To quote old Elminster during one of our earliest conversations together about spells and age-old, waiting enchantments and items that can spit forth impressive, deadly, and/or useful effects:
"Ah, the magic. The fire, the fury, the surprises lurking in the shadows. . . . Aye, I can see your eyes. I know it catches your interest more than almost anything else. It does the same to me -- still, after all this time."
The problem is, I have a house full of enchantments. The Simbul's private spells. Alustriel's court spells. A few "Elminster specials." Not yet published notes. Things I can't explain yet, or that might never fit into the new edition of D&D, or that are in there but are better told of by others who've reshaped them to make the whole thing fly better -- or who have some, ahem, big secrets that it's only fair that we save for now.
So here I've decided to just mention a little tiny something that won't be in the new Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book. Something that doesn't offend against game balance, no matter what edition of the game you're running. Some small but fascinating magic of Faerûn called "weave whispers.
Huh? You're hearing voices? Spells talk to you? Ah, did Elminster leave you something a little strong in a flagon, Ed?
Well, no. Weave whispers are just that: snippets of voices or sounds, usually from long ago (and therefore persons or creatures long-lost), that can be heard in certain places, at certain times.
Sometimes they sound when a long-extant magical field fails or is shattered. In other places they accompany almost any wild magic effect. Sometimes they're sent by the servants of Mystra or Azuth in answer to prayers or offerings laid upon an altar. Sometimes they manifest over the dying body of a powerful archmage or at the breaking or burning of an object that is (or has been) strongly enchanted (particularly if the object has at some time held some part of an intelligent being's sentience, essence, or power). Casting certain spells -- or any spell, in a particular place -- will sometimes awaken a weave whisper. Some cling to portals and can be heard by those awakening them or traversing them.
Here are a few that Elminster called up for my hearing. As for their meanings, I've no speculations that I quite dare to share. I'm sure you'll understand why.
- Dignified, dry male voice: "Thoadrus is the one. A circle about an arc of three stars, his sigil. Beware the traps that always lurk in his craftings. The key to one can be used to trigger all his others, but also -- we know not how -- can serve to seal them until a key is used to break that seal."
- Wondering, awed young female voice: "The stag-headed mage is the guardian, and Harper pins seem to fall from his hands at will, as if creating them is for him a matter of a moment's silent thought. I saw him touch a sword once, and it crumbled!"
- A cluster of singing, bell-like tones, followed by an angry male voice: "Again, ye force me too far! Not every War Wizard can be bent to thy will! Some of us serve deeper dreams, and are every bit as stubborn as you! So bide awhile in these chains, and think new thoughts!"
- Whispering female voice: "Oh, Mystra, that it has come to this! The emerald rod is broken, and the dragon that flies through minds is loosed. Thay will become what we all feared."
- Curt male voice: "I find gargoyles more reliable. The one hidden in Castle Waterdeep has escaped notice these three centuries, and I can awaken it to my bidding with a single word. Meet my price, and the slaughter will follow."
- Pedantic male voice: "There were three such swords. Only this one survives, because mages hate them: Their thrusts shatter spells."
- Cold, level female voice: "There have been regents before, and there will be regents again. Don't let such qualms stop you from slaying and impersonating this one. Of course, you may not be the only one polishing such a stratagem."
- Agitated young male voice: "The Simbul hid it here -- I saw her! Four coins in hand opens the portal, but it's guarded by faceless things with claws!"
- Arrogant, aged male voice: "In time, we'll doubtless discover why the gods make one man so powerful. Surely such exacting investigations can wait until his murder's accomplished!"
- Quavering female voice: "Six wands hidden by nothing more than a crumbling dragon skull located not three stones in from a door hundreds of courtiers pass daily. Is this wise?"
- Male voice, murmuring confidentially: "The passwords are: 'Three ravens yet seven claws.' But mind, all of those words must be used at separate doors, one at a time, and the right one at each."
- Female voice, wracked with pain: "Branter was right. We laid his bones behind Wyvernmaw Rock, and put his staff and rings there, too. The curse is on them still, but he said riding a wyrm was worth it. Those were his last words -- and these, I fear, are mine."
Go to the April Realmswatch main page for more of information about magic in the new Forgotten RealmsCampaign Setting or the Forgotten Realms main news page for more articles and news about the Forgotten Realms game setting.