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 Relentless - R.A. Salvatore [SPOILERS]

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Drizztsmanchild Posted - 29 Jul 2020 : 10:30:16
I haven't read this yet ,but am looking forward to it. Figured I post a legitimate spoilers thread(No offense snowy, I saw you have another thread and dont mean to thread on your toes)

Though I really wish others would come back and write. Or WoTC(Hasbro?) Would allow them.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Belnick Posted - 11 Nov 2020 : 14:52:14
so Entreri is of Good alignment now?
and the drow only get 1 child every 200 year?
or how did they go from 10 000 people to only 20 000 people in 2000!! years? when humanity would be in the billions or at least hundred of millions, the drow are either extremely infertile or they have sacrificed hundred of millions of their own to lolth?`

How do they decide what is north? does that world also got a magnet north like Tellus? How old would the 2000 year old matron baenre been if she lived on Tellus? would she still be 2000? or would she be 500? Im talking about how long this world they live in orbits the sun? Tellus orbits the sun in ~365.2 days, but if their world does it in 250 days their age is not the same as our
Delnyn Posted - 30 Sep 2020 : 00:06:00
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Man, what the hell happened?

I bailed out around the Neverwinter books, and it feels like everything since has been an exercise in repeatedly jumping the shark. I wish he’d committed to all the Companions staying dead and the orcs becoming a part of the North.



The Kingdom of Many-Arrows was a classic squandered opportunity. I for one was extremely disappointed by its loss.
CorellonsDevout Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 04:45:38
That's why I said trying to backpedal, vis their diversity statement. But Drizzt fanboyism is alive and well, so...we'll see.

And I agree.
Irennan Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 04:16:59
I don't know if they're really going to backpedal, tbh. We still have to see what they'll actually do, because I'm not convinced that their kindergarten-level Drizzt fanboyism is gone yet.

Or maybe they think that bringing MtG into D&D is where the real money is at, and they've decided to be like "whatever" in regards to how FR and Drizzt are handled. Since the fanboyism wasn't motivated by purely financial reasons, I quite doubt it, but who knows.

Either way, the lore has been stripped of any trace of consistency a long time ago, which is one of the reasons why, even though I still care about FR as a setting, I'm discouraged from running a game set in it. People like to downplay the consistency of a world, but it's a key aspect of any decent narrative--especially consistently and strongly building around a premise, though the FR don't really have this last part.
CorellonsDevout Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 03:42:20
Yeah, WotC shot themselves in the foot there, and now they are trying to backpedal, but without actually looking at the old lore. Then we has RAS, who, despite his insistence that Drizzt wasn't the exception, wrote him like he was, and ignored the lore even when he was writing for TSR.
Irennan Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 03:20:44
You know what's funny? A lot of people like to say that the older editions had the drow wholly evil and stuff, but that makes me wonder wtf they were even reading.

Even as someone who only came around D&D at the very end of 4e, I find the old worldbuilding much more believable. Back in the TSR era, the sources explicitly told you that the drow are aware of their conditions and that they don't like it. That a drow that was given a glimpse of a different life, would take it and never look back. Yes, you had the unreliable narrator thingy, but the message was the same regardless. Non-Lolthite drow cultures were also respected more. So, back in TSR era authors laid the premise for the drow having their B story, which *could* have been developed into a much more interesting situation (with more players, factions, conflicts, and infinitely more plot hooks than "hurr durr Lolth").

The WotC came in, their puerile vendetta against Eilistraee and anything drow that wasn't Lolth or Drizzt started, they drove the worldbuilding of the drow more and more towards monolithic evil, and we got laughable stuff like "Chad Zak".
Irennan Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 02:41:46
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

The Lolthite worldbuilding is bad, because we're not talking about good or evil here. That entirely misses the core of the issue (which Relentless doesn't address). We're talking about people wanting to improve their condition, which they do regardless of being good or evil. The cultures you mention aren't just a-ok with their governments or with being miserable. North Koreans try to escape. China has seen MANY protests and rebellions. Human history is full of revolutions against oppressive regimes. Whether they were successful or not ir totally irrelevant to this discussion--what matters is that they exist, and are something that people do. It's normal, but it's what the worldbuilding of the drow lacks--the basic element of narrative. You explore the consequence of your assumptions, you explore humans and how they change when confronted with the fact that their survival system doesn't benefit them anymore (and the Lolthite society is an utter failure at that).

