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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Gary Dallison Posted - 26 May 2020 : 16:01:22
So i'm going to bite the bullet and read the novels to mine them for lore.

Is anyone interested in me posting the details here so i can spare others the pain of having to read them (and for easy reference later)?
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Gary Dallison Posted - 24 Jun 2021 : 17:08:14
Promise of the Witch King (1370 DR)

Jarlaxle Notes
Can meld into stone [Prelude]
The feather in his hat can summon a diatryma (an 8 ft tall flightless bird with a thick neck and wicked hooked beak) [Prelude]
Has a wand that can create a wall of stone [Prelude]
His mirror is his prized possession [2]
Given a dragon statuette that traps any doorway or entrance it is fixed to. Those entering the doorway without identifying the type of dragon are struck by a trap. Touching the statuette allows you to change the dragon to whatever type you want [2]
Murdered the innkeeper Feepun and the Shade Rorli [3]
Has a tablecloth and wand that can produce a feast [5]
His hat contains turns into a large 10 ft deep portable hole [5]
His belt contains a pouch of holding with a bottle of Cormyrean brandy in it [5]
His belt can turn into a snake that acts as a rope of climbing [5]
Eyepatch changed to either eye as wanted [7]
Had a part in ensuring Idalia’s flute found its way into Entreri’s hand [7]
Centuries old

Entreri Notes
Charon’s Claw has a red blade [Prelude]
Charon’s Claw can conjure a cloud of black ash [Prelude]
His gauntlet can absorb magic spells and then channel the magic absorbed by the gauntlet at opponents [Prelude]
Jewelled dagger, able to steal life force (and their souls) from those it wounds/slays. Owned it for more than 2 decades, since he had been a youth on the streets of Calimport. The dagger had helped him survive and climb high in the underworld there [2]
40+ years old [2]
Dwahvel Tiggerwilles, a halfling female in Calimport and old friend of Entreri’s [5]
fat Dondon (halfling????) old friend of Entreri’s back in Calimport [5]
Given a fine white shirt by Ilnezhara
Given an ordinary looking flute by Ilnezhara and sister, created by Idalia centuries ago. The flute helps calm Entreri’s emotions [9]

Tower of Herminicle
“Book of Creation” belonged to or created by Zhengyi. Sits in the top of the tower on a tentacled pedestal that taps directly into the heart of the tower. [Prelude]
The tower is protected by many traps, including a large iron boulder that resizes to fill the sloping corridors, and an iron golem, and gargoyles, and a flesh golem [Prelude]
The Book of Creation turned the possessor into a lich, anything damaging the book damages the lich. At the heart of the book is a violet gem in the shape of a skull pulsing with light and power, the key to the lich, the tower and the unnatural remnant of Zhengyi the Witch-King [Prelude}
Zhengyi created or owned multiple Books of Creation [Prelude]
The violet gem blisters the hand of those grasping it and shatters magical blades that try to damage it [Prelude]
The lich was a minor mage from Heliogabalus called Herminicle Duperdas, his fellow students considered him a novice at best. Herminicle found the Book of Creation (how??? was it in Heliogabalus????), and read it. The book consumed him, taking his magic and life force and bound him to the tower [1]
The tower lay somewhere in Damara (near Heliogabalus????) [1]

Ilnezhara and Tazmikella
Palace Tower of Ilnezhara near Heliogabalus [1]
Ilnezhara, dragon with copper coloured scales and horns (copper dragon???), uses an illusion of a creamy skinned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. Ilnezhara employed Jarlaxle to raid the tower and retrieve the Book of Creation [1]
Ilnezhara has a Tazmikella, they researched the origin of the tower while Jarlaxle was plundering it [1]
Have a pawnbrokers shop they run in Heliogabalus [3]

Vaasa Notes
A trove of the Witch King has been uncovered, artefacts are revealed all over the land. It has happened before when a dungeon or cellar of the Witch King is opened or a tribe of monsters is defeated and wand or weapons are discovered [1]
A library of Zhengyi has recently been pilfered. A pair of tomes on the art Necromancy were recently sold in the Halfling Downs (purchased by agents of Ilnezhara and Tazmikella) [1]
Elk, ogres, giants head north in summer following the elk. Orcs and goblinoids remain in caves [1]
A dozen miles north of the Bloodstone Village (before the Vaasan Gate) is a flat expanse dubbed the Fugue Plane by adventurers. A tent city on the Fugue Plane full of ruffians. Criminals in Damara (cutpurses mostly) are sent to the Fugue Plane as punishment [3]
Gools, a goblin, speaks the common tongue. Entreri and Jarlaxle use it to find other monsters [5]
Kneebreakers, halfling unit on warpigs, commanded by Hobart Bracegirdle. Rockney Hamsukker, main chef. The Kneebreakers first found fame during the Bloodstone Wars [5]
Kneebreakers slew a trio of ogres and a pair of ogres leading a band of hobgoblins [5]
A land blasted by war, torn by the march of armies, scalded by the fires of wizard spells and dragons breath [7]
Summer thaw can last between 1 and 3 months. Winter freezes the land for 9-11 months
Tundra yeti
Dragon statue in the bog north of Darmshall, grew to enormous proportions, and sank into the bog. A relic of Zhengyi
A belt with 25 enchanted rubies in, each one a fireball (like a necklace of fireballs). Relic of Zhengyi. Found on the northern slopes of the Galenas by a young man who blew himself to pieces
“The Rover” is a title not easily earned, the title of a rake but an honourable one
Underground snakes that can fly and spit acid. Abominations of Zhengyi [9]


