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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2005 :  14:44:01  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Oh, dear. I’d forgotten about that little lore problem. It arose out of editing, and is an over- simplification.
Let me try to set things straight. Here are Ed’s words, from a note of to me his last year:

There’s a strong xenophobic streak in Luskan (that really began as an anti-dwarves, anti-elves, and of course anti-orcs) thas led to various administrations there, over the years, “banning” people who didn’t look to be pure human from MOST of Luskan (the ‘docks’ of the port proper always excluded, because discouraging mixed-blood crews means ships stay away and Neverwinter takes over as the dominant port in the area).
This “non-humans keep out” rule has waxed and waned over the years, but has steadily lost public support. Half-bloods (even half-orcs!) have been openly tolerated for years. The Arcane Brotherhood tried to revive banning non-humans for their own purposes (allowing them to arrest, imprison, and confiscate all goods and property for their own enrichment), but this heavy-handed action, seen for what it really was by the cynical populace (increasing numbers of whom are relying on the dwarf-borne wealth coming from Mirabar), was the last straw. Non-humans are banned in Luskan no longer. In certain places and situations they may still get beaten up, mind you . . .

So there you have it.
love to all,
THO
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Taelohn
Seeker

36 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2005 :  19:06:07  Show Profile  Visit Taelohn's Homepage  Send Taelohn an AOL message  Click to see Taelohn's MSN Messenger address Send Taelohn a Private Message
On a similiar note to the recent question about "what reactions do planetouched people cause in most folk", I was wondering if that inquiry could be expanded to the more drastically different half-fiends and half-celestials. Surely they'd be far more rare, but those aasimar and tieflings have to come from somewhere...

I'd imagine they'd mostly keep to themselves or travel under magical disguises, espically the half-fiends - if such a being showed up in Waterdeep for instance, wings, horns, fangs and all, would the guards (or even citizens) try to capture or even attack it on the spot? Or would they just keep a very close eye on everything it did?

If an undisguised half-celestial (angelic wings and all) showed up in a similiar place, what reaction would it get? Would such an appearance be rare/unheared of enough to shock and awe the citizens there, or would it be treated as just another "outlander"? Would many people realize what it was, or could it get away with passing itself off as a deity (or trusted servant thereof) if it so attempted?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  01:11:54  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed of the Greenwood herewith makes reply to kuje31 re. this: “So what can you tell us about Dessra of the Dark Desires?”



Hi, kuje. Dessra was of course left as cryptic as possible because of TSR’s Code of Ethics.
All most folk of Waterdeep know of her is that she’s “A dangerous lady-of-pleasure who can work dark magics for you.”
She attracts clients with her reputation for enjoying sex (with them) and willingness to use sex magic (in which they participate) to further their ends (the goals they hire her to help them accomplish).
The “dark” part of it comes from the purported danger of what’s being done (Dessra pretends to clients that she’s calling up “evil spirits” to help enact their aims, that this is risky to her but not to them, and that she’s quite willing to do illegal and murderous things). She surrounds her ‘rituals’ with an air of mystery and with lots of ‘stage dressing’ (black cats, candles, dark cloaks, dimly-lit stone chambers, blood that she dyes and doctors with substances that will make it glow or smoke upon air contact, so she can pass it off as the blood of various monsters, her nudity, and so on) . . . all of which brings her a steady stream of excited, malicious clients, mainly merchants who want to “get back at” a rival whom they can’t or daren’t “use the law on.”
Dessra’s personal defenses include foot-treadle-fired hand crossbows concealed about her chambers and aimed at various doorways and chairs, and long false nails; when these sheaths slide off, they lay bare her own nails, which are cut to points and smeared with paralyzing (carrion crawler brain juice) and sleep (drow) poisons (both of which Dessra is now immune to, having successfully dosed herself with them for years, in ever-increasing dosages, in conjunction with spells cast on herself, to achieve this effect).
Dessra briefly tried a career as an adventuress, and took training with longsword and dagger, but abandoned this swiftly when she discovered that Undermountain was truly dangerous, and wasn’t a-glitter with heaps of gold coins slumping out of chests in every other room. Because she enjoyed sex and happened to be beautiful, she took up prostitution as a working lass at the Purple Palace, trying to ‘set herself apart’ from the outset (so as to gain fame and commander higher fees) with her ‘dark magic’ act.
That act grew out of something she hadn’t yet realized or started to develop (at the time Volo did the tour that grew into VOLO’S GUIDE TO WATERDEEP): she does have a natural talent for the Art, and may in time build herself into a powerful sorceress.
So the Volo’s stat line: “CN hf F2, Dex 16, Cha 16” was current for Dessra as a fighter (she was included therein because she briefly advertised herself as a bodyguard for hire - - for fat merchants who really wanted ‘show flesh’ in the form of a scantily-dressed trophy on their arms at feasts and revels, rather than real protection - - and so could very easily have come into contact [ahem, so to speak] with PCs adventuring in Waterdeep).
She should now more accurately be, in v3.5 terms: CE female human Ftr2/Sor2, Dex 16, Cha 17.
This reflects her moral shift, her development as a sorceress, her magical augmentation of her beauty, and her deliberate change in her manner to be more alluring and mysterious and commanding.
Those who deal with her should bear in mind that she has the Silent Spell and Still Spell feats, and so can work magic without all of her ‘show’ rituals of candles lit on her breasts, floggings of her until her blood flows (and can be directed, drop by drop, into chalices), and so on. Dessra isn’t interested in leaving the Purple Palace to go on adventures or for anything else (she feels, ahem, naked without her defensive traps and weapons). She has a few clients who are minor sorcerers, and pay for their pleasure with her by discussing spells (guiding her practise and development).



So saith Ed. Who sent this to me with the note: “I KNOW you’ll not be able to resist commenting on this one!”
He’s right, of course. We Knights only met Dessra once, in her “I’ll be your bodyguard for your friends to ogle” phase. Torm ‘met’ her a second time, rather more closely than the rest of us: skulking through a secret passage trying to find a way to eavesdrop on a certain ‘shady business’ meeting between five Waterdhavian merchants, he found a spyhole-panel, cautiously slid it open, looked up—and discovered he was right underneath a ankle-length-gowned lady who, as he put it, “Wasn’t wearing anything under her gown.” He later explained his long, silent staring by claiming that he “could see a lot of what was going on” from that vantage-point.
[sarcasm on]
I’m sure he could.
[sarcasm off]
Oh, yes: mindful of his previous reply, I asked Ed if Dessra took clients of both genders. He said yes, but she vastly preferred males (elves, half-elves, and humans).
love to all,
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  01:28:26  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. :)

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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Melfius
Senior Scribe

USA
516 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  02:03:29  Show Profile  Visit Melfius's Homepage  Send Melfius an AOL message Send Melfius a Private Message
Ed, if you're ever in the Cleveland area, let me know. I'd love to take you out to dinner in thanks for all you've done here in Candlekeep, and for all of the Realms players. If there was a Nobel Prize for imagination, you should get two of them.

