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Varl
Learned Scribe

USA
283 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2022 :  00:49:53  Show Profile Send Varl a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I'm currently reading the novel Elfsong by Elaine Cunningham. Yesterday, there was a passage in the book that, so far, has completely stumped three people, myself included.

The passage starts with Danilo and his group ending the day around a campfire, playing songs and spinning tales to one another. Danilo asks one of the troupe if he knows a story, and he says yes.

The character then proceeds to tell the following story: A king has two sons. Both can become heir to the kingdom, but the king doesn't want to just choose one over the other, so he decides on a race between the two boys to become the rightful heir.

The King tells the boys that they have to hop up on their camels and ride from X city to Y city, a distance of roughly 20 miles. The catch, however, is that the boy who finishes last becomes the heir. The boys both look at one another, confused. That day, they both make it around 100 paces from the start. This is going to be a long race.

The two boys talk, and determine that, despite the unusual race structure, how will they ever survive the desert between here and there? Puzzled, they both enter a tavern for a drink. Sitting and thinking, they don't know what to do, so they tell the barkeep their story.

"What do we do?" said one of the boys.

The barkeep, says two words to the boys. They look at each other, and excitedly run out and mount their camels and speed off to try and win.

A long pause in the original story (Elfsong) as the storyteller takes a dramatic pause....."well, what were the taverkeeper's two words to the boys?" One character asks.

"Change camels."

Then, one of the party members says something like, "Oh good one." to the storyteller.

------------------

What? I don't get it. Does anyone here understand what Elaine was driving at here, cause I'm at a loss. BTW, there was no preamble for one of the camels being slower or anything to aid the reader that I could tell.

I really wanted the character that said "good one" to explain it to me cause I am still completely baffled by that dialogue in Elfsong.

"Intimidation is a weapon of the Legion. Intelligence is not." -Illidan Stormrage

Edited by - Varl on 17 Mar 2022 00:51:33

Blademaster
Acolyte

Canada
3 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2022 :  01:45:30  Show Profile Send Blademaster a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From the novel. "The son whose camel was the last to arrive would be accounted his father's heir."

So, it is not the boy that finishes last as you have above. It is their camel. So that is why they switch camels and race to win. If they win the race on the other's camel, that means their camel finishes last and therefore they become the heir.

Edited by - Blademaster on 17 Mar 2022 01:46:07
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Varl
Learned Scribe

USA
283 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2022 :  12:20:40  Show Profile Send Varl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much! I didn't even come close to grocking that.

"Intimidation is a weapon of the Legion. Intelligence is not." -Illidan Stormrage
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Blademaster
Acolyte

Canada
3 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2022 :  01:29:33  Show Profile Send Blademaster a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Happy to help!
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Faidh Skuld
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 25 Apr 2022 :  19:00:50  Show Profile Send Faidh Skuld a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Was Vartain the only riddlemaster mentioned in the Realms? I really like the idea of a "riddlemaster", because it feels epic. Like the party will be confronting a sphinx. And given the ubiquitous presence of riddles in 1e and 2e dungeons I am surprised thst riddlemasters are not all over the Realms. But I do not recall any others.
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ericlboyd
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
1984 Posts

Posted - 25 Apr 2022 :  23:24:32  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Faidh Skuld

Was Vartain the only riddlemaster mentioned in the Realms? I really like the idea of a "riddlemaster", because it feels epic. Like the party will be confronting a sphinx. And given the ubiquitous presence of riddles in 1e and 2e dungeons I am surprised thst riddlemasters are not all over the Realms. But I do not recall any others.



He's the only one I can recall. A bit of context. Elaine wrote the book after the Complete Book of Bards (2e) came out.

If you read through that book, you'll recognize several of the characters in the novel line up with the kits in that book.

--
http://www.ericlboyd.com/dnd/
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Faidh Skuld
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 26 Apr 2022 :  01:26:36  Show Profile Send Faidh Skuld a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the inside info. That is very cool to know. Elfsong is definitely the most bard heavy book I recall--heroes, villain, many others.

I loved it for that. At a lot of tables bards get no respect. But in Elfsong, it seemed like a writer was sticking up for the storytellers, saying, "hey, wait a minute. Preserving the myths is important. Bards are at least as much Homer and Virgil and Celtic traditions as silly troubadours and egotistical rock stars."

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ElaineCunningham
Forgotten Realms Author

2390 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2022 :  15:40:24  Show Profile  Visit ElaineCunningham's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Faidh Skuld

Thanks for the inside info. That is very cool to know. Elfsong is definitely the most bard heavy book I recall--heroes, villain, many others.

