Rich Baker on the Spellplague and other stuff.

SPECTRE666

Explorer
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14824484&postcount=2354

[SBLOCK]Whew! That's quite a list, Asgetrion. I think I've got decent answers for most of those, so I'll take a crack at it. Might not get to all of them right away, though.

Forgive me for snipping your post down:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Asgetrion
Hi Rich!

1) The Spellplague. Originally describes as a “sickness afflicting magic-users and killing or driving them insane” (or something like that) now seems to be more like “Time of Troubles on steroids”. As MarkusTay already mused on another thread: “What, exactly, is the definition of "The Spellplague"? Its certainly NOT a disease, or even a magical illness, so the word 'plague' is a misnomer. What the Spellplague IS is a 'poetic' descriptor for a period of time (not a tangible 'thing') when Mystra was killed, and the Weave disappeared.”

I might not have struck the right tone in the article. Spellplague isn't just a term for "the second Time of Troubles"; it's an actual phenomenon, a manifestation of magic that often appears as an aura of blue fire. You could bottle up a bit of Spellplague, take it somewhere, and let it go. It's like some sort of nanovirus whose eruptions/outbreaks appeared in many different places over the course of ten years or so, and still continue in a few very unlucky spots.


Quote:
2) When Mystra died the last time, how come the Weave didn’t dissolve then, and why did the Spellplague not take place? And if Mystryl was able to “recreate” herself as Mystra -– in an instant –- why did not Mystra do it when Cyric and Shar assaulted Dweomerheart?

Not to give a pat answer here, but I'd simply say that Shar, having observed the deaths of Mystryl and Mystra, realized that she needed to follow a very specific process when she arranged Midnight's murder, or else the goddess of magic would simply re-create herself. So Shar chose a method that hadn't been tried before and prevented such a rebirth.


Quote:
3) I may be wrong, but since Mystra died and the Weave “dissolved”, how come not *all* “Epic” or “High Magic” Spells and “Mythal-like Magics” were affected?

I'd say because mythals and such things have a special self-sustaining, "looped" nature. They're described as living magics in many ways. They have a lifeforce (of sorts) all their own, and I'd say that's what sustained them. But I don't know if we've specifically decided that is the reason, I'm just offering some speculation.


Quote:
4) Along the same lines –- when the Shadow Weave dissolved, too, why did the Shade not lose their spellcasting abilities or were not driven insane? Why did the City of Shade not crash to ground? Just because it had a “Mythallar”? I point to my previous concern –- wasn’t this Mythallar part of the Weave?

Because the Shadow Weave isn't the Weave, and does not actually rely on the Weave's existence. It's an alternate "interface," and was not directly damaged by Mystra's death. Although I think it's fair to guess that there might have been "blowback" Shar didn't expect, and the Spellplague didn't necessarily respect Shadow Weave users caught in its path.


Quote:
7) I also seem to recall that the Weave upholds all life on Toril and all living things are connected to the Weave (I may remember incorrectly, but this might be something Ed has said on Candlekeep?) and if it collapses, *all life* on Toril should *perish*. I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but if I do, is there any particular reason why this should not have happened?

Because total planetary death wouldn't be very useful to us? As far as I know, nothing about Realms says that the Weave *has* to be present for life to exist. If we ever said something like that before, I think we were wrong to do so, or else we've been portraying antimagic zones and dead magic zones all wrong for years.


Quote:
8) So why did the Walking Statues go on a “rampage”, if by my logic either Waterdeep should have been *fully* protected *or* the rest of the Sword Coast (BG included) should have been utterly wiped out?

Even if the Spellplague did not directly impinge in the area of ancient wards, powerful individuals driven mad or infected outside such wards sometimes walked into the protected places and then blew stuff up. Or so I would guess. Maybe the "animate the walking statues" idea was the work of a mighty archmage who had a really bad idea before adventurers stopped his plan.



