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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  08:02:13  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
{Start of part 3 of 4}

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
The bright side of his ‘rule’ is that he brought years of peace, stability, and prosperity to Cormyr, made Azoun loved by a majority of commoners in Cormyr, and devoted his own (Vangey’s) time to making Cormyr ever better. So he never cavorted with young lasses or took gold or pursued strange hobbies: he became obsessed with the good of the realm, which he saw as ‘doing things his way.’ Whenever ‘his way’ didn’t bring about the best for the realm, he changed what he did to make Cormyr better.
The kingdom of Cormyr certainly is portrayed as a nice place, although I suppose one could say the usual things about whether the end justifies the means here... but that's a philosophical issue that goes beyond my focus on the war wizards.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then posted: [The way I had envisioned it was that a number of war wizards are generally assigned to a regiment (unless the regiment has a specific mission or on campaign, the assignment is for a period of some months and wizards rotate in and out) to provide magical support (and to spy on the regiment and report its activities to Vangey/Caladnei).]
Yes and no. Vangey sends War Wizards to accompany Purple Dragon units, individual War Wizards generally serving for a tenday or two at most, and rotating in and out as he (Vangey) sees fit, but these mages are NOT “assigned” in the modern military sense of that word: they are NOT subject to the orders of the commander of the military force UNLESS Vangey tells them they are. Note that in cases of real war (invasion from Sembia, DotD battles, any forays into the Stonelands) he WOULD usually do so, with the War Wizards themselves informing the military commander of this (and of the limitations on it). Remember, it’s rare for Purple Dragons OR War Wizards to take to the field for any other reason than “defense of the realm.” (Patrols into Tunland, the Stonelands, to Tilver’s Gap, and so on are of course considered to be defending the realm.)
It sounds to me in effect that, rather than attaching war wizards to regiments then let the regimental commander handle the details of mounting patrols and notifying the war wizards attached to the regiment (as I proposed), that Vangey himself would have to personally keep track of the patrol schedules of every garrison around the realm and personally attach war wizards to specific patrols as he desired. That may fit with his micromanaging style, but it's an inefficient, cumbersome and unwieldy way to run things. Did the man have no sense at all for all those years that he was juggling far too many details for him to possibly handle, before his recent realization that he was failing? Was he truly that stupendously blind for that many years?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Yes, the War Wizards do ‘spy’ on the unit and what befalls it for Vangey. Yes, they may APPEAR or decide to take orders from almost anyone in the heat of a fray (because they are, after all, working to defend Cormyr, the same objective as held by most nobles and Purple Dragons and yeoman farmers they might be fighting alongside), but they don’t have to take such orders from anyone outside the War Wizards except individuals designated in their orders from Vangey, the Obarskyrs, and the persons you’ll learn about in the Best of Eddie book.
I have a feeling that I'll be doing yet another rewrite after that book comes out. Oh, well.

You've said before that the members of the war wizards were not loose cannons from the perspective of Vangey and their own organization, however it does sound to me like they would definitely be regarded as loose cannons by any Purple Dragon officer whose patrol they happened to be tagging along with. From a viewpoint of a commanding officer in the field, I sure as hell wouldn't want anyone anywhere near me or my men who was not under my authority, because people who are right next to me but free to do what they want because they have orders or agendas different from mine are more than likely going to get my men killed needlessly. I can't imagine any such field commander being anything but resentful of such tagalongs out of his control. That resent will be reflected with the typical disdain spellcasters have for "swordbrains", of course, so the working relationship is going to be poor and any situation requiring them to support each other will have the potential for disaster. It's a hell of a way to run an army!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
So, to your post: [If there's an army of multiple regiments in the field, the oversword or battlemaster leading the army can yank the regimental wizards up to his level. The constal leading that regiment has the power to assign them to specific subordinate units within the regiment (e.g. to accompany a patrol) or keep them all at the regimental level as the situation warrants. The constal or the officer leading the subordinate unit has the authority to give them general orders], my answer must be a flat NO. The officers you cite in your example have that authority only if the War Wizard in question (acting on instructions from Vangey) gives it to them. They have no authority whatsoever that’s automatically tied to the Purple Dragon (or Blue Dragon, or Court) rank they hold.
True, there would have to be some sort of specific order (from Vangey or a senior war wizard) placing a war wizard under the command of a Purple Dragon officer - I never said there is any automatic or implicit authority of army officers over war wizards - but whenever war wizards get attached to Purple Dragon units I would expect that specific order from Vangey to be a matter of course, a given, the way things are normally done. I would expect instances in which war wizards are attached to a Purple Dragon units yet not placed under command of the commanding officer of that unit for the duration of the mission to be quite rare and exceptional. If that sort of order from Vangey is not the norm for this situation (as you seem to be suggesting) then for reasons I cited above that's going to lead to a poor working relationship between Purple Dragons and War Wizards.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Having made your decision that War Wizards are assigned to military units, you ‘support’ it by posting: [That said, though, it is still undeniable that some war wizards ARE assigned to conventional military units to provide support.]
Not so!
You post: [Numerous times in published lore war wizards are shown with an army in the field or accompanying a routine patrol.]
Correct. Accompanying and fighting alongside, yes. Often taking orders from because they’ve been ordered to by Vangey, yes. “Assigned” into the chain of command so military commanders can bark orders at them merely because of the rank held by that military commander, NO.
Of course not so military officers can order them around just for the sake of ordering them around no. And the "taking orders from because they've been ordered to by Vangey" is something I would expect to be not just "often" but the standard practice for nearly all attachments of war wizards to Purple Dragon units, as I mention above. Situations where a war wizard is assigned to a Purple Dragon unit without being tasked to support that unit at the direction of the commanding officer should be quite rare and exceptional. Note here that I'm referring to the actual attachment of war wizards to the Purple Dragons and not a mere "travelling companion" sort of accompanying - i.e. not a "I want you to go to Arabel, and it just happens that there's a Purple Dragon patrol heading there tomorrow too, so you might as well go with them for safety in numbers, and oh, by the way, while you're at it let me know what they do on the way." sort of thing. In this "travelling companion" sort of situation of course the war wizards wouldn't be under the command of the patrol leader.

In regard to those specific attachments to the army that I'm speaking of, other than the hidden mission of spying on the army and reporting what they find to Vangey think about why the war wizards would be assigned to an army unit in the first place - the ostensible or "public" reason. That reason is to provide magical support: to assist the army in moving through terrain, to communicate with others far away like senior commanders or Azoun (via teleport or sending spells), to use illusion or transformation spells to hide or modify battlefield terrain, to counter enemy spellcasters, to use offensive spells against enemy forces. In short, to provide what in modern terms would be signals, engineering, and artillery support. Now, imagine how things work work on a battlefield if these functions were not under the authority of the commanding officer. What would happen if signalmen could decide on their own what messages to send, or engineers could say "I have something better to do than helping you build a quick defensive fortification" or artillerymen could say "it better suits me to pulverize this hill over here rather than the one you're taking fire from." That would be an intolerable outrage in any battlefield situation. I phrased those examples in modern terms, but the exact same sorts of issues arise for war wizards supporting the Purple Dragons.

Now, it might well be the case that a war wizard would often agree to help the Purple Dragon officer anyway, because they're both on the same side and they both want to protect and defend Cormyr. The problem is that such agreement, while it might occur often, won't *always* occur. Even if they both agree that the Purple Dragons should get magical help, the commander and the war wizard might adamantly disagree about the form that help should take. There is also the possibility that the war wizard might have secret orders given him by Vangey which prevent him from giving the Purple Dragons the support they want. This is a recipe for defeat and disaster. From a tactcal point of view, it's far better for there to be a unified command - one man giving the orders for how the battle will be conducted and not having to consult with people outside his authority.

