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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:32:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Neverwinter's soldiers and coins:

Aug 31


@AlexMcclay2000
Hey Ed, im having trouble figuring something out in Neverwinter. Whats the Difference or is there a Difference between the Wintershield Watchmen(SCAG 145) and the Neverwinter guard? Is the Wintershield Watchmen like the City Watch and the NW Guard like the City Guard?


@TheEdVerse
There is, and you’ve got it right.
Lord Neverember initially defended Neverwinter with the use of mercenaries, mainly from Mintarn, under General Sabine. They kept order, but tended to be harsh. Meaning the general public soon feared and hated them. So the Wintershield Watchmen were formed (“newly formed” in their mention in SCAG) as a slightly gentler boots-on-the-cobbles police force, directed to try to truly understand the neighbourhoods they patrolled, so they’d be more readily accepted and obeyed by the populace and fewer citizens or visiting merchants would end up beaten, maimed, or slain by the “Protectors of the city.” The Neverwinter Guard is the city’s military (the same mercenaries, retrained and reorganized over time), responsible for mounted patrols outside the walls, staffing the walls and gates, mastering ballistae and catapults on the battlements to defend the harbour and the land immediately around the walls, and so on. Watchmen get trained at arms by veterans of the Guard, and injured Guardsmen do “observer duty” with the Watch, and vice versa, to give everyone broader skills.
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
I've always wondered what paid these groups. Taxes? Personal adventuring funds? Good will? I mean, my Paladin would totally do it for free, but he isn't the rule.


@TheEdVerse
Taxes and docking fees: Neverwinter taxes all deposits and withdrawals to its vaults (banks), charges fees for building permits, docking ships, and warehouse space for cargoes, and an annual head tax on all city residents, as well as taxing landlords on their rents.
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
Ahhhh... is it Neverwinter or Waterdeep that you mentioned the major wizard academy funds for private activity recently? If Neverwinter, same source of money for the academy? (Private or state paid, if otherwise?) (Just a curiosity)


@AlexMcclay2000
And does Neverwinter Mint its own currency, of do they use the same currency as Waterdeep of Silverymoon.


@TheEdVerse
Like all Sword Coast cities, Neverwinter accepts the metal coinage of everywhere else, though “foreign” coins (i.e. from the Vilhon and places east and south of there) tend to be valued for their metal value (i.e. “Well, it’s a gold piece, or a silver, or a copper of some sort of funny outlander minting”) rather than what their home region would precisely value them at. And the City of Skilled Hands needs so many raw materials from elsewhere to make so many of their goods that barter plus the steady flow of coins from Waterdeep and other ports makes local minting rarely necessary. For large amounts, trade bars from Baldur’s Gate (and made by dwarves nearer at hand) are commonly used in Neverwinter. But “city mintings” do occur about every decade or dozen winters or so, mainly copper, silver, and gold coins. Names for coins tend to be whatever name the coin bears where it came from (so a glint or shield from Silverymoon or a nib or dragon of Waterdeep are called those same names in Neverwinter), but the Neverran/Neverwinteran names for coins are thus: a copper is a ‘tharn;’ a silver is a ‘bult;’ an electrum coin (rare in local minting) is a ‘sea-shee;’ a gold coin is a ‘dragon;’ and a platinum coin (very rare in local minting) is a ‘fairsail.’ Most recent coins of Neverwinter are central-hole-pierced flat metal plaques in the shape of a long keystone (or capstone, the wedge-shaped isosceles trapezoid/trapezium), with chased (graven) triskelion-like designs on their faces.
#Realmslore


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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 09 Sep 2019 03:19:26
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:33:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On becoming a Lord (outside of an established city-state):


Sep 1, 2019


@LouAnders
Hey @TheEdVerse how does one get the title of Lord in the Realms? My players beat those guys in Noanar’s Hold and are turning the ruined keep into a castle. Are they the lords now?


@TheEdVerse
Heh. This is one of those "it depends" situations. If they start calling themselves lords, AND live in a castle, most folk they meet will accept the titles. Because Noanar's Hold doesn't happen to be in a ruled realm with a king or other ruler who'll dispute these self-assumed ranks, there'll be no trouble about calling themselves lords. In the common mind (of civilized humans in the Sword Coast), "every lord hath his castle," and vice versa. So, short answer: yes.

However, longer answer: if I was DMing this, I'd expect pretenders (armed thugs with a hired adventuring band waving blades on their behalf) to start showing up one a month or so, snarling, "I'M the rightful Lord of Noanar's Hold! Begone or die, miscreants!" ;}

And in the interests of exhaustive topic coverage: it's really up to the High Heralds. However, barring misuse of heraldry for deceptions, heralds are ALWAYS on the side of more heraldry, so local herald will want more lords, and High Heralds very likely to agree.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:34:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Al-Qadim:

Aug 30, 2019


@Adnd2ndEdition
I read somewhere that you didn’t care for Kara-Tur and Maztica being a representation of historic earth. Al-Qadim wasn’t listed. If true, do you feel the same way towards Al-Qadim?


@TheEdVerse
I don’t like ANY too-close real-world analogues in the Realms. However, I knew “going in” that they would happen, so the Realms could accommodate pirate D&D, jungle D&D, and so on. I had a hand in developing Al-Qadim via my work on Anauroch (which in turn drew on Troy Denning’s excellent Ruha novels), and it is as much Arabian Nights as it is real-world desert historical Near East, so I don’t feel the same way about it.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:34:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On music:

(This was another of those multi-part ones I had to try to piece together)


Aug 29, 2019


@ivstinus
So, I haven't poked around, but I'm kinda curious.

Of the great Sword Coast cities, which is most Parisian in its artistic expression, value, and compensation to the arts? Are musical performances still married to rhetoric as in theatre/music? Are modes associated with spiritual/divine phenomena (such as modes matching planets in Alchemical symbolism), do most theatres/venues fit the romantic art space, classical, baroque, renaissance, or medieval? Where did notation develop in the Realms? What background scale is the backbone of music
theoretical treatises?


@TheEdVerse
It varies over time, but Waterdeep has always been most tolerant/varied in style and had the most noble patrons sponsoring art of all sorts. Followed by Athkatla, Baldur’s Gate, and Neverwinter, usually in that order.

Nobles, wealthy ‘wannabe nobles,’ guildmasters, and courtiers (i.e. the Palace) have always commissioned instrumental music for “background pleasantry” during feasts (LOW volume, unlike most “bands” performing in our modern real world), and this extends to what we might call “chamber music” performed by quartets or less in passages outside bedchambers, for guests in the early evening (when “retiring” to undress and bathe, before slumber).

And beyond fanfares, many musicians hire themselves out to those willing to pay, to play “motifs” announcing their arrival at a function/revel, or even tavern or club. So, no, not exclusively married to rhetoric.

However, theatrical performances are the biggest reliable employer of musicians, day in and day out, in Waterdeep and all other Sword Coast cities. Clubs run a close second, as “house bands” and hosting visiting concerts.
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
Are modes associated with spiritual/divine phenomena (such as modes matching planets in Alchemical symbolism)?


@TheEdVerse
There are specific styles of music and instrumentation for performances during the holy festivals/observances around the calendar of particular faiths, but everyone likes to borrow and experiment (and this is accepted).
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
Do most theatres/venues fit the romantic art space, classical, baroque, renaissance, or medieval?


@TheEdVerse
This is a ‘hard to answer in our real world terms’ matter. Many taverns and most clubs and a few inn dining rooms have raised stages but also accommodate “strolling among the tables” players. In cities, there are many purpose-built playhouses. The older ones tend to have bare stages overlooked by audience balconies, and do minimal “dressing” of the stage (like real-world Shakespearean theatres). In some wealthy patrons’ abodes, a stage may be no more than a space with a few stools or tables in front of a backdrop tapestry hung on a frame and flanked by two hanging lanterns. There are also haughty theatres amply decorated with statues that get used in plays.
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
Where did notation develop in the Realms?


