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questing gm Posted - 05 Nov 2023 : 14:05:37
Since starting up his own Discord server (, Ed Greenwood has been answering Realms-related questions in the #q4ed channel. Although it's free to join the Discord and view his answers, but I believe it requires a subscription to Ed's Patreon ( to be given access to ask him questions there.

So since his answers are free to view by anyone on his Discord and for the benefit of those who are not on Discord, I'm starting and updating my compilation of his answers in this scroll. I'll leave it to the wisdom of moderating scribes if anything should be changed or removed.

I won't be able to put down everything (I already have 300+ answered questions to put down), so consider updates here will be intermittent, and will take a while before it catches up to the latest questions answered. (Or just join the Discord if you want the latest )

30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 13:14:00
On how deep the Starwater river is (in general) in the gorge between the halls and Eveningstar

rweston_DnD — 07/31/2023 5:20 AM

Hi @Ed Greenwood - I'm running an Eveningstar/Haunted Halls game and I'd like to know how deep the Starwater river is (in general) in the gorge between the halls and Eveningstar. Thanks!!

Ed Greenwood — 08/01/2023 10:58 PM

Four feet at the deepest (where it's cutting on the outside curve of bends; that's also where it's coldest and fastest), two feet deep or even less in most places.
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 13:08:22
On where in the Realms hubs of creativity be centered

Reedhalloran Duskfellow — 07/27/2023 2:19 AM

Hi @Ed Greenwood, I am wondering about music in the realms and particularly cultural centers of arts and music. I know there are theaters in Waterdeep and operas. So I would assume there are artists producing music and performance arts beyond wandering minstrels and traveling bards. As artists tend to gravitate towards each other it made my wonder Where in the realms might the hubs of creativity be centered? I can see such places full of wonder and joy and it made me so happy to imagine them.

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:44 PM

We know where most of the bardic colleges in the Realms are, and many of the other hubs of creativity are where wealthy patrons (who can commission music and/or keep musicians and singers and composers on staff) dwell. So, kings and courts who like music (e.g. Cormyr), noble households ditto (Waterdeep, Cormyr, Amn, Tethyr), and wealthy cultures that value and enjoy new music (Silverymoon, Amn, Tethyr, increasingly Sembia, and formerly Chessenta [and interest is rebounding], and the Tashalar).
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 13:04:17
On learning and understanding the Art without being able to practice it

Smokey — 07/28/2023 8:25 PM

Hello @Ed Greenwood. The Gift still seems to be a highly debated topic in the realmslore channel and I'd like to explore it a bit more. I've always had the impression that learning magic was not as simple as learning a math equation, as in, if you are sufficiently intelligent, you could learn spell "formula" as long as you apply yourself. The question is this: Can a person without the Gift, whilst receiveing tutelage from a mage that has the Gift, learn and understand the Art without being able to practice it? Can a non-Gifted person learn Magic Missile but not be able to cast it? How much magical theory can they learn?

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:53 AM

In the same way as someone tone-deaf can understand music and even try to sing or play but not with ideal results, someone who lacks the Gift can “learn” existing, set down in writing arcane spells. They will be able to recognize certain popular spells being cast, know the symbols and incantations (and so, when they hear variants, will know “what sort of effect” the spell they’re witnessing is intended to cause). Some Giftless folk, with good memories, can even recite incantations to assist Gifted casters, if need be. As for magical theory, that’s more hunches and opinions than it is an ordered hierarchy of accepted curriculum, as so much of successful arcane mastery is concentration and will, reached by every brain slightly differently. However, such Giftless magic learners are rare indeed, simply because of the lack of opportunity to be tutored (let alone the expense). The majority of them are actually live-in servants of wizards who watch and listen silently, and then in a moment of crisis step forward, scoop a wand out of a hiding place, aim it, and utter the command word they’ve overheard (or don a ring or other item, or rush to get a scroll containing the correct spell, which they can read, and run it to their stricken master).

Gustavo Tortato — 07/29/2023 1:02 AM

I have two follow up question about The Gift Ed, if you want to enlighten us a little more.

What about divine casters? Do they need the Gift as well? My headcannon is that yes, giftless priests could only be "dumb conduits" to the god's divine powers at most.

And most controversial of all in our discussion over at #8288;#128218;realmslore , do warlocks need The Gift to be able to firm pacts?

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:32 PM

An individual needs the Gift to devise new spells, and to cast arcane spells at all. A Giftless individual can be a spellcasting cleric or a spellcasting warlock, but they can't devise new spells, vary existing ones at will by experimentation (they can experiment, but without control), or combine spells. A Giftless priest would receive spells in their mind from the deity (or a servitor) in response to their prayers, and would be able to cast them normally, and just like any other priest, the deity can send anything (nothing in response to your prayers, or different spells than you expected or asked for). A warlock's spells come from their patron (they can only know spells and cantrips the patron they made the pact with revealed/gave to them, or that other warlocks wrote down and either gave/sold/traded to you the warlock, or you the warlock gained those writings in some way...and even then, if your patron doesn't want you the warlock to have those spells or cantrips, they may have them 'go wild' if you try to cast them). So a Giftless individual COULD form a pact and become a warlock, but they would be under the firm control of their patron...and the DM would have to think about how that individual could contact a patron at all, in the first place. The current edition of the game is written so much from the "Hey, player, you can do anything you want when building your character, pick this and that and then tell your DM the backstory and you're good" that it overlooks fitting in with the setting, and how your character can advance in the setting when they can't find mentors, or tutors, or resources. The searches for which of course are the stuff of many adventures.
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 13:01:31
On the nature of cattle raising in Faerûn

