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Well met, Sam, and thanks for the kind words! I’m Canadian (and Ontarian) too, and I’ve done a lot of interviews with the CBC over the years; do you remember which one this might be? I don’t have copies of any of them, I’m afraid, and suspect no copies exist any longer, but who knows? Failing that, of course, feel free to ask me anything here, and check out the videos (which are, come to think of it, a series of short “interview answers without a questioner” from me). And I don’t know about “brilliant,” but I fully intend to go on crafting fantasy for years to come! (Next up starring Elminster: THE HERALD, out this June in hardcover, the last book of The Sundering Saga – – and I’m already working on the next Elminster book! I also have a steampunk novel in the works, THE IRON ASSASSIN, that should come out from Tor when the time is right, and of course a blizzard of Kickstarter short stories and game stuff and the usual Forging the Realms weekly Wizards of the Coast website columns…not to mention Platter of Surprises e-books that you can find right here at theEdVerse, and freebie short stories and columns and . . . whew! It never ends!)
Keep reading, Sam, and I’ll keep writing!
Thank you! Glad you like my stuff, and I think we all have stories we want to tell and we should all have a go at it. Some stories are smash sales hits and some go unnoticed and most land somewhere in between, but it’s the journey not the destination, as many a wise sage has said: write because you want to, because it’s your dream, because it changes you for the better. Storytelling is what humans – – the best humans – – DO. Never stop writing, no matter what success or lack of it comes your way; do it for the dream! (And as you can probably figure out from what I’ve just said, I never intend to stop writing.) Yes, a third Niflheim book would be grand. I don’t have one written yet, but I do Have Plans . . . so expect more somehow, somewhen!
Hi, Otis! Well met! I love to hear that I’ve had a hand in making the life of anyone who games (or otherwise uses their imagination) richer or better or just given them some good fun time with friends. I’d certainly love to chat with you on your podcast, but I doubt I’ll make Dragon-Con this year (it’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’m so busy now with game design and my day job and looking after my wife and all of the real-world obligations that seem to grab my every waking moment). But SOME year, you bet! Looking forward to hanging out with you!
Storytelling and worldbuilding are what I live for! Eat, drink, and sleep imagining my way around fantasy worlds (including Professor Tolkien’s Middle Earth). And thank you; I try to be thoughtful and kind hearted, in a world where being so seems rarer and rarer. We only get to do this journey once, so one might as well be good company for everyone else making it that we encounter. After all, if a life isn’t full of friendship and fun, it’s not really worth much . . .
Hey Ed, just sending greetings all the way over from Denmark to reassure you that the influence of your writing does not end at the American shore! I started D&D with the 2nd Edition, and personally got introduced to your Forgotten Realms through Douglas Niles’ Moonshae Triology, and the Elminster Series, and I will say this, even when knowing that books like the Silmarillion and the Fionavar Tapestry exists: Your books has helped me get a visual image of the Realms, and the sense of an atmosphere which I have never experienced in a book since. I realise that not everyone may agree with me, but Elminster has and always will be my favourite character of fiction, and I sincerely hope you never decide to permanently kill him off. It would be like losing a near and dear friend that’s been with you on an age-long journey. Keep up the good work, Ed of Greenwood, and know that you writing has done a lot of good, if not only to this one person!
Thank you very much for the kind words, Lukas! Although I love to write about all sorts of characters, Elminster is a favourite of mine, too, and I have no plans right now to destroy him “forever and for good.” That doesn’t, however, mean I won’t push him into some awful situations (see my recent Sage of Shadowdale trilogy, and THE HERALD, last book of the Sundering Saga, out this June), because watching him cope with crises is great fun for me as a writer, as well as something many readers tell me they enjoy. I think you’ve spotted the key to writing about the Realms, for me: I want to share the full rich setting with my readers, from its rain and dead trees in the forests to the little furry scurrying things, not just the heroes and villains. As it happens, I’m a fan of both Professor Tolkien’s writing and Guy Kay’s, so I’m flattered indeed that you’ve compared me favourably with them. Thank you! (And keep reading; I’m not done yet!!!)
hey ed i just wanted to say you are one of my favorite authors and was wondering when you were coming to wa state (i live in olympia) but would really love to introduce you to my now 3yr old daughter, Tsantress Alustrial Nacacia. not surprising her and her little brother Onyx have their own language
Hi, Shannon! I would love to meet you and your daughter. You have named her wisely and well.
I am a busy boy these days, and SeaTac is a long and wearying plane ride away (from where I live, in the rural wilds of Ontario, Canada, about halfway between Toronto and Kingston), but I do manage to get to your neck of the woods once and sometimes twice a year. Unfortunately, my visits are usually super-secret (oops ;} ) summits at Wizards of the Coast in Renton, WA, leaving you a still a hefty car drive away. I’ll let you know the next time I’m coming out, though, because last time the summit incorporated a signing and author reading at a lovely Barnes & Noble in the north end of Seattle. We’ll meet some time!
I was wondering if there would be any signed copies of “The Herald” available for sale or if by chance I could mail you a copy with return postage to be signed?
Love all your work!!!
Be safe in all worlds!
Thank you for the kind words and good wishes, George. There are indeed signed copies of THE HERALD available, and you can get them right here, through The Edverse!
