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#1 Zandilar

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 04:52 AM

Heya,

In a related question to Viconia's religion, I decided to check into the history of House DeVir.

It's interesting what you find when you dig for it.

According to the Wizards of the Coast's offical chronology, the novel Homeland occurs between 1297 and 1328 DR... Why is this important? One of the first things to happen in the novel is the fall of House DeVir - destroyed by House DoUrden, then the tenth house of Menzoberranzan.

Viconia claims to be from Menzoberranzan, and her surname is DeVir.
One of the thing that characterises the infighting between houses is the victorious house makes sure none of the loosing house survive (hunting down those who manage to escape (and then covering up for those who really do escape. ???).

If this is true, then Viconia left Menzoberranzan sometime after 1297 DR.

Baldur's Gate 2 occurs around 1368 DR, which is approximately 10 years after the Time of Troubles (remembering that Bhaal went on his rapine rampage prior to the Time of Troubles.)

This means that Viconia was on the surface approximately 61 years prior to the Time of Troubles (that is 71 years prior to Baldur's Gate 2).

Something doesn't compute. :groucho:

Anyone got any other angles on this?

#2 NiGHTMARE

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 04:57 AM

A old post by David Gaider on the attic:

> On a side note here : Didn't she know about the fall of her house? I mean,
> her unwilling to sacriface a baby caused Lolth to disfavor House DeVir and
> another house (Presumably House Do'Urden) attacked the DeVir compound. In
> mean, in Menzo all-out attacks last no longer than a day or so, and since
> Valas interupted the sacrifice of Viconia, it can be certain that Lolth
> withdrew all her support to house DeVir... But maybe she wouldn't admit to
> herself that house DeVir had fallen, even though, deep in her heart she
> knew...

(Dave Gaider's reply:)

You're getting your Drizzt legendry mixed up with your Viconia legendry. Keep in mind that Viconia is a LOT older than Drizzt.  A House falling out of favor does not always equate with that House falling...although it is pretty likely. And while the battle between two Houses may only last a day or so, it is considerably longer before any good word spreads to the rest of Menzoberranzan (no-one knows what's going on, exactly, unless they're on the 'inside').

Viconia probably assumed that House DeVir fell that day, but she had no way to be sure, as she'd already fled. She would likely have been very surprised to hear that the House didn't fall until nearly a century later.



There's more discussion on the subject here.

Edited by NiGHTMARE, 24 July 2004 - 04:58 AM.


#3 Zandilar

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 05:46 AM

Heya,

Thankee very much for that, NiGHTMARE. :groucho:

It wasn't actually the timeline of events that lead her to flee that got me curious...

What has Viconia been doing for the last 71 or so years - and how is it that she's a) so low in level (she's been "adventuring" a while) and b) aparently so ignorant of the surface world?

a) can be easily ignored, since this has more to do with game mechanics... We all know that people have different views of how quickly levels accumulate. (There is an inherent disagreement between how quickly NPCs level vs how quickly PCs level.)

b) can't be so easily ignored. Viconia herself says that she fled to the surface as quickly as she could. This implies she's been there for a very long time (David Gaider outright states that Viconia has been away from House DeVir since before the events in Homeland). Even if she was trying to avoid major settlements and the like, I'm sure she'd have a much better idea of the way the world works. ???

Lastly... Am I worrying too much about something that's just not all that important?

#4 BobTokyo

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 06:18 AM

It's one of those Bioware screw ups you'll need to fan wank away. :groucho:

Personally, I like the idea that she spent most of that time in the Underdark, perhaps in a hidden temple of Shar, perhaps just wandering. She lies to the PC out of a need for secrets.

Edited by BobTokyo, 24 July 2004 - 06:18 AM.


#5 NiGHTMARE

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 06:41 AM

Perhaps "as quickly as she could" wasn't all that quickly at all? After all, the Underdark is an enormous place, stretching throughout almost the entire world of Aber-Toril, and exits to the surface aren't all that common - especially unguarded ones. It's concievable she could have spent several years looking for a way to the surface.

Something I've just remembered is that Shar is worshipped by several types of monstrous creatures (particularly goblinoids) as well as humans and the like. Remembering that switched on lightbulb in my head for a moment, and I came up with the following explanation for both how she spent so long on the surface yet knows so little of humans, and why she worships Shar yet knows so little of the church's tenets.

"After many years of searching, Viconia finally managed to find a means to leave the Underdark. She arrived in a mountainous, barren region of the world she would later learn was known as 'the Spine of the World'. She wandered the lands for several days without incident, but one evening she came across a small band of hobgoblin hunters as they were dragging a slaughtered bear back to their camp.