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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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  02:07:09  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
Dessra sounds like quite a scary lady!

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

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  18:23:33  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message

Hey, I recently used Dessra in my current campaign set in Waterdeep. Not knowing that she was exactly how I wanted her, I used an minor artificiat from the BoVD (demonstone) to made her scarier ;)

If possible, I would much appreciate to have some quick info on two other females NPC of Waterdeep that I plan to use in this campaign too :

1. Carolyas Idogyr (I know that she's retired from the watch and member of Force Grey, etc.)

2. Lady Naneatha Lhaurilstar (I know that she's a courtesean of Castle Waterdeep, member of Red Saches, and that's she known about Durnan).

Thanks :)
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  20:30:33  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Skeptic


Hey, I recently used Dessra in my current campaign set in Waterdeep. Not knowing that she was exactly how I wanted her, I used an minor artificiat from the BoVD (demonstone) to made her scarier ;)

If possible, I would much appreciate to have some quick info on two other females NPC of Waterdeep that I plan to use in this campaign too :

1. Carolyas Idogyr (I know that she's retired from the watch and member of Force Grey, etc.)



Well, she's one of mine, so I'll chime in and give you a little on her....

Born in 1344 to Kessal Idogyr and Salayarantiir(a moon elf of unknown heritage but living in the Wealdath) down in Tethyr, she is the third of four children, her younger sister Lara arriving three years later (and who is now a priestess in the House of Wonder). At the age of three, Carolyas and her infant sister Lara (as well as three of their Gharlund cousins) flee from the Black Days of Tethyr with their aunt Trisata Idogyr, and they eventually find safety in hiding up in Silverymoon by the end of 1347.

Technically, she and her sister should have inherited the county Spellshire in Tethyr, as their father was the 6th son of Count Darud I (and Gamalon Idogyr was the 7th son). Neither girl had any interest or desire to join the Reclamation Army of Prince Haedrak, nor does either have any real memories of Tethyr. They enjoyed their youth in Silverymoon and until their aunt's death in 1361, they had rarely left its environs.

The sisters came to Waterdeep and were taken in briefly by Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun after his appearance at Trisata's funeral. After only a year in Blackstaff Tower, both chose different paths and left to join the Watch and the priesthood of Mystra.

When Carolyas turned 20, she and Lara jointly inherited a small rowhouse in lower Castle Ward owned but rarely occupied by Trisata. The women share it to this day when they are not kept busy or elsewhere by their individual pursuits. Otherwise, rooms are let out and rented to help with the bulding's upkeep.

Carolyas has the fiery red curls and emerald green eyes of her father, but she's a little jealous of Lara (who has the night-black straight hair of her mother and wears it halfway down her back). "Olya" is even-handed and calm with none of the expected temper to go with her shoulder-length red hair, even though she quarrels with Khelben the Blackstaff over stodgy and conservative rules about magic use at length.

That's all the info I've got in mind/at hand for her; what sorts of things did you want to know?

Steven Schend
Who's got Waterdeep on the brain now

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com

Edited by - Steven Schend on 12 Mar 2005 20:31:52
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Skeptic
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  20:50:34  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message
Thanks a lot !

My campaign theme is the return of the Shadow Thieves in Waterdeep set up by the wizard Marune.

The next "mysterious task" asked to the (Evil) PCs is to find a way to make 3 futures ennemies to died without any linking possible between the death and them. I then choosed three NPCs linked to a "pro-Lords" organisation (red saches, moonstar, force grey) that Marune could have "foreseen by magic" as ennemies agaisnt his plan.

Now that you ask what infos I could need, I'll ask to know on what kind of job she could be sent for being a member of the Force Grey? My current idea for the PCs to get her, is to made a easy mission, a dealdy one without direct intervention.




Edited by - Skeptic on 13 Mar 2005 00:20:46
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4790 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2005 :  23:53:04  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
Oh man, are you going to be happy come July/August.

-- George Krashos

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

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  00:20:50  Show Profile  Visit A Gavel's Homepage Send A Gavel a Private Message
Seeing Mr. Schend posting in this thread, I'm going to seize the opportunity to ask him and Ed together:
How much of Lands of Intrigue is based on Ed's input (filtered through Mr. Haring or otherwise)?
And a question for any scribe who knows about these things: is Lands of Intrigue a "free" download or a "pay" download?
I own a physical copy, but being able to word-search pdfs is certainly handy . . .
Thanks in advance.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  00:25:45  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
As far as I can recall, re. A Gavel's query: Steven wrote almost all of it (using Ed's very brief overall outline of the character of Amn and Tethyr, the Council of Six, and so on), and Ed was his weekly consultant (cheerleader). But I'll let the two gentlemen who know the truth speak.

And now, Ed replies to a request from Lore Lord of the Realms George Krashos, for “names/titles for the various races in respect of rulers of places/kingdoms etc.” as follows:



Ah, a deliciously useful question, George. Not as delicious as my Lady Hooded, but . . . ahem, being happily married to a lady (who plays D&D in the Realms on rare occasions), I really wouldn’t know anything about that, and must be relying entirely on my overly vivid imagination. Yes, that’s it! ;}
To answer this properly would take a long time and much space, but here’s a quick and incomplete summary that largely ignores local idiosyncrasies, etymologies, and suchlike (and leaves out religious ranks and offices entirely):


ELVES (additional to Coronal, etc.):
[[The following terms aren’t used in every elven realm or community.]]
The mayor or ‘chief of police and defense’ of a community is a DESMRAR (DESMRIL if female) (“DEZZ-mrar” or “DEZZ-mrill”)
A far-traveled, experienced elf who knows or remembers a lot, and can impart it (humans might use the term ‘sage,’ but that often implies book-learning and deduction, whereas the elves mean someone who’s seen with their own eyes, and only augments their own experience with what they’ve learned from others) is often, regardless of gender, called an ALANTAR (“Al-LAN-tar”)
A war leader (unit commander) or mission leader is sometimes called a TELEGAUNT (“TELL-eh-gont”), regardless of gender, but this term is usually used only if the individual is a veteran of proven merit
A SHEE (in some places, “SHREE”) was a wise female elder, strong in magic (in some cases, High Magic specifically; this is a corruption of the very old Elven word VELARSHEE) (“Ssh-EE” or “Shh-REE”)
Finally, IYILITAR (“ILL-i-tar”) was a unigender equivalent to Coronal in elder days, but is nigh-forgotten today


