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 Keeps, castles, and magical cards
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Eldacar
Senior Scribe

438 Posts

Posted - 07 Jul 2022 :  19:15:17  Show Profile Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I recently had cause to be doing research on the Deck of Many Things, and one of the places that Google took me was the Forgotten Realms wiki. Granted, the wiki is not always the most accurate of sources, but one thing there did catch my eye:

"Throne: They became adept at influencing others to a heroic extent. Additionally some random keep located somewhere came into their rightful possession. However, the keep was infested with monstrous creatures that had to be expelled before it could be claimed. There were no recorded instances of any keeps appearing or having their ownership transferred by means of this magic."

I'm usually skeptical about the FR wiki unless I can check the source for myself, which in this case served me well. The source it cited was the 5th edition DMG, which I happen to own, and on checking the relevant page the underlined line is not, in fact, there. The previous ones are, with the keep becoming rightfully the card drawer's, and infested with monsters. I've assumed that the last line is a guess by the person who wrote the article based on them never finding any record of it happening.

So my first question would be, to the best knowledge of people here at Candlekeep, is that actually the case? There being no recorded instances of it in Realmslore?

Bouncing off that, if there are no recorded instances of it ever happening what would be good examples of such a keep? There are undoubtedly many keeps and castles across Faerun. Dragonspear? Talmost Keep? Hellgate Keep? Sharandar?

"The Wild Mages I have met exhibit a startling disregard for common sense, and are often meddling with powers far beyond their own control." ~Volo
"Not unlike a certain travelogue author with whom I am unfortunately acquainted." ~Elminster

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36250 Posts

Posted - 07 Jul 2022 :  21:59:19  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know of any cases; I don't think the Deck of Many Things has even come up, in published Realmslore, aside from the Death card that keeps putting in an appearance in a Waterdhavian gambling hall.

For me, if using the Deck of Many Things*, I'd have any such keep be a small one, somewhere between "garrison outpost" and "fortified country manor" in size... So not the kind of place that's named and well-known, but the kind of keep that can potentially grow into a named and well-known place. (It's not uncommon for castles to start as small keeps and then grow larger, over the centuries)

*I actually have a Deck of Many Things. There was a Kickstarter for a physical one, many years back, and I got one then. It's rather nifty and the cards are pretty!

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6495 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2022 :  01:19:12  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
FR7 Hall of Heroes in the write up of the Knights of Myth Drannor (p.107) talks about the group finding a Deck of Many Things in the ruins of Myth Drannor and Doust surviving the drawing of the Death card but too my knowledge the Castle card has never been referenced in Realmslore.

-- 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
1165 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2022 :  14:18:18  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I remember that there was something written by Ed that had a small keep that I think would be a good example. He even said that there were multiple keeps created with the same design. Let me dig through my stuff and see if I can find it. If I remember correctly, it was located outside of Proskur.

Edit: found it. Stormhawk Keep on page 97 of the 3e Powers of Faerun.

As a note about another card, The Knight. I have had two people pull that card. Creating a skilled individual out of thin air seems a bit much for me so I decided that the magic of the card will grab some random 4th level fighter from somewhere on Toril and basically brainwash them into loyalty for the person drawing the card. One of the fighter's memories for before are vague and any emotional attachments they had are gone. The other one remembers everything but they were about to be killed in combat so they attribute their "rescue" to Tempus (he saw Tempus during the Time of Troubles) and thus has a duty to stay with the person who drew the card.

"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

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 08 Jul 2022 15:12:51
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7683 Posts

Posted - 08 Jul 2022 :  22:59:54  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I interpret a "keep" as being a small and simple "castle". Perhaps a motte and bailey sort of thing surrounded by a decent fortified wall, a defensible tower with some machicolations and a catapult or two on top, that sort of thing. Basically a single large tower you can pack up to about 100 defenders into, a few dozen archers, enough provisions for a few months. Invariably built on a hill, mountain, cliff, bridge, island, or some other awkward location an attacker would have a hard time approaching on the ground. The sort of thing which would merely be a large "gatehouse" for a heavily fortified castle complex, it would take maybe 10000gp and a year to build in 1E/2E rules.

https://www.robertharding.com/watermark.php?type=preview&im=RM/RH/PANORAMIC/696-607
https://www.cornwalls.co.uk/sites/default/files/photos/pendennis-view.jpg
https://medievalheritage.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/donzon-Rochester.jpg
https://s0.geograph.org.uk/geophotos/02/41/76/2417683_1ed9c172.jpg

I imagine that it would have to be conveniently located within a day's ride of a town, a port, or some villages - not too far away from a road or a river - so that the defenders could obtain supplies, labourers, and entertainments - so that they could more easily patrol the local region.

