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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2277 Posts

Posted - 28 Jan 2019 :  00:54:30  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On changes in lore (In-universe explanation)

@Jon_4L (27/01/19)
@TheEdVerse my DM for Curse of Strahd has noted that the current book, as well as the Adventurer's League story, varies a great deal from the original Ravenloft story. How much of it can be blamed on The Second Sundering and The Spellplague, and what can we blame the rest on?

@TheEdVerse
Nigh impossible for us mortals to know. Though the Second Sundering and Spellplague altered a lot of things, it's always been difficult for mortals of one setting and time to grok the "reality" of deities and their powers, aims, and doings, the stuff of dimensions/worlds, and how places we find ourselves in relate to other places. At best, our sourcebooks attempt to describe what deities sometimes mislead mortals about, or hide from us, things beyond our ken, and what is complex and everchanging. Or as Elminster might put it: "Not all humans who drive cars know what makes them go. Yet they drive. If ye find yourself within Strahd's reach, staying alive and free might best be thy foremost priority, not squaring various fireside tales."
#Realmslore

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 28 Jan 2019 00:58:57
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36142 Posts

Posted - 28 Jan 2019 :  05:00:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On bowstrings:

01/25/2019

@PastorGall
is bowstring in the realms made like to how he used to do it back then? Also, are there special types of bowstring in the realms?


@TheEdVerse
Short answer: Yes, and yes. But here we go...

Bowstrings are made of a wide variety of materials across the Realms, many of them the same as historical real-world fibers: linen, hemp and other plant fibers, rawhide and sinew (warning: lose elasticity when wet!), and silk. In the Realms, drow use spidersilk (giant spider types of the Underdark) to string their bows, and elves have special bowstrings made of combinations of wood-dwelling spidersilk, squirrel and even deer rawhide, long elven hair, spun silver (treated with spells and moonstone). The Tuigan and wemics use horsehair in combination with long-grass fibers, and so on, in many regional variations (e.g. jungle plant fibers).

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 28 Jan 2019 :  05:01:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Halaster creating gates:

01/25/19

@TheKOTM4
Roughly how long does it take Halaster to create a new gate in Undermountain? Temporary or Permanent.


@TheEdVerse
NOT long. About an hour for a permanent one if there are no strong existing enchantments in the gate locale to contend with (longer for each enchantment, and a lot longer for certain wards and effects, including other nearby gates [too many gates, too close = dimensional rift tears open). A REALLY temporary gate for his own use (“step through and gone”) = under a minute. Temporary but usable by many, and larger than just a person: 20 minutes approx.
All times longer OUTSIDE of Undermountain, mind you.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 28 Jan 2019 :  05:04:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I decided to re-ask a long ago question, and got an almost immediate response!

On kercpa in the Realms:

27 Jan 2019
@Greysil_Tassyr
Those little humanoid squirrels, the kercpa. They were Core D&D back in the days of 2E. Are there kercpa in the Realms? If so, where can they be found, and are there any notable members of the race?


@TheEdVerse
Their numbers have fallen sharply in the Realms due to concerted attacks by fey races and goblins, but they can still be found in large numbers (no one knows exactly how many due to their secretive and active nature, and the cover provided by their forest homes) in the eastern High forest, the Lluirwood, and the Forest of Amtar, and in smaller numbers in Shilmista, the eastern Chondalwood, and The Great Wild Wood. They've also been seen in Laerakond. Notable individuals: a far-traveled adventurer, Rilstajar "the Rapier;" a legendary prankster heroine who's probably long dead and whose exploits are embellished with many new tall tales named Lyracheelie "the Leaf;" and a tireless explorer and trader, Suldarn of the Many Acorns (a "joke title" given in derision he liked, embraced, and now bears proudly). The kercpa increasingly keep to themselves, fearful of diseases brought by humans and of being wiped out by their many foes, but are otherwise of merry nature, hedonists who live in the present, knowing life is fleeting

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:10:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Waterdeep's Masked Lords after Death Masks:

Dec 8, 2018

@MurderHGames
Quick question, if I may (could be NDA): A number of Masked Lords were revealed in Death Masks but survived. Were they allowed to remain Lords or replaced after the events of the novel? Many thanks!


@TheEdVerse
Up to you (or your DM). The Masked/Hidden Lords vote to accept or expel their fellow lords, so a Lord who tried to murder or expose the identities of fellow Lords would likely be kicked out, but the "masked" custom is for their own protection (and to avoid endless harassment from citizens; it's for their benefit and convenience, rather than a rule, decree, or law that breaking can get you in trouble. So likely they are still Lords. (However, if you need them not to be for personal campaign story needs, go right ahead and change the Lords' roster.)

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:19:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the names of the gods:

29 Jan 2019

@AdamDravian
Elminster’s Guide to the Realms says that Sune is pronounced SOON and that SUE-nee is a more recent pronunciation. How is it pronounced in your home Realms? Did you write the pronunciation guides that are featured in the “Grey Box” and FR5?