DWARVES:
The hereditary ruler of a kingdom, regardless of gender, is an ARCORM (long ago corrupted into “Arcrown,” a form used by some dwarves today: ARCROWN) (“ARR-corrum” or “AR-crown”)
A clan-chief, regardless of gender (most clans elect chiefs, from a limited number of candidates determined by blood descent, some clans excluding or preferring individuals on gender or gender-descent grounds), is a HARAXLORL (corrupted into “Axelord,” the usual form used by dwarves today: AXELORD) (“Har-AX-lore-ull” or “AX-lord”)
An elder or senior officer of a community, clan, or family is a TULVADE (“Tull-VAY-dd”), regardless of gender; this term originally meant ‘old veteran of wars,’ and dwarven writings should be examined with that in mind
A war-leader was of old called an IRAUNLOR in some realms and clans (this being a unigender title that could be held in addition to other titles), but this was long ago corrupted into “Iron Lord,” and this latter form is the only one used by [some] dwarves today: IRON LORD) (“EYE-rawn-lorr” or “EYE-urn Lord”)


GNOMES:
The hereditary ruler of a kingdom is a DARANDAR (MARANDAR if female, and unlike most other races, most gnomes value female descent slightly more favourably than male descent ) (“Dar-AND-ar” or “Mar-AND-ar”)
A chosen, elected, or co-ruler (as part of a council or DARTH-DEIR [ = ruling circle]) is a DARRATH (“DAR-rath”)
A clan or family head is a STURTH (this refers to spokesgnome and daily move-and-shaker, not “the oldest gnome of the blood;” many old females decide which slightly younger male or female is going to be their Sturth) (“Ss-TURTH”)
A mayor or community head is a DOAMEN (“DOE-men”)
An elder or any officer of a community is an URSTDOH (“URR-st-doe”)
All of the above terms are gender-neutral, though they tend to be held by males (except for “elders,” wherein the politically active elders and officers tend to be more male than female, with the females concentrating on being ‘wise old crones,’ mothering individuals who come to them for advice, loans, or medicines)


HALFLINGS:
The hereditary ruler of a kingdom is a KLAEL (“CLAY-ull”), a term little used today, except in the Border Kingdoms (where the proud hin bearing it rule a realm rarely larger than a farm)
A chosen, elected, or co-ruler (as part of a governing council) is an ARBAERN (“Arr-BARE-unn”), sometimes mistakenly called “Har-baron” by humans, and in a few cases the halflings don’t bother to correct this, and even start using it themselves)
A clan or family head is an AULDOAN (“Awld-OH-nn”), corrupted in some human records to “Old Stone”) and Auldoans are usually affectionately known by hin as “The Old,” as a prefix, so the head of Clan Minstrelwish will be referred to, even to his face, as “The Old Minstrelwish”
A mayor or community head is a VORN (“VOARR-en”)
An elder or any officer of a community is a HORUL (“HOAR-ull”)
All of the above terms are gender-neutral, though they tend to be held by males (except for “elders,” wherein the politically active elders and officers tend to be more female than male, with the males concentrating on being ‘wise old gaffers’ gruffly dispensing often-unlooked-for advice or physical assistance)


HUMANS:
Use a huge and everchanging list of titles, far too long to explore here, but I’ll give just a few “ruler and nobility” titles. All are gender-neutral unless otherwise noted:

Chessenta:
Sceptanar (wizard-king; officially he rules all, though in practise the city-states do as they please), with noble ranks as follows:
Nornar (duke, city ruler: various city lords craft their own fanciful titles, such as Melarch, Tarlarch, and Yoevyarkh)
Marquar (marquis)
Klelandar (viscount)
Thardoun (earl)
Deltharkh (baron)
Corlar (knight, baronet)

(The above titles are echoed [minor variations] in Tashluta and in various places in the Border Kingdoms and around the Vilhon)


Mulmaster (and many small independent realms and city-states around the Sea of Fallen Stars and points north [recent maps have ‘tidied up’ many tiny realms by simply omitting mention of them]:
High Blade (ruler)
Blades (nobles, sometimes differentiated by colors [e.g Blue Blade, Black Blade] or honorifics [Drawn Blade, Vigilant Blade), and almost always styled “of” a place, thus: Tharcel Marlmantle, Blue Blade of Port Malivar


Veldorn: the monster-ruled cities employ a huge variety of fanciful titles, but also echo an old hierarchy of ancient human realms of the South, remnants of which can be found in hundreds of towns and villages south of the Shaar and east of Chult, especially to the east of the area shown on most published maps thus far:

Ormelarch (king or realm ruler) (“OAR-mel-ark”), almost always styled “The Ormelarch”
Voivarr (duke or city ruler) (“VOY-varr”)
Nahloud (marquis or army commander/castle-lord) (“Nah-LOOD”)
Dauncelpad (viscount or envoy and negotiator of king) (“DON-sell-pad”) [Dauncelpara or Dauncelara if female]
Skorn (earl or territory ruler) [Skornra if female]
Ultarkh (town ruler, keep-ruler, regional forces commander) (“ULL-tark”)
Lancelar (knight, baronet)



So saith Ed. Who hinted that he’d have said more if there wasn’t yet another NDA looming up to meet him. Regarding his opening comments: Ah, yes, the old cinammon on the nipples trick lures ’em, every time.
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  00:53:24  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Another question for Ed

TSR shoehorned the old Desert of Desolation, Oasis of the White Palm and Phaeroh (I3-5) into the Raurin desert. The sites of these 3 modules apparently still exist as they mentioned in FRC. Now are the sites remants of the Imaskari empire?

Thanks in advance

One Idea i was thinking of was that the Ghost Phaeroh who appears in the modules could be Lord Artificer Yuvaraj


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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 13 Mar 2005 00:54:02
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29906 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  05:30:44  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

A SHEE (in some places, “SHREE”) was a wise female elder, strong in magic (in some cases, High Magic specifically; this is a corruption of the very old Elven word VELARSHEE) (“Ssh-EE” or “Shh-REE”)


So does "Srinshee" have a specific meaning, then?

