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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Alaundo Posted - 12 Feb 2004 : 19:12:25
Well met

This being a collective scroll of any questions the Scribes and visitors of Candlekeep wish to put to a renowned author of the Realms, namely - Richard Baker, whos works include: Condemnation, The City of Ravens and the upcoming The Last Mythal series.

Present your questions herein and check back to see what news may also come forth from the quill of this author.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Cards77 Posted - 01 Nov 2018 : 20:18:13
Hi Rich, can you tell us what exactly was the fate of the Company of the Riven Orb?

We have been enjoying Prison of the Firebringer immensely!

Thank you so much for all your hard work. It's been a joy sharing your different works with my family both in and out of game.
Deepening Moon Posted - 18 Jun 2017 : 12:04:20
Hello Mr. Baker,
first I want to thank you for writing the Last Mythal Trilogy. One of the best Forgotten Realms Book / Trilogy that I’ve read... The story of the Trilogy inspired me to design an adventure for my group. So I would like to know more about the weapons and armor of the Fey’ri.
In your books you state, that the arms and armors are of fine quality and elven workmanship, and from the Vyshaan armories in the Nameless Dungeon. Also the daemonfey are described as “dressed in armor of scarlet and gold”. Can you tell me more about these types of ancient armor? Are there mostly chainshirts, chainmails, plate mails or some other kind similar maybe to the hoplite armor (the armor of the classic Greek warrior described in the 2nd Edition Book Combat & Tactics)? What do you think?
What Materials were used by the Vyshaan armorers: mithral, elven steel, bronze? In his book “The Summoning” Troy Denning gives the following description of an Aryvandaaran tomb: "Their bejeweled weapons and gold-trimmed armor were lying untouched beneath a thick layer of dust. By their amber skin and ornate bronze armor, Galaeron knew these to be Aryvandaaran nobles, high lords of the aggressive Vyshaan clan." Are the armors from the Nameless Dungeon quite the same material?
Do some of the armors have the qualities of Elven Chain? Or what other magical qualities do they have? Is there maybe a family crest on some of the armors or weapons and how does it look?
I would like to know more about this!
Thank you very much!
Cards77 Posted - 14 Sep 2016 : 17:54:04
Who exactly is or what is The Pale Sybil? Will anything else ever be written about her? She seems like an incredibly interesting character that likely has a long and equally interesting history. Can you tell us anything more about her? Has anyone ever statted her out for 3/3.5? Thanks.
Duneth Despana Posted - 24 Jul 2015 : 12:16:57
do the simple diamond-shaped brooches of those who stood guard over Nar Kerymhoarth, the Nameless Dungeon, have any magical properties? Thanks in advance.
Artemas Entreri Posted - 02 Apr 2015 : 03:25:20
So I just finished Avenger and am dying to know if there will be a follow up novel in the near future detailing Vaasa's plans 10 years down the road from where this book ends.
xaeyruudh Posted - 14 Nov 2014 : 19:50:19
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

To me, it come across like a word that was used just for the sake of using it. I'm not saying that's what the author did, but I'm sure we've all known people that deliberately use words unfamiliar to others, to showcase their intelligence. That's what it felt like, to me.


Sorry, I didn't see this until now. Good points all, and I completely agree. Realms authors should (be allowed to) step up their game, but not in the cherrypicking words to make banal sound fresh way.

I think it would be fascinating and frustrating to see exactly how much freedom authors are given in writing novels for WotC, and what points they're restricted on. I have a feeling it would be depressing for aspiring authors. They probably need a pretty thick skin before even going into the process.
Cards77 Posted - 14 Nov 2014 : 02:39:52
Like I said Rich is one of THE BEST authors hands down. I can't think of another author who portrays elves as well as he does. His books just ooze great elfi-ness and really make me FEEL how elves are different, and special. I think that's a major achievement, as 'properly" portraying elves is to me at least, a task of great difficulty.

As for the "cwm", I'm fairly stymied myself that an editor worth her/his salt let that one go.

I would like to mention however that in my most recent issue of National Geographic, I was surprised to see that "the Western Cwm" is apparently a real place on Everest. I wonder if the author may have "borrowed" some of the features of Everest for the novel.

Of course I still think the word is quite a silly and confounding choice which serves to kill my immersion, and continues to do so into the 2nd book.

Otherwise fantastic trilogy.

Markustay Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 13:26:01
This is funny, because I read something just yesterday by a designer I truly respect and admire, and was stymied that he used an odd word choice, when I could think of at least three simpler words that conveyed the same thing. What I think this may be is a case of 'over-writing' - not sure if I coined that just now, or if it is a known phenomena. I'm probably (very) guilty of it myself.

I almost think its something a writer does to show how clever he/she is - I have to wonder if they compare notes on how many words they make their readers look-up (and damn you, L. Ron Hubbard! Damn you to hell! )

quote:
Originally posted by Naeryndam

I just received this response from Mr. Baker on his personal website, so I figured I'd share it with you all:

Hi Mr. Baker!

