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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:44:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On feminine class terms:


6 Jul 2019


@XynRaven

Are there female equivalents to the terms "warlock" and "wizard" and other such class terms, like how "druid" can be "druidess" and "sorcerer" "sorceress"? More to the point, where does the term "witch" apply?


@TheEdVerse

Although “wizardess” can be found in a few ancient titles, most folk in the Realms use “warlock,” “wizard,” and “druid” regardless of the gender of an individual, usually going to a feminine form just for “sorceress.”

The term “witch” gets applied to so many people, so often inaccurately, that it can’t be trusted for anything. Elminster and his generation used it to mean “self-taught arcane spellcaster and herbalist, usually rural and mainly concerned with casting daily life spells for a living.” The term “hedge-wizard” means a rural wizard of low level, usually largely self-taught and not concerned with gaining power or influence. Both “witch” and “hedge-wizard” can be pejoratives, but aren’t always used thus. Many common folk in the Realms use “witch” with a connotation of “evil,” and circa 1100-1300DR, in certain areas (Turmish and the Vilhon, Chessenta) “witch” specifically meant “female arcane spellcaster taught by, and usually the servitor of, a hag.” Just about any woman who can work magic might can called a witch by someone who dislikes or fears her or wants her gone. For example, Syluné of the Seven Sisters was called by many “the Witch of Shadowdale.”
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:44:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On financial windfalls:


15 Apr 2019
#8207;
@IanXHickman
Do you think people in the Realms (players of course), if they hit it big and get lots of wealth, do they need to bump up their lifestyle or risk having there new found wealth confiscated because the local city guard though it likely was stolen?


@TheEdVerse
In most cities in the Realms, folk who get wealthy use their coin for whatever they want to (some become misers, some blow it getting everything they want, some are unaffected) and the city guard and authorities watch but leave them alone. They may watch VERY closely if they're suspicious, but most cities thrive on trade, and trade withers in a hurry if merchants, importers, investors, and just plain folks who strike it big think the local authorities are going to grab any wealth they make. Waterdeep, Suzail, Silverymoon, and Baldur's Gate, just to name four cities off the top of my head, are places where citizens pride themselves on doing as they please (as much as their coin allows), so NO, they don't need to alter their lifestyle. :} (Thieves watch too, mind you.)
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:45:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On hin magic:


22 Apr 2019

@Greysil_Tassyr
Friend Ed, this day I am interested in hin magic. I am quite interested in stuff that appeals to halflings and no one else, especially unique goodies and non-weapons. I looked at the stuff in The Five Shires, but it wasn't what I wanted. Thankee!
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
In the Realms, hin daily magic is most concerned with growing things (edible plants, usually, and hin specialize in prettily flowering edibles), training growing things, and banishing blights and molds from growing things. Second comes cleaning: hin are foremost, as a race, when it comes to small, simple spells that cleanse things and remove marks, stains, etc. Third is mending: hin are great at magic that consumes a raw material (material component) and uses it to knit tears or cuts or frayed areas, restore worn-out fabric or rusted metal (turning things to "like new" condition BUT THE LOOKS THE CASTER WANTS, so if a mended garment or awning is faded, the "fixed" part will match...unless the caster wants the whole thing to look new and rich again). And fourth is warding magics, that keep away unwanted intruders (of specific sorts determined by the incantation) and combine alarms and lighting if the caster wants them; i.e. makes it hard for a prowling predator to cross a ward-boundary around a tent or hin campfire, and brilliant lights the area (the boundary radiating light that due to the enchantment makes invisible beings visible, plus an audible alarm to awaken sleeping hin), and so on. Sixth is tracer magics (like Locate Object, but keyed to a favourite specific item that's been lost or stolen, so the caster can find it again. Seventh: building surfaces; hin enchantments can make mud brick waterproof, keep oil-mix seals from leaking, and so on, to make simple construction sturdier and more long-lasting. See? Practical stuff.

Many hin make livings partly by using such magics; they dwell in human-dominated cities and towns and run "repair shops" for humans needing things fixed or cleaned or mended. Or by selling fresh greens (or berries, small tomatoes, herbs, or fruit) for many tables.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:46:34  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On interactions between pantheons:


18 Jun 2019


@TheGeekestGreek
Oh loremaster, @TheEdVerse, I've been stuck on a world building question as I branch out my continents and the many peoples that worship their many pantheons; I've come to a block.

How, with so many pantheons to contend with, do the gods interact?

I'm actually curious to see FR as an example.

How would (or maybe rather, are there instances in which) deities from the Faerūnian pantheon interact with deities from say Maztica or Kara-Tur?

If so, what types of run ins would normally occur? Thank you in advance!


@TheGeekestGreek
*Let me amend the first tweet.

I specifically mean interaction between pantheons. Sorry if my tweet made the question seem nonsensical! šŸ˜…


@TheEdVerse
The Time of Troubles, the Spellplague and Sundering, and certain other events that mortals know far less about have shown deities forcefully that direct conflict between them is a Bad Idea; it hurts them, it hurts their worshipper bases they derive power from, and it hurts the world(s) those mortal worshippers dwell in. So these days, almost all conflict between deities is by proxy: through mortals (such as clergy, PC adventurers, rulers and trading costers and guilds and cabals and secret societies the deities can influence, and so on. They COMMUNICATE fairly often, either directly or by means of trusted servitors, usually on matters their portfolios coincide/conflict/intersect on, but conflict only occurs when deities are pushing for more power (inevitably at the expense of other deities), which is now rarer and more subtle. The "return" of all deities in FR lessened lessened the power of a lot of the surviving deities, as competition for/sharing of overlapping portfolios increased.

Please note that deities deceive even their clergies, and communications between deities is often oblique or cryptic, from mortal viewpoints. But it does occur. A lot.

Most deities devote their attention to "pet projects," often involving improving their clergies and reputations in the wider mortal world, and try to take care of other matters through negotations and swift, deft manipulation. Deities DO "horse-trade," though even their high-ranking priests are rarely (formally) aware of it.
#Realmslore


@davespring
A Godly Cold War but there are 150 superpowers?


@TheEdVerse
Could be seen that way, but remember: the essential nature of some deities makes them not only not superpowers, but not warlike.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:48:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On items that will arrest Asmodeus:


3 May 2019


@zac_stelling
Tell me true, @TheEdVerse, are there any artifacts or entities in the Nine Hells capable of arresting Lord Asmodeus, even for a time? If so, what are they? If not, extend the search parameter beyond the Nine and answer once more.


@TheEdVerse
Oh, yes. Any "snarlshard" will do it. Picture a spindle-shaped, razor-sharp piece of black gemstone, resembling obsidian. When "given blood" (handling it bare-handed will do; it will slice you somewhere!), willed to drink, and hurled at or touched to someone, it will instantly start to drain magic (memorized spells) and/or life energy (hp) from a living being (NOT scrolls or magic items). It will bond to flesh, though it can easily be plucked off. So Asmodeus would pause to go around a floating shard, or dodge one, or even flee to circumvent it and come at its source by another way. Needless to say, anyone openly striding around the Nine Hells with a snarlshard is going to get BURIED in lesser devils, sent to rend them limb from limb. No unguarded, unhidden, unguarded snarlshards are to be found in the Hells, but there are quite a few of them all over Toril. They were a favourite "secret weapon" among the Netherese and (still are, among) certain hin and gnome families.

