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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  04:40:21  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again. Part Two of Ed responding to Jerryd:



You then posted, about the inevitable failure of what Vangey was trying to do: “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.”
I disagree strongly. You seem here to be discarding the entire realm of Cormyr, as portrayed in print thus far (a portrayal that’s very probably the very same thing that has made you a self-professed Cormyr fan). One of the more shining places to live in the Realms - - thanks in large part, in recent years, to Vangey.
The point is that Vangey was succeeding (albeit often with the covert aid I referred to earlier in my post [[note from THO: Part One, above]]) for most of that time, so reality WASN’T ‘slapping him around’ all that much. He was taking Cormyr to new heights, making it a strong and respected realm, and reshaping it continuously in fine detail to be closer and closer to what he wanted.
You proceed from your own conclusion that micromanagers MUST ultimately fail (which I agreed to) to a subsequent conclusion that Vangey being a micromanager should have failed faster than he did (your own personal opinion, supported by nothing so far as I can see), and therefore conclude he must have been deluding himself about his own lack of failure, and therefore conclude that his intelligence and wisdom are sadly lacking. I see this as a chain built on thin air of your own assumptions.
First: Vangey wasn’t unaware of some of the meddling going on (the ‘covert aid’). As previously alluded to, it’s one of the reasons behind his break with Elminster. Secondly, Vangey’s a VERY shrewd judge of people, one of the reasons he succeeded as long as he did (he could correctly anticipate the reactions or ‘buttons’ of most folk he had to deal with, and so manipulate them), and he could see how effective he was being in reshaping the realm: VERY effective. So reality was caressing him, not slapping him, for most of that time. He was getting results, so why not continue? And why not think he was the ‘right man, at the right time, doing the right thing’?

You go on to post: “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.”
It SHOULD, but as Garen Thal and I have already pointed out to you, it doesn’t, because the War Wizards were (and had to be) entirely remade by Vangey. If we accept your argument here, then the ‘little cabals of fiercely independent mages, all doing just what they liked in the name of defending Cormyr’ that Vangey inherited are the War Wizards we should have today, NOT the organized, hierarchical War Wizards you envisage.
So even accepting your logic (“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.”), we’d have a bunch of vigilantes (and, inevitably, some bad apples) rampaging around the realm until they were all slain - - and we’d probably have a Cormyr today in which public mood would be fiercely against all wizards, and nobles able to covertly hire outlander mages would have succeeded in coups or independence attempts for lack of a Vangerdahast or any War Wizards AT ALL.

Part way through this argument, you posted: “And I believe Vangey is a native Cormyrean, from statements that the Eveningstar area was his playground as a boy.”
Correct. However, I disagree that “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.”
Ahem. Jerry, WHAT “culturally-ingrained sense of organization?” Again, you begin with an assumption and then use it to justify subsequent conclusions. The only thing ingrained in almost all native-reared Cormyreans are the seasons, obeying Purple Dragons and royal law, and the natural and societal ‘rules’ of farming (I say ‘almost all’ because some of the urban-dwellers have local city feuds and customs in place of understanding details of farming).
You also seem to conveniently forget what Jeff and I wrote in CORMYR: A NOVEL (arguably the only reliable and comprehensive ‘original source’ that can be quoted in any discussion of the history of Cormyr, except for, ahem, ME), which shows us, again and again, how the role of the monarch and his royal wizard and the War Wizards have CHANGED, time and time again and usually forcibly, down the years. Do you recall my ‘Cormyte Bold’ ballad? The whole point of that was a defiant commoner saying ‘no matter what changes go on at Court, I’m still here and I’m still the heart of Cormyr!’

You post that “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.”
Darned right. Vangey wants stability and peace in the realm. He wants laws and adherence to them and confidence and prosperity. So he sets about ordering things in Cormyr the way he wants them to be, with the War Wizards deliberately as his ‘ace in the hole’ right-hand men and women to use in situations to quell opposition, where laws and rights and customs will get in the way of establishing the rule and order he wants to establish. There’s nothing “revolutionary” in that. (One can even argue that in running the War Wizards as his own private fiefdom, Vangerdahast is merely following the tradition established by Luthax!)
Or is any real-world country that has a ‘Secret Service’ or any sort of intelligence-gathering organization being “revolutionary”? In what sense of the four or so meanings I know for this word are you using ‘revolutionary,’ here?




And with that question from Ed, I end Part Two.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  04:43:22  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello. Herewith, Part Three of Ed’s reply to Jerryd:



I’m going to skip over your counter-arguments about breaking and loose cannons and initative, because I see continuing this particular side-debate as futile. You’re stating contentions about my earlier counter-arguments that if applied to real-world modern American military, for instance, would lead to a conclusion that no American military personnel can ever exhibit any initiative at all, because of their indoctrination (boot camp, basic training, call it what you will). I’m afraid I see the state we’ve reached here as argument for the sake of argument more than anything else.

Your quotation about Galados (ALL SCRIBES: WARNING: SPOILER FOR CORMYR: A NOVEL IN THIS PARAGRAPH ONLY) quite properly draws and examines two very reasonable conclusions, but is the truth is indeed that it was written (Galados was reassigned to get him out of the way, matching your first conclusion [although the characters onstage obviously jumped to the second conclusion, and Machiavelli-like, Vangey didn’t disabuse them of it]), and got chopped in the editing. In the original text I wrote, Galados is sent to do some snooping on the other Bleths, to see how isolated our bad guy is or if all his kin are in on the plot, and does come racing in to help in that big battle at the end; the entire ‘investigating the Bleths’ subplot got dropped for lack of space.
I fully agree that “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.”

I’ll pass over your comments on pranks (most of which seem to me to be seated in your ignoring the word “some” in my passage: “Pranks are one of the ways some brilliant minds stave off boredom”), and move to this posting of yours: “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.”
I’m guessing most of your experience of micromanagers have been in military or corporate settings (where there’s a hierarchy and codified authority). I’ve also worked with micromanagers in libraries (where accountability was less and incompetence sharply higher) and in creative situations (filmmaking, computer games, television work, et cetera) where the micromanager might fight like blazes to establish authority over his creatives, but didn’t dare try to get rid of those whose independence he couldn’t reign in, because unless he could isolate a lone creative as a ‘troublemaker’ before shoving them out, it would backfire on him eventually - - and usually backfire on him right away, because he desperately needed all of those independent creatives firing on all cylinders or the whole project would fail entirely or be done too late (and he, the micromanager, WOULD be blamed). [For “he” substitute “she” in the above few lines, in many instances.]
I see the War Wizards as closer to creative game designers or actors or brilliant camera-men than they are to office drones or enlisted military, and Vangey as closer to the micromanager in the second situation (who knows his underlings are there because of their skills [spellcasting] and are intrinsically valuable), than he is to the first sort of micromanager, who tends to think of underlings as replaceable and hence expendable if they give him any trouble.

You go on to post, about multitasking and War Wizards having task-based authority: “The highly-intelligent one-track-mind people would be good sages or academic types but not-so-good war wizards. Is that it?”
Yes.
And then you add: “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.”
I’m sorry if you’re not comfortable with it, because it’s now the rule in many large multinational corporations, rather than the exception (it may be just a fad, but that’s neither here nor there in the present context). It’s an alternative method of organization to the strict hierarchy, just as the so-called “Japanese management” style and the Native American (North American Aboriginal, if you will) “consensus” governing and sentencing customs are alternatives to rank hierarchies. The point is, these alternatives work, exist in the real world, and in some cases have worked and existed for centuries; they’re just as valid as a rank hierarchy.
You seem to see a rank hierarchy as the only sort of organization the War Wizards can have, not just to be effective, but to avoid collapsing, and I disagree.