Hi, todd! Well, I’m not in charge of book publishing at Wizards of the Coast and sometimes find out things about forthcoming books at the same time as every other reader interested in the Realms, but let me have a stab at answering you . . .
The Sundering Saga is six books, period, all standalones but related. They all tell tales of what happens during the Sundering, but focus on different main characters.
However . . . I know Bob Salvatore is charging ahead with a fantastic storyline he has worked out well into the future, at the rate of two new Realms novels a year, so he will be following the characters he’s already been writing about into new adventures.
Erin Evans is continuing to write about the main characters you’ve seen in her Sundering book, in a book that’s pretty much a direct sequel, and so is Troy Denning. I don’t think Paul Kemp or Richard Lee Byers have any follow-on sequels in the works right now, but I will, yes, be following Elminster into a book that isn’t a direct sequel to THE HERALD, but is pretty much “the next interesting thing that happens to Elminster.”
So the short answer is: The Sundering is a complete “overview” in and of itself, but in two-thirds of the cases, there will be books by the same authors exploring what happens next with their Sundering main characters.
I agree with you: to get back to ten novels a year would indeed be amazing, and I would very much hope we do see other authors stepping into the Realms to tell stories, but I don’t know what lies ahead for the Forgotten Realms® fiction line—and if I did, I couldn’t legally tell you. For my part, I fully intend to go on writing about Elminster and Storm and Amarune and for that matter Mirt and dozens of other Realms characters I want to spotlight more, for as long as I can! I will certainly try to keep them coming!
Thanks for the great friends and the many smiles and even the tears. I love them all.
Yes, indeed, and someday there will be more books set in Darsar, probably even in Aglirta itself.
Much sooner than “someday,” however (in a few months, I think), you’ll be able to read a short story (quite short, I’m afraid) entitled “Where Only Madmen Hide,” in one of the Platters of Surprises e-books I’m making available through this site. It’s set in the immediate aftermath of the disastrous military defeat that sent Hawkril and Craer heading back home to the mainland – – or in other words, days before THE KINGLESS LAND begins. Hope you enjoy it, and yes, rest assured that I plan to revisit that world and tell more fun tales therein!
I am a lover of the Forgotten Realms series, though most of what I have read has been from the works of Mr. Salvatore. I have also tackled some of the more stand-alone series like Threat From the Sea by Mel Odom, The Empyrean Odyssey by Thomas M. Reid, and Blades of the Moonsea by Richard Baker. But due to my OCD about chronological reading, I have been avoiding your works for fear of reading them out of order. Is there somewhere that you could direct me to that has a comprehensive list of how your books fall chronologically, or if not, do you think you could inform me as to where you think I should start? Elminster is what I am most interested in, but I would like to one day read all of your works, and I would hate to ruin any of the stories by knowing who lives and dies by accidentally reading a book that was written at a later time in the storyline. The works that you have written have been far too influential to the world of the Forgotten Realms for me to risk ruining the experience of reading your books.
I made that mistake with Mr. Salvatore’s Legends of Drizzt series in which I started with the Hunter’s Blades Trilogy, not knowing there were several books before. I then made the mistake of reading his works by publishing date, only to discover he wrote the Dark Elf Trilogy as prequels to his other books, which only served to ruin more of the suspense for me. I do not wish to make the same mistakes with your works.
I. HATE. SPOILERS. Even if they are accidental.
If you don’t know of a place where I can see a comprehensive list of your works sorted by storyline chronologically, would it be possible for you to make a list(s) of your works so that I can enjoy them even better than I did Mr. Salvatore’s works? I’m sure that other potential readers would appreciate this as well, and it might be something that you could consider adding to your website.
With the highest respect and greatest anticipation,
Hi, Mason. I applaud your efforts to keep things straight and read things in the order they happened in the Realms.
With that said, some of my books are “complicated.” One example is CORMYR: A Novel, that I co-wrote with Jeff Grubb. It is like a James Michener novel, covering the entire history of that kingdom. It starts with a “present day” crisis, then alternates chapters between present and past, and the “past” chambers start before the kingdom was founded and move up steadily in dating until they reach the “present day” (of the Realms, at the time the book was written) at the end of the novel. Myself, I’d read it when you reach that present-day time, which in the list below appears as “Cormyr: A Novel ends.”
There are also a few things missing from this list (like the Spin A Yarn tales), or of disputed date, but nothing major and spoiler-y, I promise.
The dates are in “DR” or Dalereckoning, and the titles of short stories appear in quotation marks (with the name of the book they appeared in following, in parentheses).
Okay, here we go . . .
Cormyr: A Novel begins.
Elminster: The Making of a Mage begins.
“Not the Most Successful of Feasts” (The Best of the Realms II)
Elminster: The Making of a Mage ends.
Elminster in Myth Drannor begins.
Elminster in Myth Drannor ends.
The Temptation of Elminster begins.
The Temptation of Elminster ends.
“The Whispering Crown” (Realms of the Arcane)
“The Burning Chalice” (Halls of Stormweather) begins.
“Too Many Princes” (Realms of War)
“So High A Price” (Realms of Infamy)
“Elminster at the Magefair” (Realms of Valor)
“The Keeper of Secrets” (Realms of the Dragons)
Swords of Eveningstar
Swords of Dragonfire
The Sword Never Sleeps
Crown of Fire
Hand of Fire
Shadows of Doom
Cloak of Shadows
All Shadows Fled
“A Slow Day In Skullport” (Realms of the Underdark)
“Nothing but Trouble” (The Best of the Realms II)
“The Grinning Ghost of Taverton Hall” (Realms of Mystery)
“The Place Where Guards Snore at their Posts” (Realms of the Deep)
Cormyr: A Novel ends.
