Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Realmslore
 Chamber of Sages
 Questions for Ed Greenwood (2005)
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Previous Page | Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 84

Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 30 Jan 2005 :  05:37:43  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
Bows to THO,

Thankee Lady! :) And thankee Ed!

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
Go to Top of Page

Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 30 Jan 2005 :  12:30:59  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Thanks Ed and THO... i'll see what happens in the rest of the book before jumping to any more conclusions!

GH

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
Go to Top of Page

Lameth
Learned Scribe

Germany
196 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2005 :  01:19:37  Show Profile  Visit Lameth's Homepage  Send Lameth an ICQ Message Send Lameth a Private Message
XXX

Edited by - Lameth on 31 Jan 2005 10:49:16
Go to Top of Page

George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4790 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2005 :  04:27:24  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Lameth, with respect, Ed didn't create Menzoberranzan or the Baenres and Do'Urdens. They were created, as you would know already, by the novelist R A Salvatore. Hence, asking Ed the questions you have is like asking (to use a German sporting example) Beckenbauer how many steps Heiki Dreschler takes in her triple jump run-up. He might have an idea, but he probably would only be guessing or making it up as he sees fit. R A Salvatore has a thread in this forum (although he has never posted on it as far as I can recall) and also his own website. Your best bet is to ask there.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2005 :  05:33:48  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed of the Greenwood makes reply to Talwyn:



Oooh, a toughie. Some people do indeed see the paladin as a very narrow-focus lifestyle. In some cases, following the ‘character’ of the deity (if AND ONLY IF the deity’s church is portrayed as mirroring a strict, no-nonsense side of the deity), they’re correct.
However, I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with having a ‘courtly love’ romantic as a paladin, so long as the character doesn’t stray from the strict precepts of what the CHURCH of Torm orders him to do.
Of course, the hosts of the server hold a lot of power here, as I support your “diversity” point of view largely because rich roleplaying should be the heart and soul of any good D&D campaign, and your paladin should be praying to Torm personally a lot as well as participating in rituals with priests of Torm when they’re available - - and if the server hosts want to roleplay the visions and/or explicit directives Torm sends your paladin (in his dreams or directly during prayers), they can use (I’d say misuse, if they did, but then, I’m not running the server) this avenue to dictate to your paladin not to behave as he’s doing.
However, if this is the guy’s established character, then good roleplaying says that (rather then suddenly becoming an unromantic, non-singing, no-nonsense ‘their-idea-of-a-good-model paladin’) he renounces his holy service to Torm (ceases to be a paladin), and just serves Torm as a devout fighter - - or even, given that all non-priest, non-paladin characters in the Realms venerate an array of deities (even if only in appeasement), drift towards another deity (Sune, Milil, and so on) who look upon romantic chivalry more kindly.
So it’s really up to you, and to the hosts. If you were doing this in MY campaign, I’d be beaming: THIS is what good, colourful, memorable, enjoyable roleplaying is all about. In my home campaigns, I’ve had kindhearted thieves who couldn’t tell lies, irreverent priests who just couldn’t follow rules or chant a prayer without working a joke or smartass comment into it, sorceresses who were scared of casting magic - - and lots of other misfits who were trying to fulfill roles that they didn’t quite ‘fit’ (in the opinion of some observers). It all makes for more fun for everyone. It can also, of course, drive the DM nuts if every player wants his or her character to do it . . .
When Wizards finally gets around to posting my 2004 Spin A Yarn story (“The Night Tymora Sneezed”), you’ll get to see a paladin behaving in a rather unconventional - - but true to her faith - - fashion. Heh-heh.



So saith Ed. Good luck, Talwyn. Be sure to tell us what happens, okay?
love,
THO
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  01:43:04  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed of the Greenwood replies to Gerath Hoan regarding the matter of Vangerdahast (and Ed hasn’t forgotten your Tunland request, either; it’s waiting for Ed to see what a certain other creative person does or doesn’t do in print, before he sets quill to parchment and lines up those little dancing electrons in a reply to you):



Hi, Gerath. Re. the Vangey stuff: you’re welcome. I just hope Jerryd receives it in the same spirit, because I’m very interested in seeing his War Wizards writeup (I’m not trying to prevent him doing it or crush the man or his obvious enjoyment of, and enthusiasm for, the Realms). You asked: “Could we possibly draw you out some more on what you feel about his replacement with Caladnei (and how and why that came about) and what his (obviously now rather special) future holds? Will we still see him popping up from time to time meddling or is he truly retired (and perhaps in stasis)?”
To answer your second question first: I’m not sure. I’d love to use Vangey in that ‘popping up meddling’ manner, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity.
Caladnei is the creation of Sean Reynolds, I believe, working with Rich Baker (I think), and I really like her. My guess is that she was put into the Realms to get rid of one of the three similar ‘grouchy, meddling old men’ wizards I mentioned in my Vangey replies to Jerryd. One of the design problems with the Realms (exacerbated with the disappearance of most longevity magics in 3rd Edition) is that the advancing timeline has brought a lot of my favourite ‘old guard’ Realms characters (Mirt, Durnan, Vangerdahast, Flamsterd, and many more: just examine the Old Gray Box character roster and you’ll see that there are a LOT of candidates) to the brink of death through old age without my having a chance to really tell their stories.
As you know, for me the Realms IS its characters, not real estate so much, so I’m reluctant to let these people go until they’ve had their moment in the spotlight and ‘become real’ for all Realms fans. Sometimes I have to be pushed. :}
In the case of Vangerdahast: it was time, for both him and for Azoun. I didn’t want either of them to go, and if a lot of Realms fans agree with me in this, then Troy and I did DEATH OF THE DRAGON right, because just as in real life, you don’t want your favourite people to die, or in some cases don’t want them gone until you’ve had a chance to say or do this with them, or they’ve had the chance to finish this or that.
However, a lot of the appeal of the Realms is anticipating what will happen next, treating the place as living, breathing, and real - - and that means change. Real change, not just the illusion of change (older comics fans are familiar with the clever illusion of change: in the Spidey comics, Peter Parker took almost twenty years to graduate), must from time to time occur.
Caladnei is an enigma, far more of a blank slate than Vangey. Vangey gave us the delicious “many secrets, what’s he really up to?” air of mystery, the whiff of corruption, the allure of the hidden (all these ‘ahast’ mages who control Cormyr: who are they, and what are their aims?), but Caladnei offers us the ‘green outsider, learning on the job as everyone tries to take advantage of her, and because of Vangey and Azoun IV not being there, changes ARE going to happen’ situation of all of us having ringside seats as Cormyr moves into a new era.
In ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER I tried to usher in that new era without showing much of anything occurring in it, like the guy who introduces the show and then steps aside with a flourish as the curtain rises; in SWORDS OF EVENINGSTAR (title may change: first Knights of Myth Drannor novel) I’ll take you back to Vangey firmly in the saddle and Azoun IV riding high, before any of the troubles that led to DEATH OF THE DRAGON.
If I’d been publishing the Realms all by myself, Azoun IV and Vangerdahast would still be in place and the timeline wouldn’t have advanced nearly as much as it has since 1987.
However, those changes have happened, so I throw myself into enjoying and working with them as much as I can. And I really will enjoy exploring Caladnei. What makes her tick? How does she get on (in a continuing, shifting relationship, not a one-time snapshot glimpse) with Alusair? With Filfaeril? With Laspeera? With Azoun V, as he grows up?
I have utterly no intent of making Caladnei any sort of clone or echo of any of the Seven Sisters, cheerfully comfortable with casual nudity and lovemaking after nigh a thousand years of life, but I do need to know how she deals with loneliness (and whether or not she yearns for companionship as Princess Tanalasta did, and so can be exploited by someone who sees this).
I want to watch all the nobles try to take advantage of her - - NOT because they’re all traitors, but just because they feared and hated Vangey so much because he stepped on so many toes, and they want their pride and power back and she’s not Vangey so they’re going to try to take it.
We’ve not yet properly explored either the Royal Court or the nobles of Cormyr in fiction (and, from all my postings with Jerryd here, obviously haven’t dealt with the War Wizards properly yet, either), and it’s high time for a game product update for the Forest Kingdom, too.
So I feel great about Caladnei, and I do want to provide you with more of an answer - - in Realms fiction - - to your question about Vangey’s status. Stay tuned!



