Candlekeep Forum
Candlekeep Forum
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Active Polls | Members | Private Messages | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Forgotten Realms Products
 Forgotten Realms Novels
 Once More Unto the Breach!! *SPOILERS*

Note: You must be registered in order to post a reply.
To register, click here. Registration is FREE!

Screensize:
UserName:
Password:
Format Mode:
Format: BoldItalicizedUnderlineStrikethrough Align LeftCenteredAlign Right Horizontal Rule Insert HyperlinkInsert Email Insert CodeInsert QuoteInsert List
   
Message:

* HTML is OFF
* Forum Code is ON
Smilies
Smile [:)] Big Smile [:D] Cool [8D] Blush [:I]
Tongue [:P] Evil [):] Wink [;)] Clown [:o)]
Black Eye [B)] Eight Ball [8] Frown [:(] Shy [8)]
Shocked [:0] Angry [:(!] Dead [xx(] Sleepy [|)]
Kisses [:X] Approve [^] Disapprove [V] Question [?]
Rolling Eyes [8|] Confused [?!:] Help [?:] King [3|:]
Laughing [:OD] What [W] Oooohh [:H] Down [:E]

  Check here to include your profile signature.
Check here to subscribe to this topic.
    

T O P I C    R E V I E W
VikingLegion Posted - 24 May 2015 : 07:34:09
Greetings fellow Realms enthusiasts,

Several years ago I made a goal to read *every* novel from the major D&D worlds/settings. After blasting through the smaller libraries of Darksun, Ravenloft, and Planescape, I decided to tackle Dragonlance. Just recently I finished my 166th and final Dragonlance book. And now I have my sights set on the Forgotten Realms, a no-doubt Herculean task that will make DL easy by comparison.

As I finish each book I plan make a post in this thread. Some may be quite lengthy, others only a sentence or three, all depending on how deeply the story resonated with me and/or its greater importance in Realms lore. This is not a "book club" attempt, in that I won't be holding to any set schedule or waiting for others to finish a particular book. My pace is roughly one 300 page book per week, though occasionally I go on a torrid streak and can sometimes double that. So I won't limit my reading so others can read along with. That being said, I heartily encourage fellow Candlekeepers to jump right in with their own commentary. This can be a fun, nostalgic for some, trip through the history of the novel line. My only rules are thus:

1. I will make no attempt to hide spoilers for books as I finish them, so reader beware. This shouldn't pose much of a problem, as the material (in the early going specifically) is close to 30 years old.
2. Please, please, please, when discussing a book I've read, do NOT divulge spoilers that may occur further down the line as a result of said book.
3. Keep it civil. There are some author's writing styles that turn me off a bit, and I won't be shy about saying so, but it will be done in a manner that isn't toxic bashing.

My order of reading is going to loosely follow publishing date. I say loosely, because I will (early and often) deviate from this order when it makes sense, such as finishing up a series, or staying within a certain theme/region/etc. With that said, I began this endeavor with 1987's Darkwalker on Moonshae.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
VikingLegion Posted - 16 Mar 2019 : 21:47:05
I finished Hand of the Hunter yesterday, another excellent book by Mark Sehestedt. My notes are fairly sparse on this one, I guess I don't have too much to say other than it's a solid continuation of the Chosen of Nendawen series.

I see the capital of Damara has been altered in the edition change from Heliogabalus to just Helgalab. Solid idea, as the original shared a name with a real-world Roman emperor. I wonder if I'll ever get filled in (from the novels) on how Gareth Dragonbane and his Super Friends ended up fairing during the initial Spellplague. I vaguely recall seeing somewhere that Drizzt and Kane meet somewhere, I don't know if that's going to happen in one of the Transitions books or if Kane, due to his monkey-mastery will outlive all the other humans of that particular adventuring group and meet Drizzt in the current timeline.

As for Nendawen "The Hunter", I love the description of an 8-foot tall humanoid with an antlered helm - obviously drawing heavy inspiration from The Wild Hunt mythos of European folklore. I still don't know exactly what he is, some kind of primordial or nature spirit or lesser power. Whatever he is, he is *not* nice, exhibiting all the ruthless and uncaring aspects of predatory Nature. Hweilan, the main protagonist, has gone from pampered castle girl to total badarse. Her arc reminds me a little bit of Arya from Game of Thrones. There were other GoT similarities as well, like being forced to eat a heart to complete a ritual, but nothing too blatant.

