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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34020 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  15:59:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It all depends on how the gods get involved. I think there are good stories involving gods not just in the Realms but in other fantasy settings, as well.

Gods don't have to directly act to be involved, or their direct actions could be limited to some background thing that impacts the story without providing a direct solution.

Automatically dismissing a story just because a deity has some involvement means you're not giving the story a fair chance.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  16:53:48  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Learned Scribe ElfBane,

I do believe that is the case with lazy writing for sure. I believe that if an author puts the gods into a novel and pulls it off well, that is the very essence of good writing by avoiding the copout you so correctly cite.

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2536 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  17:06:16  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

It all depends on how the gods get involved. I think there are good stories involving gods not just in the Realms but in other fantasy settings, as well.

Gods don't have to directly act to be involved, or their direct actions could be limited to some background thing that impacts the story without providing a direct solution.

Automatically dismissing a story just because a deity has some involvement means you're not giving the story a fair chance.



Exactly. I have read a number of good fantasy that involves gods in some way or another. I agree that sometimes their appearance in FR is a little overblown at times (Mystra joining characters for tea), but having a god involved, either directly or indirectly, doesn't automatically make for poor writing. Kemp handled it well in the Cale series, the Avatar series was literally about the gods, and Elaine handled it well at the beginning of Evermeet. The Brimstone Angels handled it well, too.

Sometimes, yes, you have had the literal deus ex machina and poor execution, but having the gods involved doesn't automatically mean a copout, as evidenced by the books I mentioned above. The gods are a part of the Realms, so like it or not, it is inevitable that they are going to be involved, whether directly or indirectly.

And with the "classic" FR novels, some of them did have a more "gamey" feel to them (YMMV), so there is more of a deus ex machina (literal or otherwise) feel at times.

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 14 Sep 2020 17:13:29
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  17:37:57  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader CorellonsDevout,

I get you on that gamey feel to it. I think the reason it was that way back then is that the gaming world was still just very hack n'slash in a pure sense. Though there is still plenty of that around, you definitely have much better writing for storyline development for an actual plot and what not than you did back in the day.

I mean, look at 1st edition modules for god's sakes. lol Simply awful writing. Any plot was as shallow as can be (for the most part, there was the occasional one that shone through) and intended to just put a fight in front of you.

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3303 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2020 :  20:10:15  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Gods don't have to directly act to be involved, or their direct actions could be limited to some background thing that impacts the story without providing a direct solution.

Automatically dismissing a story just because a deity has some involvement means you're not giving the story a fair chance.



Yeah. If the story is about mortals, the deity can be a catalyst character, and the conflict will still belong to the mortal. A catalyst deity is perfectly acceptable to me--and from a narrative standpoint (i.e. someone who helps the PoV to overcome their fatal flaw--thorugh whichever kind of interactions or events that are relevant to the story). One good example for this in FR fiction is what Elaine Cunnigham does with Eilistraee and Liriel (and the drow in general)--and one of the reasons I really like Eilistraee is that she's set up as an empowerer.

Heck, as I mentioned, you can go even beyind this and have a deity on the forefront, as long as you have an arc that focuses on a deity--and that puts us in the shoes of the deity. That could even be refreshing, because it's rare for someone to try to put themselves in the shoes, responsibilites, emotions, doubts, etc... of a character that occupies such a position. If the topic is exhausted in the novel--if the author actually put themselves in the skin of the deity--some good stuff can come out of it. Of course, in this case, we're basically still talking about human-like characters, not true metaphysical entities who are impossible to understand for humans, because if the PoV character is a deity, not only you must understand them, you must strive to become them in order to write the story. You can't do this with metaphysical entities. It would also put a wrench in the whole point of the narrative--make the reader experiences a series of events *as* someone else, and *empathize* (not merely sympathize) with that someone else.

On the flipside, it also depends on the main obstacles faced in the story. The gist is that, if the obstacle can be overcome through power, and if the story has mortals among the main characters, involving deities as players--even in the background--rather than catalysts, not only causes a risk to trivialize the conflict, but might also make the actions of the mortal characters feel like minor stuff, because the good deity is the one dealing with the real source of the evil power--i.e. the bad deity/demon lord/etc...--while the mortals deal with just their servants. Power balance must be measured carefully in a story, in order to not trivialize or shift the focus of the conflict and its resolution.

For this reason, to me the real problem isn't that Mystra can join someone for tea--that's just fluff (that must be relevant to the story in some way, however, or you need to axe it. Maybe it's one of the ways in which the deity communicates with the character, and so one of the channels through which they can act their role as a catalyst). The problem is likely to appear only when deities are involved in the conflict. If you *really* must have their intervention neat something to the PoV's faction, maybe they will be able to achieve a pyrrhic victory and buy some time at most, but the PoV must be the one to achieve the real victory (as in, they must be the engine that carries it). This isn't easy to pull off, and requires accurate planning.

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

Edited by - Irennan on 14 Sep 2020 22:58:17
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  01:46:08  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Irennan,

quote:
On the flipside, it also depends on the main obstacles faced in the story. The gist is that, if the obstacle can be overcome through power, and if the story has mortals among the main characters, involving deities as players--even in the background--rather than catalysts, not only causes a risk to trivialize the conflict, but might also make the actions of the mortal characters feel like minor stuff, because the good deity is the one dealing with the real source of the evil power--i.e. the bad deity/demon lord/etc...--while the mortals deal with just their servants. Power balance must be measured carefully in a story, in order to not trivialize or shift the focus of the conflict and its resolution.


