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Kentinal
Great Reader

4266 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  17:53:56  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
My Lady perhaps I can offer a RL analogy that Ed of Greenwood might consider close to how the War Wizards work. It certainly is my hope that I understand this well enough that it serves as a guide to understanding.

A large police Department when they build an investigative team, build a team out of the ones best suited to lead it.

A crime scene normally starts out with the first detective to arrive as the lead detective, however does not always stay the lead detective.

If the crime scene is a murder another detective would be placed in charge over the first detective because of another detective is more qualified. If further investigation indicates was related to serial arson, a new detective could be in placed in charge over the other two.

That depending on the task needed to be done one detective could be the lead and the next be the lowest detective assigned to the task. The one that builds the teams is the one whom determines whom is the lead and determines the other members of the team. With many investigations a detective could be lead on one and on others following another's lead.

Thus it sounds like is how the Wizards work to at least some extent.
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Ulrik Wolfsbane
Seeker

New Zealand
27 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  21:47:51  Show Profile  Visit Ulrik Wolfsbane's Homepage  Click to see Ulrik Wolfsbane's MSN Messenger address Send Ulrik Wolfsbane a Private Message
Well spoken Ed. I certainly fell into the trap of assuming that just because a hierarchy isn't visible it isn't present at all (and yes, I probably assumed that the war Wizards are more precise and omnipotent than they really are. Think this probably stems from a) my own dislike and fear of wizards and b) our DMs tendency to play the War Wizards as the absolute OPPOSITE of the Keystone Kops; something more like the KGB). Thanks for your response Ed and the Hooded One, thanks for your patience and kindness within these forums; 'tis more than one uncouth Uthgardt and many other seekers of Realmslore deserve...

I also asked Paul Jaquays (author of The Savage Frontier) a similar question about the origins of the Uthgardt (or at least, his part in creating them). Please email me if you'd like a copy of what he said.

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!

Edited by - Ulrik Wolfsbane on 11 Jan 2005 23:29:25
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  22:22:13  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 Ulrik Wolfsbane
I also Paul Jaquays a similar question about the origins of the Uthgardt (or at least, his part in creating them). Please email me if you'd like a copy of what he said.



I know I would so please post it somewhere. :)

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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Ulrik Wolfsbane
Seeker

New Zealand
27 Posts

Posted - 11 Jan 2005 :  23:30:29  Show Profile  Visit Ulrik Wolfsbane's Homepage  Click to see Ulrik Wolfsbane's MSN Messenger address Send Ulrik Wolfsbane a Private Message
Here it is within it's proper context. I'd encourage you to go there and and read the whole thread (and respond!): http://www.candlekeep.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3695. I also put it below for those who are (sigh) too lazy (or to be fairer, too busy) to look elsewhere. It might jog a few memories...

Joe:

It has been over 15 years since I wrote the source book, so many details may
escape me (and my copies are in storage somewhere else in the house), so I'm
pulling from memory here. If I remember correctly, Ed's notes specified that
there were barbarians in the region, but that the Uthgardt were my own
creation. I probably made them dark haired so that they wouldn't be
immediately imagined as Nordic Viking types. While I am a fan of Conan, at
that point I wasn't trying to emulate anybody else's barbarians ... only to
make my own. And I wanted to stay away from D&D's "known world" habit of
co-opting familiar cultures with a fantasy spin (I edited several of the D&D
known world source books during that time period). They are intended to be a
unique force of nature, not necessarily friend or foe to adventurers. The
actual tribes came from some work I did for an update to Griffin Mountain in
the early (I source book I co-wrote for Chaosium's Glorantha world). I had
expanded upon the Balazaring tribes in Griffin Mountain and made them more
varied and with special features. Chaosium chose not to use that work and I
re-spun it and made it more compatible with the AD&D game system and Realms
world mythos. Places like Grandfather Tree and the burial mounds were based
on art that I had originally done and were not used in Griffin Island (from
Avalon Hill).

The realmslore of the Savage Frontier came from seven sources: The Forgotten
Realms boxed set; the Waterdeep source book; Ed Greenwood's notes, which TSR
supplied as pages of photo-copied clippings that had come from many of Ed's
notebooks; the unused work for Griffin Island; the as yet unreleased novel
The Crystal Shard by Bob Salvatore (the original appearance of dark elf
ranger Dritzz Do Urden ... for whom I created the first game stats), The
Enchanted Wood (an adventure I had written for SPI's Dragon Quest game, for
which TSR owned the copyright due to their acquisition of SPI in the early
80s), and my own imagination.

Much of the prehistory and lore of the place derived from the Enchanted
Wood. I was very amused (and flattered) when later writers used content
derived from there to flesh out the ancient history of the realms.
Characters like Amelior Amanitas and his side kick Eric were based on people
I knew. Amelior was a player in one of my early FRP games and fist appeared
in The Enchanted Wood as a mission sponsor. The evil Wulgreth and the
demigod Karse came from the same source. If you can find a copy of The
Enchanted Wood, you will have access to much of my original source material.
;)

I had a lot of freedom in what I did. Maybe too much freedom. I left the
geography and most of the cities as Ed had designed them, but I took a free
hand with some of the characters and places and perhaps did things with them
that Ed did not like ... since I learned later that he wrote material that
went and rescued and redeemed some high level adventurers whom I had caused
to come to an unhappy end. If it didn't contradict something in the
published world or in Ed's notes, I felt free to interpret as I chose in
order to make interesting situations.

Some of my work became Realms canon. Others of it tumbled into the dust bin
of history.


Paul

I bet one of those characters was Laeral, given Khelben's rescue of her from the Crown of Horns. Ed, would you like to comment?

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!

Edited by - Ulrik Wolfsbane on 12 Jan 2005 03:09:27
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  01:17:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, Ed of the Greenwood responds to Ty.

A note re. Paul’s e-missive on FR5: Ed didn’t ‘rescue’ any characters, as far as I recall. Khelben rescuing Laeral was Steven Schend’s idea (and execution, too). I’ll ask Ed for confirmation on this.


Ty, you’ll see why I handed this straight to Ed rather than trying to frame a reply of my own, when you read what follows:



Ty, I’ve thus far kept the Knights largely away from contact with the priesthood of Tyr. Most adventurers, being freewheeling types whose true alignments tend to be chaotic good or chaotic selfish no matter what they officially are, are going to be less than comfortable in confrontations with clergy having to do with law, order, and justice - - and I’ve had a personal problem with the lack of full coverage of the formal churches of Faerunian deities (creeds, covert aims and professed doctrine, daily doings of priests, and so on) that’s especially acute when it comes to gods whose portfolios might lead their followers into exercising a large amount of daily peactime influence over others.
In short, I wanted the role of Tyr’s clergy better defined before I used them much in play. It’s been easy to avoid featuring Tyr overmuch because one can bring in priests of Helm and Torm to accomplish similar needs in adventures, and because I’ve been able from the outset to sweep the Knights up into neck-deep involvement in local politics, struggles between various power groups, and realm-versus-realm intrigue, without having to focus overmuch on any faith not personally represented by one of the PC Knights.
As I see it, Tyr is a god of justice rather than law, and so his clergy have an ongoing duty to bring about justice, both by working to continually improve the secular laws of various places in the Realms (even when faced by rulers and enforcers who manifestly don’t want such “help”), and by bringing justice to bear on individuals whom the law doesn’t touch (either because they’ve been granted immunity to legal punishment, or because the laws as drafted don’t apply to their sly activities, even though such activities would clearly be judged “wrong” by their fellow citizens). Criminals have always been ‘one step ahead of the law,’ and laws are always drafted by those in power to benefit themselves and their usual activities (in other words, to support the status quo in which they are ‘on top’). Just as in our real world, the laws in most parts of the Realms give preferential status to royalty or rulers over commoners, nobility over commoners, and citizens over outlanders (foreigners) or slaves or non-humans. For example, if I, Thorog the Orc, march up to a Black Robe in Waterdeep and claim that ‘yonder beautiful Waterdhavian woman broke her bargain with me to let me bed her if she first seduced Merchant X to buy my wagon of boar entrails, if I then gave her three-quarters of what he paid, which I’ve done, only now she spurns me and denies ever agreeing to such terms’ I’m going to get treated differently than if I am instead Junstal Manthar, young and handsome Waterdhavian noble, making precisely the same claim.
There will always be laws that are clearly unfair (“unjust,” if you will), or that a being from another land (even a Tyrran hailing from another land) will disagree with. (I am reminded of a post currently making the rounds on the Internet that purports to be a supporter’s letter to President Bush, that respectfully asks for his guidance in beheading or stoning to death or hand-severing various neighbours, in strict obedience to Leviticus and other Biblical writings, for wearing their hair incorrectly and various other offenses that will strike most modern readers as minor or nonsensical.)
This brings us to the central problem of Tyr’s faith: deciding what is “just.” What Tyr decides, of course, but unless the god is going to act as an instantly-available technical support line to his every priest and lay worshipper (which he obviously, from published Realmslore, doesn’t), inevitably the priests must determine what is just.
I’m sure some priests are personally proud and confident enough to do just that, whereas others will wrestle with the questions of “If this particular town or realm has a legal code that implies Deed X is legitimate or even favoured, am I right in decreeing that Deed X is evil, and I should act against those who do such deeds?”
In other words, I see that there must and will be continual disagreements within the church of Tyr as to how to act. The motivation is that the greatest good is promoted through order, adherence to order, and support of order (the Lawful Good alignment of Tyr himself), but order is not the same as law or even enforcement. That some adherents of Tyr have indulged in force and in trials of beings they deem to have acted unjustly is clear from published Realmslore (the very existence of my term “Grimjaws”).
TSR and now WotC have been clearly uncomfortable, down the years, dealing with such religious issues in definitive game terms (novels can explore such issues for specific characters, times, and places, but game rulebooks are necessarily wider in scope and application [and I’m sure it’s often been a simple matter of “this planned product will have lower sales than if we instead used this printing time and design costs to do something else, and the something else will potentially anger fewer fans and retailers, too”]), and the result has been a great amount of silence and lack of coverage of such matters. In such products as PRAYERS FROM THE FAITHFUL I’ve been able to ladle out a few details of doctrine as I “dance around” the vital core topics of what various churches do (and any longtime 1st Edition D&D gamer will remember the hunger expressed for ‘hard stuff’ so that they could bring clerics to life as something more than “the party’s fighter who can heal you if you’re nice to him and what he says his god wants”).
THO has transmitted to me your own very eloquent summation of this in a thread on Tyr, wherein you swiftly outlined the difference between lawful good and lawful neutral over the matter of the urchin stealing bread. I agree with your conclusion that the clergy of Tyr would see themselves as qualified to make and enact judgement on a person they view as an offender. Otherwise, why BE priests of Tyr?
I also agree with the argument you unfolded from that: evil intent plays a part in determining if a crime has been committed and justice must therefore be served by some sort of action (usually meting out punishment) on the Tyrran’s part. The published D&D game, throughout three official editions and several additional iterations, now, has established that paladins don’t automatically attack any creature they see whom they know or believe to be evil (in alignment). As you say, evil ACTS are to be punished, not evil natures or evil private inner thoughts never acted upon (if I daydream of making love to a beautiful woman I see in the street who is clearly wearing a wedding ring, have I committed an evil act if I immediately dismiss such thoughts angrily, never voicing or acting on them?).
In that thread, Lashan then brought up the valid point of the legal and social standing of a cleric in a given locale: will a priest be seen as having the RIGHT to “dispense justice”? As a DM running the Realms, I want something official published that tells me if a Tyrran (or any other priest or paladin) would be allowed to act against injustice in, say, the streets of Waterdeep, a tavern in Suzail, or a brothel (excuse me, festhall) somewhere in Sembia. I’d like to be able to read and consult such guidance before I made a PC conflict with priests important in play.
Maglubiyet then eloquently echoed the difference between law and justice and the problems this hands a servant of Tyr, and the hammer of Moradin widened this argument again to ask “Who is right, and who is wrong?”
All of these unsolved arguments (and the part of me that as a DM and designer wants to leave PCs and DMs maximum freedom in play, so “their” Realms doesn’t start to too closely mirror real-life and cease to be enjoyable [“Geez! I dare not draw my sword and hack that dragon as he snatches the princess, because he’ll sue me! And win!!”]) have led me to feature Tyrrans in the Knights’ experience only within the context of senior priests in a large temple of Tyr who spent their days in prayer and in examining the laws of various locales around the Realms with an eye to how these could be improved - - which of course brought about endless debates among these priests about specific changes and desired end results, and over the matter of whether or not the Church of Tyr should try to make laws everywhere more or less identical, or whether local authority and idiosyncrasies (“It is unlawful to marry one’s sister after sundown, but not before, or on days when there has been rain”) should be respected.
In my judgement, the goal of common good through order would prevent sane and faithful Tyrrans from ever doing anything to openly and publicly work against a ruler (revolt or unrest, the abandonment of order, will hurt many folk and damage much property and social confidence whatever the outcome, and so must be avoided at all costs). Therefore, Tyrran attempts to get laws changed would be either direct to the ruler or the courtier who drafts laws - - or to a magistrate or equivalent to alter not the law, but a specific sentence upon an accused individual (perhaps with a view to establishing a pattern of sentences that will eventually lead to a particular law being ignored and not enforced without actually being dropped from the books, something that happens a lot in real life).
As the hammer of Moradin implied, those Tyrrans who like to actively be judge, jury, and executioner (most paladins, and - - let’s face it, human nature being what it is, the sort of persons who do like to ‘sit in judgement’ on others are those who’ll be attracted to the priesthood of Tyr, though entering the church at low ranks and dealing with superiors will teach them self-control, or they’ll not advance far) will generally be found in frontier areas, “making” justice with weapons in hand. I see them as vital to promoting and maintaining trade routes and inter-species cooperation across Faerun, because elves, gnomes, halflings, and humans entering an unfamiliar realm can readily see the protection a code enforced by Tyrrans affords them. Outlaws and bandits will always be dangers in the Realms, but they are just that: outside the law.
In frontier areas, as I said earlier in my reply to Kentinal about the fortified manors, “the law” is often whatever you (or the nearest patrolling armsman) can achieve, on the spot, by swinging a sword. But “justice,” and the common knowledge across Faerun that folk (the church of Tyr in particular) are striving to make laws adhere to a principle of common justice, are what make folk obey laws even when they don’t want to pay taxes, or obey a rude official, or serve a hated king.
This will in turn make folk across the Realms see the church of Tyr as good and necessary, even if they don’t particular like Tyrrans or personally worship Tyr. As Faiths & Avatars says, Tyrrans often become legal advisers, and compile personal books of their reasonings, deeds, and observed legal matters and disputes that they share with the clergy at the temples they visit. I would also see Tyrrans as seeking out senior clergy of Tyr at such temples for advice.
I also see a role for the clergy of Tyr not hitherto hinted at in published Realmslore: the church of Tyr are the foremost force for policing other clergy: in other words, stopping a priest of Cyric or Shar from doing something “unjust” to citizens because such deeds will advance the aims of their churches. In other words, Tyrrans are “police over other priests,” or set themselves up as such, something disputed by many other clergies to the point of open spell and physical conflict.
I see a further role for the Church of Tyr, accepted in many places across the Realms: they are the folk who wade into feuds between families, guilds, and power groups and hammer out settlements, by force if need be, to end such disputes. (So folk who want feuds to go on will try to keep them secret, to avoid attracting Tyrran attention.)
I agree with your common-law system assessment of Cormyr, and as hammer of Moradin implied, I think that many Tyrrans will try to enact the simple Hammurabi’s Code of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and thereby enforce the wide perception of the Church of Tyr as stern and grim.



So saith Ed. Who continues to amaze me with the breadth and depth of thinking that has gone into the Realms. Sure, he’s been at it for almost forty years, but still . . . impressive. Deeply impressive.
I hope that answers you, Ty. As with your own real-world career and interests, this is a neverending topic. That’s why Ed spoke at such length on it, and I didn’t try to chop up his reply into shorter posts.
love to all,
THO
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Melfius
Senior Scribe

USA
516 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  03:27:08  Show Profile  Visit Melfius's Homepage  Send Melfius an AOL message Send Melfius a Private Message
This reminds me of an argument I had with a player who was adamant that his paladin would uphold whatever the law of the city he was in was and that was Lawful Good.

My argument was this: "Law or no, just because a city says that babies are a good source of protein, you STILL can't eat them as a paladin!"

Sick, but it won my case.

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 12 Jan 2005 03:30:51
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  08:59:01  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

Now, Jerry, none of that beating the straw man stuff. You take my words and extend them into your own conclusion, thus:

“So, in short, the organization of the War Wizards is that Vangerdahast is in charge normally, Laspeera is in charge when Vangey's not around, and other than that there's no organization at all - it's just a bunch of wizards doing what they're told?”

That’s NOT what I said. All the words after “not around” are your addition entirely.
I didn't intend to deliberately introduce any strawmen; I simply tried to grasp what I believed were the logical conclusions your comments led to. I may have misunderstood your intentions - but then when you deliberately don't go into details (as you mention below is your and WotC's intent) you do run that risk!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

You’re assuming wizards (WIZARDS, Jerry!) are timorous or even half-witted robot-like fodder, who can do nothing they haven’t explicitly been told to do. More than that: you’re assuming War Wizards of Cormyr, a subset of wizards who’ve given up the traditional fierce (in some individuals, paranoid) independence of those who work with the Art in order to serve a country in an organization where they will have to take orders, will do nothing (or can’t perform) without a strict hierarchy. You obviously don’t think much of their individual competence, despite saying they “may be highly competent.”
Competence and initiative are two different things. You've spoken of how Vangey is the "detail man" who "needs to run EVERYTHING" and who has "worked hard to be the sort of boss who might turn up at the greenest War Wizard’s elbow to work with him or stare hard and critically at what he was doing, and so 'cut out' middle managers. You mention below how you have tried (successfully in my opinion) to portray Vangey’s distrust of almost everyone except himself. In short, you have portrayed Vangey as a paranoid micromanager who trusts no one unless he has no other choice and can and does show up without warning right next to any given war wizard. I have served in the military and worked in corporate environments, and I can assure you that having a senior executive (a general or senior corporate official) who acts like this toward the rank-and-file workers is one of the surest ways of undermining morale and actaully CAUSING an otherwise competent rank-and-file to always look over their shoulder and quash their initiative to the point they do nothing without orders. Vangey's attitude and actions as you have portrayed and described him will CAUSE the war wizards to do nothing on their own lest they incur his displeasure!

I know that the threat of a traitorous war wizard is serious, but the problem is that initiative is initative regardless of what the goal of that initiative is. The more a leader tries to quash the possibility of betrayal - the more distrust and "looking over the shoulder of his people" he exhibits towards the rank-and-file - the more that ANY initiative to do anything will also be quashed. In having Vangey be a distrustful micromanaging person always looking over the shoulders of his wizards yet having those wizards still have the confidence and initiative to act on their own when they see threats to the realm you're trying to have your cake and eat it too, and it just doesn't work that way. After nearly seventy years of behaving like that - if Vangey's as bad a distrustful control-freak as you'v said - it would be a major miracle if the institution of the War Wizards functioned at all!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

However, I didn’t say they lacked a hierarchy.

