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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2022 :  16:32:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

So 330 DR is the coldest winter on record and part of a series of harsh winters that blankets the Calishar Emirates in snow and causing frost giant incursions in 331 DR. Not inconceivable for these cold conditions to last into summer.



Source? I would like to see what was said so I can maybe determine if that was limited to just that area or if it was a realms-wide event.



I remember it coming from the writeup of Ghazir the Desertsedge, which is in Dragons of Faerun. It actually states the winter stretched from 330 DR to 331 DR so that would have meant winter for an entire year, but it specifically says it affected the Calishar Emirates. I'm guessing such a long winter in such a large geographic area would have some effects on surrounding regions, but as Amn is surrounded by mountains, it probably never went much beyond Amn and the Western Heartlands.

Either way, it is possible the prophet Dawnbreaker was based around Amn, the Western Heartlands, Tethyr, and Calimshan (which at the time was all Shoonite territory), and was around before the Shoon Imperium (during the 4th age of CAlimshan perhaps, he may even have been an escaped slave)


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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2022 :  17:14:57  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you. That is exactly where it came from. It specifically mentions Athkatla so it was it was occurring quite close to the Western Heartlands. Now, there is no other reference in anything else I could find for that year so it IS possible it was limited to the Calishar Emirates. Mayhap Shoon VII did something to anger Auril or somone was messing with the ring of winter. A year without a growing season is going to cause widespread starvation so they would have had to have been purchasing all the food they could from surrounding areas.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2022 :  17:37:16  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for a cause, in guessing the dragon that destroyed the theocracy of minsorran may have had something to do with it.

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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 09 Apr 2022 :  18:05:49  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

As for a cause, in guessing the dragon that destroyed the theocracy of minsorran may have had something to do with it.



Maybe but that dragon would have had to have had a lot of help. Using the FRIA, the Calishar Emirates would have covered around 300,000 square miles (Calimshan, Tehyr, and Amn) and the effect lasted for over a year. That is a whole different scale than 4 towns for a month.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 15 Apr 2022 :  20:58:03  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
King Pinch (1366 DR)
David Cook

Other Lore
A skene, a long thin dirk favoured by the Gurs people [2]
Gurs, Selune’s Children, people of the highway, honour obsessed. Favour the skene [2]
Moon-man, an insult to Gurs people [2]
The House of Pity, a roadside inn several days ride between Elturel and Ankhapur, in lands unclaimed by anyone but bandits [3]
A wizard once built a magical prison just to torment his wife [4]
A war captain once led his soldiers into Raurin the Dust Desert to do battle with the sand [4]
“Gods pizzle on the heads of the ungrateful” an old Gur curse [5]
Game of sant, card game [12]
Chessentian black silk doublet [15]
Temples of Lathander usually placed at the easternmost point of any city. [15]

Elturel
Icy wind in Winter [1]
High District on hillside [1]
Sprite-Heels, halfling thief, works with Pinch. [1]
Therin, member of Pinch’s gang, not a great cutpurse, but tried to steal a Hellrider sergeant’s purse and got caught. Big over-muscled man with farmboy good looks. Thick scar round his neck often covered by a scarf. Is a Gurs, gypsy people of the highway known as Selune’s Children. Carries a skene [1,2]
The Great Temple of Lathander, houses a great holy relic (a pelfry – a crudely forged amulet embossed with a half sun, containing a piece of skull from the Dawnbreaker) Pinch and Sprite-Heels are trying to rob it [1,10]
The Great Temple of Lathander is adjacent to Sweet-sweat Lane. At least 3 stories tall [1]
The Charmed Maid on Sweet-sweat Land. Brothel. Has a brightly lit patio. False walls used to hide patrons – leads into the sewers [1]
A single tree in Sweetsweat, little more than a sapling, on the edge of the temple of Lathander [1]
Patrico, name for priests of the Temple of Lathander [1]
Brown Maeve, drunken sorceress, used to work at the Charming Maid as a prostitute. Used to be pretty and alluring but age and drink stole her looks. Long brown hair is greying and thin. Wrinkled and blotched skin. Weak, rheumy eyes. Fond of drink. Uses invisibility spells at the first sign of trouble [1,2]
The Dwarf Hole (sometimes called the Piss Pot), an ale house, owned by Algaroz (former thief who used to run with Pinch). Frequented by foists and nips (thieves and con artists) and beggars. Cheap ale [1]
The Dwarf Hole cellar and the Charming Maid false wall are linked by the sewers [1]
Pelfry of Lathander. Holy relic. Crudely forged amulet embossed with a half sun (containing a piece of skull of the Dawnbreaker). Magical, valuable. It is a relic of the great Dawnbreaker, a prophet of Lathander. Lathander scriptures say the Upholder of Light (another name for the Dawnbreaker) once called upon the might of the pelfry against the Sun-Devourer. Scriptures are vague about the details, but only the faithful of Lathander are supposedly able to call upon the great power of the pelfry. Emitted a sunburst or some kind of burning light that incinerates. Using the Amulet of the Dawnbreaker brands the bearer with a half sun burn into their hand [1,10,15,16]
Five League Lodge, located halfway up the slopes of Elturel’s High Road [2]
The High Hill, tallest part of Elturel [2]
Dowzabell, prison trusty and rogue [2]
Dun Teddar, performs mad singing for money on the streets [2]
Ironbellow, a dwarf with a bronze pegleg, fell asleep on the street in the winter and got gangrene so surgeon cut his leg off. Ironbellow claims he lost his leg as a Hellrider fighting the Zhentarim. Begs for coin [2]
Kennel Lane, Mucker’s Mews. Alleys in Elturel near markets far from the High Hill [2]
Waterside Road, a way out of Elturel through the Old Trade Gate where the guards are more lax [2]
The New Road, a new trade road that doesn’t use the Old Trade Gate, most traffic uses it nowadays [2]
Lissa, priestess of Lathander, sent to find the thief who stole the palfry of Lathander. Receives communications from Lathander in dreams [3,4]
Ancient history. The Dawnbreaker predicted the Wintry Summer and the razing of the Unshadowed Palace of the Night Queen. When he died, the Morninglord burned away his flesh and commanded an amulet be made from the bones of his skull. [10]
Pinch found Therin working for a fortune teller [20]

Pinch
Human, male, thief on the streets of Elturel. Runs a gang of thieves. [1]
Average height, average looks, grey curly hair, thick trimmed moustache [1]
Knows Maeve, when she was working at the Charming Maid [1]
Left the city of Ankhapur 15 years ago [2]
Owns a bronze metal rod that can shape itself to fit any lock it is inserted into. Pinch had to kill two fellow thieves that tried to betray him to get the rod [2]
King Manferic III of Ankhapur was Pinch’s guardian [2]
Chamberlain Cleedis of Ankhapur taught Pinch to use a sword [2]
Real name is Janol of Ankhapur, he is a prince of Ankhapur [2]
Pinch’s father was a captain in the king’s guard. His mother was the Lady Tulan, a lady in waiting for the queen. Pinch’s father was killed in the wars against the swamp trolls. Pinch’s mother died in childbirth. Pinch was raised by King Manferic and the queen [3,19]
Pinch’s father was Sir Gedstad of Alkar (or so he has been told). It is possible Manferic may be Pinch’s father [17]

Cleedis of Ankhapur
Former soldier and cavalry captain of Ankhapur [2,3]
Lord Chamberlain, Region of the Assumption, and swordmaster to King Manfric III [2,5]
Trained Pinch to use a sword [2]
Receding hair, almost pure white (used to be black and rich). Skin is cracked and loose. Muscles are flaccid and tired [2]
When Cleedis was a young officer, they used to hunt orcs from the Great Invasion [3]
Brown eyes [3]
Duke of Senestra [4]

