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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2015 :  19:44:22  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans
... the Blood War ... (which I can ramble on about a lot, but I will hold back until someone actually notes they want to talk about that) ...



*raises hand*

Please!

And don't worry if it's 0.1% "canon" and 99.9% Erin-M-Evans-Awesomeness, i just care for your opinion as a knowledgeable author. I wrecked the Lower Planes in my campaign and hearing/reading what others (who know what they're talking about) have in mind regarding demons, devils, their planar homes and the Blood War is always useful and fascinating.

So please, go ahead.



I can't shake the feeling I'm walking into a trap!

With the following enormous caveats:
1. This is how I make the Blood War work for me, because I don’t like the Blood War. I don’t get it on the level that makes it compelling. In fact, most of the designer-types I’ve discussed Blood War things with feel that way. It’s compelling in a meta-sense—two kinds of evil that are diametrically opposed is interesting!—and in a mythological sense, but D&D has a tendency to make things very real and explicit in the execution. If you already love the Blood War, this might annoy you.
2. I’m not a scholar of Planescape. I’ve certainly read a lot, but usually for the purposes of writing a book so there’s not a lot of leisurely study so much as “Where is this sentence?!” I’ve also always gotten conflicting answers about how much of Planescape is canonical for the Realms anyway. But there’s a chance there’s an incompatible error in this, and I know that.
3. All of this is predicated on the assumption that the 4E lore changes happened and have reasons. So if that gives you a rage stroke, go read something else. Life is too short, dear readers.


An unending war without a goal or a victory condition is interesting as a backdrop, but when you start to put characters into it, put situations together that focus on it as a war not a sort of cosmic reality, it loses it’s shine. Wars are major resource drains. Why are they doing this still? What are they trying to acheive? And when you look at the versions where there’s a particular battlefield-plane this happens on, why are they doing it there? The reality is that while ideology is used as an excuse for war, there are always resources at play and you tend to fight as near to those resources as you can. Even the Crusades boils down to territorial control. While demons would throw themselves against a devilish army for eternity, but devils are planners, calculators, risk-reward analysts. They’re going to need a reason eventually.

Access to souls is a pretty decent reason, actually. This is a resource both want and want in different ways. They can’t really share safely, and the ideological difference between their methods and uses becomes an easy way to make it ideological, right? Whatever started it, this is a solid potential core, and feeding that competition with hatred is easy. We have to stop them, or we lose what sustains us.

So look at the sides: Demons corrupt to cause chaos, right, which ultimately means destruction, entropy. Break it all down to it's component molecules and move on. Slow or speedy, most demons follow this pattern. Which makes sense--they're predators, devourers. They are the wolves and mortals are the sheep. They’ll tear through a flock and move on to the next (let’s call these fairy tale wolves for the sake of not making biologists twitch).

Devils, on the other hand, work when playing off the status quo. What do you want? What do you yearn for? What has the world kept from you? Who can you exploit and rule over? If society doesn't create things for you to crave, create structures that keep you from grabbing what you want, then none of that can happen. They need dead souls but really they need the living too, where the demons don’t. So if the demons are the wolves, the devils are the shepherds. They want the flock to persist, so they can get their wool and lamb and mutton without too much work.

Which sounds all gentle and nice...but if you’re a sheep, the end of this story is fresh mutton whether the wolves get you or the shepherds do. The devils have the better party line, but if you think about it for a minute it’s not exactly better.

So instead of this:

Demons<---->Devils
PMP

that I think a lot of people depict the Blood War as, it would look more like:

Demons--->Devils | PMP

They become the kind of protectors you don’t really want, but maybe can’t afford to get rid of entirely. They’re the tyranny that’s holding the lunatics with guns running around the wilderness at bay, while squeezing you the people dry.

And that’s why I think it makes sense for Asmodeus to seek out and claim divinity. He needs societies of mortals to corrupt and then claim souls—why not make that pull power too? Power from worshippers, power from the dead. Feed the sort of structures that make it easier to claim souls. That's why it also makes sense for one of his first god acts is to hurl the Abyss away. That's not going to end the Blood War, and I think he'd know that, but it buys him time to build up. (See also, snatching tiefling bloodlines. Graz'zt is going to be pissed.)