Is any Purple Dragon field commander going to want what he views as magical support he needs be independent of his authority? Is he going to be content to merely hope that their orders and agendas will coincide with his, merely hope that they will agree to use a wall of fire to protect an exposed flank or fireball a mass of tuskers when he needs it? Does this field commander have to live in dread of the moment where the war wizards that tagged along with him suddenly go off on some "important mission for Vangerdahast" exactly when he needs their help the most. Personally, if I were a field commander I wouldn't want anyone with me that I couldn't depend on when I needed them. If I were that field commander, I'd tell those war wizards "Look, if you can't guarantee me up front that you're going to help me when I need it and how I need it, then just take a hike and head off on your true mission right now. I don't want you around." The surest way for that field commander to have the help he needs when he needs it is for it to be standard practice for specific orders to be given to the attached war wizards to place them under the authority of the field commander.

And don't tell me this is "modern American" thinking. Army commanders have undoutbtedly felt this way about their supporting people for as long as there have been armies. I'm sure the legate commanding a Roman legion felt exactly the way I'm describing about those attached to support his legion.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
(snipped paragraphs about the War Wizards and High Horn)
All right, so High Horn is just a secluded training ground, "Siberia" banishment location, and safe house for the War Wizards. It might have been easier if you had ever given some hint of this in published lore. Without your words here, I would never have thought of it this way. What I've seen mentioned of the War Wizards and High Horn in published lore all shouted out "garrison!" to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
However, you continue with the military thinking you protest you don’t intend to use, by posting: [Published Realmslore thus incontrovertibly supports the idea that SOME war wizards (although certainly not all of them, nor the entire institution as a whole) are given military duties, thus it is reasonable to speak of that portion of war wizards in somewhat more military terms.]
No, published Realmslore DOESN’T “incontrovertibly” support such a view, except to someone who chooses to only see things as supporting such a view.
Sorry, Jerry, I’m not trying to be rude here, but you seem bewildered and disbelieving that War Wizards can function at all without a strict rank hierarchy, and I’m increasingly disbelieving that you persist in seeing them only in this way.
I’m left shaking my head, which is why I said at the outset that we’ll probably just have to agree to disagree.
I'm not trying to be rude either, but I have to disagree with you here. Published Realmslore has depicted war wizards providing direct support to the Purple Dragons on the field of battle. There is no possible or reasonable way this can be interpreted as anything other than functioning in a military role. It's that simple.

I won't deny that the War Wizards do also serve in non-military roles, and the majority of their duties may be non-military in nature. To say that the War Wizards do not fulfill any military function at all would be exactly analogous to saying that real-world combat engineers or artillerymen do not fulfill any military function, and that would be completely wrong. Further, in your latest series of four posts you say "Remember, it’s rare for Purple Dragons OR War Wizards to take to the field for any other reason than “defense of the realm.”" "Defense of the realm" is unquestionably a military role, so when you say that the War Wizards do take to the field for that reason your own words are putting them in that military role on those occasions.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You went on to post that you’d never met a real-life leadership type who attempted both paranoid micromanagement and ‘buddy buddy’ behaviour. Fair enough; I have, and as he posted here, so has Ulrik Wolfsbane. I agree that the two sorts you cite: [The paranoid micromanagers I've met have all been the "I don't care if you like me, I'm not here to be liked. I'm here to be in charge so do what I say" type, and the "buddy buddy" types have all been "you know your job and don't need me to tell you how to do every little thing, so just let me know if you need help" type.] are probably more common than the guy who tries to do both, but the guy who tries to do both is by no means rare. I sure wish he was!
You go on to post: [The point stands, that he can't succeed at both.]
Correct.
All right, you admit he can't succeed at both...

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
However, you then post: [No one under him except the most gullible or naive are going to be fooled by the "buddy buddy" act of a known paranoid micromanager] and here I must disagree again. Vangey DOES help his War Wizards personally, act as their father confessor, praise them when he sees they need it, buy them drinks or companionship, give them introductions to people they’re smitten by, and so on. Unpredictably, and from time to time, not often. So it’s not just a “buddy buddy” ACT for him, and they know that.
...but then you turn around and portray him as succeeding at both.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Does this behaviour leave most War Wizards confused? You bet.
They're not the only ones!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Does this behaviour leave most War Wizards confused? You bet. Not knowing which way the Old Man will jump next? Indubitably! Thinking him crazy? Certainly. But they DON’T think him so crazy or incompetent as to be dangerous to the realm or themselves enough to force his removal. On the contrary, he’s the guy they “know” carries the whole dang realm on his shoulders, who’s uncovered traitors’ plots and Sembian swindles time and time again, who’s faced down nobles, and whisked War Wizards to the rescue of distraught farmers and to search for missing children and to pretend to be Tanalasta’s smitten suitors at a revel so she can delay pushy nobles who wanted to be her suitor, and so on (duties that were fun or that they took pride in having accomplished). The War Wizards trust Vangerdahast for the same reason many nobles and courtiers grudgingly do: because he gets results.
I'll grant that Vangey has done many things to protect Cormyr, whatever his other faults are (and those faults are legion). However, you've just portrayed him as being an extremely poor leader here. Engendering confusion, uncertainty and doubts about his sanity among his underlings are qualities that are mutually exclusive with good leadership. These are things you do wish to engender among your enemies, but most certainly not among your own people. A leader who leaves those under him confused about him is a poor leader. A leader who leaves those under him uncertain about him is a poor leader. A leader who leaves those under him thinking him crazy is a poor leader.

Any leader whose own underlings are confused or uncertain about him or who think him crazy is a leader who *IS* dangerous to the mission he has been tasked to accomplish (whether he admits it or not or realizes it or not) and who *OUGHT* to be removed from his position of leadership. Thankfully, Vangey finally realized this and stepped down. The thing I can't get over is that he lasted as long as he did with his severely flawed methodology.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I agree with you here, and felt the same way. I’ve been trying to show the differences in the “three most-onstage crotchety old controlling wizards of the Realms” (in descending order: Elminster, Khelben, and Vangerdahast) for some years (in part because several TSR designers wanted to butcher at least two of three for no better reason than “they’re too much alike!”). So they couldn’t all stay “gruff old coots who always have something up their sleeves, are always right, and have hearts of gold and loins of ‘ahem.’”
I understand the need to differentiate the three. I just wish it hadn't been done by making Vangey just as much a villain as a "good guy". That he had good ends does not excuse his villainous means.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
This meant that I had to show Realms readers the next layer of depth to Vangerdahast that I’d normally keep just for the DM (and as you said in your earlier post, you want to Reveal All and write that layer). I agreed to do this because the Knights in the ‘home’ Realms campaign had by this time learned all about Vangey’s innermost secrets for themselves (by a process that’s another l-o-o-o-n-g tale, for another time).
Hence what you’re reading here at Candlekeep.
You mean that the Knights in your home campaign discovered that Vangey dipped into the mind of Azoun, so the secret spread beyond Filfaeril and Laspeera?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I agree with you: yes, this is where Vangey ‘went over the line.’ Yes, it makes him much less of a nice or heroic guy (building into him the first flaw beyond rudeness and perhaps ruthlessness). And yet, he does something heroic, or at least noble, by realizing he went over the line and is no longer fit to run things, and doing the best thing for Cormyr: finding his own successor and ensuring an orderly transition of power. For Cormyr.
Rather than clinging to power to reward himself, or deluding himself that doing so is best for Cormyr.
Well, he did spend many years deluding himself, so his 'heroism' is very belated. He was very slow on the uptake to have his moment of self-honesty. It's miraculous that he lasted as long as he did. Reality should have smacked him up side the head with it long before now.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
So he turned the War Wizards into extensions of his will, as much as possible, to give himself reinforcements in governing Cormyr - - precisely as a counter to the Purple Dragons, any agents hired or developed by traitor nobles, and so on.
A counter to foreign agents or traitor nobles I can see. But specifically a counter to the Purple Dragons? I believe you've mentioned this in a message on the REALMS-L list as well, and this is dangerous for Cormyr. The War Wizards and Purple Dragons are two institutions who are jointly tasked with the overall defense and protection of Cormyr - they have the same grand strategic goal even if their methods and specialties are very different. While there's nothing wrong with a little friendly rivalry akin to the real-life interservice rivalries, specifically pitting one against the other as some kind of "counter" is very dangerous and counterproductive, not to mention wasteful of resources, because it pits them against each other to a certain extent and reduces the trust and willingness to work with each other against common threats. It's not unbelievable, though, because there are real-life analogs: e.g. the KGB vs the Red Army. It's just that Cormyr would be much better served by a War Wizards and Purple Dragons that cooperated and worked well together, and never rose above the level of friendly rivalry.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [then your ordered list of factors would instantly turn the entire institution of War Wizards from the realm's protector to the realm's greatest enemy as the war wizards would put loyalty to Vangey first (if they all lived up to Vangey's loyalty priorities).]
Correct, IF they all lived up to Vangey's loyalty priorities. However, they won’t. THEY don’t know about these priorities, remember? What I listed were Vangey’s personal mental factors in judging particular War Wizards, and there’s NO way he would have let anyone but Laspeera (and later Caladnei) even see a hint of them.
If Vangey acted on those hidden priorities enough, say in getting rid of this war wizard or shoving that war wizard off to the "Siberia" exile of High Horn or not giving the other war wizard some task he is otherwise obviously and eminently suited for, wouldn't the brilliant war wizards you described before eventually figure it out?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
So no need to gag. All you have to do is try to see the War Wizards differently than you’re seeing them. Again, this loyalty to Vangey you’re seeing is misplaced: you are still thinking of a strict military rank hierarchy (“gotta obey the general!”) rather than a band of wizards (“all for one and one for all!”), each of whom thinks Vangey watches over them personally as they all tackle the necessary tasks of defending Cormyr together.
Can you see what I’m getting at, finally? Or are we going to have to go through all of this again? :}
All for one and one for all, hmm? So the War Wizards are in effect the "600 Musketeers," except that they obey the scheming Cardinal Richelieu figure of Vangerdahast rather than work against the great schemer?