Reedhalloran Duskfellow — 07/28/2023 3:21 AM

@Ed Greenwood Your most recent (and excellent) post on Scornubel got me thinking about the sources of trade that go through the area. You specifically called out cattle and I was wondering if you could share more on the nature of cattle raising in Faerûn. I come from a long line of cattle ranchers that helped populate the American West and understand the long chains of migration, grazing routes, transport, slaughter, etc can develop long economic chains that have an outsized impact on overall migration patterns. Was curious if this was something you had already worked out as it relates to the macro scale topography of Faerûn.

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:45 AM

Yes. The key to understanding how ranching works in the Sword Coast Realms is knowing that rothé are far sturdier in the harsh swings of local climate and the loose scree and steep hillsides underfoot, and are the main “meat herd” animal, and always have been. Cows to many subsistence-farming homesteaders in the Sword Coast North are “one or two per steading” sources of milk and cheese, cheese being a major way to store food to avoid starvation over the winter months. So the less hardy but more docile (and thus, far more easily preyed upon than rothé, who charge foes and form rings like musk oxen, and can literally crush foes like stampeding buffalo/bison) cattle tend to be confined to rolling grasslands farther south (such as Elturgard), and to ranchers who can guard them with enough force to drive off and deter any predators short of swooping dragons (it’s no coincidence that there are surnames in Scornubel and Berdusk today of Wyvernbane, Perytondown, Gnollslayer, and Orcbane).

With all of that about the relative vulnerability of cattle said, they can be fattened up faster than rothé and yield a far tenderer and better-tasting meat (grass-fed and barley-fed; no one feeds other grains to cattle because the other grains are worth more in Faerûn as food and in the marketplace when used directly, rather than as feed), and so they’re becoming increasingly popular, especially as cattle are FAR more docile and easily herded than rothé (or sheep, or goats).
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 12:57:09
On Ethdi's, Nyth's, and "New Sarshal"'s primary industry

Juniper Churlgo — 07/27/2023 9:55 PM

What is Ethdi's, Nyth's, and "New Sarshal"'s primary industry, if there is one? Do the towns exist on fishing? or primarily a travel stop between the Great Dale and Thesk? (New Sarshal seems to be different from new sarshel, it appears in atlas, north of Nyth on the eastern side of the Easting Reach.) I'm more interested in details on "New Sarshal" though.

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:31 AM

There will be future in-depth Patreon lore on some of these places, but the short answers are:

Ethdale: the mouth of the River Eth has always been a good anchorage, so Ethdale has always been a good transshipment port, drydock for ship repairs, and the home of shipwrights who make many small local boats (coastal runner caravels and fishing boats). It has shrines to Umberlee and Waukeen, and has never grown much, in part because of six local oldcoin families who own the land around the settlement, farm it to sell produce to Ethdans, and restrict attempts at building, so Ethdale can’t easily expand.

Nyth: a small Theskan seaport city in Thesk where a fishing fleet was based after the popularity of Ethdale as an anchorage and shipbuilding center made traffic increasingly difficult for net-dragging fishing boats. Nyth grew into a city in the first place because the Nythard and Raulond families of Selgaunt resettled here, with their stupendous wealth, after losing murderous feuds among the most ambitious Sembian families, styled themselves “Merchant Princes,” and started bankrolling all sorts of Theskan businesses. They treated those who owed them coin with such kind leniency that they became popular and trusted, and still are (though if anyone finds out how much they work with the Zhentarim and the Red Wizards, that may change). Lhandron Nythard is a calm, coldly calculating legend in mercantile circles, as he owns many buildings in all of the Sembian cities, and is rumoured (correctly) to be personally “wealthier than many kings.”

(Part 2 follows)...

(Part 2) New Sarshal: indeed a separate place from New Sarshel, this small fishing village is located where a stream with lots of gold in its waters flows out of the Forest of Lethyr and into the sea. It’s the “secret local source of wealth,” as everyone filters water, gathers and melts the gold, and for very low fees goes to a small smiling weasel of a man hight Maerloth Hrimmon, who once worked in a Chessentan mint, and took the coin molds with him when that tiny barony (Prathandar, in the hills east and south of Luthcheq) fell. So a steady stream of shiny new Prathandan coins makes its way out into the world, and as the gold is very pure, merchants love them (they’re nicknamed “nails” because of their long-feminine-fingernail-like shape: rounded corner trapezoids with the three-spired crown of Prathandar on one face, and the word “Prosper” in Common on the other). In recent years, careful “this tree here, only” logging in the forest has made possible a local “sturdy everyday useful furniture” works run by the Sandron family.
Brimstone Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 07:20:34
Ed is an absolute treasure!
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 01:49:07
On the restoration of the mythal of Evereska

Melody — 07/27/2023 1:46 AM

Hey @Ed Greenwood! Time for another question I won't be surprised is NDA'd, but I'm going to give it a go! :MelodyTeehee:

After The Return of the Archwizards series, the Mythal in Evereska was left evidently tainted by the Shadow Weave due to Galaeron Nihmedu's decision to step in and assist with the casting to restore it. I know that in a blurb on WotC's website, it was mentioned the Mythal kept malfunctioning and blanketed the area with strange weather patterns, along with other issues.

