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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  02:08:29  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Just had a chance to read some of the recent posts here, and I'd like to add a note or two about Castlemourn:
The main setting book should be available as a PDF download (DriveThru, I believe, but of course NOT free) in a week or less, and in "real printed book" form soon thereafter.
Ed is NOT abandoning the Realms or stepping back from working hard on ever-more Realmslore. Quite the contrary.
Those who like Ed's "come to life" flavor of fantasy worldbuilding should like Castlemourn. It's rich, it's inviting, but of course doesn't have the depth of lore yet that the Realms has achieved in forty years.
Those who like Ed's fiction and have access to GAME TRADE magazine (the Alliance/Chessex distributor mag; back issues have occasionally in the past been given away free at GenCon Indy): a four-part serial Ed wrote, set in a port city of Castlemourn, just wrapped up, and I understand he may write another as soon as his schedule permits.
I will be buying the Castlemourn main book (lovely graphics including a Donato Giancola [spelling help, anyone?] cover, some of the inevitable d20 magic items and spells, but a nice overview of a setting that feels "real"), and I think most scribes who do, won't be disappointed.
And no, I don't get paid for advertising it.
A Realms tidbit: Ed tells me he has future plans for Narnra (El's Daughter). And a tale involving some of the Seven, but probably not a novel, for either.
Apropos of the "librarian" requests, as far as I can recall, the generic Realms term is "tomekeeper." Ed will of course supply formal titles, et al, in the fullness of time (read: next year).
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 31 Dec 2006 02:13:44
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  02:38:06  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
Neat! There's so much in that one post to look forward too... Thank you my Lady.

And I think you spelt "Donato Giancola" correctly. Yes.

As it is... I think I'll go ahead and purchase the PDF for Castlemourn, simply because I can't wait until the book itself reaches print and eventually gets shipped to these southern shores. That's not to say I won't also buy a printed copy, indeed I will.

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 31 Dec 2006 02:38:46
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  02:41:39  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
I, too, feel the excitement. And have that old "drool, can't wait" feeling.
I wonder what sort of charge Ed gets out of being able to evoke such feelings in others? It must be the ultimate high.
Hmm. Lady THO, dare I ask him?
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  02:50:39  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Well, now, Blueblade, I don't know. Only you can answer that. So, dare you ask him?
Seriously: I will of course send your post to Ed. You can ask him ANYTHING. He's a librarian, remember?
I've heard him calmly and unblushingly discuss such matters as sexual relations during menstruation, at the public library circulation desk, with "older women" seeking books covering said topic. I'm not suggesting you rush forward and ask him about THAT in the Realms, as I'm sure the moderators would prefer to keep the Forums as family-friendly as possible, but if you did, I'm sure Ed would provide a calm and definitive answer.
I know he LOVES DMing, and game designing, and writing fiction, and helping other writers with their fiction (and despite some of the rather nasty things certain posters have said here at Candlekeep and elsewhere about the quality of Ed's fiction, the fact remains that many writers consider him not only a friend but a good critic and editor, and send drafts of their books to him for "fixing"). But we'll let the man put it in his own words.
love,
THO
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  02:59:30  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
We've alrdy had the menstruation discussions and sex discussions :) So, it's not like that's nothing new on Keep. Hahaha.

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

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium

Edited by - Kuje on 31 Dec 2006 03:02:17
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  04:35:11  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, fellow scribes. This time, Ed replies to Blueblade about the following: “Another question for the ever-growing heap: names and varieties of a few edible mushrooms of the Realms that might be picked and solid in the Dales or northern Cormyr. Please please please!”
Ed replies:



First, I’m going to assume that “solid” is a typo for “sold.” Second, I’m not going to repeat myself about mushroom varieties I’ve mentioned in earlier Realmslore. So here are four ‘new’ edible mushrooms:

belkorm (singular “belka”): tall, spindly brown woodland mushrooms (grow singly, under rotting leaves and beside dead, fallen wood) that are dusty brown when immature, tanned shoe-leather brown when ready to eat, and shrivel to black (and give off copious spore-dust) when dead; a frost kills them. Harmless to eat in any condition, but tasteless except when “ready,” which is when they have a nutty, rich fried-bacon-like flavor. Can be eaten raw, fried, or in stews. Don’t stain upon contact, and travel well in pouches, going to “dead” state in 2 days if wet, but only after five days or so if kept dry. Sell for 1 cp/helm (a bowl the size of an upturned Purple Dragon helmet).

