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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2007 :  22:04:57  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello Ed,

I Think I asked an extinct question sometime back, do elsewhales exist in the realms, did they ever? Am I saying it right, the flying air whale in one of the MM's.

Or is it a Soarwhale, whichever one naturally flies through the air.

Edited by - createvmind on 06 Mar 2007 18:16:46
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  01:59:13  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, fellow scribes. This time Ed responds to this, from EricKRod: “Mr. Greenwood, Thank you for the response. Your detailed information definitely will help me in the future. I have been a Forgotten Realms fan since it first came out in the 80's. However I will have to admit that I am a Robert E. Howard fan first. I current am a freelance writer for Mongoose Publishing working on the Conan rpg and have written and published several adventures and articles. Still, I will have to admit that the Forgotten Realms still holds my attention more and I can't read enough of the Realms. I was wondering if you were going to be at Gen Con Indy this year? Did you know they were going to have a Robert E. Howard Day? If you are interested in reading anything from the new Conan rpg and don't have access, just let me know and I will send you some stuff, free of charge.
Anyways, enough babbling. About the campaign.
There are three main characters, who all happen to be related. There are cousins and one is a Ranger of Mielikki, a Warrior/Priest of Lathander and finally a Paladin of Lathander. The Paladin is the one who claims he is a descendent of the Dusk Lord.
He has led his two cousins, followers and retainers along with priests of Lathander and Chauntea to Sessrendale to reclaim the land. The paladin, Justerian Whitehelm, having had a dream from Lathander, re-named the dale "Dawndale". The Warrior/Priest, Lars Bloodsworth, has begun construction of a keep on the north end of the dale to counter threats from the Zhentarim. The Ranger, Advorcass Darkbow, has strong ties with Mistledale and has convinced several half-elves and humans to build a village on the southern edge of the Cormanthor woods, west of Deepingdale.
Justerian has begun construction of a fortress that abuts the Thunder Peaks near the base of the river that flows out of those mountains and eventually empties into Lake Sember. The fortress, Immarel, is named after his deceased mother. A temple of Lathander will reside within it and a large plot of land with an abbey to Chauntea on it is being built about three miles east from the fortress. Dwarves from the lost clan (is Patrakis a dwarven clan name or a different type of humanoid?) are helping with the construction of the fortress as well as providing mineral and ore from the Peaks.
(I had the dwarves provide iron, copper and some semi-precious stones. I didn't want the characters to have access to gold, mithral or something so valuable that they would be filthy rich too quick or attract the attention of some very powerful individuals).
So far relations with Archendale have been strained and the other dales are indifferent. Cormyr has been very forthcoming with promises of aid if needed and the characters are unsure if the help is genuine or if Cormyr is just looking for a reason to extend their influence beyond the Thunder Peaks. Since the characters started out in Cormyr and have some ties there, they are taking the support in good faith...at least for now.
All the undead wandering around make it easy for me to keep the characters occupied. I mean followers of Lathander and Undead just go hand in hand. However I was going to have the Dusk Lord appear from time to time as either an information npc or help out the characters when they might need it. However since he is Undead, and very powerful I find it difficult to justify him staying around or even helping the characters out.
What do you think?”
Ed replies:


Eric, you’re very welcome. I’m a longtime Howard fan, too (including Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and even Breckenridge Elkins, not just Conan), and I’d love to see the new Conan RPG. However, I do plan to be at GenCon Indy (I didn’t know about the REH day, but then my Net access is so lousy I can barely even see the GenCon site, let alone navigate around in it), and I like to buy my games. For one thing, it helps to make sure the manufacturers are around to produce more great games, next year. :}
I would not have the Dusk Lord stay around or directly help players if I was DMing the situation you describe. I’d have him appear in dream visions, speaking cryptically or showing places (where a secret door or lost key is, for example) by “walking and doing” in the dream vision. In the PCs waking time, I’d have him appear only as a momentary silent apparition (as a guide: e.g. the secret door is where he was standing, or the body or treasure is buried under where they saw him standing), or whisper timely advice “in their ears” (he can’t be seen or felt) if they’ve gotten themselves into a desperate situation, and need help. (He could warn them about a trap, ruse, or hidden foe ahead, for example.)
Otherwise, he may be just as suspicious of them as they should be of Cormyr. :}