But I do think the way his worship’s been depicted doesn’t work great for this. He needs to cast a wider net than “those of you interested in human sacrifice” to get going. Fortunately, that ought to be a devil’s wheelhouse. And so I would depict the wider worship of Asmodeus as being kind of apotropaic. “Save us from the worse things.” Or even something along the lines of “absolve or absorb this transgression I made so the good gods don’t notice.” Or even "Hey man, do what you want. The gods are asking a lot from you and all Asmodeus wants is for you to be happy."

I had an idea once for a Asmodean paladin whose schtick was basically being a bounty hunter for the Nine Hells. People request them and they track down whatever horrible threat or criminal Asmodeus sets them after, sacrifice the puppy kicker and claim his or her soul for the Nine Hells. Much gold and many prayers later, everyone’s happy. Good gods frowning from the heavens aside.

To me, this also makes a clearer distinction between the two. (It makes me crazy how much people conflate devils and demons. Partly because I spent the better part of two years breaking myself of the habit.) And it leaves room for the yugoloths (and now the succubi) of course. (I love the new succubi vision)


www.slushlush.com

Edited by - ErinMEvans on 19 Feb 2015 19:48:10
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3802 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2015 :  20:10:29  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans

quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans
... the Blood War ... (which I can ramble on about a lot, but I will hold back until someone actually notes they want to talk about that) ...



*raises hand*

Please!

And don't worry if it's 0.1% "canon" and 99.9% Erin-M-Evans-Awesomeness, i just care for your opinion as a knowledgeable author. I wrecked the Lower Planes in my campaign and hearing/reading what others (who know what they're talking about) have in mind regarding demons, devils, their planar homes and the Blood War is always useful and fascinating.

So please, go ahead.



I can't shake the feeling I'm walking into a trap!

With the following enormous caveats:
1. This is how I make the Blood War work for me, because I don’t like the Blood War. I don’t get it on the level that makes it compelling. In fact, most of the designer-types I’ve discussed Blood War things with feel that way. It’s compelling in a meta-sense—two kinds of evil that are diametrically opposed is interesting!—and in a mythological sense, but D&D has a tendency to make things very real and explicit in the execution. If you already love the Blood War, this might annoy you.
2. I’m not a scholar of Planescape. I’ve certainly read a lot, but usually for the purposes of writing a book so there’s not a lot of leisurely study so much as “Where is this sentence?!” I’ve also always gotten conflicting answers about how much of Planescape is canonical for the Realms anyway. But there’s a chance there’s an incompatible error in this, and I know that.
3. All of this is predicated on the assumption that the 4E lore changes happened and have reasons. So if that gives you a rage stroke, go read something else. Life is too short, dear readers.


An unending war without a goal or a victory condition is interesting as a backdrop, but when you start to put characters into it, put situations together that focus on it as a war not a sort of cosmic reality, it loses it’s shine. Wars are major resource drains. Why are they doing this still? What are they trying to acheive? And when you look at the versions where there’s a particular battlefield-plane this happens on, why are they doing it there? The reality is that while ideology is used as an excuse for war, there are always resources at play and you tend to fight as near to those resources as you can. Even the Crusades boils down to territorial control. While demons would throw themselves against a devilish army for eternity, but devils are planners, calculators, risk-reward analysts. They’re going to need a reason eventually.

Access to souls is a pretty decent reason, actually. This is a resource both want and want in different ways. They can’t really share safely, and the ideological difference between their methods and uses becomes an easy way to make it ideological, right? Whatever started it, this is a solid potential core, and feeding that competition with hatred is easy. We have to stop them, or we lose what sustains us.

So look at the sides: Demons corrupt to cause chaos, right, which ultimately means destruction, entropy. Break it all down to it's component molecules and move on. Slow or speedy, most demons follow this pattern. Which makes sense--they're predators, devourers. They are the wolves and mortals are the sheep. They’ll tear through a flock and move on to the next (let’s call these fairy tale wolves for the sake of not making biologists twitch).

Devils, on the other hand, work when playing off the status quo. What do you want? What do you yearn for? What has the world kept from you? Who can you exploit and rule over? If society doesn't create things for you to crave, create structures that keep you from grabbing what you want, then none of that can happen. They need dead souls but really they need the living too, where the demons don’t. So if the demons are the wolves, the devils are the shepherds. They want the flock to persist, so they can get their wool and lamb and mutton without too much work.

