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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  02:44:00  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed makes reply to Foolish Owl about the literary side of Cormyr (reserving the philosophy question for later). Jerryd, there’s a note in here that will probably be of interest to you, too. ATTENTION ALL SCRIBES: what follows is essential Cormyr-related Realmslore. Clip and save!
Accordingly, I give you all the words of Ed:



Foolish Owl, your impression is correct. The last two kings of Cormyr, Azoun IV operating under the persistent urgings of both Alaphondar and Vangerdahast (whose reasons include these: more literate native-born Cormyreans means a larger pool of folk from which courtiers and spies can be drawn; persons with a natural aptitude for the Art can more easily advance because they already know how to read and write spells; a more literate general populace cuts down on casual dishonesty in matters of daily trade and sales, making for better local relations and contentment; and a more literate general populace means more possibilities of a farmer or wandering youth at play being able to recognize something important or suspicious or dangerous if they happen across writings - - whereas in the past some Sembians have been able to say one thing across an upcountry Cormyrean tavern table to each other, and write something far different, knowing no one else there can read their ‘true’ conversation), have made certain all Purple Dragons are trained to read and write, AND get practise in it (by often filing brief written reports), and encouraged all nobility to train their ENTIRE housholds to read and write, too. The Crown has also, for years, made monetary donations to local tutors and priests of Deneir and Oghma (temples, shrines, and traveling individuals) for freely teaching anyone who asks how to read and write.
Some of the enticements to read are ‘racy’ chapbooks (coverless booklets of only a few pages in length, about as wide and tall as a large man’s hand) sold by peddlers and caravan-merchants, that purport to tell the latest lurid gossip about social and Court life in Suzail, or are ‘riders:’ collections of installments of three sorts of serialized stories: one of a series of simple adventure tales for the kiddies, one of the exploits of larger-than-life adventurers (the equivalent of Paul Bunyan ‘tall tales’), and one frankly pornographic (words only, not pictures) ongoing seduction saga of a devastatingly handsome and morally depraved fictional noble, wenching his way across the realm.
That’s “literature” to many crofters (farmers) across Cormyr.
However, in the three cities of the realm, and among particular families and individuals scattered all across the Forest Kingdom, ‘serious’ literature also exists (though none of them would ever call it that, because Cormyr entirely lacks the literary snobbery of our modern real-world, except among sages sniping at each other’s published works as reflecting biases or being lazy scholarship).
In a given year, probably five hundred or so books get published (mainly in Cormyr, although there are also binderies in Arabel), and of these, about 150 or so are scholarly “sagecraft” (commonly known as ‘furrowbrow’ writings). The average circulation of one of these would be about six hundred copies, of which a hundred or so would be exported to waiting buyers in Waterdeep, Sembia, and elsewhere outside the borders of the Forest Kingdom.
The rest of the annual ‘haul’ of Cormyrean publications (I’m not including here, of course, daily productions of signs, handbills, and product instruction notes or lone recipes handed out in shops) consists of about 350 more popular works. These are all bound volumes (usually parchment leaves sewn into calfskin bindings), tend to be small and easily held (though sometimes very thick), and can address almost any topic.
No Court permission is required to publish anything, with three exceptions: anything of or about magic, anything of or about a living member of the royal family, and anything specific about current (not historical) Cormyrean military dispositions. (Remember that there’s no such thing as copyright or libel, though courtiers can order untruths to be publicly recanted, and nobles can and will duel over words they dislike, or arrange to have a non-noble whose words they disapprove of beat up or lose a wagon or hut to a mysterious fire, reprisals often guarded against by the use of pseudonyms.)
Print runs and sales of these volumes vary widely, depending on their popularity, which (in rough terms) is as follows, from most popular to least:
1. Riders: see above: average 18,000 copies
2. Readers: collections of eight or so writings, one of which is usually current gossip, another one or two being polemics (colourful rants are preferred), and the rest being an array of fiction (see my first mention of riders, above, for some genres; others are endless war adventures of this or that simple lad [or lass, disguised as a man] rising from the barnyard to commanding armies, in a fanciful kingdom loosely based on Cormyr, or in Cormyr itself, and light comedies of manners in the high life of Suzail, that often include satirical references to real folk and real events of the day): average 14,500 copies
3. Recipe collections. Always avidly devoured in kitchens across the realm, from farm huts to noble palaces, and in nigh every inn, too (in lean winter days, farm families often gather together at the abode of whoever has the warmest kitchen and the largest cauldron, and make a communal stew, reading aloud descriptions from recipe books as a sort of “food porn”). New spice and herb mixtures are always ‘hot’ topics: average 8,000 copies
4. Tyankurs: how-to books about farming (especially breeding and ‘new seeds from afar’) and craftwork. Sometimes bought up by guilds so they can be destroyed en masse, to protect secrets. As a result, helpful hints for dyes and repairs and daily little tasks are rising in popularity, and in-depth ‘how-to’ tomes are declining: average 3,500 copies
5. Wider Realms books: gossipy travel exploits, plus tall tales and recent news from distant parts of the Realms: average 1,700 copies
6. Histories, including memoirs and legends of old Cormyr (old soldiers’ campaign accounts are the most popular works here, especially if full of juicy details about daily screwups, officers wenching or making mistakes, grisly battle occurrences, and so on): average 1,200 copies
7. Everything else (e.g. collections of only love poetry; collections of wise sayings; annual reviews of breeding stables and ‘hot’ horses for racing and stud; annual overviews of trade shortages, opportunities, and predicted fads and fashions in Suzail, the Dales, and around the Moonsea; stand-alone polemics): average 1,000 copies