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Ah, yes, the old cinammon on the nipples trick lures ’em, every time.
love to all,
THO




Ooooh, sounds like an interesting trick, my lady!

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29906 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  05:34:00  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by A Gavel

And a question for any scribe who knows about these things: is Lands of Intrigue a "free" download or a "pay" download?
I own a physical copy, but being able to word-search pdfs is certainly handy . . .


You are in luck, my friend! Lands of Intrigue is available as a free download from the free downloads page on the Wizards website.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Lameth
Learned Scribe

Germany
196 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  09:11:29  Show Profile  Visit Lameth's Homepage  Send Lameth an ICQ Message Send Lameth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, scribes. Ed replies to Lameth (simontrinity, this reply touches on your Uttersea question, too):



I’m sorry, Lameth, but NDA concerns prevent me from telling you much of anything about the northern island of Gundarlun right now. I can say that the fierce warriors who dwell on this cold, mountainous island (warmed only by volcanic vents, in deep rifts beneath some of the caverns that underlie the oldest human settlements) were in the original Realms the closest thing I had to Vikings: raiders who fared forth in longships they could row if need be, to prey on coastal fishing villages of Ruathym, the wharves of Luskan, and merchant ships plying the northern waters of the Sword Coast.
Originally “Gundarlun” was just the name of the largest “city” (in the Heartlands it’d be a large village) on the island, a cluster of stern, spartan stone block houses with tile roofs, around a small natural harbor on the northern side of the island, but (as the folk of that place conquered all rivals on the island) it came to mean the entire isle, with “Gun-DAR-lun” meaning the island kingdom, and “GUN-dar-lun” meaning just the city.
The folk of Gundarlun are deepsea fishers (using both vast drift-nets and drag-nets, the latter often ‘run’ between two ships sailing abreast, to form a great scoop), and make their roofing, waterproofing, plumbing, and even some furniture of tile, digging out local seams of clay and firing them with great skill. Their island realm is rocky and windswept, with only a few meadows in the interior (in former volcanic basins, below the level of the surrounding rocks and the full fury of the sea winds). See “The North” boxed set for additional details, largely added by other designers.
The island of Tuern had scanty information in my original Realms. Basically, I knew this much: it was also mountainous, volcanic, and having one stone-fortress-and-cave ‘city’ (more of a town in size) human settlement, Uttersea, that had to be formidable to withstand the attacks of dragons dwelling on Tuern. Again, “The North” expanded slightly on this.
If you need more specific information on Gundarlun and/or Tuern, I’ll be happy to provide it, but you’ll have to be patient (it may take months before I can get to it), and you’ll have to be more specific as to exactly what you need. Otherwise, your request is a little bit like saying, “Tell me all about the world. Yes, everything.”
As for the Waterdeep novel: it certainly includes dragons as in the gold coins used in Waterdeep, and in one other way, too - - but I certainly hope its pages won’t also contain any of the ‘big winged wyrm’ sort of dragon: it’s crowded enough already! :}


love to all,
THO




Hmmm the City is named Gundbarg, not GUN-dar-lun.
I want like to know more about the life on the island.
How many troops has the king?
Which animals live on Gundarlun?
How often does it rain?
etc.
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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2005 :  14:19:35  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Hi Ed,

I was wondering if i could ask you some questions about a small parcel of land in Cormyr? I'm running a campaign there at the moment, but up to date information on the Forest Kingdom is rather limited.

The section of land i'm using is the slice created north of the Wyvernwater by the Sword and Immerflow Rivers and capped by the High Road. There's some nice description in Volo's Guide to Cormyr on just what sort of landscape can be seen here, and what settlements are there, but the information is a little out of date. I was wondering what comments you might have on this region in the wake of the Dragon War? Would many farms only just be being resettled? Would there (in general terms) be an increased number (or decreased number) of Purple Dragons posted in the region?

Also, i've placed a fictional village there (population approx 500) for my uses, which i've named King's Vale. I was just wondering if i could get your opinion on my choice of name. Ditto for the local noble family, the Silverspurs (whose coat of arms will be one of those gracing Yeoman's Bridge, as per that Volo's Guide entry). Have i captured the right Cormyrean flavour?

Also related to my campaign, but of more general interest, since the bargain between Fzoul and Khelben (as outlined in Cloak and Dagger) is the Zhentarim now unable to threaten Cormyr directly in any way? I'm asking because i would be interested to use skirmishes with the Zhents, but i'm looking to do it without contradicting any offical lore on the subject.

Any information you could provide would be most appreciated, it's been a while since i ran a game and it's taking a bit to get the old cogs turning again!

GH

P.S. I'd just like to say thanks for the Realmslore articles on Melvos Hammerstars, they've been fantastic so far! I loved the description of rural Sembia and look forward to using it in my games.

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

Edited by - Gerath Hoan on 13 Mar 2005 14:23:16
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

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Posted - 14 Mar 2005 :  01:29:08  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Divers swift matters, and then a meaty Realmslore reply from Ed, this time:
Melfius, Ed would love to go out for dinner. He LIKES food. Unfortunately, he rarely gets to Cleveland, and when he does, it’s usually driving through it at four in the morning. However, those Nobel Prizes sound inviting. And me? I might just come along as a hood ornament. (Not the first time I’ve ridden a vehicle in that role.)
malchor7, a Coronal is an elven ruling title (a ruler, darn close to ‘Emperor,’ and not the equivalent of a general).
And to Mr. Wilson: Ed says you’re very welcome, and thanks for asking.
Ed makes reply to Foxhelm:


Hi, Foxhelm. Let’s begin with Finder Wyvernspur.
First of all, I’ll be very surprised if anything on Finder appears in the forthcoming Waterdeep sourcebook. There just isn’t room in its pages to delve into even half the details one would want to about the city.
Waterdeep’s chapel to Finder is largely unknown to most Waterdhavians. They’ve “heard of it,” but know little of where it is, what happens there, and why they should care.
Unless, that is, they’re struggling artists, sculptors, musicians, and especially composers (mainly young aspirers, but also older, accomplished individuals who’ve “lost the fire,” becoming burnt-out or bored). Such folk come to the chapel seeking inspiration. They pray in solitude, sometimes meditating over their works of art or looking at offerings (other works of art, or in some cases ‘touchspells’ crafted by traveling priests of Finder: these are small, delicate, spiderweb-like assemblies of apparently-scrap twigs, wire, scraps of metal, and humna hair, that when touched activate a cantrip cast upon them, akin to “ghost pipes,” that ‘plays’ a brief tune or snatch of song) left in the temple by other worshippers. Some even try to compose or craft new works of art before the altar, while praying or holding vigil, or sleep there, hoping for visions.
Many claim to have received such, or more often heard and seen nothing, but at some moment soon thereafter have suddenly been seized with inspiration (a trigger such as a particular smell, taste, or sound brings to mind a vision of the chapel, and then creative fire is ipon them and they devise a new lyric, tune, scene to draw, design, or whatever.
There’s no formal relationship with Waterdeep’s established bards or the college, but word is spreading of the chapel’s powers, and curiosity is luring many “creatives” to come and see. It’s certainly become a must-seek stop for traveling minstrels who come to Waterdeep. The Lords of Waterdeep (or more accurately, the Palace officials) have no quarrel with the chapel at all, as it seems both ‘untroublesome’ and possibly beneficial to new business ventures, increased prosperity, and happiness for some citizens. Its worshippers are right now few and disorganized, not an organized presence that seeks to influence governing decisions or demand changes in city customs, conditions, or laws, so they largely don’t think about it (amid all their daily worries and loud-voiced citizen-headaches).
In Waterdeep, at least, almost four in five worshippers of Finder are human, and almost one in five are half-elves, but yes, I’d say there’d be more saurials as one goes out into the wilderlands and approaches the Moonsea area, and certainly tieflings, other planetouched, and all sorts of other creatures would be attracted to the faith (as would anyone agitating for change in creative processes, even at the craft-guild level). It’s always important to remember that the vast majority of folk in Faerûn don’t “turn from one god to another” so much as they add a new god to the selection of deities they worship most often; only priests (and monks, and paladins, and persons filling other church-related roles), fanatics, and the very young and eager tend to focus on just one god.

I’d say that even fewer folk in Cormyr are familiar with what Finder the god stands for, and his worship in the Forest Kingdoms will be at a few hidden, private shrines (the only well-appointed ones being private upper-room chapels of wealthy nobles who have artistic ambitions). Most ‘avergae Cormyreans’ would scoff when told ‘one of their own’ has ascended to godhood - - especially those who had dealings with the mortal and very arrogant Finder himself (“Didn’t strike me as one who’d ascend to mighty power and stride the sky, like - - no, sir!”).
The Wyvernspurs, of course, know better, but Giogi and Cat are special people, and I’ll leave all comment on them to my dear friends Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak-Grubb, their creators. My opinion would be that Giogi is impressed but a little bewildered at what happened to Finder (think Hugh Lawrie as Bertie Wooster, blinking in pleased astonishment after Stephen Fry’s Jeeves has saved the day once more).
In short, it’s too early to say how popular Finder’s faith will become. It has the character of a belief that could become very popular if calamities or decadence sour many folk of Faerûn on the faiths they cling most strongly to right now - - but that could quickly be marred if Finder does something seen as arrogant or foolish, or a Finder Wyvernspur priesthood grows too strong and too authoritarian.

Now, to your other questions. First: “Has there ever been a realms character that some one else has created that you really wished that you had created?”
No, because the characters I find most attractive I tend to like just the way they are - - and their creator (not me) made them that way. I’m not jealous of the creations of others in the Realms, I’m delighted, because these are the only elements of the Realms that can surprise as well as delight me. If you mean characters created by others that really grab me, I’m especially fond of Zaknafein, Danilo Thann, Jarlaxle, and Giogi Wyvernspur.

Second: “What do you like to do in your down time? Do you like to read, watch TV or movies, or play video games?”
Ahem, WHAT “down time”? I live, eat, and sleep the Realms, and barely have time for my other writing, the demands of real life, and my library job. Seriously, I have a house full of unwatched movies and an even larger collection of read and re-read books, I’ve never played a video game in my life (and I’ve played only a very few computer games, despite working on more than a few), and I watch only snatches of television, usually the news and when I can the UK version of the Antiques Roadshow (a GREAT source of D&D treasures, background lore, and colorful characters, by the way, but waste no time on the price-is-all-we-care-about American version), Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, Rick Mercer’s Monday Report, and occasional short-run series like This Is Wonderland. I sometimes catch Mythbusters on Discovery Channel, and enjoy it. When I could still catch them, I used to enjoy (again, the UK version) Robot Wars and Red Dwarf - - but please bear in mind that my television watching is VERY sparse.
Most of my true leisure time is spent reading books. I often fall asleep in bed, VERY late (ahem, that’d really be early in the morning) re-reading favourites like the Amber books, Discworld novels, Lord Darcy tales, and so on.



So saith Ed. Anyone who’s ever been to his cottage can attest to the broad and roleplaying games, records, CDs, and wall-to-wall books that dominate his fun time. He forgot to mention the graphic novels and comics he enjoys, too, like Cerebus, Girl Genius, Buck Godot, Strangers In Paradise, Bone . . .
Enough. Otherwise this’ll stop being leisure and turn into work!
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 14 Mar 2005 01:31:34
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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

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Posted - 14 Mar 2005 :  16:37:49  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message
Thank you for your answers.

Some of the shows that you have mentioned are some of my favourites. Others that I recommend for you and everyone else in the forum are the show "My Hero" and the BBC Special "Ghostwatch".

"My Hero" is to the Superhero Genre that "Red Dwarf" is to the Sci-fi genre. It's about an alien superhero who falls in love with human woman and eventually marries her. They also have a son who is superas well. One of the funnest bits is the fact that this alien has no idea how normal humans should react and tends to be quite odd. Plus there is is alien heritage that can be quite unusual.

"Ghostwatch" is a rarer piece of art. It's similar to "The Blair Witch Project", except that you can see the ghost on occation (Part of the fun is spotting "Pipes" as he usually appears only for a few seconds at a time). It is quite scary, especially on a dark night.

It was so scary and realistic, that there have been rumours it was real (It wasn't), one of the host had been sent to her death (She's alive), children watching suffered from Post-tramedic stress disorder and there have been some suicide connections. As far as I know the BBC has not shown it since it premired Oct. 31, 1992. I managed to catch it on the Scream Digital channel and it was good.

It also has a connection with Red Dwarf and Robot Wars. Craig Charles (Who plays David Lester and is the host for most of the seasons of Robot Wars) plays himself as a reporter in "Ghostwatch".