In 5E, it appears that the Mythal is functioning... fine, in Evereska, from what I can tell? Or am I off base?

Is there anything you can say about what was done to restore it, if it is restored, and what happened in the interim? Thanks and hugs! :MelodyLuv:

Ed Greenwood — 07/27/2023 12:21 PM

Hugs back to you!! And YAY for (this time) dodging every NDA!

The second fall of Myth Drannor in the Year of the Rune Lords Triumphant (1487 DR) alarmed many elders in Evereska, and they took the unusual step of conferring with Elminster as he was passing Evereska as to how they could “purge and rebuild” the Shadow Weave-tainted, malfunctioning mythal, while retaining its property of cloaking the borders of the land in concealing mist. Elminster called upon Azuth and Mystra, who sent many of their servitors and Weaveghosts, including some elf mages and sorcerers, to Evereska to cast a new mythal IF the elders of Evereska were amenable to them doing so. The elders included the usual “no non-elves, I trust them not!” brigade, but they overcame such attitudes out of desperation; they wanted Evereska to be a “safe and hidden refuge” for elves, no matter the means or cost, so they gave in and accepted the offer. Elminster spearheaded the mythal recasting in a novel manner: he required JUNIOR elven spellcasters of all Evereskan families who were willing to participate to do so, to see for themselves how the mythal was laid, how it was built and interwoven, and precisely what properties it had (and they all had a chance to suggest some of these). The new mythal has no Shadow Weave involvement at all; it is gone from Evereska entirely.

In the end, several Chosen and over sixty elves took part in the laying of the replacement mythal (the ranks of the latter known to include Ilimra Aurchora and Meiramras “Swiftspell” Anauvrook).

Elminster won’t confirm it, but Storm suspects he wove something of the Srinshee’s memories (that she’d shared with him centuries earlier) into the mythal, so if it’s possible for her to return, the mythal will act as a home and rejuvenation node for her, and make her return swifter and surer.

Melody — 07/27/2023 12:32 PM

Oh wow, that is a big deal! Thank you, Ed! I'm running a plot on this very subject right now, and I'm so delighted our thoughts were already largely matching here! I'll keep you updated on how it goes. This is wonderful!

Ed Greenwood — 07/27/2023 12:33 PM

Delight shared is delight intensified! You're VERY welcome!!!!
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 01:45:58
On Dwarven lexicon for "Detect/Reveal/See"

rweston_DnD — 07/27/2023 7:54 AM

Hi @Ed Greenwood a quickie for the Dwarven lexicon - what word do they use for "Detect/Reveal/See"?

Ed Greenwood — 07/27/2023 11:57 AM

Spot or detect is: cauv (pronounced “CAW-vvh”)
Reveal (as in, work to lay bare, or the act of chance or natural processes laying bare) is: varra
Hidden is: brukk (pronounced "BRUH-k" to rhyme with truck)
See/Observe/Watch is: yulcauv (pronounced “YULL-caw-vvh”)
Watchfulness/Vigilance/Standing Guard is: yuldam

Ir'revrykal — 07/29/2023 1:04 AM

Hey, I'm trying to transcribe these words phonetically for the wiki and was wondering if you could clarify the "vvh" syllable. How is that pronounced?

Ed Greenwood — 07/29/2023 12:22 PM

After the emphasized "CAW", you make a "vuvvuv" sound as if braking your tongue hard, then release your breath (the "h" sound at the end).
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 01:43:57
On the author(s) of Chess Variations of the Masters of Old Impiltur

Sheepy — 07/22/2023 1:17 AM

Hi again, @Ed Greenwood, O most esteemed birthday boy! I've a short question for my queue: I was just reading Cormyr: A Novel, and it's mentioned that Giogi Wyvernspur memorized Chess Variations of the Masters of Old Impiltur to try (unsuccessfully) to beat Azoun IV in chess. And then I noted that this book wasn't on any list of Realms books I was familiar with. Who was the author(s) of this book the hapless Giogi needlessly memorized?

And Happy Birthday!

Ed Greenwood — 07/27/2023 11:43 AM

Chess Variations of the Masters of Old Impiltur is a rare, expensive 1342 DR tome by Andurandar Yemrevven of Soorenar, that sold very well in Chessenta but only sparsely elsewhere, as many Chessentans in the 1300s DR loved to play “castles” (chess). It was one of the titles sought after by “cultured” nobles in Impiltur and Cormyr, and wannabe-nobles in Sembia, and is a chatty book that tells “war stories” of feuds among the Masters, pranks they played on each other, wagers that nearly ruined them, and so on.
questing gm Posted - 26 Feb 2024 : 01:39:21
On the concept of "the Mageduel" ritual

Smokey — 07/27/2023 4:53 AM

Howdy @Ed Greenwood. The concept of "the Mageduel" ritual (not just two mages blasting each other to pieces) is first introduced to us in the Magic of Faerûn (3e) sourcebook and as far as I know, it has never made print again. Was this concept your idea? If so, could you expand upon the lore behind it? I do find a bit too vague. Thanks and happy (late) b-day!