Which sounds all gentle and nice...but if you’re a sheep, the end of this story is fresh mutton whether the wolves get you or the shepherds do. The devils have the better party line, but if you think about it for a minute it’s not exactly better.

So instead of this:

Demons<---->Devils
PMP

that I think a lot of people depict the Blood War as, it would look more like:

Demons--->Devils | PMP

They become the kind of protectors you don’t really want, but maybe can’t afford to get rid of entirely. They’re the tyranny that’s holding the lunatics with guns running around the wilderness at bay, while squeezing you the people dry.

And that’s why I think it makes sense for Asmodeus to seek out and claim divinity. He needs societies of mortals to corrupt and then claim souls—why not make that pull power too? Power from worshippers, power from the dead. Feed the sort of structures that make it easier to claim souls. That's why it also makes sense for one of his first god acts is to hurl the Abyss away. That's not going to end the Blood War, and I think he'd know that, but it buys him time to build up. (See also, snatching tiefling bloodlines. Graz'zt is going to be pissed.)

But I do think the way his worship’s been depicted doesn’t work great for this. He needs to cast a wider net than “those of you interested in human sacrifice” to get going. Fortunately, that ought to be a devil’s wheelhouse. And so I would depict the wider worship of Asmodeus as being kind of apotropaic. “Save us from the worse things.” Or even something along the lines of “absolve or absorb this transgression I made so the good gods don’t notice.” Or even "Hey man, do what you want. The gods are asking a lot from you and all Asmodeus wants is for you to be happy."

I had an idea once for a Asmodean paladin whose schtick was basically being a bounty hunter for the Nine Hells. People request them and they track down whatever horrible threat or criminal Asmodeus sets them after, sacrifice the puppy kicker and claim his or her soul for the Nine Hells. Much gold and many prayers later, everyone’s happy. Good gods frowning from the heavens aside.

To me, this also makes a clearer distinction between the two. (It makes me crazy how much people conflate devils and demons. Partly because I spent the better part of two years breaking myself of the habit.) And it leaves room for the yugoloths (and now the succubi) of course. (I love the new succubi vision)





I like this a lot. Giving plausible, ''constructive'' motivations to evil is what makes it interesting (on the opposite of ''I'm evil, cause I want power and evil is cool and edgy''). Thanks for sharing.

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.

Edited by - Irennan on 19 Feb 2015 20:11:21
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Demzer
Senior Scribe

873 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2015 :  21:18:12  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans
I can't shake the feeling I'm walking into a trap!

snip of awesomeness




Oh no, no trap, i would never do that.

I'm happy to have asked though. Your reply was every bit as good as i anticipated. I disagree on some things but i can live with it without causing a fuss, i disagree with some Planescape canon too, no biggie. My intent was to get someone's else vision of things and you gave me exactly what i was looking for so, thanks for that!

Your books and this answer help me greatly in shaping devils in my game and i agree with your take on Asmodean faith (even if in my game there is none, so it's more of a devilish PR thing than a religion).

Oh and if you happen to take your creative work to the First Layer, i would love to get more lore on Zariel, anything you may share would be treasured.

Again, thanks!
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6623 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2015 :  22:24:38  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bravo, Erin. That's the first time I've read anything about the dynamic of the Blood war that made me want to feature it in the Realms.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 21 Feb 2015 :  04:40:42  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks folks!

Demzer: Zariel was a surprise to me, but I find her intriguing. Love a badass, evil woman, love a comeback story.

I wanted to add too: I like the idea of the Lords of the Nine using the Blood War as a smokescreen for their own battles. Which leads to [SPOILERS FOR FIRE IN THE BLOOD]







The succubus "incursion" is almost entirely orchestrated by Glasya to steal the Scepter of Alzrius from Levistus before he can use it. Malbolgian succubi who have no intention of leaving for the Abyss can attack alongside Abyssal succubi and who's the wiser? Yes, the Abyss scores a hit, but more importantly Levistus eats it.

