interesting.... so Ao doesn't know and understand the realms... almost like his power is overblown.
Knowing and understanding something have nothing to do with power level. We've already seen his power level demonstrated.
A CEO doesn't need to understand what his workers do to be able to fire them.
And yet he had no understanding of why a previous god "died" ... and he's stating that "he just changed how the power dynamics work for gods"... so what exactly did he demonstrate versus what are we PERCEIVING he demonstratred based on his words. I mean, if he lied about just changing the rules for gods.... what else did he overblow about his own power level?
Again, he's demonstrated his power level. I don't understand this insistence that he's not all that powerful when we have seen that he is.
To be fair I would take it more as Ao having to remind the dieties (and actually tell the new ones) that they had to give at least half a rat's arse of consideration to their followers and worshipers.
In Faerun game canon, Ao is top dog period (at least since 2E's Faiths and Avatars) but he/she/it doesn't interact with mortals of the Prime. In Faerun novel canon, Ao has shown he/she/it can spank all deities at once and has appeared on Faerun at least once, to Elminster, to try and make him the new Mystra (can't remember the reference offhand).
So whatever the exact bounds of his/her/its power might be, Ao is (in both canons) able to run roughshod over the entire pantheon.
Ed, am I missing something? No word on whether there are bridges into Crimmor from the north, crossing the Alandor river. Lots of talk of barges.... Is that the only way in from the north? Does the Trade Way effectively stop on north shore of Alandor?
It does. Crimmor is located precisely where it is because it grew from the "big muddy shore where all the barges and ferries are pulled up/loaded/unloaded." The soft river bottom makes bridgebuilding difficult/expensive, and currents make floating bridges impractical.
So if you're headed in from the north? Pay a barge and hope for the best?
Or take a long, long detour (usually upriver) to where there's a bridge or a safe ford.
Regarding Gullykin near Durlag's Tower; Volo claims its a Halfling town, FRCS 3e says Human/Gnome. Volo has more info so I prefer that, but do you have an opinion? I also put it 1/2 way between Durlags and Uldoon Trail, is that about right or is it closer to Durlags?
Durlag's Tower near the forest, Gullykin just west of Firewine Bridge ruins. Is that too far away?
Gullykin is about 80 percent halflings, but several adventuring bands retired there to make wine and “trailmeet” and other agricultural products for a living, and some of their human and gnome members became envoys for the village and most of its ruling “Moot” (council of nine). Which led some outsiders to think Gullykin had become a human-and-gnome settlement. The truth: gnomes are about 6 percent of the population, and humans about 10 percent.
Your locations are good! One note: Durlag’s Tower stands in a lightly forested dell; what it’s close to it’s the edge of the dense main forest that hasn’t been logged “as long as anyone can remember” and is thick and nigh-trackless (impassable for wagons, riders who try to stay mounted, or any groups of folk trying to walk in any sort of formation). I say “nigh” because there ARE game-trails.
The countryside around Gullykin is gently-rolling farmland and ranchland, with plentiful springs and ponds, small woodlots everywhere, and a maze of winding dirt wagon-lanes (well signposted).
In a 4e era Dungeon Mag, @TheEdVerse introduced a new Forgotten Realms creature/race called a Dracohar, basically a humanoid with the head of a red dragon… i believe that was its one and only appearance in #dnd. Am I wrong?
I believe that... Actually answers a question of mine. There is one of two large pictures in Secrets of the Magister, FOR13, where one of the wizards involved in a large mage brawl is human other than their suspiciously draconic head. No Greater Dragonhead spell, so...?
Well spotted! And there IS a spell that temporarily gives the caster (or recipient) a huge rack of antlers plus the neck muscles to use them and alter head appearance, and THAT is behind all the "stag headed" casters who appear in Realmslore. Hides the dragon head.
Congrats to you both for stumbling on a hidden-in-plain-sight little mystery of the Realms. (Are the dracohar up to anything collectively? If so, what? How numerous and widespread are they?) I crammed the Realms full of these; interesting to see how and when they get noticed.
There a reason Volothamp is so low level? Last stats we had was 2E and he was 5th-level Wizard. Now in 5e he's 1st-level Wizard. I'd say maybe he got hit by lots of level drains, but post-3e that's no longer the case. How is he so weak at this point?
Volo has spent three LONG stretches of time in stasis (often as a garden ornament).