<snip of lots of good stuff>




I hear you Irennan, but I kind of see drow society as Nazi Germany. There were good people within that regime, but by far the majority either embraced the ideology or kept their heads down and tried to just get along. The reason for that was that they were not "others" - their condition was already "improved". The majority had food on the table, laws, social rules and regulations that allowed their society to function and they weren't part of the underclass. Why would the bog standard drow commoner, living in the very hostile Underdark where resources are scarce and dangers abound, look to disrupt the normal order for something ... else? An ideological else, at that. Quite simply, they wouldn't. Just like the Germans didn't. I know it's a simplistic analogy but that's why I see the drow being where they are, and more importantly, not changing into anything else except in unique and isolated situations (ala your Drizzts of this world).

-- George Krashos



I see two differences

1)The drow commoners aren't doing just well. The sources (the only material we have about them, since the novels conveniently ignore them) portray them as generally miserable and in pereptual poverty. Those who manage to get up can easily be led into bankruptcy by priestesses. Like, they have the *right* to do that. And that's as far as economic condition goes, and it's already stupid.

Then you have the emotional condition--drow are not monsters, they have free will and stuff, they're elves. Put in a situation as idiotic as Lolth's is, where bonds, familial affection, and stuff are taboo, where paranoia permeates every aspect of their life, where even saying a wrong word or having the wrong piece of fiction can get you tortured or killed for the lulz, would certainly lead many people to seek something better. Not only that, when that something better comes knocking on your door, then there isn't even a choice. This is trading misery and perpetual risk of death with the chance of a better life and a temporary risk of death. While fear will play a part in holding people back, for individuals so used to fearing death as the drow, that shouldn't really be an issue.

This is not even taking in account those who have the power to bring change and have A LOT to gain from doing it, and such an immense power to channel towards their goal (that power being the dissatisfaction of the vast majority of the drow).

This a total narrative failure.

2)The Germans had people and groups who went against the regime risking their life, both in small and larger ways. They had whole movements against Nazism, and even attempted to overthrow Hitler. Even among the military there were people who didn't agree with Hitler. And that's in as little as a decade or so. Now, think of 12k years of much worse conditions than Nazi Germany.

With totalitarianisms is often the same: you have bloody histories made up of revolts, protests, murder, or at least people trying to escape (see North Korea). You don't have people just being compliant, you have a lot of different viewpoints involved in messy conflicts--because that's how people work. For the purpose of this discussion, it doesn't matter that sometimes totalitarianisms win, what matters is that people fight them.

No matter how "alien" your race is, if they're the PoV, you can't write a story that doesn't take in account how people work. In a single tale, the "B" story (inner conflict, leading to people changing and evolving), how certain screenwriters call it, is what gives meaning to the "A" (external plot) and "C" (evolution of relationships) stories, because each whole story is ultimately a tale of how humans change when confronted with a situation of conflict, where their "survival system" (i.e. their method of living) no longer works for whatever reason. They need to change themselves (B story) when they can no longer change the outside, because only a personal change in the right direction will given them agency back. That's the core of every narrative, in a way or another. The Lolthite drow don't have a B story; they're non-narrative.