Tonight I will start book 3 of the trilogy: Cry of the Ghost Wolf.
gylippus Posted - 11 Mar 2019 : 23:56:42
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Gyllipus maybe you can start your own thread? Would love to discuss the novels you're reading (I have a lot to say about the contrivances in Elfshadow's ending) and I feel bad for clogging up Viking's amazing post with discussions off topic.
While I love Red Magic for being one of the few books that depicts Thay's cities and countryside - I think The Simbul's Gift does Thay best.
When I re-read Red Magic, as much as I nostalgia love it, the writing doesn't seem that great for the general plot. To note: Szass using the Harpers to thwart Maligor *covertly*--by giving them a huge undead army...? What?! Maligor would know Harpers don't use undead armies but the Zulkir of Necromancy does, so why not just come out and directly attack Maligor instead? Why use Harpers at all except contrivance to keep them alive? I don't think Szass should have been involved in the Harpers to the extent he was, it should have been more of a covert spy operation with a deadly strike rather than the Harpers leading an undead army which makes NO SENSE and reads like fan fiction to me. But the start of the book and everything up until Szass Tam capturing them is pretty well done.



Yes, this is my last post in this thread. I will start a new one after I finish the next book I am reading. Sorry for dredging up old posts Viking! Plus, you are so far ahead of me I have no chance of ever keeping up with your reading pace.

I pretty much agree with everything you said Seravin. I didn't follow any of that plot logic myself. Like you said, it would be obvious Szass was attacking Maligor because of the undead army. I also just remembered that all of the high level apprentices went with Maligor to the mines, yet we don't see a single one of them in the mine battle. There are a lot of plot holes, but at least we got a decent character in Galvin.
Seravin Posted - 11 Mar 2019 : 08:07:46
Gyllipus maybe you can start your own thread? Would love to discuss the novels you're reading (I have a lot to say about the contrivances in Elfshadow's ending) and I feel bad for clogging up Viking's amazing post with discussions off topic.
While I love Red Magic for being one of the few books that depicts Thay's cities and countryside - I think The Simbul's Gift does Thay best.
When I re-read Red Magic, as much as I nostalgia love it, the writing doesn't seem that great for the general plot. To note: Szass using the Harpers to thwart Maligor *covertly*--by giving them a huge undead army...? What?! Maligor would know Harpers don't use undead armies but the Zulkir of Necromancy does, so why not just come out and directly attack Maligor instead? Why use Harpers at all except contrivance to keep them alive? I don't think Szass should have been involved in the Harpers to the extent he was, it should have been more of a covert spy operation with a deadly strike rather than the Harpers leading an undead army which makes NO SENSE and reads like fan fiction to me. But the start of the book and everything up until Szass Tam capturing them is pretty well done.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 10 Mar 2019 : 05:41:51
quote:
Originally posted by gylippus


5. Too bad there are not more stories with Galvin. I liked his character quite a bit and would have looked forward to him becoming even more powerful. I believe he is around level 11 (2e), which puts him up there with some of the most powerful druids.


I want to say he was in one of the early Realms of... anthologies, but it's been a long time, and I won't swear to it.
gylippus Posted - 10 Mar 2019 : 01:31:58
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Last night I finished Red Magic. This is the lone entry in the Forgotten Realms by Jean Rabe, but I've read a bunch of her Dragonlance work not all that long ago.

I'm convinced she has a secondary hobby in the fashion industry, because every character she writes - regardless of race, class, or gender - is absolutely obsessed with clothing. The first thing any of her characters do upon reaching a new town or city is go clothes shopping. I noticed this initially in her Dragons of a New Age trilogy, then again in the Dhamon Saga. And now, in Red Magic we have a centaur and two humans (one being a druid that cares nothing for civilization or its conventions) immediately hitting the tailor as soon as they arrive in Amruthar. I chuckled a bit and said "Wow, that is so Rabey..." Every book she writes could be trimmed by about 30 pages if she didn't go into exhaustive detail over the character's outfits - color schemes, fabric and texture descriptions....

Other than that, this was a fairly average story, much like Parched Sea. To her credit, she did make me feel a strong revulsion for Maligor, the BBEG. I mentioned way back in the original post that wildlife and environmental conservation resonates deeply with me, and to see how this red wizard so callously tortures the trapped animals for his own sick, twisted ends (mainly in the creation of his darkenbeasts), and the deplorable conditions he kept them in, got me invested in the story. So his eventual defeat, while fairly predictable, was still quite satisfying.

I had a big problem with Galvin wildshaping himself into a darkenbeast to fit in with the flock. This is a druid turning himself into an utter abomination/corruption of nature. Putting game mechanics aside, even if he could get over his revulsion over such a vile form, I don't think he could physically make the transformation.

Well that finishes everything up to 1991 except for Canticle, but I really don't want to start a quintet that will carry all the way into 1994 just now. So instead I'll continue to pick around it, continuing with the Harpers series. Tonight I'll start The Night Parade.



Dredging up old posts again. I finished Red Magic tonight. I think the book is fine and I definitely like the characters of Wynter, Galvin, and Brenna. The book did make me think about a couple of things.

