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TKU
Learned Scribe

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 13 Dec 2021 :  15:08:35  Show Profile Send TKU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Travel in Toril seems pretty dangerous compared to Earth, even historically speaking. I wouldn't be surprised if long-distance exploration expeditions were fairly rare.

I'd still like to know more about the edges of the maps of Faerun though, but that does kinda help explain it, I think.
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2249 Posts

Posted - 13 Dec 2021 :  15:37:25  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I believe planar travel would be even more dangerous, and the sages of the Realms have lots of treatises and books about three different sets of outer planes...


Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 13 Dec 2021 :  16:49:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I believe planar travel would be even more dangerous, and the sages of the Realms have lots of treatises and books about three different sets of outer planes...





It depends on what plane you're going to.

In general, the planes are well-documented and if you go to right place or have the right magic, they're literally only a few steps away.

Contrast that to the unknown continents which are not documented at all and can only be reached by a risky teleport or a long sea journey.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11165 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  02:59:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I believe planar travel would be even more dangerous, and the sages of the Realms have lots of treatises and books about three different sets of outer planes...





yep

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

834 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  10:59:29  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

In general, the planes are well-documented ...
... small snip ...
Contrast that to the unknown continents which are not documented at all ...



This is exactly the issue.

"Plane of Infite Magma? Sure, take this travel advisory pack. It contains travellogues and the reviews of the last 101 visitors with ratings for the salamander bubble-riding contest. Might I interest you in some night ... uh ... "life" ... on the Negative Energy Plane with the brand new stand up show from the renowned "Liches that leave you in stitches" crew? Oh sorry not the Planes but ... you want to go across the sea ...? Are you mad?!?!? NOBODY HAS EVER DONE THAT!"
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  11:53:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

In general, the planes are well-documented ...
... small snip ...
Contrast that to the unknown continents which are not documented at all ...



This is exactly the issue.

"Plane of Infite Magma? Sure, take this travel advisory pack. It contains travellogues and the reviews of the last 101 visitors with ratings for the salamander bubble-riding contest. Might I interest you in some night ... uh ... "life" ... on the Negative Energy Plane with the brand new stand up show from the renowned "Liches that leave you in stitches" crew? Oh sorry not the Planes but ... you want to go across the sea ...? Are you mad?!?!? NOBODY HAS EVER DONE THAT!"



Again, minutes to travel to a well-documented place where the dangers are known and can be prepped for beforehand, and where locations of resources are known, or months of sea travel to get to a place that's not documented at all, where you have to guess at dangers and hope that there are resources.

Sure, there are hostile planes. There are also planes that aren't hostile, and even the ones that are hostile, mages who do their research know what they're getting into.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11165 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  12:08:09  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

In general, the planes are well-documented ...
... small snip ...
Contrast that to the unknown continents which are not documented at all ...



This is exactly the issue.

"Plane of Infite Magma? Sure, take this travel advisory pack. It contains travellogues and the reviews of the last 101 visitors with ratings for the salamander bubble-riding contest. Might I interest you in some night ... uh ... "life" ... on the Negative Energy Plane with the brand new stand up show from the renowned "Liches that leave you in stitches" crew? Oh sorry not the Planes but ... you want to go across the sea ...? Are you mad?!?!? NOBODY HAS EVER DONE THAT!"



Again, minutes to travel to a well-documented place where the dangers are known and can be prepped for beforehand, and where locations of resources are known, or months of sea travel to get to a place that's not documented at all, where you have to guess at dangers and hope that there are resources.

Sure, there are hostile planes. There are also planes that aren't hostile, and even the ones that are hostile, mages who do their research know what they're getting into.



Many planar spells drop you off "randomly" into a plane.

Gates mean you can't see what's on the other side of the entry.... I mean noone would EVER think it's a good idea to take control of a portal and start capturing folks as they come through...

But sitting on a ship, using magic to enhance its speed if you need to when the weather isn't what you want so that we're not talking about colonial movement speeds.... all while dining on the luxurious foods you're carrying in your extradimensional space.... nah, that's just too horrible.
Then once you land, you setup an extradimensional mansion and explore what's nearby. Then you setup a small settlement over a year's time.... while setting up a teleportation circle.
Hmmm, now with just a little time investment, you can go home, teleport back with whoever you want... go explore.... Maybe you bring some farmers with you if you feel its safe and they are so thankful for just access to acres of land that they agree to tithe to you. After all, who says that those lands over there are any more dangerous than the savage frontier of Faerun.
You setup guards over your portal entry, but only charge a modest fee, and set the portal outside of your new town that you are building. You now have a foothold on a new continent. Travel there doesn't need to be "arduous sea travel for weeks", for everyone else, as people go there and return to Faerun. Slowly civilization builds on both sides. Transportation of large scale goods (like timber) might start being sent by sea between the two places. People get born across the sea and begin to know of Faerun only through books.
I'm not saying this is some perfect plan mind you, but it doesn't sound all that hard. All it took was one group of adventurers going there, which is exactly all it took for much of the exploring of various planes.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 14 Dec 2021 12:22:35
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TBeholder
Great Reader

2201 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  18:10:26  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


But, as I also said, "If we play the spelljammer card, then we have to question why those lands are unknown. It can't be both ways -- it doesn't work to say that spelljammers have been used to extensively and accurately map coastlines but haven't bothered with interiors or landing anywhere other than Faer�n."