@TheEdVerse
"Soon" in the home Realms. The pronunciation guides in FR0 and FR5 were compiled in-house (@GramrgednAngel would have had to edit down long screeds to fit into the GB and likely FR5) from pronunciation lists I provided or was asked to generate once my weird names hit TSR eyeballs


@AdamDravian
Very interesting. I've been wondering about this for years. So in the home Realms: Beh-HAHL or Bahl? Low-vee-A-tar or Low-VEE-a-tar? MAY-lar or MAH-lar? Mahsk or Mask? MERR-kool or MER-kul?


@TheEdVerse
In the home Realms:
Bahl
Low-VEE-a-tar or Low-VIE-ah-tar (Southern)
MAH-lar
Mask
MEER-kool (Myr = “Meer,” just as Tyr is “TEER”)
But across Toril, as across our real world, you will hear a wide variety of pronunciations. And the gods hear them all. ;}

ţ
@AdamDravian
Ed, thank you so much for indulging my curiousity, but this now brings up another question. Since gods hear whenever their name is spoken (as a kind of cacophonous white noise), doesn’t that confuse things if the god’s name is the same as a common word, like “soon” or “mask”?


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Even gods can't concentrate on everything at once (though if they've ALREADY decided to focus on particular individuals or places, they CAN filter out everything else and "be there" as eavesdroppers). And a good thing for us mortals, too! We get away with a lot that gods might otherwise punish. (You might say the art of being an effective god is mastery of multitasking.) Please note: when a deity's name is uttered in prayer, in a temple, while clutching a holy symbol, or by a paladin or someone making a sacrifice/offering, it "sounds different" to divine ears (and so can be told apart from other utterances and soundalikes, so someone saying "mask that before you paint the trim" or "The bread'll be done soon" isn't heard by those deities in the same tone as their names).

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:20:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Ehlonna:

Jan 27, 2019

@LouAnders
Hi @ChrisPerkinsDnD does Ehlonna have worshippers in Toril? @TheEdVerse ?


@ChrisPerkinsDnD
That’s really up to you. Since magic quivers of Ehlonna are things you can find in Toril, it’s possible one could find worshipers of Ehlonna as well. #wotcstaff


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Over the centuries, there's been enough traffic between the worlds/spheres that deities of Oerth and Krynn have followers in Toril (and Abeir), and vice versa.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:21:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On non-evil drow:

Nov 24, 2018

@CTBriscoes
can you help me convince players that not all drow are evil? I want to point to wholly benign drow societies of the Underdark. Do any exist?


@TheEdVerse
The existence of Drizzt and of the goddess Eilistraee and all of her drow followers are living and divine proof that not all drow are evil. And yes, there are non-evil drow living in the Underdark, but they don't get much press.


Dec 9, 2018
@SterlingLenheim
I would think any such community would be extremely well hidden and secretive or suffer Lolth's retribution. After all she can not allow such free will to upset her carefully maintained status quo. Correct?


@TheEdVerse
Yes and no. Lolth isn't half as powerful as she thinks she is, or her drow clergy think she is. The Underdark is a big place, with a LOT going on, and she's busy picking or ongoing battling thousands of fights at once (as a lot of Underdark inhabitants don't want her rule), so...

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:24:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On expelled Lords of Waterdeep keeping quiet:

Jan 29, 2019

@Greysil_Tassyr
An prior question asked about Waterdeep's Masked Lords, post-Death Masks. You mentioned that Lords could be expelled by a vote of the other Lords. What's to keep an expelled Lord quiet on the identities of the other Lords, and other state secrets?


@TheEdVerse
Threat of exile, seizure of all city wealth and property, and having your mind turned inside out by the Blackstaff and the Watchful Order. Plus the hatred and loathing of your fellow Lords and their private personal retribution. For starters. ;}

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:25:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Elminster's favorite apples:

Oct 29, 2018

@UmbralCoffee
Hi @TheEdVerse! With Highharvestide nigh upon us, what specific Faerűnian apple is the favorite of Elminster (eating or baking apple)? And where might I find it within the Realms?


@TheEdVerse
El's favourite apple is the Graele's Green, which can be found growing wild (as well as in orchards) from easternmost Amn east through Cormyr and all of the Dales to the Vast, and into westernmost Impiltur. (It's closest to the Golden Russet variety of our world.) EatingANDbaking


@UmbralCoffee
Wow! That’s terrific, Ed. Thank you so much! My party will go on an orchard hunt for some Graele’s Green on their traipse toward Dagger Falls this upcoming tenday. Happy Holidays, my friend!


@TheEdVerse
And to you, too! Happy apple munching! Daggerdale is known for its abundant wild gooseberries, BTW. Between that and the birds and small game that feast on the wild edibles and are readily added to stewpots or campfire skewers, travelers there can readily forage, and eat well.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  04:28:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On "South Ward" versus "Southern Ward" in Waterdeep:

Nov 6, 2018

@metzpaul
Southern Ward vs South Ward. Volo's Waterdeep Enchiridion contradicts Volo's Guide to Waterdeep.


