Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Realmslore
 Chamber of Sages
 Ed Greenwood on Twitter
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Previous Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 9

Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4618 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:34:20  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep up the good work, it's most appreciated

Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions Candlekeep Archive
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 1
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 2
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 3
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 4
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 5
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 6
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 7
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 8
Forgotten Realms Alternate Dimensions: Issue 9

Alternate Realms Site
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32223 Posts

Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  02:56:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Keep up the good work, it's most appreciated



Thank you!

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32223 Posts

Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  03:08:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the original Realms, diversity, and how the published Realms developed:

I'm going to preface this one with an apology... The way Twitter works (at least the web version), it's easy for conversations to split and branch in multiple directions -- and not so easy to find all of those branches and tie them all back together.

This was a series of exchanges over 3 days. I've pieced them together as well as I can, but it's entirely possible that I missed something, or that I got some of these exchanges in the wrong order.

Any mistakes/misrepresentations/omissions are unintentional; lay the blame half on me for an honest, unintentional screwup, and half on Twitter for not making this easy)



Jun 28 - 30 2019


@POCGamer
Seldom remembered #DnD factoid:
Forgotten Realms was originally created as a parallel Earth, one of many Earths in a Marvel or DC style of increasingly divergent variants. This led to some seriously problematic developments as the game aged and its identity crisis intensified.


@erikscottdebie
It’d be interesting to get @TheEdVerse’s take on this. I suspect the answer is “yes, kind of—it’s complicated.”

A lot of real-world analogs we see between the Realms and our world are more projections of our expectations than intentional. That’s part of our designer guidelines.


@TheEdVerse
Nope. Sorry. The Realms was originally created as one of many parallel worlds (the others being my {as a 5-year-old} favourite fantasy settings, like Tolkien's Middle Earth, Dunsany's Dreamlands, etc.) linked by gates (as in the Wood Between The Worlds, introduced by William Morris in his fantasy novels (which were among the very first novels ever written), to form a 'multiverse' (the name was coined to cover Michael Moorcock's linked fantasies, but the concept predates DC or Marvel by about a half century, and D&D by about a century. The Realms was NEVER intended to have too-close real-world analogues, although game designers other than me inserted many such analogues in part for ease of understanding, and mainly because TSR bought the Realms to be a "unified game world" for the 2nd Edition of D&D, which meant it had to accommodate jungle adventures, pirate adventures, glacier adventures, "Oriental Adventures," "Arabian adventures," and so on. It was certainly never meant to have continent/landmass analogues with our real world, and if you'd ever seen either my original maps or the various in-house "wider world of Toril" maps used at various times by designers, you would just not be able to find any. Every time a designer went too close to real-world history or Hollywood history (one egregious example: putting the Dalai Lama into the published Realms) I warned of the consequences. It's tiresome, as the decades pass, having to field queries or opinions from gamers about my getting the historical dating of stirrups wrong or using anachronistic terms or battlefield maneuvers when I have personally always avoided real-world analogues, but when real-world terms and concepts appeared in print, this is the boat we're stuck with bailing. And I'm fine with that, BUT I am NOT fine with inaccurate information being spread about how I 'originally created' the Realms to be this or that. The Realms predates D&D by a decade, and my original Realms had no close real-world analogues, cultural or geographic. It DID have a tech level that was "vaguely medieval" in some places, and "sputtering into Renaissance" in others, but I deliberately invented Realms words and cultural customs to AVOID real-world copies. Other cooks in the kitchen did not, and the result is what it is, but I did NOT set out to copy, slight, "improve upon," or answer real-world elements. I set out to entertain five-year-old me with stories that had swords and dragons and magic and wizards in them. D&D and real-world baggage came along later.
Got all that? I ask because those topics just may be on the exam. ;}
#Realmslore


@POCGamer
I'm having trouble formulating an response to this. On one hand, that explains a lot. On the the other, it makes almost all the problematic parts worse, because they were what someone did deliberately during the design phase.


@TheEdVerse
What is this "design phase" you speak of? ;}
The Realms was bought by TSR as a detailed world (incomplete, sure, but far more complete than any world they've had before or since), and has had over a thousand "design phases" ever since...one for each product (game or fiction).