We can assume some did. But the spelljamming folk rarely travels around just to gawk, and don't submit their journals to a neatly indexed site.
They have their own interests, which usually don't include "creating and distributing maps for the groundlings out of charity". And there's likely to be a huge selection bias, in that there will be reports that are repeated (thus likely to not be a lost oddity) only if our intrepid opportunistic explorers:
1. Managed to land and return successfully. As usual: weather patterns, flying monsters, dangerous natives... Which is also why IIRC reluctance to land in an unknown areas was noted. If so, exploratory landing in the first place happens very rarely if there are known nice places not so far away, where one's flying boat will not be suddenly attacked by a dragon or thrown at the rocks by a sudden turbulence. And
2. Marked a place as somewhere they may want to land again. Or marked a particularly dangerous area (Evermeet?) near more useful places.
Suppose a spelljamming craft landed on Maztica. Where? Well... at a village of Dog People. Wonder what they could record? Or even better, near Nexal (before Amnian invasion). It's easy to imagine how this could turn. In neither case they want to study the place more or return, never mind search for the best landing site around. They could make a new trade route if they landed in another place not so far away and looked around for a few days, but they missed it.
Conversely, other 'jammers contacted ports like Waterdeep, Rauthaven, or trade cities of Calimshan and Al-Qadim. They want to come there again, thus marked those on the map.

quote:
I've long resisted the idea that similar words imply a connection. After all, just look at the English language. The words care, cart, carp, and card are all very similar,

Not the point. My point is: can you tell apart Italian speech, Japanese and Polish if you don't know either of these languages? Probably yes. On samples larger than a single-syllable word, anyway. It's going to be unreliable for one medium-sized word, but not hopelessly so.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  18:24:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert


But, as I also said, "If we play the spelljammer card, then we have to question why those lands are unknown. It can't be both ways -- it doesn't work to say that spelljammers have been used to extensively and accurately map coastlines but haven't bothered with interiors or landing anywhere other than Faer�n."

We can assume some did. But the spelljamming folk rarely travels around just to gawk, and don't submit their journals to a neatly indexed site.
They have their own interests, which usually don't include "creating and distributing maps for the groundlings out of charity". And there's likely to be a huge selection bias, in that there will be reports that are repeated (thus likely to not be a lost oddity) only if our intrepid opportunistic explorers:
1. Managed to land and return successfully. As usual: weather patterns, flying monsters, dangerous natives... Which is also why IIRC reluctance to land in an unknown areas was noted. If so, exploratory landing in the first place happens very rarely if there are known nice places not so far away, where one's flying boat will not be suddenly attacked by a dragon or thrown at the rocks by a sudden turbulence. And
2. Marked a place as somewhere they may want to land again. Or marked a particularly dangerous area (Evermeet?) near more useful places.
Suppose a spelljamming craft landed on Maztica. Where? Well... at a village of Dog People. Wonder what they could record? Or even better, near Nexal (before Amnian invasion). It's easy to imagine how this could turn. In neither case they want to study the place more or return, never mind search for the best landing site around. They could make a new trade route if they landed in another place not so far away and looked around for a few days, but they missed it.
Conversely, other 'jammers contacted ports like Waterdeep, Rauthaven, or trade cities of Calimshan and Al-Qadim. They want to come there again, thus marked those on the map.



It's not reasonable to assume, though, that no spelljammers have ever traded a map -- or that no locals have ever gotten their hands on a spelljammer and decided to explore more of home.

Per Spelljammer canon, there are several places in the Realms that see high amounts of spelljamming traffic, and the Elven Imperial Navy maintains contact with Evermeet. And even if you disregard the weird stuff about the people on Selne, there are still at least two places in the Tears that see a lot of trade, too.

There is simply no justification for having entirely unknown lands if regular space travel is a thing.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2021 :  18:43:00  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


Many planar spells drop you off "randomly" into a plane.

Gates mean you can't see what's on the other side of the entry.... I mean noone would EVER think it's a good idea to take control of a portal and start capturing folks as they come through...

But sitting on a ship, using magic to enhance its speed if you need to when the weather isn't what you want so that we're not talking about colonial movement speeds.... all while dining on the luxurious foods you're carrying in your extradimensional space.... nah, that's just too horrible.
Then once you land, you setup an extradimensional mansion and explore what's nearby. Then you setup a small settlement over a year's time.... while setting up a teleportation circle.
Hmmm, now with just a little time investment, you can go home, teleport back with whoever you want... go explore.... Maybe you bring some farmers with you if you feel its safe and they are so thankful for just access to acres of land that they agree to tithe to you. After all, who says that those lands over there are any more dangerous than the savage frontier of Faerun.
You setup guards over your portal entry, but only charge a modest fee, and set the portal outside of your new town that you are building. You now have a foothold on a new continent. Travel there doesn't need to be "arduous sea travel for weeks", for everyone else, as people go there and return to Faerun. Slowly civilization builds on both sides. Transportation of large scale goods (like timber) might start being sent by sea between the two places. People get born across the sea and begin to know of Faerun only through books.
I'm not saying this is some perfect plan mind you, but it doesn't sound all that hard. All it took was one group of adventurers going there, which is exactly all it took for much of the exploring of various planes.