Having come from a city where hobgoblins and other goblinoids were used as slaves, Viconia knew what the creatures were and even had a good grasp of their language. However, these were not the frightened slaves of her former home - the only things these hobgoblins knew of drow were through vague tales told by the tribal elders.

The battle that followed was short but vicious. However, with her superior drow training Viconia was left victorious though not uninjured. After she had killed one hobgoblin and seriously injured two others, she commanded her remaining foes to surrender, and fortunately for them they were intelligent enough to do so.

Curious as to why this creature would let them live and grateful she had done so, they willingly obeyed when she commanded them to take her to the rest of the tribe, intending to learn at least some of the ways of the surface world from these creatures.

Impressed with the tale of her fighting skills, the tribal leader agreed to her request to stay with the tribe on condition that she would join their hunting parties and defend their camp should they fall under attack from orcs, humans or other creatures."

Over the following years, Viconia learned much of the ways of the surface world, but little of its inhabitants - besides the hobgoblin, the only other intelligent creatures she encountered were the occassional goblin, orc.

The hobgoblins gradually became more accustomed to Viconia's presence, but she noticed a growing amount of jealousy over her abilities in the leader of the tribe, and when the creature one day challenged her to mortal combat she was grateful - as a drow she naturally yearned for power, and she finally had the excuse she needed.

Needless to say she was again victorious, and although the tribe was small and full of lower beings, ruling over them gave Viconia a great deal of satisfaction for many years.

As time went by, Viconia started to become curious about the 'god' the tribespeople worshipped - who or what was this Shar they so feared? One day she sat down besides the tribe's elder shaman, and commanded him to tell her eveything."


Obviously there's more to this story - why she came to leave the tribe, what got her interested in humans, (the explanation of both could be that she became bored of the hobgoblins and decided to seek out a more intelligence race), etc. But I think what I've written should give you the general gist of the idea :groucho:.

Edited by NiGHTMARE, 24 July 2004 - 06:43 AM.


#6 Guest_-Cyber_*

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 02:00 AM

That'd be cool, until she gives us her story:

"Have I ever told you how I survived... ?

It was difficult, if you can imagine. I knew only a few words of common, and as I traveled I carefully avoided any contact with the surfacers.

The land was strange, and each day I huddled under the terrible open sky, sure that I would be pulled into the vastness of it if I but closed my eyes for an instant.

Lolth had abandoned me, and I was alone in a strange world. Those rivvil who saw me hounded me with abandon, and I fled to the forests.

There I was hunted by the darthiir...surface elves...and their honed hatred drove me further. I was sure I would perish, never to see the Underdark again.

A group of goln -you call them goblins- tried to seal my fate, but a human merchant came in his caravan, and his guards scattered them.

From a distance he had thought me a surface elf. Surprisingly, when he learned I was Drow he offered shelter. It was a sanctuary while I learned the human tongue.

He was Calimshite, I believe. They are fond of slaves. The price for my safety was the favors I bestowed...erotic arts that the Drow have honed for an eon."

Unless you plan on changing bits of it, she expresses feeling more exposed and fearful than your story relates. :cool:

Unless she's manipulating us.. :)

#7 Dashael

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 03:03 AM

It's my understanding that lies and deciet, for manipulation or even for their own sake, are looked upon favorably by Shar, so yes, everything Viconia says in game could easily be an elaborate web of lies. I'm sure there would be seeds of truth, all the best lies have them, all the details are probably acurate, but the glaring omissions would be the key.

#8 Zandilar

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 04:32 AM

Heya,

It's my understanding that lies and deciet, for manipulation or even for their own sake, are looked upon favorably by Shar, so yes, everything Viconia says in game could easily be an elaborate web of lies. I'm sure there would be seeds of truth, all the best lies have them, all the details are probably acurate, but the glaring omissions would be the key.



It's certainly a conveniant way of handling the holes and flaws in her story... but for some reason that just doesn't sit too well with me.

There's just something too forthright about her.

I don't know.

Anyway, I'm just glossing over the 70 or so years she's been on the surface (more, less, who knows)... There are better things for me to throw my energy at... (Like LT4 and LT5, both of which need a touch of editing before I send them to Grim Squeaker.)

#9 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 12:26 PM

On another thread when this question came up, someone pointed out that 71 years for an Elf isn't all that long. If you're practically immortal (barring an axe to the head) 71 years out of the typical life span of hundreds of years might be a short time. Surface elves have long histories with shorter living species like humans, so they understand that chronology is different when speaking to humans/halflings/gnomes/etc..., but drow only have long histories with Beholders/Mind Flayers/Deep Gnomes/Sahgwin(sp?). Mind Flayers and Beholders probably have even longer life spans than drow and I doubt the drow would bother to learn proper time etiquette with the fish people or gnomes. If the protagonist is the first surfacer she's ever really become close to it would stand to reason that he/she would be the first one to notice things like this. Besides, time doesn't mean much in this game...it usually takes me at least a month of game time to rescue Imoen...talk about a lousy older brother.

