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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2007 :  04:06:39  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  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I just did a bachelor party last week, but let me know when yours is, and I'll try to make it.
Hehe... I'd make a trip to the US just to drop in!

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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2007 :  07:40:42  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To echo some other sages Steve, I will just chime in with a congratulation to you both.
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Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2007 :  12:51:11  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Congrats Steven! Great news, sounds like a lot of wonderful stuff is happening, enjoy!
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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2007 :  20:48:09  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Congrates on the engagement. I am curious about how much of your day job might be going into the wedding? Elven Vows, Dwarven runes engraved on the ring, a wedding dress that came off a Realms novel?

I hope I am not eude to ask a question at this time, but...

I was going to ask Eric, but he seems to be away, Plus you invented the Fey'ri. I am open to any opinion, from you and your fans.

Would the child of a Fey'ri or a Celadrin with a half-elf have any chance of being a planetouched elf or would they only be a regular elf?

Thanks.

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

378 Posts

Posted - 03 Feb 2007 :  13:45:13  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Steven, hope you have time to field a relatively simple one:

I've asked about the Turkish influence finding its way into the inspirations for Amn before, and I just wanted to follow up a little on that with a question about Athkatla, specifically.

To my eye anyway, Athkatla bears more than a passing resmeblance to Constantinople, in many ways. Originally known under the Greeks as Byzantion (or in Latin "Byzantium"), the Roman Empire made the city their eastern seat of power. The Ottoman Turks later conquered and ruled the great city, with a sultanate dominated power structure. It is the mixture of Persian/Turkish, and Roman influences of that great metropolis, its tremendous economic prosperity, extensive trade network throughout the known world, dramatic rise in argicultural production and trend toward urbanization in the empire, and intrigue-laden power structure, that would appear to provide the main sources of inspiration.

I mean, it is in those elements--in extremely broad strokes!--that I find parallels. I.e., that said, there is far more that is Realmsian and utterly unique to Athkatla than any features resembling Constantinople.

Is this more or less a fair assessment? I recall you sharing that Moorish Spain was definitely an inspiration for Amn (perhaps more for the general countryside?). But the parallels between Constantinople and Athkatla in particular are pretty striking, they seem to resonate rather stongly.

***

Edit: Oh, also--I see mention of camels in Calimshan in Empires of the Sands and Calimport, but are they ever seen as far north as Tethyr and Amn?

Edited by - Lemernis on 04 Feb 2007 00:07:40
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2007 :  13:16:43  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Foxhelm

Congrates on the engagement. I am curious about how much of your day job might be going into the wedding? Elven Vows, Dwarven runes engraved on the ring, a wedding dress that came off a Realms novel?

I hope I am not eude to ask a question at this time, but...

I was going to ask Eric, but he seems to be away, Plus you invented the Fey'ri. I am open to any opinion, from you and your fans.

Would the child of a Fey'ri or a Celadrin with a half-elf have any chance of being a planetouched elf or would they only be a regular elf?

Thanks.



Don't know what a Celadrin is, but I'd say there's a CHANCE, of course. How high a chance might depend both on circumstances of the birth, the power and status of the original demon/devil that spawned the fey'ri (and if it were channeling power to continue on its tainted bloodline), and whether or not the parents did some magics to keep or enhance said attributes.

If left up to nature, it's a crap shoot and you never know.

As in all things, it's up to your DM to decide on this.

SES

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2007 :  13:25:11  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

Steven, hope you have time to field a relatively simple one:

I've asked about the Turkish influence finding its way into the inspirations for Amn before, and I just wanted to follow up a little on that with a question about Athkatla, specifically.

To my eye anyway, Athkatla bears more than a passing resmeblance to Constantinople, in many ways. Originally known under the Greeks as Byzantion (or in Latin "Byzantium"), the Roman Empire made the city their eastern seat of power. The Ottoman Turks later conquered and ruled the great city, with a sultanate dominated power structure. It is the mixture of Persian/Turkish, and Roman influences of that great metropolis, its tremendous economic prosperity, extensive trade network throughout the known world, dramatic rise in argicultural production and trend toward urbanization in the empire, and intrigue-laden power structure, that would appear to provide the main sources of inspiration.

I mean, it is in those elements--in extremely broad strokes!--that I find parallels. I.e., that said, there is far more that is Realmsian and utterly unique to Athkatla than any features resembling Constantinople.