He's also lazy rather than an adventurer or a student of magic (no spell experimentation).
Once he was notorious, others deliberately kept spell tomes and scrolls away from him.
I suppose it's a pretty easy question since the Realms have so many Dwarven ruins but where would you put Dwarrowdeep, @TheEdVerse?
There are many good candidate sites, but what's needed is a big mountain range (big enough to host SPOILER lairs) with habitable countries on either side of it (at least one of which has a nearby-to-a-Dwarrowdeep-entrance village or hamlet), and SPOILER as dwarves.
Because of all the extensive dwarven lorework Realms sages Eric L. Boyd and George Krashos have done, plus the efforts of Jeff Thetford, I would probably avoid the Heartlands and Sword Coast North and Moonsea North in favour of more easterly and southerly sites.
The Snowflake Mountains in eastern Amn or the Orsraun Mountains in Turmish if you want to keep it close to the Sword Coast, though I'd likely be looking to the Copper Mountains nigh Murghôm or the Smoking Mountains or nigh Ulgarth, myself.
To put it in the areas I called out as likely avoiding (2#, above), I'd need to revamp the dwarven clan lore in Dwarrowdeep to match some of the lost and fallen dwarf clans of the Realms I mentioned in DWARVES DEEP.
Wait if @TheEdVerse says Ehlonna is on Toril then I say that means she's on Toril. Mielikki might be more wildly worshiped but Ehlonna is still there. Plus the Mielikki text in 3.0 even has an editing mistake that says Ehlonna in it
Ed said deities of one worshiped in the other. Not sure that would qualify as a connection unless Wd explicitly says she is worshiped on Toril.
Twitter won't let me reply to @Dennis_G_Link or @Artie_Pavlov directly, so:
Ehlonna's worshippers are in the Realms, but the goddess is not. Mielikki answers their prayers. And the two deities put their (bare) feet up and catch up over oakroot tea often.
Hi @TheEdVerse! Back in the late 90s, the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas had this map as belonging to Blackfeather Bridge. It would be updated 6 months later with a smaller one that actually depicts the River Ashaba. But... which location is this one? Do you happen to know?
That’s a map of a RenFaire on real-world Earth (hence “Bravo Country” and having a “War Museum” and the misspelled “Cemetary”) that a mischievous Elminster inserted because something secret to the faithful of Mystra (the creation of a Weavegate or portal, leading to a hidden safehold) was going on in the real Blackfeather Bridge at the time, and he didn’t want a “real” map to get out there that wouldn’t match what folks found “on the ground” if they visited Blackfeather Bridge—which would reveal the gate.
Elminster did tell me that The Happy Sheep is called that because they took lamb off the menu when the new cook took over the place, but that you should NEVER order the “pickle beer” they serve there. “Truly vile,” he termed it. “Like the bladder-voidings of an old, sick horse. So of course Volo will recommend it.”
Sorry, that should read "Bravo Company." I have to remember that idiots sneak autocorrect into many corners of software these days, and none of it works. Sigh.
Thanks for taking the time! Give my regards to Elminster as well.
I shall. He's in a good mood tonight. He found my old Game of Thrones beer. It's gone off, but apparently the result is very like some of the brews of rural Athalanatar, from his youth.
Vile voidings, indeed.
@TheEdVerse this is the first time I hear of a Weavegate. Is that just another name for a portal, or are there any meaningful differences between the two?
A Weavegate does the same thing as a portal, but if you know how to navigate the Weave, can take you to ANY other existing gate the Weave reaches, not a set destination gate.
Stepping through one imparts a sensation of gently falling through a glowing blue void.
Hi ed. In Volo's (Waterdeep), you mention a phantom on The Ghostwalk (page 67). He struck me as being very similar to Strahd. Just coincidence?
Just coincidence. I first created that noble for a short story in 1967 (7 years before D&D and 17 years before Strahd's first appearance in print). He's "one way in" to an old murder mystery involving several Waterdhavian noble families (NDA because TSR Had Plans).
Was reading this morning about the real-world history of Undermountain. Did you know that @TheEdVerse started thinking about Halaster's megadungeon FIFTY-FIVE years ago?
Oh, yes, I know that all too well. ;} Fifty-six years now, being as we're out of June.
You can tell by looking at my face. But only if you know I was beautiful back then.