Ed Greenwood — 07/27/2023 11:35 AM

Yes, the Mageduel, which was first put before Realms fans in my tale ELMINSTER AT THE MAGEFAIR (in the 1993 anthology REALMS OF VALOR collection), was my idea. MAGIC OF FAERUN came out in 2001, an edition of D&D later.

Mageduels have evolved over the years, but they were derived from the (usually fatal) duels to become the Magister, because Azuth and Mystra agreed that the price in skilled workers with the Art lost was too high, so a far more survivable “play fighting” series of duels to determine rankings was instituted at Magefairs, where magical restoration and healing was at hand, and expected to be applied without charge. The actual rules of the duels have changed almost constantly, as has the degree of acceptance among the community of wizards, who have increasingly agreed to abide by the rankings established in such duels, and for many, to confine their feuds and rivalries to Magefair duel contests and not ambushes, traps, and sneak attacks on each other “out in the real world.”
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:38:21
On ley lines in the Realms

Sheepy — 07/25/2023 12:51 AM

Hello again, @Ed Greenwood! It was mentioned on Candlekeep a while ago that ley lines existed in the Realms, though they've never seen print. Is there anything you can say on this subject?

George Krashos — 07/25/2023 1:14 PM

I always thought they were the same as the fey crossroads. Now I’m wondering.

Ed Greenwood — 07/26/2023 5:01 AM

George is right: most ley lines in the Realms ARE fey crossroads, but there are a rare, hidden few that for various reasons aren't. I'm puttering on a lore post on this very topic, but it's part of a long "working line" of upcoming posts. Not enough waking hours in my days!
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:35:37
On the “modern” (i.e., late 15th century) heads of Waterdhavian noble families

Doc Webb — 07/25/2023 10:10 PM

Hello @Ed Greenwood! I hope your birthday was wonderful! I was hoping to learn more about the “modern” (i.e., late 15th century) heads of Waterdhavian noble families. I’m especially interested in the Gost and Kothont families, though I’m obviously open to anyone you’re excited to discuss. I really enjoyed the glimpse of the modern Kothonts in Death Masks.

Ed Greenwood — 07/26/2023 4:59 AM

Expect an answer soon after GenCon. I've looked at the Cassalanters for an upcoming vid and Patreon post, shared some young nobles of Waterdeep on Twitter a year or so back, and will be expanding to other noble families soon.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:31:31
On how are birthdays celebrated in the Realms

Kim Kimera Kimes — 07/25/2023 1:40 PM

Hey @Ed Greenwood I was thinking for my first question to be of relevance to the recent situation; How are birthdays celebrated in the realms? is there cake, presents, lousy singing? is it the same for children and adults? does it differ per region? And are there specific birthday parties of which you want to elaborate on, like of Elminster's or any other figure?

Ed Greenwood — 07/26/2023 4:52 AM

The short answer is that "name days" (which is what most folk in the Realms call birthdays) are celebrated differently from place to place, time period to time period, and culture to culture. However, it's USUALLY a time for a small meal among friends or family at which a favourite food or foods of the name day celebrant is featured, and a "new to them food" or drink is offered. At this meal, three feasters will stand up and give SHORT speeches about kindnesses the celebrant has done for them, heroic or nice things the celebrant did, and why they love/revere/respect the celebrant. And then ONE gift is given to the celebrant, always something small and useful, like a new belt knife or laces for their boots or a pair of work gloves. Only among nobles or the wealthy are gifts large or extravagant, like a ship or a new racehorse or a country cottage or a luxury coach with a team of draft beasts to pull it. And as for singing: depends on the celebrant and those celebrating. If there is, it's a family chant or song (think Tolkien's dwarves singing "Misty Mountains Cold," and not "Happy Birthday" or a bawdy song), unless the celebrant is a mercenary or other soldier, and their group has a proud marching song.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:19:59
On Mystra's view magic that manipulates time

Reedhalloran Duskfellow — 07/25/2023 1:22 PM

@Ed Greenwood your birthday got me wondering about time in the realms and in particular how it interacts (or doesn't with magic). I imagine given what you've said about Mystra and the weave that she would want all forms of magic to spread but time related magic seems especially problematic given its potential for catastrophies. How does Mystra view magic that manipulates time and how does it work through the weave (if at all)?

Ed Greenwood — 07/26/2023 4:46 AM

It doesn't. Mystra is trying to limit magic that manipulates time by denying it the power of the Weaves, precisely because in ancient times, the first spellcasters to devise such spells tried to misuse them to go back in time and slay rivals, etc. So Mystra allowed time stop and various stasis spells, because they DON'T allow the "go back in time" features, and denied the rest. Chronomancy is arcane magic that DOESN'T use the Weave to call on the world's natural energies, but finds other means. That's why it's rare, risky, hard to learn, and fraught with chaotic failures.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:03:58
On Ankhapuran cuisine

