Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Realmslore
 Sages of Realmslore
 Lands of Intrigue - Amn, Tethyr, and Calimshan
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 2

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2005 :  14:19:21  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I'm in the process of learning more about the "Empires of the Sands", namely, Amn, Tethyr, Calimshan. Looking at the source material I can see that there are clearly real world Arab cultural inspirations there.

I realize this discussion opens a larger can of worms about how the Forgotten Realms draws so heavily from real world historical cultures and mythologies. There advantages and disadvantages to that. But for many regions in the Realms there's no mistaking that they are heavily derivative from real world sources. I realize the parallels with real world cultures of the past are intended as a point of departure, but I just want to make sure I understand that foundation correctly.

The 3rd Ed. Net Compendium submits the following parallels:

Amn
Cultural Reference: Spain and Portugal
Names: Spanish and Portugese

Tethyr
Cultural Reference: North Africa
Names: Arabian

Calimshan
Cultural Reference: Iranian Sultantate
Names: Iranian or Turkish

But as I look over Lands of Intrigue and Empires of the Sands, I think the Net Compendium missed the mark for two of these regions.

For Athkatla at least, the mention of pashas, emirs, and the like is distinctly Turkish. Djin are certainly inspired by Arab mythology. The illustrations in Lands of Intrigue: Amn show a turbanned folk, sitting on rugs and pillows.

And Athkatla strikes me as having a fairly strong parallel with Constantinople during the Byzantine era. Constantinople was situated at the crossroads of the Romanized/European and Arab worlds; and similarly Athkatla, seems a mixture of Faerunian and Calishite influences--though more strongly influended by Calimshan.

Anyway, so far Amn strikes me as derivative of Turkey, not Spain/Portugal.

Tethyr, on the other hand, in contrast does feel much more like Spain, with its European-styled monarchy and aristrocracy. I'm not seeing any Calishite (i.e., pseudo-Persian) influence to speak of. When I read about Tethyr I'm having a hard time distinguishing it from any Heartlands (pseudo-European) region. So I could see this region as having stronger parallels with Spain--i.e., it seems much more like a northern of central European power during the Renaissance.

For Tethyr, I do not see any parallel at all with North African Arab culture. When I think "North Africa/Arabian" I'm immediately put in mind of Morocco, or perhaps Saudi Arabia. And I don't see any of such cultural influence at all so far as I look over Lands of Intrigue: Tethyr

Calimshan seems unambiguously derivative of Persia. Pashas, sultans, djinni, flying carpets, the whole nine. So there I think the Net Compendium got it right.

Anyway, what do you think? Are the parallels I'm making above roughly accurate? Any history buffs out there that can correct any mistaken impressions I may have?


Edited by - Lemernis on 29 Oct 2005 16:34:34

Beirnadri Magranth
Senior Scribe

USA
720 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2005 :  15:21:18  Show Profile  Visit Beirnadri Magranth's Homepage  Send Beirnadri Magranth an AOL message Send Beirnadri Magranth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
there is a definate iberian influence in amn.
there is a strong military presence which is similar to spain which marched armies around the country at all times bc they had so many enemies and borders. Iberia had a strong arabic influnce from when it was a caliphate in early 700's ad... the portuguese aspect comes in as Amn having colonies in Maztica and conducting large sea trade. The cowled wizards of amn is reminiscent of the Inquisition. so for those reasons Amn does have an iberian (spanish portuguese, but also as you said an arabic influence)

"You came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory... instead you will die with a whimper."
::moussaoui tries to interrupt::
"You will never get a chance to speak again and that's an appropriate ending."

-Judge Brinkema
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2005 :  15:52:37  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, now looking at a Wikipedia article on the Iberian Peninsula I see that many parts of Spain and Portugal were ruled by Moors from North Africa (both Berber and Arab) for seven centuries. So I evidently we're talking medieval Moorish Spain/Portugal rather then Renaissance Spain.

