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Ze
Learned Scribe

Italy
147 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2013 :  09:48:18  Show Profile Send Ze a Private Message
Dear Hooded Lady and Dear Ed,

this is my first post on these boards, but as a long time lurker, allow me to thank both of you for your great availability. Incidentally, forgive my English, it's not my first language.

I am setting up a Waterdeep campaign in 1370DR, around the Ruldegost Family.
Searching through the available lore, the members I found are the following:

Lady Kara, matriarch
Lord Bly, regent
Detan, infant heir

There is also a single mention of one Lord Dethnar as prominent member of the family (in Waterdeep and the North, I think), however he is not mentioned in later books, where Lady Kara appears to be the Matriarch.

Do you happen to have some more information that you may share?
Whatever happened to Dethnar? Is Bly his brother? Do you have any details on other Ruldegosts, the number of family members appearing to be 19 according to the sourcebooks?

Thanks a lot,
Ze
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sleyvas
Skilled Spell Strategist

USA
11719 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2013 :  19:07:58  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ze

Dear Hooded Lady and Dear Ed,

this is my first post on these boards, but as a long time lurker, allow me to thank both of you for your great availability. Incidentally, forgive my English, it's not my first language.

I am setting up a Waterdeep campaign in 1370DR, around the Ruldegost Family.
Searching through the available lore, the members I found are the following:

Lady Kara, matriarch
Lord Bly, regent
Detan, infant heir

There is also a single mention of one Lord Dethnar as prominent member of the family (in Waterdeep and the North, I think), however he is not mentioned in later books, where Lady Kara appears to be the Matriarch.

Do you happen to have some more information that you may share?
Whatever happened to Dethnar? Is Bly his brother? Do you have any details on other Ruldegosts, the number of family members appearing to be 19 according to the sourcebooks?

Thanks a lot,
Ze




Hey, I know I'm not Ed, but I did a little research that you might find useful. In the old 2nd edition Cloak & Dagger under the Knights of the shield section it goes into Bly Ruldegost a little bit. It says he's becoming romantically involved with Lady Ninvara Krimmevol of Daromar, a Tethyrian noblewoman who was banished from her country by royal edict. He's also trying to work with her family to achieve some ends in Tethyr.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Ze
Learned Scribe

Italy
147 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2013 :  19:21:48  Show Profile Send Ze a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
In the old 2nd edition Cloak & Dagger under the Knights of the shield section it goes into Bly Ruldegost a little bit. It says he's becoming romantically involved with Lady Ninvara Krimmevol of Daromar, a Tethyrian noblewoman who was banished from her country by royal edict. He's also trying to work with her family to achieve some ends in Tethyr.



Thanks sleyvas!
I'll look into this, although I would like not to focus too much on Bly - he already has his part of plot hooks, with his indirect involvement with the dealings of the Unseen, as detailed in the 3.5 CoS.
That's why I'd like to throw in hooks with other Ruldegost family members too, to present the players with multiple choices all the time.

But again, thanks a lot for your reply.
Ze
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2013 :  04:13:24  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Ze, Ed’s been busy rush-creating some needed Realmslore all day, but sent me this much for you:

Lord Dethnar died early on in the time period covered by published Realmslore, and Lord Bly is indeed his younger (and only) brother, and stepped in to serve as Regent to Dethnar’s son (and the heir of the house), Detan.
Dethnar’s wife, Essemra, predeceased him by half a year (she died of an “internal illness” that real-world doctors would probably have deemed cancer, and the grieving and embittered Dethnar set about settling scores with old foes, and died in a sword duel in a dark alley, one night, in Dock Ward).
The widowed (Lord Alaerik Ruldegost died in 1353 DR, poisoned by an unknown intruder probably hired by a noble or guild trade rival) Lady Kara Ruldegost is Dethnar’s mother, and is in her late nineties as of 1370 DR. She never leaves her upper room, and is withered and shrunken and largely confined to a massive highbacked chair, but has sharp wits and a tongue like a razor, and rules the household.
Lord Bly is increasingly absent from the Ruldegost manor in Waterdeep, and from family matters, his interests lying elsewhere (sleyvas has pointed the way to most of that “elsewhere”).
Leaving the heir’s upbringing in the hands of devoted longtime family servants overseen from a distance by Lady Kara.
The sixteen other living Ruldegosts are the sons and daughters of Lady Kara’s now-dead younger brother, Alauvin. Who went through three wives, all much younger than he was, in swift succession (the last two within a decade). So Alauvin and his three wives are all dead by the mid-1360s DR, but all of their offspring are still alive in 1370 DR.
The first wife, Parlarla Imbrivviyn of Athkatla, bore Alauvin two daughters, Nauvneene and Orlaethra (both tall, saturnine, and withdrawn sorceresses who prefer the company of women to that of men, and study and devouring fiction to dealing with the real world outside the Ruldegost walls; Nauvneene thinks like Lady Kara and could replace her in a trice if Kara died).
The second wife, Imra Dragonbellow of Lyrabar, bore Alauvin three sets of twin boys and two daughters: Geldor and Parbrym; Naint and Corvor; Telneth and Burdeth; Hammalarra; and Shelaenne.
Alauvin’s third wife, the wild and wanton Lorlethra Tarmahael of Saerloon, gave him a son, the dashing young rake Ramphaer, followed by five daughters: Lethlill (she and Ramphaer share a love that’s a little deeper than mere fond sibling bonds), the triplets Zorsra, Ambedaelia, and “Dethur” Dethurra (once described by Mirt as “three brainless little dolls”); and last, the impish and beautiful Trethma (whose looks and manner attract much attention at revels and other public functions in Waterdeep).
Of old, the Ruldegosts were a clan of red-faced, burly, hard-living swordsmen who married a motley array of long-suffering wives who mostly outlived them, or stayed single and rakish, and became another of the infamous “randy old Ruldegost uncles,” but by the time Alaerik became head of the house upon the death of his father Norond, all of these uncles had died out.
These older Ruldegosts were the epitome of what some guildmasters and wealthy Waterdhavian merchants derided as “idiot nobles, unfit to lead any society, governed as they are by hot tempers, selfishness, debauchery, and a life of destructive-to-others idleness.” What saved the Ruldegosts for years was their loyalty to their servants, who in turn were very loyal to them, and very competently ran family affairs.
I hope this is of help.


So saith Ed, and there you have it!
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2013 :  04:24:55  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Oh, and I quite forgot to give Jeremy Grenemyer a quick reply, drawing on my notes and from seeing Ed's sketches, while we both wait for a proper one from Ed:

Yes, Cormyreans do have socks. And hose, for men as well as ladies, that consist of either full-foot leggings that run up to a garter belt, or ditto that lack a full foot, and just end at the ankle but have an "instep strap" that goes under the foot to keep the legging from riding up, but leaving the heel and toes bare. In winter, sometimes worn together (socks over hose), and yes, both socks and hose may be worn inside boots.

Ed will give more and better lore when he can . . .
love,
THO
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Ze
Learned Scribe

Italy
147 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2013 :  06:00:22  Show Profile Send Ze a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Hi again, all.
Ze, Ed’s been busy rush-creating some needed Realmslore all day, but sent me this much for you:



Whoa, that was really quick!
Thank you both so much! It's unvaluable information there, since most of the PCs will likely be related to the House servants.
Ze
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2013 :  16:52:47  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

Yes, Cormyreans do have socks.
Right on. That's awesome.

Thank you very much THO.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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Erik Scott de Bie
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
4598 Posts

Posted - 29 Mar 2013 :  18:33:18  Show Profile  Visit Erik Scott de Bie's Homepage Send Erik Scott de Bie a Private Message
Hail my lovely Lady THO,

Over in another scroll here on the boards, we are discussing marriage in the Realms, everything from marriage ceremonies, regional rituals/traditions, to acceptance of non-baseline (one man one woman) marriages in the Realms, in honor of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments on the subject of marriage equality this week. Marriage isn't much addressed in the sourcebook record, we're finding. Would you or the masterful Lord Greenwood care to weigh in on the subject?

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17685

Cheers

Erik Scott de Bie

'Tis easier to destroy than to create.

Author of a number of Realms novels (GHOSTWALKER, DEPTHS OF MADNESS, and the SHADOWBANE series), contributor to the NEVERWINTER CAMPAIGN GUIDE and SHADOWFELL: GLOOMWROUGHT AND BEYOND, Twitch DM of the Dungeon Scrawlers, currently playing "The Westgate Irregulars"
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Xar Zarath
Senior Scribe

Malaysia
552 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2013 :  04:27:01  Show Profile Send Xar Zarath a Private Message
Hi Ed and THO, recently i started a thread on the Weave today, and how the Rise of The Underdark went and so on...