What I’ve just given here are publishers’ sales figures, not including resales (most copies are loaned around and read by many, and then resold to a peddler to be taken elsewhere, for the process to be repeated).

Please note that none of these circulation figures include temple copies (except for Candlekeep itself, which treasures ‘originals’). By which I mean this: a temple of Deneir or Oghma will purchase a single copy of a literary work, examine it, and if it (or extracts from it) are viewed as worthy of wider circulation, will hand-recopy it (with not a copper coin nor word to the original author) any number of times, for circulation among the temples of the same faith throughout the Realms. Traffic in the form of letters, such books, priestly decrees, and sermon texts is constant among temples, usually carried by trusted priests in sewn-shut, waterproofed parcels.

From this post, you can readily see that Cormyr, and especially Suzail, has a thriving, growing literary culture. I’m not sure if it can yet be called ‘great,’ but the base of readership is there for ‘bestsellers’ (books ‘everybody in the kingdom’ is reading, or wants to read) to occur, and noble houses are beginning to patronize writers for more than merely turning out self-congratulatory family histories and courtship poems, sponsoring these “dream-scribblers” to produce fiction for all to enjoy (the noble house stamps its heraldic badge onto the bindings and takes credit for making the entertainment possible, in hopes of winning friendly regard realm-wide). Nobles and just plain shopworkers and tradesmen, as well as the traditional sages, are starting to assemble personal libraries (a few shelves at most of favourite books, usually), and all of this is the right climate for works of greatness to begin to occur fairly often.

If Azoun V survives to rule in his own right, I’d say by then Cormyr will be widely literate and will have strong, broad, firmly-established literary traditions. You’ll start to see writers openly and regularly criticizing governance, and writers writing sequels ‘to order’ as well as long-running serialized family sagas. Filfaeril might well write a ‘tell-all’ book, and (hoo-boy!) Alusair might try to top it. (Or ‘bottom’ it. Or . . . ahem.)



So saith Ed. Lovely, lovely, lovely Realmslore. A pleasure to post, and: Heed all!
As for the Srinshee post kuje passed on: hooboy! I'll fling it Ed's way post-haste!
love to all,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  03:30:40  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

ATTENTION ALL SCRIBES: what follows is essential Cormyr-related Realmslore. Clip and save!


Some of us already clip and save all of Ed's lore, my Lady.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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Jhastarr
Acolyte

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  05:00:20  Show Profile  Visit Jhastarr's Homepage Send Jhastarr a Private Message
Hello The Hooded One & Ed

I was wondering if I could get the latitude for some Realms locations such as Waterdeep, Shadowdale, Arabel, Calimport, and The Great Mount of Ghaethluntar. Also, would there be a difference in latitude between 2nd edition and 3rd edition maps, since the maps look so different.
Thank you very much
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Hoondatha
Great Reader

USA
2400 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  06:25:05  Show Profile  Visit Hoondatha's Homepage Send Hoondatha a Private Message
Somewhere within the last month or two was a long and in-depth discussion of all things geographic and earth science, including lines of latitude and longitude. Look back a little ways and you'll find it, and if you ask nicely I'm sure the guy who put so much effort into it would share the results of all his calculations. Though beware, you may end up with more information than you can deal with.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but I've got a brain like a steel sieve.