@TheEdVerse
Times change, fashions change, lingo changes. In this case, it's a generational thing in Waterdeep. So if you happen across old, white-haired Waterdhavians, stick to "South Ward." If you're talking with anyone who looks young: "Southern Ward" (except nobles, who shun change).

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11222 Posts

Posted - 30 Jan 2019 :  16:26:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

On Ehlonna:

Jan 27, 2019

@LouAnders
Hi @ChrisPerkinsDnD does Ehlonna have worshippers in Toril? @TheEdVerse ?


@ChrisPerkinsDnD
That’s really up to you. Since magic quivers of Ehlonna are things you can find in Toril, it’s possible one could find worshipers of Ehlonna as well. #wotcstaff


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Over the centuries, there's been enough traffic between the worlds/spheres that deities of Oerth and Krynn have followers in Toril (and Abeir), and vice versa.





deities of Oerth and Krynn have followers in Toril (and Abeir)


A very interesting answer for those of us who have proposed that some gods exist in Abeir and Toril both now.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1180 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  17:36:09  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This answer:

quote:

@AdamDravian
Ed, thank you so much for indulging my curiousity, but this now brings up another question. Since gods hear whenever their name is spoken (as a kind of cacophonous white noise), doesn’t that confuse things if the god’s name is the same as a common word, like “soon” or “mask”?


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Even gods can't concentrate on everything at once (though if they've ALREADY decided to focus on particular individuals or places, they CAN filter out everything else and "be there" as eavesdroppers). And a good thing for us mortals, too! We get away with a lot that gods might otherwise punish. (You might say the art of being an effective god is mastery of multitasking.) Please note: when a deity's name is uttered in prayer, in a temple, while clutching a holy symbol, or by a paladin or someone making a sacrifice/offering, it "sounds different" to divine ears (and so can be told apart from other utterances and soundalikes, so someone saying "mask that before you paint the trim" or "The bread'll be done soon" isn't heard by those deities in the same tone as their names).


Gives me great pause as I know of at least two instances of a deity's temple being corrupted or taken over by an evil god and nothing happening in terms of divine retribution or ANY kind of response from a deity when their name is being used to do something completely counter to their ethos. The one we discussed here was when a temple of Tymora(I think?) was being run by a child molesting priest that assaulted young Artemis, and apparently nothing came of it for decades. You'd think that gods who know when their name is being spoken in a temple would realise something awful is going on by someone pretending to be their priests. Sigh.

The other was when a temple of selune was taken over secretly by Cyric/Shar and apparently Selune didn't know about it...which I could actually understand a bit more since Cyric and Shar have lies and secrets in their portfolio and would try to cover this up with their divine power, unlike just a rogue sex offender pretending to be a goodly priest which SHOULD NEVER EVER GO UNCHECKED BY A GOD IF THEY CAN DO WHAT ED SAYS THEY CAN DO HERE.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  19:23:50  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

This answer:

quote:

@AdamDravian
Ed, thank you so much for indulging my curiousity, but this now brings up another question. Since gods hear whenever their name is spoken (as a kind of cacophonous white noise), doesn’t that confuse things if the god’s name is the same as a common word, like “soon” or “mask”?


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Even gods can't concentrate on everything at once (though if they've ALREADY decided to focus on particular individuals or places, they CAN filter out everything else and "be there" as eavesdroppers). And a good thing for us mortals, too! We get away with a lot that gods might otherwise punish. (You might say the art of being an effective god is mastery of multitasking.) Please note: when a deity's name is uttered in prayer, in a temple, while clutching a holy symbol, or by a paladin or someone making a sacrifice/offering, it "sounds different" to divine ears (and so can be told apart from other utterances and soundalikes, so someone saying "mask that before you paint the trim" or "The bread'll be done soon" isn't heard by those deities in the same tone as their names).


Gives me great pause as I know of at least two instances of a deity's temple being corrupted or taken over by an evil god and nothing happening in terms of divine retribution or ANY kind of response from a deity when their name is being used to do something completely counter to their ethos. The one we discussed here was when a temple of Tymora(I think?) was being run by a child molesting priest that assaulted young Artemis, and apparently nothing came of it for decades. You'd think that gods who know when their name is being spoken in a temple would realise something awful is going on by someone pretending to be their priests. Sigh.

The other was when a temple of selune was taken over secretly by Cyric/Shar and apparently Selune didn't know about it...which I could actually understand a bit more since Cyric and Shar have lies and secrets in their portfolio and would try to cover this up with their divine power, unlike just a rogue sex offender pretending to be a goodly priest which SHOULD NEVER EVER GO UNCHECKED BY A GOD IF THEY CAN DO WHAT ED SAYS THEY CAN DO HERE.