The thing is with that whole Realms (well worlds event) event over, could you throw some tidbits on the Demon Weave that Lolth spun and how it worked, came into being and so on?

It would be very appreciated, thanks!

Everything ends where it begins. Period.



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Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1280 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2013 :  16:41:18  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message
Thanks for the reply, (and sorry for my late responce), dear Ed and our lady Hooded One. Awesome details regarding an elven smithy set-up.

I've got a follow up question though. Is there a widely famous example of a such an elven smithy? One known (amongst the elves at least) for its master smiths or exceptional size/quality of its forge wards? Or are elven metalcrafts that closely a guarded secret that elves are instructed to be hush about such things?

Especially in second edition FR, I got the impression elven made weapons where endproducts of an ancient arms race and thus a closely guarded secret. Am I correct in that most races are loath to share their secrets of weapon making, and that theft of such knowledge can and have started wars? How much secrecy and control is involved in the creation of their arms, and how much of that knowledge are they willing to share with allies? The lengthy history of demihuman alliances did allow for complete transparancy at some points in time. How common is the mindset of Myth Drannor in current ages of Toril?

My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2013 :  20:29:35  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message
Xar Zarath, I'm thinking that it's NOT over. And will lead right into The Sundering. Leaving Ed unable to reply thanks to NDAs.
Don't take this the wrong way. I would LOVE to be wrong about this, and have Ed correct me by weighing in with a long, detailed post. But I don't think I am...right?
BB
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2013 :  20:31:26  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Heh. No, I "don't think you am," either.
However, Ed is in receipt of all the recent posts to this thread, and we'll see.
love,
THO
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2013 :  20:43:37  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Sage, re. these from you about the Starflame: "Does it have the collective authority to punish deliberately abusive mages who shirk the laws of various rulers and such? Do any cities/rulers actively support the Starflame within their areas of influence?"

I just talked to Ed, and he mentioned:

Punishment only consists of expelling individuals from Starflame deliberations and banning them from joining or rejoining (until specific redresses made), and warning Starflame members of bad conduct so they know to be wary of certain individuals. Rulers who have cited Starflame information and decisions publicly include those of Telflamm, Westgate, and Memnon, but the public doesn't know if "support" in any of these places extends any farther than that.

That's all he imparted right now. He stresses he'll have a proper reply later, when he isn't "so blamed busy."
Which reminds me: Toronto, Canada-area Realms fans, it'll be Ad Astra time again soon (April 5th, 6th, and 7th), and Ed will be there. As will Gabrielle Harbowy, his co-editor on the Hero and Villain anthologies, and a goodly array of top-notch fantasy, sf, and horror writers, Canadian and otherwise. Jim Butcher and Ben bova are GoHs this year, among others (see adastra.org).
love to all,
THO
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1267 Posts

Posted - 01 Apr 2013 :  19:22:36  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message
Thanks for the info on Saerloon Ed and THO! I might have known it was all to do with the merchants, who really rule those nation! (up until the ridiculous Shade crap that came with all the RSE of 3rd edition onwards)
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 02 Apr 2013 :  09:19:25  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Hello Ed and THO,

Were there ever any precursors to wharfjets in Waterdeep? I can imagine many different sorts of contraptions falling into ships and splashing into the water.

Are wharfjets unique to Waterdeep? That is, was their design and make fully thought up in Waterdeep--perhaps through trial and error--or did someone (maybe from the Watermen's Guild) borrow from a design they say in another coastal city?

Has anyone tried running them up into the city for purposes of helping with the construction of buildings?

Thank you both for your time and attention.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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Foxhelm
Senior Scribe

Canada
592 Posts

Posted - 05 Apr 2013 :  18:06:24  Show Profile Send Foxhelm a Private Message
Quick questions, please and thank you Ed.

Are there Arch-Dracoliches (or is it Dragon/Draco-Archliches?) in the Realms at any point of time?

If so, could you hint at some which would not be covered by NDA (if such exist)?

Ed Greenwood! The Solution... and Cause of all the Realms Problems!
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2013 :  13:17:49  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Ed is still at Ad Astra (having a whale of a time!), but found the business centre at the hotel and snuck online in the wee, wee hours last night/this morning, and sends me this answer to Foxhelm:

Yes, there are indeed archdracoliches (usually called "elder dracoliches" by undiscerning humans, and therefore in general parlance) in the Realms. No, none of them are unencumbered by NDAs right now. Sorry.

