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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5043 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2007 :  01:26:51  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hello again, fellow scribes of the Realms. Ed is about to depart on his jaunt to Australia, to appear at Reefcon, Spring Revel Down Under, and the Cairns Junior Writers’ Festival (all in Cairns, Queensland, Australia), and will probably fall e-silent for a dozen days or so (though he might find a way to get onto the Net). I will, as usual, also fall silent, having shifted one of my too-long-neglected surveillance tasks (that will also take ME away from easy Net access) to coincide with Ed’s trip.
However, PLEASE keep posting Realmslore queries - - and other questions for Ed, too, from comments about the future of the Realms to Castlemourn matters to queries you’d like Ed to directly respond to about his other fiction and game projects, and . . . . life, the universe, and everything. Ed wants to hear from you, in part because he loves to “talk Realms” and hang out with others who love the Realms, in part because these are interesting times for our beloved shared setting, and in part because your various voices give him both feedback and “balance” from retreating entirely into a hearing-only-yourself-speak creative hermitage.
Not that Ed is neglecting answers tonight. Accordingly, I present Ed’s reply to several scribes’ queries.
First up, The Red Walker posted this: “Just a small question of little import, but as my sleep has dwindled as the birth of our 2nd child (1st son) draws near (Fri 5:30am est) I am getting less and less sleep.
I was just curious as to how much sleep Ed usually gets between all that he has going on?”
Ed replies:



First, having heard from THO that your son has arrived: congratulations! (I trust the two of you proud and happy parents know what causes these little bundles to keep coming, by now. :} ) Remember to stop at what you can afford. (Which to me, right now, seems to be about HALF a granddaughter. :} ).
As for the sleep I get:
Very little. Usual time to ascend to the bedchamber: 1:30 am or so. My wife and I are usually awake (reading and attending to, ahem, other matters) for another hour after that. If we can, we reward ourselves by sleeping in until at least 7:30. My wife wants the world to know that I have an annoying habit of spouting my best jokes and silly lines after lights-out, in those precious few hours left for slumber, and she wishes I wouldn’t.
I want all scribes to know that this state of affairs is NOT healthy. Don’t run yourself short on sleep. Yes, you WILL get used to “getting by” on less, but it affects your mood, alertness, effectiveness at all working tasks, and long-term health. Have a glance at SLEEP THIEVES by Coren, available at most libraries, for more about this. I do NOT advocate skimping on whatever sleep your body needs (everyone is different). Really.
You CAN learn to multitask quickly and efficiently, but high-stress adrenalin-pumping makes humans sick over prolonged periods; adrenalin is a helpful POISON to us, if not just used for those brief “fight or flight” situations. So, please, Red Walker, do whatever you have to do for your family to get all the sleep everyone needs. Babies have a habit of working against you in this. :}



So saith Ed. Who then turns to another query, this one from Markustay: “With all the stuff Ed has going on, including his new commitments to the 4e FRCS, does he plan on continuing work on Castlemourn?
I want to pick-up the setting, but not if its going to be a dead-end.
Thanks in Advance - Mark”
Ed replies:



I certainly plan to continue work on Castlemourn, and have a very enthusiastic and capable editor and designer (Brian Gute) and sometime collaborators (Jennifer Brozek and Jim Ward, the famous longtime TSR designer) who feel the same way. I didn’t get the chance at GenCon to have the conflab I wanted to with the Margaret Weis Productions folks about how we’ll do that (both I and they are overwhelmed with other creative projects at the moment), but boy, do I want to do more Castlemourn! (And my other “world,” Embersea, too!)
However, the big hardcover setting book, even without the timeline that is still supposed to go up on the MWP website (itself stalled because they’re just so darned busy) and the slew of later planned releases, is itself rich enough, when combined with d20 adventures from anywhere you’d like, or even FR or other D&D adventures, to be used as a campaign setting for, say, twenty years of play. Have a peek at it; like all books, there wasn’t enough space to put in all I wanted to, and if it hadn’t been a d20 book we could have pruned out new prestige classes, spells, and magic items and given you even more “setting and story lore.” Yet I still think the result is worth the coin, to a DM wanting a setting (a new continent in the Realms or a new corner of any other medieval-era fantasy world that has salt seas and mountains), even if we never publish another word of Castlemourn material.
And there is the Game Trade serial story (I believe links to the e-version are posted in another thread here at Candlekeep), the tale in the Players Guide, and if I ever get the time to write it ANOTHER serial upcoming for Game Trade, to add yet more colour to Castlemourn.
Try it; if it seems to you to be priced too high, and you’d rather not order it sight unseen, try to to get to a convention or large game store to glance at it for free, and decide for yourself. I designed it to last for years of play, and to be a “base to bolt other stuff onto” (Ptolus? Pathfinder stuff? Why not?), but it may not be your cup of tea.