As best as I can see, it's possible for one deity to hide things from another deity, even in the latter's own temple. Look at Vhaeraun and the traitor-priestesses of Lolth.

Honestly, I do agree with you; both examples you cite seem to have occurred because existing lore was not adhered to. I can't speak to the first example (I long ago stopped reading those novels), but in the second case, it was written in an era where Plot and Kewl were far more important than minor concerns like sticking to established lore.

So I look to examples where we know of things happening below divine radar, but having an explanation, and I extrapolate.

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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2277 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  21:14:00  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On thermometers

@webjr1981
@TheEdVerse
I know that time-keeping isn't a big deal in the Realms (3 bells, etc), but do thermometers exist?

@ TheEdVerse
"Weather glasses" exist in the Realms: what our real world calls "Galileo thermometers" (sealed glass vessels with mixtures of liquid in them and floating glass sphere "bubbles" to denote various temperatures.
#Realmslore

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Zeromaru X
Great Reader

Colombia
2277 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  21:21:53  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On clerical spell list

@jayeedgecliff
@TheEdVerse Lately been digging through a lot of old 1e/2e/3e/5e material for various reasons and discovered an interesting detail: depending on book, assumption is either ding level gives cleric new spells because divine inspire. Or level, now visit temple and study a tome and at mercy of what their priests know (or get taught by a mentor, same difference) and visit another temple could mean learn more even of low level spells. Or yet still ding, level, praying that night get a visit from a Servitor who says “special delivery!”. What of these, or of altogether different is more appropriate for the Realms? I mean I strongly suspect “all of the above plus 73 others depending upon the god” but I play a lot of clerics, seems worthwhile to ask. Thanks.

@TheEdVerse
Heh. All of the above plus 73 others...ahem. The deity (or servitors) customarily sends a new spell into the dreaming or praying mind of a priest, complete with how to use it/moral lessons for using it "short movies." Temples provide instruction, to make sure spells aren't "missed" from the roster of a particular priest, and to reinforce the do's and don'ts of when the priesthood thinks they can be cast/how they should be used.
#Realmslore




Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Dravian
Acolyte

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2019 :  23:14:15  Show Profile  Visit Dravian's Homepage Send Dravian a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

This answer:

quote:

@AdamDravian
Ed, thank you so much for indulging my curiousity, but this now brings up another question. Since gods hear whenever their name is spoken (as a kind of cacophonous white noise), doesn’t that confuse things if the god’s name is the same as a common word, like “soon” or “mask”?


@TheEdVerse
Yes. Even gods can't concentrate on everything at once (though if they've ALREADY decided to focus on particular individuals or places, they CAN filter out everything else and "be there" as eavesdroppers). And a good thing for us mortals, too! We get away with a lot that gods might otherwise punish. (You might say the art of being an effective god is mastery of multitasking.) Please note: when a deity's name is uttered in prayer, in a temple, while clutching a holy symbol, or by a paladin or someone making a sacrifice/offering, it "sounds different" to divine ears (and so can be told apart from other utterances and soundalikes, so someone saying "mask that before you paint the trim" or "The bread'll be done soon" isn't heard by those deities in the same tone as their names).


Gives me great pause as I know of at least two instances of a deity's temple being corrupted or taken over by an evil god and nothing happening in terms of divine retribution or ANY kind of response from a deity when their name is being used to do something completely counter to their ethos. The one we discussed here was when a temple of Tymora(I think?) was being run by a child molesting priest that assaulted young Artemis, and apparently nothing came of it for decades. You'd think that gods who know when their name is being spoken in a temple would realise something awful is going on by someone pretending to be their priests. Sigh.

The other was when a temple of selune was taken over secretly by Cyric/Shar and apparently Selune didn't know about it...which I could actually understand a bit more since Cyric and Shar have lies and secrets in their portfolio and would try to cover this up with their divine power, unlike just a rogue sex offender pretending to be a goodly priest which SHOULD NEVER EVER GO UNCHECKED BY A GOD IF THEY CAN DO WHAT ED SAYS THEY CAN DO HERE.



As best as I can see, it's possible for one deity to hide things from another deity, even in the latter's own temple. Look at Vhaeraun and the traitor-priestesses of Lolth.

Honestly, I do agree with you; both examples you cite seem to have occurred because existing lore was not adhered to. I can't speak to the first example (I long ago stopped reading those novels), but in the second case, it was written in an era where Plot and Kewl were far more important than minor concerns like sticking to established lore.

So I look to examples where we know of things happening below divine radar, but having an explanation, and I extrapolate.



I'm the one who asked Ed this question. I had been specifically asking him about his home Realms, precisely because I wanted him to be able to answer without having to navigate the minefield of published lore. So perhaps in Ed's home Realms, the scenarios you mention wouldn't be possible.

I write an R-rated '80s-themed action-comedy webcomic called Satan Ninja 198X; you can check it out at http://satanninja.com
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36142 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2019 :  03:27:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In Spelljammer lore, a cleric can regain 1st and 2nd level spells, even when entirely cut off from their deity.

