnesses to others throughout their day, because the clergy teach and urge them to, but (unlike a joydancer) it’s not their life-consuming work; they usually have a job, a family to support, and so on. So for a lay worshipper it’s more how they treat others and view life, whereas a joydancer’s waking time is devoted to spreading joy. And they are good enough at it to be one of the very few priesthoods that’s not a-crawl with ambition, attentive to holy rank, and authoritarian in any way.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:47:12  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Loviatar:


@jpbila

Some bits with Loviatar please #realmslore


@TheEdVerse

Heh. Wolf's in quite another world, and doesn't know or do Loviatar. Can I help, with Realmslore of Loviatar? Or...?


@jpbila

Oh sorry . Some help with Loviatar lore in the Realms


@TheEdVerse

Sure. Circa 1479 DR or later? (i.e. in the 5e Realms?) What sort of lore?

To start: Loviatar's worship is high among bored nobles and wealthy "wannabe nobles" social climbers in cities like Waterdeep, Athkatla, Manshaka, Calimport, and Zazesspur.

More on the daily worship of Loviatar:

The ‘new way’ of the clergy, in the 1470s DR onward, is to inflict useful pain: pain on foes and trade rivals to get them to do your bidding through fear (or fear of the pain you’ll inflict), and the same amount of pain inflicted on yourself, to keep you mindful of the price of pain. Preferred ways of inflicting are whips, canes, lengths of thorn-vine used as whips, and the bare open hand (spanking). Many lay worshippers
are masochists or sadists.

Clergy often wear leather outfits of crisscrossed straps, devout worshippers may wear individual ‘devotive pieces’ of adornment such as corsets or chokers or leather bracers when attending rituals, and most such rituals consist of clergy-chanted prayers punctuated by whip-cracks (a whip brought down on an altar or on one cleric by another) while lay worshippers unison-recite responses to the passages of prayer (reading from handbooks or posted words lit by cleric-held lamps). These recitals build in pace and fervor.

Priests of the Maiden of Pain in Waterdeep, Athkatla, Manshaka, and likely other places teach the establishment and maintenance of effective discipline within trading costers, shipping fleets, and guilds, for fees. Increasingly popular wear for clergy: black leather half-masks that are cut into a fringe of thongs that hangs over the lower face. Clergy often smile, even through pain.
#Realmslore


@VikGray

Hey! Thanks for mentioning that really fun deity. I wonder, was she any involved with Dead Three events and how is her relationship with Bane move now

Does she avoids him? Supports?


@TheEdVerse

Loviatar wasn't directly involved with the Dead Three's collusion or negotiations with Jergal. So far as we mortals know (so far as we know ANYTHING we can trust, about the gods).

And Loviatar steers her own clergy these days, trying to stay politely distant from Bane and his clergy. She recalls earlier, closer cooperation (1300s DR) in which she saw her clergy and herself given orders from the Lord of Tyranny and his clergy (i.e. relegated to servants). Not at all her desire, so to be avoided.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:47:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Myrkul and Velsharoon:


Apr 4, 2020


@LeslieCourtne14

Hey @TheEdVerse can you tell me what Elminster has told you about the relationship between Myrkul and Velsharoon is now a days? Like how are they different, or how do they see each other’s role in the pantheon?


@TheEdVerse

Myrkul is the god of the dead, and some of his worshippers are powerful undead (liches, vampires, and the like), whom he works with and champions the aims/causes of.

Velsharoon is the god of necromancy, and is feared or detested by many undead; most of his worshippers are living mortal necromancers (who of course will also worship Myrkul and all other deities they know of).

In Elminster’s view, Myrkul is (or was; there’s a chance that all of the Dead Three returned after the Sundering more sharply limited in power than many other returning deities—though Velsharoon may well also be sharply limited) more powerful than Velsharoon, and more autonomous (Velsharoon obeys Azuth, Myrkul obeys no one but is influenced by Bhaal and Bane, and all of the Dead Three are likely heavily manipulated by Jergal).

No one knows how gods see other gods except by what mortals can infer from what deities and their avatars and senior servitors say and do, and if a mortal doesn’t observe such behavior directly, they should always be aware that clergy habitually ‘spin’ what they report to lay worshippers, and spread as rumor, to often be more propaganda to raise the profile and importance of ‘their’ deity, than it is truth.
However, Elminster believes, from his own past observations, that Myrkul dismisses Velsharoon as a ‘grasping mortal’ of barely divine power, and otherwise seeks to ignore him. And Velsharoon sees Myrkul as a do-little has-been, no longer of consequence in the affairs of the world.
#Realmslore


@Pataphor1

Please forgive naive question: if undead are both/neither alive and/nor dead, why are they worshipping a god of the Dead? Why is there no god of the Undead, constantly in tension with Kelemvor & Isis or Apollo? Or could they worship Celtic Arawn?


@TheEdVerse

Your question arises out of mortal confusion as to who the gods really are, as individuals, and what they do.

