• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

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

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
If the mind seed did its thing, Arvan would be effectively dead and his mind replaced with a copy of Zelia's mind including all her knowledge. And his body would still be physically human. It doesn't change a person's species. It's the potion that does that.
And now I'm towards the end of book three in the series and... Arvan is just working out he has Yuan-ti blood in his veins... So, got my wish, kinda.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers goonalan
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#162 Vanity's Brood by Lisa Smedman (Serpents 3)
Read 18/5/22 to 26/5/22


IMG_3231.JPG


And I don't want to keep on saying, I struggled with this one... but, well, I did- again.

This series has not been my thing, but again- caveat alert, not because the books are badly written, or else there's something (anything) specifically wrong with them.

I struggled to get my head around Arvin, as he said in book one (and two, and three) he's not that friendly of fellows. He's not repugnant, or rude- he's a nice guy, he just doesn't seem to fit in, a lot- sometimes he seems to be just doing things for himself, other times he seems to be utterly selfless- and he's going above and beyond to prove it. But he just doesn't seem to settle on a thing, in book one and two there are far more interesting folk, again- to me. The big secret SPOILER is, of course, Arvin has Yuan-ti blood in him, he's (LE) Spock in this story, perhaps I should have spotted that earlier.

But Spock isn't Kirk, and that's part of the problem, Kirk is easy to like- Spock/Arvin is interesting, but I wouldn't want to watch an entire film about him. That's my issue with Arvin.

So, that aside- there's lots more cool stuff, and great places to go an visit in this one- mostly bits of Chult, although we don't get to see, hear and smell too much. Which leads me to my next issue with this series.

Psionics are interesting, the secondary characteristics and their tells, the way in which lots of things are going on as two psionic combatants battle it out in their respective minds, and the space in-between- make way for the ectoplasm, Martha! And yet while this mind-o vs mind-o epic battle is going on, well... there's some action (a little bit) but not much.

As soon as I finished this one (well, the very next day) I dived into the first book in The Year of Rogue Dragons series, The Rage, by Richard Lee Byers- and I'm loving it. The action is fantastic (so far), and there are at least three very likeable characters that are constantly competing for my smile. Why am I telling you this?

Because the psionic thing is great, but it's not a lot of action- I get that it's plenty of threat, but it's mostly threat that is told to us. Arvin, explaining what is going on in his brain, and then explaining what he's trying to do to his enemies senses- and again, that's great for me in DM world, to get a handle on how to use psionics in-game. But, it's not a lot of anything in the way of epic threat/action and all of the spectacle nonsense beloved of other authors. It's not even overly dramatic, because it's all over so quickly, the finale (part two) Arvin vs Zelia is kinda done in maybe two or three pages. It doesn't have time to be tense, or gripping, or... it just comes across as an explanation of events (mostly unseen).

So, great writing- I'm learning all the time, but not a story (or central character) for me.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#163 The Rage by Richard Lee Byers (Rogue Dragons 1)
Read 27/5/22 to 29/5/22


IMG_3233.JPG


I bloody loved it...

That feels better, it's an adventuring party and they're schtick is they kill dragons, sorry... Dragons! In all shapes and guises, and why? Because Dorn (the half-golem, pauses for laughter) was torched/burnt as a child when his parents died in a terrifying DRAGON! attack. I'm glad we got done with that early because it's the kind of thing that you could trip-over later, and get angry about. Exposition early, and the sillier it is (and this one is pretty silly) then the earlier it needs to be in the text. First page.

Oh, and the wizard who owned Dorn's ma and pa (RIP- DRAGONS!) spent all of his time and energy turning young Dorn into a half-golem, yes... that's how we get to this.

Right, semi-ridiculous opening aside, done with- forgotten about. The rest is great stuff, in no-particular order we have-

A young feller who thinks he's got what at takes, let's call him Gorstag, he infiltrates the Cult of the Dragon because he thinks he's working for the Harpers now. He ain't. Sorry- SPOILER. He's actually working for...

Brimstone, a vampiric dragon, a draco-vamp. Brimstone is great, however he's been cast off as second best by...

Sammaster, and he's a remarkably calm and collected big bad guy, and pleasant with it, well... pleasant-ish, he likes trees and the forest, so that's nice. But the good guys are are hunting him down, because he's got a RAGE canon (or something similar, you'll have to read it to find out) which makes DRAGONS! RAGE- all dragons, even the good ones. Oh, and he invented the Cult of the Dragons, he's the big cheese in the cult- and (maybe) back from the dead.