Doggedly converting 3e back to what D&D should be...
Sigh... And now 4e as well.
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  13:01:50  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Another question for Ed

What ever became of Zeboaster of Ordulin? Did the Red Wizards of Thay or the Mykrulites ever catch up to him?

Thanks in advance

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Ty
Learned Scribe

USA
168 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  13:43:49  Show Profile  Visit Ty's Homepage Send Ty a Private Message
The Hooded One,

My thanks to yourself and Mr. Greenwood for remembering my first question regarding Impiltur and the very prompt response to my second question about recipes. I think I may just have to try one of them... test it out of course on myself before the wife...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2005 :  22:45:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
I have what is hopefully a quick and easy question about greater doppelgangers... When two greater doppelgangers are in their assumed identities, can they each tell that the other is a doppelganger?

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2005 :  02:13:06  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. The insanely busy Ed rides to the rescue, with a reply (of sorts) for kuje to take to Alurvelve, and these tidbits for other scribes, too:



Melfius, it’s great to see my pixie-blushing skills are unabated! :} Thanks!

Rinonalyrna, ’twas my pleasure, and I will do my utmost to sneak a little Filfaeril into my forthcoming fiction. It may take two years or even three before the opportunity arises, but I do plan ahead.

Kuje, you sure can pick ’em! Please convey this reply unto the WotC boards:

Alurvelve, I must begin with two warnings: first, I can’t give you a proper reply due to a current NDA (you’ll see why in about a year from now), and secondly, your DM rules. I can give suggestions, but they’ll be just that: suggestions.
I agree that trying to do a “hey, babe, see my shiny teeth as I smile my very best wolf smile” pickup attempt is just going to amuse her (at best). There are some vital things about the Srinshee that I’m not at liberty to reveal right now, but your judgement of her as one who’s ‘seen just about everything already’ isn’t far off the mark.
So as you so correctly said, your problem is how to stand out from all of her previous lovers and would-be suitors. And yes, you ARE going to “bite off more than you can chew.” If this proceeds at all, it’s going to change your life completely (and your DM may or may not want to move the campaign in that direction). Both of you should bear in mind that becoming her consort is nigh-impossible: even if you became her lover and fast friend, she’s going to want to shield you from much that she now does, and so she’s going to be an absent-for-long-periods, waiting-in-your-bed unexpectedly sort (at best).
So, to the wooing:
Recovering the Warblade first is essential, to show your worth (that quest will not be easy), and that you can accomplish things you set out to do. Keeping your promises regardless of the cost, and so on.
Secondly, and the key to success: show her you’re NOT out for her body or her power, and don’t view the world as an endless entertainment ground for you and your friends, or yourself as important at all.
Show her (and you’d better really mean it, because she’ll test you and peer into your mind to make sure) that you’re a kindred spirit to her: you’re looking ahead and working to bring about what’s best for all elves (some accomodation with the drow, the ‘working together’ that the Srinshee saw missing from Myth Drannor when she vanished with the Crownblade). In other words, a fellow soldier in the same war she’s fighting.
Someone she can trust, who will stand alongside her in working to bring about not just a more glorious future for elvenkind, but for all Faerûn. The ONLY compliment that will work with her is telling her you can see some of what she’s been striving for, and admire her more than anyone else you can think of, for the work she’d dedicated herself to.
The Srinshee does love intimacy and lovemaking, but to thrust yourself at her would be a great mistake. Let HER decide when things will go beyond hand-kissing and bowing. This is one entity for whom becoming their best friend is your best way to more intimate things.
I can’t say much more without hampering your DM and unfolding play in the campaign you’re in, other than to wish you the best of luck, and bow in your direction for daring to try such a thing.
It’s moments like these that make me proud to have created and shared the Realms.
PLEASE let me know how things turn out!



So saith Ed. Whew. I agree. And boy, is Ed sitting on some Srinshee secrets he can’t share right now! Hard and spiky things, NDAs!
Also, a note to Jhastarr, for Jerryd’s superb calculations and discussions of place-latitudes on Toril, see Page 80 of the 2004 Questions for Ed thread, elsewhere in the Chamber of Sages.
love to all,
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2005 :  02:36:01  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
Thanks Ed, will send it over to that poster right after I add it to my file of course.