Is this more or less a fair assessment? I recall you sharing that Moorish Spain was definitely an inspiration for Amn (perhaps more for the general countryside?). But the parallels between Constantinople and Athkatla in particular are pretty striking, they seem to resonate rather stongly.

***

Edit: Oh, also--I see mention of camels in Calimshan in Empires of the Sands and Calimport, but are they ever seen as far north as Tethyr and Amn?




Yeah, you could probably use Istanbul/Constantinople as an analogue for Athkatla. That could work all right for details unmentioned by other sources.

As for camels, they rarely travel further north than what used to be called Monrativi Teshy Mir. No one in living memory knows why, but the further north Calishite-bred camels travel, the more sickly and ill-tempered they become. By the time they might reach the northern borders of Tethyr, they go fully mad, throw off all bindings and gear, and generally stomp or bite anything in paroxysms of rage and fear and pain (think barbarian rage). Said camels then fall dead, whether attacked or not.

Thus, most Tethyrians proudly talk of curses laid upon the lands of Tethyr to prevent Calimshan from using its most common pack animals in invading Tethyr. Most Calishites talk about it being an ancient curse laid by Memnon the efreet to hinder Calim's minions during their aeons-long war.

Okay, that's enough time-sponging. Back to work on things (and thanks for all the kind thoughts, folks).

Steven

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

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 04 Feb 2007 :  13:35:12  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by Foxhelm

Congrates on the engagement. I am curious about how much of your day job might be going into the wedding? Elven Vows, Dwarven runes engraved on the ring, a wedding dress that came off a Realms novel?

I hope I am not eude to ask a question at this time, but...

I was going to ask Eric, but he seems to be away, Plus you invented the Fey'ri. I am open to any opinion, from you and your fans.

Would the child of a Fey'ri or a Celadrin with a half-elf have any chance of being a planetouched elf or would they only be a regular elf?

Thanks.



Don't know what a Celadrin is, but I'd say there's a CHANCE, of course. How high a chance might depend both on circumstances of the birth, the power and status of the original demon/devil that spawned the fey'ri (and if it were channeling power to continue on its tainted bloodline), and whether or not the parents did some magics to keep or enhance said attributes.

If left up to nature, it's a crap shoot and you never know.

As in all things, it's up to your DM to decide on this.

SES



A Celadrin is a planetouched of elven and Eladrin Blood (Usually Firre) that was created for the Ancient Legacy Articule in Dragon 350 by Eric L. Boyd, which explains why I asked him as well.

It gets the name Celadrin due to the fact that the eladrin are invited to festivals by the worshippers of Hanali Celanil (Cela+ drin). (Spell?)

It also doesn't have as powerful Level Adjustment, but some interesting powers anyway, like a melodious voice that has power to Diplomacy checks influencing NPC and wild empathy checks to influence animals.

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

Edited by - Foxhelm on 04 Feb 2007 13:36:54
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
2882 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2007 :  17:53:50  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Steve, I know you've got a whole bunch of other stuff to do, so I'll make this quick, and to the point. The Elven High Magic spell Elaorman creates magical crystal that Elves make buildings, spelljammers, and various other things out of. What exactly is the crystal called? I've been calling it Elaormite, but an "official" name for it would be nice. Thanks, Sage Schend!

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2007 :  14:30:28  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dagnirion

-Steve, I know you've got a whole bunch of other stuff to do, so I'll make this quick, and to the point. The Elven High Magic spell Elaorman creates magical crystal that Elves make buildings, spelljammers, and various other things out of. What exactly is the crystal called? I've been calling it Elaormite, but an "official" name for it would be nice. Thanks, Sage Schend!



Its name depends on what it's used for, as each is a slightly different form/structure of crystal.

Ela(or)- is the root form, and this stands loosely for "common crystal" as opposed to kiir, which means gem.

Elaegiis is "shielding crystal" and suitable for walls and strong structures. Rarely, it can be used to make shields or armor light in weight and at least as strong as human-made steel at 75% of the weight (and no, I've not statted anything out beyond that--you do the math). This tends to fall on the green side of the spectrum, and the harder the material, the darker the green.

Elaeorynth is "flight/float crystal," which is strong yet flexible, more akin to young wood used for shipbuilding. It's not as strong as the "stone" of elaegiis, and thus it's more toward the olive/spring green tone.