Then I misunderstood you, because that's the impression I've been getting from what you have written thus far on this board.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I said that (with the exceptions of Vangey and now Caladnei, Laspeera, the Chair of the College of War Wizards now filled [sans titles!] by the four senior War Wizards Vangey appointed as his replacements, and the alarphons) War Wizards don’t have FORMAL RANKS AND THEREFORE TITLES: in short, that they’re not like modern real-world militaries or bureaucracies in formally pigeonholing every member of the organization.

Cool. You've said as much in the FR FAQ on Candlekeep, and I included in my writeup that no such rank titles existed. I've already got that covered. But since the cites I've previously mentioned did tell me that war wizards did know relative 'ranks' (i.e. degrees of authority rather than titles) I had to come up with a method for determining relative rank without titles. What I came up with was spellcasting power (i.e. maximum spell level castable) - a war wizard capable of casting a disintegrate would have more 'rank' (i.e. degree of authority) than one who could cast no more than a wall of fire. This is distinct from ability to research new spells (as mentioned in regard to Huldyl vs Kurthryn) which is based (in 3rd ed.) on Spellcaraft skill. I specifically wrote that no rank titles were used, although in retrospect it would be easy to add titles to spell levels if one wanted to.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

Which in turn means that a Purple Dragon of such-and-such a rank, or a noble of Cormyr holding a particular title, can’t determine if they “outrank” a specific War Wizard, and so can’t give orders to that War Wizard on such a basis: an endless source of frustration very familiar to The Hooded One, the rest of my ‘home campaign’ players, and dozens of gamers who’ve played in my charity and RPGA events at GenCons down the years.

While I didn't have specific rank titles, based on quotes from the novels and 3rd Ed. game mechanics I did divide war wizards into three general categories - apprentice (or as you call them below on-probation trainees), full, and master wizards. I can cite places in the books where you have mentioned apprentice war wizards or referred to individuals as "Sir Wizard" or "Master Wizard". I took full war wizards to be those who are eligible for the War Wizard prestige class in Magic of Faerûn (whether they've actually taken levels in the class or not) and master war wizards to be those who have completed the five-level progression of the prestige class. I wanted to make both the titles I can cite from novels and the game mechanics of the prestige class meaningful in my writeup (some might object to ascribing meaning to mechanics in in-game terms, but I don't have a problem with it). I did write that - and let me make clear this was solely for social etiquette or respect and not for the purposes of who salutes who or who gives orders - full war wizards were generally accorded the respect of commissioned officers and master war wizards were generally accorded the respect of general officers *IF* it was known based on observed spellcasting poer how good the war wizard was, and some general defaults if it wasn't known. Of course it was my intent that unlike the real-world miltiary were there are cross-service obligations to salute and obey, there are no such cross-service obligations between Purple Dragons and War Wizards. Somehow I don't think this would be enough to suit you, though, and you'd prefer to drop even the general categories and call "Sir Wizard" and "Master Wizard" undifferentiated and general terms of respect.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I specifically said (to quote from my own earlier post about the four old War Wizards now chairing the College: “They act as ‘chairman’ without having any official titles, just pay raises and everyone" [[by which I meant every War Wizard, of course]] "being firmly told where they now rank in the chain of command, and what authority they now wield.”) that the War Wizards DO have an internal hierarchy that’s very well understood (by War Wizards). They just don’t have a military chain of command with set pay scales (War Wizards get merit increases awarded on a personal, confidential basis) and the sort of discipline that depends on “salute the uniform,” wherein any (stranger) colonel wearing the right rank insignia can give orders to any sergeant or private he meets.

No worries here. I didn't write up any specific rank titles, and I specifically wrote that in the context of giving orders, team assignments matter more than on raw "authority based on spellcasting power". A disintegrate-caster could not give orders to a fireball-caster that isn't on his team or otherwise not specifically assigned to him.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I agree that large organizations can’t function without some sort of internal order. As for the size of the War Wizards, I’d put membership in the War Wizards, at its height, as less than six hundred (not counting on-probation trainees). Post-Death of the Dragon, with all the battle losses, it’s probably a little more than half that (with a far higher proportion of on-probation trainees or “novices”).

Six hundred, hmm? Given the numbers of known wizards specified in various sources (e.g. Volo's Guide) combined with the sheer variety of tasks that war wizards are mentioned doing, I figured at least a thousand. I'll make 600 my target number, then, since I can't see the institution being able to do everything ascribed to it with less than that number. Heck, I've got 339 of them (standard number, of course, with the caveat it will vary slightly with time just as the Purple Dragons vary from regulation TO&E) allocated to pre-war Purple Dragon units and Blue Dragon ships alone, not even counting all the other myriad things they do!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

Now, to answer your specific point about Vangerdahast stamping out all tendencies among the War Wizards to form cliques, I gave his reason for doing so, but you dismissed it by saying the alarphons exist to root out the disloyal. Quite true: I was illustrating how Vangey’s distrust of almost everyone except himself, and his cynical but shrewd opinion of organizations (gleaned through dealing with the Royal Court every day) led him to try to head off the formation of cliques:

My primary point there was to point out what would be worse than a traitor within the war wizards. I didn't so much as dismiss the reason Vangerdahast stamped out cliques (to prevent disloyalty) as point out the alarphons are also a big part of accomplishing that goal.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

because he sees the self-serving ends it leads to (courtiers habitually conceal information from superiors to make themselves look good, and Vangey wants every War Wizard to feel that they can go straight to him, and “we’re all in this together,” both for morale reasons to avoid misinformation and concealing things).

Here's another example of your trying to have your cake and eat it too. On one hand, you portray Vangey as a distrustful micromanager prone popping up next to his war wizards at any time, and on the other hand you portray Vangey as wanting to come across as an avuncular "come to me any time, we're all one big team" kind of leader. Those two are incompatible opposites, though, that work against each other. The more he acts like one, the necessarily less he comes across as the other. He can't have it both ways. If Vangey thinks he can have it both ways, then we need to reduce his Wisdom score on his stat block! (Although, the way Vangey was portrayed in Beyond the High Road and the first part of Death of the Dragon I was already inclined to do that! He was really slow on the uptake on certain things!)

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

You raise the point that I showed in Elminster's Daughter that “such problems exist anyway,” which seems to advance an argument akin to: if something can’t accomplish goals perfectly all the time, that something should never be attempted. (Okay, if I buy that, then no military or government bureaucracy need ever exist: why prepare for any warfare, or to run any country? Imperfections will inevitably arise, so everyone involved is wasting their time, then, right?) If your goal here was to point out that Vangey was failing to stamp out disloyalty or independent thinking merely by shattering cliques, I quite agree. Of course he was failing; to try to deny human nature is like attacking the advancing tide on a beach with a flamethrower and declaring victory (before you get submerged). :}

Yes, I was trying to point out that he was failing and I was not trying to say that he shouldn't attempt to find and root out disloyalty. Within the greater context of organization and hierarchy, I believed that in saying he was quashing cliques that you were also saying he was quashing any formation of internal organization, and I was trying to get across the idea that this latter was a bad idea because it has consequences other than preventing disloyalty. Of course, now I understand that you were not linking the quashing of cliques with preventing internal organization.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I was trying to point out in Elminster’s Daughter (among a lot of other things :}) that Vangerdahast tries to APPEAR all-powerful, and has accomplished much by reputation alone, but is very far from absolutely ruling Cormyr. Before the events of that novel he’s the true ruler of Cormyr,

He was?!?! I thought that, as powerful as he was, Azoun IV was still king and had the final say. Of course, Vangey might have been doing a lot of stuff behind Azoun's back, but if Azoun ever learned and didn't like it, Vangey would have to obey Azoun's wishes. That, to me, is the true measure of rulership - not who can get things done in the darkness and out of sight or knowledge, but who has the final word when those things are revealed. Power and rulership are very closely related, but not quite the same thing. But I digress!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

You cite my chess-playing scene as a clear and unambiguous statement that Kurthryn outranks Huldyl. Quite true: for that specific guardian assignment they’re engaged in when we see them, Kurthryn has been put “over” Huldyl by Vangey, despite Huldyl’s great skill with magic. Various guardian assignments have been their primary duty for quite some time, in fact (as THO will attest: using those two guys was something of an in-joke for my original players’ benefit, as the Knights have repeatedly run into these two War Wizards barring their ways as they’ve tried to snoop around Court and Palace, over the years) because they’re both patient men, and Vangey’s seen and exploited that, so he’s put them together into a unit wherein Kurthryn outranks Huldyl.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but I get the impression that you're saying that there is no absolute criterion for saying wizard A 'outranks' (within the context of degree of authority and not any sort of title) wizard B, and that these could just as easily be reversed if the situation called for it.

Recall, as I previously stated, I had somewhat split 'rank' from 'ability to give orders'; the former was dependent on spellcasting power, while the latter was more a matter of team assignment. Given that distinction, though, within the same team the more powerful spellcaster would always 'outrank' a less powerful spellcaster.

Also note that the exact quote from this scene does not say that Huldyl is generally more skilled at magic than Kurthryn - it says he is a "better crafter of new spells". In other words Huldyl is better at spell research, but this does not mean that Huldyl is a generally more powerful caster than Kurthryn. Kurthryn might be a higher level wizard but (for whatever reason) has fewer ranks in the Spellcraft skill than Huldyl. Remember that in 3rd Ed. researching new spells is handled with a Spellcraft skill check. Since you don't use 3rd Ed. rules in your game, though, this distinction might be lost in you own home campaign. I am doing my writeup with 3rd Ed. rules, so the distinction is pertinent for my purposes.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I quite understand how Jim Lowder’s text from Crusade would give the wrong impression. It’s not worded how I would have said it, but arises from this: Vangey has told all of the royals (and verbally revised this, many times, over the years) an ‘order of precedence’ for the War Wizards “in case anything should happen to him” (which, at that point in Crusade, Azoun IV believes to be the case). All of the Royal Court, not just the Obarskyrs, knows that Laspeera is “Number 2” anyway. What Azoun has is a verbal list of the next five people (in descending order) THAT VANGERDAHAST WOULD WANT AS HEAD OF THE WAR WIZARDS (for the good of the realm, remember, not Azoun’s personal convenience, so it’s presented to the king as a fait accompli, so his “anointing” of someone will end up with the someone of Vangey’s choice, even though Vangey’s not on the scene to make that choice). In other words, Vangey did NOT tell Azoun “if I fall, go to Laspeera, but if she’s already dead, then your best bet is XXXX.” Instead, he gave a strict hierarchy AND ALLOWED AZOUN TO BELIEVE that the War Wizards themselves all know it, and merely keep it secret from outsiders.