Is there any chance we'll get to see more of Araevin or Geran Hulmaster? They are probably my two favorite Forgotten Realms characters and I'd love to read more about them!


Reply
Richard Baker- August 25, 2014 at 5:30 PM

I have half an idea for a potential follow-up to Blades of the Moonsea. Geran ends the series in an interesting place, and I'd like to revisit the character sometime. But I have no immediate plans to knock out another Geran book (or Araevin book, for that matter) -- it's up to Wizards whether more books fit into their Realms plans. But thank you for the compliment! I'm pretty proud of both series.

All I have to say about this is this: Rich Baker is the ONLY FR author to have written a 4th edition novel series that felt like it belong in The Realms... or, at least, MY (our?) Realms. You could take the Bladess of the Moonsea series and plunk it down in the 1e/2e/3e eras with almost no problems - the 4e changes were barely addressed and treated as an afterthought. Kudos for that.

The other authors - several I adore as FR designers - I think became too restricted by the changes. In some cases it was because the series itself had to address those changes (Ed's books), but in others, I almost felt like they were trying too hard... like we were having our noses rubbed in Spellplague (even when there was no reason to bring it up). Sadly, I feel the Sundering novels also went that way... "Hey, this is a great manuscript you handed me a few years back - can you put the word 'Sundering' in it somewhere, in at least three places, and we can pretend its about something else? Because then we're good to go!" Yup - that is EXACTLY how I picture those conversations going.

So, anyway, my point is that Rich wrote the only 4e novels I actually enjoyed. I didn't read them all, but mostly because I didn't want to, and that was because they tried too hard to be about a world I was not a fan of. I don't agree with a lot of his design decisions, but I think he is a terrific author, because he made me enjoy his stories, DESPITE when they were set.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 11:53:50
quote:
Originally posted by xaeyruudh

I kinda wish Realms novels used more obscure words, and more sophisticated characters/plots. It was too easy to stop reading Realms novels entirely for a while when one took a direction I didn't like, for the simple reason that they felt dumbed down. (That's not a criticism of anyone in particular, particularly not anyone who's currently writing for Wizards.) It's not necessary or desirable for every book to read like Shakespeare, but I learned a lot of new words and ideas back in the day from reading Gary's rulebooks and adventures. I like books that encourage us to learn something new. It's not a terrible thing to need a dictionary occasionally when reading, or for kids (and adults) to acquire new vocabulary from reading a fantasy novel.



It's not that I have problems learning words from books; indeed, I think my vocabulary is much stronger for my reading.

But I would debate whether or not learning "cwm" has done anything for my vocabulary. As I said, I had never seen that word before reading those books, and this is the first time I've seen it since. It's not a word that lends itself to conversation; I can't picture using it unless I'm discussing terrain features with a geologist or person of Welsh descent.

To me, it come across like a word that was used just for the sake of using it. I'm not saying that's what the author did, but I'm sure we've all known people that deliberately use words unfamiliar to others, to showcase their intelligence. That's what it felt like, to me.

Plus, for most of us, the word looks like a typo. One of the basic rules of the English language is that words have vowels -- and cwm does not. Seeing an unknown word and apparent typo pulls a reader out of the story -- it makes someone put down their book and reach for a dictionary.

And that's why I object to the use of the word -- it stands out so prominently that it breaks the flow of the story, and takes me out of what I am reading. In my opinion, words should keep a reader immersed in the story -- using words that kick them out should be avoided.

I had a similar objection to Richard Lee Byers's use of the word "translate" in the Rogue Dragon books. Yes, it does mean "teleport" and was thus used correctly. And I was already familiar with that usage of it... But for years, in just about everything I've read (Harry Potter being the only real exception), translocation was described as teleportation. So seeing another word used -- even though it was correct -- threw me off, especially when that word has another, more common meaning that is entirely different. The word, again, drew attention to itself and thus broke the flow of the story.

So that's my thing: use whatever words are appropriate, but don't use words that draw the reader's attention away from the story. Keep the narrative flowing.
Dalor Darden Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 05:44:15
Here are a few other Welsh words that are used by English:

Dad (yep...if you wondered where that came from).

Coracle (nice little water rigs!)

Flannel (I wear it all the time!)

Penguin (means white head...one of the things toe heads are called where I'm from: "You little Penguin!" although I didn't understand until I was older and learned that the welsh is pen gwyn)

Dolmen (seen any nice stone tables lately?)

Paw (yes, every time you look at your kitty or puppy...thank the Welsh)

Bow (welsh I think is bwa)

Iron (many similar Gaelic words...Welsh being the closest and being "hearn" so I'm giving the Irish this one with "iarun")

That's all I can remember right now...
xaeyruudh Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 05:38:10
I kinda wish Realms novels used more obscure words, and more sophisticated characters/plots. It was too easy to stop reading Realms novels entirely for a while when one took a direction I didn't like, for the simple reason that they felt dumbed down. (That's not a criticism of anyone in particular, particularly not anyone who's currently writing for Wizards.) It's not necessary or desirable for every book to read like Shakespeare, but I learned a lot of new words and ideas back in the day from reading Gary's rulebooks and adventures. I like books that encourage us to learn something new. It's not a terrible thing to need a dictionary occasionally when reading, or for kids (and adults) to acquire new vocabulary from reading a fantasy novel.
Dalor Darden Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 05:30:43
Having as many Welsh ancestors (Edwards and Price mostly) as Irish, the word was known to me. I don't think another word should have been used at all...expanding the knowledge of people is what authors are all about if you ask me.