The next part of your post astonished me. The ‘table game’ of ancient India and Persia has in most of the last century, in the Western world, been called “Kim’s game” after the classic Rudyard Kipling novel KIM, wherein it’s one of the training methods through which the eponymous character Kim is trained as a spy. It’s been used in Sandhurst British officer training exercises (and of course in the Canadian offshoots, such as RMC) for decades, and also at West Point. I suppose the mindset that went with American independence from England caused it to be shorn of its British name. Variants of it are still used today (usually not with a table and little objects, but by officers-in-training being walked through a house, factory, night battlefield, or other setting, and debriefed afterwards on details of what they saw and heard).
The instructors obviously hold the same view as I do, in disagreeing with you: it’s not a humiliating time-waster, but a way of training the mind to handle and hold more things at once. Such as my task-based varying War Wizard hierarchies (For Task A, Wizard One takes orders from Wizard Two, but in the team handling Task B, the same Wizard Two is subservient to Wizard One), as aforementioned. The very sort of thing (ahem) you say you find accepting or working with difficult.

You then post some very weak assertions that giving members of a mission team different orders inevitably leads to a “Keystone Kops situation” that I still disagree with, after we’ve been over this ground three times, and will continue to disagree with. (To use a real-world example, it was the prevalent custom in World War II for members of Allied commando teams to have different orders, kept secret from other members. For one thing, if one member of a team was captured and tortured, he COULDN’T give away much about what other members may have fled or headed to, and what their specific objectives might be. So your ‘every mission will be a laughing-stock joke failure assertion’ fails.)

I say again, Jerry: from my point of view it seems you see a rank-based hierarchy as The Only Way for any organization to be effective, and anything else is doomed to inefficiency and failure. That’s your opinion, not necessarily fact.
I, as the creator of Cormyr and Vangerdahast and the War Wizards, am patiently telling you how and what the War Wizards are, and you’re refusing to accept my descriptions of any of them.
This rather leaves us at an impasse. Except, of course, that WotC will be publishing some short stories this year and a novel next year, from my pen, that will continue to unfold details of the War Wizards as I see them.
Frankly, I’m baffled by your inability to see or accept the War Wizards as I’ve described them to you. They’re a fictional organization made up of fictional characters in a setting I created, that none of us (because our real world lacks the sort of “incantation-boom” magic postulated in the game) can ever really experience. I HAVE experienced organizations akin to what I’ve been telling you the War Wizards under Vangey are - - real-world organizations that have quite efficiently and effectively fulfilled goals and carried out tasks, whereas you (from your posted comments) have not.
I’ve never lived in a totalitarian state, communist society, or theocracy, either, but I can envisage the details of real-world examples that have been described to me, and have readily managed to convince myself that they really do exist or did exist. Why is it so hard for you to do the same?



And as with Part Two, I’m going to break at a question from Ed, and end Part Three here.
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  04:49:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Continuing Ed’s response to Jerryd, with (ta-dah) Part Four:



You post: “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.”
Really? Perhaps if the individuals in question were young, immature school kids, yes. Otherwise, no, I would NOT generally expect it. Again, I’ve had experience with librarians, large university academe situations, and brilliant entertainment-industry creatives - - and all of them (whilst covertly fighting amongst themselves quite a bit) adhered to generally-accepted rules of their professions and situations. Haven’t you been exposed to the sort of backbiting that often dominates college-level professors and instructors? They follow rules, and yet furiously and often tirelessly wage war for influence over each other (undermining authority). Moreover, they often (in, to just pluck examples out of my memories, faculty task groups, university-level task forces and focus groups, fundraising groups, and steering committees) have task-based authority that varies for each individual according to the task (fictional example: Dr. Blob is my department head, but we serve together on the Faculty Standards committee, of which I am chair and he the most junior member). This happens ALL the time and is quite widespread. It’s been going on for centuries, if one includes the English universities, and on the North American continent for as long as Canada and the United States have had universities; it’s not some fancy of mine.
To me, our entire debate about how the War Wizards are organized feels as if you are from a society that drives cars and I’m explaining to you that once upon a time, before widespread roads, lots of travel across this land was by canoe or raft, along rivers - - and you, because of your familiarity with cars, refuse to believe that canoes or rafts can exist or ever did exist.

This is borne out, in my view, by my contention that you’re continually cleaving to a command structure akin to the modern American military, and your posted response: “Sigh. No, like *any* well-organized institution throughout history.”
I guess (and yes, it’s only my guess) that viewpoint goes along with your preference for no gray, only clear-cut black and white: you see history in such terms, too. You are either refusing to see that there are alternatives to a rank hierarchy among well-organized institutions throughout history, or defining “well-organized” so as to exclude any type of organization except strict rank hierarchy.
You went on to post parallels between the modern American military and the ancient Roman (military, I presume), and said this: “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.”
You are? This truly astonishes me, because NOTHING in Cormyr’s military as officially published anywhere thus far closely resembles the wide variety of historical Roman military structures. Not battlefield tactics, not armament, not reporting customs or provisioning, not combined arms - - nothing. I groaned my way through in-depth military studies of Roman legions in two grades of high school and again in university (and had an uncle who was a world authority on such things, and used to cheerfully pick holes in what I was taught; on one memorable visit, he even set up a sandtable wargame to show me how things went at a particular battle, in defiance of what my prof had said on the subject), and believe me, I was trying to avoid all parallels and even echoes!

You then post: “Historically speaking, though, nearly all secret police organizations have had command structures that were just as hierarchical and rigid as any military force.”
Ahem, who taught you this? We have no reliable way of knowing enough details about the older historical secret police organizations to say so, one way or the other - - and of the twentieth century ones, rigid hierarchical command structures have been the on-paper exception rather than the daily reality. The dominant tendency in all of them has been for ‘strong men’ to set up personally-loyal internal groups and fight for influence and authority against others within the organization, so even when there’s a formal hierarchy, the organization doesn’t work that way ‘on the ground.’ This is something I’ve studied extensively, heard much about while growing up (my dad was a high muckety-muck in both NATO and NORAD), and have friends actively engaged in, and your sentence above just plain Ain’t True.



So saith Ed. Here I can chime in, thanks to my own professional background: Ed’s right about the secret police organizations. Really. So endeth Parte Ye Fourthe.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:13:03  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. Part Five of Ed’s response to Jerryd:



I’m now going to skip over a lot of rehashing of points we’ve argued about before, to these posted words of yours, about the War Wizards: “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.”
I don’t have to, because this is another straw man. I’ve never said a War Wizard task group (or a SWAT team, for that matter) have no leader nor plan. I was disputing the need for a hierarchy beyond leader and second-in-command, in such a small number of trained individuals (usually seven or less): if both the leader and the second go down, it’s every man for himself and back to the standing orders, which are almost always: SOMEONE has to get out alive, to report back to Vangey what’s happened.
I drew a comparison with most D&D groups (players not wanting a hierarchy beyond much more than the top two leader types), and you responded that it didn’t match yours, saying: “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 . . .”
Aha. Almost assuredly so. Whereas I’m speaking of a great variety of players, all over the world at conventions from England to Sweden to Australia, over more than two decades now - - even in GenCon competitive tournament situations where establishing a strict hierarchy might have been of great benefit to the players involved.
Even then, you go on to post: “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.”
EXACTLY my point (for the War Wizards). We agree here.

You then post a valid distinction between individual and institutional competence, but set up yet another straw man: “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.”
I wasn’t drawing that conclusion, because we haven’t been talking about the War Wizards “lacking any organization.” We’ve been talking about the War Wizards and you’ve been refusing to accept anything but a strict rank hierarchy as “organization.”