Silverfall: Stories of the Seven Sisters
“The Burning Chalice” (Halls of Stormweather) ends.
The City of Splendors: A Waterdeep Novel begins.
The City of Splendors: A Waterdeep Novel ends.
Death of the Dragon
“When Shadows Come Seeking a Throne” (Realms of Shadow)
Elminster in Hell
“Tears so White” (Realms of the Elves)
“The Many Murders of Manshoon” (Realms of the Dead)
Elminster Must Die
Bury Elminster Deep
1487 DR (month of Marpenoth)
Or to look at my Realms books in series:
Crown of Fire (1994)
Hand of Fire (2002)
Shadow of the Avatar Trilogy:
Shadows of Doom (1995)
Cloak of Shadows (1995)
All Shadows Fled (1995)
The Cormyr Saga:
Cormyr: A Novel, with Jeff Grubb (1996)
[[in between is a book written by Troy Denning, without me, entitled Beyond The High Road; Death of the Dragon won’t make much sense if you don’t read it first]]
Death of the Dragon, with Troy Denning (2000)
Elminster: The Making of a Mage (1994)
Elminster in Myth Drannor (1997)
The Temptation of Elminster (1998)
Elminster in Hell (2001)
Elminster’s Daughter (2004)
Elminster Must Die (2010)
Bury Elminster Deep (2011)
Elminster Enraged (2012)
The Sundering Saga:
The Herald (you could also read this just as “the next Elminster book after Elminster Enraged”)
The Harpers series:
Crown of Fire (1994) [yes, the same Shandril book listed above]
Double Diamond Triangle Saga:
The Mercenaries (1998)
The Diamond (1998) [[co-written with Rob King]]
Sembia: Gateway to the Realms Series:
The Burning Chalice, a short story in The Halls of Stormweather (2000)
Knights of Myth Drannor Trilogy:
Swords of Eveningstar (2006)
Swords of Dragonfire (2007)
The Sword Never Sleeps (2009)
Silverfall: Stories of the Seven Sisters (1999)
The City of Splendors: A Waterdeep Novel, with Elaine Cunningham (2005)
Short stories & novellas:
Elminster at the Magefair—Realms of Valor (1993)
So High a Price—Realms of Infamy (1994)
The Eye of the Dragon—Realms of Magic (1995)
A Slow Day in Skullport—Realms of the Underdark (1996)
The Whispering Crown—Realms of the Arcane (1997)
The Place Where Guards Snore at their Posts—Realms of the Deep (2000)
When Shadows Come Seeking a Throne—Realms of Shadow (2002)
The Keeper of Secrets—Realms of the Dragons (2004)
The Best of the Realms II (2005)
Tears so White—Realms of the Elves (2006)
Too Many Princes—Realms of War (2008)
And I just remembered:
Lord of the Underways—Untold Adventures (this tale is dated around 1334 DR, if I recall correctly; don’t quote me on this)
Yuskurl and the Uninvited Guest—Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep Book 1 (occurs circa 1479 DR or so; don’t quote me on this one, either)
I hope this is of help, Mason. It will date quickly, of course . . .
I have a few questions for you, but first a little bit of background.
I’m an aspiring writer, but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve considered ever trying to get something published. I have written a few short stories, and tinkered with some self-rejected ideas in the past. Never have I considered doing something on this scale before, but I’m giving it a shot.
I’m aiming to write a fantasy novel, and as such, I’ve been pushing myself to write 2000+ words a day so that I can get it done in a timely manner. The world building has been fairly easy for me, and ideas for the story and character development come rather easily. In fact, the actual writing hasn’t proven to be much of a challenge (except that I’m also trying to balance it with my career as a full-time student). As of tonight, I’ve hit ~10,000 words out of my 100,000 word goal. I started the project last Friday, so I’m right on schedule.
The biggest problem I’ve had so far is finding an appropriate publisher to look at my work. I’d like to keep it within Ontario, or Canada at least. I know you are situated within Ontario, so I feel this may be appropriate. The one company I’ve looked at so far has been Red Deer Press. My questions are thus:
Do you know of any publishers within Ontario or Canada who often accept new writers in the fantasy genre? What about outside of Canada that would accept international submissions?
When in the process of writing would it be ideal to submit a query letter/samples?
Would it be wise to submit queries to multiple publishers at once?
What happens if, down the road, a company offers me an option, but I retroactively breach contract because I’ve given samples to other publishers?
I’d greatly appreciate a response to you, as these are the main things I’m struggling with right now.
With admiration and respect,
Finding a publisher (or the RIGHT publisher) can be difficult for any writer, at any time in their career. Most of the fiction publishers active in Canada publish fantasy from time to time, but I don’t think any of them “often” publish new writers in the fantasy genre except those that are dedicated to fantasy/sf/horror.
Among those, the biggest name in Ontario right now would probably be ChiZine, and if one looks farther afield, to the Prairies, Dragon Moon Press and Edge (though thanks to the presence of Robin Laws in Toronto, and Toronto-area writers he’s published in several Stone Skin Press imprint anthologies, the British publisher Pelgrane Press also has an Ontario presence). They all have websites, so you can try to judge if they’d be a good fit for you. I’ve worked with all of them, they’re all good people, and they all specialize.
