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 Pondering the interception of magical farspeaking
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Feb 2019 :  17:57:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So... I've an idea for a room of the Palace in Suzail. This room bears enchantments that allow people in the room to overhear any magical farspeaking that happens in or in the immediate vicinity of the Palace.

Since it's not much good to have such a thing without knowing where the speaker is (assuming they're in or near the Palace), this room reveals the speaker's location. Someone that is too far away will still be overheard, but their location will not be revealed. So if a Waterdhavian was communicating with someone in the Palace, both sides of the conversation would be heard, but only the location of the person in the palace would be revealed.

Here's the question I have, which I will put to my fellow scribes:

Given what this room does, would it be too much to have it reveal an image of the person using the farspeaking magic? Just hearing the communication could be hugely advantageous to the Crown; I'm wondering if being able to see the speaker would be overkill or not.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 10 Feb 2019 :  18:12:10  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would have it reveal what the person in the palace was receiving. What I mean to say is that the room intercepts the communication but only one half and only the modes of communication being used. That way it is not so overpowered to reveal everything and it is open to interpretation as only half the conversation is available. If visual communication was used then you can see the person being spoken to, if auditory then you can hear, olfactory would be odd but might be funny.

My reasoning for this is if it intercepts all communications and reveals both sides of the conversation and the location of the receiver and the identities then it becomes too powerful and completely prevents any remote communication for nefarious needs. You could rationalise it that it is easier to pinpoint an incoming or outgoing message (like a beam of energy striking this magical receiver) but pinpointing both and linking the conversations together is too difficult. Plus it allows for humorous moments as only one half of a conversation is revealed and you have to guess the other half.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Feb 2019 :  23:45:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not looking for humor, I'm looking for something used to help secure the realm.

And there's little utility in only hearing half the conversation... And little reasoning, too. If a particular device or spell allows for two-way communications, why would only half of that be intercepted?

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Ayrik
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Posted - 11 Feb 2019 :  08:04:56  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My thoughts (opinion) ...

This magical eavesdropping room could only intercept and overhear what is actually being "transmitted" - telepathy only conveys thoughts - empathy conveys feelings - sending or whispering wind conveys speech - scrying conveys the image of the speaker.
Some communications are one-way, some of these are "broadcast" without revealing anything about the intended recipient's identity/location, others are "programmed" to unerringly (or to at least eventually) find their way to the intended recipient. (Whose identity or location might be deciphered from the spell itself, like reading the address from an envelope?)
And some communications are two-way, it seems reasonable to overhear both sides of these unless unusual efforts were made to ensure privacy.

That being said, one can cast other divinations (including clairaudience, clairvoyance, ESP) to discern more about the sender or the intended recipient or the message itself.

And paranoid or conspiratorial sorts (especially those who risk losing much) might encode sensitive communications with all sorts of magical/nonmagical ciphers, they might also employ detect scrying - indeed, don't forget that people already have a natural chance to "feel" whenever they're the object of magical scrying/divination anyhow. And they might be worried or savvy enough to reveal no obvious reaction (and even initiate a prepared codephrase, contingency, trap, gambit, or deception) when they realize their communications are being compromised.

As far as securing the realm goes ... a room such as this seems roughly similar to crystal ball. Which can be surprisingly useful but is also not infallable or omniscient ... and sustained use tends to be strenuous and fatiguing (so you'd need a number of wizards to maintain constant round-the-clock vigil or surveillance).

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 11 Feb 2019 08:35:26
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sleyvas
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Posted - 11 Feb 2019 :  15:37:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So... I've an idea for a room of the Palace in Suzail. This room bears enchantments that allow people in the room to overhear any magical farspeaking that happens in or in the immediate vicinity of the Palace.

Since it's not much good to have such a thing without knowing where the speaker is (assuming they're in or near the Palace), this room reveals the speaker's location. Someone that is too far away will still be overheard, but their location will not be revealed. So if a Waterdhavian was communicating with someone in the Palace, both sides of the conversation would be heard, but only the location of the person in the palace would be revealed.

Here's the question I have, which I will put to my fellow scribes:

Given what this room does, would it be too much to have it reveal an image of the person using the farspeaking magic? Just hearing the communication could be hugely advantageous to the Crown; I'm wondering if being able to see the speaker would be overkill or not.



You shouldn't be able to effectively "enhance" the signal. You should only get what the person on the end is getting (send and receive). That being said, the room may not AUTO do it, but the room might very well have the ability scry a location as well, and mages may have this type of thing working as a contingent effect.


The question though is how OFTEN is it intercepting communiques. By that, I mean that if this room is effectively constantly "scanning" for communications, that's powerful. It would be more believable if the war wizards instead cast a long lasting enchantment in an area that "taps" any magical communications in said area and "sends" it to that room. Then the magic is expended after activating its contingent effect and has to be renewed by the war wizards on that area (noting higher level spellcasters might be able to have it activate multiple times). Also to note, IF you did it this way, this wouldn't limit the ability to the palace, because you aren't "scanning" for "signals"... you're putting a "remote tap" in play that "burns out" upon use.