So Vangerdahast misled everyone - Azoun as well as everyone under him. He simply came up with an "order of succession" - which is not the same thing as a hierarchy strict or otherwise - but presented it to Azoun as an organizational hierarchy but didn't tell anyone else. If that's the intent, I would agree with you that I would not have worded it as Jim Lowder did either. This, in my eyes, does not constitute a "strict hierarchy". It can't function as a true hierarchy unless the people in it know their place. That's sort of the whole point of a hierarchy is that everyone knows who's in charge of what - it establishes a chain of command - yet such a chain of command is what you say the War Wizards don't have.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

This is true - - and untrue. They DO have a strict hierarchy, but only Vangey and Laspeera can clearly see it all, at any given time. Everyone else sees only parts of it, and knows their own ‘rank’ only for specific tasks, or in specific situations, or as it applies to particular fellow War Wizards.

It's not much of a "strict hierarchy," then, as I use that phrase. What you're describing here almost sounds similar in organization to a network of resistance cells (e.g. the French Resistance during WWII) in which only one person of a cell knows one or two people in other cells. And here again you give me the impression that 'rank' is situational and freely variable.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

Ulrik (and your own Uthgardt reply will appear fairly soon, sir!) makes the very good point that War Wizard operations as portrayed in published Realmslore must equal organization “not just on a large, strategic level, but on a small tactical level as well.” True. However, I disagree with Ulrik on just how precise the War Wizards really are (by reputation and appearance, yes, in actual accomplishments, often no), and I disagree with his presuming that bureaucracy must be part of it.
This is where magic trumps real-world offices and secretaries: precise information can be passed on without stacks of memos outsiders can peek at. And the secret of much of the effectiveness and precision achieved by the War Wizards is information: they KNOW who lives where, who does what on a daily basis, where a particular creek or sewer drains to, and so on (because one War Wizard can quickly pass that lore to another who’s on the spot).
Ulrik himself puts his finger on the reason for the War Wizards being as precise as they manage to be: “all that spying.”

Well, I make a distinction between organization and bureaucracy (a bureaucracy is a level of organization that exceeds the needs of the assigned task and diverts effort from getting the job done to self-maintaining the bureaucracy as an end in itself rather than a means to get the assigned task done), and I never once thought that the War Wizards were bureaucratic. I never thought of the War Wizards as having "offices" or "secretaries" or reams of forms to fill out and pass along. I still want the War Wizards to have some kind of internal organization sufficient to accomplish their tasks, though - that's what the point of all this is to me, and I have no use within the context of my writeup for an organization which "must not be published". (More about the proper context of the secrecy later.)

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

Let me now quote from the secret files of Garen Thal, Candlekeep’s own expert on Cormyr:

[snipped for a bit of brevity that I'm otherwise sorely lacking :) ]

(end quotation, and my thanks to Garen Thal for those timely words). As usually Garen’s hit all the nails squarely on all the heads.

Garen's writings about organization again strike me as similar to a network of resistance cells, and he also gives the impression that there is not just no "outwardly-discernible" organization, but that there is very little organization at all. He may not intend to portray that, and I know you've said that they do have some internal organization, but that is the impression his words leave me.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I’m not trying to make you think the War Wizards are disorganized, Jerry, I’m trying to stop you writing up a chain of command as you did for the Purple Dragons. It was and is appropriate for Cormyr’s military, but just doesn’t fit the War Wizards - - as can be seen by a careful reading of Realmslore published to date.

In case I didn't make it clear before this post (but I hope is clear in this post), I had no intent to come up with a pyramidal multi-level unit hierarchy like I did for the Purple Dragons. I agree that doesn't fit the war wizards. I tried to have a functional high-level organization (with the "administrative board" you rejected) then a very flexible organization of teams and individual war wizards under the board in which a wizard might never be assigned two consecutive tasks of the same general function. These functions have been documented in published lore - attached to Purple Dragon units, Blue Dragon ships, border outposts, investigative teams, exploration teams, palace guards, civil works projects, etc. - but under my system no one outside the leadership would ever know exactly how many war wizards were doing many of the functions and no war wizard could be pinned down to be specializing in a specific function, thus providing the desired secrecy. I suppose I could still do this without the board, but I though it necessary to have some "upper management" function to organize the assignments of people to tasks and make sure that all needs are being met and that tasks are properly prioritized. I really thought that this was too much to dump on one man, no matter how much of a control freak he might be.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

To let slip a little internal information for once: it was agreed between Books and Games when Jeff and I were writing Cormyr: A Novel, and reaffirmed (with different Books and Games personnel) when Troy and I were doing Death of the Dragon, that for maximum freedom in fiction writing and game design (and yes, for individual Dungeon Masters, too) that the War Wizards were going to stay as mysterious as possible - - just as they are to Cormyreans. We’ll give endless internal glimpses, but we would NOT do, for instance, “a War Wizard novel.”
To shift it back to a real-world analogy one more time: if you go ahead and clearly outline a hierarchy of invented rank-titles for the War Wizards (and create these “administrative and advisory boards” you speak of), it would be very much as if you, as a writer in the West during the Cold War, detailed the command structure of the KGB in print. I’m not now speaking of sinister repercussions for you, I mean that in doing so you would rob the KGB of much of their allure, capacity to awaken fear, and mystery (through being so much of ‘the unknown’ and so little specified, counted, and laid bare for all to see).
It’s a very human need to delineate, nail down details, ferret out the truth, quantify, and so understand. I sympathize.
Yet in this case, I can’t agree.
To put things another way: I’m sure if I started a thread here at Candlekeep entitled “Ed Greenwood Gives Plot Summaries Of All Realms Novels WotC Will Publish For The Next Ten Years” A LOT of scribes would click on it excitedly, but if I actually posted what the title implied, I’d be largely ruining their enjoyment of that decade-worth of books. Part of the fun is NOT knowing everything. Right?

Speaking just for myself, wrong. But I'll get back to that in a bit. Let me take some points in order.

Even though it'll never happen, I personally would love a War Wizard novel that filled in more detail of that institution.

In regard to allure and mystery, I think a disinction needs to be drawn here. Within the context of the game, there are several levels at which to consider allure and mystery, and that allure and mystery is proper at some levels but in my opinion not at others. First of all, there's the "in-game" level. The player characters and NPC's should definitely be subject to that allure, fear, and mystery. Unless they are War Wizards themselves, PC's and NPC's should not know any internal details of the War Wizards.

Second, there's the "player" level. Players don't need to know the internal details of the War Wizards unless they are playing war wizard characters, but it shouldn't hurt anything if they do know. A good player can keep out-of-game knowledge separate from how he plays his character and not let his greater knowledge of the sourcebooks affect what actions he has his character do in the game. Published lore already allows for the possibility to play war wizard characters - see the War Wizard prestige class in Magic of Faerûn - but it would be difficult to really get into a good immersive game with a war wizard character without knowing how the institution functioned internally. Not publishing such information thus effectively prevents players from reasonably playing war wizard characters. As a player, knowing secrets of the game setting because I read the sourcebooks doesn't interfere with my fun at all because I can separate player knowledge and character knowledge and still have fun by having my character discover what I as a player already know! If publishing war wizard secrets spoils the fun for some players playing characters in Cormyr, that just means they aren't able to separate player and character knowledge and publishers and authors aren't responsible for that.

Third, there's the DM level. If the DM's campaign is going to involve war wizards at all, and interaction between war wizard NPC's and player characters (to say nothing of war wizard PC's), he NEEDS to know how the War Wizards work if he's going to do a good job of portraying the NPC's. If little to no such lore is published, as you've insisted, then the poor DM has to make it all up on his own. He either has to spend a lot of time doing exactly what I'm trying to do with my writeup, or he has to try to wing it. At the DM's level, such War Wizard lore *SHOULD* be published, just the same as you'd publish city maps with buildings and streets marked, detail inns and festhalls, or give the history and royal lineage of a country. It's just another set of details that make the Realms a wonderfully detailed and interesting setting and give more gaming opportunities.

When you wrote such books like the Volo's Guide, you were writing them in the "unreliable narrator" style that is effectively an "in-game" context. You're only writing what a PC in the world could find out, with occasional system or metagame references in footnotes. In that context, yes, you wouldn't want to reveal all the secrets of the War Wizards. For my Military Forces of Cormyr document, though, I'm not writing in that context. I neither want nor intend to write in that context. I am writing the document at the DM/Player level, and I want to provide enough information so that the DM and players could run a Purple Dragon - or in this case War Wizard - campaign. I specifically want to uncover for the DM and players the things that the average character or NPC in Cormyr would not know. Keeping the "mysteries" of the war wizards a secret is fundamentally contrary to the purpose I'm trying to achieve here. I'll hope you understand when I say that for the purposes of my document I don't intend to follow your or WotC's policy of keeping the War Wizards as mysterious as possible. To the best of my ability to remain consistent with what you've written here and in published works and also make sense to me and be believable to me, I'll invent details that have gone unspecified.