If you’re in or near Toronto, ChiZine is “local” and usually publishes dark fantasy and horror; if you attend their reading series down in the Kensington area of Toronto, you can get to meet the publishers and a lot of their writers [park in the Green P parking garage two streets north and east of the venue, and walk].
Dragon Moon publishes at novel length, though their head editor, Gabrielle Harbowy, and I have co-edited When the Hero Comes Home and two sequel anthologies (Hero II and When the Villain Comes Home).
Barring illness or publishing crises, all of them, or their editors, or writers who have published with them (and for that matter with Red Deer, too) usually show up at the established Toronto area conventions like Ad Astra (spring) or SfContario (fall).
And these are just the publishers I notice, with most of my time and energy concentrated on my own work and the daily business of life; I’m sure there are others I’ve missed. Generally speaking, far more publishers these days take an interest in fantasy than did when I started, about fifty years back.
I’m assuming you’re writing in English, and therefore the answer to your international submissions is: lots of publishers, with of course lots of competition for their relatively few open book slots. The leaders in the fantastic fiction field are Tor, the amalgamated Random House (Del Rey) and Penguin, DAW, Baen Books (specializes in military sf), Bantam Spectra, and a myriad of smaller houses, from general publishers like HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster to a wide variety of specialist fantasy and sf houses.
Here’s your problem: not-yet-published writers have a harder road to get in the door than established names. Which is why the “traditional” way, decades ago, was to get short fiction published in the genre magazines, to get noticed, and then try to land a book contract (the largest “survivor” genre magazines are Analog, Isaac Asimov’s SF Mag, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, but these days there are a host of online magazines like Black Gate, Apex, Clarkesworld, and more).
For a first time writer, I would say: finish your book first. Then look at all of the publishers I’ve mentioned and decide who you think would be the best fit for you (publishes works akin to what you’ve just written, in a manner you like, and with a reach or market presence you like). Check their websites to find out their submissions guidelines, AND FOLLOW THEM (treat them as “laws” rather than “suggestions,” because any variance from a publisher’s preferences is a way of weeding out submissions that don’t follow them). Once you’ve found a publisher that says they’re accepting submissions, type up a cover letter that gives full contact information for you, and send a copy of the manuscript (NOT your only copy of the MS, because you’re not expecting to get it back, but follow whatever instructions the publisher specifies for SASEs or other details of submitting).
To query without including the book is often a waste of time, because the publisher can’t judge a book that doesn’t exist, or isn’t finished yet. If you have a string of fantasy bestsellers under your belt, they know you can write and finish novels that are popular with readers. If you don’t, they can’t know that, so you need to hand them the book to judge for themselves.
And no, at this stage in your career, despite the frustration of waiting (and waiting, and waiting), I don’t think it’s a good idea to submit queries to multiple publishers at once. Precisely because of the possibility of getting a bad reputation at the outset by having to withdraw a book Editor B at Publisher 2 loves because Editor A at Publisher 1 has just made an offer on the same book (the situation you foresaw in your last question).
It’s different if you’re a Big Name without any contractual obligations, and have an agent who can auction your new book among multiple eager publishers; then you let your agent handle matters. (By the time you reach that catbird seat, you’ll be long past needing any advice from me.)
And yes, it IS unfair. Publishing is a different beast than, say, inventing a new and better line of clothing, where it’s expected you the inventor will entertain competing bids and go with the best terms; over the years, publishers have come to assume that writers shouldn’t do that. Trying to change the way the industry works is like trying to legislate the oceans from not having tides; a futile waste of your time. Instead of seething while you wait for publishers to decide if they want your book (or more likely, getting around to reading it, amid the PILES of submissions most of them have coming in), use the waiting time to write your next book.
Then, if they love your first book and want to know if you have something ready to follow it with, if they publish the first one, you can happily say yes.
And best of luck. Writing success comes from hard work, self discipline, a spark of inspiration, a big glob of storytelling flair, and (yes) luck.
Thank you very much for the response, Ed! It was very helpful. I really enjoy the depth that you went into with your explanation. I’m particularly thankful for the publishers you’ve suggested, as well as the rule for one submission at a time.
With much appreciation, Necesse
I Just wanted to say thank you for your immeasurable contributions to Fantasy and therefore my childhood. My Father taught me to play D&D at five years of age, thirteen years ago now, and everyday after until I was twelve I never stopped pestering him to play more. From then on I was hooked on fantasy, and all of my favorite things about it trace back to you and the realms in some way. I know you are a Tolkien lover, who isn’t, and so I think this will interest you. Last Semester at my Branch of Kent State University in Tuscarawas Ohio, I took a class titled “Sophomore Special Topics: J.R.R Tolkien.” I called it Lord of the Rings class and it was one of the most enjoyable classes of my career as a student. I’m considering pursuing a career as a college professor, if i am lucky enough, and If i do get a position in the English department at some university, I am going to push my hardest to teach “Ed Greenwood, Storytelling Incarnate.” Thank you again for all you have done for fantasy and myself in consequence, and I have a few questions for you.
1.) Do you, in your minimal free-time, ever play Magic the Gathering, and if so what is your preferred color?