This would probably be able to be a very low level effect, such that junior war wizards may be constantly having to renew such enchantments. It thus might also be well known about, such that people MIGHT use "encryption" in the form of passphrases OR something to stop the triggering effect OR simply use a benign communication first to burn out the communication tap (i.e. "Honey, I'll be home for lunch in a bit, wear that lingerie I got you").


Basically, don't make it so effective that its equivalent to modern day technology. Adding wonkiness that needs renewal and work on the part of the palace makes it still useful, but not perfect.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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USA
7944 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2019 :  15:38:22  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So... I've an idea for a room of the Palace in Suzail. This room bears enchantments that allow people in the room to overhear any magical farspeaking that happens in or in the immediate vicinity of the Palace.

Since it's not much good to have such a thing without knowing where the speaker is (assuming they're in or near the Palace), this room reveals the speaker's location. Someone that is too far away will still be overheard, but their location will not be revealed. So if a Waterdhavian was communicating with someone in the Palace, both sides of the conversation would be heard, but only the location of the person in the palace would be revealed.

Here's the question I have, which I will put to my fellow scribes:

Given what this room does, would it be too much to have it reveal an image of the person using the farspeaking magic? Just hearing the communication could be hugely advantageous to the Crown; I'm wondering if being able to see the speaker would be overkill or not.



You shouldn't be able to effectively "enhance" the signal. You should only get what the person on the end is getting (send and receive). That being said, the room may not AUTO do it, but the room might very well have the ability scry a location as well, and mages may have this type of thing working as a contingent effect.


The question though is how OFTEN is it intercepting communiques. By that, I mean that if this room is effectively constantly "scanning" for communications, that's powerful. It would be more believable if the war wizards instead cast a long lasting enchantment in an area that "taps" any magical communications in said area and "sends" it to that room. Then the magic is expended after activating its contingent effect and has to be renewed by the war wizards on that area (noting higher level spellcasters might be able to have it activate multiple times). Also to note, IF you did it this way, this wouldn't limit the ability to the palace, because you aren't "scanning" for "signals"... you're putting a "remote tap" in play that "burns out" upon use.


This would probably be able to be a very low level effect, such that junior war wizards may be constantly having to renew such enchantments. It thus might also be well known about, such that people MIGHT use "encryption" in the form of passphrases OR something to stop the triggering effect OR simply use a benign communication first to burn out the communication tap (i.e. "Honey, I'll be home for lunch in a bit, wear that lingerie I got you").


Basically, don't make it so effective that its equivalent to modern day technology. Adding wonkiness that needs renewal and work on the part of the palace makes it still useful, but not perfect.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1303 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2019 :  17:13:00  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seeing how paranoid the War Wizards are (mind-reading magic among other things), I won't be surprised if something like this already exists in Ed's unpublished info...

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
32008 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  04:36:24  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

You shouldn't be able to effectively "enhance" the signal. You should only get what the person on the end is getting (send and receive). That being said, the room may not AUTO do it, but the room might very well have the ability scry a location as well, and mages may have this type of thing working as a contingent effect.


The question though is how OFTEN is it intercepting communiques. By that, I mean that if this room is effectively constantly "scanning" for communications, that's powerful. It would be more believable if the war wizards instead cast a long lasting enchantment in an area that "taps" any magical communications in said area and "sends" it to that room. Then the magic is expended after activating its contingent effect and has to be renewed by the war wizards on that area (noting higher level spellcasters might be able to have it activate multiple times). Also to note, IF you did it this way, this wouldn't limit the ability to the palace, because you aren't "scanning" for "signals"... you're putting a "remote tap" in play that "burns out" upon use.


This would probably be able to be a very low level effect, such that junior war wizards may be constantly having to renew such enchantments. It thus might also be well known about, such that people MIGHT use "encryption" in the form of passphrases OR something to stop the triggering effect OR simply use a benign communication first to burn out the communication tap (i.e. "Honey, I'll be home for lunch in a bit, wear that lingerie I got you").


Basically, don't make it so effective that its equivalent to modern day technology. Adding wonkiness that needs renewal and work on the part of the palace makes it still useful, but not perfect.



I'm not sure if I like the idea of it needing to be renewed... And it is limited in that if someone is further than 250 feet from the Palace, their location will not be known -- not even their general direction.

Enhancing the signal is a good point, though. I'll keep it limited to their location and the communication itself. That is still a lot, but given the age of the Palace and its many enchantments, plus -- as Zeromaru X noted -- the paranoia of the War Wizards, I think that this is not too powerful.

We do know, for example, from a prior post of Ed's that pretty much the entire Palace is warded against the undead... This isn't something as major as that, but that undead ward does show that if you take a long-lasting nation with a history of employing wizards, you're going to have some magic to play with.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  11:38:35  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

You shouldn't be able to effectively "enhance" the signal. You should only get what the person on the end is getting (send and receive). That being said, the room may not AUTO do it, but the room might very well have the ability scry a location as well, and mages may have this type of thing working as a contingent effect.

