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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
5279 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2020 :  21:14:20  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not sure that the history of Varalla works with what Eric proposed in the recent candlekeep seminar. I wonder if this piece of lore came from Ed or not

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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2020 :  22:11:39  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I'm not sure that the history of Varalla works with what Eric proposed in the recent candlekeep seminar. I wonder if this piece of lore came from Ed or not


Ed worked with us very closely on the book. He supplied most of the lore and okayed our original ideas.
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 18 Aug 2020 :  22:15:13  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Darkhold: Secrets of the Zhentarim is now available!

Click here: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/324679/Darkhold-Secrets-of-the-Zhentarim?src=hottest_filtered&filters=45469
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  00:49:24  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How many pages is this supposed to be? My downloaded pdf seems to just end at page 112. Is there supposed to be a "back cover"?

"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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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  04:14:46  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

How many pages is this supposed to be? My downloaded pdf seems to just end at page 112. Is there supposed to be a "back cover"?


It is 112 pages. There is no back cover as we usually don't do them for PDFs
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  04:17:49  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I like what y'all did with The Pereghost.

I am not enthusiastic about the retcon to Ashemmi, especially since it entirely invalidates a novel and impacts at least two others...


I understand. This was always going to be the most controversial thing we did. This, and the physical shape of Darkhold (which I think looks dreadful in Castles 2e) were the only major departures from canon that we made. Everything else we worked very hard to reconcile with existing lore.
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  04:54:08  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just to clarify, the history is implying that the giants were there until almost 400 DR. Is that a correct?

"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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Swordsage
Learned Scribe

145 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  05:25:33  Show Profile  Visit Swordsage's Homepage Send Swordsage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've looked at the sample and thought the Pereghost is very interesting. Can't work out exactly when this product is set DR-wise though. No mention of the Cyricist presence in Darkhold that I can see which was clearly set out in "Cloak & Dagger". Your changes to Ashemmi are significant and notable, if only because as Wooly Rupert points out, you've ignored published Realmslore - something I'm not a fan of. At least you've been up front about it given recent controversies. Sememmon is a footnote which makes little sense given he was the Master of Darkhold. The Sunset Vale work is invaluable for anyone trying to move away from the Sword Coast and very useful for DMs. Good stuff. Maps are gorgeous, although again without going with the previously published lore. Some of the magic items and spells are pretty cool, while others are a bit iffy (warpsword, cosmic coin bank and death rock are in the latter category). Evil campaigns aren't my thing but I think they've been dealt with well here. History and timeline has little new stuff other than the Pereghost, Manshoon and Varalla information, and I can see Ed Greenwood's hand in that. All in all, a decent fan offering but a step down from the Candlekeep product. Would be good to know what lore was provided by Ed Greenwood and what stuff the other designers wrote.

The Swordsage
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  07:08:14  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Just to clarify, the history is implying that the giants were there until almost 400 DR. Is that a correct?


Correct
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2020 :  07:19:05  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Swordsage

I've looked at the sample and thought the Pereghost is very interesting. Can't work out exactly when this product is set DR-wise though. No mention of the Cyricist presence in Darkhold that I can see which was clearly set out in "Cloak & Dagger". Your changes to Ashemmi are significant and notable, if only because as Wooly Rupert points out, you've ignored published Realmslore - something I'm not a fan of. At least you've been up front about it given recent controversies. Sememmon is a footnote which makes little sense given he was the Master of Darkhold. The Sunset Vale work is invaluable for anyone trying to move away from the Sword Coast and very useful for DMs. Good stuff. Maps are gorgeous, although again without going with the previously published lore. Some of the magic items and spells are pretty cool, while others are a bit iffy (warpsword, cosmic coin bank and death rock are in the latter category). Evil campaigns aren't my thing but I think they've been dealt with well here. History and timeline has little new stuff other than the Pereghost, Manshoon and Varalla information, and I can see Ed Greenwood's hand in that. All in all, a decent fan offering but a step down from the Candlekeep product. Would be good to know what lore was provided by Ed Greenwood and what stuff the other designers wrote.