So saith Ed. Who now turns to a THIRD query, this one from Kajehase: “Hi again Ed and the Hooded One. Here's something that's been sort of bugging me since I read the loooong debate Ed and a poster had about the War Wizards of Cormyr not being organised like the US army (in purpose and style of operation they've always reminded me more of STASI, but nevermind).
Exactly how much of the Obarskyrs’ current troubles with the Cormyrean nobles stem from resentment (on the nobles' part) over the way that Vangerdahast and the War Wizards would stick (is sticking) their noses into everything?
Oh, and though Vangey's one of my favourite characters, I must say that the thing I'm looking forward most to in Swords of Dragonfire is seeing the adolescent Princess Alusair.”
Ed replies:



Yes, I had fun (albeit too briefly; there just isn’t room to explore all the characters and subpplots I’d like to, in any novel) with Alusair in DRAGONFIRE, and will have some more in THE SWORD NEVER SLEEPS, last of the Knights trilogy, due out in August 2008.
You’ll see a lot more of Vangerdahast, too, of course, exploring his “ends justify the means” approach and deepening his character further. And, yes, STASI isn’t that far off, though many of the junior War Wizards really do believe they are protecting and improving Cormyr with every thing they do.
Some of the traditional troubles the Obarskyrs have with the nobles is the “Hey, what make YOU better than ME? My family’s bloodlines are just as deep as yours, here in this land where we both began as settlers and farmers! So don’t give yourself airs!” factor, some of it is the Magna Carta factor (nobles fighting with ruler over specific powers, each side thinking they’re “right” and the realm will work better if they “win” over the other, with the Obarskyrs following the view that they do what they must to keep the realm together and getting ever-stronger, and the nobles thinking that every encroachment on their power or punishment of a noble is a vile misuse of royal authority), and some of it - - the major daily and ongoing irritant, in fact - - is whoever the “ahast” wizard is, at the time, and the War Wizards he or she is heading. They are seen by the nobles as the only reason slaughtering the Obarskyrs just isn’t worth it (won’t work in delivering the realm to them, and won’t right any wrongs), the only way the Obarskyrs get away with what they do without both commoners and nobles rising against them and sweeping them out of existence, a plague on all honest Cormyreans, who must suffer their spyings and mind-controllings and meddlings and so can’t enjoy their own country in any freedom - - and some nobles cleave to the view that the Obarskyrs are helpless, trapped figureheads and puppets of the sinister War Wizards.
So, yes, the War Wizards (every noble family’s House Wizard is one, or is mind-reamed regularly by them, remember) are the prod that increases noble resentments on a daily and ongoing basis. Like any “secret police,” they are feared and resented out of all proportion to their true numbers and effectiveness - - and because of their magic, they are FAR more effective, efficient, and precise in their actions than any such real-world force could ever be.



So saith Ed. Leaving you all a brimming goblet of Realmslore as he falls silent for a short time (his next trip after Oz, he tells me, is to Pentacon in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the first weekend in November). Keep those postings coming! (Ed tells me a LOT of the queries still on his platter are NDA’d right now, especially in light of not-yet-published Realms fiction, and the upcoming new FR “baseline” game product[s], so there’s room for plenty of questions Ed CAN answer.)
In the meantime, I don my cloak and dark glances and slide into the night, leaving the softest of ghostly kisses behind and my love to you all,
THO
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Purple Dragon Knight
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1796 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2007 :  03:58:06  Show Profile  Click to see Purple Dragon Knight's MSN Messenger address Send Purple Dragon Knight a Private Message
Ghostly "taco flavoured kisses" I hope! err... nevermind.
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The Red Walker
Great Reader

USA
3532 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2007 :  04:21:58  Show Profile  Send The Red Walker a Yahoo! Message Send The Red Walker a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello again, fellow scribes of the Realms. Ed is about to depart on his jaunt to Australia, to appear at Reefcon.......
First up, The Red Walker posted this: “Just a small question of little import, but as my sleep has dwindled as the birth of our 2nd child (1st son) draws near (Fri 5:30am est) I am getting less and less sleep.
I was just curious as to how much sleep Ed usually gets between all that he has going on?”
Ed replies:



First, having heard from THO that your son has arrived: congratulations! (I trust the two of you proud and happy parents know what causes these little bundles to keep coming, by now. :} ) Remember to stop at what you can afford. (Which to me, right now, seems to be about HALF a granddaughter. :} ).


We definately thought about that, and luckily for me I married well above my station and should be able to afford 1 or 2 more.

And a special thank ye to THO for passing it on.
quote:


As for the sleep I get:
Very little. Usual time to ascend to the bedchamber: 1:30 am or so. My wife and I are usually awake (reading and attending to, ahem, other matters) for another hour after that. If we can, we reward ourselves by sleeping in until at least 7:30. My wife wants the world to know that I have an annoying habit of spouting my best jokes and silly lines after lights-out, in those precious few hours left for slumber, and she wishes I wouldn’t.
What is it about lights going off that starts the creative process? This is a habit I have as well...and it is not condusive to a happy well rested spouse!
quote:

I want all scribes to know that this state of affairs is NOT healthy. Don’t run yourself short on sleep. Yes, you WILL get used to “getting by” on less, but it affects your mood, alertness, effectiveness at all working tasks, and long-term health. Have a glance at SLEEP THIEVES by Coren, available at most libraries, for more about this. I do NOT advocate skimping on whatever sleep your body needs (everyone is different). Really.
You CAN learn to multitask quickly and efficiently, but high-stress adrenalin-pumping makes humans sick over prolonged periods; adrenalin is a helpful POISON to us, if not just used for those brief “fight or flight” situations. So, please, Red Walker, do whatever you have to do for your family to get all the sleep everyone needs. Babies have a habit of working against you in this. :}


Thank you for the advice and well wishes, if I can get harvest done soon enough(which will be tough this year having started late) maybe I can introduce Tristan to "Uncle Ed" at Pentacon in Ft. Wayne.

quote:


So saith Ed. Leaving you all a brimming goblet of Realmslore as he falls silent for a short time (his next trip after Oz, he tells me, is to Pentacon in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the first weekend in November). Keep those postings coming! (Ed tells me a LOT of the queries still on his platter are NDA’d right now, especially in light of not-yet-published Realms fiction, and the upcoming new FR “baseline” game product[s], so there’s room for plenty of questions Ed CAN answer.)
In the meantime, I don my cloak and dark glances and slide into the night, leaving the softest of ghostly kisses behind and my love to you all,
THO



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

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

John F. Kennedy, speech in Dublin, Ireland, June 28, 1963
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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 30 Sep 2007 :  19:09:14  Show Profile  Click to see Foxhelm's MSN Messenger address  Send Foxhelm a Yahoo! Message Send Foxhelm a Private Message
Another interesting Question:

Do Jackalopes and Fur-bearing trout exist in the realms? Where and what is their impact on the environment and on society?

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

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  02:03:10  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

I was having an exchange on the Wizards board just now with another poster. This poster accused Sune of being "all about vanity", and I disagreed rather strongly...

This is what I said:

"I always felt that Sune got the rough end of the stick as far as characterization goes. Sune is NOT about vanity. She's the goddess of BEAUTY, LOVE, and PASSION. It's so easy to trivialize these things (Beauty becomes Vanity, Love becomes self absorbed desire for attention, and Passion becomes sexual only), but they are far more than just those things. Mothers and fathers love their children all the world around, people have passion for their hobbies and their professions, and still others create works of art and beauty that uplift and inspire people. How can you say that Sune is all about vanity?

Sune is the goddess who went out of her way to rescue Sharess from Shar, remember. (And I just KNOW someone's going to try and give a CN or CE bent on her doing that too.)"

Am I right here? Or am I not? Or is the truth somewhere in between?

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14550 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  04:17:28  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message
Who could you possibly have been disagreeing with?



"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Randal_Dundragon
Learned Scribe

USA
95 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  05:59:55  Show Profile  Visit Randal_Dundragon's Homepage Send Randal_Dundragon a Private Message
Hello Mr. Greenwood, i have what might seem a mundane question, but i hope you can find the time to awnser. Im somewhat curious as to what kind of breeds of horses their are and what different nations are known when it comes to horses (if anything). Like i said a bit mundane but a curiosity none the less. Thanks again as always.

Its simple really, Your an idiot and im simply a figment of your imagination
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Kuje
Great Reader

USA
7915 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  06:33:40  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 Randal_Dundragon

Hello Mr. Greenwood, i have what might seem a mundane question, but i hope you can find the time to awnser. Im somewhat curious as to what kind of breeds of horses their are and what different nations are known when it comes to horses (if anything). Like i said a bit mundane but a curiosity none the less. Thanks again as always.



There's about 4 to 5 pages of equines in Champions of Valor, if you haven't seen those pages.....

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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Zandilar
Learned Scribe

Australia
313 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  10:08:43  Show Profile  Visit Zandilar's Homepage Send Zandilar a Private Message
Heya,

quote:
Originally posted by Markustay

Who could you possibly have been disagreeing with?






Was kind of trying not to mention names, especially without asking you first.

Zandilar
~amor vincit omnia~
~audaces fortuna iuvat~

As the spell ends, you look up into the sky to see the sun blazing overhead like noon in a desert. Then something else in the sky catches your attention. Turning your gaze, you see a tawny furred kitten bounding across the sky towards the new sun. Her eyes glint a mischevious green as she pounces on it as if it were nothing but a colossal ball of golden yarn. With quick strokes of her paws, it is batted across the sky, back and forth. Then with a wink the kitten and the sun disappear, leaving the citizens of Elversult gazing up with amazed expressions that quickly turn into chortles and mirth.

The Sunlord left Elversult the same day in humilitation, and was never heard from again.
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khorne
Master of Realmslore

Finland
1071 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  17:04:46  Show Profile  Visit khorne's Homepage  Click to see khorne's MSN Messenger address Send khorne a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One


Yes, I had fun (albeit too briefly; there just isn’t room to explore all the characters and subpplots I’d like to, in any novel) with Alusair in DRAGONFIRE, and will have some more in THE SWORD NEVER SLEEPS, last of the Knights trilogy, due out in August 2008.
You’ll see a lot more of Vangerdahast, too, of course, exploring his “ends justify the means” approach and deepening his character further. And, yes, STASI isn’t that far off, though many of the junior War Wizards really do believe they are protecting and improving Cormyr with every thing they do.
Some of the traditional troubles the Obarskyrs have with the nobles is the “Hey, what make YOU better than ME? My family’s bloodlines are just as deep as yours, here in this land where we both began as settlers and farmers! So don’t give yourself airs!” factor, some of it is the Magna Carta factor (nobles fighting with ruler over specific powers, each side thinking they’re “right” and the realm will work better if they “win” over the other, with the Obarskyrs following the view that they do what they must to keep the realm together and getting ever-stronger, and the nobles thinking that every encroachment on their power or punishment of a noble is a vile misuse of royal authority), and some of it - - the major daily and ongoing irritant, in fact - - is whoever the “ahast” wizard is, at the time, and the War Wizards he or she is heading. They are seen by the nobles as the only reason slaughtering the Obarskyrs just isn’t worth it (won’t work in delivering the realm to them, and won’t right any wrongs), the only way the Obarskyrs get away with what they do without both commoners and nobles rising against them and sweeping them out of existence, a plague on all honest Cormyreans, who must suffer their spyings and mind-controllings and meddlings and so can’t enjoy their own country in any freedom - - and some nobles cleave to the view that the Obarskyrs are helpless, trapped figureheads and puppets of the sinister War Wizards.
So, yes, the War Wizards (every noble family’s House Wizard is one, or is mind-reamed regularly by them, remember) are the prod that increases noble resentments on a daily and ongoing basis. Like any “secret police,” they are feared and resented out of all proportion to their true numbers and effectiveness - - and because of their magic, they are FAR more effective, efficient, and precise in their actions than any such real-world force could ever be.


