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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5986 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  03:55:10  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

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.




Welcome to the FR novel factory where everyone got a shift on the loom machine to build that wonderful tapestry that is the Realms.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1363 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  16:44:05  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Dallison,

It definitely seemed like his behavior was just hateful and tyrannical for sure. The deity is/was a real jerk! ;)

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  17:29:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well given that 7 high priests of Bane dying is not documented anywhere in 1350 DR (a power vacuum like that would get noticed), and some of his most powerful wizards (presumably zhentarim) also were not documented as perishing in 1350 DR. I'm going to assume that most of this novel has been ignored by later products and so i'm free to rewrite what i find to be less adolescent.

The first page can be completely ignored because it doesnt take place on Faerun and is just nonsense.

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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1141 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2020 :  21:29:23  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My take is those high priests and wizards served Bane on his home plane rather than in the Realms? But yes, this novel has the very common problem of writing FR Deities like they are cartoon characters instead of Gods.

Which is a DAMN shame because actually if you ignore the villains (outside of one undead skeletal commander) in Pools of Darkness, the characters are actually quite endearing to me. I rather like Miltiades and Evaine and Gam and the druid siblings, as well as Ren, Shal and Tarl.

My thinking is this novel was only written in response to the gold box computer game, just as Pool of Radiance was written to novelize that game. Still not as bad as the Baldur's Gate video game novels!!
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cpthero2
Master of Realmslore

USA
1363 Posts

Posted - 20 Sep 2020 :  21:52:57  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Seravin,

Agreed! There were some serious creative liberties taken I feel when juxtaposing different personality types of the gods from one author to another that just seemed to be a bridge to far in some cases.

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  17:05:47  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After my brief foray into the Cult of Bhaal i'm back reading Pools of Darkness.

The first page was terrible, but apart from that the novel is strangely absent of god meddling.

The story seems bizarre at the moment. Tanetal the Pit Fiend was summoned by Lord Marcus (inventive naming as always), who used the power of the Pool of Darkness (no idea exactly what that is yet) to transport the entire city of Phlan into a cavern beneath his tower (no idea where that is either) so he can conquer it and sacrifice all the inhabitants into the Pool of Darkness.

The Pool of Darkness will do something to the souls of these sacrifices and turn them into minions or worshippers of Bane.

Yes its a bit far fetched but at least the god didnt do it. Tanetal the Pit Fiend seems to communicate directly with Bane but to be honest it could just be his devil boss. Apparently Bane has transported every city of the Moonsea region to Limbo and is conquering them all. This statement alone is completely wrong with all other realmslore so if that didnt happen (and it didnt) then one can assume Tanetal is not communicating with Bane.


The heroes, Andoralson, Tanathiel, Miltiades all believed they have been sent by their gods to save Phlan, but again thats just what they think (presumably from dreams) so they could be wrong and slightly delusional.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  17:15:42  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing i did find interesting is the story of Miltiades.

A thousand years ago he wandered across Faerun slaying enemies of Tyr and was gifted the Holy Shield of Tyr, the Runic Sword of Tyr, and a magic war helm from Tyr's followers. Not impossible given Tyr's first appearance a few centuries earlier so it is entirely possible for a church of Tyr to begin in and spread to Damara / Impiltur and then spread across the mountains to the Moonsea.


However Miltiades also spent 50 years as the steward (ruler) and war champion of Turell, which conflicts with his own claim to have wandered all of Faerun unless his life was longer than normal.

Turell however is little more than a days ride north of Phlan and was supposedly a city under constant strife until a being named Zarl conquered it with an army. Miltiades slew Zarl in a sneak attack but was also slain.



Now 1000 years ago when Miltiades was supposed to exist puts this in the region of 300-400 DR which is about the time that people fled the fall of Hlondath into the Moonsea region and founded Phlan and then Northkeep.

In 369 DR Phlan was founded with the help of the elves who granted them the woods north of the River Tesh and createed the Quivering Forest to shelter Phlan from the expansion of Thar.


We have two options. Either Turell preceded Phlan and was responsible for the logging of the forest and the expansion of humanity in the region, but in return came into conflict with both the elves and the monsters of Thar. Or Turell existed at the same time as Phlan and was part of a loose confederation along with Northkeep and Phlan.

I'm thinking Turell preceded Phlan because two settlements less than 20 miles apart (one of which is a city) would lead to conflicts over resources. I figure around 308 DR people started leaving Hlondath and heading into the Moonsea region, founding Turell and a number of other settlements. Turell is destroyed before 369 DR (maybe 359 DR).

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  18:12:49  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison



The story seems bizarre at the moment. Tanetal the Pit Fiend was summoned by Lord Marcus (inventive naming as always), who used the power of the Pool of Darkness (no idea exactly what that is yet) to transport the entire city of Phlan into a cavern beneath his tower (no idea where that is either) so he can conquer it and sacrifice all the inhabitants into the Pool of Darkness.