And then everyone who hates Levistus piles on. "WE'RE HELPING!" shout the erinyes of Maldomini, as they beat back the demons with as much collateral damage as possible.

I would think that happens more than a little.


www.slushlush.com
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2015 :  22:19:19  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here is the book club discussion and interview with The Tome Show about Fire in the Blood. Spoilerific, but includes discussions of sex in Cormyr, what dragonborn call themselves, and just who the heck Arjhani is.

http://www.thetomeshow.com/e/fire-in-the-blood-tome-book-club/

www.slushlush.com
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 22 Mar 2015 :  18:10:41  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sex in Cormyr? I'm in!
love,
THO
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Protean
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2015 :  04:19:39  Show Profile Send Protean a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Does anyone know anything about what roles Bane and/or Cyric play in the Zhentarim nowadays? I'll be running a campaign set around the same time as "Fire in the Blood", but I can't seem to find anything beyond what's already been outdated. Is the Zhentarim mostly full of Banites, Cyricists, or this weird (read volatile) blend of both? I do know that Manshoon is back in control and that they're now mostly working as mercenaries-for-hire, but that's about all I can find for what's current.

Edited by - Protean on 30 Mar 2015 04:20:58
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2015 :  06:04:57  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Protean

Does anyone know anything about what roles Bane and/or Cyric play in the Zhentarim nowadays? I'll be running a campaign set around the same time as "Fire in the Blood", but I can't seem to find anything beyond what's already been outdated. Is the Zhentarim mostly full of Banites, Cyricists, or this weird (read volatile) blend of both? I do know that Manshoon is back in control and that they're now mostly working as mercenaries-for-hire, but that's about all I can find for what's current.



My impression is that the Banites are ascendant nowadays and the Zhentarim have grown much more organized than where they were around Lesser Evils time frame. I would assume that Cyricist cells still operate--like cockroaches, those guys--probably under the radar.

The book I'm working on currently involves some Zhentarim operating kind of magic component smuggling network, and some others who clear out ruins of monsters to get treasure to fund other endeavors. The heads of these groups don't like each other, but they're working together since someone above them wants this done.

Hope that helps!


www.slushlush.com
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Protean
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2015 :  07:06:41  Show Profile Send Protean a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, that does help! Now it means that I can kind of play up the whole internal strife angle, which hopefully my players will think to exploit in the far future.

Anyway, just to make certain before I commit to anything, the general atmosphere in the Zhentarim is that the two factions are cooperating on the surface to make the leadership happy, but also conspiring against each other whenever the opportunity arises? Is that the general gist of it?

Thanks a lot for your help, Erin!




Edited by - Protean on 30 Mar 2015 07:11:51
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2015 :  19:14:35  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Protean

Yeah, that does help! Now it means that I can kind of play up the whole internal strife angle, which hopefully my players will think to exploit in the far future.

Anyway, just to make certain before I commit to anything, the general atmosphere in the Zhentarim is that the two factions are cooperating on the surface to make the leadership happy, but also conspiring against each other whenever the opportunity arises? Is that the general gist of it?

Thanks a lot for your help, Erin!




Pretty much! Here's some more specifics (which will probably spoil approximately the jacket copy of Ashes of the Tyrant, just FYI).

I would summarize it as "franchised Mafia." Lots of people working semi-independently, but under the same organization. Definitely Lawful, so definitely Bane's, but generally more concerned with the practical aspects. The farther you get from the center though, the more autonomy you'd expect to see.

In Ashes of the Tyrants, you have Xulfaril, a wizard who runs a sort of black market network for magic items and rare components (among other things). She has her people, she takes her cut, she sends coin up the chain and when a request comes for something specific, she knows she needs to get it or face her superiors' wrath (To my knowledge, the leadership hasn't been clarified, but I've seen suggestions?).

*Something happens* and she needs assistance--she gets saddled with Grathson and his folks, who generally add to the organization by treasure hunting, monster killing, and general humanoid killing when need be. He can and has to help her, but he doesn't take orders well. She outranks him nominally, but they don't exist in the same hierarchy--they work separately and he's in charge of his "thing." So both are completely prepared for the other to cut their throat once their jobs are done because they both really hate the challenge to their authority, but if they don't fix this, they're both in a lot of trouble.

