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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  01:49:28  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all.

To the above: Ahem.
I’ll never tell. Show, yes, but tell . . .

Ahem again. Continuing with Ed’s answers . . .

Melfius, Ed reminds everyone that he’s no “official rules authority” for D&D, but also says this:



Hi, Melfius. If I was DMing a 2nd Edition situation in which an existing Mantle was struck by either Mordenkainen's Disjunction or Eye of Mystra, I’d have their contact cause a spectacular (but essentially harmless) discharge of wild magic effects (outwards from the mantle only), and reduce that particular mantle forever (that is, that particular mantle won’t last forever, but rather can never be by any means restored to its former effects) to the effects of the base (6th level) spell, plus this: the mantle would visibly (and irregularly) flicker, in a manner probably very alarming to the mantle-wearer. Consider the Disjunction or the Eye to have “used up” all nine ‘lives’ of the mantle, so that the next attempt to directly affect it will succeed (bringing the mantle down). The wearer of the mantle can by silent act of will ‘take the mantle down’ at any time, but in this ‘nine lives spent’ case, the magical energy of the collapsing mantle can’t be used for any purpose (whereas some mantle-wearers who know how can deliberately collapse a mantle and send its energy into a magic item that uses charges, typically conferring 1d4 +1 per level of caster above 20th fresh charges).



So saith Ed. I’d just like to say to all scribes who have the idea that adventuring in Ed’s Realms is some sort of Apocalypse Now blast-and-topple spellhurling fest, in which cities are smashed, continents roll over, and flying mages hurl meteor swarms in ‘fly-by’ pranks every few moments is wrong. The existence of such powerful magic - - and being able to read about such spells, before ever being powerful enough to cast them - - made PC wizards (and most of the NPC wizards Ed played) VERY careful about when and how to hurl spells. Once protected by a mantle or even an ironguard and some sort of protection from missiles spell against casual attacks, an ‘average wizard in the street’ (if there is such a thing :} ) needn’t be so paranoid as to level cottages and send chain lightining across village markets whenever anyone spits an oath in his direction. Moreover, throwing around lots of magic is a way to get noticed (and considered a peril best swiftly wiped out). So MOST wizards we Knights met were manipulators and behind-the-scenes entrepreneurs (from pimps to drug-runners to anointed suppliers of royal courts and households) rather than “gunslinger” spellcasters. They just happened to be very wary magnates who regarded new spells they could use as the very best sort of treasure, and always kept an eye out for possibilities of gaining new ones.
Ed once roleplayed a VERY interesting afternoon for us, in which we found the cottage of a hermit hedge-wizard we were trying to track down, and found him dead (of a fever, I believe, not foul play of any sort) and decomposing. As his bodily collapse released magic after magic that he’d cast months and even years previously, all sorts of mages seemed to sense his demise - - and they converged on the remote cottage from all directions, seeking to plunder the dead wizard’s spellbooks and belongings for anything they could use. We kept hidden, merely casting tracing spells Elminster had given us (and re-memorizing and casting more, so we could hunt down all the other wizards later if we wanted to) and watching. They stripped the place in a day-and-a-little-bit!
Interesting, eh?
love to all,
THO
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Jerryd
Seeker

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  06:39:09  Show Profile  Visit Jerryd's Homepage Send Jerryd a Private Message
Sorry it took so long to get back to this, but other "real-life" issues intruded the last half-week or so. I hope everyone can bear with me for another wordfest from me! (If not, just scroll past!)

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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 . . .
I think we will have to agree to disagree, but even so it's a pleasure for me as well to discuss this, and part of my response to your response to my response is to clarify my intent, because I sill think I'm being misintrepreted in some ways.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Yes, standing orders and ROE are still alive and well in the US Military, at least were when I was in more years ago than I like to dwell upon and I expect still are. Still, though, to me at least "standing orders" aren't the same thing as "micromanaging". If Vangey gives a war wizard orders then sends him off to get it done and doesn't further bother him (unless the situation changes) until he comes back to report, then by definition Vangey isn't micromanaging him. What you're describing above isn't really micromanaging. Micromanaging implys frequent if not daily checking and meddling. I suppose it's possible to try to do both, but it would be at least difficult. The more micromanaging is done, the less the standing orders are "standing" as they are modified or added to on a day-to-day or situation-to-situation basis. At some degree of micromanagement, the concept of "standing orders" pretty much becomes meaningless.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
Total roster is 600 "full" war wizards by my classification plus 200 trainees, for a total of 800. Granted, though, that "as many as" 200 doesn't mean there are usually 200. I'd expect there to be more trainees now in the post-DotD situation than pre-war. Based on other things you've written, I would also expect that there is no specific set of tests or accomplishments that trainees meet then automatically become "full" war wizards upon their completion - elevation out of trainee status would be based primarily on mission or manpower needs at the time, and some may remain novices for an extended period of time even if they grow in ability. If there were a specific set of tests/trials then it'd become more like the "boot camp" we both want to avoid. Is it common for there to be little difference in acutal competence or ability between a randomly-selected novice or "trainee" and a randomly-selected junior "full" war wizard?

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
I don't believe the opposition of micromanagement vs. initiative is a solely modern concept. I think that these two are always inherently in opposition and always have been - and indeed can't help but be - for as long as such concepts have existed. The conflict between the two is essentially eternal - I plainly and simply don't think it's possible for micromanangement and initiative to easily and comfortably coexist in any period. Some less than wise people have probably tried in all times and places, but they always fail in the end. It just can't be avoided that the more you pursue one the more the other gets quashed.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Forgive me if I get a bit defensive, but this is the point where I get a little frustrated at my apparent failure to effectively communicate my intent. The reason I get so long-winded is I try to make it exactly clear what I mean; I suppose my message is getting lost in the verbiage. I've tried saying both here and on the REALMS-L list, that I'm NOT trying to make Cormyr's forces a copy of the modern American military. If we consider a scale of organization and hierarchy from 1 to 10 where a 1 is no organization at all and a 10 is the modern US military, I'm trying to shoot for a range of 3-5 in my overall writeup because that's what makes the most sense and is the most believable given that Cormyr is approximatly Renaissance-equivalent and has a continuous 1300 year history. I think I've successfully achieved that so far - I am convinced I have not exceeded a 5 (even in the unit hierarchy of the Purples I developed I have not come close to matching the complexity of the 20th-century US military) - but what dismays me is that it seems to me like the moment I get a hair past a 2 on that scale a lot of people yell at me that I'm shooting for a 9 or 10, that I'm trying to copy the modern US military. Given that roughly Renaissance-equivalent with a continuous 1300 year history, I find that a 2 for Cormyr would be patently unbelievable - it would shatter my suspension of disbelief.