For the drow, you don't even have passive dissatisfaction. Nope, the drow are portrayed as being nearly wholly content with their idiotic levels of misery. I mean, dissatisfaction and disillusion alone would have destroyed Lolth's power, but ofc the rules estabished for the world (and the principles of producing barely decent narrative) can be ignored whenever they don't fit the bias of whichever designer. That's bad, but I've already widely discussed that in this thread.
George Krashos Posted - 29 Sep 2020 : 00:16:44
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

The Lolthite worldbuilding is bad, because we're not talking about good or evil here. That entirely misses the core of the issue (which Relentless doesn't address). We're talking about people wanting to improve their condition, which they do regardless of being good or evil. The cultures you mention aren't just a-ok with their governments or with being miserable. North Koreans try to escape. China has seen MANY protests and rebellions. Human history is full of revolutions against oppressive regimes. Whether they were successful or not ir totally irrelevant to this discussion--what matters is that they exist, and are something that people do. It's normal, but it's what the worldbuilding of the drow lacks--the basic element of narrative. You explore the consequence of your assumptions, you explore humans and how they change when confronted with the fact that their survival system doesn't benefit them anymore (and the Lolthite society is an utter failure at that).

<snip of lots of good stuff>




I hear you Irennan, but I kind of see drow society as Nazi Germany. There were good people within that regime, but by far the majority either embraced the ideology or kept their heads down and tried to just get along. The reason for that was that they were not "others" - their condition was already "improved". The majority had food on the table, laws, social rules and regulations that allowed their society to function and they weren't part of the underclass. Why would the bog standard drow commoner, living in the very hostile Underdark where resources are scarce and dangers abound, look to disrupt the normal order for something ... else? An ideological else, at that. Quite simply, they wouldn't. Just like the Germans didn't. I know it's a simplistic analogy but that's why I see the drow being where they are, and more importantly, not changing into anything else except in unique and isolated situations (ala your Drizzts of this world).

-- George Krashos
Irennan Posted - 27 Sep 2020 : 19:49:39
quote:
Originally posted by Carcharoth

I did not like the idea of Drow being kinda nice before their decent into the depths of the earth. I still see D and D as alignments equaling race. I grudgingly except that a halforc might be neutral and chotic but never good. I am still in the 1980s D n D. Universe. Drow are evil always. Dritzz is a weird exception as are the Dancer Sword Lady Drow Good God. Spartans had slaves killed serfs helots for sport let ugly deformed kids die and took kids away from parents to do training for their perfect state. A Drow soiecty is possible. Look at China. The epiphany that Loath is a selfish whimisical demon and therefore the lead Drow decided to revolt is silly. They new this. The nature of demons is evil hate and killing pain hurting pleasure- who do Drow get are they summoning gold dragons nooooo they are evil and get forces of evil to help. Silly to think they would abandon loath in a deep thought of oh we are used by a bad capricious god,,,, also I find RA salvatores morality play stupid. He makes the ultimate good the willful man or woman who follows their heart and mind thier own intellect. Good spirit . It is new age man as the measure and man as the ultimate good. I hate that as it is Evil. He is deluded and he deludes kids with that false mindset too. Men are foolish immoral impure and are not naturally good rather they are naturally evil - if you doubt me go read the news and see what evil men do evryday



The drow (or a significant part of them) have been nice before the Descent since forever in FR; that's certainly not something that Relentless introduced. Get your facts straight before talking. Look up Miyeritar--a whole nation of dark elves who followed Eilistraee (and Eilistraee still has her own communities and culture). Even in Ilythiir, to assume that your random farmer was making pacts with demons, not only is completely arbitrary, it's canonically false (the rulers of Ilythiir were doing that, as well as its influential people, not your random citizen), it's bad worldbuilding, and it's outright silly (because people are people, not one-note caricatures).

D&D might deal with alignments in absolute, but FR has never done that. If you are convinced that it does, there's tons of old lore proving you wrong. The narrative is not the same as the game system, and the narrative can dramatically change from one world to the next. If you choose to ignore that, do it in your game; don't bring it up in an argument or critique of a work, because doing that is nonsense.

As for your other point: first, to assume immorality and cruelty as the standard status quo of humanity is as ridiculous as assuming kindness and righteousness. People are far more complex and varied than that, and can't be put into little boxes like you are trying to do, no matter how tempting a gross oversimplification might look.

