I'm reading the Forgotten Realms Novels- #34 The Ogre's Pact (Twilight Giants 1)

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
There's a few of those Harper series I loved and wished to see more from those heroes (Ruha, Parched Desert!) And other books have been guilty pleasures. I know Pool of Radiance isn't great, but it checked off enough boxes to keep me turning pages quickly.
We actually saw Ruha again, in Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad. She was apparently also in The Veiled Dragon (which I haven't read yet).
 

toucanbuzz

Explorer
Yeah, she had some minor role (I still own the Crucible, enjoyed the machinations of mortals and gods), but missed her as a major character.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
I remember this being one of the earlier books that I nerd-raged on for game rule-related reasons. Like, Sirana isn't an erinyes; she's the daughter of the previous book's wizard villain and the erinyes he summoned. In other words half-devil (or half-baatezu, if you prefer). The problem is that there were no stats for such creatures in AD&D 2E at that time, the way there were for half-demon children (i.e. cambions and alu-fiends). It wouldn't be until the Guide to Hell came out that we got stats for those.



This also ticked me off. She summoned a bastellus, as I recall, which is a Ravenloft-specific monster. You don't pull creatures out of Ravenloft, doggone it!
I was never that bothered about stat blocks, now and even back then- I used to mix and match and make lots of stuff up on the fly.

Same with monsters drafted in from different worlds/settings, it was always pretty much anything goes- for me, if I could make it work.

It's the constant disappointments Sirana suffers, she messes up time and time again and doesn't seem to learn from her mistakes. It's a simple type of Evil she represents- tyrannical, self-assured/obsessed and almost incapable of spotting (or even acknowledging) he onw limitations/flaws/failings. She is doomed to fail almost from the outset.

I kinda prefer the Evil that has to be defeated by the clever schemes and machinations of the adventurers (and their bravery and humanity), rather than scuppered by its own hubris.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
Jumped in this late, but man, you're taking me back, and wow on the ambitious schedule!

I read nearly all these and have kept most on my library shelf for nostalgia. Some were so bad, so bad, that I donated them. Glad to see Homeland on your re-read list, I've enjoyed that trilogy over and over, and you're right on the Moonshae books. I was never into the heroes.

I won't ruin anything but I had fun reading the Canticle series, and the Harpers series included most of those I donated away rather than keep.
Welcome friend.

There's a list of the books that I have acquired, and are therefore the next in line to be read, found here.

The Cleric Quintet is the next series.

If you see any errors in my ways then be kind enough to point them out. If there's a better order, please remember however the list represents pretty much all of the books that have purchased atm.

As to the reading schedule, initially I gave myself ten years to get this done (25-30 books/year)- I started on Aug 2nd and have just finished my 25th FR novel, and in approx. 100 days, that's not bad at all- but I can't sustain it. However, I only work 2 or so days a week, I spent from January (when I semi-retired) until August painting the house and fixing all the things that I had neglected to fix previously. Now with the weather bad over here in the UK there's even more time available for me to grab a book. I'm a reader by trade, so it comes easy to me... so much so that I've just finished another.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#025 Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor by Carrie Bebris (Heroes of Phlan 4)
Read 13/11/19 to 15/11/19


Forgotten Realms Pool of Radiance Myth Drannor (Heroes of Phlan 4) a 30.jpg

Book 4- obviously it's just more of the same, another piece of merchandising for a poorly conceived and rendered (TSR/Wotc- so, probably) computer game. But here's the thing- I bloody loved it.

I wasn't expecting to, at first I even tried a little active dislike to see if I could make it fit, it didn't, and as I read on I got more and more in to it. Confession time, I was on page 120 when I awoke this morning, the rest of the book (just short of 200 pages) well that accounts for a chunk of my afternoon and evening.

There's a pool, sorry Pool- this one is in Myth Drannor (and with tributaries popping up (again) in other cities around the Moonsea), the Dragon Cult (yay!) are the bad guys- the pools, sorry- Pools, are fuelling extensive (possibly) Dracolich production. The bad guys are Kya Mordrayn (Dragon Cult Wizard with massively clawed hand/arm- nice, dressed in slutty-slut-slut with added wings- double nice!) and Pelendium… no, that's not it- Perpendicular, nope- Palindrome, NO! Pelendralaar- lar-lar-lah-la-la-la-lah, la-la-la-lah- hey Jude, the Dracolich. We don't really see either of this odd couple for a vast majority of the book- hints and reminders, the odd image or snippet but nothing much else. And specifically not their bent and broken machinations, ad hoc evil puppetry, or other singer/songwriter style talents of the usual fleabag villains that have populated this series.