Well, this further supports my theory that Cormyr (and Waterdeep too, for that matter) would be far better of if most of the nobility got axed (literally). Also, you say that the junior war wizards are zealous about protecting Cormyr. Do you mean by this that the senior war wizards are cynical &%#ers who don't give a fig about Cormyr anymore?

By the way, wouldn't the extreme mistrust directed toward them from virtually every part of cormyrean society make the war wizards very bitter and depressed that their work in safeguarding the nation isn't appreciated at all? I can see this playing a factor for some war wizards who go traitor: "The people of Cormyr hate me, so why the hells should I serve them?"

If I were a ranger, I would pick NDA for my favorite enemy
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2007 :  19:08:57  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Zandilar

Heya,

I was having an exchange on the Wizards board just now with another poster. This poster accused Sune of being "all about vanity", and I disagreed rather strongly...

This is what I said:

"I always felt that Sune got the rough end of the stick as far as characterization goes. Sune is NOT about vanity. She's the goddess of BEAUTY, LOVE, and PASSION. It's so easy to trivialize these things (Beauty becomes Vanity, Love becomes self absorbed desire for attention, and Passion becomes sexual only), but they are far more than just those things. Mothers and fathers love their children all the world around, people have passion for their hobbies and their professions, and still others create works of art and beauty that uplift and inspire people. How can you say that Sune is all about vanity?

Sune is the goddess who went out of her way to rescue Sharess from Shar, remember. (And I just KNOW someone's going to try and give a CN or CE bent on her doing that too.)"

Am I right here? Or am I not? Or is the truth somewhere in between?



I try to remind my players now and then that the gods are a big deal, and some are bigger than others, and Sune and Chauntea are two of the biggest: Chauntea has the highest Divine Rank of any Torilian deity, and Sune has the highest available spell slot of any deity (higher even than Mystra and Shar) -- they didn't get power like that just by being "Suzie Homemaker" and the planetary floozie!


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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Warrax
Learned Scribe

Canada
128 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2007 :  00:05:00  Show Profile  Visit Warrax's Homepage  Click to see Warrax's MSN Messenger address Send Warrax a Private Message
Philosophy in the Realms

quote:
Originally posted by The Sage
I'd like to know more about specific philosophical schools of thought at play in the Realms today, and perhaps even in the past as well. Maybe a few tidbits on current theories, old and largely ignored theories, and even some bits on old schools of thought that, while they may seem ridiculous now, were given significant prominence at times in the past.


Just as an aside, I think this is a fantastic description. I'm somewhat bored with stat blocks for NPCs and with monsters and stuff; this is the kind of material I like to learn about when I'm discussing a setting because it has so much more import to the basic interaction between people. It'll help a player understand motivations and key thought processes, the basic beliefs of a given society and how they shape the actions of its peoples much moreso than the impending threat of some kind of fugly wart monster of doom that looms in the swamps nearby or whatever.

quote:
Also, I'd like to know a little about two or three philosophers of note in the Realms. We've learned a little in the past, from NPCs who've been referenced as having specific interests in philosophy. But they're largely students of particular philosophical schools -- not the founders or creators of individual schools of philosophical thought.


This is another great question.

For example, in human society, we've got all manner of philosophical divide. We've got metaphysics (including ontology), epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and its derivative (thank you Descartes) in skepticism... we've got ethics (moral philosophy), logic (including mathematical and philosophical logic which differentiate between formal symbolic logic and linguistic logic).

Somewhere in there, you get ideas of political philosophy, so guys like Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rosseau, Thomas Hobbes, Alexis de Tocqueville, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Aristotle, Plato, etc. These often reacted to their given political system. Artistotle and Plato discussed things in the Greek context (and Plato's Republic describes an idealized political structure). Hobbes wrote in the context of the execution of King Charles; Hegel was 19 when the French Revolution started and reacted to the Terrors as an excess and feared that democracy might grow tyrannical, so he talked a lot of constitutional monarchies.

You've got notions of the development of philosophy as language grew in complexity and so did thought; pre-Socratic philosophy as a lot of really broad statements and as a whole, philosophy progresses towards much more complex and intense study of smaller issues in the context of broader issues (such as a specific study of some element as it pertains to epistemology, for example).

You've got the development of the Socratic Method, which dramatically impacted philosophy.

You get stuff like pragmatism and phenomenology, existentialism and stuff like Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra where he decries the existence of God and the use of spiritualism, with man as his own ultimate ideal...

You get the movement away from religion towards empirical study and rationalism.

I could go on... at great length... and that's just Western Philosophy.

So how does it pertain to the Realms?

Philosophy on Earth has arisen in reaction to events and developments in our timeline. I suspect strongly that the theories of guys like Nietzsche and so forth (existentialism in general) would either have never come about or never been accepted because religion has so much empirical proof to it that any discussion that invalidates religion as the key component of existence seems irrelevant.