@TheEdVerse
So far as sentients in the Realms know today, all over the place, long, long ago. There was musical notation before the dragons, and before the arrival of elves and dwarves. Most races believe they did it first, but what Elminster describes as “sages without an axe to grind” believe the sylvans, the aearee, and the batrachi all had musical notation before the systems developed by dragons and giants. The elves created the most elaborate notation and most extensive catalogue of shared-across-their-race musical tunes, all before humans had notation. Among humans, the Jhaamdathans had psionic notation consisting of symbols that “recorded” motifs and tunes.


@ivstinus
What background scale is the backbone of music theoretical treatises?


@TheEdVerse
Heh. There is no single scale, but a plethora of them. For convenience, Jeff Grubb and I agreed back in 1986 that we’d use real-world terms like “octave” and “key” to avoid driving hundreds of future collaborators nuts.


@ivstinus
Brilliant. I'm curious what analogues draconic music carries. I'm imagining the similar ascending and descending neumes of Greek/Hebrew traditions! Thank you!


@TheEdVerse
You’re very welcome! I’ve always thought of most draconic music being bombastic, with emphatic, strident chords (a la the opening minutes of Beethoven - Symphony No.7 in A major op.92 - II, Allegretto). Grand, preening, LOUD.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:35:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On silverfin:


Aug 30, 2019


@ivstinus
Kinda curious if Silverfin is like Tuna ...


@TheEdVerse
Silverfin taste like bass but are silver-sided, with silver fins (with black “roots,” so they visually “stand forth” from the silver main body). They are very plentiful, tolerate fresh, salt, and brackish water, and adults are about the size of trout. They’re also durable when packed in oil, so function in Sword Coast cuisine like “tinned sardines” in our modern world. They eat worms, small eels, frogs, and mainly insects, so are readily caught by even an unskilled angler (or easily netted, often just by submerging and anchoring a basket). Best when pan-fried in wine, brandy, or ale, but often rolled in mud with butterweed or wild onion or garlic, and baked in a fire.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:35:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On half-drow:


Aug 25, 2019


@BradSmi18016971
Hi Ed, hope all is well with you. Just wondering if you recieved my question. I was just curious if you had an idea where Half-Drow would be from? I was looking for sometype of surface community that would have drow, and humans but not Dambrath. Any suggestions?


@TheEdVerse
Hi, Brad. I’ve fallen behind on Twitter answers these last few days due to trundling around hospitals getting ready for my heart surgery, and so away from Net access (I’m old school). Sorry for the delay.

There are half-drow who can pass for human (in looks) scattered all over Faerûn. Many of those who aren’t from Dambrath hail from Jhalhoran and Klondor in Mulhorand, or Nezras on the other side of the Dragonsword Mountains.

Which hints that drow may be coming to the surface for other purposes than slaughtering humans, from those peaks.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:36:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On diversity on the Sword Coast:


Aug 22, 2019

@Tagabundok1
In my reading of various 5e Adventur books I've noticed a certain diversity in the human settlements on and near the Sword Coast where the humans there hail from other lands in Toril. I'm wondering is Faerun a sort of melting pot of human culture?

And if so what is the draw for the Turami, the Shou, the Rashemi etc. to settle in that area?


@TheEdVerse
It is a melting pot/draw, because there are so many resources being mined, cut, foraged for, etc. in the Sword Coast North, and so much food grown (and made, like cheese) and drink (wine) along the Sword Coast. It becomes a draw because folk from elsewhere in Faerûn go there to trade (their exports for these resources), and stay to "work the raw materials" themselves to make more coin (e.g. ship home finished goods their countryfolk most want). As a result, the Sword Coast cities are full of folk from "everywhere."
#Realmslore


@Tagabundok1
Okay. I get the resource angle. I'm kind of wondering if the political situation may also be a factor since it's mostly made up of city states which in turn may have a hard time monopolizing those resources.


@TheEdVerse
Sure. The city-states developed because everyone was doing their own thing/wanting to control their own costs and destinies getting at and developing those resources, and every river was a transport highway, so every rivermouth offered a potential port, and the topography encouraged watersheds to be their own political regions & discouraged anyone controlling long strips of coastline. So the geography begat the political situation. Warmer climates/longer growing seasons to the south encouraged larger realms/countries.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:37:03  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Gwaeron Windstrom's holy symbol:

Aug 5, 2019


@tatoskok
In the original Gwaeron Windstrom holy symbol, there was an "S" behind the paw and star. Over the years, the "S" disappeared. What was the "S"? Did it represent a winding trail or something else? #Realmslore Thanks


@TheEdVerse
Yes, it represents a winding trail, but also a stream (Gwaeron could track creatures who waded along a shallow stream to try to hide their scent from trackers) and the winds (Gwaeron could catch scents on the wind). Its use faded because mortals can't do these things.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 04 Sep 2019 :  01:38:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On named waystops on the Way of the Dragon between Zundle and Waymoot:


@sanishiver
Hello Ed. I hope you are healing up and feeling better.

I was curious if there are any named waystops on the way of the Dragon between Zundle and Waymoot that have room for more than one large merchant caravan for a night?


@TheEdVerse
Haven’t had the surgery yet. Prelimns tomorrow (up at 3 am for the drive: ugh!), so will fall Twitter-silent for a day.
The answer is. I’m afraid, no. The roadside camping-places are very small (room for a small caravan at best), and located where there are streams to provide water. The Crown’s intent is to discourage tarrying in the King’s Forest (and perhaps starting fires, and hunting, and getting lost, and cutting timber) between settlements, which are sited about a day’s travel apart. (One of these small camping places can be seen early in SWORDS OF EVENINGSTAR, when we see Florin encountering a certain spirited noble lady).
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Sep 2019 :  03:29:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On apartments in the Realms:

Sep 6, 2019


@ivstinus
So, I've been musing the big cities and their economies now - living conditions and "leisure" life. Do cities like Elturel have apartments? And I don't mean the fancy version of the word - just rentable/purchasable housing that is attached and sectioned like an apt.?


@TheEdVerse
Well, I wouldn’t move to Elturel now, for reasons that will soon become apparent. ;}
However, all large towns and all cities on the surface of Faeriun have rooms for rent (by the month or longer term, as opposed to the by-the-night rooms in inns and the “sleep off the drink” rooms available in some taverns) above or in some cases behind ground-floor shops and ground-and/or-floor-above offices. A typical Waterdhavian three- or four-floor row building that isn’t entirely occupied by one business or its owner will have a shop or eatery on the ground floor with storage cellars (and a coal cellar or wood bin) below, then offices or a suite of connected rooms (or two or three suites) rented to a single tenant on the floor above, then one or two floors above that of single rooms with chamberpots, and probably a shared kitchen and a shared garderobe, above that (usually with a low-ceilinged attic above that, given over to old broken furniture and/or pigeons kept for messengger use or more often to be made into pies, and or chickens kept to the eggs and eventually the stewpot).
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Sep 2019 :  03:29:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Zhentarim becoming less evil:

Sep 6, 2019


@SpaceIsVeryBig
I'm lost. In SKT, Tiamat, and a lot of the extended lore, the Zhentarim are described as slavers, murders, and otherwise evil. Yet I got people trying to tell me they're no worse than any other group because the narrator in SCAG says they've gotten, "less evil".


@TheEdVerse
The Zhentarim began as a cabal of mages (and others of Zhentil Keep) led by Manshoon making a grab for political power, by allying with local clergy of Bane (led by Fzoul, and obeying his orders rather than those of the High Imperceptor, head of the faith), and by allying separately with several beholders. So, a strong evil component. The Zhents got control over Zhentil Keep through murder, blackmail, threats, and financial coercion.