I've never said that seaborne expeditions to distant continents were impossible. I've been saying, repeatedly, that we can't just say "oh, magic!" as the solution for finding and exploring unknown continents.

Making a months-long trip by sea is not a cheap undertaking, and it's not something that can be done on the spur of the moment. Anyone doing that is going to expect a return on their investment, and it's going to be a large investment indeed.

Some estimates for Columbus's first trip to North America would be the equivalent of $1,000,000 USD -- and that was a three-month trip where they thought they knew exactly where they were going. It wasn't sailing blindly in hopes of finding something, they expected to get to India and have access to those trading opportunities, without having to make the very difficult land journey.

This is why I brought up planar travel in the first place. It was suggested, earlier in this discussion, that the mere possibility of finding resources was justification enough for a wizard to put in the time and effort of finding and exploring an unknown continent. But with instantaneous planar travel as an option, to known locations, with known resources and conditions, why would a wizard decide to spend months at sea going to an unknown place, with unknown resources and conditions, and without even a reasonable assurance of getting what he wanted?

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 14 Dec 2021 18:43:58
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11165 Posts

Posted - 15 Dec 2021 :  00:11:08  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


Many planar spells drop you off "randomly" into a plane.

Gates mean you can't see what's on the other side of the entry.... I mean noone would EVER think it's a good idea to take control of a portal and start capturing folks as they come through...

But sitting on a ship, using magic to enhance its speed if you need to when the weather isn't what you want so that we're not talking about colonial movement speeds.... all while dining on the luxurious foods you're carrying in your extradimensional space.... nah, that's just too horrible.
Then once you land, you setup an extradimensional mansion and explore what's nearby. Then you setup a small settlement over a year's time.... while setting up a teleportation circle.
Hmmm, now with just a little time investment, you can go home, teleport back with whoever you want... go explore.... Maybe you bring some farmers with you if you feel its safe and they are so thankful for just access to acres of land that they agree to tithe to you. After all, who says that those lands over there are any more dangerous than the savage frontier of Faerun.
You setup guards over your portal entry, but only charge a modest fee, and set the portal outside of your new town that you are building. You now have a foothold on a new continent. Travel there doesn't need to be "arduous sea travel for weeks", for everyone else, as people go there and return to Faerun. Slowly civilization builds on both sides. Transportation of large scale goods (like timber) might start being sent by sea between the two places. People get born across the sea and begin to know of Faerun only through books.
I'm not saying this is some perfect plan mind you, but it doesn't sound all that hard. All it took was one group of adventurers going there, which is exactly all it took for much of the exploring of various planes.



I've never said that seaborne expeditions to distant continents were impossible. I've been saying, repeatedly, that we can't just say "oh, magic!" as the solution for finding and exploring unknown continents.

Making a months-long trip by sea is not a cheap undertaking, and it's not something that can be done on the spur of the moment. Anyone doing that is going to expect a return on their investment, and it's going to be a large investment indeed.

Some estimates for Columbus's first trip to North America would be the equivalent of $1,000,000 USD -- and that was a three-month trip where they thought they knew exactly where they were going. It wasn't sailing blindly in hopes of finding something, they expected to get to India and have access to those trading opportunities, without having to make the very difficult land journey.

This is why I brought up planar travel in the first place. It was suggested, earlier in this discussion, that the mere possibility of finding resources was justification enough for a wizard to put in the time and effort of finding and exploring an unknown continent. But with instantaneous planar travel as an option, to known locations, with known resources and conditions, why would a wizard decide to spend months at sea going to an unknown place, with unknown resources and conditions, and without even a reasonable assurance of getting what he wanted?



I submit that realms travel by sea is nowhere near as arduous as Columbus' travels. He was severely hampered by little ships that could only hold minimal stores (realms people have extradimensional storage). He was hampered by being dependent on the weather (realms people can change the weather or provide magical motive force). That's of course assuming that its even a sea travelling ship that would be used and not a flying ship for instance (which Halruaa, Thay, elves, Kara-Tur, and Wa are just some of the cultures known for having flying ships.... Halruaa is just better known for having lots of them).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 15 Dec 2021 :  01:58:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I submit that realms travel by sea is nowhere near as arduous as Columbus' travels. He was severely hampered by little ships that could only hold minimal stores (realms people have extradimensional storage). He was hampered by being dependent on the weather (realms people can change the weather or provide magical motive force). That's of course assuming that its even a sea travelling ship that would be used and not a flying ship for instance (which Halruaa, Thay, elves, Kara-Tur, and Wa are just some of the cultures known for having flying ships.... Halruaa is just better known for having lots of them).



Using any of those methods is going to increase the cost -- mages aren't cheap.

Halruaan skyships are slow and can't carry a lot.

