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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2005 :  03:17:47  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, scribes. This time Ed replies to Si’s “aside” query (yes, he’ll get to your other queries, Si: promise!) from May: “As an aside, why is the Cormyrean Navy referred to in some products as the Imperial Navy, whither the Empire?
Ed speaks:



There isn’t one. Yet, or perhaps ever (though the navy has been how Cormyr has temporarily occupied various islands in the Sea of Fallen Stars, and even temporarily occupied or dominated supposedly-independent ports such as Teziir).
The name of Cormyr’s navy doesn’t mean Cormyr considers itself to have an empire. This title refers to the oft-mentioned-at-Court (that is, the Royal Court in Suzail) view that possessing a navy gives Cormyr the reach to acquire an empire, if ever it wants one. Thus, it’s an instrument of empire, and therefore “in and of itself” imperial.



So saith Ed. Splitting hairs with his razor-sharp wit and tongue. Which must (ahem) please his wife very much. Which must be the first off-colour remark I’ve made here in a day or two. Gods, I’m slipping (in what, I’d better not discuss).
[Wink]
love to all,
THO
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Pardan
Seeker

31 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2005 :  21:42:39  Show Profile  Visit Pardan's Homepage Send Pardan a Private Message
Hi, first of all - and I hope my question is not too simplitic/hasn't been asked too often.

How are "monstrous" - meaning clearly nonhuman - creatures/adventurers usually treated in cities and lands across the North and the Sword Coast?
Basically, I am asking for information about how "cosmopolitan" cities and people in the aforementioned regions are.
What would happen if, say, a Loxo or Wemic (a creature largely unknown and perhaps not cursed with a bad reputation like certain dark elves) wandered into a town? How used to the strange and unknown are people in the realms - from the lord to Joe-Average-Commoner?
Another side question I have is: How is Mystra inclined toward Wild Magic and its users(did a write-up of the Wild Mage from 2nd ed. and turned it into a 3rd Ed.specialist wizard)?
Would she rather see it banned or does she accept it as another way to use magic - since it is not inherently evil-tainted like the shadow weave, her stance towards it might be less biased...or isn't it?

Thanks in advance...and also thanks a lot for giving us an amazing setting with yet unsurpassed depth in the first place.

Do not knock on Death's door - ring the bell twice and run away.
He hates that.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30084 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2005 :  22:04:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Pardan

Another side question I have is: How is Mystra inclined toward Wild Magic and its users(did a write-up of the Wild Mage from 2nd ed. and turned it into a 3rd Ed.specialist wizard)?
Would she rather see it banned or does she accept it as another way to use magic - since it is not inherently evil-tainted like the shadow weave, her stance towards it might be less biased...or isn't it?

Thanks in advance...and also thanks a lot for giving us an amazing setting with yet unsurpassed depth in the first place.



A previous answer to some similar questions:

quote:


January 17, 2005: Dearest Woolpert, Ed makes reply to your wild magic queries:

Please bear in mind that what follows is what *I’d* do as a DM, not an official WotC D&D rules ‘ruling’ (there’s something called the Rules Council for that).

The Chosen of Mystra are hampered by dead and wild magic just like everyone else, with three exceptions:

1. Spending Silver Fire.

For ‘brute force’ magics (energy blasts, the creation of magical barriers, healing, and so on) Chosen of Mystra can expend silver fire to manage almost normal effects (and probabilities of effects, though there’s almost always echoing wild-effect ‘leakage’ around their operating spells). Translocation spells (teleportation) are still chancy (though in a wild magic area, silver fire can be burned to create a line intersecting with a nearby ‘strand of the Weave,’ and the Weave then ‘ridden’ out of the wild magic area, in a strange ‘slow teleport’ that third parties see beginning as a fading and shifting of the teleporter, so that, say, Elminster briefly has three heads blended and blurred into one another before he ‘snaps out of sight’), and detection and divination spells nigh-impossible.

2. Feeding Magic With Magic.

Chosen of Mystra have the inherent ability to ‘feed’ one magic into another, draining part of the stored energy of a held or worn item or the entire energy of a memorized spell into another spell, to ‘power it up.’ Because this tends to make magic ‘go wild,’ it’s never done in normal circumstances, but often succeeds in causing a spell to have pretty much normal effect in a wild magic or dead magic area, if a more powerful spell is fed into a lesser one.

For example, Elminster casts a lightning bolt and feels it start to ‘tug wild,’ so he uses his ability as a Chosen to make it ‘hang fire’ until the next round, and during that next round feeds a flesh to stone spell he’s memorized into the lightning bolt. Because of the difference in levels, the lightning bolt is highly likely to ‘go off’ as a lightning bolt, at the end of that second round, though its aim and discharged energy (damage done) may still vary wildly. If El instead burns a ninth-level memorized spell to feed the lightning bolt, it will probably function almost normally. Note that this does NOT appreciably alter the surroundings from being a wild or dead magic area, though doing this thirty times or more would weaken a dead magic area into something much smaller.

3. Feeling Flows, and Familiarity

Chosen of Mystra can sense movements, build-ups, and changes in nature (for example, from a build-up into a discharge) of magical force. This can give them small tactical advantages in a wild magic zone that other beings lack. Also, in a locale VERY familiar to the particular Chosen (such as their usual abode, or a spot where they’ve previously spent a lot of time or cast many magics), their own magical efforts will be at least slightly better than any attempts by mortal spellcasters to battle dead or wild magic because of their familiarity with the presence, precise location, and nature of existing magics, usual local flows of magic, and so on.

