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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2008 :  09:20:27  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
And just to expand a little on Kuje's earlier reply... here's what Steven Schend told us back in January:-

"BLACKSTAFF TOWER is due out September 2, and it's my second full-length novel. For those fans who care, yes, it takes place in the 4th edition timeframe, so it's in 1479 Dalereckoning. Even with that time shift, there's lots of lore hidden in these pages to fill some backstories of the intervening times. In short, our heroes help the Blackstaff against a conspiracy that claimed the life of her predecessor and could shift the balance of power all over Waterdeep."

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

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

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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1792 Posts

Posted - 24 Jul 2008 :  17:53:10  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys.
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3524 Posts

Posted - 25 Jul 2008 :  20:03:51  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In case you guys missed it, Steven's book will be available at GenCon! (along with Jaliegh's)

A little nonsense now and then, relished by the wisest men - Willy Wonka

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." -

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
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Mkhaiwati
Learned Scribe

USA
252 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2008 :  21:22:31  Show Profile  Visit Mkhaiwati's Homepage Send Mkhaiwati a Private Message  Reply with Quote
since I didn't want to threadjack the land pricing thread...

Steven,

a merchant came by and was trying to sell land down in Halruaa? Should I take it? It was a beachfront property, and had magnificent views of something called "motes" that he described as islands in the sky. The motes can be used for skydiving, and provide additional farm-land on top. Bonus! It sounded too good to be true. Cheap! Only 80 gold per acre!

He said to ignore any reports of spell-scarring or some such nonsense. It is overblown in the press and only affects those with elvish blood in them anyway.

He tried to get us to sign a contract for 40 acres of prime real estate there, but we managed to hold him off for a couple of days until we tried you. He said he would be back tomorrow. Thanks

"Behold the work of the old... let your heritage not be lost but bequeath it as a memory, treasure and blessing... Gather the lost and the hidden and preserve it for thy children."

"not nale. not-nale. thog help nail not-nale, not nale. and thog knot not-nale while nale nail not-nale. nale, not not-nale, now nail not-nale by leaving not-nale, not nale, in jail." OotS #367
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1229 Posts

Posted - 27 Jul 2008 :  07:35:11  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the subject of land prices, Steven, since you seem to be the resident expert, what do you reckon about the cost of rural land?

Do you have a similar table for price per acre?

How much do you think a smallhold of decent land (maybe a 100 acres, some suitable for farming, a bit of shrub and forest and maybe a small creek) outside a city but within an hour's ride from it is going to set people back? Within a half-day's ride? A day's travel away?

Obviously, the quality of the land will modify that price. So will the vigor and professionalism of patrols from the nearest center of civilization.

But do you have any idea about typical prices in Cormyr, for example? Or the Vast? Sembia? The area around Waterdeep?

How much wealth does a noble's manor really represent?

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2008 :  21:08:47  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 The Red Walker

In case you guys missed it, Steven's book will be available at GenCon! (along with Jaliegh's)



I'll be happily signing copies of the book alongside Ed from 5-6pm on Friday at GenCon!

Steven
who's got to get his website updated to get a preview chapter of the book online ASAP....

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

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2008 :  21:12:19  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 Mkhaiwati

since I didn't want to threadjack the land pricing thread...

Steven,

a merchant came by and was trying to sell land down in Halruaa? Should I take it? It was a beachfront property, and had magnificent views of something called "motes" that he described as islands in the sky. The motes can be used for skydiving, and provide additional farm-land on top. Bonus! It sounded too good to be true. Cheap! Only 80 gold per acre!

He said to ignore any reports of spell-scarring or some such nonsense. It is overblown in the press and only affects those with elvish blood in them anyway.

He tried to get us to sign a contract for 40 acres of prime real estate there, but we managed to hold him off for a couple of days until we tried you. He said he would be back tomorrow. Thanks



Wouldst thou be interested in buying the tiny hamlet of Bridgedale as well, sirrah? `tis oh so pretty and valuable farmland resplendent with lissome maidens...and you might buy it from me for a mere song...

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

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2008 :  21:24:42  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 Icelander

On the subject of land prices, Steven, since you seem to be the resident expert, what do you reckon about the cost of rural land?

Do you have a similar table for price per acre?