On a side note, you associate the nature of a tool with the nature of the intent it's used for, which is another fallacy of your argument. If a wizard summoned a flying demon to save someone from a lethal fall, would that be evil? Of course not, the demon would just be a mean to an end.

Second, as I said in my first comment in this thread, I agree that Relentless deals with this issue in a very goofy manner, but that has nothing to do with the idea that a rebellion to Lolth would be silly (hint: the contrary is silly). That's because it's completely off in handling how rebellions and change work, not to mention its failure from the perspective of character development (Quenthel's change is abrupt and jarring, not to mention making no sense in the context of the FR, and--even more importantly--of who she is and what she does). What Relentless attempts to do, however, is very much needed.

The Lolthite worldbuilding is bad, because we're not talking about good or evil here. That entirely misses the core of the issue (which Relentless doesn't address). We're talking about people wanting to improve their condition, which they do regardless of being good or evil. The cultures you mention aren't just a-ok with their governments or with being miserable. North Koreans try to escape. China has seen MANY protests and rebellions. Human history is full of revolutions against oppressive regimes. Whether they were successful or not ir totally irrelevant to this discussion--what matters is that they exist, and are something that people do. It's normal, but it's what the worldbuilding of the drow lacks--the basic element of narrative. You explore the consequence of your assumptions, you explore humans and how they change when confronted with the fact that their survival system doesn't benefit them anymore (and the Lolthite society is an utter failure at that).

I'll just quote what I posted elsewhere about this:

quote:
2e Menzoberranzan: "A drow given the taste of freedom will never look back". Freedom, and the desire of it, is totally unrelated to morals. It's related to wanting to fulfil oneself and not be miserable, which everyone wants.

Really, the drow are aware of their situation, and it makes no sense for them to not be, given how comically evident the reality is. It's just that the current worldbuilding of the drow is really dated and not well thought out. It only exists because of author bias, and essentially amounts to non-narrative.

In 2e, the drow commoners were described as unhappy with Lolth; in other sources they're also portrayed as perpetually miserable and trapped in a system that intentionally prevents their development and growth, from a personal, economic, and social standpoint. There's a difference between meritocracy (which is what Lolth should be about but totally isn't--nepotism and stagnation are a staple of her society), and making most people live like sh*t and waste all their strength in randomly backstabbing each other, because "muh powah...". However, the further we go with the editions, the more uniform the Lolthite society is depicted. Which leads to my next point.

Lolth doesn't care for the drow and that's evident; she only cares that they remain bound to he, and she has actively hampered them for millennia. This has been canon since 2e: the the drow would be 100x better w/o Lolth. With that premise, they should have never gone through more than 12000 years of total misery without one meaningful change--heck, with 0 attempts at a change. Without splinter movements (Eilistraee and Vhaeraun aren't splinter movements, because their societies didn't form within Lolthite society; they're external cultures), without disillusion and resentment towards Lolth forming among the drow. They should have formed splinter movements fighting for different ideas; schisms should have happened and deepened; the society should have changed, fractured, and evolved. Not having any of that with a premise as ridiculous as Lolth's is a narrative failure.

Don't give me the "drow not changing, not developing new ideas, or not turning to Eilistraee&Vhaeraun&Co is justified because Lolth. It's all because of story premise!!11!". If this had been because of the story, a society like Lolth's would have already dramatically changed or collapsed a long time ago, because change is what stories are about, and because it only makes sense.

In fact, you might say that the theocracy, totalitarianism, or what you have prevents the drow from developing those feelings and intentions, but that's baseless. When a society is so ridiculous that you have laughable stuff like "loving your kids is weakness", when commoners have no rights or anything, can be killed for fun by nobles, can be bankrupted for fun by priestesses (and subsequently enslaved)--this is all in the lore across the editions, btw--when the vast majority of drow is perpetually emotionally and materially miserable, it makes sense for them to lose faith. To be disilluded. Especially since the drow are often described as a highly intelligent race. Yes, there's resistance to change, against giving up the set of belief that ruled your life, but: 1)that can only sussist when you have something to gain (either on a psychological, or social, or economical level) 2)all goes out of the window when the premise is so ridiculous even chickens can laugh at it. 3)that can never justify the lack of whole splinter movements and major upheavals, which, in turn, would make it easier and easier for people to recognize the rality of the situation.