Ankhapur
Prince Bors, drools during temple service [2]
Prince Vargo attempting to muscle the other princes out of the test to become king [2]
4 princes of Ankhapur; Firstprince Bors (an idiot), Secondprince Vargo, Prince Throdus, and Prince Marac [2]
Daros, Hervis, Klind soldiers of Ankhapur, serves Cleedis [2]
King Manferic thought his wife was barren when he took Pinch / Janol in. Then later his wife bore 4 sons. He drove the queen to her death and forced Pinch to leave as he wasn’t needed anymore as Manferic had 4 heirs. Manferic had a wild savage look, full blonde hair and beard. Manferic was a wizard-king [3,5]
Tomas Duke of Port, Manferic’s brother. Looks like Manferic except he is bald. Major player at court in Ankhapur [4,5]
Lady Graln, sister of Tomas. Children are also princes of Ankhapur. She would kill to have her children crowned [4]
Hierarch Juricale, the Red Priest, has lots of blood on his hands. His sect owns the Knife and the Cup, so nobody gets crowned without their agreement. Woodcutter sized man with black eyes. Major player at court in Ankhapur. Thick beard [4,5,21]
6 hills surround Ankhapur. Palas Hill is one of those hills. [5]
Villa of the Palantic Road crowns the top of Palas Hill. Vineyard filled valley between Palas Hill and Ankhapur [5]
Wizards wear clean white shifts [5]
Thornwash, bogs on either bank, crossed by a bridge [5]
Kaff, an alcoholic drink made of fermented bark mixed with honey (makes a strong bitter beverage) [5]
The Knife and Cup, Ankhapur’s symbols of royal power [5]
Surrabak, ogre, lives in the palace, trains and handles the hell hounds [5]
Palace has a magically lit dining hall. Visitors stay in the west hall [5]
Earl of Arunrock, commander of Ankhapur’s navy, has an out of fashion goatee trimmed to a point. Player at Court in Ankhapur [5]
Zefferellin, used to broker loot from an inn near the market. Player at Court in Ankhapur [5]
Prince Bors, idiot, flabby faced, jaundiced, dumb mouthed [5]
Prince Vargo, muscular, several years younger than Pinch. Hard faced, impeccably trimmed vandyke beard. Tangled blonde hair, red beard [5]
Prince Marac, youngest son of Manferic. Pinch liked him the most because he was easiest to intimidate. Straight blonde hair, thin and longer than Vargo’s. Thin, soft beard. 25 years old [5]
Lord Chalruch, Player at the Court of Ankhapur [5]
Prince Throdus, dark hair, smoke filled eyes, lean and pale, unlike Manferic [5]
The Money Festival [5]
Faranoch, Treeve (flaxen haired), Kurkulatain, three courtiers (likely noble dandies) in the employ of Prince Throdus. Given positions as knights of Ankhapur. Two of them slain after they attacked Cleedis and Pinch in the burial district [7,9]
Iron Biter, dwarf and right-hand man of Prince Vargo. Heavily muscled, broad, golden braided hair and beard. Priest, Chancel Master of the Red Priests. Has an invisibility cloak (provided by Prince Vargo????) [8,14]
A queen had the guest rooms of Ankhapur’s palace constructed. Intrigues, assassinations, and plots defined the character of Ankhapur and its royal family
Secret door hidden in Pinch’s apartments. Leads to a passage that goes down deep into the tunnels beneath the palace. These tunnels may be connected to the burial district [8,12]
Ankhapur is bowl shaped, common practice to descend to the desired avenue and then make a circuit of the centre [9]
The Street of Shames leads to the grave field [9]
Ankhapur used to dump its dead out to sea until the Year of the Watery Dead (Year of Watery Graves 1091 DR????) when Ankhapur’s ancestors returned as a horde of sea zombies and things less wholesome that clambered over the docks seeking revenge on the city that had cast them away. The assault lasted more than a year, new waves of terror striking every night before the undead host was finally overcome. As a result, burial and veneration of the dead became the way of things. Lands around Ankhapur were farmlands and part of noble fiefs and none would surrender land for the dead. So, they raised a ghetto just within Ankhapur’s walls with crypts crowded into it. The temples of Ankhapur were charged with the task of providing priests to guard the perimeter [9]
The Street of Crypts, the burial district of Ankhapur, its perimeter marked by a low wall with watchtowers at regular intervals, each manned by a priest. Entry to the district allowed through an iron gate. The lanes are cramped and tight (barely big enough for a team of pall bearers). Crypts stand upon crypts to save space. [9]
The royal tomb, a mausoleum of restrained style. Royal tomb in a square surrounded by noble crypts (a garish mishmash of styles) [9]
Manferic is undead (a shadow????). Wants Pinch to steal the Cup and Knife and replace them with imitations that Manferic has provided. He wants no one else to know they have been switched [9]
The Cup, a goblet chiseled from a piece of perfect quartz. The rim is lipped with a band of gold studded with rubies. At the bottom of the smoothly polished bowl was a large, real white pearl. The Knife, a single knife cast as a single piece, no rivets, wrappings, stones, or gold. The handles is moulded, whorled, and knuckled to the grip of a hand. The blade is ground to a razored line. The Cup and Knife are symbols of royal prerogative and the holiest artefacts in the city. [9]
Ankhapur royal law rules that no queen can rule while her husband lives [9]
Bicenta, coin of Ankhapur. Equivalent to an Elturel groat [9]
Large amounts can be paid in script (notes of intent to pay) [9]
In the burial district is a fountain that sings, created by a mage long ago [9]
A golden serpent, the symbol of the royal household [10]
Lathander, Gond, Torm, Oghma, Deneir, Tempus. Allowed gods in Ankhapur. Cyric, Talos, Loviatar are secretly worshipped in Ankhapur in hidden temples [10]
Fine Cloth Durram, a thief that once drank a wine cellar dry in a single night and then went back the next night for the goblets. Core the Cuckolder. Famous thief’s in Ankhapur [10]
The Shroud, an inn or tavern in Ankhapur, smoke blackened building. Run by an old man named Sarveto. Opposite the lower end of the fish market. [10,11]
Common people feared the fate that awaited dissidents and rivals under Manferic’s rule [11]
The Carnival of Wealth, a time when Ankhapur erupted into riotous gaiety. A three day long celebration of Ankhapur’s greatest resource – gold. Drinking in taverns, feast in the markets, all culminating in the Great Masque held at the royal court. The Carnival of Wealth is always held on a new moon. [11]
Ages ago, the first king of Ankhapur died leaving behind a score of sons and grandsons. The heirs feuded over the throne, factions backed their favourites, civil war was brewing. The priests came up with the Cup and Knife to prevent destruction of the city (items supposedly created or provided by the gods). Whenever there are multiple heirs, they each drip blood into the cup, mix it with wine, and drink it down, if they are surrounded by holy light then they are crowned king. [11]
Manferic kept quaggoths as hunters and jailors, one of more of them may have escaped into the tunnels beneath the palace. Ikrit is one of the quaggoths in the tunnels beneath the palace [12]
The Red Temple, headquarters of the Red Priests. Squat stone pillars reaching high into the sky, a garden square filled with spell ripened plants, a dark stone tower in the centre of the garden a single spire rising above the walls and the temple. The Red Priests believe the Red Lord is supreme, they do not see the need for other gods and do not like polytheism. Acolytes wear a rough stitched robe of itchy red wool. [13]
Red Robes, the name for priests of the Red Lord [13]
The Red Temple stands at the end of the Avenue of Heroes. The Avenue of Heroes is a muddy street [13]
Noble, a gold coin (of Ankhapur????) [13]
Temple of Lathander in Ankhapur is small and poorly funded. Sits at the easternmost end of the easternmost street in the city. A building with a lone tower, plain on the western side and lavishly decorated on the eastern side (with stained windows, etc) [13,16]
The city watch wander the streets calling the hours past midnight [14]
People often disappeared during Manferic’s reign due to his paranoia and cruelty. A maid breaking a dish often vanished and sometimes whole staff shifts were disappeared because Manferic suspected them of poisoning. Manferic used to let the quaggoths hunt his victims in the tunnels beneath the palace while he watched from a scrying ball [14]
The tales of Duric the Fool, tales often too implausible to be real, but sometimes based upon real events that happened to other people [14]
Brother Leafcrown, priest of Lathander in Ankhapur, wears faded robes [16]
When Pinch was 10, the peasants of Ankhapur drew up a list of grievances against their noble lords (old men were executed when they could no longer work the farm, young boys were drafted into the militia). 5 of them delivered the list to King Manferic. Manferic had the Red Priests (led by Vargo and Throdus – not possible as Vargo and Throdus were likely not born at that time or little babies????) kill and reanimate the wives of each of the 5 men and then promised he would deal with their list providing they remained with and honoured their wives for the rest of their days. When one of them failed he slew all 5. [17]
Manferic killed all his brothers, uncles, sisters, etc. Purged his entire family tree so no one could challenge him [17]
Royal Steward of the Stables, a noble title of Ankhapur [18]
Glindon, cousin to Cleedis, royal page [18]
Cleedis is Chamberlain of the Famisso household (does that mean the royal family are of the Famisso dynasty????) [18]
Manferic is now an undead lich like being, covered in grave worms [18]
Manferic lured Pinch back so he could possess his body. The lich transformation went wrong so he intends to transfer his soul into Pinch. Pinch’s soul was transferred into a soul gem and when it was smashed his soul entered Manferic’s body (although it was supposed to be released to the afterlife) [18,19,20]
Red Priest holy symbol is a replica of the Cup (the Cup and Knife) [20]
Pinch (in Manferic’s body) slew Iron-Biter [20]
Manferic had Lady Tulan imprisoned in the tunnels beneath the palace until Pinch was born, then he gave Lady Tulan to Ikrit the quaggoth. But Ikrit didn’t kill Lady Tulan, he kept her for himself [20]
The Rite of Ascendancy, the Rite of Choosing [20]
Prince Vargo slain by Manferic during the Rite of Choosing, the Cup and Knife were poisoned [21]
Hierarch Juricale slain by Manferic [21]
Throdus, Bors, and Marac slain by the spells of Manferic [21]
Manferic slain by the Amulet of the Dawnbreaker [21]
Pinch crowned King [21]