And yes, there are other means, both artifacts and entities, but they're far rarer and more secret or secretive, for obvious reasons.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  14:49:38  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On paying instructors in magic academies:


3 Jul 2019


@RandomQueriant
I just had an odd thought, and a quick check of my books didn't settle it. How much does a instructor of wizardry make in one of the magic colleges? Say, Ladies College around 1372DR (start of 3rd Ed.) Does access to rare collections or other fringes change that?
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
It varies, depending on whether or not sideline income (private tutoring, spell scroll making or for-pay spellcasting or for-fee using magic to decipher old writings/possibly arcane writings) is allowed. If yes, lower, but if not, an instructor gets room and board and all expenses (spell inks, parchment, material components, wardrobe) and 2000-6000 gp/month, the lower end being starting salary, usually increasing by 1000/year, at the end of every year of continuous employment. Respected senior instructors get paid leave for adventuring, spell crafting, or spell research (i.e. they get their salary even when away from doing their instructing). In addition, senior faculty at magic colleges get a share of any profits made by the college (from spellcasting projects like casting city or castle wards, and more commonly from "secure storage" rentals (the college offers to keep your gems or gold bars in its vaults, and insures them, and you pay a monthly "safeguard" fee).
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:02:14  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Redhand Pool:


17 Apr 2019
#8207;

@Sartana87
Hi @TheEdVerse ! Do someone in Eveningstar know any story about Redhand Pool or where does that name come from ?


@TheEdVerse
Redhand Pool is named for a long-ago adventurer, Seldarra Redhand, who ended her days (she lived into her eighties) dwelling in a little cottage (that has long since entirely vanished) near it (the Pool was her bathtub and laundry tub). She and her father, the more famous Haranth Redhand, were locally famous as defenders of Eveningstar against goblins and brigands; they served as unofficial "local constables" for several Kings, keeping the peace and upholding the law. Legend says Redhand treasure lies in the pool.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:03:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the economics of the Shining Lands:


21 May 2019


@Tobbun
*starts reading economic theory to better understand exactly what kind of capitalism @TheEdVerse referred to when coming up with the Shining Lands*

Like, is it a Liberal market economy or a coordinated one? How much of it is laissez-faire? What kinda 'free market' do they have?


@Tobbun
some of the lore i read abt the shining lands is just so heavily WHAT when it comes to the social structure no wonder i never got going on that campaign huh
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
Hmm, being as real-world societies all mean slightly different things when they use terms like “Liberal market” or “laissez-faire” or even “free market” (there’s no such thing as a truly free market if there are governments involved, or even governing areas nearby), that’s a tough task you’ve set yourself.

The best way to think of the OLD Shining Lands (when Durpar controlled all three countries) was: merchants do as they please and the government plays catch-up referee in disputes between merchants and in cases of REAL exploitation/gouging (i.e. merchants creating artificial famines to drive prices up and make desperately hungry folk who can’t travel pay them; yes, it happened). Inevitably, over time, what real-world Commonwealth countries and the USA would call “case law” accumulated to where merchants started to find it irksome, but before they could really push back, the politics that caused the three countries to become independent of each other happened, and merchants again had freedom—but also curbs on their excesses caused by the wartime “forget your so-called rights, see this sword I’m waving under your nose?” behaviour of all three governments. The independence of the three countries from each other (“NEW” Shining Lands, if you will) shattered all that case law as each government made new rules and taxes and interpretations (if you’re American, analogous to different states within the union having different laws; if you’re Canadian like me, different provinces, ditto), and ever since SOME merchants have tried to operate in the differences and gray areas of differing interpretations, which means over time that all three governments build up new rules and restrictions.

But as I’m always trying to design the state of things in the Realms to provide lots of rich roleplaying opportunities for adventurers, those new rules still have lots of gaps and areas of dispute, and merchants are hiring lots of adventurers as bodyguards and cargo guards because things are still a bit “Wild West” (as they are EVERYWHERE in the Realms, to various degrees, in the wake of the Spellplague and Sundering).

The simple way to describe conditions in the three countries around the Golden Water is: merchants there still think they can do just about anything, not that they have to think hard about red tape or restrictions or taxes before they do anything.
Hope this helps!
#Realmslore


@Tobbun
Ah, thank you! One of my main questions is how do they track earnings for taxes/determining who sits on the Council of Chakas? How do they deal with mergers/splits of great trade houses? Do each of the bigger houses just naturally end up contracting mercenaries as security?

#8207;
@TheEdVerse
Council seats are based on taxes paid (to cut down on merchants cheating on their taxes!). Any merger or split instantly loses the Council seats of all involved (they can earn seats after the next annual tax payment time). Yes, everyone needs/wants security and hires mercenaries and/or adventurers to provide it. Bigger houses run their own family recruitment and training programs, giving them a stake in company profits, to "buy" greater loyalty.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:05:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the original Old Empires:


24 May 2019


@AdamDravian
@TheEdVerse, well met again! Is there anything you can share about your original concept for the "god-kings" of Mulhorand and Unther? I've read that you imagined Mulhorand as a land of dusky-skinned Set worshippers and slavers. How did Set tie-in to the god kings of your Realms?


@TheEdVerse
My original Realms had no ancient Egyptian/ancient Babylonia/Gilgamesh elements; "my" Mulhorand and Unther had desert areas and a hot climate and therefore the human inhabitants were darker of skin than the Sword Coast North humans. There were some slavers, selling criminals, the heavily in debt, and captured outlanders (from Raurin and points east) to Thay as slaves, but neither Mulhorand nor Unther had legal, country-tolerated slavery (whereas Thay did). When I was asked by early GenCon gamers where best to "plug in" the worship of Set into Faerun, I pointed to Mulhorand and Unther as the best places. Left to my own devices, I would never have had such close real-world (or Hollywood) analogues in the Realms as Old Empires portrayed them to be, but remember that TSR wanted the Realms to be the broad canvas that had room for jungle, pirate, "Oriental," etc. etc. adventures, putting in the Desert of Desolation modules and others, so Mulhorand and Unther became what you see in print.

My original Mulhorand and Unther were thus: Unther had broken away from oppressive warring-with-each-other (and pouring conscripted farmers into their armies to do so) Mulhorandi kings: the armies turned on their masters and forced independence (breakaway country). Both were remnants of older great (fallen) empires, and were scrabbling in tombs and underground "dungeons" (the cellars of vanished cities) for the treasure (especially magic) of the gone elder glory...but making little headway because horrific monsters were lurking down there (when D&D came along, I latched onto beholders [with my inventions: death tyrants, as their undead guardians] and mind flayers as the horrific monsters) and because the climates of both Unther and Mulhorand were drying, fast; the land was changing from verdant to arid with frightening rapidity (yes, I had climate change in the early 1960s, ahead of my time as usual ;} ). I wanted to explore how a fast environment change forces social change, but. :{
#Realmslore


@AdamDravian
Wow, thanks for the great response, Ed.
But just to be clear, you're saying that your Unther & Mulhorand were ruled by mortal kings as opposed to "god-kings"? If so, I'm a bit surprised, since the god-kings are mentioned as early as FR0 ... but then again so is Kara-tur.


@TheEdVerse
My Unther and Mulhorand were one country ruled by two rival mortal kings, who warred with each other. Both declared themselves "god-kings" (one after the other) in a PR attempt to establish rightful supremacy over the other. Complete with fake priests.
#Realmslore


@AdamDravian
I love this kind of insight. Thanks for indulging me, Ed. You are the gem of our North.
I'll absolutely be using this in my game. Might I inquire the names of these kings?
ā€

@TheEdVerse
Sure. The two rival kings were Vaznurhor and Narlmur. Vaznurhor, whose seat of power was in the southwest and among the old nobles, claimed divinity first; Narlmur, the younger "reformer" (for more equality in society) followed suit. Both became ruthless madmen.