So saith Ed.
Creator of dracoliches in the first place, like so many now-iconic D&D monsters...
love to all,
THO
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paladinnicolas
Seeker

92 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2013 :  14:03:49  Show Profile Send paladinnicolas a Private Message
I would like to ask Ed how he handles faeries in his Realms campaigns: is there something like the feywild in his campaigns, and does he portray the fae as dangerous or whimsical as in some Irish tales? Thanks so much!
On the other hand, which deities and churches would resemble Cristianity the most: a combination of Ilmater and Torm?
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2013 :  07:22:07  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
Hello once again to THO and Ed,

Some Realmslore questions follow. I hope you find them interesting.

In “Swords of Dragonfire”, the header quote for Chapter 7 comes from the book “The Realm of the Dragon: Cormyr in the Time of Vangerdahast” (Volume I), and is written by Sebryn Korthyn, Sage of Elturel.

Was Sebryn ever in a position to reveal (deliberately or unwittingly) secrets of the realm? If yes, was he careful not to reveal any secrets? Or in the interest of completeness did his works expose information like a Volo’s Guide might?

Did he participate in any illicit dealings in order to gather information for his research? By what method(s) did he gather information for this set of books?

How many volumes comprised the full set for that title?

Was there a large first printing (or copying) of the set? Has it ever been reprinted or copied?

Can you tell us something about the make and look of the books in the set?

Was the set ever bought out purposely by anyone, for the sake of hiding information, driving up demand or to obscure or minimize the relevance of Cormyeans that Sebryn might have taken a favorable view of? Or by a rival seeking to thwart Sebryn?

Who was Sebryn’s chief rival or rivals (if any)?

Thank you both!

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).

Edited by - Jeremy Grenemyer on 04 May 2013 07:41:34
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5056 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2013 :  20:03:30  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all. Ed is busy busy busy now with taxes, but from my own notes and recollections I can tell you this much, Jeremy:

Sebryn Korthyn is a stay-at-home, academic sort of sage, who studies as many primary sources as he can get, combines their data, writes careful and conservative (= bland) accounts from those combinations, and then does just as you have done here: poses lists of questions to those he thinks will know, and from what answers he gets, rewrite his accounts before he publishes (with notes and warnings where he thinks his lore is "quite" incomplete). So he's reliable, boring, "safe," and tends to say less (and less interesting stuff) than other writers. But tries to be neutral/objective (whereas some other sages can be very slanted in their coverage, but might not admit to that).
So far as I know, he's never been to Cormyr.
Ed will, of course, supply more.
love,
THO
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Marco Volo
Learned Scribe

France
201 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2013 :  21:42:36  Show Profile Send Marco Volo a Private Message
Hi all,

Knowing that Ed is 'busy busy busy', let's ask THO a question : did the Knights have any experience of the Rat Hills near Waterdeep that you could share with us ?

I love this place very much.
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1853 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  17:30:06  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

The sixteen other living Ruldegosts are the sons and daughters of Lady Kara’s now-dead younger brother, Alauvin.


Contrary to popular belief, it's never my intent to stir up controversy.

That being said... my impression from sketching out the genealogy outlined here is that one of the following must be true.

1. Alauvin became part of the family when his sister married Alaerik. In this case:
A. it sounds as though Alauvin and Kara have no other siblings... correct?
B. what was their family name prior to joining the Ruldegost orgy flophouse family?
C. did Alauvin adopt the Ruldegost name?

2. Alaerik and Kara were both Ruldegosts before marrying. No judgment or sensationalizing from me; it takes more than this to offend my sensibilities. Just drawing lines on a page; that's all I'm doin.

And in keeping with the genealogy theme, are birth years recorded for all those children? I do enjoy expanding my arsenal of "powerful NPCs who look innocent/naive/unimportant" and age is a piece of the description.

Edit: as an addendum: Eric Boyd's CSW (p74) establishes that Bly is an Illuskan human. Is Kara's family, or side of the family, also Illuskan?

Edited by - xaeyruudh on 10 Apr 2013 19:30:16
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Jeremy Grenemyer
Great Reader

USA
2717 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  17:41:02  Show Profile Send Jeremy Grenemyer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One

...from my own notes and recollections I can tell you this much, Jeremy:

Sebryn Korthyn is a stay-at-home, academic sort of sage, :snip:
Thanks very much THO for sharing from your play notes.