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 15 Apr 2022 :  22:12:35  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not a bad novel, had some moments where I read the words but nothing registered in my brain (normally happens for entire chapters in drizzt novels), but otherwise not bad.

A fairly generic representation of what should be an exotic place.

Nothing in the way of ancient history, but from what I can tell the line of kings in ankhapur cant be more than a few hundred years old.

A minor moment of confusion when Pinch describes how his prince cousins slaughtered whole families when he was 10 years old, despite him being at least 5-10 years older than his cousins.

Also an event where the dead of ankhapur returned from the sea in a year that may not exist or may be 300 years ago.

A potential new deity local to ankhapur, The Red Lord.

A few magic items, the Cup and Knife being two. The amulet of the Dawnbreaker being the second.

And then there was the ending. The book spent 20 chapters revealing what was happening and all the plans and plots. Then in the final chapter it was all over in 10 pages. Didnt even get a reunion between pinch and his mother. It all felt very rushed and sudden at the end.


Once Around the Realms is next, I've not heard good things about it.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6477 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2022 :  02:53:04  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've never actually read King Pinch. Thanks for picking up that a golden serpent is the symbol of the royal household (and likely the symbol of Ankhapur). Given the red motif that seems to thread through your references, I wonder if the arms of Ankhapur are a gold serpent on a red field? I'm creating FR heraldry atm, so I'll give that one a go.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus

Edited by - George Krashos on 16 Apr 2022 15:35:11
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2022 :  08:29:43  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Glad to be of service. I read these and compile the lore I think is important so others dont have to.

I think a gold serpent on a red field is entirely likely for the arms of house fossimo (I think that's their name, it is only mentioned once). The monarchy is legitimized by the Red Priests, they "created" the Cup and Knife to stop civil war, they preside over all the Rites of Choosing, Ascendancy, etc. They are even the defector royal physicians of a sort (to use another priest is considered an insult). I'm guessing they are the primary state sponsored religion as well.

Shame it doesnt mention who this Red Lord actually represents.

You aren't missing much from the novel, it has no bearing on anything outside of ankhapur from what I can tell.

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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2022 :  16:41:14  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I've never actually read King Pinch. Thanks for picking up that a golden serpent is the symbol of the royal household (and likely the symbol of Ankhapur). Given the red motif that seems to thread through your references, I wonder if the arms of Ankhapur are a gold serpent on a red field? I'm creating FR heraldry atm, so I'll give that one a go.

-- George Krashos



Do you do that freehand or is there a software package that is your go-to-tool for creating heraldry?

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6477 Posts

Posted - 17 Apr 2022 :  08:43:51  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I've never actually read King Pinch. Thanks for picking up that a golden serpent is the symbol of the royal household (and likely the symbol of Ankhapur). Given the red motif that seems to thread through your references, I wonder if the arms of Ankhapur are a gold serpent on a red field? I'm creating FR heraldry atm, so I'll give that one a go.

-- George Krashos



Do you do that freehand or is there a software package that is your go-to-tool for creating heraldry?



Was pointed to a brilliant site that lets you create your own heraldry. Have done my own versions of several coast of arms now, such as Tethyr and Loudwater, as well as city badges for Impiltur, the Council of Lords etc.

Look here: https://azgaar.github.io/Armoria/

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1122 Posts

Posted - 17 Apr 2022 :  16:07:34  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I've never actually read King Pinch. Thanks for picking up that a golden serpent is the symbol of the royal household (and likely the symbol of Ankhapur). Given the red motif that seems to thread through your references, I wonder if the arms of Ankhapur are a gold serpent on a red field? I'm creating FR heraldry atm, so I'll give that one a go.

-- George Krashos



Do you do that freehand or is there a software package that is your go-to-tool for creating heraldry?



Was pointed to a brilliant site that lets you create your own heraldry. Have done my own versions of several coast of arms now, such as Tethyr and Loudwater, as well as city badges for Impiltur, the Council of Lords etc.

Look here: https://azgaar.github.io/Armoria/

-- George Krashos



Wow, that site is amazing. Thank you, good sir.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 17 Apr 2022 :  19:31:38  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm reading through this topic now from beginning to end and love all the effort ya'll have put in it.

My hats off to you!

I admit, though, I prefer my Realms more CLASH OF THE TITANS with the gods always interfering and present as well as able to be deceived or beaten down or tricked. It's what separates it from Eberron and other places where they're more mysterious or impersonal.

Or Dragonlance where they're more like actual religious figures.

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

Edited by - Charles Phipps on 18 Apr 2022 00:14:01
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1360 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2022 :  00:15:09  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some Homeland Trilogy thoughts

quote:
That is probably the best way to interpret menzoberranzan society. It is not about lolths favour or disfavour, it is not about chaos or lawful evil. It is purely about keeping the nobles in power, wealth, and privilege.

I just got to the bit where it explained that matron ginafae DeVir used her powers to thwart a drow patrol against svirfneblin because that patrol was led by the son of the third house. This earned her lolths disfavour but to be honest it seems that the third house found out about it and spread the news among the other houses of the council. They secretly declared House Devir had lost lolths favour and thus let its rivals know that they could destroy the house with the blessing of the ruling council as long as they don't get caught.

Nothing to do with lolth at all, it's all about secrets and lies, plots and intrigue.


That's a rather peculiar way to look at a theocracy, which is the important part of Menzoberazan. It is a theocracy run by clerics of Lolth and the fact that they're almost all noblewomen is less important than the fact they're all priestesses. They can also consult their goddess' will at any time to determine what favor or disfavor they will because omens are real.

quote:
Drow noble female priestesses use snake headed whips with handles of adamantite and living snakes at the head.


I've always wondered why they added snake whips and not spider-silk. It's a weird diversion from her motif.

quote:
The depictions of Menzoberranzan was good right up until page 230 when suddenly the priestesses of Lolth rang up one of the Yochlols on the outer planes mobile phone and the Yochlol then explained everything that was going on (or rather it knew everything that was going on and refused to tell them). Its almost as though the ideas had vanished and rather than leave it to intrigue and plots it was decided that the god knew everything and really everyone should just constantly speak to Lolth all day long.


In real life, the priestesses and priests of Rome constantly consulted oracles as well as omens to determine their next move. So I can see this as very common in Menzoberrazan.