Shar (chaos, discord) backed both, to bring about the downfall of mighty Mulhorand...and succeeded: Unther broke away into independence.
So, yes, the TERM "god-kings" was mine. Kara-Tur was not. Jeff Grubb and Karen Boomgaarden (now Karen Conlin) compiled FR0 from my lore and from TSR's needs/existing plot set-ups, and setups for products in the pipeline. I sent Jeff around 20 "Look At The FR" weekly packages, and TSR drew on those to get the boxed set done fast.
#Realmslore


@Jon_4L
If I ever run a campaign in the Forgotten Realms, I'm using that instead of the current Mulhorand. I haven't been a fan of having Earth's pagan deities elsewhere since watching Stargate SG1, and I feel it's appropriate for displaying my appreciation for you and The Realms


@TheEdVerse
It makes Mulhorand and Unther easier places to explore down at the daily life/"little common people" social level. Being as Old Empires doesn't really give a FEEL for how mortals think of the god-kings, and what their rule is like.
AND, water and access to it become treasure!


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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:06:36  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the post-Simbul leadership of Aglarond:


2 May 2019


@chellsshade
Hi. I wanted to use Aglarond in current FR calendar. Like the idea of racial conflicts but if they weaken too much Thay pounces. I think Simbul would be venerated. Absence is a great polisher. There were rumors that she named an heir. Did the heir ever get named?
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
In my 2002 novel ELMINSTER IN HELL, the Simbul named her four apprentices as four rotating/joint Acting Crown Regals (regents) of Aglarond in her absence: the sorcerer-wizards Thorneira Thalance, Phaeldara, and Evenyl Nathtalond, and the sorcerer-rogue “the Masked One” (true identity NDA). They all survived the Spellplague by a means the Simbul had secretly taught them: “riding the Weave” (abandoning their bodies and plunging into the Weave as sentiences to ride out the Wailing Years), returning as weakened versions of themselves when arcane magic could largely be trusted again (around 1400 DR). After the Simbul’s disappearance and presumed death in 1425 DR (she hadn’t perished, but went mad in the Spellplague and was kept alive by Elminster, as seen in ELMINSTER MUST DIE and its sequels; as she climbed back out of madness, ruling Aglarond or anywhere else was no longer of interest to her), facing Thayan-sponsored rebellions and invasions and several local petty officials deciding to declare themselves ruling lords of their own city or small region of Aglarond, the four Crown Regals spearheaded the formation of a council of simbarchs to rule Aglarond. They became the heart of the fifteen-strong Simbarch Council. After the Simbul sacrificed herself to restore Elminster, and became a Weave-ghost, her four former apprentices became VERY effective at thwarting all plots against Aglarond and all treachery and self-interest within the Council because the Simbul, as a sleepless sentience riding the Weave, could see all uses of magic (and eavesdrop on all conversations that made use of magic for transmission or shielding), could whisper in their minds to warn and advise them, and increasingly has done so.
So the Simbarchs still rule, with the Simbul’s four former apprentices as their leaders (and, yes, the four keep the Simbul’s memory bright in Aglarond).


8 May 2019
#8207;

@company_legacy
I appreciate the response. Thank you again Sir. I do still wonder if there is a year she is officially declared dead or if that is up in the air/ to be determined.


@TheEdVerse
In the mid-1490s, The Simbul (as a voice in the Weave) communicates with all of her former apprentices in Aglarond, and tells them she’ll not return as Queen, so they’re the rulers of Aglarond now.

So she’s not dead and they know it, so no one’s declaring her officially dead. ;}
#Realmslore

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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:08:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the price of entering Candlekeep:


20 Jun 2019
#8207;

@XynRaven
While Candlekeep requires visitors present books with a certain value or higher, do they request such donations on every visit, or is the one donation enough to grant access to the library for life?


@TheEdVerse
Candlekeep requires a "worthy" book that isn't yet in their library (or a more complete copy of one already in their library), and an accepted donation grants access for life.
#Realmslore


@XynRaven
Oh thank Ao, I was worried they'd need a new book every time you show up, the details I found weren't that clear. How exactly do they know it's the real visitor, though, and not someone impersonating them through magic?


@TheEdVerse
The monk at the gate tells them their old room is waiting for them. If they don't then head in the right direction, a senior monk secretly works a little thought-reading magic on them. (Monks who worked with them before may converse with them about past studies, too.)
#Realmslore


@XynRaven
So the only way to completely trick them is if you had the visitor's face and copied at least some of their memories.


@TheEdVerse
Careful with that word "completely." There are some surprises among the ranks of the monks. ;}
#Realmslore


@XynRaven
Already I love this place. And you. No homo.

But wait, you said the visitor would be told their old room is waiting for them. So how many rooms exist in Candlekeep? Because that makes it sound like anyone that visits gets their own room and that there's unlimited capacity for'em


@TheEdVerse
"Makes it sound" are the key words, there. Any visitor DOES get their own room (it's like a prison cell; small, simple cubicle w/cot, chamberpot, stool to sit on, and tiny wall desk/table), but that doesn't mean a returning visitor gets their old one, nor that there's an unlimited supply of them. That's just the test. The MONKS remember; they've honed their memorizing skills. For the layout of Candlekeep, see my "Intro" at the Candlekeep website. For descriptions of the interior, see my novel THE HERALD.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:09:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the Red Sashes and Durnan:


8 Jun 2019
#8207;

@Jon_4L
questions about Waterdeep: Are The Red Sashes still active in Waterdeep? Who made Durnan's two-shot crossbow? And since Durnan is clearly the hardened barkeep with what is equivocal to a double-barrel, who was the inspiration behind him?


@TheEdVerse
1)
Yes, they are. Current strength and aims? Up to your DM.
2)
Durnan's first two-shot crossbow (he's owned a succession, down the years) was made by Iros "Ironthorn" Thornan of Port Llast in 1299 DR and later (circa 1302 DR) purchased by Durnan.
3)
Durnan was one of my two original Realms characters that I wrote finished short stories about (as opposed to the single-scene vignettes where I started to flesh out the Seven Sisters), and I saw him as a young, naive "thinking-man's Conan" (Conan from civilization, with a a brain, as opposed to a "barbarian") who was best friend and adventuring partner to wily, older Mirt. So he was clearly NOT a "hardened barkeep" to start with; what he was, was someone who had the good sense to retire from adventuring when he struck it rich, marry the sweetheart of his youth, and settle down to doing what he loved best (being tavernmaster in a neighbourhood he loved). He has, of course, adopted a "hardened" persona over the years as the best way to deal with difficult patrons; his few close friends see a very different side of him. He and his family imbibed potions of longevity to prolong his lifespan, and his secret dealings with several Chosen of Mystra, and the goddess directly, to become an 'anchor' for the Weave in preparation for the Spellplague led Mystra to make certain alterations to his longevity that allowed it to survive the onset of the Spellplague (so he could function as an anchor) with the result that he's still vigorous today.
But no, the Wild West tough barkeep was never my inspiration for Durnan; you see him that way because the Realms is worked on by many, and "tough barkeep" was a role they saw as perfect for Durnan in adventures they were telling. Which is fine with me.
So long as you don't overlook his "quiet, kindly advisor and source of help, in private and treating all as equals" side. Durnan sees consequences and the 'long view' and many facets of the world more than most rulers, sages, and far-traveled merchants, and his day job gains him more fresh intel than most.
#Realmslore


@Jon_4L
Nice! That explains a lot, and gives me some resources to work with on a "Realms conquest" campaign later. I might have to find a reason Elminster et all don't take them down as soon as they set foot in Waterdeep though.