You continue this straw man throughout the next part of the post (stating my point about the various organizations in Cormyrean society counterbalancing each other is irrelevant) by posting these passages: “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.”
and: “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,”
and: “The War Wizards must either have sufficient organization of its own to be effective or fail to be effective.”
Again, you are only accepting a rank hierarchy as being “organized,” and calling my alternative “disorganized.” I entirely agree with the your contention in the second passage I’ve quoted above, and also with your entire third passage - - but I DON’T agree that the War Wizards are disorganized. Nor do I disagree with this: “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.”
Again, I reject your judgement that if the War Wizards don’t have set ranks (with clearly-defined powers, in a rigid hierarchy) they’re not “organized,” and can’t possibly be “effective.”

You went on to post: “If the War Wizards are not *institutionally* effective, then they fail to be any sort of credible deterrent.”
I have to agree with Blueblade’s post here. I can think of many, many real-world examples where the fearsome reputations established by, or built up around, individuals or groups (sometimes even mythical groups) have proved to be a very effective deterrent to all sorts of people. If you’re speaking in the sense of “the War Wizards have to have a track record of effectiveness in order to sufficiently impress Sembia and other potential foes of Cormyr who can muster military might into not attacking Cormyr,” I partially agree. Partially in that I’d amend my sentence to replace ‘track record’ with ‘reputation.’ Yet they DO have a recent-decades reputation for effectiveness, thanks to Vangerdahast’s successes. Of course, you’re unwilling to accept those successes, and therefore must conclude that the ‘Keystone Kops War Wizards’ must be a laughing-stock around the Realms - - but strangely enough, there’s no trace of that in published Realmslore. Therefore the War Wizards AREN’T Keystone Kops, and therefore Vangey must have enjoyed considerable success. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.



. . . And a good five-cent woman is a-- Ahem. Enough mangling of old sayings. The above text was Ed, and this down here is THO, signing off Part Five (for post size limitation reasons).
love to all!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:15:32  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, again. THO here with Part Six of Ed’s response to Jerryd:



You then post an opinion about Vangerdahast (“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.”) that tells me your have a far different understanding of power, and of personal ethical wrestlings over it, than I do. Why does it ring so hollow, exactly? Have you never heard of the Reluctant Ruler archetype? Of the American political axiom that “The best presidents are the men who DON’T want the job”?
You went on to conclude that Vangey is a hypocrite. Correct.
However, you then seemed to ignore the essential part of my earlier reply to you: “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.” to conclude: “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.”
Read my words again. You seem to want to paint Vangey as a Great Villain because he dared to think of himself as the right man for the realm. I’m trying to point out that he saw Azoun IV as incompetent, but almost competent, and that it was his (Vangey’s) job to build him into a superb king while running the realm in the meantime, and that he neither deserved nor wanted the trappings of power. Because for him it wasn’t about being ‘top dog,’ it was about being the best dog on the spot to do the job that had to be done. I’m not saying Vangey’s performance was any more noble than a gangland boss, but his motives certainly were. Thus his essential tragedy: does the end justify the means?
By your statements, clearly not. That’s fine, and a perfectly valid view. For my purposes, I want to leave that judgement open to all Realms fans, to reach their personal conclusion.
In your post, having thus judged Vangey, you dismiss the matter (and my depiction of Cormyr as a fairly nice place to live) as outside the scope of your focus on the War Wizards, a contention I also disagree with. You can’t have it both ways. I’m telling you how Vangey (largely through use of the War Wizards as his ‘many reaching arms’) made Cormyr the bright shining place we both love, and you’re dismissing that whole subject because it doesn’t fit your ‘the War Wizards must be ineffective if portrayed your way, Ed’ argument.
You then post: “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.”
Unfortunately for the argument you go on to make, you’ve got it wrong here (and I can’t for the life of me look at my words, that you directly quoted in reference to this comment, and see how you can honestly draw the conclusion you did). Except that you seem to be refusing to allow War Wizards any initiative or judgement of their own, AND refusing to accept that they can have standing orders as well as Vangey’s subsequent micromanagement, and so posit this situation where they stand like lifeless, immobile robots unless someone (Vangey or any “regimental commander”) is giving them orders.
Let’s look at an ‘attachment’ of a War Wizard. Tharantal, a senior War Wizard, comes to young Ravinthar at High Horn and says, “No spellhurling practise for you this day. Orders from the Old Man: you’re to get to Immersea forthwith, find a lionar hight Ondabran Thale, and stick with him. Take no orders from any Purple Dragons, and when they ask why the gods you’re there, just say ‘Vangerdahast,’ and smile. Watch for anyone slipping off from barracks, or trying to bury or hide anything - - and report back to me after nightfall. Pay no attention to high-ranking Dragons - - stick with Thale, no matter what. If he goes running off into the forest, so do you.”
I fail to see how any of this overstresses Vangey, who’s using Tharantal as his go-between. You can be sure that if Ravinthar sees a great danger to the realm (a flight of dragons, say) he’ll report in just as fast as possible - - not only are there standing orders to that effect, but he’s got a brain of his own, and loves Cormyr just as much as the next man.
So why, exactly, do you have such a hard time accepting this view of things?



Another question from Ed, and a good one, I think. *I* understand it quite readily, Jerry, and as someone with a considerable background in intelligence, think it rings true (or rather, as true as any imaginary fantasy kingdom can). So I’m going to echo Ed here: why can’t you?
Anyway, so endeth Part Six. Stay tuned, all for Seven!
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:19:44  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed continues to respond to Jerryd (this being Part Seven):



You go on to comment that: “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.”
True, if you’re speaking of green Purple Dragon officers who’ve been parachuted in from another planet and have no background knowledge of Cormyr. Anyone else knows better, because they’ve been told and shown just how useful and capable War Wizards have been on many occasions in the past. Human nature will of course lead to some Purple Dragons hating, resenting, fearing, or wanting to impress War Wizards they end up serving alongside (I had great fun writing an as-yet-unpublished short story wherein some grizzled grunts had to teach some hard reality to a young, impulsive, good-looking female War Wizard who suddenly appeared at their elbows in a battle, and wouldn’t leave - - but she in turn impressed them, and ultimately saved some of their butts, with her unexpected courage, earning their full acceptance), but things are by no means as bleak as you paint them. You end with this comment: “It's a hell of a way to run an army!”
Perhaps, but it IS the Cormyrean way, because (that counterbalancing thing you dismissed, again) the realm isn’t being ordered and its daily life prosecuted purely from a military-efficiency point of view. Just as the size, nature, and influence of militaries in any society is governed either by brute force (military running the country) or by that society’s view of what their military should be and do. I often encounter this ‘everything seen through military eyes’ viewpoint among real-life career military, and the individuals holding it tend to be among the poorest military, because they don’t understand, and don’t want to understand, all of the factors at work in society (everything from pollution to the market economy to public mood to the effects of taxation: “the interconnectedness of all things”). But then, it’s easier to blow something up or shoot someone down when you don’t think or care about the water supply you’ve just fouled for thousands of people, or the families you’ve just shattered forever by slaughtering their loved ones. So some militaries pursue this ‘dehumanizing’ process deliberately.
You post: “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.”
Correct, and I’d already said so. Again, the particular War Wizard in question will USUALLY be on hand as ‘handy artillery’ for the Purple Dragon commander to deploy as he sees fit - - but the commander will know from the outset that the War Wizard also has other orders, secret from him, that may cause the War Wizard to depart suddenly, or disagree as to a particular order (“Kill them all!” / “No,” saith the War Wizard. “The Court Wizard decrees one must be kept alive for questioning!”).
Yes, until the Purple Dragon commanders adjust their mindsets, it IS “going to lead to a poor working relationship between Purple Dragons and War Wizards.” My point is that almost all of them already have (the exceptions usually being noble sons on their first command, who ‘know’ it but haven’t really experienced it yet), because they’ve grown up in a land in which this holds true, and risen through the ranks under those working conditions. It’s what they’re used to.