So saith Ed. Ah, I’m wriggling in anticipation, just reading this! (Yes, Wooly and Sirius, you can watch.) Stay tuned, indeed!
love to all,
THO
Go to Top of Page

Kentinal
Great Reader

4275 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  03:13:13  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
It has been said years ago, that Lolth had male Clerics and Eilistraee did not. Then a great change come forth and the Sipder Queen, may the light take her, no longer had any male Clerics. This though leads to a question, does now The Dark Maiden welcome males to her clergy now? I have seen many advocates of this point of view, a few even argue that she might even have Paladins (as at least one other Godess of Chaotic Good nature has them).

I have been always confused about the notion of growing hair long, as such can be an inpedence to combat as is fighting unarmored. Perhaps this could be explained as well?
Go to Top of Page

SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  03:31:27  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
it’s high time for a game product update for the Forest Kingdom, too...

So saith Ed. Ah, I’m wriggling in anticipation, just reading this! (Yes, Wooly and Sirius, you can watch.)



Wiggle all you want if that is even the slightest hint that WOTC might agree with EG and Cormyr will soon be covered with an updated gaming product.
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29906 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  04:02:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by SiriusBlack

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
it’s high time for a game product update for the Forest Kingdom, too...

So saith Ed. Ah, I’m wriggling in anticipation, just reading this! (Yes, Wooly and Sirius, you can watch.)



Wiggle all you want if that is even the slightest hint that WOTC might agree with EG and Cormyr will soon be covered with an updated gaming product.



As much as I'd like to see a new Cormyr product, I'm also happy just to watch the Lady Hooded One as she wriggles. Perhaps I could lend a hand...

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  09:39:53  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Thanks for the reply Ed.

I know many of us are genuinely excited by the prospect of a Cormyr game product with updated info on the new rulers and important figures, and of course more depth for the Forest Kingdom. Exploring something of life in the Royal Court would make (IMO) a great piece of fiction. Court intrigue and the whole nation's bureaucracy would give lots of character to Cormyr.

I'm also somewhat sad at the potential passing of more old guard Realms characters. I have to say that i always liked the longevity of certain figures, they seemed to maintain something about the Realms and the character of the setting just by being around. It would be a shame to lose a Mirt or anyone else so important (I already miss the old Manshoon, at the head of 'his' Zhentarim). I can be excited for the future however, if all the new characters which rise up can have the potential which is shown in Caladnei and several others like her.

Thanks again Ed and THO. I like forward to all your forthcoming answers, and i mean that for everyone's questions, not merely my own.

GH

P.S. What was that specific Tunland request? The old gray matter must be going because i can't remember what requests for Realmslore i've got 'pending'.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 01 Feb 2005 09:43:34
Go to Top of Page

Verghityax
Learned Scribe

131 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  13:08:33  Show Profile  Visit Verghityax's Homepage Send Verghityax a Private Message
Dear Ed of Greenwood,
Currently I'm gathering info to write an article about another big city in the Western Heartlands. Since it is not Baldur's Gate, I hope there are not too many NDA's. And the city I'm speaking of is Elturel. The major problem is that the map that has been printed in 2nd ed. accessory - "Adventures" - has got only 5 locations marked, while they are so many more described. What I need is to know, where exactly should the following locations be marked:

1. Helm's Shieldhall
2. The High Harvest Home
3. Hondakar's House
4. Symbril's House
5. Phontyr's Unicorn
6. Gallowglar's Inn
7. The Oar and Wagonwheel Inn
8. A Pair of Black Antlers
9. The Bent Helm
10. Home of Baranta Chansil
11. Home of Orsar "Greencloak"
12. The High Moor Heroes' Guild
13. Ilmater's shrine
14. Tempus' shrine
15. Tymora's shrine
16. Waukeen's shrine

This request is very important to me, since without the needed information there is barely any chance of making a good map and description of Elturel. I thank thee in advance for any help.
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  15:00:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Dear Verghityax,
Elturel was always “the Great Mystery” to we Knights, and we used to tease Ed about it. It was originally going to be used in the DC Comics set in the Realms, and in some of the earliest computer games (and, as we all know, wasn’t), but was the subject of the very first “don’t talk about this at all, Ed, okay?” TSR directive, way back when.
So replying to you may take Ed some time. He has to track down the ex-employees of TSR who gave him that directive, ascertain PRECISELY the extent and nature of the prohibition, and then take it to Wizards and ask the current ‘keepers of the keys’ there if it’s okay for him to proceed.
So, be aware that this may take months.

Gerath, back in May you asked Ed for more on Tunland than just the Thaalim Torchtower note in the FRCS. Later (in November, I think), Beowulf chimed in with requests for more. Ed is in a similar situation with Tunland as he is with Elturel, only the “don’t go there” request was so someone, quite long ago, could use it as a novel setting (something else that hasn’t happened). So this answer, too, may take some time. Less time than Verghityax’s, because there aren’t as many hoops to jump through in finding out, and because it’s a far older request than Elturel and so takes precedence.

Yours in the spirit of endlessly revelatory Realmslore,
love to all,
THO
Go to Top of Page

Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  18:05:14  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Ah thank you THO! May... wow, that was some time ago and you must be keeping excellent track of all those Realmslore requests.

GH... AKA one happy gamer.

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
Go to Top of Page

Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  18:10:02  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
A question regarding the meddling mages of Faerûn:

As you mentioned when discussing the departure of Vangerdahast, the three "meddling old mages" of the Realms were, in descending order, Elminster, Khelben, and Vangerdahast--with Taern Hornblade coming in at a distant fourth, in my opinion. With the assignment of Vangerdahast to other tasks, and the ascension of Taern to the rulership of Silverymoon, who now is Meddling Mage Number Three? Surely the departure of the Old Snoop doesn't mean that wizards no longer meddle in the affairs of rulers and adventurers...
Go to Top of Page

Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  22:00:58  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Re. the Vangey stuff: you’re welcome. I just hope Jerryd receives it in the same spirit, because I’m very interested in seeing his War Wizards writeup (I’m not trying to prevent him doing it or crush the man or his obvious enjoyment of, and enthusiasm for, the Realms).
I receive it in the spirit of (1) gratitude that you're willing to devote the time to me, and (2) spirited yet friendly debate! While I do argue passionately for my ideas and I'm sure that gets through in my written words, there is certainly no acrimony or ill will present. I am still devoted to completing my writeup, although after missing two expected completion dates I'm now loathe to give a third other than "as soon as other real-life responsibilities allow."

My reply to your last series of posts on the subject is forthcoming as well, in a much shorter timeframe than the writeup itself - I'm shooting for later tonight, or tomorrow evening at the lastest!
Go to Top of Page

Mareka
Learned Scribe

Canada
125 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2005 :  22:49:31  Show Profile  Visit Mareka's Homepage Send Mareka a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
[Most of these Prime Material Planes (from which various of the “creator races” hail) are similar to Toril in that they are vaguely-medieval-level carbon-based and copious-water environments very like Toril, and one can breathe the air and drink the water if one is a resident of one plane, and steps (via gate/portal or spell) from one to the other.