How much do you think a smallhold of decent land (maybe a 100 acres, some suitable for farming, a bit of shrub and forest and maybe a small creek) outside a city but within an hour's ride from it is going to set people back? Within a half-day's ride? A day's travel away?

Obviously, the quality of the land will modify that price. So will the vigor and professionalism of patrols from the nearest center of civilization.

But do you have any idea about typical prices in Cormyr, for example? Or the Vast? Sembia? The area around Waterdeep?

How much wealth does a noble's manor really represent?




This involves a LOT of factors as you noted above (and I'm hardly an expert or even a student of farming). Even so, here's a benchmark or three off the top of my head:

Think much much smaller in terms of land parcels as the standard; I'd say price by the acre, as a family of four might be able to grow enough food on an acre to support itself (if it had a cow or a few sheep as well).

If I were GMing an FR game, I'd look at what the DMG gives as a base rate for real estate/land and go with that; if it doesn't mention farmland, make one acre equal in cost to what a farmer allegedly earns in five years (or might scrape together and buy with savings over 20).

If you're in a civilized realm (like Cormyr), it'll be more expensive (and also less likely to have land NOT owned by a noble or the Crown). The closer you are to a major city, the more expensive, etc.

In terms of smallholds, yeah, 100 acres might be a good start. As for noble landholdings, I'd say start at no less than 500 acres for a noble family on hard times; for a powerful noble, no less than 10,000 acres should do.

Prices should adjust upward with each factor:
Closeness to a trade road (more if it's patrolled/protected)

Closeness to other trade avenues (creeks to rivers, lakes, etc.) (And access to multiple avenues of trade increases prices further)

Closeness to a settlement (increase with settlement size)

Arability of land (and what sorts of crops grow therein)

Grazability of land (and what sorts of livestock will eat scrub)

Protection of land from weather extremes

Amount of predators in area (and what types)

Hope that gives you enough ideas to start with, Icelander.

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

1970 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2008 :  09:29:07  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
is your book out yet Steven, since it might be my last book ever depending on what I think of the campaign setting I buy.

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


My FR fan fiction
Magister's GAmbit
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1229 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2008 :  09:41:58  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

Think much much smaller in terms of land parcels as the standard; I'd say price by the acre, as a family of four might be able to grow enough food on an acre to support itself (if it had a cow or a few sheep as well).

If I were GMing an FR game, I'd look at what the DMG gives as a base rate for real estate/land and go with that; if it doesn't mention farmland, make one acre equal in cost to what a farmer allegedly earns in five years (or might scrape together and buy with savings over 20).

Well, I don't have the DMGII. I have to admit, I stopped buying mechanics books from WotC some time ago. I'll happily drop my last coin on Realmslore, but I have little use for their splatbooks.

There's also the inconsistent way their monetary system functions. A silver piece sometimes buys a hearty meal of simple food, but sometimes it's hardly spare change. All depends on who's writing what module.

And there's the extremely low price of weapons, armour and horses in comparison with the prices for food. A knight's destrier should not cost the equivalent of 700 lbs. of meat bought at market (yes, that's a real example from the PHB). All in all, I'd prefer to move away from the PHB and DMG in economic modelling. That's why I was asking for Realms-specific numbers and not the rules from WotC.

With that being said, what do you mean by earn? Do we mean the effective value of what the farmer grows in a year? Or the value after he eats and feeds his family? Only what he earns in coin (historically, hardly anything)?

I'm inclined to call feeding, housing and clothing his family a part of the farmer's earnings, even though it's mostly non-monetary compensation. After all, whether he buys these things or not, these are the proceeds of his labour being used to sustain him and his family.

With that being said, how much does an acre in FR yield per year? If growing grains, a decent yearly average could range from 250 lbs./acre (9th century France) to 600 lbs./acre (14th-15th century Europe). The variation mostly had to do with the quality of land and available labour, not any difference in technology, as witnessed by the Roman Africa province yielding similar amounts to what we see in Europe during the Renaissance. Farming techniques didn't change much for most of this time, for complex sociological reasons more than lack of opportunity (there were innovators who reported much better success, but their methods were never adopted on a large scale).

During Medieval times, a family of four (historically rather small, though, but I digress) could support itself on five acres. This was subsidence farming, mind you, and a disappointing harvest or bad weather meant poverty or death. And this is including a small vegetable garden, maybe a goat or two, some chickens and scavenging in the forest for berries, mushrooms and other goodies. The farming techniques available just weren't efficient enough for an acre to reliably feed one person (though it worked well enough in good years).