So, in the finale- when the bad guys get to do their do- then I'm gripped moment-to-moment, don't get me wrong we all know how this is going to end, it's the manner and the register of the victory that makes the reader's parting moments either hellishly sweeter, or else a scowling retreat punctuated by "Gah!" and "Bah!" (other noises are available- shop around).

That however isn't the best bit- the best bit is it sounds, smells and even feels like an adventure- by which I mean a bunch of adventurers ham-fisting it around (at times) a dungeon style complex, they get better- they learn, they become tactically astute. They get on- they don't get on, the red shirt Emmeric (from memory) gets fried. Our guy, scratch that- gal, is Kestrel and she's our eyes and ears to this rip-roaring adventure; likewise her change of heart is almost (dare I say it) believable, it's the same epiphany I've been trying to achieve as a DM- to make the Players bloody care about the adventure!

The other members of the adventuring team are also good, we don't invade their heads to hear what they are thinking, but we eventually get to like them all the same.

The level progression works(-ish), even the myriad magic item gew-gaws smell of AD&D and the edition beyond, it's like the author deliberately set out to write a book about a great big jolly old game of D&D.

Last bit, there are silly things- the daft stuff that's inherent in all of these books, but it is much easier to forgive- because while these guys may be saving Myth Drannor/the cities of the Moonsea/the World (etc.) what they're actually doing is slogging their way through a semi-sensible (and sentient) dungeon, and we stick with them all the way. No grandstanding, just the story- front and centre, all the way to the bloody (and heroic) end.

I also loved the various Elven spirits, there are chunks of this novel that I am going to be taking back to my gaming table.

READ!
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
how'd you get a job reading?? :)
I was a lecturer for a lot of years, there's a fair amount of talking (to yourself) but much more reading to be done- essays, academic research, etc. In an earlier post I stated-

When I was a lecturer I had to do marking, lots of marking- so second semester that would be 10 or so dissertations (20,000 words each), and a hundred other assignments every semester (3,500 to 5,000 words each). Three weeks turn round, and then there's the second marking...

I sat down with a colleague one year, as we finished the final marking of the academic year (and the Boards of Study, variegated Academic panels, Schools of whatnot et al) and we tried to calculate a years worth of words- what we had to read to meet the quota. It (obviously) ran in to millions...

Whisper this, I still (sorta) miss it- but reading with a purpose, that I can do.

Cheers goonalan
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Book 4- obviously it's just more of the same, another piece of merchandising for a poorly conceived and rendered (TSR/Wotc- so, probably) computer game. But here's the thing- I bloody loved it.
Is this actually called "Heroes of Phlan, book four" anywhere? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with the other novels that I recall. (EDIT: So the computer game, which is what this novel essentially puts its own take on, is set in New Phlan; hence, the novel probably is also. But I don't recall it having any plot tie-ins to the previous three books at all.)

Of course, I don't recall very much about it at all. I know it was one of two tie-ins to the computer game (the other being Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor, which was supposed to be a "your heroes are doing this while the heroes of the PC game are doing that"-type thing. But I think the novel was supposed to be its own take on the PC game.

What little I do recall of it was chuckling as Kestrel apparently got very drunk at the beginning and blacked out, waking up to find out that she apparently gave Elminster a lap dance and volunteered to go check out Myth Drannor with the party he's sending in. That and the awkward paladin who was, like, umpteenth in his line to go into that service and despite acting confident and in command had a lot of insecurities. Kestrel had to talk him into actually praying for spells because he didn't think he was worthy of them.

But other than that, I really don't remember much of it at all.
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
Is this actually called "Heroes of Phlan, book four" anywhere? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with the other novels that I recall. (EDIT: So the computer game, which is what this novel essentially puts its own take on, is set in New Phlan; hence, the novel probably is also. But I don't recall it having any plot tie-ins to the previous three books at all.)

Bold to stand out- not shouting, or anything similar.

Actually, it's not called Heroes of Phlan book 4 anywhere, that just works for me because all four novels involve the Pools- perhaps it should just be called the Pools Series. As I've said a few times- there's a list in the second post of this thread, books that I have purchased and intend to read in the order shown. If there's anything wrong with nomenclature, order or whatever... then sing loudly.


