D&D General I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #202 The Howling Delve by Jaleigh Johnson (Dungeons 2)

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Excellent, and the follow up (sorry, I've started looking closely at my list/spreadsheet) is the Sage of Shadowdale series separate or still part of the same run- are they all the Elminster series or should I (can I) do them in two parts.

I've got the first five novels (listed above), or at least four of them, with the missing one on the way- so, I'm primed to add them to the running order.

Apologies again and thanks for your patience.

Cheers goonalan

I'd do Sage of Shadowdale as a separate read later in your efforts. It is all following Elminster still... ish, but it's set post-Spellplague (in 4th edition D&D) but before the Sundering (5th edition D&D).
 

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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#021 The Druid Queen by Douglas Niles (Druidhome 3)
Read 27/10/19 to 31/10/19


Forgotten Realms The Druid Queen (Druidhome 3) a 30.jpg

Book 3- and worse. The novel, as always, swings bye- easy to read and no heavy thinking (at all). The New/bad gods (Talos (Malar) & Helm) are out to do in the Earthmother still. The bad guys line up with the Firbolgs (with leader & shaman type), Trolls (Baatlrap- nasty leader type), Parell Hyath (high Helm Inquisitor), mad and moody (Princess) Deidre Kendrick and the best of them all- Grond Peaksmasher (the Giant- and I mean, GIANT- god). The action is okay, although some bits are just plain dumb-

King Kendrick decides on a whim (or a spell- Geas?) to go and fight the Firbolg/Troll horde on his own... the rest of his family (well, (Princess) Alicia anyway) decide to go and help him- with the usual bunch of friends tagging along.

King Kendrick mucks about a bit- still ensorcelled?

The High Inquisitor is a smarmy git throughout, and we know he's going to be a/the bad guy- samey same for (Princess) Deidre of course; so there are literary no surprises here. You kinda just know how it's all going to fold-out. The cool guy on the bad kid block of course is Grond Peaksmasher, and he only makes his appearance in the last twenty pages.

There's also the Robyn problem, The Druid Queen of the title- she does a little recon at the start of the novel, frets a bit, and then disappears for a while to commune-commune at the Moonwell, and there she stays- for most of the book. At the finale the author sorta explains this away by having Robyn share her thoughts, she's been in a trance for absolutely ages and forgot to set her alarm clock, or something very similar.

Anyway, the final confrontation after the gang traipse around Gwynneth for a while is on the island of Oman- home to the aforementioned Peaksmasher, it all goes wrong- then it all goes right, as expected. There's a nice bit in which the Druid Queen becomes one with the earth- and shrugs her shoulders a bit- EARTHQUAKE! She gets lost in the mantle- oh no, she can't escape her doom- and then she escapes. The pay off for Robyn is convincing Mr. Peaksmasher to not lay waste to her family and friends (to not harm the Earthmother). That's it.

There's a very daft bit with some Hallucinatory Terrain, which even as I'm reading it I'm seeing straight through it- the fact that an entire army, including veterans and a bunch of high level PCs (the heroes- with all of their save bonuses) can't see through the veil for a good while. I'm not convinced.

Bits of the plot are barely hanging by a thread, and all of the good (bad) guys are under-used and under-played, at least I think so.

It's a book about the Earthmother (Robyn) versus the New Gods- Talos & Helm, only this pair barely lift a finger and their working guys are either all over the shop (and not at all enthralled by their godly masters) or else go at in a half-arsed way.

I want better enemies, more conniving, cleverer... I want them to steal the scenes and to chew at the scenery. That said some nice fights and another series ticked off.

Oh, Keane (Wizard/Tutor) finally gets it on with (Princess) Alicia, and the Elf (Brigit) dies, as does Knaff (and he was my favourite ten-line NPC in the whole book).

Double Oh, and what's Tavish for (except so that the author can have someone on the spot to describe the action) the Bard follows the Firbolgs to Oman and then her best tactical choice is to run and grab the magic axe- she's knocked out of the game by a Spiritual Weapon spell. What the? What level's Tavish- 3rd?

Read! You should probably give this series a miss though.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#022 Pool of Radiance by James M Ward & Jane Cooper Hong (Heroes of Phlan 1)
Read 31/10/19 to 3/11/19


Forgotten Realms Pool of Radiance (Heroes of Phlan 1) a 30.jpg

Well... this is a difficult one, what to say for the best... Hmm. It's a bit- Meh, actually a lot- Meh.

I kept on wanting to like it more than I did, kept reading- waiting for something cool to go down, or else the writing to explode from the page, y'see I remember way back when, possibly during the 'golden period' of my D&D playing, I DM'ed this module (at least 25 years ago- can that be right? Yes, as it turns out- I am an old git). It was fairly rubbish but we had a go- and there's always fun to be had around the table, but if I had known the word Meh back then, I would have used it.

I also get that this is/was a computer game, and I guess anything goes in them- particularly way back then, is it supposed to be written for kids?

Right then- Shal is apprentice Wizard to Ranthor, who emergency scoots over to Phlan to help his mate- Denlor (another high level Wizard) who's in trouble big, six pages later (or thereabouts) both Wizards are toast- dead. Shal gets upset, then discovers that Ranthor has left her... well, everything- Ring of Three Wishes (spoiler- she wastes two wishes in the next ten or so pages), Staff of Power, Cloth of Many Pockets, Wand of Wonder, Healing Potions and a telepathic Horse/Familiar called Cerulean.