lorval (singular “lorv”): dark red spears of fungi that grow in clusters of three to a dozen, in the deepest woods; picking them all kills the cluster, but leaving just one will keep it alive. Change hue to yellow-gold when ready to eat. Very oily (and can be crushed to yield a readily-flammable, smoky lamp-oil) when immature (eating them makes most humans, elves, half-elves, gnomes, and halflings very ill), but the oil is converted to dense, readily-edible flesh as the mushrooms mature (become yellow in hue). The “spears” are actually made up of multiple overlapping caps, and when mature don’t induce nausea, but rather offer a woody, delightful meal that tastes something like a well-made onion-and-boar sausage (cooking them makes them soft - - though they go hard again if overcooked - - but changes the taste not at all). Sell for 2 cp/helm (a bowl the size of an upturned Purple Dragon helmet) due to lamp-oil use as well as a food.

murrin (singular “murror”): wide-capped, dark slate-gray-to-purple mushrooms that grow in large masses in deep, always-shaded, always-damp ravines and forest streambanks in the more northerly (and colder, so also on the slopes of the Thunder Peaks) Dales. They are rather tasteless (some have likened them to the potato), but grow in profusion, are quite nutritious, always safe to eat (and difficult to mistake for any other fungi) and can be eaten frozen in winter. As a result, they are a table staple in many Dale households, where they are sliced and fried with various spices and in stews and soups, to flavor their fleshy, nourishing bulk into something more exciting. Sell for 1 cp/3 helms (a bowl the size of an upturned Purple Dragon helmet).

talassa (singular “tala”): a gray, wrinkled, misshapen blob like a small creature brain or a very large shelled walnut. Usual size: will fill a small man’s palm. Grow in clusters of up to a dozen between the roots of particular sorts of shrubs; can be “plucked clean” but more will grow on the same spot. Dry out when harvested, going purple-gray, and last indefinitely, going back to “just picked” state if soaked in water. Some chefs soak them in wine mixtures to attain an ingredient of wonderful taste (but in unskilled hands, such treatment can make them taste revolting). Safe to eat in any state, including raw and fresh-picked, but achieve full flavor if boiled, stewed, or fried in beef or rothé gravy. Talassa have a deep, sharp cheddar cheese-like taste, that wanes to mere waxiness if they are too old, eaten raw, or frozen. Very nourishing; eating just two can often make a ravenous person “feel full.” Sell for 4 cp/helm (a bowl the size of an upturned Purple Dragon helmet) in the Dales, 2 sp for the same amount in Sembia (where their nourishing and enduring properties have long fostered a belief that they have some powerful gods-given life-sustaining/medicinal properties, that no one’s quite discovered yet, but that will of course work beneficially on anyone eating talassa regularly).



So saith Ed. Culinary expert of the fantastic par excellence. He’s not a bad eater, either.
love to all,
THO
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31688 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  04:44:49  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
quote:
Originally posted by Kuje

We've alrdy had the menstruation discussions and sex discussions :) So, it's not like that's nothing new on Keep. Hahaha.

Indeed.

I don't think any of us, as Candlekeep mods, want to start defining what type of replies Ed can and cannot post here.

As long as we're keeping within the rough guidelines set by the Candlekeep CoC and the scope of what Ed's discussed before regarding such subjects, I don't have any problem with this.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

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

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

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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Kes_Alanadel
Learned Scribe

USA
326 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  10:17:29  Show Profile  Visit Kes_Alanadel's Homepage  Send Kes_Alanadel a Yahoo! Message Send Kes_Alanadel a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hi again, fellow scribes. This time, Ed replies to Blueblade about the following: “Another question for the ever-growing heap: names and varieties of a few edible mushrooms of the Realms that might be picked and solid in the Dales or northern Cormyr. Please please please!”
Ed replies:


<snipped for length>

So saith Ed. Culinary expert of the fantastic par excellence. He’s not a bad eater, either.
love to all,
THO




Ah, and another piece of Realmslore for my food files. Thank you so much Ed and THO for all that you give to the scribes here at Candlekeep. *Raises glass* May you have a wonderful and prosperous new year.
~Kes

Ack! I seem to have too much blood in my coffee stream!