Vaasan Gate
Muddy Boots and Bloody Blades, a tavern inside the walls [2]
Commander Ellery Peidopare. Commander of the Vaasan Gate Militia
General Dannaway Bridgestone Tranth, brother of Baron Tranth, military commander and mayor of the Vaasan Gate. Gained the position because of family rather than personal deeds. Haughty and superior except when with his superiors. Plump, ageing. Commander Ellery is his niece

Ellery
Commander Ellery, Tranth, Dopray, Kierney, Dragonsbane, Peidopare of the Vaasan Gate Militia, pays for goblinoid, and giant ears. Took her mighty axe from an ogre she defeated. Red hair freckles, dimples. [1]
Baron Tranth is her uncle, Queen Christine Dragonsbane her cousin and King Dragonsbane her second cousin once removed. [3]
Not 30 years old. Grew up in Bloodstone Village in the shadow of Zhengyi. [7]
A paladin of Bloodstone (not quite, not until she performs her first miracle of healing hands). Descended from a long line of holy warriors
Asked to kill Jarlaxle by Canthus Dolittel
King Dragonsbane is her uncle [13]
Canthus found Ellery years ago and his associates (assassins) trained her. She used these skills to advance quickly in service to Damara [19]
Ellery’s association and manipulation by Canthus is why she is not a full paladin [19]
Slain by Artemis Entreri. Then restored by Jarlaxle and his violet gemstone skull. Then killed again by Urshula [20]

Parissus
Blonde hair cropped short and dishevelled, broad shoulders, woman from Impiltur. [1]
Bounty hunter [1]
Niece of Gareth Dragonsbane???? [1]
Large boned, round face. Boasts about her exploits often
Run over by a wagon and killed [9]

Devis Eng
Rugged, handsome, thick black hair, full beard, sun browned skin, soldier [1]
Fought in the war against the Witch King (the Bloodstone War with Gareth????) [1]
Bounty clerk

Calihye
Half elf, female, light blue almost grey eyes, long black hair, angular features [1]
Scar on right cheek where a pirate’s gaff hook almost tore her face off, scar stretches from cheek to chin [1]
Distinct lisp, caused by the scar

Practus
Dwarf cleric [1]
Practus Bristlebeard, cleric of Moradin and Dumathoin (all the dwarven gods????) [9,12]
Slain by traps [18]


Athrogate
Connections to the Citadel of Assassins [1]
Dwarf, bounty hunter, has been top bounty collected at the Vaasan Gate for many months [1,6]
Does not like being beaten at anything [1]
Renowned in the underworld as a supreme killer [3]
Black beard, parted in the middle, two braids running down his chest tied off with sparkling blue gemstones. Black eyes, large ears [3]
Agent of the Tightpurse thieves guild [3]
Has been punished by Knellicht before (with magic) [6]
A pair of morningstars, the ends made of glassteel. One of them coated in rust monster secretions, the other in oil of impact. Specific command words release the coating [8,17]
Claims to have felled a giant in single combat [11]
Has a girdle of storm giant strength [14]
Has 30 grown children [15]


Mariabronne
Mariabronne “the Rover”, “the Tamer of Vaasa” male bounty hunter, has more Vaasan kills than anyone, ranger, never takes payment for her kills. Knighted by Gareth Dragonsbane in the years Zhengyi’s demise after [1]
Took part in the Bloodstone War in the Army of Bloodstone [1]
Served as a guard during building of the Vaasan Gate [1]
About 40, long thick dark brown hair, lean but muscly, brown eyes, ruddy complexion [6]
Acts as a courier between Palischuk and the Vaasan Gate. Acts as a guide for Palischuk hunting parties [6]
Wingham, half orc, called Weird Wingham associate of Mariabronne [1]
Has a magical, renowned bastard sword with a special hatred for giantkin
Monitored Jarlaxle in Vaasa for some organisation [9]
Every child in Damara knows of Mariabronne the Rover [11]
Great Bow and mace [15]
On his first official scouting tour for King Dragonsbane he was supposed to scout 5 miles from the Vaasan Gate, he went all the way to Palischuk [17]
Has a rakish reputation with the ladies all across Damara [18]
Slain by daemons [18]
Had a particular relationship with the Tranth family and with Commander Ellery’s family [18]
Magical leather armour, magical ring [18]




Heliogabalus
Piter McRuggle, a chef, captured by highwaymen. Liberated by Jarlaxle and Entreri. Jarlaxle set Piter up with a shop in Heliogabalus [2]
North Gate [2]


Citadel of Assassins
Knellicht, archmage, second only to Timoshenko [3]
Timoshenko, grandfather of assassins [3]
Canthan Dolittle, studious looking, beady eyes, long straight nose, grey brown hair, large bald spot. Associate of Athrogate. Stationed at the Fugue Plane tent city. Gives orders to visiting agents of the assassins. Wizard, poses as a sage from Damara. Slain by Entreri [3,9,11,20]
Timoshenko and the assassins worried that when Gareth Dragonsbane unites Damara and Vaasa that the Citadel of Assassins will be the next target [3]
The assassins do not know the two sisters are dragons [3]
Murdering your colleagues for advancement is allowed [12]