2.) Who would you recommend as a contemporary fantasy author outside of D&D, as I am caught up on a lot of the D&D Novels. 3.) Lastly, Are you a fan of Michael Moorecock, specifically of Elric of Melnibone?
Thanks Ed, you are an inspiration.
Tim, you’re very welcome! Thank you very much for sharing this with me, because knowing my work or the Realms has made someone’s life brighter is why I do it; it’s the fuel that rekindles my creative fire!
And yes, Professor Tolkien has been an inspiration to me (and right now, I’m awaiting my copy of his translation of Beowulf, just published at long last, though I’d give a lot for a new tale by him set in Middle-Earth).
Herewith, some answers to your questions:
1. I have played M:TG, though I’m not up to date; the endless flood of new editions and the rotating “these cards are legal, these are not” stuff just overwhelmed me, back at a time when I was more than wildly busy doing Realms stuff, and I’ve never caught up. Back in the day (and “the day” for me, when I had the chance to share ideas with the creative who were creating cards for the game, was the time of THE DARK and ANTIQUITIES), I was a fan of blue. (Like Elminster and blue mana mages everywhere, I have this hunger to “know everything.” :} ) But I really didn’t play favorites, and always preferred to try to have an “all-colors” deck in play, though in later years I preferred sealed-deck play (where all players can bring a small sideboard of six to nine cards to the table, but the rest of their deck consists of random cards provided for them, that they just have to make the best of).
2. I have LOTS of fantasy author recommendations. If we include authors now dead but recent/contemporary, John Bellairs wrote the delightfully creepy THE FACE IN THE FROST and Roger Zelazny wrote the “essential” Amber series, Jack of Shadows, and the fun, fun A Night In The Lonesome October. If we stick with the living, don’t miss J.V. Jones and Julian May (the Boreal Moon tale trilogy in particular, but also the fantasy/sf Pliocene Exile), and the VERY Tolkienesque in his early books (he helped edit The Silmarillion) Guy Gavriel Kay: his first books, The Fionavar Trilogy, reads like “Tolkien collides with King Arthur and modern real-world university students,” and I cannot recommend his standalone novels Tigana and A Song For Arbonne highly enough. If you like humorous fantasy, Terry Pratchett is superb, and books such as Wyrd Sisters, Hogfather, and Going Postal are all good “starter” books for getting into his long-running Discworld series. Which brings up the essential thing: likes and dislikes in fantasy, as in comedy, are very personal; your “favorites” list and mine may be very different. I know I could go on listing books for pages and pages, but I’ll stop here for now.
3. I have loved Mike Moorcock’s books, particularly those that tie together into his Eternal Champion saga (and yes, Elric is at the head of that list) since childhood. I enjoyed “Elric adventuring with Moonglum” more than the moments where Elric is facing his kin and his destiny. And fascinated with the possibilities of the sentient soul-drinking sword and its obscure properties and side-effects!
Hope these answers are interesting and/or helpful. Right, I must rush off to work now!
Here is a question a fan sent in.
— Question —
I’m doubtful this will actually make it past whatever filters and controls you have in place to minimize distractions from fans but I was hoping you could answer a question for me in the unlikely event you get this.
One of my friends is planning on hosting a D&D 3.0-3.5 game based in Forgotten Realms. He intends to set it during the spell plague.
He has stated that if we wish to utilize silver fire from the forgotten realms campaign setting book we would need to find a way to circumvent Mystra. He assures us that this is possible, however I am unable to figure this out. I was hoping you could point me in the right direction or help me with this conundrum.
If not, I understand and thank you for all the great books.
— End-Question —
Hi, Joshua. The Spellplague is brought on by the death of Mystra; she’s killed on her home plane, and that causes magic to go wild in the Realms, many wizards to go mad (their minds burned out) or die or simply lose the ability to wield the Art. Mystra is not “entirely dead and gone,” because she IS the Weave. And the Weave still exists; it’s just totally unreliable (so Weave-based magic, the arcane magic of the wizard spells in the rulebooks, is, too). Elminster and some others are frantically rushing around Toril repairing tears in the Weave, re-anchoring it, and “reweaving” localized areas to stop a general collapse.
Spellfire is the raw energy of the Weave, turned into a ravening flame that can burn through almost all known magical barriers, and that can heal if and only if wielded with great care by someone who knows how to use it correctly for healing (like a welding torch, it can far more easily burn and damage than it can help and heal). Silver fire is the divine fire of Mystra, a sort of clarified “super” variety of spellfire, more intense and more deadly, normally wielded only by the Chosen of Mystra, the goddess herself, and a few select individuals she empowers.
However, during the early Spellplague, the silver fire that was part of Mystra is “freed” and drifting about, so someone not of the above groups could conceivably end up with some of it – – by random accident or by deliberately capturing some of it.
HOW your characters can do this is up to your DM, and how they learn to control the silver fire rather than being a “wild flamethrower” that endangers themselves and those around them is probably going to be trial and error. However, the likely way to harness silver fire is to devise new spells of the characters’ own, by modifying and copying magical wards, fields, and barriers that have survived the damaging onset of the Spellplague.
You might want to share this lore reply with your DM – – but ultimately, it’s up to the DM what will work and what won’t. There ARE powerful spellcasters that do survive the Spellplague more or less unscathed, that you might encounter as NPCs. Such meetings may well, of course, be dangerous. (That’s why adventures are best enjoyed by the adventurous.)