{End of part 3 of 4}
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  08:04:40  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
{Start of part 4 of 4}

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
And here we’re at the crux of the matter. I reject your ranking system, and I’m afraid I can’t do anything about what you personally find believable (other than try to educate you with more and more details of Realmslore, in hopes that belief comes with enlightenment).
Well, getting more Realmslore is what we're all here for!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Your ranking system is based on your equating an internal order based on a hierarchy of ranks with efficiency and effectiveness. You keep saying you aren’t trying to make the War Wizards a military unit, and yet you keep judging or treating them as if they are.
Well, I'm not treating them as a military unit in the same way as I'm treating the Purple Dragons because they do have many non-military functions. I have never attributed to the War Wizards uniforms, specific rank titles, or a unit structure like a conventional army. However, in general concept they are tasked with (among other things) defending Cormyr from various threats using their magic, and national defense of any sort is a military role even if the agency fulfilling it isn't a true military unit. And just look at the title you gave them - *WAR* Wizards - war is definitely a military role. You have depicted the war wizards as IN PART fulfilling a military role simply by putting them on battlefields with the regular Army, if nothing else - if the War Wizards were completely nonmilitary then they had no place on the battlefield at all. All that aside, many real-life "secret police" organizations (that the War Wizards are roughly analogous to) took on certain military trappings even if they were not inherently military organizations. I tried my best to eschew any purely military trappings and apperances while still giving them an internal structure that is suited to fulfilling what is definitely in part a military (or at least paramilitary) role.

Given the very name of the War Wizards and the fact that they have been depicted them as fighting on battlefields in support of the army, is it so surprising that I think they do have some at least paramilitary aspects and that I think it's a serious mistake to cast them as completely and totally nonmilitary?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You post: [I am convinced that organization is the time-immemorial and eternal method for people to get things done efficiently and effectively, and that while the degree of organization needed depends on the size of the institution and the number/complexity of tasks it's given the necessity of organization in principle is constant for all times.]
It might astonish you to learn that I don’t disagree with the above sentence.
What I do disagree with is your unilateral decision that a hierarchy of stable-through-all-situations ranks is the only means by which any group can be effectively organized.
The only means? No. The best and most effective means? Yes, in my opinion, particularly in any situation involving conflict. You could say that the War Wizards simply don't have the optimal organization and could be quite a bit better than they currently are (and may evolve into that with Caladnei in charge), but the "Cormyr fanboy" in me has to be dragged kicking and screaming to that!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Let me shift analogies here to a modern sports team. As a Canadian, I’m going to choose hockey, one of our two national sports (the other, lacrosse, fits equally well here): a contest between two teams whose coaches, on the professional level, are constantly “juggling lines.” That is, shifting which players are on the ice playing together into different combinations (so that Hank may play left wing on one shift, but be told to play center for the next one), AND trying to match those different combinations against specific players or combinations of players on the opposing team. NFL football and major league baseball coaches do the same thing when it comes to trying to arrange matchups against specific opposing players, but in those sports, with the skill specializations that have come to dominate the modern versions of the games (‘special teams’ in football), it’s rarer to shift your own players from position to position (task to task) during a particular game - - though it DOES happen.
Vangerdahast is like a hockey coach, juggling his players (the War Wizards) continuously to deal with (what he sees as) the foes of Cormyr.
And if you dismiss every last hockey team as therefore necessarily “unorganized” or “chaotic” or “doomed to be ineffective,” I think I’ll SCREAM. :}
I'm not a hockey fan and I don't know much about the sport (I'm not much of a sports fan in general, but if I had to pick one favorite it would be baseball), but it certainly seems rather chaotic from the legendary, possibly apocryphal, number of melees they get into on the ice! Of course, seems like in recent times such behavior is somewhat on the rise in all sports, not to mention the behavior of the fans after many championship games. But that's another issue entirely.