Portfolios are our way of trying to understand what genres/fields of endeavour/concepts/professions/topics they seek to dominate, bolstered by titles bestowed on the gods by their clergy, by bards and general rumor, and occasionally by the gods themselves. "Lord of the Dead" is one of these. All deities compete, and Myrkul, Kelemvor, Velsharoon, and Bhaal are all "fighting for turf" here. So too, could Jergal be, if he was interested in fighting. Remember, only fanatics, paladins, and clerics in the Realms worship one god. Everyone "believes in" them all, and most folk worship them all. Some beholders worship other beholders, and there are beholder cults who worship undead beholders. There are vampires who worship powerful undead they don't really understand, because that undead being helped them once (in hopes that said being will help them again). And I've not even mentioned other pantheons of gods worshipped in the Realms in my mini-catalogue of who's vying for death and undeath. So the constant tension you mentioned is always there.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:48:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On shadar-kai:


Mar 28, 2020

@cali_keftiu

With the shadar-kai now (again) a sprt of fey, what would folk call the shadow-touched humans that live in the Underdark and among the Netherese? Especially looking for a Netherese name for them.


@TheEdVerse

“Shadar-kai” IS the Netherese term for shadar-kai, adopted directly from their own term for themselves. Some other humans of Toril call them “shadow fey” or even “shades” (confusing them with the undead creatures, or even the Shadovar: citizens of Thultanthar or “Shade”). A human sage of the Sword coast would probably use “shadow fey” when writing or speaking in public, feeling that this term is most precise. Any fey would probably think that “shadow fey” is too broad a term for the shadar-kai; they would take it to mean any sort of fey ‘touched by shadowstuff’ or ‘of the Shadowfell’ or both. Some Sword Coast and Heartlands adventurers call them “pale dark skulkers” or worse. There’s also a more general Netherese and fey term, “arkai,” which means ‘dangerous fey’ (kai = fey, and ara = means dangerously capable) that often gets used where humans might say ‘monster.’
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:48:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On terms for followers of the Red Knight:


@TheNervousGM

Hey @TheEdVerse does the Church of the Red Knight have a term for her worshippers?


@TheEdVerse

Several. Colloquially, in private, they simply say “the Faithful” or “Marchers.” More formally, they are “Redshields.” Most formally, they are “Followers of the Red Lady.”
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Thayans and snakes:


Mar 29, 2020

@Alphastream

Here is an FR lore question. On today's stream I was asked why the Thayans have these snake sculptures throughout their complex. Anyone know? I thought it might be tied to a Yuan-Ti god like Zehir or Merrshaulk, but now I'm not sure.


@TheEdVerse

See TYRANTS IN SCARLET (free download from the DM’s Guild) by George Krashos and me. It relates the founding history of the zulkirs, and the Athora that made Thay a land of magic. To this day, the Athora lies in a cavern-lair within Thaymount constructed by the Ba’etith, that mysterious group of sarrukh, batrachi and aearee who were responsible for the creation of the Nether Scrolls. Known as Assikhath to the sarrukh, the lair is adorned with statues that house protective and preservative magics (for some of the magic items in the lair are both powerful and dangerous). A few of these statues can animate as guardians, but most shoot forth magics to defend the lair against intruders, particularly those who seek to damage and despoil, or unleash magic.

Most of these statues are of stylized sarrukh (snaked-headed lizards or giant serpents or even winged upright bipeds with snake heads), and Thayans of all walks of life (including wise, sophisticated zulkirs) associate magical power and success in the Art with the presence of such statues, so down the years similar statues have been fashioned and installed in many Thayan homes, compounds, and offices. Although no Thayan wizard would state matters so baldly (though a lower-class Thayan laborer or official might), they are thought to bring good luck, and to ‘evoke what is best of Thay,’ no matter how distant they may actually be from Thay. A Thayan feels at home in chambers adorned with snake statuary. So you will find them everywhere Thayans have control over interior décor.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Batrachi and slaad:


@LeslieCourtne14

Are the Batrachi somehow related to the Slaad or the kuo-toa? I always felt like there could be a great opportunity to use them as these sort of ancient “Lovecraftian” elder ones who just mostly died off.


@TheEdVerse

I agree, a great opportunity for an elder ones role.