And so I would think you could totally have some smart Cyricist flying under the radar here, using the fact that the Banite organization really appeals to people who want to feel powerful and in control.

www.slushlush.com
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Protean
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2015 :  20:16:05  Show Profile Send Protean a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Okay yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Suppose that makes it easier for the Banite and Cyricist cells to get along (somewhat) if they aren't forced to interact all that often, too. Which also makes my job that much easier. Thanks for all your help, Erin!
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 11 May 2015 :  22:59:17  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Someone asked me about dragonborn today, and so I wrote this up. If anyone other than me likes dragonborn around here, it may be pertinent to your interests!

Edit: Better link
http://slushlush.com/2015/05/on-playing-a-dragonborn-in-the-forgotten-realms-part-1/

www.slushlush.com

Edited by - ErinMEvans on 13 May 2015 05:09:34
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Matt James
Forgotten Realms Game Designer

USA
918 Posts

Posted - 13 May 2015 :  16:04:49  Show Profile Send Matt James a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans

Someone asked me about dragonborn today, and so I wrote this up. If anyone other than me likes dragonborn around here, it may be pertinent to your interests!

Edit: Better link
http://slushlush.com/2015/05/on-playing-a-dragonborn-in-the-forgotten-realms-part-1/



Outstanding! Thanks Erin :)
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 17 May 2015 :  18:35:50  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For anyone going to Gen Con: here's a list of seminars and workshops I'll be involved with.

http://slushlush.com/2015/05/gen-con-2015-schedule/

The workshops specifically are limited. The Read & Critique (read 5-10 minutes of your work, get critiques from a panel of authors) has 2 tickets left, and my self-editing workshop has 23. If you're writing and want some hands-on help, grab those ASAP.

www.slushlush.com
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 26 Jul 2015 :  00:44:20  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey guys!

Here is my Gen Con schedule for 2015. Hope to see some of you there!

http://slushlush.com/2015/05/gen-con-2015-schedule/

www.slushlush.com
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2015 :  20:00:30  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Notes about Fire in the Blood paperback and Ashes of the Tyrant's cover art
http://slushlush.com/2015/08/fire-in-the-blood-ashes-of-the-tyrant/

www.slushlush.com
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3131 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2015 :  20:15:08  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans

Notes about Fire in the Blood paperback and Ashes of the Tyrant's cover art
http://slushlush.com/2015/08/fire-in-the-blood-ashes-of-the-tyrant/



Do you have any say in the cover art for your books?

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Amazon "KindleUnlimited" Free Trial: http://amzn.to/2AJ4yD2

Try Audible and Get 2 Free Audio Books! https://amzn.to/2IgBede
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2015 :  20:23:02  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans

Notes about Fire in the Blood paperback and Ashes of the Tyrant's cover art
http://slushlush.com/2015/08/fire-in-the-blood-ashes-of-the-tyrant/



Do you have any say in the cover art for your books?



A little? The editor asks me for ideas when it comes to the art order. The art director passes back the early draft of the cover and I can give some feedback. Usually there's room for critical changes (in this one, I think that her eyes are not final--the artist added pupils which is not accurate, but which makes her easier to read), but ultimately I'm not an artist or a book cover designer, so I defer to their expertise.

www.slushlush.com
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 05 Oct 2015 :  20:07:24  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For Extra Life I did another post about the dialect of Draconic spoken by the dragonborn of Tymanther. I got a little carried away...but that means more lore for you!

http://slushlush.com/2015/10/lonely-planet-vayemniri-or-more-draconic-for-you/

www.slushlush.com
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3802 Posts

Posted - 02 Nov 2015 :  01:36:17  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans

For Extra Life I did another post about the dialect of Draconic spoken by the dragonborn of Tymanther. I got a little carried away...but that means more lore for you!

http://slushlush.com/2015/10/lonely-planet-vayemniri-or-more-draconic-for-you/



It was an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing.

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things.
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Al2O3
Acolyte

Sweden
8 Posts

Posted - 13 Nov 2015 :  11:18:47  Show Profile Send Al2O3 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was reminded yesterday about this scroll's existence and could not resist signing up. I've asked a bunch of questions elsewhere, but I guess this might be more appropriate for some of them (or for the volume).

