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Would you buy FR novels if the game world didn't exist?

Think of this as an unofficial, unscientific research project to see how much novels and settings interact in terms of sales. There are two things I'm looking for:

1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?

My answers:

1) I like both, but I've come to prefer the game over the novels in recent years (I do still geek out on a Drizzt novel or Greenwood-penned story).

2) I think I came to the game first, then got into the novels later. I remember picking up game supplements in high school, but not really reading novels until college.

3) Honestly, I can't say that I would have picked up the novels on my own were I not an FR player. If a friend had recommended them to me, maybe. But I got into them because they were an ancillary to a game I enjoyed. This, BTW, is opposite with Dragonlance- I'd read the novels first, but I've never played a DL game.
 

jdrakeh

Villager
I think that the only truly good author of FR novels is Salvatore, and he actually writes a lot of novels that aren't tied to FR/D&D. If FR didn't exist as a game setting, I'd probably still buy his books. The FR 'game fiction only' authors? I don't buy their novels now.
 

Arnwyn

Villager
Brian Compton said:
1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
1) Game side, no doubt about it.

2) It was via the game.

3) n/a

4) Possibly, but not likely. However, unlike a certain batch of ENWorlders, I like the Drizzt stories as well as some of the Greenwood ones (though not all). But if the game world didn't exist? Probably not. (Though I've dumped all the novels in recent years, due to the wretched writing and stories, and their affect on the game products.)
 

mhensley

Villager
1. I don't buy them now as the best of them are mediocre, so I guess I like the game world better.

2. Probably the first FR product I bought was one of the computer games.

3. I only read any of the novels because a friend lent me some. I quit after he lent me some horrible dreck by Greenwood. Never again. :mad:

My general rule of thumb now is to avoid game related fiction. The only exceptions being select novels for Warhammer, some of which are rather entertaining.
 

BadMojo

Villager
1) I suppose I prefer the game. There are only a few Realms authors who I read regularly (Paul Kemp, Erik Scot de Bie, Elaine Cunningham). So, I tend to pick Realms novels by author and not by subject matter.

2) Game first.

3) NA

4) Probably would not have noticed the Realms novels, even the really good ones.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
Brian Compton said:
Think of this as an unofficial, unscientific research project to see how much novels and settings interact in terms of sales. There are two things I'm looking for:

1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
1) The game side more.

2) The game, articles in dragon.

4) Yes, I read a bunch of fantasy novels independent of D&D.
 

DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
Brian Compton said:
1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
1) Game side
2) Game
4) Yes

I picked up every novel for a time, but now I mostly read reviews brfore picking them up unless I like the concept (same with Eberron novels not by Keith Baker [I'll buy those] - there are apparently some real Eberron stinkers out there.)

One I had picked up lately was the first in the Dungeons series (I like the concept theoretically) - Depths of Madness. I found it quite awful. I am reading the second one now and so far it's OK.
 

BadMojo

Villager
DaveMage said:
One I had picked up lately was the first in the Dungeons series (I like the concept theoretically) - Depths of Madness. I found it quite awful. I am reading the second one now and so far it's OK.
I'm surprised at the "Depths of Madness" thing. I really liked the first book by the same author (Ghostwalker) and the short story he wrote connected to Depths. I was going to read Depths next...kinda a bummer.
 

sckeener

Villager
Brian Compton said:
Think of this as an unofficial, unscientific research project to see how much novels and settings interact in terms of sales. There are two things I'm looking for:

1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
I'm going to answer twice...once for myself and once for my wife.

For Myself
1)N/A (I don't like it)
2)Dragon magazine if you count Ed's original articles as the teasers of the setting. The first edition of the setting was the best.
3) N/A
4) Yes, but a friend would have had to recommend them to me. I would have lumped them in with all of the sci-fi/fantasy books.