As Eric Boyd and I wrote in SERPENT KINGDOMS, a few sages of the Realms correctly believed that most of the Batrachi escaped to Limbo, and over time became the slaadi, a handful remained in the swamps of Toril but likely went extinct before the 1300s DR, and (see SERPENT KINGDOMS and POWERS & PANTHEONS) the Batrachi created or were the ancestors of many shapeshifting, amphibious, and piscine Faerûnian races, including the bullywugs, doppelgangers, kopru (see the 3e MONSTER MANUAL II), kuo-toa, locathah, sivs, and tako.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the meaning of the word Dessarin:


@rwgs76

Dear @TheEdVerse, well met! What's the meaning, in English, for the word "Dessarin" (as in River Dessarin). Thanks! #Realmslore


@TheEdVerse

Most folk alive today have no idea of the derivation or meaning of the name, which is now so old it’s just ‘always been there.’ Many sages think it comes from the Dessar family, elves who worked with dwarves in the time of the dwarf kingdom of Besilmer (five thousand years ago). Others think this is a misunderstanding, and that family, when they split from their ancestral kin (who shunned dwarves), took their name from a dwarf they worked with, just as the halfling Dessar and Dessil families did. And there are several competing tales, so the truth behind it all has been lost to time. In Elvish, des/deth is a syllable that can denote a flower in bloom, or femininity.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:50:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On wyvern and dragon meat:


@LeslieCourtne14

What does wyvern or dragon meat taste like? I’ve tried alligator meat before, but I don’t know if it would be a similar taste or not.


@TheEdVerse

My relatively limited experience of wyvern- and dragon-meat cuisine has led me to depend on Elminster, Laeral, Storm, and (wince) Volo as sources. They all tell me the taste varies with age, species, and diet of what’s being eaten, even before sauces and seasonings during cooking enter the picture. Raw meat tends to taste like frogs (as in, frog legs from a buffet) with a smoky aftertaste, and when cooked shifts towards the fine white meat part of a well-done pork chop. With a smoky aftertaste.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:50:46  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On yuan-ti grafts:


@Rexenraptor

Hey Ed! A burning question for you. The Serpent Kingdoms mentions that the Yuan-ti added arms to nagara. Is it possible for them to add grafts to other types of non-serpent creatures? And are grafts limited to just snake parts, or could they do other types?


@TheEdVerse

Like real-world modern human surgeons, yuan-ti vary in skill and experience with grafting, and specialties. However, the few really skilled ones can handle all sorts of reptilian body parts, from a living or very recently-deceased donor, master sedation and antiseptic operating conditions, and can graft successfully to all sorts of reptilian creatures.

The moment they try other sorts of body parts, or other sorts of recipients (warm-blooded mammals, for instance), the chances of rejection and necrotizing (the body part dying and festering, still attached, so amputation must be done to avoid sickening and poisoning the recipient creature) go up sharply. As do instances of nerves not knitting together, so motor control of a limb is poor (e.g. dangling or flailing arm, not one capable of grasping and deft activities), it’s permanently numb, and so on. And NO yuan-ti has ever successfully transplanted a head with functioning mind intact, to any creature or from any creature. Yuan-ti have entirely mastered the shock problems, so some of them even know the right local anaesthetics to operate on themselves (e.g. give themselves extra or replacement arms) while conscious.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 24 Apr 2020 :  16:53:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On bathrooms:

Apr 12, 2020


@LouAnders

Hi @TheEdVerse I hope you are still doing well! Pressing question that I must know the answer to or I'll pop. I can't wait. It's urgent. What are bathrooms like in the Realms? Camber pots? Out houses? Are there sewers? Is there plumbing?


@TheEdVerse

I had to work all of this out first for my Mirt stories as early as 1967 (his foes had a habit of attacking him while he was answering nature's call), but then the moment D&D play began, PCs started using sewers, garderobes, and nightsoil wagons as travel routes!


Dave Gross
@frabjousdave

There are definitely sewers.


@LouAnders

Yeah, there kind of have to be. But is there plumbing? Magic plumbing?


@frabjousdave

This I don't remember with certainty, but I find it very likely considering the images of sewer pipes I recall from the artwork.


@TheEdVerse

All of the above. Sanitation in the Realms depends on where you are, and your wealth/social class.

If you’re traveling and stay at a way-inn, you’ll be like most middle-class city folk: chamberpots under every bed, typically emptied by the youngest non-toddler family member, with accompanying mugs of leaves for wiping and flowerpetal- or lime-scented water for washing and diluting the pee or covering the poo (as well as the chamberpot lid) to keep the smell down. Emptied into a backyard covered bucket, which gets taken to a cesspool/pit or (copper a dump) to the local nightsoil wagon (as shown in a scene in ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER, one of the very few sanitation details not edited out of my manuscripts).

Some cities have sewers, usually because they’re coastal (tidal flushes) and/or have streams/rivers running through them that can be diverted to flush out the sewers. In most cities, there are indoor rooms, known as garderobes or less formally as “jakes,” consisting of a seat, a gravity drop pipe descending from underneath it, and large jugs of water for washing and flushing (down the pipe to a cess-cistern in the cellars, which has a turn-the-balun/open the board sluice connection to the sewers—so the sewers can’t readily back up into your cellar). Some homes have wiping cloths, washed by servants or family members, some have “bumsticks” (scrap cloth tacked to a branch, used like a backscrubber, only lower down ;} ), some have wiping leaves, and many have scented water to purge smells, and potpourri (“crushscent bowls” or pomanders, in the Realms).