Speaking of: I'm a little jealous that you actually got to encounter/learn about this NPC in play.

Thanks again.

Look for me and my content at EN World (user name: sanishiver).
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paladinnicolas
Seeker

92 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  20:18:47  Show Profile Send paladinnicolas a Private Message
So far I have been unlucky with my questions to Ed (which makes me sad, although I still hope to have answers soon), but there is a question that really bothers me and I would like Ed to answer it or THO. It concerns Torm, and the fact that I just read that his dogma in Faiths and Pantheons says the following to the faithful "Bring painful, quick death to traitors." This really bothers me and I find it inconsistent with the ethos of a Lawful Good deity (or character). Shouldn't the faithful of Torm be encouraged to try to convert those who carry out evil deeds? and to not promote murder or the death penalty (the dogma would even be inimical to due process)? On top of that, the mention of making others feel pain seems totally abhorrent, since it encourages torture and disregard of the dignity of beings, be them criminal or not. That is far from 'good'. The question to Ed (and others) is if he disagrees with that description and thinks that the text in question is wrong from the point of view of his interpretation of the deity? Thanks!

Edited by - paladinnicolas on 10 Apr 2013 20:57:38
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Ze
Learned Scribe

Italy
147 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  21:49:23  Show Profile Send Ze a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by xaeyruudh
one of the following must be true.

1. Alauvin became part of the family when his sister married Alaerik.

<snip>

2. Alaerik and Kara were both Ruldegosts before marrying.



Why are you ruling out the possibility that Kara was a Ruldegost and Alaerik, of unnoble origins, took the noble House surname when they married?

Re the birth dates, I have been working on them, putting to good use Ed's gifts to my campaign - I'd be happy to share them with you (PM?) if you wish.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36782 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  21:58:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by paladinnicolas

So far I have been unlucky with my questions to Ed (which makes me sad, although I still hope to have answers soon), but there is a question that really bothers me and I would like Ed to answer it or THO. It concerns Torm, and the fact that I just read that his dogma in Faiths and Pantheons says the following to the faithful "Bring painful, quick death to traitors." This really bothers me and I find it inconsistent with the ethos of a Lawful Good deity (or character). Shouldn't the faithful of Torm be encouraged to try to convert those who carry out evil deeds? and to not promote murder or the death penalty (the dogma would even be inimical to due process)? On top of that, the mention of making others feel pain seems totally abhorrent, since it encourages torture and disregard of the dignity of beings, be them criminal or not. That is far from 'good'. The question to Ed (and others) is if he disagrees with that description and thinks that the text in question is wrong from the point of view of his interpretation of the deity? Thanks!



Keep in mind that Torm is all about duty. To be a traitor, you must have a duty and not just set it aside, but actively work in opposition to that duty. For a god of duty, there can be no greater transgression -- so he wants it punished.

It's not a call for torture, though, or at least not sustained torture -- because he demands the death be quick.

So he's not calling for burning at the stake, or spending time being slowly tortured. He's also not wanting something painless, like a poisoned glass of wine, or slit wrists in a warm bath.

He's instead calling for something like being run through with a sword, or to be hung, or something similar. He wants the transgressor to feel the pain of his actions, and to quickly carry that pain with him into the afterlife.

I'll not really go into the morality of all that, but Torm is basically saying that if someone works against their duty, they deserve to die for it, and they deserve to know death is coming and feel it.


Candlekeep Forums Moderator

Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
http://www.candlekeep.com
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I am the Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!
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Marco Volo
Learned Scribe

France
201 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2013 :  22:47:54  Show Profile Send Marco Volo a Private Message
quote:

Re the birth dates, I have been working on them, putting to good use Ed's gifts to my campaign - I'd be happy to share them with you (PM?) if you wish.

Why PM ? Share this with everybody in a special topic (or at least, give me a copy of this PM ).
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The Sage
Procrastinator Most High

Australia
31701 Posts

Posted - 11 Apr 2013 :  03:18:07  Show Profile Send The Sage a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Marco Volo

Hi all,

Knowing that Ed is 'busy busy busy', let's ask THO a question : did the Knights have any experience of the Rat Hills near Waterdeep that you could share with us ?

I love this place very much.

While awaiting the Bearded One's reply...