@POCGamer
Those are it. A lot of bad choices were made during a number of those that made the setting actively hostile for POC through stereotypes, regressive or racist narratives, and so on. It's a thing that happened, and that continues to affect the setting now for lack of being considered in that multitude of design phases.


@TheEdVerse
EVERY setting must have both gaps and problematic parts, because that's where the conflict arises and gamers and readers are spurred to create, and adventure. Static perfection is...dead.


@POCGamer
I'm not talking about gaps or troubled areas; I'm talking more along the lines of whitewashing in art depicting POC, use of stereotypes for POC areas, lack of consistent and/or quality support for places not the Sword Coast, The Heartlands, or the North. That kind of problematic.


@TheEdVerse
Oh, yes, and that bugs me, too. Particularly as my original turnover described most humans (aside from the barbarians of the Sword Coast North, and the Sossrim) as "dusky-skinned" (not a bad term back then, though I understand that it has become so since).


@2ndLevelBard
Is this Word of God that Jhaamdath was meant to be coded as something other than White European, and modern Chondathans shouldn't look (exclusively) like vaguely pasty Anglo-Saxons?


@TheEdVerse
I suppose so. Jhaamdath (the name and specifics) were added to my original Realms by other hands. YES, modern Chondathans shouldn't look exclusively like vaguely pasty Anglo-Saxons. They all live in Elturel. ;}


@POCGamer
They got around that with a population migration and mixing. When I tracked it through editions, the Chondathans had a wide set complexions ranging from olive/dark tan to pasty white depending on where they were. I think my notes for them were that they were more a culture than a single recognizable ethnic group based on phenotypic expression. Also they were literally everywhere. If I remember right, as of 3e, they were Faerûn's most populous human culture and the dominant one in most places.


@TheEdVerse
And that's as it should be, because of all the migrations and breeding with whoever was wherever they went in the Realms (being as Gary and Dave handed us a D&D game with half-breeds baked in).


@POCGamer
One of the chief reasons I never contacted @TheEdVerse about stuff that flashed up problematic or bizarrely shoehorned in or bolted on. On the other hand, it makes me far more curious about the potential development trajectory of the FR had TSR not done what they did.


@TheEdVerse
Me. too. ;}
Interestingly, from the very beginning, the published Realms veered away from my 'home' Realms not just because of in-house stuff being bolted on or swapped in (Doug's Albion campaign Moonshaes replacing mine), but because the "home" Realms campaign was dominated by intrigue and roleplaying (e.g. machinations of noble houses in Cormyr, or the machinations of guilds, nobles, and everybody else in the city in Waterdeep), not dungeon crawling or hack-and-slashing...and the published Realms had to not just cater to the latter, but centre-stage them, because the game was centered on them back then. So if I'd been controlling the publication of the Realms, all the social issues and power struggles would have dominated wordcount in the products, rather than stats (and, gods help us, GOD and avatar stats!). Divine coverage would instead have focused on daily devout life (what do clerics DO?) and what priesthoods are up to in the Realms (like cornering the trade in bat guano or monk-made liqueurs). And all of the racial and gender-role baggage of the real world just wouldn't have been there, because we'd have the REALMS cultures instead, which game designers and fiction writers could use satirically to comment on real-world issues, but not HAVE real-world issues in the Realms.

So, it's very much a 'road not taken' thing, from my viewpoint. Yet I understood what would happen at the outset (Jeff Grubb explicitly warned me that "we'll make changes, and go on making changes, and here's why") and I was and am fine with that: the Realms had to be that way, to function as the "unified game world" for D&D 2e that TSR purchased it to be. The good thing was, as it came into their hands with a depth of detail and history and intrigue ready-made, these elements got included, and moved us a step beyond "this is the orc kingdom, here's their banner, and they can field X troops" into "this world is ALIVE, and these creatures get their food thus, and defecate it back into the cycle of life so," and moved gaming forward. THAT makes me smile.
#Realmslore


@POCGamer
So, a legit set of questions then. Was the Mulan addition (kidnapped/enslaved from a mythic Earth's ancient Egypt and Sumeria) an original component, and were the Creator Races and Days of Thunder original components?