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Yeah, the whole "you can wipe out another house, just don't get caught" has one glaring hole in it: resurrection. Just resurrect someone from the defeated family and have them testify that the attackers were just a bunch of meanies and the Council will turn out the whole city to kill off the attacking house.


I mean, its almost like the rules don't matter at all. Isn't that...chaotic? But seriously, everyone knows who actually kills everyone because there's hundreds of witnesses in the street. It's just an arbitrary line Lolth has drawn.

quote:
Matron Sinafey Hun’ett joined House Do’Urden as the pretend eldest daughter Shi’nayne. Matron Malice sacrificed her to Lolth as part of the Zin-carla ritual.


I liked the "You now have a daughter who is your peer in the house." It's so utterly random and blatant a lie that it underscores how paper thin the "rules" of their society are. They exist only as an excuse to maintain the caste system.

One odd bit of lore is the Illithids trading magic potions and scrolls for slaves. Illithids are very anti-arcane magic now and it's weird to assume their biologies would even respond to magic potions the way that a normal human would.

quote:
Wulfgar and Bruenor are what I would call assholes. They are always having a go, even at their friends, especially when life gets a bit difficult. Regis is evil and only hangs around with the others because they protect him. Drizzy is about as miserable as you can get, always thinking about how hard his life has been and not enjoying what he's got. They are all mass murderers that indiscriminately slaughter anyone that gets in their way, and bully those who wont do what they want.


Eh, Icewind Dale is pretty much the Wild West of the Forgotten Realms only colder. Wulfgar and Drizzt are people who are armed and ready to defend themselves. They get attacked fairly regularly and their response is lethal force because there's no authorities to appeal to.

quote:
Roddy was a truly despicable human being driven purely by hatred and pride.


I always was surprised he never made a reapperance. The "evil redneck" thing is incredibly unique compared to most archwizards and doom knights. He's basically a backwoods sheriff from a 1970s movie with Drizzt as the poor guy he's chasing ala Burt Reynolds Gator.

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

Edited by - Charles Phipps on 18 Apr 2022 02:27:29
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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 18 Apr 2022 :  04:30:03  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Prince of Lies (1368 DR)

Gwydion Lore
Gwydion “the Quick”, a Purple Dragon soldier, beat every challenger in a footrace, running along the Promenade in Suzail. [prologue]
Scout during the Tuigan crusade, and messenger. Left the Purple Dragons after the Crusade [prologue]
Now a sellsword and adventurer on foray into the Great Grey Land of Thar with Lady Cardea and Aram Scragglebeard [prologue]
Lady Cardea had a priceless elf crafted bow, slain by Thrym the giant [prologue]
Aram Scragglebeard, had many enchantments (mage) slain by Thrym the giant [prologue]
Follower of Torm the True
Slain by Thrym after delusions made him believe he was blessed by Torm [prologue]
Gwydion, son of Gareth the Blacksmith, born in Suzail 30 years ago [1]

Thar Lore
Thrym the giant, wears a breastplate that used to be one of the front doors of a Vaasan Palace. Blue eyes, battle axe (frost giant????) [prologue]
Marble chute in a fissure that leads to a man made chamber where an avatar of Torm appears to Gwydion. Torm wears ancient, ornate armour hued a dusky purple (like great warriors dedicated to Torm’s cause). Spikes carved from the bones of evil dragons slain in his name jut from elbows and knees. [prologue]
Shrine of Alban Onire, holy to Torm, was the final resting place of Alban Onire, Holy Knight of Duty, known as a foe of all evil giants. Alban Onire, a handsome young man slain centuries ago, his body is magically preserved wearing his dusky purple plate mail. His soul is at rest, his body will remain until someone comes forth to take his place as a bane to giants and dragons [prologue]
Alban Onire’s sword was called Titanslayer, a silver white blade with a gem encrusted scabbard. One touch from the sword will slay any giant and no giant may harm the wielder of Titanslayer [prologue]
Kelemvor and his 8 adventuring companions (including Cyric) fought with Thrym and his frost giants before the Time of Troubles, searching for the Ring of Winter. The frost giants slew everyone but Kelemvor and Cyric both of whom fled [9]
Thrym and the frost giants of Thar worship a frost elemental creature called Zzutam [9]
Someone had been spreading rumours that the Ring of Winter and the lost crown of King Beldoran could be found in their lair. The rumours were false but led a steady stream of adventurers to their deaths and the hands of Thrym and his frost giants [15]
Zzutam had been the deity of Thrym’s forefathers. Thrym is chief of the frost giants [15]
Zzutam ordered the frost giants to lead an army of goblins and gnolls against Zhentil Keep (Zzutam was commanded by Cyric) [15]

Other Lore
Torm the True, God of Duty, Patron of Loyalty, Torm the Brave [prologue]
Astolfo of Highpeak slain [1]
Frode Silverbeard, slain [1]
Magnes son of Eldryn, slain [1]
Hemah, foul knight of Talos, slain [1]
Perdix and Af, divine minions of Cyric [1]
Priests of Torm must learn the words for Duty and Loyalty in as many languages as possible (they spend the first year of their service sequestered in their cell learning the words. [1]
Godsbane (the sword wielded by Cyric – not its original name – named Godsbane after the Time of Troubles) had destroyed many soldiers and kings that had tried to bend it to their will [2]
Church of Cyric sent groundlings to hunt priestesses of Mystra in Sembia [4]
Church of Cyric desecrating Torm’s shrine in Tantras [4]
Church of Cyric disrupting holy rites of Tyr in Suzail [4]
Church of Cyric betraying agents of the Church of Mask in the city watch of Waterdeep [4]
Church of Cyric, for a decade had every available resource trying to divine the location of Kelemvor Lyonsbane’s soul [4]
Cyric’s agents spread lies about Kelemvor murdering Leira to gain sympathy with the Church of Leira hierarchy. Assassins of Cyric killed those Leiran faithful who were vocal in their opposition to allying with Cyric’s clergy. [4]
Mask the Shadowlord, Gond the Gearsmith [4]
Perverse examples of worship. A canvas painted by a Deneiran using the blood of her own children. An axe used to enforce the judgement of a mad king who ruled in the name of Tyr. A single silver nail used by a worshiper of Sune after he saw a vision of her and believed he would never see anything as beautiful ever again. A worshiper of Chauntea who slit his wrists thinking his blood would make crops grow faster. A druid of Eldath who drowned everyone that ventured near his secluded pool because they disturbed the peace. A knight of Torm who tortured anyone that told even the most insignificant lie. A Gondsmith who chopped off his own left hand so he could replace it with a mechanical one he dreamed about the night before. [4]
Jergal has yellow, poisonous blood, yellow eyes, grey skin [6]
Godsbane can destroy any creature including outer planar beings and gods (Jergal is afraid of it) [6]
Jergal suggested unleashing the Chaos Hound. Godsbane seemed afraid of the mention of the Chaos Hound [6]
Cyric owns an ornate silver cup ever full of the tears of disillusioned dreamers and brokenhearted lovers [6]
Harsh winter in 1368 DR in Cormyr lasting several months and blanketing everything with snow [7]
The Church of Cyric has sent many assassins to kill High Priest Adon of the Church of Mystra [7]
Adon possesses a magic ring (supposedly created by Mystra) that warns him of Cyricist assassins [7]
The Golden Quill Society in Waterdeep, bards run an asylum to care for those driven mad by magics gone awry (a branch of the Church of Mystra). King Trebor is a patient he keeps saying “the angels have fangs”. [7]
After killing his father and elder brother, Kelemvor wandered the cities of the Heartlands, not staying in any longer than a tenday (Lyonsbane Keep must have been near or in the Heartlands????) [9]
Lord Chess slain while helping Mask try to bind Kezef the Chaos Hound atop Blackstaff Tower in Waterdeep [9]
Kelemvor once spent a month in a Sembian jail cell (what for????) [10]
Godsbane can channel the energy of soul to its wielder, can store it for later, or can use it for herself [10]
The 398 (including Bevis) failed scribes of the Cyrinishad where transformed into Burning Men in Cyric’s Castle of Bone [7]
The soul of Gwydion the Quick and 8 other insurrectionists are transformed into the clockwork inquisitors and unleashed upon Zhentil Keep to destroy all that speak out against the Church of Cyric within Zhentil Keep’s walls [11]
Gargauth’s Journal (currently resides in Oghma’s keeping), details primordial battles between greater powers and weird things even mightier than Ao. Contains a magic to breach all divine barriers and see through all godly deceptions [14]
Mask describe’s Godsbane as a god slaying blade. Mask has been helping the sword hide Kelemvor’s soul from Cyric. Godsbane will release Kelemvor’s soul in return for vengeance against Cyric [14]
Gwydion and the clockwork inquisitors are released from their servitude to Cyric by Mystra and Gond and sent back to the Cyric’s realm to stir up a rebellion. Gwydion is given the sword Titanslayer by Torm [17]
60,000 priests and worshippers of Cyric in Toril [18]
The True Life of Cyric the Mad protected by enchantments, any weapon striking the tome is broken [18]
Lord Harcourt, led a cavalry unit of the Army of the Alliance during the Crusade [19]