Might I suggest cutting these guys a little slack on names. While there can be no excuse for Dagnabbit, a "normal" name here or there wouldn't really be completely out of the realms of possibility. Not everyone is going to be Mr. Mxyzptlk.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34002 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  19:01:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison



The story seems bizarre at the moment. Tanetal the Pit Fiend was summoned by Lord Marcus (inventive naming as always), who used the power of the Pool of Darkness (no idea exactly what that is yet) to transport the entire city of Phlan into a cavern beneath his tower (no idea where that is either) so he can conquer it and sacrifice all the inhabitants into the Pool of Darkness.





Might I suggest cutting these guys a little slack on names. While there can be no excuse for Dagnabbit, a "normal" name here or there wouldn't really be completely out of the realms of possibility. Not everyone is going to be Mr. Mxyzptlk.



I'm going to agree with Daz, on this one. Fantasy settings should not use real-world names -- that just breaks the immersion by calling attention to itself.

And there's no reason to use real-world names, either -- just swap a letter or two, and you've got a fantasy name. Instead of Marcus, go with Mardus or Tarkas or Makras. One of my fave published NPCs is named Jevicca -- an obvious take on Jessica, but made different by playing with just a few letters.

Another trick is anagrams. Marcus could be Mascur or Ruscam. Do an anagram and swap out a letter or two, you've got Sulcam or Ralmus.

You could even use non-names with those tricks -- collect can become Telcar or Corralt. Dice can become Kace or Kase.

There's just too many ways to avoid using real-world names to justify using one.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  19:36:54  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And to make matters worse there had already been one sourcebook and one novel dedicated to Thay and Ed had provided a score of Thayan names in the OGB as well. Plenty of info to use for inspiration

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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1748 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  20:09:39  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was just about to ask for a source of Realmsian names for a project of mine. So, thanks for pointing out.

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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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  20:16:34  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison



The story seems bizarre at the moment. Tanetal the Pit Fiend was summoned by Lord Marcus (inventive naming as always), who used the power of the Pool of Darkness (no idea exactly what that is yet) to transport the entire city of Phlan into a cavern beneath his tower (no idea where that is either) so he can conquer it and sacrifice all the inhabitants into the Pool of Darkness.





Might I suggest cutting these guys a little slack on names. While there can be no excuse for Dagnabbit, a "normal" name here or there wouldn't really be completely out of the realms of possibility. Not everyone is going to be Mr. Mxyzptlk.



I'm going to agree with Daz, on this one. Fantasy settings should not use real-world names -- that just breaks the immersion by calling attention to itself.

And there's no reason to use real-world names, either -- just swap a letter or two, and you've got a fantasy name. Instead of Marcus, go with Mardus or Tarkas or Makras. One of my fave published NPCs is named Jevicca -- an obvious take on Jessica, but made different by playing with just a few letters.

Another trick is anagrams. Marcus could be Mascur or Ruscam. Do an anagram and swap out a letter or two, you've got Sulcam or Ralmus.

You could even use non-names with those tricks -- collect can become Telcar or Corralt. Dice can become Kace or Kase.

There's just too many ways to avoid using real-world names to justify using one.



I find it odd that people have no problems with creatures or even cultures being traded between worlds but a name is just something not allowed. I know I have a few peppered here and there. Given that if there is any kind of similarity in the languages of Faerun and those of Earth, sheer probability is going to dictate that eventually you will have the same word creep up on both worlds if it wasn't transferred in the first place.

Anyway, it was just a suggestion.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34002 Posts

Posted - 10 Oct 2020 :  20:50:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

I find it odd that people have no problems with creatures or even cultures being traded between worlds but a name is just something not allowed. I know I have a few peppered here and there. Given that if there is any kind of similarity in the languages of Faerun and those of Earth, sheer probability is going to dictate that eventually you will have the same word creep up on both worlds if it wasn't transferred in the first place.

Anyway, it was just a suggestion.



I'm not a fan of porting over cultures, either... But if a culture is explicitly stated to come from Earth, then it would make more sense for that culture to have Earth names. But, even then, thousands of years of separation means that names would change and new names would arise. Thus, even in that scenario, Earth names would be rare.

As for creatures, that's a common thing with almost all fantasy settings. But aside from the legendary/mythical stuff, those creatures are rarely an important part of the story. Things like dragons and elves have been a part of fantasy long enough that they're part of the genre. Dudes named Jack or Marcus are not part of the genre.

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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 11 Oct 2020 :  00:43:09  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

I find it odd that people have no problems with creatures or even cultures being traded between worlds but a name is just something not allowed. I know I have a few peppered here and there. Given that if there is any kind of similarity in the languages of Faerun and those of Earth, sheer probability is going to dictate that eventually you will have the same word creep up on both worlds if it wasn't transferred in the first place.

Anyway, it was just a suggestion.