For My Wife
1) She likes the Novels more and quite upset over the changes to the setting.
2) She was introduced to the Setting via the Novels and didn't even play D&D until the end of the 1990s. She had been reading about the setting since the late 1980s.
3) Yup, she could see herself having come to the game had the novels not existed since the only reason she even started playing is because her friends were playing in the setting. It was friends and not the novels she knew first that got her into the setting
4) N/A
 

Oryan77

Villager
I read the Drizzt novels because the character sounded interesting. I knew nothing about FR before that.

I became a fan of those novels & Salvatore became my new favorite author. I don't give a crap about what people say about Drizzt or Salvatore...there's plenty for me to criticize about Tolkien and LotRs and people praise that series, so who cares, right?

I then played Baldure's Gate 1 & 2. I've never played in a FR P&P game though, but I own all the 3e FR books :)
 

Mean Eyed Cat

Villager
Brian Compton said:
1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
First, I have always really liked most aspects of the Realms as a game setting. Here are my answers:

1) I definitely like the game side better [explanation below].

2) First introduction was the game, starting with the grey boxed set. I DMed a bunch of games in this setting. Pretty quickly after I started running games, I read the novels. I started with the Moonshae trilogy (loved), the Icewind Dale trilogy (okay), first three of the Avatar series (okay), and the Maztica & Empires trilogies (meh). I think the last series I tried to read was the Cleric Quintet and I never made it through because I found them boring. This pretty much turned me off from the books. However, I recently read the The City of Ravens and actually liked it.

3 & 4) The game lead me to the novels. Other than the Moonshae trilogy and maybe The City of Ravens, I probably could do without the novels.

I still run a FR game (we're going on our 4th year, yay!) and I will probably start up a new FR game when 4th edition comes out.

To me, there is a big difference between the game side and the novels. With the game, I am able to change things and, along with my players, make it our own (which we do a lot). Just because something is canon, doesn't necessarily mean it is in our games. With the novels, you are reading somebody's else's version of the Realms. And truth be told, their version (and particularly their style of writing) isn't always good ;)
 
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werk

Villager
(1) I prefer the game content now, more than the novels. The novels lost me a long time ago...after the second trilogy or so.

(2) I got Darkwalker just before the grey box came out.
 
Brian Compton said:
Think of this as an unofficial, unscientific research project to see how much novels and settings interact in terms of sales. There are two things I'm looking for:

1) If you like FR, do you like the novel or game side more?

2) Was your first introduction to FR via the game, the novels, or otherwise (video games for example)?

3) If you came to the game because of the novels, could you see yourself having come to the game had the novels not existed?

4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
1) Probably the game side, with the exception of Salvatore, as there are a lot of good ideas in FR that are unfortunately overshadowed by the worst aspects of the setting-Mary Sue NPCs, powerful wizards that are a dime a dozen, poor characterization, easily identifiable black and white villains and heroes

2) The novels, back when I somehow thought Jeff Grubb had talent.

3) You bet. I didn't even know FR was a D&D setting until I started reading D&D itself.

4) Only Salvatore's novels. At least he injects some shades of gray into his stories, and makes an effort to make most of them more than just glorified Mary Sues. Drizzt doesn't whine about being a drow anymore, given that he's now largely accepted by the surface world.

The rest-Greenwood, Cunningham, Grubb, etc.-are, from what I've seen, not worth mentioning and are the reason gaming fiction has such a wretched reputation.
 

FreeXenon

Geeky Ecohumanistic Futurist
My first introduction was the grey boxed set back in the day, and I have been a fanboy since.
I like both sides quite a bit.

I have enjoyed the Elminster, Drizzt, and Seven Sisters books as well as others quite a bit.

I most likely would have not picked up the book had it not been for the game. I looked forward to the novels because I was already familiar with the characters and was looking for a different and much more active perspective on already well known characters. =)
 

BadMojo

Villager
CruelSummerLord said:
The rest-Greenwood, Cunningham, Grubb, etc.-are, from what I've seen, not worth mentioning and are the reason gaming fiction has such a wretched reputation.
I won't disagree about Greenwood. He's a great world builder but the fiction I've read from him has been, well, no so good.