Arrayan Faylin Maggotsweeper
Half orc, female, (human and possibly elf ancestry). [4]
Lives in Palischuk [4]
Short, slender, reddish brown hair, emerald eyes, thick lips, narrow eyebrows, button nose [4]
Twenty plus years old. Wizard [4]
Spent her teenage years in a wizards tower in Damara [4]
Niece of Weird Wingham although she rarely met him [4]
Read a Book of Creation, created a link to her and the book drains her life force to build a replica of Castle Perilous [10]

Palischuk
Olgerkhan, half orc, huge canines, thick forehead, flat crooked nose. Between 5 ft 7 and 6 ft tall. Thick limbs and chest. Last saw Mariabronne two years ago [4,6]
Wingham’s Rascals or Weird Winghams Wacky Weapon Wielders. Travelling merchant band throughout the Bloodstone Lands [4]
South Gate and North Gate, open most of the time [4,8]
Wingham is a minor mage, has a wand of divination spells (he used it up 3 times divining a tome of Zhengyi’s). Owns a figurine of wondrous power – an obsidian steed (summons a nightmare, Blackfire is the command word) [4,8]
Not a close knit community, people kept to themselves except in times of celebration or common danger [6]
Most inhabitants are hunters [6]
Old Nyungy the talespinner, lives in an old three story house in terrible disrepair. Bald wrinkled old man, looks like a human but has too large teeth like an orc. Long ago gave up road and song and sword. One of the few still alive who had glimpsed Castle Perilous. Spent decades as an adventuring in the wilds around Palischuk. Travelled with Wingham for years as well studying magic and magic items. Served in Zhengyi’s army in the early days of the Witch King’s rise before the horrible truth about Zhengyi was learned (what truth????) [10]
Arrayan raises another Castle Perilous northeast of Palischuk on what was once a graveyard for Palischuk and possibly their orc ancestors for centuries [14]
Canthus’ body was quietly removed from Palischuk by parties unknown (Citadel of Assassins agents in Palischuk????) [22]



Orc Language
Koi – the name of a very lewd game [4]


Other Lore
Cormyrean brandy – precious [5]
The crystal skulls in the book of creation, created by Zhengyi, allowed ability to sense the dead (and raise them????) [9]
Zhengyi and his Books of Creation have happened before according to Nyungy. [10]
Rings of Arbitration, created by a long lost magic, only a few pairs exist, crafted for lovers bound body and soul. Shares the pain, wounds, and injuries of those that wear the paired rings [11]

Damara Lore
Tales of a half drow making a reputation for herself in Damara [7]
Doern, legendary wizard long ago perfected a method of creating minor extra dimensional powers

Castle Perilous 2
Two towers and walls surrounding an inner keep. A stables, smithy, two barracks in the courtyard [14]
Turn undead does not work on skeletons in Castle Perilous [14]
Grows gargoyles (not made of stone – leathery wings) to defend itself, grows new ones within a day of the old ones being destroyed [14]
Flesh golem[15]
Mummified gnolls (from the graveyard or the castle????) [17]
Dragon styled architecture inside the inner keep [17]
Dragon egg on a basalt altar in the inner keep [17]
Iron golems [17]
Tunnels lead down into a chamber. On the walls are silver bells, a gem topped sceptre, a golden censer. A table cloth stitched with the scene of gnolls dancing around a rearing black dragon [17]
Eggs in the chamber (lodged into the ceiling) containing gigantic daemons from Gehenna, humanoid shapes with a bulldog like face, huge canines, inward looking horns on the side of its head [17]
Catacombs hold a bas relief of a score of warriors swarming a rearing dragon [21]
A dracolich lairs in the depths of the castle, Urshula – black dracolich. Surrounded by bones from the Army of Bloodstone (died in a battle decades ago) [21]
No treasure in the castle or the dracolich lair [22]
Gary Dallison Posted - 23 Jun 2021 : 17:26:42
Randomly decided to read promise of the witch king. A surprising amount of detail on Vaasa and Damara thus far.

The names are still horrible. Why oh why weren't the editing department fired.

We have two dragon sisters that seem to be against Zhengyian artefacts, one can only assume they were similarly proactive when Zhengyi was alive.

The Books of Creation are a typical macguffin, very reminiscent of the crystal shard. Even the description of Vaasa and its seasons and fauna are reminiscent of icewind dale.

But some interesting ideas. It would appear that Zhengyi was a demilich of sorts. Each book could have been a mini phylactery factory, creating these crystal skulls that contain the soul of a victim that zhengyi then feeds off.
Those reading the book are bound to it and an exact replica of castle perilous that the book constructs. How do we know that the Zhengyi in 1347 to 1357 was not also one of these possessed and bound individuals.
The first Zhengyi could have been a long time ago. Zhengyi might even be a title.

Some interesting links highlighted in the book between the citadel of assassins and the tight purse thieves guild. One can only assume they existed pre Gareth Draginsbane and the reason zhengyi was so effective was because he had numerous agents (like felix) in Damara for at least a decade before he invaded.

Commander Ellery is niece to Baron Tranth, and General whatshisface (also a tranth) and niece to Gareth Draginsbane and 2nd cousin once removed of Gareth Dragonsbane.

Which I think means that the tranths and Sragonsbane line were joined by marriage in Ellery's great grandparent and that Ellery's father also married a Dragonsbane.
Which of course means Baron Tranth had a brother and possibly and sister (Ellery's mum) and that the Draginsbane is a noble house if Damara (commoners should not have surnames, and nobles do not marry commoners, and definitely dont marry jnto the same commoner family twice in a hundred years).