When did 'common sense' cease to be common?
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Rolindin
Seeker

USA
46 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  14:31:59  Show Profile  Visit Rolindin's Homepage Send Rolindin a Private Message
a question crossed my mind about the purple knights.
This would be the question for MR. Greenwood: I ahve been reading all the atricles on the Corymr Purple Knights here at this site, I don't know if someone has ask this before.
But Mr. Greewood do the purple knights of corymr have all the same banners (company flags), or is there some differance's between the companie Banners of purple knights.

And do the sir coats the purple knights wear: is all of them the same design, or is there some differance's in them?
By this I mean are the sir coats the light lancers wear the same as the heavy lancers companies? are the light cavarily and heavy cavarily wear the same sir coats (if they wear them at all.)
If this is not too much trouble to ask for.
Then thank you in advance then Mr. Greenwood.

Edited by - Rolindin on 31 Dec 2006 14:37:57
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Longtime Lurker
Seeker

51 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  15:07:46  Show Profile  Visit Longtime Lurker's Homepage Send Longtime Lurker a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO,
Power of Faerun gave us some military and watch ranks of various places around the Realms. Could Ed please give us some ranks for some cities in Chessenta?
And perhaps general local terms (if there are any) for city guards/police and lawkeeping patrols in the countryside (of Chessenta)?
Thanks.

Edited by - Longtime Lurker on 31 Dec 2006 19:44:44
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  16:29:03  Show Profile  Send Kuje an AOL message  Click to see Kuje's MSN Messenger address  Send Kuje a Yahoo! Message Send Kuje a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kes_Alanadel

Ah, and another piece of Realmslore for my food files. Thank you so much Ed and THO for all that you give to the scribes here at Candlekeep. *Raises glass* May you have a wonderful and prosperous new year.
~Kes



Grin,

I was thinking about you when I read that reply and added it to my files. I was going, I need to point that reply out to Kes.

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

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium
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Sage of Stars
Seeker

USA
59 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:41:43  Show Profile  Visit Sage of Stars's Homepage Send Sage of Stars a Private Message
I'd like to thank Ed and THO for another year of answering Realmslore questions for us all. It must eat up a fair amount of time; and for Ed that's writing time, and so, money out of his pocket.
So, of course, I'd like to cost him some more.
In Cormyr, Sembia, Amn, and Tethyr: do swordsmiths and armorers need "special" licenses or permits from the authorities? Do shops selling secondhand or imported weapons or armor need them?
By "special," I'm really asking: do the governments of these lands seek to specifically control or limit supplies of such goods?
Thank you in advance!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:44:41  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, fellow scribes.
Sage of Stars, you're most welcome. I'll convey your thanks (and query, of course) to Ed.
As for now, I bring once more the words of Ed, this time a response of lore to Hawkfeather, who posted back in May: “Greetings, Ed! I'm from Brazil and I've been playing (dming I should say) in the Realms for more than 11 years. First of all I'd like to thank you very much for sharing your dreams with us. And I have a few questions for you if you don't mind:
I was reading "Power of Faerûn" (GREAT book) and wondered: Did Fzoul had to ask permission to the Heralds to change the Zhentarim's symbol? And, if by chance, the new symbol looked like a existing one, how did he would react? It would be like: "I don't care! This will be the new symbol anyway!!" or like: "Sorry guys... I didn't know... Do you have any suggestions for a new blazon?". Finally, I'd like to know if the old symbol (the stylish "Z") is still used by some Zhentarims (Cyric's followers, for example).”
Ed replies:



Glad you liked POWER OF FAERUN; Eric and I had a blast writing it, though we’d both have liked to have had several hundred more pages to fill (and of course more time with which to fill them). I hope you’ve been checking the Wizards website, where you’ll see (eventually) ALL of the Border Kingdoms, not just the ones I was able to squeeze into PoF.
You’re very welcome, and of course I don’t mind fielding questions, though (as you can see; sorry) it takes me quite some time, these days, to get around to answering most scribes’ questions.
Fzoul, like most religious leaders, does not ask the permission of the Heralds for anything. However, he DOES inform them he’s doing so, because the gods (with the exception of the insane Cyric) instruct him (as they do all religious leaders) to do so. Politely and fully, without deceit or any omissions. Moreover, the new symbol would never be too close to an existing one, because Fzoul’s god (whoever it might be at the time :} ) wouldn’t allow that. The Heralds didn’t just make up this avoid-confusion rule and try to force others to go along with it; the GODS like the rule and support them in enforcing it, to avoid needless strife over mistaken identities, confusion over borders and loyalties, fighting between churches (over errors and mistakes, as opposed to DELIBERATE fighting), and so on.
The Heralds aren’t priests, nor loyal to any one deity; they serve heraldry in general, as a sort of “symbol police,” not this or that faith in particular.
So Fzoul couldn’t have gotten into the situation you describe (nor could a paladin or blackguard trying to muster an army or start a crusade; the gods will direct such individuals to “obey the system.”
And yes, the “stylish Z” symbol (actually referred to by Zhentarim as “the Pride of the Brotherhood,” or more often simply as “the Pride”) will remain in use, because many spells cast on portals, doors in the Citadel of the Raven and Zhentil Keep and the sewers and dungeons of both places, and in Zhent outposts all over the northern Heartlands, are linked to engraved or painted “prides.” It would be possible to slowly and laboriously replace all of those “Z”s, though it would take years and much effort - - but no Zhent has started to do so (yet, anyway).
Hope that helps, Hawkfeather, and sorry for my delay in replying. If there was four of me, I could write and design all the things I want to, and keep right up to date with Candlekeep lore questions, but over the years I seem to have mastered clowning, not cloning. :}



So saith Ed. Loremaster Supreme of the Realms. And everyday wearer of T-shirts with holes in them.
love to all,
THO
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A Publishing Lackey
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:48:47  Show Profile  Visit A Publishing Lackey's Homepage Send A Publishing Lackey a Private Message
Question for Ed: If Storm Silverhand saw all of her sisters fatally threatened and could only save one, which one would it be? (Who does she TRULY love the most?)

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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:51:07  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Dear Ed and THO,
Mention of the Heralds made me wonder: do actors putting together costumes, assassins and thieving guilds making up disguises, etc. run into problems with the Heralds?
If an actor playing Azoun IV (in a theater in Westgate or Sembia, where the authorities wouldn’t mind an unflattering portrayal of Obarskyr kings at all) uses the royal arms to tell the audience he’s pretending to be King Azoun, is that a Heralds’ “no-no”? Or a tolerated exception?
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:53:13  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
A question for Ed: I remember Ed at a GenCon seminar talking about the spells that kept Waterdeep from collapsing down into Undermountain. Are there any other cities in the Realms “held up” from falling into their own cellars, storage caverns, underlying natural caves, or dungeons by magical means?
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A Gavel
Seeker

