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 Does Shadowdale have Elminster fanboy pilgrims?

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Libertad Posted - 23 Sep 2023 : 09:17:57
While I'm aware that Elminster's domicile is closed to visitors, human nature knows that this doesn't stop people from going to the houses of celebrities in the real world, so I imagine that Shadowdale has had its fair share of people coming from far and wide in hopes of being graced with the presence of the Chosen of Mystra.

Is there a cottage industry of tourism in Shadowdale dedicated to supporting/exploiting such fanboy pilgrims? How would Elminster himself regard/deal with them?

I'm interested in official answers (what sourcebook/Greenwood/some other notable author has said) but I'm not averse to fan speculation or surmising based on secondary material.
17   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Dalor Darden Posted - 01 Dec 2023 : 22:48:37
I would say 99.9%+ of the people in the Forgotten Realms have absolutely no idea who Elminster even is.

Among those that DO know his name, most of those consider him "simply" a Sage within Shadowdale that is not very dependable.

The ones that REALLY know who is...they are friends or individuals that wouldn't want to be near him unless they were trying to kill him.

That is the Forgotten Realms I remember as far as 1e AD&D went...
Azar Posted - 01 Dec 2023 : 09:18:37
quote:
Originally posted by mastermustard

People often forget that the Realms is a medieval setting and most commoners are simply trying to survive. To a villager who has never left the vicinity of their village in their lives, a "celebrity" might be the strongest man in the village, a trader who comes and shares stories from distant lands, or a traveling minstrel. Leaving the village means leaving safety and entering wilds wrought with peril and wouldn't be undertaken for something as trivial as celebrity worship, in any case.


Absolutely. The Ranger whose greatest accomplishment was the slaying of a Hill Giant or a "dragon" (in reality, "merely" a Fire Lizard) in defense of his town is a hero for life and beyond.

quote:
Originally posted by Giant Snake

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

My advice? Refrain from heading down this path (i.e., having total strangers being curiously familiar with the major players); otherwise, you will become afflicted with "Tiny Realms Syndrome". While TRS is not fatal, it can deprive the setting of wonder.



I was thinking about this recently how that if the Sword Coast alone is the size of California, that alone is an incredibly huge coast. Iím going to try and visualize it this way for scale next time I have a character travel it.

And I agree with you. I really want to avoid the shrinking of things that happens where itís just one landmark and then another with only a few people here and there.



Vast empty spaces can be advantageous: they allow a Dungeon Master a great degree of latitude in sculpting the land around noteworthy villages/towns/cities. However, when every Joeth and Janeth is acquainted with everyone across the Realms at or above, say, fifth level, then the world feels interconnected to a degree too reminiscent of modern times. There may be the occasional saga recited by a visiting Bard that briefly enlightens a parochial bunch, but "fan clubs" do not exist.
Werthead Posted - 12 Nov 2023 : 00:54:57
The Sword Coast is considerably longer than the coast of California. California is about 800 miles north to sound, the Sword Coast is about 1,044 miles for the "technically correct" definition (~Waterdeep to ~Murann) and a mind-boggling 1,700 miles for the modern usage (Icewind Dale to Murann).

A quick peruse of the distance function on the Forgotten Realms Atlas reveals that the distance to Shadowdale from other locations is as follows:

Waterdeep: 1,220 miles
Luskan: 1,560 miles
Neverwinter: 1,454 miles
Baldur's Gate: 1,015 miles
Athkatla: 1,100 miles
Suzail: 423 miles
Calimport: 1,521 miles
Skuld: 1,589 miles
Lyrabar: 700 miles
Selgaunt: 355 miles
Telflamm: 875 miles
Zhentil Keep: 187 miles

So, yeah, unless you're right in the Dalelands or western Moonsea area, or have magical means, it's a nontrivial distance from the rest of the major areas of Faerun.

Also, as I noted, he's probably only at home maybe 15-20% of the time at best. Even when he is at home, at the approach of unwanted guests he can simply teleport to another demesne (or use an extradimensional space connected to the tower) until the interlopers depart.

Giant Snake Posted - 11 Nov 2023 : 02:51:20
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

My advice? Refrain from heading down this path (i.e., having total strangers being curiously familiar with the major players); otherwise, you will become afflicted with "Tiny Realms Syndrome". While TRS is not fatal, it can deprive the setting of wonder.



I was thinking about this recently how that if the Sword Coast alone is the size of California, that alone is an incredibly huge coast. Iím going to try and visualize it this way for scale next time I have a character travel it.

And I agree with you. I really want to avoid the shrinking of things that happens where itís just one landmark and then another with only a few people here and there.
mastermustard Posted - 11 Nov 2023 : 02:07:37
People often forget that the Realms is a medieval setting and most commoners are simply trying to survive. To a villager who has never left the vicinity of their village in their lives, a "celebrity" might be the strongest man in the village, a trader who comes and shares stories from distant lands, or a traveling minstrel. Leaving the village means leaving safety and entering wilds wrought with peril and wouldn't be undertaken for something as trivial as celebrity worship, in any case.

Werthead Posted - 04 Oct 2023 : 23:02:16
2E I think also made it clear that Elminster is very often not at home: he might be in one of his other domiciles, he might be battling a cosmic horror invading Durpar clean across the continent, he might be chilling with the Simbul in Aglarond or crushing Khelben at some board game in Waterdeep. Traipsing hundreds of miles on the off-chance he might be in is quite foolish.
Azar Posted - 27 Sep 2023 : 05:41:53
Plot twist: the tower is the golem.
Ayrik Posted - 26 Sep 2023 : 21:44:52
Most wizards would just leave a golem outside.