In rural areas, most farms, homes, taverns, and inns all have outdoor privies (outhouses), with under an open-walled roof, to keep water out) handy heaps of sand and lime and shovels large and small. You use it, with the aforementioned leaves or bumstick, there’s an ewer and basin for washing, and when you’re done, a sprinkle of lime and a shovel-full of sand go down the hole. When the hole’s full, the outhouse gets moved, and the hole gets limed heavily, or a fire lit atop it, and then (after fire dies to ashes; no fires are ever lit in forest loam locales) covered over with earth and left. (Successive outhouse moves causes the ‘ring garden’ around some homes.)


@LouAnders

So Silverymoon probably has sewers and garderobes in the nicer inns.


@TheEdVerse

Yes. Garderobes in the nicer inns, flushed by hand-water-jug down narrow pipes into a water-filled cistern (cuts the smell), which is regularly sweet-scented by the staff, and dredged by night, out to a nightsoil wagon, and so away south for spreading, or flushed by the underground streams into the Rauvin, where downstream-of-the-city weirs catch the muck, and it's bucket-scooped (giant 'brushpans' like the digging buckets of modern real-world backhoes and long-arm excavators, strung on ropes to both riverbanks and dragged back and forth by teams of oxen, up crushed-rock ramps out onto dry land) from the weirs into nightsoil wagons, which, yes, take it away from spreading.


@LouAnders

No wait. Not costal. No sewer for Silverymoon?


@TheEdVerse

Northbank Silverymoon has sewers flushed by three now-totally-buried streams (like London, England's many long-ago-roofed-over streams that became open sewers and so were 'buried' without controversy; see the classic reference work "The Common Stream" by Rowland...Parker) that flush into the Rauvin. Southbank Silverymoon has no sewers, and uses the nightsoil wagon system ("leavings" taken far south and spread on open wilderlands to rot down).

Any large-city freshwater flush system uses weir-grids to collect solid filth ("muck") that gets taken away by wagon and dumped far from noses in the city (Waterdeep's goes from the harbor grids to the Rat Hills, S along the coast). Gulguthra (otyughs and neo-otyughs) devour human waste in such dumping-grounds, and serve the same function in some castle, monastery, abbey, and isolated inn middens.
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On firearms:


Apr 13, 2020


@Xjandinast

What were your thoughts on rumors on guns being added into the norm of Forgotten realms novels? I like the medieval flavor and dependence of magic.

When I play as a DM I just tweak the lore to make sure gunpowder is harder to maintain hehe


@TheEdVerse

I wrote a Firearms article, and a sequel, for Dragon magazine back in the day to nudge the idea of guns in the Realms into the “very impractical” category (as an editorial assignment, as they were already in the game; a wizard …of Greyhawk had a ‘boom wand’ in the Gary Gygax/Jim Ward/Rob Kuntz play sessions, way back when). Gunpowder doesn’t work in the Realms (doesn’t explosively ignite, so can’t propel bullets). Instead, the Realms has something called “smoke powder” (which many gamers over the years have confused with sorts of gunpowder called “smokeless powder” or “smokepowder”). This was an idea borrowed, with Roger’s permission, from Roger Zelazny: in his Chronicles of Amber, gunpowder doesn’t work in Amber. Instead, what in the shadow known as Earth is known as jewelers’ rouge can be used in firearms. And yes, it is hard to obtain, making any firearm a “rare and preciously firing” weapon. ALL firearms in the Realms are single-shots, not automatic or semi-automatic. And every time they’re fired, there’s a chance the weapon will explode, endangering the being firing it more than any target. This keeps the focus on magic and medieval-flavour weapons.

Not that any of this is a new notion in fantasy. H. Beam Piper’s classic LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN focuses on a gunpowder theocracy on an alternate-timeline Earth, and what happens when a modern-times Pennsylvania state trooper who knows how to make gunpowder winds up in that ‘otherwhen.’
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On Shaundakul during and after the Spellplague:



@_Pseudoscience_

I've been unable to dig up any information on where Shaundakul scampered off to after his disappearance in 1385, during the Spellplague. Is there any canon lore concerning this? If not, could you tell me if his clerics are still receiving their powers from him? :)


@_Pseudoscience_

Just checking in again. A little bump to see if this gets noticed :)


@TheEdVerse

Sorry, I've been busy recently ferrying my wife back from hospital, and similar real-world health fusses.

I answered this very query here on Twitter a month back:
Shaundakul stepped through a portal and went worldwalking during the onset of the Spellplague, to avoid the worst of its ravages, and to find and gather scattered sentients of Toril and lead them back to the world as the spell-chaos subsided.

Thereafter, Shaundakul appeared frequently, all over Faerûn, in various mortal guises, to guide lost travelers to safety, revealing his true nature only to his clergy and the most devoted of his lay worshippers.

He is answering the prayers of the faithful, granting spells to clergy, and in fact did so with far shorter an interruption during the Spellplague than most other deities. He's very attentive to his clergy.