Again, evil. They had some allies and members who were from the lower planes (DEFINITELY evil), and after coming into control of Zhentil Keep sought to enrich themselves on an ongoing basis by establishing and/or controlling the shortest, fastest, cheapest trade routes between the Moonsea and the Sword Coast. They resorted to murder and intimidation to dominate the trade in useful metals brought along those routes, and slavery was one of the trades they participated in. So, evil again. They covertly sponsored rebels and troublesome urban gangs in many places to run interference for their own activities, and tried in many places to put ‘puppet’ local rulers in place, and/or corrupt tax collectors, local Watch officers and other lawkeepers, and so on. Not the style of a good organization. They mustered and maintained a standing army for Zhentil Keep, that invaded various Dales and other locales with the aim of conquering them, causing widespread bloodshed and suffering. Evil.

However, as membership changed, over the years, the Zhents saw the need for better Public Relations: a better image for their organization, in order to lessen the fear the very mention of their name caused (driving away potential clients/trading partners who would have nothing to do with them). So they remade their image — a process that was speeded up forcibly when the Spellplague hit and wiped out, or mind-ruined, a lot of their most powerful wizards. And while they never had any sort of formal purge of ‘bad’ members, the passage of years also removed members permanently from their ranks who had participated in many evil acts, blunting any criticism of “Well, they SAY they’re not evil, but I see faces among them who were there at this massacre and that slave-taking raid.” Recent editions of the game have regarded the Zhentarim as one faction among many, who just have a darker past — and for many Zhent members, this can be literally true: they see themselves, and are, simply a tightly-knit, hierarchical, need-to-know trading organization that’s good at intel, and is widely spread and so can compete in trade. It remains true that they place internal discipline and Zhent policy over the say of local laws and authorities (i.e. a typical Zhent would shelter a fellow Zhent on the run from the local Watch, and help that fellow Zhent ‘get away,’ as opposed to turn the fellow Zhent over to the authorities), but that is also true of many guilds, costers, and other playable AdvLeague factions in the setting. Local gossip does remember that the Zhentarim have a dark past, yes, but how evil particular current Zhent members are is up to the DM.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 09 Sep 2019 :  03:30:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On lizardfolk:

Sep 4, 2019


@FallenWyvern
Looking up lore for Firenewts and a few of us have started disagreeing. Are they what lizardfolk came from, or were lizardfolk created by sarrukh?

@vorpaldicepress, if I'm wrong I owe you an apology for being stubborn and maybe a coke.


@TheEdVerse
See the Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (published in 2001): firenewts evolved from lizardfolk.

As for where lizardfolk came from, see Races of Faerûn (2003). They have an ancient culture but no written history, and believe they’ve dwelt in the swamps “since the beginning” and that all civilized races have evolved from weaklings among lizardfolk who could not endure the harsh swamp life and so left the swamps (and so, remain “weaklings” and lesser than lizardfolk).

Most sages, including Elminster and the elf historians of Myth Drannor at its height, believe lizardfolk were an early offshoot of the sarrukh, and were flourishing in the swamps before elves, dwarves, giants, and halflings first came to Toril.

Hope this is of help. As sages are all too fond of saying, “Much truth is lost in the mists of time.”
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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 09 Sep 2019 03:30:43
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 12 Sep 2019 :  04:30:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On verbal spell components:

Sep 10, 2019


@ale_mechelli
I wish the wise Elminster could give us a short vocabulary of arcane words that practitioners of the Art often say as V components for casting spells. Like: Fire, time, Air, thunder, cloud, illusory, vines, water, protecion, harm, move...and such.


@TheEdVerse
In the Realms, incantations for the same spell vary from caster to caster. Most casters today didn’t create most of the spells they use; they learned them from a mentor/tutor, from studying a spellbook, or by reading or copying off a scroll, so they’re using the wording a predecessor devised (or got from an even earlier source). So the incantations may rhyme, or not. They may employ words from a variety of languages, or stick to one tongue.

What the incantation is trying to do is to help THAT CASTER properly visualize the spell effect and identify the target/area of effect/direction (and in some cases, intensity and duration, too), as the spell’s material component (if any) is called upon as a focus and/or consumed, and the somatic component (gestures) work to trigger/unleash the magic in proper timing with the incantation or word, to tap the power of the Weave in a specific manner to achieve a particular magical effect. So incantations can vary. There ARE some “go to” arcane words, which sound vaguely to our real-world ears like Latin or Greek, but aren’t, that function as reliable “Weave-tap doorways” for all arcane casters because they’ve been used so often, over so many years, that they’ve established ‘pathways’ (“trained the Weave,” if you will) to call up certain sorts of magical effects.

If you’re still bearing with me after all of this arcane-sage-blather, I WILL get around (probably in more than a year from now, in an ENWorld column) to presenting some of those go-to arcane words I use. A few brief snatches of incantations have appeared in some of my Realms fiction, over the years, but for much of the time the Realms has been published, there was a specific editorial policy (I’m guessing to avoid real-world problems) against publishing full descriptions of the castings of any specific spells.
#Realmslore


@ale_mechelli
Thank you so much Venerable Elminster! So, just to be clear, V component CAN be in elvish, common, dwarvish but also in “unique” tongue (with a bit of taste of Latin and Greek as you said). Can we regard to this one as an “arcane language” per se? Or there can be as many unique languages as (possibly) many magicians practicing the Art?
Thanks again.


@TheEdVerse
There can be as many unique languages as practitioners. And a typical incantation may sound like two or three sentence fragments, all studded with words in many languages, cobbled together, and slang and formal mixed, too.

So, yes, an incantation can be in Elvish, Dwarvish, Common, Draconic, Giant, or use words from those and other languages, mixed with other words from other languages, mixed with 'power words' (arcane words that to non-learned-in-the-Art sound like nonsense words).
#Realmslore

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 12 Sep 2019 04:31:13
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sleyvas
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Posted - 12 Sep 2019 :  10:51:12  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
wow.... going back to that longer thread earlier... interestingly, Ed's original realms had a continent called Laerakond? It also had one that was longer north/south named "Thuin". You know, the version of the "scholar's view" of Abeir-Toril that shows the big continent as "Katashaka" and the one next to it as "tabaxiland". I think it would be a great homage to Ed to call the one that's "tabaxiland" instead "Thuin". Granted, its probably in absolutely the wrong spot, absolutely the wrong size, absolutely the wrong shape, etc... but still.... to have something that was "Ed's" returned to the realms just makes me happy. I'd been playing with expanding this darn map I've been making to include that one continent, but I hated that it would mean I'd have to include some of the more complex bits of Faerun above it and people would require it to be "accurate". Maybe if I simply put a "this direction lies Faerun" mistiness

@TheEdVerse
Very well written; thumbs up!
In my original Realms, Chult was a wild jungle, with very few human inhabitants, just the handful genetically immune to local serpent venoms (like the wild dwarves), because the place was dominated by serpent races (see the 3e Serpent Kingdoms tome).

"My" Realms had no dinosaurs, but did have a lot of grown-to-jumbo-size reptilian and other monsters (the wildest land monsters from the D&D books, notably lots of gibbering mouthers and lurkers, and tentacled things that became gricks and grells when they came along/were added to the game. So treatment, good/bad/otherwise, of black humans just didn't arise, because there were none. I had dark-skinned humans dwelling beyond Ulgarth, in Raurin and points east (instead of the grafted-on-by-TSR "Oriental Adventures" locales) and on the various island chains west of Faerun, in the Sea of Swords (the "Anchorome" region). There is no Maztica (or Osse) in the original Realms, but instead: Laerakond, and SE of it/SW of Faerun, there's Thuin, a N/S-long-axis continent with dark-skinned human peoples (many squabbling city-states)

@POCGamer
Have you got a map? I'm very curious to see what this looks like.