You go on to make the point that War Wizards would be attached to Purple Dragon forces to provide magical support: “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.”
Yes, but you’re still looking at this purely from a top-down “command and control” viewpoint (“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”). As I keep telling you, War Wizards operate not just under specific orders from superiors, but also under standing orders - - and those standing orders will of course be to “do things the Dragon commander’s way” except when his doing so conflicts with, yes, as you mention, “secret orders given him by Vangey which prevent him from giving the Purple Dragons the support they want.”
You immediately conclude that “This is a recipe for defeat and disaster.”
Sorry, Jerry, but protest that you’re not operating from a modern American military viewpoint all you want - - it’s obvious to me that you’re still doing so. You seem to want to expect all militaries in the Realms to unconsciously know about, and strive to follow, modern theories of tactics, even though they inhabit a world in which magic works, strange beasties abound (and many of them ARE those strange beasties), and a vastly different level of technology and ‘back history’ hold sway.
You’ve earlier tried to justify this stance, and you do it again at this point in this post, by saying that your view of hierarchy and tactics is age-old and universal, not ‘modern American’ at all, which tells me either you haven’t absorbed much tactical-level world military history or you had teachers who operated on a very narrow focus, distorting and omitting as they went. Anyone who can argue that there’s a lot in common between Roman legion practises and modern military procedures is operating on a philosophical level that hasn’t much to do with reality.
Your comment that “This is a recipe for defeat and disaster.” only holds true, beyond a single-case basis, if Cormyr’s forces aren’t working well together but every opponent they face DOES have efficient, trusting combined arms taking the field against Cormyr. As I said in my last post, there’s utterly no evidence in Realmslore that that’s so, or has ever been so (the Witchlords had combined arms that were neither efficient nor trusting).
You then went on to illustrate, by rhetorical questioning, the feelings of “any” Purple Dragon field commander. All of these questions I agree with; of course said commander isn’t going to be overly happy. But it’s all he’s got to work with AND it’s what he’s used to.
You went on to say what your personal reaction would be, and then told me not to label it “modern American” thinking, because “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.”
Well, I’m not, because we don’t have any evidence that any Roman legate grew up in a society dominated by friendly wizards he dwelt alongside, whose magic demonstrably worked very capably, and who reported directly to the most powerful man in the Empire. You’re talking here about a general quite understandably being pissed off at auxiliaries or mercenaries or local musterings who are both unreliable and insubordinate, and as I don’t seem to be able to get through to you: War Wizards AREN’T subordinate in the first place, and the Purple Dragon knows the extent of his authority over them at the outset. Unless he does something very stupid or treasonous, there are going to be no “battlefield surprises,” because the War Wizards in question will have already told him: “Some of us will leave at nightfall” or “Don’t send your men into yon ruined mill, and make sure no arrow nor flame enters it, either!” or “Vangey says you’re not to send your men up into the Storm Horns.” (Remember: Vangey’s to be obeyed by Purple Dragons, too.)



So saith Ed, with a good point worth remembering at the end, there. So endeth Part Seven, but keep to your saddles, scribes, because Part Eight’s galloping up hard on the heels of this one.
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:23:15  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. Part Eight of Ed’s reply to Jerryd:



You then post: “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.”
No, it’s NOT “just” the little list you give. It’s been a training ground for the Purple Dragons, and (as given in the old print Fonstad-penned FR Atlas) the former winter quarters for half Cormyr’s army at one time. However, I grant that you and every other scribe trying to fill in the details of Cormyr is operating from frustratingly patchy lore. So am I, but my frustration is born of my inability to sneak enough lore about the Forest Kingdom into print, early enough, to present a proper picture. It’s my hope that what I reveal here at Candlekeep can help do that (and a big part of the reason why I keep responding to you rather than just saying, “You’ve got the War Wizards all wrong, but write it up however you want for your campaign, and I’ll just ignore it.”).

You then attack my portrayal of Vangey: “All right, you admit he can't succeed at both....but then you turn around and portray him as succeeding at both.” in a manner that I view as childishly unfair, because, in my view, you’re willfully ignoring the actual words I posted (and that you quoted at these points). You go on to say that his behaviour makes him, by definition, a poor leader. Strangely enough, I don’t disagree. He IS (and always has been) a poor leader. He’s feared or respected more than loved, he doesn’t inspire anyone to risk their lives, no woman wants him to show up at their cottage and father her sons, his smile won’t sell toothpaste . . . yes, to all of that.
However, to go back to military history again, there are capable, successful commanders and there are great leaders, and the majority of one AREN’T also the other. I’ve never said that Vangey was a “great leader.” He didn’t have to be, because Azoun was (by the time Vangey was finished building him into one).
I agree with your disappointment over “the need to differentiate the three” having to happen, but I disagree that it was “done by making Vangey just as much a villain as a "good guy".” He was that way from the first, and the hints are there in published Realmslore from the very beginning. “That he had good ends does not excuse his villainous means.” confirms to me your stated preference for clear-cut black-and-white situations and settings, but the Realms has never been about that: the Realms has always been about seeming real and alive by presenting characters who, with rare exceptions, are all “gray” mixtures of folks exhibiting some evil and some good. Just as in real life. That doesn’t make them unsuitable heroes; the heroism comes from their choices. If you show me a shining innocent of a paladin, I won’t accept him as a hero until he’s built up an impressive list of accomplishments, because he hasn’t done anything heroic: he’s just followed his nature. It’s like praising Lassie for being a dog.
However, show me someone tempted with power or riches or a throne or the mate he or she wants, but that they can only attain by murder, and then show me them turning away from that temptation because they see the way or cost AND CONSCIOUSLY REJECT IT, and THAT’S a hero.
The Hooded One has already ably answered your next question (about the Knights), and earlier [[note from THO: see Part Two of this post] I dealt with your contention that Vangey’s “moment of self-honesty” was very belated.
Then you take issue with Vangey intending the War Wizards in part as a counter to the Purple Dragons, by deeming it “dangerous for Cormyr.” You go on to say “specifically pitting one against the other as some kind of "counter" is very dangerous and counterproductive, not to mention wasteful of resources.” I did NOT say that either was openly pitted against the other. The War Wizards covertly watch and work against any ‘might makes right’ or ‘we know best’ tendencies in the Purple Dragons (who are, remember, studded with nobles who just might have some private schemes for one day gaining a lot more power in the realm than they may personally have now . . . perhaps if ‘accidents’ befell all of the Obarskyrs, one after another, for instance; yes, Cormyr’d be much better off with better stock on the throne), to prevent elements of the Purple Dragon from ever staging a coup. You cited real-world examples of open rivalries here, missing much better real-world examples of how every Western country has agents within the ranks of its own military who report possible treason (or “sedition,” or whatever it’s locally called) to head off any thoughts of military takeover before an actual coup attempt erupts. You also portray the Purple Dragons as sitting in judgement on the War Wizards from above, resenting War Wizard activities, when you should be seeing the Purple Dragons as having in large part grown up in a situation where the War Wizards have this role, and therefore should accept it as the norm.
You then move on to post: “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?”
Of course they would, but as I said in my earlier reply to you, Vangey HASN’T acted only on the basis of those hidden priorities. They were, remember, how he rated individual War Wizards and so selected who would undertake what missions - - and remember also that they included “demonstrated” loyalties; demonstrated by their actions during a mission, of course, so Vangey was continually testing War Wizards in this way, always moving them about and giving them new tasks. None of them below Laspeera really has the opportunity to stand back and deduce anything sinister about Vangey’s motives beyond, “He certainly loves to test us, doesn’t he?”
As for your next comment: Hmm, gotta write that 600 Musketeers novel someday. :}