But wait, the Realms aren't historical Europe. We've got a totally different society and the presence of magic, monsters and active gods throws a giant spanner into our calculations.

First of all, we know that large cities are far more common in the Realms than on Earth during any time prior to the Industrial Revolution. We know that trade is more advanced and that not all people need labour as subsidence farmers (the historical figure was around 80-90%, but Elminster's Ecologies informs us that Cormyr has only a 70% of its population involved in acriculture and that's in a major exporter of foodstuffs). We know that cities such as Mulmaster can exist without much in the way of a hinterland to feed it and that a metropolis like Waterdeep can exist in a very cold climate.

In short, it's highly probable that good land in the Realms yields more grain than good land in Medieval Europe. The reasons for this could vary. For example, the more cosmopolitan nature of most of the Realms when compared to our historical Middle Ages means that new methods of farming would be picked up quicker if they worked. That alone could nearly double the yield per acre, if there are people to work it.

Then there are the gods and their servants. I've always assumed that priests of Chauntea blessed the fields of farmers all over the Realms, providing them with the bounty of the goddess (this is one of the key reasons for why Chauntea is the most powerful goddess in the Realms).

Then we have working alchemy (far ahead of mundane chemistry of our Earth), a higher rate of literacy and at least some mages who dabble in more mundane things than fireballs and lightning. Irrigation is simpler when you can summon rain or water, excavations are made easier with elementals or just a little Shape Earth, etc.

Taking all these into consideration (even if we allow for the higher rate of monster raids ), it seems obvious to me that a farmer in a civilised country that provides him with at least adequate protection should be getting a better yield than a historical farmer. Enough, perhaps, to make your figure of one acre for a family of four credible (it will please you to know that I've used a ballpark figure of x5 for yields in Cormyr when compared to historical France).

So, then, how much is our farmer earning on his acre? We know that if that's his whole farm, he's likely to have sowed a mixture of barley, wheat, peas and oats; but for our purposes, we're trying to find our what the price of an acre would be if its a part of a larger farm. Therefore, let's look at that attractive staple, wheat.

If he's bringing in five times more than a farmer in Carolingean France, he's bringing in about 1,250 lbs./acre. That's about double what the Roman Africa province yielded and a good benchmark for normal Realms farmland, I think. Of course, I think that much of the Dales and Cormyr is better land than this, but that would be better reflected by a price increase.

And how much money is 1,250 lbs. of wheat? In D&D, barley is 1 cp/lbs. and wheat is 2 cp/lbs., which I think that's a fair assessment. Wheat is usually double the price of barley and I think that would hold true in FR as well as our history. That means that our farmer is earning about 2,500 cp per year or a little over 250 silver pieces.

Of course, if the farmer has nothing but this land, I still think his family of four are going to lead a pretty awful life, with his yield being just above what they need to survive and nothing more. But a typical farm in Cormyr and the Dalelands is nearer 3 acres, according to Ed's Elimster's Ecologies, and that's enough for decent farming.

All in all, I get a price of 125 gp/acre for normal farmland, subject to a host of modifers. Fine land could easily start at 250 gp/acre and if it's in Cormyr or a peaceful and well policed Dale, I'd consider adding at least +20% onto that.

quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

If you're in a civilized realm (like Cormyr), it'll be more expensive (and also less likely to have land NOT owned by a noble or the Crown). The closer you are to a major city, the more expensive, etc.

Now that's something I was looking for some help with. How close is close? How far is far? If we assume that the base price for farmland is for farmland in patrolled territory that's not close to a major city, how much does it add to be within 50 miles from a city? 5% or 10%? Or doesn't it count as close to a city until we're within a day's walk, making it 20 miles?

Would farmland within 10 miles from a prosperous city be doubled?

As a historical note, farmland in our Middle Ages was rarely situated more than 30 miles from a town of some size or a city. In light of that, it might make more sense to reduce land cost for isolated farmsteads than add a premium to land within walking distance from cities.