@TheEdVerse
Oh, that's easy. Elminster runs the secret service for Laeral, and Mirt is one of her James Bond-style roving-the-world dirty-tricks agents. They have SO many problems to deal with that they're always overworked and super-busy. Keeping the Xanathar from doing "Waterdeep conquest" for one, and there are literally scores of other villains and wannabe-villains busily at work. So give Elminster et al a major crisis to keep them occupied or even offstage, and your PCs can shine/do all the adventuring work, in-campaign.
#Realmslore

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On the wardenships of House Keskrel:


6 Jul 2019


@sanishiver
Good Morning @TheEdVerse,

In the Dragon 412 article "The Thing in the Crypt," the House of Keskrel is noted as having held wardenships in the past. Could you list some examples? Was a Keskrel ever a warden of the docks in Marsember?

I'm used to thinking whole regions re: wardens (like of the Eastern Marches) and not smaller, more specific postings/areas of responsibility.

#thankyou!


@TheEdVerse
Yes. "Warden of the Harbour" is the title. Keskrels were also Warden of the Stonehouse (prison castle east of Suzail just inland of the Dragoneye Way; on Mike Schley's superb Cormyr map, it's due north of the "g" in Draogneye) and Warden of the Westwatch (garrison that keeps watch over the Bridge of Fallen Men to see who enters and leaves the realm, stop any invading warbands, and keep anyone from sabotaging or enacting a toll collection on the bridge; the latter was a favourite brigand trick in elder days).

A Keskrel was also briefly Warden of the Hullack (a short-lived title for a role that really meant "go through the wild forest to make sure large armed bands of brigands weren't living/hiding in there" during a time when rumors arose that Sembia was sponsoring small armies and sending them, all divided up and disguised as pack-merchants with mule-trains, into eastern Cormyr to find their own ways to the Hullack to muster there, and await an invasion signal (large mercenary army attacks openly from Sembia, Hullack forces burst out of the woods to take Cormyr's defenders in the rear/burn and pillage across the countryside to force them to split up and deal with this threat/cut supply lines by blocking roads).
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On Undarl's Tower:


6 Jul 2019


@garethgarfoot
Hi once more from England, What can you reveal about the size and layout of Undarl's Tower before it was destroyed? I hope you and your wife have a nice weekend. Thanks once more- GG


@TheEdVerse
Hi, Gareth! In size and general architecture, Undarl’s Tower was pretty close to the real-world castle of Pierrefonds (Oise), only with a few open balconies (both external and internal, looking down on the courtyard) on the uppermost floor, and with all of the major towers (keeps) being large and “half-round” (like the Edward III Tower, of Windsor Castle), their flat roofs affording landing and takeoff pads for aerial steeds like the black dragon Anglathammaroth. The Tower had taluses (batters/plinths) flaring out at the bottom of its outside walls. Six interior floors (and an attic) aboveground, and at least three cellar/dungeon levels, with the lowest largely disused at it was so damp and moldy (good for mushroom-growing but not much else, as Undarl had no interest in rotting any prisoners within his own walls; they were housed elsewhere in Hastarl). The wall-towers and apartments were all interconnected, so a person on foot could travel “all around the circuit” indoors by choosing the right level (i.e. over or under the entry archways). The Tower had a large staff of servants, but they they were forbidden to enter many areas except at the command of Undarl or his steward. (Oh, and the curved sides of the half-round towers all faced out.) Hope this is of help.
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On Waterdeep's defenses:


17 Jun 2019
#8207;

@FireBreathShark
Do the lords or captains of Waterdeep have access to any last-resort defenses for the city aside from the Walking Statues?


@TheEdVerse
It depends, in YOUR Realms, how much survived the Spellplague. There are huge sections of massive city walls waiting extra-dimensionally to be whisked into place, there are the griffon riders in their eyrie within the top of Mount Waterdeep and the various 'bombs' they can drop on besiegers/invaders from aloft (including opening-caged monsters of various sorts), and there's whatever the Blackstaff and the Watchful Order have up their sleeves. Not to mention various "family relics" that various noble families have hidden away in their mansions. Some of these are known to include shield guardians, golems, and an astonishing number of undead beholders. Not to mention 'sleeping' family members who are liches of some magical might.

Those city wall sections, BTW, have at least twice in the past been dropped on the heads of attackers riding large monsters, rather than put in place to form a city wall.
And, oh, yes, there are all the dragons (see my Wyrms of the North articles) resident in Waterdeep, in various guises.

Plus whatever Laeral, the current Open Lord, can call on personally (not to mention the head of her secret service, a certain Elminster; you may have heard of him). Both Laeral and El are weavemasters; they can call on the Weave to do all sorts of magic without casting spells.

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On Waterdhavian summers:


16 May 2019


@Lexar131
hey Ed thanks for everything. Quick Q. What is the temperature in Waterdeep at the peak of the summer? Do we have heavy heatwaves making impossible every day activities flow as normal as they could? Do guards wear plate armors?


@TheEdVerse
USUALLY the cooling shore breezes (winds blowing from the sea) make life bearable (70s in Fahrenheit) at the height of the summer, but when those winds die the city can turn into a sauna in the sunlight (hot damp; high 80s). Guards would go down to "back-and-breast" (plates, held on with leather straps), plus gorget (throat) and cup (groin) plates, with white-hued surcoats to NOT absorb heat. No gauntlets. Light helms ARE usually worn.
#Realmslore


@davespring
I always assumed Waterdeep was fantasy Toronto by the sea and the weather was about the same.


@TheEdVerse
Waterdeep's a little warmer, thanks to warm ocean currents (keeps the harbor open longer). But close. :}
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On worshipping deities of other races:


7 May 2019


@pizzaxyz
Hey Ed. I'm trying to make a Human Forge Cleric but I can't seem to find many gods typically worshiped by Humans that would work for that. Would it be "weird" for a human to worship him? Maybe a human raised by dwarves?
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
No, many individuals in the Realms worship deities primarily venerated by other races. It's unusual, but NOT considered weird, as all sentient beings "believe in" all deities. As humans are curious, some humans might want to ask the PC why he worships that deity "before all others." Remember, the Realms is pantheistic, not mono-theistic: only clerics, paladins, and a few "fanatics" worship only one god. Most folks worship all the gods of their race, but about a third of that "most" devote most of their worship to a handful of gods.


8 May 2019


@AdamDravian
For the two-thirds (+) folk that worship all the gods of their race, what determines their afterlife destination? I'll specify that I'm asking about your home Realms--that way you don't have to navigate the minefield of planar retcons due to edition changes.


@TheEdVerse
The gods do. Or rather, the deity who most values their service/veneration/worship in life “claims” them. If gods dispute over someone, they’re “sent back” (restored right back to life) to live on, with their subsequent actions ‘proving’ to the watching gods who they most serve/are most important to/are “closest” to (whereupon, when they next perish, the gods decide anew).
#Realmslore

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On some secrets of Saerloon:


15 May 2019

@TheCthulhu_kid
hey Ed you got any secrets you can tell me about Saerloon?
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
Secrets of Saerloon 1: The many small gnome and human family firms who make various cast alloy items (collectively “pewter”) have had suspicions swirling around them for years, mainly of smuggling (small valuable items encased inside castings). Recently, word has leaked out that the Vronan gnome family sells “darkware” to select customers: cast pewter cups or goblets that poison wine that comes into contact with them.