I hadn't made the association between the Cowled Wizards and the Inquisition. Interesting.

The reason I was thinking Turkey was due terms such as "pasha" and "emir." Near as I can tell, these words have their roots in Turkish culture.

http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Pasha
http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Emir
http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Sultan

But I see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus that the title of 'emir' was used in Moorish Spain.

It is fair to say that the culture of Moorish Spain is a blend of Romanized/European and Arabian influences? But of the two, more strongly Arab-inflected?


Edited by - Lemernis on 24 Oct 2005 18:11:55
Go to Top of Page

Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2005 :  21:38:48  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I dunno, I prefer to think of Realms cultures as fantasy cultures in their own right rather than parallels of real world cultures.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30814 Posts

Posted - 24 Oct 2005 :  21:44:12  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's a thread where similar topics were discussed. It may prove useful to those interested:

Realms to Real World Comparison

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!
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  00:23:31  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

I dunno, I prefer to think of Realms cultures as fantasy cultures in their own right rather than parallels of real world cultures.



You're exactly right of course, but I'm talking about the inspiration for many of them. There's no absolutely mistaking it for the more 'exotic' regions beyond the Faerunian Heartland like Chult, Zakhara, Maztica, Kara-Tur, Mulhorand, etc. They're derived from real world cultures and mythologies.

Here's what the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Net Compendium posits:

Al Qadim/Zakhara Al-Qadim boxed set - culture reference:________, names: Arabian
Amlar (Forest) culture reference:________, names:________
Amn - culture reference: Spain and Portugal (FR3) names: Spanish and Portuguese
Anauroch/Bedine - culture reference: Touareg and Saharian desert-like nomads (FR13), names: Touareg and Saharian Bedouin
Baldur's Gate - culture reference: Renaissance (Maztica novels Spanish and Portuguese and FR15), names: _________
Calimshan - culture reference: Arabian Sultanate (FR3), names: Iranian or Turkish
Chessenta - culture reference: Sparta ??? (FR10), names: AncientGreek
Chult - culture reference: African (FR16) African
Cormyr - culture reference: English, French (FR0, English,
Ring of Winter), names: French
Dalelands - culture reference:________, names: ________
Damara - culture reference: Classic Germanic kingdom during the Holy Roman Empire, names: German
Earthspur - culture reference:________, names: ________
Endless Waste - culture reference:________, names: ________
Evermeet - culture reference: Elven/Atlantis (Elfshadow, Elf Coral Kingdom), names: ________
Fuirgar - The land of the Stone Gitans - culture reference:________, names: Eskimo
Great Glacier - culture reference: Eskimo See FR14, names: Eskimo
Great Rift - culture reference: Dwarven (FR11), names: Dwarf
Halruaa - culture reference:________, names: ________
Horde lands - cultural reference: Mongol (Hordes), names: Mongol
Ice Peak (the) - cultural reference: Eskimo, names: Eskimo
Icewind Dale - culture reference:________, names: ________
Impiltur - culture reference:________, names: ________
Lantan - culture reference:________, names: ________
Luiren - culture reference:Halfling (FR16), names: Halfling
Marsember - - culture reference: Cormyr Venice, with its canals, names: ________
Maztica - cutlural reference: Central and South Incas american, Aztec Incas and Aztec (Maztica boxed set and series), names: ________
Moonsea - culture reference:________, names: ________
Moonshaes - culture reference: Celtic (FR2), names: Celtics, Gaelics, Wales
Northern Moonshaes and Luskan - culture reference: Vikings (Scandinavian) (FR2/FR5), names: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish
Mulhorand - culture reference: Pharonic Egypt (FR10)names: Egyptian
Murghom - culture reference: Baghdad (i.e. modern Iraq)under a caliph, etc., names: ________
Narfell - culture reference:________, names: ________
Nimbral - culture reference:________, names: ________
Plain of Horses - culture reference: Mongol (Hordes), names: Mongol
Quoya Desert - culture reference:________, names: ________
Rashemen - culture reference: Ukrainian/Russia (FR12), names: Ukraine/Russian Peasant
Raurin - culture reference: pre-Saharan Desert, names: ________
Sembia - culture reference:________, names: ________
Semphar - culutre reference: Baghdad-like culture, names: ________
Shaar (The) - culture reference:________, names: ________
Shou Lung Kara-Tur boxed set - culture reference:________, names: Chinese
Sossal - culture reference:________, names: ________
Thesk - culture reference:________, names: ________
Tethyr - culture reference: North Africa (FR3), names: Arabian
Thay - culture reference: Egypt (FR6), names: Egyptian
Turmish culture reference: Ottoman Empire, names: ________
Ulgarth Feudal system (FR16) - culture reference:________, names: French
Unther - culture reference: Sumeria/Babylonia (FR10), names: Sumerian
Go to Top of Page

Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  02:10:54  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

quote:
Originally posted by Rinonalyrna Fathomlin

I dunno, I prefer to think of Realms cultures as fantasy cultures in their own right rather than parallels of real world cultures.



You're exactly right of course, but I'm talking about the inspiration for many of them. There's no absolutely mistaking it for the more 'exotic' regions beyond the Faerunian Heartland like Chult, Zakhara, Maztica, Kara-Tur, Mulhorand, etc. They're derived from real world cultures and mythologies.




True, true. But still, Ed Greenwood himself has said to be wary of drawing parallels between the Realms and real world cultures because it can lead to believing things about the Realms that aren't really there (ie. women didn't have much freedom during the Renaissance, so in Renaissance inspired Realms cultures, women have less freedom than they might elsewhere).

If you have specific questions about what inspired Ed to make certain places, you could ask him in his Q&A thread.

Interestingly enough, the more "real world-ish" the culture is (Maztica, Kara-Tur, the Hordelands), the less I tend to like it. My opinion--it's called "fantasy" for a reason. Still, I do like Chult, even though I wouldn't say it's my favorite Realms area.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
Go to Top of Page

Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  03:21:46  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll be the first to confess that Turkish history and culture had a lot more play than I expected it would when I was writing up Calimshan in Empires of the Shining Sea. The main reason I layered in more Turkish grace notes was to differentiate Calishites from the Bedine and the Zakharans, both cultures being far more directly Arabic in inspiration.

As for the Amn / Tethyr bits, you guys are on the mark; there is probably more Calishite leftover culture in Amn because they were always a bit removed from the lash, unlike Tethyr. Thus, while both were born from a mix of immigrant conquerors/overlords from Calimshan, Amn and Tethyr have their touches of the south in varying degrees. That's why I always hint at the links to Moorish Spain and southern France for them--the architecture and some of the religion and customs remain, even if they outwardly hate the culture from which it came.

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
Go to Top of Page

Steven Schend
Forgotten Realms Designer & Author

USA
1632 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  03:25:03  Show Profile  Visit Steven Schend's Homepage  Send Steven Schend a Yahoo! Message Send Steven Schend a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also recognize that you can't make direct parallels between Turkey or Arabia or Spain and the FR countries into which some stuff got layered. I did my best to tweak things to make them "what was expected," "what was exotic," "what was interesting," "what was useful," and "what was Realmsian." And believe me, it's not always that easy a task.