Of course, Chosen can call on the Weave to destroy wild and dead magic areas (and planar rifts, too), though this is a long and exhausting process involving the casting of many spells, and ideally the cooperation of several Chosen or powerful spellcasters working together (something akin to several people trying to gather, bunch up, and carry away a gigantic collapsed hot air balloon or fallen field tent or huge parachute, it’s something best accomplished by people who aim their efforts accurately, know what to do, and work together well). It’s not something they can expect to accomplish if lacking many memorized (or otherwise stored) magics, if under attack, or in a hurry.

So most Chosen who find themselves in a wild or dead magic zone will first attempt to get out of the zone, unless there’s some compelling reason for remaining there.

Your next question was: “How do you feel about wild mages, and how would Mystra feel about such casters, who deliberately play fast and loose with the Weave?”

Wild mages have indeed returned in the new Complete Arcane. I make no apologies for introducing wild and dead magic into the Realms in the first place, but when they became a 2nd Ed character class, Jeff Grubb and I both responded with “Uh-oh.”

Why? Well, in short, like spellfire, wild mages can be a campaign-wrecker. Great fun for an encounter or two, but the implications of their presence are far-reaching, so “wild mages” are usually best confined to a rare handful of NPCs - - unless the campaign is a lone wandering PC wild mage adventuring one-on-one with a DM. Consider the presence of wild mages with ‘regular’ arcane spellcasters or priests of any sort in the same party of adventurers. Many accidents waiting to happen. I’m not saying “don’t go there,” I’m saying ‘consider carefully what the character of your D&D play may change into, before you embark on this.’

As for Mystra: The ‘old’ Mystra (LN) was less than pleased with this road of dweomercraeft because of the damage wild mages can do to fellow spellcasters, the Weave, and most importantly to the reputation of arcane spellcasters with others (and therefore, the general attitude [fear] of most intelligent beings of Faerun towards magic and its use).

The ‘new’ Mystra, however, was more than a bit of a rebel as a young mortal woman. Like the keeper of a china shop glumly observing an approaching bull, she’s against wantonly destructive uses of magic, and her alignment gives her a distaste not just for destructive magic but also for deliberately cruel uses of magic. However, Mystra has seen much reckless use of magic by divine spellcasters serving other deities and by selfish mages of various stripes, noted that many of these uses have been both effective and have garnered much respect among the wider populace, and more or less shrugged.

She may be ‘waiting and seeing,’ and she (or Azuth) may well send some of their powerful servants (including Chosen) to curb individual wild mages who seem to turn wholly insane or who “throw their weight around too much.” For now, however, the rare wild mages in the Realms seem free to follow the path they’ve chosen.

So saith Ed. Who seems to never be anything else but busybusybusy, these days.
love to all,
THO

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Pardan
Seeker

31 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2005 :  22:31:11  Show Profile  Visit Pardan's Homepage Send Pardan a Private Message
Well, thanks for that quick answer ;)

Do not knock on Death's door - ring the bell twice and run away.
He hates that.
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  02:13:20  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, everyone. This time around, Ed responds to this August 13th question from Jamallo Kreen: “Are there any works of "natural philosophy" or of "geography" (Torilography?) of the Aristotelian, Ptolemic, or Mandevillian variety which are considered essential reading for educated persons?
Please reveal more of Toril's literature, Ed.”
And Ed replies:



A proper answer to this question would consume pages and pages in this thread, even if I restricted myself to human writings only, just brief summaries, and omitted all the unfolding literary history and debates and merely gave a ‘snapshot’ of what things are like right now.
So instead, I think I’ll meander at length. :}