Don't know about Grubb.

I think you're doing a disservice to Elaine Cunningham by including her in that list. She's written some nuanced characters and hasn't done anything close to a "Mary Sue" character in any of her books. Paul Kemp is another Realms author who has done great stuff that seems to get ignored because it's "gaming fiction".
 

DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
BadMojo said:
I'm surprised at the "Depths of Madness" thing. I really liked the first book by the same author (Ghostwalker) and the short story he wrote connected to Depths. I was going to read Depths next...kinda a bummer.
I posted my review on amazon.

There are some people that liked it, but the reviews are certainly mixed to be sure. Apparently, others liked Ghostwalker as well, so mayby there's hope for the author. (I have not read Ghostwalker.) Editing was the worst part of it, so who knows - the author may have written a great work that got hacked up by a pathetic editor.
 
I've got a lot of the older, and some of the newer, Forgotten Realms game books - but not a single novel. I just don't read much game-setting fiction, I prefer not to hear "but that's not the way it was in novel XXIIV..."
 

Drowbane

Villager
My first exposure to the Realms was Darkwalker on Moonshae. Looking back I don't think it occured to me at the time that the FR were another setting for "that D&D game" I'd played a hand full of times with my older brother's group... a few years earlier.

Fast forward four years: I had my own (A)D&D (2e) group, a bookshelf full of FR (and Dragonlance, and non-D&D related fantasy) novels, and played exclusively FR mixed with a dash of Spelljammer and Planescape.

I've been a geek for fantasy as long as I can remember. I dimly recollect seeing some old kung fu movies (chinese sword & sorcery types) and was hooked from then on... I was probably 4-5yrs old. :eek: edit: probably why I never got the whole "get yer karate-men outta my fantasy!!"-thing. All hail Bo9S!

To date, I've read (nearly) every book Salvatore has written about everybody's favorite Drow Ranger. I've also played about half a dozen different Drow PCs (all in 2e... 3e was unkind to elves in general and to drow in particular). Most were some shade of Neutral or Evil... or both. The only Drizzt-clones I've ever seen were in Online RPGs. My single Good drow PC had issues, he waged a "holy war" on his own kind. One of my 2e DMs eventually declared him the "Chosen of Shevarash"... (not that he gave out any sort of mechanical benefit for it :p)

Jhanus "drowbane" Nasadra (chose his drow family name from a list of such... sure it turns out that my "bloody pissed off inky-elf", as another PC put it, was a lost son of the 1st House of Ched Nasad)... it has been said that I can talk non-stop about this character...

edit: I haven't yet gotten around to reading the Thousand Orcs tril.

As to the rep of "gaming fiction"... The internet is chock full of worthless opinions on subject matter of all kinds... how is this any different?
 
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Voadam

Adventurer
Brian Compton said:
4) If you came to the novels because of the game, could you see yourself picking up the novels had there been no game?
I'm guessing most people who play D&D could picture themselves picking up a fantasy novel.

An interesting poll would be how many play D&D but never read (nongaming) fantasy novels.
 
1. Game.
2. Game.
3. n/a.
4. No.

My group has a couple of the FR books, but no one reads the novels. For many people like me, who use homebrew settings, the only reason to ever buy FR (or Eberron, or otherwise) is for exposure to new mechanics and easy NPCs. I was really happy with the Dervish came out in Complete Warrior (despite the fanboy PCs it created), because WotC didn't force us to buy a campaign book just to get something that should be available regardless of setting (3.0 Monk bracers, I'm looking at you).

Having FR be a book series with a D+D add on module would actually make me more likely to read the books, assuming they were good quality. I get the general impression that most FR novels are just fantasy pulp thats pushed out to cash in on the D+D setting.
 

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