I hate to keep bringing population numbers up. I understand this fantasy and sometimes you just have to go with it, but I tend to keep thinking of population density and the economy of these kingdoms. I saw somewhere online that Thay has over 4 million people. This seems like a large number to me and the book doesn't seem to hint at anywhere close to those numbers. Keep in mind the main characters walked a good portion of this country in around 3 - 4 days. I am thinking the average daily rate of walking is around 20 miles or so on flat ground. Maybe some people can walk faster and certainly some rangers or druids can go much farther, so that is open to interpretation. But this means the country can't be that big in terms of square miles. How 4 million people can fit in this area I have no idea.

Okay, on to the story.

1. Why didn't Maligor have any means of communicating or keeping an eye on his tower when he left for the mines? It seems like a powerful magician like him could have established some magical means of doing so. Instead, Brenna and Galvin have a pretty easy time of taking his tower when he is gone.

2. Maligor could have killed the main characters in the mine. When he was a fog and turned into human form and 'shot' Galvin with a spell why didn't he just use a fireball? Or lightning bolt? Or any other spell that would have killed them all right away. According to the wiki Maligor is level 20 (2e) so he definitely had the spells to do so.

3. The entire Harper plan seemed to lack common sense. First, why do Harpers wear jewelry that obviously identifies them? This is like a CIA agent having a CIA identification card when spying in the Soviet Union. Secondly, the plan was a lack of a plan. Let's just send some agents to Thay and hope they find something.

4. Seemed like Asp died too easily also. For some reason, I was expecting more from her, but she basically fell off a cliff.

5. Too bad there are not more stories with Galvin. I liked his character quite a bit and would have looked forward to him becoming even more powerful. I believe he is around level 11 (2e), which puts him up there with some of the most powerful druids.

Next up, Elfshadow, which I read a long, long time ago. After that, maybe I will continue with Crypt of the Shadowking or go back and finally finish the third book in the Giants of Twilight Series. Not looking forward to that...
VikingLegion Posted - 08 Mar 2019 : 01:07:40
/continuing to review novels

Today I finished The Fall of Highwatch. I really, really enjoy Mark Sehestedt's writing style. He does an absolutely fantastic job introducing the nuances of different cultures, you feel like you know these disparate groups and societies. I'd put him nearly on par with Dave "Zeb" Cook in that regard, whom I hold as the gold standard at this particular craft. Sehestedt, much like James P. Davis, seems to thrive when writing on obscure, remote, frontier areas. Here we have a lonely fortress occupied by Tormish knights, guarding a pass in Narfell that sees various Nar, Damarans, dwarven clans, etc. pass through for trade, hunting, and migratory purposes. Through treachery, the fortress is overcome (as one might surmise from the title) and nearly all the defenders are slaughtered aside from the 17 year old daughter of the High Warden.

It turns out she's got a whole lot going on for her than simply being a somewhat sheltered brat. Her lineage leads her and a couple companions on a harrowing trek through the wilds and enemy territory, and even into the Feywild where the author's prose is particularly brilliant. We have more eladrin here - was there some kind of mandate by the D&D 4e team to stuff these guys into EVERY storyline possible? They are popping out of the woodwork even more prevalently than monks lately! Anyway, Sehestedt's fey perfectly ride that line of being alternately playful and utterly capricious and uncaring. I think he writes fey about as good as anyone I've seen. The icy palace of Ellesthorn and its Winter Queen were just excellent. She is served by a court of mixed eladrin, elves, and something new to me called Uldra. At first I thought they were just arctic halflings that were particularly close to nature and Faerie, but they are actually a unique race of fey.

The side characters were great. Lendri has appeared before in Frostfell, and he is joined by several mysterious fey that are never quite exactly defined, other than by some of their characteristics and flashes of their backstories. Every one of them was interesting in their own way. Another bonus - in this remote region of the Realms, the whole Spellplague influence was really light. Other than one spell-scarred individual, who's power could really be explained away in any number of ways, this book would work well even for a reader that hated the direction of FR and still pines for more 1300's DR stuff (do I know anyone like that???)

Lastly, here are a couple quick passages that I particularly liked. They don't necessarily fit any of my above points, I just really enjoy them for their primal quality:

"You have to understand, Hweilan, your world... your cities and walls and castles and fires that keep out the night. Your wizards waving their wands and warriors strutting with their swords on their hips... they think they've tamed the world. Made it serve them. And maybe in their little cities and towers they have. They've tamed it by keeping it out. By hiding. But there are powers in the world that were ancient when the greatest grandfathers of men still huddled in caves by their fires and prayed for the gods to keep out the night. These older powers... they don't fear the dark or the things that stalk in it. They revel in the dark. They are the things that stalk it. You speak of good and evil. When a wolf pack takes down a doe, are they evil? When a falcon takes a young rabbit, is it evil? Or are they merely reveling in their nature?"