The iconography you cite sounds very much like Shar or Entropy, but hijacking a shrine is Not Done, and I suspect Ao will sharply curb any interloper deity doing so (loss of divine reach or power) before long.
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On the Fellowship of the Purple Staff and their hamlets:


Apr 15, 2020


@BruceDonhue

Hello Ed, I have a question about The Fellowship of the Purple Staff. An organization founded by a few clergymen of Chauntea, Helm and Selûne in 1368 DR & bolstered by faithful of Lathander and Sune.What has happening with them since 1372, what are their hamlets?


@TheEdVerse

The Fellowship was almost wiped out fighting beasts, brigands, and followers of Malar in the chaos following the Spellplague. Although it rebounded in the 1450s DR, today the Fellowship consists of over sixty adventuring members (and their families) who dwell in a handful of subsistence hamlets in an E-W line deep in the northern Gulthmere Forest, having lost all reach into more southerly stretches of forest (near the Orsraun Mountains).

The Fellowship now include Mielikki, Silvanus, and Corellon in their worship, and try to live in harmony with sylvan creatures and the life-cycles of the forest, using trails rather than clearing wagon-roads, and establishing ‘forest farms’ of vines and tree-clinging plants rather than clearing fields. They trade with Cedarsproke and Gurnth, but don’t live there, and those settlements aren’t Fellowship-run.

Important Fellowship members include the warband leaders Klarenna Arthtree (CG hf P14, Moonsash-Preceptress of Selûne), Raelmren Harthtanvil (NG hm P8, Prelate of Lathander), and Waeldren Stauntor (LN hm P9, Vigilant Shield of Lathander). The warbands are traveling fighting forces that rush to deal with threats to any Fellowship hamlet or members (and ar summoned by messenger or distinctive lown-note warhorns carried by Fellowship members); they’re similar to many woodland-dwelling adventuring bands, and tend to be about eight stalwarts strong, with at least five being veterans.

Senior clergy of all faiths in the Fellowship vote on major policy decisions, with the warband leaders and the aged Havaunth Taervorren (LN hm P17, Patriarch of Helm), making daily operating decisions.

The Fellowship hamlets, west to east, are Corolanth, Baelen, Favvaranth, Ellord, Qrael’s Ford, Grammath, and Haelmorr.
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@BruceDonhue

Thanks so much, are there any write-ups any where on the Hamlets that you have mentioned aka Forgotten Realms Wiki and maybe maps?


@TheEdVerse

I’m afraid not. And if you’re looking for maps, you’re thinking of these hamlets in the wrong way: these are NOT settlements with cleared fields, roads, and so on. They have some clearings, wandering trails overhung by the forest canopy instead of roads (no wagons, just barrows and mule-drag carts), and they have homes that are part caves, part artificial caves (build up a hill of loam and tree stumps, roof it with stones and growing plants so roots will anchor it all), part tree-houses (think untidy childrens’ tree forts, reached by rope-ladders and climb-tree ladders, and joined by rope-and-board catwalks), and part tents, with outhouses that get moved when their dungpiles are rich and rotted-down enough to serve as gardens for edible forest plants, and so on. In other words, very little that would show up on a map beyond a general location for the hamlet.

BTW, a mule-drag cart is a narrow wheelbarrow with long projecting handles, turned backwards and with a mule harnessed between those handles, so the whole thing slopes down to a single wheel at the back.

(If the wheel breaks, the mule “drags” the thing like a travois, hence the name ‘mule-drag’).
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Gary Dallison
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To those that follow Ed's replies, he has just posted about Kelemvor and how it is all Church propaganda that Kelemvor judges the souls of all the dead. Kelemvor only judges the souls of the Faerunian pantheon's dead (if that). All other pantheons, including racial ones, go to their own judges or are stolen by fiends.

Finally an afterlife that makes sense.

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The EdVerse on a human worshiping the Seldarine:


@Zahncorp

What happens in death, to a human soul who worships a member of the Seldarine? What about a half-elf?

I’ve never been able to find a definitive answer.


@TheEdVerse

That’s odd, because this has been answered many times, including by me here on Twitter. It seems to be a source of perpetual puzzlement. ;}

ALL sentients in the Realms ‘believe in’ and worship ALL deities, not just one.

Upon death, the soul is judged/sent on (for reincarnation or whatever other fate) by the deity that has the strongest claim on it: the deity it ‘most cleaved to’ in life. (The race of the living being doesn’t matter, veneration while alive does.) Sometimes, the being’s own desires or the will of a deity cause it to be ‘sent back’ to life, or stuck in undeath (e.g. a revenant) to take care of unfinished life business. So in this case, the human or half-elf soul will be guided by the member of the Seldarine they most worshipped. (Which may only be clear to others if in life they were a cleric, paladin, or holy zealot.)
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On Asbravn:


@AlexMcclay2000

Hey, @TheEdVerse ... Asbravn in 1372 DR, who is running the place? Is it just Lord Bron from Iriaebor at a distance? And is there a leader to the Riders in Red Cloaks? And due to the certain actions of my party, what are the punishments of Murder?