In fact Ellery's list of names gives a list of several noble houses, none of which are in the Bloodstone Lands sourcebook. Hinting that Damar has many minor baronies that are unlisted, and as Zhengyi restructured the nobility of Damara it is safe to assume these baronies are now vassals of the larger supply duchies if Arcata, Carmathen, Soravia.

I'm interested to find out what other things RAS provides in the novel (a first for me), but I'm into the last 100 pages and I suspect that is one long fight scene.
ElfBane Posted - 14 Jun 2021 : 08:36:17
Once you've let the the camels "Deus Ex Machina" and "Powerful Magic" into the tent... you suddenly notice "Plot Holes" has also arrived.
Seravin Posted - 13 Jun 2021 : 22:56:53
TBHolder - Not sure I get the "other pressing problems so I can't help her" when Elminster literally fights off Manshoon for Shandril though in Crown of Fire, taking somewhat of a personal risk for himself and STorm to do so -he unleashed a lot of magic. It would take about 3 whole seconds for Elminster or the Simbul to teleport Shandril to the other side of the world. The Simbul, in the Simbul's Gift (which is the best Realms book ever I have decided) - teleports around herself and others through the Yuirwood and across the REalms instantly several times.

The Simbul and Elminster both spent many many hours (if not longer) battling Zhent/Cult wizards in Spellfire/Crown of Fire. If they didn't have time to help her because of Maulgrym or other big bad evils, they had a funny way of showing it.
Seravin Posted - 13 Jun 2021 : 22:51:23
Good points above about Elminster/the Simbul kind of wanting Shandril to take the long road to Silverymoon and do some major damage to the Zhents on the way! I like that idea. Still doesn't really jive with why Vangerdahast or Tess didn't teleport her though, since they (well, a Lord of Cormyr so effectively Cormyr) was willing to teleport her to the Citadel of the Raven twice. I don't think Tess had to contend with being a Chosen of Mystra to explain why she couldn't use a teleport scroll or spell to get Shandril on her way to Silverymoon after she left the Hidden House.


Chaos Curse though...I hated that book. I just didn't find the vampire a compelling character. I think the showdown with Cadderly and his father could have been the finale, with Kieren maybe possessed by Ghost as a book 4 bad guy fight. Denier is also an idiot for having such idiotic followers as Dean Thobicus. Not RAS' best work. And you're right, it had very very little Realms lore in it. Bob loves to write in his little corners of the Realms so he doesn't have to build to the lore or can just make up what he wants.
Gary Dallison Posted - 11 Jun 2021 : 22:24:37
Now greater vampires sound interesting, I'll look then up immediately in the hope they are not just a reskinned real world analogue.
Baltas Posted - 11 Jun 2021 : 21:01:31
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The whole Chaos Curse vampire thing had so much potential. A being infused with essence of the Abyss, he should have been turned into something unique and terrifying, something that could infect others (like vampirism perhaps, or not) but makes the infected truly mad and completely under his control. He should have emanated an aura of taint that slowly turned the Edificant Library into a mini layer of the Abyss. Instead he was harmed by sunlight, silver, holy symbols, and fire. Abyssal horrors are not (as far as i'm aware) particularly bothered by sunlight or fire in many instances (i'll admit the holy symbol should work, and so should the silver).
He could create darkness, transform into a bat or a wolf and even control wolves. What have wolves and bats got to do with abyssal demons (RAS may as well have set this novel in Transylvania), that is real world mythology and an evil depiction of nocturnal animals exploited by the catholic church. It would have made more sense if Kierkan slowly transformed into an actual demon over time, that would have been terrifying.




Well, with wolves, the connection between them and vampires is old - present in in Slavic and Balkan folklore, with there even being some overlap between Vampires and Werewolves. The wolf-vampire conection quite probably being from even pre-Christian times, based on fears people had of wolves. The bat connection is a literature based though(I think even first appearing "only" in Bram Stocker's Dracula), related to bats being seen as demonic (as seen how even many fiends even in D&D having bat-wings).

Still I agree about the rest. You might be interested in something similar - the Greater Vampires introduced in Lords of Darkness - Greater Vampires being created from a victim being level drained to death by a succubus, and arising as a vampire - but one able to walk in daylight, as well as able to summon Vrocks and Hezrou, if only during night or when shielded from daylight:
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Vampire#Notes
TBeholder Posted - 11 Jun 2021 : 11:10:52
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

My thought was that Elminster was very fatalistic about Shandril's situation. She had this powerful gift, which she could use for good or evil, if she survived. He aided her because she was demonstrably good and innocent but hedged his bets. He wasn't going to devote the entire resources of the Harpers, the Chosen and the KoMD for someone who ultimately might become a Zhent/Cult pawn (through Narm) or turn wholly to evil (note Tessaril's exchange with her re the Shadowsil) and he had seen many of these situations over the centuries.

Also, the whole "having other important pressing problems" thing (presumably spelled out via Malaugrym plot line in the axed parts) inevitable on the level of "officers" in the great cold war of gods.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 18:56:41
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

This last entry into the Cleric Quintet was just weird.

It had the classic vampire with classic vampire powers that dont really fit in a fantasy setting and was full of christian mannerisms "I Deny you" "I Damn you", the only thing Cadderly didnt say was "I Denounce you Satan".

Druzil, who could have been the true evil of this story was reduced to a mockery of a demon capable of uttering only one saying over and over an over and over again "Bene Tellemera" meaning you idiot or something like that. In this book no mention is made of Loviatar, only the abyss, a Druzil, who clearly thinks he created the Chaos Curse and is completely devoted to its existence (as any creator would be), does not include Loviatar in the equation.