I'd be inclined to have 30 miles be the standard and make a table something like this:

Nearness to next acricultural market:

More than 50 miles: -25%
45-50 miles:-20%
40-45 miles: -15%
35-40 miles: -10%
30-35 miles: -5%
25-30 miles: +0%
20-25 miles: +5%
15-20 miles: +10%
10-15 miles: +15%
5-10 miles: +20%
Within 5 miles: +25%


Then I'd modify for the other factors below, such as security and the laws of the realm the farm was in.

quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

In terms of smallholds, yeah, 100 acres might be a good start. As for noble landholdings, I'd say start at no less than 500 acres for a noble family on hard times; for a powerful noble, no less than 10,000 acres should do.

I was thinking about this for a player whose PC recently got knighted and he needs a manor close to Raven's Bluff to live in. He doesn't necessarily want to farm, but he wants to have space for his destrier, a couple of courser and maybe have the opportunity to breed a few more chargers.

He can't live more than an hour's ride out of town, so he'd have to buy expensive land, I guess, but then again, he's friends with some merchant lords and has invested in a prosperous shipping business (for which he currently works).

I'm guessing any land available would already be held by nobles, but luckily, he's probably going to be able to find one that is prepared to sell some land to a hero of the city and a dragonslayer.

He was looking for about a 100 acres, so I don't think that it would be unfair to charge him at least 13,250 gp for that. He doesn't need the best growing land and pick based on view and prettiness instead.

quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

Prices should adjust upward with each factor:
Closeness to a trade road (more if it's patrolled/protected)

Closeness to other trade avenues (creeks to rivers, lakes, etc.) (And access to multiple avenues of trade increases prices further)

Closeness to a settlement (increase with settlement size)

Arability of land (and what sorts of crops grow therein)

Grazability of land (and what sorts of livestock will eat scrub)

Protection of land from weather extremes

Amount of predators in area (and what types)

I'm going to have to work up some more tables.



quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend

Hope that gives you enough ideas to start with, Icelander.


Thanks for taking the time, Steven.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 08 Aug 2008 10:00:56
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2008 :  19:47:15  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 sfdragon

is your book out yet Steven



Blackstaff Tower won't be out officially until September 2nd, but I believe WotC will have a few copies on hand at Gen Con specifically for signing (me and Ed, together again for your continued mayhem and merriment, and mayhaps another author or two they've not told us about to keep us from fomenting more mischief ahead of time). We'll be at the WotC booth at Gen Con next Friday from 5 to 6 pm hopefully surrounded by copies of the book (and others).

For those not going to Gen Con, I suspect that September 2 will be the official ship date for bookstores and Amazon.

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

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2008 :  20:05:43  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, Icelander--thanks for all that detail. It goes to show that you're MUCH more knowledgeable about the topic than I am, and all I'm bringing to the table is my guesswork and old thoughts from discussions with Ed on world building.

That said, here's more opinion and thought on the prices et al:

The increments on range/distance from settlements or to trade avenues should be measured both in terms of miles and in terms of how far someone can walk, ride a horse, or take a cart in one day (i.e. the 30 mile standard, IIRC, if there's a cleared, paved road, less otherwise). Farther away than that, and yes it gets historically wonky, but we do have farms farther from settlements and it'd be cheaper. I'd say use your 250gp/acre for farms 20 miles out and making it incrementally 5% cheaper (farther away) or more expensive (closer and under better protection) with each 5 mile increment. Yes, that makes farmland right next to a major city 20% more expensive (300 gp/acre, but don't forget all those other factors). Problems (predators) reduce costs, while benefits (rivers, paved roads, etc.) increase costs, as expected.

That 250/acre also applies mainly to arable, good farmland. If it's tough to grow things (ala Scotland or the North without magical support), the price drops. If it's land only good for hunting, the price on the land drops (unless it's home to something really worth hunting like a lot of deer, not just trophy monsters or such). Land for grazing cattle depends on the demands for cattle and its products in that area, etc.

So many factors to juggle and so many variables--you might even make it easier on yourself by making it an even 200 gp/acre just to keep the math a bit cleaner.

So there's your benchmark--200 gp/acre of good farmland (with farming, grazing, homesteading, and wildcrop (wild berries, roots, etc.)). If you want to break it down even more, think of it as 50gp/acre/use of land. If it's only got one use (an acre of scrubby gravel is useless save in defense of a city, not allowing an invader support), it's 50gp/acre. If it's healthy soil with good location, it's going to be costly.