I really liked that element of your argument the most. It really does come down to the ethic that is pushed subtly (or in some cases not so much)through the narrative about the consideration of experiencing something through a character's perceptions, having empathy for it, but I also think, having a way to discern choice. The perception and choice(s) are of course integral, but without a narrative that puts the question to you, and makes you consider what you would do then (perhaps the readers ethic conflicts with the ethic of the character) if you were in said situation, it is much more hollow I feel.

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2536 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  02:50:46  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan



Heck, as I mentioned, you can go even beyind this and have a deity on the forefront, as long as you have an arc that focuses on a deity--and that puts us in the shoes of the deity. That could even be refreshing, because it's rare for someone to try to put themselves in the shoes, responsibilites, emotions, doubts, etc... of a character that occupies such a position. If the topic is exhausted in the novel--if the author actually put themselves in the skin of the deity--some good stuff can come out of it. Of course, in this case, we're basically still talking about human-like characters, not true metaphysical entities who are impossible to understand for humans, because if the PoV character is a deity, not only you must understand them, you must strive to become them in order to write the story. You can't do this with metaphysical entities. It would also put a wrench in the whole point of the narrative--make the reader experiences a series of events *as* someone else, and *empathize* (not merely sympathize) with that someone else.


This is one of the reasons I like deity involvement and "deity-as-characters" (main or background), is because it can be refreshing. I, as a mere mortal, don't also want to read about mere mortals lol. But it is true that to have a deity as characters, you do have to bring them down to a "human level" so that readers can understand their actions, at least to some extent. Like the Avatar series (and some books in that series were better than others). Of course, some of the deities, such as Kelemvor and Midnight/Mystra and Cyric, were previously mortal, but others hadn't been, and we got to see god thoughts and concerns brought down to a more human level of understanding. In a way, this is similar to gods manifesting to mortals in the forms of avatars. Gods, as you pointed out, are metaphysical, and thus their "true forms" are likely beyond mortal understanding, as our their actions and thoughts. So the writer has to "dumb down" their thoughts and actions in a way we readers can understand (and the writers themselves, as they are also mortal). This does make the gods seem more human, but it can still be a fun and refreshing story.

quote:
On the flipside, it also depends on the main obstacles faced in the story. The gist is that, if the obstacle can be overcome through power, and if the story has mortals among the main characters, involving deities as players--even in the background--rather than catalysts, not only causes a risk to trivialize the conflict, but might also make the actions of the mortal characters feel like minor stuff, because the good deity is the one dealing with the real source of the evil power--i.e. the bad deity/demon lord/etc...--while the mortals deal with just their servants. Power balance must be measured carefully in a story, in order to not trivialize or shift the focus of the conflict and its resolution.



I can see this, though in all fairness, mortals likely wouldn't be able to fight real big bad--unless you have a super powerful mortal, which, imho, brings the same kind of issue as deity involvement.

Sweet water and light laughter
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3428 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  03:04:27  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Ironically, you would probably like The Priests series. The emphasis in those books was exactly that- the mortal servitors dealing with the machinations and plots of other mortals, with deities being the backdrop to the motives of characters and of course the source of their power.

-Which, I agree.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of FaerŻn
Vol I- The Elves of FaerŻn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium

Edited by - Lord Karsus on 15 Sep 2020 03:04:53
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  06:48:16  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Karsus,

I am going to have to check those out. There are so many novels at this point I haven't read, sometimes I wonder where I should jump back in at! haha This looks like a fantastic place to start. Any order to them, or just go?

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3303 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  14:37:03  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout

This is one of the reasons I like deity involvement and "deity-as-characters" (main or background), is because it can be refreshing. I, as a mere mortal, don't also want to read about mere mortals lol. But it is true that to have a deity as characters, you do have to bring them down to a "human level" so that readers can understand their actions, at least to some extent. Like the Avatar series (and some books in that series were better than others). Of course, some of the deities, such as Kelemvor and Midnight/Mystra and Cyric, were previously mortal, but others hadn't been, and we got to see god thoughts and concerns brought down to a more human level of understanding. In a way, this is similar to gods manifesting to mortals in the forms of avatars. Gods, as you pointed out, are metaphysical, and thus their "true forms" are likely beyond mortal understanding, as our their actions and thoughts. So the writer has to "dumb down" their thoughts and actions in a way we readers can understand (and the writers themselves, as they are also mortal). This does make the gods seem more human, but it can still be a fun and refreshing story.


Yeah, but my point was more that you can't have a deity PoV of a novel and a deity as a metaphysical entity. The moment you choose to put a person in the shoes of a deity, you give up on the "mortals can't understand this character" thing, becuase it defeat the very purpose of narrative. As for FR, FR gave up on gods as metaphyisical entities a long time ago, when some people thought it was a good idea to paint deities as 5 yo kids with nukes.

quote:

I can see this, though in all fairness, mortals likely wouldn't be able to fight real big bad--unless you have a super powerful mortal, which, imho, brings the same kind of issue as deity involvement.