The whole Chaos Curse vampire thing had so much potential. A being infused with essence of the Abyss, he should have been turned into something unique and terrifying, something that could infect others (like vampirism perhaps, or not) but makes the infected truly mad and completely under his control. He should have emanated an aura of taint that slowly turned the Edificant Library into a mini layer of the Abyss. Instead he was harmed by sunlight, silver, holy symbols, and fire. Abyssal horrors are not (as far as i'm aware) particularly bothered by sunlight or fire in many instances (i'll admit the holy symbol should work, and so should the silver).
He could create darkness, transform into a bat or a wolf and even control wolves. What have wolves and bats got to do with abyssal demons (RAS may as well have set this novel in Transylvania), that is real world mythology and an evil depiction of nocturnal animals exploited by the catholic church. It would have made more sense if Kierkan slowly transformed into an actual demon over time, that would have been terrifying.

I kind of felt sorry for Kierkan Rufo, he was punished in Shilmista for not being brave enough or skilled enough to become a super hero (not everyone is cut out for that). Given a choice between death or serving evil the good guys chose to condemn Kierkan for not choosing death (how very christianesque). Then at the start of the book he is essentially controlled by the Chaos Curse and Druzil, and becomes some horrible monster. I feel there should have been a redemption arc for Rufo, being unable to defeat the monster inside him, but perhaps holding himself still long enough for Cadderly to destroy it, because Kierkan Rufo was not truly evil (just weak, or in many cases a normal human being) and all his actions as a vampire were under the control of the Chaos Curse which fundamentally altered his being and made him a passenger in his own body.

As always, very little realmslore in this book. Nothing of great interest to realms lovers. A few more priestly names of the Edificant Library that are all slaughtered by the end of the book. No new magic items, no extra history about the region or the library itself.

I'm glad i finished the Cleric Quintet though, i wont have to read another one.



Kierkan Rufo struck me as more a victim of circumstance than a villain. I wasn't keen on that one.
Gary Dallison Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 18:07:37
This last entry into the Cleric Quintet was just weird.

It had the classic vampire with classic vampire powers that dont really fit in a fantasy setting and was full of christian mannerisms "I Deny you" "I Damn you", the only thing Cadderly didnt say was "I Denounce you Satan".

Druzil, who could have been the true evil of this story was reduced to a mockery of a demon capable of uttering only one saying over and over an over and over again "Bene Tellemera" meaning you idiot or something like that. In this book no mention is made of Loviatar, only the abyss, a Druzil, who clearly thinks he created the Chaos Curse and is completely devoted to its existence (as any creator would be), does not include Loviatar in the equation.

The whole Chaos Curse vampire thing had so much potential. A being infused with essence of the Abyss, he should have been turned into something unique and terrifying, something that could infect others (like vampirism perhaps, or not) but makes the infected truly mad and completely under his control. He should have emanated an aura of taint that slowly turned the Edificant Library into a mini layer of the Abyss. Instead he was harmed by sunlight, silver, holy symbols, and fire. Abyssal horrors are not (as far as i'm aware) particularly bothered by sunlight or fire in many instances (i'll admit the holy symbol should work, and so should the silver).
He could create darkness, transform into a bat or a wolf and even control wolves. What have wolves and bats got to do with abyssal demons (RAS may as well have set this novel in Transylvania), that is real world mythology and an evil depiction of nocturnal animals exploited by the catholic church. It would have made more sense if Kierkan slowly transformed into an actual demon over time, that would have been terrifying.

I kind of felt sorry for Kierkan Rufo, he was punished in Shilmista for not being brave enough or skilled enough to become a super hero (not everyone is cut out for that). Given a choice between death or serving evil the good guys chose to condemn Kierkan for not choosing death (how very christianesque). Then at the start of the book he is essentially controlled by the Chaos Curse and Druzil, and becomes some horrible monster. I feel there should have been a redemption arc for Rufo, being unable to defeat the monster inside him, but perhaps holding himself still long enough for Cadderly to destroy it, because Kierkan Rufo was not truly evil (just weak, or in many cases a normal human being) and all his actions as a vampire were under the control of the Chaos Curse which fundamentally altered his being and made him a passenger in his own body.

As always, very little realmslore in this book. Nothing of great interest to realms lovers. A few more priestly names of the Edificant Library that are all slaughtered by the end of the book. No new magic items, no extra history about the region or the library itself.

I'm glad i finished the Cleric Quintet though, i wont have to read another one.
Gary Dallison Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 17:36:43
The Chaos Curse (1362 DR)