I ask because in the strange and convoluted timeline of FR, they just seem odd. The former because it's just such a strange event and doesn't sync well, and the latter because it seems to have been added later.


@TheEdVerse
As depicted, none of them were original.
However, in my original Realms, elves and dwarves were losing the dominance fight with humans and orcs because the latter two races could outbreed and swamp them, there WERE creator races but the Realmsfolk of today were very fuzzy on just who (as was I, though I knew one of them was large sentient reptilian), and I did have the "dragons, giants, and elves have all dominated the Realms before humans" element, and I did have migrations of races from other worlds, and figured some migrants would be enslaved. I did NOT have anything close to ancient Egypt or any other Earth culture, but TSR had the existing Desert of Desolation modules to link into the Realms, so hello pyramids.
That was the pattern. This Ed idea/element can, with a little twisting and surgery, be repurposed to do what we need to do/add/spotlight in the developing D&D game. Which is just fine: that's what a base setting has to do, and what they'd bought FR for.



@TheEdVerse
"My" Realms has always been diverse, because I happened to grow up in a VERY wealthy neighbourhood then dominated by "Canadian branch plant headquarters" by the earliest developing multinational corporations...so they all shuttled executives (with their families) into the 'hood from literally all over the world. Some of the local farm families were still hanging on, so I got to see poverty, too, and because it was a wealthy area, there were folks with lifestyles/family relationships different from the societal norms (I was born in the 50s and grew up through the 60s and 70s) that had enough money that they could be themselves and not hide...and schooling back then was deliberately integrated (I had classmates who were wheelchair-bound and using magnifying glasses, etc. and we were expected to carry them, assist them in class, involve them in sports, etc.) and so it all made for a very diverse mix that was NORMAL for me. (But likely not for small-town Wisconsin in the 1970s and 1980s.) And although racism is certainly everywhere, I'm Canadian rather than American, so the racism "up here" was more whites vs. indigenous and English-speaking vs. French-speaking, and changing constantly as I grew up. And I had grandparents who when filling in government forms, did not check off "Caucasian," but ticked "Other" and wrote "Mongrel" in the box. ;}


@POCGamer
There's a gulf of difference between your original and ongoing FR and what the rest of us encounter and use though. For all intents and purposes, they're two separate settings.


@TheEdVerse
Indeed. And keeping the two straight in my head is often impossible, so it'll be "constantly impossible" for everyone else in the world, who can't see my original.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention one more element that I and a lot of staff designers have followed, down the years: what state of affairs offers the most play opportunities for gaming tables all over the world? Right, we do that, then. Often conflicts/difficulties/disasters/shortages/wars are "invented" for the express purpose of giving PCs more to do, and DMs more "loose threads" to work with. And in the case of staffers, there's also the perceived audience products are being aimed at (I can recall over 30 female NPCs in various leadership/authority roles who were quietly changed to males when they went into print, because "girls don't play D&D" (an idea that was foreign indeed to me, because there were ALWAYS females at my "home" campaign table). Yet I don't think there was ever a deliberate racist policy or thinking; I believe there were lots of little individual design decisions, made over time and product by product, that "add up to" making some gamers feel unwanted/shut out/not represented.
But life is way too short for the blame game. We should all focus on the way forward, looking back only to learn from history. (Which is the point at which various of my history profs would channel Tom Lehrer and say, "So we can learn from our mistakes, so we can repeat them PERFECTLY." ;} )


@POCGamer
I filed a lot of those instances under "when research gets it wrong", a phenomena where in an effort to get a POC coded ethnic group "right", writers instead create a historical re-imagining that reinforces problematic aspects and that is generally unsuited to the setting's reality and conditions. Chult and Maztica's developments being notably bad. Then there's the awkward theme of POC being more prone to being evil/demon influenced/following evil gods that runs through a number of them.


@TheEdVerse
No disagreement with me. I should point out that, just as some staffers loved pyramids because "we can do Indiana Jones explores a pyramid in D&D"...there were staffers who liked "the crazy cannibal natives are crazy because they worship this demon god, that the PCs can come in and kill, and so win the adventure, and the mind-controlled natives, now freed, will gratefully hand the PCs their treasure" just because they wanted to roleplay a sub-genre they'd seen in movies and on TV (ethics didn't come into it, they just wanted a chance to play this).