@TheEdVerse
Heh. SOMEwhere.
Think of a "fat arrowhead pointing north" (actually, more like the spades suit on a deck of cards, only without a base). The curved sides, especially on the SE, are dagged/ragged with many inlets/bays where rivers run down into them, and the largest cities are of course ports sited on the rivermouths. There's a high rock plateau in the NE of Thuin, with towering cliffs (seacaves beneath) plunging down into the sea. NW is jungle. The Thuin (local humans) are (to, groan, borrow a real-world analogue) are about Shakespeare's depiction of the independent Italian city-states (Milan, etc.) era (tights and swords); i.e. flourishing arts and literature, NOT primitive; they garden and harvest the jungles, not clearcutting them. They DO hunt the monsters to "wild breed" them (that is, eliminate the most dangerous ones, spare the 'useful' ones, and the same with useful herbs and edible berry vines and lumber trees; this has the same screwups and pitfalls as all human meddling with the environment, but they understand natural cycles and balance far better than we real-world moderns do, and so make fewer mistakes and eliminate fewer species accidentally or without caring). Most of the civic authorities are matriarchal, there's gender equality (not just power equality, but no linking of societal/family roles to genitalia), and the disputes are generally about wealth or over the direction particular individuals are taking a city, family firm, taxation, etc. and over ownership of oyster beds, stands of valuable trees due to differences in philosophies of stewardship of those resources. Thuin understand prevailing winds and sun, and build their homes accordingly, with communal city buildings that combine shops, workshops, offices, and dwelling-spaces for at least the custodians of the shops, etc.

However, I hear you and will add a hunt for the map to my ever-growing list of "things I've gotta find for fellow fans of the Realms." ;}
This is my life.


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 12 Sep 2019 11:05:17
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  03:37:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So yesterday, in reply to a post, Ed said

quote:
Hi! I'm not really back yet, because pain is keeping me from sleeping so I'm groggy and weak (and the pain meds are worse). But my body is rallying. I'll be back on Twitter properly in another week or so!
Thanks!


...and he answered a few questions whilst he was there.

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On changes to corpses when becoming undead:

Sep 22, 2019


@PastorGall
does the makeup of a corpse change in anyway after being infused with negative energy on an undead creature? bones harden, skin becomes more pliable, muscles strengthen; anything like that? or am i imagining that :I


@TheEdVerse
Sure. The exact effects vary both individually and by undead type, but see my 2e spell Nulathoe's Ninemen for the list of minor changes/augmentations. Becoming undead almost always strengthens the LINKAGES between decaying/shrinking/withering body parts.

For example, there are "haunted" tombs in the Realms where strewn/heaped bones 'whirl up into the air' when living creatures intrude, sort themselves into their original skeletons, and attack. The negative energy "holds" the bones together, so the skeletons are closer to marionettes (components kept floating and in 'correct' orientation to each other [e.g. scapula to humerus and clavicle] by negative energy magical force, rather than by strings).
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Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  03:39:35  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On how far the River Chionthar is navigable:

Sep 22, 2019


@RogerDowney7
New thread: Have you or anybody else stated how far the river Chionthar is navigable for barges upstream of Baldur's Gate? Important for a campaign i'm designing in 5e. Thanks.


@TheEdVerse
Sure. Save in low-water times of drought/winter ice, the Chionthar is navigable by barge inland from the Gate north up the River Reaching a day's poling upstream/N from Hill's Edge, and along the south (main Chionthar) branch two day's poling upstream/NE of Iriaebor.
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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 24 Sep 2019 03:40:38
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Posted - 24 Sep 2019 :  03:40:14  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On sorcerers and the Weave:

Sep 22, 2019


@Elok45a
Could some sorcerers cast spells without needing to tap into the Weave? I've always loved the idea of sorcerers casting into the raw magic beyond the Weave.


@TheEdVerse
Hoo boy, here we go.

The answer is:
Yes and no. :}

The Weave is the “arcane magic/spells” way of accessing the raw energies of the world. These raw energies can be accessed in many ways (divine spells, natural ‘wild talent’ abilities of beings from character-classable humans to monsters, spellfire, silver fire, etc.) and many sorcerers have wild talents (exert will, focus on what’s wanted, and magical effect happens) that are direct raw-magic taps. That’s the “yes.”

But if a sorcerer wants to formally cast a spell (just like a wizard, but no memorized spell) that IS a Weave tap, as opposed to “raw energies” tap, and is a “no.”

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Posted - 30 Sep 2019 :  04:21:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On faith in the Realms:


Sep 29, 2019


@coolguy73360922
questions from my friend.
I'm a chinese fan of the Realms. As is known to all, the official idea of PRChina is atheism. Thus, many, if not all, of us chinese fans don't really understand the difference between "believe", "worship" and "faith".

If the "atheist" will be judged as the Faithless, so as an "atheist" I do worry about my (character's) soul.

My first question is, what's "the difference between faith and belief"?

And there are a series of scenarios below, will this be judged as "worship" a god? (

1) Someone joined a celebration of a holiday of a god he doesn't care.
2) Someone don't like Tempus but being a great general, or someone never praise Mystra but being a powerful spellcaster.
3) Someone donate a few coins to a temple of Tyr, but he don't like Tyr's teaching (
4) Someone respect the teaching of a god, but will not entrust his life and soul to the god.

Sorry for my poor English, and many thanks to those answering my question.


@TheEdVerse
Hi!

In the Realms, all sane sentient beings “believe” in the gods (= know they exist and affect the world), because they have seen avatars or divine servitor beings (e.g. aasimars, celestials) and/or see signs and spells from the gods and/or been shown dramatic evidence of past manifestations of divine power (e.g. a god blasting apart a mountain with magic “from the sky”) and/or seen priests work real, lasting magic through prayer to their deities.

So everyone in the Realms “believes” (they KNOW the gods are real). “Faith” has two real-world meanings: the collective one of “everyone who believes in this god or this pantheon or this creed” (clergy and lay worshippers), and “believing in a deity without hard proof” and therefore taking the existence of the deity “on faith.” In the Realms, the first meaning is widely used and understood, the second is not (why? See above).

“Worship” means doing as the god wants you to (or the god’s clergy tell you to), working to advance the aims of the god (which might even mean fighting on behalf of the god), and making offerings to the church (coins or items), and taking part in rituals and prayers.

In the Realms, everyone ‘believes in’ ALL of the gods, and although a lot of humans (priests, paladins, and lay worshippers) ‘specialize’ in one god (worshipping that one deity more than others), most sentient beings do at least a little worshipping of many deities: a merchant wanting business success would pray and give offerings to Waukeen, and if that merchant is shipping goods aboard on a ship, would also pray and give offerings to Umberlee to NOT sink the ship, and if that same merchant was trying to use new technology to make their goods faster or better or both, he or she would also pray and give offerings to Gond, and so on.

So you can see that there’s a lot of ‘lip-service’ worship of deities by people who otherwise don’t care overmuch about that god or their faith. The gods want obedience AND worship because they gain power the more they are worshipped and have influence in the mortal world, so YES, they would count someone participating in celebration of one of their holy days as worship.

In the Realms, deities have portfolios, and Tempus is the god of war and warcraft, just as Mystra is the goddess of (arcane) magic. A mortal can be a great general or a powerful spellcaster without actively worshipping Tempus or Mystra, respectively. The deity will manipulate that mortal, and exploit that mortal’s achievements, to increase their divine influence. So, yes, they would still count the deeds of that mortal as worship—but they would also constantly send clergy AND dream-visions to that mortal to try to entice the mortal to “embrace” (openly worship) them.

Mortals aren’t required to like the creed or world-view of a deity (though the deity would prefer that they love the deity and the deity’s ways) so much as the deity wants them to obey (behave in certain ways), and donating coins to a temple is definitely worship.

And there are many mortals who respect the clergy, teachings, and deeds of a particular god, but don’t entrust their lives to the god, or formally dedicate their souls to that god or any god. Deities always want souls and lives dedicated to them if possible, but they’ll unhesitatingly take respect and the above-mentioned lip-service worship (including donating a few coins from time to time) as worship, even from a mortal who refuses to dedicate themselves. They will also tirelessly try to persuade that mortal to accept them more fully.
Hope this is of help!
#Realmslore

I should add that the “dream visions” sent by gods to sleeping mortals often include the deity appearing to the mortal directly in their dreams, speaking to them (advice, commands, cryptic hints), and that all deities employ “manifestations” (glows or visible-to-all temporary images moving in the air, smells, and visitations by birds or creatures associated with the deity, etc.) of their favour or disfavour or interest, that awake people can see. These usually appear above altars during prayers, or at a spot where someone has just made or is making a sacrifice to the god (including sacrificing their mortal lives), but can also appear elsewhere, to convince or reassure non-believers or mortals who doubt what the right thing to do is.
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Posted - 30 Sep 2019 :  04:22:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On a number script for Elvish:


Sep 29, 2019


@SuspiciousReggi
Is there a number script for elvish?