I'm not a fan of porting over cultures, either... But if a culture is explicitly stated to come from Earth, then it would make more sense for that culture to have Earth names. But, even then, thousands of years of separation means that names would change and new names would arise. Thus, even in that scenario, Earth names would be rare.

As for creatures, that's a common thing with almost all fantasy settings. But aside from the legendary/mythical stuff, those creatures are rarely an important part of the story. Things like dragons and elves have been a part of fantasy long enough that they're part of the genre. Dudes named Jack or Marcus are not part of the genre.



My grandmother was a religious type and gave all of her children names out of The Bible (my grandparents were born in the 1800s so being very religious was common then). Now, The Bible was written a couple thousand years ago yet names from it are still found today. If Tyr, who was known on Earth, had a religious text with someone named Marcus, that could easily become a family name that gets used every generation or two ("you were named after your great uncle Marcus").

And I do agree that if Earth names did make it to Toril, they would be very rare. Out of the probably 500 names I have had to come up with, maybe a handful has an Earth name (I can only think of two but there may be one or two more). One of those is actually a halfling and the name sounds decidedly halfling to me (Cecil).

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34002 Posts

Posted - 11 Oct 2020 :  06:33:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

I find it odd that people have no problems with creatures or even cultures being traded between worlds but a name is just something not allowed. I know I have a few peppered here and there. Given that if there is any kind of similarity in the languages of Faerun and those of Earth, sheer probability is going to dictate that eventually you will have the same word creep up on both worlds if it wasn't transferred in the first place.

Anyway, it was just a suggestion.



I'm not a fan of porting over cultures, either... But if a culture is explicitly stated to come from Earth, then it would make more sense for that culture to have Earth names. But, even then, thousands of years of separation means that names would change and new names would arise. Thus, even in that scenario, Earth names would be rare.

As for creatures, that's a common thing with almost all fantasy settings. But aside from the legendary/mythical stuff, those creatures are rarely an important part of the story. Things like dragons and elves have been a part of fantasy long enough that they're part of the genre. Dudes named Jack or Marcus are not part of the genre.



My grandmother was a religious type and gave all of her children names out of The Bible (my grandparents were born in the 1800s so being very religious was common then). Now, The Bible was written a couple thousand years ago yet names from it are still found today. If Tyr, who was known on Earth, had a religious text with someone named Marcus, that could easily become a family name that gets used every generation or two ("you were named after your great uncle Marcus").

And I do agree that if Earth names did make it to Toril, they would be very rare. Out of the probably 500 names I have had to come up with, maybe a handful has an Earth name (I can only think of two but there may be one or two more). One of those is actually a halfling and the name sounds decidedly halfling to me (Cecil).



That makes it plausible... But you're still having to break immersion by explaining that. It's so much easier to just change a letter or two, or do the anagram thing, and be done with it.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5986 Posts

Posted - 11 Oct 2020 :  08:09:27  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Chalk me down in the “not a fan” category as well. But what’s even worse is when they manage to roll out some decent fantasy names and then out of nowhere (and for some unknown reason it usually happens to female characters) you’ll get a “Penelope” thrown into the mix. Maddening. Just makes me realize that some authors have a tin ear for names and that their editor is no better.

— George Krashos

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

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2020 :  21:44:29  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I quite like Penelope as a name.

So, does this novel ever explain what a Pool of Darkness actually is. I'm three quarters full and still no idea. The story hints at them having been around for a decade and that Evaine has destroyed 4 of them so far so they cant all be Pools of Radiance. Given the link with souls and using it as a power boost I'm tempted to link it to the incarnum stuff, a pool that attracts souls to allow them to pass through to the afterlife, only Marcus is intercepting the souls to use their power for himself (like that well in kanaglym).

I will never understand how people came to like the god stuff so much, every worst scene in the book (for me) is linked to god stuff.
Ren meets the druids who declare they are on a mission from their god (so forced, couldnt be bothered to come up with another motivation). Miltiades who randomly appears in the middle of nowhere because his god needs him, fights a horde of undead because Bane animated them, and then declares Tyr wants him to help the heroes. Very forced, a blatant opportunity to use some historical context lost forever.
When the female druid finds the forest is a bit evil and just decides to sacrifice herself to make it nice again, even though some magic unicorn (silvanus) appeared and said "I want you to do my mission, if you sacrifice yourself now the forest will still be evil in a few months". Did they run out of ideas for her and so wanted a quick way to remove her from the plot.

Not really loving this novel much. Lots of lore on Phlan but I just know it wont fit well with the rest of the lore on the Moonsea or with Phlan either.

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CorellonsDevout
Great Reader

USA
2534 Posts

Posted - 12 Oct 2020 :  22:01:06  Show Profile Send CorellonsDevout a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Or your loathing for them is coloring your perception of any scene that has a god so much as blink. I haven't actually read the Pools books, but this scroll is starting to feel like it should be called Let's Bash the Gods instead of Novel Lore. Think it's best if I walk away from this scroll.