And this is just commoners. Miserable people, the "have nots" are usually shut down from a social perspective, and it's unlikely for change to start from them--they're in the so-called quiet desperation. Change starts from the "have some, want more", which abound among the Lolthites. Minor houses who don't like Lolth, male wizards, merchant clans, other drow cultures/churches (who are totally able to infiltrate Lolthite environments. Look: Masked Traitors, Secret Moondancers, Silverhair Knights)--they would all greatly benefit from an uprising, and have tools to achieve it. Heck, the other deities and churches could even support the wizards/merchants/dissatisfied nobles. With that in mind, channeling the anger of the drow commoners would be a totally feasible task, and should have happened plenty of times over 12000 years of misery.

You can't even use fear of death as an excuse, because 1)the drow are always risking death in the Lolthite society 2)it has never been enough to prevent formation of splinter movents, changes, etc... It hasn't been for RW societies, it isn't for the drow, who also have the support of other deities, and don't just have Lolth.

The protection racket (Lolth protects them from the Underdark threats) doesn't work either. Lolth has never protected the drow from anyone; they always protected themselves. What Lolth did is giving a bunch of divine spells to a bunch of people who could force the drow into being her slaves, but those people and that regime only weakened the drow and made them suffer (that's literally stated in the 2e The Drow of the Underdark book, and it's quite obvious). And on top of that, those divine spells could have been provided by literally any other deity,--and other deities also reached for the drow. You have Vhaeraun as the main one--aka, the deity who had led Ilythiir to glory when Lolth was still forgotten and in the Abyss, whom the recently exiled drow still worshipped but magically forgot about in an instant, because... uhm... right, because the author says so. Eilistraee could have been relevant too, but she was powerless after the Descent and after the sun elves magic nuked her nation, but even then she still kept fighting for the drow, according to the lore in Demihuman Deities.

Before someone comes up with "but North Korea" to justify why the totalitarianism works, there are A LOT of North Koreans who are disillusioned with the regime and try to escape; they only put up a facade of obedience. Also, how many rebellions have oppressed people attempted over the course of human history? However, not even something as basic as this is mentioned for the D&D drow--it's always <1%. Heck, in FR that disillusion alone would be even enough to hurt Lolth's power. Lolth's followers have more influence on her than she has on them. In FR, the power of a deity has always depended on the faith they get from their followers (as shown by Eilistraee being reduced into powerlessness after the Sun Elves literally magic-nuked her nation, or Auppenser being also reduced into powerlessness after the elves genocided Jhaamdath). Ever since the Times of Troubles, a god's own life has depended on the faith they get. Disillusion, even if not openly manifested (therefore this wouldn't even require the drow to actively do anything, just develop resentment or disillusion--a natural response to living like sh*t), will severely hurt Lolth.

On top of this, as mentioned, there are other deities defending change and growth. You have the followers of Eilistraee--and Eilistraee herself--who have been actively reaching for the drow, even materially helping them embrace a different path, even risking their life for them. They have whole orders dedicated to that--including infiltrating Lolthite cities to rescue drow in need. Eilistraee has also been showing all drow--including the matron mothers--what life can actually be, that an alternative exists, and has been doing so by directly contacting the drow through dreams for millennia. She's been calling them to her.

Vhaeraun is a revolutionary who has constantly carried disruptive actions against the Lolthite regimes, to the point of unleashing massive conflicts and civil wars within Lolthite cities. He appeals and offers power to the downthrodden males, which is big in a society like Lolth's, while still offering them the promises of glory and supremacy that they are so hooked on.