For current projects and general natter, see www.steveneschend.com
Go to Top of Page

The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5047 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  04:07:35  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lemernis, I think it's important to differentiate between real-world cultures that later writers drew on to detail various parts of the Realms, and whatever "inspired" Ed Greenwood to create and name those areas in the first place.
I KNOW (as one of Ed's longtime players) that Ed was NOT inspired by any real-world cultures. Cities and farming regions he'd visited, yes, and the "flavours" of them he wanted to evoke, but real-world countries or peoples or cultures no. Those overt references came from TSR's "historical" period, and were stitched on top of Ed's realms.
Looking at what you've listed from the 3rd Ed Net Compendium, I say many of the suggestions about the Heartlands miss the mark entirely. Moving outside the Heartlands to the "grafted on" areas (from the Moonshaes to Chult, which borrowed Ed's original names and chameleoned under them) to Zakhara and Kara-Tur (wholesale additions), I do agree that real-world influences and parallels can plainly be seen. But not about the Heartlands * I * adventured in, for (ye gods!) some 25 years.
love,
THO
Go to Top of Page

eomer
Seeker

Russia
28 Posts

Posted - 25 Oct 2005 :  13:21:47  Show Profile  Visit eomer's Homepage Send eomer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for the Rashemen - for me (living in Russia) it's fun to see Ukraine/Russian
Because there is no difference between them. (At least in medieval histry they were one country).

Yours Faithfully, Konstantin aka Eomer
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2005 :  00:58:37  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Rinonalyrna,

I think the more transparent fantasy derivations from the real world are, probably the less transported into an imaginal space the player or reader is likely to be--though as Steven says, there's a sweet spot writers are always trying to find between those real world sources and what seems entirely fresh.

As for the settings that seem too real world-ish, it seems to me that it would probably be more satisfying to play in a setting that simply goes ahead and uses Mayan and Aztec cultures or ancient Egyptian culture directly, rather than inventing Maztica or Mulhorand, for example. :)

The southern Sword Coast and central/southern Western Heartlands have always struck me as having an almost American colonial frontier influence. At least as Volo speaks of the "Westie" mindset. That is one area that I might one day ask Ed about. But I will show restraint and won't pester him about it any time soon. I'm amazed that he finds the time to give the thoughtful answers he does in his Chamber of Sages thread. Don't know how he does it.

***

Steven, thanks for sharing that!

Moorish Spain looks like an extremely evocative time and place in history. It seems steeped in romanticism. Personally, if I were were trying to bring life to a fantasy setting that uses it as a point of departure, I would find that too seductive not to look toward often.

I can't imagine that many, many fantasy writers don't constantly find inspiration in real world history, myths, and legends. Well, clearly they do, there's no question. It's anything but unusual. I mean look at Tolkien's work for goodness sake. Frank Herbert's Dune series certainly brings nomadic desert cultures (Bedouin) to mind. Ursula K. LeGuin draws from Celtic Wales Arthurian legend. The list is endless, really.

Don't mean to get too philosophical here, but as a former musician it reminds me that there are really no "new melodies", in the sense every musical phrase consists of smaller motifs you have heard somewhere before.

And if C.G Jung was right, there are reasons that certain stories are retold again and again, across culture and time, in varying form. The basic themes of life that mankind constantly struggles with are never really 'new', just retold in fresh ways.

(Yikes, I wince at how pretentious all that is. Oh well. It's an internet message board about a fantasy setting. Who gives a crap.)

***

THO,

Yeah, I now wish I had emphasized that in the topic starter too. I definitely did not mean to imply the Realms that Ed created himself, but the regions added later not by him.

Come to think of it, I've never really been clear on exactly what regions were Ed's brainchildren, and which aren't (though I think I could probably guess many which aren't). Which regions are his creations?

Edited by - Lemernis on 26 Oct 2005 01:00:07
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30814 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2005 :  02:08:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't recall the source of this blurb, but it answers your question:

quote:
Ed DIDN’T create Vaasa, Damara, Bloodstone Pass, the people or folk of the Moonshaes (though the name is his), the Uthgardt barbarians, Drizzt or the drow (though he did give the drow lots of Realms rules and two gods, Eilistraee and Vhaeraun), Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim (though he did contribute some spells to that setting), Shade, some features in Anauroch, the Hordelands, or Maztica. He isn’t responsible for the Egyptian pantheon of gods put into Old Empires, or most of the nonhuman deities (though he created a few gods for the dwarves). He didn’t create Danilo Thann or Arilyn, though he DID create Elaith. Most of the lead characters in novels not by him were created by others, though he did name and create a surprising number of them, from almost all of the Uskevrens in the Sembia series to Myrmeen Lhal in The Night Parade.
Everything else came originally from Ed, even to the name “Forgotten Realms.” The map of Faerun has been tinkered with a bit, but what you see today is, more or less, what Ed handed to TSR back in 1986.
Ed is very quick to credit others for expanding his creation and putting it into D&D form, from staffers like Jeff Grubb and Steven Schend to freelancers like Eric Boyd and many, many others. The Realms is a shared world, now, but as someone who saw it before TSR ever did, I can swear beyond any doubt that Ed Greenwood is THE Creator of the Realms. He even created Candlekeep (not this site, but the monastery it is named for . . . plus Alaundo, most of the Roll of Years, the Calendar of Harptos and Harptos himself, and so on and on and on).

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!
Go to Top of Page

Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2005 :  03:51:39  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

Rinonalyrna,

I think the more transparent fantasy derivations from the real world are, probably the less transported into an imaginal space the player or reader is likely to be--though as Steven says, there's a sweet spot writers are always trying to find between those real world sources and what seems entirely fresh.

As for the settings that seem too real world-ish, it seems to me that it would probably be more satisfying to play in a setting that simply goes ahead and uses Mayan and Aztec cultures or ancient Egyptian culture directly, rather than inventing Maztica or Mulhorand, for example. :)



Perhaps--I guess that would depend on what the player wants. My favorite areas of the Realms always have been and likely always will be the Heartlands, and my brain just cannot--will not--think of those lands as being "based" on any particular real world culture. As I said in another thread, when I "enter the Realms", I want to feel like I'm going to a fantasyland that is alien from the world I live in. We all live in the real world, anyway, so I like to "escape" to places that don't remind me too much of the world I live in or its history.

Don't get me wrong, I realize there is going to be some real world influence (of course!), but I'm kind of against the "Waterdeep is London, the Dalelands are Germany" mentality.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2005 :  16:21:52  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Beirnadri Magranth

The cowled wizards of amn is reminiscent of the Inquisition.



Bear with me as I continue my study here....

I was interested to find that in the canon source Empires of the Sands and Lands of Intrigue, the Cowled Wizards are not quite as depicted in the Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn computer game.

Amnians, as a society, are suspicious, fearful, and antagonistic towards magic. The Amnian government is repressive towards the study and use of magic. In the computer game the Cowled Wizards did behave rather like the Inquisition. In the computer game they had seemingly been integrated into the fabric of the government in terms of its policy to prohibit magic.

But according to the canon I have found so far, the Cowled Wizards are in fact a secret, underground, outlaw society that actually seeks to strengthen and preserve the Art. They are agents of Azuth and Deneir. Azuth is all about spreading the wise study and practice of magic, and Denier is about cataloguing it.

So they not really part of any sort of oppressive governmental regime to thwart the spread of magic, and indeed are on the other side of that, near as I can tell... In canon anyway, I don't see a parallel with the Spanish Inquisition.




Edited by - Lemernis on 26 Oct 2005 16:22:32
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 26 Oct 2005 :  22:40:34  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Forgotten realms Interactive Atlas, near to Amnwater, are the following points of interest

* The Battlescarred Bard
* Harvest House (temple of Chanteau)

But I'm not finding any reference to them in Lands of Intrigue or Empires of the Sands. Anyone know where some lore can be found on these locations?
Go to Top of Page

The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2005 :  02:00:46  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
The Battlescarred Bard is detailed in Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. It is an inn.

And the Harvest House in central Amn is mentioned in Faiths & Avatars as I recall, in Chauntea's entry.