First off: geography. Maps are expensive things (being rare, easily damaged or destroyed, and more often inaccurate than not). Large, detailed, “good” ones are usually owned by rulers (from mayors of cities who have sewer and street maps, up to kings who own large and varied collections of maps from everywhere, often largely old and fanciful), temples, and the families of mapmakers, explorers, and adventurers.
In many cases, limners (painters or portrait drawers), heralds (not “Heralds,” just ‘heralds;’ the difference should be outlined in the forthcoming POWER OF FAERUN), and scribes make a good living copying simplified portions of maps from such collections, as follows: royal scribes and temple scribes are on staff, so to speak, at the court or temple, and make copies for (stiff) fees. Independent scribes access the aforementioned private family collections, and in some cases the temple and court collections, too, by paying fees. An independent scribe usually pays a set fee for access, per map (which covers the time of a junior courtier or novice priest who brings the map to a work area within the court or temple, and watches over the scribe while he/she works, to guard against theft, mutilation of maps, and substitutions of false maps), AND pays a proportion (usually a third or a half, rounding up) of the price the scribe charges the client for the finished map. This means “maps for sale” are usually found or stolen items; most independent scribes don’t create a specific map until hired to do so.
It follows that books of maps are very rare and precious things, sometimes part of the most secret treasure of a guild or temple, and usually part of royal collections and kept in closely-guarded inner vaults.
The most famous one (known to most bards and minstrels by reputation only) is A MANYREALMS GALLIMAUFRY by the cartographer Trammeth Anstrelgor. Candlekeep owns a fragmentary copy (most books of maps suffer the vandalism of having one or more maps torn out), and the complete original, according to legend, was buried circa 1114 DR with Anstrelgor in his tomb, somewhere in Tethyr (precise whereabouts unknown). The most infamous one is RELVOR’S PORTALS, a slender grimoire of spells, portal locations and instructions, and portal vicinity maps; a dozen heavily-vandalized copies are known to exist; a few have been bought and sold at MageFairs, transfers that have involved the murder of owners and worse. Many realms have “official” mapbooks for the use of garrison commanders and other public officials, usually containing maps restricted to the realm only: one of the best of these is the constantly-updated CROWN BOOK OF THE REALM for Cormyr, a slim collection of Cormyrean palace, castle, and city, town, and village street maps.
The best collections of maps in the Heartlands, in descending order, are probably (please keep in mind the use of the word “probably”): The Herald’s Holdfast; Candlekeep; Piergeiron’s Palace in Waterdeep, The Star Court in Silverymoon; various hidden vaults beneath the High Palace in Silverymoon; The Hallowed House of Higher Achievement temple to Deneir in Selgaunt; the Royal Court in Suzail; the Society of Stalwart Adventurers club in Suzail; The Leaves of Learning temple to Oghma in Highmoon, in Deepingdale; The Halls of Inspiration temple to Oghma in Silverymoon; Twilight Hall temple to Deneir in Berdusk; and The Sanctum of the Seven Scribes (a book and map-copying library) in Athkatla.
What DOES prevail in the human literature of Toril are personal accounts of travels so popular in real-world Europe during the times of exploration, discovery, and colonialization or empire-building (whichever term you prefer), the sort of books parodied by such mock titles as “A Gentlelady’s Adventures In Darkest Murkaria” or “Down The River of Doom With Gun and Camera.” There are so many of these that no one tome has risen to prominence, nor can even a “short list” be assembled that any two sages could agree on more than one or two titles of.
This is due to the same reason modern real-world fiction varies widely in genre and style: the books are read primarily for enjoyment rather than for useful facts (although it’s essential for the success of a given book that it purport to contain some useful lore or ‘inside information,’ if not essential secrets), so the style of writing (humour, “you are there” rich description, “good yarn” fanciful tavern-tale-telling, and so on) is more important than up-to-date factual content. Some peculiar local habits and customs are imparted, stereotypes about the folk of a particular land or town are passed on, and some good fireside yarns (always embellished and sometimes entirely fictitious) are thrown in.
So, yes, some of these wayfarers’ histories ARE “considered essential reading for educated persons,” but no one agrees on just which titles, which has prevented any of them rising to famous, truly essential status. Lasting popularity is the only way a dispassionate observer can identify the best candidates to be placed on any “core” reading list.
A few titles of this sort that have enjoyed some lasting popularity include:
MY SWORD POINTS THE WAY (by Tarrondur Maerinspyke, first published 1246 DR): a handsome, dashing Tethyrian adventurer made rich by his many marriages to wealthy widows but ultimately obliged to travel by the fury of cuckolded husbands tours the wilder backlands of countries around the Sea of Fallen Stars, ending up in contented service, in his declining years, in Darandra’s House, a small, now-vanished temple to Sharess in Deepingdale. His descriptions are dated but very colourful, and provide a handy collection of local jokes, legends, tall tales that have served more than one adventurer trying to pretend to be ‘a long-lost local, returned home at last.’
LANCEGROVE’S TRAVELS (1277-1296 DR diaries by Tal Lancegrove, posthumously edited into book form by his daughter Tarteera Lancegrove, and published in 1306 DR): the exploits of a tireless merchant-explorer of Iriaebor who fared far into the Moonsea North and the lands east of the Great Dale, seeking trade-goods, gems, and gold. Packed with useful descriptions of trails, mountain passes, wayfarers’ landmarks, local weather and perils, and now-dated analyses of local politics and mercantile power struggles.
LORNRA AMONG THE LOXO (by Sharmra Lornra, published in 1322 DR): the bold pirate and lusty adventuress Lorna the Reaver, facing certain death as several foes closed in on her, abruptly abandoned her life of Inner Sea piracy to journey overland, laden with the rich spoils of her piracy (chests of gold and gems she needed to hide well, somewhere remote) - - a journey that ultimately took her to the depths of the Shaar, where she joined and dwelt among certain tribes of the elephantine Loxo, making a life for herself that culminated in her defeating adventurers sent to find her, romancing a mage among them, and convincing him to magically transform himself and her into loxo form. They led their tribe to successfully defeat several other tribes, but were ultimately cast out by loxo increasingly revolted by their warlike nature and aggressive pursuit of power, and retired to an ancient, hidden tomb-labyrinth in the heart of the Shaar, where they dwelt, crafting portals and pursuing covert lives of magical thefts and trading in poisons, weapons, potions, drugs, and spells until the mage (Brentaen) was killed. Lornra wound her business down, spending much of her time writing this book and sneaking through portals to murder folk who displeased her, and has not now been heard from for some decades. In addition to containing detailed accounts of amorous dalliances and some portal-finding and -operating instructions, the book hints at where in the Shaar she buried various chests of her gold and gems, and to this day enjoys brisk sales and resales among coin-hungry adventurers.
NO REALM LARGE ENOUGH TO HOLD ME (by Daerinth Orlormandor, first published 1342 DR): the shy, awkward and homely - - but very wealthy - - sole heir of a rich Calishite merchant father and an even richer Sembian merchant mother, “Daer” Orlormandor was pursued by assassins hired by business rivals, and by gold-digging would-be wives, until he sickened of being hounded. Leaving The Splendid Sails (a Sembian merchant syndicate founded by his mother) to administer his rental properties and carry on his business concerns, Daer took to a life of adventure under a series of disguises and false names, exploring the criminal world of several Sembian cities as well as “dungeons” (subterranean tomb-complexes and abandoned dwarf-holds) around the Dragonreach. His humorous accounts of his mistake- and pratfall-filled escapades make for very entertaining reading, but impart little useful lore for adventurers seeking to follow in his bootprints. Daer eventually came to terms with his looks and at ease in public, and discovered that the syndicate was robbing him blind - - so he slew them, one by one, and took their wealth to add to his, ultimately retiring to the luxuries of Highspires Hall, a sprawling walled mansion just outside Saerloon he had built for him. To this day Orlormandor pursues alchemical and magical means of retaining his youth and vigor, apparently with some success - - and has acquired a harem of mysterious, magically-gifted consorts who dwell with him and protect him against the occasional hostile spells of wizards he hired to make him live longer (magics intended to control him or coerce him into parting with funds or properties). These consorts may be spectral or wraith-like, or perhaps only betimes appear so to Daer through their use of certain spells.