Juniper Churlgo — 07/21/2023 9:07 AM

Culinary Q time! Ankhapuran cuisine. The novel mentions street noodle vendors. What kind of dish would they offer in Ankhapur? I see a flat square pasta bake with cheese and herbs and egg and spices filling, Sliced in squares and dipped in yogurt. Sort of a cross between lasagne and su-boreg from Beirut. Or are we talking about boring old noodle soups (seems odd for street food without disposable containers)? noodles and pasta foods in the realms need some love and lore #128578;

Ed Greenwood — 07/21/2023 10:01 AM

Yes! Like ravioli in that it's a pillow of pasta with a filling inside, but these are human-palm-sized squares of chewy pasta, often green with dill and other herbs mixed into the dough, and the filling is a cheese-and-egg scramble "melt," pressed flat and highly spiced. Edges sealed with a harder cheese, that is then drizzled and melted diagonally across the top of a square. Yummm.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 04:00:40
On a Paladin of Tyr be elevated to a Hammer of Grimjaws without sponsorship of a fellow Paladin

Maq "Dethjezter" MacPherson — 07/08/2023 10:07 AM

@Ed Greenwood, can a Paladin of Tyr be elevated to a Hammer of Grimjaws without sponsorship of a fellow Paladin, but instead Tyr himself manifests and and says "this is one of my Chosen, he/she is to be a Hammer of Grimjaws"? Asking for a friend

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:36 AM

Oh, yes, Tyr can ‘make’ a Hammer on his own, by telling his existing clergy. This is very rarely done, but when it is, follows the usual manner of revelation done by all law-and-order-embracing deities: a voice and vision (in this case, a glowing-in-the-air mug shot of the elevated paladin) emanating from above ALL temple altars consecrated to Tyr. So, not shared way-altars in shrines, but the altars in all temples of Tyr. Which is why all such temples have clergy guarding the altars, and praying to the deity, at all times—so they can behold such missives.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 03:58:31
On some interesting late 15th century DR costers, merchant guilds etc

BlissfulSavant — 07/08/2023 7:34 AM

Hello Ed. Thanks you for all the recent lore #128516; Hope you are doing well

Could you enlighten on some of the interesting late 15th century DR costers, merchant guilds etc? Around Cormyr / Sembia / Westgate / Teziir would be of great interest to me, but anywhere would be awesome #128578;

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:32 AM

On it. This will be a Patreon post because the topic is big, but I'll come back here and give you a "top six or so" summary of the big fish.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 03:55:09
On Mystra's interest in cultivating powerful magic users or just the proliferation of magic use itself

Cdawg — 07/08/2023 6:57 AM

My god. It's full of lore.... Speaking of, I had a brief question about Mystra. She promotes magic use and development but works against consolidation of power in an elite few. Does she have an interest in cultivating powerful magic users or just the proliferation of magic use itself? To put it another way, does she value an archmage more than a cantrip-slinging dilettente? Would that change if the archmage judiciously invoked magic powers with restraint while the dilettente abused his cantrips all day?

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:24 AM

Mystra frowns on all uses of magic that will make others (than the caster) fear magic and users of magic, so will work to thwart all bullies and reckless “lashers out” who fling magic around to vandalize and do willful harm or “just don’t care about consequences.” She wants powerful wielders of the Art “on her side,” yes, ideally viewing her with reverence or active worship, and will manifest or send dream-visions to try to get them to trust and love her. But she doesn’t “just chase the elite” as friends, she wants all arcane spellcasters to trust in her and behave accordingly.
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 03:52:37
On the relationship between Maztican magic and the Weave

Juniper Churlgo — 07/08/2023 5:48 AM

What I really want to know is the relationship between Maztican magic and the weave. Is maztican magic still channeled through Mystra? Is there an agreement in place between Mystra and Maztican gods? Is she worshiped there in a separate aspect?

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:19 AM

Pluma and hishna magic aren’t channeled through Mystra. They both operate on the interface between the web of the Weave and the empty space surrounding the flowing tendrils of the Weave (where the Shadow Weave exists as an echo of the Weave). As the Shadow Weave seeks to draw on the Weave’s power, tugging at flowing energies and drinking energy discharges that emanate and ‘boil off,’ they draw energy right through the area that powers all pluma and hisna magic, making them powerful and reliable. Mystra can sense them being used, and in theory cut off particular castings by withdrawing the Weave from a localized area to make that area magically ‘dead,’ but in practise just never bothers; she has bigger fish to fry. (A world-balance-threatening use she could nullify, yes.)

There’s no agreement between Mystra and the Maztican gods. A few mortals of Maztica know of Mystra as “the lover of Qotal and Zoltec” (Qotal being the god of pluma magic, and Zaltec the god of hisna magic), a mysterious lady they both were hopelessly in love with, but who remained beyond their power, and whom they were jealous rivals for, but this belief is heresy to the clergy of both Qotal and Zaltec. (For her part, Mystra works against Maztican gods and mortal Mazticans only when they seek to harm, capture, or thwart mortal spellcasters, and never confronts them openly.)
questing gm Posted - 24 Feb 2024 : 03:26:15
On dragons in Waterdeep

Maq "Dethjezter" MacPherson — 07/09/2023 2:47 PM

@Ed Greenwood , hi Ed, I was wondering if you could tell us about dragons in Waterdeep, who are they, what do they do, and relations between them

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:05 AM

I will be revisiting Waterdeep soon, and will make sure coverage of this is part of it. Too big a topic to easily answer here.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 10:02:35
On how monstrous race spellbooks are made

Lucio — 07/10/2023 6:36 PM

Hi @Ed Greenwood hope your weekend was good, can you give us some examples on how monstrous race spellbooks are made? Like the spellbook of a dragon, the spellbook of a mindflayer, aboleth and so on?