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

Edited by - The Sage on 27 Oct 2005 02:01:27
Go to Top of Page

Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2005 :  02:13:21  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lemernis

quote:
Originally posted by Beirnadri Magranth

The cowled wizards of amn is reminiscent of the Inquisition.



Bear with me as I continue my study here....

I was interested to find that in the canon source Empires of the Sands and Lands of Intrigue, the Cowled Wizards are not quite as depicted in the Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn computer game.

Amnians, as a society, are suspicious, fearful, and antagonistic towards magic. The Amnian government is repressive towards the study and use of magic. In the computer game the Cowled Wizards did behave rather like the Inquisition. In the computer game they had seemingly been integrated into the fabric of the government in terms of its policy to prohibit magic.

But according to the canon I have found so far, the Cowled Wizards are in fact a secret, underground, outlaw society that actually seeks to strengthen and preserve the Art. They are agents of Azuth and Deneir. Azuth is all about spreading the wise study and practice of magic, and Denier is about cataloguing it.

So they not really part of any sort of oppressive governmental regime to thwart the spread of magic, and indeed are on the other side of that, near as I can tell... In canon anyway, I don't see a parallel with the Spanish Inquisition.







True, the computer games makes the CWs out to be a branch of the government, but they really are not.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
Go to Top of Page

Crennen FaerieBane
Master of Realmslore

USA
1378 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2005 :  02:44:56  Show Profile  Click to see Crennen FaerieBane's MSN Messenger address Send Crennen FaerieBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When groups of mages get together, it's kind of hard to tell them to behave, hence you just give them a role in the government so they don't turn their enmity towards you.

C-Fb

Still rockin' the Fey'ri style.
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2005 :  21:41:01  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay, back with more questions. :)

What general types of threats do adventurers face in central Amn? It appears that Amn is quite civilized where its open spaces between large cities is concerned. Am I understanding that right?

For example, I know that Amnians look down upon the neighboring land to the north along the Sword Coast as a kind of barbaric wilderness, and that to me suggests that they have little or no monster problem in central Amn.

As to safety in travel: have most of the monster species that roam with impunity in the wilderness along the Sword Coast been eradicated in Amn? Again, I'm talking about territory between the coast and Lake Esmel, bracketed by the two mountain ranges (Cloud Peaks to the north and the Small Teeth to the south). I get the impression that except for occasional human bandits along the trade routes, one would not encounter such species as goblins, orcs, kobolds, hobgobs, etc.

Now in the mountains, and especially beneath them, yes, there one would find such species.

What other types of threats are there?

It seems that the rural heartland of Amn has a surprisingly large population of farms and villages dotting its countryside--two million people live outside of the major cities between the sea coast and Lake Esmel if I've done my math right. Would that be a population density roughly equivalent to rural Vermont, let's say? We're talking about a rectangle of approximately 225 miles by 115 miles. That's an average of 77 persons per square mile. Many are concentrated in villages, but nevertheless I would expect that with that sort of density the rural countryside is mottled with farms and villas.

I'm picturing the climate and terrain as rather like northern California wine country (even down to the Spanish architecture, although here with more of a Moorish-looking influence). Warm and pleasant most of the year, with a cooler rainy season. It sounds much more fertile than the rugged, rocky hills of Iberia, getting back to that parallel with Spain. Anyway, I'm picturing verdant, gently rolling hills, lots of trees but no dense forest, mottled with well-to-do farms (villas?) and quaint villages. Is that about right?


Edited by - Lemernis on 28 Oct 2005 12:03:36
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 28 Oct 2005 :  12:48:28  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, and thank yous! to Wooly and the Sage for their helpful responses above, please forgive my lack of manners.
Go to Top of Page

Lemernis
Senior Scribe

378 Posts

Posted - 29 Oct 2005 :  18:11:29  Show Profile  Visit Lemernis's Homepage Send Lemernis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The following questions pertain to the system of nobility in Amn.