"They killed my family! Do you remember what you told me? 'The world isn't a nice place,' you said. 'Fools say it's unforgiving, but that's why they're fools. The world doesn't forgive because it doesn't blame. And the world doesn't blame because it doesn't care.' You were right, you bastard. The world doesn't care. But there are people in the world who do. I loved my family. They loved me. And they're dead now. Murdered. And those who did it are sitting in my home. My home!"

Good stuff. Tonight I will start in on book two: Hand of the Hunter.
dazzlerdal Posted - 06 Mar 2019 : 22:14:52
I guess I just assumed that like the holy trail it would have contained Shargrailar blood and I vaguely recall dracoliches needed some dust or somethung from their body to complete the transformation.

I figured it would be typical of the cult to betray the Dragon it was for (didn't they want to give it to a fang dragon) and give her a gift that would result in them transforming into Shargrailar.

Apologies for the side track, continue reviewing novels. Even though I never read them myself it's always nice to see what are good or bad ones and why.
George Krashos Posted - 06 Mar 2019 : 01:07:36
It's the Grail of Shargrailer but I don't think it is her phylactery.

-- George Krashos
dazzlerdal Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 21:17:26
Ed did say he had to rewrite large bits to fit in with the edits wanted.

Shargrailar isn't permanently dead either. I think his phylactery is in that 3e adventure set in sildeyuir, I'd like to think Ed had a hand in that nugget
Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 20:22:38
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

They should be near impossible to kill permanently due to the phylactery but for some reason Ed's Spellfire books completely ignore this core concept of what a Dracolich is. Sigh.



I'm fairly certain Ed wouldn't have ignored this core concept of something he created... It's been stated, more than once, that the editorial axe bit very deeply into Spellfire -- a third of the book or more was cut out.



Damn the editorial scissors! I'd loved to have seen the real cut of this book. I'm not convinced that this was simply cut content though due to the way the cell talks about the dracoliches being gone forever and what a great cost it was to chase Spellfire (and it was with the Shadowsil, the other mage, and the hoard gone from one dracolich).

I think here perhaps the lore didn't line up with the story Ed wanted, and so was ignored. Or perhaps you're right and the idea of a phylactery was too complicated to tell in a debut novel. I do know in a 2nd edition sourcebook (draconomicon or the Cult sourcebook) they reference those 3 Spellfire dracoliches as having reanimated from rock lizards or something and the cult trying to get them back to full power. So it was addressed later!




I'm seriously doubting Ed would ignore lore that he created. Dracoliches came from his pen.
Seravin Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 14:15:51
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

They should be near impossible to kill permanently due to the phylactery but for some reason Ed's Spellfire books completely ignore this core concept of what a Dracolich is. Sigh.



I'm fairly certain Ed wouldn't have ignored this core concept of something he created... It's been stated, more than once, that the editorial axe bit very deeply into Spellfire -- a third of the book or more was cut out.



Damn the editorial scissors! I'd loved to have seen the real cut of this book. I'm not convinced that this was simply cut content though due to the way the cell talks about the dracoliches being gone forever and what a great cost it was to chase Spellfire (and it was with the Shadowsil, the other mage, and the hoard gone from one dracolich).

I think here perhaps the lore didn't line up with the story Ed wanted, and so was ignored. Or perhaps you're right and the idea of a phylactery was too complicated to tell in a debut novel. I do know in a 2nd edition sourcebook (draconomicon or the Cult sourcebook) they reference those 3 Spellfire dracoliches as having reanimated from rock lizards or something and the cult trying to get them back to full power. So it was addressed later!
Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 10:12:12
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

They should be near impossible to kill permanently due to the phylactery but for some reason Ed's Spellfire books completely ignore this core concept of what a Dracolich is. Sigh.



I'm fairly certain Ed wouldn't have ignored this core concept of something he created... It's been stated, more than once, that the editorial axe bit very deeply into Spellfire -- a third of the book or more was cut out.
Seravin Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 08:23:05
Nice hearing your thoughts Gylippus. I feel like the author Denning wrote himself in a corner with the Lander vision and it would have been actually a good twist if Ruha learned she COULD defeat her fate/visions when it came to Lander, rather than just accepting her visions as something she could never change. That would actually have made a neat story with a lesson for the reader and Ruha. And kept Lander alive to show her some of the Dales and Semiba.