All the others are spelljamming, which goes back to the question of if it's an option, why hasn't it been done before?

Travel by sea in the Realms would likely be more arduous than in the real world. The real world didn't have various actively hostile critters like sahaugin, krakens, and dragon turtles, or a capricious sea goddess known as the Bitch Queen, and any other intelligent sorts like dragons that might not like ships in their territory.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11165 Posts

Posted - 15 Dec 2021 :  23:47:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

I submit that realms travel by sea is nowhere near as arduous as Columbus' travels. He was severely hampered by little ships that could only hold minimal stores (realms people have extradimensional storage). He was hampered by being dependent on the weather (realms people can change the weather or provide magical motive force). That's of course assuming that its even a sea travelling ship that would be used and not a flying ship for instance (which Halruaa, Thay, elves, Kara-Tur, and Wa are just some of the cultures known for having flying ships.... Halruaa is just better known for having lots of them).



Using any of those methods is going to increase the cost -- mages aren't cheap.

Halruaan skyships are slow and can't carry a lot.

All the others are spelljamming, which goes back to the question of if it's an option, why hasn't it been done before?

Travel by sea in the Realms would likely be more arduous than in the real world. The real world didn't have various actively hostile critters like sahaugin, krakens, and dragon turtles, or a capricious sea goddess known as the Bitch Queen, and any other intelligent sorts like dragons that might not like ships in their territory.



Thay has skyships as documented in shining south. Elves have skyships. Its just Halruaa is known for it in particular.

Mages are incredibly cheap when you are one.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
35992 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2021 :  00:08:12  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


Mages are incredibly cheap when you are one.





Being a mage doesn't mean that you don't have to spend anything on spell components and casting. It also doesn't mean that you're automatically willing to spend months getting to some unknown place for possibly no return at all.

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Demzer
Senior Scribe

834 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2021 :  09:52:33  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

In general, the planes are well-documented ...
... small snip ...
Contrast that to the unknown continents which are not documented at all ...



This is exactly the issue.

"Plane of Infite Magma? Sure, take this travel advisory pack. It contains travellogues and the reviews of the last 101 visitors with ratings for the salamander bubble-riding contest. Might I interest you in some night ... uh ... "life" ... on the Negative Energy Plane with the brand new stand up show from the renowned "Liches that leave you in stitches" crew? Oh sorry not the Planes but ... you want to go across the sea ...? Are you mad?!?!? NOBODY HAS EVER DONE THAT!"



Again, minutes to travel to a well-documented place where the dangers are known and can be prepped for beforehand, and where locations of resources are known, or months of sea travel to get to a place that's not documented at all, where you have to guess at dangers and hope that there are resources.

Sure, there are hostile planes. There are also planes that aren't hostile, and even the ones that are hostile, mages who do their research know what they're getting into.



Sorry, I didn't make myself clear enough.

The problem is the "well-documented" part. Unless people on Toril get born with innate knowledge of the Planes and know everything to make the jump safely, at some point in history the Planes were as unknown as the next continent.

My (arguably very small, as it hasn't come up on my games) problem with the internal consistency with the setting is that across millenia of several civilisations who could fly, teleport, swim, travel underground and sightsee at leisure, people decided to dive into eternal lava or brave countless hordes of demons or explode due to positive energy overcharge instead of finding another way to Kara-Tur.

Given the much higher difficulties of planar travel and environment, just saying "they found hostile territory or hostile natives" when crossing the oceans to justify lack of knowledge is ... almost laughable.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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USA
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Posted - 16 Dec 2021 :  16:31:46  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer



My (arguably very small, as it hasn't come up on my games) problem with the internal consistency with the setting is that across millenia of several civilisations who could fly, teleport, swim, travel underground and sightsee at leisure, people decided to dive into eternal lava or brave countless hordes of demons or explode due to positive energy overcharge instead of finding another way to Kara-Tur.

Given the much higher difficulties of planar travel and environment, just saying "they found hostile territory or hostile natives" when crossing the oceans to justify lack of knowledge is ... almost laughable.



Oh for the love of Lurue... *bangs head into the wall*

When have I said that hostile natives was the only reason to not cross oceans? Potentially hostile natives is ONE reason I've given; it is by no means the only reason.

Also, who said anything about Kara-Tur? The discussion was specifically on the unknown continents, ones that require months of sea travel to reach.

And I don't see how planar travel has "much higher difficulties" of anything. One spell and you're there. A wizard can wake up one morn, decide he wants to visit a friend in Bytopia, and easily be there in time for brunch or second breakfast.

Many planes do have different environs and laws from the layers of the Prime, but the majority of the planes do not have hostile environs and in fact are already inhabited by a lot of PC races. Sure, you're going to need to prep for going to the plane of Earth and you're not going to go to Dis for a picnic, but as long as you stick to the good or neutral Outer Planes, you're fine.

The only thing that's more difficult about getting to the planes is that you either need a high-level wizard or to find an existing portal. And while neither are exactly a silver a dozen in the Realms, there are large numbers of both of them.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 16 Dec 2021 16:33:23
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2249 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2021 :  16:56:05  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Finding an alternate way to Kara-Tur" is a reference to the discovery of the Americas. Colon wasn't trying to discover a new, unknown land. He was searching for a new way to get to India, so Spain could get better sea trading routes. Wasn't that the same reason Cordell discovered Mex... Maztica?