Hope that works for you, Dagnirion (and Wooly, the ol' SJ fan himself).

Steven
who has now to copy all this into his elven glossary notes...

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2007 :  19:32:20  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen

Steven, I've read about a hundred pages of Blackstaff, and what can I say, but, "Great oogly-mooglies!" or words to that effect? (With apologies to Grady, from "Sanford & Son.") I'm sure I'll finish the rest of it by tomorrow night. Bra...vo!



Thanks, J. I'm glad you're enjoying the book.

You made me laugh, as these are the first oogly-mooglies I've apparently inspired. I don't recall them from Sanford & Son; I remember the term used once or twice by Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Yes, I'm a geek. Luckily, I'm hardly ever alone these days in that.

Steven




What more can I say about a novel which inspired not one, but two NDA comments from Ed in a single post this month?

I'm having some real conflicts with some of the Realms novels and game materials as reader cum player cum DM. My own PCs (who I now run as NPCs) are in the good graces of the Elven deities, but the more I, as a reader, learn of the Elves of Toril (especially the Gold Elves), the more loathsome I find them to be! Maztica will soon be discovered in my campaign, so perhaps the party can travel to the northern lands and discover that the Mohawk-haired Elves there, living in a "state of nature" are less prone to racism and genocide than the Elves of Faerun (most of whom are descended from off-worlders, anyway).

This raises an interesting (I hope!) query: Are the Mohawk-wearing, wampum-toting Elves north of Maztica actual, bona fide, native-to-Toril-from-the-Days-of-Thunder Elves, or are they also immigrants from elsewhere?

No. Wait. Lemme guess ... NDA, right?


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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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
2882 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2007 :  05:35:54  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

Its name depends on what it's used for, as each is a slightly different form/structure of crystal.

Ela(or)- is the root form, and this stands loosely for "common crystal" as opposed to kiir, which means gem.

Elaegiis is "shielding crystal" and suitable for walls and strong structures. Rarely, it can be used to make shields or armor light in weight and at least as strong as human-made steel at 75% of the weight (and no, I've not statted anything out beyond that--you do the math). This tends to fall on the green side of the spectrum, and the harder the material, the darker the green.

Elaeorynth is "flight/float crystal," which is strong yet flexible, more akin to young wood used for shipbuilding. It's not as strong as the "stone" of elaegiis, and thus it's more toward the olive/spring green tone.

Hope that works for you, Dagnirion (and Wooly, the ol' SJ fan himself).

Steven
who has now to copy all this into his elven glossary notes...



-Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

-I'll be copying all of this precoius lore into my Elven Dictionary as well.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2007 :  17:23:51  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen
This raises an interesting (I hope!) query: Are the Mohawk-wearing, wampum-toting Elves north of Maztica actual, bona fide, native-to-Toril-from-the-Days-of-Thunder Elves, or are they also immigrants from elsewhere?

No. Wait. Lemme guess ... NDA, right?





Sort of....

If you're asking me for an official ruling, I'm no longer empowered to answer, as I've not been a WotC employee for a long time now.

If you're asking me my personal opinion and/or how I'd play it in my games (or in my novels, should I ever get the chance), I'd say definitely they're native elves (just as the native elves were originally on Evermeet before the mainland refugees showed up).

If you're looking for some lore on them or anything more than this, THAT would most likely be NDA.

Steven

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

378 Posts

Posted - 14 Feb 2007 :  23:23:51  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In an effort to deepen my knowledge of Amn, I'm looking to the nation's history, particularly its Calishite roots.

It seems the collapse of the Shoon Empire provided the opportunity for an independent kingdom of Amn to arise. I want to understand the causes for that collapse.

The death of the last Shoon, Emperor Amahl VII, in 450 DR seems to have plunged the empire into chaos (much more than usual). But I'm wondering too if the Shoon Empire had simply become so bloated and overextended that it became virtually impossible to govern without truly exceptional leadership at the helm. Amahl VII was evidently one of those 'great man' leaders (not morally but in terms of effectiveness). Without such leaders the Shoon Empire's 'center could not hold', basically.

Ashar's March in 376 DR seems symptomatic of what may have been an empire that had become too sprawling to manage.

I suppose it could be said that it was the constant infighting and internal treachery of the Shoonites that ultimately undid the Empire. But is it fair to say that the Shoonites' tendency to conquer more territory than they could control sealed their fate?