@TheEdVerse

In 1372 DR, Asbravn is run by a governing council of five: the stern, always-alert, terse “fringe-bearded” (short line of beard down cheeks and along jawline, no more) Gorand Jorenthar, leader of the Riders in Red Cloaks (LN hm F7); Abject Supplicant Asgar Tellendar (C6 of Ilmater, and longtime “truth-revealer” for the Riders, using his spells to determine guilt and innocence of those arrested); the buxom, deeply-face-scarred, laconic and calm retired adventuress Shallara Rivenstone (NG df F5 and master smith and stonemason, her current professions in town); Mordurra Lathandel (CG hf R6, a Harper who came to dwell in Asbravn at Asgar’s reluctant invitation; she chairs the Council of Asbravn and takes part in debate, but doesn’t vote except to break ties); and Jetha Durnbuckler (CG half-f W4, a retired adventuress who dresses and acts like a rogue in dusty gray leathers, festooned with sheathed throwing knives and darts that she’s very good at hurling, to try to conceal that she’s a wizard). Jetha lives with a mysterious man called Tenturn Vornree (LN hm W7), who is her lover and spell-tutor and whom she employs as Asbravn’s clerk, tax collector, and recordkeeper. He’s also, as she and the rest of the Council know, but not the rest of Asbravn, an unofficial advisor to the Council from Lord Bron. His role is NOT to tell the Council what to do, but to inform them of Iriaebor’s decisions, stances, and events so they can make their own “properly informed” decisions. (Secretly, he safeguards a tiny enchanted orb that he can trigger to advance-warn Iriaebor of an orc horde or other attack in force on Asbravn that could endanger Iriaebor.)

The Council takes a hard ‘no vandalism, no bullying, no thieving’ line when it comes to maintaining the peace in Asbravn, designed to make all residents feel safe from belligerent neighbours and visitors.

The Riders maintain discipline in the lands around, and as this often means bandit-slaying as well as monster-slaying, they won’t instantly execute anyone for murder—because the same charge could so often be leveled at them. Rather, they want to know all about the circumstances, investigating and then passing their recommendation on to the Council.

The Council holds informal trials, tending to order the death penalty (which the Riders carry out) for anyone they see as a brigand or a Zhentarim or Red Wizard agent seeking to intimidate or blackmail an Asbravn resident, or otherwise working to establish a ‘hold’ over local affairs.

However, anything complex or that they think bears deeper investigation means that an accused will be taken to Iriaebor, under guard, by the Riders, for Lord Bron and his investigators (who include a band of adventurers with access to plentiful divine and arcane magic, and rogues with extensive local “shady contacts,” including a secret spy or two in Asbravn) to “delve more deeply into.”

Any justice would then be meted out by Lord Bron, who tends to exile and fine first, execute second, and sometimes set miscreants free with spies tailing them to see what they’ll do (and perhaps then slay them when they do something reprehensible).

It should be noted that an evershifting array of Harpers moves through and around Asbravn and the vicinity, spying on folk in the town and doings in the countryside around, and constantly covertly reports to Mordurra Lathandel. The presence of adventurers within three days’ ride of Asbraven, and their locations visited and deeds, will likely be known to her before they arrive in town.
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Posted - 08 May 2020 :  20:38:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On bathrooms:


Apr 12, 2020


@LouAnders

Hi @TheEdVerse I hope you are still doing well! Pressing question that I must know the answer to or I'll pop. I can't wait. It's urgent. What are bathrooms like in the Realms? Camber pots? Out houses? Are there sewers? Is there plumbing?


@TheEdVerse

I had to work all of this out first for my Mirt stories as early as 1967 (his foes had a habit of attacking him while he was answering nature's call), but then the moment D&D play began, PCs started using sewers, garderobes, and nightsoil wagons as travel routes!


Dave Gross
@frabjousdave

There are definitely sewers.


@LouAnders

Yeah, there kind of have to be. But is there plumbing? Magic plumbing?


@frabjousdave

This I don't remember with certainty, but I find it very likely considering the images of sewer pipes I recall from the artwork.


@TheEdVerse

All of the above. Sanitation in the Realms depends on where you are, and your wealth/social class.

If you’re traveling and stay at a way-inn, you’ll be like most middle-class city folk: chamberpots under every bed, typically emptied by the youngest non-toddler family member, with accompanying mugs of leaves for wiping and flowerpetal- or lime-scented water for washing and diluting the pee or covering the poo (as well as the chamberpot lid) to keep the smell down. Emptied into a backyard covered bucket, which gets taken to a cesspool/pit or (copper a dump) to the local nightsoil wagon (as shown in a scene in ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER, one of the very few sanitation details not edited out of my manuscripts).