When there's blatant proof of the existence of many different Gods, you're never going to see a great volume of literature on monotheism or things like individualism and the belief in man as the ultimate expression of moral existence, and so forth. So a lot of contemporary philosophy would then become irrelevant.

Consequently, because the physics of the Realms do not precisely correspond to the universe in which Toril exists, a lot of stuff by guys like David Hume and the epistemological developments of the modern era would then become sketchy in regards to their value or the need for their construction.

A great deal of modern philosophy arose as a reaction against religion, the move towards Reason, the Scientific Method, etc, a sort of distancing from God and faith. That kind of movement wouldn't exist in Faerun for the basic reason that, unlike here, the gods are very easily seen to be real... you could even empirically prove it! So there's a whole category of what we understand as philosophy that would be irrelevant.

Keep in mind too that, regionally speaking, you're talking about Faerun as a continent full of monarchies and independant city-states. That means a lot of the literature that we have from guys like Thomas Hobbes and everyone that followed him in terms of their discussions of political reality would also likely not have come about.

There would be no or very little discussion of democracy or Hegel's freedom through "informed choice," no discourse on the need for a debate over the relative merits of sovereignty or a global community. There would be no discussion of the distribution of suffrage, because voting as a political power would be largely irrelevant to the world of Faerun. There would be no movement that parallels "The Enlightenment" as we had in the 18th century with the monumental shift in thought towards reason as the ultimate authority instead of "The Good" or religious motivation or any other primary mover, so to speak.

The iconic "good" empire might be Cormyr but it's a monarchy. Silverymoon is perhaps the closest thing to a more modern, progressive political environment in the entire world, so maybe there you might see some scholars discussing and developing political theories that incorporate participation as a valid means of exercising political authority, discussions of "freedom of speech" and the like.

BUt you also have to think about who philophers are. In a general (though not universal) sense, philosophy has tended to arise from the upper echelons of society (at least in the ancient context) because those were the people with the resources to have the freedom to think and write. Nobles, the upper class, etc. You've also got religious orders as sources of philosophy of a sort, pertaining to their given faith and describing life in that context (a good parallel in our world might be St. Thomas Aquinas and his attempt to deductively prove the existence of God).

====

Section Break, to go easy on the eyes!

====

It seems that a large-scale parallel of the types of philosophy that Earth has enjoyed over the last three centuries or so is unlikely to be matched in Faerun; the political and social environments are generally too different. The historical events are dramatically different and the nature of religion is such that it is not really an exercise in faith so much as accepting reality. That fundamentally alters everything about the way we as humans in our world think about how existence goes.

You'll get pockets and isolated locations in the Realms where thought will advance in certain ways (I'm sure the scholars of Candlekeep and, as aforementioned, Silverymoon would have different environments in which to work and think, different motivations, but they have their own core differences in experience that would direct their focus towards issues that differ from what our contemporary thinkers experience. It's of some import to note that a lot of modern philosophy has been influenced by a market economy that drastically differs from the sort of trade situations medieval-type societies enjoy. I don't see a guy like Adam Smith proclaiming the value of the Invisible Hand in Faerun, you know?

So any discussion, one would think, should turn to our own ancient and medieval philosophies, since those are the societies and times that most accurately parallel Faerun... and then how they might have been affected by irrefutable knowledge of the Gods, the existence of magic, etc. There would be no room for skepticism of those truths, no relevance to the "brain in a vat" argument, etc.

But even then, as Sage and others have pointed out, you've got sort of "alien" empires leaving legacies. The elves would undoubtedly have a very interesting perspective on life on account of their particular culture and their longevity, their conflicts and interactions with older races, etc.

Philosophy is ultimately the discussion of existence; how to live, how we perceive things, what things exist, what counts as valid, genuine knowledge, the principles of reason, etc.

So what place does that have in Faerunian society?

In older empires, for example, Netheril, would there even really BE philosophers? They had a cultural obsession with magic and the advancement of that pursuit. But given their history of excess, it's pretty clear that they didn't have a strong study of the ethics of magical research and study, no? So were their thoughts confined to how to grow stronger? Perhaps that's a comment on their society, no? The interrelation between power and status, and so forth?

What would the elves say about knowledge? They seem a people grounded in sensuality and nature, so maybe their philosophy might be similar to things brought up by ancient worshippers of deities like Dionysus, or even Ares in his capacity as god of growth in nature. Pan, maybe?

Philosophy is also influenced by the introduction of new cultures into a given society. A place that was oft-invaded or multicultural, so to speak, would probably have a very diverse and divergent view of existence in all its myriad facets on account of the beliefs of the various cultures therein.

How about Alaundo? Perhaps he was the Plato of the Realms. He was more a prophet but did he write works of any significance that were not prophecy? So then perhaps he's the Nostradamus of Faerun.

But since Philosophy is a school of thought grounded in reason and logical discourse and Faerun is a world of magic and prophecy and gods, it's almost out of place.

Each religion in Faerun would undoubtedly produce doctrine; there you start to get things like codes of living, systems of morals and ethics, etc.

Just at a quick glance at the Wiki for Christian philosophy, here are some interesting questions that Realmsian theological thinkers might pose to a given religion, replacing 'God' with the specific deity:

quote:
* What is the nature of God? How do we know that God exists?
* What is the nature of revelation? How do we know that God reveals his will to mankind?
* Which of our religious traditions must be interpreted literally?
* Which of our religious traditions must be interpreted allegorically?
* What must one actually believe to be considered a true adherent of our religion?
* How can one reconcile the findings of philosophy with religion?
* How can one reconcile the findings of science with religion?