Edificant Library Lore
Bron Turman, burly headmaster of the library and one of the highest ranking of the Oghman priests. Slain by Dean Thobicus [Prologue,7]
Dean Thobicus, 70+ years old. Plotting against Cadderly, dismissed Vicero Belago. Turned into a vampire by Kierkan Rufo [1,7]
Priests of Oghma wear black and gold vests [1]
Berdole the Brutal, priest of Oghma, muscular, likes wrestling and has a snarling demeanour. 250 lbs, strongest priest of Oghma. Slain by Kierkan Rufo [3]
Curt, priest of Oghma [3]
Fester Rumpol, second highest ranking Deneiran priest. Headmaster of the library. Slain by Kierkan Rufo [4,7]
Bachtolen Mossgarden, hired as groundskeeper, become cook now that Pikel and Ivan were gone. Bachy to his friend. Dirty, doesn’t wash or shave much [4]
Banner. Deneiran priest. Turned into a vampire [7]
Romus Scaladi, Oghman priest, short, dark complexion. Grown up an orphan on the rough streets of Sundabar [9]
Library houses 80 priests, before the Chaos Curse well over 100 priests, plus 5-30 visitors [9]
The Edificant Library has always been among the holiest of places, where priests of any goodly faith could feel the presence of their god. Even druids of Sylvanus [9]
Histra, priestess of Sune. Turned into a vampire [9]
Only 3 women priests in the whole Edificant Library [10]
Has tapestries a thousand years old [10]
Cadderly’s room is in the east facing the Shining Plains [11]
Diatyne, Oghman priest, Turned into a vampire [12]
The doors to the Edificant Library are never lost [14]
Percival can understand speech and attempts to communicate with people (is he reincarnated perhaps, or a former chosen that transformed completely into a squirrel and could not change back????) [15]
Minshk, a hunter, lives in a shack a few days east of the Edificant Library, friends with Vicero Belago [18]
Kitchen, main chapel, wine cellar on the lower levels [19]
Dean Thobicus’ room on the second floor [19]
The main chapel is in the southern wing [20]
Brother Chaunticleer survived by singing in his room for weeks [22]
Cadderly called down a storm to destroy the Edificant Library, then used magic to create the Spirit Soaring cathedral. It would take 5 years to create and shorten Cadderly’s life in doing so [22]

Carradoon Lore
Baccio, commander of Carradoon garrison, visiting Edificant Library, turned into a vampire [Prologue,16]
A deep snow struck the lowlands, not seen in the Shining Plains in decades [2]

Cadderly and Co
Vander, 12 ft tall, 800 lbs [2]
Danica barely 5 ft tall, less than 100 lbs [2]
Pikel and Ivan’s kin dwarves are in Vaasa [3]
Pikel has druidic powers (shillelagh, druid water) [20]

Kierkan Rufo
Drank the Chaos Curse and died [1]
Returned to unlife [3]
Far stronger than Berdole the Brutal, killed him with one hand [3]
Red eyes glow with inner fire [3]
Telepathy, shuts a stone door with his mind from 5 long strides away [3]
Ignores holy symbols [3]
Staggered slightly in weak sunlight, sunlight will burn like fire [3,4]
Has canine’s half an inch long, has a hunger for blood [3]
Immortal [3]
Can become incorporeal at will, a green vapour [4]
Can command people with words and they have to obey [4]
Aura of cold, not enough to inflict damage [4]
Can create vampire spawn under his control [4]
Can transform into a bat [4]
Can spiderclimb walls [4]
Can create darkness [6]
Can see in darkness [7]
Can animate the dead as zombies, and command them [7]
Can see invisibility
Can regenerate, but not wounds caused by fire [11]
Able to wizard lock doors (or the vampiric equivalent) [14]
Burned by holy water [16]
Can command wolves [17]
Damaged by silver and magic weapons [16]
He prevented Dorigen’s spirit from leaving her body when she died, forcing it to remain in the burned husk [20]

Other Lore
Feywine, a mix of honey, flowers, and moonbeams. A rare drink, even among the elves [7]

Gary Dallison Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 07:31:21
So tessaril did know the shadowsil before her downfall and I guess both were apprentices of elminster, and was the shadowsil the Harper that helped trssaril find and explore the hidden house before betraying her (presumably by stealing a bunch of secrets and magic from it and running off to the zhents).

There are a few untold stories about elminster and his apprentices I think
George Krashos Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 03:37:26
My thought was that Elminster was very fatalistic about Shandril's situation. She had this powerful gift, which she could use for good or evil, if she survived. He aided her because she was demonstrably good and innocent but hedged his bets. He wasn't going to devote the entire resources of the Harpers, the Chosen and the KoMD for someone who ultimately might become a Zhent/Cult pawn (through Narm) or turn wholly to evil (note Tessaril's exchange with her re the Shadowsil) and he had seen many of these situations over the centuries. Khelben would have considered her super-dangerous, too young to wield such power and looked to "contain' her - willingly or not. If she had got to Silverymoon, I'm sure Alustriel would have been "just right" to bring her along - but not to the detriment of her city. That's why she needed to get there in secret (teleport elephant in the room notwithstanding). Silverymoon had always been a Zhent/Cult target - if Shandril was known to be there openly, that would simply have escalated things greatly. Elminster isn't necessarily a "good guy" (although I think he is happy to be when he can), and just had the wisdom, experience and foresight to know that Shandril was likely doomed. Having assisted/supported plenty of them over the centuries, I think he was all out of altruism.

-- George Krashos
Wooly Rupert Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 01:19:46
quote:
Originally posted by AJA

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I don't think Khelben would nuke her from orbit. He's also a Chosen, so he's under the same limitations as Elminster.

Khelben is overall a decent person, though. He'd set things up so that Shandril was walking a gauntlet, but not so that she'd be walking into certain death. And I think he'd also take precautions to make sure that while she may get hurt or hardened, that she'd not be killed or pushed so far that she crossed the line into evil.

I don't want to stray too far from the current thread focus on Shandril and Crown of Fire here, but my answer to the first is that Elminster follows Mystra's rules (in fact, he's the poster boy for following Mystra's rules). Khelben....considers them more like guidelines. He's very much the "it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission" type.

And to the second, everything you're ascribing to Khelben here is what Elminster is up there saying about himself.