Of course, I don't recall very much about it at all. I know it was one of two tie-ins to the computer game (the other being Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor, which was supposed to be a "your heroes are doing this while the heroes of the PC game are doing that"-type thing. But I think the novel was supposed to be its own take on the PC game.

Alas I never played the PC game, or even knew about it- was it converted to a module, I could of course just Google the answer.

What little I do recall of it was chuckling as Kestrel apparently got very drunk at the beginning and blacked out, waking up to find out that she apparently gave Elminster a lap dance and volunteered to go check out Myth Drannor with the party he's sending in. That and the awkward paladin who was, like, umpteenth in his line to go into that service and despite acting confident and in command had a lot of insecurities. Kestrel had to talk him into actually praying for spells because he didn't think he was worthy of them.

But other than that, I really don't remember much of it at all.
I think I liked it more because it's the first book that I've read for a while that doesn't dart around from point A to point B, hero C to hero D, villain E to villain F- you get my drift, and instead it just sticks with the guys and their adventure.

The awkward paladin isn't that insecure- he's secure enough to order everyone about, talk over folk and make all the big decisions- he gets his humility, and humanity, at the end. I actually liked it when he got his spell powers, when Kestrel told him (basically) to just 'try/believe', which is pretty much what Kestrel is doing also- trying to see the bigger picture, to think of (believe in) someone other than herself.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a work of genius, it is however funny in places, down and dirty in the finale, risible and at the same time chippy, and fun- back to that. Not epic, I dislike epic, but everyday heroic (for adventuring folk).

It reminded me of more than one of my gaming groups over the years, and more than one of my games.

Cheers goonalan

Apologies, there are some of my answers in the quote- I don't understand how to work forums/quotes etc. I am not a tech person.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#026 Realms of Valor Anthology Ed. James Lowder
Read 15/11/19 to 17/11/19


Forgotten Realms Realms of Valor a 30.jpg

What to say, it's a book of short stories encompassing the swiftly played out actions of various heroes in various location. Eleven stories to be exact, each one approx. 30 pages long, each gives an insight in to the people, the place and the moment. So, it's good- not great, and not my preferred story telling medium- the novel. Very easy to read, I gobbled it up.

The eleven stories are-

The Lord of Lowhill by Douglas Niles- in which Pawldo the Halfling (Major/Merchant/Adventurer etc.) visits a skull themed disappearing castle and learns not to be greedy. Nice!

Elminster at the Magefair by Ed Greenwood- in which the 2 cool 4 skool Wizard does what it says in the title (accompanied by Storm Silverhand), wins the Fireball contest, gets involved in a little intrigue, makes an enemy and then heads home via several other planes of existence in time for tea and a shoot out with a Lich. If you like that sort of thing (it's a little silly in places) then read this.

One Last Drink by Christie Golden- in which a clutch of Vampires visit Mistledale with dinner (and more) in mind, certainly the most bloody and visceral of the tales in this tome- and all the better for it. Nice ending.

The Bargain by Elaine Cunningham- in which a pair of high ranking Harpers visit Calimport for intrigue and adventure, but mainly to prop up Pasha Balik's regime. It all works out in the end, slightly cheesey.

Patronage by David Cook- in which Koja, historian Monk from Horselords (and the Empires Trilogy) gets his book published and also gains a new patron- it's actually very good.

A Virtue by Reflection by Scott Ciencin- Zaz and the rest of his catpeople pay a visit to Arabel, and come to the notice of Myrmeen Lhal the ruler of the city- intrigue and revenge follows.

King's Tear by Mark Anthony- Kelshara (bad lady) and Tyveris (our guy) go head to head for the King's Tear, Toz the prophesizing Kobold gets his revenge, and the story proves that the quill is mightier than the sword (when Oghma's in your corner). Ends with a daft fall out of the window moment- oh, well...

The Family Business by James Lowder- Artus Cimber's old man was a highwayman, in this story Prince Azoun helps the young Artus come of age, or at least escape his fate.

Grandfather's Toys by Jean Rabe- in which a Druid called Galvin helps Drollo to find his granddaughter, a detective novel in which the sleuth is a man of nature- it's okay.

The Curse of Tegea by Troy Denning- Adon, dashing young(-ish) patriarch of Mystra dispels the curse of Tegea, eventually- this after making the self-worshipping Lord Gorgias see himself for what he is. Silly-ish in places.