Sweet water and light laughter

Edited by - CorellonsDevout on 12 Oct 2020 22:51:36
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 13 Oct 2020 :  08:00:04  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is possible I'm being prejudiced, it's also possible I'm being honest. Thus far the scene with Selune in the Wyverns Spur is one of the few god scenes I thought was handled well. The lead up to selunes intervention was not unexpected, her temple had been mentioned many times as well as her appearing there several times. Selunes intervention did not overshadow or nullify the characters actions it merely enabled them in some small way.

Pools of Darkness on the other hand begins with Bane himself throwing a tantrum, the language is awkward and stereotypical, his actions were juvenile and not at all in keeping with those of a greater god with near limitless intelligence. Bane causes the simultaneous deaths of 20 of his own high priests and sends lightning storms across the moonsea instantly making him way beyond the power of any character in the realms.

Then we have the druids who appear out of nowhere, declare their only motivation to be that they are on orders from sylvanus, and then attach themselves to Ren who doesnt resist because it is an order from Silvanus.

Miltiades does exactly the same. Appears out of nowhere and declares that Tyr wants him to aid the characters.

Then Talenthia, while they are journeying to fight the big bad, they come across a forest infested with evil. She gets upset and tells the others to go on without her. She breaks down and decides to sacrifice herself to cleanse a small portion of the forest. Until that point she had been all about her cousin and defeating the evil but she abandons that quest at the crucial moment and sacrifice herself to cleanse a bit of the forest and then Silvanus appears and makes her sacrifice more powerful but ultimately pointless to the mission.

In short they felt forced, there was no build up to the intervention and the orders from a god were used instead of a real motivation or backstory introduction. Perhaps others can say what they thought about those particular events to assess whether I'm being prejudiced or not.

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Demzer
Senior Scribe

750 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2020 :  14:32:04  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout

Or your loathing for them is coloring your perception of any scene that has a god so much as blink. I haven't actually read the Pools books, but this scroll is starting to feel like it should be called Let's Bash the Gods instead of Novel Lore. Think it's best if I walk away from this scroll.



You only noticed now? Well to be fair it's getting a bit worse with the time, now Realms gods can't even be named by their faithful apparently.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Bane causes the simultaneous deaths of 20 of his own high priests and sends lightning storms across the moonsea instantly making him way beyond the power of any character in the realms.



Yeah so what? He is a god, he can do that, what's your point here exactly? Do you think any player character can do what people in the novels do? Try doing what Elminster does and let's see how it goes.

If your point was on the reasoning behind Bane's actions or their opportunity (which as nothing to do with any other character in the Realms or with "power") then I agree the portrayal is probably bad. The problem here is that when the gods are portrayed as stupid or doing illogical things then you call into contest the entire concept of godhood while when an elf does something out of character you don't question the existence/need/whatever of the elven race ...

To put it in another light, trusting the novels to faithfully portray the gods, especially when no reliable mortal was present at the scene, is like trusting all the gossip websites to give you a fair representation of the life of our own world superstars. No one sane would do that.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Then we have the druids who appear out of nowhere, declare their only motivation to be that they are on orders from sylvanus, and then attach themselves to Ren who doesnt resist because it is an order from Silvanus.



What's the problem here? There is a big evil and different factions come together to stop it / investigate it / whatever. Seems pretty stereotypical fantasy to me, nothing strange. Why would Ren "resist"? Resist what exactly?

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Miltiades does exactly the same. Appears out of nowhere and declares that Tyr wants him to aid the characters.



I'm guessing you didn't quite get Miltiades backstory (or maybe it's not all explained in one place, can't remember)? His first time around he failed with Turell, died after doing something dishonorable and Tyr put him in a sort of limbo from which he is released to fulfil his job as protector and make amends for his past failures. It fits thematically to have him there ready to defend a Moonsea city from impossible odds.

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Then Talenthia, while they are journeying to fight the big bad, they come across a forest infested with evil. She gets upset and tells the others to go on without her. She breaks down and decides to sacrifice herself to cleanse a small portion of the forest.



So a druid sacrificing herself to, even temporarily, restore nature is a bad plot device just because one of the main deities related to druids in the setting makes a cameo? Was she supposed to invent the steam engine and log the forest? What kind of druids do you know?
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Seravin
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The problem with Phlan is the novels/games set there seem to be completely divorced from the Realms lore for Phlan, and the heroes and their efforts are kind of ignored.
Phlan is a vassal city of the Zhents for pretty much the canon version given. We don't know if Tarl and Shal and their child is still alive, living there, what they thought of the city being in Zhent control, what happened to Anton, etc.

It's not a good series for Realms novels. The less said about Bane transporting the cities away from the Realms and then them coming back and how all that was handwaves, the better.
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Wooly Rupert
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quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

The problem with Phlan is the novels/games set there seem to be completely divorced from the Realms lore for Phlan, and the heroes and their efforts are kind of ignored.
Phlan is a vassal city of the Zhents for pretty much the canon version given. We don't know if Tarl and Shal and their child is still alive, living there, what they thought of the city being in Zhent control, what happened to Anton, etc.