@TheEdVerse
Hi! Yes, there have been several down the ages. Most popular today: base 10 counting; draw a circle, lines radiating outwards from it are the tens, lines running only into the interior are the ones, and lines crossing from outer to outer right across the circle denote hundreds. These lines are always drawn so that none of them touch (aside from intersecting with the circle itself). [So a capital "Q" to us, is "ten" in this notation. Twelve would be a capital Q with two side by side interior "tails"...and so on.]
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Posted - 05 Oct 2019 :  02:41:34  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Manshoon's soul:


Sep 30, 2019


@justice_arman
what exactly happened to Manshoon's soul? Since a soul moves into the clone when the caster dies, are Manshoon's clones without souls, or did his soul somehow fracture into each of the clones? Maybe something else?

Things are getting real on Monday morning.
#dnd


@TheEdVerse
Years ago, Mystra offered Manshoon the status of one of her Chosen. (Remember, Mystra is about promoting the use and importance of arcane magic in the world, not about being ‘good’ per se. She does want magic to be available to all, not kept from most by those who have lots of magic or who fear magic. The Manshoon of then Mystra obviously thought suitable to be one of her Chosen; I doubt she’d see the Manshoon of later centuries the same way.)

He refused. Readers of my Sage of Shadowdale trilogy can see him refusing again. Nevertheless, Mystra saw him and the Zhentarim as useful and necessary to human use of arcane magic, just as she views Szass Tam and the Red Wizards, or Arklem Greeth and the Arcane Brotherhood. She saw that the special clone spell he’d devised (Manshoon’s clones are different in the details from clones other wizards create using the ‘standard’ Clone spell) left him in grave danger of insanity as bodies died and Manshoon’s sentience moved to new clones, and so quietly used the Weave to store and bolster his soul to make the ‘clone hops’ more stable and Manshoon less erratic and dangerous to himself, to the Weave, and to the wider Realms. So his soul is kept in the Weave, and his sentience shifts from clone to clone. His early clones had the memories/experience and mastery of the Art they had when created, so every time Manshoon ‘became’ a new clone he’d lost some spells and levels and forgotten recent events in his life (so his every death had a cost). More recently, Mystra’s Weave-work allowed Manshoon to ‘jump’ intact from clone to clone. Manshoon has always had multiple clones in reserve, even after the perilous times when several clones were active at once—in part because of his extensive roster of clones due to his paranoia and cunning, and in part because his clones are different than standard clones (hence the 2e rulebooks containing Manshoon’s own clone spell, as distinct from the standard PH clone spell).

Mystra does the same Weave-storage and bolstering for Elminster, who in recent decades (as seen in several of my novels) has possessed the bodies of various other living sentient beings. She did it so well that he was able to function in the
Sage of Shadowdale trilogy when she herself was ‘gone,’ and the Weave was ‘going wild’ (it never collapsed, despite being Mystra herself, due in part to many mortal beings, such as Elminster, holding small amounts of Her silver themselves, and so functioning as Weave anchors).

And as for the morality of the behaviour of the various archwizards involved, one of the themes explored in my Realms fiction is the sanity of living for centuries, outliving our friends, lovers, and even lands several times over; another is the morality of possessing the bodies of others, and the wider morality of “If I have this mighty magical power and someone else doesn’t and they oppose me/stand in my way/endanger the Realms, how much should I coerce them to get what I want in life?”
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Posted - 05 Oct 2019 :  02:42:48  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the printing press in the 1490s:


Sep 30, 2019


@tatoskok
In earlier editions, the printing press existed but was still new. Some recent 5e adventures have Volo signing copies of his books. Does that mean printing press technology has advanced to the point of mass production? If not, where are we at in the 1490s? #Realmslore


@TheEdVerse
The Spellplague and Sundering smashed through existing societies and trade flows like sledgehammers, delaying and creating chaos; a lot of individuals most interested in publishing (printing and distributing) went mad or died. So there was huge disruption and much delay. However, “simple” printing (one-page broadsheets [=newspapers], handbills [advertising], and forms/permits) wasn’t disrupted at all in particular cities or among the courtiers of a given realm.

So they went right on, and chapbooks (short booklets) very soon recovered, because they can be collated from pages that are essentially broadsheets (in terms of production, if not content). What this meant was that all of the major port cities up and down the Sword Coast and around the Shining Sea, cities of wealth or rallying wealth like the cities of Cormyr and Sembia, and Westgate and Zhentil Keep, and centers of books and readership like Derlusk in the Border Kingdoms, had small, hand-operated printing presses that did more than just broadsheets (the first offshoot growth industry? Official letterhead stationery for royalty and nobility, then guilds; the second: tickets for attending special events at clubs and fairs) by the 1420s DR, and these became faster, larger (assisted by improvements in making larger sheets of rag and pulp paper) throughout the 1400s. Good leather bindings, and page-edge treatments like gilding and waxing, started to appear in Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate in the 1440s, and were swiftly copied elsewhere (the cities of the Tashalar swiftly became known for jewel-hued inks and a LOT of gilding, on pages).

By the 1470s, the concept of (for a price) keeping “forms” of previously-printed letterpress pages in warehouses for reprintings caught hold in higher-paying markets
(often because nobles and other wealthy patrons) wanted to swiftly be able to get new printings of their memoirs to hand out, or little tomes of their philosophies or poetry, or the lyrics and poems of bards they were sponsoring. Volo took advantage of this, as did the authors of other travel guides and lurid romance chapbooks. Bookshops became fixtures of the Sword Coast port cities and all major Heartland trading cities and ports by 1475 DR, and places like Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Derlusk, Baldur’s Gate, and Suzail had local bestsellers and a marketplace of “here’s what’s coming” and “read a chapbook excerpt from the forthcoming new sequel to X by talented and famed Author Y” by 1478 DR. Traveling merchants (and simple peddlers, going from hamlet to village) since then have aided in spreading this ‘culture’ everywhere.

So Volo is signing copies of his latest as just one author among many (albeit a notorious one who can claim a long and successful career), by the 1490s.

One important difference from real-world history: religious tomes haven’t been part of this development, because they were ALWAYS on the scene, written out in duplicate by hand in monasteries and temples, and then by (in monasteries and temples, along with papermaking and binding) printing press.
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Posted - 05 Oct 2019 :  02:44:08  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the afterlife of a non-Seldarine-worshipping elf:


Sep 30, 2019


@Kendradream
Another ? along these lines: most elves worship the Seldarine (I love them), but say an elf worshiped a different god (Silvanus, for ex). I assume their soul would go to Silvanus, rather than Arvandor? Or do all elves go to Arvandor?


@TheEdVerse
It depends. On where the mortal’s heart lies, and on the balance of what they did in life, in terms of worship. The tug of Arvandor would be very strong. (This is why early editions of D&D speak of elves having “spirits” rather than “souls;” that was the mortal understanding of why elves after death “always” went over there rather than “here.”)

Most elves go to Arvandor regardless of who they primarily venerated in life.
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Posted - 05 Oct 2019 :  02:45:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Mystra being worshipped on another world:


Oct 1, 2019


@ZeromaruX
hi, how you been? Hope you are recovering well.
I have a question: if Mystra begins to be worshipped in another world (another setting), does she creates a Weave there as well/bonds with the existing "magic system" in place? Or does she has a handicap in that world?