So saith Ed. Who once wrote an issue of Conan for a comic book that got cancelled before it got drawn. (No, it’s not Ed’s to release or display; Conan has been “heavily lawyered” since before Ed was born.)
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 11 Mar 2007 16:09:21
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  02:50:55  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
Well met, all!

Ed, today I have a question on worshipful nomenclature. In West Semitic and Indo-European languages, it is typical (perhaps even the norm) to refer to the local god as "Lord" (Adonai, Ba'al, Dominus, Freyr, etc.) and the local goddess as "Lady" (Ba'alat, Domina, Freya, etc.). In translation, this can sometimes lead to confusion as to whether a human or a divine ruler is being addressed. In the Realms, is there a clear linguistic difference between the terms for mortal "Lords and Ladies," and divine beings whom *we* -- in translation -- would call by the same titles? If so, what are the different terms (mortal versus divine) in some of the principal Realms languages (e.g., Chondathan, Illuskan, Alzhedo, Damaran, and modern Common)? When you have the opportunity, would you also please include the terms in some older languages (e.g., Thorass, Loross, Netherese, Talfir and so on)? Many thanks!


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


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

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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  03:35:19  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello Ed,

Like a revolving door in here now, where are Titans hiding in Faerun and what exactly are they doing while the world turns? Also does the addition of the Shadow Rend spell mean that shadow weave knowledge is not a secret anymore?
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  03:43:41  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by EvilKnight

quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen

(snip)

D'accord!!! I'd like to see Realmslore in a paperback trilogy (maybe an "Encyclopedia Realmsica"?), rigorously indexed. I was able to spare Ed a question yesterday because The Sage had clued me in to DragonDex a couple of weeks ago, which had all the information I needed. Frequently I find myself asking Ed or the other writers information which is in published Realms books which I have, but which have no indices so that I can't just look up the answer in what might be the appropriate book; if it ain't in the Table of Contents, fuggedaboudit!

Ideally, an "Encyclopedia Realmsica" should have a master index to all published Realms books and products, TSR and WotC both. That index would go out of date quickly, but it would be much better than the current haze of ignorance which hovers over so many of us Realms scholars for want of a decent index or twelve.




Hail Jamallo,

FYI, there is the beginnings of an attempt to do that here at CK. See
Forgotten Realms Index. It has a long way to go and my never be complete. It is still faster and much more informative to ask the scribes here at CK.

EvilKnight



Oh, bravo!

I just posted on Eric's scroll asking for more about Bwimb and Gormauth Souldrinker. I had no idea that "Bwimb" was a placename, and now I know to look to FOR2 for old lore, at least, about Gormauth Souldrinker.

Thanks for the link! May it please the gods, WotC will take that index from cyberspace into print, as they are going to do with the wonderful Chronology of the Realms.

But what on Earth will Ed do if we all know where to look for tidbits of Realmslore which we nag him about nowadays? We shall have to select random names of people, places and things and demand more details, I suppose, until WotC hires him to write an Encyclopedia Realmsica for a positively huge sum of money, and throws a chauffered car, secretary, and cook into the deal so that he may devote every waking moment to it!






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


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

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WalkerNinja
Senior Scribe

USA
561 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  21:26:25  Show Profile Send WalkerNinja a Private Message
Wow, I seem to be getting a lot of enjoyment out of Ed Questions instead of Realms Questions lately.

Ed, as a fellow R.E.Howard fan, I was wondering what you percieve to be Howard's "magic?" What makes him a solid author? How have his writings affected yours?