The second Ruha book is...well..interesting. Definitely mixed reactions towards the Shou accents written in the book. Lander's name comes up a few times and it's clear that Ruha didn't get over him at least. They do dracoliches properly in that book which is one of the first times that's been done in the Realms. They should be near impossible to kill permanently due to the phylactery but for some reason Ed's Spellfire books completely ignore this core concept of what a Dracolich is. Sigh.
gylippus Posted - 05 Mar 2019 : 01:34:43
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished The Parched Sea tonight. This is one of those stories that moves along well, is fairly satisfying, but if you ask me about it a year from now I'll only remember the characters of Lander and Ruha. That's not a knock against the book or Denning, there's just nothing amazingly good or glaringly bad about this novel. It's just a story that effectively tells a tale without a whole lot of frills or extras. Being that I knew very little about this region (other than in the days of Netheril) this was a good book to give me some insight into Anauroch and the Bedine people.

The last ~10 pages felt very rushed, as though the author let the page count get a little bit away from him, and then realized he only had a small amount of time to wrap it all up. Other than that, no significant complaints. It was a good start to the Harpers
series, one which I will continue on with for the meantime. Next up is book 2: Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham - who I have heard nothing but tremendous praise for, so I'm fighting the tendency to get over-hyped for this book.



Sorry to bring up your old posts but I just finished this and the ending really irritated me. I really liked Lander and I felt like he deserved something better than a stupid poison dagger. In fact, I skipped ahead at some point and saw Lander die then threw it in a corner for a week until I gutted it out today. I agree the end was rushed. It seemed like Yekhal died super easy. I would feel better if Ruha went on a quest in a future book to ressurect Lander, but doesn’t seem like that happens. In the end it has a Lawrence of Arabia vibe, but not in a bad way. Ok, Red Magic up next.
VikingLegion Posted - 03 Mar 2019 : 13:17:12
I finished Wrath of the Blue Lady. This book was ok, but nothing amazing. We get another monk protagonist, there seems to have been an abundance of those lately. Normally that is something I would cheer for, the monk class has always been my favorite all the way back to AD&D, but there certainly has been a glut of them recently. This book has yet another odd resemblance to the Cordell series in that an evil eladrin is the antagonist.

We finally get a halfway decent explanation of the Abeir/Toril merger, but I still wasn't 100% sure if the eladrin's transplanted lair came from Abeir or the Feywild. There was some funny interactions between Shang Li (the main character) and his cantankerous father - the two clearly love each other yet seem to enjoy nothing more than needling and getting under each other's skin. They gather up a ragtag crew of misfits - a tiefling rogue, a dragonborn paladin, a "cursed" ship's mage, etc. and embark to recover a magical tome before the eladrin can translate its secrets and expand her empire. As I said, it was an ok story, but not one I'll be thinking about much down the road. This book was absolutely LOADED with typos - 3 or 4 per chapter, and they were glaring (and distracting.) Also we see the trope of a totally contrived weapon upgrade right before taking on the big bad. That always strikes me as ludicrous, particularly when the fighter in question uses a specifically exotic weapon type, and then finds an incredibly powerful version of this rare weapon just before the final encounter.

But, it was a decent story with somewhat interesting characters. Not Odom's best work, but it was readable. Up next I've started on Mark Sehestedt's Chosen of Nandewen Trilogy with book 1: The Fall of Highwatch. I really enjoyed the vibe of his previous works, so here's to hoping I have a good series coming up.
VikingLegion Posted - 26 Feb 2019 : 00:42:48
I finished The Ghost King last night. Catti-brie as a mage still doesn't sit well with me. Now that she's 10 years in and beyond the apprentice point... nope, still doesn't feel right.

I particularly enjoyed one of Cadderly's lines about the philosophical purpose of Spirit Soaring, and the Deneir religion in general. Rather than be tied to dogma and ritual, they continuously strive to learn and seek new knowledge. He stated, "Here the Truth is considered Divine, and not the other way around." - implying most other religions adhere to the principal of "The Divine is the Truth, so don't question it!" approach that I've always loathed.

I also really liked the scene where Ivan mentally expels the illithid from trying to dominate his mind by channeling his anger. It was very well written.

About 3/4 through the book there is one of the "Drizzt Introspections" that I've come to enjoy so much. This one was DARK! Normally they are fairly upbeat, optimistic (if not uplifting and inspiring) musings of the world and our place in it, but geez this one was heavy... RAS's notes in the beginning of the book allude to some tough times in his life (his brother passing) and how he sometimes travels down a darker road than intended. Sure seems like that was the case here.

Speaking of which... the last 20 pages or so, all hell broke loose! I liked Cadderly's astral showdown with the Ghost King, wherein he sort of becomes the new Ghost King, doomed for eternity to keep drawing that ward around the tower. Neat stuff. It didn't hit me particularly hard because he's never been a character I liked all that much. I do feel awful for Danica and the kids though. To not only lose your husband/dad, but to be able to see a spectral version of him every night walking that lonely road, and being utterly unable to reach or affect him - ouch.