@TheEdVerse
She has a handicap in that world, unless or until a HUGE number of its arcane-magic-wielding inhabitants worship her. She would work through the world’s existing magic system, and if it’s not “arcane” (=cast magic spells) might never be able to do more than send warning/advice mind-visions and messages to those who think of her.
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Posted - 05 Oct 2019 :  02:47:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Tempus-worshipping goblins and Corellon versus Mystra:


Sep 30, 2019


@jayeedgecliff
2 prt question.
In the realms it seems like the gods have a certain influence shaping folk, but in turn there seems to be a measure of the folk shaping the gods … if nothing so drastically literal about it as Discworld or even to the extent of Riordan’s stuff

So part 1: what impact on the deity RE their manifestations & the like might be wrought by … say … Tempus finding himself worshipped by several tribes of goblins?
The second part is just trying to understand both the reals power balance of say the Elven god of Magic (name escapes me) and Mystra, how does that work & what normally is the enticement for a [race] to worship [race’] or [race”]’s gods instead?
Thanks
P.s. hope the surgery went well


@TheEdVerse
Hi! The surgery went well, but the recovery will be long (minimum 8 weeks for the sternum to heal).

Right, here we go with Part 1:
If Tempus found himself worshipped by tribes of goblins, he’d send manifestations of his favor cooking fires or when shamans pray, would show the goblins to themselves executing battle tactics, strategic withdrawals and the like, rather than mob charges and savage but foolish fighting forays. And to other of His faithful, Tempus might send images of goblins fighting under the signs of His favour to show them goblins worship him, and he’s fine with that.

Part 2:
Mystra IS the Weave, and in most cases and at most times controls access for mortals AND OTHER GODS to the Weave, when attempted by arcane spells (the divine spells used by clerics bypass her and her power, and there are many routes to drawing on the raw energies of the world that are deemed “magic”). In the Seldarine pantheon, all deities USE magic, and the following have portfolios concerned with magic: Alathrien Druanna (runic and conjuration magic); Darahl Firecloak (earth and fire magic); Kirith Sotheril (divination and enchantment magic); Mythrien Sarath (mythals); Rellavar Danuvien (magics concerned with cold and protection from the elements); Sarula Iliene (water magic); and Ye'Cind (music-based magics, and enchantments).

But the main elven deity concerned with magic is the leader of the Seldarine, Corellon Larethian.

So, Mystra versus Corellon...Corellon is a greater god, and more powerful than most “human pantheon” greater gods because he has less competition among elven deities, and therefore more concentrated power and authority. But this varies over time, as humans rise in collective power and dominance in the world, and the elves wane (though they surge, and resurge, hence the variances). However, Mystra was THE greatest deity in the setting, because it is magic-rich and she controlled the access of other gods to the swift, massive power of arcane magic (the fastest route to that essence, but NOT coerce them). This spread out her power and was an insurance policy so that she could arise again, if destroyed, from her scattered sparks of essence. However, every time Mystryl and her successor Mystras “died” and were replaced (such as by the mortal Midnight), the replacement is less experienced than the predecessor, and hence less capable (because they lack a lot of the magical knowledge and experience of a previous Mystra).

Moreover, the nature of Mystra is to increase the access of everyone to magic, mortal or divine; she only acts against those who try to use magic to prevent others from having or wielding magic. So she is less authoritative and imperious than Corellon, and more generous/accommodating.

So although Mystra is ‘on paper’ mightier than Corellon, it’s not a clear-cut “Mystra beats Corellon” in any situation. Which is a very wordy way of saying: the power balance tips back and forth. Most often, their aims and interests are more allied and opposed; disagreements may be over means or style, not end goals, so both deities would be inclined to warn the other of pitfalls, but let the other try “another means” of doing something, via servitors and mortals, to see which best succeeds.

Which brings us to the most usual enticements for a human to worship Corellon, or an elf to worship Mystra. Most often, they are rooted in personal or family gratitude to a deity for their boons/aid to self or family members or allies/fellow adventurers or neighbours, in life.

And always remember, many deities in the Realms happily share. As in, it’s polytheistic, not monotheistic. Aside from clergy and paladins, devotion to just one deity is unusual, not the norm. Devotion to deity’s of one’s own racial pantheon IS the norm, but exceptions are many and accepted, not shunned or thought insane or “strange.” If someone said: “Yon (human) wizard holds Corellon dearest, before Mystra,” the response might be: “Oh. What did Corellon do for him, then?”

Hope this is of help; Realms forever!!!
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On the Faithless:


Sep 30, 2019


@coolguy73360922
If those mortals never embrace any deity in life, when they final face Kelemvor in the City of Judgement, what fate will befall them?
Please forgive me for asking so many questions. The topic of Faithless has aroused considerable controversy among Chinese FR fans#128517;


@TheEdVerse
There’s nothing to forgive! Ask all you like. Some answers will take longer, though, or even be blocked by the dreaded NDAs.

If a mortal doesn’t worship a specific deity in life, they are not Faithless. The Realms is pantheistic, not monotheistic. If a mortal doesn’t worship ANY deities at any time in life, rejecting gods as not worthy of worship or as “not gods,” they ARE Faithless (Kelemvor judges), and their fate is to be bound into the Wall of Faithless by a green mold that only binds Faithless into the wall. Over time, the soul of a Faithless dissolves into the Wall, and is lost forever.

However, demons steal souls from the Wall, dissolving the mold by various means, and take them back to the Abyss (this is one way that demons propagate).

If a demon steals a soul from the Wall that any deity is interested in, for any reason, that deity may send servitor beings to battle the demon and wrest the soul from it, giving that soul ‘another chance’ in a new body. This often happens to adventurers, or spellcasters who in life devise new spells, or anyone who does something creative and daring. They are reborn into a new body and life, as the deity who ‘rescued’ them watches to see what they do in this new life. (Mortals provide the main source of entertainment for the gods.)

Kelemvor judges some souls to be False rather than Faithless. These are the souls of mortals who deliberately betrayed deities after making a commitment to those deities. The False are punished for all eternity (which sometimes means forever, but in very rare cases means until a deity sends servitors to ‘harvest’ them for a new life [again, another chance for the soul]. The severity of punishments fit the severity of the crimes against the deity during life, and vary from hideous tortures that would result in death if done to a live mortal (like slow dismemberment), to attentively escorting and caring for visitors to Kelemvor’s City of Judgment that the soul in life would dislike or despise (e.g. due to family or racial hatreds). Kelemvor himself has been known to (for unknown reasons) pluck certain souls away from the usual fates of his judgments, to serve him. Often they end up sent back into mortal life on missions, often in bodies of a different race and/or gender than that of their previous life.
#Realmslore


@ivstinus
Whoah... this is all an amazing and twisted process. I love it. I'm imagining some paladin traveling to inspire those who will be stuck in the wall to great deeds of any kind so they are still useful souls in the cosmological battle against demonkind now.

Do many mortals know of this fate?!


@TheEdVerse
Beyond the basics of the False and the Faithless and the Wall and the torments, no. Not even all that many senior clergy. (I.e. it's flexible campaign time for DMs. ;} )
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On delving into divine pasts:


Oct 2, 2019


@jayeedgecliff
so the recent deluge of awesome info about dark and mad gods gave me a hankering to sit down with faiths & avatars to idly read.

Until now I’d never read Leira and Lliira consecutively.
With some imagination it’s possible to see them as either 2 aspects Of a single god, sorta Tyche style or a split god (again Tyche) into 2 distinct selves.

While it might be fun for you to illuminate that, it’s just a thought exercise. What it did make me genuinely wonder is if there’s much of a scholarly and/or fannish industry of delving into the histories, namely origins, of the deities. Who they were as mortals, what planes they migrated in from … and this did lead to an exceedingly amusing mental image of some amateur godshistory nerds sitting around like “Dayvr, listen … Bane … Follow me here … is the half demon daughter of an elvish vampire lord from Ravenloft”
“But … Sael, Bane’s no—“
“No, but see this passage here? Where Bashiira says ‘I am become Bane of this world!’”
“Whoa! Head canon legitimised!!” *high fives*

But in a less laughing

At Realmsian versions of my own sort of nerdery there comes the follow up question RE the safety and life expectancy of either true sages or amateur geeks delving too deeply into these speculations given some gods are very circumspect or even insecure about their pasts but balanced against the potential guidances and protection of gods of truth, suddenly it’s deliciously complex (or looks it on surface anyway) and runs a high probability of Elminster throwing in his 10¢ on the subject …


@TheEdVerse
You raise some great points about the perils of inquiring too deeply or energetically into the mortal pasts of deities in the Realms. What I can tell you from observed history is that MOST deities have no problem with their own clergy researching and speculating—so long as what the church then tells lay worshippers and outsiders is what the god approves of. (And yes, most of them prefer mystery and “I have existed since before the world began” to “I was once a short, pimply street thief with pimples who once fell in a sewer and twice got caught stealing plums from street stalls.”)