Oh, and while I agree about no drill sergeants, uniforms and haircuts, boot camps not being present in the War Wizards, as far as the 'joe jobs' and silly punishments, may I point out that your own published words indicate that such are present in the War Wizards? Page 283 of Cormyr: A Novel states "The war wizards were funny that way; a lot of enforced teaching and learning of humility went on..." This sounds a lot like 'joe jobs' and silly punishments to me. What also may be connected to the humility aspect is that in Stormlight on pp.31-32 you indicate that war wizards are prone to playing pranks on one another, and within the context of the cite Sir Broglan has to specifically tell his team "no pranks" and to concentrate on the mission.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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?
Here's why: because the War Wizards I'm envisioning from what you've written work well together and don't have disputes about who's in charge of what. Inside the War Wizards, at least (saying nothing of outside perceptions), everyone seems to know who's in charge in any given situation. There don't seem to be any turf battles or power-struggles. In order to accomplish that, each war wizard needs to have some clear sense of who is senior to him and who is junior in any given situation - thus, they need a sense of "relative" ranking. If Vangey puts a team of war wizards together for a mission and puts one in charge, that's fine. But what happens if the leader gets killed? Is Vangey going to specify an order of succession for the entire group? Or will the one appointed leader specify one at the start of the mission? Or what happens if it's not mission orders but unexpected circumstances that put a group of war wizards together in a situation? How do they know who takes charge? Draw lots? Rock-paper-scissors? Arm wrestle? What if the situation is time critical and they don't have time to select a leader or wait for orders - they just need a leader to act NOW? Situations like that cry out for some kind of predefined method for establishing relative authority among the individuals of a group.

I know that the War Wizards are not like any conventional military and I haven't considered them to be such, but despite that part of their role does involve opposing hostile forces with magic. Conflict means that casualties are inevitable, and along with that there is an ever-present possibility that leaders will fall. This leads to the necessity - I repeat the necessity - to have some method of insuring the immediate continuity of leadership in the event of the leader becoming a casualty. If a group is in the middle of a tough spot and the leader gets killed, they don't have time to debate the issue or await orders - they need someone in charge NOW. If they don't have a way for leadership to quickly transition to the next man, the entire mission is placed at risk. The irrefutable truth of any sort of deadly conflict is that all other things being equal, one group that is a team led and coordinated by a leader will beat a group of leaderless and undirected individuals every time. This irrefutable truth applies to the War Wizards even though they are not any sort of conventional military force. The fact that they do on occasion engage hostiles in mortal combat is sufficient to necessitate some method of maintaining the continuity of decision-making authority in the case of the leader falling. If you don't have a standardized method of determining relative authority then you have to have either Vangey specifying the order of succession within every team he makes (and here I'm not talking about the War Wizards overall, just within each team assigned to a task), or each team leader doing so within his own team, or there has to be some standard and accepted method of evaluating the relative authority of individual war wizards. Having Vangey want to personally do so for each team formed fits within the micromanagement style you've portrayed him as having, but I thought that even his time is limited and precious and it would be better to have some other method than him personally appointing 3rd-in-charge and 4th-in-charge of groups. That would leave it to either each team leader or a standard method. I chose the standard method because of my preference for consistency and general distaste for ad-hoc different-every-time solutions, and because at the time (i.e. prior to our current discussion here on Candlekeep) I saw nothing in available Realmslore to contradict it.

I am fully aware that you've said before that the War Wizards don't have ranks other than alarphon (which to be picky is more a job/position title than a rank), and I took that into account. I did not make up any titles of rank, and I tried to determine "relative authority" by an ability-based measure that was not subject to promotion or other tinkering at whim. I did my best to stay as far away from a conventional military type of rank structure as possible yet still satisfy what I feel is an unavoidable need that any situation of mortal danger imposes on any group of participants in it. I felt that this system of determining "relative authority" did NOT contradict your words or published lore before your last response to me here about the War Wizards not having a system of ranks. Not having ANY way of handling continuity of leadership in the face of casualties just plainly and simply isn't believable for any group that knows it will face possibly mortal challenges. Having no standard measure of authority outside of Vangey's own whim for a group of 600 full war wizards is also not very believable to me; I don't think that any insititution so constituted could endure as an effective force.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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 don't set out to knowingly contradict existing Realmslore. I have a strong revulsion for contradiction and inconsistency. That's why I research my stuff as extensively as I can. If you've looked over my previous work on the Military Forces of Cormyr, you know that I do this from my extensive footnotes citing published sources. I do create a lot of additional material to flesh out the framework I put together from those cites, but I do try to keep my new material as consistent as possible with preexisting Realmslore. The only place I do deviate is where I come across something in published lore that completely breaks believability for me, and if this happens I do also footnote the reasons for my departure. The only real case of this in my past work I can think of is what is on the Isle of Prespur. Not having ANY method for maintaining continuity of leadership in the face of casualties in the War Wizards also exceeds my threshold of believability.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.)
I don't disagree with any of that, except to say that it does have practical limits in any time period. One competent person can certainly use such means to advance ahead of another equally competent coworker, and any institution can survive the occasional elevation of a single incompetent person above a more competent person, but the insitution that makes a standard practice of putting "kisses the bosses butt" (in whatever format) above competence or getting the job done is an institution that is doomed in the long run. In the long run, institutions that pay attention to the objective requirements of getting the job done are going to beat out institutions in which the people pay more attention to staying on the good side of the boss than on getting the job done. Whatever else I do for the War Wizards or any other institution serving Cormyr, I want to portray them as competent and successful in the long term, not set them up for a later fall or give cause for amazement that they haven't already fallen. Call me a Cormyr fanboy if you must, but I am extremely resistant to depicting any institution of Cormyr in such a way that I am sure will lead to grave danger to Cormyr in the future and surprise that it hasn't fallen already for depending on such clods. There's more than enough danger to Cormyr from foreign threats, restless nobles, and individual traitors in trusted positions; I would rather avoid any additional danger from instititional flaws in the organizations tasked to defend Cormyr. The war wizards have enough enemies without being their own worst enemy!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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)
That list of criteria is indeed illuminating.... and most disturbing. The ranking of "loyalty to me" above even "loyalty to Cormyr" or "loyalty to the Obarskyrs" says a lot, and none of it particularly desirable. You've said before that Vangey quashed any 'cliques', and now I see why. Based on your list of factors the entire institution of the War Wizards seems to be first and foremost Vangey's own personal clique, or "personality cult" as some might call it, so ANY kind of structure, organization, or hierarchy that doesn't come from and depend upon his personal whim and will he perceives as a direct threat to himself. To put it bluntly, this goes past merely paranoid or distrustful and approaches (if not actually becomes) psychotic (on Vangey's part, of course, not your part as author)! The fact that the competence-related criteria (5, X, Y, Z) can float around a bit doesn't do much to relieve the general impression of Vangey you give here.