And this is why you set up the story so that the big bad can be fought by mortals. Or yet, you move the thematic statement and the conflict of the story to something else. Wars aren't necessarily won through fights--the best victory is the one you obtain without even having to fight.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2020 :  18:00:26  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Irennan,

Like when Elminster was shooting spells at Ao as he was falling in the Shadow of the Avatar series? ;)

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1141 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  00:25:18  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would just add that writing gods WELL in a book is very difficult to do, because they are gods. They are omnipotent and capable of doing things that would make a mortal's problems go away in a snap (deus ex machina problems).

The only thing that consistently bugs me in the Realms novels about gods is when evil gods do things to directly harm good mortals, but the good gods do nothing. That happens and I get angry.

I would like gods to be used very sparingly in the novels, and much more through their Chosen and high priests. Keeping them enigmatic makes way more sense to me.
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  00:42:15  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Seravin,

Agreed. I've tried to strike a balance between the two sides of the fence here, and I think you make a very salient point. I mean, how do you write a god? Their competence is supposed to be beyond anything a mortal (we people writing these posts) can imagine.

I think it comes down to getting truly epic writers (no offense intended, just an opinion).

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3303 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  01:14:05  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cpthero2

Agreed. I've tried to strike a balance between the two sides of the fence here, and I think you make a very salient point. I mean, how do you write a god? Their competence is supposed to be beyond anything a mortal (we people writing these posts) can imagine.

I think it comes down to getting truly epic writers (no offense intended, just an opinion).



It's why I mentioned above that if you want to write a deity and have a deity as a PoV you need to make them human--anything else would defeat the very goal of narrative (putting yourself in the shoes of someone else), because the author wouldn't be able to provide the concrete details you need to put yourself in the shoes of a god, since the author themselves doesn't know what it looks like. In order to write something, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of it, so that you can choose the best details to characterize your character, the scene itself, and the theme of the story. A lack of that is like when authors who know nothing of science try to write scientists, and vomit a bunch of nonsensical technobabble on the page (or the screen), which breaks immersion rather than enhancing it.

Writing a deity as an external element, however, is no harder than writing your next genial villain or whatever. However, I must say that many people fail at that too. The trick isn't being a genius yourself, is that you have control over the situation and the conflict of the story, so you can set up scenes so that the god/villain comes off as a master schemer, without being a schemer yourself.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  01:29:10  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Irennan,

I certainly can appreciate your point for sure. You had me up until:

quote:
The trick isn't being a genius yourself, is that you have control over the situation and the conflict of the story, so you can set up scenes so that the god/villain comes off as a master schemer, without being a schemer yourself.


While I don't think you need to be a "genius" the very word and definition of genius is overly broad and vague. It isn't the intelligence quotient that it was a brief period of time ago in history.

The real bread and butter of it all is, in my opinion, understanding why people have different points of view, etc. It all comes down to ethics. The very means by which people inform their morals are the ethics by which they define them.

In that regard, I feel authors, most of them, fall far short of delving into the humanistic qualities of ethics in a way the powerfully, and clearly, define why one decision is not only different but better than the other decisions.

Thoughts?

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3303 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  01:40:46  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You need to put yourself in the shoes of your character. You need to know them to the point where you understand why a certain decision appears the best from their perspective, and why that decision is the best detail that you can give to characterize them. Narrative must be written from within a character--you must perceive your scene like they perceive it, and that means giving yourself and your worldview up, even if just for the time you write (which, incidentally, is why the omniscent narrator is a wrong form of writing--it cuts away the very experience that narrative aims to give, and writers had started to already acknowledge this in 1800s). And giving yourself up, even for such a short time, is not easy to do--at all. Vice-versa, you must choose the PoV so that they are the best character (and filter) to explore the worldview that you want to show in your story. That is what style is about (basically, content is king, even in style).

What I was talking about, however, is writing a character that is far smarter than you in the sense of how we usually intend intelligence (the ability to adapt to new situation and solve new problems quickly). You can show their trait of schemer, even if you aren't one, by planning scenes adequately. Of course, if that character is a master strategist, you better do some reading on strategy.

The thing gets far more complicated if this character is the PoV. In this case, it's not about ethics themselves, but about two things that are true for every kind of character:

1)why they would perceive a particular decision to be the best in that given situation (in short, this particular character's ethics).

2)this is where things get hard: you and the reader need to know the inner workings of their mind--since this character is the body, mind, and feelings through which the reader experiences the events of the story--and that's hard to do with people who are smarter than you. Because, well, they're smarter than you, and your own mind can only approximate their thought process, precisely because of how you set them up. That means that you can easily end up not having enough insight/details to paint this character like they deserve to. You may not have enough details to apply their filter, and to "submerge yourself".

These characters are best used as background movers IMO--unless you're indeed quite smart in the same way you want your character to be smart, and unless you can think like they do. Of course, this is impossible with gods, which precludes them from being PoV characters unless you humanize them. However, as I mentioned before, gods pose a problem even as background movers, which makes them best suited to be catalysts IMO.

