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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:25:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On wild talents:


@icequeenerika

@TheEdVerse are the various systems you've published for innate/wild talents all supposed to represent the same talents, or different ones? (VGtATM, El's Forgotten Realms) Does Illistyl Elventree's wild talent fall into this category or is the Invisible Art separate?

I'm wondering how much of this I should mix together for my own wild talents for PCs in my game; if Weave talents are different from the Invisible Art, if you only have one inherited special ability, and so on.


@TheEdVerse

Wild talents by their very nature are spontaneous, untrained (and often undiscovered) personal abilities; like divine portfolios, rules for them are attempts to define and categorize something that always battles against good categorization. Rule of thumb: keep wild talents rare and mysterious, so learning their limits and details remains a roleplaying journey. It should be VERY rare for one being to have more than one wild talent, unless the talents are related uses of what's really one ability.

D&D loses a lot of its fun if one player at the table is trying to dominate others with a character that has arcane magic, divine magic, psionics, multiple wild talents, subclasses, an arsenal of magic items...and tries to use all of them, every combat round.

The sole exception to one wild talent per being is when a deity TEMPORARILY invests a mortal with a special power while on a divine task/mission/quest...and such boons should never come without costs (obligations).
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:26:04  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On writing the Undermountain boxed set:


@newbiedm

All the adventures were written by @TheEdVerse. Ed, can you provide any memories or anecdotes about writing this boxed set?


@TheEdVerse

Sure. The encounter areas really only drew on Level 1 of Undermountain (not its top level, as it had 2 of those, one the thieves' citadel inside Mount Waterdeep {see Room 23} and the Fireplace Dungeon), and to swiftly get the set out, TSR drew on an existing Dave Sutherland Empire of the Petal Throne dungeon map; that's where most of the gigantic rooms came from.

At the same time, I was writing all of those mini-adventures in one week (around my library day job and its 100-mile-each-way daily commute). :}

The "home" Realms campaign was and is all intrigue and PCs have 'day jobs' as well as adventuring, and developing relationships with NPC neighbours, so Undermountain was crammed with burnt-out torches and other remnants of previous adventurers, as well as mysterious magical effects and hidden storage niches inside pillars with odds and ends and cryptic written messages inside them, so my players were constantly piecing together mysteries and stumbling over guild master and noble conspiracies in the Deep.

It was all great fun. Steve Schend was editor for the Undermountain boxed set, and had the unenviable task of paring down all of my mountain of details into something that'd fit inside that box. I think we managed to hand DMs a fun toolbox.
#Realmslore


@ReticulatingSp1

How I long for a modern revamp of this legendary boxed set. I am tired of single books with no giant maps. One of my most treasured DnD possessions.

@TheEdVerse

What I wanted to do at the time (I was just a freelancer, not on staff, remember) was have a box that size for all 9 main levels of Undermountain, then another three boxes for the side sublevels that you discover when your character is high enough level to survive them (by finding "presence keys" to secret doors, and undercovering all the intricate connections between Undermountain and the cellars of buildings all over Waterdeep), and then a final hardcover book of uberplots covering all the power groups at work in Undermountain, and what their aims are.

Then, of course, it would be necessary to properly detail the city above the dungeon, and Skullport, too...

And TSR could then sell you an embossed-with-your-name suitcase to carry all of these releases in...
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Apr 2020 :  21:26:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Zeboaster the Blunt:


@jason_wilson

What was the fate of Zeboaster the Blunt, @TheEdVerse? He was a highlight of 1989's "Forgotten Realms Adventures."


@TheEdVerse

Zeboaster the Blunt was an effete, perfumed-bearded sage of Ordûlin, in Sembia, who specialized in matters of theology and history among the humans of the Dragonreach shores, and was dubbed “the sage on the run” after his loud public opinions repeatedly forced him to flee the wrath of rulers, authorities, and the powerful and influential.

Zeboaster disappeared from public view during the Time of Troubles in 1358 DR, in Selgaunt, after angering the clergy of Myrkul and narrowly escaping death at their hands eight times. Grasping their deadly intent, he plunged into hiding after witnessing a fat merchant and his equally fat wife trying to murder each other; while grappling, plunging knives into each other, and wailing in pain, they fell from a luxury inn balcony past Zeboaster’s balcony, and perished when they slammed into the roof of a covered barge, breaking bones and dashing themselves senseless, then slid off it and (weighed down by the fancy-dress armor they were both wearing, from a revel they’d just attended) promptly drowned in the harbor, sinking and leaving only bubbles behind, that trailed away to nothing without them bobbing up again.

Seeing his chance, Zeboaster broke into their rooms, intending to shave off his beard and pose as the merchant. However, he discovered that the man was too short, had feet that were too small, and was too slender for any of his garb to fit. However, the merchant’s wife (thanks to a whim of the Watching Gods) was a perfect fit.

So the shaved Zeboaster crossdressed and became wealthy Zarorba Athelmoin, widow of Augrust Athelmoin, and hastily booked passage on a ship bound for Westgate. “Her” haste was a good thing, because “she” was soon suspected of her husband’s murder. So in Westgate, Zeboaster changed his name again, becoming Aumra Gulthanor, a fortuneteller, and joined a caravan bound for Berdusk, Iriaebor, Scornubel, and Waterdeep.

“She” was on the road across the Heartlands for the worst of the tumult of the Time of Troubles, narrowly avoided being murdered in Scornubel by a band of halfling thieves who sought to seduce “her” and relieve her of her valuables, and ended up working with those thieves, the Buralt Brothers, in Waterdeep, becoming their den mother [providing them with “cover” and a home and treasure-stash] (and still a fortuneteller) in Trades Ward, where “she” eventually became the lover of several bored older noblewomen who consulted her (on larks), discovered that “she” was in fact a man, and decided their husbands would never suspect their indiscretions if Aumra was very careful to maintain her gender fiction, so they paid her well to do so.

One of them happened to be of a size with Zeboaster, and so was able to slowly cast off gowns and accessory garments, and build Aumra quite a wardrobe.

Living this life, Aumra lived to a ripe old age, dying of heartstop late in the winter of 1426 DR (having outlived all but one of his noble patrons; the last one paid for his burial on her family estate, so “her” secret could die with her—and it did. Until now.)
#Realmslore


@jason_wilson

Wow. This is so fantastic! TY, Ed!


@TheEdVerse

You're very welcome!

Oh, BTW, as a fortuneteller in Waterdeep, Zeboaster several times had priests of Myrkul, "adrift" after news spread of the demise of their god, as clients. And fooled them, thereby keeping himself alive. They never stopped hunting him.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  16:25:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On unarmed combat training and instructors:

(Okay, this one was a bit of a mess... Ed broke the question up into chunks and answered it that way. I went back and located the original question in its entirety, and I'm including that, on this post.)