In the Realms, if a greater doppelganger eats a divine caster type, they can still get spells/abilities of 1st and 2nd level.

This to me suggests that there's a cutoff at 3rd level where the deity actually has to pay attention to grant spells and such. So someone could stay off the divine radar, so to speak, by keeping their castings and such minimal.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:15:18  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the winds west of the Evermoors:

Jan 26, 2019

@pukunui81
What are the prevailing winds west of the Evermoors like? Are they mostly westerlies coming off the ocean?


@TheEdVerse
You have the right of it: mostly westerlies, coming off the ocean. :}#Realmslore

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:16:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On making Waterdeep seem more alive:

Jan 22, 2019

@samuraibill
I'll be starting a campaign soon set in Waterdeep with several great friends. I wondered if @TheEdVerse had any tips on making the city seem more alive? Thank you for the Forgotten Realms!!!


@TheEdVerse
Sure! Write up a quick news and rumors page (don't have time? search for all of my #StormtalonsWhispers here on Twitter and change the names to places in the Realms) so you can always have NPC gossip and chatter, wherever the PCs go. List 20 or so "street traffic" sights (wagons that look like X and are loaded with Y, handcarts ditto, workers rushing places, shoppers strolling, etc.) so you can CONSTANTLY describe what the PCs see, so the city always feels alive and bustling, and never a lifeless backdrop that responds only to PC actions. Always mention the weather (fog off harbor? cold winds off sea? breezes? hot/cold/damp?) and what smells and sounds the breezes bring. Remind PCs that 1000s of lives are unfolding around them (=1000s of adventures!).#Realmslore

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On wines in Menzoberranzan:

3 Feb 2019

@nobile_bill
Hey Ed. What is some common wines in menzo? Not just Lichen wine


@TheEdVerse
After lichen wine, common Menzo vintages, as opposed to secret house recipes, are but two:
Luthquil, a syrupy-thick, smoky-flavored translucent emerald green wine derived from a particular crushed Underdark mushroom.

And:
Roavrae, a blended wine of a particular boiled cave moss mixed with the internal juices of a specific Underdark spider, the “roave” (a plentiful small black scuttling spider; five can fit on a typical adult human palm).

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On technological development:

1 Feb 2019

@ZeromaruX
Hi @TheEdVerse, how are you? I have a question about Laerakond. Are they most advanced technologically in contrast to Faerűn? I mean, in an Eberron sort of way, like having warforged or magic-powered machines (rather than magical machines).

Thanks in advance :)


@TheEdVerse
No, they’re about the same tech level as Faerűn (I say “about” because tech level varies, of course, from place to place across Laerakond). There are some “mad inventors” who are experimenting with both steam power beyond huge stationary engines, and with “powered armor” automatons driven by gears and internal walking-wheels, in Ramekho in the Windrise Ports, but they represent the foremost “bleeding edge” tech advances right now.


@ZeromaruX
Thanks, Ed. I see that the Realms are low technology despite having the resources and geniuses to be more advanced in that regard than they currently are.

Is there any reason for this?


@TheEdVerse
Sure. Wars, diseases, food shortages, and magic. Those on top currently wanting to stay there. So many inventors get attacked, their work destroyed, or more often seized by a local ruler/powerful person who wants it for themselves. Meaning it doesn't get into widespread distribution, which is the key step in advancing tech. Magic is "easier" and already available, for heavy hitting. Experimentation is dangerous. Really transformative tech, like a widespread system of really good roads, water purification and pumping, etc. is a LOT of hard work and prohibitively expensive for almost everyone short of governing rulers...who are already on top and mistrust transformative change because it could threaten their status. BUT the Realms is on the brink of surging ahead in technology in a lot of places. That's one of the reasons play and tales are set "now," in this era of quickening change, a time that "matters." We've had Realms novels (@PhilAthans penned the Watercourse trilogy) that looked at big engineering projects and many books (for example, The City of the Dead novel by @rosemaryjones ) that look at social change happening before our eyes. It's up to individual DMs if something big "happens" in their Realms campaigns; we're leaving the agency to you. You can build the rail lines that cross continents. Look at the Zhentarim; they began as a way for Manshoon and cronies to seize local power (in Zhentil Keep), but the reward he was offering to the mages who joined was wealth...thanks to cornering the shortest/fastest/most profitable trade route between the mineral-rich Moonsea North and the Sword Coast's markets and food and textiles. Look at the Zhentarim again and how they got sidetracked into internal strife and other goals. Life has a habit of doing that to endeavours, which is why tech levels have for so long ebbed and flowed near the brink of a big surge forward.
Over to you, and Realms roleplayers everywhere, to see if the advances happen.


@Daisemiin
Lets not forget, active Gods and their priesthoods. Many of whom probably arent interested in new gods arising of technology based cults. I know there was at least one in 2nd Ed FR, And lands like Eberron might have several.