All of this is new to me, at least, and doesn't fit with prior portrayals of Vangey and the War Wizards. What I got from past published portrayals of Vangey is that he was personally loyal to and served first Cormyr and second the Obarskyrs, and in all logic I would have expected him to have the same expectations of all his War Wizards. That would place Vangey third, not first, in the hierarchy of factors. My impression from published works was that Vangey might have had private thoughts that he would be the best ruler of Cormyr that he kept those thoughts private and served his country and king in that order. What you have just said here reveals him to be far more self-serving than I ever saw him as being in the novels. I suppose you might say that Vangey sees himself AS Cormyr - as in "what's good for me is good for Cormyr" or to paraphrase Judge Dredd "I *AM* Cormyr!" - but that also seems to me to be self-serving in the former and near psychotic in the latter.

In response to a few snipped paragraphs, the preference for 'trainee' or 'novice' over 'apprentice' is noted. I think I prefer novice to trainee. That outsiders should never be able to tell novice, "full" and senior war wizards is noted. That "Master Wizard" is a title of general respect and not particular to senior war wizards is noted.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Actaully I was hoping to get my war wizards chapter done before that book is released (although I am now faced with a significant rewrite). I will look forward to this, although it is surprising and I will be examining the context. The way I had envisioned it was that a number of war wizards are generally assigned to a regiment (unless the regiment has a specific mission or on campaign, the assignment is for a period of some months and wizards rotate in and out) to provide magical support (and to spy on the regiment and report its activities to Vangey/Caladnei). If there's an army of multiple regiments in the field, the oversword or battlemaster leading the army can yank the regimental wizards up to his level. The constal leading that regiment has the power to assign them to specific subordinate units within the regiment (e.g. to accompany a patrol) or keep them all at the regimental level as the situation warrants. The constal or the officer leading the subordinate unit has the authority to give them general orders - e.g. "I need you to thin out that mass of tuskers" or "I need you to teleport three of my men there" - but that's it. The way I envisioned it, no Purple Dragon officer can give orders to any war wizard that has not specifically been assigned to support him.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Again, you misunderstand me if you think I'm trying to make either Cormyr's military in general or the War Wizards in partiuclar just like the modern American military. I'll reference my analogy to the 1-10 scale I described above to repeat the point. With the War Wizards in particular I am definitely not trying to mold the entire institution in a military mold. That said, though, it is still undeniable that some war wizards ARE assigned to conventional military units to provide support. Numerous times in published lore war wizards are shown with an army in the field or accompanying a routine patrol. Published sources also speak of a regular complement of war wizards at the High Horn fortress, and I don't see how this can be regarded as anything but garrison duty. I can also cite published books that tell of war wizards serving at border outposts and city gates along with a small unit of Purple Dragons. In fact, it's common in published lore that whenever Purple Dragons are spoken of one or more war wizards are often also near. Published Realmslore thus incontrovertibly supports the idea that SOME war wizards (although certainly not all of them, nor the entire institution as a whole) are given military duties, thus it is reasonable to speak of that portion of war wizards in somewhat more military terms. Given all of these things I can point to in published Realmslore, I think it's eminently reasonable and believable that some number of Purple Dragons are assigned to military units and rather less reasonable and believable that they are not. I am not at all trying to say that there are "military units" of war wizards - e.g. a squad of war wizards - and I am not trying to say that any war wizards have military-style ranks. What I envision is that any given regiment of Purples always has some number of war wizards assigned to them for magical support, but that these war wizards are frequently rotated in and out (say, quarterly or seasonally) so that no war wizard becomes a "military wizard" or associates himself too closely with a military unit. I think that's the most believable way to portray it and still keep to how the war wizards are portrayed in lore.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Perhaps I've been lucky, or perhaps the ones I've met were smart enough to know they can't pull off both. If you've met "many of both" then you've probably met more than I have, but of the leadership types I've met, I've never seen one attempt both behaviors. The paranoid micromanagers I've met have all been the "I don't care if you like me, I'm not here to be liked. I'm here to be in charge so do what I say" type, and the "buddy buddy" types have all been "you know your job and don't need me to tell you how to do every little thing, so just let me know if you need help" type.

So it's just Vangey trying it and not Vangy's creator. The point stands, that he can't succeed at both. No one under him except the most gullible or naive are going to be fooled by the "buddy buddy" act of a known paranoid micromanager, and war wizards for the most part don't strike me as being either gullible or naive. I also note that you say that the quite common type who try to pull both off are "usually incompentent" then in the next breath verify that Vangey's trying to pull both off. While the "usually" does provide wiggle room, there is at least the implication that he's possibly incompetent (in the greater context of his overall portrayal, perhaps due to the failings of age).

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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 suppose I'll take this as further evidence of Vangey's failing competence due to age and be thankful he saw it and stepped down.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.)
Influencing through teaching and tutoring is fine, assisting him is fine, rewarding him is fine. Magically dipping into his mind? Even exerting mind control?!? Vangey crosses the line, for me. Using magic to mind-ream prisoners, that I can accept - but using magic to influence or possibly even control his friend and liege?!?! I don't think I like him anymore! I rather liked him as a character despite his quirks (except for how he was such a doofus in Grodd during the trilogy), but between how he 'ranks' his war wizards and now this you've spoiled my appreciation for him! As far as I'm concerned, magically influencing or controlling the mind of a royal person (even if he thinks its for the good of the realm) constitutes High Treason. If Azoun or his father Rhigaerd ever found that out, Vangey's head should have been on a pike so fast he'd only have a moment to know what hit him and just enough time to realze "I went too far".

And based on your numbered list of factors Vangey uses in judging his war wizards, I think it's at least debatable whether he "REALLY" serves the realm. If Vangey values loyalty to himself higher than loyalty to Cormyr in his war wizards, that's a clear sign to me that what he "REALLY" serves is himself first and foremost. You have not portrayed him that way in published lore - you have portrayed him as truly serving the realm - but the ordered list of factors you give her speaks directly against your portrayal of him in published lore. If some circumstance ever came about that turned Cormyr or the Obarskyrs against Vangey (for example, discovering that Vangey engaged in magical mind control of Azoun), then your ordered list of factors would instantly turn the entire institution of War Wizards from the realm's protector to the realm's greatest enemy as the war wizards would put loyalty to Vangey first (if they all lived up to Vangey's loyalty priorities). That's DEFINITELY not how I want to see the War Wizards portrayed, and if you insist that's how you want them portrayed I'll have to either supress a strong gag reflex to write them up that way or resign myself to a somewhat greater variance in my writeup.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
This is ranking a 1 or a 2 on my 1-10 scale, and in my opinion is not believable. If the system of relative authority were truly this chaotic and range-of-the-moment I find it impossible to believe that the War Wizards could be anywhere near as efficient and effective as they are portrayed to be.