"Ownership" could be as simple as the magical card transmuting into a written deed, covered with the appropriate signets and heraldry to verify authenticity. Or a military missive instructing the card holder to reclaim the keep from a monster, villain, or enemy - "rewarding" him with a permanent station on site to keep the location secure vs future incursions. Or a magical communication to a worried feudal authority who is willing to transfer land and title of the thing to a "worthy" defender. Or a map to some long-forgotten vine-covered "ruin" which still contains intact fortifications. The magical card might contain passwords, command words, a secret symbol, or some other "key" which dispels illusions and wards protecting the keep. It might even have an image of a key or signet or token which the holder needs to get manufactured, or burn a brand onto the holder's palm, or illustrate a scene which convey knowledge and instructions, etc. It might simply direct adventurers onto a quest at some keep which happens to have the proper deed/key/whatever of ownership somewhere within the conclusion of the module narrative. The famous 1E adventures - The Sentinel and The Gauntlet - might provide ideas of magical items related to ownership of a keep.

In 1E/2E rules a fighter would attract a small army of followers after establishing a base or stronghold of some sort. But I think it would be more interesting if he somehow met them (or was assigned to lead them) in a quest to locate or retake a lost keep.

In a generic medieval D&D setting the keep is just a free mini-castle the PCs can use as their base.
But in a more specific pseudo-medieval quasi-historical-based D&D setting the keep is a station. It comes with responsibilities, obligations, duties - and an income and an operating cost - and allies and enemies. The owner of a keep is a minor nobleman, in title at least, and functions as a vassal to another. A keep isn't cheap to build so it's always built for a reason - to deny enemy occupation, to police an area, to hoard collected taxes, etc. The local population might be happy to have a military presence nearby ... or they might hate it vehemently (often the latter, since small keeps are ill-provisioned to contain large civilian populations in times of conflict).

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 08 Jul 2022 23:12:23
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Eldacar
Senior Scribe

438 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2022 :  00:51:39  Show Profile Send Eldacar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Edit: found it. Stormhawk Keep on page 97 of the 3e Powers of Faerun.

Pretty interesting! It reminds me a bit of Harlech Castle here in the UK, which may be another, real-world, example of something that could qualify for the card (although on the upper end in size, certainly). There's a floor plan here done up for it in D&D terms:

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3688/19818898683_a8463d9155_o.jpg
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/268/19817160054_de3e08699b_o.jpg
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3818/20413572456_fd273c25c7_o.jpg

quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

FR7 Hall of Heroes in the write up of the Knights of Myth Drannor (p.107) talks about the group finding a Deck of Many Things in the ruins of Myth Drannor and Doust surviving the drawing of the Death card but too my knowledge the Castle card has never been referenced in Realmslore.

Thanks for this. It (re)confirms that the Deck exists in published Realmslore and that cards have been pulled from it, but perhaps the FR wiki is correct on this point then. I supposed I'm mildly surprised that some of the bigger/weirder cards haven't ever been seen, they could make for interesting lore plot points. I suppose they're odd enough that if they were drawn their effects would have been commented on for being notable.

"The Wild Mages I have met exhibit a startling disregard for common sense, and are often meddling with powers far beyond their own control." ~Volo
"Not unlike a certain travelogue author with whom I am unfortunately acquainted." ~Elminster
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1165 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2022 :  22:19:24  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was closing up the Power of Faerun book when I noticed Wolfwatch Manor on page 94. That would probably be an even better example of a small keep that would be granted by the card. Especially in a more civilized area.

"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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