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Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 15 Feb 2007 :  18:41:30  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, also, on this subject, best I can tell, it seems commonly believed by the Realms' historians that Lord Ashar Tormamn of Valashar behaved capriciously, without the consent of the Shoon Imperium’s ruler at the time, Princess Qysara Shaani. But the princess was possiby the weakest ruler in the hostory of the Empire. And in a land such as Calimshan, it is difficult to rule out that the princess--or one of her trusted advisors to whom she delegated all matters of state--may in fact have supported the audacious land grab.

It is during Qysara Shaani's reign that the Shoon Imperium really begins to disintegrate big time. And again, it makes me think that the empire had grown to large for anyone but the most competent of leaders to govern. Think of the collapse of the Shoon Imperium as a governmental example of the business world's 'Peter Principle'. ;)

Anyway, this is the sort of thing, where I think I would enjoy it most if the question about whether Qysara Shaani's regime secretly supported Ashar's March is left as a historical mystery. I.e., DMs can write this however they prefer. Although personally I'd enjoy it most if one of the princess's key viziers actually orchestrated Lord Tormamn's attempt to annex the Sword Coast. And Lord Tormamn actually wasn't that crazy after all. Though history will remember him that way, as that served the powers that be at the time.

***

Edit: lol, the deeper I delve I find myself developing a kind of thesis for the collaspe of the Shoon Empire. Would it be too forward of me to post it?

Edited by - Lemernis on 26 Feb 2007 15:30:16
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2007 :  21:45:03  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

In an effort to deepen my knowledge of Amn, I'm looking to the nation's history, particularly its Calishite roots.

It seems the collapse of the Shoon Empire provided the opportunity for an independent kingdom of Amn to arise. I want to understand the causes for that collapse.

The death of the last Shoon, Emperor Amahl VII, in 450 DR seems to have plunged the empire into chaos (much more than usual). But I'm wondering too if the Shoon Empire had simply become so bloated and overextended that it became virtually impossible to govern without truly exceptional leadership at the helm. Amahl VII was evidently one of those 'great man' leaders (not morally but in terms of effectiveness). Without such leaders the Shoon Empire's 'center could not hold', basically.

Ashar's March in 376 DR seems symptomatic of what may have been an empire that had become too sprawling to manage.

I suppose it could be said that it was the constant infighting and internal treachery of the Shoonites that ultimately undid the Empire. But is it fair to say that the Shoonites' tendency to conquer more territory than they could control sealed their fate?



It certainly didn't help them, as that tended to sap their resources and military might, so when monster troubles popped up in various places, they couldn't protect some farms and villages and whatnot when the army was out a-conquering.

In short, they weren't watching the whole picture--they just focused on what they wanted to focus on. The last truly "good" (i.e. effective) ruler of the Imperium was probably Shoon VII, in terms of someone watching the whole picture, balancing everything and still finding time for his own machinations. Those who succeeded him merely fell into short-sightedness and political games that neglected one corner or other of the empire. Then, when the qysar died at the hands of the Strohm heir, the empire fell into disarray and every local governor/pasha/whatever title tried to pull the empire under his control. Because they had little reason to work together, the local rulers pulled the Imperium apart just as effectively as if Tethyr's new king had smashed it piece by piece.

At least that's how I'm remembering it right now....

Steven

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 26 Feb 2007 :  21:47:55  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

Oh, also, on this subject, best I can tell, it seems commonly believed by the Realms' historians that Lord Ashar Tormamn of Valashar behaved capriciously, without the consent of the Shoon Imperium’s ruler at the time, Princess Qysara Shaani. But the princess was possiby the weakest ruler in the hostory of the Empire. And in a land such as Calimshan, it is difficult to rule out that the princess--or one of her trusted advisors to whom she delegated all matters of state--may in fact have supported the audacious land grab.

It is during Qysara Shaani's reign that the Shoon Imperium really begins to disintegrate big time. And again, it makes me think that the empire had grown to large for anyone but the most competent of leaders to govern. Think of the collapse of the Shoon Imperium as a governmental example of the business world's 'Peter Principle'. ;)

Anyway, this is the sort of thing, where I think I would enjoy it most if the question about whether Qysara Shaani's regime secretly supported Ashar's March is left as a historical mystery. I.e., DMs can write this however they prefer. Although personally I'd enjoy it most if one of the princess's key viziers actually orchestrated Lord Tormamn's attempt to annex the Sword Coast. And Lord Tormamn actually wasn't that crazy after all. Though history will remember him that way, as that served the powers that be at the time.