And in regard to what Kentinal wrote, I did read it and I know that's how police departments work at the level of the individual investigation. If you look at the greater context of the entire police force, though, above the level Kentinal described there are departments (homicide, vice, arson, etc.) and lieutenants and captains and the police chief. There's a whole hierarchy of organization above what Kentinal described in every police department, and what he described functions within that hierarchy. I would go so far to say that what Kentinal described could not possibly work on its own without that higher organization to guide and manage it. And please don't try to tell me I'm stuck in a "modern police" mindset - I am convinced that organization is the time-immemorial and eternal method for people to get things done efficiently and effectively, and that while the degree of organization needed depends on the size of the institution and the number/complexity of tasks it's given the necessity of organization in principle is constant for all times.

So, you tell me that Kentinel has it nailed for how individual war wizard investigations and teams operate, that's fine. That still leaves me with the question of what sort of overall coordination/support/direction makes what he described workable at the team or task level. I'm trying to shoot for a 3-5 on my 1-10 scale but you're insisting that 3 is too much, and I can't see how a 1 or 2 could possibly lead an institution that is feared and efficient/effective at accomplishing its mission.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
I'm having trouble seeing what this paragraph has to do with what we're discussing. I was talking about what criteria affect relative differences in authority within the War Wizards - i.e. how to determine which war wizard gives orders and which takes them in a given situation. What you're discussing here - the role of women or castes, or vestal virgins, or foreign prisoners - are all pretty far outside of the context I am dealing with and don't really have anything to do with the "order-giving authority" within a single institution that I'm trying to work out.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
The "network of resistance cell" organization I can deal with as a lower level of organization, just as I can deal with the police model at the lower level. The "situational and freely variable" relative authority still gives me problems. What happens if the leader of a cell gets KIA'ed? Who takes over, when there's no time to have a debate in the middle of spells flying and enemies lurking. Even resistance cells had normally had a line of succession; those that didn't generally got wiped out. If this is how the War Wizards truly operate, they should have been gutted piecemeal after 64 years.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

“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).
Without the board or some similar structure, who coordinates all of this to make sure everything that needs to be done gets done? Vangey, all by himself? I adress this further below.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
That you acknowledge that it's Vangey's failing is great; we agree on that. The problem I have is that it was just now starting to unravel when the Devil Dragon came around? How has it endured this long? According to the FRCS, Vangey reorganized the War Wizards in 1306 DR. The Devil Dragon made her presence felt in 1370. That means that for 64 years Vangey's been running the War Wizards as his own personal fief, completely dependent on and subject to his whim of the moment, and if I understand you correctly operating with no sense of objective standards or order outside of his whim for that entire 64 years - yet despite that the War Wizards appear in all published lore to be an efficient and effective force guarding Cormyr from harm. Forgive me, but I just can't square "efficient and effective" and "no objective standards or order outside of Vangey's whim" together. That just doesn't compute, not for 64 years. Run like that, the War Wizards should have collapsed into a farcically ineffective force in far less time than 64 years. It plainly and simply isn't possible for one man's micromanaging & meddling whim to hold together an organization of 600 people in a feared, effective, and efficient force at accomplishing a variety of tasks for almost 64 years before beginning to unravel and to posit otherwise shatters all believability for me. And magic doesn't change this in the slightest, in my opinion.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
It's not moot to me. My Military Forces of Cormyr document is being created to be valid at a point in time right before the trilogy (1 Mirtul 1369 to be specific), in order to provide a "normal" portrait without all the chaos caused by that war. The results of that war, and a "current state" of the military as of 1372 or 1374 or so, would be an appendix for a later date. And, once again, I'm not looking to make a "hierarchical" War Wizards in anywhere near the same manner that the conventional military is hierarchical. I'm just looking for a little order in the chaos, enough order to make the efficiency and effectiveness of the War Wizards as an institution be believable.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Maybe some people do, but not I. I hate not knowing where I stand in real life - sometimes I might have to deal with it but I never like it - and I certainly would not tolerate it for a moment in something I do for entertainment. Not knowing where I stand (or a cherished PC of mine stands within his chosen career in the game world) is not fun for me. It would be like joining a club but no one tells you what the rules are or how to act around other members! Not fun! The opponents enemies my characters go up against provide plenty enough uncertainty; I don't need to deal with uncertainty among supposed allies too!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
But that's the whole point behind my Military Forces of Cormyr writeup, that DM's who choose to run a campaign centered on the military or the war wizards shouldn't have to wing it! If I was willing to accept "they will have to wing it," I wouldn't be bothering with the writeup in the first place! I want to produce something for those who don't want to wing it!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
Well, to be precise I was not intending to come across as implying that you personally are choosing to hold back Realmslore. I know full well you don't - otherwise, you wouldn't be posting here with the help of the Hooded One! And I also fully support the concept of gentlemens' agreements - I'm a man of my word myself. I would just be hesitant to make an agreement that I would find uncomfortable (e.g. agreeing to keep something as "mysterious as possible" when uncovering hidden knowledge is what I like and reveling in unsolvable mysteries is what I disdain) to keep unless I saw some overriding necessity for it (e.g. national security - I had a Top Secret clearance in the military twenty years ago and have not to this day divulged details of what I saw and did). I know that you aren't withholding Realmslore becuase you personally want to hold back and keep secrets, but you did make that gentlemens' agreement to withhold any systematic or reasonably complete presentation of the War Wizards - which frankly I don't see the necessity for, but you did make it so it's a done deal - and instead are limited to releasing little tidbits here and there. That is making my chosen task harder. Because I only have a collection of those little tidbits, anything I do to connect the dots and fill in the whole picture is almost certainly going to have some variance from the whole picture you have in your mind but are prevented from revealing. I am trying to keep that variance to a minimum (as is evidenced by my questions to you here and by the fact that I rewrote parts of my Blue Dragon chapter in response to your comments), but I can live with the fact that there will be some variance. I am more uncomfortable at producing a document I myself can't believe is plausible than at producing a slightly variant document. If my end product will be of some use to some DMs out there who might have a similar desire for detail or view of a slightly more organized War Wizards than that 1 or 2 rating on my 1-10 scale, then my job will be well done!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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).
And here's to at least another thirty-eight years of its success, regardless of whatever details we may quibble over!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
Some difference is unavoidable, although I'm trying to keep it as close as possible within the limits of my own suspension of disbelief and view of what makes sense.

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

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.
And afforded us a lot of discussion and friendly argument!

quote:
Originally posted by Ed via The Hooded One

I just want you to not give my War Wizards rank insignia, salutes, and suchlike. :}
But I was never trying to give the War Wizards any such thing! All I wanted to do was give them a way internal to the War Wizards to know that Wizard A is senior to Wizard B for purposes of continuity of leadership!