It's not a good series for Realms novels. The less said about Bane transporting the cities away from the Realms and then them coming back and how all that was handwaves, the better.



That's why I don't like Phlan. The books are just bad, and in addition to the stuff noted above, they break game rules, too -- like a slender girl becoming way muscular and buff with a single wish or a spellcaster "pre-casting" spells by doing everything but the last word, so he could unleash them almost at-will later.

And didn't one of the books have a spellcaster with some sort of big cat familiar, and that big cat could turn into a human?

My dislike of the books is strong enough that I don't like the city, because of them.

I do wonder if that long-lost and now near-mythical Phlan web enhancement would have addressed any of the stuff from those novels.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 14 Oct 2020 16:38:27
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 14 Oct 2020 :  17:31:41  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never heard of this mythical Phlan web enhancement.

Shal Bal is the tiny spellcaster who became a muscled meathead from a poorly worded wish and who fires spells like a machine gun (all spellcasters do in these novels).

Evaine is the sorceress in Pools of Darkness who has a 200 pound mountain lion type creature as a familiar. It can shape change into a human at will but it is only 3/4 of the way through that it mentions a pendant the cat is wearing that might be responsible for such a transformation.

The writing is alright, the dialogue and villain portrayal is bad. The motivations for the characters is very undeveloped (god said so being the most common motivation).

I need a few months of creative activity after this novel so I'll be doing icewind dale to reconcile the mishistory in Rime of the Frostmaiden, but after the next novel I might look at Phlan and the Moonsea, I reckon Miltiades and Tyrell could be worked into the stuff Brian R James did with the region in 4e.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 14 Oct 2020 :  20:56:19  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So, near the end of the book (10 pages to go) and Evaine's history and motivation has been revealed.

She was a 78 year old sorceress who sought to amass as much power as she could. She heard of the Pool of Radiance and managed to obtain some of its water. When she tried to use that in an experiment it backfired and caused her to become 20 years old again, losing her experience and memories of magic.

What she didnt know is that a fiend had tainted the Pool of Radiance and it was becoming a Pool of Darkness.

So Evaine tracks down an old student (Sebastian) and asks him to teach her the magic she had lost.

10 years later she sets out to destroy the Pools of Darkness.



All fine for a backstory and motivation but i'm getting hints of something darker. Sebastian called the succubus Lunlaa to the realms. If he was Evaine's former student did he learn that magic from Evaine originally.
Evaine was power hungry, she may also have been evil and forgotten all about it in the magical mishap. Perhaps she was even a Banite wizard.

So i'm thinking Evaine was once a Banite wizard. She tried to infiltrate Phlan and get access to the Pool of Radiance, she used its power to summon Tanetal the Pit Fiend and he secretly tainted the Pool of Radiance (a process taking 15 years to complete). Evaine takes some of its waters and uses it in some kind of immortality magic but it causes her to de-age back to 20 years old and lose her memory.

Evaine meanwhile ends up tracking down Sebastian and becoming his apprentice (about 1335 DR).


Tyranthraxus and the Pool of Radiance novel happens in 1340 DR and i'm guessing at about this time that Sebastian summons Lunlaa and ages 20 years.

Evaine completes her training about 1345 DR. Sebastian presumably dies from Lunlaa's affections. The freed Lunlaa then arranges for Evaine's old magic (summoning a Pit Fiend) and Tanetal's true name to fall into the hands of the High Imperceptor of Bane in Mulmaster.

Lord Marcus the Red Wizard obtained the scroll and Tanetal's true name as part of the beginnings of a trade alliance with the Red Wizards (one that leads to Dmitra Flass and her marriage). Tanetal is called to the realms, he finishes polluting the Pool of Radiance in Phlan and turns it into a soul well so he can steal all the souls for himself.


So all of the Pool of Darkness novel is caused by Evaine herself. Perhaps the summoning of Tanetal and beginnings of the pollution of the Pool of Radiance is what released Tyranthraxus anyway or allowed him into the pool in the first place.


Just an idea at the moment.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 14 Oct 2020 :  21:48:16  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Pools of Darkness (1350 DR)