Zhentil Keep Lore
Bevis, illuminator (illustrator of books and manuscripts) for hire. Hired by the Church of Cyric to add minor illustrations to the Cyrinishad, a work detailing the events of the Time of Troubles (from Cyric’s point of view). His daughter used to be an illuminator [2]
Illuminator’s Guild in Zhentil Keep [2]
Xeno Mirrormane, high priest of Cyric. Silver white curly hair. Murdered his brother Maskul Mirrormane (former high priest of Cyric) [2]
Lord Chess, fat nobleman of Zhentil Keep, bulbous nose, used to worship Leira but hasnt been a practising cleric in years [2,5]
The crypts of Zhentil Keep once held the honoured dead of Bane, warriors, priests and statesmen. After the Time of Troubles the faithful of Cyric plundered the crypts and dumped the remains of Bane’s faithful in the River Tesh [2]
A group of assassins operate out of the now empty crypts. Wizards perform magical experiments in the empty crypts. The crypts are slowly filling with Cyric’s faithful and monasteries to Cyric [2]
Hundreds of scribes and illuminators in Zhentil Keep (397) have been tortured and executed after working on the various versions of the Cyrinishad [2]
Fzoul, red hair braided with bands of silver from the forest of Lethyr, hates Cyric [2]
Cyrinishad pages and binding are made from the skin of scribes of failed versions [2]
Rinda, green eyes, brown hair, slender, medium height, daughter of Bevis, lives in a one story hovel in the poorest part of Zhentil Keep working as a scribe for the poor and unfortunate people (which the Scribes Guild don’t do), and helping people learn to read and write. Helps women escape from Madame Februa who runs the local brothel [5]
Hodur, dwarf, beard and hair a tangled mop of black and silver. Grey eyes, a brown eyepatch circled with silver studs covers one eye. Is a Zhentarim agent sent to spy on Rinda (she was good at smuggling people out of Zhentil Keep, used a cover as a drunkard until Rinda saved him to get close to her [5,6]
The Serpent’s Eye, a tavern or inn in Zhentil Keep [5]
Var and Worvo, thugs in Zhentil Keep in the employ of the Church of Cyric, identifiable by red armbands with a leering white skull surrounded by a black sun [5]
The slums are a deathtrap for those walking at night, press gangs, assassins, creatures hungry for human flesh, the naug-adar [5]
Naug-adar “devil dogs”, Zhentarim wizards searching for victims to subject to sadistic experiments. The Naug-adar even prey on members of the Church of Cyric [5]
The Black Network has no respect for the Church of Cyric [4]
Common practice for the Church of Cyric to hire messengers and then have them killed after the message is delivered [5]
Cyric was born in a house that today is a parchment makers shop in the slums of Zhentil Keep (making parchment from animal skins). Cyric’s father, possibly a leader of the Zhentilar and an agent of the Black Network. Cyric’s mother was murdered by his father and other assassins of the Black Network (why was she so important). Cyric escaped into the sewers as a child. Cyric was found by Astolpho a vintner from Sembia who took him away (to a town in Sembia). Cyric lived with them for a dozen years but left (when he was 16 ish????). Astolpho was found murdered, spiked to the town gates, Astolpho’s wife was never found (did Cyric murder them or was it assassins sent by his father????) - From the Cyrinishad [5]
A bottle of gin, ten coppers, cheaper than clothes [6]
Ivlisar, elf, knows Rinda and Hodur, works as a body snatcher / grave robber selling corpses to merchants and mages [6]
General Vrakk, an orc Zhentilar, decorated with a commendation from Azoun IV for his service during the Crusade [6]
Church of Cyric has persuaded the Zhentilar to limit the opportunities for orcs within their ranks (no promotions only minor tasks [6]
An underground movement against the Church of Cyric has arisen among the inhabitants of Zhentil Keep. It includes Fzoul, former priests of Bane, Myrkul, and Leira, illuminators, some merchants, and Zhentilar orcs. Hodur and Ivlisar are also part of the underground [6]
Cyric was born to a destitute bard who sold herself to Zhentilar to survive. Cyric’s father was a low ranking Zhentilar. She tried to beg money out of him to pay for the child, he killed her and sold Cyric into slavery. Cyric was bought by Astolpho the vintner of Sembia, they eventually grew to regret buying Cyric. Cyric found out he was from Zhentil Keep when he was 10 and ran away but was caught and returned to Astolpho. At 12 years old Astolpho’s business failed and they told Cyric they wish they’d never bought him. Cyric left and Astolpho and his wife were found murdered the next day. Cyric wandered north where he was found by Zhentilar and enslaved once more in Zhentil Keep – from the True Life of Cyric the Mad [6]
Cyric was enslaved in Zhentil Keep from the age of 12. He was bought by the thieves guild of Zhentil Keep and put to work. Eventually he was helped to escape by kind hearted strangers (people like Rinda). There he went searching for the Ring of Winter in Thar but was captured by frost giants and rescued by Kelemvor – from the True Life of Cyric the Mad[11]
Priests of Cyric in Zhentil Keep wear deep purple robes and silver bracelets (the bracelets are symbols of their enslavement to Cyric) [12]
Ygway Mirrormane appointed new lord of Zhentil Keep (after Lord Chess disappeared – his death is unknown) by the Church of Cyric. Simpleton, stammers, plays with toy soldiers. Nephew of Xeno Mirrormane [12]
Worshipping any god other than Cyric, and possessing a holy symbol of any god other than Cyric is made illegal [12]
Bane’s symbol had been scourged from Zhentil Keep after the Time of Troubles [12]
Insanity runs in the Mirrormane family (according to rumours) [12]
Mirrormane family are noble in Zhentil Keep [12]
Travel in and out of Zhentil Keep forbidden unless approved by the Church of Cyric [12]
Most orcs and half orc Zhentilar have been given the punishing duty of repairing the twin bridges crossing the river Tesh [12]
Knucklers, pickpockets that work the crowd at shows and gatherings. If a pickpocket is not a member of the thieves guild then they chop his hands off if they catch him thieving [12]
Otto Marvelius, puppeteer, returns to Zhentil Keep every year, has a permit to put on shows [12]
Clockwork inquisitors sent to Teshwave, Yulash, Mulmaster, Darkhold, Citadel of the Raven [13]
Force Bridge, a long stone bridge that spans the River Tesh [13]
Elusina the Grey, old woman, fortune teller, known to the Zhentilar for her soothsaying (sought by Sergeant Renaldo and his commander before him to tell their future). Guarded by Brok as tall and as wide as an ogre, his nose been broken 3 or 4 times. Former actress that toured with a lesser and disreputable troupe around the Cormyrean countryside. Practiced her pickpocketing on the side. Has no fortune telling ability but puts on a good show. [15]
Sergeant Renaldo of the Zhentilar [15]
Young white dragon abducted by the Church of Cyric, paraded through the streets, branded with Cyric’s symbol and then beaten to death for sport. It reanimated as a zombie dragon and returned to its clan to let them know who killed it. [12,15]
Shanalar, a wizard of Zhentil Keep, purchased white dragon eyes from the Church of Cyric for his dark experiments [15]
Bryn, female Zhentilar soldier. Ulgrym is her Zhentilar commander [15]
Everyone in Zhentil Keep commanded to perform 6 rituals (from the Journal of Gargauth) to locate Kelemvor’s soul, or Zhentil Keep would be destroyed by an army of giants and dragons and goblinoids sent by Cyric.
The Day of Dark Oracles when hundreds of mystics foresaw the destruction of Zhentil Keep. Xeno Mirrormane commanded the Six Services (rituals of Gargauth) be performed to save the city from Cyric’s wrath. The True Life of Cyric the Mad was finished by in secret by Rinda. [15,16]
A flight of white dragons surrounded Zhentil Keep, destroying all caravans and travellers and soldiers they encountered. A force of 300 zhentilar from the Citadel of the Raven were destroyed [16]
The Fourth Service (ritual of Gargauth), maim the voices of two score and ten and send them to sing the praises of Cyric along every alley and path in the city [16]
The Second Service (ritual of Gargauth) involves collecting the body parts of young women [16]
The First Service (ritual of Gargauth) involves a continual supply of corpses for a pyre [16]
Johul the Fletcher, owned a fletchers shop in the slums. His son hated him. Slain as a heretic [16]
Rinda made the guardian of the Cyrinishad by Oghma, given a small scroll made of a single pure diamond which will make her invisible and undetectable to all divine powers, and also identify her to all Oghmanites as the guardian of the Cyrinishad and give her any aid she requires [16]
Xeno Mirrormane slain by Fzoul summoning pillar of fire atop him in the temple of Cyric at the black altar. Fire from the column consumed the temple of Cyric and more than half of Cyric’s faithful perished in the inferno [17]
The Western Gate is enchanted to petrify the first three to strike the gates (it petrified 3 frost giants). 50 Frost giants attacked the western walls and made a breach in the black walls. Magical fire consumed the temple of Cyric. The white dragons blockaded the roads cutting Zhentil Keep off from the thousands of Zhentilar stationed on the Long Road and the Citadel of the Raven. An army of goblins and gnolls approached from the north and west waiting for the giants to breach the walls [18]
Tesh Bridge to the east, Force Bridge (twin towers mark either end of the bridge) to the west [18]
Zadoc and Garm, orc soldiers in the Zhentilar [18]
Wealthy Zhentish families live on the southern end of Force Bridge. Orcish Zhentilar (led by General Vrakk) looted the noble houses (the nobles having fled to the better protected northern end of Zhentil Keep) [18]
Orcish Zhentilar troops sided with the giants and dragons attacking Zhentil Keep. They barricaded Force Bridge and Tesh Bridge to stop people fleeing south. Then they rigged the bridges to explode as the mob tried to escape. Force Bridge and Tesh Bridge destroyed. [18]
Giants and dragons and goblinoids likely to maraud into the Dales after the siege. Vrakk warned Rinda not to stay there [18]
General Vrakk gave Rinda his medal, the Special Order of the Golden Way, given by King Azoun IV to his generals during the Crusade. [18]
Lieutenant (field promotion) Renaldo survived the initial assault but was killed by gnolls searching the ruins [20]
Goblins took up residence in the sewers along with existing residents (giant rats, carrion crawlers, and beholders [20]