@jayeedgecliff

I’m sorry but this may ramble a bit as written English seems a poor medium and Twitter a poor platform for what I’d like to ask. This is my 5th try.

So here goes: my Joydancer who I like to ask realmslore questions for is hardly my only nonviolent adventurer

I’m not a hack & slash fan. If I wish to kill things for their stuff I have cRPGs

This leaves a problem. Most game systems’ combat systems are geared toward killing stuff. I can’t even LOOK at the unarmed combat section of my early 2e DMG/PHB for all the time I spent in my teens crying as I tried to make anything like sense out of it. GURPS Martial Arts is thorough … but is cumbersome enough in GURPS never mind ported to any different system better fitted to traipsing around Faerûn.

Is there a resource you might recommend for a more peaceful mode of combat that can be comfortably (if maybe creatively) used alongside the usual options of swords and axes?

Also … anything you’d recommend in addition to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on endless repeat to get a visual on lasso fighting?

Plus a question for El, another handy sage, or even Volo: a passive, defensive style of unarmed that might be learnt by a young Lady of means & station with indulging parents in coastal Cormyr. Who might be these instructors and what are they like?

Similarly a travelled Waterhavian lass from a family with coin … from whom might she have studied to so deftly protect herself from overly amorous festhall goers (she’s a Sharessan cleric working in an upclass hall the name escapes me) with a cleverly designed fan?

I hate asking mechanical questions, and 5e D&D, surprisingly allows for making do, but if there’s something with just a little more versatility out there, especially with the hand-to-hand stuff, it’d be a boon.

Thank you.




Ed's response:


@jayeedgecliff

Question for El, another handy sage, or even Volo: a passive, defensive style of unarmed that might be learnt by a young Lady of means & station with indulging parents in coastal Cormyr. Who might be these instructors and what are they like?


@TheEdVerse

In Cormyr, in the 1300s DR and the 1400s DR, interested nobles and courtiers alike can hire instruction for themselves and their children (older than toddlers and up) in unarmed arts known as ‘Shieldwall,’ although it’s far more tumbling and sidestepping and aikido-like swaying and balancing and pivoting than it is any sort of shield-like action. The instructors tend to be old, limping, arthritic retired Purple Dragons who’re good at teaching and have patience, and many of them use linament and their tutoring to keep themselves as limber and agile as possible.

Cormyr and Marsember have a small handful each of resident tutors, and the coastal areas see another three traveling tutors who also teach swordwork and archery: hardy women in their forties who are good-natured, brawny outdoors types, slow to anger but very quick-witted and observant. They serve the Harpers as spies on any outlanders or strangers arriving in coastal areas, and the doings of such folk, they sell daggers and bowstrings and arrows, and they’ve long since befriended lonely men along their routes whose beds they can share and so get free shelter and a meal for the night.

One, Harlathra Ordlynsword, is also a dentist. She’s ash-blonde, sun-browned, and scarred all over (old sword-wounds). The second, a one-eyed (she wears a black patch over her empty right eyesocket) brunette retired adventuress who’s a masterful mimic, and has a faultless memory (she can read a document, commit its wording precisely to memory, and repeat it or write it down correctly, even three tendays later—or overhear a lengthy, involved conversation and recite it, with voices, accurately), is hight Skelvreene Amaldrath. And the third is a young but snow-white-haired, vivacious brown-eyed flirt and acrobat named Jouleene Draetha, who attracts male attention wherever she goes.

All are good, patient tutors who don’t mind being handled by patrons or repeating moves over and over until someone masters what they’re teaching, and all are far smarter and more alert than they act. Harlathra once heard a bow being strung far behind her—and at the right moment whirled around, sidestepped, and caught an arrow barehanded that had been shot at her.

A feat they still talk about in Moonever, where this befell.
#Realmslore


@jayeedgecliff

…Similarly a travelled Waterhavian lass from a family with coin…from whom might she have studied to so deftly protect herself from overly amorous festhall goers (she’s a Sharessan cleric working in an upclass hall the name escapes me) with a cleverly designed fan?


@TheEdVerse

Eddie doth reply:

In Waterdeep, wealthy folk and nobles can hire many traveling tutors (that is, they make appointments for training sessions of about two hours in length at certain times a tenday, and so go from pupil to pupil in the city) to teach all manner of self-defense, from “dirty alley tricks” like kneeing and eye-gouging and throat-punching to elegant dancing that happens to include hold-breaks and disarms and takedowns. And yes, using a fan like a baton to break fingers or numb nerves (the old “bash the funnybone,” but also the hits that make a tight grip spasm open). Most of these tutors are aging but still supple human or half-elven men or women of social elegance and manners, who charge two to five gold per training session, and also hire themselves out as ‘arm candy’ light bodyguards from time to time, attending feasts and revels and so picking up a free meal in the process.

If you’re in the mid-1300s DR, some names of such tutors include the human males Rondarl Stormfeather (white-haired, slender to bony, impeccably dressed and with ‘perfect’ manners) and Morlyn Dyre (yes, related to the Dyre family who appeared in Elaine and my Waterdeep novel; darkly handsome, a master actor in perfect control of face and voice; accomplished at mimicry, and dancing), the human females Janessra Haeleeyaro (who can act the part of the ‘perfect noblewoman’ and looks matronly rather than beautiful; she hails from Telflamm, and is an expert at picking locks and sewing intricate clothes, often lightning-repairing garments torn by her pupils in their exertions) and Vaelarra Hamartranth (from Tethyr, an acrobat who once made a living as a ‘human statue,’ posing immobile at feasts and revels in strange costumes or vivid body-paint; she has an impish sense of humor, and is expert at hurling and catching small objects), and the half-elf androgyne (true hermaphrodite, usually prefers to dress and act female, but will readily switch if hired to do so; a not-so-former actor and prostitute) Phandarla/Phandarl Immerstorn.

The most famous such tutor of Waterdeep was Elender Tanturho, who died of heartstop in 1242 DR; it’s still city slang to ask “Got yourself a tanturho, have you?” or ask, “Tanturhoing?”
#Realmslore


@jayeedgecliff

…For a more peaceful mode of combat that can be comfortably (if maybe creatively) used alongside the usual options of swords and axes?


@TheEdVerse

I’ll let you in on a secret: the home Realms players include some veteran wargamers, but we long ago decided that we didn’t want to slow down our roleplaying to play another game for unarmed combat, for the sake of “realism.”

So we went to Mind Wrestling in issue #25 of THE DRAGON (yes, we’re ooold), which if you can’t get the issue boils down to this:

Draw a straight track of spaces big enough for a penny or other handy marker (a meeple). Eleven or thirteen squares long, or less (7 or even 5, but an odd number) if you want combat to go faster. For fisticuffs or unarmed combat or simple martial arts (I’m wearing knuckledusters or holding a handy vase and swinging it, or snatching and hurling handy furniture, but otherwise bare-handed), player says what they’re trying, DM says what NPC is trying, and they both roll a d10 or 12; high roll wins. Move the penny from the center square of the track where it starts (hence, odd number) one space closer to the losing character’s end of the track. Repeat, saying again what you’re trying (so, DM can describe the fight, with tables being smashed, that vase shattering over a PC’s head, or whatever; this description gives opportunities for someone to throw away a key, or toss something to a third party or into a fire, or open a door or some other “not pure fighting” action, during the fray).