It doesn't bark but it'll still keep unwanted, uninvited, unannounced visitors from getting too close.

You'd think Elminster could do better. But I suppose his scribe is a stylistic preference.
Delnyn Posted - 26 Sep 2023 : 15:58:20
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Didn't a LOT of the 1st 2nd edition novel have Elminster's tower surrounded by signs saying "get lost or be turned into a newt" and have Llhaeo basically be a gatekeeper to keep out the riffraff from trying to come see the Great Elminster?



Yes indeed. "Intruders should notify next of kin." Bullying Llhaeo even with Elminster elsewhere is a Very Bad Idea.
Seravin Posted - 25 Sep 2023 : 20:52:40
Didn't a LOT of the 1st 2nd edition novel have Elminster's tower surrounded by signs saying "get lost or be turned into a newt" and have Llhaeo basically be a gatekeeper to keep out the riffraff from trying to come see the Great Elminster?
Wooly Rupert Posted - 24 Sep 2023 : 22:43:32
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I would say not, for multiple reasons.

One is that the media that makes people celebrities in the real world doesn't exist in the Realms.

The other is that people don't travel as widely, in the Realms. Sure, some people do travel, but the option to just hop in a car or take a train and make a quick trip isn't an option in the Realms. Aside from mages or those with ready access to portals, even a trip of 10 miles, one way, is going to take some time and effort.

I would say that personages like Elminster have fans. In places (like Candlekeep, for example) where Realmslore is gathered, studied, preserved. Successful heroes simply cannot avoid fame and glory, reputation, and respect forever. Whether or not Elminster is known to - or would be recognized by - the common peasantry of the Heartlands is a matter of debate, but Elminster is certainly "widely" known to nobles, royalty, adventurers, wizards, allies, and enemies who have attained significant accomplishments and levels.





I would say that have heard of him, but most would not know him on sight unless they'd interacted with him before.

Heck, his first introduction in Spellfire, he wasn't recognized by anyone.
Azar Posted - 24 Sep 2023 : 22:30:07
Perhaps "admirer" is a better in-universe description for those acquainted few? "Fan" denotes a relatively contemporary frame of reference.
Ayrik Posted - 24 Sep 2023 : 21:37:11
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I would say not, for multiple reasons.

One is that the media that makes people celebrities in the real world doesn't exist in the Realms.

The other is that people don't travel as widely, in the Realms. Sure, some people do travel, but the option to just hop in a car or take a train and make a quick trip isn't an option in the Realms. Aside from mages or those with ready access to portals, even a trip of 10 miles, one way, is going to take some time and effort.

I would say that personages like Elminster have fans. In places (like Candlekeep, for example) where Realmslore is gathered, studied, preserved. Successful heroes simply cannot avoid fame and glory, reputation, and respect forever. Whether or not Elminster is known to - or would be recognized by - the common peasantry of the Heartlands is a matter of debate, but Elminster is certainly "widely" known to nobles, royalty, adventurers, wizards, allies, and enemies who have attained significant accomplishments and levels.

I would also say that personages like Elminster probably don't have many annoying fans. Since he might always charm, repel, teleport, polymorph, or disintegrate those who prove themselves too intrusive in his personal and private affairs.
Azar Posted - 24 Sep 2023 : 01:55:20
My advice? Refrain from heading down this path (i.e., having total strangers being curiously familiar with the major players); otherwise, you will become afflicted with "Tiny Realms Syndrome". While TRS is not fatal, it can deprive the setting of wonder.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 23 Sep 2023 : 16:20:56
I would say not, for multiple reasons.

One is that the media that makes people celebrities in the real world doesn't exist in the Realms.

The other is that people don't travel as widely, in the Realms. Sure, some people do travel, but the option to just hop in a car or take a train and make a quick trip isn't an option in the Realms. Aside from mages or those with ready access to portals, even a trip of 10 miles, one way, is going to take some time and effort.
TBeholder Posted - 23 Sep 2023 : 11:52:48
quote:
Originally posted by Libertad

so I imagine that Shadowdale has had its fair share of people coming from far and wide in hopes of being graced with the presence of the Chosen of Mystra.

I guess it's just not in Mystran tradition. What's with the "mysteries" part. Even among those who know (it's not exactly advertised).
The same applies to Seven Sisters, and it seems they are at home somewhat more often.
quote:
How would Elminster himself regard/deal with them?

...however, it is very much canon that aside of the foolish wizards hoping he will be easier to take out than an incumbent Magister, Elminster has to deal with endless incoming streams of
1. hopeful apprentices (as most decent wizards of any fame) and
2. adventurers willing to bug him with questions about every single thing (as most sages).
The former happened at least in The Grand Tour comic and Elminster In Hell.
The latter happened in Azure Bonds, a great scene when Akabar ran into Lhaeo.
Since it was implied to be a common occurrence, this also shows the practice which prepared good old Haedrak for his new job. I mean, this dude can politely greet a visitor (be it a dragon, dragonslayer or even Blackstaff), hear a sales pitch for yet another maybe-end-of-the-world story, look him in the eye and just as politely tell him to sod off. Then shrug and return to whatever he was doing, this will not even affect his appetite.
Thelonius Posted - 23 Sep 2023 : 11:25:48
Not sure if there is an official answer to that, but I don't think Elminster would appreciate that, and as a skilled wizard he is I am pretty sure that he could set all kind of non lethal traps for that kind of trespassers/ visitors.

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