Speaking of NPC's again. Can Ed supply some other lore on some of the NPCs, I don't care which ones, he can pick, that would be about thier pets, fav foods, books/scrolls/plays/entertainments they like, any anything else he feels he wants to add, etc. :) He can choose some of the "iconic" NPC's or some that have been forgotting in the last 15 years. :)

And I don't mean to pick these types of topics but we love your world Ed and we want to know the things that TSR wouldn't let you print and WOTC won't print either. :) I devour anything you send to us.

Look Ed has more groupies. :) And if you couldn't tell, I had a blast meeting you in Canada for your book tour. Hells, I even ignored my kidney stone that night just to meet you.

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

Edited by - Kuje on 23 Feb 2005 03:10:16
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Sanishiver
Senior Scribe

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2005 :  02:56:34  Show Profile  Visit Sanishiver's Homepage Send Sanishiver a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by JhastarrI was wondering if I could get the latitude for some Realms locations such as Waterdeep, Shadowdale, Arabel, Calimport, and The Great Mount of Ghaethluntar.
If I've got this figured out right JerryD (he of the pages long conversation with Ed of late) is working up just such information, as there are postings to the Realms-L mailing list that hint as much.

Jerry are you out there? If you are working up such lore can you give your fellow scribes a web link to anything you might have posted thus far?

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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Melfius
Senior Scribe

USA
516 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2005 :  02:59:35  Show Profile  Visit Melfius's Homepage  Send Melfius an AOL message Send Melfius a Private Message
High praise, indeed, kuje! Meeting Ed IS more important than a kidney stone! As a fellow sufferer, I would do the same!

Melfius, Pixie-Priest of Puck - Head Chef, The Faerie Kitchen, Candlekeep Inn
"What's in his pockets, besides me?"
Read a tale of my earlier days! - Happiness Comes in Small Packages
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Athenon
Seeker

USA
43 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2005 :  04:52:40  Show Profile  Visit Athenon's Homepage  Send Athenon an AOL message Send Athenon a Private Message
Ed and THO,

I'm running a campaign that is based in Silverymoon. I just got the new "Lost Empires of Faerun" (which I think is very well done) and I notice that there's a reference to Silverymoon's mythal that states that all evilly aligned creatures are affected by an Antipathy spell. Without delving into rules, this would probably mean that there are no evil beings in the entire city. Is this consistent with you original view of the city? Just curious as that seems rather sweeping (and also would make it difficult to use the city as a campaign base in the long run - nobody trying to use and abuse my PCs!!).

Thank you as always!

Will Maranto

Representing the Realms in the Wilds of Northern Louisiana
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  00:41:57  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Hi Ed,

I've just got my copy of Lost Empires of Faerun and i was very intrigued by the magelord prestige class and writeup. I was just wondering how much input you would have had on that... did you provide any lore for the authors?

Also, i notice that the magelord does not necessarily have to be evil... and as i'm in the process of converting an old 2nd Edition PC to 3.5, i was thinking of making him a magelord (i already know he's definitely going to be a rogue/wizard hybrid). Do you think that would conflict with the fact that this character is also a Harper or can someone (in your opinion) use the magelord tradition within a Harper's moral framework?

Thanks,

GH

Knight of the Order of the Keen Eye - Granted by Ed Greenwood, 30th January 2005
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  01:10:45  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed makes swift reply to Borch in his “smaller query” about Stormkeep:



Hi, Borch. You’ve missed nothing, because until the earlier Candlekeep post of mine you referred to, this feature hasn’t been mentioned at all in published Realmslore (so far as I can remember).