A message from a fan.
From Atrii Redwood:
Im a 14 year olde fanatic of Dungeons and Dragons, and are currently playing 3rd edition. My favorite race is the Drow, and my setting; Forgotten Realms of course.
A: Well met, Atrii! It’s always good to meet new friends of the Realms. Drow your favorite? Watch sharp behind you! “Favorite” to some drow means “preferred target.” ;}
May your adventures in the Realms all end in victories!
Fan question from Liam B.
Q: I was wondering if you were interested in trying to make an Elminister movie. Just a suggestion and, if you wold please reply to me with an email that would be great.
A: Hi, Liam. An Elminster movie would be a great thing, and I’d love to see one, but I’m afraid such things are not up to me. The rights to do Forgotten Realms-related movies reside with TSR, meaning Wizards of the Coast. I know they’re interested in doing Realms things in all sorts of media. Keep your eyes and ears open…you never know when a movie might be given a green light. Thanks for writing in!
hi Ed ! – I’m from Swansea in South Wales in the UK. Do I detect an influence of Welsh culture in your work at all ? I’ve heard you mention Dylan Thomas before and some of those names in the Moonshae Isles look familiar ! Many thanks for all the great stories and imagination ; keep building those theaters in our minds. All the best from Simon.
Hi, Simon! I have Welsh blood (among many other strains in my heritage), and Welsh mythology and cultural heritage has influenced my creative work on the Realms, but the names in the published Moonshae Isles come from TSR designer Doug Niles; his continent got dropped into the Realms in place of my Moonshae Isles back in 1986. Any one of my generation often heard Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas or Tiger! Tiger! or Under Milk Wood, and as a Canadian, I heard the mellifluous Welsh tones of Canadian literary giant Robertson Davies often, too. Voices of magic…
Well met, and may we meet again,
Greetings Mr. Greenwood.
I was wondering if you could answer a question about my favourite among your creations: Eilistraee, a goddess whom I’ve always held very dear since I read about her.
I know that you introduced her into the Realms under commission by TSR, but I’d be happy to know if she has a place in your campaign and if she was involved in any of the adventures that took place at your table.
Thanks for your time and -of course- for all your work.
I was wondering if you could answer a question about my favorite among your creations: Eilistraee, a goddess whom I’ve always held very dear since I first read about her.
I know that you introduced her into the Realms under commission by TSR, but I’d be happy to know if she has a place in your campaign and if she was involved in any of the adventures that took place at your table.
Thanks for your time and -of course- for your work.
Sorry for double posting, I’ve tried deleting, but it only turned this into a guest post.
Hi, Tommaso. You’re very welcome!
Yes, Eilistraee is part of the “home” Realms campaign and has appeared “onstage” and by dream-vision and manifestation in Realmsplay. At the writing of (the first) DROW OF THE UNDERDARK, I was asked to create a deity for “good” drow for the game, and used the opportunity to make official the Dark Dancer female drow goddess I’d already created for my own use.
And, oh yes: Eilistraee lives!
(Don’t worry about the double post, I’ll have my minion delete it.)
Thank you so much for your answer, it definitely made my day and put a smile on my face.
I have been researching dates in the newest few novels and the new 2 modules (starter set and hoard of the dragon queen) trying to figure out what the current year DR is but its not mentioned in the new modules. the novels seem to point toward a year 1487-8 + care to enlighten?
So marvelous to see and spend time with both of you grand friends this past weekend.
Hi Ed. I was wondering where you will be hanging your hat at Fan Expo?
Finally have my schedule up: http://theedverse.com/content/fan-expo-2014/
Amazing Panel discussion Ed at your previous Fan Expo, I enjoyed every second of it. You’re my idol man, you keep me writting, on my 16th book. Thank you.
Hi, Kyle! Thanks for the praise. I love
those panels, they’re our chance to talk with the people we do it
all for: you and other fans. Keep writing! See you next year!
Thank you for your lovely creations (the realms and the books)… I really enjoyed it since the first time I started to read them in the 80’s… truth to be told the area of realms that always caught my eyes are boarders countries to the other continents in abeir-toril… that’s cuz I love diversity you can find in a single country of the realms…. Countries in realms I’m thinking of is buffer countries to Zakhara: The Utter East countries ( Koniegheim, Doegan, Parsanic, Edenvale, Ulgarth and Thommar) and The Buffer countries to Kara-Tur Semphar, Ra-Khati and Khazari… I always enjoyed reading and playing in those part of the realms.. Sadly the 3rd edition didn’t have much fluff about those parts and nether did 4th edition…. My question is will there be any fluff about those countries in 5th edition?? I love in real life reading a lot of mythology about eastern Europe, Caucasian mythology and meddle east mythology (like Mithra, Anahita, Ishtar, ZORYA or Rostam) and those countries gives me the fantasy version of those places.
Somehow more I read about Semphar I get the feeling that Red Knight and Sharess is the main major religion in there
/With Best Wishes
Worried Good looking C.N alignment Bluflame Efreet who only wants to roam the realms and help the poor people from evil monsters with his extra big two handed curved blade (or burn them with efreet fire) and collect beautiful women as reward (only women no money or magic item) for his help and putting them in his talking intellectual magical flying teleportabel portable birdcage were he can watch them all day long when he is bored (the birdcage harem works as luxury version of the spell Mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion)
Careful with that collection. Even
handsome efreet should set women free!