@TheEdVerse
Very good point!

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On post-Sundering earth motes:

Jan 13, 2019

@jvcparry
As of 5th Edition, are there still earth motes dotting the Sword Coast? I know there was one in ToA, but what about those near Neverwinter? Fisher’s Float etc.


@TheEdVerse
There are still some earth motes, but ... during the last separation of the Sundering, as Abeir and Toril moved apart again, many earth motes moved. A few “went with” Abeir, and a handful crashed to earth (or into a mountainside).

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:20:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
ţOn transgender or non-binary individuals:

Feb 1, 2019

@jayeedgecliff
I should preamble a little, because for reasons that break the gods’ brains some would ask this looking to trap a creator or some similarly juvenile nonsense. I’m an author, I know well that setting & characters are not the creator not reflective of her values

By the same measure I’m aware that in the grand scheme of The Realms every conceivable answer is represented *somewhere* because divers peoples, tribes, nations, etc. I grok.

Across ... Classic Realms: Faerűn, principally the Sea of Fallen Stars, Cormyr, Waterdeep 1e grey box maps region.

What is life like for a transgender or non-binary individual? Especially the former given the existence to such a thing as polymorph magics?

Is it significantly different for rich vs impoverished? Noble vs common, regardless wealth? Zhentilar vs Sembian?

I’d always made certain generalised assumptions about gender equity which I translated over to such matters but then I got to thinking about how on-screen War Wizards seem as much as 4/5 male, Purple Dragons almost exclusively so. Waterhavian Watch not exactly 50/50 but nearer

Zhentarim vibe a might more female, Red Wizards the opposite, and so on. So given a seeming wide swath of mindsets on the roles of sexes perhaps ... gender affirming spellcraft? is maybe a less dull topic than previously envisioned?

I dig if you’d rather pretend this question doesn’t exist. Regardless what you answer *someone* is going to probably have something horrid to say. But I hope even a ha’penny’s worth gem could be begged of you.

Perhaps I should ask: does human vs other make any remarkable differences?
/fin+1


@TheEdVerse
Hi! Great question, because a topic that almost never gets directly addressed in published Realmslore. The Realms is, as you say, a big place, with many regional variations and just as much racism, sexism, and mistrust of “the other” and change than our real world. Bigots are everywhere, it is the nature of most to be at least a touch cynical, and so on. Yet to offset that, beings of any one race in most surface locales in the “classic” Realms coverage areas live with a variety of other races, and see “monsters” from time to time, too (albeit mainly dead, as wall-trophies). And the effects of magic, if not seeing spells hurled in your presence, is widespread, too.

For reasons of body weight and strength, some professions (smithing, professional soldiery, rowing) tend to be dominated by large-bodied males, but by and large (once you get away from Lolth-dominated matriarchies, the Rashemi, and the like) there is gender equality. As in: individuals may be discriminated against on the basis of age/experience, height, hardiness/have all their limbs in working order, and whether or not I like your face, BUT there’s no societal bias of role on the basis of gender. There ARE recruiting officers who go looking for guards of a particular build, size, and even hair color, and the units they assemble reflect that. Vangerdahast wanted female War Wizards “implanted” at Court and as “house wizards” in the households of the nobility he wanted watched over because he thought they were better at fitting in, acting, and being subtle than his young, ambitious male War Wizards (whom he deployed more in combat/action/military support functions, which is why you see them more on-screen), and his too-few really trustworthy and competent senior War Wizards he needed for vital roles (Laspeera being one of those).

Having wealth or status (e.g. nobility) provides a measure of freedom to “be yourself" in every meaning of the word—indulge your eccentricites/hobbies, and so on—so we see more nobles habitually doing “odd” things. Wealth allows those without the Art (gift of wielding magic) to hire spellcasting, so they can experiment with changing their own bodies in various ways, having sex while body-flying, and so on. Such “freedoms” are limited by disapproval/your own thinking depending on your local society (Sembia is very much “do what you want if you have the coin,” whereas modern-day Zhents are always aware of the Zhentarim and their scrutiny and war-readiness and supremacy of wizards and Bane and Zhentarim objectives.

However, magic is most often hired by the non-magical to change their own bodies, usually to make themselves more functional (overcome a withered or malformed or damaged limb, increase handsomeness). More than a few use it to switch gender, either to experiment or fulfill themselves (because they don’t feel comfortable as they are) or to escape persecution (by changing looks and often gender and taking on a new identity, sometimes to elude justice). “Everyone” has seen or at least heard of someone doing this, and it’s not considered crazy so much as “restless.” So although individuals who put on “camp” voices and lisps, and dress and use cosmetics to “outrage” may be ridiculed for such over-the-top behavior, there’s no stigma about changing your gender, nor would most folk in the Realms be repelled by discovering someone they have the hots for as one gender was once another. Nor is homosexuality, “swinging both ways” and dwelling in family groups of several “mates” of mixed races and genders frowned upon, societally. Individuals may find it too much for themselves to handle, but the laws and general attitudes of society don’t frown on it. There are strict laws regarding inheritance among royalty and nobility, but that’s purely to cut down on strife within powerful families and the resulting chaos.