Move the penny again. What the DM describes, happens, until someone surrenders, flees, or gets disabled. If the penny reaches one end of the track, the character at that end loses definitively (knocked cold, limb broken, captured or pinned helplessly, manacled; whatever fits).

Some gamers will condemn this as too simple. We just want to get on with the story.

Players who think this simplistic little system is too unfair to their character avoid unarmed combat situations.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:40:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On a Thayan house-slave mage and her barbarian bodyguard:


Mar 25, 2020


@clackclickbang

Hi Ed! I'm currently running a Forgotten Realms campaign set in Thay (which is among my favourite stomping grounds) and @xLadyGamerx is playing a former house slave adopted into a noble Thayvian family. The Alemok family hasn't taken her in out of altruism, but due to her possessing magical aptitude, which the family in general lacks. What's your view on a non-magically inclined family adopting a girl for her magical ability so they can "grow their own Red Wizard", and how such a family might treat such a potential asset?

Additionally, @GhostOfCinders is playing a Thayan barbarian and former gladiator slave, recruited by the family to act as her bodyguard. Who might such a person adopt as a patron deity in Thay, and how are barbarians viewed in Thayan society?


@TheEdVerse

In general, slaves in Thay are expensive, valuable commodities, considered by most owners to be inherently more loyal than free, middle-class Thayans because they have to be; there’s no place for them to survive in Thayan society if they aren’t, and a wise owner rewards good behavior and achievement so a slave sees clear benefit in ‘being good.’ So slaves get training to become the practical hands-on experts an owner needs (gem polisher, cook, smith, vintner, etc.).

In the case of this former house slave, she would be a ‘house treasure’ if she’s good at the Art and can be developed into a powerful mage. They would indeed get her a bodyguard, and try to keep all word of her talent utterly quiet. If she did any spellcasting training, they’d want it to be in a private cavern or a very secluded outdoor spot far from habitation, to keep anyone else from seeing it. They’d not speak of her training, or her at all, where non-family members and non-their-household staff could hear. And for her tutors, they’d likely hire outlander wizards or renegade Red Wizards outcast for past indiscretions (or, far more often, being on the losing side in some internal power struggle or other), and preferably the former, to cut down on the chances of word getting out and around in Thayan society. As the Alemoks generally lack aptitude for the Art, the former house slave is a treasure beyond price to them. She will herself be watched, of course, to make sure she doesn’t use her developing skills against the family, or ally or befriend others who might be family rivals or whom she might confide in, and so on (in other words, her bodyguard will be keeping her apart from most public contact).

Adroit segue to discussion of that bodyguard. Barbarians are viewed in two ways: dangerous, disposable fodder (and to a Thayan noble, anyone at all who’s not a Thayan noble or a powerful mage or a cleric is a barbarian), and useful but expendable tools, if they can take a modicum of training. A former gladiator-slave is obviously in the second group, and therefore his or her position now is perfectly understandable (even to someone who has no idea that the recruited barbarian is the former house slave’s bodyguard, and just think he or she is an Alemok family bodyguard, guarding the former house slave because she’s a family asset currently considered useful/worth guarding for some reason—and it might be something so mundane as being in training to be a good cook, when the family only has lousy ones, or being trained to be a gemcutter and polisher when the family has had to overpay for outside third parties to do such services for them).

A barbarian running around loose is a peril to be slain, or captured and enslaved, but a barbarian who’s obviously a slave and therefore the property of a Thayan house (i.e. wearing harness with an Alemok badge or livery) would be assumed to be working for the house if not running amok and attacking random folk in public, and would be accepted for that and not even arouse much interest, unless they were themselves visually interesting or doing something interesting (like carrying a sheep on either shoulder, or a struggling trussed human).

This barbarian-heritage bodyguard would be most likely to venerate Malar or Kossuth (or, if he or she has worked as a a soldier, Helm) as patron deities, but could have Gargauth as a patron if they feel ‘apart’ and ill-regarded in Thayan society, Loviatar if he or she is sadistic or masochistic, and even Shar if they want Thayan society to come crashing down and be swept away.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:41:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Bane remaining in the mortal world:


@LeslieCourtne14

Why would Bane, god of tyranny, seemingly give up his greater god status to become a mortal again just so he could meddle more in mortal affairs? I suppose the same question is true of Bhaal and Myrkul, who have died before too.


@ShamusGWilliams

This could be a similar situation to Iuz on Oerth. He was allowed far greater influence on the world because he was on his home plane. He could bring to bear godly might against mortals, while deities who were ostensibly mightier were restricted.


@LeslieCourtne14

That could be a possibility, indeed. I guess if I had already been killed before, I’d be a little more cautious about making myself mortal. And Bane just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would make himself weaker, to me. But maybe he’s just dumb?


@TheEdVerse

Not dumb, but...we mortals have seen that Bane is rash, impetuous, and arrogant. He's no patient, long-term schemer, but lives in the present moment (he wants results NOW). And his pride often makes him over-estimate his own prowess, and ignore his own faults.

However, the fact that all of the Dead Three have elected to stay in the mortal world makes me think they're up to something. Like @Rashamonn, I think it's a bid for more power. NOT masterminded by Bane, but irresistible to him because he hungers for more power.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:42:14  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Batrachi and Aearee:


@RidianG

So i know the sarrukh have a stat block but why not the Batrachi or Aearee? If they were to have stats or if I were to custom build them what abilities and powers would they have?


@TheEdVerse

Likely no stat block because they’re extinct in the Realms. If you really want to end the world as we know it…Batrachi: cross a slaad with a kuo-toa, and add doppelganger shapeshifting. Aearee: a wyvern but with a human human lower body and arms, covered with scales, but the wings have feathers, also a line of feathers down the outsides of the arms. In both cases, the result should be as smart as the smartest humans, and have the hit points and CR of the strongest critter in the mix plus half of the weakest. And when you’ve created the reptilian Creator Race and the reptilian avian one, RUN! RUNNNN!


@RidianG

Both medium sized or larger? And the shapeshift is still as limited as a normal doppelganger right?

Also which slad as their are a lot of them even the epic versions as well. I'm building using 3.5 btw and thank you for yiur response i appreciate your attention and btw i love the FR setting and heavily base my custom one on yours.


@TheEdVerse

I'd use the 3.5e green slaad as a base, myself.
But then, I do many foolish and questionable things. ;}

Larger rather than medium-sized, and shapeshifting far less limited than a doppelganger.