Ed, now that I've written all of that, something just occurred to me. I've said that a War Wizards with an organization rating of 1 or 2 on my 1-10 scale would produce a "farcically ineffective" institution. Now, I don't believe you deliberately intended the War Wizards to be a source of farce, however... in many of The Hooded One's tales of your home-game I get the feeling that there is a fair amount of farce and other comedy in the situations you present your players. As a more general question beyond the War Wizards, do you design the Realms as a whole to specifically provide opportunities for such farce and comedy? If so, might that have (however inadvertantly) influenced your own design of the War Wizards and their seeming lack of organization? (Of course, OVER-organization and over-compartmentalization provides great opportunity for farce too, which I am also trying to avoid!). It might be fair for me to note that my intent for my document is to provide a completely serious portrayal of the institutions that defend country and king without any element of comedy. The defenders of Cormyr for the most part take themselves seriously as fully competent professionals, and that's how I'm approaching it. I'm wondering if this might be some small part of difference in our visions.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

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.
Et tu, Hooded One?
I am SO misunderstood.
If by your comment about my "love of formal rank and chain of command" you think I want to make the War Wizards a copy of the modern American military as Ed and some people on the REALMS-L list think, well, I don't. I hope this last posting of mine clarifies that. I just want there to be some level of organazation above total chaos or one man's whim driving every little thing. And I neither expect Ed to change his home campaign in the least to accomodate me - a home campaign should only fit the needs of the actual participants in it, not outsiders like me - nor expect WotC to suddenly embrace my document as the "official" version. (If they or Ed want to take a tidbit or two they do like, though, it wouldn't bother me! And the offer still stands about doing the cals for latitudes, longitudes or lengths of day!) I'm writing my document primarily for my own enjoyment, and I share it with the wider Realms community (like so many others have shared some of their own work) in the hopes that some other people might find it useful to them.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

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?
Although I do get rather passionate about what I think makes sense or is believable, I never intended to come across as expecting Ed to change his own game for me.

quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

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.

(basks in a warm glow)
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  11:38:54  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
JerryD, I think you should go ahead and write up the War Wizards as you see fit. It's obvious that you have a clear picture as to how you want them to be and are trying to reconcile that picture with the extant realmslore on the subject. More power to you!

What I find a tad confusing is the to-ing and fro-ing with Ed on this subject. The confusing part is you specifically asked him way back when for information on the War Wizards and responses to some specific queries you had on the undetailed, murky aspects of the organisation. When those answers were forthcoming and didn't quite match the picture you'd previously come up with, you then set about arguing (not in any nasty or heated way - argument in the truest sense of the word) with him about those differences.

Were you expecting Ed to pat you on the back and tell you that on reflection, indeed you'd got it right and he now agreed with you? Were you trying to defend your vision for the War Wizards because you were disappointed that Ed hadn't come round to your way of thinking or that your thoughts on the topic didn't mesh from the get-go?

These questions are pertinent, because they are a clear microcosm of the whole FR shared world experience since c. 1987. Creativity is a wonderful thing. Also highly individualistic. When you make stuff up, the guy next to you isn't always going to be on the same page, or sometimes, even the same book! The Realms can be (and has been) approached from many different angles - and they are mostly colored by that individual's personal likes, dislikes, attitudes and personality. This War Wizard and general armed forces of Cormyr project that you are tackling will find just as many fans as it will detractors. It's the nature of the beast.

Sure, it's nice to receive the "Ed Greenwood Imprimatur" - did I spell that right? - on your homebrew FR work. At the very least it gives you bragging rights and a defensible position when one of those 'terrible' detractors rears their ugly head and criticises your work. But you can't demand that seal of approval and with respect, don't deserve that seal of approval, if you aren't prepared to hear what the other guy has to say - especially when you are playing in the sandbox he boarded up, filled with sand and smoothed out all nice and comfy for you.

The best FR work I've ever read was "Realms by committee"-stuff. A bunch of guys brainstorming on a topic, adding their input, listening to the other people involved and then reaching consensus. Someone's singular viewpoint on any topic pertaining to the Realms, unless it comes from Ed (and I qualify that by saying that even Ed on occasion will agree that someone's take on a topic is superior to his own - I've seen it happen), will necessarily be simply an idea that can be supported, agreed to or vehemently crushed. My take on the War Wizards is as valid as yours if I write something up that is true to the extant sources and extrapolate from whole cloth the undetailed bits. The idea is to get your work and ideas out into the open where they can be read, discussed and considered.

So, in an extremely long-winded fashion for which I apologise, I ask you to write up your War Wizards of Cormyr and let us judge your creative decisions without trying to get that "seal of approval" beforehand.

And if that wasn't your intent in the first place, I apologise. I note however that, that's what I thought you were on about and seeking from the context of all your questions and responses. I do concede that I may be wrong, however. Unlike you and your ideas regarding how the War Wizards "should be".

-- George Krashos

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

Norway
377 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  17:03:22  Show Profile Send Elfinblade a Private Message
Im sorry, But is Mr.Greenwood still answering the questions posted in 2004? because i posted a query quite early in 2005, the first page, and it has not been answered. i was just wondering if it had been overlooked, it is not my meaning to be rude or impatient, i was just wondering :)
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4277 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  17:13:41  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

Im sorry, But is Mr.Greenwood still answering the questions posted in 2004? because i posted a query quite early in 2005, the first page, and it has not been answered. i was just wondering if it had been overlooked, it is not my meaning to be rude or impatient, i was just wondering :)



Yes some of the answers are from 04. There is no reason not to believe your question was missed. It is also hard to predict when an answer will be given. However we are reassured from time to time that all questions will be answered. Even if the answer is I can not answer that question right now, because of NDA or other reason.
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2005 :  17:41:10  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 Kentinal

quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

Im sorry, But is Mr.Greenwood still answering the questions posted in 2004? because i posted a query quite early in 2005, the first page, and it has not been answered. i was just wondering if it had been overlooked, it is not my meaning to be rude or impatient, i was just wondering :)



Yes some of the answers are from 04. There is no reason not to believe your question was missed. It is also hard to predict when an answer will be given. However we are reassured from time to time that all questions will be answered. Even if the answer is I can not answer that question right now, because of NDA or other reason.



Yup,

He'll get to them. :)

I'm still waiting for a answer to my Feast of the Moon question from way back in hmmm Oct. :) And no I'm not complaining or trying to rush Ed. :)

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet and excite you... Books are full of the things that you don't get in real life - wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. - Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/kuje

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Edited by - Kuje on 18 Jan 2005 17:44:45
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  01:04:19  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Herewith, Ed replies to Dargoth’s post about Vangey (“Hmm Im seriously begining to wonder about Vangerdahast, Cormyr may well be better off without him . . .”). Jerryd, I’ve sent your latest post off to Ed, but you may be very interested in what he says here (this was penned by him before seeing your comments).