Yet, despite the ridiculousness of the condition of the drow commoners, the dissatisfaction of many categories of "have some, want more", despite all the basis for changes and uprising being there, of catalysts (including divine catalysts) for such uprising existing, the overall lore of the drow remains always the same: 90+% are loyal to Lolth. It's stupid, it's even illogical from a purely numerical standpoint (like, other cultures who go live elsewhere never reproduce? They have divine protection too, and of deities who actually care about them, yet their numbers never change in proportion? Wtf?). It's also definitely not "because of story". In fact, the lack of change, even just significant disillusion, defeats one of the pillars of narrative: exploring the consequences of actions, conditions, and false truths, because the Lolthite drow want to be one of the most Stupid Evil (tm) societies in fantasy, without any of the consequences. It's as if the drow lack any drive to improve their condition.

Also, the drow have history and tradition before Lolth; they weren't a blank slate. They had the experience of the power reached by Ilythiir (which was without Lolth, and with Vhaeraun), and the propserity of Miyeritar (again, no Lolth, but Eilistraee). This legacy should have been influential in leading more of them to see Lolth for the fraud she is.

It's not for nothing that Ed Greenwood's division of the drow places Lolth at slightly less than 50%, not at 90%+, in his own version of the Forgotten Realms.

CorellonsDevout Posted - 27 Sep 2020 : 19:10:06
Well, not all drow (Illythiir) were evil prior to the Descent, and Eilistraee and her followers have been around for a long time, so there always have been goodly drow, but I agree that the way RAS handled it was silly, and frankly, despite the fact that RAS himself has insisted Drizzt isn't the exception, he's just the one who got away, he's very much treated him like the exception, completely ignoring the other goodly drow (ie, Eilistraeens), he suddenly declares Lolth "an infection".
Carcharoth Posted - 27 Sep 2020 : 18:53:14
I did not like the idea of Drow being kinda nice before their decent into the depths of the earth. I still see D and D as alignments equaling race. I grudgingly except that a halforc might be neutral and chotic but never good. I am still in the 1980s D n D. Universe. Drow are evil always. Dritzz is a weird exception as are the Dancer Sword Lady Drow Good God. Spartans had slaves killed serfs helots for sport let ugly deformed kids die and took kids away from parents to do training for their perfect state. A Drow soiecty is possible. Look at China. The epiphany that Loath is a selfish whimisical demon and therefore the lead Drow decided to revolt is silly. They new this. The nature of demons is evil hate and killing pain hurting pleasure- who do Drow get are they summoning gold dragons nooooo they are evil and get forces of evil to help. Silly to think they would abandon loath in a deep thought of oh we are used by a bad capricious god,,,, also I find RA salvatores morality play stupid. He makes the ultimate good the willful man or woman who follows their heart and mind thier own intellect. Good spirit . It is new age man as the measure and man as the ultimate good. I hate that as it is Evil. He is deluded and he deludes kids with that false mindset too. Men are foolish immoral impure and are not naturally good rather they are naturally evil - if you doubt me go read the news and see what evil men do evryday
sno4wy Posted - 22 Sep 2020 : 03:07:17
quote:
Originally posted by jordanz
RightI know high elven magic is powerful but is it that powerful? I believe "Birth" Magic was used to augment the spell so there's that. Was it further augmented by the primordial? or was the spell of divine origin ? If so which God was backing it up?



Was the "Birth" Magic used to augment Quenthel and Yvonnel 2.0's spell? I thought Catti gave birth after they'd done that, and her magic was used to buff the units on their side? Admittedly, I didn't pay much attention to all of that, it struck me as really deus ex machina and "Birth Magic" being yet another Salvatorism.
jordanz Posted - 18 Sep 2020 : 21:21:12
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy

I think the problem with curing Pwent's vampirism isn't so much that whether it can be done/has a precedence of being done in the Realms, but rather how it was done. He got cured of his vampirism by going through the field that turned all the driders back into drow, that released all the souls from Entreri's dagger. It was via a ridiculously powerful and apparently cure-all thing.