With Dorn is Will the halfling (need I say more- light-fingered lovable scamp, nope- done); Pavel, priest of the Morninglord, and voice of reason and Raryn who is a trippy (it is what it is) dwarven warrior from t'north. Dorn is crazy in his head, the three above generally talk him around to the sensible option very time- it's fun to watch. Almost LOL at times.

Then there's Kara, she's a song dragon, damn! SPOILER.

Dorn hates dragons, they killed his... but Kara is so...

Then there are high and mighty gold dragons, and then there are silver dragons that snap to attention every time a gold speaks, and then there's Chatulio (Bronze Dragon) and he's a bundle of laughs/tricks.

Just like Jivex the Faerie Dragon, he's a hoot too!

Then there's Northkeep, a sunken city in the deepest part of the Moonsea, and it has dragons too, including a bunch of the skeletal variety and a Styx Dragon. Oh, and also lots of wraiths.

Then there's Taegan, and god knows why he's arrived so late in this list because we spend about a third of the book with the fencing master. Taegan is Gorstag's fencing tutor, he's there for the young spy's last words... and then after various visitations by the Cult of the Dragon, including the one in which they burn his fencing school down. Well, Taegan is up for adventure, at which point Dorn and the gang arrive and it just snowballs.

I'm not saying this is a work of genius, it does however have good characters (for/from D&D world), lots of great locations, and encounters, and bad folk, and good folk, and a rip-roaring story that's simple to follow and fun, fun, fun.

So, I liked this one a lot. I would have read it in two days but I deliberately put it down so that I could savour it.

Stay safe and well.

Read.

Cheers goonalan.

Oh, and then there's the bit where Taegan somehow convinces some kind of elven dragon, which is massive by the way, to come back to life and fight for the land/forest/elves/them again.

There's probably lots of other stuff I've forgotten to include in the above- OH! The Zhent, damn! But you get me, it's rammed.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I agree that this book was a lot of fun, which in hindsight makes me a bit sad that I never followed up on the rest of the trilogy. I seem to recall that I couldn't find them, and that I was starting to lose interest in D&D fiction in general; I did pick up book two, but it's still sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to sit down and actually read it. The third book remains one I haven't yet bothered to purchase.

This was around the time that D&D novels were starting to become sourcebook happy, in that you could start to pick out exactly what products they were drawing upon. Dorn's nature as a half-iron golem? From the 3.0 Monster Manual II. Kara's being a song dragon? Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. Brimstone's vampiric dragon template? Check the 3.5 Draconomicon sourcebook. And of course, Sammaster's life and personal history are from Cult of the Dragon. Heck, this series even generated its own splatbook after the fact, in the form of Dragons of Faerûn. That's how closely the novels and the sourcebooks were tying together, and if you were a fan of the rules and mechanics of the game, it was great to see!

A lot of mid-to-late Third Edition-era books were like that, and it was a lot of fun, even if I was starting to get my fiction fill elsewhere. Makes me wonder if it's time to finally finish this series off.

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
I agree that this book was a lot of fun, which in hindsight makes me a bit sad that I never followed up on the rest of the trilogy. I seem to recall that I couldn't find them, and that I was starting to lose interest in D&D fiction in general; I did pick up book two, but it's still sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to sit down and actually read it. The third book remains one I haven't yet bothered to purchase.

This was around the time that D&D novels were starting to become sourcebook happy, in that you could start to pick out exactly what products they were drawing upon. Dorn's nature as a half-iron golem? From the 3.0 Monster Manual II. Kara's being a song dragon? Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. Brimstone's vampiric dragon template? Check the 3.5 Draconomicon sourcebook. And of course, Sammaster's life and personal history are from Cult of the Dragon. Heck, this series even generated its own splatbook after the fact, in the form of Dragons of Faerûn. That's how closely the novels and the sourcebooks were tying together, and if you were a fan of the rules and mechanics of the game, it was great to see!

A lot of mid-to-late Third Edition-era books were like that, and it was a lot of fun, even if I was starting to get my fiction fill elsewhere. Makes me wonder if it's time to finally finish this series off.

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.

I was going to ask the question, is there a specific Faerun-style Dragon book? But you got there way ahead of me (or else my memory).

Is there some reason they don't update a lot of this stuff for 5e, by update I mean of course re-issue with new edition stats et al, it's the kind of thing I would defo buy. Or am I just an old guy and not the market, damn- nailed it.

Goonalan
 



Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
[...]

Just FYI. You used #282 twice and after the second your count is one off.