This is, of course, given who was first publishing the Realms (that is, the time and place of publication, and the game and literary market of the time/societal attitudes of the time) something downplayed or even written out of published Realmslore, but from the outset, I thought racism (as in, prejudice against people who have a different skin color than you, or “talk funny” was ridiculous in a world in which elves rub shoulders with dwarves and scaly lizardfolk and talking dragons and talking bugs), and I thought my Realms would be a lot more tolerant than our real world of individuals who weren’t the one-man-one-woman-two-point-five-children-in-house-with-white-picket-fence family.

In my own background, I grew up in a very wealthy neighborhood filled with people from all over the world temporarily stationed in Canada as executives, and my mother died when I was young so I was raised by a tag team of VERY competent and strong-willed grandmothers and maiden aunts, and from age 14 on to right now I have worked in public libraries where almost all of my bosses and co-workers were women, many of them openly lesbian or bisexual, so none of this seemed unusual to me.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying that transgender and non-binary folk can live comfortably and accepted in the Realms, though they may have to pick their neighbors and friends to do so. [fin]

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:22:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the inheritance of gay nobles:


2 Feb 2019

@jayeedgecliff
Replying to @TheEdVerse
Wow! Thank you!
I’d seen an answer to sexuality on Candlekeep ages back. But this goes way deeper.
Given your mention of those strict inherence rules for nobles: how’s the order go for a noble heir who’s gay? Their heir apparent is order go for a noble heir who’s gay? Their heir apparent is … eldest nibling? What if they adopt?

ţ
@TheEdVerse
It varies widely across the Realms, depending either on tradition within those families, or the laws of the realm they're nobles of (same as in the real world: some noble titles descend through the male line, some through female, and so on). Back when I was five or six and first thinking these things through for the Realms, I had to decide what would happen if folk could magically be brought back to life, and decided that to prevent "eternal kings" who just keep getting resurrected or reign as liches, death would knock an individual out of the succession (and we see that in Cormyr: A Novel). In some families, a returned-from-death person would still be considered part of the family and could conceivably "re-inherit" if they were the only one left standing after all other kin died off, while in other cases, particularly if the dead were nasty or unpopular, they would be shunned and kicked out of the family). So the first answer is: it depends. Let's look at Waterdeep and Cormyr, the two gatherings of nobility most seen published Realmslore to date. So: a noble heir who happens to be gay is still the noble heir; they still inherit. If they die without "issue of their body," the succession passes to their next eldest kin (in some families, of a particular gender; in most, gender doesn't matter except in rare cases of twins born at the same moment, in which case there's usually a standing family rule of boy first or girl first; if not, the family would pray to a god of the head of the house's choice for vision-guidance, unless the REALM had a law/rule about this). Adopted children are still noble, but aren't in the succession (they stand outside of it and get "passed over"). For royalty, there are ALWAYS complicated laws, formed by royal decrees over the years that the nobility of the realm support (when they don't, that's when you get civil war and usurpers supported by strong noble factions, and the "new monarch" is usually pressed to issue new decrees making everything clearer and as the majority of the nobles want it). I have left the details of such laws and customs of succession as murky as possible to allow Realms novelists and game designers and individual DMs down the year maximum freedom for storytelling/PC "stakes." If you'd like a model for how to govern in cases of "which of two or three seemingly-equal candidates should inherit," consider first what Jeff and I showed in Cormyr: A Novel of someone not wanting the kingship abdicating in favor of a sibling, then turn to glance at the NFL. Yes, the American professional football league. On their website, before the playoffs/postseason, there's always a link to "tie-breaking procedures" or some such that demonstrates how they decide between two teams that finish with the same points. It's always intrigued me that in the end, after factors are exhausted, it comes down to a coin toss. In the Realms, there'd never be a coin toss; that would be the point at which it would be handed to the gods, to send a sign. (Which, yes, might mean clergy faking something or twisting an interpretation, but no system is perfect.) It's in the conflict and vying for power that many storytelling/roleplaying adventure possibilities arise, after all. Note that in the Realms as in real life, there have been many instances of gay persons managing somehow to have offspring in the usual way, so as not to endanger the succession (they are reared that the maintenance of their house [family] comes before all else, and in most cases would believe and follow that, no matter their personal losses/costs).
#Realmslore

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:23:10  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the structure of Zundbridge:

Nov 20, 2018

@mineirodabahia
hello Ed, need your advice about Zundbridge. Is it a big castle? How big? Does it "gates" the bridge? This is our first sketch based in what we read so far!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dse5MzgWkAAzBJL.jpg:large


@TheEdVerse
Google "Restormel Castle" for an approximation of the size of Zundkeep. Except, of course, Zundkeep isn't ruined, is on a MUCH higher and rockier bare stone height with a single zigzag road up to it, and has a tall cylindrical main keep tower.