Dark Mirror by RA Salvatore- Drizzt helps slaughter a band of monsters that have kidnapped several villagers, then falls foul of a false promise and ends up returning a poor (and 'good') Goblin back to slavery (and death). He learns a lesson that will serve him well unto his end, but again- it's just okay.

Eleven stories, some better than others but all suffering (slightly) because of their brevity and therefore simplicity.

Read!
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
What to say, it's a book of short stories encompassing the swiftly played out actions of various heroes in various location. Eleven stories to be exact, each one approx. 30 pages long, each gives an insight in to the people, the place and the moment. So, it's good- not great, and not my preferred story telling medium- the novel. Very easy to read, I gobbled it up.
It's fairly self-evident, but most of those stories (I don't think all of them, though I'm not sure) are essentially spotlights for characters that appear in other novels. Christie Golden's short story, for example, is about Jander Sunstar, who's the main character of the first Ravenloft novel, Vampire of the Mists. Artus Cimber, from James Lowder's short story, is the main character from The Ring of Winter, etc.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
#027 Canticle by RA Salvatore (Cleric 1)
Read 18/11/19 to 19/11/19


Forgotten Realms Canticle (Cleric 1) a 30.jpg

I really liked this one, hence the fact it only took me two days to read it- although, truth be told, I had time to kill on both days, still the inclination to read on was almost too much to bare.

That said the first 150 pages, which is quite a chunk, I get that they were very interesting but not a rip-roaring read- as in there's not much in the way of action, plenty of intrigue and fun facts to learn about a variety of folk. This book is great for that, at least for me- many of you reading this may be much better versed in the ways of the Realms.

So, the bad guys are Aballister (Wizard), Barjin (Cleric and more) & Druzil (Imp & more) who are all adherents of Talona, the Lady of Poison; there are others but for the most part we stick with these three guys. They're nasty, conniving and all the things you want your bad guys to be. Aballister thinks he's the big "I am" in the group but it's a powerplay, and Barjin is in to scoop the top spot. Druzil, the scheming Imp, is happy to play the long game, at the beginning he calls Aballister Master, but would happily swap allegiances at a moments notice.

In the 'good' corner we have Cadderly, who is suitably Insider/Outsider, with just a touch of genius- he's like no other, some would call him unique. He lives and works at the Edificant Library with a bunch of other clerics of Deneir (& Oghma etc.). Cadderly's true love is Danica- and so she's going to also be playing the part of hero, also along for the ride is Newander, the Druid, and double-trouble from the Bouldershoulder brothers (Ivan and Pikel) who are all-Dwarf.

"Oo Oi", As Pikel more often than not remarks.

The bad guys- Barjin, and later Druzil (see below), break in to the catacombs beneath the library and soon after release the Most Fatal Horror (or else Cadderly does, by accident (he's duped)) thereafter things start to go badly wrong- as the Poison/Curse works its course. Which is beautiful behold, if I could run this as a scenario tomorrow, well... I would.

After the Poison/Curse comes the adventure in to the catacombs, and that's all good- the finale is just triumphant, and the adventures of Cadderly, Ivan and Pikel are glorious to behold- funny, daft and D&D. It's a winner, but that's not the bit for me...

The best bit comes about halfway through the book when Druzil the Imp is sent by Aballister to spy on Barjin who has set up shop (evil-temple style shop, natch) in the catacombs beneath the library. Barjin thinks he has summoned the Imp, he doesn't know that Druzil is Aballister's pawn (which he really isn't).

Anyway... so, Barjin needs to sell the deal to Druzil, to convince the Imp to come and work for him he lays out his diabolical scheme, and in the style of a estate agent (US= Realtor) shows the Imp around his new home base pointing out all the best/worst aspects of his evil abode. Hot and cold running Mummy, Nice! Fire resistant Zombie janitor- t'riffic! Army of Skelly-bobs, smashing! Glyphs to die for, Cool!

It is wonderful behold, and I thought the N/PC just cast a spell- Summon Whatnot and the Lower Planes guy just showed up and got on with the evil chores, oh no- there's a deal to be done here, it seems the ideal Wizard (Lower Planes) Summoner actually needs to be some sort of cross between Sauron and a second hand car salesman. I am buying that for a dollar- believe me when I say that a version of that entire activity is going to making it to a game near me as soon as possible.

READ!