Also, you mention you maintain the secrecy to allow the "maximum freedom in fiction writing and game design (and yes, for individual Dungeon Masters, too)". That's a two-parter. In regard to fiction writing, "maximum freedom" in coming up with new NPCs and plots is a generally good thing, but I do think that some effort should be made to make sure what they write stays consistent with other published realmslore as much as possible. Some authors take a more freewheeling approach to consistency (i.e. my story is more important than consistency) than I like. At least in my game document, I did footnote my sources and give reasons for any explicit variations I made. And in regard to individual DM's, I've always thought that the idea of publishing less detail to give DM's more freedom was a fundamentally misguided idea. More detail is always better than less detail, because with more detail DM's have the choice of using that detail or discarding it if it doesn't suit him and inventing details of his own. In withholding that detail, you're actually taking freedom away from the DM because you're forcing him to create on his own what details he needs that are not provided, thus taking up more of his time. More details never truly inhibit a DM's freedom because he's always free to disregard whatever doesn't suit him, and for DM's who use the published details you're giving them the freedom to concentrate on the adventures and the game. For this reason, in any game document I write, I will always err on the side of more detail rather than less.

In regard to allure and mystery (the idea that part of the fun is not knowing everything) at a more personal and philosophical level that goes beyond gaming even though it is reflected in my gaming and game design preferences, I have long failed to see the allure in any perpetual mystery. To me, the fun is *NOT* in gazing at perpetual and unsolvable mystery, the fun is in SOLVING the mystery, DISCOVERING hidden truths, and MAKING KNOWN the unknown. You say that "it’s a very human need to delineate, nail down details, ferret out the truth, quantify, and so understand." I say that it is that, and more too. I would go so far as to say that if anything can be described as a higher purpose of a sentient being, that this would have to be it: to solve, discover, learn, classify, delineate, quantify, measure and understand. Without these things, there's really no point to sentience at all. To me, to revel in or get fun out of the unsolvable mystery or truths/facts that are unknowable IN PRINCIPLE (not just in our capabilities to discover at the moment) has to surely rank as a major sin. People who tell me "there are things man was not meant to know" annoy me - if it exists, then it is there for us to discover and understand. People who thought the moon lost it's "allure" or "magic" when it was discovered to be composed of rock rather than green cheese annoy me. People who think that a far-away nebula loses its beauty once astrophysicists can explain what its made of and how it was formed annoy me. You get the idea. To tie that into my gaming, it is the solving of these mysteries and the discovering of these unknowns in the game world - or lacking the existence in published lore the creation of such details - that is where I get my fun from. For the most part, that's why adventurers go on adventures - to see what others don't, to uncover lost treasures, to learn lost or hidden knowledge, etc. When someone tells me that some mystery is unsolvable or some fact unknowable, that's when I get annoyed, lose the fun, lose interest, and walk away. Instead, make an adventure of the solving and knowing! I may fail to solve it, but at least I'll have fun in trying and in knowing that it was possible to solve!

Well, I certainly got long-winded there, didn't I? :) I do get that way from time to time, at least in written correspondence! In person I'm generally more quiet and reserved unless around people I know well.

Ed, THO, thank you both very much for the time you've put into responding to me. Whatever disagreements we might have on details, we at least share the love of Realmslore!
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Sanishiver
Senior Scribe

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  09:58:06  Show Profile  Visit Sanishiver's Homepage Send Sanishiver a Private Message
My thanks to Ed and everyone for the questions and answers on Cormyr’s War Wizards; they’ve been an absolute Gold Mine for my campaign (where even now a movement is growing amongst the surviving elder War Wizards to pressure Calednei into granting sanction for the slaying of the last Ghazneth).

God I love this game/setting!

J. Grenemyer

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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Beowulf
Learned Scribe

Canada
322 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  16:36:31  Show Profile  Visit Beowulf's Homepage Send Beowulf a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

This brings us to the central problem of Tyr’s faith: deciding what is “just.” What Tyr decides, of course, but unless the god is going to act as an instantly-available technical support line to his every priest and lay worshipper (which he obviously, from published Realmslore, doesn’t), inevitably the priests must determine what is just.



I don't know how much of this will be of use to the game, but as a real world follower of the god Tiw (old Norse TyR, Old High German Zio/Ziu, Gothic Tius, etc.), I thought I would mention how Tiw did/does this in the real world.

Tiw gave to mankind the legal institution known as the Thing, at which the tribesmen of one tribe or another would regularly gather to do such, errrr, "things" as set the calender to prevent calender drift, to discuss community matter, and to deal with breaches of the community law.

The process embodied in the Thing, and even the technical language we have of speaking of law in the Teutonic tongues, shows us that the establishment of what is, errr, "just" (?!?!?!?) and "unjust (?!?!?), was fully in the hands of the folk.

What Tiw provided was the context, a bare bones systems, in which communities could reach come to grips with common issues, reach common decisions, and, if necessary, revise those decision at a future date.

Whereas some gods gave to their peoples the rule of code, Tiw gave mankind the rule of precedent. The very term law, coming into Enfglish via Danish, means "layer" (of action), whilst the native English and panTeutonic word "doom" means, not only "judgement", but is related to such words as "do, did, done" and literally means "that which has ben set, laid down, done".

Teutonic priests and kings -- whose blood was believed to run back to the gods Woden and/or Ingui and/or Seasxneat -- did at times preside over certain cases at the Thing, but this was not a proactive authority that could impress itself upon an unwilling community at its whim, but rather it had to be **called upon** (by the community) to render judgement.

Naturally, Tiw stewarded the maintainence of the common good of community and tribe, with little to no false pretentions of proviiding a set of, ahem, "laws" that could be universally applied.


"Ill tempered the wretch, who laughs at everyone. He cannot recognize, as he should, that he is not without faults." the High One, Poetic Edda
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Lauzoril
Seeker

Finland
71 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  18:33:06  Show Profile  Visit Lauzoril's Homepage Send Lauzoril a Private Message
Wonderful Lady Hood. Could you please relay this to Ed.

Ed, I learned today that here in Finland Making of a Mage has recently been released in Finnish language. It's a first book from you to be released. So far it's been Salvatore's Drizzt novels, few Elaine C's first Arilyn/Thann novels. It seems that it's finally your turn. I wonder what took them so long. It's probably because DragonLance has been more dominant here in the past years but now it seems to be changing. Translated name of the Making of a Mage goes here something like Birth of a Mage.


"Death to the enemies of Bane."
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Ty
Learned Scribe

USA
168 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2005 :  18:54:23  Show Profile  Visit Ty's Homepage Send Ty a Private Message
My thanks to you The Hooded One. Please convey my utmost appreciation to Mr. Greenwood for his thorough and eloquent response.

I have to admit, I am very impressed with his answer because he hits upon a number of points that are debated endlessly in legal ethics by students (and professors) of the law. He probably could have made a good shark...

Thank you again.

Ty
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  01:20:27  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Sanishiver, I love it too! Thank you for those kind words. I bring unto all scribes the latest response of Ed to unfolding War Wizard matters:



(Ed speaks . . .)

Whoa! Three other quick matters first.

Ulrik, on the matter of Paul’s post: THO is correct and Paul’s indeed mistaken, in that I didn’t write “material that went and rescued and redeemed some high level adventurers whom I had caused to come to an unhappy end.” That material was written by Steven Schend, bringing Khelben and Laeral together for his own purposes (which continue to interest me greatly).

Ty, thank YOU for your questions. I should add this to my earlier answer: for maximum play possibilities, of course, I’d want a fair amount of (‘kept inside the family’) debate within the church of Tyr as to the proper role of the clergy (and specific “dos and don’ts”), so as to force some moral choices (and consequences) on PC priests.

Gerath Hoan, your question as to why Caladnei is Vangerdahast's chosen successor, and not Laspeera, is a superb one - - but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait some time to learn the answer. The dreaded NDA wall prevents me from saying more, other than your reply will NOT be in the forthcoming “Best of Eddie” collection, but probably WILL be in fictional form.
And an addendum for everyone: in my answers to Jerryd I quite often posted the “Vangey is” rather than “Vangey was.” Post-ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER, of course, Caladnei’s in the saddle and the situation has changed.

Kentinal, your police force description is darn near EXACTLY how the War Wizards work. Thank you; very well said.


Jerry, a pleasure to converse with you. Accordingly, let me respond to your response. I expect we’re going to have to agree to disagree, but let’s have a go . . .

You posted: “Competence and initiative are two different things.” and “you have portrayed Vangey as a paranoid micromanager who trusts no one unless he has no other choice and can and does show up without warning right next to any given war wizard. I have served in the military and worked in corporate environments, and I can assure you that having a senior executive (a general or senior corporate official) who acts like this toward the rank-and-file workers is one of the surest ways of undermining morale and actually CAUSING an otherwise competent rank-and-file to always look over their shoulder and quash their initiative to the point they do nothing without orders.”
Quite true, but unless the American military has slipped far below the level of its British roots, the concepts of “standing orders” and “rules of engagement” still apply, and that’s exactly what I’ve mentioned Vangey delivering personally AND relaying through other War Wizards (remember, I mentioned that he deliberately didn’t always relay orders through the same ones?).
As I said before, War Wizards aren’t robots. They won’t stand idle waiting for Vangey’s orders, they’ll do as they’ve been ordered to do when deployed (and in almost all cases they won’t “be there in the first place” without orders that sent them there, right?), stopping or changing if and only if fresh orders come that supercede what they’ve been told to do.
In other words: ‘we War Wizards KNOW what to do if we uncover a traitor among the nobles or suspected slave-trading in Marsember or smuggling in Arabel.’ Yes, Vangey was a terror to those who crossed him, and to the trainees (BTW, atop my six hundred muster, add as many as two hundred of these novices, at their peak; right now, post-DEATH OF A DRAGON, for instance).