As for 5th edition, there will
eventually be lore for everywhere, if I can make it happen, the
specific countries you mention included, but it may take a while.
Thus far, things are proceeding on a
story-by-story approach (that is, an adventure like the Lost Mine
of Phandelver in the Starter Set box, or the two-parter that
began with the Hoard of the Dragon Queen book, will have the
adventure, plus more lore about the location and vicinity of the
adventure encounters, and we’ll get to see bits of the Realms that
way). There are multiple stories written and planned into the future,
and how fast things unfold depends on product sales and lots of other
real-world considerations, so hang in there, and we’ll see. Suffice
it to say that no corner of the Realms has been forgotten by me!
No FRCS or general FR update for 5e? Damn, that’s a bummer
Hi Mr. Greenwood,
Wanted to say it was an honor to see you again at Gencon. The autographed picture you signed with Bob Thursday morning is now framed and above my desk at work. Thank you for that, and the days of enjoyment you have given me from the world you invented. I am headed towards The Realms right now, to the town of Voonlar between Shadowdale and Zhentil Keep, just before the time of troubles… for I am an amateur writer. Book number 4 is flowing slowly, but I like how it is emerging on the pages before my eyes, and I am always curious what will appear when I start writing. As for books one through three, I hope you enjoy them. They are bound in red with gold lettering. It made me quite happy when you accepted them as a gift at Gencon. It isn’t easy to write a six book set of 3000 pages… but it is kinda fun. 3 down, 2.5 to go!
Wishing you well,
Wayne ‘Gunner’ Eidemiller
Hi, Wayne! You’re very welcome, and
thank YOU for the books! They’re on the shelf right behind me as I
type this, and I’ve started on the first one; so far, good stuff
that “feels like the Realms” to me! Thanks!
Voonlar before the Time of Troubles: a
peaceful, prosperous rural community, caravans coming through, the
wizard Perendra keeping to herself off in her house to one side, the
temples rebuilding to get grander, the Zhent spies and agents very
much undercover . . .
I wish you well with Book 4. Please
keep me posted!
Arg… I had much of that correct, but not all. I must have 40 forgotten realms novels, and I did not remember Voonlar. I was hoping I had a small blank slate location to write about, but I am apparently mistaken. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Settings book was my base for the town, and I try not to write in detail about places other writers have already worked to avoid conflicts. I also don’t control other Writers characters, other than barely mentioning the famous characters of the Realms (which is a necessity). Is this background and the wizard Perendra from a published work I can research?
I have the roads, trade, farms and temples correct. The town is ruled by a elected Bron who is secretly controlled by the Zhents. Voonlar is in Zhent territory so they have to keep Zhentil Keep happy.
However, I have the town guarded by mercenaries, while mercs and dark adventurers bound for Myth Drannor make the town somewhat less than peaceful. The temple of Bane has a lot of influence. Harper agents seek information and try to disrupt support going to Zhentil Keep to delay a growing Zhent army. Taxes are heavy to support the mercenary guards, and much of the food grown goes to the Zhents to support a growing force that will invade with the arrival of Bane. I was unaware of Perendra.
Is this a story I can read? Perhaps the chapters I have written can be salvaged if I knew the other writer’s story. In retrospect, I probably should have created another small hamlet and destroyed it later to avoid conflicts with other writers and history.
Ed, I wish you a wonderful weekend! It’s starting to get cold here in Ohio.
Ah, Elfsong… I researched the name Perendra and recognize that novel. I will get the book, for it is one of the few I do not own. From the storyline, I may yet have a chance if Voonlar is not dwelled upon deeply. Elaine Cunningham is a writer I respect, and I do not wish to conflict with her tale.
In my own story (trying not to spoil anything), there is a community of pacifists that worship Chauntea just outside of Voonlar. This is the story of the dark cleric without a name and his secretive sister. These are the types of clerics that no one would ever play, for they hate violence and use only staffs and lassos to preserve all Life. (not all worshipers of Life do this, but they do.) One day, Chauntea is striding over the world, casting out seeds when Myrkul sneaks in and fills her seed bag with bone shards. Chauntea accidentally plants a small army of undead around Voonlar. When she realizes what she has done, Chauntea is outraged and raises a peaceful young man into a war cleric with the expressed purpose of fighting the undead. It is the training of a pacifist warrior cleric… Life verse Death… a study of extremism. This is the story I struggle to complete.
Goodnight Ed, see you in the Realms : )
Hi Mr. Greenwood,
Where can I learn more about Harmel Artru?
Right here. :} What did you want to know, specifically?
I said, in a lore reply at Candlekeep back in 2006, that in 1375 DR he was very likely the best swordsman in the Realms, and in that post I wrote that he was a “darkly handsome, agile, glib-tongued and lady-charming merchant seacaptain (and sometime pirate), who sails The Winsome Lady independent caravel out of Saerloon (and a secret base somewhere in the Pirate Isles).” That’s literally all that’s been revealed about him thus far, and I assume you’ve read all of that already if you know the name Harmel Artru at all, so…what else would you like me to tell you? I’m happy to spill lore details!