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 3:01 AM

Most of those races use variants of arcane spells that require only concentration and mental focus plus a brief vocalization (hardly an incantation, usually one or two words at most) for casting. They can all read and use written spell scrolls, using their powerful minds to visualise the “missing” material components, and “imagine through the process” the transformation and usually consumption of those components that befalls during the casting. Dragons and aboleths would prefer any sort of spellbook to be far more lasting than paper, parchment, vellum, or leather “pages” provide, and would likely prefer engraved flat stones (NOT fragile slate or other “plane of cleavage” stone slabs), and even mind flayers are often mindful of the passage of time and the fleeting nature of the materials used by most human mages. Which is why thin, flat “sheets” of copper or electrum or other alloys, produced by dwarves and especially gnome smiths and artisans, are so valuable: books can be made that have burnished metal pages graven with spell incantations, symbols, and explanations of the casting process, punched to go in ring bindings so they can be spread flat, and these are used by dragon and mind flayer casters, and by aboleths, who will avoid copper and silver water-tarnished alloys, and cleave to gold and electrum and other alloys that resist all (normal) water damage. There are even alloys that resist acid, and these are the most highly prized of all.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:58:37
On what hypothetically would happen to the Realms if Ao was killed or otherwise unmade

Doc Webb — 07/10/2023 4:27 AM

@Ed Greenwood A theological question for you, sir, if I may? Starting from an understanding that doing so is probably impossible from a practical standpoint, what hypothetically would happen to the Realms if Ao was killed or otherwise unmade (by another overgod, or a revolt by all the deities, or some multiplanar calamity, etc.)? Would the Realms unravel? Or would there simply no longer be any check upon the gods, for good or ill?

Ed Greenwood — 07/12/2023 2:50 AM

There would no longer be a check upon the gods, and by the inherent natures of some of them, there would be a power struggle. Mystra, by virtue of being the Weave, holds the upper hand, because she’s been attacked so many times that she’s now expecting it and prepared for it, so how tumultous things become for mortals depends on HOW Ao is removed from the scene (as in, how swiftly and widespread is awareness among the gods that he’s gone). If it’s just a silence, and deities like the Triad and the Mystra-Azuth alliance find out first, the result could look pretty close to ‘business as usual’ for Toril: the ‘law-and-order maintain the status quo’ forces would be ready to contain the havoc of the likes of Shar, Bane, Cyric, and Moander, and steer them into conflict with each other, resulting in only localized wars and magical chaos. If opportunists like Szass Tam and Manshoon and various beholders end up pursuing schemes that actually aid order in the long run, and get in the way of other would-be world-tyrants, really big changes may never come.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:52:53
On Tara el Viilam and the Copper Cliffs

Ic3hell — 06/14/2023 2:20 PM

Hey @Ed Greenwood, can you tell us a little bit about Volothamp (the city)? And, more specifically, if it really WAS Tara el Viilam that was responsible for the creation of the Copper Cliffs and why she would do that. And if not, then who was it and why?

Ed Greenwood — 07/09/2023 9:20 AM

Yes, Tara’s spell experiment temporarily caused all of the copper in Volothamp, from coins to roof flashings, to melt, and run down the sloping city towards the sea. The Copper Cliffs are the result of the spell fading while large amounts of copper were cascading down retaining walls; the copper hardened in a sheath or layer over the walls, creating walls of seeming copper (in truth, the copper was a thin coating, and almost all of it has since been removed by spells cast by local mages—Volothamp remains home to many wizards—hired for the purpose by the High Satrap, who did not return the copper to the citizens, but used it to give them a still-celebrated “Year Of No Taxes”).

Tara was experimenting with what she hoped was a “mass killer” spell, by acting on the copper in human bodies. The experiment was a failure, as her magic didn’t affect copper within living bodies at all, so she turned to other lines of experimentation (and is still at it, in hiding; if she ever perfects magics that slay en masse, the Realms will be in trouble, as Tara is less than sane, and driven by a hunger to kill that often overwhelms her prudence but not her cunning.

As for Volothamp, the Gem City, a Patreon post is forthcoming.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:50:36
On how do deities’ influence wax and wane in regards to their worshippers in different settings

Jessifer — 06/15/2023 12:57 PM

Mr @Ed Greenwood, a question if you will. In regards to the different settings you’ve had the ability to participate in the creation of or joy of playing within, how do deities’ influence wax and wane in regards to their worshippers. For example, if say, Lolth, lost all followers in Greyhawk, and hypothetically was completely removed from records entirely, what would happen to the power that was once there? Does the power itself disappear? Or does what little of it might remain transfer to Lolth in other realms she has influence in?

Ed Greenwood — 07/09/2023 9:20 AM

A rare few deities can ‘draw’ power from other realms, across the planes. However, what usually happens is that divine power from a waning deity is taken by other deities that worshippers of the fading god turn to (there’s the “spark” of divinity, and to it accrues power in the form of the various natural energies of the world, directed by the reverent regard and observances/prayer/rituals of worshippers).