When it comes to sages and other lay individuals, their ire is reserved for those who publish falsehoods or exaggerations/generalizations the god dislikes, or who uncover more of the truth than the deity prefers (most deities being vain, and caring about their image in the minds of all). Such sages may be smitten with divine fire or a wasting, wizening curse, struck blind, or scared by visiting servitors of the gods (think of the three Spirits who visit Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL) who demand that the sage recant, in print, offering instead THIS approved version—or suffer the fatal consequences of failing to do so. In any case, copies of published works that a deity disapproves of will be hunted down, seized, and destroyed by clergy and devoted followers of that deity (sometimes, success at this is part of a novice priest demonstrating their readiness for elevation into “the full priesthood”). Which has, of course, the effect of making the few surviving copies valuable, eagerly sought after, and believed by all to be preserving “dark truths that the deity wants suppressed.” (Candlekeep is one likely repository of such “shunned” works, but so are the private libraries of archwizards such as Elminster, who can magically hide and trap such reading-chambers so as to safeguard what’s shelved there.)

A curious adventurer who has no intention of publishing or discussing what they find beyond the circle of their fellow adventurers will usually NOT be chastised by the god, but manipulated by the god’s agents (servitor creatures and mortal clergy) into “uncovering” what lore the deity wants uncovered, to bolster the image and origin story they prefer to be “out there” in the world. This is known among upperpriests as “turning a disbeliever.” The idea is that the adventurer (or amateur whose hobby is an interest in matters divine or a particular god) will come to believe in, and spread to the extent they talk to others at all, the view of the deity that the deity prefers the world accept.

Now, as for Bane, I can tell you this: as a mortal, he lived centuries ago, and upon his death his soul was snatched and stored by Jergal, who Had Plans for his own retirement, and was looking for certain qualities in a successor (in the case of Bane, a quenchless hunger to rule all, and be feared by all through the maliciousness and malevolent intentiveness of his rule). [So Bane died long before his ascension to godhood.]
#Realmslore

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On the behavior of the followers of Bane, Bhaal, Cyric, and Myrkul:


Sep 7, 2019


@clackclickbang
Hi Ed! I have a question for you regarding death worship in the Realms. How would you characterise the difference in behaviour and practice between Myrkulytes, Cyricists, and Bhaalites, when their respective deities held dominion over death / the dead? And would you have found temples to these "evil" deities in goodly governed cities and realms, when their purview is so inescapable for the vast majority? If so, how does a Myrkulyte / Cyricist / Bhaalite function in such a hostile (to them) land?


Oct 1, 2019


@clackclickbang
Any thoughts on this,
@TheEdVerse
?


@TheEdVerse
This one got lost in all of the prep for my surgery. Sorry!
Here we go…

BHAALISTS tend to operate “undercover,” having a daytime identity (often a shopkeeper or delivery carter in a large city), with a private cellar (or sometimes attic or city catacombs) shrine where they pray to the god before and after a murder expedition.

(So, no public temples! A few remote monasteries, yes, but temples, no.)

Few neighbours or city authorities will know a priest of the Lord of Murder is a cleric of Bhaal. The Bhaalist/Bhaalyn observes unfolding life in the city and picks targets to be murdered, often troublemakers, individuals rising in power or wealth, or even clergy of rival deities.

Then, in the darkest dead of night, at least once a tenday, properly clad as a Bhaalist, they murder their target, and “take home” some token or trophy (from a finger or heart of their victim, to personal jewelry), plus wealth from the victim if available. The token or trophy is offered to Bhaal on a simple altar anointed with the Bhaalist’s own blood, with prayers, and the wealth used by the Bhaalist to fund their ongoing life and continue their holy work.

MYRKULYTES keep to themselves, speaking to few (remember the silent Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come/Ghost of Christmas Future in A CHRISTMAS CAROL?) but appearing hooded and cowled in public, to spread fear of the Lord of Bones. Most folk of Faerûn believe that touching a priest of the Lord of Bones will bring death, and Myrkulytes hunt down and slay anyone who throws stones or casts other missiles at them, to enhance their personal protection; as a result, they’re silently shunned in most places, and can walk untouched, not even spoken to (people melt away from their path, turn their backs, and so on). They dwell in small, fortified stone (with tile roofs; the idea is to make the structures difficult to burn by a mob or someone hurling the equivalent of Molotov cocktails) temples known as mausoleums. Myrkulytes grow their own food, including mushrooms in cellars, and are supplied with food, tools and other goods, consecrated ‘black wine,’ and information by traveling Myrkulytes who constantly travel from mausoleum to mausoleum (from remote valley, ravine, or cavern bases).

CYRICISTS are hated across the Realms, because they foment strife and do many murders to spread fear of Cyric. They also work against friendships, love matches, and familial ties, and spread chaos, making them detested by most. Who would rise up and slay them if they dared.

Most urban Cyricist temples are former Myrkulyte mausoleums, and so hard-to-burn stone fortresses, from which Cyricists usually emerge by night, with spells at the ready to defeat and chase away mobs. They then go about murdering, spreading (often false) gossip that will set folk against each other, and bribing or even sponsoring (the church seizes as much as it can from its murder victims, and so is never short of funds) dissatisfied individuals to increase active intrigue (often emboldening opponents of local rulers, rebellious nobles, and strife within royalty, nobility, or wealthy families).

Cyricists don’t want to start wars (and so benefit Tempus), they want to sew seething mistrust. They are dangerous to any local society because their behaviour is often boldly mad or erratic, in reverence to the madness of the Dark Sun himself. Part of their intrigue is to build very good (well paid) intelligence networks, so they often knew when a king or local ruler was fed up and intending to exterminate them—and they’d simply flee their temples and go elsewhere for some months, only to sidle back into a community during local festivities or crises, to murder and intrigue anew.
Hope these contrasted descriptions are of help!
#Realmslore


Oct 2, 2019


@jayeedgecliff
Fantastic! Any chance of the pre-time of troubles errata of this? The sociologist in me is now very curious about Bane and … I’m blanking.


@TheEdVerse
Sure. Pre-Time of Troubles: no change to Bhaalists or Myrkulytes, Cyricists of course don’t exist, and:

BANITES were widely feared, because they were not only evil and martial (quick to organized, efficient, ruthless violence), but because they served the Lord of Tyranny by being tyrants to all within reach. For this reason, their urban temples were few except in locales where they locally (secularly) ruled; wherever there were kings or ruling lords, they acted against such secular authorities until they prevailed or were ousted.

Clergy of Bane lived in a strict hierarchy, superiors being ruthless to inferiors but never resorting to deceit or trickery, as Bane frowned upon deception (not His way or portfolio). Weak (“wavering in faith”) Banites were demoted, cast out, maimed, or slain, but those who capably carried out orders were rewarded with food, drink, diversions, and increased rank. From time to time, the Black Lord watched over rising or possibly erratic clergy closely, speaking in their minds and to those of his clergy around them—but then would turn his attention elsewhere for frustrating-to-mortals long times, leaving “his rats to gnaw each other,” as Elminster once put it.

The Church of Bane over time became like an army, dwelling in grim black stone-and-painted-steel fortress-temples, its clergy being well-armed and having black armor at the ready, and its way of open violence (not intrigue) forcing its daily activities increasingly into a militaristic style. Although it never used our real-world lingo of “Operation [Codename],” its endeavours followed the same model, with various priests directly tasked by the god to carry out this or that operation (co-ordinated series of missions), all intended to increase the reach and influence of the church; Bane observed the results and rewarded or punished individual priests accordingly.