All of the above works, and all of the dozen or so almost-as-popular contenders, exist in hundreds or thousands of copies, scattered across Faerûn, most of them in several editions (if a merchant notices a title selling briskly, one copy will be held back to serve as the ‘master’ for a new printing, usually by being copied out by hand in multiples, often using children [who don’t have to read to be able to precisely copy an original] or the elderly who can be paid little, or by being re-cut onto new wooden blocks, again by someone who need not be able to read what they’re copying). The original author rarely gets paid anything for these later editions, and may never even know of their existence.



So saith Ed. I’m going to break his reply here so as not to run into the post-size-limit, but will try to post the second part immediately (my ISP is a little rocky at the moment).
love to all,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  05:25:56  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, all. Herewith, the second part of Ed’s reply to Jamallo Kreen:


Secondly: philosophy. Written philosophy in the Realms is dominated by religious dogma and thought, of course, tempered by semi-secret “here are the tricks of the trade” writings about rulership (kept in private royal libraries, with “out among the public” copies outlawed or snapped up by Crown agents, to keep them in the hands of royalty - - and those nobility who can afford to acquire and hide them) and business success (which tend to be gathered in guild libraries but are hawked across the Realms by every peddler and caravan-merchant, and can’t successfully be suppressed by anyone, particularly as new titles are published almost every month: like modern real world “self-help” books, these new releases endlessly rehash or even directly copy the ideas and prose of older writers, often without any acknowledgment [please bear in mind that aside from directly copying or counterfeiting the words of royalty or nobility, or the decrees of magisters or guildmasters, nothing really approaching modern real-world copyright law exists in the Realms; I said a little more about this back on page 16 of this 2005 thread]). I’m going to ignore this second sort of business success writing, vigorous in popularity though it undeniably is, and by and large ignore the rulership and religious writings.
I say “by and large” because any exploration of human philosophical writings should at least note the five sorts of religious writings and the major names in the Machiavellian advice-to-rulers vein. There are also cosmological writings that in the main brush past religious views, to treat Realmspace (even if none of them call it that) as a region to be explored rather than “the home of the gods” or “regions associated with divine reward or punishment or an afterlife.”

Those five sorts of religious writings are:
* temple histories: straightforward accounts of the founding, development, events and achievements of a particular shrine, temple, holy site, abbey, monastery, or other “holy place” of a faith.
* sermons: collections of messages, holy thoughts and prayers, and other writings intended to be read aloud as part of rituals, to the faithful.
* religious dogma: the official creed of the church, any divine pronouncements and holy laws, and the specific conduct and instructions for holy rituals.
* inspirational texts: writings about deities, interpreting their actions, words, manifestations, and signs; also writings debating dogma, and known events in Toril in light of belief and dogma.
* personal holy histories: an account by a mortal individual of how he or she came to primarily worship one deity over others, or converted from one primary faith to another, or how divine contacts and holy experiences changed the individual (personal thoughts and an account of a personal religious journey).

Books of sermons are by far the most numerous tomes to be bought, found, hurled onto fires as fuel, or found in both temples and in the homes of the devout. Many faiths deliberately leave copies of them in shrines and at holy sites for pilgrims or faithful passersby to take, read, and be inspired.
Personal holy histories are the most popular books bought and sold - - but only, of course, among those of the “right” faith.
Every temple will have copies of all five sorts of books, with inspirational texts being the most poorly represented (or even hidden away and disapproved of). Those same inspirational texts are of course where (among religious books) the very sorts of writings you’re seeking, Jamallo Kreen, will be found, and thanks to all the gods being considered real and important, there are no ‘big names’ here rising above the rest (as most writers are confined to a single faith, and no faith predominates).
Perhaps the most famous are the warring sages Rondarro of Selgaunt and Askral of Calimport, whose learned disagreements over what importance this or that deity placed on the monetary value of offerings versus diligent prayer and belief escalated, over the years, into a personal feud that ended up with their taking caustically sarcastic opposite viewpoints in chapbook after rebutting chapbook dealing with almost every faith. Rondarro’s most famous work is FROM THE DAWN CATACLYSM TO THE END OF ALL (1316 DR) though most people have heard of it and never read a word of it, and Askral’s most popular work is HOW WRONG CAN ONE SEMBIAN BE? (1324 DR), valued more for its viciously eloquent attacks on Rondarro than for the views it espouses. It is believed that both men are still alive, but trapped in a spell cast on them by the exasperated Queen of Aglarond after they attacked at each other at a conclave she was attending in Baldur’s Gate, that placed their bodies in a stasis while their minds wandered a maze, debating with various spectral servants of Mystra. Some other sages believe that both must have gone mad long ago - - but still others insist they were mad long before The Simbul’s spell was cast on them.