Oooh, *I’d* love to read it. Write it just for us Knights, Ed, and we can read it at the cottage! Lots of swordplay, witty repartee, and lovemaking on tables. Ladies in their gowns, barefoot in their bedchambers, swording startled masked assassins who came in the windows expecting easy prey! Yes, yes, yes! Drag the Pope and some hidden code and the Nazis and a secret society or three in, and it’ll be a New York Times bestseller! Why - -
[Slaps self. Again. Then stops before giving in to the temptation to settle down to enjoy the slapping.]
Ahem. Sorry about that. That was Part Eight of Ed’s reply to Jerryd. Await, all, for Part Nine.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:28:59  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. Part Nine of Ed’s response to Jerryd:



Continuing through your post, you then justify your attempts to give the War Wizards a hierarchical rank structure by saying that I give them military roles and even call them “War” wizards, so therefore you must give them a hierarchical rank structure because it’s “suited to fulfilling what is definitely in part a military (or at least paramilitary) role.” Yes, it is suited, but it’s not the only way.
You go on to say that it’s “The best and most effective means,” and I agree.
However, it Ain’t The Way Things Are.
You suggest that it may evolve into that with Caladnei in charge, and I agree with you here, too. It probably will.
! Yes, you read that correctly: it probably will. ! Why don’t you charge right ahead and give us all suggestions of War Wizard ranks she might adopt, instead of wrangling with me about Vangerdahast’s past? Seriously! I can’t speak for Wizards as to what specifics they may or may not officially adopt, but it would be useful to many DMs, and those who prefer a rank structure for the War Wizards but don’t want the events of DotD to have occurred, yet or ever, can easily use it for the War Wizards under Vangey.
You see, the published game-setting Realms has always been about providing gamers with the maximum of play possibilities. Having a ringside seat as the War Wizards (after taking a huge beating in DEATH OF THE DRAGON) change into a hierarchical organization is a LOT more interesting than encountering a cut-and-dried, ironclad, in-place-for-decades hierarchy.

As for the rating system you’re using, I think we’d better just cast it aside.
You say you define “1 as no organization at all and a 10 as equivalent to the modern American military or government,” and in that case (with you now adding “government” since you first introduced the scale into our discussion), I’d put the War Wizards as about a 12, and several organizations I’ve invested in or worked with up around 16 through 18. In other words, you’re ranking the “modern American military or government” as the top in organization, whereas what I’ve learned from NATO exercises is that the American military have in many cases been very much out-organized by smaller forces from other countries that have always had to make do with less personnel and materiel (so I’d put the modern American military in the 12 to 14 range, depending on the sort of action we’re discussing; they can easily go as high as 16, but fall sharply when trying to work with allies, who’ve suffered so many “friendly fire” casualties from Americans for so many years that a common NATO warning about approaching American units, in use for at least three decades that I personally know of, is “Heads down! Here come the cowboys!”) and the American government, if I accept it as your 10, is actually among the most bloated and disorganized governments I’ve seen, with departments or sub-organizations often deliberately working against each other, and far more often duplicating and impeding each other in ignorance). [Note that I DIDN’T say that either the military or government were or are ineffective: on the contrary, they have far more energy, muscle, and resources (both financial and sheer size) than most others in the world today.]
As I doubt you’ll accept this opinion of mine, I think it’s best we just chuck the rating system.

You then express surprise that a foe hadn’t exploited the potential of an impostor claiming to bear Vangey’s orders during the 64 years of Vangey’s tenure, because “Vangey is neither omnipresent nor omniscient.” Again, you ignore standing orders and the ongoing intercommunications between various senior War Wizards (remember, only in the hierarchical command structure you propose are various ranks generally [as opposed to being specifically ordered not to speak about specific matters], forbidden to discuss things with each other). An impostor would almost certainly be discovered quickly, as has already happened at least twice in Realmsplay, once by the Knights of Myth Drannor, who weren’t even furnished with the standing orders and other accumulated information a War Wizard has, to make them suspicious and give them easy means of ‘testing’ someone they suspect.
You went on to post: “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.”
Correct.
You add: “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.”
Correct.
You post: “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.”
Correct, so long as you lose the concept of set ‘cells,’ which is what most real-world resistance movements have, but the War Wizards don’t: they have ever-shifting task groups, remember?
However, you then say: “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.”
As I’ve told you more than once before, the War Wizards DO have “an overall organization designed to smoothly keep going in the face of such losses.” Vangey’s fluid method is actually a much better way of “smoothly” dealing with ongoing combat losses than a rigid chain of command: a rank hierarchy system requires someone of sufficiently high rank to have the opportunity to take stock of losses and issue orders redeploying the surviving elements, and if this must be filtered through a long chain of command it takes much longer, whereas what really happens with the War Wizards is this:
“Lord Vangerdahast, sir?”
[suspiciously] “Who’s that? You’re using Thondran’s crystal but you’re not Thondran. Veldyn?”
[surprised] “Y-yes, sir. Veldyn. Thondran’s dead: the dopplegangers WERE ready for us, Lord, and Thondran and Reskryn and Olburn all bought it. Sarathsa’s hurt, badly, and I took her to the Morninglord’s shrine. So it’s just me and Balask, now. Thondran told us you wanted all the facetwists dead or tracked, and they’re all dead but one. That one’s hiding from us in the shape of a merchant’s daughter--”
“Who?”
“Uh, Ilyarana Boldovan, sir. Eldest d--”
“Of Uthrikh Boldovan the wine merchant, yes. Tall, three moles on her forehead, snippy.”
[astonished] “YES, Lord! She’s--uh, the facetwist preten--”
“Yes, yes!”
“Ahum, heh, yes, lord. Anyway, IT’S inside her bedchamber now, in the corner turret you undoubtedly know about, and Blask and I are outside. What orders, lord?”
“Good, Veldyn, VERY good. Well done. Right, here’s . . .”
And so on. The point is, Veldyn, despite being green, timid, and junior in the task group, knew what he was supposed to do, and did it, reporting in as soon as he needed additional instructions. This is typical of the War Wizards rather than being a fortunate exception - - and if a senior War Wizard not part of the group sees Veldyn and Balask carting wounded Sarathsa or lurking outside the Boldovan house, they’d report that in, too, perhaps (via Laspeera) stirring Vangey into sending a spell-message into Veldyn’s head inquiring just what, by the Dancing Dragon of the realm, he was up to?



Ah, what a splendid illustration. Realmslore to clip and save, even for scribes who weary of this back and forth war of words here. So endeth Part Nine, but Jerryd’s post isn’t entirely dealt with yet, so Ed’s not done yet, so Part Ten approacheth!
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  05:32:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, fellow scribes. Part Ten of Ed’s reply to Jerryd:



You then ask: “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?”
No and no.
You post: “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.”
Almost correct. Not necessarily “always seek to foil;” in the case of the treasure hoard, the War Wizards would be more interested in watching and learning than they would be in pouncing on the intruders and taking the hoard for themselves or even for the realm. Sometimes letting the bad guys think they’ve gotten away with something is better than slamming the door in their faces. Please note that I said “sometimes.”

Moving on to my example of successful micromanagers: “I guess you’ve never heard of Tito, then, or Mao, or Queen Victoria, or Elizabeth I, or Henry Ford for that matter.”
You respond: “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.”
No, Jerry, I’ve not said anything of the kind. You persist in refusing to accept the organization I’m telling you they possess as being “organized” at all. That’s your error, not mine.
And I disagree entirely that the real-life people I mentioned aren’t good analogies. Henry Ford BUILT the “extensive and highly-organized organizations operating under” him, just as Vangey did. In rising to become a dictator over his country, Tito took control of a secret service he was part of, just as Vangey took control of the War Wizards. Elizabeth I built a police force (under Robert Peel) and completely transformed the spy force she inherited to make it her own. Under Victoria’s direct orders, several small-scope British intelligence departments were brought together into one, and made far more effective (as well as being given the additional duty of spying on the Foreign Office, to make sure Her Majesty’s government wasn’t sliding too far into corruption). So they’re all, in various ways, good analogies. You’re obviously operating with patchy historical knowledge here.