I'm interested in this question because it seems that so many fantasy authors can lay all of their accomplishments at the foot of the altar of Tolkien, and I think REH gets shorted some credit sometimes. Of course, I'm from Texas and I like to see Texans get their due.

Which leads me to another related question...

In Howard's writings magic seems to be "broken," or not balanced. Given a couple of years study and the right book, you can learn some tremendously powerful stuff and make people VERY afraid (I speak of the literature, not of the Game System). This is contrasted by the D&D system which tries to balance everything as best as possible. Since FR predates D&D, I was wondering how you originally concieved of it? Were wizards and sorcerers "cheating" their way to swift power, or did they have to slowly develop skills as surely as anyone else?

*** A Forgotten Realms Addict since 1990 ***
Treasures of the Past, a Second Edition Play-by-Post game for and by Candlekeep Sages--http://www.rpol.net/game.cgi?gi=52011

Edited by - WalkerNinja on 07 Mar 2007 21:30:11
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thom
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2007 :  22:15:04  Show Profile  Visit thom's Homepage Send thom a Private Message
Hey THO! A question for you. We're having a discussion about tobacco & snuff in another thread; have the Knights ever run across cigar-chomping or snuff-snorting NPCs? If yes, can you give us a rough idea of how much more Ed charged for cigars and snuff as compared to tobacco smoked in pipes?

If you can't remember, then could you please pass this on as a question to Ed? Thanks much!
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Patrakis
Learned Scribe

Canada
256 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2007 :  17:18:19  Show Profile Send Patrakis a Private Message
Hi there, since the subject of the dusklord was adressed, i thought to bring this question to Mr Greenwood.

It concerns Sessrendale and the Dusk lord. My current campaign involves the descendants of survivors from the genocide of Sessrendale. You see, i 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 southerned 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 them 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) my skills at writing in the english language are very poor. 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

Dancing is like standing still, but faster.
My site: http://www.patoumonde.com
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1144 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2007 :  19:38:01  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message
Since we're on Howard and I'm waiting to find out whether Prince-Consorts are expected to be faithful and how Cormyrian Royal Weddings go.

In proper-Conan like fashion, are there any kingdoms where a usurper (i.e. a PC) could probably take control?

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/
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Penknight
Senior Scribe

USA
536 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2007 :  15:55:36  Show Profile Send Penknight a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Patrakis

Hi there, since the subject of the dusklord was adressed, i thought to bring this question to Mr Greenwood.

It concerns Sessrendale and the Dusk lord. My current campaign involves the descendants of survivors from the genocide of Sessrendale. You see, i 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 southerned 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 them 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) my skills at writing in the english language are very poor. 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


I highly doubt that you have offended anyone, friend. Believe me, there are many people that I know that have spoken and written English their whole life, and aren't as articulate as you are. By the way, nice ending phrase.

Telethian Phoenix
Pathfinder Reference Document
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  19:12:23  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Patrakis



(snip)

As you can see by now, (and that is the main reason i was so hesitant to write before) my skills at writing in the english language are very poor. 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




Ed has previously said that he is not offended when non-native-speakers-of-English write to him.

Dare I speak for most native English speakers and say that we're more offended by our own people who cannot express themselves in their own native language. (Must. Supress. Urge. To reference. Real world. Example!)

To leap far, far off the topic, I commend a particular episode of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" ("Degrassi - La nouvelle génération") to the attention of anyone who has "Noggin" on US cable TV (I don't what it's on in Canada). It's the movie-within-the-episode, "Jay and Silent Bob Go to Canada." Alanis (Morisette -- I'm old enough to remember when she didn't use her surname) as "The Principal" delivers a wonderful speech to Jay and Silent Bob to impress upon them the advantages of being bilingual:

"Alanis Morisette/Principal: [to Jay and Silent Bob] You boys are too bloody stupid to make the grade down in the States and your last hope is the school system of the great white north, eh? You want to get oot of grade 12?