Anyways, such is a powerful reason to launch sea expeditions, especially when in the Realms there is evidence of other inhabited lands beyond the sea.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 16 Dec 2021 :  19:06:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

"Finding an alternate way to Kara-Tur" is a reference to the discovery of the Americas. Colon wasn't trying to discover a new, unknown land. He was searching for a new way to get to India, so Spain could get better sea trading routes. Wasn't that the same reason Cordell discovered Mex... Maztica?

Anyways, such is a powerful reason to launch sea expeditions, especially when in the Realms there is evidence of other inhabited lands beyond the sea.



And that's a huge difference from what this discussion has been about, which is finding unknown continents.

As I pointed out, Colon thought he knew where he was going, and it still took him a while to raise the million dollars needed to make the trip, and it was a three-month voyage.

Sailing blindly into the unknown, hoping to find something, is a riskier and more expensive prospect than trying to find a new route to a known destination.

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TBeholder
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Posted - 19 Dec 2021 :  11:55:33  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

It's not reasonable to assume, though, that no spelljammers have ever traded a map

A map (such as it is) first needs to be created. Which is not very probably, per my previous post.
If they didn't, they will explore until something happens.
Then meet someone willing to buy it. Some of them may be from Toril themselves. Then it may easily wind up in a forgotten coffer in the family mansion because the first attempt to cross the ocean failed to return, or the merchant can't invest right now and then something else happened. Or given to Candlekeep as a ticket to more immediately useful knowledge, and sit somewhere in the endless shelves.
And so on.
Prerequisites of prerequisites all needs to succeed, and probabilities multiply. Try to trace a specific path all the way from the motivation to make the map in the first place to someone who will use of it, step by step. Note more probable pitfalls and dead-ends on each step, and the ultimate wasteland of investment, since merchants prioritize ventures with less costs and risks (or at least risks that are known and can be assessed, e.g. in Underdark trade). All this cuts this possibility down. Then look at these cross-sections and weep.
Even then, a map that made to the hands of someone willing to use it... would include only an area explored until the 'jammers lost interest, so how big and detailed it can be?
Thus, "There will be dragons". Until there's a faction able and willing to deliberately put a lot of efforts and resources into this, and take inevitable losses, like those guys from Amn did.
quote:
or that no locals have ever gotten their hands on a spelljammer and decided to explore more of home.

I'm sure some did. But without relevant knowledge or willing sponsor, risks are hideous. Most will simply fall to common dangers.
Most will think it's safe and fly in atmosphere until eventually running into flying monsters.
More ambitious ones... Suppose those bloodthirsty dudes from Nexal captured an exploring ship that landed nearby, enslaved the crew (subsequently tortured the basic information out of them, then sacrificed), took to the skies. What of it? They are indistinguishable from other fledgling pirates without experience, connections or even basic awareness of dangers and the local situation. So, the bottom tier. Unlikely to stick around for long. In particular, if they meet a Neogi or Illithid vessel, they almost certainly won't live to learn from that experience. If they'll have good sense to keep a captive navigator, it's more viable, but they are more likely to run into EIN or giff instead.

quote:
Per Spelljammer canon, there are several places in the Realms that see high amounts of spelljamming traffic, and the Elven Imperial Navy maintains contact with Evermeet.

As far as Evermeet is concerned, humans don't have a business sailing their ocean (until Amnians, curiously). EIN are generally far more arrogant and narcissistic than groundling elves. Information that falls into the hands of either will not go anywhere else.
Nor will it be used. They don't look for trade. They don't look for new places to colonize, since the whole point of Retreat was inability to maintain population sufficient to hold their old lands against minor incursions. At most, they'll contact the local elves and after this leads nowhere, scry on them occasionally.

quote:
There is simply no justification for having entirely unknown lands if regular space travel is a thing.

There are grades of "unknown". A map of Toril with crude contours of most continents with a few "there be dragons", "poor savages, nothing to trade" or a skull here and there is a very likely result.
A major spelljamming port is an exception, not a rule, because again, multiply. It must be found, then reliably support both exotic trade and maintenance for a long while, and not be abandoned due to war, plague etc later.
Also, there can be a lot besides the major ports, but not given.
Zakhara had continuous spelljamming contact and even minor presence at least from 1176 (City of Delights, Corsairs, etc)
But has no major spelljamming ports. What of it? Nothing. The Faerunian groundling know there's Zakhara, but those interested don't want a map of Zakhara to have a map of Zakhara on the wall, they want safe trade routes for sea ships to the places with profitable goods.
Back on Faerun: IIRC the loxoth arrived via spelljamming, but... there are no known continuous groundling-spelljammer contacts in Shaar or around it. Are there maps of this region off-planet? Well, whoever transported the loxoth perhaps had some, who knows where they are now. Where maps of Faerun come from? From the merchants and explorers of Faerun, as a rule. So, did the loxoth team (whatever it wanted there) send its own explorers, use maps other spelljammers made, or only knew the biome they want and someone asked people from Toril already contacted otherwise? Who knows.