Dear Ed of Greenwood (via Lady Hooded);

What is the definition exactly of "Creater Race"? What makes a creature qualify for that designation? I always thought they evolved on Toril, but it seems I am mistaken. I'm thinking they are responsible for "creating" many of the other races, but is there any more to it than that?

Thanks so much for answering our questions. This scroll is such a wealth of Realmslore!!

Edited by - Mareka on 02 Feb 2005 21:02:52
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2005 :  00:01:04  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, Ed answers simontrinity about Syluné:



Ah, what a LOVELY question. These are the sorts of things I love to answer. Thanks, simontrinity!
Okay: When the spectral, post-demise Syluné is inhabiting a body, she can eat and drink but doesn’t feel hunger or thirst.
In fact, she can feel but not feel. This is her great tragedy. In other words, she can’t feel pain from purely physical sources, or feel ill, or feel sexual pleasure. She can dimly feel sensations (“The fingers of this body are in contact with something hot” or “I can feel a hard surface with these fingers”) but isn’t ‘in tune’ with the body and feeling everything that happens to it. She DOES have to eat and drink to keep the body alive, though she can just ‘drift out of it’ to let it fall into a non-breathing torpor (which means its metabolic processes slow down greatly, and it need not eat, drink, or eliminate for long periods of time). The body can then be submerged or smothered without drowning or suffocating, and so on.
When Syluné is in a body and it’s severely wounded (limbs being severed, for instance), she doesn’t suffer shock. Nor is the body as quickly affected by poisonous gases or the like as a normal living woman would be: in other words, Syluné can force the body to try to accomplish things(go on functioning as best possible) in situations where a normal body would have collapsed from pain or a blow to the head or whatever.
Syluné has been in situations where “her” bodies have been tortured, burned, or even systematically dismembered, where she’s gone on talking and acting as calmly and normally as possible. She can dimly feel unpleasant sensations, but not debilitating pain.
Many spells, of course, DO cause her spectral self pain, as do certain changes in the Weave, so blasting a Syluné-body with certain spells WOULD cause her to scream, shake in agony, and so on.
As for romance still interesting her: of course. Although she can see and communicate with the Chosen and many others via the Weave, she’s terribly lonely and she can no longer truly be ‘held’ (hugged and comforted). She’s forever ‘a little bit detached, a little bit apart.’
To have someone care about HER, personally, and want to be near her or share experiences with her or converse with her, would mean a lot to her. Unless the particular person repelled her or she knew overtures were being made for deceitful purposes (I’m really a Zhent agent who wants this silver fire, and don’t truly give an owl’s hoot about this weird old witch at all), she would very much want to have a relationship.
Knowing how fragile life is, she wouldn’t necessarily want to faithfully love just one person, either, for fear of having nothing when they inevitably eventually died - - though she’s always been acutely sensitive to the feelings of others, and would conduct herself in such a manner as to minimize any hurt and jealousy felt by someone who wanted her to be “theirs alone.”
If things progressed to actual lovemaking, Syluné can no longer enjoy full physical bodily sensations - - but that doesn’t mean she can’t control a body expertly, so as to give a partner great pleasure. Also, when in such intimate contact, she can reach out with her mind and give pleasure (or induce pain, or launch well-nigh-irresistable thought-probes) right into the mind of a lover. Silver fire can even be used to burn out the brain and life of someone at such close range - - but such would never happen with Syluné accidently, in ‘the throes of passion,’ because she can no longer feel acutely enough to be caught in such throes. This also, of course, makes her tireless in lovemaking. Her body might get weary, or raw, but she doesn’t feel that strongly enough for such sensations to govern her.
She can walk or run for hours without getting winded or footsore enough to collapse (dehydration, bloodloss, hypothermia and so on will lead to eventual collapse, of course, and attempting anything the body isn’t strong enough to accomplish will result in failure and perhaps even joint failure of the body).
Which brings us to my advice to a would-be suitor: yes, love her. Be aware that if your connection to the Witch of Shadowdale becomes commonly known (and word gets to, for example, Zhent ears) you will be placing yourself in great danger.
But she’s worth it.
Even before her death, she was one of the most caring and perceptive people in all Faerûn, and she desperately wants someone to love and cherish her now, and will return such feelings fiercely. If you’re scared, tell her so. And if you’re in the sack with her and start feeling chafed or getting chest pains, TELL her so. She can call on the Weave to do much, and you’ll barely notice she’s not quite ‘alive’ as other people are. (For one thing, she can hear EVERYTHING, because she’s relying on far more than the ears of her body.)
You will also earn the respect of the other Chosen of Mystra, and the deep gratitude of both Azuth and Mystra herself. Which can’t hurt in an emergency, when you cry out a desperate prayer.
(If your DM wishes, this may even become the start of a different sort of campaign, in which you might be offered some limited magical powers in return for becoming a servant of Mystra; not a Chosen, but some of the other sorts of servants described in SECRETS OF THE MAGISTER.)
Properly roleplayed, a romance with Syluné would be a fascinating thing, involving at the outset some very subtle testing on her part (she’s a superb actress) to learn the true depths of your character’s inner character. Followed by great intimacy, as she tries to banish her loneliness by being with you.



Whew. So saith Ed. There’s not much I can add to that. (Sniff.)
love to all,
THO
Go to Top of Page

Athenon
Seeker

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2005 :  06:01:32  Show Profile  Visit Athenon's Homepage  Send Athenon an AOL message Send Athenon a Private Message
Hooded Lady,

I have another question for Ed as I come out of my lurking in the deep shadows. I hated that the Q&A with Elminster/Ed of the Greenwood was absent from the line up of WotC events at last year's Gen Con. Does Ed have any idea if he'll get to do that this year?

Thanks!

Will Maranto

Representing the Realms in the Wilds of Northern Louisiana
Go to Top of Page

RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2005 :  06:12:46  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all. Herewith, Ed answers simontrinity about Syluné:
Ah, what a LOVELY question. These are the sorts of things I love to answer. Thanks, simontrinity!

And thank you for such an interesting and through reply, Ed!
quote:

(If your DM wishes, this may even become the start of a different sort of campaign, in which you might be offered some limited magical powers in return for becoming a servant of Mystra; not a Chosen, but some of the other sorts of servants described in SECRETS OF THE MAGISTER.)



Just a note to readers at Candlekeep:

Since Ed mentioned "Secrets of the Magister", I decided to get a copy and check it out.

"Secrets of the Magister" is *packed* with the sort of lore Ed struggles with editors to get in to Realms books and suppliments. The sort of lore we all ask him questions about on this forum. Even if you don't game, and just enjoy reading the various novels, "Secrets" is definitely worth picking up. Tons o' interesting reading!

- S

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Edited by - RevJest on 02 Feb 2005 11:24:43
Go to Top of Page

Octa
Learned Scribe

USA
138 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2005 :  20:24:40  Show Profile  Visit Octa's Homepage Send Octa a Private Message
Ed, I was thinking about this in the context of moonstars, storm, khelben and the eastern harpers but am going to turn it into a general question-

It would seem to me that while the chosen can be totally selfless, and united behind each other in 'save the world' type situations, that in more ordinary dealings with one another there might be alot of disagreement (show me siblings who get along). Specifically in the way they deal with mere mortals.

Khelben and the Simbul seem like they would be much more cavalier in their attitudes to 'sending some fool to their death'

Whereas strom would be more 'You sent my agent where, to do what, they are going to die there, how could you'

Because of this they might even want to keep their networks of informants totally seperate.