***

Edit: lol, the deeper I delve I find myself developing a kind of thesis for the collaspe of the Shoon Empire. Would it be too forward of me to post it?



Well, I won't go and totally spoil the answer for you, then, Lem.

And feel free to send that along and/or post it; you've put at least as much thought into Amn as I ever have (and perhaps more, given your focus and my lack thereof), so your words are just as official as mine are right now. (Anyone else curious to see what he's done? I know I can't be the only one....)

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

378 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2007 :  16:42:24  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lol, no pressure on my little thesis then eh?

First, Steven, I have to say that you are and presumably always will be the primary professional developer of this setting. Your extensively detailed work in Lands of Intrigue, Calimport, and Empires of the Shining Sea is as impressive in scope as I have ever seen in the fantasy genre. I honestly don't think that whatever I can do to enhance it could ever hold a candle to all that. So as far as I am concerned your words (and of course Ed's) will always be final--period. But you know well that I take temendous encouragement from your support. And as a devoted fan it spurs me on to do my utmost in striving to bring the region ever more fully to life.

Alright, the thesis... well, it is basically just a simple analysis of the factors that contributed to the collapse of the Shoon Empire. I began writing it up as part of the lore of Amn, so that folks could try to grasp a little more concretely how it is that Amn came to be such an economic dynamo in the south.

You know, I may be premature in posting this, because the research into the Shoon Empire is so demanding and I may have skimmed too lightly in certain spots in studying it. I may well have overlooked some really crucial details in the history of the Shoon Imperium. Good Lord, there's a lot of material to sift through there. But that's also one thing I love about it: in that respect it is so much like real history--it's at times overwhelming, and it's not always clear what conclusions to draw.

My emphasis is on the sheer size of the empire, the tendency of such empires to overextend, and the notion such an empire cannot hold together for long without truly exceptional leadership at the helm. This is something real world history has apparently taught us time and again from Alexander's ancient empire, to ancient Rome, to Charlemagne's empire, etc.

The following is a draft written more or less from the perspective of what a reader of history in the Realms might find in a good library somewhere. The asterisked note is not however something that would appear to a reader in the Forgotten Realms--that's 'DM only' info:


Collapse of the Shoon Empire

One factor most Realms' historians agree lay at the root of the Shoon Imperium's fall, is the unmitigated ruthlessness of its rulers. The empire ruled by by stark terror rather than engendering any heartfelt allegiance. Unimaginable atrocities were routinely commited by a succession of Shoon emperors, not just against external enemies (whose surviving conquered members were absorbed into the Shoon Empire afterward) and outer vassal states, but also often against the empires' oldest subjects, in the interest of maintaining unquestioned obedience. While such cruelty is hardly unknown in the history of the Realms, its severity and sheer relentlessness in the hands of the Shoon Imperium appears to have had a cumultatively erosive effect. It is believed today by most Faerunian scholars that the monstrous behavior of the Shoons increased the tendency for the empire to fragment easily under a particularly vulnerable set of conditions. The draconian rule of the Shoons inspired a searing hatred in its conquered peoples that far surpassed their fear.

The other most critical factor appears to have been the truly gargantuan size of the Empire, and the quality of leadership itself. Like most great empires, the Shoonites failed to resist the temptation to overextend. At certain points in its four century reign, the mighty Shoon Imperium stretched as far east as the Chondalwood and as far south as the Chultan Peninsula. And by 376 DR the Shoon Empire's northern border temporarily reached the Sword Coast's High Moor, with all the lands of the Sword Coast declared part of the Shoon Empire. The northernmost annexation was shortlived, and proved a debacle that some historians of the Realms believe heralded the impending fall of the empire.

The Sword Coast was then, as it remains today, savage wilderness. Traders nevertheless passed through these wild lands from Cormyr to the Sword Coast's seaports of Baldur's Gate and Waterdeep. In 376 DR, Lord Ashar Tormamn of the Shoon Empire’s vassal state of Valashar located in what in now northern Tethyr and southern Amn impetuously claimed the entire Sword Coast as the property of the Shoon. Starting in 375 DR, in a 15 month campaign known afterward as "Ashar's March" the Valasharian army invaded the southern Sword Coast. King Ashar's Shoonites troops imposed tarrifs on any who passed through the Sword Coast.