For more info on Ghostwatch here's a page for it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/classic/ghostwatch/

Thanks again. And I hope that I have added something of value.

Ed Greenwood! The Solution... and Cause of all the Realms Problems!

Edited by - Foxhelm on 14 Mar 2005 17:30:57
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  03:42:17  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. This time, Ed makes reply to Ethriel:



Well met, Ethriel. Garen Thal has done his usual superb job on answers Cormyrean. Trust every word of his replies to you. As Wooly correctly pointed out, magical means were involved in the longevity of at least Vangerdahast, and to confirm: no, they weren’t Chosen of Mystra.
As for Rowen Cormaeril and Lorelei's afterlife: though we may in time say more of such matters, I consider those Troy’s characters. I think he’s busy crafting Star Wars novels at the moment, but I’d hope he’d be involved in any future writing about the fates of either Rowen or Lorelei.
As for Thanderahast's duel with Luthax, I'd love to see it, too. I’m not sure when I might be able to sneak it into print if I stole a few minutes to write it, but . . . we’ll see.
As for Brantarra’s son: he’d have to be very stupid and arrogant to try to push an open claim for the Dragon Throne - - because he can see the lineup of claimants already there, as Garen Thal pointed out, and because it just wouldn’t be worth it. Now, he might try to see if being of blood of Azoun can get him past any wards in the Royal Palace to try to snatch some magic or wealth, but in my opinion he’d find out very swiftly that it wouldn’t. Leaving him as just one more ambitious Thayan in a land full of such, disliked for his origin in Cormyr before anyone doing the disliking knows anything at all of his parentage, and with little chance of achieving anything except by brute force. And there’s a lineup on THAT road to the Throne, too, what with all the greedy Sembians and ambitious exiled nobles of Cormyr. He’d do better to forget the throne of Cormyr and instead try to take over a Sembian family from within - - and so get all the wealth and most of the power without putting himself on everyone’s “Slay Soonest” list.



So saith Ed, THE Lore-Sage of the Realms. Ah, yes, the ‘Slay Soonest’ list. Mine’s around here somewhere . . . possibly hidden under my rather larger ‘Seduce Soonest’ list.
love,
THO
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  05:40:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Ah, yes, the ‘Slay Soonest’ list. Mine’s around here somewhere . . . possibly hidden under my rather larger ‘Seduce Soonest’ list.
love,
THO




I hope I'm on the latter list, and not the former!

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Jerryd
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Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  06:42:25  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
Well, since I've resumed gainful employment I've had much less free time to write up a reply that does yours justice in terms of size and content. I was intending to reduce the size of my reply to sort of wind this thread down, but I got caught up in it — "this is worthy of reply" and "oh, I've just GOT to comment on this!" and so on — and I found that I wasn't being short at all but just escalating the length even more. So, I've decided to be ruthless with myself and drastically cut much of what I had wanted to say (for which I'm sure many other scribes on this list sigh in relief!) and just cut to the most essential points that directly relate to Vangey and the War Wizards. So, here goes. It's not exactly short-short, just short relative to our previous episodes. (Oh, and the quotes of yours I cite aren't in the same order you gave them in; I rearranged to consolidate the concepts discussed.)

[part 1 of 2]

Before we get to the fundamental matters...
quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
Elizabeth I built a police force (under Robert Peel) and completely transformed the spy force she inherited to make it her own.
...
You’re obviously operating with patchy historical knowledge here.
'Patchy historical knowledge' I have, hmm? That compels me to make a factual correction. Sir Robert Peel founded the Metropolitan Police in 1829 under George IV, while Elizabeth I was queen over two centuries prior and was long a-moulderin' in her grave when the Bobbies and Peelers came around. (Is this an example of a corollary to the theory that any internet posting attempting correcting the spelling or grammatical errors of another post will itself contain such errors? (not that I'm admitting any errors in my post that needed to be corrected))

Now to the meat...

In the course of thinking about your last 10-page missive, I've come to realize that we're almost speaking a different language. We're using the same words, but we appear to mean very different things by them.

For example, we've debated at length whether the War Wizards should be considered "competent" and "successful" or not an why, and I now realize that we've got different criteria for what constitutes "success". Three distinct remarks in your latest 10-pager led me to this realization. First, there's this:

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
That’s one of the reasons various Harpers have covertly ‘helped’ Vangey, down the years, by frustrating treason-plotting nobles, rendering the sort of aid Storm does in STORMLIGHT, and so on. And, that, in turn, is one of the reasons Vangey’s entire house of cards didn’t come crashing down: too many people desperately wanted him to succeed, and go on succeeding, because they didn’t want a Zhent-subverted extension of Sembia flooding through what used to be Cormyr (followed by Sembia rolling up and swallowing the Dales, one after another, and then - - after the inevitable bloody war - - serving Westgate the same way, before the inevitable collapse of Sembia into civil war between various ‘merchant barons’).

...

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’?

...

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.
Ah, that is the piece I was missing. Vangey WASN'T accomplishing all that essentially by himself. He had help (and I mean more than just the kind of help underlings would provide) whether he wanted it or not. If he had been the sole man managing everything - if the various Harpers had not covertly helped him - I'm sure Vangey WOULD have fallen on his face far sooner as I was trying to point out. In our discussion previous to this, I was thinking of Vangey managing the whole show all by himself without any significant degree of help from the covert sources you describe. I of course knew that the Harpers meddled in and helped out Cormyr's forces, but before now I had always thought of this as a peripheral phenomenon rather than a vital one. However, your words here have left me with the opposite impression that the Harper help was vital to the success of the War Wizards and has in effect propped them up for years and accounts for the seeming "success" they've enjoyed. Is this truly the case?

Suppose for a moment the Harpers never existed, and Vangey and his War Wizards remain as-is and faced all the same challenges. Could Vangey and the War Wizards have handled all those challenges over the years entirely on their own and made Cormyr the same kind of place it is depicted as? Or would they have failed and fallen to defeat? In my opinion, this must be judged before one can call Vangey and the War Wizards "successful". If the Harpers' help was necessary and indispensible for Vangey and the War Wizards to succeed at making Cormyr that "bright shining place" (i.e. Vangey couldn't have done it without them) and you call that SUCCESS, then you have a different definition of success than do I.