The most infamous advisor to rulers is the Calishite courtier Erlo Elraedan, who in 1212 DR published his only known work: THE BLOOD-DRENCHED THRONE, an often-mocking, generally ruthless “how to” book of how to reward, scare, awe, or earn the love of subjects, written for rulers who have armed men to do their bidding. Elraedan advocates promoting just laws, but establishing a not-so-secret personal strike force of the monarch who are clearly “above the law,” and can with impunity do anything to any citizen. He also considers holding onto rule at all costs is the duty of every ruler, because every handover of rulership weakens a realm - - and that ruling firmly and consistently, showing ruthlessness rather than mercy, is also a ruler’s duty, because uncertainty, change, and vacillation all leave a realm weaker (even if only in reputation) and more vulnerable. However, Elraedan has harsh words for rulers who become so wrapped up in holding power that they surround themselves with sycophants rather than honest advisors and reporters, and who never properly prepare a successor and “an orderly succession.” Elraedan lauds a minor “robber baron” lordling of the Border Kingdoms, an otherwise-forgotten warrior hight Skalandro Sarlawge, who chose Harlar Dawnstrake a strong warrior (and rebel rival) as his successor, built up Dawnstrake’s reputation by spreading false rumors of his prowess, invited Dawnstrake to a feast, and there arranged his own death by a fiery spell cast by a concealed mage, in a staged moment that made it seem like “the gods” had struck down Sarlawge and chosen Dawnstrake as his successor.

As for cosmological books exploring Realmspace without overmuch religious slant or through “the eyes of faith,” the most important works are THE GREAT REALMS IN THE STARS by Jhevven Dree of Tharsult (1332 DR) and REALMS BEYOND THOSE WE KNOW by Armlarra Stormcloak (1338 DR).
Dree writes of elven skyships and realms where the skies are different, that they can sail to, and envisages “other worlds than this one” without specifying what they are. He suggests that gods are divine because they can call on the “energies” of these “other worlds” where we mortals can’t, and that they achieve their own immortality (unless slain by other gods) by being able to put some of their “vital essences” on these other worlds, out of reach of any mortal foe. Dree speculates that mortals could become gods if they developed the Art (magecraft) sufficiently to be able to understand and reliably manipulate the energies of these other worlds, reach and come to understand them, and leave vital parts of themselves there “as all gods do.” Dree’s scanty and fragmentary descriptions of these “other worlds” suggest he did visit places very different from Toril (perhaps other planes of existence).
Stormcloak takes a very different approach. She believes the nature and specifics of the gods and godhood are “beyond mortals” and speculations on such matters “are, and can only ever be, a waste of time, spittle, and ink.” The realms beyond Toril are merely places “where different skies are seen, different conditions pertain, and different strange beasts roam,” that folk of Faerûn should explore and exploit as they dare. She devotes herself to describing as much as she has “been able to learn, from divers sources, many of them men deemed mad,” but the vivid descriptions in her book lack named, identified places, or clear and coherent ways to reach them.
Both Dree and Stormcloak are still alive, though fraily and elderly, and both are said to be working on new books (eagerly awaited by many sages, adventurers, and merchants across Faerûn).

So there you go. A start, at least, on covering a HUGE topic that, yes, has been overly neglected in Realmslore until now. Thanks for the question, Jamallo Kreen. I hope I’ll have more occasions to delve deeper into answers, in the (sigh) already-busy year ahead!



So saith Ed. And there, indeed, you have it: weighty Realmslore at this tail-end of 2005!
Enjoy!
love to all,
THO
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Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4569 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  06:25:03  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message
A Question for Ed

Do you know when Dragon will publish your next FR City article?

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

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

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Scarabeus
Seeker

Canada
27 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  09:07:26  Show Profile  Visit Scarabeus's Homepage  Click to see Scarabeus's MSN Messenger address Send Scarabeus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
[...] There are many styles, as I’ve posted here and elsewhere. There are triangular coins, square coins, circular coins, and oval coins (most Faerûnian coins are actually oval), of several different metals, some pierced when minted (for stringing on rings or cords), and many pierced by merchants in practice (very few are cut in half by merchants, because only a few will be honoured as having any value when this is done).


I'm beginning to find this tread more and more interesting, especially the minting part. I always thought that most Faerûnian coins were rounds like their D&D counterpart and that non-circle coins (like those of Sembia) were the exceptions. When dealing with coins I like to use the FR-Adventure table as a quick reference. The oval shape is not mentionned anywhere. I'm eager to learn more.

quote:

Coins of Amn, Cormyr, Luskan, Mirabar, Sembia, Silverymoon, Tethyr, and Waterdeep are considered the best-made in Faerûn, and are most highly valued in trade everywhere in known Faerûn. Cormyr’s coins are very pure metal and of heavy weight, and age well ; Sembian coins are slightly inferior (see p91 of the FRCS, of course, for details of these two denominations).


One more thing, I'v always assumed that in a fantasy world with coins from kingdoms long gone and sometime forgotten that the value a coin depends of the weight and quality of the metal used. Thus if a coin from Cormyr is more heavy and more pure it would be more valuable wouldn't it ?
Depending on the method used, drilling a hole in the center might make a coin less valuable like shaving off it's edge ? One might try to punch a hole in it, but you still have to remove the cutting bump of metal that will burst on the other side or you will risk cutting yourself with your coins. So your pierced coins should be less valuable.

Bonne année (Happy New Year) from Quebec City, Canada
Scarabeus


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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  16:10:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed’s “on the job” at the moment, as it were, so hearken to some “instant” replies to scribes:



Hi, Dargoth. Well, Erik Mona already has the text of the next city in his hands, and has had for the last month. However, I’ve been so busy with contracted WotC projects (plus a mystery one for him) that I haven’t had time to do the map and graphics, so he’s stuck at that point, despite quite rightly reminding me from time to time. Oh, for a week of solid “free time” to get all of this stuff done!