Dendar
"In Shar's domain of night I rest,
So dreams may show me how I'm blessed.
If screams of terror break my sleep,
Then Dendar's sunk her fangs too deep." [4]


Orc Language
Dglinkarz – orcish curse used to refer to dwarves [6]




Now that I'm caught up, some other random thoughts:

Prince of Lies

+ I think this is one of the most evocative uses of the gods in the Realms but also one of the most problematic as depicting them as all insane with monofocus on their portfolios isn't really a very good thing if you think any of them are actually worth following.
+ I feel like Cyric's incompetence is incredibly overstated here and while that's the point of it and its sequel, it doesn't really make for a very good character. After all, if the villains are doing their own side in then what's the point?
+ A shame about Lord Chess, I really always liked that character.
+ I don't see any problem with Mask having been Godsbane for however long he wants to be as I don't think there's a time limit on Avatars. Having Mask one of his avatar "slots" being a sword is fine. Also, he might have simply chosen the sword to house his avatar during the Time of Troubles and kept a part of himself there to manipulate Cyric.
+ There's a big question I have that I'm surprised you didn't bring up. Which is the fact that Ao says that Cyric is doing his job as being the God of Evil in murdering other gods as well as generally raising hell. Aren't the Gods of Good supposed to oppose him? Mystra seems to be the only goddess doing any good. The gods of justice don't need Ao's permission to beat up Cyric or kill him for his actions.
+ Random aside but Xeno Mirrorman is one of the most awesome names in the realms.
+ Also, wouldn't Gwydion have died fighting in Torm's name even if Cyric had impersonated him? You'd think that would have been automatic for his ascension.

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

Edited by - Charles Phipps on 18 Apr 2022 04:33:10
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2022 :  08:42:33  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Too many points to argue so i will pick just two.

Regarding getting the answers to problems from deities and their servants. The main problem with this is that it takes away player and people agency. If ever there is an issue that cannot be solved, a priest (or priests) could just contact the deity and ask for an answer. It would seem (based upon the interaction in this book) that even secrets known to very few individuals are not unknown to the gods.

Using the above as an assumption of truth means that there would be no murders or intrigues or plots involving the ultra rich (kings, etc) because they can just pay to have priests provide them the answers. A new guy appears on the scene in court, the king wants to know about this enigmatic courtier that is making new friends fast and gathering political power, he uses dial-a-god and immediately knows all the plans of his new rival.
Inside priesthoods themselves there could be no intrigues or power plays, particularly among the most powerful priests, as they will always have the ear of their god to warn them of any secret plots and intrigues.

Such an idea of direct communication and omniscience over a god and their portfolio creates nothing but problems as to how a world could work.



Then onto Avatars. We have no information about the workings of an avatar, particularly cost (beyond a limit based upon deity status - lesser, intermediate, greater, etc). But it is safe to say because there is a limit on number there is an associated cost. Furthermore, because every god does not have the max number of avatars wandering around at all times that is further support to the idea that avatars have a cost to maintain (if not create).

Maintaining an avatar longterm for no particular purpose (that we know of) seems wasteful and foolish given the presumably expensive cost (if a greater god can only maintain 10 at a time they must be hellishly expensive).

I tend to use the OD&D immortals boxed set when looking at the divine, and that provides an idea of costs associated with all divine activities.

Godsbane as an ancient avatar is problematic as we do not have an answer as to the age of Mask as a deity, i vaguely recall he might be relatively new as a god. Also there is the problem of the sentience inhabiting the sword which is clearly at odds with the sentience of Mask himself (certainly the one that the priests promote). Godsbane is blood thirsty, controlling, murderous, and extrovert, whereas Mask is about stealth and intrigue and thievery.



The depictions of gods in novels seems to be disappointing to everyone, i dont understand why TSR and WoTC kept on depicting them. They are always the weakest part of a novel in terms of storytelling and plot. After reading around 30 novels i find that the depiction of the gods does not always match how people remember the gods being depicted.

Very few of the novels show direct communication between gods and people (excluding in person encounters), in several novels it is mentioned such communication takes the form of visions, which means misinterpretation is entirely possible and plausible.

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Charles Phipps
Master of Realmslore

1360 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2022 :  10:44:03  Show Profile  Visit Charles Phipps's Homepage Send Charles Phipps a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Too many points to argue so i will pick just two.


My apologies, not trying to argue the points in your thread. Just give some thoughts. If you would like me to avoid mentioning any other of your past posts, please say so as I had a huge amount of fun with them and was going to do one for the Crucible as well.

quote:
Regarding getting the answers to problems from deities and their servants. The main problem with this is that it takes away player and people agency. If ever there is an issue that cannot be solved, a priest (or priests) could just contact the deity and ask for an answer. It would seem (based upon the interaction in this book) that even secrets known to very few individuals are not unknown to the gods.