Some cities have sewers, usually because they’re coastal (tidal flushes) and/or have streams/rivers running through them that can be diverted to flush out the sewers. In most cities, there are indoor rooms, known as garderobes or less formally as “jakes,” consisting of a seat, a gravity drop pipe descending from underneath it, and large jugs of water for washing and flushing (down the pipe to a cess-cistern in the cellars, which has a turn-the-balun/open the board sluice connection to the sewers—so the sewers can’t readily back up into your cellar). Some homes have wiping cloths, washed by servants or family members, some have “bumsticks” (scrap cloth tacked to a branch, used like a backscrubber, only lower down ;} ), some have wiping leaves, and many have scented water to purge smells, and potpourri (“crushscent bowls” or pomanders, in the Realms).

In rural areas, most farms, homes, taverns, and inns all have outdoor privies (outhouses), with under an open-walled roof, to keep water out) handy heaps of sand and lime and shovels large and small. You use it, with the aforementioned leaves or bumstick, there’s an ewer and basin for washing, and when you’re done, a sprinkle of lime and a shovel-full of sand go down the hole. When the hole’s full, the outhouse gets moved, and the hole gets limed heavily, or a fire lit atop it, and then (after fire dies to ashes; no fires are ever lit in forest loam locales) covered over with earth and left. (Successive outhouse moves causes the ‘ring garden’ around some homes.)


@LouAnders

So Silverymoon probably has sewers and garderobes in the nicer inns.


@TheEdVerse

Yes. Garderobes in the nicer inns, flushed by hand-water-jug down narrow pipes into a water-filled cistern (cuts the smell), which is regularly sweet-scented by the staff, and dredged by night, out to a nightsoil wagon, and so away south for spreading, or flushed by the underground streams into the Rauvin, where downstream-of-the-city weirs catch the muck, and it's bucket-scooped (giant 'brushpans' like the digging buckets of modern real-world backhoes and long-arm excavators, strung on ropes to both riverbanks and dragged back and forth by teams of oxen, up crushed-rock ramps out onto dry land) from the weirs into nightsoil wagons, which, yes, take it away from spreading.


@LouAnders

No wait. Not costal. No sewer for Silverymoon?


@TheEdVerse

Northbank Silverymoon has sewers flushed by three now-totally-buried streams (like London, England's many long-ago-roofed-over streams that became open sewers and so were 'buried' without controversy; see the classic reference work "The Common Stream" by Rowland...Parker) that flush into the Rauvin. Southbank Silverymoon has no sewers, and uses the nightsoil wagon system ("leavings" taken far south and spread on open wilderlands to rot down).

Any large-city freshwater flush system uses weir-grids to collect solid filth ("muck") that gets taken away by wagon and dumped far from noses in the city (Waterdeep's goes from the harbor grids to the Rat Hills, S along the coast). Gulguthra (otyughs and neo-otyughs) devour human waste in such dumping-grounds, and serve the same function in some castle, monastery, abbey, and isolated inn middens.
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Ob burial practices in Saerloon:


@garethgarfoot

I hope you have had a good weekend. A quick question if I may, what are the burial practices in Saerloon? The map in FRA has no obvious cemetery area within the city itself.


@TheEdVerse

In Saerloon, most burials are cremations, and then the urn is either kept in the family home or at their country ‘getaway,’ or interred behind a little door, inside in a large downtown building, in the same way that Waterdeep’s City of the Dead (and many other cities in the Realms, such as Athkatla and Marsember) has mausoleum buildings where hundreds or thousands of remains are kept.

The wealthiest Sembians have family crypts (usually buildings, these days, rather than cellars of their hunting-lodge-rebuilt-into-their-country-mansion) on their country estates, where they go to breed horses, hunt, hold revels, or read and relax. Wealthy Sembians tend to go for embalming the dead (the cheap way is to soak the body in a pool of spirits), and coffins, not cremations. (This means undead who rise can often be readily destroyed with fire.)
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Posted - 08 May 2020 :  20:39:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Cormyrean court attire:

Apr 16, 2020


@jayeedgecliff

@TheEdVerse if you might indulge my perverse sociological fascination:

As I’m sure you’re familiar, in our own world that at times one’s station might provide rights/privileges to actually wear certain clothes, adornments, colours … even to this day one of high enough rank within British nobility get those special robes and tiaras during a coronation.

Does any such thing exist within the context of Cormyrian high society circa grey boxes? Anything the friends (or lovers) of a high born attending, say, a palace function along with her

It’s scandalous for them to carry/wear if she brought them along as +1s? Would they be seated among the nobs with her, or would she be seated in lower tiers with them … generally in my own addled way, a cliffsnotes version of Emily Post’s Suzailean works?

On the subject … I don’t suppose anything extant, novel or game product, actually amounts to an basically an Emily Post, or Ms Manners of the Realms? I mean I know Volo, but a master of etiquette, one could argue, he is not.

Thank You
Keep well & safe.