Anyway, using a light-focused PoV somewhat makes the task of portraying "genius" characters (allow me this shorthand, for the sake of practicality) easier, but you pay a steep price for that: a much lesser sense of immersion and a much duller experience than a deep-focused PoV offers (because a light-focused PoV doesn't subjectivize the perception of the world--i.e. it doesn't really apply a filter to the story). Even then, it's still hard, because light-focused PoVs still offer you access to the thoughts of the PoV character (so you still needs to detail the thought process of this "smarter-than-you" character). And you can't take a shortcut and *not* show the thoughts to the reader, because this demolishes the whole concept of showing the character not having any particular thoughts regarding something (or not knowing something), by... well, having them not think anything about it. It demolishes the idea of unreliable narrator, because the absence of a thought no longer means that the character doesn't know/think anything about it, it's just an external force randomly cutting the access to the mind of the character because it serves to create some shock effect or to have the "big scheme" roll out as a surprise. But it's not only inelegant; it's just wrong, because you're not building the scene from within the character, you're not "submerging the ego", you're just acting as the external narrator who selects the info that the reader gets. And that runs contrary to every principle about immersive writing, because it should be the PoV character that "selects" the info the reader gets, as the reader gets the same exact info as them.

The narrator in a story doesn't exist, because no one should be narrating anything--the reader is *living* the story, here and now, with the PoV, and perceiving things as the PoV is. You know you write well when the written word disappears and the only thing that's left are the feelings, sensations, impressions, and thoughts that the reader experiences through the PoV. There's a reason for this, ofc, and it's tied to narrative being a form of rhetoric that needs to persuade the reader that what it's telling is real, and the persuasion happens by showing what causes the persuasion. In short, to make the reader experience the story as someone else (the PoV character) means to make the reader perceive the events in the same way things are perceived IRL, which is--in turn--the key to the reader being "persuaded" that the story and characters are "real" (and IRL you don't get narrators commenting from the sky, and you don't stumble into summaries or vagueness; you live experience things second by second, here and now, with senses, knwoledge, and mindset). But this is already derailing the thread.

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

Edited by - Irennan on 17 Sep 2020 03:16:00
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  10:21:51  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Irennan,

Great post! Thank you for sharing that. I agree. Very well stated. You added more depth to my ethics point, and I thank you for that. :)

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5282 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  10:23:56  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Red Magic (1362 DR)



Other Lore
Ancient bronze incense burner from the Moonshae Isles.[1]
Wyvernís blood smells horrible.[1]
Dried wyvernís blood is a material component used in the spell to create darkenbeasts.[1]
Darkenbeasts are a hideous cross between an eagle and a prehistoric lizard.[1]
Darkenbeasts can be made from most animals using a spell. Fearsome creatures that obey telepathic commands of the creator. Revert to their original form in daylight or upon death. Can survive for weeks without sustenance.[1]
Hawkís with square tipped tails often from Amn.[1]
Green silk pillow imported from Shou Lung into Thay.[3]
The bottom claw of the Malar constellation.[3]
Peach liqueur from the Moonshae Isles.[3]
Dried flower petals are a material component used for scrying spells.[3]
A pale orange, four taloned hand, the symbol of Malar in Thay.[5]
Speak with dead spells require a significant portion of the body to work.[5]
The name Elwin means friend to elves.[6]
Thayvians.[6]
Lightning bolt with a ball on one end, Hatper symbol for dangerous magic here.[6]
Harper pins made with fine silver mined by dwarves north of Tantras.[9]

Red Wizard Lore
Prestige is often measured by the number of slaves they own.[1]
Ruled by an all powerful political council of Zulkirs, they direct the rulers of each city in Thay, create laws, and describe in massive volumes the punishments for lawbreakers.[1]
Zulkirís rarely obey the law (only when convenient) and often order their subordinates to commit any crime imaginable.[1]
Zulkirs do not cooperate with each other outside the council.[1]
Above the law.[1]
Each Zulkir controls a magical discipline and oversees the actions of all who study it.[1]
Red Wizards frequently plot againt and second guess their peers, for pleasure, personal gain, retribution, or practice. This intrigue prevents the Red Wizards uniting to work against Thayís enemies.[1]
Many skilled with weather related magic.[1]
Most are completely bald and adorn their heads with tattoos.[1]
Red flame on a purple field, a common symbol of the Red Wizards.[1]
Red Wizards are often sent to spy in other countries, they let their hair grow long to disguise themselves.[3]
Many Red Wizards prefer to act at night.[3]
Zulkirs and powerful Red Wizards are alerted if their names are spoken aloud in Thay.[4]
Most Zulkirs prolonged their life by magical means.[7]
Maligor was the oldest Zulkir after Szass Tam.[7]
Rembert Wellford, cousin to a tharchion in Eltabar, Red Wizard of the School of Illusion. Owns a small fort in Amruthar and very rich lands south of Eltabar and east of Amruthar (near land Maligor owns as well as being close to land owned by the Zulkir of Illusion). Lands surrounding Wellfordís are worked by farmers for other Red Wizards. Maligor pretends to want to take Wellfordís land with his gnoll troops.[7]