Should we refer to tacos by a better word? How about we call them folded flatbread and meat?

English by its very nature and origins sprang from a multitude of languages...and Welsh was one of the very first to contribute to many "English" words. I think its fair to say that using the word Cwm was a good idea...anyone that looked it up is unlikely to forget what it means now eh?
Wooly Rupert Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 03:29:56
I had to look that word up, too, when I first saw it in the book.

It's not the first time I've disagreed with a particular word choice, in a Realms novel... It's obviously a valid word, but it's not one I'd ever seen, anywhere else, before or after. It is my opinion that a less obscure word should have been used.
Jeremy Grenemyer Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 02:11:20
I pointed this out on the Realms-L mailing list some years back. I was embarassed to learn it was a word and not a typo. I do not fault Rich for using it, but myself for not doing my homework before airing a complaint.
Cards77 Posted - 31 Oct 2014 : 01:03:57
quote:
Originally posted by RichardBaker

It's spelled cwm or cwmb, and pronounced KOOM. It's a high, relatively level area. You might also think of it as a pass, vale, or cirque. I've hiked around Mount Rainier a fair amount since moving out to Washington a few years back, so I was thinking of places like Spray Park or Seattle Park or Burroughs Mountain when I was envisioning the battle at Evereska's western gate.




Is this serious? These areas were already defined in "Return of the Archwizards" and the events in Evereska were they not?

I mean you're one of my favorite authors, hands down, and I thought the book was excellent, but this has to be one of the worst word choices ever. I'm not sure why you would choose a word that essentially know one knows what it means, and assumes it's a horrible typo error.

It really breaks up the book, it's distracting and takes away from the great writing. It was sad to see.
Naeryndam Posted - 26 Aug 2014 : 23:05:35
I just received this response from Mr. Baker on his personal website, so I figured I'd share it with you all:

Hi Mr. Baker!

Is there any chance we'll get to see more of Araevin or Geran Hulmaster? They are probably my two favorite Forgotten Realms characters and I'd love to read more about them!


Reply
Richard Baker- August 25, 2014 at 5:30 PM

I have half an idea for a potential follow-up to Blades of the Moonsea. Geran ends the series in an interesting place, and I'd like to revisit the character sometime. But I have no immediate plans to knock out another Geran book (or Araevin book, for that matter) -- it's up to Wizards whether more books fit into their Realms plans. But thank you for the compliment! I'm pretty proud of both series.
The Sage Posted - 03 Jun 2013 : 02:41:00
quote:
Originally posted by Eli the Tanner

Any word on Rich's return to Candlekeep yet? I know a few of you sent him messages.

Nothing as of yet.
Eli the Tanner Posted - 02 Jun 2013 : 17:54:07
Any word on Rich's return to Candlekeep yet? I know a few of you sent him messages.
CorellonsDevout Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 06:34:42
Oh, wow, haha, my bad. I read that one, but I totally spaced that it was by him ^^; the writing style seemed different too, but not in a bad way.
Brimstone Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 06:31:15
quote:
Originally posted by CorellonsDevout

What is it? I believe the last thing I read of his was Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. I loved the Last Mythal books, and BotM.


Prince of Ravens

It's an ebook.
CorellonsDevout Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 04:33:39
What is it? I believe the last thing I read of his was Blades of the Moonsea trilogy. I loved the Last Mythal books, and BotM.
Dark Wizard Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 03:32:41
He has a (relatively) new Realms book out. That's something to talk about.
Markustay Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 02:31:36
I'd love to see Rich Baker post here again. His decorum during the worst of the anti-4e backlash was commendable. It made me ashamed of the way some of us (at the WotC forums) were behaving. I count him a gentleman and a scholar.

He supported a back-and-forth open dialogue with the fans long before it became fashionable.

quote:
Originally posted by Matt James

I'm going to ask Rich if he will come back to CK now that he has long been removed from WotC. If he does, I ask that no one dog-pile him! :)
He's not my type.

But I'm open-minded, so whatever floats your boat.
The Sage Posted - 07 Sep 2012 : 01:10:07
quote:
Originally posted by Matt James

I'm going to ask Rich if he will come back to CK now that he has long been removed from WotC. If he does, I ask that no one dog-pile him! :)

I sent word to Rich a few months back, though I've yet to receive a response.

Maybe you'll have better luck?
Matt James Posted - 06 Sep 2012 : 21:49:32
I'm going to ask Rich if he will come back to CK now that he has long been removed from WotC. If he does, I ask that no one dog-pile him! :)

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