@RidianG

On another note would the batrachi and aearee have an ability similar to the sarrukh in that they can actively reshape the races they made?


@TheEdVerse

Likely, but not "wave a hand and happens right before your eyes." More a series of long rituals, like magical micro-surgery.


@RidianG

So yes but mechanically it requires more time and an optimal lab setting?


@TheEdVerse

And likely several "treatments" per being, to avoid death from system shock.


@RidianG

How about 1 tenday per alteration in an optimal lab setting (value 1k gp or something) and it can grant any ability it has to a subject (other than the Alter Form ability; that's what I'm calling it) or abilities it can get from creatures it has on hand (or parts)


@TheEdVerse

I'm very wary of "automatic success" rules. How about it has a 35-percent chance of success of granting any one ability, AND an unavoidable 5 percent chance of killing the being it's attempting to alter, with an additional 5 percent chance of maiming it so it can't be further altered (short of a Wish spell). Otherwise, this becomes an opportunity for tasking batrachi with turning out armies of augmented servitor creatures, and inevitably some power-hungry player will want their PC augmented, or become the army-maker.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:42:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On conflict between Claugiyliamatar and Palarandusk:


@webjr1981

Given how much the Kryptgarden forest has shrunk in recent years, and its proximity to Ieirithymbul, have Claugiyliamatar and Palarandusk had any run ins?


@TheEdVerse

Possibly, but not that I’ve heard of. Palarandusk is smart and calculating enough to avoid all unnecessary conflicts, as not worth the time, trouble, and risk. And Claugiyliamatar’s attention is on Waterdeep. Also, as noted in DRAGONS OF FAERUN, Claugiyliamatar was attacked by green dragons from Neverwinter Wood during the Rage of Dragons, and had to flee; she was intercepted by members of the Cult of the Dragon, who offered her dracolichdom.

As she’s not been seen in the Kryptgarden since, we don’t know if she accepted, or went to dwell in Waterdeep in human guise, or went elsewhere to pursue other schemes.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:43:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On criminal groups in Waterdeep:


@_waterbeemd_

Hey @TheEdVerse, I am a new DM and I am currently running a campaign in 5e. It's located in Waterdeep and is going to revolve around the criminal underworld in the city. Could you tell me about all of the different (semi)criminal organisations and factions?


@TheEdVerse

While many of the nobles, guildmasters, and even Masked Lords have been known to engage in shady dealings (often employing adventurers or mercenaries as agents, so as to avoid "dirty hands"), the Zhentarim have in the past openly engaged in nastiness, but these days employ others (adventurers, dupes) for such work, and the Xanathar Guild (which isn't a guild at all, despite the name) is a front for the criminal gang run by the Xanathar, a beholder (or rather, a succession of beholders, using the same title, like the Dread Pirate Roberts in the Princess Bride movie, though the Xanathar was around before William Goldman wrote that movie script) located in the sewers of Waterdeep. The city has no Thieve's Guild, but the Shadow Thieves keep trying to get back into the city, and there are remnants of criminal groups like the Bloody Hand, as well as several gangs based down in Skullport. One of these is Bregan D'aerthe, a drow mercenary group headed by Jarlaxle Baenrae.

And informal cabals of a handful of thugs and/or sneak-thieves, often sponsored by an unscrupulous merchant, are constantly forming and trying to operate unnoticed in the Deep. They rarely succeed escaping the scrutiny of the Xanathar for long. WATERDEEP: DRAGON HEIST provides a good overview of these in its opening pages, and you can get a feel for some of the independent seedy operators in the city in my novel DEATH MASKS. Or for Waterdeep a century earlier, subtract Bregan D'aerthe and look at Elaine Cunningham's novels ELFSHADOW, ELFSONG, etc. (For Waterdeep in between these times, see the six-novel "Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep" series, all of which impart the feel of the seamier sides of Waterdeep.)
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:43:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On cross-racial pantheon worship, and multi-faith temples:


@rwgs76

Dear @TheEdVerse, maybi bother you with two questions?

We know humans in Faerûn worship all the gods, even though some people may favor some deities over others.

However, is it be possible for some, like half-elves, to worship both elven and human gods?

Also, how common are temples dedicated to all (human) gods of Faerûn as opposed to temples dedicated to individual deities?

Thanks in advance!


@TheEdVerse

It is very possible, and even popular, to venerate both human and elven gods regardless of the race of the worshipper. Quite a few halflings, gnomes, and humans pick an elf ‘patron’ deity to worship as well as ‘their own’ gods.

All-faiths temples (like The Plinth in Waterdeep) are rare, but all-faiths SHRINES are found in many, many way-hamlets, villages, and market towns (i.e. places too small to have an array of temples specific to a deity each).

Some shrines are little more than an altar with a weather-roof overhead, lacking any attending clergy and kept clean and tidy by local devout “just plain folk” (lay worshippers). Others are more natural, consisting of an open-air spot associated with some deed, miracle, or manifestation of a particular deity, where folk go to pray and leave offerings (often this is a spring, a pond, or a distinctive tree or rock). A few are substantial stone buildings, maintained, cleaned, and guarded by priests—but not sanctified as ground holy to just one deity, and not dedicated to just one deity, but open for all to worship any or many deities.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:44:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On elven origins:


@StateMagister

Hi Ed, did elves originate or arrive on Toril and do they have their own superannuated calendar? Thanks.


@TheEdVerse

The elves (and eladrin) have their own legends of "arriving" on Abeir-Toril (united worlds, back then) long, long ago, as opposed to originating there...but who alive today really knows? And yes, they've had several calendar systems; see hints in LOST EMPIRES OF FAERUN, THE GRAND HISTORY OF THE REALMS, ELVES OR EVERMEET, and several novels, such as Elaine Cunningham's EVERMEET.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:44:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On half-dwarves:


@HalfElfatHeart

What would the general opinion of half-dwarves in larger cities along the Sword Coast look like? I wasn't sure if they were so rare that it would provoke extreme attention.


@TheEdVerse

Half-dwarves that someone glancing their way will THINK are half-dwarves are rare indeed; most half-dwarves so favor either the human or the dwarven parent (usually the latter) as to pass for human or dwarf. A “pass for human” half-dwarf will usually be short, stocky, and burly of muscle. A pass-for-dwarf half-dwarf will look like an unusually tall dwarf. A visibly half-dwarf will be even taller, and will attract attention, but will only stand out when walking alone or with one or two companions of different heights; otherwise, there’s enough variation in human heights, especially when youths are in the mix, that the half-dwarf will tend to “blend in with the crowd.”
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:45:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On how adventurers are treated in Calimshan:


@Hipstertastic

what would the greeting be like for my adventuring party as they enter Calimshan? None of them have moved far from the Sword Coast, and the party has several rarer races (Tortle, firbolg, tiefling.) Would it be more unkind than their experiences in Waterdeep?