@TheEdVerse

Published Realmslore touches on this a time or three in CORMYR: A NOVEL and ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER and the Sage of Shadowdale trilogy, Volo’s Cormyr, and in my long-running series of web columns (wherein we saw glimpses of the private lives of Azoun and Filfaeril, as setups for the topic of each column). You can also glean a fair bit of Cormyrean social mores and etiquette while reading the superb Brimstone Angels novels By Erin M. Evans.

However, there’s no comprehensive published ‘Cormyrean Court Etiquette’ guide.
But here’s the short version pertaining to the in-game situation you describe: except at coronations, royal funerals, investitures (giving courtiers, nobles, or royalty new titles/formal new duties, like a wardenship), and weddings of nobility and royalty (even to commoners), nobles don’t wear their coronets/tiaras. Which, along with the robes, is what you’re seeing when real-world British peers ‘dress up’ thus.

There are many royal feasts, revels, and balls, including the seasonal ‘presentations’ (wherein young nobility are presented to the court as marriageable and available, like the ‘coming out’ parties for real-world bluestocking debutantes) at which coronets and tiaras need not be worn (although some conservative or especially haughty nobles do wear them), and guests brought by a highborn would be seated with them if seating is a concern (at revels, it isn’t, and at many feasts since the ascension of Azoun IV the precedence problem is avoided by having many small, round tables where ‘converse and eat’ groups can form of their own accord, among friends and cliques and family, or folk who want to discuss business or sports or pastimes or just gossip together, not by rank). At such events, there’s very little in the way of garments that would be considered scandalous (though dirty unclad nudity would come close), because so many attendees use such occasions, like modern real-world ‘Hollywood red carpet’ occasions, for wearing daring fashions.

However, you will see a wide variety of garments on display, from uniforms for courtiers and serving military to frilly and revealing gowns, and everything in between.
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Posted - 08 May 2020 :  20:40:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Cult of the Dragon failures, Ebondeath, and Strongor Bonebag:

@Greysil_Tassyr

We know that the potion that the Cult uses to make dracoliches sometimes results in true death for the dragon... Can you tell us about any times the Cult tried to make a dracolich and things went awry in some other fashion?


@TheEdVerse

Heh. The Cult of course tries to keep all such mishaps deep secrets, but bards, minstrels, and even some local gossips can tell you about several times such potions caused a dragon to abruptly start to grow (with accompanying terrible raging hunger, and devouring “hunts” to assuage that necessary intake), many times wyrms just went mad, and more than a few times the potions augmented the power (area of effect, duration, and/or damage done) of the imbibing dragon’s magic, or even twisted the effects of those spells, permanently. And then there are the dragons who exploded messily, the dragons that no longer need to sleep at all, but are restless and VERY awake all the time, and the dragon that was plunged hopelessly in lust with the Cultist who proffered the potion. And Elminster strongly suspects that are far more colourful tales to be heard, too, if you’re not careful…
#Realmslore


@TLMayesing

On a related note can you tell us a little about Ebondeath and Strongor Bonebag?


@TheEdVerse

Chardansearavitriol or “Ebondeath” was a male black dragon who ruled a demesne from his lair in Uthtower. He became a dracolich in 922 DR under the urging of, and with the magical assistance of, Cult of the Dragon member, and priest of Myrkul, Strongor Bonebag. Ebondeath agreed to seek lichdom because he was elderly and keenly felt the aches and lessened strength of his aging.

The Cult built the Mausoleum of Ebondeath at Uthtower, and came there to worship him (becoming known as “the Ebondeath Sect”). It was led by Strongor until he was murdered in 969 DR by a younger, ambitious rival Cult member, who hoped not just to eliminate him, but capture his soul and sentience in the weapon that slew him, a specially-enchanted obsidian-bladed dagger. It’s not known if the ritual succeeded in doing so; Strongor’s murderer (whose name Elminster knows not) disappeared—and may himself have perished thanks to magical traps prepared by Strongor.

Ebondeath’s dracolich form disintegrated into dust in 1202 DR, when caught in the gaze of the Eye of Myrkul, but his spirit still clung to this dust, and the Cult continued to worship him, in increasing numbers (inspired by the persistence of the spectral Ebondeath beyond the destruction of his dracolich skeleton).

When Myrkul was destroyed in 1358 DR, a “great howling wind of darkness” swept into the Mausoleum, and scoured it bare—and the ghostly Ebondeath was seen no more. The Ebondeath Sect faded away, though Harper spies have heard Cultists fearfully telling each other that they’ve “heard the rage-filled whispers of Ebondeath in the night,” hissing into their ears that “they betrayed and abandoned” Chardansearavitriol. So something of the bodiless dracolich survives yet.

Elminster, Azuth, and certain senior Cult of the Dragon members all deem a handful of such dracoliches, whose bodies have decayed, “demidracoliches.” The Cult reveres them, the Wearers of Purple inner circle hunt them in hopes of gaining some hold over them and making use of their powers, and Elminster wants to study them.
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