Remember, in our world, political reality and the contrast of faith with science have often been the primary motivations for the development of a given school of thought. Or the movement towards Reason as the ultimate ideal, etc. A lot of the questions we asked in this world aren't relevant to Faerun.

But OK, look at that first one. In the Realms, deities have given portfolios; they exist as the embodiment of some trait or aspect of existence. You know they exist because they can speak directly to you, can and do influence events in the real world, perform miracles. But as others have mentioned, there are questions regarding which deity is answering your prayers, etc. So you've got lines of theological thought that might take you to places like "does it really matter who answers our prayers as long as someone does" and so forth.

You've got to deal with prophets and intermediaries and what-not, beings who could still dilute knowledge of the deity's true nature, so you can get serious theological discussion as to how any mortal can come to understand his chosen patron. That's probably a significant debate in monastic/scholarly circles. Candlekeep probably has a boatload of writings on topics that begin there.

"What is the meaning of life when events have been prophecized to occur" is probably another big question; what does it mean that Alaundo saw the future so far in advance and set down guidelines with road markers that indicated the kinds of big events coming? How important, then, are the people who study his prophecies to the basic existence of society? What would life be like without them? HUGE questions about the nature of freedm versus destiny come up. Is freedom a valid concept at all in a world that basically plays out to the whims of the Gods and ancient prophecy? What IS freedom in a world like that? Is it only a local concept instead of a grand, abstract ideal to strive for? What then is the real difference between a place like Thay and a place like Cormyr or Silverymoon?

And, on the topic of Thay, you get the notion of slavery. That's a big question: is a slave in that position because of some moral failing, or perhaps because it is his soul's place in the world? Or is it something else? You start to get phenomenological arguments, so you can parallel guys like Hegel, Edmund Hesserl and Martin Heidegger. That's a piece of applicable contemporary philosophy. Hegel, for example, argued that the idea that slaves were slaves because they were supposed to be was ludicrous, reacted to the idea that Ancient Greece and Rome were the pinnacle of societal development. So you can get reactionist thinkers decrying the notion of slavery. There's already a fairly vehement movement AGAINST slavery, though that's actually (amusingly enough) oriented on an East/West axis.

Perhaps it was unintentional, but it cannot be lost on us that most of the slave-keeping nations (Mulhorand, Thay, even Zhentil Keep itself) lie in the Eastern portion of Faerun while most of the more progressive nations (most notably including Cormyr and Silverymoon) are in the West... which seems to parallel the West of our Earth in some ways... even if there are still places like Calimshan and Luskan and what-not. Anyway, that aside, slavery and destiny versus fate, moral authority, those are definitely big questions in the Realmsian context.

Questions of the need or value of literal or allegorical interpretation of religious doctrine are also important, for fairly obvious reasons. What you need to believe in order to be a "true adherent" of a religion, that's another big question. You can look at that in terms of the definition of true faith, the manipulation of that meaning to coerce others, elitism, all kinds of things. There could be a huge body of literature on that topic... in each different religion present in the Realms.

Free thought versus heresy is probably a significant argument... look at the witch-burnings of our own history.

Morality, that's probably a gargantuan topic; in a world where Heaven and Hell are objectively proven to exist and contain beings that embody the notions of Good and Evil, morality is a topic that might seem unimportant to explore. But what about the uncompromising and dispassionate actions of a Solar? Is it truly the embodiment of good if it can act in ways that seem evil? How about the notion of "necessary evil for the preservation of a greater good?" A slippery slope but one that would undoubtedly be explored.

Science versus religion seems unimportant; physical sciences are of secondary concern in Faerun. Why care about science when you can learn magic? The gnomes and dwarves and various cultures develop certain physical sciences (masonry, for example, or clockwork, maybe even steam power) but they all pale in comparison to the things the Netherese and others proved capable with the power of magic and the existence of the deities. Of what use is the study of anatomy and physiology in the context of medical science when basic healing magic can overcome injuries with greater speed that medical science could?

But what you MIGHT get is the study of the value of dependance versus independance, the sort of stoic value of a man's ability to do for himself instead of asking another (deity or mortal) to do for him.

Martial virtue versus peaceable society?

Multiculturalism versus segmented nations? That's a contemporary concern but seems eminently applicable to the vast and diverse cultures of the Realms.

Scholastic reasoning? Find a problem and resolve it? Dialectical reasoning, right? Answer a question or resolve a contradiction. That's scholasticism, a very prominent form of medieval philosophy. Candlekeep would be very familiar with this, since it involves critically reading a given text and writing a response, referencing other source documents and what-not. This is standard scholarly work. The monks and scholars of Candlekeep would be CONSTANTLY involved in this type of effort and would undoubtedly have a treasure trove of literary responses to various works contained within their walls.

I could go on but I've got to boot from the computer; I'll add to this later. Ed may jump in here and tell me I'm completely wrong but these are the thoughts that came to regarding philosophy and the Realms.
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

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Posted - 02 Oct 2007 :  00:45:21  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message
Warrax, I'd love to tackle your reply. However, I think I'll do so through PMs, since there's more than a few simple points that I want to address, and so as not to further clutter Ed's scroll.