This bold seizure of formerly unclaimed lands naturally drew the ire of the Cormyreans. And the Cormyreans responded with impunity. King Ashar's attempted annexation of the Sword Coast resulted in a resounding defeat. The army of Cormyrean King Azoun I soundly defeated the Shoonites on the Fields of the Dead, and pushed Tormamn's retreating Shoonites far back into Shoon territory. To send an additional message to never attempt such a thing again, the Cormyreans reduced the Shoonite city of Ithmong to a smoldering heap of rubble.

In response King Ashar Tormamn was promptly executed by the Shoonite Empress for his unsanctioned military adventurism. The northern boundaries of the Shoon Empire were redrawn at Valashar’s northern border, the Amstel River and Giant Run Mountains.

Although this attempted northernmost expansion was thought at the time to have been wrought independently by the allegedly "mad king" of a Shoonite vassal state, the fact that it happened signaled how just sprawling and unwieldly the vast Shoon Empire had become.

It is has commonly been believed by historians that King Ashar Tormamn behaved capriciously, and without the consent of the Shoon Imperium’s ruler at the time, Princess Qysara Shaani. But a new school of thought by Faerunian sages argues that the princess was a weak ruler, and in a land such as Calimshan, it is difficult to rule out that she--or one of her trusted advisors to whom she delegated almost every matter of state--may in fact have supported the audacious land grab.*

During the reign of the last three Shoon rulers, beginning with the mighty Shoon VII's mortal wounds at the hands of the blue dragon known as "Sharpfangs" in 366 DR, a number of the empire's outer provinces managed to slip themslves free from the Imperium's grasp. Though these states continued to pay tribute to the emperor, and pledged their fealty outwardly in name, these were in truth merely face saving measures for the Imperium. The Shoon Empire had in all but the outermost appearances lost control of these lands. And with internal fragmentation increasing, Empress Shaani was easily persuaded by her advisors not to risk further embarassment in a failed attempt to bring the territories to heel. This assessment was likely accurate. The combined force of these rogue provinces, potentially aligned with foreign powers, together with the Imperium's own ongoing intenal conflicts could well have quickly ushered the empire's demise even then.

When Shoon VII shed the mortal coil in 367 DR, his daughter's court was run by her viziers until her death of natural causes in 427 DR. Miraculously, Empress Shaani remained on the throne for an astonishing six decades despite her complete disinterest in matters of state. Whereas infinitely more powerful and adept emperors had rountinely fallen to assassination, Shaani somehow remained on the throne unscathed. However central control had so deteriorated by the end of her reign that her son Ahmal Shoon VII was left to desperately hold a fragmenting empire together. Though Ahmal Shoonn VII was a skilled military strategist and charasmatic leader in his own right, he deeply mistrusted wizards and eschewed magic in general. During his reign he purged the empire of mages. Without the aid of magic the Imperium stood little chance of defeating foes who manipulated the Art skillfully to their advantage.

Ahmal Shoon VII would be the final Shoon to sit upon the imperial throne. In the summer of the final year of his reign, 449 DR, both Tethyr and Amn burst into open rebellion against Shoonite rulership. The emperor soon had his hands full with a direct assualt from Tethyr led by King Silvyr, who had coopted the aid of Valashar under the leadership of King Priam Tornamn, an Ithil heir to the Tethyrian throne and secret sympathizer with Tethyr's quest for independence. Ahmal Shoon VII devised a cunning deception to defeat Tehyrian Kinf Silvyr, poisoning him in an arranged one-to-one dual proposed to spare the respective nations their armies. This plot of course also resulted in the slaughter of Silvyr's forces that had brought with him to Shoonach.

It was however very soon afterward in 450 DR that the Shoon Empire decisively collpased with death of Qysar Ahmal Shoon VII at the hands of the legendary one-armed elf-king of Tethyr, King Strohm I, son of the slain King Silvyr. King Strohm I secrectly placed his troops among the general population and lauched a surprise attack from within Shoonach. Strohm I himself avenged his father by cutting down Ahmal Shoon VII with his own sword. The elf-king's troops sacked the royal Calishite city of Shoonach, setting it ablaze in a terrible conflagration that lasted for two tendays. In a deal forged between Strohm I and Sharpfangs, the great dragon descended upon the city's smoldering rubble and looted may of its magical treasures. The vassal states of the Imperium were once and for all delivered from the yoke of Shoonite tyranny.