Anyway, I do get your meaning about shifting things around to deal with particular threats. In baseball, this generally only happens in the contest between pitcher and batter. A fresh pitcher might be brought out to deal with a strong left-handed batter, or a player good at bunting might pinch-hit if a bunt is needed. This method works well for a team of a score or less people, and it still has a clear leader - the coach. I don't think this method scales well at all up to an organization 600+ strong.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Just to adopt your 1-10 scale of organization for a moment, I’d rate the War Wizards as usually hovering around a 7. After all, they are among the most versatile and well-rounded people in all Faerûn, and CERTAINLY the most well-rounded group of wizards on Toril.
When (rarely, I’ll admit) their communications are really “clicking,” they go up to probably around 8.5. YOU may see them as down around 2, but I sure don’t - - but again, I’m not measuring them against a military chain of command, or expecting them to have one.
A 7 to an 8.5?!?! You're not using the same scale I am. Remember, I defined a 1 as no organization at all and a 10 as equivalent to the modern American military or government. A 10 would constitute a hierarchy of twenty-plus ranks or pay grades, a whole bureaucracy of departments, agencies, bureaus and offices with people dedicated to keeping the bureaucracy going for its own sake as much as accomplishing the purpose the organization was made for, and a never-ending flow of paperwork and succession of meetings within the administrative apparatus. The War Wizards you have described both in published lore and in more detail here doesn't get anywhere close to a 7 or 8.5 unless you're using an exponential or asymptotic curve that really takes off in terms of absolute organization only after a 9 on the scale. What you've described in published lore and here on this board would rate a 3 at the absolute maximum using any scale that is approximately linear, but I personally stand by my rating of 2 for what you've described. I think my writeup of the conventional military of Cormyr rates around a 4-5 on this scale - as I think is entirely appropriate for Cormyr - and as I said before I was originally shooting for a 3-5 for the War Wizards. Now... well, I'll see what I can do with the additional info you've given.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then posted what I see as a deliberate misunderstanding of my refutation of your insistence that a strict hierarchy must have a chain of command by dismissing my historical examples as not germane to my fictional creations. Frankly, I’d be surprised if they were. :}
One, if there was any misunderstanding on my part, it was not deliberate or intentional. I think we just have distinctly different views on what is believable or even possible, and that probably colors how we interpret things. Two, if they're not germane, as you readily admit they are not, then they can hardly be an effective refutation. They can't be an effective refutation unless they are germane, relevant or reasonably analogous.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
At the resistance cell level, Jerry, the answer is: whoever asserts themselves under fire. They were generally only five to seven guys, who’d agreed what they’d do if this or that went wrong before they crept out to try something - - and if you served in a military where that few personnel were either shocked into immobility or plunged into a furious argument over who commands the moment their sergeant or platoon commander went down, that WOULD be a military with utter lack of training or esprit de corps.
The US military of all branches have a well-defined rank system and do a great deal of training to prevent such things, but that's beside the point of what we're discussing.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Remember, it’s rare to find to a ‘task group’ of War Wizards of much larger size than that five to seven number.
I'll keep that in mind for my rewrite.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
It doesn’t really matter, in an emergency, because any senior war wizard who bursts in bringing “orders from Vangey” is going to be believed unless everyone present knows Vangey is dead. Yes, this has great potential for treachery and abuse, but that’s why Vangey did all the mind-snooping.
True, but Vangey is neither omnipresent nor omniscient, so I'm surprised that some foe hasn't exploited that great potential at some point in his 64-year tenure to Cormyr's peril.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
If you’re thinking, “Ah, but the abusers would be impostors from outside, perhaps Zhents or War Wizards or Dragon Cult wizards or mages hired by Sembians!” then you’re following the same fallacy that led you to post: [If this is how the War Wizards truly operate, they should have been gutted piecemeal after 64 years.]
By WHOM? Again, you seem to be thinking of them as waging war either against invaders, or against neighbours of Cormyr (in other words, fulfilling an, ahem, military role). The War Wizards police Cormyr, and most of the foes they work against are ambitious nobles, slavers, would-be crime bosses in Suzail, Marsember, and Arabel, and the like - - and these “piecemeal gutters” have no idea of this potential flaw in the War Wizard command structure.
Again, I ask you: just who do you see as a force whose efforts could cause the kept-as-mysterious-as-Vangey-can-make-them War Wizards (who have the benefit of their own extensive intelligence-gathering, one of their primary tasks, AND magical means of internal communication) to collapse? Or be “gutted piecemeal”?
I’m really curious. Yes, the Red Wizards or the Zhents MIGHT be able to accomplish this feat, if THEY ever all worked together properly - - but we haven’t shown you the slightest hint in published Realmslore that they’ve tried.
The FBI and CIA are often portrayed as idiots, especially in fiction, but they haven’t fallen apart yet. Neither has the KGB. Internal turf battles happen all the time in all three of these organizations, yet they still exist.
So just who’s supposed to make the War Wizards fall apart, or “gut” them? Exasperated Cormyrean farmers? The nearest huffing-through-his-moustache, goblet-in-hand noble?
I don't see the Red Wizards, Dragon Cultists, Zhents, Fire Knives, Baneites, etc. as trying to attack the War Wizards as a whole to destroy them in a large action, or the War Wizards as engaging in large-scale operations against any large scale invasion of those powers. However, I was under the impression that individuals and small cells of these organizations were constantly at work within Cormyr, pursuing this plot or that plot, and that the War Wizards were thus constantly busy trying to spoil these plots. If my impression is correct, then that means that the War Wizards are constantly suffering losses through attrition. This situation is not primarily one cell suffering heavy losses with other cells being relatively unscathed (although that does happen on occasion, e.g. the Sevensash investigative team), but is primarily ALL the various teams being attritted over time, and what compounds this is that a wizard of any real power is not easily replaceable. I believe that an institution without an overall organization designed to smoothly keep going in the face of such losses (i.e. a designated chain of command to allow for continuity of leadership despite losses) would eventually be gutted piecemeal - one cell or team at a time - due to the attrition degrading the leadership and coordination of the war wizards.

Are you saying that the War Wizards are NOT constantly beset with any number of plots by individuals or small groups of those aforementioned evil organizations trying to achieve this end or that within Cormyr? Or that the War Wizards don't bother involving themselves unless those ends directly threaten the realm? I personally would have thought that the war wizards would always seek to foil any plot of these powers within the borders of Cormyr, even if the plot had nothing to do with undermining the Forest Kingdom and was nothing more than finding some lost treasure hoard, given that Red Wizards, Zhents or Dragon Cultists would hardly openly seek an adventuring charter.

And as far as the FBI, CIA or the KGB being portrayed as idiots... well, portrayal isn't the same thing as reality. While they're admittedly not perfect in varying degrees depending on organization, I don't think they in reality are idiots. If they were, they WOULD have become farcically ineffective in short order. The difference I see between this and Realmslore is that portrayals of real-world organizations (whether fictional or supposedly non-fictional) are often colored by the author's political agendas or axes to grind, while I see Realmslore in general (other than the dialogue of novel characters that have explicit biases) as objective and accurate (if often insufficiently detailed) portrayals of people and groups of Toril - portrayals of what they're "really like" so that DM's and players can interact appropriately with them. I know that much Realmslore is published in the "unreliable narrator" format, but I've always viewed that as meaning incomplete and not deliberately misleading or biased unless it was crystal clear from context that bias was present (e.g. Zhents or Red Wizard characters speaking about Elminster).