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  17:55:22  Show Profile  Visit A Gavel's Homepage Send A Gavel a Private Message
Ed has talked many times about “loose ends” (like Qilué of the Seven) he built into the Realms for future use. Are there any such dangling threads that have been there in the published Realms since the beginning (1986, I guess, or 1979 if we count Dragon articles), that haven’t yet been “used”? (I don’t expect Ed to identify them; I’m just curious as to how many there are, if any still exist.)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  19:37:37  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, scribes of the Realms. Ed’s final reply for 2006 concerns Sessrendale and the Dusk Lord, and is in response to scribes Patrakis and EricKRod, as follows:
Patrakis (posted in April): “Well met Ed, and Lady of the Hood, consider yourself warmly saluted also. I've finally decided to write on this thread (gathered the courage to do it is more like it) and ask the creator of all some questions of my own that, I don't think, have never been addressed in these threads before. I also decided is was more than time to give to Mr. Greenwood (Ed, sorry) my own deep and sincere thanks for sharing is imagination for so many years. In my case, I discovered your words and your world in 1983 or 84, I think, in the pages of Dragon magazine. I had just started playing D&D at that time and was shopping for a world to play in. The grey box found me and I, it, or her I guess:) The first lines for this box felt like an explosion in my head. I was discovering a real world out of my own. I could see the Dales, I could feel Waterdeep. It read like a history book from a time I never knew existed and yet it was as if I was there. It was a very weird experience, I must say. It didn't take very long before I started to add some things of my own though. Little things that filled the gaps and before long sir, your world became my world. Or our world maybe. I thank you for that sir. I thank you for the spark that fired my desire to imagine more.
And now :) for my question:
It concerns Sessrendale and the Dusk Lord. My current campaign involves the descendants of survivors from the genocide of Sessrendale. You see, in my campaign, some survivors from the attacks of Archendale fled not to Battledale or some other dales but they travel toward the east, toward Anauroch and stopped in a little vale between the southern tip of Spiderhaunt Woods and the Desertmouth Mountains. They founded a new dale there called Valedale or some call it the secret dale or the pocket dale :) They were embraced by a dwarven clan who protected for some years, just the time it took to settle in and build some settlements. They've been living there, very out the way, for a little more than a hundred years now.
My campaign starts with the return of the Dusk Lord and since I haven't found that much information about him, I wondered if you could share with me some of your thoughts on what would occur if the Dusk Lord had survived in some way the attacks from Archendale. What could he have become in that time? I am at that stage of designing the campaign and quite frankly, it would be an honour to get your point of view about the idea I put forth and your knowledge of the Dusk Lord. I read somewhere that Archendale were experimenting weird manifestations, hauntings some might say, and it seems that surviving families of the Archendale agressors are the main targets. Would this be the Dusk Lord manifesting his vengeance? Any information on this part of the Realms would be very appreciated and cherished.
As you can see by now (and that is the main reason I was so hesitant to write before) is my very poor skill in writing in the English language. I am a French Canadian living in Quebec and even though I can make myself understood most of the time, writing to Ed Greenwood was very intimidating for me, considering my skills. Anyway, I took the chance. I hope I haven't offended anybody with some strange phrase construction or something.
Well that's about it then. And as they say in Valedale sir, may your gaze reach the horizon and your heart touch the sky. (sounds better in french)
Patrakis
Valedale, My own little dale on Faerun at http://patoumonde.netfirms.com
All in french though.”
and from EricKRod (posted in June): “Mr. Greenwood, I was just wondering what your original intentions were with this dale that had been destroyed so long ago. Was the Dusk Lord really evil and consorting with demons? Or were the other dales feeling threatened?
I had planned in my FR campaign world to have a very powerful Paladin of Lathander, who claimed a tie to the bloodline of the Dusk Lord, to return to the dale at the head of an army of followers and priests of Lathander and Chauntea. His goal is to start a new beginning by naming the land 'Dawndale' and reseeding the ground with the aid of the priests of Chauntea. At the north end of the dale he will place a keep, run by his cousin, a priest of Lathander. At the south end of the dale, near the woods edge, his other cousin, a powerful ranger, will be in charge.
Not knowing enough of the background behind the Dusk Lord, I was wondering if you could enlighten me? Thanks, Eric in Vegas”
Ed replies:



Sessrendale was a small, vigorous, fast-growing dale community of Arkhen-folk who’d moved out of Archendale after recurring clashes and disagreements with the authoritatian rulership there. Like all Arkhen, the Sessrar were proud, independent, “Don’t tell ME what to do!” people, who swiftly established trade successes, exchanging their mined metals with traders from afar (Sembians in particular). They were guilty of being a threatening rival to Archendale far more than they were guilty of any fell evil, and although Archendale invaded and destroyed Sessrendale, doing so broke all trust any other Dalefolk, and the governments of Cormyr and Sembia, may have had in Archendale, and condemned it to being disliked, feared, and largely shunned by all, to slowly wither in isolation. So Archendale today is a shadow of what it once was, and a mere fading echo of what it might have risen to become, if it hadn’t treated Sessrendale so brutally.
For one (very interesting, Patrakis, in light of your own dwarven elements) thing, dwarves interested in the Sessren mines and in using humans as a front and buffer between them and the surface human realms were planning to ally and work with the Sessrar (and then continue on to work with strategically-located Archendale) to establish a newly-strengthened dwarven presence in the Thunder Peaks between Cormyr and Sembia (surviving by playing one realm off against the other, if necessary).
Of course, it was not to be. For the record, the Sessren were NOT evil or in league with anyone but each other; they had a few very ambitious mages, and their ruler, the Dusk Lord (about whom I don’t want to Reveal All here and now, for good and true future Realmslore reasons I can’t divulge at this time) dabbled in arcane magic.
As the hostilities with Archendale increased, and imminent war became more and more certain (Archendale sending divers hired spies, mainly outlander peddlers and merchants, but also sending assassins and using hired spellcasters to hurl damage from afar, sometimes by means of summoned monsters let loose in Sessrendale), the frightened mages started to work together closely, with their ruler, a warrior and increasingly capable arcane spellcaster, to try to develop some defenses for their dale.
They failed to get anything properly ready in time, and almost all perished fighting to protect fleeing Sessrar or to make the Arkhen invaders pay for despoiling favored spots; in many cases, they literally died on their own doorsteps, overwhelmed after their spells ran out and they’d filled their own fields and front yards with heaped-up, dead foes.
It’s Arkhen propaganda that has given us the “evil Dusk Lord” of so many tales, the black cowled sword-wielding, amorphous flying wraith whose touch withers and chills, or burns flesh like a brand if he wills.
The REAL Dusk Lord desperately dabbled in necromancy along with all of the dozen-some most powerful Sessren mages, in the month or so before the invasion began. They were guilty of animating skeletons, dread, and zombies (particularly those of beasts, since they hesitated to animate their own dead and recently-buried older relatives) to fight the invading Arkhen, and of both inadvertently and in a few cases deliberately freeing some wights and ghosts of earlier (pre-Sessrendale) burials in the area. Many of these lurk in the region to this day, adding to its fell reputation.
Several of the Sessren mages, and the Dusk Lord, died defending their dale in such a manner that their own spells, and spells hurled against them, affected them, and they became unique undead of various sorts (DMs should feel free to design their own).
In general, most of them look like curst (see LOST EMPIRES OF FAERUN), but can’t be destroyed by a remove curse [only entirely restoring Sessrendale will destroy them]; if “destroyed,” they re-form and rise again to fight on.
They tarry in Sessrendale, but do have the ability to leave it if chasing a “foe of the dale.” They will usually only strike once at such a target outside the dale, and then return to their beloved former home.
These unique Sessren undead usually look like black-robed men or women, can fly, become visible or invisible, and become tangible or intangible at will, and can see, hear, and think with all the intelligence they had in life (remembering and acquiring new knowledge constantly). They can only animate dead (corpses [including foes they’ve just slain; they love to employ such servitors against the deads’ former, still-living companions], bones, and body parts by touch, into zombies, dread, dread warriors, crawling claws, and skeletons), hurl spells (DMs should choose a roster of spells, that “return” to the undead some hours after being cast), and wield weapons when tangible; when intangible, contact with them chills and causes 1 round of confusion if touched living things fail a Con Check (DC 22), but does no other damage. A few Sessren undead have minor magic wands or rings they can employ in battle, but will drop these if they become intangible, and so rarely use them except where they can dump them in ponds or down dungeons, to serve as a lure for foes so other Sessren undead can have more opportunities to attack such foes. Most Sessren mage undead are Wizard 14s to 17s.
The Dusk Lord himself manifests as a headless (but cowl-wearing, as if he had a head, and able to see as if he had eyes, though attacks on his non-existent head do him no damage at all, as several adventurers have discovered far too late, as they thrust and hacked and fired arrows through the nothingness above the Dusk Lord’s shoulders, and dealt him no damage whatsoever) male human torso, with his arms clad in chainmail and gauntlets under the cowled cloak. He fades away into “nothingness” at his waist, and flies about with the perfect, precise control of a hummingbird, and wields a sword that can fire spells as well as hack. The sword is a part of him, not a weapon that can be seized by foes if separated from him (if he loses it in battle, it fades away and reforms back in his hand).
He should be a warrior of 12th level or higher, and a wizard (again, spells return spontaneously) of about 7th level or so.
All of these Sessren undead are now evil by nature, but hate being so; they succumbed to all temptation in their desperation to defend Sessrendale, and lost anyway, and are enraged. Non-Sessren intruding in their dale enrage them, the sight of any Arkhen enrages them, and the mere continued existence of Archendale (and lack of action of the other dales to destroy it just as utterly as Sessrendale was destroyed) enrages them. These rages aren’t “blind,” but rather a cold fuel that keeps these cunning, thinking undead going in their energetic bids to slay the living who come within their reach (though they’ll neither attack nor disturb the slumber or work of living beings whom they believe are trying to rebuild the dale).
As in life, they are proud, ruthless, and reckless of their own safety beings, but their “natural evil” is a borderline, forced-upon-them thing that they loathe. As a result, they sometimes aid lost wayfarers and others in need, kindly but unpredictably. They NEVER aid anyone they know to be Arkhen, however, and scheme to somehow bring down destruction on Archendale, so that it, too, will be destroyed and sewn with salt.
I hope this helps you both.
Patrakis, your English in excellent (see how little THO did in “correcting” your post, when sending it to me; it’s reproduced above); please, never let fears of offending or being misunderstood stop you posting again. I’m glad you found a “home” in the Realms.
EricKRod, the plan for Dawndale outlined in your campaign shouldn’t meet with much resistance from these “ringleader” Sessren undead if the PCs conduct things properly. The other undead (the roaming wights, wraiths, and mindless undead) will of course be opponents - - as will elements of the Zhents, Wearers of the Purple, Sembian cabals, Arkhen, and others who don’t want to see a new dale rise (or Sessrendale refounded) in that location.
I’d be interested in hearing from you both how things turn out in your campaigns, if my reply hasn’t come too tardily to be of use.