As for your player's knight, he could always roleplay his way to cheaper land, using diplomacy with his friend nobles to get better deals. Or simply have them cut him a sweetheart deal for the land and then hold it over his head for the rest of his days.

Think of it this way--much of the lands around Waterdeep are owned either by the Lords or by the many noble families of the city, though they leave much of it open as grazing land and "public land" for everyone's use. For the nobles, that gets them a break on some taxes, I would think, but also note that they have their established "estates" and "ranches" all over the areas within a few days' ride of the City, and not all of it is farmland. Think wild hunting lands (ala the land gifted to heroes who play Stardock), think roving hills of berries and grapevines or twisted scrub in which to hide.

The equation is this--not all land is created equal for all purposes, but all land is worth something to someone (and what's it's worth to you is what I'll charge to part with it).

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

Edited by - Steven Schend on 08 Aug 2008 20:13:18
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1229 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2008 :  22:44:14  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot for taking the time, again. One of my favourite things about the Realms is how approchable and friendly the writers and designers are.

And I'm hardly an expert. Just a hard-core geek with some minor history education and a tendency to read up on stuff I need for my gaming.

I like 200 gp/acre as a benchmark. That would imply a yearly yield of 2000 lbs./acre of high-quality grain like wheat, which can feed two adults and a child (or a family of four living below the poverty line). Land suitable only for millet, oats or barley would cost less, perhaps only half that. It's highly probable that much of the North consists of land that isn't suitable for wheat, at least not without magical assistance.

The Vast is known as a breadbasket for the Moonsea area. That would make the land there pretty good, I'm guessing, since Melvaunt and Mulmaster* must import nearly all their food and the Vast already has at least five cities of its own to feed.

Raven's Bluff regularly patrols maybe 50 miles around the city, with increasing vigour in my campaign (they're aiming to claim more orc lands for themselves and become more than just a city state). Occasional patrols go more than 100 miles up into the Fire River Valley, just to remind orcs and others who controls the Vast from the Earthfasts to Tantras (this will cause friction with Tantras authorities in the future, of course). Tantras patrols much less, making land there cheaper, but that's too far away for my purposes.

The distance between Tantras and Raven's Bluff is just 29 miles, making it impossible to be situated beside the road and farther away from a settlement than 15 miles. Mossbridges is 8 miles out from the Bluff, meaning that land around it would suit him fine.

There's also a settlement 15 miles away to the north, with no road between, but a trail of some sort that eventually joins the Mosstrail. It's called New Hope and populated by halflings. The distance is said to take about a day by foot, less than half mounted (and I suppose a knight on his favourite courser could go it in as little as a couple of hours).

I'm guessing that land beyond the Highbank Forest isn't claimed by Raven's Bluff (since elves have apparently started to Return to their ancient sites there without protests from the city). If the player was willing, he could claim land beyond that with at the point of his sword, keeping it safe from raiders and orcs and Raven's Bluff would welcome it. But I suspect that would demand too much of his time and not be close enough to the city where he does most of his business (not to mention the taverns and the Golden Rooster Roost).

I'm guessing, therefore, that the best land to buy would either be part of the former Raphiel noble family lands of Sunderside Hollow or Cathoniar of the Cathone family. Both suffered a lot of wartime damage and both families are near bankruptcy. Unfortunately, no source I've been able to track down indicates where these estates are, but I guess both of them are located somewhere east or northeast of the city, judging from the fact that the army of Myrkyssa Jelan seems to have come from there. There's also a hint that the halfling village of New Hope might have been raised on the former site of Sunderside Hollow, so perhaps the Raphiel lands are a mite too far away.

I'll use the base price for most of the land, modifying downward for the rolling hills, little creeks and forests he'll want to keep (forests are good growing land, but the work involved in clearing them costs money and as such, they come a bit cheaper). The PC comes from the foothills of the Thunder Peaks, so he'll not want land that's too settled and he'll definately want hunting (of which the Vast offers plenty).

So, I'm guessing he'll buy land about 5 miles north of the Bluff, close to the Mosstree Trail and by some tributary of the Fire River. It'll have +25% modification for closeness to settlment and probably another +10% for closeness to trail and river. This would be Cathoniar land, still showing some scars from the fierce battles fought there 3 years ago, but recovering fast (and maybe he'd find a bit of untouched forest).