I think Ed might have briefly touched on this back on '05. I seem to recall something about "first encounters" in the Rat Hills that Ed mentioned. It might have been the Knights... or the Company of the Crazed Venturers. I can't check my archives at the moment.

Candlekeep Forums Moderator

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

Scribe for the Candlekeep Compendium -- Volume IX now available (Oct 2007)

"So Saith Ed" -- the collected Candlekeep replies of Ed Greenwood

Zhoth'ilam Folio -- The Electronic Misadventures of a Rambling Sage
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paladinnicolas
Seeker

92 Posts

Posted - 11 Apr 2013 :  09:48:17  Show Profile Send paladinnicolas a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by paladinnicolas

So far I have been unlucky with my questions to Ed (which makes me sad, although I still hope to have answers soon), but there is a question that really bothers me and I would like Ed to answer it or THO. It concerns Torm, and the fact that I just read that his dogma in Faiths and Pantheons says the following to the faithful "Bring painful, quick death to traitors." This really bothers me and I find it inconsistent with the ethos of a Lawful Good deity (or character). Shouldn't the faithful of Torm be encouraged to try to convert those who carry out evil deeds? and to not promote murder or the death penalty (the dogma would even be inimical to due process)? On top of that, the mention of making others feel pain seems totally abhorrent, since it encourages torture and disregard of the dignity of beings, be them criminal or not. That is far from 'good'. The question to Ed (and others) is if he disagrees with that description and thinks that the text in question is wrong from the point of view of his interpretation of the deity? Thanks!



Keep in mind that Torm is all about duty. To be a traitor, you must have a duty and not just set it aside, but actively work in opposition to that duty. For a god of duty, there can be no greater transgression -- so he wants it punished.

It's not a call for torture, though, or at least not sustained torture -- because he demands the death be quick.

So he's not calling for burning at the stake, or spending time being slowly tortured. He's also not wanting something painless, like a poisoned glass of wine, or slit wrists in a warm bath.

He's instead calling for something like being run through with a sword, or to be hung, or something similar. He wants the transgressor to feel the pain of his actions, and to quickly carry that pain with him into the afterlife.

I'll not really go into the morality of all that, but Torm is basically saying that if someone works against their duty, they deserve to die for it, and they deserve to know death is coming and feel it.