Hi again Mr. Greenwood. I am grateful for your reply,
I have a friend that saw your post a while back and would love to duel Harmel Artru. Could you give me some details about his fighting style, weapon of choice, clothing, etc? Enough information for me build a 5e D&D encounter. =D
Hi, Diego! If expecting trouble, Harmel usually wears light fighting leathers (leather armor that includes magical bracers that improve his armor class), plus a metal codpiece and a metal buckler (very small circular metal shield with a sharpened edge all around, that he’s adept at throwing [like a Frisbee]).
He has daggers sheathed on the insides of both boots (outer surfaces of his legs) and up both sleeves, on the insides of his forearms, and primarily fights with a longsword he carries scabbarded across his back (“swings” on a baldric for easy drawing).
His fighting style can best be described as “dancing, leaping acrobatic;” he seldom stands in one place for long, and is always turning so his peripheral vision can take in who might be approaching from behind/below/above him. He’s an expert at throwing his daggers, and at “kicking up into the air” chairs and other handy items he can use to trip, trammel, or or confuse opponents, and to deflect attacks coming at him.
He is lightning fast, has very good balance, and is always calm in battle, thinking ahead and anticipating consequences.
Dear Mr. Greenwood
I have been writing for a large chunk of my life and hope to make it into a career one day. Having recently been let go from my job in retail I was wondering what sort of work or life experience could help me build a resume worthy of one day writing for the Forgotten Realms.
Thank you for your time and for creating such a wonderful place for me to visit.
Rodney, I literally don’t know how to become a writer for the Forgotten Realms, these days. Everything has changed from the day when I started creating the Realms, fifty years back, and from when TSR (a company that no longer exists) started publishing Realmslore in 1979. All I can suggest is: design 5e D&D adventures for your own players, look for ways to participate in the Organized Play program, design for other game systems where you can get published, establish a reputation as a good writer who beats their deadlines and is good to work with, and watch the Wizards of the Coast job postings (and apply!). Becoming an experienced designer is worth it as a goal in itself, whether you ever get a professional chance to play in the Realms or not! And – – good luck!
Since the new approach to detailing the FR is of the ”story by story” type, may I ask if you have written any new lore on how Eilistraee and her followers are faring in the present Realms, and if we are going to see it anytime soon?
Hi, Tommaso. I have written new lore about the Dark Dancer recently, but I’m afraid how and when you’ll see it is up to Wizards of the Coast, and I can’t legally reveal more. I would not expect to see it as part of this or the next story, if that helps.
Thanks for your reply, Mr. Greenwood, and -of course- thanks for the new lore about Eilistraee. I hope to see it as soon as possible.
Best wishes of good holiday,
I hope all is well with you, I’d just like to say that I recently watched the footage of you at Fanexpo this year and I was really interested when you mentioned that you had pitched a game to Dragon involving shiping lanes on the Sword Coast in the realms and players had the option to turn pirate on each other.
I know in the interview you explained that Dragon shot the idea down but I really loved the idea and I’d love to replicate something like it with my players, do you by chance have the rules for the game anywhere and if you should would you be so kind as to share them with me.
Hello, Grand Archmage
My name is Dallas Cook and I am a fledgling writer. I have an idea that’s been writing me for the last few months but I feel the need to get your permission, seeing how you created the Forgotten Realms. It involves treating the multiple universes, such as Albeir-Toril and Earth as two ‘electrons’ in a much larger, multi-dimensional ‘atom.’ In the ‘atom,’ the elemental planes of fire, water, earth, air and the various godly and hellish dimensions are depicted to be communal, e.g. the ‘protons and neutrons’ that serve as the drawing source for most of the various powers in the multiverse. Due to the largely unstable nature of this ‘atom,’ various time and space nodes are popping up on random worlds, granting free access to any being fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be caught in one to any other dimension/plane.
In the spotlight of this book is the son of two Chosen of Mystra who combined their gifts to create a ‘Nexus,’ a small, neutral plane that provides a focus to travel between dimensions safely, when entering and exiting the nexus, it shields them from the chaotic nature of what I’m calling ‘The Between.’ The son was killed while the two Chosen and their son were on an ambassadorial mission, all very hush-hush of course, to a different plane. Feeling responsible, the only goddess of that dimension resurrected him, tasking him with guarding a sacred forest. As a the child of two Chosen and the slight influence of The Between, Mystra’s gifts to his parents manifested strangely within him, giving him the power to become incorporeal at will. However, this change makes him more susceptible from magic and he can be blasted into wisps if a strong enough destructive spell is cast at his essence.
While traversing through the Elemental Plane of Fire, he was holding onto a fire elemental named Vix, who was then summoned by a Luskani Tower wizard. Azuarl, the name of the son, is pulled through without the protection usually given by the Nexus and it starts the cascade of events shown above. The summons rips a hole in the dimensional fabric and dimensions begin collapsing.
This story will have almost no lasting effect on the Forgotten Realms as a whole, due to the end of the series being wrapped together with a memory-wiping surge of magic that only the few directly connected to the events were able to resist. It will set aright’s the things that went wrong. (Including an EXTREMELY surprised blue dragon, with passengers, slamming into a Silverymoon tower at high speed, an overconfident mage wetting his fancy new robes, and quite a few accidentally torched pairs of fine leather boots.)
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Some very fine baddies come waltzing back into the spotlight, due to the space/time rifts, “Warp Nodes.” Anticipate seeing: The Ghost King, Ebonsoul, Matron Baenre and perhaps a crazed lich or seven… *winks conspiratorially*