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Edited by - The Sage on 02 Oct 2007 00:47:12
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High
Moderator

Australia
31690 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2007 :  01:42:38  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
And, given the last two-to-three pages worth of posts, I'd like to remind all scribes participating in this scroll, that it is actually only a place to post and discuss Ed-based questions. I know some of us have rambled quite a bit of late [myself included], but we really need to keep this scroll in focus, in order for our lovely Lady Hooded One to be able to accurately identify ALL the worthwhile questions posted for Ed's attention.

So please, try to keep this reminder in mind before you post something other than a question to Ed, or a discussion about one of his previous replies.

Thank you.

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-- Candlekeep Forum Code of Conduct

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

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

Canada
128 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2007 :  07:52:23  Show Profile  Visit Warrax's Homepage  Click to see Warrax's MSN Messenger address Send Warrax a Private Message
My bad, though I could certainly turn my giant post of doom into a question posed to Ed about the functional relationship of philosophy to religion in the Realms as it pertains to the development of the field. :D
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Chosen of Moradin
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
1120 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2007 :  13:48:01  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Moradin's Homepage  Click to see Chosen of Moradin's MSN Messenger address Send Chosen of Moradin a Private Message
Well, I believe that Ed will love to see your ideas about the matter, Warrax.

And I´m already "eating" your "giant post of doom", to take some ideas to my Deneir monk.

But now, a question to Ed:

Ed, in Powers of Faerûn, p. 88, under the column "Medical Herbalism", is said that "...a typical healer´s kit contain a variety of herbs appropriate to many situations..."

Could you expand a little more about this topic, and give us some of the most "common" medicinal herbs of Faerûn (and some of the rares, too?)

Thanks in advance,

Chosen of Moradin, the dwarven gardener.

Dwarf, DM, husband, and proud of this! :P

twitter: @yuripeixoto
Facebook: yuri.peixoto

Edited by - Chosen of Moradin on 02 Oct 2007 13:51:58
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Rolindin
Seeker

USA
46 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2007 :  05:13:33  Show Profile  Visit Rolindin's Homepage Send Rolindin a Private Message
I do believe what I asked is a good question. I know what views I have on the subject of the warwizard test. I have read the warwizard test to become a warwizard from the Fr section. I like others have my views on what a traning warwizard would do, I would just like to have others so I can review my ideals on if a retired war wizard would escort a traniee warwizards to the trails or would they transfer them to another active warwizard on the active list.

In some cases I would say yes the retired war wizard would train them, in other cases I would think they would transfer the traniee to an active war wizard. I just would like Mr. Greenwood's input on what an retired war wizard would do, and if you others wish to give your opion then please do so. I do want others opions on this issue.


Do retired war wizards stay with the traniee war wizard all the way through, or when does the retired war wizard know when to have anohter war wizard take over. And who would be the sponscer to the traniee war wizard at the trials?
Just question I have my self.
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AlorinDawn
Learned Scribe

USA
312 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2007 :  04:32:14  Show Profile  Visit AlorinDawn's Homepage  Click to see AlorinDawn's MSN Messenger address Send AlorinDawn a Private Message
Ed & THO,

I just recently delved into your eight-part Nimbral article on the WotC site. Very enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing that with us.
The article raised a few questions I hope you can answer.

1) How different are the laws or "tellings" today in Nimbral than pre ToT1 when the Leirans were in control? Can you provide any details?

2) Given the tight control and extreme magical power that the Nimbral Lords possess, how would they feel and what actions would be taken if a Knight of the Flying Hunt decided to leave Nimbral and took his magical gear of station and steed with him?

3) I assume Nanathlor Greysword of Loudwater was your creation. Can you tell me anything about how much of Nimbran culture he would have instilled in Loudwater and what parts of it might persist today?

4) Was Nanathlor a worshiper of Leira?

5) Can you provide any information on Nanathlor Greysword's offspring if there are any? Anything approaching the detail you provided on the Floshin family would be GREATLY appreciated.

Hope your trip "down under" was enjoyable and safe. See you next month!

Currently reading: Eyes of The Dragon by Stephen King

Long live Sniffy Wigglebottom

Edited by - AlorinDawn on 04 Oct 2007 18:49:34
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althen artren
Senior Scribe

USA
778 Posts

Posted - 04 Oct 2007 :  23:15:37  Show Profile Send althen artren a Private Message
A question that has been on my mind a lot.
Ed, in a lot of the supplements that you wrote, there are a lot of spirits, disembodies souls, apparitions, hauntings, etc.
Could you go a little in depth on these?
Some of the questions on my mind:
What brings about these instances in the Realms?
Is there always a way to release these tormented souls, or are some doomed to wander Faerun for an eternity?
Do all these souls or phantasm have an agenda?
Are some of these instances soul echoes of dead beings linked to the Weave in that spot with the soul gone, or are they all souls unable to pass to afterlife?
Do you have any you could share in Myth Drannor (specifically, I am filling in a lot of info there for the Return), the Dales (besided Sessrendale, I already read your past replys on that) or Waterdeep, Undermountain, or I guess anywhere you want.

Watch out for the aussie women, I hear they absolutely love men from North America.

I know that 2nd edition covered a lot of this in the monster compendiums, but I got rid of mine a couple years ago when I converted to 3.0
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2007 :  20:37:07  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
Given the disclaimer at the front of Once Around the Realms, how much of it (or perhaps I should ask: "which parts of it") are true and "canonical?


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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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30430 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2007 :  21:17:00  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen

Given the disclaimer at the front of Once Around the Realms, how much of it (or perhaps I should ask: "which parts of it") are true and "canonical?





Uh... Volo's existence is canon.

