Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Voices of Thay

Art by Artastrophe

For me, Thay began with a voice - the sarcastic tones of Edwin in the Baldur's Gate video game.  His endless complaining, threatening, and evading were no end of amusing to me as I made my way around the Sword Coast, and his entire attitude stuck with me.  Half a world away from home and alone among strangers, his swagger was not held back one iota.  He was a Red Wizard and wore his red with an almost ridiculous amount of pride.

When the time came to build my own version of Thay, I did not use Edwin directly - but I did not forget him.  I also did not fail to realize how valuable an insider's perspective and attitude can be.  I began creating characters who were Thayans born and bred, believing themselves above the rest, and they became my guides.  I listened to their reactions as I read my gaming books.  I allowed their views to shape what I saw.  I heard them explain what their country was like and the more I tuned in, the more I understood the hatred, impatience, pride, and power Thayans have been known for across Faerun.

Thus, for this blog, voices are going to be important.  I have ideas about which personalities will take part in these postings and deliver the inside scoop.  I plan to write many posts in character and from fictitious perspectives, but I will always make it easy to follow who is speaking and why.  To that end, I would like to introduce my possible cast to you.  

First, there is the record of House Delizan.  As a part of creating noble houses for Thay (which were conspicuously missing from the canon), I dedicated one whole house to the preservation of Thay's history.  The scribes and adventurers of House Delizan might get their hands dirty to learn more about their people, but they will brush aside the muck in order to produce crisp, precise, and  (mostly) objective observations.  Some posts will be from their archives, speaking for the collective rather than one person.

Next, there are the other castes of Thayan society which must be represented if you're going to understand the entire experience.  To access them and their unique points of view, I am going to draw from special NPCs created for our campaign.  Each of the PCs in our evil Thayan campaign has the Cult Leadership feat (as found in the third chapter of my book, Drow of Porphyra), and has a number of detailed cohorts and followers.  Using their voices here will allow me to learn more about them and their world at the same time.  

The voice of the Rashemi commoner will come from Liroq the sailor and his traveling companion, Nuaros.  These men are hard workers on Lake Thaylambar, but take vacations away from the water and into their homeland.  Without noble blood, they have fewer rights and privileges, but with a noble patron in Azonia Valgon, they have more leisure than they used to.  And while Liroq looks for ways to get the most out of his country on less than 1 gp a day, Nuaros' mouth makes that and most other things quite difficult.  They may never gain access to many inner workings, but they will likely stumble across plenty of things they shouldn't.

The voice of the in-between will be that of Lucindiya Szollos, a rare half-elf, half-Rashemi conceived in Gauros.  Her father is an elven slave who won his freedom by surviving a High Hunt of Malar.  Instead of fleeing, he chose to stay and marry into the local population.  It was a mixed blessing when Luci showed arcane talent because her muddied heritage means she can never ascend to becoming a Red Wizard.  She gladly attached herself to the perverse Thayan noble Viktor Valgon and rode him out of town (literally and otherwise) at the first chance, ending up across Thay and based in its capital city.  She has more access and a few more open doors than most commoners.

I am not settled on the next/last voice of this blog yet.  I am tempted to use the urban ranger Oltan, a free halfling who follows the blackguard Augustus Valgon and views every city as its own jungle, complete with predators, prey, trails, and so on.  His view is one that the PCs seek out often and he is usually at work in Eltabbar, scouting for his master for some reason or another.  He would be a fascinating way to explore any urban environment.  

I am also very tempted to use Augustus' lady of interest, Tari Govannon, a wickedly astute Thayan blue blood whose father works with the enclaves Thay has scattered across the continent.  She is so sharp that I never know what she will do or say next, and while she is on the census of Eltabbar, she can maneuver her way into almost any corner of Thay she fancies.

If you have any preferences or reactions, let me know.  Either way, I am looking forward to striking out into the wilds of Thay in a whole new way.  ;)

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