As far as I'm concerned, if a manager requires the intervention of outside agencies to get the job done and keep things going smoothly, then he ISN'T succeeding. Success in the managerial context requires that it is a result of the efforts of him and the institution under him and that no help from anyone outside the institution or team is necessary. (I'm not saying they can't receive help, I'm just saying that true "success" reqires they don't NEED it in order to get the job done.) Saying that Vangey is successful because (and ONLY because) the Harpers covertly helped him is pretty much the same thing as saying that MCI is successful because the bankruptcy court kept the creditors from devouring it and putting it out of business. If MCI were truly successful they would have never went bankrupt in the first place (because the CFO would never have needed to cook the books to make things look great), and in the same light if Vangey were truly successful he wouldn't need the Harpers to covertly aid him. If Vangey needs the outside agency of the Harpers to help him and his War Wizards get their job done, the Vangey is irrefutably a FAILURE. He only APPEARS to be a success to those unaware of the Harper assistance. It's not at all that reality's hand was caressing him, it's that the Harpers were staying the slapping hand.

(Just to make certain I'm clearly stating my meaning here, by "no help" I'm not talking about absolute standing-alone - just standing alone within the context of the primary field of endeavor. For example, I'm a software engineer by career. I'm not a farmer and I don't grow my own food, but that doesn't make me a failure because I depend on the farmer for food and would starve without him. What would make me a failure as a software engineer is if I could not perform my assigned software development tasks without frequent day-to-day help from another developer. I need to be able to take assignments from my boss, get the specs or problem description, then once I understand what needs to be done I can go do it without continually needing to get help before I'm a success.)

If you can tell me that Vangey and the War Wizards would have achieved nearly the same level of success without the Harpers' help as they did with, then they can be considered successes - but your recent words here cast grave doubt on that happy scenario.

Then there's the second remark that bears on the question on success:

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
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.
A "poor leader" is NOT a success! If Vangey is a poor leader, then he's a failure BY DEFINITION! If the War Wizards institution is as a whole successful (bearing in mind the Harper discussion and my definition of success above) then it can only be DESPITE Vangey, not because of him, and that's problematic too. The only way it's possible for an institution to achieve success despite a poor leader is if that "leader" is essentially a figurehead with little effective day-to-day executive control over the institution — e.g. "yes, we'll listen to what he says and make him feel important and make him think he's in charge, then once he's gone we'll go ahead and do what's best anyway." Based on your portrayal of Vangey, though, he's very much in detailed control of the War Wizards so we can't use this. A poor leader who is in direct command and makes his will felt WILL inevitably drive the institution under his leadership into the ground of failure. Your calling Vangey a poor leader is corroborating evidence that the Harper covert aid was indeed required to achieve what Cormyr is today, which results in Vangey and the War Wizards needing to be classed as failures in their own right.

[end of part 1 of 2]
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Jerryd
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Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  06:43:27  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
[part 2 of 2]

The next definitional matter we face is that of "organization".

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
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.”

...

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?

...

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...
And here we reach another point of fundamental definitional difference. I believe we differ on the definition of 'organization'. According to the dictionary, to organize is "to form an ORDERLY, functional, STRUCTURED whole" or "to arrange; SYSTEMATIZE." The emphasis on the three words is mine, but note it carefully because they are the key concepts underlying organization. To elaborate on the key concepts in that dictionary definition, organization in the most broad general and abstract sense is taking a large entity and breaking it down into a number of smaller DISCRETE and DISTINCT entities (i.e. structure) that have WELL-DEFINED and STABLE relationships (i.e. orderly and systematized) with each other. Note further the emphasized words of my own in that generalization. Organization is INHERENTLY black and white, INHERENTLY clear-cut. The more clear-cut and well-defined the parts of something are - i.e. the more structured it is - then the more organized that is. The greater the number of smaller parts the larger entity into which it is decomposed yet STILL systematized into an orderly overall structure (number alone is insufficient) the more organized it is. (And it can indeed be carried to a degree of overorganization past what is needed and which in extreme can actually be detrimental.) Organization and "grayness" are mutually exclusive. Organization and moment-to-moment fluidity are mutually exclusive. To say that an institution is organized yet routinely functions in a fluid grayness in which relationships between constituent parts change on a moment-by-moment basis is to render the word 'organization' completely meaningless.

Given this, it's clear that a fluid and ever-shifting "organization" is actually NOT organization BY DEFINITION! You can say that you don't accept my definition of organization, and that's okay - because if your definition includes or is compatible with "grayness", "fluid" and "ever-shifting", then I don't accept yours either. This is another area we'll have to agree to disagree on.

Now, it's true that organization doesn't have to be hierarchical. For example, if the organization is of a simple process, it can be a linear progression of step 1, step 2, through step N. For any sort of organization in which (a) one part has authority over a number of other parts, or (b) the overall task of the organization is so large that it requires being broken down into sub-parts and sub-sub-parts before the chunks become manageable, hierarchy is the NATURAL and MOST EFFICACIOUS form for that organization to take. Particularly within the context of (b), "more organized" becomes synonymous with a deeper level of hierarchy.

Also, remember that the War Wizards are in part (not in entirety, as I've made clear before that I understood) a military organization because some of the duties that the institituion is given and expected to fulfill are inherently military in nature. A tree-shaped hierarchical structure of organization is the natural and single most effective structure for military purposes - if you doubt this, then ask yourself why every single noteworthy military force (not counting resistance movements, partisans, and rampaging mobs of course) in history is at least basically hierarchical in structure. For the sake of verisimilitude and believability (i.e. putting aside the artistic fiat of the creator), why should the War Wizards be any different?

That is the position I believe the War Wizards are in. They certainly meet (a) from the second paragraph up, the variety of duties expected of the War Wizards as an institution definitely qualifies for (b) and in my opinion it's unquestionable that the War Wizards would be more effective with a hierarchical structure than without one even if Vangey didn't have the sense to realize it. These reasons are why I persist in saying that left to their own devices the Vangey and the War Wizards as you've portrayed them would collapse into an ineffective mess in relatively short order. You've pointed out that they receive covert help from an outside agency - the Harpers - and my logic and reason tells me that this can be the only reason the War Wizards have sustained for as long as they have with your portrayal of them.