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then post: [It plainly and simply isn't possible for one man's micromanaging & meddling whim to hold together an organization of 600 people in a feared, effective, and efficient force at accomplishing a variety of tasks for almost 64 years before beginning to unravel and to posit otherwise shatters all believability for me. And magic doesn't change this in the slightest, in my opinion.]
I guess you’ve never heard of Tito, then, or Mao, or Queen Victoria, or Elizabeth I, or Henry Ford for that matter. I suppose you can “disbelieve” in those folks, but that won’t make their names or accomplishments vanish from the history books. Funny, I still see Fords on the streets today.
All of those examples aren't very good analogies to the War Wizards. All of those individuals were micromanagers, yes, but every one of them ALSO had extensive and highly-organized organizations operating under them (governments, or a large corporation in the case of Ford) that allowed them to achieve the success they enjoyed. You've said that the War Wizards aren't nearly that higly organized, so there's no comparison that can be made here. If Tito, Mao, Q.V., Q.E.I, or Ford had the low level of organization you've ascribed to the War Wizards, none of them would have achieved the success they historically did. You just can't say that the personal and direct rule of a micromanager with very little organization underneath his level is comparable to a micromanager who has a complex organization operating under him.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then posted some perfectly valid comments about wanting specificity in your D&D play and in lore available to DMs, and went on to post: [you did make that gentlemens' agreement to withhold any systematic or reasonably complete presentation of the War Wizards - which frankly I don't see the necessity for].
Okay, I’ll be blunt. It was seen as the best way by the TSR designers and their immediate bosses at the time to avoid introducing contradictions AND hampering creativity. In other words, they wanted the freedom for Designer X or Novel Writer Y to invent this or that little detail to best suit their needs for the project at hand, so that a synthesis would develop over time, rather than ‘everybody running to Ed.’ I KNOW this was partly due to their experience with Gary Gygax becoming the bottleneck for Greyhawk development because he was so busy trying to run the company as well as write Greyhawk products, and I suspect (from things I’ve heard said, down the years) it might also have been partly due to TSR not wanting me to have the sort of influence Margaret & Tracy did over Dragonlance, for whatever reasons. I can’t confirm that second bit at all, and frankly am not interested in trying to, because it’s all water under the bridge now. However, you said you didn’t see the necessity, so behold the explanation.
Ah, they didn't want you becoming "Gygax II" for the Forgotten Realms so made that agreement a requirement of the deal. I've heard that Gygax was a micromanager himself when it came to Greyhawk. I have to admit, because of my own love of detail and desire for consistency, if I had developed "Jerry's World" I might have a little trouble completely letting go of it without at least some role as "continuity director" to provide some oversight over the "synthesis" and quash any relatively extreme departures from the feel/flavor/facts of the world that other authors might come up with.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I appreciate that you can’t possibly read my mind and fill in all the gaps in published lore exactly as I would, and so come up with War Wizards that precisely match my original (or modified, down the years) conception of them.
I admire your diligence in trying to find every last published detail and extrapolate fairly. And I accept that you have to personally be happy with your results, and that you’ll see things differently from the way I do.
I’m trying to explain exactly how I see the War Wizards, and make certain there are NO misunderstandings between us arising out of using the same or similar words but meaning different things by them, and so on. I’m trying to show you WHY I see the War Wizards the way I do.
I’m not Vangerdahast (thank the gods!), so I can’t meddle in your mind and MAKE you agree with me. I do, however, want you to be very clear on what I mean by certain words and phrases, and where I’m coming from.
I sincerely appreciate all of that.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
You then posted this: [As a more general question beyond the War Wizards, do you design the Realms as a whole to specifically provide opportunities for such farce and comedy? If so, might that have (however inadvertantly) influenced your own design of the War Wizards and their seeming lack of organization?]
No, and no. Absolutely not. The farce and comedy arises from our deep friendships, our shared experiences (so that we can, for example, respond to a situation arising in play with a silly but appropriate Monty Python, Goon Show, Sellers solo, Hoffnung, Cook & Moore, Fry & Lawrie, Dave Allen, Billy Connolly, or Flanders & Swann comment that everyone around the room will instantly understand and react to), and from CHARACTER-based challenges. For instance, I’ll give Torm a chance to verbally lambaste a pompous Sembian envoy, or get caught in bed with a lovely daughter by her parents returning home - - situations where the player can choose to have fun IF they (and the other players) want to.
The humour always arises out of human nature (check THO’s revelations of Realmsplay events, early in last year’s Questions to Eddie thread).
Cool. That's good to know. My own preference for gaming tends towards the more serious side. There are occasional spots of humor that are character generated as you describe, but they tend to be more subdued.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
The “Keystone Kops” nature of the early published Zhentarim was due to the TSR Code of Ethics, which was being VERY strictly applied to the Realms because Dragonlance (what with Raistlin and Takhisis and Kitiara and the draconians) was seen by some in the company as having ‘broken’ the Code and gotten far too ‘evil-is-successful-and-attractive’ - - and “We’re NOT going to let that happen in the Realms!”
While I don't like farcical or silly portrayals of evil, neither am I fond of the 'evil-is-successful-and-attractive' portrayal either. I prefer heroes to villains and in the end good has to win and evil has to lose or I'm not satisfied. For this reason, I can sympathize with TSR's viewpoint even if I don't like how evil devolved into farce.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
I could go on, but this post is long enough already. I’m not angry with you or disparaging of your intent to do a War Wizard document or the work you’ve put into the Realms thus far, Jerry. I just want things to be very clear between us, and I look forward to your reactions and comments to what I’ve posted here. I HOPE you’re closer to seeing “my” version of the War Wizards by the time you’ve read down this far (note that I said seeing, not necessarily accepting).
Over to you, sir!
Neither do I hold any anger! I enjoy a lively discussion, and enjoy the pursuit of clarity. I can't and won't promise that the War Wizards I end up writing up (actually rewriting at this point) will conform exactly to what you envision, and I neither seek nor expect any sort of official sanction of the end product. There are some things we'll have to agree to disagree about, but I will give what you've said a careful thinking about and do the best I can to incorporate as much of what you said (as well as any further comments you wish to make on what I've just written) as I can and still produce something I can believe in.

{End of part 4 of 4 - That's it! Whew! }

Jerry Davis
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FoolishOwl
Acolyte

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  08:19:57  Show Profile  Visit FoolishOwl's Homepage Send FoolishOwl a Private Message
There are a few questions that have been rattling around in my head, and I think they may be related.

1. You've often talked about how the Chosen, elves, and so on have to come to terms with living among humans who they will outlive. How does it affect humans to know that there are other intelligent beings, elves and dwarves in particular, that will far outlive them?

2. My impression is that Cormyr, or at least Suzail, has a great literary culture -- the popularity of Deneir is one part of the evidence of this. What are the fashionable or popular literary forms? And what sort of circulation will written work have?

3. What sort of philosophical traditions and schools are there? Are some, or all of them, connected to particular churches, or to particular regions? What's the big philosophical debate of the day?
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Garen Thal
Master of Realmslore

USA
1081 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  09:01:42  Show Profile  Visit Garen Thal's Homepage Send Garen Thal a Private Message
Because I'm not one for cut-and-paste quoting and response, I'll raise a few issues for thought (not debate, because they're for consideration), and slink back into the shadows:

-As regards the continuity of rank, hierarchy and organization in Cormyr, the Purple Dragons have undergone at least two major shakeups (at least one before they were ever called the Purple Dragons), and the War Wizards have undergone a couple as well. The War Wizards are roughly 800 years old, and their organization depends entirely on the person at the top.

-Speaking of the organization of the War Wizards, the best analogy for their operation is that of a fraternal organization (remember that their original name was the Brotherhood of Wizards of War): there are a few officers at the top--the Mage Royal (Vangey, and later Caladnei), a lieutenant (Laspeera), some permanent, titled officers (alarphons, and members of the College of War Wizards), and an overwhelming majority of "members at large." As in a fraternal organization, the rank-and-file members are assigned to tasks (what would be event committees, nomination committees, and the like) according to ability, seniority, loyalty to the chief officer, and promise of potential the member possesses. A member might chair a fundraising committee, be the secretary of the Winter Food Drive committee, and be only a member of the Constitution committee, but he knows full well his place in each group, what his authority is, and what it isn't.

In the case of the War Wizards, the Constitution governing their operations is far shorter than it would be for a modern-day fraternal organization. In short it is "follow your orders, keep your senses about you, and serve Cormyr in all things." Having been a member of such organizations, I can attest that even very strict, "lawful" societies operate on a model strikingly similar to the War Wizards; Ed might echo my sentiments, given the number of groups he belongs to himself.

As an addition to the analogy, keep in mind that many fraternal organizations have constitutions that designate their chairman (president, or whatever it happens to be called) as an ex officio member of all committees, giving that individual the right (and, technically speaking, responsibility) to barge in on any and all activities of all subdivisions of the larger organization in order to supervise what's going on, while still leaving the responsibility for the task to the committee itself. In short, to "play Vangey."

-Vangerdahast is a hypocrite. And a liar. And probably a "murderer" (in that he killed those better left alive to rot in prison or somesuch). Vangey is the dark shadow that floats behind every bright crown, with blood on his hands, grief on his shoulders, and guilt on his soul to keep his king pure and his kingdom strong. Many are the kingmakers that live such lives, in his world and in ours.

-Okay, I lied. One quote. "I would expect instances in which war wizards are attached to a Purple Dragon units yet not placed under command of the commanding officer of that unit for the duration of the mission to be quite rare and exceptional."

Not so. Instances in which War Wizards are outside the authority of the Purple Dragon commander to which he is "attached" (not the most appropriate of terms, mind you) are the norm, not the exception. A War Wizard could be accompanying a unit for any number of reasons: to investigate the officer, perform magical examinations of sites the unit will visit or items they expect to find, to apprehend magical threats, and so forth. A War Wizard that happens to be with a group of Purple Dragons is not a soldier or a piece of ordnance; he is an agent of the Realm and an officer of the Royal Court with orders on how he is to operate. Any deleterious effects this sort of relationship might have (and they are not as extreme as assumed; Purple Dragons and War Wizards have separate missions, and know it) is usually erased the first time a Purple Dragon is saved by a timely spell from an "attached" War Wizard.