Phlan Lore
Terrifying lightning storms strike Phlan in the middle of summer.[1]
Citizens are assigned to guard duty on the city walls (is there a rota, is it a requirement of residence in Phlan???).[1]
Shal and Tarl are married, living in a wizards’ tower.[1]
Silvery tentacles of energy burrow under Phlan like a network of roots. The magic was cast by a Red Wizard who worshipped Bane, it transports the entire city into a cavern deep beneath his tower.[1]
Red stone walls, able to withstand a lightning blast.[1]
Ston and Tulen, nearly 70 years old, done lots of time on guard duty.[1]
Dorel, brother of Ston, eaten by trolls a few years ago in a hill giant attack on Phlan.[7]
Jarad, young man (16+), first time on guard duty.[1]
Phlan, guarded by rings of city walls (inner and outer ???).[1]
Tarsis, young wizard wearing mustard coloured robes, assigned to guard duty.[1]
Charan, young wizard wearing a rust orange coloured cloak.[1]
Rakhmar commands catapults stationed along Phlan’s city walls.[1]
The Death Gates of Phlan, the largest gates of the city, named for the thousands of monsters and mercenaries that died attacking the city at this point. Originally named the North Gates. Renamed the Black Company Gates after 500 mercs died battling a horde of ogres. Renamed the Goblin Spine Gates after an attack of goblins and orcs tried to storm the city. Then the Ogre Gates, Fire Giant Gates, Beholder Gates, now the Death Gates.[1,3]
Churches.[1]
All citizens, wizards, clerics, etc aid in defence of the city.[1]
Brother Anton took the Holy Warhammer of Tyr to the Ceremony of Spring.[1]
It is common for wizards in Phlan to adopt a particular hue for their spells (Shal uses purple).[1]
Celie, slender, elderly woman, runs a bakery, been a baker all her life, keeps cats. Midwife.[3,17]
Garanos, renowned hero, Phlan’s oldest warrior.[3]
Flight of dragons 3 centuries ago did not destroy Phlan, it survived and was rebuilt. Phlan became an important trade centre and port. Merchants came. This progress stirred up creatures in Old Phlan. Hordes of creatures from the Dragonspine Mountains and Thar attacked (sometimes nightly). Phlan was fortified and rings of walls constructed to stop the monsters. The walls have stood for decades.[3]
The Breaching of the Full Moon, The Hydra Attack. Events that people take pride in surviving.[3]
Orc’s Bane, Denlor’s Last Stand, Beholder Massacre, Bonemarch. Names of sections of the wall.[3]
Auranzath, powerful wizard and self appointed historian. Orange robes, black beard. His great great uncle Ezra fought in one of the battles of the Broken Tower.[3]
The Broken Tower, wall turret that guards the docks and the beach entrance. Favoured attack point of armies. The wall and tower was breached 3 times during Phlan’s history and each time the people of Phlan drove them back out the city through the tower.[3]
Denlor’s Tower, created overnight in Old Phlan with magic after Phlan was sacked, forms the northeast most point of the city. Made of blood red stone. Became a symbol of strength and a magnet for good and bad spellcasters. After years of constant struggle Denlor was assassinated. Shal is now the owner.[3]
First Councilman Kroegal.[3]
Gorman, potential candidate for the Council of Phlan, not well liked (is he rich???).[3]
Dorinna and Amis, Aunt and Uncle of Tarl.[3]
The Stojanow River trail used to be traveled by ogres and orcs trying to wrest Phlan from the merchants of the city.[6]
Commander Billings (in charge of wall defences???).[7]
Fire giants attacks the walls and sent a sneak attack of Umber Hulks burrowing under the walls. Happened some years ago.[7]
Double door gates are 30 ft tall, bound with thick bands of iron. Have to be opened using counterweights and pulleys[7]
The Pool of Radiance was corrupted to become the Pool of Darkness.[9]
Phlan has been shifted several hundred miles southwest of Phlan.[10]
A priest of Tyr has been on the council of Phlan for the past hundred years.[11]
Seventh Councilman Wahl, Bishop of Tyr.[11]
Fifth councilwoman Bordish.[11]
Fourth coucilwoman Eldred. Does not like to be disagreed with.[11]
Thorvid of Porter, Alaric the White, Pomanz. All knights of Phlan (landed gentry, noble sons???).[11]
Rakmar, ancient, grizzled veteran, 70 years old, commands the catapult for 40 years, specialises in long and accurate shots using Big Brors (a large, carved, granite cone).[14]



New Phlan Lore
A sprawling tent city on the site of Phlan, populated by people away from Phlan when it was transported away.[6]
Shelly, old guard living in new Phlan.[6]
Council of New Phlan charges people to cross the river, money generated goes to the homeless.[6]
First Councilman Lord Bartholomew, described as a rough one by Shelly. Nobility, self entitled.[6]
Lord Wainwright of the Clan Wainwright (Councilman of New Phlan???). The Wainwrights are not known for being clever, but do make stout warriors.[6,9]
Brother Anton priest of Tyr, 7 ft tall. Tenth Councilman of New Phlan[6]
Brothers of Tyr took the Warhammer of Tyr on the Ceremony of Spring (festival???).[6]
Andoralson and his cousin Talenthia are druids. They worship Sylvanus (regional variant of Silvanus???). Dream visions made them head to Phlan to meet Ren to end the disturbances. Andoralson can cast many illusion magics.[6,9,10]