You accept that Vangey is a “bad . . . distrustful control-freak” as I’ve portrayed him (good, that means I managed to get that across in Realmslore to date), and then conclude that I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too, because his sort of micromanagement just doesn’t work with initiative. I would agree if we were speaking of modern American corporate and military situations, but we’re not.
Note in my earlier post my mention of personal merit pay increases (rewards for good performance, right?), which tells us that Vangey expects and rewards good performance and conduct. Note also the complete absence of modern-American-style basic training/“boot camp” or anything of the sort (drill sergeants, controlling dress and haircut, all the yelling and obstacle courses and ‘joe jobs’ and silly punishments) for the War Wizards. Training, yes, ‘breaking’ them no. This is NOT the American military, Jerry. If you haven’t traveled the world and seen things done (and working quite well) in many different ways, I’m not surprised you can’t see things in any other way.
I’m puzzled as to why, exactly, you seem to feel that the War Wizards must have clear-cut ranks, even if these positions lack titles. I’ve already told you they don’t, yet you conclude “I had to come up with a method for determining relative rank without titles.”
Why?
If that’s the way you DM the Realms, fine, but to write up guidelines for others that knowingly contradict Realmslore? To borrow THO’s analogy, that’s akin to saying, “I KNOW you thought there were orcs and hobbits in LOTR, but Tolkien got it wrong, see - - they were really baboons and cute little kitty-cats. I’ve written up this screed here that explains all about it.”
Many longtime sages of the Realms have worked very hard for nigh twenty years now to keep inconsistencies out of Realmslore, me included, and we’re none of us going to be happy if you deliberately try to introduce new contradictions.

I fully appreciate the satisfaction that you (and most of us) get from quantifying and uncovering the truth, but if you’ve worked in the corporate environment, surely you’ve run across or heard about entrepreneurial, mercurial CEOs?
Apple in the first Jobs era is just one example, out of a great many. As reported in one of the Mac magazines, if you pissed him off in the elevator on your way up in the morning, you could get fired on the spot.
In most such cases, a worker’s rank in the company (except at the lowest levels) depends very much, on a daily and practical basis, on how much the CEO likes, trusts, admires, or appreciates that particular worker. (Never heard of “sleeping your way to the top?” It was around in ancient Rome as well as in post-Industrial Revolution America, you know.)
Think of a War Wizard’s rank as a mutable thing, based on Kentinal’s post I mentioned above, and on: what Vangey thinks of you today.
Spellcasting power is obviously a factor, but far more important to Vangey are some other factors.
Let’s look at how Vangey ‘ranks’ a particular War Wizard (factors in descending order):
1. Demonstrated loyalty to me.
2. Demonstrated loyalty to Cormyr.
3. Demonstrated loyalty to the Obarskyrs.
4. Demonstrated loyalty to the War Wizards (i.e. working well with others and taking orders).
5. History of performance/experience/demonstrated competence in the field.
plus two other factors that ‘move about’ in this ladder, sometimes trumping the numbered ones, and sometimes not:
X. Specialized skills (e.g. types of spells crafted or modified, specific experience with a locale or people or type of trap, monster, or magic) relevant to a task at hand.
Y. Location and other obligations (where is the War Wizard now, how fast can I get him/her to whwre I need him, and what’s he/she busy with now, and what are the repercussions of him/her dropping all the balls they’re juggling?)
Z. Spellcasting power (yes, it ranks down here, least important among the three ‘floating’ factors, depending on the situation: if what’s needed is diplomacy, a meteor-swarm-hurler probably isn’t the best choice, as if THAT sort of diplomacy’s necessary, Vangey probably wants to show up and deliver it himself for maximum “cow others” and ‘keep your secondary weapons [= the meteor-swarm-hurling-War-Wizard] hidden until they can strike as a surprise’ reasons)

Now, none of this makes me dismiss your divisions of War Wizards into trainees (don’t call them apprentices, because that term already has other meanings, both in-game and in the formal rules), full, and master wizards. Myself, I’d call them novices, War Wizards, and “senior” War Wizards. However, an outsider should NEVER be able to tell them apart (except for Laspeera and Vangey or now Caladnei). We must of course add the alarphons as a sub-division of the senior wizards (there are a handful of young, brilliant alarphons, but they are very much the exception).
“Master Wizard” is a term of respectful courtesy, used by anyone in Cormyr who doesn’t know the rank of the wizard (your average commoner would call Vangey “Lord Wizard” and Caladnei or Laspeera “Lady Wizard,” and every other War Wizard “Master Wizard”).
Some people (especially courtiers, Purple Dragons, nobles, and personal acquaintances of particular War Wizards) know that a particular War Wizard also holds a knighthood or baronetcy (the latter of course having nothing whatsoever to do with War Wizard career or status, but merely “accident of birth”) and will properly address them as “Sir Wizard” because they know they should (or, in rare cases, deliberately insult them by using that title when the War Wizard is, in fact, a “Lord” by reason of post or noble blood).
By the way, as you’ll learn in the last story in my forthcoming so-called “Best of” Realms short story collection (in a stable, as it happens), there ARE officers of Cormyr who can give War Wizards orders (I’ll leave that revelation for the publication of the book). It should become your guideline vis-a-vis relations between Purple Dragons and War Wizards.

You post: “I took full war wizards to be those who are eligible for the War Wizard prestige class in Magic of Faerûn (whether they've actually taken levels in the class or not) and master war wizards to be those who have completed the five-level progression of the prestige class.”
I think this is fine, and a very good ‘shorthand’ way for determining the average level of magical skills a ‘walk-on’ War Wizard will have, in play. Good.

You queried my number of War Wizards based on “the sheer variety of tasks that war wizards are mentioned doing,” and mentioned you’d assigned 339 of them “to pre-war Purple Dragon units and Blue Dragon ships alone, not even counting all the other myriad things they do!” which again (added to the ‘got to figure out ranks within the War Wizards’) suggests to me that you’re thinking of the War Wizards in military terms (set garrison duties and so forth). Wrong. Try thinking of them as more like a cross between James Bond and the Inquisition, and less like GI Joe and General Patton, and all of my Realmslore will start to make a lot more sense.

Then you say: “Here's another example of your trying to have your cake and eat it too. On one hand, you portray Vangey as a distrustful micromanager prone popping up next to his war wizards at any time, and on the other hand you portray Vangey as wanting to come across as an avuncular "come to me any time, we're all one big team" kind of leader. Those two are incompatible opposites, though, that work against each other. The more he acts like one, the necessarily less he comes across as the other. He can't have it both ways.”
Correct, he can’t. None of which means he won’t try to. If you’ve never encountered paranoid micromanagers who try to be “buddy buddy” with their underlings, then you haven’t met many corporate CEOs or military generals. I have (many of both), and believe me, it’s quite a common type. They’re usually incompetents, but that’s neither here nor there. *I’m* not trying to have my cake and eat it too: Vangey is.

You go on to conclude that if Vangey thinks he can have it both ways, his Wisdom score should be reduced (and back that view up with how he was portrayed in the latter two Cormyr novels). Bingo! That’s exactly what I was hinting at: Vangey’s getting old, he’s stopped “keeping up with the times” and is trying to make Cormyr conform to his thinking (rooted in how Cormyr was decades back) rather than to update his thinking to match its changes with the keen alacrity he once did. Yet lower his Wisdom? No. Why? Because he SAW this failing in himself and found a successor and stepped aside, showing incredible wisdom (and deviance from what we see in the real world, where strongmen almost always have to be killed or forced from power).

I stand by my comment that Vangey was, in his day, the true ruler of Cormyr. He trained Azoun IV, he influenced him greatly as a young man and so ‘set’ his thinking, he assisted him in accomplishing things Vangey saw as ‘good’ for the realm and even “rewarded” him by not standing in the way of any of his trysts (which Vangerdahast could have prevented, by spell and via the War Wizards), he to a very large extent controlled what information reached Azoun, and he was fully capable of, and practised in, magically dipping into Azoun’s mind. In the event of a disagreement between them, this could instantly have become magical mind-control - - and remember, as I’ve emphasized from the first: Vangey PRETENDS to serve the monarch, but REALLY serves the realm. (In other words, he does what he sees as best for Cormyr. Not Azoun or any monarch.)

Moving on down your post, I’d like to confirm that your impression is correct: I was indeed “saying that there is no absolute criterion for saying wizard A 'outranks' (within the context of degree of authority and not any sort of title) wizard B, and that these could just as easily be reversed if the situation called for it.”
This is what Garen wrote, and Kentinal posted, too. It has nothing to do with Spellcraft or being a more powerful caster: it can change from day to day, between Wizard A and Wizard B (at the pleasure of Vangerdahast), or from task to task (as Vangey assigns them to the same team for tracking down who altered Lady Truesilver’s memories, and A is “over” B, but on the same day also assigns them to a team searching a “haunted” coach arrived from Sembia for covert magics cast by unknown mages for unknown reasons, and in THAT team Wizard B is “over” Wizard A).

Which brings us to your fallacy: that a “strict hierarchy” must of necessity establish a chain of command. Nope. Set aside the military and corporate thinking, and you’ll see that although the presence of a strict hierarchy means a chain of command must also be present, there are other factors that mean one need not establish or fully dictate the other. Usually these factors are religious (societal belief in the role of women, or what certain castes do, and so on). For example, there are situations and places in which someone clearly is of a much greater societal rank or status than someone else - - but can’t give that inferior any orders at all. Vestal virgins: VERY high rank, but no powers to order anyone around at all. Shaman of one Britanni tribe captured by another tribe: very high rank, treated with great respect for fear of offending the gods, but given no power to order anyone around at all. And so on.

You post: “What you're describing here almost sounds similar in organization to a network of resistance cells (e.g. the French Resistance during WWII) in which only one person of a cell knows one or two people in other cells. And here again you give me the impression that 'rank' is situational and freely variable.” Bingo! That’s the situation exactly (minus the secrecy of the French Resistance: War Wizards walk around Cormyr openly, can meet each other freely to ‘talk shop’ unless given specific orders not to do so, and so on).