The Stormkeep is the old and massive stone fortress at the westernmist end of the city walls of Baldur’s Gate (the castle of four closely-linked stone towers). Its more formal name, used by no one but heralds and fussy city clerks and sages these days, is the Keep of Storms, and it was called that purely because lightning bolts often struck it in olden days when storms swept onshore. These days, a ward conducts all lightning discharges away into the ground about a bowshot northwest of the towers.
The Stormkeep is the oldest (though many times rebuilt) and still the tallest fortification of Baldur’s Gate. Its height was intended to give defenders a ‘long view’ out to sea (when fogs permit), allow them to fly signal banners or lights visible a long way out at sea, and to elevate the catapults and ballistae emplaced atop the four towers enough to give them a ‘reach of fire’ farther out to sea than a ground-level or low tower-top would afford them.
Today, the Stormkeep contains city armories, dungeons, workshops (storing, among other things, several disassembled but ready for swift use catapults and ballistae), and granaries. There are rumors of gargoyles and even stranger monsters having once been kept there, that escaped and still lurk about the tower, preying on the lone and unwary (Elminster says such rumors shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, but that defenders of Baldur’s Gate should have nothing to fear, thanks to the spectral undead of former Baldurian guards haunting the tower). There are also persistent rumors of portals to distant places being hidden in the towers, and of a tunnel beneath the dungeons of one of them, that runs underneath the harbor-mouth clear across it to Arbristae’s Tower, the lone, large tower at the OTHER end of the city walls (again, Elminster says these tales should be believed). [Arbristae was a young sorceress thought to have been murdered as the tower was being built, and her blood mixed with the mortar; because she was slain with spells, the huge tower has a lingering receptivity to magic. Elminster confirms this tale to be true, as well, and notes that Arbristae is little remembered in ‘the Gate’ these days, and many other names have been applied to ‘her’ tower, down the years.]
Most Baldurians think of Stormkeep as “old, bleak, forbidding, unbowed, solid, and uncomfortable,” and it would be the first place they’d think of some corrupt or deceitful city clerk or even Grand Duke of hiding something large (like a golem) from the city - - because such things have been done in the past. Elminster regarded the ceiling and told it innocently, “And may even be going on right now - - who knows?”



So saith Ed. Sly adventure-weaver that he is.
love to all,
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  01:49:44  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 The Hooded One
Arbristae was a young sorceress thought to have been murdered as the tower was being built, and her blood mixed with the mortar; because she was slain with spells, the huge tower has a lingering receptivity to magic. Elminster confirms this tale to be true, as well, and notes that Arbristae is little remembered in ‘the Gate’ these days, and many other names have been applied to ‘her’ tower, down the years.]



This almost sounds like the living castle that Embra was almost totally made into in your Band of Four novels. :)

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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Skeptic
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  02:26:16  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message

Hi,

I would like to know (if possible) what is the current (1372) status of the city of Zhentil Keep ?
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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2290 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  14:54:17  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage Send ElaineCunningham a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Melfius

High praise, indeed, kuje! Meeting Ed IS more important than a kidney stone!




"Dear Ed,
"I would rather meet you than pass a kidney stone...."

If you don't be careful, you'll turn the poor man's head.
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Melfius
Senior Scribe

USA
516 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  15:17:26  Show Profile  Visit Melfius's Homepage  Send Melfius an AOL message Send Melfius a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Melfius

High praise, indeed, kuje! Meeting Ed IS more important than a kidney stone!




"Dear Ed,
"I would rather meet you than pass a kidney stone...."

If you don't be careful, you'll turn the poor man's head.



Well, since you put it THAT way...

How about an ingrown toenail?

Melfius, Pixie-Priest of Puck - Head Chef, The Faerie Kitchen, Candlekeep Inn
"What's in his pockets, besides me?"
Read a tale of my earlier days! - Happiness Comes in Small Packages

Edited by - Melfius on 24 Feb 2005 15:20:19
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  17:34:12  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 ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Melfius

High praise, indeed, kuje! Meeting Ed IS more important than a kidney stone!




"Dear Ed,
"I would rather meet you than pass a kidney stone...."

If you don't be careful, you'll turn the poor man's head.



Pass a stone? I wish! More like wait in the ER for 12 hr's, get a cat scan, then go admitted to a room, wait around a day or two until they can get me in the OR for another 2 to 6 hr operation as they pull it out since my body doesn't pass them. And before someone asks, of course I get knocked out for that! Wake me up when you done, thanks. :)

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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Phoebus
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  21:24:28  Show Profile  Visit Phoebus's Homepage  Send Phoebus a Yahoo! Message Send Phoebus a Private Message
Hooded One & Ed,

First, greetings from the modern Mesopotamia. As you might guess, life here revolves around the occasional bouts of excitement that break up longer periods of anxious boredom.

I apologize in advance for the first couple of questions--my internet connection is doubtful and unreliable at best, and so I'd rather use my precious minutes (they're like the cigarettes of earlier wars!) asking you all directly instead of chancing a failed "Search" function. Please forgive!

Now, for the questions:
1) I seem to rememember that the Old Empires supplement was written by someone whose initials weren't E.G., but I can't be sure. What part (if any) did you have in the creation or development of Chessenta, Unther, or Mulhorand? I know in the past you've said you would have rather avoided dealing with close parallels to the real world, and I wondered if this chunck of the Realms fell under that statement. This is more a "personal curiosity" question (I have nothing against the product either way), and a "Yes" or "No" answer will do if either of you is short on time.