#10 Zandilar

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 02:12 PM

Heya,

On another thread when this question came up, someone pointed out that 71 years for an Elf isn't all that long.  If you're practically immortal (barring an axe to the head) 71 years out of the typical life span of hundreds of years might be a short time.  Surface elves have long histories with shorter living species like humans, so they understand that chronology is different when speaking to humans/halflings/gnomes/etc..., but drow only have long histories with Beholders/Mind Flayers/Deep Gnomes/Sahgwin(sp?).  Mind Flayers and Beholders probably have even longer life spans than drow and I doubt the drow would bother to learn proper time etiquette with the fish people or gnomes.  If the protagonist is the first surfacer she's ever really become close to it would stand to reason that he/she would be the first one to notice things like this.  Besides, time doesn't mean much in this game...it usually takes me at least a month of game time to rescue Imoen...talk about a lousy older brother.



To argue that time moves differently for an elf (drow or not) is a furphy. :)

Time doesn't move differently for them at all. Yes, they do live a heck of a lot longer than humans, and they tend to take the longer view of things, because they know they won't be dead in 30 years or so... But 71 years is still 71 years. Viconia needs to move about the world at the pace of the kivvilen (surfacers)... She needs food and water and sleep just like everyone else (the standard elven four hour trance aka "reverie" is denied Drow, they sleep just like the other races).

Just because she's an elf doesn't mean she experiences one minute for every 10 human minutes. Time moves at exactly the same pace. They learn at exactly the same rate as the other races. They experience things at exactly the same rate as other races. They just live a heck of a long time, and therefore can experience a lot more over their entire lifetimes.

Besides which, the PC is absolutely not the very very first kivvil (surfacer) she meets (and what if the PC is an elf?). Even if she hadn't told you about that merchant and his caravan (Calmshite in the North... hmm trading exotic luxuries?), there's no way she could have gone for 71 years on the surface without meeting other surfacers! (Especially since she's a Sharran, and I still maintain she must have met another Sharran in order to have become a priestess of Shar.)

As an OT aside, 20,000gp is a lot of money to earn... It's not inconcievable that it would take the better part of a month to find - and in many DnD campaigns, 20,000gp is more gold than one adventuring party would see in a year (particularly if they're just starting out.)

#11 BigRob

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 07:08 PM

Just because she's an elf doesn't mean she experiences one minute for every 10 human minutes. Time moves at exactly the same pace. They learn at exactly the same rate as the other races. They experience things at exactly the same rate as other races. They just live a heck of a long time, and therefore can experience a lot more over their entire lifetimes.

This is true, but the elven definition of "a long time" is longer than a human's.

e.g.
"I spent two years learning to play the harp"

Means the same for elves and humans

but...

"I spent a while learning to play the harp"

For a human this means: A couple of years

For an elf this means: Two or three decades


Elves are not easily bored and when they do things, they do them fully, without skimping on the details (This is why they're premier crafters). After all, they've got the time. :)
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#12 Mongoose87

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Posted 26 July 2004 - 10:15 PM

Personnally, I wouldn't invest too much of my time in this issue. It's probably just a minor slip up whilst writting. We can see a similar proble min Jaheria, who seems liek she sohuld have more past experience, but does not.

#13 Domi

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 10:44 AM

According to the Wizards of the Coast's offical chronology, the novel Homeland occurs between 1297 and 1328 DR... Why is this important? One of the first things to happen in the novel is the fall of House DeVir - destroyed by House DoUrden, then the tenth house of Menzoberranzan.

Viconia claims to be from Menzoberranzan, and her surname is DeVir.
One of the thing that characterises the infighting between houses is the victorious house makes sure none of the loosing house survive (hunting down those who manage to escape (and then covering up for those who really do escape. ).

If this is true, then Viconia left Menzoberranzan sometime after 1297 DR.


In a similar debate by Dan, majority of people elected the option that Viconia stayed in the Underdsark for quite a while before being able to exit to the surface.

Gaider's reasoning also suggests that Viconia left Menzzoberanzzan well before 1297: she is said to be *significantly* elder than Drizzt (born during the attack on House DeVir), the cause for the fall of the House Do'Urden is Matron Ginafae's support of the snivferblin against a rival drow (not Viconia and Valas problems), the only survivor of House DeVir is Alton DeVir - Salvatore goes into great pains to establish that *all* DeVirs, but Alton were in the compund and Zaknafein slaughtered every priestess of the House.
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