Maligor Lore
Red Wizard.[1]
Thin, pale fingers, gaunt, wrinkled face, wears blood coloured robes with an embroidered hem like all Red Wizards. 5 and a half feet tall.[1,3]
Tower in Amruthar. 60 ft tall, crenellated top with seasoned fighters, mounted crossbows, and jugs of oil. 18 inch thick granite walls. Barred windows. Has a barracks in or adjacent to the tower.[1,3]
Most of his informants operate out of a two story inn (Gold Dragon Inn) in the business district that Maligor can see from his tower. Magical guards and wards on every level. Has several basement levels much larger than his tower.[1]
Beneath Maligorís tower is a crumbling alter used centuries ago for dark purposes lies in the lowest basement floor of his tower, slime covered walls and floors, damp and mossy. Full of tunnels and chambers, used to house his darkenbeast army.[3]
Two floors above the altar and darkenbeast army is the prison level of Maligorís tower (still underground). Home to many cells full of slaves, soldiers, and townspeople that displeased Maligor.[5]
Zulkir of Alteration.[1]
Has little respect for his colleagues or their abilities.[1]
More than 200 years old, uses elixirs to appear younger (60-70 years old) but his voice is ancient.[1]
Asp, spirit naga, female, has two hands, trains gnolls in sword combat, works for Maligor. Black hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones, dainty red lips, long slender neck. Has a body odour like rotting flesh. A long serpentine body coloured like a sand boa with armoured ridges down her back. Can shape change into any humanoid form. 20 ft long (from tail to head). Asp joined Maligor 3 years ago as an apprentice, became leader of his guards, and instructor to his armed forces.[prologue,1,3]
Amassing an army of gnolls (1200), one of them is a Harper informant. And an army of humans (300).[1,3]
Has created many darkenbeasts, an army 1,000 strong, kept in the deepest basement of his tower.[1,3]
Head tattooed with a bright red flame on a purple field, and a snow white skull on an ebony triangle (myrkulís symbol).[1]
Believes he honours Myrkul with acts involving death and corruption.[1]
Mudwort, gnoll, Harper informant hiding in Maligorís forces. 8 ft tall, muscular legs, barrel chest, dun coloured skin covered with tufts of red tinged grey hair. Darker fur spine ruff (from nose over head and down back. Bull like neck. Leather breast plate and wooden shield have the symbol of a red flame on a purple field. Spear has a red ribbon. Sandals on feet. Turned Harper informant for gold, knows little about the Harpers. Also gets paid for information by other Red Wizards who want to know about Maligorís doings.[1]
Owns a slave plantation that breeds his own slaves, twenty miles north of Amruthar.[3]
Owns more than 800 slaves, a considerable number (few Red Wizards owned more slaves than Maligor). Most were male labourers who worked at his various properties. Some were warriors or sailors captured elsewhere. Fewer were women who attended to his needs. Replacements were high due to death from overwork, old age, or expeeriments, or just maliciousness.[3]
Maligor intends to march his gnoll army to Eltabar against a young Red Wizard who is rising quickly among the ranks in power. At the same time his darkenbeasts will attack the gold mines of Thay[3,5]
Owns a number of flying carpets.[3]
Jutta, Maligorís most promising student, when she apprenticed to him a year ago he kidnapped her parents and made them slaves, threatening them with death if she betrayed him.[5]
Owns a ring of flying.[5]
Maligor most often plots and falsely deals to net him shares of wealthy merchantsí profits and goods.[7]
Tower guarded by stone and clay golems, some enhanced with special powers.[7]
Has a dozen apprentices in his tower.[7]
Maligorís agents have a thorny vine tattooed around their necks. Maligor keeps his agents on a tight leash.
Slew a dragon 150 years ago.[10]
Uses elixirs, powders, and pacts with outsiders to extend his age.[10]
Supplied his gnoll soldiers with masterwork weapons from a merchant caravan bound for Mulhorand.[10]
Intends to distract Red Wizards with his gnoll army attacking Rembert Wellfordís lands near Eltabbar. While everyone is concentrating on the battle, Maligor and Asp will lead the Darkenbeast army (hidden and silenced by magic) to attack the gold mines of Thay. Asp has assumed the form of Willeth Lionson and will stay in his guise for a decade or more. Everyone in Thay thinks Tharchion Willeth Lionson is in Tantras (Maligor had him kidnapped and eaten by gnolls). Asp will gradually skim gold from the mines and slowly lower the output to Thay over a decade. Maligor will pretend to be working on alchemy to turn lead into gold and claim success. Then all the Red Wizards will need to come to him for gold (because the mine output will run dry) and Maligor will be the most powerful Red Wizard in Thay.[11]
Some of Maligorís slaves were from Aglarond, on farms near the border, taken in slave raids.[12]
Top floor of Maligorís tower protected by magical traps.[12]
Galvin caused the mines to collapse atop Maligor (Maligor can become insubstantial???)[15]