You post: “I never thought of the War Wizards as having "offices" or "secretaries" or reams of forms to fill out and pass along.” Good. We’re agreed on this, then.

“I tried to have a functional high-level organization (with the "administrative board" you rejected) then a very flexible organization of teams and individual war wizards under the board in which a wizard might never be assigned two consecutive tasks of the same general function. These functions have been documented in published lore - attached to Purple Dragon units, Blue Dragon ships, border outposts, investigative teams, exploration teams, palace guards, civil works projects, etc. - but under my system no one outside the leadership would ever know exactly how many war wizards were doing many of the functions and no war wizard could be pinned down to be specializing in a specific function, thus providing the desired secrecy.”
Perfect! (Sans the administrative board, that is.) You’ve got it! No War Wizard ends up with formalized specialized functions (so unlike the military, a particular War Wizard won’t be a driver, then a loader, then a quartermaster, and stay at that until reassigned; they all get reassigned almost by the tenday, and are usually working on several tasks at once).

You then posted: “I suppose I could still do this without the board, but I though it necessary to have some "upper management" function to organize the assignments of people to tasks and make sure that all needs are being met and that tasks are properly prioritized. I really thought that this was too much to dump on one man, no matter how much of a control freak he might be.”
Yes, do it without the board. :} I fully agree that it’s too much to dump on one man. That was Vangey’s failing, that’s what was starting to unravel when the Devil Dragon battles smashed it all, and that’s what’s going to have to change under Caladnei - - because unlike Vangey, she doesn’t ENJOY personally trying to know everything and run everything in Cormyr, every moment of every day, and cowing people into obeying her, and won’t do it.
Which is why we’re arguing over something that’s rather a moot point: Cormyr’s no longer in the Vangerdahast era, and may well end up with hierarchical War Wizards under Caladnei (though I doubt it: she HATES authority and formality, and neither Laspeera nor the Obarskyrs will want things to change much from what they’re used to - - and Caladnei relies on them and will listen to them; if she came to open disagreement with them all, she’d leave Cormyr and renounce her role there).


I’m sure you’d love to read a War Wizard novel. I’d love to write one. However, until the agreement changes, all you’re going to get are the glimpses I can give you while writing other things (there’ll be more in the first Knights book, unless things change greatly in the editing).

You post: “Published lore already allows for the possibility to play war wizard characters - see the War Wizard prestige class in Magic of Faerûn - but it would be difficult to really get into a good immersive game with a war wizard character without knowing how the institution functioned internally.”
Nonsense! Not knowing precisely where you stand is just like real life, and makes for GREAT roleplaying. It’s harder on the DM, because he or she must give players enough information (as play unfolds) that they feel they can make competent decisions, and because the DM must previously have earned the trust of the players (or it’s hard to relax enough to enjoy the game). If you have the sort of players who “rules-lawyer” and “try to get one up on each other,” then yes, it would be difficult, but then they’d be using the very outside-game information you say good players can separate from in-game information.
You’re quite correct in saying that keeping the War Wizards mysterious is hard on Dungeon Masters. They will have to wing it, yes.
What you seem to be intimating here is that *I* am choosing to hold back Realmslore. I’m not. I’m describing to you the Way Things Are: specifically, one of the many “gentlemens’ agreements” (for want of a better non-sexist term) that exists in the way in which the Realms is published. You don’t have to convince me. A close examination of my novels and short stories will show you that I’ve been sneaking little tidbits about the War Wizards into print for years (I’ve penned most of the published details you’ve seized on, to start detailing them).
And you certainly won’t find me disagreeing with you here: “More detail is always better than less detail.” Yup. Hence my thirty-eight or so years of work on the Realms (and, I believe, the real reason for its published success).
As I said, we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree. By all means write up the War Wizards for your own campaign use. However, if you veer away from what I’ve posted here and earlier, Garen’s posted, and so on, be aware that when (yes, I said when, hint, hint) published Realmslore gets around to dealing specifically with the War Wizards, the two screeds are going to be VERY different.
I’ll never dispute the worthiness or energy of your Quest to Uncover All. Such pursuits have, after all, afforded a lot of gamers a lot of pleasure for decades now, and made me a good living in the process.
I just want you to not give my War Wizards rank insignia, salutes, and suchlike. :}
Ed



Whew. Done? Can I come out now?
Seriously, Jerryd, I think part of the problem here is how little of Cormyr (which we Knights feel we know so well, having spent so much time in it, playing in Ed’s campaign) has actually made it into print. If all the divers details Ed has served up over the years were all in print, you and he would have had very little to argue over.
Now, as Creator, Ed’s a very generous guy: he happily “moves over and makes room” for the additions of literally scores of creative people who’ve visited the Realms and painted in this or that detail of the place. Yet I doubt he’s going to change the War Wizards to suit your love of formal rank and chain of command, because in our home campaign things haven’t reached Azoun’s death yet, and we’re involved in increasing dealings with the War Wizards right now. And there’s no way he’ll change things in the published Realms to deliberately ‘not fit’ the home campaign; others may do that, but he won’t. Sorry.
Think of it this way: would you change YOUR campaign just because someone online told you that it would be better if dragons were all just evolved orcs, so you’d better stop killing those orcs because you’ll then get more dragons and more dragon treasure? I doubt it. Okay, how about someone online telling you that you’re all wrong about the wizards in your fictional creation, the kingdom of Cormyr? You’d change everything in mid-game to his view of them?
However, neither of us are mad at you or think anything less of you for sticking to your guns. Discussing the Realms is great fun (nay, meat and drink) to us, and we value most highly those gamers who care enough about the Realms to create things for it and argue passionately about it. So consider yourself esteemed in our gaze. Truly.
love,
THO
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Ulrik Wolfsbane
Seeker

New Zealand
27 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  02:35:53  Show Profile  Visit Ulrik Wolfsbane's Homepage  Click to see Ulrik Wolfsbane's MSN Messenger address Send Ulrik Wolfsbane a Private Message
Then you say: “Here's another example of your trying to have your cake and eat it too. On one hand, you portray Vangey as a distrustful micromanager prone popping up next to his war wizards at any time, and on the other hand you portray Vangey as wanting to come across as an avuncular "come to me any time, we're all one big team" kind of leader. Those two are incompatible opposites, though, that work against each other. The more he acts like one, the necessarily less he comes across as the other. He can't have it both ways.”
Correct, he can’t. None of which means he won’t try to. If you’ve never encountered paranoid micromanagers who try to be “buddy buddy” with their underlings, then you haven’t met many corporate CEOs or military generals. I have (many of both), and believe me, it’s quite a common type. They’re usually incompetents, but that’s neither here nor there.


That is so true, Ed! The corporate world is crawling with this particularly loathsome type of individual. I work for one (shudder) and I've used his personality many many times for NPCs in my games. I think, to be fair to Vangey and real life individuals, it is fairly unavoidable. Of course one is going to want to maintain one's place in the hierarchy while at the same time want to create the perception of being 'buddies' with one's underlings. It just dosen't work...

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!
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Lady Kazandra
Senior Scribe

Australia
921 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  06:00:45  Show Profile  Visit Lady Kazandra's Homepage Send Lady Kazandra a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Seriously, Jerryd, I think part of the problem here is how little of Cormyr (which we Knights feel we know so well, having spent so much time in it, playing in Ed’s campaign) has actually made it into print. If all the divers details Ed has served up over the years were all in print, you and he would have had very little to argue over.

Interesting. I hadn't known that.

What is the possibility then, that we might one day see something relating to expanded source material on the Forest Kingdom, in print?

"Once upon a time the plural of 'wizard' was 'war'." -- The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  06:45:37  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lady Kazandra
What is the possibility then, that we might one day see something relating to expanded source material on the Forest Kingdom, in print?



Tis the midnight hour and I hear the call of an NDA about to be sounded.

What's amazing is that I still encounter people who think Cormyr has received too much coverage. I respect differences in opinion, but I strongly disagree.
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  06:53:34  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Warning the following post has spoilers from Cormyr a Novel and elminsters Daughter







At the end of Cormyr a novel Vangerdahast becomes flustered when Tanalasta announces shes wants to become a wizard is this due to flustered state due to Vangerdahast knowing that Tanalasta is Elminsters Grand Daughter? Its been a while since Ive read Beyond the high road but I seem to recall that by the time it started Tanalasta had abandoned the idea of becoming a wizard and was more involved with clergy of Chauntea, did Vangerdahast try and manipulate her into dropping the whole wizard idea?

PS After reading Elminsters daughter I thought with some amusement geee it really isnt a suprise that Alusair ended up "the way she is" with a father like Azoun and a grandfather like Elminster it must be genetic. Azoun 4 should have thanked his lucky stars Alusair didnt end up a cleric of Sharesss

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

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"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 13 Jan 2005 07:03:41
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SiriusBlack
Great Reader

USA
5517 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  06:58:16  Show Profile  Visit SiriusBlack's Homepage Send SiriusBlack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth

Warning the following post has spoilers from Cormyr a Novel and elminsters Daughter







Azoun 4 she thank hes lucky star Alusair didnt end up a cleric of Sharesss



If I were Azoun V's relatives, I'd be praying to the Gods about now considering his lineage.
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  07:09:54  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by SiriusBlack

[quote]
If I were Azoun V's relatives, I'd be praying to the Gods about now considering his lineage.



"One day while guarding the infant Azoun V, the royal heir started crying "Whahahawhahaah" Curious the War Wzard guarding him cast a Comprehend languages spell to understand what he was saying.

He was shocked the crying translated as "Im to Sexy for this crib! to sexy for this crib! So sexy it hursts!"