@TheEdVerse

Calishites tend to be wary of obvious “outlanders,” and of adventurers. However, if the adventuring party travels with apparent purpose (as opposed to wandering, or publicly discussing where to go and what to do), most who see them will assume they’ve been hired by someone in Calimshan to undertake a mission. They are still to be watched (as armed ‘potential trouble’) but not a cause for alarm, arming up, or informing any authorities. Unless they’re seen breaking and entering, stealing, or being arsonists, of course. Personal reactions to the rarer races will depend on the NPC's past personal experience (is this a monster? Tiefling = a genasi?)
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:46:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Jarlaxle investing in Mistshore:


@codeGlaze

Thoughts on Jarlaxle leveraging the greatly diminished property values of Mistshore to buy up space and attract investors? Maybe clearing out some space for a private dock and HQ fronted by year-round circus/freak attractions?

Give the local people jobs and utilize them for local Intel gathering.


@TheEdVerse

A far less tempting prospect than, say, buying up run-down properties in North, Trades, and Castle wards, refurbishing, and making much higher profit margins. Mistshore was largely dismantled on the orders of the Lords, after several terrible fires and a persistent crime problem. NO ONE gets to build "private docks" in Waterdeep, because the nobles AND guilds (and more than a few private individuals) all tried it in the past and there's no room for a working port (root source of most income in Waterdeep) if you let them. They'll literally fill up the harbor basin. So if Jarlaxle or anyone else starts trying to rebuild Mistshore in a large enough way to make a profit, they'll attract immediate attention of the sort Jarlaxle is far too wise to want to attract, as constant scrutiny make his sort of operations very difficult to pull off, and even less likely to make large profits. Using a foolish noble or guildmaster as a front will attract that same scrutiny; Laeral, the Blackstaff, and the Watch are all wise veterans.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:46:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Lliirans:


Mar 29, 2020

@jayeedgecliff

Sir @TheEdVerse, I wonder if you might indulge the boredom of a rainy sunday/w a few moments of your wondrous world building, if you’ve any to spare.

What, pray, is the daily life of your avg Jillian the Joydancer actually like, please? How’s this contrast/w just Larry Lliiran?

Uhm … if it matters pre-time of troubles, I guess?


@TheEdVerse

Aside from bathing, cooking, eating, and tending (nursing, feeding, fetching for, and otherwise aiding) others, a Joydancer’s every waking moment is devoted to spreading joy. Singing, telling jokes, and doing kindnesses are a big part of this, but so is knowing and befriending folk so what the joydancer says and does to try to make them joyful will be appropriate to each person (and so, will have a good chance of success). Joydancers are often accomplished singers, dancers, mimics, actors, and graceful people, but they need not be. Devout worshippers of Lliira will try to do kindnesses to others throughout their day, because the clergy teach and urge them to, but (unlike a joydancer) it’s not their life-consuming work; they usually have a job, a family to support, and so on. So for a lay worshipper it’s more how they treat others and view life, whereas a joydancer’s waking time is devoted to spreading joy. And they are good enough at it to be one of the very few priesthoods that’s not a-crawl with ambition, attentive to holy rank, and authoritarian in any way.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:47:12  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Loviatar:


@jpbila

Some bits with Loviatar please #realmslore


@TheEdVerse

Heh. Wolf's in quite another world, and doesn't know or do Loviatar. Can I help, with Realmslore of Loviatar? Or...?


@jpbila

Oh sorry . Some help with Loviatar lore in the Realms


@TheEdVerse

Sure. Circa 1479 DR or later? (i.e. in the 5e Realms?) What sort of lore?

To start: Loviatar's worship is high among bored nobles and wealthy "wannabe nobles" social climbers in cities like Waterdeep, Athkatla, Manshaka, Calimport, and Zazesspur.

More on the daily worship of Loviatar:

The ‘new way’ of the clergy, in the 1470s DR onward, is to inflict useful pain: pain on foes and trade rivals to get them to do your bidding through fear (or fear of the pain you’ll inflict), and the same amount of pain inflicted on yourself, to keep you mindful of the price of pain. Preferred ways of inflicting are whips, canes, lengths of thorn-vine used as whips, and the bare open hand (spanking). Many lay worshippers
are masochists or sadists.

Clergy often wear leather outfits of crisscrossed straps, devout worshippers may wear individual ‘devotive pieces’ of adornment such as corsets or chokers or leather bracers when attending rituals, and most such rituals consist of clergy-chanted prayers punctuated by whip-cracks (a whip brought down on an altar or on one cleric by another) while lay worshippers unison-recite responses to the passages of prayer (reading from handbooks or posted words lit by cleric-held lamps). These recitals build in pace and fervor.

Priests of the Maiden of Pain in Waterdeep, Athkatla, Manshaka, and likely other places teach the establishment and maintenance of effective discipline within trading costers, shipping fleets, and guilds, for fees. Increasingly popular wear for clergy: black leather half-masks that are cut into a fringe of thongs that hangs over the lower face. Clergy often smile, even through pain.
#Realmslore


@VikGray

Hey! Thanks for mentioning that really fun deity. I wonder, was she any involved with Dead Three events and how is her relationship with Bane move now

Does she avoids him? Supports?


@TheEdVerse

Loviatar wasn't directly involved with the Dead Three's collusion or negotiations with Jergal. So far as we mortals know (so far as we know ANYTHING we can trust, about the gods).

And Loviatar steers her own clergy these days, trying to stay politely distant from Bane and his clergy. She recalls earlier, closer cooperation (1300s DR) in which she saw her clergy and herself given orders from the Lord of Tyranny and his clergy (i.e. relegated to servants). Not at all her desire, so to be avoided.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:47:43  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Myrkul and Velsharoon:


Apr 4, 2020


@LeslieCourtne14

Hey @TheEdVerse can you tell me what Elminster has told you about the relationship between Myrkul and Velsharoon is now a days? Like how are they different, or how do they see each other’s role in the pantheon?


@TheEdVerse

Myrkul is the god of the dead, and some of his worshippers are powerful undead (liches, vampires, and the like), whom he works with and champions the aims/causes of.

Velsharoon is the god of necromancy, and is feared or detested by many undead; most of his worshippers are living mortal necromancers (who of course will also worship Myrkul and all other deities they know of).

In Elminster’s view, Myrkul is (or was; there’s a chance that all of the Dead Three returned after the Sundering more sharply limited in power than many other returning deities—though Velsharoon may well also be sharply limited) more powerful than Velsharoon, and more autonomous (Velsharoon obeys Azuth, Myrkul obeys no one but is influenced by Bhaal and Bane, and all of the Dead Three are likely heavily manipulated by Jergal).