2) With the Old Empires (we're dealing with a heavily modified Chessenta) still on our mind, would you say the DMG's rates for mercenaries sound decent for that part of the Realms? If you need more specifics, the PCs (hard on their luck after much gambling, carousing, and the purchase of near-worthless real estate) are working as looking for work as either scouts, or as a bodyguard cohort to nobility at war. They are rather experienced as far as hired shields go--3 men at arms including one good at tracking, a rogue, and a Helmite priest with secrets. If I'm throwing too much info, it's only because I'm hoping for specifics and I've seen from other posts that specific answers require first a specifc question.

3) Looking at the Elves coming back to Cormanthyr, I imagine they would be equipped for trouble (what with Drow, otherworldly threats, and the like crawling through their old turf). What would be an accurate description of the Tel'Quessir guardians for a party lucky enough to actually lay eyes on them? I'm thinking more along the lines of Sun or Moon Elves, and am specifically wandering how they go about the scouting/defense of their erstwhile home. As in, how many, how experienced/old they are (young bucks, or tried-and-true swordswingers and shooters with a couple centuries under their belts), how the equip themselves, how far do they roam from their communities, etc. I'm working on a storyline I haven't had a chance to deal with for some time... and anything would help.

Well, I hope the weather is good and the fun is plenty where you're at. Take care, and I look forward to hearing from y'all.
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Phoebus
Seeker

18 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2005 :  22:51:04  Show Profile  Visit Phoebus's Homepage  Send Phoebus a Yahoo! Message Send Phoebus a Private Message
Well, it looks like I have some extra minutes, so I thought I'd add an observation to the War Wizard Debate. But first, I want to offer my best wishes to Jerry--for tackling such a big project--and my thanks to Ed, for offering up so many gems.

First, a little background on myself (as a qualifier of sorts for what I'm about to say):
I'm in the USAF, though the nature of my job over the last 8 years has allowed me to work with the Army (almost more than I do with my parent service), the Marine Corps, and even a bit with the Navy. My job has included liaison and coordination work as high up as regional command headquarters (which oversee the Coalition forces in Iraq, for example) and operational duties as far forward as the nose closest to the guys shooting at us. People I have worked with have ranged from the lowest no-stripe Private in a line fire-team, to a couple of 3-star Generals.

Having said that, far from thinking Vangey's character to be unusual for one in his position, I find myself wanting to ask Ed what real-world personalities he patterned Cormyr's Mage Royal after?

Without trying to alarm people, the micro-manager/buddy-buddy persona is neither rare nor a modern invention among people in leadership positions. Micro-managing is a well-practiced art among high ranking officers, and the tendency to exert "buddy-buddy" influence (whether consciously or not) is especially prevalent when concerning senior leaders dealing with field officers and non-commissioned officers whom they risen through the ranks with and groomed into new positions of responsibility.

I appreciate Jerry's questions and puzzlement, because I think he's trying to deal with what makes sense and should be, but I think what is more important is the idea that people don't necessarily make sense; they don't always make the right decisions; and yet, they can--and do--succeed despite their human foibles.

Some of those Generals and Colonels carry themselves with a natural charm that allows them to continue good relationships with those subordinates. Vangey, like Ed said, doesn't have that, but it doesn't stop him from exercising a similar style of leadership and authority. In that, he's merely human--he's flawed! But in his environment, and given his type of personality, it not unreasonable that he would do things his way. He developed a system of loose and personal command and control (drawn from his paranoia regarding the WW organization's previous trends) and coupled it with a great deal of redundancy (as demonstrated by Ed's example). It worked, though this likely had more to do with what Wizards bring to the table, than Vangey's own ingenuity. Being Vangey, success gave him the moral prerogative to continue this trend. Again, a "my way or the highway" trend typical of an autocratic, type-A personality. None of this is necessarily right. But it is, again, human. I would be more suspicious of a writer describing individuals developing flawless concepts, all the while retaining a critic and a writer's omniscience over their possible failings. Vangey, though, couldn't afford a covenant of advisors and critics in re-structuring the WW. He felt that most everyone else in the court had their own interests closest to heart (NOT Cormyr's), and that the WW themselves couldn't necessarily be trusted. And thus, he developed things as he did.