Secrets of Saerloon 2: In the wake of the sudden disappearance (likely assassination) of Lord Governor Haelta “Johannes” Jauhanneszlan, not only did the Netherese influence over the city fade almost overnight (after the destruction of the city of Thultanthar [Shade]), rumors arose that she’d been assembling a local treasury for the Netherese, partly from wealth seized from the temples to other gods than Shar she’d seized and destroyed or rebuilt into arsenals, barracks, and coinvaults (banks). Various folk, both citizens and visiting adventurers, have been hunting for Haelta’s hidden wealth, thus far without any (publicly-known) success.

Secrets of Saerloon 3: Fire recently broke out at the Mavnurathan family shipyard and destroyed two caravels under construction. A sword was seen to rise up out of the ashes and fly away—into the heart of the city.

So what was a magical blade doing aboard a half-finished hull usually a-swarm with workers? Where did it go, who has it now, and what are its powers?

Secrets of Saerloon 4: Two of the quietest “old coin” merchant families of Saerloon are the houses of Harandreth (who have holdings all over the Dragon Coast and Vilhon Reach ports) and Ponszcelam (known as jewelers and dealers in luxury furniture, hangings, and furnishings of all kinds). Although both were rumored to have been working closely with the Netherese, both are now believed to have sponsored the removal of the Lord Governor, and to be covertly seeking to choose who sits on the new Sarcrescent of Saerloon (ruling merchant council, which now has six members and is planned to have nine as soon as possible, and eventually a dozen). They may or may not have had something to do with the murder of two Crescent Councillors, one of whom is rumored to have been secretly either a Thayan or a Zhentarim, depending on which rumors one believes).
[Hope these help!]
#Realmslore

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On smokepowder and gunpowder: (Note: this one was several related questions and such, over multiple days)


May 30
#8207;

@TheEdVerse
A few days back, Void_Null @VoidNull6 tweeted:

Alright, let's offer an alternative.

What being in FR is *in charge* of making sure gunpowder doesn't work?

If it's an existing god, I should be able to convince it to cancel the "gunpowder ban" just for me, right? And what about nitroglycerin? Is it banned as well?

So, lemme get this straight. Gunpowder exists in Faerun. But it does not burn.

Then what is it used *for*? What is the point in making a compound that doesn't fulfill its purpose?

If gunpowder doesn't combust, then what is it even used for? Why do gnomes make it?

The only logical explanation I can think of is "Some Elder God got pranked with a firecracker, so hesheit forbade gunpowder to work, ever".

That begs much more important questions about FR:
1) Does charcoal work the same in FR?
2) Does sulfur work the same in FR?
3) Does saltpeter work the same in FR?
4) Does deflagration work the same in FR?
5) What kind of force prevents people from combining all these?

[[enter Ed, putting on sage hat]]

All good questions. Right then, some lore answers:
Gond is the being who banned gunpowder from EXPLODING (burning very rapidly) and igniting (burning with an open flame).

He did this because of many deaths among his clergy and most devout lay worshippers, when they experimented with gunpowder whilst creating new mechanisms for the greater glory of Gond. The deity feared he would lose too many followers, too fast, and frighten all other mortals into shunning his worship. So he tinkered with gunpowder (and later, several other compounds—including nitroglycerin, or “halamda” as it’s known in the Realms to the gnomes who devised it) to prevent them from being explosive. Smokepowder is the Realms equivalent of gunpowder; it ignites and explodes because of a magical ingredient that circumvents Gond’s prohibition (and this is acceptable to Gond because the magic is a NOT-widely-known “secret” and the proportions of ingredients must be precise to make smokepowder that works, so the substance remains rare and expensive and not easily made by “just anyone,” and the manufacture and sale of smokepowder by devout of Gond is something Gond can control by holy decrees, protecting most of his clergy while at the same time generating temple income).

So, why do gunpowder and halamda exist in the Realms? They both have other uses in the Realms different from their real-world ones.

Gunpowder, applied as a powder (like dry “meal powder”) polishes all ferrous metals by removing ALL rust from their surfaces. Wetted gunpowder, applied as a paste (usually metal items are encased in it; it’s put in a dish or bucket or even a larger cask and the item or items are buried in the paste, so “all sides” are in contact) for a sufficient time, permeates ferrous items to banish all corrosion, no matter how deep, so an item removed from the paste is rust free (at that moment, not forever).

Halamda, a clear jelly, permeates living flesh and tissue, and removes all infection/stops rot/neutralizes acids as it is/they are at the moment of contact, so it halts flesh-eating diseases and decay. It is itself harmlessly edible, and doesn’t “taint” what it’s applied to for human consumption, and so can be used as a preservative for meat and fish being transported long distances to serve as food, and to keep viable severed body parts for later surgery, and to preserve evidence/unfamiliar corpses for examination.

1. Yes, charcoal works the same in FR as our world.
2. Yes, so does sulfur.
3. Yes, saltpeter ditto.
4. It does.
5. Nothing, but if combined in the wrong proportions, they won’t work for much of anything except scorching (as in the real world), and if mixed in the “right” proportions, won’t ignite/explode in the Realms as they do in the real world, thanks to Gond’s power. And Mystra’s cooperation; she subsumed his meta-spell shifting what gunpowder does into the Weave, so it now permeates Toril. As does the magic that makes smokepowder work.

To confuse matters further, “gunpowder” has come into use in language in the Realms as another name for smokepowder. Most folk of the Realms have no idea that anything called “gunpowder” explodes and so has weaponized uses in any place called “Earth,” remember, but there’s just enough covert travel between the Realms and Earth that words can make the trip.

Clearer, I hope. This was a fun trip down Memory Lane, because all of this was covered years and years ago at Milwaukee-era GenCon official TSR panels; gamers who’d read my gunpowder-related articles in The Dragon always wanted to discuss why they couldn’t have blunderbuss-armed forces making war in the Realms. :}
Clearer? I hope. ;}


@LotharFellhand
So Gond is Alfred Nobel with foreknowledge?

He knows what terrible destruction and death explosives will cause if they are easily mass produced, so he prevented that? Smokepowder is magical, so can’t be industrialized (can it?), so firearms and explosives can’t become ubiquitous


@TheEdVerse
I see Gond as not wanting to lose his priesthood and lay worshippers to explosions (and fear among the survivors) as everyone went wild experimenting with gunpowder at the same time. Thereafter, he had a situation where rarer, more expensive "smokepowder" becomes a big temple income stream. Yes, smokepowder COULD become industrialized, but at prohibitive prices for most, because of the mage-work. (I.e. instead of going on a dangerous adventuring career, a wizard could choose drudgery but relative safety and high income by churning out smokepowder.)


@MurderHGames
Interesting.

So were the claims that Kossuth was behind gunpowder not working in the Realms just 4E era propaganda from his clergy, trying to take credit from a weakened Gond while the primary center of his worship (Lantan) was in another world and believed destroyed?


@TheEdVerse
Yep. :}


@BAPostmaisdead
"Puts on sage's hat" is my favorite thing about this entire informative thread! Way to go, Mr. Greenwood...now I understand where all this "smokepowder" nonsense comes from.


@ISullivanTweets
How do they proof liquor in FR?


@TheEdVerse
If you mean the modern US (as opposed to UK and all the other systems) measuring: they don't. Everything is "Cask Strength," and those who make it have their ways (often akin to those of real-world moonshiners, like "the bubble method") for roughly gauging how strong a "swig" is.


@ISullivanTweets
It would be fascinating to see the different control methods the cultures would use to determine industrial quality alcohol, as well as drinking spirits. As important a commodity as alcohol is, authentication should play a role in it's trade.