@POCGamer
Except that's all these places became. Instead of getting the attention, nuance, and development of Cormyr, Waterdeep, Cormanthyr, the Dales or elsewhere, they were reduced to being locations for adventure tourism as opposed to being places to be from and have campaigns based out of. And the cracks have gotten worse as the setting has aged and little or no attention has been given to these areas. Or worse, there was stuff like 4e's borderline ethnic cleansing of big chunks of Faerûn; that moved me from player to critical analyst.


@TheEdVerse
Agreed on both of your points here. And one of the longest, strongest battles I've waged, over the years, has been to cover ALL of the Realms instead of going back to certain areas again and again. The counter-argument was always "Well, we're doing another Waterdeep product because we know those sell," to which I'd respond in exasperation, "But you've never DONE a Veldorn/Raurin/Sossal/Var the Golden/Durpar product, so how do you know those WON'T sell?" The response to which was often, "Well, we have to leave SOME areas for DMs to develop on their own," and the neglect would continue. Yes, the 4e depiction I am not a fan of, although I gather that the thinking there was "avoid all controversy and potential lost sales by removing all real-world conflicts/disagreement points/elements, and just say this is the way this imaginary world is, now can we all just play D&D?" (Gather, because I am not and never have been in-house and sitting in on design meetings.)


@POCGamer
I still have no idea what the thought processes were, but "wipe out the bulk of POC and mess the rest of them up" was a poor course of action at best. Some things I liked, like the Underchasm, but a lot was a mess at best.


@TheEdVerse
I agree. Oddly, one part of that was having more than one designer on staff who were former history teachers, and so went straight to "hey, we could do this historical thing as a plot driver/big event in the Realms"...and so brought in baggage.


@POCGamer
I am very much forwards oriented; but the same issues keep repeating. The only reason I'm even a blip on the D&D radar is because of my critical analysis and review of Tomb of Annihilation. A book that was made without any POC input, with predictable results.

After 2e's questionable work, 3e's skipping over it, and 4e's destruction, it was supposed to be the triumphant return of FR's most recognizable Black culture. To describe it as underwhelming is an understatement. I have hopes for something I was involved in, but its still OPSec.

That review/critical analysis ended up spanning three parts, and had over 8k words in drafts, and was my first deep dive in FR lore past what I needed to run games/make characters.


@TheEdVerse
Very well written; thumbs up!
In my original Realms, Chult was a wild jungle, with very few human inhabitants, just the handful genetically immune to local serpent venoms (like the wild dwarves), because the place was dominated by serpent races (see the 3e Serpent Kingdoms tome).

"My" Realms had no dinosaurs, but did have a lot of grown-to-jumbo-size reptilian and other monsters (the wildest land monsters from the D&D books, notably lots of gibbering mouthers and lurkers, and tentacled things that became gricks and grells when they came along/were added to the game. So treatment, good/bad/otherwise, of black humans just didn't arise, because there were none. I had dark-skinned humans dwelling beyond Ulgarth, in Raurin and points east (instead of the grafted-on-by-TSR "Oriental Adventures" locales) and on the various island chains west of Faerun, in the Sea of Swords (the "Anchorome" region). There is no Maztica (or Osse) in the original Realms, but instead: Laerakond, and SE of it/SW of Faerun, there's Thuin, a N/S-long-axis continent with dark-skinned human peoples (many squabbling city-states)


@POCGamer
Have you got a map? I'm very curious to see what this looks like.