If nothing else, the last couple of pages have made "Vangey" make more sense as a character than he has to me in a long, long time. :)

Well, sorry to tread over the obvious... but this was a pretty nead read and I guess I just had to get it out of my system.

Edited by - Phoebus on 24 Feb 2005 22:53:21
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2005 :  01:29:07  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, the words of Ed to Torkwaret, in reply to this: “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)?”
Ed saith:


Torkwaret, you’ve asked something that by merest mischance happens to charge right into my newest, brightest NDA, so I can only reply in the most general (and brief) manner.

First, landowning and borders . . .
Generally speaking, formal land-law only exists in kingdoms and other organized countries; otherwise, “might makes right” and “what the local lord or kingpin says, goes.”
In reality, of course, this brute-force, “my sword is the law” approach is always tempered by custom (the habits of generations, that build up into “the way things are done” and the expectations of locals [e.g. “You can push us, self-styled ‘lord,’ but only so far: my grandsire built that fence and my daddy expanded it - - tear it down and on their graves I swear I’ll tear YOU down!”]) and by the unwritten ‘rules of the road’ understood by caravan-merchants, peddlers, pilgrims, and envoys, and enforced by priests and by the Heralds. An example of this second factor would be: “If you set up an inn and then murder everyone who stops there and keep their goods, I don’t care if that’s morally okay to you personally, as a devout follower of Bane or of Cyric: if you do such things, expect to get wiped out by several caravans arriving at once fully intending to murder YOU, the moment word gets out, or just shunned and ignored, with no one visiting you for any reason, so I hope there’s absolutely nothing you need by way of trade, ever again, from now until the end of your life.”
These factors usually boil down to: you can charge fees for the use of your land, or you can fence off your land and guard it, with notices, prohibiting all or specific uses of it - - but you can’t simply butcher, maim, imprison, or rob individuals you find on your land. Moreover, you can’t flout local customs with regard to buying and selling land, renting land to farmers to till or stable and paddock-space and room-and-board to travellers.
Some places have written deeds (and if they do, such are often kept either at local lords’ castles or at the nearest temple), some places have an overall map, and some have nothing at all beyond squatting and driving out undesirables and local crafters and shopkeepers shunning folk who “don’t belong” and “aren’t one of us.”
Borders between neighbours might be settled with violence, or by documents and rules and solemn (church or Herald-witnessed) agreements. Borders between nobility or rulers or countries are always solemnized somehow (usually with agreements or treaties arising out of wars, and enforced by periodic border patrols or even garrisons). Often such borders follow a river (or mountain range, or road) for convenience. Miscreants fleeing across a border can’t depend on its protection unless there are patrols or garrisons; otherwise, persons seeking to bring them to justice will simply follow them, ignoring the border.

As for the ‘look’ of typical villages and hamlets: surrounded by pastureland or farms, with fences of gathered stumps and stones (let grow wild into a tall, often impenetrable ‘hedge’ by encouraging thornbushes, especially [edible] berry-bushes, to grow along them), or ‘split-rail’ fences of zig-zag timbers. A village or hamlet usually grows up around a temple or shrine, waymoot, or mill (hence, a stream), and often has a market (open-air area for farmers to sell produce), a public well or horsepond, a tavern, and one or more local shops and services (smithy, carpenter and/or wagon-maker), an inn if the village or its temple is large enough, and so on.
The settlement usually consists of fieldstone and log buildings, with board roofs (often covered with earth to grow gardens), with a kitchen garden out back. Most buildings front along the roads or trails of the community, and there are usually steadily-dwindling woodlots, communal outdoor ovens or roasting-hearths, and the like. Clay brick, wattle-and-daub, and moss chinking can all be seen, root-cellars are everywhere, tile and steep snow-shedding roofs are rarities but can be found, and most buildings are a single storey high (temples and grand homes of lords or wizards being the exceptions). Most settlements have a lookout, either a tower or more often just a hilltop (with a signal-beacon bonfire laid ready for lighting, to worn of an approaching army or orc horde). Only the best roads have ditches, and roads are packed bare earth except in swampy areas (where logs are laid crosswise, in what our world terms a “corduroy road”).
Unlike our real world, most folk of the Western Heartlands love trees, and although they harvest them heavily for daily use, they also replant and refrain from denuding everything (fences keep grazing livestock from wandering at will), the rolling, lightly-treed hill country of the Western Heartlands doesn’t look all THAT different from the way it did before humans settled all across it.