@TheEdVerse
In Calimshan and the Tashalar, they do a "flame test" (thimble of the alcoholic sustance is touched alight under bright lighting, and color and ferocity of flame examined). Most buyers for royal courts and temples do a taste test (that doubles as a poisoning test!).
#Realmslore


16 Jun 2019


@RandomQueriant
I started this account just to ask you a couple questions, (for now.)
First, you said, some...months ago, that smokeless powder doesn't work in the Realms..(although it's not explosive...technically). Does Kossuth eat the power of internal combustion engines, too?


@RandomQueriant
...I just scrolled down and noticed you visited on this topic more recently than the old tweet I recalled reading.


@TheEdVerse
It's not Kossuth who nerfed gunpowder in the Realms, it's Gond. As explained in a Tweet thread May 29th (I can dredge it up if you'd like).

Smokepowder (which is not the same thing as the "smokeless powder" used with firearms here on Earth) does work in the Realms.

Internal combustion engines do work on the Realms as long as your gasoline and oil (lubricant) hold out. Which means 2-strokes, which can run (badly) on fish oil and the like, have a longer life than the computerised, fuel-injected car engines of today.

Yes, this is official Realmslore because Gary Gygax and Dave Sutherland and I tag-teamed a charity D&D game set in the Realms once, in which hunters from modern Earth inadvertently took their open "Springbok" runabout motorboat through a gate into the Realms.

Kossuth does drink napalm and other flame-boosting substances, yes.

As for someone who doesn't venerate any FR deity dying in the Realms...it depends. Sometimes they get "adopted" by a close-to-their-faith FR deity, and more often Kelemvor sends their soul 'home' (through a gate/portal, to their own world). In rare cases, the body gets sent, too...the origin of some of the unexplained deaths on Earth, where a body not clad for such surroundings gets found on a glacier, desert mesa, dormant volcanic caldera, etc.
#Realmslore


@Jon_4L
This is fascinating info. Where are the most likely places to find combustion engines in Faerun?


@TheEdVerse
In the innermost rooms of major temples of Gond (off limits to all but high-ranking clergy), as massive engines (like real-world historical "rolling beam" steam engines). These are best described as "explosive experiments" rather than "useful workhouse engines."
#Realmslore


@Bag_of_Snails
huh i could have sworn it was Kossuth. I learned something new today!


@TheEdVerse
The priests of Kossuth will TELL you it was Kossuth. It seems Kossuth left them with that impression. ;}


@RandomQueriant
Thank you. Yeah, I found your post regarding Gond, from late May, after posting my questions. I had found an earlier tweet that had mentioned Kossuth, I think it might have been from last fall or earlier.


@fusionaddict
When you read this and your dwarf belongs to a temple that worships a trinity of gods, which includes Gond and Kossuth (along with Moradin, of course).

Mmmmmm...heresy...


@dungeonhome
Ed, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain this to people


24 Jun 2019


@w_stefanowvr
So can gunpowder be used to unrust a weapon that's been corroded by a rust monster? Can gunpowder harm a rust monster?


@TheEdVerse
No, gunpowder does a rust monster no harm at all, except momentary blinding like any powder would when flung into the eyes. Yes, a weapon buried in gunpowder sufficiently long enough would emerge rust free, BUT the problem is, a rust monster corrodes ferrous items so much that they’re flakes of rust on the verge of falling apart. So what emerges from the gunpowder immersion will be mere shards and flakes, not a useable weapon or even a recognizable trophy.
#Realmslore


Jul 20, 2019


@XoriniteWisp
Hey Ed! Silly smokepowder-related question again. I know that fireworks and firecrackers exist in the Realms, but what makes them pop? Is it smokepowder? I just found that unlikely considering how dangerous and often illegal smokepowder is. Can you clarify? Thanks!


@TheEdVerse
The magical substance known as "smokepowder" (which is not the same thing as real-world "smokeless powder") is indeed what makes fireworks and firecrackers 'pop' in the Realms. Priests of Gond make a lot of money selling "fireseeds," the magically-limited kernels of smokepowder used to make fireworks and firecrackers. Or the temples make and sell fireworks and firecrackers themselves. Even in the real world, both are dangerous if misused.
#Realmslore

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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:17:42  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've kinda fallen behind on these, because reasons.

The other day, I was greeted by a forced reboot of my computer (thanks, Microsoft! ). Unlike all the previous reboots, this time, when I relaunched Notepad++, all of the previously open files were no longer there.

I found the backup files, and went through and cleaned them up and renamed them. And since I was already working with them, it made it easier to get somewhat caught back up, here.

I'll try not to fall behind again.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 02 Aug 2019 :  15:34:20  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Keep up the good work, it's most appreciated

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  02:56:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Keep up the good work, it's most appreciated



Thank you!

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Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  03:08:26  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On the original Realms, diversity, and how the published Realms developed:

I'm going to preface this one with an apology... The way Twitter works (at least the web version), it's easy for conversations to split and branch in multiple directions -- and not so easy to find all of those branches and tie them all back together.

This was a series of exchanges over 3 days. I've pieced them together as well as I can, but it's entirely possible that I missed something, or that I got some of these exchanges in the wrong order.

Any mistakes/misrepresentations/omissions are unintentional; lay the blame half on me for an honest, unintentional screwup, and half on Twitter for not making this easy)



Jun 28 - 30 2019


@POCGamer
Seldom remembered #DnD factoid:
Forgotten Realms was originally created as a parallel Earth, one of many Earths in a Marvel or DC style of increasingly divergent variants. This led to some seriously problematic developments as the game aged and its identity crisis intensified.


@erikscottdebie
It’d be interesting to get @TheEdVerse’s take on this. I suspect the answer is “yes, kind of—it’s complicated.”

A lot of real-world analogs we see between the Realms and our world are more projections of our expectations than intentional. That’s part of our designer guidelines.


@TheEdVerse
Nope. Sorry. The Realms was originally created as one of many parallel worlds (the others being my {as a 5-year-old} favourite fantasy settings, like Tolkien's Middle Earth, Dunsany's Dreamlands, etc.) linked by gates (as in the Wood Between The Worlds, introduced by William Morris in his fantasy novels (which were among the very first novels ever written), to form a 'multiverse' (the name was coined to cover Michael Moorcock's linked fantasies, but the concept predates DC or Marvel by about a half century, and D&D by about a century. The Realms was NEVER intended to have too-close real-world analogues, although game designers other than me inserted many such analogues in part for ease of understanding, and mainly because TSR bought the Realms to be a "unified game world" for the 2nd Edition of D&D, which meant it had to accommodate jungle adventures, pirate adventures, glacier adventures, "Oriental Adventures," "Arabian adventures," and so on. It was certainly never meant to have continent/landmass analogues with our real world, and if you'd ever seen either my original maps or the various in-house "wider world of Toril" maps used at various times by designers, you would just not be able to find any. Every time a designer went too close to real-world history or Hollywood history (one egregious example: putting the Dalai Lama into the published Realms) I warned of the consequences. It's tiresome, as the decades pass, having to field queries or opinions from gamers about my getting the historical dating of stirrups wrong or using anachronistic terms or battlefield maneuvers when I have personally always avoided real-world analogues, but when real-world terms and concepts appeared in print, this is the boat we're stuck with bailing. And I'm fine with that, BUT I am NOT fine with inaccurate information being spread about how I 'originally created' the Realms to be this or that. The Realms predates D&D by a decade, and my original Realms had no close real-world analogues, cultural or geographic. It DID have a tech level that was "vaguely medieval" in some places, and "sputtering into Renaissance" in others, but I deliberately invented Realms words and cultural customs to AVOID real-world copies. Other cooks in the kitchen did not, and the result is what it is, but I did NOT set out to copy, slight, "improve upon," or answer real-world elements. I set out to entertain five-year-old me with stories that had swords and dragons and magic and wizards in them. D&D and real-world baggage came along later.
Got all that? I ask because those topics just may be on the exam. ;}
#Realmslore


@POCGamer
I'm having trouble formulating an response to this. On one hand, that explains a lot. On the the other, it makes almost all the problematic parts worse, because they were what someone did deliberately during the design phase.