Just some thoughts to think on.
G
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  15:18:12  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
I’m not going to charge into the fascinating Ed and Jerry debate, but like Garen Thal, I’ve GOT to make just two comments:

1. I think Ed’s sports analogy was good, and he deliberately chose fast-paced games rather than baseball, Jerry, because baseball is inevitably a slow game with much waiting between plays. In hockey, a LOT of the “line changes” Ed refers to happen as the play is going on, at full speed. I’ve played both hockey and baseball, and Ed’s analogy fits more than yours does, Jerry, because of this stop-have-play-stop facet matching “real life” far less. Now, American football is far more about time management than Canadian football (in the Canadian game, the time clock very rarely stops for any reason, so there’s less “time management” than in either the American college or pro games). I could go on, but I’d be digressing more from my point about the different way the two of you are thinking. Jerry is way more “command and control” and Ed is way more “real life works like this, in our world and in the Realms.” For my money, Ed wins the credibility sweeps every time.

Which brings me to:

2. Jerry, you posted this: “If the War Wizards are not *institutionally* effective, then they fail to be any sort of credible deterrent.”
What horse cobbles, to put it politely. If you think any group has to be organized to be a deterrent, you really DON’T live in the real world. Ed’s point here was that public perception of (fear of) the War Wizards made them a deterrent within the realm, and within the realm is where they almost exclusively operate. I don’t think ANY form of organization within the War Wizards would be a deterrent to the Red Wizards, Cult of the Dragon, yadda yadda. Nobles (and commoners turned outlaw) in Cormyr probably fear the War Wizards MORE because they don’t know how they’re organized. In your arguments with Ed, you continually equate organization with effectiveness, as a given, and then start arguing from there. Sorry, but I think if anyone in the debate has the right to set ‘givens,’ it’s the guy who created the sandbox we’re disputing over.
I do agree with you that to be as effective as possible, good organization is necessary. But Ed’s telling you how they ARE, and you keep trying to tell him how they SHOULD BE, which sits rather uneasily with your vilification of Vangey for “ends not justifying the means.”
Right. Down off the soapbox. Can’t wait for Ed’s demolition repost.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5041 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2005 :  15:39:40  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Blueblade (and Jerryd, and everybody else) please bear in mind that you might have to wait, because Ed’s got a plate full of Realmslore queries already in front of him, that other scribes are patiently waiting for.
I’ll probably help entertain you during your wait by posting a little something about we Knights uncovering Vangey’s tricks, in Ed’s home Realms campaign. Expect it in a day or two, not earlier (very real-world busy this end just now, I’m afraid).
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5041 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  01:06:52  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed of the Greenwood makes reply to Wooly Rupert:



Hi, Wooly. No, there’s absolutely nothing about Laeral’s daughter Maura in CITY OF SPLENDORS. Last time I checked, anyway. :}
As for the Lords Who Sleep: well, now . . .
Thoughts among WotC designers or freelancers like moi? Possibly.
Or do you mean thoughts on the part of someone in the Realms, i.e. someone in Cormyr wanting to ‘replace’ the Lords Who Sleep? As protectors of the realm, Vangey and Co. (see ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER) are a replacement of sorts . . . but haven’t been (yet, anyway) promoted to fulfill the other function of the Lords Who Sleep: inspiring and reassuring the populace (“and in time of need, my son, the Lords Who Sleep will awaken and ride, to defend us all! D’ye see them? No? Then worry not, for no matter how dark things seem, the threatened doom of the realm is not yet at hand!”).
Let me say this much: this topic has been discussed by some creative minds, but nothing has been ‘set in stone’ (as they say) as of this writing.



So saith Ed. Hmmm . . . very interesting . . .
love to all,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30225 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  01:22:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all. Ed of the Greenwood makes reply to Wooly Rupert:



Hi, Wooly. No, there’s absolutely nothing about Laeral’s daughter Maura in CITY OF SPLENDORS. Last time I checked, anyway. :}
As for the Lords Who Sleep: well, now . . .
Thoughts among WotC designers or freelancers like moi? Possibly.
Or do you mean thoughts on the part of someone in the Realms, i.e. someone in Cormyr wanting to ‘replace’ the Lords Who Sleep? As protectors of the realm, Vangey and Co. (see ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER) are a replacement of sorts . . . but haven’t been (yet, anyway) promoted to fulfill the other function of the Lords Who Sleep: inspiring and reassuring the populace (“and in time of need, my son, the Lords Who Sleep will awaken and ride, to defend us all! D’ye see them? No? Then worry not, for no matter how dark things seem, the threatened doom of the realm is not yet at hand!”).
Let me say this much: this topic has been discussed by some creative minds, but nothing has been ‘set in stone’ (as they say) as of this writing.



So saith Ed. Hmmm . . . very interesting . . .
love to all,
THO




Hmm, interesting...

I, for one, should really like to see more on this group. It occurs to me that a tale of their re-founding could be quite an interesting read...

As always, thanks to you both!

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4887 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  05:41:01  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Thanks Ed (and THO) for the clarification on the hin of the Easting Reach. Duly noted and incorporated.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

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 . . .



Yes, wouldn't that be nice. I'll have to write that short story that's been bouncing around in my head and send it to you! That'll teach you. And to make you feel old, I was 14 in 1984 and had just bought my first DRAGON magazine and read my first Ed Greenwood article: "The Ecology of the Rust Monster".

And 20 years is too long a time between holidays. Come DownUnder - I'm sure the C-Keep scribes scattered around our continent will more than make you welcome - me especially.

-- George Krashos

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

Australia
4887 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  05:49:09  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Hmm, interesting...

I, for one, should really like to see more on this group. It occurs to me that a tale of their re-founding could be quite an interesting read...

As always, thanks to you both!



Well, of course I had my Lords Who Sleep and Sleeping Sword article conceptualised and ready to be written around about the time Troy killed them all off in three sentences in "Beyond the High Road". At least my prophecy from Alaundo rhymed!

"When Sitral's brood pace the cobbles deep,
And great wyrms scour the twisted stones,
Ondeth's blood will set the Lords Who Sleep
To slumber in Grolag's bones.
For legions of fiends and the walking dead
Will bring ruin to our wooded land
Unless those who should have been long dead
Marshal for battle and make stand."

Never happen now, though ...

-- George Krashos


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

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  07:46:26  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
We'll there is Spring Revel, an RPGA D&D convention in Australia in september.... James Wyatt came out last year and Stephen Randel Mcfarlan (He actually DM'd 2 of Green regent module I played in, in 2003)

Perhaps Ed should see if he can get WOTC to give him the 05 guest

“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar”

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Lord Rad
Great Reader

United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  18:08:30  Show Profile  Visit Lord Rad's Homepage  Click to see Lord Rad's MSN Messenger address Send Lord Rad a Private Message
I'm currently reading All Shadows Fled, and i've been chuckling all the way through the chapter at work earlier today where Mourngrym has a headache one morning. So I just wanted to say thanks Ed, this really brightened my day Torm (not the deity) always makes me laugh too, regardless

My request to Ed, brought on by this novel, is... can you provide me with any additional information on Galath's Roost? I'm very interested in this old stronghold but find very little written on the place, only a paragraph or two within the FRCS and the Dalelands accessory. Have you any details on its rise and fall and details of the layout\structure? Many thanks.

Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
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oldskool
Seeker

USA
31 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  22:58:42  Show Profile  Visit oldskool's Homepage Send oldskool a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
oldskool, there’s VERY little information about the “Blank Continents” of Toril. Ed’s never drawn any of them; what saw “print” in the Interactive Atlas was someone else’s conception, and Ed and we Knights are unanimous in thinking it resembles our real world FAR too closely. Anchorome should be an archipelago of tiny islands leading to a small C-shaped continent (‘open end’ facing Toril). Originally, before the 1986 negotiations with TSR, one of the players, Victor Selby, was going to detail one continent himself, but never got around to it.
I can tell you this much: Ed never wanted a Mayan-Aztec-’New World’ continent or flavour anywhere in the Realms, viewing it (I believe correctly) as a huge stylistic as well as commerical mistake even before he saw the published result, just as he never wanted the Hordelands to so closely resemble real-world Mongols, or see “the Dalai Lama” inserted into the Realms, and so on.I can also say Ed envisaged prosperous trading realms and city-states with their own stable, developed cultures.
Ed doesn’t want to give you any direct answer himself because he doesn’t want to influence potential WotC plans in any way. I emphasize the word “potential” here, because as far as Ed knows, right now, there aren’t any plans “in the works to expand on these blank places (or perhaps even just revisit in third edition the lands of Maztica, Kara-Tur, or Zakhara).”



