Friday, September 6, 2013

In Which Michael Moorcock Sneaks into The Forgotten Realms

So, I've been reading the Cyclopedia of the Realms. My 1e Realms box set is, according to The Acaeum, a first printing. I'm about 30 pages in and have noticed a few editorial snafus. A few more than I would have expected, in fact. At any rate, here's a rather amusing one.

Quite early in the Cyclopedia, starting on page 10, we have the Religion in the Realms section. The authors give an overview of the main deities, then talk about some not so main deities. Among those latter, we get a short section on the Elemental Lords: Grumbar, (God of Elemental Earth;) Kossuth, (ditto of Fire;) Akadi, (Air;) and Istishia, (God of Elemental Water.)

Now, the idea of Elemental gods, kings, or what-have-you goes back quite some way. At least to the renaissance and Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The idea shows up on more that one occasion in European Occultism and there are several variations.

Back to the Cyclopedia. Page 18 gives a chart with Classes and the typical gods they worship, then a smaller list of some professions and the powers they sometimes venerate.

For Sailors, we get the following list:
"TYMORA, SELUNE; Placate STRAASHA, MISHA, TALOS, UMBERLEE."
Hah!

Straasha is, of course, the Elemental King of Water from Michael Moorcock's Elric series. I can only assume they meant it to be Istishia. Whoever was responsible for that chapter may have substituted what was, to him/her, a more familiar name for the concept.

Or, in Ed's original campaign, he may have ported over Mr. Moorcock's version of the Elemental Lords and the writer/editor gaffed in not correcting the reference in the "Official TSR Version" of the Realms.

Not really surprising. Several of the Forgotten Realms deities come from other mythological sources.

And I could hardly fault Mr. Greenwood for swiping ideas from Mr. Moorcock, for the sake of his home campaign. Many of us did so!

9 comments:

  1. Maybe he was also subbing in gods from the 1st edition Dieties and Demigods which featured the Melnibonean Mythos. And somehow that got added in his manuscript in error.

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    1. I might make the time to search Candlekeep and see if Ed has ever had anything to say about it.

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    2. If memory serves, Greenwood's original article on religion in the realms in Dragon magazine used Moorcock's names for all the elemental gods. I no longer own that issue of Dragon; can anyone else confirm? My guess is the names were changed in one part of the Cyclopedia but not in the other.

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    3. Jonathan Miller: Why, yes, there it is, Dragon 54, page 9. He gives the ones from the DDG, obviously, because he uses Misha, Lord of the Wind Giants as the lord of Air instead of Moorcock's Lassa (and, I note, that's also in the section that seems to have gone unrevised).

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    4. Funny, I just randomly bought that issue the other day.

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    5. It also has that neat article on exploring ruined cities.

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  2. Seems likely, especially when you compare Moorcock's names for them (Grome, Kakatal, Lassa, Straasha) with the ones from the Realms (Grumbar, Kossuth, Akadi, Istishia) - noting especially that Lassa is not included in the DDG version of Moorcock's characters.

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  3. there is dragon article 68? perhaps on cherrypicking gods from deities and demigods for your setting where he explicitly states this and the box set just a makeover of this article

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    1. Dragon 54, as I noted above. (As an aside, there are no Ed Greenwood articles in Dragon 68, though he is listed as "contributing editor". It does have an excellent Arthur Collins article on using D&D for an ice age fantasy setting, and a less good article on weather in Oerth that was simplified slightly and incorporated into the boxed set.)

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