@TheEdVerse
What is this "design phase" you speak of? ;}
The Realms was bought by TSR as a detailed world (incomplete, sure, but far more complete than any world they've had before or since), and has had over a thousand "design phases" ever since...one for each product (game or fiction).


@POCGamer
Those are it. A lot of bad choices were made during a number of those that made the setting actively hostile for POC through stereotypes, regressive or racist narratives, and so on. It's a thing that happened, and that continues to affect the setting now for lack of being considered in that multitude of design phases.


@TheEdVerse
EVERY setting must have both gaps and problematic parts, because that's where the conflict arises and gamers and readers are spurred to create, and adventure. Static perfection is...dead.


@POCGamer
I'm not talking about gaps or troubled areas; I'm talking more along the lines of whitewashing in art depicting POC, use of stereotypes for POC areas, lack of consistent and/or quality support for places not the Sword Coast, The Heartlands, or the North. That kind of problematic.


@TheEdVerse
Oh, yes, and that bugs me, too. Particularly as my original turnover described most humans (aside from the barbarians of the Sword Coast North, and the Sossrim) as "dusky-skinned" (not a bad term back then, though I understand that it has become so since).


@2ndLevelBard
Is this Word of God that Jhaamdath was meant to be coded as something other than White European, and modern Chondathans shouldn't look (exclusively) like vaguely pasty Anglo-Saxons?


@TheEdVerse
I suppose so. Jhaamdath (the name and specifics) were added to my original Realms by other hands. YES, modern Chondathans shouldn't look exclusively like vaguely pasty Anglo-Saxons. They all live in Elturel. ;}


@POCGamer
They got around that with a population migration and mixing. When I tracked it through editions, the Chondathans had a wide set complexions ranging from olive/dark tan to pasty white depending on where they were. I think my notes for them were that they were more a culture than a single recognizable ethnic group based on phenotypic expression. Also they were literally everywhere. If I remember right, as of 3e, they were Faerūn's most populous human culture and the dominant one in most places.


@TheEdVerse
And that's as it should be, because of all the migrations and breeding with whoever was wherever they went in the Realms (being as Gary and Dave handed us a D&D game with half-breeds baked in).


@POCGamer
One of the chief reasons I never contacted @TheEdVerse about stuff that flashed up problematic or bizarrely shoehorned in or bolted on. On the other hand, it makes me far more curious about the potential development trajectory of the FR had TSR not done what they did.


@TheEdVerse
Me. too. ;}
Interestingly, from the very beginning, the published Realms veered away from my 'home' Realms not just because of in-house stuff being bolted on or swapped in (Doug's Albion campaign Moonshaes replacing mine), but because the "home" Realms campaign was dominated by intrigue and roleplaying (e.g. machinations of noble houses in Cormyr, or the machinations of guilds, nobles, and everybody else in the city in Waterdeep), not dungeon crawling or hack-and-slashing...and the published Realms had to not just cater to the latter, but centre-stage them, because the game was centered on them back then. So if I'd been controlling the publication of the Realms, all the social issues and power struggles would have dominated wordcount in the products, rather than stats (and, gods help us, GOD and avatar stats!). Divine coverage would instead have focused on daily devout life (what do clerics DO?) and what priesthoods are up to in the Realms (like cornering the trade in bat guano or monk-made liqueurs). And all of the racial and gender-role baggage of the real world just wouldn't have been there, because we'd have the REALMS cultures instead, which game designers and fiction writers could use satirically to comment on real-world issues, but not HAVE real-world issues in the Realms.

So, it's very much a 'road not taken' thing, from my viewpoint. Yet I understood what would happen at the outset (Jeff Grubb explicitly warned me that "we'll make changes, and go on making changes, and here's why") and I was and am fine with that: the Realms had to be that way, to function as the "unified game world" for D&D 2e that TSR purchased it to be. The good thing was, as it came into their hands with a depth of detail and history and intrigue ready-made, these elements got included, and moved us a step beyond "this is the orc kingdom, here's their banner, and they can field X troops" into "this world is ALIVE, and these creatures get their food thus, and defecate it back into the cycle of life so," and moved gaming forward. THAT makes me smile.
#Realmslore


@POCGamer
So, a legit set of questions then. Was the Mulan addition (kidnapped/enslaved from a mythic Earth's ancient Egypt and Sumeria) an original component, and were the Creator Races and Days of Thunder original components?

I ask because in the strange and convoluted timeline of FR, they just seem odd. The former because it's just such a strange event and doesn't sync well, and the latter because it seems to have been added later.


@TheEdVerse
As depicted, none of them were original.
However, in my original Realms, elves and dwarves were losing the dominance fight with humans and orcs because the latter two races could outbreed and swamp them, there WERE creator races but the Realmsfolk of today were very fuzzy on just who (as was I, though I knew one of them was large sentient reptilian), and I did have the "dragons, giants, and elves have all dominated the Realms before humans" element, and I did have migrations of races from other worlds, and figured some migrants would be enslaved. I did NOT have anything close to ancient Egypt or any other Earth culture, but TSR had the existing Desert of Desolation modules to link into the Realms, so hello pyramids.
That was the pattern. This Ed idea/element can, with a little twisting and surgery, be repurposed to do what we need to do/add/spotlight in the developing D&D game. Which is just fine: that's what a base setting has to do, and what they'd bought FR for.



@TheEdVerse
"My" Realms has always been diverse, because I happened to grow up in a VERY wealthy neighbourhood then dominated by "Canadian branch plant headquarters" by the earliest developing multinational corporations...so they all shuttled executives (with their families) into the 'hood from literally all over the world. Some of the local farm families were still hanging on, so I got to see poverty, too, and because it was a wealthy area, there were folks with lifestyles/family relationships different from the societal norms (I was born in the 50s and grew up through the 60s and 70s) that had enough money that they could be themselves and not hide...and schooling back then was deliberately integrated (I had classmates who were wheelchair-bound and using magnifying glasses, etc. and we were expected to carry them, assist them in class, involve them in sports, etc.) and so it all made for a very diverse mix that was NORMAL for me. (But likely not for small-town Wisconsin in the 1970s and 1980s.) And although racism is certainly everywhere, I'm Canadian rather than American, so the racism "up here" was more whites vs. indigenous and English-speaking vs. French-speaking, and changing constantly as I grew up. And I had grandparents who when filling in government forms, did not check off "Caucasian," but ticked "Other" and wrote "Mongrel" in the box. ;}


@POCGamer
There's a gulf of difference between your original and ongoing FR and what the rest of us encounter and use though. For all intents and purposes, they're two separate settings.