Silent Bob: [Silent Bob nods vigorously]

Alanis Morisette/Principal: You better start learning what the metric system is all aboot!

Jay: I've got three words for you. Go... to...

Alanis Morisette/Principal: [smacks him across the jaw with a hockey stick] There'll be no more cuss words out of you, you potty-mouthed mallrats. You're gonna learn the dual languages of my home and native land, or you're gonna savor my poutine. 'Cuz you're in Canada now, eh?"


Which leads to a question for Ed! FRCS indicates that most PCs might learn a lot of languages, depending on their species and home region. But those are PCs. How many languages would an average person in Faerun know? Would "Common" even be common among those living in very rural or xenophobic areas?


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


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

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Varl
Learned Scribe

USA
243 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  19:42:06  Show Profile Send Varl a Private Message
quote:
How many languages would an average person in Faerun know? Would "Common" even be common among those living in very rural or xenophobic areas?


I'm also curious why, in all of AD&D/FR lore and rules, "common" was never called Human. We all assume common is "the universal, humanocentric, constant language that everyone can speak so peoples all across Faerun can communicate with one another", but it always felt a bit like calling the English language "tongue" or something.

I've since decided long ago that the "common" tongue in the game is merely the human tongue, the "English" of the Realms. There are obviously derivatives of that language throughout the Realms, but like on Terra, if you hear it, you can probably understand it or enough of it to matter.

"We're not out of here in 10 minutes, we won't need no rockets to fly through space." -Parker, Alien.
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  19:59:48  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Varl

quote:
How many languages would an average person in Faerun know? Would "Common" even be common among those living in very rural or xenophobic areas?


I'm also curious why, in all of AD&D/FR lore and rules, "common" was never called Human. We all assume common is "the universal, humanocentric, constant language that everyone can speak so peoples all across Faerun can communicate with one another", but it always felt a bit like calling the English language "tongue" or something.

I've since decided long ago that the "common" tongue in the game is merely the human tongue, the "English" of the Realms. There are obviously derivatives of that language throughout the Realms, but like on Terra, if you hear it, you can probably understand it or enough of it to matter.



I wouldn't necessarily agree with all of that, but I am reminded of a question which I have long failed to ask: almost certainly the most universal word on Earth must be the Dutch-American, "okay"/"OK". What would be the "Common" equivalent of that in Faerun?


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


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

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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  20:26:47  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 Varl

quote:
How many languages would an average person in Faerun know? Would "Common" even be common among those living in very rural or xenophobic areas?


I'm also curious why, in all of AD&D/FR lore and rules, "common" was never called Human. We all assume common is "the universal, humanocentric, constant language that everyone can speak so peoples all across Faerun can communicate with one another", but it always felt a bit like calling the English language "tongue" or something.

I've since decided long ago that the "common" tongue in the game is merely the human tongue, the "English" of the Realms. There are obviously derivatives of that language throughout the Realms, but like on Terra, if you hear it, you can probably understand it or enough of it to matter.



Well, there are bits and pieces of FR lore about Common. It's a trade tongue that spread throughout Faerun via merchants/traders/etc and so it's a "universal" tongue. However, there will be different dialects, etc.

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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boddynock
Learned Scribe

Belgium
258 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  20:29:06  Show Profile  Visit boddynock's Homepage  Click to see boddynock's MSN Messenger address Send boddynock a Private Message
Hello Mr. Greenwood & Mylady The Hooded One (*bow for both of you with respect*