A bitter and bloody period of infighting ensued among the city-states that formed the core of Calimshan in the power vacuum left by the death of Ahmal Shoon VII and the sacking of Shooach. With no Shoonite caliph strong enough to seize the reigns of power, the empire that had once spanned the almost half of a vast continent was reduced to a confederation of city-states surrounding the Calim desert, the merest fraction of its former glory.

By 460 DR, from the economically powerful Emirate of Amin, a new kingdom in its own right arose. The new nation of "Amn" was founded by King Esmel Torlath, an ex-Shoonite general and emirate nazir, who immediately began construction of a grand capital city on the shores of Lake Esmel. The new kingdom was comprised of the city-states of Athkatla, Crimmor, and Murann and doubled its size in a mere century and a half.

* Note:

DM-only info:

EotSS p. 31 describes how Ashar's March was actually orchestrated behind the scenes by the undead Qysar Shoon VII.

In 367 DR Shoon VII faked his own death and entered lichdom. Shoon VII survives to this day in the possessed the body of elven wizardress Zallanora Argentresses, after she indavertantly released the lich from the Tome of the Unicorn. Shoon VII is an immensely powerful creature, a level 36 (!) necromancer demilich.

During his mortal life, Shoon VII feigned that he was mortally wounded by his arch-nemesis, the dragon Sharpfangs, in the third and final of their momentous battles. Shoon VII was in fact grievously injured in the battle, losing a leg and suffering a shattered arm. However, Shoon VII recovered (presumably regenerating the lost limb--though he was for the remainder of his mortal days to walk with a limp). By the use of illusions Shoon VII led the court to believe that he was instead gradually dying. He placed his daughter Princess Qysara Shaani on the throne, and in seven months time his daughter, quite predictably, attempted to poison him. Shoon VII was actually immune to the poison but he had anticipated the assassination attempt and used it to fake his death, placing a clone of himself to be interred in the casket. Shoon VII then secretly passed into lichdom with plans for future rule of a reconstituted Shoon Empire that only he knows.

Shaani ruled for 60 years thereafter believing she had successfully assassinated her father, and it is presumably only by the machinations of Shoon VII as a lich that she managed to remain on the throne.

No details are given as to how Shoon VII mananged to continue to manipulate Shaani's court viziers as a lich. But his scheme with respect to Ashar's March was first to use King Ashar's forces to stretch Cormyr's forces precariously thin; then to sucker the Cormyrean army into a well laid trap in Shoonach. As the fates would have it, however, after having sacked Ithmong Cormyrean King Azoun I abruptly withdrew his troops back to Tethyr to quell an orc uprising there. Had Azoun I continued on to attempt sack Shoonach his army may well have been destroyed. But for that quirk of fate the Shoon Empire may have extended even into Cormyr at it's height! Though how Shoon VII envisioned holding together an empire as vast as that with Epress Shaani at the helm is anyone's guess.


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Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2007 :  12:56:07  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I should add that I realize there are many different factors that contributed to the fall of the Shoon Imperium. Steven lays them out in LoI, Book I: Tethyr, p. 31. and EotSS p. 32. And the way I approach this personally is through the idea that in some cases there is no definitive answer to the great questions of history--there are only theories. But I'm just checking if there's any merit to the notion that, perhaps in the final analysis, the empire overextended itself and essentially collapsed under its own weight given enough time and the cumulative effect of various stressors. If so, I'm interested articulating how the vassal states and provinces managed to wrest themselves from the Shoon's grip in the last century of its rule. One thing that would be helpful to know is precisely which city-states, vassal states, emirates, provinces, and so forth comprised the Shoon Imperium during the reigns of the last three rulers?
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 01 Mar 2007 :  11:09:03  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

I should add that I realize there are many different factors that contributed to the fall of the Shoon Imperium. Steven lays them out in LoI, Book I: Tethyr, p. 31. and EotSS p. 32. And the way I approach this personally is through the idea that in some cases there is no definitive answer to the great questions of history--there are only theories. But I'm just checking if there's any merit to the notion that, perhaps in the final analysis, the empire overextended itself and essentially collapsed under its own weight given enough time and the cumulative effect of various stressors. If so, I'm interested articulating how the vassal states and provinces managed to wrest themselves from the Shoon's grip in the last century of its rule. One thing that would be helpful to know is precisely which city-states, vassal states, emirates, provinces, and so forth comprised the Shoon Imperium during the reigns of the last three rulers?