No one knows how gods see other gods except by what mortals can infer from what deities and their avatars and senior servitors say and do, and if a mortal doesn’t observe such behavior directly, they should always be aware that clergy habitually ‘spin’ what they report to lay worshippers, and spread as rumor, to often be more propaganda to raise the profile and importance of ‘their’ deity, than it is truth.
However, Elminster believes, from his own past observations, that Myrkul dismisses Velsharoon as a ‘grasping mortal’ of barely divine power, and otherwise seeks to ignore him. And Velsharoon sees Myrkul as a do-little has-been, no longer of consequence in the affairs of the world.
#Realmslore


@Pataphor1

Please forgive naive question: if undead are both/neither alive and/nor dead, why are they worshipping a god of the Dead? Why is there no god of the Undead, constantly in tension with Kelemvor & Isis or Apollo? Or could they worship Celtic Arawn?


@TheEdVerse

Your question arises out of mortal confusion as to who the gods really are, as individuals, and what they do.

Portfolios are our way of trying to understand what genres/fields of endeavour/concepts/professions/topics they seek to dominate, bolstered by titles bestowed on the gods by their clergy, by bards and general rumor, and occasionally by the gods themselves. "Lord of the Dead" is one of these. All deities compete, and Myrkul, Kelemvor, Velsharoon, and Bhaal are all "fighting for turf" here. So too, could Jergal be, if he was interested in fighting. Remember, only fanatics, paladins, and clerics in the Realms worship one god. Everyone "believes in" them all, and most folk worship them all. Some beholders worship other beholders, and there are beholder cults who worship undead beholders. There are vampires who worship powerful undead they don't really understand, because that undead being helped them once (in hopes that said being will help them again). And I've not even mentioned other pantheons of gods worshipped in the Realms in my mini-catalogue of who's vying for death and undeath. So the constant tension you mentioned is always there.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:48:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On shadar-kai:


Mar 28, 2020

@cali_keftiu

With the shadar-kai now (again) a sprt of fey, what would folk call the shadow-touched humans that live in the Underdark and among the Netherese? Especially looking for a Netherese name for them.


@TheEdVerse

“Shadar-kai” IS the Netherese term for shadar-kai, adopted directly from their own term for themselves. Some other humans of Toril call them “shadow fey” or even “shades” (confusing them with the undead creatures, or even the Shadovar: citizens of Thultanthar or “Shade”). A human sage of the Sword coast would probably use “shadow fey” when writing or speaking in public, feeling that this term is most precise. Any fey would probably think that “shadow fey” is too broad a term for the shadar-kai; they would take it to mean any sort of fey ‘touched by shadowstuff’ or ‘of the Shadowfell’ or both. Some Sword Coast and Heartlands adventurers call them “pale dark skulkers” or worse. There’s also a more general Netherese and fey term, “arkai,” which means ‘dangerous fey’ (kai = fey, and ara = means dangerously capable) that often gets used where humans might say ‘monster.’
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:48:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On terms for followers of the Red Knight:


@TheNervousGM

Hey @TheEdVerse does the Church of the Red Knight have a term for her worshippers?


@TheEdVerse

Several. Colloquially, in private, they simply say “the Faithful” or “Marchers.” More formally, they are “Redshields.” Most formally, they are “Followers of the Red Lady.”
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Thayans and snakes:


Mar 29, 2020

@Alphastream

Here is an FR lore question. On today's stream I was asked why the Thayans have these snake sculptures throughout their complex. Anyone know? I thought it might be tied to a Yuan-Ti god like Zehir or Merrshaulk, but now I'm not sure.


@TheEdVerse

See TYRANTS IN SCARLET (free download from the DM’s Guild) by George Krashos and me. It relates the founding history of the zulkirs, and the Athora that made Thay a land of magic. To this day, the Athora lies in a cavern-lair within Thaymount constructed by the Ba’etith, that mysterious group of sarrukh, batrachi and aearee who were responsible for the creation of the Nether Scrolls. Known as Assikhath to the sarrukh, the lair is adorned with statues that house protective and preservative magics (for some of the magic items in the lair are both powerful and dangerous). A few of these statues can animate as guardians, but most shoot forth magics to defend the lair against intruders, particularly those who seek to damage and despoil, or unleash magic.

Most of these statues are of stylized sarrukh (snaked-headed lizards or giant serpents or even winged upright bipeds with snake heads), and Thayans of all walks of life (including wise, sophisticated zulkirs) associate magical power and success in the Art with the presence of such statues, so down the years similar statues have been fashioned and installed in many Thayan homes, compounds, and offices. Although no Thayan wizard would state matters so baldly (though a lower-class Thayan laborer or official might), they are thought to bring good luck, and to ‘evoke what is best of Thay,’ no matter how distant they may actually be from Thay. A Thayan feels at home in chambers adorned with snake statuary. So you will find them everywhere Thayans have control over interior décor.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Batrachi and slaad:


@LeslieCourtne14

Are the Batrachi somehow related to the Slaad or the kuo-toa? I always felt like there could be a great opportunity to use them as these sort of ancient “Lovecraftian” elder ones who just mostly died off.


@TheEdVerse

I agree, a great opportunity for an elder ones role.

As Eric Boyd and I wrote in SERPENT KINGDOMS, a few sages of the Realms correctly believed that most of the Batrachi escaped to Limbo, and over time became the slaadi, a handful remained in the swamps of Toril but likely went extinct before the 1300s DR, and (see SERPENT KINGDOMS and POWERS & PANTHEONS) the Batrachi created or were the ancestors of many shapeshifting, amphibious, and piscine Faerûnian races, including the bullywugs, doppelgangers, kopru (see the 3e MONSTER MANUAL II), kuo-toa, locathah, sivs, and tako.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:49:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the meaning of the word Dessarin:


@rwgs76

Dear @TheEdVerse, well met! What's the meaning, in English, for the word "Dessarin" (as in River Dessarin). Thanks! #Realmslore


@TheEdVerse

Most folk alive today have no idea of the derivation or meaning of the name, which is now so old it’s just ‘always been there.’ Many sages think it comes from the Dessar family, elves who worked with dwarves in the time of the dwarf kingdom of Besilmer (five thousand years ago). Others think this is a misunderstanding, and that family, when they split from their ancestral kin (who shunned dwarves), took their name from a dwarf they worked with, just as the halfling Dessar and Dessil families did. And there are several competing tales, so the truth behind it all has been lost to time. In Elvish, des/deth is a syllable that can denote a flower in bloom, or femininity.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:50:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On wyvern and dragon meat:


@LeslieCourtne14

What does wyvern or dragon meat taste like? I’ve tried alligator meat before, but I don’t know if it would be a similar taste or not.