How much have Undermountain and Halaster changed from your original conception of them?
As I’ve been involved in all of the published forays into Undermountain, it hasn’t changed much at all. Lots not covered, particularly in the lower levels, and Dave Sutherland’s Empire of the Petal Throne campaign map fitted around the tiny slice of my original that was used for the first level (at the bottom of the shaft from the Yawning Portal), but otherwise, spot-on (the really early cartridge computer games being an exception). Halaster has expanded greatly from my original conception of him, but the core concept has remained, so for him it’s more development than change.
It's pretty cool that the oldest dungeon in the game (I think?) has barely changed in more than five decades. Thank you for creating it and sharing it with the world!
You're very welcome! There are many older published dungeons, but Undermountain was around fictionally, in my Realms short stories, a decade before D&D, so in another sense it's a founding dungeon. We all bow to Professor Tolkien, of course.
The comical, "innocuous" Wingless Wonder was a creature that saw print without its crucial final paragraph: that turning an enemy wizard or rebel noble/throne claimant into one was a favourite tactic of mages in the Realms, so a lot of Wonders were trapped humans.
The Company of Crazed Venturers met 3 Wonders. The first bewildered them; they avoided it and shut a door so it couldn't follow. The other two they restored to human shape, and ended up with a rich grateful noble rewarding them, and a dangerous mad wizard as an ally.
This is my first time hearing about the Company but looking them up I'm fascinated.
They were my first PC band, and the first explorers of Undermountain and dwellers in Waterdeep. Played by stalwarts whose demand for reality and detail (and "honest day jobs" as well as adventuring) led to the Realms being as detailed as it is.
How you restore them, if they radiate anti-magic?
There are certain gates (portals) and wild magic nodes and altars, as well as moonwells, whose magic strips all of that way and restores true shapes/forms. The trick is getting the wonders to them.
@MarteloBlack · What level would a wizard have to be to create a mythal? Would they have to be of the same level to adjust or change it?
Looking over past editions there are a few commonalities: - They require multiple wizards to create. - They take a very long time to make. - They require high level magic. - If the tiniest thing goes wrong, it is catastrophic.
A few options you could think of emulating or using:
Look at spells like Guards & Wards, Temple or Gods, etc. They utilize repeated casting over a given period to create a permanent effect. You could use a similar function.
Look at them as simply a magic item that has a really long crafting time with rigorous requirements.
Considering components: #8259;Mythals often have a core - in the case of High Elven Mythals it is often the body and soul of the lead caster. So, keep that in mind. #8259;5th edition doesn’t have epic spells currently, and Mythals in 3.5 required the Mythal spell seed.
I’d suggest, if you have players wanting to create one, decide if they are making a Wizard Mythal or a High Elven one. If it is a High Elven one, I’d suggest having the caster track down a Selu’kiira (High Elven Lore Gem) that might contain the necessary knowledge.
As for manipulating a Mythal, most were keyed specifically to certain magical objects and only the wielder could manipulate them. But, anyone with knowledge and the object could manipulate it. To safely do it, I’d suggest a 3rd or 4th tier wizard. I hope this all helps!
@DMCas3 has covered the topic masterfully. The core thing is that most mythals required the sacrifice of the key caster: their body and soul were subsumed, and they exist as a sentience in the muthal (akin to "a voice in the Weave").
If your multiple casters were learned enough in mythal lore AND CASTING EXPERIENCE, and powerful enough, they could all give a part of themselves to fashion a "dumb" mythal (so all lose levels, hp, etc.), but this has always been rare.
Hello! Can you tell us more about the animals and inhabitants of the Wall of Halruaa mountain range ? I could not find any information about them in the old books.
A good place to start is the Mountains volume of the Amarune's Almanacs from Vorpal Dice Press (principal designer: Steve Fidler) at the DM's Guild. Some Wall specifics are NDA, I'm afraid, but I can reveal that the largest known populations of Galeb Duhr are there.
I have the book but I just did not think to look into it. I was just searching the old 2e and 3e books. Thank you!
There's very little published about Halruaa, at first because high magic = let's avoid, and then to let Elaine Cunningham have as free a hand as possible when writing her trilogy set there. I have more in my original notes, so someday...if I EVER have the time...
Hi @TheEdVerse! A group of adventurers in Waterdeep are about to do something which has prompted me to ask you - does insurance exist in Waterdeep/the realms as a whole? #129315;P.S.Thank you for creating this wonderful world for us all to explore.