First I would like to mention that I really like the similarities between how Asmodeus is described in the Sword Coast's Adventuerer's Guide (SCAG) and in the quote below. It's a much more compelling basis for worship than anything before (and also does not require a stolen godhood to make sense).
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans
And that’s why I think it makes sense for Asmodeus to seek out and claim divinity. He needs societies of mortals to corrupt and then claim souls—why not make that pull power too? Power from worshippers, power from the dead. Feed the sort of structures that make it easier to claim souls. That's why it also makes sense for one of his first god acts is to hurl the Abyss away. That's not going to end the Blood War, and I think he'd know that, but it buys him time to build up. (See also, snatching tiefling bloodlines. Graz'zt is going to be pissed.)

But I do think the way his worship’s been depicted doesn’t work great for this. He needs to cast a wider net than “those of you interested in human sacrifice” to get going. Fortunately, that ought to be a devil’s wheelhouse. And so I would depict the wider worship of Asmodeus as being kind of apotropaic. “Save us from the worse things.” Or even something along the lines of “absolve or absorb this transgression I made so the good gods don’t notice.” Or even "Hey man, do what you want. The gods are asking a lot from you and all Asmodeus wants is for you to be happy."



I also wonder a bit about how tiefling bloodlines and cambions work. It seems to me that when a mortal and a fiend get offspring together it can become either. So what decides if it is a tiefling or a cambion? You mention that Graz'zt is going to be pissed, but in the monster manual he is described as sireing cambions.

A large reason I've started to wonder is that I think you mentioned that Brin and Havilar might start to discuss the pros and cons of having children together. That made me wonder what kind of children Lorcan and Farideh could have. This is not in any way meant to imply that I find it likely that Lorcan would be the father if Farideh ends up having kids.

Another question sparked by reading SCAG:
Can you tell us if Ashes of the Tyrant is supposed to be set before or after the return of Unther? It would be sad to get to know Tymanther in AotT and learn that everything changed right after the events in the novel.

Last question for now: None of the rule books for 5e nor the novels I've read have really explained what benefits the fiends gain from souls nor what's so great about the afterlife with a good-aligned deity. Thus it's a bit hard to see how bad a Pact Certain would really be or why Farideh should worry so much about the fate of her soul. Is that something you could explain a bit more?

Thank's for great novels! I really look forward to learning more about how the twins turned so special even for being heirs of the Brimstone Angel.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.

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Al2O3
Acolyte

Sweden
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Posted - 13 Nov 2015 :  13:11:11  Show Profile Send Al2O3 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks a lot for the explanation! I sort of suspected that would be it, but was not sure.
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

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Posted - 13 Nov 2015 :  20:58:32  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, Al2O3!

quote:
Originally posted by Al2O3


First I would like to mention that I really like the similarities between how Asmodeus is described in the Sword Coast's Adventuerer's Guide (SCAG) and in the quote below. It's a much more compelling basis for worship than anything before (and also does not require a stolen godhood to make sense).


Thank you! While I had nothing to do with the SCAG's creation, I will toot my own horn a bit here and say I did present this version to the story people as a way to reconcile the various attributes of Asmodeus, devils, the Nine Hells, and the demons in the Abyss. I'm very glad they decided to use it.

quote:
I also wonder a bit about how tiefling bloodlines and cambions work. It seems to me that when a mortal and a fiend get offspring together it can become either. So what decides if it is a tiefling or a cambion? You mention that Graz'zt is going to be pissed, but in the monster manual he is described as sireing cambions.


I meant more that Graz'zt probably has extra enmity for Asmodeus, given that the Ascension basically wiped out his bloodline and replaced it with Asmodeus's. Graz'zt sired half-fiends (i.e. cambions) and then that trickles down to tieflings, so in that case we're talking more about grandchildren.

quote:
A large reason I've started to wonder is that I think you mentioned that Brin and Havilar might start to discuss the pros and cons of having children together. That made me wonder what kind of children Lorcan and Farideh could have. This is not in any way meant to imply that I find it likely that Lorcan would be the father if Farideh ends up having kids.


quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert]
A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.