@TheEdVerse

My relatively limited experience of wyvern- and dragon-meat cuisine has led me to depend on Elminster, Laeral, Storm, and (wince) Volo as sources. They all tell me the taste varies with age, species, and diet of what’s being eaten, even before sauces and seasonings during cooking enter the picture. Raw meat tends to taste like frogs (as in, frog legs from a buffet) with a smoky aftertaste, and when cooked shifts towards the fine white meat part of a well-done pork chop. With a smoky aftertaste.
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Posted - 10 Apr 2020 :  19:50:46  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On yuan-ti grafts:


@Rexenraptor

Hey Ed! A burning question for you. The Serpent Kingdoms mentions that the Yuan-ti added arms to nagara. Is it possible for them to add grafts to other types of non-serpent creatures? And are grafts limited to just snake parts, or could they do other types?


@TheEdVerse

Like real-world modern human surgeons, yuan-ti vary in skill and experience with grafting, and specialties. However, the few really skilled ones can handle all sorts of reptilian body parts, from a living or very recently-deceased donor, master sedation and antiseptic operating conditions, and can graft successfully to all sorts of reptilian creatures.

The moment they try other sorts of body parts, or other sorts of recipients (warm-blooded mammals, for instance), the chances of rejection and necrotizing (the body part dying and festering, still attached, so amputation must be done to avoid sickening and poisoning the recipient creature) go up sharply. As do instances of nerves not knitting together, so motor control of a limb is poor (e.g. dangling or flailing arm, not one capable of grasping and deft activities), it’s permanently numb, and so on. And NO yuan-ti has ever successfully transplanted a head with functioning mind intact, to any creature or from any creature. Yuan-ti have entirely mastered the shock problems, so some of them even know the right local anaesthetics to operate on themselves (e.g. give themselves extra or replacement arms) while conscious.
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Posted - 24 Apr 2020 :  16:53:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On bathrooms:

Apr 12, 2020


@LouAnders

Hi @TheEdVerse I hope you are still doing well! Pressing question that I must know the answer to or I'll pop. I can't wait. It's urgent. What are bathrooms like in the Realms? Camber pots? Out houses? Are there sewers? Is there plumbing?


@TheEdVerse

I had to work all of this out first for my Mirt stories as early as 1967 (his foes had a habit of attacking him while he was answering nature's call), but then the moment D&D play began, PCs started using sewers, garderobes, and nightsoil wagons as travel routes!


Dave Gross
@frabjousdave

There are definitely sewers.


@LouAnders

Yeah, there kind of have to be. But is there plumbing? Magic plumbing?


@frabjousdave

This I don't remember with certainty, but I find it very likely considering the images of sewer pipes I recall from the artwork.


@TheEdVerse

All of the above. Sanitation in the Realms depends on where you are, and your wealth/social class.

If you’re traveling and stay at a way-inn, you’ll be like most middle-class city folk: chamberpots under every bed, typically emptied by the youngest non-toddler family member, with accompanying mugs of leaves for wiping and flowerpetal- or lime-scented water for washing and diluting the pee or covering the poo (as well as the chamberpot lid) to keep the smell down. Emptied into a backyard covered bucket, which gets taken to a cesspool/pit or (copper a dump) to the local nightsoil wagon (as shown in a scene in ELMINSTER’S DAUGHTER, one of the very few sanitation details not edited out of my manuscripts).

Some cities have sewers, usually because they’re coastal (tidal flushes) and/or have streams/rivers running through them that can be diverted to flush out the sewers. In most cities, there are indoor rooms, known as garderobes or less formally as “jakes,” consisting of a seat, a gravity drop pipe descending from underneath it, and large jugs of water for washing and flushing (down the pipe to a cess-cistern in the cellars, which has a turn-the-balun/open the board sluice connection to the sewers—so the sewers can’t readily back up into your cellar). Some homes have wiping cloths, washed by servants or family members, some have “bumsticks” (scrap cloth tacked to a branch, used like a backscrubber, only lower down ;} ), some have wiping leaves, and many have scented water to purge smells, and potpourri (“crushscent bowls” or pomanders, in the Realms).

In rural areas, most farms, homes, taverns, and inns all have outdoor privies (outhouses), with under an open-walled roof, to keep water out) handy heaps of sand and lime and shovels large and small. You use it, with the aforementioned leaves or bumstick, there’s an ewer and basin for washing, and when you’re done, a sprinkle of lime and a shovel-full of sand go down the hole. When the hole’s full, the outhouse gets moved, and the hole gets limed heavily, or a fire lit atop it, and then (after fire dies to ashes; no fires are ever lit in forest loam locales) covered over with earth and left. (Successive outhouse moves causes the ‘ring garden’ around some homes.)


@LouAnders

So Silverymoon probably has sewers and garderobes in the nicer inns.


@TheEdVerse

Yes. Garderobes in the nicer inns, flushed by hand-water-jug down narrow pipes into a water-filled cistern (cuts the smell), which is regularly sweet-scented by the staff, and dredged by night, out to a nightsoil wagon, and so away south for spreading, or flushed by the underground streams into the Rauvin, where downstream-of-the-city weirs catch the muck, and it's bucket-scooped (giant 'brushpans' like the digging buckets of modern real-world backhoes and long-arm excavators, strung on ropes to both riverbanks and dragged back and forth by teams of oxen, up crushed-rock ramps out onto dry land) from the weirs into nightsoil wagons, which, yes, take it away from spreading.


@LouAnders

No wait. Not costal. No sewer for Silverymoon?


@TheEdVerse

Northbank Silverymoon has sewers flushed by three now-totally-buried streams (like London, England's many long-ago-roofed-over streams that became open sewers and so were 'buried' without controversy; see the classic reference work "The Common Stream" by Rowland...Parker) that flush into the Rauvin. Southbank Silverymoon has no sewers, and uses the nightsoil wagon system ("leavings" taken far south and spread on open wilderlands to rot down).

Any large-city freshwater flush system uses weir-grids to collect solid filth ("muck") that gets taken away by wagon and dumped far from noses in the city (Waterdeep's goes from the harbor grids to the Rat Hills, S along the coast). Gulguthra (otyughs and neo-otyughs) devour human waste in such dumping-grounds, and serve the same function in some castle, monastery, abbey, and isolated inn middens.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Apr 2020 :  16:54:17  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On firearms:


Apr 13, 2020


@Xjandinast

What were your thoughts on rumors on guns being added into the norm of Forgotten realms novels? I like the medieval flavor and dependence of magic.

When I play as a DM I just tweak the lore to make sure gunpowder is harder to maintain hehe


@TheEdVerse

I wrote a Firearms article, and a sequel, for Dragon magazine back in the day to nudge the idea of guns in the Realms into the “very impractical” category (as an editorial assignment, as they were already in the game; a wizard …of Greyhawk had a ‘boom wand’ in the Gary Gygax/Jim Ward/Rob Kuntz play sessions, way back when). Gunpowder doesn’t work in the Realms (doesn’t explosively ignite, so can’t propel bullets). Instead, the Realms has something called “smoke powder” (which many gamers over the years have confused with sorts of gunpowder called “smokeless powder” or “smokepowder”). This was an idea borrowed, with Roger’s permission, from Roger Zelazny: in his Chronicles of Amber, gunpowder doesn’t work in Amber. Instead, what in the shadow known as Earth is known as jewelers’ rouge can be used in firearms. And yes, it is hard to obtain, making any firearm a “rare and preciously firing” weapon. ALL firearms in the Realms are single-shots, not automatic or semi-automatic. And every time they’re fired, there’s a chance the weapon will explode, endangering the being firing it more than any target. This keeps the focus on magic and medieval-flavour weapons.