The final price looks like 275 gp/acre, which is more than fair. He left 10,000 gold pieces with his factor and instructions as to what kind of land he prefered and the names of nobles he could contact. Looks like this might be enough for about 36 acres, which is plenty for a few horses, a manor and some land for hunting. He also left 5,000 gp to start the foundation for his manor and he'll be back with a cargo of fine wood to start building.

*By the way, it's interesting how examining the economic realities of the Realms can serve to illustrate how destroying all those evil people and organisations would harm most of the good people as well. It's not a balance of terror, it's a balance of trade. A reality that I suspect Khelben saw keenly.

Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Forgotten Realms fans, please sign a petition to re-release the FR Interactive Atlas

Edited by - Icelander on 08 Aug 2008 22:50:09
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2008 :  16:26:17  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, folks--the preview's live and ready to go.

Go to http://www.steveneschend.com/BT.htm and click on the link to download the first chapter (not the prologue) of Blackstaff Tower now!

Feel free to share the information with your friends; this will be the only place for the preview and only until the book's release date.

Steven
who's getting more and more excited about the book's release next week

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

Edited by - Steven Schend on 09 Aug 2008 16:39:46
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2008 :  16:57:21  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
You know Steven, I'm really want to download the Preview chapter... the urge is almost overwhelming me. But, just as I did with Blackstaff, I'm intent on not spoiling my experience of the book. So I'm going to eagerly wait until it's full release here.

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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
29901 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2008 :  17:32:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can't read it until later tonight!

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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 11 Aug 2008 :  15:06:29  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For those who were asking, here's my Gen Con schedule.

Thursday August 14
9a Writers’ Symposium: Mapping Your Fiction
10a Writers’ Symposium: Magical Realism
11a Writers’ Symposium: Make `em Bleed
12p Writers’ Symposium: Author’s Reading
1p Lunch
2p Writers’ Symposium: Pagan Topics in Writing
3p Writers’ Symposium: Ghosts & the Afterlife

7p Writers’ Symposium: Read & Critique
8p Writers’ Symposium: Read & Critique

Friday August 15
9a Writers’ Symposium: Nonlinear Narrative in Game Writing
10a Writers’ Symposium: Coloring in the Lines for Game Writing
11a Lunch
12p Author’s Alley: Signing
1p Writers’ Symposium: How to Break into Game Writing
2p Writers’ Symposium: Different Systems, Different Stories
3-5p Open Time
5-6p Wizards of the Coast booth: “Waterdeep” authors’ signing


Saturday August 16
10a Writers’ Symposium: Worldbuilding from the Ground Up
11a Writers’ Symposium: Worldbuilding, Hired Goods, Mercenaries & Thugs


Sunday August 17
10a Author’s Alley: Signing

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

Finland
1564 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2008 :  11:29:40  Show Profile  Visit Asgetrion's Homepage Send Asgetrion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, Steven... the preview chapter was *GREAT*!

No, it was better than great, it was simply AWESOME -- brilliant dialogue and great characters and a great pacing of events! Not to mention that your text really made me *feel* like I really was in Waterdeep... just enough well-written descriptions of the milieu and the characters without overdoing it. And you managed to sneak in a lot of Realmslore, too -- both new and old.

It felt almost *magical*, and in my opinion (based on this preview) 'Blackstaff Tower' may very well be the best FR novel written to date.

"What am I doing today? Ask me tomorrow - I can be sure of giving you the right answer then."
-- Askarran of Selgaunt, Master Sage, speaking to a curious merchant, Year of the Helm
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2008 :  11:47:12  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 Asgetrion

Wow, Steven... the preview chapter was *GREAT*!

No, it was better than great, it was simply AWESOME -- brilliant dialogue and great characters and a great pacing of events! Not to mention that your text really made me *feel* like I really was in Waterdeep... just enough well-written descriptions of the milieu and the characters without overdoing it. And you managed to sneak in a lot of Realmslore, too -- both new and old.

It felt almost *magical*, and in my opinion (based on this preview) 'Blackstaff Tower' may very well be the best FR novel written to date.



Well, thanks very much for that. Nice mood to take with me as I set up to leave for Gen Con in a few short hours. Hope you'll stop by the WotC booth on Friday to get the rest of the novel and get it signed by me and Ed.