Amruthar Lore
Cobbled streets.[1]
Maligorís impressive tower is just outside the western edge of Amruthar near the city gate.[1]
Business district (the old section of the city) lies on the western side of Amruthar, few buildings here look opulent.[1]
Alleys and shadowed walkways full of cutpurses and burglars.[1]
Coal smoke (coal used for cooking fires???).[1]
Open air market in business district, full of crude wooden stalls during the day. Sells exotic fruits, fresh vegetables, homespun and imported cloth, and shiny trinkets, and the occasional slave dealer (although slaves should be sold in the stockyards, so slaves here were sold quickly and at good deals before the merchant guild could shut them down).[1]
Merchantís guild mandates that all slaves must be sold in the stockyards (so the proper guild taxes were paid).[1]
The Free City, no one Red Wizard claims jurisdiction over Amruthar, and decades ago the city claimed to have ceded from Thay. However, many of Thayís most powerful Red Wizards live nearby and secretly manipulate the puppet rulers of Amruthar.[1]
Maligor and some other Red Wizards openly bribe and magically charm people in key positions in Amrutharís government.[1]
Amruthar is in reality more closely influenced by the Red Wizards than any other city in Thay.[1]
Woods 25 miles north of Amruthar.[3]
Abandoned grain mill north of Armuthar, used by Maligor to house half his darkenbeast army.[7]
The city sits at the base of three squat hills. The slopes covered with small farms, coloured a riot of green from well watered crops.
Most buildings made of clay and mortar. Overhangs, stalls, and posts made of wood.
Buildings stand 3 stories tall in the market district. Commoners and middle class shop in the market district. Richer people and Red Wizards shop in the business district.
Sod roofs cover nearly every building.
City street design like a wheel, major streets like spokes off a central hub.
Slave district filled with stables, business district nearby.
Gold Dragon Inn in the business district. Two story inn, used by Maligorís agents. Centaurís are not allowed in the Gold Dragon Inn. Popular with the upper and middle classes.
North gate.
Tent town north of the city for visiting merchants and families wishing to sell goods and move on (also a home for some of the poorer residents of Amruthar). A near permanent fixture outside Amruthar. Most tents (and the goods and families) are guarded by several dogs.
Attacks on the Tent Town outside Amruthar is not uncommon. The guards on Amrutharís walls do not help, but sometimes let the tent town residents through the gates and into the city.
North of Amruthar are huge, well established citrus groves worked by slaves.[13]

Thay Lore
Two thirds of the population are slaves.[1]
Ruled by an all powerful political council of Zulkirs, they direct the rulers of each city in Thay, create laws, and describe in massive volumes the punishments for lawbreakers.[1]
Foreign policy, determined by the Zulkirate, is to keep every neighbouring policy unnerved and guessin.[1]
Yarberries, a red poisonous fruit that grows in Thay.[1]
Moles, hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels, rabbits, rats, snakes, lizards, chickens, ducks, caught by gnoll trappers.[1]
Red Wizards often use magic to make it rain in Thay.[1]
Only slaves have long hair. Red Wizards, and those with money and power or pretending they have some shave their heads and adorn them with elaborate tattoos.[1]
Most of Thay rests on the plateau of Priador.[1]
The First Escarpment, sheer cliffs that form Thayís main border and the edge of the plateau of Priador. 300 ft tall at the western end.[1,4]
Slave plantations.[3]
Slaves from as far away as Orlumbor and Ravens Bluff.[3]
Slaves are one of Thayís major imports.[3]
Centaurs walk freely in Thay.[4]
Ancient willows in the land around the River Umber. Thorny bushes are increasingly dense the closer you get to the First Escarpment (from Aglarond).[4]
Woods abut the western edge of the First Escarpment filled with large leafed trees.[4]
First Escarpment made of layers of limestone and granite.[4]
Roads and trails lead up the First Escarpment, used by slavers, merchants, and travellers. Patrols stationed on every entrance and only those travellers with the right reasons are allowed to pass.[4]
Slaves that escape are killed if caught. Strong slaves are beaten into submission (strong slaves are valuable).[4]
Cultivated citrus trees (orange and yellow fruits) grouped in copses atop the First Escarpment.[4]
Patrols regularly march along the edge of the First Escarpment all through the night (and day???)[4]
Most slaves on the plantations start work at dawn (or earlier). They will happily turn in intruders for rewards.[4]
Much can be learned about a Red Wizard by looking at the symbols tattooed onto his head.[5]
Tharchion Willeth Lionson, appointed to oversee Thayís gold mines. Maligor kidnapped Willeth while he was travelling to Tantras (to look into new equipment to improve productivity). Maligor wanted to know how many slaves, how many guards, how many foremen, what magical defences and where (that info is spread out among the Zulkirs so no, one person can know it all except the Tharchion). Maligor intends to use a disguised person to replace Tharchion Willeth Lionson (who he killed and fed to his gnolls). Nearly 40 years old, broad, squat barrel chested, pale orange four taloned claw painted on his head (the symbol of Malar). Black hair on chest and under arms, clean shaven everywhere else.[5,11]
Imps and other fiendish familiars lurk in Thayís wilderness spying for their wizard masters.[5]
Orcs form border patrols, gnolls guard plantations and Red Wizardís estates. Usually led by humans[5,6]
Patrols keep an eye on abandoned and empty buildings because slaves often hide out there.[6]
Thayvians started shaving their heads over 200 years ago, starting with a few wizards, now only slaves have hair.[6]
Men have their heads tattooed, many women have their head symbols painted (preferring to change them with fashions).[6]
Loviatar regularly worshipped in Thay.[6]
Gnolls are reasonably numerous in Thay. Have trouble wielding swords in their pawed hands. They fight better with claws and teeth.[7]
Cattle graze on the meadows and rolling hills around cities.
Most large cities surrounded by thick, high mortared stone walls, smaller cities have wooden walls unless they are rich and can afford stone. All communities have a spike filled ditch and a guard force. The defences are built to defend against other Red Wizards and their forces.
Eltabarís walls are enchanted and it is protected by an invisible domelike shield.
Dried peppers, green, red, yellow, purple.
Agri slave plantation near Thaymount. Run by Blackland Ironhoof.
Around Szass Tamís keep are trees with vines and yellow flowers that shoot purple pollen that attracts humanoids to it. The plant is created when a yellow musk zombie dies. It kills humanoids and turns them into more yellow musk zombies.[11]
Thayís gold mines are north of Amruthar.[14]
Small hamlets between Amruthar and the gold mines. Hamlets are surrounded by orchards and citrus groves. Beyond that are prairies filled with waist high wild flowers.[14]
Red Wizards do not make it rain around the gold mines. Natural rainfall is enough to support a montane forest among the foothills.[14]