Scarabeus, the oval shape of coins comes from the ease of setting coins “lined up right” in those wooden molds for striking the second side when they’re oval; when they’re round, doing so is much harder and takes longer. The striking itself creates distortion, causing far more “round” coins to be rejected because they’ve ended up oval. So, long ago, most realms just adopted oval as the standard they were aiming for.
Your assumption that drilled or lighter or less pure coins are worth less is indeed correct for realms that are long-gone (not for mintings in the reigns of much earlier kings in a realm that still exists, note). However, for currently-existing realms, the collective will of far-travelling merchants (the reason for outland coins being present and accepted at all, without being melted down for their precious metal content and refashioned into something else) firmly prevails: the merchants (mainly caravan traders) want a gold piece from Amn to be equal to a gold piece from Sembia - - or every single merchant is subject to being cheated in every last transaction.
“Slighting” coins (shaving them, cutting bits off, etc.) does reduce their acceptability, but not necessarily their value (i.e. a merchant says, “I’m not taking THAT coin, friend - - find a REAL gold piece in your purse, or the deal’s off!” but if the merchant accepts the coin at all, it’s still worth its stated face value, except in transactions where both parties privately agree otherwise [contracts sometimes specify “to be paid in lawful coin of Cormyr” or another realm or city]), but alterations to coins don’t affect acceptability at all when we’re discussing hole-punching or even bisecting that’s done officially by the realm or by a regional ruler.
In effect, you’re seeing merchants acting collectively to establish the equivalent of a “gold standard.”
My comments that you’ve quoted allude to the acceptability of coins to an individual for his or her lasting hoard or treasure cache - - in other words, taking into account what will PROBABLY be most acceptable for the longest time, or yield the most return if melted down. Yes, if you drill a hole in a modern coin, you’ll probably affect its value and acceptability, because such alterations aren’t generally considered acceptable in the marketplace. Not so in the Realms.
And bonne année to you, from the wilds of eastern Ontario! :} Ah, the bistros of your city; I remember them fondly . . .


So saith Ed. So there you have it: two lightning-swift answers for scribes! Enjoy!
love to all,
THO


Edited by - The Hooded One on 31 Dec 2005 16:20:15
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  18:16:07  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello Mr. Greenwood

I had asked Kuje to relay this but figured he might forget so here I am.

I was curious if a "Spark" from Magic of Faerun can be moved from one location to another or it it connected to the place it's discovered.

Second question is can a "Doompit" from same scource book be purposely created by a mage or combination of casters?

Thanks you and happy holidays
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2005 :  21:15:44  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by createvmind

Hello Mr. Greenwood

I had asked Kuje to relay this but figured he might forget so here I am.

I was curious if a "Spark" from Magic of Faerun can be moved from one location to another or it it connected to the place it's discovered.

Second question is can a "Doompit" from same scource book be purposely created by a mage or combination of casters?

Thanks you and happy holidays



Nope, I didn't forget and I posted it already on page 81 or 82. :)

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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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  03:50:51  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
Thanks much, Ed & THO! A merry Yule and Happy Survival to End of the Year Ritual to ye.

Thanks for the information about art and coins. I have one related question which arises from the answers: are there coin collectors or sages who numismatists? Is collecting foreign coinage an amusement for the wealthy? Is the study of old and ancient coinage considered a valid field of scholarly study?

I have a mouth, but I am in a library and must not scream.


Feed the poor and stroke your ego, too: http://www.freerice.com/index.php.

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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  05:07:35  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi, scribes! This time Ed replies to Dargoth’s observations about Larloch: “I got the impression from Ed that Larloch is suffering from “Jergal” syndrome: i.e. nothing’s a challenge anymore. Ed’s response also seems to suggest that Larloch’s main defence (outside of his spells and hordes of undead) is to not “offend” anybody. Off the top of my head I can think of a few people or groups who might want him gone. Church of Kelemvor: Larloch is probably the oldest undead that has cheated death (incidently how come Larloch never turned into a Demi-Lich he has to be old enough by now).
Warlock’s Crypt contains a veritable army of undead, and while liches don’t need to eat, vampires and ghouls, wights, etc. do. How is Larloch feeding them all? If his undead army is preying on the Settlements around Warlock’s Crypt for food, then it’s likely to make the locals think that Ravensloft might be a better place to live then settlements around the Troll Hills!”
Ed speaks:



Dargoth, George Krashos is quite correct in his postulation that “Larloch has many if not most of his undead minions in some sort of stasis to be used when needed. In other words, Warlock's Crypt might have Larloch and a dozen monster skeletons moving around to do the heavy lifting in a 'normal day. Of course, when the Larloch Slayers adventuring band turns up on his doorstep that's when a whole heap of tons of scads of lots of undead 'wake up' and move in.”
So, no, there aren’t constant foraging bands of marauding undead fanning out from Warlock’s Crypt and then shuttling back again.
How does he achieve mass stasis for his servitor undead? New spells of his own devising, plus some magics seized or stolen from others.
You’re quite correct in thinking Larloch feels few challenges, these days, but you’re misreading him and Jergal, both of whom (as will soon be revealed) are playing quite separate but deeper games. Think of my constant comments about Elminster manipulating people. Now, if you were incredibly powerful and had been around for centuries, what sort of entertainment would you seek?
I also think that your comment “Larlochs main defence (outside of his spells and hordes of Undead) is to not "offend" anybody” is looking at matters from quite the wrong way. Larloch truly DOESN’T CARE about offending or not offending others. He believes that, in most situations, unsubtle uses of power are beneath him, and are in fact signs of weakness and immaturity. He’s almost (note that “almost”) past caring at all about defending himself, and certainly doesn’t avoid doing certain things for fears it might goad some mortal or mortals into taking actions against him.
We impose our D&D games on the Realms, but should not think of the Realms purely in game terms: having attained and become bored with great magical personal power, successful long-term lichdom [why hasn’t he started to crumble, or become a demi-lich? he has his own unique and “better” lichdom spells and processes, as well as many other necromantic spells, such as the mass undead stasis spells that keep his armies offstage, and the spells that give him such perfect control over other liches], and ruling power, Larloch is no longer particularly interested in them - - gamers who think of him as power-hungry, or as a foe who should be attacked just because he exists and is powerful, are thinking of their own PC adventurers as bullies who must conquer anyone who stands up to them, or anyone they notice and deem powerful. It’s the old “he’s a potential threat who might wake up at any time and become a real problem, so he must be eliminated now, on our terms” vs. “Don’t poke the sleeping tiger; better and far more responsible to let him lie” argument.
It’s not so much that he’s avoiding a high public profile to avoid trouble, as it is that he now sees brute-force actions that impose his will on local lands and politics (and thus earn him that high profile) as distastefully unsubtle. He’s not defending himself by avoiding offending others so much as he’s not interested in doing the sorts of things that offend others (except those who deliberately intrude on his privacy, like bands of adventurers).
When REALMS OF ELVES comes out, you’ll get a few glimpses of Larloch that may broaden your view of him. (I’ll be interested to see how many gamers on various boards will be so simple-minded that they’ll construe “he’s a weakling” or “he obviously wants to die for good” or even “he’s portrayed as stupid because of how he uses his liches in battle” from what they read in that tale of mine, “Tears So White”). Please have a read when that book’s released, and then ask me about Larloch again. I will still, of course, avoid discussing his future fate directly, but hopefully we can hammer out a clearer picture for all of what his essential character is, these days, and “what makes him tick.”



So saith Ed. Interesting. VERY interesting. BTW, one of my characters met Larloch, in the ‘home’ Realms campaign . . . and lived.
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  05:28:40  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Okay, Ed, it’s New Year’s Eve at last!
Remember? You said I could ask you once this night rolled around?
So, now it has, and (ahem) GIVE!

For everybody else: late one night at GenCon, I ran into Ed and an incredibly beautiful lady (THO?) strolling together around one of the hotels connected to the RCA Dome, identically clad in leather bikini corset thingies, fishnet stockings, and stiletto-heeled high black leather boots. On her, it looked, well, stunning.
On Ed it looked stunning, too, but for a different reason (it’s the body hair that does it I think, Ed, because the corset or basque or whatever it was took care of the belly pretty well).
I’ve been dying to ask, I’ve been very patient, so please . . . was it a dare? A charity thing? Party dress? Or a fetish thing?
Do you do this every year? Can others join in?
?
Thanks in advance,
Blueblade
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  05:34:59  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
LOL!
No, that wasn’t me! I’ll fire this one straight to Ed, who probably won’t reply for some hours (it’s past midnight, our time, and I know he drove his family to see Cullen Gardens before it closed forever today, so he’s probably hit the sack after the two hundred klicks of driving, etc.).
I DO know what he was up to, but I’ll let him tell you.
love,
THO
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Scarabeus
Seeker

Canada
27 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  06:56:29  Show Profile  Visit Scarabeus's Homepage  Click to see Scarabeus's MSN Messenger address Send Scarabeus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
The striking itself creates distortion, causing far more “round” coins to be rejected because they’ve ended up oval.

This is good. You seem to have an uncanny ability to think about every minute details. Thanks for the answer, it was, as ever, quite complete.
quote:
Ah, the bistros of your city; I remember them fondly . . .
May I ask why ? Any other interesting stories like the one Blueblade told us maybe? . In any case I look forward to read your side of the story.

I also like to thanks Knight Errant Jr and THO for the explanations about the Laudays. It seems quite obvious now. I glad I asked though even if it might seem a silly question at first.

As for survival of the New-Year rituals, for my part it will be easy, I'll be working ... in the dungeons under Castle Waterdeep ... or something close to it. So enjoy for me !

Scarabeus
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  13:37:17  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message
Well, while I can drop Ed a direct line, I thought I'd post it here to wish everyone at Candlekeep (and especially Ed and She of the Hood and the Tantalizing Teases) a new year filled with happiness, prosperity, laughter, and kindness toward each other.

Steven

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  14:18:22  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
And to you as well friend Steven . I thank you once again for the many curious insights you have been kind enough to share with us all here at Candlekeep.

Happy New Year!

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30084 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  16:16:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Indeed! A very bright and Happy New Year to Steven, Ed, and our dear Lady Hooded One!

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

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

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  16:18:14  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello, all. Ed is right-ready with the swift answers again (guess his family isn’t letting him sleep in at all!), so here we go:


To Steven, old friend: may 2006 be the best yet for you! Here’s to New York Times bestseller stardom, new digs, that overdue harem, and classy new wheels: may they all descend upon you in spades (or just in nice fluffy gift-wrapped boxes, or even wearing nothing but a smile and a bow around their necks). Come up and see us sometime!