Not that any of this is a new notion in fantasy. H. Beam Piper’s classic LORD KALVAN OF OTHERWHEN focuses on a gunpowder theocracy on an alternate-timeline Earth, and what happens when a modern-times Pennsylvania state trooper who knows how to make gunpowder winds up in that ‘otherwhen.’
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Apr 2020 :  16:54:51  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Shaundakul during and after the Spellplague:



@_Pseudoscience_

I've been unable to dig up any information on where Shaundakul scampered off to after his disappearance in 1385, during the Spellplague. Is there any canon lore concerning this? If not, could you tell me if his clerics are still receiving their powers from him? :)


@_Pseudoscience_

Just checking in again. A little bump to see if this gets noticed :)


@TheEdVerse

Sorry, I've been busy recently ferrying my wife back from hospital, and similar real-world health fusses.

I answered this very query here on Twitter a month back:
Shaundakul stepped through a portal and went worldwalking during the onset of the Spellplague, to avoid the worst of its ravages, and to find and gather scattered sentients of Toril and lead them back to the world as the spell-chaos subsided.

Thereafter, Shaundakul appeared frequently, all over Faerûn, in various mortal guises, to guide lost travelers to safety, revealing his true nature only to his clergy and the most devoted of his lay worshippers.

He is answering the prayers of the faithful, granting spells to clergy, and in fact did so with far shorter an interruption during the Spellplague than most other deities. He's very attentive to his clergy.

The iconography you cite sounds very much like Shar or Entropy, but hijacking a shrine is Not Done, and I suspect Ao will sharply curb any interloper deity doing so (loss of divine reach or power) before long.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Apr 2020 :  16:55:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Fellowship of the Purple Staff and their hamlets:


Apr 15, 2020


@BruceDonhue

Hello Ed, I have a question about The Fellowship of the Purple Staff. An organization founded by a few clergymen of Chauntea, Helm and Selûne in 1368 DR & bolstered by faithful of Lathander and Sune.What has happening with them since 1372, what are their hamlets?


@TheEdVerse

The Fellowship was almost wiped out fighting beasts, brigands, and followers of Malar in the chaos following the Spellplague. Although it rebounded in the 1450s DR, today the Fellowship consists of over sixty adventuring members (and their families) who dwell in a handful of subsistence hamlets in an E-W line deep in the northern Gulthmere Forest, having lost all reach into more southerly stretches of forest (near the Orsraun Mountains).

The Fellowship now include Mielikki, Silvanus, and Corellon in their worship, and try to live in harmony with sylvan creatures and the life-cycles of the forest, using trails rather than clearing wagon-roads, and establishing ‘forest farms’ of vines and tree-clinging plants rather than clearing fields. They trade with Cedarsproke and Gurnth, but don’t live there, and those settlements aren’t Fellowship-run.

Important Fellowship members include the warband leaders Klarenna Arthtree (CG hf P14, Moonsash-Preceptress of Selûne), Raelmren Harthtanvil (NG hm P8, Prelate of Lathander), and Waeldren Stauntor (LN hm P9, Vigilant Shield of Lathander). The warbands are traveling fighting forces that rush to deal with threats to any Fellowship hamlet or members (and ar summoned by messenger or distinctive lown-note warhorns carried by Fellowship members); they’re similar to many woodland-dwelling adventuring bands, and tend to be about eight stalwarts strong, with at least five being veterans.

Senior clergy of all faiths in the Fellowship vote on major policy decisions, with the warband leaders and the aged Havaunth Taervorren (LN hm P17, Patriarch of Helm), making daily operating decisions.

The Fellowship hamlets, west to east, are Corolanth, Baelen, Favvaranth, Ellord, Qrael’s Ford, Grammath, and Haelmorr.
#Realmslore


@BruceDonhue

Thanks so much, are there any write-ups any where on the Hamlets that you have mentioned aka Forgotten Realms Wiki and maybe maps?


@TheEdVerse

I’m afraid not. And if you’re looking for maps, you’re thinking of these hamlets in the wrong way: these are NOT settlements with cleared fields, roads, and so on. They have some clearings, wandering trails overhung by the forest canopy instead of roads (no wagons, just barrows and mule-drag carts), and they have homes that are part caves, part artificial caves (build up a hill of loam and tree stumps, roof it with stones and growing plants so roots will anchor it all), part tree-houses (think untidy childrens’ tree forts, reached by rope-ladders and climb-tree ladders, and joined by rope-and-board catwalks), and part tents, with outhouses that get moved when their dungpiles are rich and rotted-down enough to serve as gardens for edible forest plants, and so on. In other words, very little that would show up on a map beyond a general location for the hamlet.

BTW, a mule-drag cart is a narrow wheelbarrow with long projecting handles, turned backwards and with a mule harnessed between those handles, so the whole thing slopes down to a single wheel at the back.

(If the wheel breaks, the mule “drags” the thing like a travois, hence the name ‘mule-drag’).
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 01 May 2020 :  09:27:40  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To those that follow Ed's replies, he has just posted about Kelemvor and how it is all Church propaganda that Kelemvor judges the souls of all the dead. Kelemvor only judges the souls of the Faerunian pantheon's dead (if that). All other pantheons, including racial ones, go to their own judges or are stolen by fiends.

Finally an afterlife that makes sense.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 08 May 2020 :  20:36:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The EdVerse on a human worshiping the Seldarine:


@Zahncorp

What happens in death, to a human soul who worships a member of the Seldarine? What about a half-elf?

I’ve never been able to find a definitive answer.


@TheEdVerse

That’s odd, because this has been answered many times, including by me here on Twitter. It seems to be a source of perpetual puzzlement. ;}

ALL sentients in the Realms ‘believe in’ and worship ALL deities, not just one.

Upon death, the soul is judged/sent on (for reincarnation or whatever other fate) by the deity that has the strongest claim on it: the deity it ‘most cleaved to’ in life. (The race of the living being doesn’t matter, veneration while alive does.) Sometimes, the being’s own desires or the will of a deity cause it to be ‘sent back’ to life, or stuck in undeath (e.g. a revenant) to take care of unfinished life business. So in this case, the human or half-elf soul will be guided by the member of the Seldarine they most worshipped. (Which may only be clear to others if in life they were a cleric, paladin, or holy zealot.)
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