As for Catti-brie and Regis, I guess I felt like they would wake up at some point from their catatonia. Those final few scenes where Mielikki ushers their souls away to her private glade while Drizzt and Bruenor wail away in anguish were really powerful. Even moreso the very final paragraph that encapsulates Regis' "sort-of" contentment in this heavenly forest, yet a vague sense of something not quite right. That last line of "for guests who never came..." was absolutely killer. I'm not afraid to admit I got just a bit choked up on that one. However, it was mitigated heavily by my suspicions that this entire scene is simply to put the lesser-lived races (human and halfling) into a sort of stasis where they can be retrieved later by a grieving, angry, and darker Drizzt/Bruenor 100 years later when RAS has finished transitioning to the new FR timeline.

Lastly, Pwent and Athrogate hitting it off as buddies has me equal parts amused and groaning in frustration.


Up next, back to the Wilds series for Mel Odom's Wrath of the Blue Lady.
VikingLegion Posted - 26 Feb 2019 : 00:25:45
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I think that quite simply magic is the answer. The religions creating food every dawn or dusk and handing it out to supplicants in the hope that their religion will be boosted is a no brainer to me. Lots of mentions of magical fountains in Calimport for water. As for waste removal, I can also see waste collecting in chambers where wizards are hired to disintegrate it (or magic disintegration chambers have been created) - a 10-foot cube might not sound very big as per the spell but that'a not a bad chunk of refuse. Ed has detailed various refuse systems in his many writings, from otyughs to specialised fungi farms so there are mundane solutions also. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a huge sub-stratum under Calimport that is quite literally a vast fungi farm that processes the refuse that showers in every second. Isolated horizontally but not vertically, it would make a great adventuring place to retrieve something someone dropped down the privy hole!

-- George Krashos



I've always been partial to an activatable portal that leads to the Para-Elemental Plane of Ooze (at the confluence of Earth and Water.) Open that up for an hour a day, send everything through and let the natural conditions plus the inhabitants (Jubilex and Co.) break it all down for you :)
Seravin Posted - 25 Feb 2019 : 16:11:23
quote:
Originally posted by Demzer

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I still don't think that pre-refridgeration or modern transportation that a city surrounded by desert and unable to sustain lifestock would feed 2 million humans, regardless of how much they trade (Ruha made comments about that in the Parched Sea and feeding camels). There's a reason there wasn't large-scale cities surrounded entirely by desert in real life until modern tech.


Again, Calimport is not surrounded by a desert, it's at the mouth of the River Calim which is the big river that by itself stops the desert from expanding. Calimshan has lots of plains that are basically used only for lifestock and horses, the biggest food imports are grains, fruits and vegetables.

Please read the sources, there is no need for funky fantasy solutions and magic that can fail, everything works fine with geography, climate and money. Obviously this doesn't mean that every slave in Calimport gets 3 full meals a day or anything like that, but there is enough to keep the population up there in the triple/quadruple digits of thousands.



You're coming across condescending. Some maps seem to show the city quite far from the Calim river and it is described as being "on the desert". From this map on Candlekeep it doesn't look to reside on the mouth of the river, like Kaltar or Memnon are shown ON the river, hence my confusion:

http://www.candlekeep.com/images/gallery/yack_calimshan.jpeg

Logically the city SHOULD be based around the mouth of the river rather than dozens (hundreds) of miles away from it. Unless they don't need to be on the river, for reasons that George and Viking have pointed out (magic fountains and create food/water spells from clergy).

From the city map, the walls of the city are surrounded by desert, no where is the city shown to be actually built on the mouth of the Calim river. The novels don't talk about the river being in or near the city either, they just discuss the ocean port. Here:

https://www.worldanvil.com/uploads/maps/c6480349b3150f7eaf1ccad87bfad531.jpg

and

https://www.worldanvil.com/w/faerun-allblackz93/map/dca8fe1c-502b-4710-87ce-68ebd2bfeeb1

So you can see where references to the Calim river solving fresh water needs of a ridiculously large city is confusing. A city that size would need easy access to huge amounts of fresh water to sustain millions of people who DO need to drink daily; not including the water that would be needed to flush waste from 2 million people (I imagine they use ocean water for that, but I wouldn't want to swim in the Calimport harbour haha!).

If it is actually directly on the mouth of the river and all the city maps I've seen are wrong, then fair point, that would be fine and no magic needed as you say. But there is obviously also a lot of information/maps out there that depict the city surrounded entirely by ocean and desert that contradicts this point and points to magic use to sustain the life in the city (imagine a "funky fantasy explanation" in a fantasy setting!!).


