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hymer
Seeker

26 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2017 :  10:54:12  Show Profile Send hymer a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
In my current 3.5 FR campaign, Hillsfar is sending out diplomatic feelers to Cormyr. The Zhentarim are gearing up for an assault southwards, and there's no reason to think the Dales will be able to contain it this time for several campaign-specific reasons.
Hillsfar has ostensibly been running in a pacific direction with regards to Zhentil Keep, as Mordak Brelliar would like. Maalthiir is hoping to wrongfoot the Zhents by letting them get embroiled in a war to the south, likely facing Cormyr and Sembia and some combination of Dales. Maalthir would like to extract maximum diplomatic currency for stepping in and hitting the Zhents in the flank, as he intended to do anyway.

So here is the question: Could Cormyr (currently under Alusair's regency) be persuaded to wink at Hillsfar increasing its influence in Harrowdale? The epidemic in Scardale has recently broken out, so Harrowdale's importance is on the rise.
I suspect the Sembians are fine with this sort of behaviour, and the other Dales are very unlikely to give any concessions of this sort. But what about Alusair and the court of Azoun V? How will they weigh honour to the lives lost without Hillsfar stepping in? I'll assume that Hillsfar will manage to negotiate from the standpoint that they won't attack the Zhents without getting something in return.

For a bonus question: What other elements could be part of such a negotiation?

Thanks in advance

Misereor
Learned Scribe

134 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2017 :  12:57:03  Show Profile Send Misereor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suppose it would depend on how realpolik'ish Alusair and her advisors are.
If the Dales start getting gobbled up by powerhungry neighbours, Cormyr is the country that has the least to gain and the most to lose.
The area is geographically inconvenient for Cormyr. Tilverton is about as far as her practical boundaries go, which is pretty well-established in lore.
On the other hand, Zhentil Keep, Hillsfar, and Sembia could all grow more powerfull at the Dales's expense, making them more of a threat.

In this instance, I see Cormyr much like Renaissance-Napoleonic eras Britain, striving to keep mainland Europe divided in order to keep superpowers from emerging.
Cormyr might allow Hillsfar some influence in Harrowdale, but it should take steps to ensure there was no takeover.

But then there is the Azoun personality.
Alusair is the kind of person who might take more direct action by issuing guarantees, rallying the Dales, and sending troops to discourage adventurism.
Possible also stirring up trouble elsewhere, to make her adversaries divert their efforts (adventurers needed).


What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder, stronger, in a later edition.

Edited by - Misereor on 21 Aug 2017 12:58:57
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hymer
Seeker

26 Posts

Posted - 22 Aug 2017 :  20:29:17  Show Profile Send hymer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your thoughts!
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DarkExcalibur42
Acolyte

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 18 Sep 2017 :  18:15:23  Show Profile Send DarkExcalibur42 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I concur with Misereor's assessment: it benefits Cormyr to see the region divided.

Cormyr is in kind of a bad place in the 1370s. Alusair is trying to keep people confident in the strength of the monarchy, despite the recent and public failings of its nobility to support said government. Her nation is dangerously unstable and in need of time, money, security, or all of the above.

I'm assuming Tilverton was destroyed in your campaign world. This presents another threat to the mindset of Cormyr. The City of Shade destroyed Tilverton, posing a threat to Cormyr. Meanwhile they also threaten Zhentil Keep, attacking trade caravans through the Anauroch. Thultanthar's appearance is disrupting the balance of power in the region. Cormyr is finding itself at the center of many aggressors, who are in some cases learning to work together.

Esvele Greycastle, a Sembian cleric of Shar was the chief antagonist in two modules (Cormyr: Tearing of the Weave & Shadowdale: The Scourging of the Land). At one point she colludes with Prince Tanthul, sending him a valuable book. She also works with Fzoul Chembryl and Zhentil Keep as an ally in their assault on the Dales. It doesn't sound to me like this has happened in your game. But we can look at these alternate timelines for inspiration.

Sembians, Zhentil Keep, Shadovar. Cormyr's leadership would have good reason to be fearful or paranoid even without the loss of stability caused by their sovereign's death. If Alusair has any knowledge or reason to be suspicious towards Zhentil Keep's or Thultanthar's actions in the region, she may well feel the need to gather strength or to disrupt her foes.

I'm not sure why Misereor said she would "send troops to discourage adventurism", though. More on this I hope?
I bring it up because I would suspect her of doing the opposite. Cormyr needs its military to be rather directly available to her within the cities and territories she controls. Dispatching any number of soldiers or war wizards could be risky, and she already has soldiers keeping on eye on what used to be Tilverton. Alusair isn't the sneaky or conniving sort, even if she has come a long way in learning the game of politics. She'd advocate direct action where she could, which to me means incentivizing adventurers to travel into the Dales. If there were anything she could do to make Hillsfar a nuisance for Zhentil Keep? I think she'd do it to cover for her nation's current state of vulnerability.

Additionally, what is Hillsfar's take on Thultanthar in your game? I mean, flying Netherese city full of Shar worshipers who can shadow magic nuke cities aren't really anyone's idea of a good time. Nothing makes weird alliances faster than fear of a shared enemy.

"I excused myself by saying that I had set down nothing which was not strictly true, and he replied to the effect that therein lay my fault."
--Sir Henry Rider Haggard
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1458 Posts

Posted - 18 Sep 2017 :  19:21:52  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DarkExcalibur42

Thultanthar's appearance is disrupting the balance of power in the region. Cormyr is finding itself at the center of many aggressors, who are in some cases learning to work together.
[...]
Additionally, what is Hillsfar's take on Thultanthar in your game? I mean, flying Netherese city full of Shar worshipers who can shadow magic nuke cities aren't really anyone's idea of a good time. Nothing makes weird alliances faster than fear of a shared enemy.

That's another one for Hillsfar.
If their position is that they need some form of help (direct or indirect) because they would like to kick Zhents in the ribs just to avoid having them on all sides, but don't quite dare to spend this much of an effort right now. Also, they are threatened by Shade who may try to take them over one way or another just to have a foothold. These points support each other.
Helping Hillsfar supposedly helps to stabilise the balance of power, which benefits Cormyr by keeping its flank at least somewhat secure rather, as opposed to taking a chance that Zhents or Shade may become stronger and closer.
That's on top of Zhent encroachment as such.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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