Elfinblade and everyone else hoping for “instant” answers, please understand that Ed doesn’t have TIME to surf the Net or “live” on boards. If he tried, none of us would get any new Realmslore from him. He does have a “day job” as well as his D&D work, after all. So please don’t expect instant responses. One Realmslore request from as long ago as May 2004 is still unanswered (because Ed can’t find the lore-source he needs to properly reply). Ed WILL get to you, in the fullness of time. Promise.

Scribes, I give you the words of Ed:



Dargoth, one of the most interesting and important themes in the Realms, for me, has been my (and other writers’) ongoing explorations of how powerful people handle their power, what they do with it, and how it changes them. In the case of wizards, I’ve peered at the Simbul (and to a much lesser extent the rest of the Seven), and had a good look at Elminster and Vangerdahast. Steven Schend has taken a hard look at Khelben . . . and so on.
Now the Chosen are a special case (divine power running through you, outliving your kin, friends, and even countries, and so on) and have been discussed many times elsewhere. Vangerdahast I’ve explored most importantly with Jeff Grubb in Cormyr: A Novel, Troy Denning in Death of the Dragon, and in my novels Elminster In Hell and Elminster’s Daughter.
It was important to me to NOT paint a picture of a one-dimensional villain, or a tyrant. Vangerdahast truly IS working for what he sees as the good of Cormyr: the country, not particular citizens or rulers. He isn’t doing what he does because he WANTS to be ruler or wield all the power (and in fact resents the constant demands on his time, that rob him of any idleness, hobbies, vacations, or experimenting with spells): he just doesn’t trust anyone else to do a better job. He grudgingly trusts Laspeera not to screw up while his back is turned (because he’s measured her competence, personally made sure she has the experience, and has thoroughly mind-reamed her to be CERTAIN she’s just as loyal to Cormyr as he is, and in the same way), and that’s about it.
In short, the man’s not evil. Authoritarian, manipulative, ruthless, scheming - - yes, all of these. He believes Cormyr is the best land in the Realms and offers its folk the best possible lives of any group of beings dwelling in Faerûn, and he wants to preserve it and cause it to flourish and remain sovereign and undivided, far into the future, at all costs.
He was quite capable of murdering royals and butchering nobles by the score to achieve his ends, promoting falsehoods and ruining reputations and all manner of lesser crimes - - in the same way (but not in the same manner or style of operation) as Khelben and Elminster do.
You wonder if he “would have been able to manipulate Alusair the same way he did Azoun.” Of course not. Alusair rebelled against her father and against authority - - and “authority” was really Vangerdahast. Azoun had a personality trained, molded, and (as I pointed out in my earlier post) controlled (if need be) by Vangey.
Moreover, Filfaeril was no fool, knew exactly what was going on, and had called on Harper aid so she could (between Azoun’s death and funeral, wherein SHE made Alusair Regent) privately threaten Vangey thus: do to Alusair and Azoun V what you did to my man, and the Harpers I’ve already called in to watch over you will act, smashing you and your rule, with Elminster’s aid if need be. You have been a good friend and adviser, helped my Azoun become among the greatest kings Cormyr has ever know, and won peace and prosperity for years, so I’ve not acted against you - - but if you do this, I will.
And Vangerdahast responded in the one way that makes him much better than Manshoon or any other tyrant: he told her he already knew about her Harper preparations, and had done nothing against them because he thought they were a good watchdog on the War Wizards and everyone else in the realm, and that he had no intention of controlling Alusair or anyone else, ever again. That Caladnei was no figurehead or puppet of his, but the successor he’d been grooming to be the “right” match as ‘Guiding Mage’ for Alusair, where he could not be, and that his time in the saddle was done. For the good of Cormyr, it was time for him to pass the torch.
Filfaeril was pleased but disbelieving, so Vangey teleported them both to a Harper mage of his acquaintance (well outside Cormyr), and had that person cast a mindlink spell so that the Dowager Queen could read Vangey’s thoughts without any fear of the magical means being his spell, that could distort, conceal, or fool her: that he meant what he’d said, and considered much of his work in the last two decades to have been mistaken or blundering, and that he was sorry for these failings (not for doing it all, but for not accomplishing it WELL).
This is the sort of ‘root’ Realmslore that would have probably have made a slow-paced, weepy short story, and so got left offstage, but which I think all scribes should know.
What lies ahead for Alusair, Azoun V, Cormyr, and even Vangerdahast is, of course, as yet unwritten. Oh, except for one little tale at the end of the forthcoming “Best of Eddie” collection . . .
See, THO? I haven’t forgotten how to tease . . .
Your suspicions about Vangey and Alusair often being unable to find a common ground is quite correct, but you misread Azoun IV: Alusair isn’t “far more” strongheaded and idealistic than Azoun IV, she’s just younger: you’ve been seeing the old, mellowed Azoun rather than the way he was at her age. Thanks for your post, and I hope this answer helps.



So saith Ed. Well said, Creator, well SAID. Essential Realmslore for all Cormyr fans, indeed!
love to all,
THO
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oldskool
Seeker

USA
31 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  01:29:29  Show Profile  Visit oldskool's Homepage Send oldskool a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Elfinblade

Im sorry, But is Mr.Greenwood still answering the questions posted in 2004? because i posted a query quite early in 2005, the first page, and it has not been answered. i was just wondering if it had been overlooked, it is not my meaning to be rude or impatient, i was just wondering :)



I suspect it also has to do with how complex your question is.... Mine, I expect, will take quite some time, assuming there is a "non-NDA" answer to my several-continents-sized question... heheheh. But I'm a patient archmage, I am.

oldskool

DM: "You see a gazebo ahead of you."
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DM: "It's not doing anything. It's a gazebo."
Player: "Oh.. um. Then I'll cast a fireball at it!"
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  15:25:17  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well said, oldskool.
Often Ed will already be working on a topic, or looking up lore for a WotC staffer or fellow freelance creator working in the Realms, that means a particular topic is fresh in his mind or he has the records to hand. Hence a quick reply.
Otherwise, specific narrow-focus queries (e.g. “What’s Mirt’s favourite underwear? Do black fishnets chafe him?”) will get quick replies, and wide-focus or “big” queries like Gray Richardson’s “tell me all about the orcs of the Realms” will take much longer.
Also, requests like Verghityax’s questions about Baldur’s Gate take longer, because Ed has to stop and think about just how far an NDA restricts him, AND what a licensee or other creator is doing, so something he says won’t become a barrier or contradiction to their work.
I’d like to emphasize this again: Ed doesn’t browse these boards. Not only does he entirely lack the time, he doesn’t want scribes to think he’ll read their every word, and so affect what they say and how they say it. He sees only what I send on to him, and therefore * I * am sometimes a bottleneck slowing his replies.
So please don’t expect from Ed the sort of swift post-reply post-counterpost-countercounterpost stuff that people who spend a lot of daily time on boards can indulge in. He lives in a rural area with unreliable dial-up access, he has a day job and an old farmhouse to maintain, a very busy social life and local civic duties, and he’s working on six projects at once right now. I think we’re all lucky that he replies at all!
I can tell you, counting up specific promises Ed’s made in private e-mails to me, that at least ten replies will be forthcoming over as many nights. I like to look at it this way: instead of waiting years or decades for the next official sourcebook that MIGHT cover your topic or fave Realms locale, you can wait a few weeks or a month or sometimes half a year, and get your very own reply from the Creator of the Realms. And yes, such replies are as “official” as anything published by WotC, until WotC contradicts them.
I know some people don’t accept that last sentence, but, well, tough on them. It’s part of the original agreement by which TSR undertook to publish the Realms, so if you accept any part of the Realms as “official” or “Canon” or whatever you want to call it, you have to accept this little detail as part of it. Remember, it’s a feature, not a bug.
It’s snowing hard up in Ed’s neck of the woods today, and he has a full workday at the library and a library board meeting up (via snow-choked roads) in Castleton tonight, so his next post will probably be very late tonight, his time, which will make it tomorrow Candlekeep time. Rest assured that as much as possible I will keep all of you in contact with Ed, and use my er, wiles to persuade Ed to keep answering. As if THAT was a hard task.
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  23:00:06  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message