Also could you go into some stories of sibling rivalry between the sisters.

p.s. Maybe I just missed this because I haven't read silverfall yet, and don't own the seven sisters 2ed book.

thanks for any illumination you could provide....
Go to Top of Page

Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2005 :  21:41:44  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Octa, have you read this?


http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=books/fr/silverfallcp

It's fiction by Ed showing the Seven Sisters behaving like, well, bitchy real-life sisters. Also I remember at least the first and the 2003 offering of his Spin A Yarn stories on the WotC website have shown us a little of the Seven interacting like real people (irritated, sarcastic with each other, disagreeing, etc.)
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  01:04:26  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, George! I never thought much about how the hin got from Luiren to the Easting Reach, but via Shandaular is just fine with me, so Let It Be So.
I didn’t envisage this happening for any very sinister reason, more like ‘internal family bickering’ among the halflings arising out of increasing overcrowding in Luiren at that time (‘breadbasket’ food-growing conditions coupled with a preferred rural lifestyle and a time of peace, prosperity, and unbridled breeding leading to too many kids for the surroundings to comfortably support, halfling resistance to ‘leaving the land’ to cluster in cities, hence wanting their own farms, hence having to go and find some new real estate to have them - - so let’s go FAR away and start new lives, and not end up being ‘little colonies being told what to do by those who were unkind to us’ or leave overmuch temptation to just sneak back home if things get hard in the New Place).
Once the halflings got to the Easting Reach, and discovered how darned much colder a spot they’d chosen, they were forced by the climate into different crop plantings and extensive use of root cellars for dwelling as well as food storage (hence, fixed-location settlements).
Yes, some of the Narfelli were unfriendly to say the least, but the halflings’ skill at growing too-rare edibles and in crafting small, useful devices (buckles, fastenings, tinder boxes, et al) made them highly prized by the Narfelli. You can capture a halfling, and you can torture and threaten him - - but mistreating him DOESN’T force him to make the goodies you want him to produce for you, so any Narfelli who did want to enslave the hin soon learned that it was futile. Nomadic Narfelli in hard winters had to depend on hin for food, and if halflings refused to yield food to raiders but gave it freely to those who come peaceably, the Narfelli learned how to treat halflings - - or died.
Work for you?
A pleasure to chat with one of THE top Lore Lords of the Realms, as always. Glad you liked the Vangey revelations; I still want to write more of his story in future Realms fiction pieces. Sorry I missed you on my Oz tour in 1984 (I got as close as a convention in Melbourne, with ‘Uncle’ Wes Nicholson as my host and driver and companion to wife and self for five weeks). The gods alone know when I’ll ever have the time and money to get out your way again, so I’ll just have to start working hard on getting WotC to bring you to GenCon Indy some year as a guest. Perhaps if you wrote a blockbuster Realms novel . . .



Wooo! YES! Yes! Let’s see this happen!
love to all,
THO
Go to Top of Page

David Lázaro
Seeker

Spain
37 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  01:40:42  Show Profile  Visit David Lázaro's Homepage Send David Lázaro a Private Message
Well met.

This thread is getting more interesting every day. I love relaxing and reading it every day before I go to bed.

Now, I've got two questions. Well, I'd only ask one but since the first one is about Silverymoon maybe it doesn't get answered in a long time.

First, what festivities are celebrated in Silverymoon? I'm more interested in the ones that take place in or around Midsummer and Shieldmeet.

And also, what can be disclosed about the customs of the druids leaving near the Neverwinter wood?

Thanks beforehand Ed and Lady Hooded One, bearer of the caress.
Go to Top of Page

Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  07:58:35  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
I'm back, with more about Vangey, the War Wizards, and other sundry topics!

{Start of part 1 of 4}

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Hi, Jerryd. You think you’re being misinterpreted? Fair enough. I think in many places in your last reply you’re misinterpreting ME, so let’s get to it. As before, I’ll run through your post in order.
This may be a case of us being, to quote George Bernard Shaw, "separated by a common language!"

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
[Snipped several paragraphs about 'micromanaging', 'standing orders' and 'rules of engagement'.]
In summary, what you're trying to say is that the War Wizards operate BOTH with standing orders AND with Vangey's micromanaging. That's what I was trying to take issue with, because I don't think it's possible to really and truly do both: the more you have of one, the NECESSARILY less you have of the other. If you're trying to shoot for some middle ground, what you end up with is a grayish mess that is neither truly "standing orders" nor truly "micromanaging". As a matter of intellectual principle I always try to avoid "grayish messes" whenever possible - I have a strong predilection for conceptual clarity and blacks/whites.

I know that grayness is present in reality, but I believe that it is always the product of misunderstanding, error, or insufficient information and never inherent, that one should never deliberately engender it or revel in it, and that one should always quash it whenever possible. The characters in the Realms will experience grayness within the world (and should to maintain verisimilitude), but I firmly believe that those writing at the DM and player level ought to keep it within the in-game level and never inflict it on DMs or players in the game rules or lore presented to them. I'm a firm believer of presenting game lore as "this is how it objectively and really is, but people in the world think something else." So if I write up that something is micromanaged, I mean that there are few to no significant "standing orders", and if I write up that something is in general highly organized with pre-defined plans and orders out the wazoo, it's not going to be in general micromanaged to a significant degree (at least not without portraying how that micromanagement is highly detrimental to the pre-defined plans and orders in place and destructive to the general good workings of the institution).

And in those snipped paragraphs, you again say I'm thinking in modern terms when I use 'standing orders' and 'rules of engagements'. Well, the specific phrases are undeniably modern, but I truly believe the concepts underlying the phraseology goes as far back as people have organized themselves and are not strictly modern concepts. More on this below.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I’ve never said this was an attractive feature of being a War Wizard, or that it arose out of anything more than the same deep-seated mistrust of the competency of others that so bedevils Khelben Blackstaff: Vangerdahast and Khelben are both paranoid, and (with a few exceptions, such as Laspeera and Caladnei in the first case and Laeral and to a lesser extent all of the other Chosen of Mystra in the second) they don’t trust anyone to do a task as well as they can, or even fully and properly at all.
Hmmm, that brings to mind another question. The relationship between Elminster and Vangerdahast has been fairly well covered in lore, but I've seen next to nothing about how Vangey gets on with Khelben. Do they get along well, given they have similar outlooks? Do they dislike each other because they are too much alike? Or do they generally not have any interaction at all?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [I plainly and simply don't think it's possible for micromanangement and initiative to easily and comfortably coexist in any period.]
Agreed. Vangey was attempting tactics neither easy nor comfortable, either for him or for the War Wizards under him. Ultimately (as he grew older, slower, and with ever-more things on his plate and filling his mind) doomed to failure - - but for many years he refused to accept that. Just like a lot of real people in the real world.
Sure, lots of people refuse to accept reality, but for 64 years? That's a bit long for Vangey to refuse to accept it, isn't it? Reality normally starts slapping people around who evade it far sooner than that. Reality's a bitch that way. I think that is a big part of my problem, that you're portraying him as taking so long to get around to realizing that. He should have started having rude wake-up calls far sooner than 64 years. To have evaded the truth for so long speaks very negatively to both Vangey's intelligence and wisdom. Someone with a modicum of both should have realized it far sooner.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [Given that roughly Renaissance-equivalent with a continuous 1300 year history, I find that a 2 for Cormyr would be patently unbelievable - it would shatter my suspension of disbelief.]
I disagree with your value of 2 out of 10, but I think you’re also making a great mistake here: the “continuous 1300 year history” bit. Read Cormyr: A Novel, and reflect on Luthax and other incidents in which War Wizards WERE traitors. As has been said before, Vangey completely overhauled the War Wizards, changing what they’d been before his arrival. So we’re really only speaking of the War Wizards under his aegis, which is more a matter of decades than centuries. (Much later in your post you conceded this, citing Vangey’s command over the War Wizards as lasting 64 years - - but you conveniently don’t mention that here.)
(More on the 2 out of 10 later)