As Garen Thal posted after your last post, the organization of the War Wizards, historically, “depends entirely on the person at the top.”
I think Garen Thal’s analogy of a fraternal organization is, as he says, the best one. And I do indeed echo his sentiments, because I (as he) do see the War Wizards as operating very similarly to these organizations (Rotary, the Freemasons, Kinsmen, the Legion as it is in Canada [I’m not sufficiently familiar to the American counterpart to comment]). Jerry, I direct you to Garen’s post: THAT’s how the War Wizards under Vangerdahast should be depicted.
I also like Garen’s portrayal of 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.”
Spot on. I see Vangey as beginning his career as eager and zealous, being hardened into a grimly practical veteran of Court intrigues and nobles’ traps who slowly becomes obsessed with his vision of Cormyr at all costs, convinces himself that the end justifies all means, and then in the twilight of his years begins to mellow and admit three things: that there are now some things he WON’T do in the name of The Dream; that he’s been wrong about a lot of things and in his deeds made many errors, not a few little ‘so what’ ones; and that he’s overstepped the bounds of what’s best for the realm while deluding himself that he wasn’t, and that it’s best if he remove himself from authority, in a manner least damaging to the realm (to avoid a power struggle, being as he came to his senses just before the war with the Devil Dragon and the loss of Azoun).
Can you accept this, Jerry? Or are we going to have to agree to disagree? Or trade posts again?
I see solid progress over our exchanges thus far, in that a lot more Realmslore has been laid out on the table and a lot of fuzzy areas and misunderstandings made plain. So I’m quite happy to continue, building a clearer War Wizards for us all. :}



So saith Ed, ending Part Ten and making it the last, for now. Hurray! Whew! (And so on.) As always, any scribe who feels moved to do so should chime right in.
love to all,
THO
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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  07:49:13  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
Sweet Selune.

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

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  08:54:31  Show Profile  Visit Sanishiver's Homepage Send Sanishiver a Private Message
A question for Ed with no rush needed for the reply. Keep it at the end of the questions-list for as long as required.

With the War in Cormyr over and the subsequent destruction of Tilverton, what important changes would you note for the East Reaches of Cormyr (as opposed to the information found in Volo’s Guide to Cormyr)?

For example, due to the depredations of the War is it fair to say that places like Halfhap and Redspring are no longer seeing merchants flow to them in droves and also no longer enjoying Crown-investment in the form of coin and Purple Dragon contingents as in the past?

Or would you describe the Crown as determined to shore up north eastern Cormyr, perhaps after the rebuilding of Arabel?

Also, how did small locales such as Griffon Hill, Bospir, Hillmarch and Slingdyke fair during the War? Were they all but wiped out by advancing Orcs or perhaps by those retreating after the war ended?

As always thanks in advance for any ideas and advice you’re kind enough to provide.

09/20/2008: Tiger Army at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. You wouldn’t believe how many females rode it out in the pit. Santa Cruz women are all of them beautiful. Now I know to add tough to that description.
6/27/2008: WALL-E is about the best damn movie Pixar has ever made. It had my heart racing and had me rooting for the good guy.
9/9/2006: Dave Mathews Band was off the hook at the Shoreline Amphitheater.

Never, ever read the game books too literally, or make such assumptions that what is omitted cannot be. Bad DM form, that.

And no matter how compelling a picture string theory paints, if it does not accurately describe our universe, it will be no more relevant than an elaborate game of Dungeons and Dragons. --paragraph 1, chapter 9, The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
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Kuje
Great Reader

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Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  16:31:40  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
quote:
Originally posted by simontrinity

Sweet Selune.




Echoes that and I could have swore I heard my Word document groan when it realized I was about to cut those ten replies into it. :)

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
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Karth
Learned Scribe

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  18:34:05  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
quote:
Ed said: "I see solid progress over our exchanges thus far, in that a lot more Realmslore has been laid out on the table and a lot of fuzzy areas and misunderstandings made plain. So I’m quite happy to continue, building a clearer War Wizards for us all. :}"
Amen, sir. I'm not especially happy about having to watch this horse get beat to bloody, bubbling mush. (Be polite, Karth. Be polite... *grimace*) However, Ed has definitely turned the lemons to lemonade by giving the rest of us all the detail on 'The War Wizards under Vangey' that we'll ever need to roleplay them right on the money.

...To include useful names for various War Wizards and Purple Dragon officers, given in passing.

Nothing but love for ya, Ed. ;)

A quick one for the Man, or Lady Hooded, if she thinks she can tackle it without bothering Ed unnecessarily: we know from Spellfire that "simpering man-lover" is one bit of derogatory slang referring to gay men in Faerun. I've run across a situation where one of my players has his Harper PC using Alter Self (3.5E parlance) to impersonate a young woman in the Masked Merfolk in Marsember, trying to meet with Elestra Blaebur.

Yes, the hilarity is already well under way... *chuckle*

The problem is that the PC is trying to claim his female cover identity as forbiddingly 'same-sex oriented' to stave off overly-amourous male patrons. I need both the nice, socially-acceptable slang for 'lesbian' and the derogatory, negative term. If it is different for the Western Heartland than for the Eastern, I'd love to know that as well.

The poor boy had no clue what he was getting into. Comedy...

-Karth
******************************
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Torkwaret
Learned Scribe

Poland
81 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2005 :  22:02:32  Show Profile Send Torkwaret a Private Message
Dear Ed !

Could you enlighten me on the topic of "Law in the Western Heartlands" ? What I specifically would like to know is how land owning and borders is worked out (also how do typical villages and hamlets look like in that area ?) ?

Thanks !!

...Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin...
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2005 :  03:15:12  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed makes partial reply to Foolish Owl.

Foolish Owl, you posted three questions, and (despite their being related, a judgement Ed agrees with) Ed has decided to quickly dispose of the first one and devote goodly time to (later, sorry, though it’ll mean longer, better answers!) answering the other two.
Herewith, your Question One: “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?” In reply, Ed saith:



Remember that humans in Faerun grow up either not knowing or caring much about non-humans (beyond the “they’re different from us, and elves are the tall, graceful, singing and sneering sorts whereas dwarves are the gruff, burly, mining-and-making-things rugged sorts” stereotypes), or knowing a lot more about demi-human longevity - - with, of course, some humans moving from the ignorant category to the more knowledgeable, as they live their lives.
The ignorant can, of course, be fed all sorts of wild tales, and will react to the ones they believe. Most humans who are the most hostile towards other races are, of course, those most ignorant of the other races.
Those humans ‘in the know’ don’t suffer the shock WE real-world folks might, because they’ve grown up in a setting in which longer-lived beings than humans have always been around in great numbers, often living with humans. Moreover, humans who live and work daily in close contact with elves and half-elves (in Silverymoon, for example) or with dwarves ditto, tend to see them as individuals and accept them for who they are, so that knowing your friend the dwarf Thorokh will outlive your grandchildren, barring misadventure, doesn’t really affect you at all: “That’s the way of dwarves; always has been, always will be.”

(With one exception: humans and demi-humans who come to love each other deeply, and form couples, sometimes even having children. As Tolkien showed us in the Aragorn and Arwen romance, this can be deeply sad, but undertaken anyway because of the glorious strength of love - - and every participant in such a relationship has to make their own decisions in dealing with the implications of “Mummy will die long before either of us, dear” and so on.)