This can be very frustrating I imagine. I suppose in this case I would have the messages obscured by other deities and the people involved like praying to Mask God of Secrets or Cyric God of Lies and part of the reason that people pray to them. I understand that might be very involving but I admit I love a very integrated pantheon.

quote:
Using the above as an assumption of truth means that there would be no murders or intrigues or plots involving the ultra rich (kings, etc) because they can just pay to have priests provide them the answers. A new guy appears on the scene in court, the king wants to know about this enigmatic courtier that is making new friends fast and gathering political power, he uses dial-a-god and immediately knows all the plans of his new rival.


Amusingly, this is similar to an argument that I had with a friend who said that Priests of Tyr would be everywhere like the Thought Police and providing information. My argument was that divination magic, arcane or otherwise, would be reserved for the highest levels of society and plots there would have magic counteractng that. In the classic module, THE ASSASSINS KNOT, for 1st Edition, the book states the Duke can't be contacted by Speak with Dead or Resurrected as part of the mystery.

quote:
Inside priesthoods themselves there could be no intrigues or power plays, particularly among the most powerful priests, as they will always have the ear of their god to warn them of any secret plots and intrigues.


I added "Heretical Priest" as a class in my D&D lore so I definitely feel you but I also note that depowering heretics and criminals seems like something you'd want your god to do.

quote:
Such an idea of direct communication and omniscience over a god and their portfolio creates nothing but problems as to how a world could work.


On the other hand, doesn't it make a god less godly? What's the point of worshiping a deity that is real, interventionalist, and ever present to the point it provides magic if they're not paying attention to their own followers' deeds. Mind you, I view this as a flavor of the Realms rather than a flaw.

quote:
Then onto Avatars. We have no information about the workings of an avatar, particularly cost (beyond a limit based upon deity status - lesser, intermediate, greater, etc). But it is safe to say because there is a limit on number there is an associated cost. Furthermore, because every god does not have the max number of avatars wandering around at all times that is further support to the idea that avatars have a cost to maintain (if not create).


True. I always was bugged by the CULT OF THE DRAGON bit where Lathander's avatar smites Sammanster. It seemed very strange and made me wonder why Lathander's avatar was just randomly running around.

quote:
Maintaining an avatar longterm for no particular purpose (that we know of) seems wasteful and foolish given the presumably expensive cost (if a greater god can only maintain 10 at a time they must be hellishly expensive).


You've convinced me. I could imagine Godsbane as a major Maskian relic created by his church that he has the ability to speak through before the ToT or affected by being his host during the ToT but as just an avatar he's made, that is weird and invites a lot of questions. Thanks for answering.

quote:
I tend to use the OD&D immortals boxed set when looking at the divine, and that provides an idea of costs associated with all divine activities.


Odd fact: Our current game is adding Immortals with the PCs now dealing with the gods.

quote:
Godsbane as an ancient avatar is problematic as we do not have an answer as to the age of Mask as a deity, i vaguely recall he might be relatively new as a god. Also there is the problem of the sentience inhabiting the sword which is clearly at odds with the sentience of Mask himself (certainly the one that the priests promote). Godsbane is blood thirsty, controlling, murderous, and extrovert, whereas Mask is about stealth and intrigue and thievery.



I took this to be a matter of the writers having different interpretations of Mask. Everis Cale's view of Mask and his writings is a far more benevolent deity than the one in Prince of Lies and the Avatar Trilogy. The one in the Avatar Trilogy is encouraging Cyic's bloodlust because it's feeding on the carnage as a way to empower itself because all of the gods seem to be desperate to increase their power.

Mind you, my own bias is showing as I have Vhaeraun and Mask as related deities. I've always enjoyed deities "wandering in" to the Faerun pantheon from their home pnatheon and assuming new guises. Then again, my interest in RL mythology and anthropology means I've overly fascinatied by the subject. I also attended a religious school for twelve years.

quote:
The depictions of gods in novels seems to be disappointing to everyone, i dont understand why TSR and WoTC kept on depicting them. They are always the weakest part of a novel in terms of storytelling and plot. After reading around 30 novels i find that the depiction of the gods does not always match how people remember the gods being depicted.


YMMV. Prince of Lies and The Crucible are easily my favorite of the novels in terms of the actions with the Elminster novels use of Mystra as well as Drizzt novels' direct use of Lolth also something I enjoy. For me, the gods of the Realms being incredibly activist and involved is part of the appeal of the setting.

Evermeet: Isle of Elves and the Moonshae Trilogy have Lolth and Bhaal acting as the Big Bads of the armies directly rather than through proxies.

Mind you, I like it when the humans can strike back and the fact that Moander gets KILLED trying to pull off these sorts of things.

quote:
Very few of the novels show direct communication between gods and people (excluding in person encounters), in several novels it is mentioned such communication takes the form of visions, which means misinterpretation is entirely possible and plausible.


This is true. I also hate one moment from Prince of Lies where Cyric shows up to personally screw with Gwydion's spiritual development by pretending to be Torm. That not only seems like it would break some divine "rule" but it also is immensely petty for any god.

My Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

Edited by - Charles Phipps on 18 Apr 2022 10:45:01
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
6026 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2022 :  14:59:50  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the big issue is that people use the novels as the milestone to measure all interactions with the gods, when in reality that is probably the exception of interactions.

First thing to consider is gods are not all powerful, they are more powerful than mortals but they still have limitations. A greater god can only create and control 10 avatars at a time. Assuming they can multi task by a factor of 10 beyond that it would mean that they can do at a maximum 100 things at a time.
So that's 100 manifestations or 100 visions or 100 miracles etc or any combination of them.
Now the number of priests in Faerun for a god can number many thousands of individuals, each of them calling upon the deity many times a day to get their attention. Then add in the lay worshippers which can number in the millions, any of whom can be requesting aid at any point in time.
If you break a day down into seconds that is 84,600 seconds, and assuming only 1,000,0000 people invoke a god's name or request his aid in a given day then that is 11 requests every single second.
I always refer to the Bruce Almighty scene with the emails as to how a god might deal with a request for aid.
In short, it is likely that less than 0.1% of all requests even get noticed by a deity let alone get answered. In the novels we are probably seeing the 0.01% of communication.

The next point is that gods are not omniscient. Portfolios are a human construct (according to Ed on Twitter). Mask does not know everything about intrigues because that is his portfolio, similarly Tyr does not know everything about Justice or Bhaal everything about violent death.
Linked back to gods are not omnipotent, they can likely only know whatever they happen to be made aware of by their priests and divine servitors as well as whatever they happen to be monitoring that is of interest to them (i imagine they can scry on mortals that interest them).
So just by ringing up a god and asking a question does not guarantee that they will know the answer. In fact it is probable that their knowledge is limited and so they would respond in cryptic replies if at all (assuming this is the 0.01% of interactions).


Then we get onto the part of gods directly interfering in mortal affairs. As we are seeing in the modern world, entities of unlimited power engage in a conflict of escalating responses until one side runs out of power to escalate to the next level. They do this because the ultimately result of any conflict is Total Annihilation, and so beings with any modicum of intelligence realise that a pact of Mutual Assured Destruction is required in order to limit the conflict to normal levels and to prevent the death of everyone and everything.
Gods have unlimited power when compared to mortals (but they are not actually omnipotent). A handful of gods are more than capable of destroying Faerun and everything in it, a problem made worse by the alliances and oppositions between them that resemble axis and allies powers of modern conflicts. As they are intelligent beings it only makes sense that they would set out the rules of any engagement to prevent the inevitable destruction of what they need (worshippers).
Thus it cannot be allowed for gods to directly slay the worshippers of others or directly do anything. Intermediates must be used and powers must only be manifest at the request of the faithful.
All beings however seek to circumvent the rules as agreed, avatars are allowed when called upon, miracles are allowed when called upon. Manifestations of random things that do nothing in themselves direct worshippers towards the wishes of the deity as do visions.