@TheEdVerse
Heh. SOMEwhere.
Think of a "fat arrowhead pointing north" (actually, more like the spades suit on a deck of cards, only without a base). The curved sides, especially on the SE, are dagged/ragged with many inlets/bays where rivers run down into them, and the largest cities are of course ports sited on the rivermouths. There's a high rock plateau in the NE of Thuin, with towering cliffs (seacaves beneath) plunging down into the sea. NW is jungle. The Thuin (local humans) are (to, groan, borrow a real-world analogue) are about Shakespeare's depiction of the independent Italian city-states (Milan, etc.) era (tights and swords); i.e. flourishing arts and literature, NOT primitive; they garden and harvest the jungles, not clearcutting them. They DO hunt the monsters to "wild breed" them (that is, eliminate the most dangerous ones, spare the 'useful' ones, and the same with useful herbs and edible berry vines and lumber trees; this has the same screwups and pitfalls as all human meddling with the environment, but they understand natural cycles and balance far better than we real-world moderns do, and so make fewer mistakes and eliminate fewer species accidentally or without caring). Most of the civic authorities are matriarchal, there's gender equality (not just power equality, but no linking of societal/family roles to genitalia), and the disputes are generally about wealth or over the direction particular individuals are taking a city, family firm, taxation, etc. and over ownership of oyster beds, stands of valuable trees due to differences in philosophies of stewardship of those resources. Thuin understand prevailing winds and sun, and build their homes accordingly, with communal city buildings that combine shops, workshops, offices, and dwelling-spaces for at least the custodians of the shops, etc.

However, I hear you and will add a hunt for the map to my ever-growing list of "things I've gotta find for fellow fans of the Realms." ;}
This is my life.
#Realmslore

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32223 Posts

Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  03:12:15  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Queltar Thaeloon:


Jul 26 2019

@aerothgow
Hello. I was reading some old books Volo's guide to the North and Lords of Darkness about the Arcane Brotherhood and I see a member of theirs being named but with 0 information about him. I'm talking about Queltar Thaeloon. Who is he? Is he the wizard of green flame?


@TheEdVerse
Queltar Thaeloon isn't the wizard of green flame, but is a fat, sly (Varys in GoT, but always smiling) city-dwelling investor, speculator, and "fixer" who makes sure the Brotherhood always has plenty of safe houses, warehouses, coin, and folk who unwittingly owe them.
#Realmslore

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Editor and scribe for The Candlekeep Compendium

I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
Go to Top of Page

AJA
Learned Scribe

USA
261 Posts

Posted - 04 Aug 2019 :  21:42:17  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Excellent work, Wooly. Thank you for continuing this.


AJA
YAFRP
Go to Top of Page

jamesewelch
Seeker

55 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2019 :  19:12:10  Show Profile Send jamesewelch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I asked this last night. Here's Ed's response:

In the original Gwaeron Windstrom holy symbol, there was an "S" behind the paw and star. Over the years, the "S" disappeared. What was the "S"? Did it represent a winding trail or something else? #Realmslore Thanks

@TheEdVerse
Yes, it represents a winding trail, but also a stream (Gwaeron could track creatures who waded along a shallow stream to try to hide their scent from trackers) and the winds (Gwaeron could catch scents on the wind). Its use faded because mortals can't do these things.
#Realmslore
Go to Top of Page

xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1841 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  23:17:15  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
2 August

@xaeyruudh
Regarding the Company of the Windgorgon, which perished in Undermountain in the 1350s... what is a windgorgon, in the Realms?

@TheEdVerse
1) A windgorgon is a very rare (because it was so aggressive that most were swiftly slain after coming into contact with humans), larger cousin of the gorgon that has a acid-cloud breath weapon that jets with force enough to be about equal to a Thunderwave spell.
2) (So it doesn't petrify foes.) Windgorgons are as smart as humans, capable of speech (and mimicry), cunning in battle and defense (setting traps around their wilderland lairs), and are mostly seen in heraldry (rampant and breathing), these days, not in the flesh.

@Celiac_Gamer
You say it's aggressive but also that it is as intelligent as humans. It wouldn't be wrong to have one that is sort of like xanathar would it? I was just thinking how cool it would be to have one as a crime Lord.

@TheEdVerse
Oh, sure. The survivors have learned from what happened to their fellows. Yes, one could be a crime lord. :}

@xaeyruudh
Thank you! It's similar to the Monster Manual gorgon in appearance? And in climate/habitat?

@TheEdVerse
Yes to appearance, but wider climate tolerance than the gorgon, so found in all but arctic mountains, hills and wilderland terrain everywhere (i.e. where humans are sparse).

@xaeyruudh
It seems like the sort of creature someone of nefarious or just odd nature might be producing and loosing somewhere, via deepspawn or similar means...

@TheEdVerse
It DOES, doesn't it? ;}

Long live the beard!
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 9 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000