However, it HAS had a racial effect on the character of humans, not realized (or thought about, for that matter) by most humans, an effect exacerbated by orc hordes (or rather, by humans learning from sage individuals that orcs breed like bunnies and generally live short, brutish lives and are quite aggressive as a result): Humans tend to act far more quickly than elves and dwarves, ignore or dismiss long-term consequences, exhibit more impatience, and want immediate rewards. They want the power or the gold or the desired mate NOW; there’s no tomorrow (or rather, someone else will have tomorrow, *I* only have TODAY, so let’s get on with it, already!).
Please remember that I’m speaking in generalizations, here. Many humans, particularly clergy and philosophers (I’ll get back to this, I hope, when answering your other questions, in time to come), DO readily consider long-term implications down the decades and centuries after their own deaths, and some even try to learn from elves and dwarves of their attitudes and life-philosophies. There are of course the humans who try to “cheat” death magically, through lichdom or other means, and try to learn about long life in self-preparation.
Gnomes and halflings, by the way, often live among humans, are readily accepted by their human neighbours, and are considered ‘comfortable, more like us’ by most humans, who don’t even consider most racial differences as anything greater than the cultural differences held by humans of different faiths or from different regions.
(Speaking in generalizations warning again!) Humans tend to breed faster and adapt more quickly than elves and dwarves, but elves and dwarves are more patient, and endure more rather than abandoning a place or approach or custom to rush off and embrace ‘the new.’
Just as in real life, in our world, some humans feel threatened by those who are different, some embrace and enjoy difference, and some try to change either those who are different or themselves (or both). There have been many cases of human wizards, priests, and others in the Realms who’ve captured, tortured, cut up, and bled dry elves and dwarves in experimentations aimed at somehow ‘gaining’ their longevity for the experimentors. Some of these attempts (if your DM, or you as a DM, desires it so) may even have succeeded . . .



Whew. And on THAT chilling note (“Brain fluid of an elder dwarf, anyone? I have a spare goblet-full here!”), the words of Ed conclude. I await his other Foolish Owl answers eagerly, though he warns they may be a while in coming.
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 15 Feb 2005 14:50:56
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 16 Feb 2005 :  01:07:30  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ah, Karth, as it happens, Ed can answer your request right away, because he VERY recently prepared some notes on this very topic for someone else. Scribes, a WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AHEAD.
In the list that follows, “ND” means ‘not derogatory,’ a neutral, formal term, acceptable in polite society conversations, proclamations, etc. “M” means mild (common figure of speech, not really an insult), and “E” means derived from Elvish slang. Also, assume descriptive phrases to be Common, and unfamiliar (invented) words to be words from various other languages and local dialects, adopted into Common. Materials inside quotation marks are pronunciations.
For obvious reasons, most of these will probably never appear in published Realms products.

male homosexual ND = liyan (E: “LEE-awwn”), praed (derived from gnome slang)
effeminate male homosexual = dathna ND, simpering man-lover
bisexual man ND = tasmar
lecher M = winker
Casanova,
tireless woman-chaser = cod-loose winker
masochistic man = dusk
[note: refers to a male who enjoys self-bondage and/or being bound, being whipped or pierced or otherwise hurt]

cross-dresser (either gender) ND = saece (E: “SAY-sss”)
male or female who enjoys being forcibly enspelled (including shapechanging)
as part of sexual play = wild one, thaethiira (E: “thAY-th-EAR-ah”)
prostitute ND = coin-lass, coin-lad
[note: the above is roughly the equivalent of our phrase “neighbourhood professional;” I haven’t listed less polite euphemisms because there are literally dozens]

lesbian ND = thruss
dyke = battlebud
butch (manly woman) = harnor
submissive female M = rose
masochistic female M = dusk rose
[note: the above refers to a female who enjoys self-bondage and/or being bound, being whipped or pierced or otherwise hurt]
‘loose’ female = wanton, slut, sreea (E: “SREE-uh”)
bisexual female = shaeda (E: “SHAY-dah”)



So saith Ed. Whew. I know this has been useful in our Realmsplay because it allows for casual references rather than big, hold-everything-naughty-explanation-time moments. Realms authors, I think Ed has handed out some fairly polite euphemisms here, too, some of which you should be able to sneak into print.
love to all,
your wanton dusk rose and sometime shaeda,
THO


Edited by - The Hooded One on 16 Feb 2005 01:10:41
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2005 :  01:46:10  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Octa recently posted queries that included these words: “Khelben and the Simbul seem like they would be much more cavalier in their attitudes to 'sending some fool to their death'
Whereas Storm would be more 'You sent my agent where, to do what, they are going to die there, how could you'” and accordingly Ed of the Greenwood makes reply:



Octa, your characterizations of the attitudes of Khelben and The Simbul and Storm are spot-on: that’s exactly how they approach ‘using’ mortals. They might want to keep their informants totally separate, but it hasn’t worked out that way: all of them have their own private spies and individuals who ‘owe’ them and can therefore be conscripted into little intelligence-gathering and messenger tasks, but they all more or less share the Harpers (or used to, before the Moonstars split).
The Silverfall website ‘profile’ tale and the two Spin A Yarn website stories you’ve already been directed to all show a little of the varying styles of the Seven (but do so vividly), as does a story that will be in the “Best of Eddie” anthology this June, Silverfall, and The Seven Sisters 2nd Edition sourcebook. There are also little flashes of it in much of the rest of my Realms fiction (moments only, usually between two of the Seven, at most).
I don’t want to delve into this subject at great length (though I’m tempted to), because of unfolding Realms products still in the early planning stages as of this posting, but I will briefly outline a few hints of sibling rivalry between the Seven.
Their disputes were most sharp and energetic earlier in their lives; as the centuries have worn on, they’ve gotten tired to fighting and come to value each other (not just as fellow Chosen of Mystra, serving the same cause, but as among the handful of other beings who’ve lived as long as they have, and so remember places now gone and people now dust, that they valued). To look at it another way: if you’re going to spend the rest of a long, long, LONG life bumping into the same people, why not be at least civil to them?
If it seems to you that I’m writing in very general terms in what follows, not specifying place-names, dates, or specific events: yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing, and I won’t answer anyone more specifically than I do here. That’s what I meant about “hints.” There’s no way I want to ruin anyone’s Realms project because I speak a little too freely here and now.
So, here we go . . .
As young, immature lasses, some of the Seven often fought over guys, of course, and over the years this sort of dispute has entirely vanished (now, in the VERY rare instances in which they want to share, they share).
By the tail end of their first centuries, many of the Seven had begun trying to rule cities, then city-states, and then small kingdoms. They competed for a time in trying to reign over larger and more powerful lands than each other.
Then most of them tired of that, and moved into starting movements or gaining personal followers (in some cases, male harems) in personality cults - - and they competed in THAT, too.
They tired of such things even faster than they’d grown weary of sitting on thrones and enduring stabbings, poisonings, arrows through their guts, squabbling, and lies. Some of them even staged their own deaths to get free of their admirers - - and of course in at least two cases discovered all they’d done was start a cult that worshipped them!
Then many of the Sisters decided that such overt activities were immature, destructive, and a poor spending of their time, and started to ‘do the Elminster thing.’ That is: manipulate mortals as slickly and as subtly as possible (with occasional mini-vacations from subtlety to indulge a personal whim) to see if they could both spread the use and popularity of magic (as Mystra was bidding them to) and to bring about particular events, fads, changes in customs, and altered power and prominence for specific realms and cities and individuals.
Pursuing such goals began as “Let’s see what I can do” and quickly became “Sisters, SEE what *I* can do,” but then inevitably those of the Seven practising it (I say “those of” because Qilué’s experiences were apart from the other six Sisters for a long time) got interested in what they were doing, and drifted apart from each other’s company and competitive interests for some centuries.
During this time, they largely outgrew (Elminster and Khelben might say “grew up”) rivalries, so those that remain now are petty, and rooted in their different personal styles and attitudes (one is forgiving, one kind, one impatient, one loves a battle, and so on).
In part, this happened because the eldest, Syluné, died and so those ‘chasing’ her either won or had the need to win taken away from them, however you choose to look at it, in part it happened because both Dove and Storm turned away from being interested in becoming ‘more powerful with magic than anyone else,’ and in part it happened because each of the Seven had now mastered and succeeded in something none of the others had taken an interest in, and had the self-confidence that gaven them under their belts.
They’ve also become interested (as the passing centuries brought romances and heartbreaks, a long crushing weight of memories, and increasingly boredom) in a wide variety of experiences, from working as slaves to baking sweets to taking dolphin form and exploring seas to mastering gambling games, and have spent much time ‘trying things.’ They’ve also dabbled in influencing priesthoods and existing power groups, and some of them have turned back to ruling - - not so much for the power, any more, but to see what they can build in the way of attitudes, advancing culture, raising standards of living and extending law and order, and so on.
They will always have different personal styles, likes and dislikes, habits and hobbies, and from those differences small rivalries will constantly arise . . . but they all serve the same goddess, and increasingly treasure each other.
As The Simbul recently said to Alustriel, “’Tis a long dance we share - - and at least I know how to dance with you, now, for the times when I just want someone to hold me and not put their feet all over mine.”