So saith Ed, Everlasting Master of Realmslore. And my friend. We both look forward to answering many more lore queries from scribes in 2007 and the years beyond.
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  19:48:52  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Sweet! Another chunk of Realmslore for my files.
So I suppose anyone who made the Dusk Lord into something else can explain it away by all those Archendale made-up ghost stories, plus the usual busy bards and minstrels.
Nice.
Thanks, Ed!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  19:54:52  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Exactly.
Not that there aren't other marauding undead (and evil wizards) lurking on the fringes of the former Sessrendale. For years the Arkhen used to dump criminals (manacled to many chains as long as their own bodies, each ending in a heavy rock, so they had to drag it all around in a clanking, catching-on-things heavy mass) on the borders of Sessrendale, in the wilderlands, to fend for themselves. Some could well have died and become undead not part of the Sessren uber-undead Ed described, who had just the same attitude as the Sessren undead to living intruders.

love,
THO
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Longtime Lurker
Seeker

51 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  20:53:21  Show Profile  Visit Longtime Lurker's Homepage Send Longtime Lurker a Private Message
Hi again. Big Question for Ed, this time.
In my current campaign, a group of Cormyrean nobles are supporting a pretender to the throne who is also a Lord of Waterdeep. In reality, the guy is a Zhentarim who replaced the real Masked Lord two years back, with the aid of a hargaunt (that lives on his face, and makes him look like the man he killed) and a bunch of murderous Zhents with poisoned daggers, who took out the real Lord’s family and servants, leaving just one “terrified survivor,” the impostor Lord, who came running to take shelter with Piergeiron. The target Lord was chosen because he owned and habitually wore magic that could shield his alignment and thoughts from psionic and magical prying.
So now the Zhents are getting ambitious, and this one has agreed with Fzoul (mastermind of the whole thing) to be whisked to Cormyr at the right moment to take the throne, IF Zhent agents there can secretly drum up enough support for him among the nobles. Until then (in case of the Crown getting good at killing wannabe usurpers), the pretender will appear very sparingly, and will be played by other Zhents, using magical disguises.
His story is that he’s Marlan Obarskyr, the bastard son of Thomdor (the dead former Warden of the Eastern Marches) and Filfaeril, born after Tanalasta but before Alusair, AND ACKNOWLEDGED AS A ROYAL HEIR BY AZOUN, in a (forged, of course) royal document.
Thomdor’s too dead to deny it, Filfaeril will of course deny it but can be dismissed as just trying to preserve her own reputation, and the document is a piece of vellum bearing Azoun’s real signature and some genuine Azoun handwriting (it started out as an acknowledgment of a personal gambling debt Azoun had in his younger years, that a “kindly” noble paid off in return for this note of indebtedness, in hopes of gaining hold over the King; said noble died, Crown agents could never find the document - - because the Zhents had already stolen it), with the vellum carefully scraped in certain areas and expert forged writing substituted. In other words, it can fool the casual eye or anyone not really familiar with the dead Azoun IV’s handwriting.
The Zhents have some stolen royal rings and trinkets “Marlan” can produce to as gifts Azoun gave him, and the various Marlans have been coached as to what to say, in recognition of key Cormyreans. So they can mount a convincing case.
I hope you’ll agree that what it will boil down to (considering the Zhents can try to kill royal scribes and sages if they get really difficult, and even kill the Steel Regent or Caladnei or Filfaeril if THEY get difficult) is not so much law as it is support among the nobles and the commoners. I know it’s a lot of “ifs,” considering all the bastard offspring of Azoun running around and so on, but here’s my question:
How many nobles - - and who are the key ones - - do the glib talkers fronting for Marlan have to convince, to make this a real threat to the throne (that has a very good chance of toppling the Regency and grabbing the Crown)?