Im actually suprised that the Baldurs Gate NDA is still a problem (Im pretty sure Ed said that the the NDA was due to the Interplay licence)

Interplay and Black Isle studios no longer exist they went filed for bankruptcy mid 2004 (Putting Sean Reynolds out of a job)

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5573 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  23:00:44  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
Well met

Thank ye Hooded One. We're all very grateful for thy time here and for each second of time Ed spends in replying to the numerous questions which are constantly fired at him from us Scribes of Candlekeep. Patience is difficult for some when the excitement of Realmslore from the Great Sage is pending....however, all good things come to those who wait

....and Ed's replies are always so much more detailed and more wonderful than expected

Alaundo
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Edited by - Alaundo on 19 Jan 2005 23:01:38
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Kentinal
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4277 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2005 :  23:05:43  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dargoth



Im actually suprised that the Baldurs Gate NDA is still a problem (Im pretty sure Ed said that the the NDA was due to the Interplay licence)

Interplay and Black Isle studios no longer exist they went filed for bankruptcy mid 2004 (Putting Sean Reynolds out of a job)



They still could be in play, it depends on how fast and what type of bankruptcy filed for. Also assets (including contracts) could have been sold to third parties.
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oldskool
Seeker

USA
31 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  00:49:05  Show Profile  Visit oldskool's Homepage Send oldskool a Private Message
It's awesome beyond all words that Ed is taking the time to reply to us at ALL. I mean, I barely have time to post the sketchy ramblings that I post. Not only does Ed write novels, create and embellish the most exhaustively detailed gaming setting ever, and find time for a normal life, he gives us these little gems (that I often quickly copy to text files to put with my other D&D reference).

Ed must be some kind of tireless construct...

He really doesn't get the credit he deserves in the gaming industry. I mean, his name is not bandied as much as Gygax's, Jackson's, or even Monte Cook's. But he is endlessly creative and puts forth high-quality material at a rate that would make the late Asimov pant with exhaustion! And usually his stuff is way better than the dreck that we have to put up with from lesser lights.

Ed, YOU ART THE MAN!

oldskool

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

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  02:09:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed replies to Kajehase about Aencar (from late Dec 04) [Ed's primitive e-mail can't transfer accent marks, but pretend they're there, okay?]:



Initially, most Dalesfolk wouldn’t believe it was the real Mantled King: they’ve seen far too many Zhent and Sembian tricks, down the years, to win concessions from them or covertly achieve rule over them, and would regard any Aencar VERY suspiciously.
If (and only if) the Aencar could convince elders (including Chosen, elves, and others who knew Aencar of old, not just the oldest folks in every dale working from what now-dead ancestors told them, and local tales) that he was indeed the real thing, the old stories would start to take effect: nostalgic hungering for “the old glory” would make a lot of Dalesfolk feel proud and strong again, and want to be united in a realm of their own rather than ridden through by powerful neighbours who in too many cases tend to regard them as handy craftworkers and farmers and buyers, but backward rural simpletons, too.
Note that this doesn’t mean a Dales kingdom would happen overnight. Archendale would never want to join such an endeavour, Shadowdale and Daggerdale would be VERY reluctant to do so, and Mistledale would ‘wait and see.’ Every other dale would long to have Aencar as their king - - but again, they’d do nothing to help him except give him shelter (and food, and a hiding-place if he needed it) unless he gathered a strong army and support from Cormyr or Sembia. Otherwise, the Dalesfolk would regard any bid to unite them (or any combination of dales) as all too likely to bring down an invasion of the Dales from Hillsfar, Zhentil Keep, Sembia, Cormyr, and even ambitious forces from Calaunt, Mulmaster, Tantras, Westgate, or somewhere else around the Inner Sea, landing in Scardale. The latter sorts of invaders would be trying to plunder and pillage or seize rule over the nascent realm, but all of the first four named places might invade just to prevent any of the others of the four from doing so (unopposed). On the other hand, if Aencar proclaimed a kingdom of the Dales with the open and proven (by presence of envoys and proclamations) support of one of those four places, immediate invasion wouldn’t come. Instead, everyone would mount border patrols, send in envoys, and also send in spies, to see what this was about - - and if they could have Aencar murdered and replaced with their own representative during the first winter, when heavy snows make marching armies difficult to impossible.
However, an Aencar who rather than ruling openly rides about with an armed bodyguard doing the Robin Hood thing (dwelling in hiding in the forests and moving often) would enjoy a great deal of support from Dalesfolk so long as he and his band refrained from committing atrocities against them (meaning: house-burnings, raids, rape and pillage, widespread murder, NOT a few killings here and there, of folk who opposed them).
Aencar is the proudest part of the lore and legend of the Dales; Dalesfolk WANT to believe he’s still alive, or will return to lead and protect them. Even a ghostly Aencar who appeared above fires to whisper directions, or who talked to individuals and then vanished into thin air on the spot, would be revered and to a large extent obeyed. (None of which means rulers currently in power in the Dales will welcome a returned Aencar, or want to step aside to let him rule. It will take a lot [personal persuasion by Storm Silverhand, for example] to make any of them accept that Aencar is anything more than an impostor sent by foes of the Dales.)