Logistics aside, I have to say, the 2 million figure seems ludicrous relative to the size of other major Realms' capital cities.
George Krashos Posted - 24 Feb 2019 : 01:47:22
I think that quite simply magic is the answer. The religions creating food every dawn or dusk and handing it out to supplicants in the hope that their religion will be boosted is a no brainer to me. Lots of mentions of magical fountains in Calimport for water. As for waste removal, I can also see waste collecting in chambers where wizards are hired to disintegrate it (or magic disintegration chambers have been created) - a 10-foot cube might not sound very big as per the spell but that'a not a bad chunk of refuse. Ed has detailed various refuse systems in his many writings, from otyughs to specialised fungi farms so there are mundane solutions also. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a huge sub-stratum under Calimport that is quite literally a vast fungi farm that processes the refuse that showers in every second. Isolated horizontally but not vertically, it would make a great adventuring place to retrieve something someone dropped down the privy hole!

-- George Krashos
VikingLegion Posted - 23 Feb 2019 : 13:51:56
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

It's just odd that population is not fragmented between land-holders and inhabitants in any other source FR material (even Thay were slaves outnumber citizens by a wide margin but the cities there were always given in comparative numbers to other large Realms cities). In my opinion only - it was just poor editing that got "fixed" with this slavecount handwave when the powers that be wanted Waterdeep to be known as the largest/most important city in the Realms and having a city be 15-20x bigger than it didn't fit with that narrative so they nerfed it back to sub 200k and never referenced millions again post 2nd edition (now down to 60k post spell plague because genies or some nonsense sigh).

I still don't think that pre-refridgeration or modern transportation that a city surrounded by desert and unable to sustain lifestock would feed 2 million humans, regardless of how much they trade (Ruha made comments about that in the Parched Sea and feeding camels). There's a reason there wasn't large-scale cities surrounded entirely by desert in real life until modern tech.

Then again - a few magical permanent portals to the plain of water or bowls of everflowing water would solve 99% of my logic problems - magic is better than technology! I don't remember references to that in those sourcebooks you mention though, which is at odds with the Parched Sea sourcebooks that tell of how the Zhents created oases in Anauroch to sustain their supply chains. Maybe the Calim desert is just less hostile than Anauroch or Calimport has fertile lands buffering it before the desert? That would make sense.





I haven't finished Ghost King yet, probably need 2-3 more nights, but I came across this passage which is very germane to the conversation. It comes from one of the Drizzt musings that start some of the chapters. He's contemplating what far-ranging effects this "unraveling of the Weave" will have on the world. He seems to suggest magic is used far more than I thought for mundane tasks - like preserving foodstuffs, waste and sanitation, etc.:

"Do the farmers around the larger cities of Faerun, around Waterdeep and Silverymoon, know how to manage their produce without the magical aid of the druids? Without such magical help, will they be able to meet the demands of the large populations in those cities? And that is only the top level of the problems that will arise should magic fail! Even the sewers of Waterdeep are complicated affairs, built over many generations, and aided at certain critical points, since the city has so expanded, by the power of wizards summoning elementals to help usher away the waste. Without them - what?

And what of Calimport? Regis has told me often that there are far too many people there, beyond any sensible number for which the ocean and desert could possibly provide. But the fabulously rich Pashas have supplemented their natural resources by employing mighty clerics to summon food and drink for the markets, and mighty wizards to teleport in fresh sustenance from faraway lands.

Without that aid, what chaos might ensue?


I'm not saying that to contradict you Demzer. I didn't realize there was fertile land around Calimport, that is interesting and I'm glad you shared the info. It's likely that RAS might not even be aware of that (as several of us weren't) and simply freelanced that bit about clerics summoning food, which is a no-brainer to me - a 1st level spell that can circumvent one of the largest problems any civilization faces... But even still, I think there has to be a blend of traditional and magical means to deal with a population of that size. As a person with some experience in city management, I can tell you that just the drinking water and sewage removal alone wouldn't be remotely possible for a city of 2 million utilizing Medieval technologies only. For comparison sake, early Medieval London contained 8,000 inhabitants. Later on, Renaissance level technology boosted this population to 100,000 - still only 1/20th of what Calimport is said to contain.
Demzer Posted - 23 Feb 2019 : 11:36:32
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I still don't think that pre-refridgeration or modern transportation that a city surrounded by desert and unable to sustain lifestock would feed 2 million humans, regardless of how much they trade (Ruha made comments about that in the Parched Sea and feeding camels). There's a reason there wasn't large-scale cities surrounded entirely by desert in real life until modern tech.


Again, Calimport is not surrounded by a desert, it's at the mouth of the River Calim which is the big river that by itself stops the desert from expanding. Calimshan has lots of plains that are basically used only for lifestock and horses, the biggest food imports are grains, fruits and vegetables.