Ah, very interesting information, even if I don't get a huge sheaf of continent outlines... hehehehe. In any case, that makes my course clear....

I'll feel a lot more free to run MAKE STUFF UP! Whoooo!

*tips his hat to Ed O' the Green Wood*

oldskool

DM: "You see a gazebo ahead of you."
Player: "What is it doing? I draw my weapon and charge!"
DM: "It's not doing anything. It's a gazebo."
Player: "Oh.. um. Then I'll cast a fireball at it!"
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FoolishOwl
Acolyte

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2005 :  23:21:53  Show Profile  Visit FoolishOwl's Homepage Send FoolishOwl a Private Message
I think it's a good policy for a published roleplaying setting to have a few areas that are highly detailed, and large areas left only lightly detailed. That way, you give DMs/GMs/referees the option of either playing in an area where everything's already fleshed out, or in an area where they can fill in details as they see fit, without contradicting the ongoing "official" material.

One of the designers of the science fiction RPG Traveller said that they had a running joke about publishing "Footwear of the Third Imperium," in reference to the endless demands for more fine detail about the setting.

That said, it's a real delight to see the way Ed Greenwood can quickly come up with so many ideas to fill in the gaps.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4887 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  00:41:24  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Rad
My request to Ed, brought on by this novel, is... can you provide me with any additional information on Galath's Roost? I'm very interested in this old stronghold but find very little written on the place, only a paragraph or two within the FRCS and the Dalelands accessory. Have you any details on its rise and fall and details of the layout\structure? Many thanks.



Skip Williams wrote an adventure titled "Raiders of Galath's Roost" or somesuch in a semi-recent DUNGEON. No doubt someone can provide further details.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5041 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  00:55:43  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Jerryd, I promised you and Blueblade that I’d say a little something about we Knights of Myth Drannor, in the original Realms campaign run by Ed, learning about Vangerdahast’s perfidy. Jerryd, you asked Ed: “You mean that the Knights in your home campaign discovered that Vangey dipped into the mind of Azoun, so the secret spread beyond Filfaeril and Laspeera?”
In a word: yes.

As Ed told you, it’s a very long and convoluted tale, because when Ed DMs campaign play (as opposed to a one-shot session at a convention), there are always dozens of subplots unfolding at once, NPCs adventuring as energetically as we PCs, general “bustling life unfolding,” and so on. We rarely engage in simple linear adventures or dungeon crawls with a clear and consecutive beginning, middle, and clean ending, so as to then turn to the next adventure, and so on.
Instead, it’s very like real life; there’s always a lot happening around us, and our “adventures” consist of reaching out and taking part in what we want to take part in (with occasional “this lands in your laps” enforced adventures, too).
As most of you may know, the core Knights began play in Espar, in upland Cormyr. You’ll see some of this in SWORDS OF EVENINGSTAR, Ed’s first Knights novel. So we knew of Vangey from our beginnings.
Much later, one Knight noticed that Azoun personally expressed an opinion on some matter (whilst making small talk at a revel, preparatory to trying to bed her) that was sharply different than the opinion he’d expressed much earlier, on the same topic, to the same Knight, at Shaerl Rowanmantle’s wedding to Mourngrym. This puzzled the Knight, and when she asked him why he’d changed his mind so much, Azoun was puzzled, and said he hadn’t done so, and had always held that view.
Now, we Knights had just spent a lot of time fighting a persistent gang of dopplegangers, so this aroused her suspicions, and she sought Syluné’s advice (we were all at that time within Syluné’s spectral reach). With the full permission and cooperation of the Knight, Syluné ‘went in’ to the Knight’s mind and rode it that night as she made love to Azoun, keeping in mental contact with Elminster throughout (he made only two playful comments about Azoun’s lovemaking, as I recall). Because Ed wanted all of us players to ‘know’ this firsthand, he told us that Elminster deliberately included all of us in the mental loop, so we’d all “know the true measure” of what we, as protectors of Shadowdale against suggested Cormyrean expansion, were dealing with.
So we all together discovered, as Elminster traced it, Vangerdahast’s meddlings with Azoun’s mind (and the Old Mage undid a few of them, as I recall).
Jerryd, you should be made aware of some things we discovered that night: that Azoun and Vangey REALLY like each other [no, not as lovers, I mean as really firm, lifelong friends] and both wanted the best for each other, and that Vangey was in the habit of ‘rewarding’ Azoun by giving him tiny, carefully-crafted [edited, NOT false] memories of what Vangey had observed, so Azoun would “know for sure” what certain people in Cormyr truly thought of him, or other Cormryeans, and so on. As you can imagine, these certainties were treasured by Azoun, who felt he could trust in them, and they went a long way towards building Azoun’s confidence (and making sure it was properly placed) and in steering his own behaviour so as to be respected and liked, even by nobles whose daughters he’d openly pursued and enjoyed. So Azoun knew Vangey ‘came into his head’ (ostensibly to read what he, Azoun, had learned and seen, and to examine Azoun for covert hostile magics intended to manipulate him [! quel irony!]) and didn’t mind. He was, of course, unaware of the true extent of some of the changes Vangey made (such as that altered opinion the Knight noticed). So that’s how we learned what Vangey was up to.
We all sat and talked about what, if anything, we could or should do about it. Why was Vangey doing this? Was he in turn being manipulated by someone else? (Larloch, Sammaster, Szass Tam, Manshoon . . . the candidates are endless, yes?)
So we thought about various plans for getting into Vangey’s mind. In the end, Syluné (with Elminster’s help) worked a tiny fragment of one of her pebbles into Azoun’s girdle (yes, the mighty-thewed, aging warrior-king had started to develop a paunch that he wasn’t any too fond of, and wore a leather ‘wound-healing’ girdle to hold it in) so she could ‘stay with’ Azoun when he travelled back to Cormyr. She did, and drifted into his mind to just watch. Vangey of course came right in to see and hear all he could about what Azoun had experienced in Shadowdale, and Syluné read all she could of his mind without being detected. Later, she had Azoun put the tiny speck of pebble behind a shelf of books in Filfaeril’s study, hoping she could use it to manifest there if the need ever arose, and some other means ‘brought’ her into the Palace (something that hasn’t yet happened, and may never happen). Elminster visited Azoun VERY briefly, to ‘carry’ Syluné home, and she revealed to all of us what she’d learned.
As we all approved of what Vangey was trying to do, even if we disliked his methods, we did nothing.
The reason Ed mentioned this revelation was because, we Knights having learned some of Vangey’s secrets that had hitherto been kept out of print, he now felt he could reveal them without ruining our enjoyment of the home campaign. As he said, what had been published up until now was very much “the public image” of Vangey (though many darker hints were there, as he pointed out). It’s somewhat like conditions in the real-life United States before the enlarged reach and boldness of the media that really picked up steam in the 1960s: at one point America had a president who was confined to a wheelchair, but most Americans at the time didn’t know he was because the media never showed it.
What Ed has given us in Vangerdahast is someone who usually did the right things for the wrong reasons, and sometimes did some very wrong things, too, but all for a cause that arguably gave thousands of people much better lives (relative peace, security, and public order; swift aid when hunger and cold threatened; prosperity and a standard of living much higher than would have been the case if skirmishes between nobles or even open civil war held sway).
As Garen Thal said, he’s the guy with bloody hands who props up the throne. Not a shining hero, Jerryd, but a very INTERESTING character, more interesting than if he had been a shining hero. I sometimes think of Vangey as a cross between Sean Connery in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING and Nick Fury, Agent of Shield.
love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 05 Feb 2005 01:00:30
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Ty
Learned Scribe

USA
168 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  01:28:04  Show Profile  Visit Ty's Homepage Send Ty a Private Message
The Hooded One,

I've been intrigued by Impiltur for years now and it's been one area in which I've seen little in the way of hard facts put down. I realize that Damara and Vassa were not part of the original Realms but I've never been 100% clear regarding Impiltur's original place in the Realms.