Well, I didn't mention it here because I thought you would get the difference in context I was trying to get across in the two different places. It is true that the current manner in which the War Wizards work was started by Vangerdahast 64 years ago, but that still does not contradict the fact that Cormyr has a 13 centuries of history behind it, and the War Wizards probably only a handful of centuries less than that (from no later than Draxius' reign up to Salember's regency), that should inform and affect how the War Wizards institution currently works. That's 13 centuries of development and progress Cormyr has had, and I think we have both agreed in the past that the longer a history of development you have the more organization you get. That is why I think that in general, the various institutions of Cormyr would be most believable if they had a degree of organization that is greater than what you'd find in a typical medieval or renaissance kingdom that in real history had only a few hundred years of continuous existence as political entities. That degree of organization should also be less than the 20th-century real world because the modern real world requires its higher technological base to support the higher degree of organization. (Magic could serve in the place of some of this, but is quite limited because it's not nearly as ubiquitous as our modern technology is).

From what you said it seems you want us to consider the War Wizards under Vangey's own command as an isolated thing completely separate from the prior history of the War Wizards, as if Vangey completely wiped the slate clean and started over totally from scratch without any referece to historical precedent at all. I'm not sure that would even be possible. For one thing, the prior history of the War Wizards almost has to affect how Vangey did his reorganization if for no other reason than providing an example to Vangey of how he didn't want it to work - in effect his reorganization would be a reaction against the past institution of the war wizards. Even the prior War Wizards aside, though, there is the more fundamental matter of that 1300-year continuous history. That length of history implies a well-developed organization in Cormyrean society and governance, one that would be culturally ingrained in every Cormyrean from birth as how things should work. (And I believe Vangey is a native Cormyrean, from statements that the Eveningstar area was his playground as a boy.) The relatively higher degree of organization/hierarchy/order as how things should and do work implied by that unbroken 1300 year history should have been nearly indelibly ingrained into Vangey's psyche and should have affected how he approached his reorganization. For him to so completely discard that culturally-ingrained sense of organization and hierarchy in his revamping of the War Wizards in 1306 would be nothing less than completely revolutionary — and startlingly so given how he is otherwise portrayed. Such a revolutionary out-of-the-box approach seems out of character for Vangey. He might be brilliant and innovative in his Art, but he strikes me as relatively conventional and orderly (as befitting his Lawful alignment) in his overall worldview and not a revolutionary in any sense of the word.

I had viewed Vangey and his reorganization in a more conventional sense that would be well-informed by the long past history of the War Wizards and the culturally-ingrained sense of organization/order he was born and raised with, yet still very different from how the Draxius-through-Salember instititution worked. Similar degree of organization, but different in actual detail. You obviously disagree and go more for a complete and revolutionary slate-wiping.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I see it as the way every ‘exclusive club’ sort of organization, from belonging to a street gang to belonging to a golf course, ‘trains’ new members as to the pecking order, “the way things are done around here,” and so on. The specific means of this training, because we’re dealing in the main with brilliant, independent, and often egocentric minds (the sort of person who can cast arcane spells, and has been shaped by having some experience in doing so), often consists of ‘breaking’ (humiliating, so as to shatter personal notions of superiority) the new members. After all, Vangey wants loyal War Wizards, not six hundred haughty “I know better” loose cannons.
You've said before that war wizards know what to do and will act without having to wait for Vangey's word, but now here you say that Vangey 'breaks' these same independent minds because he doesn't want any loose cannons. There is some middle ground between breaking independent people from being loose cannons and 'breaking' them of having any initiative at all because "loose cannon" generally refers to out-of-control recklessness, but it's a shaky middle ground at best. If your 'breaking' methodology is severe enough to insure that none of them are "loose cannons" you're also breaking most of them of any real initiative at all, even the desirable kind. On the other hand, if your 'breaking' methodology is light enough to allow most of them to retain enough independence and initiative to be useful, then you guarantee that at least a few of them are going to retain their "loose cannon" inclinations. The "humiliating, so as to SHATTER personal notions of superiority" part seems to me extreme enough be on the severe end of the 'breaking' methodology, which speaks against your earlier assertion that the war wizards do act on their own initiative when needed.

Here's another quote from Cormyr: A Novel, from p.284, during that Huldyl-Kurthryn-chess scene. "One war wizard, an earnest young man from the Wyvernwater shores called Galados, had even confronted Old Thunderspells about it last night — and had not been seen since." Unless I missed something, Galados' fate was never revealed afterward. There are two reasonable ways his disappearance could be interpreted. One would be that Vangerdahast saw Galados as earnest, sincere, and well meaning, and sprirted him off into hiding so that he wouldn't blow Vangey's machinations. The second would be that Vangerdahast is intolerant of anyone calling him into question and simply eliminated Galados despite that his intentions were sincerely for the welfare of Cormyr. There are two reason why the second is more likely than the first: (a) if Vangey just spirited Galados away to keep him from interfering, why do whe see nothing of his return, just to show that he was still alive and that Vangey didn't do something vile to a earnest and loyal war wizard; (b) if Galados was truly sincere and spoke up out of his conscientious loyalty, why didn't Vangey use his loyalty be explaining what was up giving him a part in the machinations - it would have been a nice touch to have a mention of Galados at the climactic scene as helping out. That we see no revelation of Galados' fate only lends credence to the second explanation of his disappearance - that Vangey eliminated an earnest and loyal war wizard who just happened to have the guts to question his boss. If Vangey is the sort who will eliminate anyone who questions him - even those who are truly loyal to Cormyr - then we are clearly and unambiguously in the territory of him wanting only yes-men as war wizards who have no independence or initiative at all and this would speak strongly against your prior assertion that war wizards will act with independence and initiative and don't need Vangey's say-so to act. I know that if a co-worker of mine was disappeared simply for speaking up to the boss it'd sure chill any initiative I had!

It may be that you did mention Galados' fate and that bit was subject to the editorial scalpel, but as published his fate is definitely a loose end that should be tied up and the way in which it is tied up will further reveal Vangey's character.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [What also may be connected to the humility aspect is that in Stormlight on pp.31-32 you indicate that war wizards are prone to playing pranks on one another, and within the context of the cite Sir Broglan has to specifically tell his team "no pranks" and to concentrate on the mission.]
Correct, though the team seen in STORMLIGHT contains no true novices. Pranks are one of the ways some brilliant minds stave off boredom when forced (by loyalty to orders) to do distasteful or dull things.
I've heard a lot of people say that smarter someone is the more prone they are to pranks, but I've never really bought into that. I will agree with a more general statement - that smarter people may require more entertainment and diversion - but pranks or other minor malicious acts are nothing but immature and juvenile no matter how smart the prankster is. It's no excuse. While I suppose a wizard might be just as prone to immaturity as any other human being (there being no direct relationship between intelligence and maturity), it doesn't help any vision of professionalism on the part of the War Wizards if this sort of thing is rampant. I can think of two reasons why such immaturity might be tolerated: they are either (a) it is allowed to keep individual war wizards sharp and on guard or (b) intended to serve that purpose of breaking or humiliating war wizards. My initial gut reaction is that Vangey shouldn't tolerate flagrant immaturity among his war wizards unless it serves one of those specific purposes, but then I recalled that he tolerates a great variety of legal and moral lapses so long as those lapses don't hurt Cormyr or affect the performance of duty, so I guess we're left with possible rampant immaturity.