As long as mortals or anyone else remembers a deity, they aren’t truly gone, even if all records are gone, temples razed or taken over, etc.) And any altars that remain, no matter how long neglected, remain repositories of the power of worship.

If a deity physically exits a world, they take with them all the power they have at that time, but usually, that’s it; they can’t subsequently gain power from that world without returning. (Other deities in the world they departed will usually opportunistically answer prayers made to the ‘gone’ deity, confer spells to the ‘gone’ deity’s clergy—and so, take over the power stream to the ‘gone’ deity.)
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:47:36
On theme song for Volo

Doc Webb — 06/12/2023 4:36 AM

@Ed Greenwood Hello sir! If you were to pick a (modern, non-Faerun) song as a theme for Volo in your games, what song(s) spring to mind? Thanks!

Ed Greenwood — 07/08/2023 2:36 AM

Heh. A fitting tune (instrumental, no lyrics) would be "Yakety Sax" (a saxophone hit by Homer Louis “Boots” Randolph III that was used as the theme for Benny Hill’s show, because of those real-world associations.

A fitting song (with lyrics) for Volo to sing would be “Feats Don't Fail Me Now” by Little Feat. And a fitting song for others to sing about Volo would be “Jackass” by Green Day.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:45:06
On the nature of the beef between Phalse and Moander

DMHFzoulf — 06/19/2023 5:00 AM

Hola @Ed Greenwood just wondering if you can detail the nature of the beef between Phalse and Moander? Thanks #128591;:)

Ed Greenwood — 07/08/2023 2:24 AM

Moander delights in being a tyrant, controlling lesser beings, often destroying them, and always if possible coercing or deceiving them into ruining individuals, places, things, and organizations or friendships dear to them.

Phalse (a hordling fiend from Carceri who in “true” form looks like a gigantic beholder with lamprey-like fanged mouths at the ends of his ten eyestalks rather than eyes (he does have a large central eye with a wide fanged maw under it, though his eye has no ant-magic powers, and he can grow more eyestalks than his customary ten at will, as well as regenerating lost eyestalks over about half a day, and injured ones within hours). Like Moander, Phalse also delights and tormenting his “playthings,” lesser beings he manipulates for his satisfaction.

Both Moander and Phalse often shift shape as they go about their ambitious business. And therein lies the origins of their centuries-old feud: Moander mistook Phalse (when Phalse was in halfling form, on Toril) as a lesser being to be toyed with, and tried to manipulate and mistreat him. In doing so, he interrupted a complex and long-drawn-out deception Phalse was enacting in Calimshan, stirring various satraps up against other satraps, with his end goal seeing how much open violence would break out in the land. Phalse’s work was wasted, and he was furious. He lashed out at Moander, then set about planning (as he always does, meticulously planning ahead) ways of duping, manipulating, and ultimately tormenting the Darkbringer.

And he succeeded, managing to bring about a collapse in a dwarven mine that plunged Moander (who was slithering along the surface in Abomination form, devouring a herd of cattle before he planned to swoop down on barns of gathered barley and consume them) down a rift into a lava flow the dwarves had uncovered in their delvings and were preparing to use as an ongoing forge-fire. Moander was horribly burned, fully two-thirds of his bulk being reduced to ash and... [Part 2 follows]

[Part 2] ...boiling-off gases. Greatly diminished, what was left of him vowed eternal vengeance on the cause of his calamity—and Phalse, in triumph, confronted Moander to gloat and take credit for the Jawed God’s agony.

And thus the feud began.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:41:44
On international relations between Waterdeep and the Lands of Intrigue

Ic3hell — 07/07/2023 4:09 AM

Hello to all. @Ed Greenwood, could you tell us more about how international relations are between Waterdeep and the Lands of Intrigue? (Specifically Tethyr).

Ed Greenwood — 07/08/2023 12:23 AM

Certainly! International relations between Waterdeep, Tethyr, Amn, and Calimshan are superb during the 1490s DR, with trade thriving in an unrestricted manner. Historically, there have been rivalries between Waterdeep and Athkatla, and a certain degree of frostiness between Calimshan and Waterdeep (over what the Masked Lords, nobles, and guilds in Waterdeep have seen as Calimshan’s attempts to imperially dictate weights, measures, methods of payment, etc. as if superior to Waterdeep), but Calimshan’s recent economic downturns and internal strife put an end to those attempts, as the humbled Calishite humans, free of Skyfire warring and genasi rule, were eager to trade with anyone and everyone, and in no position to try to dictate or dominate anything. Rural Calimshan remains dangerous, with many opportunities for mercenaries and adventurers to swing swords or stand guard for hire.

Under the Council of Five, Amn is eager to have friendlier trade relations with all neighbors than they enjoyed previously, as they saw themselves falling behind economically thanks to being outcompeted by Baldur’s Gate, Waterdeep, and Tethyr, and due to ongoing skirmishes with the “monster kingdom” of Muranndin (which is now reduced to scattered monsters who’ve fled into the Small Teeth and the Wealdath, making the latter in particular perilous at this time).