It could be enough to initiate scrying on one or both of the participants. The rest is just keeping a crystal ball in the room.
quote:
The question though is how OFTEN is it intercepting communiques. By that, I mean that if this room is effectively constantly "scanning" for communications, that's powerful. It would be more believable if the war wizards instead cast a long lasting enchantment in an area that "taps" any magical communications in said area and "sends" it to that room.

It would be also believable if it mirrored any such communications within boundaries of the ward. Of course, that would be a permanent spell effect with fixed boundaries and detecting as active magic. But hey, it's the Palace, it's supposed to be somewhat warded.
Perhaps with ward tokens (temporary or easy to locate) that grant exception. After all, clearance of War Wizards sitting on this post doesn't include communications between the Royal Magician and Obarskyrs.

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Edited by - TBeholder on 12 Feb 2019 11:41:40
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  14:13:48  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The problem with long lasting magic is that we have also seen that it decays so perhaps think of what you want the magic to have done originally and then every few centuries mutate the original purpose a bit or remove some of its power.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 12 Feb 2019 :  14:24:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder


Perhaps with ward tokens (temporary or easy to locate) that grant exception. After all, clearance of War Wizards sitting on this post doesn't include communications between the Royal Magician and Obarskyrs.



Yeah, my write-up of this room includes a line or two about the room doesn't pick up anything from the Mage Royal, and that ways to avoid its scrying -- or exceptions to what it will pick up -- are secrets known only to the Mage Royal.

I need to also include a bit about how it doesn't pick up written communications or any form of scrying. (There are likely magics elsewhere in the Palace that will do these things, but that's not relevant to what I'm doing)

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sleyvas
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Posted - 17 Feb 2019 :  14:10:31  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

You shouldn't be able to effectively "enhance" the signal. You should only get what the person on the end is getting (send and receive). That being said, the room may not AUTO do it, but the room might very well have the ability scry a location as well, and mages may have this type of thing working as a contingent effect.

It could be enough to initiate scrying on one or both of the participants. The rest is just keeping a crystal ball in the room.
quote:
The question though is how OFTEN is it intercepting communiques. By that, I mean that if this room is effectively constantly "scanning" for communications, that's powerful. It would be more believable if the war wizards instead cast a long lasting enchantment in an area that "taps" any magical communications in said area and "sends" it to that room.

It would be also believable if it mirrored any such communications within boundaries of the ward. Of course, that would be a permanent spell effect with fixed boundaries and detecting as active magic. But hey, it's the Palace, it's supposed to be somewhat warded.
Perhaps with ward tokens (temporary or easy to locate) that grant exception. After all, clearance of War Wizards sitting on this post doesn't include communications between the Royal Magician and Obarskyrs.



That's a damn good point on clearance level.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Feb 2019 :  04:51:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Haligan's Map Room

Created some three centuries ago by the otherwise forgotten War Wizard Haligan Phandrael, the Map Room that bears his name is a large chamber in a little-used hallway near the heart of the Palace. The room gets its name from the tapestries on the walls; all but one of the tapestries depict a map of a level of the Palace. The last tapestry shows the grounds surrounding the Palace.

Though detailed, these maps do not show any of the hidden passages or chambers that are concealed within the Palace walls.

The true value of the Map Room lies in the enchantments Haligan laid down, a project that consumed the last years of his life. Any magical farspeaking that happens within the Palace, or within 250 feet of its walls, is heard within the Map Room. When such farspeaking occurs, the speaker's location is shown by a bright glow, highlighting the chamber or hallway on the appropriate tapestry. This glow will reveal secret rooms or passages, though it does not show how to access them. Aside from their location and their voice, the speaker is not otherwise identified.

Both incoming and outgoing magical communications are heard within the Map Room. However, if one of the farspeakers is more than 250 feet from the Palace, their location is not revealed.

The magic of the Map Room allows overheard communciations to be repeated multiple times within the Room, for up to an hour after the farspeaking ends. This allows the War Wizards stationed in the Room at all times to transcribe what they hear and note any details about the speakers and their location. (For example, "a gravelly male voice with a Moonsea accent and a habit of ending sentences with, 'I tell you this.'")

It has been observed by more than one War Wizard that communications by the Mage Royal are not heard within the Map Room. These War Wizards believe that Haligan's enchantments include some form of exclusion that is known only to the Mage Royal; perhaps a warded chamber, or a token or spell that negates magical observation. Whether or not there are other ways to circumvent the Map Room's magic is a secret known only to the Mage Royal and perhaps to his most trusted senior War Wizards.

There are always two or more War Wizards stationed in Haligan's Map Room. An outer chamber is guarded by several Purple Dragons, who are under strict orders not to allow anyone other than a War Wizard or member of the royal family to pass them. A runner is also assigned to this outer chamber, so that the Mage Royal can be quickly summoned at need.

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