Lord Marcus Lore
Red Wizard, worships Bane. Brown hair, less than 40 years old.[1,14]
Cast magic to transport the entire city of Phlan into a cavern deep beneath his tower. The cavern is shielded against detection spells.[1,3]
Sends his soldiers to conquer the city of Phlan, wants to strip away the souls of Phlan’s citizens using the Pools of Darkness.[1,7]
Humans, orcs, hobgoblins, lizardfolk, skeletons, and goblins serve the Lord Marcus in his army, twice the population of Phlan.[1]
Served by the Pit Fiend Tanetal (assisted, does the Pit Fiend serve Bane???) and his 12 spinagon minions.[1]
Wants to be a demigod. Summoned Tanetal to help him with his plan.[4]
Tanetal intends to sacrifice some souls to Bane but keep the rest for himself. Summoned an earth elemental prince.[4]
Marcus was a lowly underling in the Red Wizards of Thay. He turned to worshipping Bane to increase his power. The high priest of Bane (in Thay presumably???) gave Marcus the spell to summon a Pit Fiend and Tanetal’s name (his true name).[4]
Tanetal gave Marcus 3 abishai and an erinyes as his servants. Together Marcus and Tanetal raised Marcus’ tower and stole the city of Phlan using the Pool of Darkness beneath the red tower (Denlor’s Tower??? or Marcus’ Tower???).[4]
Tanetal and the erinyes plan to betray Marcus and keep the souls for themselves.[4]
Skeletal Warrior called Brittle commands the skeletons, mounted on a nightmare. Formerly a general from a thousand years ago. Animated by Tanetal to server Lord Marcus.[7]
Lord Marcus possesses Tanetal’s heart (a magic artefact??? was it given to him by the high priest of Bane???). With it he can destroy Tanetal utterly.[7]
Moander sent an army of Trees of Death to help destroy Phlan (arranged by Tanetal). The twisted and rotting trees reside in the cavern beneath Marcus’ tower.[11]
Marcus’ Tower is west of Hillsfar along the Moonsea coast.[12]
Lord Marcus is sending mercenary recruiters to gather an army of mercs and monsters. Sending threats to all mages in the region telling them to join him or be slain.[13]
Marcus or Tanetal is able to control the weather and call down great lightning storms and rainfall on certain targets.[13]
Thar Kuul, an evil dark wizard serving Lord Marcus (wants to kill him and steal his power). Killed by Big Bror.[14]
Porter and Whills, mages in service to Lord Marcus.[14]


Ren Lore
Lives 100 miles north of Phlan in woods. Orcs live nearby. Ren agreed with the council of Glister that he could live in the nearby valley if he could eliminate the orcs.[2]
Wears fine elven chainmail, two magical daggers (Left and Right) in his dragonskin boots, 2 handed sword across his back. Gauntlets, belt, and bracers made of dragonhide.[2]
Has a warhorse called Stolen.[2]
Not seen Shal or Tarl in 3 years.[2]
Not as skilled with a bow as other rangers.[2]

Other Lore
Orcs like to use arrows and slings, are lousy fighters at close range.[2]
Bane claims to have moved all the cities of the Moonsea to Limbo. Each one has a Pool of Darkness that is converting the souls of the inhabitants into minions of Bane (nonsense???). They will then be returned in a few months and Bane’s worshiper numbers will increase massively.[4]
Roads around Phlan are dangerous for a lone traveller (attracts bandits or worse).[5]
Stone from the Dragonspine Mountains can be red.[7]
A few hours ride north of Phlan is the ruins of an ancient temple with 5 crumbling mausoleums. Militiades stands guard here, under attack by skeletons and zombies. Ren, Evaine, Gamaliel, Andoralson, and Tanathiel come to his aid.[9]
Warrior priests of Tyr in Phlan sing ballads composed during the heat of battle when they believe they are about to die to prove their devotion and praise Tyr.[10]
Clouds of black mist have appeared in various places over the Moonsea. These clouds block all magical scrying. One covers Lord Marcus’ tower, another covers a cottage where Lunlaa was summoned by Sebastian. These clouds are linked to the power of the Pool of Darkness and grow as more souls gathered into it.[10,15]
Artur Bladeson, Wuldor and Donar Arcnos, werewolves that travel with 3 wolfweres (Brutus, Tog, and Garf) and attack travellers in the Moonsea area. They were attacked near Zhentil Keep by Zhentilar and lost one of their werewolf brothers.[12]
Zhentil Keep and Yulash are unaffected by the Pools of Darkness saga.[12]
Wolfweres are the offspring of werewolves and normal wolves. Can shapechange to look like hybrid animal human form whenever they wish, otherwise they are just intelligent wolves. Normally wolfweres hate werewolves.[12]
Fiddlehead fern, jewelweed, and jimsonweed do not normally grow in the Moonsea region (they prefer swampy wet regions).[12]
Tanathiel sacrificed herself to become a druid grove guardian in a forest south west of the Moonsea.[15]
Andoralson keeps planting seeds for oak trees and magically enchanting them so they will grow in a ring of trees to enormous oaks resistant to fire, disease, and blades. They will become a druid grove..[16]
Clerics of Ilmater wear grey tunics and tabards. Leaders wear a red skullcap. A grey teardrop tattooed under the left eye means the individual is of unusual power and dedication.[16]
Clerics of Torm, usually wear armour. Blue tinted plate mail identifies the leader.[16]
The cities abducted by Bane were prone to infighting among its citizens afterwards, families, friendships, allies broke apart.[epilogue]