Just discovered it when I tried to match your list with my list to find out why yours is longer :)
Actually no, I had it right, here's the copy & paste-

#280 The Companions by RA Salvatore (Sundering 1)
#281 The Godborn by Paul S Kemp (Sundering 2)
#282 The Adversary by Erin M Evans (Sundering 3 & Brimstone 3)
#283 The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers (Sundering 4)
#284 The Sentinel by Troy Denning (Sundering 5)

#285 The Herald by Ed Greenwood (Sundering 6)

#286 Brimstone Angels by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 1)

#287 Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 2)

#282 The Adversary by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 3 & Sundering 3)

#288 Fire in the Blood by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 4)
#289 Ashes of the Tyrant by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 5)

#290 The Devil You Know by Erin M Evans (Brimstone 6)

The numbers are right, The Adversary is #282 both times, I think I spotted the fact this book was in both series and so just put it in a second time to remind myself to go back and look at this one again to see what went on and how it effects the second (Brimstone) series.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
#164 Realms of the Dragons Ed. Philip Athans (Rogue Dragons 2)
Read 30/5/22 to 3/6/22


IMG_3235.JPG


It's a little gem, not a work of genius- these collections never are (so far) because there's always a dip in quality somewhere in them, generally. But this one hits more than it misses, and continues the theme with aplomb- dragons, as it turns out quite a lot of authors have a story to tell, and... well, dragons, what's not to like.

Soulbound by Paul S. Kemp, I read this one previously in the Erevis Cale collection, a nice and creepy story, but not as good as some of the others in here.

First Flight by Edward Bolme, this one I almost disliked, my fear of the flating cities and the magic-nificent mad wizards that steer these rocks... well, it knows no bounds. But, the finale... who wouldn't want to be a dragon, all else in life has just been practice. Nice ending.

Gorlist's Dragon by Elaine Cunningham, all drow, it seems, have a tough upbringing, the school of hard knocks it seems has a branch in Ched Nasad. The only issue I have with this one is the central character demonstrates spectacularly why they shouldn't make it out of the arena. It's always a little daft to make a hero and then undermine them by tripping them up with the obvious- drow trust no-one, and yet...

The Keeper of Secrets by Ed Greenwood, Mirt & Durnan have a minor adventure, it's all well and good, and very mostly likeable but, at times, I just get a fed up with these high level epic characters and their ability to, well... to do what they like.

The Topaz Dragon by Jess Lebow, pirates and dragons, and a volcano, and... there's a bit much here at times, and still not enough to see it's a very easy/simple tale. Alright.

Wickless in the Nether by RA Salvatore, I've read this one before, I was urged to in order to understand the Hunter's Blade Trilogy, it's okay- good-ish, I guess. Artemis and Jarlaxle should, by now, have got themselves a tune they come on to- such is the expectation, they are rapidly turning into a comedy double-act.

Serpestrillvyth by Richard Baker, loved it- adventuring party, heroes all of 'em, to save the village, to slay the dragon. Very good.

Waylaid by Thomas M Reid, it gets a bit circular silly in the end, all a little bit neat, but- it's another good little story, a nice idea/twist, and well told.

Standard Delving Procedure by Lisa Smedman, loved it, and Frivaldi- he's great to, and samey-same for Durin. The old sweat dungeon delving dwarf (Durin) has much to teach the bright new young wild thing delver (Frivaldi). Great stuff, my next dwarf will of course be armed with his/her copy of Standard Delving Procedure.

An Icy Heart by Voronica Whitney-Robinson, just beautiful, and terrible, of course. You should probably read this one. Not genius but very nicely done.

Penitential Rites by Keith Francis Strohm, and another, it seems the editor has been saving the very best until last. This one and the two that come before are worth the price of the book alone. Drakken Thraal finds peace at last.

How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth by Dave Gross, it's okay, more from Selgaunt (Sembia) and the Uskevren. But, well... Hamlet, and, well lots of other plays/novels/films etc. I've read/seen this story before, and it's pretty obvious from very early on in the piece. It's a bit toothless, truth be told, and coming this far into the book- well, it doesn't take a lot of thought to guess the end.

Beer With A Fat Dragon by Don Bassingthwaite, Li and Tycho (from The Yellow Silk) are on their journey along the Golden Way, and there's tuigan (I like these guys and gals) and wwe get to meet Ong. But again, this far into the collection and the outcome is obvious. It's unfortunate for the authors this far into the collection but spotting the dragon is becoming much much easier.

The Prisoner Of Hulburg by Richard Lee Byers, and the last one for a little more action from the Year of Rogue Dragons series, and obviously it's a slice of something that was destined for one of the other novels but made it to here. It's very nice- Will and Pavel have an adventure, and screw the Zhent.

Again, a very high standard collection, see the caveats above, for me, these three- Standard Delving Procedure by Lisa Smedman, An Icy Heart by Voronica Whitney-Robinson & Penitential Rites by Keith Francis Strohm steal the show.

Nice work- read.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan.
 

Remove ads

Top