Thus, it's likewise entirely possible that several merchant groups have steady trade partners in far away places, like the other side of Maztica. Then they are not big enough to be mentioned as movers and shakers, and don't thrive enough on it to make themselves a big target. But quite happy to corner that trade, so won't show it to the outsiders. Do they have basic maps of their landing site and immediate surroundings, with a few nearby dangers marked? Very likely. Are these maps good enough that a new pilot can land at the right place without help of someone who was there? Useful for compiling the Big Map of Maztica? Much less likely. Directly useful for groundling trade? Extremely unlikely: for their purpose only the last step of a would-be surface route mattered.
Either way, they won't sell these maps until forced to liquidate this route for some reason. And even then maps will not automatically become common knowledge, but probably will be used the same way by another group or wind up as an useless oddity in some collection.
Thus, such groups usually are inconsequential for the purpose of maps availability.

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sleyvas
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USA
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Posted - 19 Dec 2021 :  13:51:03  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

"Finding an alternate way to Kara-Tur" is a reference to the discovery of the Americas. Colon wasn't trying to discover a new, unknown land. He was searching for a new way to get to India, so Spain could get better sea trading routes. Wasn't that the same reason Cordell discovered Mex... Maztica?

Anyways, such is a powerful reason to launch sea expeditions, especially when in the Realms there is evidence of other inhabited lands beyond the sea.



To put a note on that "knowledge that their ANCESTORS came from those places beyond the sea". In the case of the folk of Ruathym, they have some knowledge that they came from the west over the ocean to Ruathym. They THEN came to Faerun and became the "Illuskans". It would seem natural that some of those folk might be interested centuries later in seeing what happened with their ancestors. They may not know why their ancestors left, and they have all the reason to believe that their ancestors may have simply been blown off course or have been exploring themselves. They have every reason to believe that their ancestors could know advancements or have access to things that may help your own civilization.

Also, without quoting everything TBeholder just said, he makes some really valid points, and I will add that what I feel we should have is NOT an ad nauseum map of every detail of the world. What we should have AT THE LEAST is a map, with names on the continents (I honestly feel we should have some very rough idea of the innards on a vague degree due to spelljamming). Now, different people on those continents may have ANOTHER name for the continent that "gets discovered" later if someone wants to change things. But "unknown lands" is BS. Even if Faerunians don't know what the locals would call it, they'd come up with a name to put on the place that they use internally. On each of these continents though should be SOME place that's been visited and POSSIBLY traded with or at least stopped at and looked around at. Maybe the trading wasn't lucrative enough to warrant the trip, so that's why regular travel doesn't occur... or they found no civilization but a lot of aggressors (either savage but intelligent beings or simply monsters). Either way there should be spots that might give some indicators as to what a small portion of the continent is like. For instance, "we stopped here and there were dinosaurs" or "this place had a huge forest, but the vines acted intelligently and killed most of the crew, and I barely escaped" or "we landed here because we saw another ship and thought to salvage it, we have no records of what happened to the crew other than this captain's log that we found, but its hold had this valuable stuff that must have been from somewhere near here, if only we knew where" or "this place had a great village of peaceful folk, we traded for food, but its not profitable enough to come back. The people looked like X and their city was made of Y. They told us about some other places nearby and our navigator drew this rough map from their descriptions, but we never saw the places".

This would not necessarily all come from one great explorer travelling the world, and the information may be spread across centuries or even millenia, and it may come from multiple cultures.... but at the point that things are at, I definitely see this as viable. A lot of this may end up being like what happened with the realmspace supplement mind you, where people make suppositions about whole continents based on what they find in a tiny corner of it (like what's occurred with people talking about Osse, and like I've done with discussions of Katashaka).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 19 Dec 2021 14:34:35
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questing gm
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Malaysia
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Posted - 21 Dec 2021 :  07:23:37  Show Profile  Visit questing gm's Homepage Send questing gm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just had a wonderful Twitter conversation with Ed earlier today (him talking, me listening) that I think may help provide at least some context to the discussion here (and some questions answered?), redacted and reframed for relevance.

If you seek the full original text, you can find it in the Twitter scroll: http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=22659&whichpage=43

quote:

@questinggm

How were these 'agreed' continents (Anchorome, Laerakond, Osse, Katashaka, Arandron, Kara-Tur, Maztica and Zakhara) discovered? Sailing expeditions? Divinations? Spelljamming? Portals? Strangers from distant lands?

@TheEdVerse

"Discovered"?

People LIVE on them.

They looked down between their feet, and there the continent was. ;}

Before the rise of humans, dragons flew free. Elves had airships before spelljamming ships. And networks of gates (portals) linking various Realms continents predate the lands that flourish today. So SOME folk on the Realms have always known the gross/general layout of landmasses, if not every nook and cranny of even the continent they spend most time on.

There have been constant migrations of all sentient races and "beasts" in almost every direction, down the passing ages, but the Realms isn't historical Earth: humans did not "colonize" the globe to try to build empires.