For its part, Tethyr has enjoyed both relative peace (though rural bandits and “highwaymen” remain a problem in rural eastern areas) and bumper harvests throughout the 1480s, with the result that coffers are more than full and Tethyrians have excess xoin to invest aboard and in ships and shipping cargoes. This has led many Tethyrian sailors to dare long voyages to Laerakond, and bring back goods from there that have further enriched Tethyr; its caravan companies are booming, and the authorities have embarked on a concerted campaign to rebuild bridges and improve roads and roadside amenities (from campsites... [Part 2 follows]

[Part 2] to inns with night-lit paddocks) all over Tethyr. Certain Tethyrian merchant families have risen sharply in wealth from the 1470s onwards, and three of them (the houses of Cathlodar [“Kath-LOW-dar”], Mulhanaer [“Mull-HANN-nair”], and Sarshoal [“SAR-show-ll”]) have grown so bold as to send their own envoys to important Sword Coast ports, from Neverwinter on south to Calimport, and the Tashalar beyond, to make trade deals (without the blessing, oversight, or permission of the Queen or her court—who have not reacted with any public anger, or any public statements at all, but are believed to be spying to discern motives and loyalties ere doing anything).

The Crown doesn’t have to worry about any challenges to the throne, as the most prominent speaker for, and face of, these “Risen Three” families is the elderly, gruff, limping, short, gravel-voiced, and ugly Gustavar Sarshoal, a trade-greedy pragmatist who wants nothing to do with politics or power, when he can toy with new goods, new ways of doing things, and new trading opportunities overseas—and frequently says so. “Don’t be a dolt” is what he often says to anyone who wants lower taxes or fewer laws and rules, and it has become a catch-phrase you’ll hear many folk in Tethyr say to each other.

Zazesspur has recently seen a rise in population and prosperity, and its shopkeepers are employing more and more crafters rather than merely repairers, so it’s becoming a source of household goods exports such as good chairs and mattresses.

In recent months, word has spread of new finds in the Starspire Mountains: large deposits of coal and potash (there are already copper and nickel mines).
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:39:07
On Kiputytto as Bane's wife, companion or lover

Evrat — 05/18/2023 5:31 AM

Hi Everyone and @Ed Greenwood ,

A few years ago, I remember reading that Kiputytto (former Goddess of Disease, killed by Talona) had been Bane's wife, companion or lover.

My brain may have misfired. Could you please enlighten me if I was dreaming or not.

Ed Greenwood — 07/07/2023 10:55 AM

Kiputytto was indeed briefly the lover of Bane, but their time together ended when she realized he was trying (vainly, though he did weaken her, which is what aroused her suspicions) to work magic on her to steal her divine powers during their couplings.

Their clergies told different versions of the relationship, and as it was both fleeting and private, likely only have what the deities said, plus priestly embroiderment, to go on.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:36:40
On Kossuth and Gond banning gunpowder together

Sheepy — 06/14/2023 7:34 AM

Friend @Ed Greenwood, I find there is some apparently conflicting information from your pen. On Twitter, on April 22, 2017, you said "the Firelord (Kossuth) decreed it so; natural or creature-made attempts to combine ingredients into what we would call gunpowder are absorbed by him (no blast as he takes energy)." On April 29, 2019, you said "Gond is the being who banned gunpowder from EXPLODING (burning very rapidly) and igniting (burning with an open flame)."

So are both working together to ban gunpowder, or do those in the know, in-setting, disagree on which one it was – or am I misunderstanding something? Also, you explained why Gond did this; why would Kossuth do this?

Ed Greenwood — 07/07/2023 10:54 AM

You have come upon conflicting common knowledge in the Realms that arises from the claims of rival priesthoods (Gond and Kossuth) both saying THEIR god did it. Strictly speaking, there’s no contradiction: Kossuth told his clergy that he would absorb the energy of gunpowder blasts (that is, explosions resulting from the flame-ignition of the right mix of charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfur) so no explosion would occur, only a steady burning, and Gond told HIS clergy that he used his divine power to render gunpowder inert (exploding or burning). In the Realms today, other mixtures (“smoke powder,” which is NOT the same as real-world historical “smokepwoder”) do explode or burn, but gundpowder does neither.

Kossuth did this because he’s Lord of Flame, and explosions so shorten the experience of flames for beings nigh an explosion (and often also shorten their lifespans, drastically!) that they “lose reverence for his power, and the power and beauty of all-consuming flame” in favor of respecting and fearing explosions.
questing gm Posted - 22 Feb 2024 : 09:32:06
On Shaengarne Ford in 15th century DR

Juniper Churlgo — 06/23/2023 3:37 AM

Icewind Dale Q for Ed. How's the logging village of Shaengarne Ford doing in 15th century?

Ed Greenwood — 07/07/2023 10:53 AM

It’s flourishing, largely because orc and goblin attacks have been nigh-unknown since the 1450s DR. So the village is growing, with large timber-frame, earth-berm-sheltered homes, with turf-over-board roofs planted with herbs and edible vine fruits and vegetables being built here, there, and everywhere, and the older ones expanded.

The (relatively) mild weather of the last three decades has resulted in “wild” tree growth, and so, plentiful supplies of timber for the sawmill, which has become the main supplier of dressed lumber for Targos and the Ten Towns, which are also booming.

So this is the closest thing to a “golden age” Shaengarne Ford has yet experienced. Move in while you can!

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