Please read the sources, there is no need for funky fantasy solutions and magic that can fail, everything works fine with geography, climate and money. Obviously this doesn't mean that every slave in Calimport gets 3 full meals a day or anything like that, but there is enough to keep the population up there in the triple/quadruple digits of thousands.
Seravin Posted - 22 Feb 2019 : 10:54:18
It's just odd that population is not fragmented between land-holders and inhabitants in any other source FR material (even Thay were slaves outnumber citizens by a wide margin but the cities there were always given in comparative numbers to other large Realms cities). In my opinion only - it was just poor editing that got "fixed" with this slavecount handwave when the powers that be wanted Waterdeep to be known as the largest/most important city in the Realms and having a city be 15-20x bigger than it didn't fit with that narrative so they nerfed it back to sub 200k and never referenced millions again post 2nd edition (now down to 60k post spell plague because genies or some nonsense sigh).

I still don't think that pre-refridgeration or modern transportation that a city surrounded by desert and unable to sustain lifestock would feed 2 million humans, regardless of how much they trade (Ruha made comments about that in the Parched Sea and feeding camels). There's a reason there wasn't large-scale cities surrounded entirely by desert in real life until modern tech.

Then again - a few magical permanent portals to the plain of water or bowls of everflowing water would solve 99% of my logic problems - magic is better than technology! I don't remember references to that in those sourcebooks you mention though, which is at odds with the Parched Sea sourcebooks that tell of how the Zhents created oases in Anauroch to sustain their supply chains. Maybe the Calim desert is just less hostile than Anauroch or Calimport has fertile lands buffering it before the desert? That would make sense.

Demzer Posted - 21 Feb 2019 : 23:37:29
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

I'm not sure how a 2 million person city would feed itself in an arid dessert like Calimsham was meant to be though outside of trading with the fertile lands like Tethyr, but what resources did they have to trade? I'm not sure it works but this is a fantasy land so anything is possible.



Calimshan is not a desert, it is a country that is much more extended than the Calim Desert and mostly flat, with two great rivers that keep the desert from expanding and much of the land usable. Still, Calimshan has problems to sustain it's population and that's why it imports a lot of food.

Citing Empires of the Sands: "Calimshan has a very strong trading economy, dealing with nearly every other nation in the Forgotten Realms. There are many things - magical items, exotic spices, alchemical supplies, fine horses, gems, and silk - unique to Calimshan that the rest of the Realms wants."

As for Calimport itself, the brilliant Steven E. Schend explained in the Calimport supplement the fluctuating figures for it: in a nutshell, the official census counts only land-holders as true citizens, which tops at about 200000, plus around 5 slaves per citizens which are not counted in the census, bringing the total past the million. As all trade cities of Faerun (but on steroids since it's the biggest and it's been there for around 7 millennia, although not always fully inhabited) its population ebbs and flows with the seasons and events, rising almost to the impressive 2 million figure during the summer and dipping as "low" as around 900000. As already stated, Calimshan imports a lot of food-stuff (not meat, that is plentiful) and naval trade is preferred, that's why Calimport's docks can hold up to 600 ships at any one time.

I strongly suggest reading the Empires of the Shining Sea and Calimport game supplements to really understand Calimshan. I'll not speak about comparisons to Waterdeep, I'll just say that it's easy to mistake all the attention that the City of Splendors gets with it's actual size compared to other cities of the Realms that are basically never in the spotlight.
Seravin Posted - 21 Feb 2019 : 13:35:37
I'm torn on Ghost King - on the one hand I think it is one of my fave books Bob did - but on the other hand you can sense that he was forced to do certain things as a result of the changes to the Realms going on and I don't think he did those things particularly well (perhaps on purpose). Certainly later interviews you can tell he wasn't pleased with the direction, and unlike with Artemis being kept alive by his protests from 1st edition to 2nd edition, he wasn't able to shut down the time skip from 3rd to 4th edition and all that entails for his creations (initially anyway as well all know the Sundering and 5th edition just reboots everything).

That aside, the dark tone is kind of interesting and well done, and I do like the grim aspects of the book - it has a night of the living dead feel. Probably my fave of his books since Servant of the Shard, but I've never wanted to re-read it.
Madpig Posted - 21 Feb 2019 : 07:01:24
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

G

Up next I started RAS's The Ghost King. I read the back of the book, Bob's personal note in the beginning, and the other author's comments in the front, and it seems like something devastatingly sad is going to happen in this book. I told my wife that and she said, "IF HE KILLS GUENHWYVAR I WILL NEVER READ ANOTHER OF HIS BOOKS!" (She's only read the original Dark Elf Trilogy so far.) I know that won't be the case, as I've seen Guen on the cover of future books, but obviously something dark is going to go down in this one. No spoilers, please!




I actually do wait your thoughts about this. It has rather darker tone than many of the other RAS books. And makes some characters unusually vulnerable.

Candlekeep Forum © 1999-2019 Candlekeep.com Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000