And you mention that the war wizards, besides being brilliant and egocentric, are independent. How can Vangey, who wants to micromanage everything, tolerate such independence? A true micromanager would try to break them of that independence - break them to his will. Perhaps you've known more micromanaging people in positions of authority than I, but I've never met a single micromanager who wouldn't actively try to quash the independence of those under him, or try to get rid of those he cound't break. That's part of why I'm having so much trouble believing in your portrayal of a meddlesome micromanager who still allows a significant amount of independence and initiative from those under him.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
True. And being intelligent people with minds trained to memorize lots of information perfectly (such as spells, on a daily basis), they have NO problem remembering “on this mission or task, Rundreth gives me orders and I’m in charge of Zethna and Darsheene, but for the matter of the stolen jewels, Zethna’s in charge of us all.” These aren’t grunts, remember. They are trained “rememberers.”
*I* have no problems remembering such things on a daily basis, in real life, when I’m working with some freelancers and staffers (WotC or other publishers) on Project X in a certain hierarchical array, and working with many of the same people on Project Y in a different hierarchical array. I often, in fact, juggle six to eight creative projects at once, AND at the same time serve on a library board and a local ratepayers’ association, AND participate in SFWA and several other professional organizations and clubs, AND have a “day job” with shifting sub-hierarchies on a task-by-task basis. And if I can do it, a ‘common garden’ War Wizard (whom I envisage as far smarter than I am, though some may be more naive or less experienced) certainly could. Vangey far more so, of course.
You have a point here, as long as we keep clear that intelligence and this "memory juggling act" aren't necessarily the same thing because I can think of two counterexamples: people who are highly intelligent but don't multi-process well (i.e. they have one-track minds that can only focus on one thing at a time), and idiot savants of the sort who can memorize phone books. I suppose what you're trying to say here is that to be a good wizard you have to be in the rare category of people who are both highly intelligent and multi-processors, and that given both requirements a wizard would have no trouble keeping straight the chaotic "this morning on project A I'm Bob's boss but this afternoon when we switch off to project B Bob is my boss." The highly-intelligent one-track-mind people would be good sages or academic types but not-so-good war wizards. Is that it?

At any rate, this flipping-back-and-forth structure of authority (I'm his boss, then he's my boss, then I'm his boss again) is not something I'm at all comfortable with , and not something I'd associate with any "lawfully aligned" person or institution.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Some of the early War Wizard training includes “live” versions of Kim’s Game, involving spell-transmitted “movies” (animated images) rather than a table full of small inanimate objects, and practise in observing and remembering many small details in those images. THIS is part of what p283 of Cormyr: A Novel refers to (of course many a mage looks back on such exercises as boring and humiliating, just as most of us recall elements of our early schooling as silly, vindictive, boring, and so on).
Learn something new every day! Would you believe that I had never heard that game called "Kim's Game" before? I knew of the game and I understood what game you were talking about from the context, but I had never heard it called "Kim's Game" before. I had always just thought of it as "that memory game". And that would indeed be humiliating if a real wizard were required to partake of it. That sort of game I would expect to be routine for a teenaged apprentice who is in his years of learning to become a wizard - i.e. someone who is not yet even a 1st-level wizard. This sort of 0th-level apprentice would never be a member of the War Wizards anyway. The novice war wizards you spoke of before would still be full wizards - i.e. wizards of 1st to 4th level - who should be will past that sort of thing. A person couldn't even become a "novice" war wizard unless he was already a fully functional wizard (i.e. at least 1st-level) in D&D game terms. For a full wizard who is capable of casting 1st-level spells, this sort of game would most certainly be EXACTLY the sort of "joe-job" that you said it didn't sound much like to you.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then post: [But what happens if the leader gets killed? Is Vangey going to specify an order of succession for the entire group? Or will the one appointed leader specify one at the start of the mission?]
In general, standing orders applied: the local expert was in charge ‘on the ground,’ unless Vangey specified a hierarchy of command (and yes, he usually did, complete with private details like “If Jaressa takes the wand, make sure you XYZ” or “If Thammadar shows the slightest sign of wanting to turn back or delay, make very sure you ABC”).
You mean Vangy makes a practice of appointing Thammadar as commander of a team but then gives Jaressa further instructions behind Thammadar's back and without his knowledge?!?! Personally, I can't think of much that would be more destructive of morale, discipline, trust, and teamwork than that. If Vangey does that regularly and most war wizards knew he did that, it'd be a miracle if any war wizard trusted any other war wizard or was able to work effective with any other. That sort of thing would directly undermine the authority of the appointed leader and make any kind of effective teamwork - or any trusting relationship between war wizards, for that matter - next to impossible! That's exactly the sort of thing that leads to the Keystone Kops situation that I want to avoid, where every war wizard spends as much time looking over his shoulder at the other war wizards (wondering if he can trust them and what their secret orders are) as he does concentrating on the mission they all have.

When you assemble a team and give them a mission to accomplish, everyone has to be on the same page for that mission to be effectively carried out and having Vangey give individual team members secret agendas throws that out the window. It's good fodder for spy thrillers in which the team has one or more traitors or people with different agendas, but it's lousy for believably portraying any sort of team working together to get a mission done (which is what the vast majority of war wizard teams should be, I think). You'd be right to say that such a traditional spy thriller plot (team members having secret orders, different agendas, and lacking trust in other team members) is good for roleplaying or novel writing, but in the context of portraying an effective and efficient organization that sort of team has to be the exceptional minority. If all the teams worked like that it goes from being a spy thriller to the Keystone Kops.

{End of part 1 of 4}
Go to Top of Page

Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  08:00:29  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
{Start of part 2 of 4}