You’re very welcome!
“Insurance” in Waterdeep, and to a lesser extent all over the Heartlands and along the Sword Coast trade routes, exists as “performance bonds” = written, witnessed-at-a-temple (often Waukeen) contracts that set forth a sum payable by one specific party to another if something specific happens (limb lost, specific person slain, particular item or building destroyed). Moneylenders and some guilds offer them—and increasingly, governments/rulers, to adventurers or costers or guilds willing to undertake something risky on behalf of that ruler.
Post spellplague/ear of upheaval do the red wizards still *only* accept humans or can anyone join now?
See pages 16-18 of THAY: LAND OF THE RED WIZARDS.
"In infancy, every Thayan resident, citizens and visitors alike," gets tested by Red Wizards to see if they possess the Gift to practice magic. So, any race. Please note: "The chief fear of all Red Wizards is unrecognized, potentially hostile wizards or sorcerers of power dwelling in Thay, in their very midst."
So if you're known to be an arcane spellcaster, it's be accepted, or get out of Thay, or die.
It's never a case of "I think I'll join the Red Wizards. Seems like an attractive career path!"
But they usually only train their own people though correct? In Thay at least.
Yes. Even among the non-strong xenophobes, there's suspicion of non-Thayans (so it's hard for them to get training or gain offices of any power). Outlanders are usually thought of as "must be a visiting merchant" (or a slave).
I'm getting ready to run Dragon Heist, are their any other books you would recommend reading first?
This book (City of Splendors) is definitely inspiring. One that was a must for me for my campaign was the sourcebook Sword Coast Adventurer's guide (and it's good for so many other campaigns). Outside of the D&D world, I'd recommend you good heist stories, such as The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, and the Ocean 11 movie!
Have you started reading the module? Did you chose during what season the story will occur?
Thanks, I will at least read the novel and I have the Sword Coast Adventurer's guide. I have read the first section, but I haven't gotten to far in yet. As for the season, I am thinking spring, but I kinda want to make Volo the villain in the end.
Heh. You've realized what far too few do: Volo is ALWAYS the villain. ;}
Sometimes unwitting, but...
Seriously: if you want a novel to read to get a feel for Waterdeep in the Dragon Heist era, try The God Catcher by Erin Evans or Death Masks by me.
And for a few decades earlier: The City of the Dead by Rosemary Jones or Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie.
Hey @TheEdVerse, just wanted to know more about Anauroch. Would this be suitable for a Wild West/Frontier style of questing, with the gold rush being Netheresian artificers.
If not, any suggestions on where would be a good fit for this in Forgotten Realms? Thanks in advance.
Many places (Semphar, the Plains of Purple Dust) can be alternatives, but southernmost Anauroch (see FR13) is suitable for Wild West (going N, there's a too-dry/hot band, then a stone&no water band, then a frigid ice desert).
Thanks so much! Possibly looking at having the Zhentarim attempting to establish a Lightning Rail system (similar to that from the Eberron setting) through the region. Would that be something the Zhentarim would attempt?
Certainly. They're trying to get a shorter, faster, cheaper bulk goods shipping route linking them on the north shore of the Moonsea with the Sword Coast, and reliable rail would cut down on "keeping pack animals alive in the desert." Actual rails buckle and twist in high heat if they're metal, and blowing sand threatens any railed system (derailments/burying the rails) so Zhent magelings will be kept busy with spells dealing with such problems. Meaning they'll be making constant patrols (= being targets).
This notion was discussed in-house at TSR, back in the day: various things the Zhents might try for goods transport (I'd already stressed the unreliability of gates/portals for bulk transport, to explain why it hadn't been done from ancient times onward).
In your opinion, must golems have legs/feet? Or can their bottom parts be roiling masses? Or would that make them elementals?
Golems need to have legs that end in enough to balance on, but that could be flared-base stumps rather than feet. Perhaps limited-amorphous move-and-reform masses, but “roiling” implies more volatility than fits with the golem enchantment (immutable form).