The Swordsage



Hi Swordsage,

Thanks for your comments. The product is set in the early 1490s, which is the current timeframe for Fifth Edition. As to your other questions:

* According to Ed, Bane is very much in the ascendancy these days at Darkhold, but we do mention that there is still a small shrine to Cyric in Darkhold (page 56).

* Sememmon is mentioned half a dozen times in the book but we don't give him much emphasis since he is no longer part of the Zhentarim and nor is he in Darkhold.

* I think we dug into all available lore for the Sunset Vale stuff, but space constraints meant it could only be summarized.

* Ed provided extensive notes to us and also read the whole product twice, giving us corrections. His involvement was extensive.

Ed said I could share the following comments with anyone who asked:

"You and the rest of the team have done the Realms proud! And for me, I am SO pleased to have the Zhentarim covered in-depth and properly, at last. Yes, we just scratched the surface, but it's enough that a DM has not just a spur for ideas, but something deployable to work with at the gaming table. Great to lay bare the mystery of the Pereghost at last, and flesh out a supporting cast that isn't all menacing males, and make the Zhents feel REAL and not just Blackhelm Keystone Kops here to be beat up by the good guys again.

Please feel free to share these words with anyone on the team you think would like to hear them. I am beyond pleased with this project."

kind regards,
MTB

Edited by - MTBlack on 19 Aug 2020 07:26:41
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 20 Aug 2020 :  19:23:23  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Having now gone over the history as presented in this supplement and comparing it to previous canon dates for other events for that area, that -370 DR construction date really doesn't make sense. The stated reason to build the Darkhold was to build a tomb to protect someone while they "regenerated". The question becomes, why would anyone do that in a well known and very likely inhabited location? Especially if it had been that way for decades, centuries, or even millennia? Here is the basic problem and the canon dates that contribute to my conclusion:

Problem: The valley the Darkhold is situated in is perfect from a defense point of view. You have a valley with a "narrow" entrance that has a steady water supply and trees (likely more trees in the beginning than now). No where has it been indicated, in either the old or new information, that the valley is in any way wholly or partially artificial. It would have been, for very likely millennia, a location that any group would set up a village or town because of not only the security of the location but also the lumber resources available to create a palisade across the entrance for protection (as well as to build buildings to live and work in).

Here are the dates that casts doubt that the valley would have been uninhabited in -370:

-450: A large migration of settlers from Netheril occurred into the Sunset Vale area.
-626: A map shows that the Talfir Tribes were in the Sunset Vale.
-2145: Netherese arcanists found Wreathe just to the south of the Purple Mountains. That is only about 400 miles away from the Darkhold valley so I would expect SOMEONE from there would have found it prior to -370.
-2387: The gnomes are released by the Netherese. With a flood of them in the area, there is no reason to think they wouldn't have found the valley.
-2400s: Several houses of Netheril spread out and create remote villas for their own enjoyment and experimentation. If they went as far southwest as present day Elturel, there is no reason to think they wouldn't have gone to the closer Sunset Mountains.

Those are just some of the few dates listing specific groups. That area has had gnomes, halflings, humans, elves, and who knows how many monster races like goblins and orcs operating there for millennia, all of whom would have settled that location in a second. Given that, I find it highly unlikely that the valley was not inhabited by -370 DR. The Darkhold would have had to have been constructed MUCH earlier to prevent those groups from settling down there.

Finally, I am really not a fan of the new design. It looks too much like the giant fortresses in WoW's Northrend area.

"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

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 20 Aug 2020 22:44:22
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4486 Posts

Posted - 20 Aug 2020 :  23:12:51  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MTBlack

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

How many pages is this supposed to be? My downloaded pdf seems to just end at page 112. Is there supposed to be a "back cover"?