Oh, and am I on the path to discovering that RA Salvatore is the go to guy for this range of novels, it's starting to feels this way?
 

tglassy

Adventurer
RA Salvatore is one of my favorite authors. He excels at this kind of fiction. Just wait until you read the rest of the Drizzt novels.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
I despise Drizzt and his the great power of Gary-Stu wish fulfillment that his writer instills in him. However, I remember reading this series back in the day and finding myself genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

One thing I will give Salvatore is his ability to write dwarves. Truly, his characterization is inspirational. I remember laughing during one of the Drizzt novels about how Bruenor was over in the temple preparing for Wulfgar and Catti-Brie's wedding and testing the holy water (i.e. Ale). Ivan and Pikel were wonderfully hilarious, almost slap-stick, throughout the Cleric's Quintet (I particularly love Pikel...Dwarves couldn't be Druids in 2nd edition, IIRC, but dammit, he wanted to be one!!!! As Pikel would say, "Doo-dad!" as he would cast "Sha-lah-lah" (Shillelagh))
 

tglassy

Adventurer
I despise Drizzt and his the great power of Gary-Stu wish fulfillment that his writer instills in him. However, I remember reading this series back in the day and finding myself genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

That’s what i hear most about Drizzt. Everyone loves to hate him, but almost always enjoy reading about him. Is it possible he really isn’t the Gary Stu people put him up to be? He’s a genuinely fun character, he makes mistakes, he has issues, yeah he always comes out on top, and I find I disagree with him more as he ages, but he’s a fine character.

I think it’s more that people like to hate on something that’s universally popular, more than there’s anything wrong with his character. If you really despised him, you wouldn’t have enjoyed reading about him.
 

Len

Prodigal Member
My impression is that Drizzt is disliked because everyone wanted to play him as a PC, not so much as a judgement on the original character.
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
I despise Drizzt and his the great power of Gary-Stu wish fulfillment that his writer instills in him. However, I remember reading this series back in the day and finding myself genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

One thing I will give Salvatore is his ability to write dwarves. Truly, his characterization is inspirational. I remember laughing during one of the Drizzt novels about how Bruenor was over in the temple preparing for Wulfgar and Catti-Brie's wedding and testing the holy water (i.e. Ale). Ivan and Pikel were wonderfully hilarious, almost slap-stick, throughout the Cleric's Quintet (I particularly love Pikel...Dwarves couldn't be Druids in 2nd edition, IIRC, but dammit, he wanted to be one!!!! As Pikel would say, "Doo-dad!" as he would cast "Sha-lah-lah" (Shillelagh))
Don't tell me too much, I've just started 'In Sylvan Shadows', and the Dwarves have shipped out of the libarary- I didn't know they were coming back.

My thing is- I don't know diddly about any of these books, so they're all (well... almost all) a grand surprise.

Cheers goonalan
 

Goonalan

Adventurer
That’s what i hear most about Drizzt. Everyone loves to hate him, but almost always enjoy reading about him. Is it possible he really isn’t the Gary Stu people put him up to be? He’s a genuinely fun character, he makes mistakes, he has issues, yeah he always comes out on top, and I find I disagree with him more as he ages, but he’s a fine character.

I think it’s more that people like to hate on something that’s universally popular, more than there’s anything wrong with his character. If you really despised him, you wouldn’t have enjoyed reading about him.
Yeah, I get that- my friend Stu thinks he's Drizzt (sometimes in real life) see this post.

What I actually dislike, I have discovered, is Stu's obsession rather than the Drow Ranger- I found that out by reading the books.

Just to make clear, I don't think Drizzt is the ultimo novel born hero, I just really like the books about him- or at least the ones that I have read so far.

I'm a Dwarf man, myself- I likes me a bit of Bruenor, and Ivan & Pikel were sure-fire hits.

Cheers goonalan
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
My impression is that Drizzt is disliked because everyone wanted to play him as a PC, not so much as a judgement on the original character.
I've seen a story floating around on some other forums, about how when Salvatore was at some convention, this teenager comes up and glances at a Drizzt poster that's set up in Salvatore's booth. The kid rolls his eyes and snarks, "a drow ranger who fights with two scimitars. How original."

Salvatore just grins and says "thanks!"
 
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Goonalan

Adventurer
I've seen a story floating around on some other forums, about how when Salvatore was at some convention, this teenager comes up and glances at a Drizzt poster that's set up Salvatore's booth. The kid rolls his eyes and snarks, "a drow ranger who fights with two scimitars. How original."

Salvatore just grins and says "thanks!"
You'd want that to be true.
 

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