@TheEdVerse picture if you will, the Princes of Murghom being coerced into waging war with Thay. Chromatic and Metallic dragons take flight fighting as allies for "the greater good" to stop the armies of Szass Tam. The Simbul stricken mad, finds clarity to warn Laeral of calamity
The Princes are the main reason Szass Tam hasn't (with endless undead armies available to him) embarked on an empire-building war of conquest: he isn't quite insane enough to take on ALL of Mulhorand, Rashemen, and Aglarond when Murghôm, Unther and Thesk are watching.
Is Unther that powerful nowadays, tho?
It's not the power of any one foe, it's the "war on far too many fronts" peril. Szass Tam is a many-times-over failure, so he's insecure, and he KNOWS (from past experience with Aglarond and with Rashemen) that even a weaker foe can occupy and "pin" his forces-- as others charge in to raid or full-scale invade the rest of unprotected Thay. Yes, he can let that happen and rule the undead left behind when Thay has fallen and been depopulated...but he knows how hollow that will feel. AND fears dracoliches will be busily installed by a certain Cult.
And, deep down, he fears what alliances the Princes (the dragon rulers) may have made, and that he can't even handle THEM. After all, if he displeases Mystra further and she sends Chosen to battle him over the Athora at just the wrong-for-him time...
This is the situation of most rulers in the Realms. The interconnectedness of all things weighs heavily on their minds when they contemplate sending armies on the march. What if I...? Wouldn't a few adventurers sent to assassinate, that I can plausibly deny, be better? ;}
And as much as Tam may dismiss and despise them, there ARE Thayans in exile, Red Wizards or mages powerful enough to wear the Red, who hate him (see the recent Thay book I did with @GHC_and_Tacos and @warfteiner) and are lurking...
IIRC Unther was stripped from Toril during the Spellplague then returned reborn under the Supreme Ruler Gilgeam, so in my opinion, Mulhorand does not have a foothold on that space. @TheEdVerse may be able to clarify better.
I'm aware. However, if you read the sources, current day Unther is just the ruins of Unthalass with a population less than 100k "true" Untherans, and a percentage of them are rebels who oppose Gilgeam. Unther isn't a military power to be feared, at least not currently.
True. However, if they learned that Thay was beset by the armies of all the lands surrounding her, it would be a dandy opportunity to raid, through Nethjet or Bezantur. Tam's problem remains: too many foes to take on all at once, and he knows it.
- Edited on 21/7/2022 to add new tweets - Edited on 26/7/2022 to add new tweets
Hello! Please could you tell me if there are any earth motes floating around/above Waterdeep?
There are not. The Mage of Waterdeep and the Lords like to keep the airspace clear (and the noble houses and guilds would all want to control a mote, against their rival houses and guilds). There WAS a cloud castle recently (see DEATH MASKS and STORM KING'S THUNDER).
Yet Common all over the Realms is going to have many accents, being as those speaking it hail from so many different places. Clarity for a listening audience, and the characters sounding different from each other, are paramount.
Thank you for your valuable insight!
If you are still in the mood for indulging a fan...do you have any examples of which places have which different accents in your version of the Realms? :D
No. I never think of the Realms in terms of real-world analogies, echoes, or equivalents, so when I describe accents, it's in terms of pitch, timbre, and vowel sounds, not "this place is like this real-world area."
Hey @TheEdVerse, a question concerning familiars I have for you. How prevelent are the companions in the realms? Does every mage have one? What about famous Mages like Elminster and the Simbul? Do they? And if so, what/who are they?
No, every mage doesn't have one. In fact, over the last century, they've increasingly been "going out of fashion." Elminster or other Chosen wouldn't take a familiar, as they'd see it as a death sentence for the familiar (target) and a vulnerability for themselves.
@CandlekeepSite A small #Candlekeep site update today, specifically including @TheEdVerse's map of Whisper's Crypt. Sent in by @EricLoganBoyd. https://bit.ly/3cGOpFi
One thing I never got around to saying, amid the hilarity of the podcast, was that I had two objectives for the kobold stronghold that got torpedoed in the published module because of the wordcount cutback.
One: I wanted to provide a DM with a clear look at what a stable, established, long-running kobold community was like (what they did in daily life, where the food came from and the poop went to, what their aims were, what trade goods and hunting and gathering expeditions they went on, etc.) so kobolds could become a fully-realized "social" race in the Realms (so, an "ecology of"), AND if the PCs do end up in possession of the stronghold...ooh, they have an ideal (detailed in print) base/hideout in the Stonelands to explore it or participate in Cormyr-based careers.