I would like to ask you a little bit of advice for my campaign. One of the main characters is Iskar, an elven druid who want to learn more about the death of his father. Iskar’s father ,Volundr, was a man who dreamed about reclaiming Myth Rhynn and to purify the area of the evil taint. During his quest, he realised very soon that his dream was almost impossible to fulfil (the sickening aura around Myth Rhynn, the undeads etc ..). Volundr and his comrades limited themselves trying to recapture as much as possible magical items from Myth Rhynn. They also located a magical portal in the vicinity of the Mythal. Volundr was sure that the portal was a way to go into Myth Rhynn but that was a bad mistake. When they opened the portal they made a link between Faerûn and a contested area of Githzerai & Githyanki. Both parties went to the portal and came in the realms. It didn’t took long before Volundr’s group made a pact with the Githzerai, ‘cause that was the only way they could stand against the “combined” forces of Githyanki & Myth Rhynn. (Githyanki & the forces of Myth Rhynn also fight against each other)

Now years later, Iskar has learned the truth about his father’s quest and he want to go to Myth Rhynn to avenge his father. (at the moment he doesn’t know the exact nature of his foes). My question for you is if you know more about the circumstances in Myth Rhynn? Who is the lich that took shelter in the old mythal and what are his long term plans? I was also wondering if you could give me a few good tips or events that could happen in the vicinity?

I also have a more personal question, but I'm not sure if that question is already asked. As, the creator of the Forgotten Realms (one of my favorite campaigns ... so I'm very grateful for this), I was wondering if you still play the game as DM or player? If yes, what kind of character do you play?

This is my first question to Mr. Greenwood and I have to confess that just like Patrakis, I was a bit reluctant to post here because English isn’t my native language too (I speak Flemish dutch)

Thank you very much for your time

Boddynock "Alleslosh" Turen
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2007 :  20:51:30  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
I'll bet that Ed is going to say the Myth Rhynn lore is NDA, so be prepared to not get the answers that you want.

The answer to the other question is that Ed, and his group(s), when they do manage to get together, do play 2e still.

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 10 Mar 2007 20:52:16
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Faraer
Great Reader

3291 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2007 :  01:23:44  Show Profile  Visit Faraer's Homepage Send Faraer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen
How many languages would an average person in Faerun know? Would "Common" even be common among those living in very rural or xenophobic areas?
This is an interesting question, because the current language rules seem to give a larger role to tongues like Chondathan and Illuskan, whereas in other lore Common dominates.
quote:
Originally posted by Varl
I'm also curious why, in all of AD&D/FR lore and rules, "common" was never called Human.
You'd call something "human" if you wanted to distinguish it from things that are non-human; speakers of Common don't see it in those terms.
quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen
. . . almost certainly the most universal word on Earth must be the Dutch-American, "okay"/"OK". What would be the "Common" equivalent of that in Faerun?
"Well enough," or "Aye (then)."
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2007 :  01:43:46  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
I was thinking "aye", myself.

"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)
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5037 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2007 :  16:08:02  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Faraer is right on: "Well enough" or "Aye, then." (The former is used more often between family, friends, and acquaintances, the latter between strangers, but this isn't a hard and fast rule.)
Oh, hello! Hi, all.
This time, Ed briefly surfaces from some VERY hectic writing times to answer this recent query from WalkerNinja: “Wow, I seem to be getting a lot of enjoyment out of Ed Questions instead of Realms Questions lately.
Ed, as a fellow R.E.Howard fan, I was wondering what you perceive to be Howard's "magic?" What makes him a solid author? How have his writings affected yours?
I'm interested in this question because it seems that so many fantasy authors can lay all of their accomplishments at the foot of the altar of Tolkien, and I think REH gets shorted some credit sometimes. Of course, I'm from Texas and I like to see Texans get their due.
Which leads me to another related question...
In Howard's writings magic seems to be "broken," or not balanced. Given a couple of years study and the right book, you can learn some tremendously powerful stuff and make people VERY afraid (I speak of the literature, not of the Game System). This is contrasted by the D&D system which tries to balance everything as best as possible. Since FR predates D&D, I was wondering how you originally conceived of it? Were wizards and sorcerers "cheating" their way to swift power, or did they have to slowly develop skills as surely as anyone else?”
Ed replies:



To me, Howard’s “magic” is his sheer verve and colour. The man is a strong, vivid, driving storyteller. Because he was writing primarily for the pulps, the need to tell “hero triumphs” tales in a fairly short wordcount means that a lot of his plots are very much the same - - but then, ALL writers’ plots, stripped down to bare bones, are very much the same; it’s what we hang on those bones that makes a story entertaining, memorable, or not.
I believe that the four “poles” of modern North American fantasy literature are Tolkien, Howard, Poe feeding into Lovecraft, and the lure of King Arthur; much of the verve and strength of the genre comes from the sheer room between those four writers, for later writers to “move around in.”
You’re quite correct in observing that in most Howard tales magic is evil or corrupting, and its users are to be defeated (even magic items tend to be treacherous or undeserving of trust, and allies who may use magic “pay for it”). To Howard, brawn and wits and self-reliance are the hallmarks of heroism (with “being there for your buddies” the echo note to the self-reliance). Now, not all of Conan’s (or Kull’s, or Solomon Kane’s, or . . .) opponents learn their magic from books; Howard was far more enamored of the secret cult or brotherhood that passes on knowledge in secret for centuries, or users-of-magic who can survive for centuries or even pass into undeath and “live on” that way.
Yet past these superficial categorizations, and bearing in mind that Howard loved keeping his villains as mysterious as possible because it made them more alluring, one can look at his writings and see a great variety of magical powers or results. So aside from them being “unbalanced” (in game terms, although I acknowledge this is also a literary problem lampooned by many critics of Tolkien: good just CAN’T win against this too-mighty evil - - but does), his evil magic-hurlers need not be seen as all the same.
Neither are mine. In the original Realms, magic took all sorts of forms, from table magic and spellsinging (the original spellsinger was a female with a gift for magic; she was almost powerless when alone, and did magic with nothing but her body, dancing nude around a focus, usually a fire - - so if you captured her, you had a nude female who was largely powerless; you couldn’t coerce her into working any useful magic, because she didn’t have the power to work any useful magic alone; she needed to dance with others; the more dancers, the more powerful the possible magic) to book learning and ritual (the classic wizard) to the “strange gift” of draining life energy or stored spell energy or magic item magic and converting it into a discharge, to “magic comes from within and drains me to hurl it” (the sorcerer) to sex magic, to candle magic - - I had all of these. Deliberately.
I never wanted MY Conans to “know” what they were facing. It makes for better storytelling (AND roleplaying) if the heroes are always facing the mysterious and unpredictable. Are they witnessing a rape on an altar? Or a horrific evil ritual? Or a consensual act of consecrated magic designed to work good ends (even at a possible cost of personal pain and sacrifice)? Having that doubt there makes charging the altar a moral choice instead of merely a tactical one, and therefore it “means more,” is more colourful and vivid, and more interesting.
I had some VERY powerful magic (the shoe-shine boy who when bullied by adventurers in the street can obliberate city blocks with his eye-beams) and some very minor (fat, short, lurching old man who can clean and fix shoes at a touch; he doesn’t do this in public, of course; he goes muttering into the back of his shop, works the magic, then comes back out to the customer with the “fixed” shoe and calmly demands his coins). Some of it SEEMED unbalanced (it wasn’t, but then the published Realms has never reflected the true balancing act between opposed power groups, cults, merchant trading guilds, and militaries and police forces), but then, I’ve always tried to teach adventurers that there’s always someone more powerful than you are, there’s always someone to aspire to be as accomplished and powerful as; just because you’re the adventurers, don’t expect to swagger through life knocking everyone over with your little fingers. :}
I had some people who “learned” magic instantly by touching a skull and being possessed by the mind of an ancient wizard, who possessed and controlled them. I had folk who studied for years and built up their magic slow piece by piece (and used it to make money by building and fixing things, never going adventuring). I had folk who hid their magical aptitude and used it to rise in a royal court to exalted levels, and only revealed it when menaced by the PC adventurers they’d hired to be their outside-the-law “fix unpleasant little problems” group. And so on; the variety is the spice.