Good stuff, Lemernis.

As for the states toward the end, I'm too tired to speculate on much, but we know that Tethyr was a Shoon-vassal at the time, as were the Emirates of Amin (if I'm remembering what I'd named them back in LOI). I believe there were separate states under Shoon control where now stand Erlkazar, some slight bits of territory to the east of the Deepwash, and at least the northern territories along the Vilhon Reach (though some accounts talk of Shoon infiltration into the lands south as well).

Once I've had some time to think, I'll provide some more info (assuming, of course, I've not tripped over previously-laid lore in my insomniacal state), like names and timeline hooks.

Steven

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

378 Posts

Posted - 01 Mar 2007 :  12:15:57  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
At your leisure! :D The vassal states' relationship to the Shoon Empire toward its end is just one of the countless quirks you've created that adds even more depth to the setting. There is so much material in the history to be creative with. In some of the stuff I'm working on at the moment, I'm tempted to play around a bit with southern Amn having belonged to the kingdom of Valashar for a time. Especially in light of what you've told us recently of scholarship in Amn.
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 01 Mar 2007 :  21:04:25  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen
This raises an interesting (I hope!) query: Are the Mohawk-wearing, wampum-toting Elves north of Maztica actual, bona fide, native-to-Toril-from-the-Days-of-Thunder Elves, or are they also immigrants from elsewhere?

No. Wait. Lemme guess ... NDA, right?





Sort of....

If you're asking me for an official ruling, I'm no longer empowered to answer, as I've not been a WotC employee for a long time now.

If you're asking me my personal opinion and/or how I'd play it in my games (or in my novels, should I ever get the chance), I'd say definitely they're native elves (just as the native elves were originally on Evermeet before the mainland refugees showed up).

If you're looking for some lore on them or anything more than this, THAT would most likely be NDA.

Steven



"Ha ha," he laughs. Thanks for the answer, Steven. I missed it last month, but I see it now and thank you for your opinion, which reinforces my own opinion, and shall therefore be canonical in my game, at least.


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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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2007 :  03:08:04  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was just reading some old replies of your, and wondered...

Do you think that Khelben saw a dark reflection of the love he held for Laeral in the love between Sememmon and Ashemmi?

I know that you said that you are a romantic, but the question might be asked of Khelben?

(Pardon any spelling mistakes, I have trouble with remembering spelling of things.)

Ed Greenwood! The Solution... and Cause of all the Realms Problems!
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2007 :  22:14:49  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Foxhelm

I was just reading some old replies of your, and wondered...

Do you think that Khelben saw a dark reflection of the love he held for Laeral in the love between Sememmon and Ashemmi?

I know that you said that you are a romantic, but the question might be asked of Khelben?

(Pardon any spelling mistakes, I have trouble with remembering spelling of things.)



Mayhaps.....mayhaps indeed....

There are a few parallels among those two pairs of lovers, not the least of which is Khelben's striving to free Laeral from the Crown of Horns (and Sememmon's failure to prevent Manshoon from using a helm of alignment change on Ashemmi years ago)....

Steven
who knows Khelben's far more of a romantic than he ever got to show in print...

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
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khorne
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1071 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2007 :  20:13:03  Show Profile  Visit khorne's Homepage  Click to see khorne's MSN Messenger address Send khorne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

quote:
Originally posted by Foxhelm

I was just reading some old replies of your, and wondered...

Do you think that Khelben saw a dark reflection of the love he held for Laeral in the love between Sememmon and Ashemmi?

I know that you said that you are a romantic, but the question might be asked of Khelben?

(Pardon any spelling mistakes, I have trouble with remembering spelling of things.)



Mayhaps.....mayhaps indeed....

There are a few parallels among those two pairs of lovers, not the least of which is Khelben's striving to free Laeral from the Crown of Horns (and Sememmon's failure to prevent Manshoon from using a helm of alignment change on Ashemmi years ago)....

Steven
who knows Khelben's far more of a romantic than he ever got to show in print...


SPOILER


Was it that alignment change that was undone in Blackstaff? If so, what is Ashemmis alignment nowadays?

If I were a ranger, I would pick NDA for my favorite enemy
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