@TheEdVerse
You've drawn a very nice "this would be the smartest defensible way to do this."
What happened: the wizard Zund built a necessary road bridge "in the middle of nowhere," and later soldiery of the Deep came and built a castle on a nearby defensible height overlooking the bridge.


@TheEdVerse
Nice sketch. But the bridge is a massive version of a simple "clapper bridge" (stone slabs atop stone pilings; see Google images of those on Exmoor, etc.). The castle crowns a rocky bluff overlooking one end of it, NOT blocking the road to the bridge, nor attached to the bridge.


@mineirodabahia
Thank you for answering Ed! Straight to the point. Also, are the gaps between the “pillars” wide enough for navigation? And how big is Dessarin? I imagine it’s quite a river, and it seems it would be even bigger by that place, so close to the sea.


@TheEdVerse
The gaps are wide enough for large barges and log booms, not just dinghy-like river craft. In this spot, the Dessarin is a wide, slow, fairly shallow (6-8-foot draft, most places) flow, but with gravel bars (sandbars, but small stones) here and there. So, multi-lane traffic. ;}


@mineirodabahia
Nice! It’s much more “fantastic” then I’ve imagined. It surely fits like a glove in my campaign. Made this one right now, does it seems more accurate? I read that the castle is doubled walled, where this second wall goes?


@TheEdVerse
Look at your forefinger. Imagine it's a top-down view of the castle. The outline of your finger is the outer wall, and the outline of your fingernail (smaller oval within the larger) is the inner wall. Entry gate at knuckle, large outer "ward" (yard) is for stables, livestock, walled gardens, roofed-with-slate woodpiles, etc.
Inside the inner wall is the castle keep itself (built over the well), and it houses armory, dungeons, and living quarters.

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:23:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Klauth's treasure:

Nov 8, 2018


@DmLucifer
I've been expanding on Klauth in my game and have been wondering about how much treasure does Klauth have laying around?


@TheEdVerse
Klauth has hidden treasure caches all over his demesne (its mapshould still be on the Wizards website: Wyrms of the North archive) as well as his "main" lair. He's a wily veteran who's been piling up the loot for a LONG time (including raking in the hoards of dragons he's slain).

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:24:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On how long it would take to cross Waterdeep:


Nov 16, 2018

@djtigon
How long would it take (provided one didnt get distracted or stopped along the way), from the South Gate, up The High Road to the Northern Gate leaving the Field Ward heading towards The Sword Mtns. Trying to get a sense of scale of the Deep


@TheEdVerse
Depends on time of year (snow and ice, or not? Crammed-full city, or just those who stay in winter?), time of day (after midnight? or rush hour?), and weather (raining hard, or not?). It can take half a day to traverse the Deep north-south. If you take back streets, and pick your time of day, it can be done in 2 hours without hurrying. At night, carrying lanterns in a large party with Watch escort so you won't get stopped by the Watch, you might manage it in 40 minutes.

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:26:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Cormyr's Blue Dragons referring to the War Wizards:

Jan 21, 2019

@jayeedgecliff
I gather from Cormry Novel & Stormlight that nobles are likely as not to call war wizards things like “drunken louts” or “voyeuristic nuisance” [paraphrasing] & Purple Dragons have “happy dancing mages” if memory serves.
Do the Blue Dragons have any names for ‘em?


@TheEdVerse
Sure. "Vangey's hounds" (sometimes with "panting" or "baying" or "non-housebroken" added). "Lubberspells" (because they sometimes hurl magic w/o thought for effects on a ship), Also "idiot figureheads." ;}
BTW, all non-nobles in Cormyr call nobles "highnoses." ;}

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Posted - 04 Feb 2019 :  10:27:07  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On clerics learning new spells:

@jayeedgecliff
@TheEdVerse Lately been digging through a lot of old 1e/2e/3e/5e material for various reasons and discovered an interesting detail: depending on book, assumption is either ding level gives cleric new spells because divine inspire. Or level, now visit temple and study a tome and at mercy of what their priests know (or get taught by a mentor, same difference) and visit another temple could mean learn more even of low level spells. Or yet still ding, level, praying that night get a visit from a Servitor who says “special delivery!”. What of these, or of altogether different is more appropriate for the Realms? I mean I strongly suspect “all of the above plus 73 others depending upon the god” but I play a lot of clerics, seems worthwhile to ask. Thanks.

@TheEdVerse
Heh. All of the above plus 73 others...ahem. The deity (or servitors) customarily sends a new spell into the dreaming or praying mind of a priest, complete with how to use it/moral lessons for using it "short movies." Temples provide instruction, to make sure spells aren't "missed" from the roster of a particular priest, and to reinforce the do's and don'ts of when the priesthood thinks they can be cast/how they should be used.
#Realmslore

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