I loved it for that. At a lot of tables bards get no respect. But in Elfsong, it seemed like a writer was sticking up for the storytellers, saying, "hey, wait a minute. Preserving the myths is important. Bards are at least as much Homer and Virgil and Celtic traditions as silly troubadours and egotistical rock stars."





Thank you for this.

A few thoughts and some background info follow.

In Celtic lore, bards were poets, musicians, lore keepers, and much, much more. Some were counselors to kings and chieftains. They were renown for their wisdom and were sometimes sought out to judge disputes, or even to act as ambassadors to keep the peace. In many of the stories, their music had magical powers. Some names that are remembered today as wizards started out as bards in Welsh lore--Taliesin and Merlin foremost among them.

The 2nd Edition handbook was a constant resource during the writing of Elfsong. I loved the diversity among bards. The Riddlemaster, in particular, was great fun to write. There's one bard "kit" in the novel, however, that wasn't in The Complete Bard Handbook: Political Cartoonist.

I love this particular medium and felt that it would work well in the Realms. It also seemed very well suited to dwarves, whom I envision as tending toward a wry and salty sense of humor. There's a lot more to dwarves than drinking, fighting, and mining, and this was a chance to explore another path a dwarf might logically take.

Finally, two of the three central roles of D&D bards--music and lore--are my primary preoccupations. My undergraduate degree was in music education, and I later got a second teaching area in history. (I'm still a history geek. Sad, but true.) In addition, folklore and mythology have been lifelong interests. I've been reading poetry since I could pick out words on a page, and I've committed many poems and literally hundreds of song lyrics to memory. This is really not that unusual. A good fiddler can play in the neighborhood of 300-500 tunes, and really, any musician routinely commits large amounts of complicated music to memory. It's just part of the gig. Like any other skill, you learn how to do it. I can't claim to have mastered the amazing feats of bardic memory, but bards are just a lot further down a road that's pretty familiar.

I currently work as an arts administrator and spend most of my time working with musicians. I'm a classically trained mezzo-soprano and have played, with varying degrees of proficiency, piano, organ, guitar, lute, bass viol, mallet percussion, fiddle (Sligo style), Celtic harp, recorders, and Irish whistle. I don't keep up any of these instruments these days, but I still sing, kinda sorta. This weekend, I'm singing two performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (the choral symphony and the source of the "Ode to Joy" melody...) with the Providence Singers and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. And I've been know to tell a story from time to time.

So, yeah. They say write what you know, and I'm more at home with bards than any other class.

It means a lot to me that people are still reading Elsong. Perhaps sometime I'll have the opportunity to revisit the Realms and pick up Danilo's story.

Edited by - ElaineCunningham on 07 May 2022 15:55:21
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TomCosta
Forgotten Realms Designer

USA
857 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2022 :  21:21:19  Show Profile Send TomCosta a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elaine, that would be the best news for the Realms. Few others got the setting as well as you and fewer still wrote as well as you. Your stories are missed.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36050 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2022 :  21:33:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

Elaine, that would be the best news for the Realms. Few others got the setting as well as you and fewer still wrote as well as you. Your stories are missed.



I will heartily echo this!

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Faidh Skuld
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2022 :  18:31:20  Show Profile Send Faidh Skuld a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elaine, if you write it I will buy it--Realms or no. You, Erin Evans, Jeff Grubb and Kate Novak, a few others, never disappoint.
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argool
Acolyte

1 Posts

Posted - 19 May 2022 :  18:37:39  Show Profile Send argool a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
Perhaps sometime I'll have the opportunity to revisit the Realms and pick up Danilo's story.


This would make so many people so happy. I missed reading your novels when they were first released, and increasingly struggled with ADHD as I got older, so long form fiction has been out of my reach for some time. I rediscovered Forgotten Realms novels via Audible, and the Song and Swords trilogy was at the top of my list to "read". It was absolutely fabulous and well worth the wait.

My first read was in 2018 and I have been working through your catalog with intentional slowness since because I don't want the ride to end. I will finish Counselors & Kings in 2022, but will try to hold off on Evermeet and the short stories for 2023*. Either way it will be wonderful but bittersweet.

By fortuitous coincidence, I happened to be reading Silver Shadows on midsummers day in 2019 and it was midsummers day in the book (being intentionally vague due to spoilers, but it's an obviously important scene). I've always enjoyed observing the solstices and now your characters and writing have become part of that annual reflection. My life is all the much richer for it, thank you so so much!

* I bought them already so hopefully you have the residuals in hand : )
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Faidh Skuld
Acolyte

4 Posts

Posted - 20 May 2022 :  19:50:51  Show Profile Send Faidh Skuld a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Argool, that is a great story. I love reading about how literature moves and helps people.
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