Elminster just said he had to test her, and there's a lot of ways to do that. And Elminster said that Khelben would be the sort to use Shandril to lay traps, though he -- Elminster himself -- would not.

I'm just expanding on that.
Eldacar Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 01:05:41
quote:
Originally posted by AJA

Elminster may be friendly, but he is not your friend. That said, I think "devoid of humanity" is a step too far. His concerns are of magic and Faerûn as a whole, and while he does prefer sunshine and kittens he will do what (he or Mystra thinks) needs to be done, and regret the human cost sometime afterwards.


As another very old sorcerer in another, non-Realms book series once said, paraphrasing very slightly:

“I moved about quite a bit during the next several centuries, however. There were still marriages to arrange and an occasional murder. Does that shock you? It shouldn’t. I’ve never made any pretense at being a saint, and there were people out there in the world who were inconvenient. I’m not going to waste my time, or yours, coming up with lame excuses. I was driven by necessity, so I did what was necessary.”
AJA Posted - 06 Jun 2021 : 00:34:40
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I don't think Khelben would nuke her from orbit. He's also a Chosen, so he's under the same limitations as Elminster.

Khelben is overall a decent person, though. He'd set things up so that Shandril was walking a gauntlet, but not so that she'd be walking into certain death. And I think he'd also take precautions to make sure that while she may get hurt or hardened, that she'd not be killed or pushed so far that she crossed the line into evil.

I don't want to stray too far from the current thread focus on Shandril and Crown of Fire here, but my answer to the first is that Elminster follows Mystra's rules (in fact, he's the poster boy for following Mystra's rules). Khelben....considers them more like guidelines. He's very much the "it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission" type.

And to the second, everything you're ascribing to Khelben here is what Elminster is up there saying about himself.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 17:34:37
quote:
Originally posted by AJA



Or even Khelben. Elminster "hopes and believes we can suffer her to live," Khelben would just want to nuke her from orbit and not leave it up to chance.




I don't think Khelben would nuke her from orbit. He's also a Chosen, so he's under the same limitations as Elminster.

But these lines -- "Were I the sort of cold-hearted beast that calls itself Manshoon, or even Khelben, I might set a trap with this Shandril as the lure and sacrifice her mind or life to bring some of these dark workers of Art into my grasp for slaying or ravaging. Yet Mystra forbids such reckless harvesting of those who weave magic, and she even stands against attempts to harm those who follow Shar's darker path."

I think that gives us more an idea what Khelben would do. He'd not stake her out as a sacrificial goat and then slay all who showed up, even though he'd be tempted. But he'd certainly steer Shandril in particular directions, so that she would tempt certain parties who would then rush to their own destruction.

And I don't think he'd limit those parties to magic wielders, either -- plenty of non-magical sorts would see her as a potential weapon.

Khelben is overall a decent person, though. He'd set things up so that Shandril was walking a gauntlet, but not so that she'd be walking into certain death. And I think he'd also take precautions to make sure that while she may get hurt or hardened, that she'd not be killed or pushed so far that she crossed the line into evil.
AJA Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 16:49:54
quote:
Originally posted by "Shandril of Spellfire, And Why I Decided Not To Destroy Her"

My fellow Chosen must be warned, as well as All Who Harp and certain others, for if one thing in Faerûn can be depended upon as surely as the sun rising some time after each moonfall, 'tis that those who snatch and seize magic for their own fell and cruel purposes will learn of this Shandril and attempt to seize her . . . if they know not of her already. Manshoon and his lot, the Cult of the Dragon, those of Luskan who style themselves "the Arcane," those who take childish delight in calling themselves the Twisted Rune, and the entire realm of Thay – to say nothing of diverse beholders and Phaerimm, dragons, and scores of independent archmages, both mighty and those who merely consider themselves puissant – will stretch out swords or spells or talons to pluck this spellfire for their own. Failing that, they will slay its source so as to deny it to their rivals.

Were I the sort of cold-hearted beast that calls itself Manshoon, or even Khelben, I might set a trap with this Shandril as the lure and sacrifice her mind or life to bring some of these dark workers of Art into my grasp for slaying or ravaging. Yet Mystra forbids such reckless harvesting of those who weave magic, and she even stands against attempts to harm those who follow Shar's darker path. As the sword and the fang give way to ever wider use of magic, Mystra grows ever in might, and her desire is more and more greatly fulfilled: that magic – even magic worked by those who follow Shar or Bane or other gods – become more prevalent and widespread, thus making Our Lady ever the greater.

What we Chosen are commanded to strike out against are those who seek to forbid magic to others, use it for tyranny that prevents others daring to work magic, or destroy spell-weavers out of hand. Most evil mages are the first sort of foe, Manshoon is often the second, and this Shandril Shessair is all too apt to become the third. So whether my heart warms toward this lass or not – and I confess that, thus far, it doth, for she reminds me of mine own self of many centuries ago – I may well be called upon to strike her down.

She has the potential and even the tendency to shatter and slay and pillage, for spellfire is all too often a thing that begins as the servant and ends up the master. Yet she also hath a chance to become an instrumental force for good and order and justice (three very different things, I must remember) in the Realms – the more so because she walks her own road and cleaves not to privilege and noble station and orders given by those who desire to give them.

So I must not stand in her way – yet. I must test her, to learn all I can of the extent and power of her spellfire (and her mastery of it) thus far, and more than that: in so doing, I must learn far more of her character and the handles by which I or anyone can move her. Doth her love for this young lad Narm – as amiable and thus weak but generous a mageling as one can expect to find anywhere – give one the means to compel her? I fear it doth, but will she crumple, fight in wild fury, or bide time to betray any who use her so?