So saith Ed. More Realmslore, as usual, to come. Probably tomorrow.
Phoebus, thank you: VERY well said. I’ll pass on your comments to Ed. The Old Bearded One is even more wearily busy than usual, but he WILL get to all lore requests, and is doggedly maintaining at least an answer a day schedule.
love to all,
THO
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2005 :  04:47:33  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by THO
Jerryd, there’s a note in here that will probably be of interest to you, too.
Yes, it was of interest; thank you! And as a side note to that, I still plan to reply to Ed's last large multi-part posting to me, although I want to try to shorten my reply in order to wrap that particular subject up. I've had to put it aside for the past week-plus because of other major things happening. For one, I had to reinstall everything on my workstation from the OS on up, and for another, this was my first week at my new job - I'm once again employed! Part of the reason I've had so much time to devote to the Realms lately was an 8.5-month spell of unemployment. While working will be great for my finances, it will reduce the time I have to spend on Realms matters. Anyway, I'm hoping to get a reply posted to Ed some time next week to try to wrap that up.

And thank you, Dear Lady, for the very kind compliment on my latitude/longitude work!

To Jhastarr, Hoondatha, and Sanishiver regarding the latitude/longitude work:

Yes, I'm still around, although the abovementioned other events have kept me away from being active here!

Here's the original article I posted to the REALMS-L list, which prompted the discussion referred to by our Lady Hooded One:
http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0412E&L=realms-l&P=R2

Everything in that article is valid except for the city latitudes and the estimated diameter and axial tilt of Toril.

The updated diameter and axial tilt were arrived at by Ed and myself in the page our Lady Hooded One indicated (p.80 of that thread), and I posted those values on REALMS-L here:
http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0501A&L=realms-l&P=R521

This article on the REALMS-L list gives the corrected latitude values (correction also due to the discussion with Ed) for the sites I previously did the calcs for:
http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0502A&L=realms-l&P=R2

As far as the Great Mount of Ghaethluntar, that wasn't one of the landmarks I originally did the calculations for. Just for Jhastarr, though, I loaded up my screen shot and spreadsheet and got the info:

Latitude     51°30'N
Longitude    19°57'E


Give or take a few minutes, of course!

And a final remark...
quote:
Originally posted by Phoebus
I appreciate Jerry's questions and puzzlement, because I think he's trying to deal with what makes sense and should be, but I think what is more important is the idea that people don't necessarily make sense; they don't always make the right decisions; and yet, they can--and do--succeed despite their human foibles.
That's an excellent and succinct summation of what I was trying to do. "Making sense" is vital to me. I'm a firm believer that "making sense" is a vital ingredient of insuring success. It's true that people don't necessarily make sense or make the right decisions, but I firmly believe that this "loads the dice" for failure. The more they make sense and make the right decisions, the necessarily greater their chance to succeed. People who succeed despite not making sense or making the wrong decisions - despite their human foibles as you put it - do so only through blind dumb luck, and luck (being the fickle lady she is) only goes so far or lasts so long — people (or institutions) who habitually don't make sense and/or make the wrong decisions are virtually guaranteed to fail in anything more than the short term. I firmly believe this to be absolute fact, and this belief has shaped how I wanted to portray the War Wizards given that I consider them to be a farirly successful and effective institution. I know that (war wizards aside) some will disagree with this basic premise underlying my approach, so I'll just agree to disagree.
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4304 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2005 :  05:47:56  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jerryd
I firmly believe this to be absolute fact, and this belief has shaped how I wanted to portray the War Wizards given that I consider them to be a farirly successful and effective institution. I know that (war wizards aside) some will disagree with this basic premise underlying my approach, so I'll just agree to disagree.



This indeed is the problem, "Belief is Error"

Once anyone puts belief first they lose objectivity when judging the facts as they are revealed. A 600 to 800 member organization will have problems even if to outside eyes it appears to be working very good. This is true of any org, each though seeks to maintain the image and hstory of their successes and if not able to hide failures from eyes (outside and within the org) rationaise why the failure occured.

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Sarkile
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2005 :  06:13:55  Show Profile  Visit Sarkile's Homepage Send Sarkile a Private Message
I have a question for Ed, although I feel kind of silly asking it. I would like to know what the responses would be at a planetouched character's arrival in the dalelands if the character was calm and offered no violence. I bet I can guess, but how would the reactions differ between a half fiendish person, a half celestial and the different genasi? When I ask this question the dales I'm primarily thinking of are Shadowdale and Mistledale.
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