It is 112 pages. There is no back cover as we usually don't do them for PDFs



I could understand no back cover for a free or pay what you want, I have a hard time understanding why there is not one for a set price.
There again you might need to charge a little more for the typing and/or art if there was any to be on it. So you are saving customers money by not having a back cover, I guess.
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2020 :  05:30:01  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
* The stated reason to build the Darkhold was to build a tomb to protect someone while they "regenerated". The question becomes, why would anyone do that in a well known and very likely inhabited location? Especially if it had been that way for decades, centuries, or even millennia? *

Darkhold Vale is not easy to get to, high up in the Sunset Mountains. I don't agree it would have been a "well-known" area at this time. It may well have been inhabited, but it would not have been beyond a powerful Netherese Lich to clear out whoever they were. By the way, this story came from Ed Greenwood, not from one of the other designers. We wrote it up, but the ideas were his, and reconciled some conflicts in the pre-existing canon.

* Finally, I am really not a fan of the new design. It looks too much like the giant fortresses in WoW's Northrend area. *

You must surely agree it looks much better than the old design from Castles 2e, though!
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2020 :  05:33:19  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I'm not sure that the history of Varalla works with what Eric proposed in the recent candlekeep seminar. I wonder if this piece of lore came from Ed or not


Hi Gary, can you expand? Where do you think the conflict is?
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 25 Aug 2020 :  16:31:38  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MTBlack

* The stated reason to build the Darkhold was to build a tomb to protect someone while they "regenerated". The question becomes, why would anyone do that in a well known and very likely inhabited location? Especially if it had been that way for decades, centuries, or even millennia? *

Darkhold Vale is not easy to get to, high up in the Sunset Mountains. I don't agree it would have been a "well-known" area at this time. It may well have been inhabited, but it would not have been beyond a powerful Netherese Lich to clear out whoever they were. By the way, this story came from Ed Greenwood, not from one of the other designers. We wrote it up, but the ideas were his, and reconciled some conflicts in the pre-existing canon.

* Finally, I am really not a fan of the new design. It looks too much like the giant fortresses in WoW's Northrend area. *

You must surely agree it looks much better than the old design from Castles 2e, though!



Oh, it does look better. I just wish it was more distictive and not look like it was recycled from WoW.

I think I have found a way to have this make better sense with a few tweaks. This works since the actual history presented isn't very detailed:

Fjelltobyrdfestingheim is constructed (in the form it has in Castles) in -5350 DR by stone giants for the Giant Emperor of Nedeheim as a summer retreat. His loss in the Giant Wars prevents it from getting used as that. Netherese arcanists find it in -1976 and strike a deal with the giants (who really didn't have a choice) to have a Netherese enclave there so that warriors from Wreathe can use it as a base camp to hunt large prey in the Sunset Mt region. That is basically the state of things until c-370. Then, the lich shows up. She already knows about the place and figures she can use it to "hide in plain sight" because you don't go and almost destroy a netherese city and expect to have the archmages there to NOT start hunting you down. She is able to use her magic to "inspire" the giants to want to improve the place so they rebuild it into it's new form and rename it Guldyn (the giants believe the elementals were sent by their god to help them). It stays that way until -337. Karsus's Folly causes the lich's control to falter and the giants go and kill all the Netherese there thinking they were the source of the control (the lich is operating in hiding). The lich, with varied levels of success, attempts to regain control but the giants are on to her and that makes it more difficult. She finally realizes that it isn't going to work around -100 and decides to find some other place to hang out.

That should cover why there isn't a village/town/city there in -370 (whose destruction would have certainly not gone unnoticed and unrecorded) while also keeping Ed's history intact. It also allows the area to have a much richer history. I will edit the Darkhold timeline I have in my writeup drop to include this new information.

"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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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2020 :  00:50:45  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Those are some cool ideas, Iriaeban! Tell me, have you published any books or anything? I'd be interested to see more of your work.

Edited by - MTBlack on 26 Aug 2020 00:51:15
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2020 :  03:31:04  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MTBlack

Those are some cool ideas, Iriaeban! Tell me, have you published any books or anything? I'd be interested to see more of your work.



Thank you but I am unpublished as of yet. I am considering putting the Iriaebor update I am creating on DMGuild but only if I can put maps and artwork in there. I have other examples of what I have written at the link in my signature.