First of all, thanks for answering my inquiry and sharing your thoughts! I have been thinking on the subject, and think that despite being a god of duty, a systematic interpretation that takes into account all of Torm's ethos further challenges the inclusion of his demanding painful and swift death of traitors. This is because his dogma states that "unjust laws" must be "questioned" and modified. This implies that he does not sponsor a notion of blind obedience, but one that is tempered by notions of what is just. In our world, this is akin to theories in philosophy of law that hold that natural law or principles (as Fuller says) must be taken into account so as to not implement law that is unfair, contrary to positivist theories that stress that all law, for the mere fact of being such, is binding, regardless of their ethical considerations.
Thus, is the obedience Torm requires is not a blind one (something the International Criminal Court does today when punishing superior obedience of the commission of crimes, even by military subordinates), it is because his ethics see obedience and laws not as goals in themselves but as instrumental, and being a good deity, just as he tempers obedience with a substantive analysis of laws and orders, he cannot be harsh and demand a cruel treatment or a harsh punishment of wrongdoers, especially if that creates suffering and ignores their possibility of redemption. Furthermore, I understand that some faithful of Torm may believe in the dogma as stated in previous sources, but consider that others would oppose it and even condemn it (as historian Paul Johnson has explained, both within Catholicism and Protestantism there were sides that opposed punishments and sanctions against alleged heretics).
Sorry for the long post, but I really enjoy these philosophical debates in order to analyze the way in which the faiths of the Realms would work in a consistent way.
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The Hooded One
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Posted - 11 Apr 2013 :  17:41:46  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message
Hi again, all.
Well said, Wooly. I think you've stated matters re. the updated published Torm spot-on.
paladinnicolas, I respect your questions and the logic you've set forth in this latest post, but (heh; you knew there was going to be a "but" there, didn't you?), I must respond with two things:
1. Ed's conception of his gods isn't always shared by other writers/designers, many of whom seem unable to think very far outside of their own real-world religious upbringing, or "think Realms" rather than applying real-world thinking/mores to the Realms (your latest post does just that, for example). I'm not saying real-world philosophy, logic, and religious terms/definitions aren't useful in discussing the Realms (for some of us, it's all we have), I'm just warning to be careful when applying them. All too often, here and elsewhere, bitter disputes arise because those debating are thinking of elements being discussed in very different ways, assuming things that have never been stated because of how they think of the elements.
2. You write: "the way in which the faiths of the Realms would work in a consistent way."
Heh. The point is that they quite often DON'T work in a consistent way, just as most real-world faiths don't. Adherents continuously alter dogma (or enforcement of dogma) in light of their own experience, sometimes disagreeing with other adherents of the same faith to the extent of physical violence, "splitting off from the faith," and so on. Even mortals in the Realms who consider themselves humble, and devout, and diligent in their worship, interpret divine teachings/messages/deeds in very different ways from each other - - and this results in lots of conflict, vying for supremacy of views, and so on.
We know from what we can read in published Realmslore, and from what Ed's said (also canon, by the original Realms publication agreement) that more than few Faerunian deities encourage disputes among their followers, and varying beliefs/strivings, and we usually can't even be certain why (Cyric and to some extent Lolth may just be insane, but mortals can't reliably know what goes on inside most deities' heads; some deities have been known to deceive even their own high-ranking clergy).
It's pretty obvious from canon Realmslore that some clergy of Torm disagree with the conclusions you have reached in your "thinking on the subject." Some of this is no doubt due to fuzziness over what a "traitor" is (someone who betrays the letter of a law, rule, or obedience to a higher-up, versus someone who betrays the spirit of ditto), but more of it probably lies in differing world-views; i.e. many folk in the Realms see things differently than many real-world folk (including you) AND each other, even within Torm's clergy. I know this to be the case because often when Ed is DMing and clergy of Torm are onstage, they debate among themselves what course of action will be "proper duty."
Ed can engage in endless theosophical debate (I know; I've heard him), but usually chooses not to do so, because he thinks it usually upsets those involved for no good reason/result. Which brings us to the nature of roleplaying games: you can alter, expand, or omit canon Realms material to your heart's content for your own play, but to some extent, canon is canon and is the basis of shared, common lore of the Realms all gamers "know," and you just have to accept what's printed as "so."
Ed wrote the root lore from which the original "deity books" were written. FAITHS & PANTHEONS is a later edition revamp, and for space reasons a lot of dogma had to be left out, so what we were all left with was slanted towards game-useful "this is what clergy are likely to DO in this or that situation," with far less of "and this is their thinking behind why they would do it."
If we debate tenets of religious practice, we're just doing what the clergy and lay worshippers (which is darned near everyone, because everyone "believes in" all the gods, remember?) in the Realms do.
If, in such debates, we ever take the step of saying "what's written here doesn't square with my views," we must be aware that we're on very shaky ground. In this case, you've stated that Punishment X doesn't seem consistent with the ethos of Torm or the definition of Lawful Good. Fair enough, but I suspect most clergy of Torm would flatly disagree with you.
The classic exemplar of LG is a paladin, classically depicted as an armed and armored warrior knight who does violence to defend good and "smite evil." If willful betrayal/treason is among the ultimate evils to Tormites, why would they not smite ultimate evil? Unintentional traitors, or those who did not believe they were betraying, are exempted from certain death, their fates within the mercy/discretion of the Tormite clergy, so it's the unrepentant or those whose repentance may not be seen as genuine who are to be swiftly and painfully slain, as a example/deterrent to others and as the enactment of Torm's justice and commanded manner of dispensing that justice. "Pain is the tithe," as the Tormite saying has it. Pain is not torture, if it is not prolonged or indulged in for its own sake or to benefit the torturer (with, for example, extracted information). Wooly mentioned one of the traditional Tormite slaying methods: running a traitor through with one's sword (not a tied-down or helpless traitor, it should be noted). Painful but not prolonged. As the sage Alaundo put it: "Torm is not a god of mercy. Torm is a god of vigilant duty. To be careless is to open a chink in armor."
Ed is very busy right now with his taxes and with Realms fiction writing, so it may take him some time to weigh in on this one, but I sent him this post before posting it here, and got back:

A good beginning. This is, of course, an endless debate, but I think your response is fine for starters. I built inconsistencies into a lot of the churches of the Realms, purely because doing so builds in maximum play/story opportunities.

So saith Ed.
Right. paladinnicolas, your serve. No hard feelings.
love,
THO
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