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You seem to view the War Wizards as an aggressive schoolyard bunch who’ll be paralyzed with “But I’M the best!”/“No, I’M the best” arguments at the drop of a hat. Loyalty to the War Wizards is a highly prized and encouraged value among War Wizards, remember? Instinctively they’ll initially defer to senior-in-experience fellow War Wizards, breaking away only if they think the seniors are deranged, foolish, or dangerously wrong. Two or more seniors will consult and work together, not bicker.
Well, you did say that the war wizards were brilliant, independent and egotistical and without some form of control that sort of aggressive schoolyard behavior is what one would generally expect from a group of such individuals. I proposed having a system of levels of relative authority to serve as the form of control, but you instead countered that breaking and humiliating them - and keeping them on their toes with Vangey's unpredictable whim and micromanagement - was your preferred form of control. We've deeply discussed the relative merits of those two approaches elsewhere.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [What if the situation is time critical and they don't have time to select a leader or wait for orders - they just need a leader to act NOW?]
In THOSE sort of situations a group of War Wizards doesn’t need a leader to act NOW, they ALL need to ‘act now,’ and would do so. Simply put, they don’t have a mania for hierarchy. They know what they have to do (in general), and at least one of them would usually have recently had a “just checking in” visit from Vangey to fine-tune their directives.
True, they all need to 'act now', but my point is that they all would be more effective as a team if they were coordinated by a designated leader than they would be as just a bunch of individuals each knowing what they have to do.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You cry out that you’re being misunderstood in not trying to portray the War Wizards as modern American military, but you keep going back to “but they HAVE to have this command structure, even if you won’t let me name them” thinking that is very much like the modern American military.
Sigh. No, like *any* well-organized institution throughout history. The modern American military (or any modern military, for that matter) doesn't have a monopoly on hierarchical command structure. The ancient Romans were just as strong on hierarchy. The Romans might not have had the same fine-grained system of twenty-plus ranks, but the concept of hierarchy was just as strong with the Romans as it is now with any modern military or government institution. You could claim just as easily and validly - perhaps moreso - that I'm being anachronistic by trying to model Cormyr's defense institutions on ancient Rome rather than a medieval model. The ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu also wrote of such hierarchies (for armies, of course; he certainly didn't write anything about organizations of wizards). I will reiterate that I am NOT stuck in "modern American military" thinking because the underlying principles of which I have written are NOT solely modern concepts - they are timeless and have existed for as long as human beings have organized themselves above the tribal level.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I suggest reading THE LAST DITCH (a study of the hastily-assembled World War II resistance in England for the German invasion that never came) for a look at alternatives (in which small fellowships of local men set aside the centuries-old English class system AND civilian/military divide AND existing military ranks, to work together). Simply put, the War Wizards DON’T have to have such a rigid relative rank command structure. They’re closer to ‘not-secret-to-anyone’ secret police than they are military forces.
That does sound like an interesting book, if not exactly the most appropriate source of inspiration for an organization like the War Wizards in my opinion. Historically speaking, though, nearly all secret police organizations have had command structures that were just as hierarchical and rigid as any military force. About the *only* place you can historically find a lack of command structure such as you depict is in resistance and partisan groups or groups that operate beyond law or authority.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [If they don't have a way for leadership to quickly transition to the next man, the entire mission is placed at risk.]
“The entire mission is placed at risk” is the sort of talk I hear from the War College and NORAD guys all the time, NATO generals, and instructors at RMC up here in Canada, Sandhurst, and at West Point: modern military thinking and phraseology.
Well of course I use modern phraseology to communicate my ideas in a conversational setting like this - that's the way I learned to express the ideas. Don't confuse modern phraseology with modern thinking, though. The way I phrase it may be modern, but I truly believe that the idea behind the phrase is a timeless one that people involved in martial pursuits have understood for as long as people have organized themselves into civilizations. Ancient Romans or medieval Europeans may have phrased it differently, but those who were experienced in such things they surely understood the idea behind the words and factored it into their thinking.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Let me drive home the point more bluntly: the War Wizards aren’t grunts, and they’re not enlisted military of any sort.
I never said they were. In terms of general social class and prestige (not command authority), I would think of all war wizards as at least analogous to commissioned officers.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
They are elite Cormyreans living in Cormyr (and for the most part born and raised in Cormyr). They KNOW generally what they must do, and they share a common love of country and knowledge of country (they operate ‘at home,’ not in other lands). They also know how to ‘check in’ with fellow War Wizards: I “knew” by face and first name every last student at a school I attended in my youth, that had a student population of 800, so it’s no stretch at all to imagine a bewildered War Wizard recognizing a fellow War Wizard, racing over to him, and hissing, “THIS just happened! What d’you think we should do?” (Note that “we” rather than “I”).
You're much more of a people person than I, then. My graduating class in high school was about 750, and I could match names and faces to a few score at most. I knew maybe a few more names than that, but couldn't pin faces to them. In my professional life, I've worked for large companies in the past and never could pin faces and names to more than a handful of people outside those I regularly worked with.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You still seem to be thinking of vast numbers of people serving in various units thrown together for operational reasons (modern “combined arms”), or at least to be trying to pigeonhole these wizards into a chain of command that’s really only necessary in such situations. I’ve seen NATO tape of villagers fighting raiders from the next village in the Balkans, and there was NO rank or chain of command operating on either side, but strangely enough they managed to kill each other anyway, fighting with use of ‘cover’ and covering fire and sub-objectives and even strategic withdrawals quite effectively. Real war is never orderly, as literally hundreds of generals and survivors have said in various ways down the ages.
Real war is never orderly in practice, but that's the very reason why every noteworthy military organization in history has taken on an excess of order and organization: it's an attempt to offset that inherent chaos and at least make it manageable. War isn't orderly, but no sane person likes or revels in chaos and "all other things being equal" (that caveat again), the side that conducts itself most orderly and most in control will win.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You add: [The irrefutable truth of any sort of deadly conflict is that all other things being equal, one group that is a team led and coordinated by a leader will beat a group of leaderless and undirected individuals every time. This irrefutable truth . . .] . . .ain’t anything of the sort. Tell that to the legions wiped out by Boadicea’s uprising, the British troops slaughtered in the Mutiny, many police and military units exterminated by mobs in the disintegrating Soviet Union (I’ve seen tapes of downtown street fighting in Russian cities wherein completely leaderless and disorganized grannies with handbags took out entire units of heavily body-armored soldiers with machine guns because they were too enraged to be afraid any longer, and outnumbered the troops about seventy to one), and so on and et cetera. Of course you’ll have to raise them from the dead to do your telling. :}
None of your examples do anything to dispute the truth I stated, because in every one of those cases all other things were not equal. Note that I did say that *all other things being equal* superior organization and leadership wins.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
MOST strategists agree that in MOST conflicts, three to one odds will prevail, unless disparities in weaponry, ‘reach,’ intelligence (of enemy locations and terrain) are significant. Leadership is one factor among many.
I am well aware of the 3-1 odds rule, but that is a rule of thumb about what force is necessary to more or less insure victory. I agree that leadership is only one factor among many, but again I would like to point out that I did say "all other things being equal."

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I agree that superior leadership OFTEN prevails if forces are fairly equal, but just who are these “leaderless and undirected individuals” you refer to? Certainly not the War Wizards, who have standing orders and rules of engagement and VERY frequent direct orders from the Commander-in-Chief himself coming out their ears. Remember also that the War Wizards essentially police Cormyr; they don’t invade other countries.
They don't have to invade other countries. I was always under the impression that the War Wizards still faced nearly constant conflict with a variety of hostile agents inside Cormyr — scheming nobles, orcs and goblins in various frontier regions, Zhents, Dragon cultists, Red Wizards, etc. I always thought that the War Wizards were constantly busy warding off this threat and that even without going outside of Cormyr.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
They’re almost always operating on familiar ground, among folk they know a lot about, and NOT in large setpiece conventional warfare situations. You make it sound as if kids at a summer camp sent on a scavenger hunt would fail if they didn’t have a strict chain of command, uniforms, and orders being barked back and forth constantly.
True, they don't normally gather to fight large set-piece battles. Leadership is just as necessary at the tactical scale as the strategic, though. To return to Kentinal's police investigation analogy, just ask any SWAT team how they'd fare without a leader or method of coordinating a plan.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [Not having ANY way of handling continuity of leadership in the face of casualties just plainly and simply isn't believable for any group that knows it will face possibly mortal challenges.]
Oh? The vast majority of D&D adventuring groups of Player Characters DON’T establish a strict or formal chain of command. They may set up ‘marching orders’ of characters to determine who gets squashed by this or that trap or attack, and group dynamics or a brief “You’ve got the highest-level priest? Okay, then our paladins follow” discussion usually establishes “who’s in charge most of the time” - - but they rarely establish a formal pecking order, from top to bottom, because they don’t want to and don’t need to. And task groups of War Wizards are rarely larger than PC adventuring groups.
My experience with D&D adventuring groups must be highly atypical, then, if what you say of the vast majority is true. Part of that might be that almost all of the different campaigns/settings I've played in have been with the same set of players, but my group has always established - sometimes explicitly and sometimes by default - who is the leader of the group and who will lead if the leader falls. I do think a second-in-command and third-in-command should be specified, but probably not the entire group lineup all the way down to 6th-in-charge or more because once the top three people are down the entire mission is usually so irretrievably screwed anyway that the only thing left to do is to break off and get out.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then post: [Having no standard measure of authority outside of Vangey's own whim for a group of 600 full war wizards is also not very believable to me; I don't think that any insititution so constituted could endure as an effective force.] and [Not having ANY method for maintaining continuity of leadership in the face of casualties in the War Wizards also exceeds my threshold of believability.]
My own conception of the War Wizards (as, ahem, the guy who created them), is that you sell them insultingly short: you’re thinking of them as incompetents, whatever your claims to the contrary, if you can type the above two sentences.
I disagree. I draw a distinction - I think a very valid one - between individual competence and institutional competence and it is the latter that I am addressing here. Just because every individual in an institution is highly competent as an individual does not at all imply that the institution is competent as a whole. You can gather the hundred most competent people in the world together and give them some common mission to accomplish that is within their field of competency, but unless they find some way to effectively organize themselves and coordinate their actions so they're not wasting time or resources by duplicating effort or getting in each other's way the group as a whole will almost assuredly be a farcical laughing stock despite each individual's highest competence.

