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


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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I hope I'm not spoiling anything here, but was this the one with the lamias, and Wonder Woman's lasso? I know that sounds crazy, but I seem to recall that somewhere around here there was an actual magic lasso that made people truthfully answer questions so long as they were caught by it.

Also, I seem to remember that Artemis calls himself "Bane of the Sword Coast" here, which is all the evidence you need that Salvatore didn't write this (besides, you know, a different author's name being right there on the cover).
 

Mirtek

Hero
Book 5- Belmer and the Sharkers (is that what they were called- or am I remembering this wrong)
You're remembering right. Except for one of the books which suddenly calls them "sharpers" (IIRC). So either one of the authors was not paying attention during the meeting or it's an auto-correct error that no one spotted :)
 

Wasteland Knight

Adventurer
Inspired by this thread I decided to give sone of my old FR paperbacks a reread.

I realized I’m nowhere near as dedicated as Goonalan.

I think I’ll continue to enjoy these novels (mostly) vicariously.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#099 Conspiracy by J Robert King (Double Diamond 6)
Read 11/10/20 to 12/10/20


IMG_2556.JPG


Book 6- and it's like some mad(-ish) concept album- there's something just a little weird about this one, not so much the action but the manner in which the story gets told.

I get the royal we of the emperor who is observing events like some omniscient narrator- seeing the story unfold from the many eyes and ears that he has at his disposal, the emperor is his own spy network- or so it seems, but some of the emperor's asides and catch-up's are still a little odd. But nothing compared to Noph's dead/not dead out of body experience (at the start but mostly at the end)- with trippy 'I love the curvy ladies' theme. As I say, just weird- and a little hard to reconcile at times, the rest of it is the good stuff with the action- fiends spewing into the city, the paladins doing there thing (but also a little weird in places) and Arty E and his less than merry Sharkers doing their bad stuff. A confrontation- natch, and then the semi-joining of the dark and light teams- against a common enemy. Got it, and the confrontation with the emperor (in his magical fish tank) is all gravy.

I think the issue is that all of the other authors pick and choose which characters to mess with along the way, and then when you read them as a whole you get to experience a myriad of slightly (and worse at times) different versions of said characters. Same for the telling of the tale, the focus drifts in and out- or else spotlights this thing, which is then duly ignored in the next book which has a different theme/focus.

It makes it a bit messy- stylistically (of course) but also there are gaps, and overlaps, and versions of the same.

It doesn't help this one that it seems to dip in and out of some epic narrative stylings, with Noph particularly at the start with his truth telling golden lariat navel gazing, the young lad seems to be seeing beyond, dude. He's got the thousand yard stare, but by the end- oh, he's back, back to being a semi-berk again, a neophyte adventurer with a soft/hard spot for curvy seductresses.

I was, in truth, sorely disappointed when I started the next one and discovered he was still alive...

What's Noph for? What does he represent- innocence, naivety, the reader? He's getting to be very unlikeable and doing it remarkably quickly.

The names of all of the chapters here begin with the letter 'C'- Conchology, Concupiscence (the author rowed a long way out to sea for this one), Conspiracy etc. Oh, except for the chapter called Divergence. It's an odd route to take- it makes me think there must be something more to it, but for the life of me- save a love of alliteration, the stand out "D" chapter, it just seems a little strained.

There's a point coming when I'm going to say "Gah!" again, and wish that I was reading something else- as the great Mr. Curtis sang "I feel it closing in". Three more to go- come on, push through- you can do it.

See, now I'm doing it.

Read.

Stay warm and toasty, and safe and well.

goonalan
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I'm reminded that, insofar as I know (though I could very well be wrong), these are the only Forgotten Realms products (novels or otherwise) that cover the "Utter East." And while I'm certainly no cartographer of Faerun, I'm still not entirely certain as to where that is, since if you go east you tend to hit places like Thay and Rasheman, and beyond those are the "Hordelands," which are the westernmost part of Kara-Tur. Even the southeast (if I recall correctly) is the northern bit of Zakhara. So where exactly is this place? The country is called something like "Donegan" or thereabouts?