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Melfius
Senior Scribe

USA
516 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  10:33:39  Show Profile  Visit Melfius's Homepage  Send Melfius an AOL message Send Melfius a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth

quote:
Originally posted by SiriusBlack

[quote]
If I were Azoun V's relatives, I'd be praying to the Gods about now considering his lineage.



"One day while guarding the infant Azoun V, the royal heir started crying "Whahahawhahaah" Curious the War Wzard guarding him cast a Comprehend languages spell to understand what he was saying.

He was shocked the crying translated as "Im to Sexy for this crib! to sexy for this crib! So sexy it hursts!"



Melfius bursts into hysterical laughter

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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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29641 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  11:31:38  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth

quote:
Originally posted by SiriusBlack

[quote]
If I were Azoun V's relatives, I'd be praying to the Gods about now considering his lineage.



"One day while guarding the infant Azoun V, the royal heir started crying "Whahahawhahaah" Curious the War Wzard guarding him cast a Comprehend languages spell to understand what he was saying.

He was shocked the crying translated as "Im to Sexy for this crib! to sexy for this crib! So sexy it hursts!"



Good one!

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Gerath Hoan
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  11:32:10  Show Profile Send Gerath Hoan a Private Message
Thanks again Ed (and THO) for that little hint about what's to come in terms of upcoming fiction (perhaps).

I have a new question now, unrelated to that, for the Hooded One herself. I recently bought a second hand copy of Hall of Heroes, and i was most impressed with the detailed write-up of the Knights of Myth Drannor, but what i couldn't figure out was precisely who was who in the illustration on page 107 (though i could make some educated guesses). Can you give me a l-r of which is meant to be which Knight? And just out of interest, as one of the Knights yourself, how accurate do you feel this picture is in capturing their likenesses?

Thanks again,

GH

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

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2005 :  16:29:31  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Gerath Hoan

Thanks again Ed (and THO) for that little hint about what's to come in terms of upcoming fiction (perhaps).

I have a new question now, unrelated to that, for the Hooded One herself. I recently bought a second hand copy of Hall of Heroes, and i was most impressed with the detailed write-up of the Knights of Myth Drannor, but what i couldn't figure out was precisely who was who in the illustration on page 107 (though i could make some educated guesses). Can you give me a l-r of which is meant to be which Knight? And just out of interest, as one of the Knights yourself, how accurate do you feel this picture is in capturing their likenesses?

Thanks again,

GH



I'm most definately not the Hooded One (for one thing I bet she's a lot easier on the eyes), but here's what my (probably 100% faulty) guess looks like.

Torm - Ilistyl - Islif - Rathan - Florin - Sharantyr - Jhessail - Merith - Lanseril

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett

Edited by - Kajehase on 13 Jan 2005 16:38:46
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5036 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2005 :  03:23:58  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, fellow scribes.
Lauzoril, Ed says thank you very much. It seems that Hasbro is finally pushing WotC into what publishers call “mining the backlist” in hitherto-neglected (sometimes WOEFULLY neglected: in many European countries, the Players Handbook and DMGs fell out of print for years, so of course the “current” game releases suffered sales dips, which puzzled WotC for reasons that, as a book editor, frankly puzzle ME) foreign markets. Great news. A pity WotC hasn’t bothered to share it with Ed, but thanks to you for doing so. As Ed always asks: how good is the translation?

Lady Kazandra, SiriusBlack was quite correct in saying that echoing thunder you hear is the sound of NDAs slamming down. Let me say this much: as far as Ed knows, nothing is scheduled right now - - and as far as *I* know, ‘listening between the lines’ at the last GenCon Indy (senior WotC staffers have this unfortunate habit of thinking the noise that reigns in the crowded PF Chang’s Chinese restaurant prevents diners at the next table from overhearing them), the “possibility” you speak of grows more probable as time passes.
Gods, I sound like a diplomat.

Dargoth, I chatted very briefly on the phone with Ed last night about your ‘Tanalasta flustering Vangey’ post, and he said ‘flustered’ Vangerdahast was in truth less than pleased by the thought of an Obarskyr royal with magical skills enough to detect just how much he was influencing Azoun IV, daily, but satisfied himself that he could, while training her (some of that training was seen briefly in a story in one of the ‘Realms of’ anthologies that I unfortunately can’t recall or go examine at the moment; help, scribes?) as he had her father, convince her that she has utterly no aptitude for magic, whatever the truth about her abilities, and ‘head off this crazy idea.’
He obviously succeeded in doing that, didn’t he?
And as for your comment about Alusair: Hooo-boy! Wait until you read the last story in the Best of Eddie collection!!!

My, that tease was certainly fun. Let me end by answering Gerath Hoans’s question about the Knights of Myth Drannor Hall of Heroes coverage. First, the text: done by John Nephew from Ed’s extensive notes, and fairly good, but DON’T trust any of the dating.
Second, the illustration, which is very nice, but doesn’t depict a single figure resembling any Knight *I* know. As we said to Ed at the time: “Who are these impostors?”
He could only shrug, having provided TSR (who most likely didn’t bother to pass them on to the artist, Ned Dameron) with his own excellent illustrations of our characters. So to answer you: accurate? I’ve no idea; they may be almost photographic likenesses of nine SOMEBONES, but they’re certainly nothing like any of us Knights.
Here’s whom I’m guessing they’re SUPPOSED to be, left to right:
Back Row: Torm, Mourngrym, Florin, Dove, Lanseril
Front Row: Sharantyr, Rathan, Jhessail, Merith
With Jelde, Sharantyr, Illistyl, and Doust missing from the illustration (the text details twelve Knights).
The only one I’m really sure about is Florin (because it echoes Clyde Caldwell’s Spellfire cover depiction of him). My guesses are based on these elements, left to right:
BACK ROW: Figure 1 is a villainous-looking human male with moustache. Doesn’t look remotely like any of us, and is wearing chain with a sword slung on a baldric down his back. Has moustache, and so could be (out of the twelve Knights covered in FR7) Torm, Lanseril, or Mourngrym. But I’m guessing Figure 2 is Mourngrym because of the crown (a lot of us have crowns, mind you thanks to this thing called “treasure”), though then again it could be Lanseril wearing the Firecrown, although Figure 2 also seems to have a jeweled collar or pendant (the pendant of Ashaba? Could then be Doust or Mourngrym), which Lanseril would never wear, and Figure 4 looks most like Lanseril in hair and features, though again chainmail’s wrong for a druid. Figure 3 could be Dove, Islif, Jhessail, or even Sharantyr, but as depicted most closely resembles Dove (though she’s a little short of stature, compared to Florin), Islif having short-cropped hair and a “hard” face and NEVER wearing anything but armour, Jhessail being small, slender, and having almost elven features. Illistyl ditto, and Sharantyr lacking the ‘big hair’ and the adornment.
FRONT ROW: Figure on the left could very well be Islif, though no she-Knight who wears armour lacks leather breeches, greaves, and so on: when a leg show’s desired, just stripped off clothes, but when wearing armour, don’t forget to put on the bottom half of it! Sheesh! Hair too long and build too slender for Islif, so I guessed Sharantyr, but who knows? Figure 2 looks like a drunken Irish stereotype (or perhaps an elderly hobbit standing on an unseen crate for height), but I’m guessing Ned picked up on Rathan’s constant drinking and meant this to be Rathan, who should be as tall as the rest of us, and NOT white-haired. He’s beefy (big shoulders, hands, and muscles), not just fat. Figure 3 is either Illistyl or Jhessail (the garb and weapons are wrong for either, though). I guessed the latter because she’s shown next to Merith (yes, that horribly simpering Figure 4 HAS to be an attempt to depict a male elf, so I guess that’s Merith without his moustache and dark hair), and because her face and hair most closely resemble the reference illustration Ed handed to TSR back in 1986.
But enough of all this. Gerath, I’m sorry, these people just aren’t us. Perhaps the TSR editors picked up the wrong police lineup and printed it instead of our smiling faces. And no, the illo on page 121 doesn’t show any of us, either. Sorry.
I paged through all of FR7 in hopes of finding you closer depictions of the Knights, but the only thing I could come up with is this: Prince Tristan on page 39 (head only) is pretty good for Doust Sulwood. Sigh.

Enough keyboard-pounding: time for a workout. Get the old sword down off the wall and start swinging; wish Ed was here to spar with. Ne’er mind: I go.
love to all,
THO
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2005 :  06:07:02  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One



“Who are these impostors?”

I’m sorry, these people just aren’t us.


(Well I did say my guess would be 100% incorrect)

quote:
(some of that training was seen briefly in a story in one of the ‘Realms of’ anthologies that I unfortunately can’t recall or go examine at the moment; help, scribes?)


The story is in #266 and is called "The Innkeeper's Secret." Don't ask me for details though, as I found it rather dull and quickly forgot most of it.

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.
Terry Pratchett

Edited by - Kajehase on 14 Jan 2005 06:08:54
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2005 :  08:16:47  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Hmm Im seriously begining to wonder about Vangerdahast, Cormyr may well be better off without him, the last few posts you made about him are begining to make me think that his relationship with the cormyr's ruler is really no better than the way Manshoon used to keep Lord Chess

Makes me wonder though if Vangerdahast would have been able to manipulate Alusair the same way he did Azoun 4. Azoun 4 and Vangerdahast had similar personalities (read alignments, LG and LN respectively)where Azoun could probably have been persuaded around to Vangerdahast point of view on alot of issues, Alusair comes across as being far more Strong headed and Idealistic than Azoun IV. Also there personalities are quite different (again read alignment NG vs LN.) Vangerdahast and Alusair would I suspect be unable to meet at a middle ground on alot of issues. I suspect this is why Vangerdahast replacement Caladnei shares Alusairs alignment (fewer arguments between to the Crown and leader of Cormyrs War wizards)

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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