Blueblade, yes, you have been very good, waiting until the agreed-upon deadline and all. :} So here for all tender ears is the explanation: it was the result of a charity auction, won by the lovely lass in question. She’d agreed to attend a function dressed thus, and to bring “a famous author,” too, but was getting cold feet and unable to find said scribe. I agreed to feign fame and stardom, and (if she could get the duds, which I’d pay for) go with her dressed just as she was, if that would make her feel better. She accepted, and it worked: she got such a hoot out of watching folks react to me that she was no longer self-conscious about her own appearance. And, no, beyond a kiss and hug, we did not celebrate amorously, being both married. Her husband’s face was worth seeing, though.
Actually, we’re both married (to other partners than each other) NOW. She only just got married, right after Christmas (the only church booking time she could manage, I gather), so that was the reason for the deadline. So her husband of "now" was just her betrothed, then.

Jamallo Kreen, there are indeed coin-collectors among the wealthy; nobility (and wealthy merchants aspiring to become nobility, in particular), collect and display all sorts of things as trophies of their wealth and wide interests and influence. And sages consider EVERYTHING valid fields of study, but no one else does. :}



So saith Ed. Who will return with proper Realmslore replies in 2006, if not sooner.
love to all!
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 31 Dec 2005 16:27:30
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  16:32:39  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Well, thank you to Ed for clearing that up! Boy, was it bugging me!
And I’d like to thank THO and the Big Bearded One for another great year of free, generously-given Realmslore for us all! This is truly like Christmas (the gift-giving side) all year long!
Hurray! Hurrah!
And equivalents!
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Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  16:36:40  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Jamallo Kreen, there are indeed coin-collectors


I thought coin-collectors were just another word for Dragons

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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Skeptic
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1273 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  18:12:59  Show Profile Send Skeptic a Private Message
Hi, I'll try this one, but I'm pretty sure that I'll hit an NDA. (little spoiler from Hunter's blade trilogy)




Knowing that the Companions of the Hall (Drizzt & co) will be heading to Gauntlygrim soon and that the 1ed FR set mentions that the Knights of Myth Drannor have visited this forgotten place, maybe we could learn a little more from their experience there ?
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Alaundo
Head Moderator
Admin

United Kingdom
5579 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  18:16:05  Show Profile  Visit Alaundo's Homepage  Click to see Alaundo's MSN Messenger address Send Alaundo a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

Well, while I can drop Ed a direct line, I thought I'd post it here to wish everyone at Candlekeep (and especially Ed and She of the Hood and the Tantalizing Teases) a new year filled with happiness, prosperity, laughter, and kindness toward each other.

Steven



Well met

And to thee also, Steven, and to all FR authors and designers who have graced us with their presence here at Candlekeep

May I also take this opportunity to wish a very happy new year to The Hooded One and to Ed. May next year bring us yet more Realmslore

Also, please be aware that this scroll will be closing shortly, with Ed's Realmslore answers and The Hooded One's grace and charm starting a fresh in a new scroll for 2006

Alaundo
Candlekeep Forums Head Moderator

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


An Introduction to Candlekeep - by Ed Greenwood
The Candlekeep Compendium - Tomes of Realmslore penned by Scribes of Candlekeep
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2005 :  23:43:35  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Ed has e-sent me a reply to Scarabeus, so here it is:


Scarabeus, my pleasure. Keep asking, and I’ll keep answering (sometimes a particular answer takes months or even years, but I fully intend, if I live long enough, to get around to answering them all).
I’m afraid I haven’t that many juicy stories re. the bistros. My wife and I spent a lovely tenday there, one winter years ago, staying in a bed & breakfast that fronts (or fronted; I assume it’s still there) on the square that has the Chateau on the east, the American embassy on the west, a row of nice old houses (including where we stayed) on the north, and the cliff that drops down to the lower Old Town to the south. We did the usual touristy things, gawking at lovely cathedrals (though we don’t happen to be Catholic), shopping, eating, strolling the steep streets, more shopping, and (ahem) more eating. Oh, and we loved the museum where Montcalm’s skull is kept and a lot of pioneer-era beds, etc. I taught the lovely old nun who looked after the upstairs a new way of playing solitaire, which delighted her, and we played until after closing time (when her superiors had to shoo us out; they tried to scold her but she insisted on starting to show them the solitaire I’d shown her).
I grew up and was taught French up through high school in Ontario, which means my vocabulary stinks, my grammar is non-existent, and I can follow speech only slowly. However, I’m afraid my face betrayed my mirth when I stood beside an American tourist struggling with a phrase-book, who painstakingly and haltingly announced to one of the tour guides: “Thank you. You have very beautiful tits.” So did hers, as she sweetly thanked him in flawless English, and added in rapid-fire French, “And I’m sure your balls are also exquisite to behold, monsieur.”
He nodded and grinned in triumphant non-comprehension, leaving the tour guide and myself grinning at each other, and my wife (whose [Parisian] French is very good, the result of having been taught it at a good English girls’ school during the Second World War) biting my coat to keep from shrieking with laughter.
Nothing more salacious or interesting than that, I’m afraid, aside from the observation that some bistros have VERY good wine cellars but that some of them serve (shudder) spruce beer, that the university students are even more unbuttoned than their Ontario counterparts, and that I put my TSR education to very good use showing one stripper how to burlesque with a feather boa (as opposed to merely flinging it off), demonstrating the smooth techniques I learned from Karen Boomgaarden.
And I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve at home, surrounded by family, who will be snoring, drinking cider, or watching hockey games as I try to get some game writing done for the first time in days. I sympathize with you, having to work, but drunken binges are very overrated. Tipsy nude ballroom dancing to a Guy Lombardo-style band, now, THAT would be worth seeing. :}



So saith Ed. Ahem. Proper Realmslore forthcoming soon.
love and a special (purr) thanks to our host, Alaundo,
THO
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