What we are seeing with Cyric is likely the activities of a being not familiar with the rules, and the response of other beings. Anytime a god appeared it really should be considered whether this was actually an avatar or not (unless they are a new deity like Cyric) and called upon by the faithful.
Bhaal's appearance in the Moonshaes was called upon by Hogarth so likely an avatar. It was also spectacularly badly done, he is enormouse, filled with godly power (Lathander's appearance nearly destroyed everyone that witnessed it) and yet all the god manages to do is repeatedly stomp on Tristan and fail to kill him in a singular demonstration of Bhaal as the stupidest divine being in existence.

And lastly, one thing i always apply to divine communication. Gods are not material beings, they do not possess a single body, they can be split into multiple avatars at the same time and multitask many things at once. Without a body they may not even interpret time and space in the same way as material beings do. Why would it be that when communicating with a divine being they would even be capable of speech and in a manner that we could interpret. It seems far more likely that they would just force the information into our mind in a single moment. Such a forceful event could likely appear jumble in time (as they have little concept of it being an immortal and bodiless being) and be a confusing mess of desires and outcomes and suggested methods all in one go. In the film Dogma anyone that heard the voice of god exploded immediately, anyone that looks upon Lathander's avatar goes blind, why wouldnt the same apply to anyone hearing the word of a god.


Just my thoughts, but everything i read about the gods just makes me think more and more that using these novelised events as a standard for interactions with the divine is completely unworkable in a world building sense.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 23 Apr 2022 :  20:00:46  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Really not enjoying Once around the Realms. It started out okay, with some interesting lore, but has quickly degenerated into a whistle stop tour of every place in the realms. Thanks to this novel i know that Thay has the Red Wizards, the Sea of Fallen Stars has pirates, the Shaar has bandits, Halrua has airships, and Chult has dinosaurs. And thats about all i have learned.

The names are the worst, a bad parody of real life people and places, on a par with the Netheril boxed set.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6477 Posts

Posted - 25 Apr 2022 :  13:38:27  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Really not enjoying Once around the Realms. It started out okay, with some interesting lore, but has quickly degenerated into a whistle stop tour of every place in the realms. Thanks to this novel i know that Thay has the Red Wizards, the Sea of Fallen Stars has pirates, the Shaar has bandits, Halrua has airships, and Chult has dinosaurs. And thats about all i have learned.

The names are the worst, a bad parody of real life people and places, on a par with the Netheril boxed set.



It and the Double Diamond books have the distinction of being declared Realms fiction. As in, fiction created in the Realms by Realms writers. They are not standard FR novels in that sense and confirmed as not being "canonical" way back when.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 25 Apr 2022 :  15:12:27  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wish I'd known that before I started mining it for lore.

It does have some possibilities though the story about a chultan king being rescued by 3 citizens I might use for the tale of a Bara

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Gary Dallison
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6026 Posts

Posted - 25 Apr 2022 :  21:07:53  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just cant finish that novel. I got as far as page 53 and gave up.

On to Cloak of Shadows.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 13 May 2022 :  22:07:33  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's a question for the sages

I'm reading Cloak of Shadows, and in Chapter 1 in the month of Kythorn Elminster casts a spell, not using a magic item but actually casts a spell.

Now in Shadows of Doom (set before this book although i dont know the dates) he decides he cannot cast any spells for fear of destroying the Weave and possibly the entire planet.

In the Avatar Trilogy we see Elminster battling away with spells many times, and i'm fairly certain those books are set after the Shadows of the Avatar trilogy.

So at some point between Shadows of Doom and Cloak of Shadows Elminster realise he is able to cast spells, or he finds some way of ensuring he doesnt blow up the Weave when he casts spells, or i've got my timing off and Cloak of Shadows is set after the Avatar books where Elminster gets rid of the bit of Mystra hiding inside him (presumably when that piece of Mystra jumps into the rift in Shadowdale and turns into some magic golem).

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?

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ElfBane
Learned Scribe

USA
235 Posts

Posted - 13 May 2022 :  23:50:17  Show Profile Send ElfBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh jeez! WOTC knows that they have created a "superman", whose spell abilities should be able to solve virtually ALL problems. Realizing what they have done, and since they don't have kryptonite, they have to create plot devices that hobble Elminster. He's virtually a demi-god, even though he's "just" a Chosen. WOTC has probably handled it as best they could... by not using Elminster much in the last few years.
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Demzer
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845 Posts

Posted - 14 May 2022 :  04:31:29  Show Profile Send Demzer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?



It's in the final chapter of Shadows of Doom (I think chapter 24, titled "The Void, Love and Doom" in the printing I have). He reliquishes back to Mystra the divine power he had absorbed (so he's not supercharged and doesn't risk going in overload and blowing up anymore) and starts casting magic again.
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 14 May 2022 :  10:25:57  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Would anyone be able to shed some light on the above and explain how / why Elminster is now able to cast spells?



It's in the final chapter of Shadows of Doom (I think chapter 24, titled "The Void, Love and Doom" in the printing I have). He reliquishes back to Mystra the divine power he had absorbed (so he's not supercharged and doesn't risk going in overload and blowing up anymore) and starts casting magic again.



Ta, i completely forgot about that bit.

So it looks like Shadows of Doom is set right at the start of the Time of Troubles. Then Mystra goes to face Bane and gets captured at Castle Crag i think and sends some of her power to Midnight. Then Elminster kills those Malaugrym in one of the Avatar books and presumably that is the brother of Milhvar who is the Malaugrym at the start of Cloak of Shadows.

I wonder if anyone has actually plotted out all the events from the Time of Troubles around Mystra and Elminster because this could get really complicated.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 19 May 2022 :  22:11:33  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do love the Ed Greenwood novels, so much lore in each page.

Shadow crown and Doomstars for new items.

A new place I've never heard of (although this one might not be on toril) the Etherimm.

New Harpers, new malaugrym.

New bits of history (elminster had many names since athalantar, maybe he did the identity swapping thing like Khelben).

Lots of new info about the malaugrym that I didnt know before

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6477 Posts

Posted - 20 May 2022 :  00:39:19  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I do love the Ed Greenwood novels, so much lore in each page.

Shadow crown and Doomstars for new items.

A new place I've never heard of (although this one might not be on toril) the Etherimm.

New Harpers, new malaugrym.

New bits of history (elminster had many names since athalantar, maybe he did the identity swapping thing like Khelben).

Lots of new info about the malaugrym that I didnt know before



I think "Etherimm" might be the malaugrym collective term for the Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadow, given that in 2E they were contiguous.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 20 May 2022 :  12:32:34  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So the Malaugrym seem to be able to scry anywhere on Faerun and appear anywhere on Faerun whenever they want.

Not an impossible task for a sufficiently powerful magic user, but it is used so often that i get the feeling there is something else behind this power.

One of the locations in the Castle of SHadows is called the Hall of Many Stairs. This location was referred to while discussing scrying portals.

It was noted that in the past, those looking into the scrying portals too closely may have found themselves looking at a false image or falling victim to a trap (one Malaugrym was devoured by a manyjaws - deepspawn i guess - while looking at a scene of nude mermaids.
This implies the Malaugrym do not have control over their scrying portals and that the portals are not just for scrying, they almost act like visual gateways.

Now it could be that the Malaugrym deliberately trapped the scrying portals to slay their kin. Not impossible given that kin strife is known among the Malaugrym.

What if the Hall of Many Stairs is actually connected to the Infinite Staircase, that would explain the name, how they get access to so many places, why they do not seem to have complete control over the scrying or the portals themselves.

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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
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Posted - 20 May 2022 :  14:58:57  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If the Malaugrym can use the Staircase, whose to say that it couldn't have been used by other extra-planar groups. Perhaps that is how The Night Parade first made it to Toril. That would mean that there is a Staircase entrance in or around Calimport. Their Apparatus was invented as a shortcut because it was so dangerous to travel the Staircase.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 20 May 2022 :  17:33:44  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's possible I suppose but the infinite staircase is fairly difficult to get to otherwise everyone would use it to access the planes.

Malaug was an incredibly powerful spell caster in his day and the malaugrym obsession with the planes and seemingly unlimited portal access to anywhere makes me think they have access to something others dont.

If they did connect to the staircase it might also explain how elminster has had access to their domain several times and another reason why he chose to live in shadowdale which had an access point to the staircase until very recently.

Just a thought

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