Galvin Lore
Nearly 6 ft tall, muscular, thin. Green eyes, wheat coloured hair.[1]
Shapechange into a hawk and cave bear. Druid.[1]
Wears green leggings, tunic, and cloak.[1]
Wields a scimitar.[1]
Harper.[1]
Council of Aglarond asked Galvin to acquire a spy in Thay and find out if Thay intends to invade Aglarond (it is known Thay is growing its forces). Council of Aglarond provided the gold to pay for the information.[1]
Met with Mudwort in a grove of trees at the foot of the First Escarpment. Killed Mudwort during a confrontation and buried the body.[1]
Believes he is about 30 years old. Spent nearly 2 decades learning the druidic arts.[2]
Born in Skuld in Mulhorand, his parents were thieves. When Galvin was 7 his parents robbed a Thayan ambassador in the city, they returned the stolen items but the ambassador demanded their deaths so they were hung. Galvin fled into the woods, hates Thay and civilisation.[2,4]
Galvin met with Wynter and Brenna on the border between Aglarond and Thay to deliver the information he acquired from Mudwort.[2]
Uncomfortable in cities (claustrophobic???).[2]
Knew a female Harper associate a few years ago in Tsurlagol.[4]
Vegetarian.[4]
Helped the Harpers in Thesk, Aglarond, and Yuirwood. Was active during the Time of Troubles. (ten years???)[4]
Given an enchanted longsword by Szass Tam.[11]
Szass Tam ordered Galvin, Wynter, and Brenna to lead an army of skeletons, zombies, juju, and yellowmusk zombies to attack Maligor and stop his invasion of Rembert Wellfordís lands.[11]

Aglarond Lore
Birch, cedar, oak, pine, hemlock trees. Badger, deer, boar, bear, squirrel, fox, wolf, wild cats.[2]
Council of Aglarond gather in Glarondar.[2]
The land around the River Umber used to be a windswept savanna prone to drought. Now it is a fertile land as the River Umber regularly floods due to the Red Wizard weather magic. Farmers avoid the land because of the proximity of Thay.[4]
Council of Aglarond dominated by elves and half elves.[4]
Aglarond defeated Thay in the Battle of Singing Sands and the Battle of Brokenheads, but casualties were high for Aglarond. The Simbul does not want another war with Thay.[4]
Mesring, Dlusk, Furthinghome, settlements in Aglarond.
Dwarves, halflings, gnomes, elves and humans in Aglarond.

Wynter Lore
Centaur, 7 ft tall, curly ink black hair cropped short with a braid hanging below the shoulders, muscular, trimmed black beard streaked with grey. Black warhorse lower body.[2]
Pacifist. Dislikes magic.[2]
Born in Thay. He fled Thay along the River Umber into Aglarond years ago[2,4]
Harper.[4]
Owns a longbow, 8ft black staff, and a leather belt pouch.[4]
Works as a farmer when not on missions with Galvin.[4]
Several years ago Wynter helped Galvin catch a bunch of bandits that were raiding farms around Aglarond (including his farm). Galvin brought Wynter into the Harpers after that.[4]
Wynterís father (Blackland Ironhoof) worked on one of the Thayan slave plantations, wanted to run it, used to beat or kill the sick and the old (an enforcer or guard). Now he runs the Agri plantation near Eltabar.[4,8]
Wynter fled Thay over a decade ago when he was 12, he couldnt stomach slavery and his family wouldnt change.[4]
Given an enchanted bardiche by Szass Tam, sharper and could slice off limbs.[11]

Brenna Greycloak Lore
Human, brown eyes, rounded cheekbones, pale complexion, dark red hair.[2]
One of the youngest members of the Council of Aglarond.[2,4]
Magic user.[2]
Believes political opponents will use her absence against her.[2]
Member of the wizardís guild.[4]
Charmed a border guard leader named Elwin. Elwin is originally a pirate slaver from the Sword Coast that started trading slaves to Thay and decided to stay. Killed by ghouls on patrol for Szass Tam as they travelled to Amruthar.[6]
Given by Szass Tam, silver etched bracers made of gold, enchanted to provide protection like plate mail.[11]