Quote:
10) Thymanther. I thought the Dragonborn were *already* introduced into Realmslore in ‘Dragons of Faerûn’ as children of Bahamut and Tiamat?

That's an unfortunate coincidence; when naming the new PC race developed for 4e, our developers settled on the best available name from 3e. The dragonborn from Races of the Dragon introduced in Dragons of Faerun aren't necessarily the dragonborn of 4e.


Quote:
12) Were Bards affected by the Spellplague, too? And what are you going to do with them (as FR has traditionally always had many bard NPCs) if there is no Bard class in PHB? And yet –- did the Spellplague affect Sorcerers, Arcane Archers, Bladesingers, Assassins, et al. or just the Wizards?

Any Weave users, I'd say. But don't worry, bards are around in 4e. If they're not in the Player's Handbook we'll have them available soon after online or in another sourcebook. You can assume bards are still around.

Sorry you're disappointed, Asgetrion, but I hope I've convinced you that there is at least some small chance we might not be completely inept. Thanks for your thoughtful post, and I hope you'll reserve final judgment until you see all the pieces together in one place.
__________________
Rich Baker
Senior Designer
Roleplaying R&D
Wizards of the Coast, Inc.[/SBLOCK]
 

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caudor

Adventurer
I like the direction they are taking with FR.

And I'd also love to see the look on Szass Tam's face as the ground started moving beneath his feet :)

Does anyone know what happens to Elminster yet?
 


ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
caudor said:
Does anyone know what happens to Elminster yet?

It might actually be interesting to have a novel about Elminster's reaction to the whole situation. I can imagine him being hit hard by Mystra's death (as a Chosen) and by the sudden loss of his magic, but he's also written as resourceful enough that I can also imagine him being one of the first to rediscover the new way for wizards to access magic. Might be a decent plot arc that would also explain/justify the way the new spellcasting mechanics work fluff-wise in FR.
 

Mortellan

Explorer
It would make an even better story arc to have him come up missing and not seen for almost a century, then have *gasp* PCs find clues to his recovery.
 

Voss

First Post
Heh. Thats supposed to convince someone they aren't inept? Repeatedly saying 'I don't know how this works' isn't exactly inspiring. Nor is saying that blowing up the world wouldn't be useful, so if we're contradicting old fluff, screw it.

Translation: We didn't worry about the little details that people will see as flaws and will eventually blow up in our faces. Its all fine, just buy the book.
 

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
Mortellan said:
It would make an even better story arc to have him come up missing and not seen for almost a century, then have *gasp* PCs find clues to his recovery.

Heh, I'm trying to imagine an FR group that WOULDN'T take that opportunity to stab the smug bastard right in the eyeball, and I'm drawing a blank...
 

Sitara

Explorer
mystara died in the time of troubles; the mystara was midnight a human npc who was merged with mystara's essence or whatnot. So yeah while it mayhit elminny pretty hard, he actually knew the previous mystara for hundreds of years, midnight he only knew for a decade or so.

The comment about Bards is interesting; apparently they may be offered ONLINE.
 

Incenjucar

Adventurer
This is at least the third time the FR Myst-whatever deity of magic has died.

They suck at immortality. May explain why Elminster never took the role.
 

ZombieRoboNinja

First Post
Sitara said:
mystara died in the time of troubles; the mystara was midnight a human npc who was merged with mystara's essence or whatnot. So yeah while it mayhit elminny pretty hard, he actually knew the previous mystara for hundreds of years, midnight he only knew for a decade or so.

I meant it'll probably hit him hard in a more direct sense - he's got some kind of direct connection with Mystra as one of her Chosen, as I understand it, so when she bites it he'll probably have quite a headache.
 

Voss said:
Heh. Thats supposed to convince someone they aren't inept? Repeatedly saying 'I don't know how this works' isn't exactly inspiring. Nor is saying that blowing up the world wouldn't be useful, so if we're contradicting old fluff, screw it.