@questinggm

The debate was why we know so little about these continents than the planes (if true). I suspect it had more to do with lack of documentation/chronicling than sources of knowledge (like aforementioned people). Or is there other reasons for secrecy/mystery (other than NDAs)?

@TheEdVerse

Travel between most continents is difficult (the gate networks are largely forgotten or hidden or controlled) due to harsh terrain and prevailing weather, and long distances. The few who "make it" (e.g. fartraveled merchants) don't want to encourage competition.

Add to that the abundance of monsters and sentients who prey on any sort of critters passing by, or who just don't like intruders, and you have travel at a trickle. And on top of THAT, place this: (control of) knowledge is power. Rulers don't WANT everyone to readily know alternatives, and where sources of desired things are.

And to that, add that communications is and continues to be lousy, with word of mouth from peddlers and other travelers the main news sources. The game gives us a distorted view of ease of travel and communications due to magic, which is unaffordable or simply unavailable to the vast majority of sentients. Most in the Realms are either farmers or foragers; they are tied to terrain they know, and don't move around much unless forced to. So they see little of the world and are limited to what they're told. Which tends to be embellished and unreliable tavern-talk, or information they have to pay for (sages and tomes). If you're not desperately interested in getting elsewhere, that's a low-priority luxury spend.

@questinggm

You have said that this Scholar's View is not an accurate map of Toril's continents.

@TheEdVerse

As for that Scholar's View, I like it as a piece of art. I have no idea why it was substituted for the thumbnail "master map" that existed at the time.

Here's what's wrong with what is generally accepted of what we know about the continents of Toril: the assumption (Faern-centric) that Faern must be the largest continent; the assumption that we have to have real-Earth analogues, and Gamer X wants Australia represented, so we have to have something called Osse; and the assumption that Laerakond appeared in the Abeir/Toril conjunction, plopping down or rising up in empty ocean, and when the Second Sundering was over, it was back in Abeir and there was "just ocean" at that spot. I see the Scholar's View art as an attempt to fancifully put continents that look like a twisted projection of real Earth's continents into the Realms, because we have to have real-world equivalents and analogues. Except we don't. And trying to have them unnecessarily borrows all sorts of real problems with gamer audiences, when instead we could have a lot more CREATION going on. What it does get right is when it suggests that there are a lot of seas crowded with large and small landmasses (chains of islands, etc.) rather than big honking chunks of land with even bigger empty oceans between.

@questinggm

Would it be safe to say at the current state of lore known about the other landmasses (big or small), any representation of Toril derived from them would be incomplete at best?

@TheEdVerse

Yes. That's putting it nigh-perfectly: "incomplete at best."

I have a master full-globe map (faint pencil, Mercator projection with all of the faults that has) dating from 1982. TSR had at least two updates of that (subsituting their Moonshaes for mine, then substituting KaraTur, Zakhara, and Maztica for what I had in those locations; that's why it's not as simple as my saying "Here's my One True Original" to you, because the published Realms diverged so much from my original.


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Zeromaru X
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Colombia
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Posted - 21 Dec 2021 :  20:46:20  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This answers some of my questions, and raises others.

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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sleyvas
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USA
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Posted - 21 Dec 2021 :  20:58:30  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some useful information definitely. Definitely doesn't give us any idea of the layout of things though. That being said, I don't necessarily buy the "they keep the information hidden" as being extremely well done, because if that were the case, we'd see the same thing with the planes. But it acknowledges that the knowledge does exist.

While I do get the Osse thing as he says (I've been asking where we know that Osse is a continent or that its even in THIS world). The Laerakond piece though.... that leaves some interpretations open. I personally haven't wanted to send Laerakond back, but rather to send it further west and slightly further south.

Bear in mind, as I say this, it would involve the statement "if canon is true". If they decide to say that Laerakond was just "moved within Toril", the main thing I see is the steelsky piece. Going along with that then would be that the continent ruled by Karshimis (the continent called Shyr") would in theory also be on Toril.

Now if THAT actually were true (Shyr being on Toril), then taking the place we've been referring to as Osse and turning it into Shyr would be a good way to do it for me (especially given that it's near Zakhara and Kara-Tur (both places with focus on elemental magic) and with my idea of placing Laerakond west of Katashaka.

Of course, a finaly and third option is that Shyr and Laerakond were "INSIDE" Toril and the hollow world concept of Mystara should somewhat be implied to be also involved with Toril..... which might actually be the best way to go. In that case the steelsky would likely be the core of Toril.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 21 Dec 2021 21:09:11
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sleyvas
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Posted - 21 Dec 2021 :  21:46:25  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I see in your other thread that you posted this as well

@questinggm

Also, a sage has worked painfully to create this rendition, any comments?

<https://twitter.com/questinggm/status/1473109465457053697/photo/1>

@TheEdVerse

It's pretty. :}

It has the problems I pointed out: trying to echo real-Earth landmasses, having too much empty ocean and not enough small landmasses, Osse as this huge continent "bottom right" to equal Australia.

Sorry. It might be a nice world to visit, but it's not the Realms.