Szass Tam
Lich, rival of Maligor. Scrying on Maligor to discover his plans. Called a huge storm that covered Amruthar and extended into Aglarond.[2]
Paper thin skin, fine wisps of white hair atop an age spotted head, lower lip hangs loose.[7]
Most formidable Red Wizard in Thay.[7]
Zulkir of Necromancy.[7]
Thousands of ancient books.[7]
Crystal ball (fist sized) resting on a platinum edged bronze figurine of a dragon. Crystal ball is 700 years old and belonged to Szassí mentor[7]
Szass tam killed his mentor and acquired all his arcane devices, elixirs, and books.[7]
Szass Tam animated his mentorís body as a skeleton.[7]
Szass hates to let dead bodies go to waste (preferring to animate them).[7]
Szass is watching Asp.[7]
His army is made up of skeletons, zombies, ghouls, ghasts, wights, and worse. Led by vampires.[7]
Held the position of Zulkir of Necromancy for nearly 2 centuries.[7]
Witnessed many wizards and zulkirs attack each other or Aglarond. Attacks are rarely successful as cooperation is non-existent.[7]
Szass Tam frequently attacks others, desiring total control of Thay.[7]
Very patient, happy to wait decades to see a plan come to fruition. He is waiting until he can destroy all the Zulkirs at once before he strikes. Will not work with others, does not trust any Red Wizard.[7]
Disguises himself as a tall, scholarly man with jet black eyes and fleshy cheeks when in public.[7]
Had 4 keeps in Thay. The keep situated between Amruthar and Eltabbar was the largest and surrounded by graveyards. The lands around all his keeps were patrolled by undead (vampires, ghosts, zombies and living men).[7]
Has 3 dozen living servants in his keep near Amruthar, surrounded by a low stone wall topped by barbed iron spears.[7,8]
Rosewood desk in Amruthar keep was a gift from his mentor.[7]
Charmaine, a middle aged woman, living servant, works for food, desires immortality. Favoured by Szass Tam, will give her to a vampire later in life.[7]
Animated a jeweller from Eltabar as a ghoul many years ago.[7]
Szass Tam sends juju zombies (known as ďstiff walkersĒ on patrol around Amruthar looking for Brenna.[9]
Szass Tamís vampires have long white hair and dress in black.[9]
Szass Tam crossed paths with Harpers 3-4 decades ago (and defeated them).[9]
Can heal wounds.[9]
Szass Tamís symbol is a skeletal hand crushing a fleshy hand on a black background.[11]
Szass Tam has many wraiths, formerly evil men and women that coveted wealth and power and now forever damned to serve Szass Tam (did he kill them, how did he become their master forever???)[12]


Gold Mines
Entrance protected by galeb duhr that causes an endless landslide to pour down the mountain pathway.[14]
Mine is of considerable age (over a century???), the main shaft was exhausted decades ago.[15]
Collapsed by Galvin.[15]

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5282 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  10:30:02  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Red Magic was a solid novel.

Wasnt all that impressed with Maligor's super genius plan, it seemed rather simple, however Red Wizards are arrogant and paranoid so i'm fine with its execution (normally i would expect intrigue to involve 3rd parties but Maligor doesnt trust anyone else to do the work).

Lots of lore on Thay. I always imagined it as very dusty and barren but it seems that its full of managed orchards and groves.

One thing i did find is that the wizard weather affecting other nations is implied to be deliberately caused by Thay, but in Red Magic it quite rightly points out that none of the Red Wizards work together on anything. So they make it rain on their own estates whenever they amass the magic and spell components to do so. This indirectly affects the weather in surrounding nations. It would be very rare for a group of Red Wizards to work together even to disrupt an enemy nation. Even when invading other nations they mostly work solo.


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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  19:48:54  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Dallison,

Thank you first and foremost for that share of information! I agree, Red Magic was a great book for a novel based approach to lore for Thay.

As to Maligor's genius plan: lol, I agree. Classic Thayan arrogance leading to crap in the face. Look at the Salamander Wars. hahaha

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5282 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  20:05:01  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was also thinking, that in true comic book fashion, maligor might not be dead because there is no body.

He made himself assume the form of a cloud at least once during the novel so it is possible he could have done so while being buried by rocks.

Also he linked minds with the darkenbeasts several times and even wondered what would happen if he did so for too long. He could have jumped into the mind of one or all of them and some may have survived the collapse (they can last for weeks without food or drink).

So maligor could survive as maligor and be biding his time to take revenge on sass tam. Or he could be some kind of new darkenbeast swarm creature.

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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1436 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2020 :  22:55:22  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Dallison,

Absolutely agree there. There are plenty of contingency outs for Maligor. He's still a powerful wizard, and likely has himself covered to survive, more likely than not.

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5282 Posts

Posted - 18 Sep 2020 :  20:35:52  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And Pools of Darkness is where it starts.

Just read the first page of the novel.

In it Bane is throwing a childish tantrum, quite literally.

"why doesnt everybody worship me!!! Waah!!!"
Lightning bolts everywhere, 7 high priests turned to ash, 5 wizards turned to dust.

And his pit fiends behave like gangster accomplices.

"We'll help ya boss".


I'm not sure i can read any more of that. What even was the point of that opening sequence. Was the intention to make a greater deity seem like a childish, immature prat. Did they deliberately want to dumb down an entire setting to the level of an episode of Eastenders, complete with door slamming and people sleeping with half brother in revenge for someone eating their favourite sandwich.

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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 18 Sep 2020 20:39:32
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  02:05:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Pools books are why I dislike Phlan -- there is so much about those books that I disliked that it's made me dislike the city they were set in.

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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3303 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  02:59:25  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I'm not sure i can read any more of that. What even was the point of that opening sequence. Was the intention to make a greater deity seem like a childish, immature prat. Did they deliberately want to dumb down an entire setting to the level of an episode of Eastenders, complete with door slamming and people sleeping with half brother in revenge for someone eating their favourite sandwich.




Sadly, there's a lot more of that in other novels. Novels that paint deities decently are few and in between. Then you also have the novels that just crap all over the lore of certain deities, and some intentionally so.

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