Steven
who'll be reading a chapter of Blackstaff Tower aloud tomorrow at noon as his author reading (probably the prologue or Chapter 2, which introduces the other core heroes of the book)

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

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2008 :  12:48:15  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 althen artren

Spells stilled, sfdragon,

To my knowledge, this is no "official" write up
of the Blackstaff. I have looked on the Internet and all the
tomes that I have. I direct you to pages 4-8 of Blackstaff (the novel)
to see the known powers that the axe-head had that Khelben's
father used and the Duskwood of Sarael Khelben carried and
to see the situation that merged the two. (my guess it
was a retribution strike, so the staff was a specialized
staff of power or a staff of the magi.)



Your estimations are roughly correct there, but there's a lot of wiggle-room involved when the goddess of magic reaches down, reassembles your item into something new (as she also reassembled Khelben and made him Chosen). The primary reason we don't provide the full stats on items like that is simple--it closes a door that doesn't need to be closed. Once it's defined, we can't do anything different with the True Blackstaff.

And then I would not have been able to make it a crucial part of the climax of Blackstaff Tower.

In all due seriousness, when we neglect to provide you with more info on something, oftimes (at least in Ed's, my, and Eric's cases) we're just sitting on some tidbits of lore, waiting for the right time for that story to be told, that ability to be revealed. I realize it's frustrating, as I'm the guy who used to work to define as much as we could for the games.

Let's just say the True Blackstaff's full powers are unlikely to ever be revealed to anyone other than the current Blackstaff (the title-holder, not the item). To do otherwise would limit the stories about him or her. And we don't want that, do we?

Steven
who hopes Blackstaff Tower doesn't disappoint any existing fans and introduces Waterdeep to a lot of new fans as well...

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

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2008 :  12:51:00  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

Steven, did you ever find your notes for Skull & Crossbows or recall from whence the copper "octon" coins were considered to come? Since there is a scroll on coinage floating around here now, I bumped my "Realms spelljamming" scroll back to the top of its pile.



Sorry, Kreen. The notes appear to be long gone re: my first professional work with TSR as an editor.

If nothing else, though, that frees you up to come up with your own origins for them.

Me, I always wondered why people didn't mine asteroids and small moons to find new/different kinds of rare metal that would make for great trade coins of small size/weight....

Steven
who really should be walking the dog before he leaves for Gen Con.

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

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2008 :  13:22:31  Show Profile  Visit StarBog's Homepage Send StarBog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steven Schend
Me, I always wondered why people didn't mine asteroids and small moons to find new/different kinds of rare metal that would make for great trade coins of small size/weight....



Well, there is that bunch of crazy gnome metalsmiths in Marsember who produce a very profitable (and seemingly neverending) series of rather obscene statues made out of a strangely heavy and extra-dense metal that no sage has ever been able to identify.

The rumours that strange ships that look strangely out of place on water have been docking at their estates on the coast to the East of the city are totally false, of course.

Additional rumours that they've invented a strange new near-indistructable type of Golem* are also totally false, extremely scurrilious and without any basis in reality, and the fine legal minds of Floggit and Leggit, Suzail will sue your arse off if you so such as mention the Zhentarim emissaries seen entering and exiting the estates in question.



*OOTS-style Titanium Elementals anyone?


Edited by - StarBog on 13 Aug 2008 13:28:20
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althen artren
Senior Scribe

USA
778 Posts

Posted - 16 Aug 2008 :  00:22:47  Show Profile Send althen artren a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Spells stilled, Steven;

Well put, but I would still love to know the power of the Blackstaff that was draining
all the mages in Waterdeep in the Waterdeep novel by Elaine and Ed. That looked cool (and not in the Wotc way.)
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Wandering_mage
Senior Scribe

688 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2008 :  13:44:04  Show Profile  Visit Wandering_mage's Homepage Send Wandering_mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Steve, just wanted to thank you for a copy of your new book, and signed! I can't thank you enough for what you have done for us Realms fans. Has the earring Ed Greenwood drew on you washed off yet?

Illum
The Wandering Mage
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Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1631 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2008 :  14:48:47  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 Wandering_mage

Steve, just wanted to thank you for a copy of your new book, and signed! I can't thank you enough for what you have done for us Realms fans. Has the earring Ed Greenwood drew on you washed off yet?



Yes, it washed away easily and quickly the next morning, thankfully. . Good to see you (and Kuje and Brian, Brian, Brian, and Jeff, among others) at Gen Con.

SES

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