Wooly's answer holds for non-Asmodean (i.e. "4E) tieflings. Since you ask specifically about Farideh, her offspring with Lorcan would be super-maladjusted tieflings, who would have all the same traits she does, potentially with stronger fiendish features (e.g. Farideh has pretty human skin tone and close to human hair color, but if she had a child with a cambion vs. a human, he or she might inherit red skin or silver hair or those chin barbell things the men get drawn with sometimes. Extra flags on the tail, that sort of thing). All her descendants would be Asmodean tieflings as well--the mark of Asmodeus largely overwhelms other blood.

SPOILER: (Maybe?)On the other hand, if she had a child with Dahl, I would expect that kid might get gray eyes and less purple dark hair and maybe skin tone a half-shade lighter than hers. Unless the genes can resurface the same way.

IIRC, there have been depictions of Asmodean tieflings in novels who were part tiefling and part something else (like Dahlia's son,maybe?) that have traits of their non-tiefling parent in addition to the tiefling traits. So if she hooked up with an elf, she might get a tiefling kid with pointy ears and an extended lifespan.

None of this matters, as Farideh--as evidenced by her interactions with Stedd in The Adversary is not really a kid person. :p

Other point of info (which reaffirms Wooly's comment): If you have read Fire in the Blood [SPOILER] You know that a devil (erinyes) + a tiefling= a cambion, since Caisys the Vicelord is revealed to be Sairché and Lorcan's father.

quote:
Another question sparked by reading SCAG:
Can you tell us if Ashes of the Tyrant is supposed to be set before or after the return of Unther? It would be sad to get to know Tymanther in AotT and learn that everything changed right after the events in the novel.


This is a little hard, since normally I would avoid spoiling the book before it's out. But then they moved the novel to come out after the SCAG and it's kind of already spoiled. Hopefully the "how" is as important as the "what" to readers!

Here are some things I"m okay telling you:
  • Unther has not returned as of the beginning of Ashes of the Tyrant
  • I am writing another book set partly in Tymanther called The Devil You Know which should tie up loose ends
  • Most of what you learn in Ashes won't change to my knowledge as the 5E world coalesces. So if you like dragonborn as much as I do, the groundwork is there (and in Brotherhood of the Griffon) and still accurate.


And just because I am 100% sure someone will come along later and be annoyed about the fact that they thought Tymanther was going to be totally erased, Ashes of the Tyrant delves into those "how" questions: Why does Djerad Thymar remain? How exactly was this nation founded? Because I don't mess around with hand-waving when I don't have to. :p

quote:
Last question for now: None of the rule books for 5e nor the novels I've read have really explained what benefits the fiends gain from souls nor what's so great about the afterlife with a good-aligned deity. Thus it's a bit hard to see how bad a Pact Certain would really be or why Farideh should worry so much about the fate of her soul. Is that something you could explain a bit more?


So, this is one of those things for which new answers seem to keep getting generated, but this is the gist: if your soul is claimed by the Nine Hells, you're probably going to be made into fuel to keep the plane running. You might get turned into a devil yourself, a lemure, and work your way up the hierarchy, assuming some greater devil doesn't kill you in a fit of pique or use you as cannon fodder. But when this happens, you're not really yourself anymore, so far as I understand it. Whatever happens, it's not comfortable or pleasant.


quote:
Thank's for great novels! I really look forward to learning more about how the twins turned so special even for being heirs of the Brimstone Angel.



You're very welcome! Thank you for the thoughtful questions!

www.slushlush.com
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2420 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2015 :  03:51:16  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.



I don't know if a more recent source has decided to change this, but teiflings were not exclusively descended from cambion in 2nd Ed. Planescape MC.
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ErinMEvans
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2015 :  04:19:32  Show Profile  Visit ErinMEvans's Homepage Send ErinMEvans a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.



I don't know if a more recent source has decided to change this, but teiflings were not exclusively descended from cambion in 2nd Ed. Planescape MC.




The question was specifically about Farideh, who is a tiefling in the 4E/Asmodean form.

www.slushlush.com
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

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Posted - 15 Nov 2015 :  15:11:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.



I don't know if a more recent source has decided to change this, but teiflings were not exclusively descended from cambion in 2nd Ed. Planescape MC.