What kept the Church of the Black Lord from conquering most of the Realms was Bane’s delight (abandoned after his return from death, when he saw that this strategy was self-defeating) in pitting his clerics against each other. Pre-Time of Troubles, he encouraged infighting among his clergy, allowing them to form competing sects and make war on each other, for he saw this as desirable to eliminate the weak and keep only the strong in his service. (After his return, Bane stamped this out by personally slaying, swiftly and publicly, all who strayed from hierarchical obedience, and encouraged a new style in which Banites achieved more through threats and offering non-Banites “carrot and stick” treatment to increase the faith’s reach and influence without open violence.)

To sum up: Pre-Time of Troubles Bane was positively gleeful about fomenting and watching infighting in his church; post-Time of Troubles Bane is more about getting and holding on to power, without open warfare but through tyranny.


@jayeedgecliff
This made me start thumbing through my old Realms material and I can’t find something: before Cyric was there a god whose purviews included madness in any meaningful way? I grok that technically Cyric was just mad as a hatter when becoming a god so gained via association

But did/do any other gods in some real way encompass madness whether simple gibbering insanity or the twisted evils of Cyrics madness?


@TheEdVerse
Pre-Time of Troubles, Leira (the Mistress of Deception and Falsehood) held purview over madness. Unofficially, but "everyone" knew it and accepted it.
#Realmslore


@gkrashos
And now I’m off down another Realms rabbit hole. Thanks Ed!#10084;#65039;


@jayeedgecliff
I feel the same way and, in exploring said rabbit hole was reading an old tsr book and now I’ve a question about Bane’s origins as the daughter if a vampire & deamon … #129315;


@Greysil_Tassyr
I've long held the theory that the original Bane is dead, and that the current Bane is actually Iyachtu Xvim, masquerading as his father... Seeing yet another change like this, between Bane 1.0 and Bane 2.0, adds to my theory!


@TheEdVerse
Shhhh...keep utter silence about this, and He may even suffer you to live! ;}
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On the House of Baerlaer of Arabel:


Oct 3, 2019


@garethgarfoot
Hi Ed, Hope your recovery is going well. Wondering what lore you can give on the House of Baerlaer of Arabel, and the layout of their home (#60 on the Arabel map in Cormyr). As always many thanks. ~GG


@TheEdVerse
Hi, Gareth! See this thread at the Candlekeep forums: “Forgotten Realms Journals/Running the Realms/ THE UNRELIABLE FIVE: THEIR EYES ON THE REALMS” by Jeremy Grenemyer. From it we learn that the keyed feature #60 on the Arabel map is a “small but grand castle” built of stone, that’s “now the seat of power for the Guild of Binders, Printers and Copyists in Arabel.”

The House of Baerlear isn’t a noble family, but a successful merchant family, based in Arabel for centuries. At the time of Jeremy’s adventure, the patriarch of the family (Nelezmur “the Book Tyrant” Baerlear) is the Guildmaster of the Binders, Printers, and Copyists.

Much of the guild’s daily coin (and therefore, the income of the Baerlears) comes from printing handbills (one-page advertising handouts) and business forms (from laundry chits to detailed orders used by various craftworkers and shopkeepers). But the Baerlears have been successful merchants for decades, in part because they’ve diversified: they are landlords (and property buyers and sellers) in Arabel; they buy large stretches of wild forest and woodlots in northeastern Arabel from which to harvest pulp for papermaking, and timber that they sell to builders in southern Cormyr and Sembia (whoever will pay most); and they invest in the side-businesses of local gnome and dwarf families who make and maintain the printing presses they (and the guild they’re part of) use.

The House of Baerlear itself is a stout fieldstone castle of four towers linked by thick walls to enclose a courtyard. The only difference between the House and an old wilderland keep is that it has large (tall, narrow) windows, a few with iron-bar windowboxes but not balconies, rather than just arrowslits. The towers end in conical roofs, built over the crenelated flat-top battlements sixty years ago, and the castle has a more-than-coach-wide arched main gate, currently filled by stout ironbar latticework double doors chained and barred together when closed (the metal-plated wooden doors with inner props were replaced more than a century ago).

The Baerlears own a family (closed) coach (think stagecoach), a “fast litter” (open carriage; think phaeton), and two goods wagons, which are parked in the interior courtyard when not in use. The rest of the courtyard is filled with hay and a grass plot for the horses (the ground floor of the “back wall” (north wall) of the castle, facing the gate, is the stables), and a kitchen garden sited to catch the most sun.
The “front wall” (south wall) of the castle west of the gate houses the business part of the castle: the servants dwell there, and the family business offices, stockrooms, and “working rooms” (workshops, etc.) are located there. The front wall east of the gate houses a three-floor entry hall reached via doors on the north/inner side of the east gate tower; one passes through a circular foyer (with cloakrooms, garderobes, doorguards’ ready room, and mudroom) located on the ground floor of the tower, to reach the grand hall (with crimson tapestries and carpets, and much rich, dark woodwork) that fills that part of the eastern front/south wall adjoining the east gate tower. This hall is dominated by balconies on the upper floors looking down into the hall, and a grand stair ascending from the ground floor to the floor above, and then a second flight ascending to the third. House servants have their ready rooms (and “ready pantries” and sewing rooms) on the uppermost floor, guest apartments are located on the middle floor, with the family’s suites of personal living quarters filling the rest of the middle floor and the southeastern tower of the castle, with a map room, dining room, withdrawing rooms, dens, library, and other rooms used in daily family life occupying the ground and middle floors of the east wall.

The House of Baerlear is built over its own deep well of drinkable water, which occupies the cellar of the northeast tower.

In the past, several Baerlear patriarchs and matriarchs made extra coin by renting out apartments in the western floors of the north wall to “suitable” tenants, often Crown officials and Arabel-stationed (sometimes as family business representatives, and sometimes more like “remittance men,” to be away from parents who detested them or despaired of them) sons and daughters of wealthy “wannabe-noble” families of Suzail and Marsember. This practise ebbs and flows with the personal preferences of heads of the Baerlears; some shudder at the thought of “strangers staying under our roof as anything more than passing guests,” while others welcome the income (which at times has more than covered all running costs of the home). House Baerlear currently looks gray, its stone walls surmounted by dark gray slate “awnings” over each window, and conically roofing the tower-tops.
Hope these details are of help.
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On Bane and his soul:


Oct 3, 2019


@Lord_Toast13
Odd question, does Bane know he died before his ascension or does Bane believe (due to worshipers) he went to Jergal as a mortal to challenge him for godhood?


@TheEdVerse
Bane’s clergy will tell you (and all of Toril) that Bane challenged Jergal as a mortal. Most non-sages know nothing of Jergal’s planning and manipulation of those who became the Dead Three, and believe they decisively defeated Jergal. But all of the deities involved know better. They just don’t like to admit it to anyone. In the case of Bane, there’s also the question of whether Iyachtu Xvim, his son, was destroyed as a sentience by Bane, when Bane took over his body, or whether he lurks in Bane’s mind still. Bane’s clergy don’t like to talk about Xvim at all, but will tell you Bane “utterly destroyed” him for “betrayals and insolence.” Yet Elminster “knows” vestiges of the Godson migrated to several weak-minded mortals and took up residence in their minds. What’s an open question is whether or not Bane did this, too, as an insurance policy against his own future destruction (again). Jergal certainly has.
#Realmslore


@jay_jaydraper
Is Bane’s soul still theoretically at the mercy of Jergal, or did that end with his ascension? (I kind of like the idea of the god of tyranny being little more than a puppet)


@TheEdVerse
Bane’s soul is indeed still at the mercy of Jergal, though Bane has forgotten this (with Jergal’s help). Jergal has no intention of treating Bane like a puppet until he has to (it’s another of his “insurance policies”).
#Realmslore

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