So saith Ed. Sniff. Aww, he’s done it again! Left me blinking away tears, drat him! (And love him!)
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2005 :  02:23:52  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message

A question for Ed regarding the Harpers

The Harpers are officially now split between Blackstaffs Moonstars and the "Official Harpers" but I was wondering whether the "Offical harpers" where split as well. I vaguely recall that Elminster (and possably Storm to) didnt agree with those who wanted Khelbhan kicked out of the Harpers for cutting a deal with Fzoul) So I was wondering if the Haprers had actually been split into 3 groups

The Moonstars based out of Blackstaffs tower (Western Faerun/Sword coast)

Twilight Hall Harpers based out Beredusk (Central Faerun)

Shadowdale faction based out of Storms Farm house in Shadowdale (Eastern Faerun/The Dalelands)

How well do the 3 factions get on with each other today?

Would a Moonstar who turned up outside Twilight Hall be driven off?

Would a Twilight Hall Harper be welcome at Storms farm in Shadowdale?

Would a Twilight hall Harper be turned into a toad if he turned up outside Blackstaffs tower in Waterdeep?

Im guessing that the rank and file of the Harpers would have split by Geography or by personality.

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
115 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2005 :  07:03:51  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
Let me join with Dargoth in voicing interest in the Moonstars, and relations between Moonstars and Harpers. Anything Ed would care to impart I'd be interested in.

- S

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

USA
81 Posts

Posted - 17 Feb 2005 :  07:42:44  Show Profile  Visit Karth's Homepage  Send Karth an AOL message Send Karth a Private Message
quote:
So saith Ed. Whew. I know this has been useful in our Realmsplay because it allows for casual references rather than big, hold-everything-naughty-explanation-time moments. Realms authors, I think Ed has handed out some fairly polite euphemisms here, too, some of which you should be able to sneak into print.
love to all,
your wanton dusk rose and sometime shaeda,
THO
You're a terrible tease, Lady Hooded. I'm feeling all anxious now... ;)

Please give my thanks to Ed. That was absolutely perfect. Exactly what I needed. Looking forward to the "Best of Eddie"...

-Karth
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Mr. Wilson
Seeker

USA
73 Posts

Posted - 18 Feb 2005 :  03:35:48  Show Profile  Visit Mr. Wilson's Homepage Send Mr. Wilson a Private Message
I have a second question for Ed. This one requires a slightly faster response than the outstanding one about the Fall of Stars if it is at all possible.

What is the gestation period for halflings? It seems this is one of those areas TSR and WoTC are afraid to touch, and as it turns out, I'm now suddenly in the need for the answer (it's amazing what a celebartion in honor of Brandobaris will do to the most uptight of Halflings).

I'm more likely to believe in a 7-8 month period, but others with more expertise in this arena suggest 10, what say you?

"I've got a plan..."- Dan
"Nothing good has ever come after those four words." - Jesse
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 18 Feb 2005 :  04:13:18  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.
Mr. Wilson, I’ll fire your query off to Ed, marked urgent, and we’ll see what he says.

Fiction-loving scribes should take note of THE DRAGONS RETURN, a mass market paperback just released by Malhavoc Press, of short stories set in Monte Cook’s Diamond Throne fantasy setting - - including tales by such Realms luminaries as Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Kate Novak (separate stories for the lovely couple, for once!), and more!

And now to business. I bring you the words of Ed, in reply to Lord Rad, thus:



Hi, Lord Rad! You’re welcome re. All Shadows Fled; glad you’re enjoying it!
As for Galath’s Roost, I avoided specifying builder, date of building, and so on, to avoid getting in Skip’s way, and for the same reason never mapped it.
I can tell you that it’s an old “fortified manor” rather than a classical “keep” or “castle,” that it was built long ago by someone bold and human coming north from what’s now Sembia to establish a private home in the woods, that they hired or brought with them gnomes and dwarves to build it of massive stone blocks (okay, in that way it IS like a castle :} ), and that it passed through several owners over the years before the Galath whose name it now bears. It stands atop a little hill south of the Mistledale road, and has been so overgrown over the years (with trees sprouting right up through it) that it’s now entirely hidden by the forest until an observer is about sixty feet away from it, or even less. The hill has an east-west axis, and therefore so does the Roost.
I picture it as trailing away to a split and broken terrace (with overbalcony) at the west or dale end, and being broken open along its south wall by growing trees, so that some rooms on both south and west are ‘open’ to the forest, whereas the highest (squat turret) part of the Roost, the east end, is intact but swathed in creepers (the vines, not any sort of monster. :} )
The Roost has a central hallway, with doors down it giving into rooms on both sides, the easternmost room on the north side, before the end turret, being the huge, high-ceilinged feast hall featured in scenes in the book, which if I recall the novel correctly, was entered from a door off the central hallway at the east end, and the elevated features were high up on the ‘far end’ west wall of the feast hall.
Not much more detail than that exists, I’m afraid.



And there you have it. Not much but it captures the feel of the place. We Knights have been there, and I believe I left an entire change of clothing draped over some dead branches in one of the south-face rooms, when we fought some dopplegangers. One of them used a magical ring to cast a very clever illusion of a beholder, as I recall, to ‘draw our fire’ as they set up their ambush - - and they took on our shapes, so we had to “kill ourselves.” Ghoulish, ghoulish Ed.
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 18 Feb 2005 04:15:05
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 18 Feb 2005 :  04:33:58  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth 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.



More info on Galaths roost can be found in the Dungeon module Raiders of Galaths roost by Skip Williams, the modules in Issue 87

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 18 Feb 2005 :  06:14:04  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
Fiction-loving scribes should take note of THE DRAGONS RETURN, a mass market paperback just released by Malhavoc Press, of short stories set in Monte Cook’s Diamond Throne fantasy setting - - including tales by such Realms luminaries as Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb, Kate Novak (separate stories for the lovely couple, for once!), and more!


For those wishing more information about this product, try this link.
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Mr. Wilson
Seeker

USA
73 Posts

Posted - 18 Feb 2005 :  07:10:28  Show Profile  Visit Mr. Wilson's Homepage Send Mr. Wilson a Private Message
Thank you, my Lady.

"I've got a plan..."- Dan
"Nothing good has ever come after those four words." - Jesse
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