Soon after Shal heads to Phlan, and then meets and joins forces with Tarl (Cleric of Tyr, all his mates are killed by a Vampire and his undead chums, also the artefact Tarl was carrying is stolen), and Ren (who is an 11th level Ninja (or so it seems) reduced to waiting tables after his g/friend was assassinated- the pair stole a couple of ioun stones).

The three adventurers (four if you count Cerulean, and you'd better because the Horse is the smarts for the party, and a magic detecting, trap defusing, killing machine) are put to work by a corrupt councilman to clear uncivilised Phlan (the bit with all the random monsters in). If you don't work out within six lines of meeting the corrupt councilman that he's the bad guy (or at least one of) then quite frankly you need to head back to them books with Janet & John, the pair apparently also have a dog called Spot- that's your level.

There's not so much a plot as a series of coincidences/inevitabilities, the story goes- A, then B, then C, then D- there are absolutely no surprises, everything is writ large and often- we see all sides of the intrigue, all of the time and so the only thing the reader is left wondering is- why am I reading this?

There are some (tiny) nice bits- but they're all fights, and pretty much they're quickly made a mockery of when Shal drags out the artillery (mostly her Staff of Power).

Oh and Tarl and Ren both fancy Shal, and while Shal has feelings for both of the guys, only one of the pair is her 'special' friend.

Gah!

Meh!

Gah!

Read- oh lookee, the sequel!
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I kept on wanting to like it more than I did

That about sums it up for me. There were cool ideas in there, but the execution was lacking. Also, little things kept driving me up the wall, like the vampire's weird speech impediment, or the rather ham-fisted attempt to justify why clerics don't use edged weapons (I'm glad the author at least tried to address that, but the explanation just didn't work for me). The later books were, I thought, at least somewhat better.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
Ah, Phlan.... It always comes back down to Phlan (and all the flan jokes that inevitable come with it).

Yeah, Pool of Radience served to make other D&D novels look good (even the ones that weren't).
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
That about sums it up for me. There were cool ideas in there, but the execution was lacking. Also, little things kept driving me up the wall, like the vampire's weird speech impediment, or the rather ham-fisted attempt to justify why clerics don't use edged weapons (I'm glad the author at least tried to address that, but the explanation just didn't work for me). The later books were, I thought, at least somewhat better.

I started Pools of Darkness yesterday, I have a rule- 50 pages a day, or else I mentally give myself a ticking off, so today I've done my 50 pages already but I'm going back to it- that's a better sign, particularly as I've been busy today with other things.

It's still a bit odd mind, I've just read two pages of Ren recapping the backstory from the last book talking to his horse (Stolen, that's the horses name)- I mean large chunks of speech mark enclosed exposition, just odd. I don't even understand why the authors would chose to do it this way. Why not just have Ren remember back to when- without the very odd talk to the horse moments. I get that the Ranger has an affinity for the beast, and perhaps the lad is going to bump in to a fall in love with Evaine and her magical/familiar cat companion (at least Gamaliel gets a voice. Ren just sounds bonkers.

I like the bad guys, particularly the comedy Red Wizard- it seems his entire army from Pit Fiend to Skeleton General are out to get him, undermine him, ridicule him etc. There's a little more fun in this one, and not so vanilla.

We'll see...

Cheers goonalan
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
If I remember correctly, Pools of Darkness was a little better, but still had some eye-rolling moments. Like, didn't the pit fiends that were attending Bane call him "Boss"? It made them sound like flunkies from a Saturday morning cartoon. Also, that Red Wizard calling the skeletal tactician he'd retained "General Brittle" was groan-inducing.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
If I remember correctly, Pools of Darkness was a little better, but still had some eye-rolling moments. Like, didn't the pit fiends that were attending Bane call him "Boss"? It made them sound like flunkies from a Saturday morning cartoon. Also, that Red Wizard calling the skeletal tactician he'd retained "General Brittle" was groan-inducing.

Not sure about the 'Boss' but my eyes may have skipped over that bit- trying not to see it, there's a General Brittle and he's about my favourite bad guy- whenever Marcus turns up Brittle is just "Sheesh, this feller sucks the phat one." Mind you no-one has a good opinion of the Red Wizard of Thay, most times he shows up you know the Benny Hill outro tune is going to start up soon.

That said I'm enjoying the good guy's gang, and in particular Miltiades the undead skeletal Paladin- he rocks, also they've made use of the Killing Trees of Moander (and I luvs me some Moander) so that's all good with me. Certainly enjoying it a lot more than the first one.

But, yeah- clunky in places, as the reader drops right outta the story.

Is the disappearance of a clutch of cities around the Moonsea canon? I get Phlan's gone but there are rumours of other places going the same route, snatched by Bane and his bretheren... is that in the history book of the Forgotten Realms?

Cheers goonalan
 

Mirtek

Hero
All FR novels are canon. Some love it, some hate it

Double Diamond Triangle might be the only exception (another point in favor of those saying these aren't FR novels anyway).

They may be intended as fiction from within the FR, but I don't think this was ever backed up with a hard statement from WotC
 


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