From Lands of Intrigue I have gathered the following:

Amn has a class-based society based on wealth. The greater one's wealth, the higher one's social status.

The society's system of nobility is primarily wealth-based, rather than hereditary.

Some of Amn's mercantile houses have existed for many generations, run by the same family. However, mercantile houses often begin as partnerships or consortiums of lesser merchants, unrelated by blood, seeking to compete with the large established costers. These new enterprises sell shares. Accordingly, some in positions of power in Amn (including the Council of Six and the Shadow Thieves) may have a stake in the fortunes of these ventures. Sometimes new mercantile houses are formed by virtue of arranged marriages. When a mercantile house succeeds, it may establish itself as a merchant family, according to its leader's family name.

The leader of a family run mercantile House may assume the title of 'Lord'. A Lord may pass his title to an heir. However, the title of Lord may also be bought if the price is right.

It is however unclear in Lands of Intrigue which governmental entity officially recognizes a mercantile House and grants the title of Lord.

At the highest level of Amnian government this might ultimately fall under the purview of either the Mesiarch (who ensures that no mercantile house/family forms a monopoly) or the Tessarch, who controls the judiciary and resolves family disputes.

But is there a particular agency of the central government, or a position of some sort, that officially recognizes a house and grants the title of Lord?

In Book One of Lands of Intrigue, for Tethyr there is a list of titles. I see no such list for Amn in Book Two. Does this mean that the only noble title in Amn is 'Lordhsip' of a mercantile House? Which is fundementally decided according to wealth as opposed to bloodline?

Are Guildmasters in Amn commonly referred to by the Calishite term 'pasha'?

Edited by - Lemernis on 29 Oct 2005 19:14:29
Go to Top of Page

Smyther
Learned Scribe

Canada
121 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2006 :  00:56:34  Show Profile  Visit Smyther's Homepage Send Smyther a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Since this seems like the place to put it, I would like to ask a question of Amn. I recall hearing that Ed Greenwood would be doing an update for Amn and perhaps other areas, detailing the up-to-date information on what has occured with the wars and such, and their results. We have no 'modern day' information on Amn, which seems quite an inconsistency, since Amn plays a major role in all trade of Faerun, which effects anything and everything. The political situation should have changed in the last five or so game years, and I know I for one would dearly love to see an update. If Ed wasn't doing this (ie false rumor) then has anybody else done this or will be doing this? Perhaps, with the Moonsea book coming out, they will do one for the lands of intrigue as well...

So sayeth the Smyther, the Dark Bard of Amn.
Go to Top of Page

Kajehase
Great Reader

Sweden
2104 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2006 :  02:01:58  Show Profile Send Kajehase a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There have been hints that Power of Faerūn will add some detail to Amn, and in addition, this could also have something to do with Ed's Cities of Faerūn-articles in Dragon Magazine (loose conjecture by me).

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
Go to Top of Page

Faraer
Great Reader

3308 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2006 :  02:20:59  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Smyther
We have no 'modern day' information on Amn, which seems quite an inconsistency, since Amn plays a major role in all trade of Faerun, which effects anything and everything.
On the other hand, the last sourcebook treatment of Amn and Tethyr is more recent than the last sourcebooks (the Volo's Guides and earlier) on every region of the Heartlands.

The more that finite-sized sourcebooks concentrate on catching up with the ongoing timeline, the less space for detail and depth about these places, including already created lore we've waited for decades to see print. I especially don't think it's a good use of Ed's time to update regions according to events he had little to do with.

But I certainly hope to see a new Lands of Intrigue book in due course.

Where have the hints been that Power of Faerūn or Dragon will deal with Amn, by the way?

Edited by - Faraer on 15 Jan 2006 02:21:42
Go to Top of Page

The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2006 :  02:30:42  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
I believe Kaje is referring to the focus on Crimmor, in DRAGON #334.

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
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  New Poll New Poll
 Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2018 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000