In the aforementioned he also states that its a false assumption that faerun must be the largest continent. On THAT piece, I'm guessing he would mean the portion known as Faerun (i.e. not including hordelands, Kara-Tur, Zakhara, and Utter East). If that were the case then the place down in the bottom right which people have called Osse (but that I just said might be Shyr) would work. I say this because he's also said that Toril and earth are roughly equivalent in size, so if there were another "supercontinent" bigger than the whole "Kara-Tur,Faerun,Zakhara, utter east, hordelands" then I'd be hard pressed to believe the world was the same size as earth.

Finally, one other thing we assume, primarily because of the FRIA which had a globe that showed the world.... we assume that if you sail off the right side of the map you'll end up immediately on the left side of the map..... but what if there were a section there that we can't see. That idea would really work well with my concept of Laerakond being between "Osse"/"Shyr" and "Katashaka". If THAT were the case, then we could also shoe horn in Thuin as well

If the defenses around Evermeet basically created a portal that sent people to this "hidden" section of the map, and this area were filled with lots of islands, it might also help explain why people hadn't discovered the northern continent above Maztica (which I still call Anchorome because Faerunians named it that). This portal could also explain why people suddenly found Maztica (i.e. they had to come south to bypass the portal)... and it might also tie into the whole "why something happened to Evermeet during the spellplague" thing.

Now, does any of this fit Ed's original or current view? Hells no, because he's not telling us so that he can change it and because TSR changed it from his original, but we can work with what we're given.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 21 Dec 2021 21:53:42
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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
912 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2021 :  12:10:37  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

In the aforementioned he also states that its a false assumption that faerun must be the largest continent. On THAT piece, I'm guessing he would mean the portion known as Faerun (i.e. not including hordelands, Kara-Tur, Zakhara, and Utter East). If that were the case then the place down in the bottom right which people have called Osse (but that I just said might be Shyr) would work. I say this because he's also said that Toril and earth are roughly equivalent in size, so if there were another "supercontinent" bigger than the whole "Kara-Tur,Faerun,Zakhara, utter east, hordelands" then I'd be hard pressed to believe the world was the same size as earth.




I cannot find the tweet, but I think Ed might mean that in his own/original Realms, Faerun might not be the biggest continent, which didn't include Kara-Tur, and Zakhara for example.

Edited by - Baltas on 31 Dec 2021 12:17:38
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Lord Karsus
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USA
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Posted - 31 Dec 2021 :  15:46:51  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Don't like him George Lucasing all this. I mean, none of it affects me in any way so maybe that's a stronger statement than how I actually feel, but I feel like it's unbecoming.

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

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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
912 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2021 :  21:50:00  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dunno if this counts as "George Lucasing it", at least fully. Ed stated for 2 decades his Realms differ from the official/published ones. Including georgraphically. Indeed, long ago it was stated Zakhara, Kara-Tur and the mentioned Matzica were added to the Realms by TSR. And as Zeromaru X noticed:

quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

My bad, it's Thuin:

There is no Maztica (or Osse) in the original Realms, but instead: Laerakond, and SE of it/SW of Faerun, there's Thuin, a N/S-long-axis continent with dark-skinned human peoples (many squabbling city-states)

https://twitter.com/TheEdVerse/status/1145397200958230528?t=HQGBtqjvSmtJqq4OSIGW5A&s=19



This also showing Laerakond (in some form) predates 4E, and possibly even 2E. That it wasn't used till 4E, was almost certainly due to TSR creating Mazica, and placibng it in the Realms. With Arandron, it might be similar case.


Edited by - Baltas on 31 Dec 2021 23:46:52
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2249 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2022 :  00:20:49  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I remember Ed mentioned somewhere that Laerakond's concept predated 4e, but there were stuff that were added to it for 4e. Such as the name (that was coined here, in this forum -- before that, the place was just an unnamed landmass to the west of Faerun; that's why they unoriginally named it "Returned Abeir" in the FRCG) and some 4e unique concepts (such as the dragonborn as its main inhabitants).

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 01 Jan 2022 03:10:40
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PattPlays
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408 Posts

Posted - 01 Jan 2022 :  02:56:04  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now THESE threads are why I come to this forum. "The maps are wrong because Laerkarond was always planned and maztica wasn't" is the most secretive of truths I didn't know I needed to have learned.

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Lord Karsus
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USA
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Posted - 01 Jan 2022 :  04:33:23  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-This quote is absolutely George Lucasing it. "Sorry. It might be a nice world to visit, but it's not the Realms." Also, "...incomplete at best." and a few others.

-I starting losing all respect for him when he started demeaning the other contributors to Star Wars by implying that books, comics, video games, they were lesser products than his movies and not the "real" Star Wars (ironically, it was these 'secondary' products that breathed life back into Star Wars in the late-80s/early-90s).

-If Ed was specifically talking about his own game, or his original notes, in the context of that, okay cool. But I don't like the diminishing other people's work. It doesn't matter if it's another well known author or some nameless graphic designer, that's the official map; that's what the world looks like (for now, until the next retcon lol).

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

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

Edited by - Lord Karsus on 01 Jan 2022 04:33:58
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