@TheEdVerse
Indeed. And keeping the two straight in my head is often impossible, so it'll be "constantly impossible" for everyone else in the world, who can't see my original.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention one more element that I and a lot of staff designers have followed, down the years: what state of affairs offers the most play opportunities for gaming tables all over the world? Right, we do that, then. Often conflicts/difficulties/disasters/shortages/wars are "invented" for the express purpose of giving PCs more to do, and DMs more "loose threads" to work with. And in the case of staffers, there's also the perceived audience products are being aimed at (I can recall over 30 female NPCs in various leadership/authority roles who were quietly changed to males when they went into print, because "girls don't play D&D" (an idea that was foreign indeed to me, because there were ALWAYS females at my "home" campaign table). Yet I don't think there was ever a deliberate racist policy or thinking; I believe there were lots of little individual design decisions, made over time and product by product, that "add up to" making some gamers feel unwanted/shut out/not represented.
But life is way too short for the blame game. We should all focus on the way forward, looking back only to learn from history. (Which is the point at which various of my history profs would channel Tom Lehrer and say, "So we can learn from our mistakes, so we can repeat them PERFECTLY." ;} )


@POCGamer
I filed a lot of those instances under "when research gets it wrong", a phenomena where in an effort to get a POC coded ethnic group "right", writers instead create a historical re-imagining that reinforces problematic aspects and that is generally unsuited to the setting's reality and conditions. Chult and Maztica's developments being notably bad. Then there's the awkward theme of POC being more prone to being evil/demon influenced/following evil gods that runs through a number of them.


@TheEdVerse
No disagreement with me. I should point out that, just as some staffers loved pyramids because "we can do Indiana Jones explores a pyramid in D&D"...there were staffers who liked "the crazy cannibal natives are crazy because they worship this demon god, that the PCs can come in and kill, and so win the adventure, and the mind-controlled natives, now freed, will gratefully hand the PCs their treasure" just because they wanted to roleplay a sub-genre they'd seen in movies and on TV (ethics didn't come into it, they just wanted a chance to play this).


@POCGamer
Except that's all these places became. Instead of getting the attention, nuance, and development of Cormyr, Waterdeep, Cormanthyr, the Dales or elsewhere, they were reduced to being locations for adventure tourism as opposed to being places to be from and have campaigns based out of. And the cracks have gotten worse as the setting has aged and little or no attention has been given to these areas. Or worse, there was stuff like 4e's borderline ethnic cleansing of big chunks of Faerūn; that moved me from player to critical analyst.


@TheEdVerse
Agreed on both of your points here. And one of the longest, strongest battles I've waged, over the years, has been to cover ALL of the Realms instead of going back to certain areas again and again. The counter-argument was always "Well, we're doing another Waterdeep product because we know those sell," to which I'd respond in exasperation, "But you've never DONE a Veldorn/Raurin/Sossal/Var the Golden/Durpar product, so how do you know those WON'T sell?" The response to which was often, "Well, we have to leave SOME areas for DMs to develop on their own," and the neglect would continue. Yes, the 4e depiction I am not a fan of, although I gather that the thinking there was "avoid all controversy and potential lost sales by removing all real-world conflicts/disagreement points/elements, and just say this is the way this imaginary world is, now can we all just play D&D?" (Gather, because I am not and never have been in-house and sitting in on design meetings.)


@POCGamer
I still have no idea what the thought processes were, but "wipe out the bulk of POC and mess the rest of them up" was a poor course of action at best. Some things I liked, like the Underchasm, but a lot was a mess at best.


@TheEdVerse
I agree. Oddly, one part of that was having more than one designer on staff who were former history teachers, and so went straight to "hey, we could do this historical thing as a plot driver/big event in the Realms"...and so brought in baggage.


@POCGamer
I am very much forwards oriented; but the same issues keep repeating. The only reason I'm even a blip on the D&D radar is because of my critical analysis and review of Tomb of Annihilation. A book that was made without any POC input, with predictable results.

After 2e's questionable work, 3e's skipping over it, and 4e's destruction, it was supposed to be the triumphant return of FR's most recognizable Black culture. To describe it as underwhelming is an understatement. I have hopes for something I was involved in, but its still OPSec.

That review/critical analysis ended up spanning three parts, and had over 8k words in drafts, and was my first deep dive in FR lore past what I needed to run games/make characters.


@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.
#Realmslore

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 03 Aug 2019 :  03:12:15  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On Queltar Thaeloon:


Jul 26 2019

@aerothgow
Hello. I was reading some old books Volo's guide to the North and Lords of Darkness about the Arcane Brotherhood and I see a member of theirs being named but with 0 information about him. I'm talking about Queltar Thaeloon. Who is he? Is he the wizard of green flame?


@TheEdVerse
Queltar Thaeloon isn't the wizard of green flame, but is a fat, sly (Varys in GoT, but always smiling) city-dwelling investor, speculator, and "fixer" who makes sure the Brotherhood always has plenty of safe houses, warehouses, coin, and folk who unwittingly owe them.
#Realmslore

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AJA
Senior Scribe

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 04 Aug 2019 :  21:42:17  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Excellent work, Wooly. Thank you for continuing this.


AJA
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jamesewelch
Learned Scribe

106 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2019 :  19:12:10  Show Profile Send jamesewelch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I asked this last night. Here's Ed's response:

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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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 19 Aug 2019 :  23:17:15  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
2 August

@xaeyruudh
Regarding the Company of the Windgorgon, which perished in Undermountain in the 1350s... what is a windgorgon, in the Realms?

@TheEdVerse
1) A windgorgon is a very rare (because it was so aggressive that most were swiftly slain after coming into contact with humans), larger cousin of the gorgon that has a acid-cloud breath weapon that jets with force enough to be about equal to a Thunderwave spell.
2) (So it doesn't petrify foes.) Windgorgons are as smart as humans, capable of speech (and mimicry), cunning in battle and defense (setting traps around their wilderland lairs), and are mostly seen in heraldry (rampant and breathing), these days, not in the flesh.

@Celiac_Gamer
You say it's aggressive but also that it is as intelligent as humans. It wouldn't be wrong to have one that is sort of like xanathar would it? I was just thinking how cool it would be to have one as a crime Lord.

@TheEdVerse
Oh, sure. The survivors have learned from what happened to their fellows. Yes, one could be a crime lord. :}

@xaeyruudh
Thank you! It's similar to the Monster Manual gorgon in appearance? And in climate/habitat?

@TheEdVerse
Yes to appearance, but wider climate tolerance than the gorgon, so found in all but arctic mountains, hills and wilderland terrain everywhere (i.e. where humans are sparse).

@xaeyruudh
It seems like the sort of creature someone of nefarious or just odd nature might be producing and loosing somewhere, via deepspawn or similar means...

@TheEdVerse
It DOES, doesn't it? ;}

Long live the beard!
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AJA
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Posted - 03 Sep 2019 :  03:38:45  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote

It's not Twitter, but for anyone who doesn't know, Ed has started a series of articles over at ENWorld.org, going over the process of how the Forgotten Realms came to be. It's pretty familiar ground for those who've been following Ed's postings here at Candlekeep and elsewhere, but it's always good to see Ed getting to explain the Realms in his own words to audiences who may not be as acquainted with them. His current offerings are;

Ed Greenwood: How The Realms Began
https://www.enworld.org/threads/ed-greenwood-how-the-realms-began.666535/

Ed Greenwood: The Origins of Mirt the Moneylender
https://www.enworld.org/threads/ed-greenwood-the-origins-of-mirt-the-moneylender.666767/

Ed Greenwood: A World of a Thousand-Thousand Stories
https://www.enworld.org/threads/ed-greenwood-a-world-of-a-thousand-thousand-stories.667085/


AJA
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sleyvas
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Posted - 03 Sep 2019 :  13:46:07  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know this is wrong, but the imagery that appears in my head of a windgorgon makes me think of a gorgon that's eaten too many beans. Pictures of a gorgon turning around and lifting its tail to "assault" a party are tiptoeing through my brain.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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AJA
Senior Scribe

USA
675 Posts

Posted - 03 Sep 2019 :  15:00:59  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's not a windgorgon, that's a Windy-Gorgon. Smells almost as bad as its cousin, the Gorgon-Zola.


AJA
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