Before 4E, tieflings had a wide range of features and such, and one might appear almost but not quite like a normal human, while the next would be visibly non-human, and no two tieflings looked the same. 4E went for the homogenous, one-size-fits-all look, and Erin explains the change in her books.

As for my comment, I was going with the most basic explanation.

(4E actually did that one-size-fits-all approach for all planetouched; I don't know if they ever explained how genasi went from near-human with an odd thing or two to the funky people with neon stripes look).

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 15 Nov 2015 17:24:22
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Al2O3
Acolyte

Sweden
8 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2015 :  19:14:44  Show Profile Send Al2O3 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the quick reply!
quote:
Originally posted by ErinMEvans
Graz'zt sired half-fiends (i.e. cambions) and then that trickles down to tieflings, so in that case we're talking more about grandchildren.

Ok, that makes a lot more sense to me. I do have a vague memory of a demonic tiefling being included in Fire in the Blood. Unfortunately I do not remember much of the novel due to starting reading it one evening when I went to bed and then staying awake until I had read it all about 22 hours later. I will certainly reread it as soon as I've finished The Sundering series to get more context.

quote:
None of this matters, as Farideh--as evidenced by her interactions with Stedd in The Adversary is not really a kid person. :p

Well, she better be careful then ;)

quote:
[...] normally I would avoid spoiling the book before it's out. But then they moved the novel to come out after the SCAG and it's kind of already spoiled. Hopefully the "how" is as important as the "what" to readers!

Here are some things I"m okay telling you:
  • Unther has not returned as of the beginning of Ashes of the Tyrant
  • I am writing another book set partly in Tymanther called The Devil You Know which should tie up loose ends
  • Most of what you learn in Ashes won't change to my knowledge as the 5E world coalesces. So if you like dragonborn as much as I do, the groundwork is there (and in Brotherhood of the Griffon) and still accurate.


And just because I am 100% sure someone will come along later and be annoyed about the fact that they thought Tymanther was going to be totally erased, Ashes of the Tyrant delves into those "how" questions: Why does Djerad Thymar remain? How exactly was this nation founded? Because I don't mess around with hand-waving when I don't have to. :p

I hope that others agree with me that the "how" is even more important than the "what". And I am always glad when I know that the "what" can't be too bad (no risk of Thymanther going away in the novel etc). Also, some of those "how" questions are part of why I look forward to Ashes of the Tyrant.

quote:
quote:
Last question for now: None of the rule books for 5e nor the novels I've read have really explained what benefits the fiends gain from souls nor what's so great about the afterlife with a good-aligned deity. Thus it's a bit hard to see how bad a Pact Certain would really be or why Farideh should worry so much about the fate of her soul. Is that something you could explain a bit more?


So, this is one of those things for which new answers seem to keep getting generated, but this is the gist: if your soul is claimed by the Nine Hells, you're probably going to be made into fuel to keep the plane running. You might get turned into a devil yourself, a lemure, and work your way up the hierarchy, assuming some greater devil doesn't kill you in a fit of pique or use you as cannon fodder. But when this happens, you're not really yourself anymore, so far as I understand it. Whatever happens, it's not comfortable or pleasant.

If "fuel to keep the plane running" should be read literally, then it all makes perfect sense! Thanks a lot, that will probably be useful both when reading the novels and every time I roleplay a warlock.
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The Masked Mage
Great Reader

USA
2420 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2015 :  22:33:39  Show Profile Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by The Masked Mage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A cambion is basically a half-fiend. One parent is a fiend, one isn't.

A tiefling would be further down the line -- they are descended from cambions. A tiefling can have totally human parents; the fiendish blood can be far enough back in the bloodline that the parents are totally surprised.



I don't know if a more recent source has decided to change this, but teiflings were not exclusively descended from cambion in 2nd Ed. Planescape MC.




Before 4E, tieflings had a wide range of features and such, and one might appear almost but not quite like a normal human, while the next would be visibly non-human, and no two tieflings looked the same. 4E went for the homogenous, one-size-fits-all look, and Erin explains the change in her books.

As for my comment, I was going with the most basic explanation.

(4E actually did that one-size-fits-all approach for all planetouched; I don't know if they ever explained how genasi went from near-human with an odd thing or two to the funky people with neon stripes look).



Gotcha. I pretty much avoided 4th E as much as possible. :D
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