If of course, it was thrown in at the same time as Damara and Vassa, then my query ends. Otherwise, have the Knights ever dealt with the Forgotten Kingdom in their world-spanning adventures? Has Mr. Greenwood detailed this area at all?

The area strikes me as a place for many rich high fantasy tales, what with its paladin lords, widowed queen, merchants, and past dealings with the goblinoids of the region. What kind of culture does this area have in comparison to the rural Dalelands or cosmopolitan Waterdeep? I keep having images of the Black Forest when I think of Impiltur (and forbid the poor analogy but I draw imagery similar to Gondor from The Lord of the Rings). I've read much of the official and unofficial 'fan' lore regarding Impiltur but I'm curious how it was touched upon in your adventures (with of course any input from the esteemed Mr. Greenwood if he has the time ).

Many thanks for any information you can provide.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5041 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  01:33:41  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
It's featured very little in our adventures, Ty. I'll ask Ed for any tidbits he may be willing to share (it IS part of his original Realms), but THE Master of lore for Impiltur is Mr. George Krashos, now an active scribe here at Candlekeep (and one of Ed's secret contacts for years). He's the expert.

love,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 05 Feb 2005 01:37:02
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  05:12:31  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
Hi, Ed! First, I wanted to let you know that not only have I grown to love the Realms, but your Realms novels have a way of making me laugh out loud. I love authors who have a sense of humor--keep up the good work. :)

Now, a question that has been nagging at the back of my mind for awhile. It is pretty clear when one reads enough about Cormyr (especially in your threads here!) that Azoun has made love to many different women, all the while being married to Filfaeril. I understand that some marriages in the Realms (and in the real world, if it's desired) end up being "open marriages"; I also recall in the book Crown of Fire that Tessaril (sp?), the Lord of Eveningstar, mentions that Filfaeril knows that Azoun makes love to her when he visits Eveningstar, and that she understood what they shared together--I may not be remembering it correctly as it has been a long time since I read the book, but I got the impression that Queen Filfaeril didn't mind all that much.

My question is this: How did Filfaeril feel about her husband chasing after women, while being married? Did she ever feel lonely, or jealous? I know that it is human nature to be jealous when it comes to love, especially if Filfaeril loved Azoun deeply--what I'm trying to say is that no human can be tolerant and accepting all the time (or at least, it's *very* difficult to do), and I wonder if Filfaeril ever felt sad about this. From what I've read of her, she seems like a kind (but strong) person; did Azoun appreciate what he had? What was the relationship between Azoun and Filfaeril like--was there strong love there, or was it a political marriage that grew and developed over time, but not enough to cause Azoun to stick with his wife only?

Thank you in advance,

Rinonalyrna

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)

Edited by - Rinonalyrna Fathomlin on 05 Feb 2005 05:14:35
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Ty
Learned Scribe

USA
168 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  17:54:57  Show Profile  Visit Ty's Homepage Send Ty a Private Message
Hrm...

Maybe as the unofficial reference manual of the designers and writers of the Realms, we should petition for Krash getting his own sticky? That way we can all personally pester, er, query him ceaselessly for answers to our questions...
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Faraer
Great Reader

3296 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  18:45:27  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
"The Raiders of Galath's Roost" (Dungeon #87) is so lacking in Realms atmosphere and so badly researched that I haven't read Skip's "Woe to Mistledale" (#100) and am not enthused by his forthcoming "Secrets of the Arch Wood" (#121) despite the recent Realms-drought in Dungeon and Dragon. For instance, there are two main sources on the Riders of Mistledale -- FRE2 and All Shadows Fled -- and he ignored both of them. You may get something worthwhile from his Galath's Roost, but it's an ersatz version like Jason Carl's Dungeon of Death or the Durlag's Tower in Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast.

Bah, humbug.

Edited by - Faraer on 05 Feb 2005 18:46:49
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Skeptic
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  19:10:24  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message

Hi, a little question..

On the Forgotten Realms (Electronic) Atlas, near Waterdeep, there is two sites that I cannont found any info on. (And I have a lot of 2E stuff).

They are :
1) Malden's Tomb Tor (Between village of Rassalantar and the Stump Bog)

2) Glen of Aloevan (In Ardeep forest)

The only places where I have not looked :
Magazines or published avdventures...

Thanks for help.
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Faraer
Great Reader

3296 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2005 :  19:42:38  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
Maiden's Tomb Tor is described in "Welcome to Waterdeep" (Dragon #128), which contains material cut from FR1 Waterdeep and the North:
quote:
This bare, high-peaked landmark is so titled for an unknown barbarian princess who was buried at the foot of the peak some 400 winters ago by warriors of Waterdeep. This honor occurred after the princess's people had attacked the City of Splendors in the harshest time of winter and had been repelled. The princess and her bodyguard fought with such ferocity that they slew thrice their number of fully armored fighting-men of the City in their day-long, bloody retreat. The barbarians died fighting to the very last warrior, ending their valiant campaign at the foot of the Tor. In memory of their heroism, the princess and the last of her bodyguards were laid to rest in a cairn under the summit of the Tor.

Recently, more than 450 kobolds have taken up residence beneath the Tor (see the Rat Hills), under a chief by the name of Kuthil. DMs should determine the precise dispositions of the kobolds and any treasure they may possess as desired. Kobold patrols have not yet menaced the Lords to any extent; Waterdeep and Goldenfields are not aware of the precise location of the little monsters. The kobolds could well have their attention directed mainly beneath the earth, in hitherto unknown subterranean realms of which their caverns are part. There are several surface connections to their lair on the sides of the Tor itself.
I don't recall which Aloevan source mentions her Glen: it might be The Seven Sisters, "The Adventures of Volo: The Ardeep Forest" (Dragon #270), or here.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4887 Posts

Posted - 06 Feb 2005 :  00:31:27  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ty

Hrm...

Maybe as the unofficial reference manual of the designers and writers of the Realms, we should petition for Krash getting his own sticky? That way we can all personally pester, er, query him ceaselessly for answers to our questions...



I'm happy to answer and conflab with people by private mail. My utterings on the topic of Impiltur aren't and won't ever be 'canonical' so much of what I say is really just me ... ... making stuff up! Of course, if an Impiltur product ever gets on the schedule, I'll be hoping that I get at least a little input but that will depend on the powers that be and the project's designer(s). But if you've got questions: fire away! Although you might want to start an Impiltur thread on the general Boards. I've also noted some of my musings on the Impilturian monarchs in the general "Ask the Fr Designers" thread - you might want to look back through that.

-- George Krashos

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

Australia
4887 Posts

Posted - 06 Feb 2005 :  00:35:37  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Skeptic


Hi, a little question..

On the Forgotten Realms (Electronic) Atlas, near Waterdeep, there is two sites that I cannont found any info on. (And I have a lot of 2E stuff).

They are :
1) Malden's Tomb Tor (Between village of Rassalantar and the Stump Bog)

2) Glen of Aloevan (In Ardeep forest)



As well as the sources quoted by the esteemed Faraer for Maiden's Tomb Tor, the write up in Dragon#128 is repeated in the City of Splendors boxed set.

The Glen of Aloevan can be found in the write-up of Sehanine in "Demihuman Deities", pgs.127-128.

-- George Krashos

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