Translation: We didn't worry about the little details that people will see as flaws and will eventually blow up in our faces. Its all fine, just buy the book.
Alternate Translation: We didn't worry about all the little details, because we want people to make up their own explainations for things. Questions left unanswered by us should be answered by you, serving as plot hooks for your campaign or an adventures.

That's what they did in Eberron, and I think it works well.
Though it only works if the unanswered questions mostly remain unanswered by later books. (Though they shouldn't away from hinting possible answers, but that's best done if vague or seemingly contradictory...)
 

Sitara

Explorer
I guess Szass taam will be powerless in the new realms, since there is no necro class. heh, a 0 level lich. :D

IMO I wonder what role bahamut and tiamat will have in the new pantatheon of the realms...
 

Khairn

First Post
Voss said:
Translation: We didn't worry about the little details that people will see as flaws and will eventually blow up in our faces. Its all fine, just buy the book.

Yeah, that's about it. Trust us. We know what we are doing even though we can't provide any rationale for some of the changes we've been forced to make. Buy the book.

Very underwhelming replies from my pov.

Mustrum_Ridcully said:
That's what they did in Eberron, and I think it works well.
It worked in Eberron because it was a brand new setting. And that type of design style would have worked great with a new 4E setting. But shoe horning massive changes on FR without any consistent rationale is a mistake.

Sitara said:
The comment about Bards is interesting; apparently they may be offered ONLINE.
And "online" for WotC probably means being a subscriber to the DDI.
 


Hussar

Legend
There's one thing about it, after seeing all this FR stuff of late, I've come to a conclusion. I never really got into the Realms all that much, and now I know why. It's not the huge amount of material. It's not the novels. It's the rabid FR fans that make Trekkies look like models of sanity.

It's bloody magic. "Rationale" ??? You need a rationale for the effects of the death of a god and how it affects those whom the goddess directly touches? And you expect everything to work as easily explainable phenomenon?
 

hexgrid

First Post
Voss said:
Heh. Thats supposed to convince someone they aren't inept? Repeatedly saying 'I don't know how this works' isn't exactly inspiring. Nor is saying that blowing up the world wouldn't be useful, so if we're contradicting old fluff, screw it.

Translation: We didn't worry about the little details that people will see as flaws and will eventually blow up in our faces. Its all fine, just buy the book.

The translation is that the changes were made for meta-game reasons, and the in-game explanation is open to interpretation.

I'm not sure why it needs some specific explantation. There's plenty of stuff in the -real- world we can't explain, after all.
 

Devyn said:
It worked in Eberron because it was a brand new setting. And that type of design style would have worked great with a new 4E setting. But shoe horning massive changes on FR without any consistent rationale is a mistake.

It can work great in the FR too. "shoe horning massive changes" is neither here nor there. It has nothing to do with leaving out the little details. So long as unanswered questions remain unanswered, there is no reason why the 4E FR shouldn't have this style of writing. None. You're just stamping your foot because you're mad about the overall changes, and your response here is really senseless.

Personally, I think the Realms could REALLY use the "leaving out the little stuff" style of writing. I think it'd be a big step up from the "minutae-obsessed" style prevalent in many FR books.

This, together with the recent article at Wizards, really pleases me.

Kobu said:
Apparently he froze to death trying to sell matches in an alley in Waterdeep. It's all very sad really. :(

Please be true!
 


catsclaw227

First Post
Voss said:
Heh. Thats supposed to convince someone they aren't inept? Repeatedly saying 'I don't know how this works' isn't exactly inspiring. Nor is saying that blowing up the world wouldn't be useful, so if we're contradicting old fluff, screw it.

Translation: We didn't worry about the little details that people will see as flaws and will eventually blow up in our faces. Its all fine, just buy the book.
Why is leaving some things open to interpretation for the DMs considered inept? In some cases he is offering ideas about what may or may not have happened.

If he has contradicted some past fluff, so what? How many times in our own history, have "known facts" been refuted by new discoveries? (earth is flat, sun revolves around earth, man will never fly, etc)
 

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