Either way, I think we're now at one of the points which I do distinctly recall, which is the god-emperor of the place, who has long-since become some sort of human-kraken hybrid. Now, if I want manipulative giant squids, then I'm sorry but Slarkrethel does it better. Likewise, the whole "everyone knows who he is, but not what he is" thing makes him seem a bit like a cut-rate sorcerer-king from Dark Sun. That said, I seem to recall that this guy was basically a giant human head with lots of long tentacles from the neck down, communicating via psychic powers and running the country from inside his big glass tank, which fortunately is damn near indestructible, since the paladins are all "this guy pings on detect evil, so let's get smitin'!"

And I'd forgotten about the weird, quasi-romantic poetry whatshisname was composing in his head to Wonder Woman's lasso at the beginning of this book. It was weird, like he was writing sonnets to it or something. That whole thing is just...I don't get it.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
I'm reminded that, insofar as I know (though I could very well be wrong), these are the only Forgotten Realms products (novels or otherwise) that cover the "Utter East." And while I'm certainly no cartographer of Faerun, I'm still not entirely certain as to where that is, since if you go east you tend to hit places like Thay and Rasheman, and beyond those are the "Hordelands," which are the westernmost part of Kara-Tur. Even the southeast (if I recall correctly) is the northern bit of Zakhara. So where exactly is this place? The country is called something like "Donegan" or thereabouts?

Either way, I think we're now at one of the points which I do distinctly recall, which is the god-emperor of the place, who has long-since become some sort of human-kraken hybrid. Now, if I want manipulative giant squids, then I'm sorry but Slarkrethel does it better. Likewise, the whole "everyone knows who he is, but not what he is" thing makes him seem a bit like a cut-rate sorcerer-king from Dark Sun. That said, I seem to recall that this guy was basically a giant human head with lots of long tentacles from the neck down, communicating via psychic powers and running the country from inside his big glass tank, which fortunately is damn near indestructible, since the paladins are all "this guy pings on detect evil, so let's get smitin'!"

And I'd forgotten about the weird, quasi-romantic poetry whatshisname was composing in his head to Wonder Woman's lasso at the beginning of this book. It was weird, like he was writing sonnets to it or something. That whole thing is just...I don't get it.
Testify!
 

I'm reminded that, insofar as I know (though I could very well be wrong), these are the only Forgotten Realms products (novels or otherwise) that cover the "Utter East." And while I'm certainly no cartographer of Faerun, I'm still not entirely certain as to where that is, since if you go east you tend to hit places like Thay and Rasheman, and beyond those are the "Hordelands," which are the westernmost part of Kara-Tur. Even the southeast (if I recall correctly) is the northern bit of Zakhara. So where exactly is this place? The country is called something like "Donegan" or thereabouts?

Either way, I think we're now at one of the points which I do distinctly recall, which is the god-emperor of the place, who has long-since become some sort of human-kraken hybrid. Now, if I want manipulative giant squids, then I'm sorry but Slarkrethel does it better. Likewise, the whole "everyone knows who he is, but not what he is" thing makes him seem a bit like a cut-rate sorcerer-king from Dark Sun. That said, I seem to recall that this guy was basically a giant human head with lots of long tentacles from the neck down, communicating via psychic powers and running the country from inside his big glass tank, which fortunately is damn near indestructible, since the paladins are all "this guy pings on detect evil, so let's get smitin'!"

And I'd forgotten about the weird, quasi-romantic poetry whatshisname was composing in his head to Wonder Woman's lasso at the beginning of this book. It was weird, like he was writing sonnets to it or something. That whole thing is just...I don't get it.
The Utter East is the area between Faerûn and Zakhara, basically the coastal area southeast of Durpar and Ulgarth (which are the southeasternmost parts of Faerûn proper) and due north of Zakhara. A large mountain range seperates the area from the southwestern areas of Kara-Tur like Tabot.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The Utter East is the area between Faerûn and Zakhara, basically the coastal area southeast of Durpar and Ulgarth (which are the southeasternmost parts of Faerûn proper) and due north of Zakhara. A large mountain range seperates the area from the southwestern areas of Kara-Tur like Tabot.
That's largely what its wiki entry states, though the "Background" section notes that this was a rather late decision:

The "Utter East" was first mentioned in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987), but where it actually lay has varied over subsequent sourcebooks, with earlier lore altered to refer to different locations. On page 81 of the Cyclopaedia of the Realms, it is said that ivory from the Utter East arrives in Suzail, but the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition: A Grand Tour of the Realms (1993), page 55, changes this to the Unapproachable East. Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990) on page 105 refers to the "mysterious Utter East", but says this is Kara-Tur. Page 45 of the Campaign Set's DM's Sourcebook of the Realms mentions the Blue Diamond, a flying ship created in the Utter East, but The Shining South (1993) associates these skyships with Halruaa. The Forgotten Realms Atlas (1990) finally located the Utter East, placing it beyond the far south and east corner of Faerûn, somewhere past Ulgarth, and joining Zakhara. The Shining South followed suit (but with a reference to Horde barbarians in the plains east of Ulgarth, it may have been referring to the Hordelands and Kara-Tur). Nevertheless, Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition (2001), page 209, still describes the Golden Way as connecting Faerûn and the "Utter East"—meaning Kara-Tur.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#100 Uneasy Alliance by David Cook & Peter Archer (Double Diamond 7)
Read 13/10/20 to 14/10/20


IMG_2558.JPG


Book 7- and I finished reading it yesterday night and already I can barely remember it, that's not a good sign.

So, we're following Arty E and his assorted sharpers/sharkers, and a pair of paladins.

First up Noph's back in the land of the living, then... bloody hell, I just don't remember much of it.

Anyway, the rag-tag band hot foot it eventually back to the surface (or else something big explodes and the surface comes down to greet them) and meet up with Garkim, the Mar minister- so, a tripartite 'uneasy alliance', and at some point Trandor reveals himself to be a war Wizard of Cormyr. And... final rush for the Bloodforge which has been hidden by members of the Fallen Temple in a desecrated temple to Umberlee.

Then the rumble in the temple, lots of bad guys, until the emperor turns up in big-head with tentapods form, it's all... just so forgettable. Apologies, for my lack of details but there seem to be no significant moments that stand out.

Random memories of the end-

Oh, but they get the Bloodforge- or else Arty E and Shar do- but see below.

Oh, and Ingrar turns out to be an aspect of Tyr- so, that's nice- and he's got a new job, guardian of the Bloodforge (along with Trandor, I think).

Oh, and minister Garkim knows how to work the Bloodforge (after the emperor mind-melded with him, apparently) so the fiends in the capital are thwarted by the summoned forge army.

And... that's all I remember, and it was only yesterday (actually last night) that I finished it.

The issue is for me, I think, I'm looking for a standout character to hang my hope on and... they don't exist, mainly because each author/book seems to focus in on one (or more) individual, and then... those same individuals are treated with much less care and attention (or else just significantly differently) in the next book, by the next author on the rank. It's just so higgledy-piggledy.

I though Noph was going to be the hero- turns out he's a berk, with the odd cool line that cuts to the chase.

Same for Belmer- he started out being super smooth, then he turns into a petulant Arty E, who is way less cool here compared to previous incarnations in the FR novels. Although I dig his new skeletal arm.

Same Miltiades- I heart Miltiades (previously) but here- he's a bit of a shouty-shouty dick.

Sharessa is pretty cool throughout, although somehow in the end the authors of this one thought they would advance the feminist cause by having the beautiful pirate speculate as to what sort of female company minister Garkim prefers. So, good to see that (strong, cool and tough) women are still sleeping their way to the top, or else just soooooo enamoured of men with power. Gah! (there it is).

Garkim himself starts off with the rocky story, kid from the wrong side of the tracks etc. But he's just a water carrier by the time we get here.

Ingrar is possibly the best of the bunch- his eyes have been opened, but again this just feels like a device rather than some well thought out character arc, it's probably the best (character arc) of a bad bunch however.

It's reassuring perhaps that in everyone of the novels/pamphlets so far Kern is a pernickety arsehole, "but Tyr says..." he repeats endlessly in his wheedling way, at least the collective authors could agree on something.

Can't wait to get to the end of this series, as Stevie Smith wrote- not waving but drowning.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan.
 

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