How gullible is she, and how suspicious? How ignorant of the true ways of Faerûn, and how close-minded? Doth she trust on the basis of race or age or gender, or in what wise?

I confess me my heart leaps with admiration for this one, with her hunger for adventure and fierce desire to walk her own way and see justice done, while still giving thought to the needs of others. Faerûn could use a dozen kings who think as she doth.

Mystra, need I slay her yet, or can I let her run awhile?

I hope and I believe we can suffer her to live.

I must confess I've a hunger to see Manshoon and all the rest reach for her – and have their fingers soundly scorched. Perhaps, just perhaps, she can teach them some of the lessons about magic and the rightful use of power she'll be learning in the days to come.

I'm looking forward to watching Faerûn discover the true measure of Shandril of Highmoon. The fire of her glory is apt to be doused soon, but let it burn bright while it lasts!

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison
I'd never considered elminster that callous before but maybe I should re examine him as devoid of humanity.

Elminster may be friendly, but he is not your friend. That said, I think "devoid of humanity" is a step too far. His concerns are of magic and Faerûn as a whole, and while he does prefer sunshine and kittens he will do what (he or Mystra thinks) needs to be done, and regret the human cost sometime afterwards. But he does regret. And he does try to avoid those costs if at all possible. And that makes him preferable to a Manshoon or any random Cyricist, who do things solely for ruthless personal power or just for twisted kicks.

Or even Khelben. Elminster "hopes and believes we can suffer her to live," Khelben would just want to nuke her from orbit and not leave it up to chance.

Wooly Rupert Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 15:52:21
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

So it's been a while since I read the books, but I think Elminster is a little less kindly than you think. By having Shandril walk to Silverymoon, she draws out ever Dragon Cultist and Zhentarim mageling along the way. Many are destroyed, making their local regions safer.

In effect, Elminster was using her as bait in service of the greater good.



I'm inclined to agree. Even without teleporting, there are ways he could have gotten her to Silverymoon quicker and/or safer. Magic for flight, or a flying mount would have been quicker. A polymorph would have been a hell of a disguise, especially if coupled with something to block/suppress magical detection. Combine them -- shielding against detection and a polymorph to a flying shape.
Gary Dallison Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 15:48:13
I was wondering about that, so far she has dealt a huge blow to the resources of two major evil organisations in the heartlands, and exposed 3 malaugrym in hiding

You could argue it was for the greater good, khelben style, but it could be that elminster only cares about the malaugrym and a little about manshoon. Maybe he only prepared shandril and narm out of sentimentality or just so they could destroy more zhents.


I'd never considered elminster that callous before but maybe I should re examine him as devoid of humanity.
ericlboyd Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 14:36:25
So it's been a while since I read the books, but I think Elminster is a little less kindly than you think. By having Shandril walk to Silverymoon, she draws out ever Dragon Cultist and Zhentarim mageling along the way. Many are destroyed, making their local regions safer.

In effect, Elminster was using her as bait in service of the greater good.
Gary Dallison Posted - 05 Jun 2021 : 08:04:54
Dont we all love the realms here?.

We all view things differently and I dont see a plot hole, I see that it feeds into how I imagine the realms working - magic is expensive and elminster doesnt do things for people.

It works for me. I'm more interested in the fact that Elminster was taught how to awaken spellfire. Given that spellfire seems to be the use of life energy to power magic, that it is hereditary, and that it cannot be turned off once activated, is it possible that any and all of elminsters children (depending upon when azuth taught him) have the chance to inherit spellfire.
Is it also possible that shandril is another of Els distant relatives, or was there another that learned how to activate spellfire and his "genes" have been passed kn down the years creating spellfire wielder every few generations.

And who was this asklannan, was he a zhent (unlikely given that he was old and seemed to be a teacher (agents dont strike me as the studious type). Did he write the book about spellfire or was it written by someone else. Was asklannan involved in the events with shandrils mother at all.

Seravin Posted - 04 Jun 2021 : 23:16:35
Here's where THO admits the teleporting to Silverymoon issue is a plot hole created by the powers that be editing the original Spellfire novel:

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4036

Ed wanted Spellfire users to be at huge risk from teleportation spells/gates, but it was cut. That would explain why she had to walk!

But I do love how people will write their own narrative to fix plotholes for an author/editors. You must love the Realms so much you're turning a blind eye to writing problems :)

Seravin Posted - 04 Jun 2021 : 23:12:07
Also, Alustriel and the Harpers were to watch over Shandril in Silverymoon. She wasn't going there alone. Read Hand of Fire. The plot holes keep mounting.
Seravin Posted - 04 Jun 2021 : 23:09:50
Any number of characters could have teleported Shandril. Elminster let them stay in his house for weeks and taught Narm, got them married, kept close watch on them and fought off Manshoon for them.

It makes ZERO sense that he did not just teleport her to Silverymoon. Sorry, you're 100% objectively wrong in thinking your logic here. It's a plot hole. And one many, many, many fans of the Realms have brought up. What SHOULD have been written in is that the Spellfire makes teleporting impossible, and that gates are needed instead and then you'd still get them doing the "road trip" to the gates and from the gates to Silverymoon.

But instead, cause while Ed is the best world builder on the planet he isn't the best at plots, we get Shandril being teleported to and from the Citadel of the Raven twice.

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