This goes back to our difference of how we define success. It doesn't match with your portrayal, but I would far prefer to view the War Wizards as being truly successful - as capable of effectively performing their missions and duties ENTIRELY ON THEIR OWN and that the Harper help (while it may be frequent) is not truly needed. Given the many and varied tasks charged to the War Wizards, if they are to be successful (by my definition) they MUST be organized (by my definition) and indeed even somewhat hierarchical.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via THO
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 could accept your characterization of Vangey IF I completely change overall view I had of him before this discussion. I had thought of him as primarily a hero - a man of Good - who had in action some rough edges to him in action. Your depiction of him is definitely not heroic, though - it is of a villain who had deluded himself into thinking he was good simply because he pursued good goals, but who eventually realized he wasn't good and with that bitter self-discovery stepped down in self-disillusionment. Before your words here, based on my own readings of the novels and sourcebooks, I had thought he stepped down simply due to physical exhaustion - the fatigue of the major crises of 1369-1371, age catching up with him, and all that. By your words here, it wasn't that at all: it was a MORAL exhaustion and disillusionment (which can actually be more debilitating than physical exhaustion).

After all our discussion, if I were to accept your depiction of how the War Wizards work it could only be by completely changing my own prior viewpoint of WHAT they are, just as I would have to change my view of Vangey. You see, the reason I am a fan of Cormyr is because I idealized the place. Insofar as what fits within a renaissance-style world Cormyr is the "good kingdom". That contextually idealized view of Cormyr of course also applied to the institutions that defended it. If Cormyr is the "good kingdom", then the Purple Dragons and War Wizards were the "good defenders" who were successful (by MY definition) - competent, efficient, and (for the most part and to varying degrees) decent. At least in the case of the War Wizards, I have to discard that perception if I am to accept everything you've said here. The War Wizards are NOT successful (by MY definition of successful as successful on their own) - they were failures who got by only because the Harpers helped prop them up. If not for the "covert help" of the Harpers the institution of the War Wizards would have tanked under Vangey's poor leadership years ago. If I am to fully meet with your depiction, that's how I have to describe them - a failed institution that has been covertly propped up by Harpers and only with such help have they kept Cormyr that "bright shining place." Having to write up the War Wizards in such a way is a serious blow to my morale and motivation - it becomes more of a chore and less of a pleasure.

Perhaps my idealization of (and cheerleading for) Cormyr is excessive in comparison to your own and has too greatly affected my perspective, but for my own part I simply cannot understand WHY when you created the War Wizards you would deliberately choose to portray them as sub-optimal and seriously less effective on their own then they really needed to be. If I were going to portray a place as the "bright shining place" then I would make the institutions of that place as optimal as I could within the context of the overall style of the world (in this case being roughly Renaissance). After all, optimal doesn't mean perfect and even the best of the "good" are at sufficient risk from resourceful evil adversaries that there's plenty of dramatic potential without deliberately building serious sub-optimalities into the "good" that need propping-up.

But anyway, I think the War Wizard's thread is close to becoming wrapped up.
[end of part 2 of 2]
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  06:44:42  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
On a COMPLETELY different subject, I've thought of a quick question as a result of a message on the REALMS-L list that involves geography.

In previous posts, we've come to an agreement that Toril's axial tilt is 28-and-a-large-fraction degrees. Now, on Earth this defines the arctic circle and the tropic circles. The latitude parallel on Earth equal to the axial tilt north of the equator is called the Tropic of Cancer, and the tropic parallel south of the equator is called the Tropic of Capricorn - both named after stellar constellations in the zodiac. Are there any specific names for the tropic parallels on Toril?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2005 :  15:19:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hmmm. Jerry, as one of the Knights I can tell you that Cormyr IS “the good kingdom,” and most folk in the Dales (even those who mistrust its “creeping colonialism”) and in Sembia (even those who want to swallow it) admire it - - as a place to live, as a nation of tolerant, loyal, stick-together people, and as, ahem, an efficiently-run realm that gets things done (in terms of addressing the needs of its people).

You pen: “If I were going to portray a place as the "bright shining place" then I would make the institutions of that place as optimal as I could within the context of the overall style of the world . . .”

And I think here is where you and Ed part ways, both on depicting the War Wizards and characterizing Vangerdahast. The key to making campaigns fascinating and long-lasting is depth and the “grayness” that’s been discussed, NOT clear-cut simplicity. Undeniably Ed’s world-setting has been one of the most popular in gaming, and has outlasted many, many competitors in part because the buyers of TSR and WotC products (who had many alternatives to spend their sheckels on) chose to buy Realms products. I think some of them did it because of the complexity, and therefore the endless play possibilities, plus the feeling they get that it's somehow "real."

I dispute your judgement of Vangey as a “deluded villain.” HE thinks he’s “doing right,” and who’s to say he’s wrong? The fact that he’s not a one-dimensional hero seems to ruin him for you, but I see Ed’s depiction of him as a man wrestling with trying to impose his will on the world, and settling for the “end justifying the means,” as far more interesting than plain black and white (which you stated your preference for in an earlier post). In short, Vangey is a stronger character for it, and the campaign possibilities more fascinating.

As far as the logic of your arguments goes, you shoot yourself in the foot on this one: you cry dismay at Vangey being a villain who deceives the realm on one hand, and mention his retirement out of MORAL exhaustion. Well, neither the shining man of Good or the blackhearted villain would ever suffer from MORAL exhaustion; only characters who are neither one nor the other, but wrestling with themselves in between, are subject to such thinking and feeling (such as disillusionment).

I generally keep out of the debate between you and Ed on matters Cormyrean, and have already passed on these two posts to Ed to comment (again: he’s got a huge backlog of replies to tender, first, and I suspect you’ve both largely reached the “agree to disagree” point), but it amazes me that you can enjoy the Realms - - for some years, by the sounds of it - - and yet cling to a preference for clear-cut black and white good/evil, “organized just like this or is disorganized” viewpoint, because, ahem, that isn’t the Realms.

For the record, most of the Knights were born in Cormyr or grew up there, we DO think of it as “the bright shining place” (and do son largely because of what Vangey built it into), and I’m puzzled as to why you take such energetic runs at the creator of the Realms and HIS view of the place and characters he’s created, just because they don’t fit your preferences. I don’t pick up a basic geography book, flip to Arkansas, read the name of its state capitol, and snarl, “THAT’S not the place * I * want to be the capitol - - so it isn’t!”

I’m also puzzled as to why you believe the only way to organize the War Wizards is the way you see as most efficient. Most organizations in the real-world AREN’T organized in the most efficient way, because even if the people running them think they are, situations have changed and organizations always take longer to change to meet them.

But I’ll retire to the sidelines again, now, and await your reply, while Ed gets to work preparing his. To quote the Creator of the Realms himself: Sheesh.

love to all,
THO
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