So saith Ed, who hopes he’s covered the question sufficiently.
love to all,
THO

Edited by - The Hooded One on 11 Mar 2007 16:10:18
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Athenon
Seeker

USA
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Posted - 12 Mar 2007 :  05:41:32  Show Profile  Visit Athenon's Homepage  Send Athenon an AOL message Send Athenon a Private Message
Lady Hooded,

I have a question for Ed: I've been following Wolfgang Baur's Open Design projects at Live Journal. For those that don't know, he's taking commission from patrons to create adventure products in small print runs and in PDF format. I was wondering if Ed had ever considered doing something like that. It might be a way to get products out that might otherwise not see the light of day through Wizards...

Thanks!

Will Maranto

Representing the Realms in the Wilds of Northern Louisiana
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WalkerNinja
Senior Scribe

USA
561 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2007 :  17:11:03  Show Profile Send WalkerNinja a Private Message
Hooded Lady

Thanks for being so swift with all of the replies!

I think that it would be interesting to rate North American fantasy authors along the four corners that you suggest: Author X is 34% Tolkien, 16% REH, 40% Poe/Lovecraft, and barely registers in the King Arthur category with 10%.

Now for a Realms question:

D&D (and thus FR) postulate the eternal nature of the soul. Druids have the ability to artificially reincarnate beings. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series plays VERY heavilly on themes of reincarnation. In the Realms are men and women reincarnated as a matter of course by the nature of the Realms or is this something that only Druids do? I would tend to believe that it doesn't as Myrkul, Cyric, and Kelemvor have continued to issue eternal sentences to departed souls, but the Druid's ability to reincarnate does make me wonder. As a follow-up question, have you read Robert Jordan's books? What is your opinion of them?

*** A Forgotten Realms Addict since 1990 ***
Treasures of the Past, a Second Edition Play-by-Post game for and by Candlekeep Sages--http://www.rpol.net/game.cgi?gi=52011

Edited by - WalkerNinja on 12 Mar 2007 17:17:54
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Patrakis
Learned Scribe

Canada
256 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2007 :  15:42:18  Show Profile Send Patrakis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Penknight
I highly doubt that you have offended anyone, friend. Believe me, there are many people that I know that have spoken and written English their whole life, and aren't as articulate as you are. By the way, nice ending phrase.



Thank you for your kind words. Now let's hope Mr Greenwood deem my question worthy of a response :)

Pat

Dancing is like standing still, but faster.
My site: http://www.patoumonde.com
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
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Posted - 13 Mar 2007 :  17:40:02  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by WalkerNinja

I think that it would be interesting to rate North American fantasy authors along the four corners that you suggest: Author X is 34% Tolkien, 16% REH, 40% Poe/Lovecraft, and barely registers in the King Arthur category with 10%.



But then you'd be so busy comparing the author to other people that you wouldn't be able to enjoy them as authors in their own right. Well, in my opinion anyway.

"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)
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RevJest
Learned Scribe

USA
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Posted - 14 Mar 2007 :  04:07:51  Show Profile  Visit RevJest's Homepage Send RevJest a Private Message
The Hooded One -- another question for Ed.

Master Greenwood,

In 'the old grey box' Sammereza Sulphontis is, I believe, listed as a Lord of Waterdeep. In the novels I've read that include the Lords, I've never seen him portrayed. Is he still a Lord of Waterdeep? What's his story?

Regards,
RevJest

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29790 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2007 :  04:14:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by RevJest

The Hooded One -- another question for Ed.

Master Greenwood,

In 'the old grey box' Sammereza Sulphontis is, I believe, listed as a Lord of Waterdeep. In the novels I've read that include the Lords, I've never seen him portrayed. Is he still a Lord of Waterdeep? What's his story?

Regards,
RevJest




He's still listed as such on page 55 of City of Splendors: Waterdeep.

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