BTW, I am working on how long it took to actually build the new layout for Darkhold. What would people say would be a reasonable amount of time to create that rock pillar the new Darkhold is sitting on using some very powerful magic? I have calculated it is 84 million cubic feet of rock (according to the drawing in the supplement, the pillar is about 350 ft x 300 ft x 800 ft). I know it wasn't wished into existence since it mentions that elementals helped with the construction. Plus, it can't be wished into existence since I am using the rune magic woven into the stones of the original keep to explain both how the phylactery was repaired and why it absolutely had to occur in that location.

Edit: Well, I do have a 6th level spell that could do it if it was cast 4,800 times by the highest level mage I have. Or, if there was a 10th level version, it would only be 300 times (since this is pre-Karsus' Folly, there can be 10th level spells). My original thought was to have the lich circle the pillar for 53 days straight, chanting the whole time. She is a lich so she doesn't need to eat or sleep but that wouldn't work with the giants and Netherese enclave there.

"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

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 26 Aug 2020 05:24:24
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MTBlack
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 26 Aug 2020 :  23:32:44  Show Profile Send MTBlack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I hadn't given the construction time too much thought! The Netherese had some handy spells when it came to excavation and construction. For example, it's possible that a variant of Proctiv's Move Mountain may have been useful.
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 27 Aug 2020 :  00:25:53  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MTBlack

I hadn't given the construction time too much thought! The Netherese had some handy spells when it came to excavation and construction. For example, it's possible that a variant of Proctiv's Move Mountain may have been useful.



Thank you. I will look through the Arcane Age stuff. Also, I realized my calculation was off by about 1/3rd. The pillar would be a cylinder and that works out to be about 56 million cubic feet.

"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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Mrestos Khorvaen
Seeker

Spain
48 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  14:27:56  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm reading that work and it's really interesting, full of sugesting stuff.
But I think it's somewhat sad that the Zhents, who were close to conquest the Moonsea and the Dalelands, are now reduced to rule a lonely fortress.
I also think the book could have introduced some Zhent agents into the polytics of Berdusk and other nearly towns.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34002 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  16:12:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mrestos Khorvaen

I'm reading that work and it's really interesting, full of sugesting stuff.
But I think it's somewhat sad that the Zhents, who were close to conquest the Moonsea and the Dalelands, are now reduced to rule a lonely fortress.
I also think the book could have introduced some Zhent agents into the polytics of Berdusk and other nearly towns.



It is beyond bizarre, to me, that Zhentil Keep gets leveled and is back to normal 10 years later -- but then it gets leveled a second time and it's utterly written off. I mean hey, way to project strength and capability -- someone kicks in your front door and you run away and hide in the shed.

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Mrestos Khorvaen
Seeker

Spain
48 Posts

Posted - 29 Sep 2020 :  21:56:23  Show Profile Send Mrestos Khorvaen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Mrestos Khorvaen

I'm reading that work and it's really interesting, full of sugesting stuff.
But I think it's somewhat sad that the Zhents, who were close to conquest the Moonsea and the Dalelands, are now reduced to rule a lonely fortress.
I also think the book could have introduced some Zhent agents into the polytics of Berdusk and other nearly towns.



It is beyond bizarre, to me, that Zhentil Keep gets leveled and is back to normal 10 years later -- but then it gets leveled a second time and it's utterly written off. I mean hey, way to project strength and capability -- someone kicks in your front door and you run away and hide in the shed.



Yeah, way to go, WTC!
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
462 Posts

Posted - 14 Oct 2020 :  22:33:34  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For anyone interested, I have incorporated the outlined history presented into my 9 page Darkhold timeline and placed a new copy in the file drop listed in my sig. The history runs from -5361 to the Zhent takeover in 1312. It includes how Varalla was able to be brought back to unlife, Endarakh's adjustment to the changes in magic in a post-Karsus' Folly world, Corm Orp's relationship with the giants, and the founding and subsequent collapse of the Giant Empire of Guldaur. Now that this is done, I can fold these changes into the Iriaebor timeline I was working on before the Secrets of the Zhentarim came out.

MTBlack, if you don't want this out there, just let me know and I will pull it. There is ALOT of information in Secrets of the Zhentarim and the history of the Darkhold presented in there is really only a drop in the bucket.

"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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