So saith Ed. Whew; interesting times, indeed! I hear a lot of Dales-centered campaigns being shaken and stirred, about now . . .
love to all,
THO

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  02:12:20  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
A postscript to the Baldur's Gate NDA discussion above: I believe Atari is now the active player here, not Interplay. Perhaps they acquired the Interplay and/or Black Isle rights or property?
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  02:35:35  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
Atari got the "Neverwinter Nights" licence (one assumes that theres an NDA for Neverwinter as well) they never owned the BG licence

The Timeline as I understand it

Interplay/Black Isle got licence from WOTC

BIS allow Canadian firm Bioware to use there licence to create the BG series which are published by Interplay/BIS and Neverwinter Nights

BIS/Interplay try to screw Bio out of royalty writes for the Mac versions of the BG series

Bio take Interplay to court and win this delays the release of NWN and Icewind dale 2. The upshot is BIS/Interplay dont get to publish NWN 1 and Bio cuts a distribution licence with Atari, I belive Atari are owned or some way related to Hasbro (the company that own WOTC) and Hasbro basicly said you WOTC give Atari the Computer writes to your D&D games thu allowing Atari to publish NWNs.

about a year or so later Interplay closes down BIS effectively shutting down the strongly rumoured but nannounced "BG3: Mistledale" not long after that BIS parent company Interplay goes bust.

ironicly Bioware who thru Atari have the rights to NWN have allowed a company called Obsidian (Founded and run by former BIS employees including Feargus Urquat who ran BIS) to publish sequels to 2 of Biowares most successful products Star Wars Knights of the Old republic and (amusingly enough) Neverwinter Nights

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks

Edited by - Dargoth on 20 Jan 2005 02:56:17
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SirUrza
Master of Realmslore

USA
1280 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  04:31:41  Show Profile  Send SirUrza an AOL message  Send SirUrza an ICQ Message Send SirUrza a Private Message
AD&D was licensed to Interplay by Wizards of the Coast.
Interplay contracted Bioware to make them BG, Tales, BG2.
Interplay took the BG engine and had their RPG division, Black Isle, make Icewind Dale 1&2.

The Wizards got bought by Hasbro.

As was mentioned Bioware and Interplay couldn't play nice. One way or another, Icewind Dale 2 was the last D&D title from Interplay leaving Neverwinter Nights in limbo.

Hasbro then sold the electronic rights to ALL it's properties for X years to Infogrames. Infogrames, I believe is a french company. They continued to work with Bioware toward NWN. All is good, NWN get released, it gets widely accepted and loved. This is a huge success considering the Diablo-killer, Dungeon Siege, and the "lets make a game so emense that you'd think it was a MMORPG, but no, it's only single player and we're using the PC owners as Beta testers for the even better Xbox version" Morrowind which both get released the same quarter.

However, something happened between Infogrames and Bioware. Bioware continues to provide NWN support, but NWN2 is not being made by Bioware nor does it look like Bioware will be making any other D&D titles.

Since Infogrames took over, they have contracted several companies to make all kinds of D&D computer games. Temple of Elemental Evil, D&D Heros, Demonstone, those 2 PS2 games that take place in Baldur's Gate.

Atari is owned by Infogrames. Back when NWN came out, it was just a title Infogrames wanted to use since it had more recognition and they wanted to rebuild the brandname. Might mean more today, dunno.


"Evil prevails when good men fail to act."
The original and unapologetic Arilyn, Aribeth, Seoni Fanboy.

Edited by - SirUrza on 20 Jan 2005 05:07:01
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  05:13:51  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Mainly because I'm curious, but also partly for upcoming campaign plans, I was wondering what, if any, are the current developments with the Abbey of the Just Hammer in Tasseldale?

Is it just business as usual? Or, has Lord High Justiciar High Avenger Deren Eriach finally given up trying to convince the grand mairshar to allow him the opportunity of instructing the mairshars in the ways of law?

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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  06:26:35  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
Lots of thanks to Ed and The Hooded One for the reply. That was pretty much what I'd imagined it would be, but since it was just a thought that struck me whilst reading "the Dalelands," I hadn't considered the reactions of surrounding powers in even that much detail.

Still, is it just me, or does Aencar sound like a future Faerûnian version of King Arthur (in a few hundred years FR-time that is) with legends and stories cropping up around him?

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
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Elfinblade
Senior Scribe

Norway
377 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  16:29:20  Show Profile Send Elfinblade a Private Message
The hooded one, I did not mean to be rude or impatient with my query. Not at all. I just havent spent much time here, and i was not aware of how things were done here, regarding replies and such. I am really sorry if i have offended Mr.Greenwood with my impatience (although i do suspect a man like him to have experienced quite a few young roleplayers eagerly asking hundreds of questions at once )
Of course i am anticipating my reply from the Creator, but i am of course willing to wait however long it might take. I am, also, extremely thankful and glad, that this creative being has(or takes) the time to scribble down the most amazing and interesting answers to these requests and queries from
geeks like meself
Please express my gratitude to Mr. Greenwood that he created this amazing world and characters that has helped, and inspired a lot of people, i am sure (myself included), throughout the years. And may it by the grace of all gods watching, be many many more long years.

Your patient() fan, Stig.

Edited by - Elfinblade on 20 Jan 2005 16:33:30
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  22:19:58  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
Young and eager...

Me I think it's more to do with norwegians being slightly daft, just ask any swede if you don't believe me (and don't believe what the norwegians say about swedes on the same topic).

Just joking Stig, but I think you got that without me telling you, says Kajehase who just barely managed to avoid boring you all by explaining how to sink a norwegian submarine...

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
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4834 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  22:53:08  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message
My brother-in-law is swedish and he reckons that the norwegians have sideways crude oil drilling pumps (ala Monty Burns in the Simpsons) and are stealing all of Sweden's oil! Not that the swedes are paranoid about Norway or anything ...

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Lord Rad
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United Kingdom
2080 Posts

Posted - 20 Jan 2005 :  23:04:54  Show Profile  Visit Lord Rad's Homepage  Click to see Lord Rad's MSN Messenger address Send Lord Rad a Private Message
Greetings, Ed and the Hooded One

I am currently reading The Rite, by Richard L Byers and lo and behold, a location is featured which has often peaked my interest for many years. However, there is very little in the way of written lore in any products that I can find. I wondered what you could tell me about the Monastery of the Yellow Rose?

Richard has done a great job in describing some of the architecture and design of the place, i'm not sure if this is from a particular source or whether it is fresh information as there is little existing lore.

Many thanks.

Lord Rad

"What? No, I wasn't reading your module. I was just looking at the pictures"
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30015 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2005 :  00:04:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Rad

However, there is very little in the way of written lore in any products that I can find. I wondered what you could tell me about the Monastery of the Yellow Rose?


I'm not at home to check, but wasn't that written up in FR9 The Bloodstone Lands?

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Kuje
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7915 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2005 :  00:41:30  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 Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Rad

However, there is very little in the way of written lore in any products that I can find. I wondered what you could tell me about the Monastery of the Yellow Rose?


I'm not at home to check, but wasn't that written up in FR9 The Bloodstone Lands?



Aye, most of page 41 and the start of page 42. :)

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

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