Institutional competence is most assuredly not the mere sum of the competence of the individuals within that institution, and the fact that every individual within the institition may be highly competent does not by itself carry over at all to the competence of the institution as a whole. The sum of individual competencies is a necessary, but by itself completely and utterly INsufficient, precondition to institutional competence. If you disagree with this then we're just going to have to agree to disagree. When I say that a War Wizards institution lacking any organization would be incompetent, it is just flat-out wrong and invalid to draw from that the conclusion that I'm calling any individual war wizard incompetent.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Fair enough, but I believe that’s ignoring the counterbalancing nature of Purple Dragons; courtiers at the Royal Court tirelessly making rules, recording events, and therefore observing events; loyal nobles who fulfill their duties; and yeoman crofters who know not just their own place but everyone else’s, and expect folk to behave . . . in the ‘normal way of things’ in the realm of Cormyr. You see, I’m a fan of Cormyr, too, and I happen to think the whole realm survives because those farmers, shepherds, crofters, woodcutters, and craftfolk want it to: they’re the foundation on which the Forest Kingdom stands. The War Wizards are Vangey’s ace up his sleeve, that “everyone knows about” and so are as effective as a deterrent as they are in operational fact.
I don't think the "counterbalancing nature" works here. Just because one or two institutions are highly organized and hierarchized does not at all mean that a third institution can still be effective while being disorganized. There is no principle of "conservation of organization" or "balance of organization" in play here. Now, you may dispute my contention that any large institution of several hundred members (like the War Wizards) needs to be organized in order to be effective, but if you assume it for the moment (just for this moment of the conversation) that it's true then the degree of organization needed for the war wizards is completely independent of the degree of organization exhibited by the Purple Dragons, the Royal Court, or any other Cormyrean institution. The War Wizards must either have sufficient organization of its own to be effective or fail to be effective. As an institution with its own distinct role (using magic to protect and defend Cormyr), it must be effective or not on its own merits, and cannot lean on the organization of other institutions. Our debate here is about the degree of organization the War Wizards need to be effective, and we can of course disagree about that, but it's invalid to say that just because the Purple Dragons are organized the War Wizards don't need to be nearly as much.

I certainly agree that the farmers, shepherds, crofters, et. al. are the foundation on which Cormyr stands, and Cormyr would collapse without that foundation. However, to carry the analogy further, while a foundation supports the metaphorical House of Cormyr it isn't the house itself. A foundation does absolutely nothing to prevent others from coming along and burning the house down. In a non-magical world the Purple Dragons and Blue Dragons would be sufficient to keep this from happening (providing they are kept effective, of course). In the magical world of Faerûn, though, we need an effective force of wizards in addition to the conventional military to protect the metaphorical House of Cormyr from being looted or burned down, and that is the role the War Wizards play. It has been my contention all along that no institution comprising several hundred individuals can be effective *as an institution* without a reasonable degree of organization regardless of whatever the individual competencies of the members might be. Each individual war wizard might be a highly competent wizard, but that's not good enough - the War Wizards institution as a whole must be *institutionally* effective as well in order to provide the magical protection and oversight Cormyr needs. If the War Wizards are not *institutionally* effective, then they fail to be any sort of credible deterrent.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Your words above also equate competence with having a strict chain of command, rather than placing competence on the shoulders of individual War Wizards (where I prefer to place it; these are, after all, WIZARDS).
Again, this touches on the difference between individual and institutional competence. I may be misinterpreting you, but you seem to be saying that having the individual war wizards be competent necessarily and automatically means that the institution as a whole will be competent. I would reiterate that this just isn't so in and of itself. A sufficient degree of organization is a requirement for competence at the institutional level. It's that simple. Our disagreement seems to be over what degree qualifies as "sufficient."

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Vangerdahast doesn’t want to be top dog, he wants things done his way (there’s a difference). Was General Patton trying to be President or thinking he really WAS president? No. He just wanted to do things his way (often disobeying direct orders from above in the process).
Simply put, Vangey doesn’t want to be king and doesn’t think he has the right to be king. He does, however, want Cormyr to be like this and that and the other (various details that he sees or that occur to him), and is continually fine-tuning ‘the way of things’ in the realm to make it better, or rather closer to what he sees as best.
He may not want the crown or the title, but when he is putting what his personal vision of Cormyr first (even above the vision of Azoun), he is taking kingship upon himself de facto if not de jure. Personally, I would say that he DOES think he's effectively king if he takes on that executive power, even if he doesn't want the crown or title or the notoriety that goes with them. Saying that he doesn't want to be top dog rings hollow when you say he's taken upon himself the effective power of the top dog.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then posted that this view of Vangey [doesn't fit with prior portrayals of Vangey and the War Wizards. What I got from past published portrayals of Vangey is that he was personally loyal to and served first Cormyr and second the Obarskyrs, and in all logic I would have expected him to have the same expectations of all his War Wizards.]
That was the outward face he presented, yes. See my answer to Dargoth for more about Vangey’s character. You’re correct that Vangerdahast DOES have those expectations of all of his War Wizards. He certainly doesn’t want any of them thinking they’re “better than” or have any business mind-controlling, any Obarskyr. He does, however, think HE must - - for the good of the realm, not for his own personal advancement.
He has rules for others that he doesn't follow himself. So in short, whatever his motives are, another of Vangey's failings is that he's a hypocrite. The list of his failings continues to grow.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [My impression from published works was that Vangey might have had private thoughts that he would be the best ruler of Cormyr that he kept those thoughts private and served his country and king in that order.]
Correct. Only Filfaeril and Laspeera saw him as he really was, before the events of ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER (though Alusair and Alaphondar, to name just two, had strong suspicions). Note what I’m agreeing to, here: I’m NOT saying Vangey saw himself as a rightful ruler of Cormyr in any sense. He saw himself as the man best suited to rule, and tried to make Azoun IV better and better suited to rule, and at the same time worked to ensure that Azoun made the “right” decisions and gave the “right” decrees. “Right” in this case being what Vangey saw as right, of course. Vangerdahast saw himself as the TRUE ruler but not the RIGHTFUL ruler. In other words, it was his daily job to rule Cormyr from behind the scenes, and not get caught at it.
This is confirmation that Vangey thinks of himself as the king de facto but not de jure - he readily enough assumes the power, just eschews the title, paraphenalia and acclaim.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [I suppose you might say that Vangey sees himself AS Cormyr - as in "what's good for me is good for Cormyr" or to paraphrase Judge Dredd "I *AM* Cormyr!" - but that also seems to me to be self-serving in the former and near psychotic in the latter.]
Correct. This is how Vangey rationalized going about things in a ruthless, scheming way and gathering ever more power to himself: he saw himself as the realm.
I just had this horrid vision of an overweight Sylvester Stallone in brown robes saying "I *AM* Cormyr!" Not an image I wanted in my head, but there's no reason I should have to suffer it alone!

{End of part 2 of 4}
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 84 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page | Next Page
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2017 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000