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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2007 :  07:10:41  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message
As Volo,s partner (the actor, I have no idea what his name is) can be seen in the Mage in the Iron Mask (which unfortunately is canon) his existence can also be seen as canon.
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Jamallo Kreen
Master of Realmslore

USA
1537 Posts

Posted - 06 Oct 2007 :  19:40:34  Show Profile  Visit Jamallo Kreen's Homepage Send Jamallo Kreen a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Jamallo Kreen

Given the disclaimer at the front of Once Around the Realms, how much of it (or perhaps I should ask: "which parts of it") are true and "canonical?





Uh... Volo's existence is canon.



... but not necessarily that of the author of the book, eh?


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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Glorion
Acolyte

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2007 :  15:32:08  Show Profile  Visit Glorion's Homepage Send Glorion a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hello, all! Hearken! Blueblade's recent post has elicited some very important words from Ed, so I'll sign off now and let the Creator of the Realms speak:



Not, it was not my idea.

However, before every scribe or Realms fan everywhere grabs that comment and shouts, “See! They’re ruining the Realms and Ed Greenwood hates what they’re doing!” I would ask everyone to remember that I walked this particular plank back in 1986, when I sold rights to the Realms to TSR, ceding artistic control of the setting.
From that day to this, except when I “get in first” to paint the picture of a person, place, or country in the Realms, I have been watching other people do things I might not have ever thought of, or agreed with, to the Realms, and exploring the consequences.
It’s what we all (“we” being everyone who works on the Realms, from artists who do line drawings for product interiors to Bob and Elaine as novelists to Eric and George as “lore lords”) DO: poke the Realms in various ways and see what happens. That’s what makes the world seem alive, the constant change.
Most humans hate most change. All of us can recall things (the house or neighbourhood or town where we grew up, perhaps) that have changed so much they’re “gone” for us; our remembered thing has been changed too much for us to accept it as the original. This could, yes, happen with the Realms, just as with every other thing. As I said before, we can’t tell yet (yes, that includes me, because I haven’t seen enough of the so-called “new Realms” yet). Yet riding this magnificent horse that gallops in different and often-surprising directions is what I do, and have done for four decades now, two of them in print with TSR and now Wizards.
I’m sticking with the horse for now, because I know it and love it and we’ve ridden far together. Bailing right now, at full gallop, would be painful, and I’d be left behind and never get to see what neat new places it will reach.
With that said, let me say how moved I am by the anger and upset various scribes have shown here in their postings. You care about the Realms so much. Thank you for that.
I understand your hurt. I have felt it too, over and over, down the last twenty years, and believe me I feel it now, as characters get whacked and I face the prospect, that I’ve been fending off with potions of longevity for as long as I could, of others dying of old age before I ever get to really tell their stories.
I see the risk Wizards is taking, and sure hope it pays off. Whatever happens, I intend to go on sharing the Realms with gamers and readers for as long as I last. I am hard at work on future Realms goodies now, and am acutely aware of the Border Kingdoms and the unpublished city of Teziir and other things too long neglected.
If you need to vent, if you want to talk, I’m here (well, not HERE, but reachable via the Lovely Lady Hooded). I’ve been talking with many of you already about what to do in your own campaigns, and would like to remind everyone that playing up to the Year of Blue Fire can take you ten REAL years (or even longer); my home Realms campaign is proof positive of that. So you can have the luxury of not changing anything right now, and watching the 4e Realms unfold in print, before amking any decision. Lore replies here and elsewhere can still provide guidance in the “Lost Years.”
Please remember that although Wizards of the Coast is a business, it is a company staffed by GAMERS. And fiction writers. They care deeply about the products they publish, and would work elsewhere (because there are many, many fields where creative people can get better paid than in gaming) if they didn’t. So, please, ease off on the Evil Empire talk and wait and see what they DO first.
I’ll still be here (I hope; certain editors have promised to murder me messily if I blow certain deadlines :} ) . I still care about the Realms; no matter what happens to it, I brought it into the world and want to be there and see what it does. I hope all of you will, too.
To borrow the words of The Hooded One:
Love to all,
Ed
P.S. Beezer, no, sorry, there isn’t a Bob short story in GRAND HISTORY. And I disagree with your reviews, but thanks for them anyway. :}





Firstly thanks for being allowed to join Candlekeep! Secondly I want to thank Ed Greenwood(21 years late) for creating and sharing the Realms with us.

For the record noting baker or noonan have said has excited or interested me, quite the contrary in fact. I will still be playing FR but it will not be in 4e. I have stopped buying all wotc/hasbro products 4e related or not.

Glorion Sps
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createvmind
Senior Scribe

490 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2007 :  19:01:07  Show Profile  Visit createvmind's Homepage Send createvmind a Private Message
Hello All,

Ed does a being with decent intelligence KNOW when he's been fascinated and better yet, how do several of these affects work on the mind of a person? Say he's under Confusion spell, can he then be Fascinated and is he ever aware that he is under compulsion at any point?

What occured in my game basically is the Bard of Party placed group under her Fascinate ability to protect them from another creatures mind affeting power, Confusion. One of the players is highly upset about it but I'm wondering if his character is aware that he was affetced by the Bard or does he think he naturally took the courses of actions that he did. I figure this is up your alley as you describe War wizards and their mind-reaming affects quite often, therefore you'd clearly know what the victim of such recalls or doesn't.


Thanks

Mum on 4th until I actually have FRCS 4th edition in my hands.
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