Glister Lore
Council of Glister, looking for adventurers to clear surrounding valleys of orcs.[2]
Valleys nearby filled with woods and streams.[2]
Humans and orcs live in Glister.[2]
Bands of orcs and half orcs in the valleys around Glister. Half orc bands more powerful as they are smarter and taller. Half giants mingle with orcs and half orcs.[2]
Dwarven mines in mountains and hills around the valleys, orcs battle the dwarves for control of the mines.[2]
Ren cleared the Valley of the Falls. Dwarves he rescued from orcs guard the valley for him.[2]

Evaine Lore
Gamaliel, great cat (crag cat???), green eyes (golden when angry or upset), Evaine’s familiar.[5]
Evaine, wizard, braided hair, heading to Phlan to destroy the Pool of Darkness. Has already destroyed 4 Pools of Darkness already. Knows a scrying spell that allows her to locate Pools of Darkness, took her years to perfect it.[5]
Catches a ferry across the Moonsea to Phlan (is she coming from the south or east side of the Moonsea???)
Transforms Gamaliel into the form of a human barbarian when in public.[8,9]
Has destroyed four Pools of Darkness in the past 5 years.[9]
Evaine’s old master (Sebastion) lived several hundred miles southwest of Phlan, he had a competitive rivalry with another nearby wizard (they hated each other but respected the others power).[10]
Lives in a stone cottage a few days ride south of Zhentil Keep hidden in the edge of Cormanthor. It has an extradimensional chamber hidden in the east wall. Two floors. Cottage is ruined by ogres working for Lord Marcus.[12]
Sebastian was a powerful conjuror, he once tried a summoning spell over ten years ago when Evaine was an apprentice (that he refused to speak about) and aged 20 years and became obsessed about defensive spells, he summoned Lunlaa the succubus, he never dismissed her.[12,15]
Evaine was once a powerful sorceress of 78 years old. She became obsessed with the Pools of Radiance, she gathered some of the waters of it but it was tainted (in the process of becoming a Pool of Darkness), it caused all her experiments to go wrong and in a big explosion she was turned into a youthful 20 year old (losing her experience and magical abilities). She spent 10 years apprenticed to Sebastian (who was a former student, did he learn fiend summoning magic from her???) relearning the magic she had lost. She has spent the last 5 years trying to destroy Pools of Darkness.[18]
A fiend (Tanetal or Lunlaa???) was transforming the Pool of Radiance Evaine had tapped and causing it to become a Pool of Darkness.[18]
Evaine sought power for its own sake before being re-youthed.[18]


Miltiades Lore
Covered in finely wrought plate mail, glowing gauntlets and a magical helmet. Speaks in song and verse. Symbol of Tyr glows in gold upon his shield (which glows blue). Wields a bastard sword with one hand. He is a skeletal undead.[10]
Waits to battle a thousand year old evil ghost called Zarl, riding a ghostly black nightmare and wielding a sabre that drips black fire.[10]
Miltiades is a paladin of Tyr, he died a thousands years ago. In life he fought enemies of Tyr all across Faerun. He was given the Holy Shield of Tyr, a magic war helm, and a runic sword of Tyr, all provided by followers of Tyr (the church???).[10]
The city of Turell stood a days ride north of Phlan’s position. Miltiades served as its steward and war champion for 50 years. Zarl and his army attacked Turell and besieged it for a year, in the end Miltiades sneaked into the camp and slew Zarl but was also slain. The army conquered Phlan and buried Miltiades and Zarl in the ancient mausoleum, surrounded by the bodies of a thousand of Zarl’s most powerful warriors who were slain in battle.[10]
Miltiades was cursed and became undead, waiting for 1000 years and roaming the land in spirit form hoping Tyr would grant him a quest and his eternal rest.[10]
The forces of Zarl were animated when Phlan was stolen and Miltiades was restored to his body and waited to battle them. Miltiades believes he needs to battle Bane’s minions and rescue Phlan.[10]
In Miltiades tomb is a brazier that augments the effects of any spell it is used in the casting.[10]
Miltiades was buried with all of Zarl’s possessions (Zarl’s army were superstitious and because Miltiades defeated Zarl he was buried with his possessions). An oak shield protecting against missiles. A chalice to turn water into healing potion (1/week). Magical horse barding. A ring of detect invisibility. A ring of poison immunity.[10]
Miltiades possesses a figurine of wondrous power, a white stallion that turns into a horse.[10]
A great hero in the history of Tyr’s Church, everyone was taught to emulate him.[22]

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