What they’ve done so far is to contact dissatisfied or vulnerable (in debt, in disgrace, barred or far from inheriting, on the outs with parents and kin) individuals in a lot of the small and lesser noble houses, plus the Crownsilvers, the Hawklins, and the Illances. They have managed to “turn” several old uncle types and a few younger second and third sons, by promising them Court titles (with large salaries and homes to match) if they support this “new and True King.”
The whisperings about this Marlan are starting to get around, Caladnei and senior War Wizards and Highknights know about it, and they are now hunting the Zhent agents. The Zhent agents know they’re being hunted, and are more and more relying on the Cormyreans they’ve already convinced to be the persuaders they need to sway more nobles, which has slowed the whole process down a lot. (And I can stall for as much as a year, if it takes Ed that long to get around to answering. )
So, how many nobles do they need to win over, and which ones?
Thanks in advance!
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  21:01:51  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Great question.
Ed talked about that at GenCon once, in the halls after a seminar. I can't remember all the names he hurled around, but the gist of it was that if you got the right heavyweight nobles, you'd only need three or four big houses and about seven noble family heads in all, to get Arabel and especially Marsember openly ignoring the Crown, some of the more ambitious merchants in Suzail offering to support either the Crown or the rebels in return for money and trade rights and such, and you'd have civil war if the Crown couldn't arrest and execute fast enough, and some killings of Obarskyr supporters and unrest afterwards, even if they did.
But if you couldn't get any of the big houses to support your rebel cause, you would have to unite lots of commoners with pretty much ALL of the lesser houses.
It'll be interesting to hear if Ed's take on it has changed.
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Sage of Stars
Seeker

USA
59 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  21:05:21  Show Profile  Visit Sage of Stars's Homepage Send Sage of Stars a Private Message
Hmmm. I'd also like to hear what the scribes Garen Thal and Tom Costa have to say on this.
And George Krashos and Steven Schend, too, for that matter. Gentlemen?
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  21:56:31  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message
Dear Lady THO and Ed,
Years ago my players sent their characters exploring in Raurin, and then headed east. I hated the Hordelands and Kara-Tur, and instead had them encounter other kingdoms (my own creations, more "European medieval" in flavor).
If I want to change things now, replacing those kingdoms with the Hordelands and more new kingdoms I'm creating right now, what would you suggest as a "cover" explanation?
What would Ed do, as a DM?
Thanks in advance.

Edited by - Malcolm on 31 Dec 2006 22:00:13
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 31 Dec 2006 :  22:31:55  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello and Happy New Year,

Thanks for the troll reply ED, As you can see many of my last questions have revolved around the Trollbark Forest and the Tradeway and that area you explained off to the west of the Tradeway. The information you have provided helps me from getting fumbled up and sidetracked especially with the game underway, though the PC's are nowhere near that area yet. The question about the Living Gem and the Throne that allows person sitting in it to see area then teleport to it will be used if I gain further info on not it's location necessarily but whether an "oracle" or divine message would possibly provide knowledge of either item to the NPC mage. The question about the Lizard Marsh helps as well because I needed to know if peaceful coexistence is possible with them for a time.

I'm assuming the abilities of natural creatures are often the inspiration for spells and wonder if you've ever had a creature that is able to teleport-swap with it's target and have either a repulsion ability or glamer ability. I picture a odd beast/abberation that has climbing abilities and often uses this to swap with target (poor heavily armored fighter), not a evil creature but annoying as hell.

Anyway let me stop now, Blessed New Year to you and yours Lady
and you too Ed

Frank
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