RightI know high elven magic is powerful but is it that powerful? I believe "Birth" Magic was used to augment the spell so there's that. Was it further augmented by the primordial? or was the spell of divine origin ? If so which God was backing it up?
Tanthalas Posted - 18 Sep 2020 : 13:40:18
More like some kind of reversal spell than a cure-all.
sno4wy Posted - 13 Sep 2020 : 00:13:25
I think the problem with curing Pwent's vampirism isn't so much that whether it can be done/has a precedence of being done in the Realms, but rather how it was done. He got cured of his vampirism by going through the field that turned all the driders back into drow, that released all the souls from Entreri's dagger. It was via a ridiculously powerful and apparently cure-all thing.
Veylandemar Posted - 12 Sep 2020 : 04:23:29
While questionable in its place in canon, Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (The game, not the novel by Philip Athans) had the Bhaalspawn save their love interest from vampirism, albeit a little bit after killing them and the plot-crucial vampire who turned them.
The events thereof involved a ruined temple of Amaunator, who was regarded as a deceased power at the time due to the game being based off of AD&D 2nd Edition.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 11 Sep 2020 : 05:13:29
There's a High Magic spell in Elves of Evermeet that can restore life to the undead.

Since that is canon, then it stands to reason there are other ways to do it.
jordanz Posted - 11 Sep 2020 : 05:10:59
What did you guys think of Pwent being restored from the curse of Vampirism? I dont think I have ever heard of that happening before in the realms. I recall Mystra returning one of her worshipers from Lichdom back to mortality. I would think it would take that level of direct divine intervention to accomplish something like that. Do you guys think Catti-brie and Yvonnel should have been capable of creating that level of magical "de cursing" field?
George Krashos Posted - 27 Aug 2020 : 01:20:17
Thank you for everyone's input in this thread. It has been enjoyable and thought-provoking. And done in a civil manner. Kudos. I'm waiting to read more ...

-- George Krashos
Irennan Posted - 24 Aug 2020 : 18:51:52
quote:
Originally posted by tangelo1023

I don't know how many people have seen this interview, but there's a great spoiler filled discussion about Relentless with RAS in it. He talks about how he never saw the drow as a "evil species," how Drizzt is not unique in his morality. He also talks about using a unreliable narrator to reconcile big changes in his books to general FR lore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HsaC92khQY&feature=emb_title



Let's be real. Drizzt is very much described as the super special drow in all of his books save the latest few. He develops those different morals on his own and is portrayed as unique because of them--he's basically born with them. RAS' version of the drow basically is "overwhemingly evil race, with a handful of exceptions", and it shows from how he handled the worldbuilding.

The worldbuilding of the drow makes no sense without dissent, disillusion, and splinter movements being rampant and starting to develop a LONG time before the present era. Had RAS been so insistent on showing the nuance in the drow, he would have played on that. He would have explored the consequences of such a crappy society, which include people getting fed up of being treated like subhuman sh*tstains. He would have also included different cultures formed over the millennia a long time ago in his representation. He didn't, he always was about Lolth, Lolth, Lolth wanting to get Drizzt, Drizzt hunts, and some more Lolth. And Jarlaxle, but that's not a culture.

When Ed introduced different cultures in Eilitraee&followers, RA--the guy who supposedly had the drow as nuanced from the get go--didn't address them. If his interpretation of the drow had been actually more nuanced, he would have included them (even if only in a few appearances) to show that the drow not only can individually choose, but can also form different cultures. Or, if he didn't want to use Eilistraee, he would have created different cultures on his own (like I mentioned before). Instead, the only way he mentions Eilistraee is as an evil Lolthite pretending to be an Eilistraean (which kinda paints the Eilistraeans as a myth), and the drow has a whole remain a monoculture in his books.

Generally, the rare exception thingy done by RAS is problematic. It allows arguments like "but X race already has free will!!1!" and at the same time it enables a bad general representation of the race, because the rare exceptions have no statistical relevance compared to the "eeeeevil" guys. They're so few to be irrelevant. It also makes no sense. Even rare exceptions, over tens of thousands years, would eventually come to form their own societies. So, where are them? Hunted and killed by the "evil ones"? Setting aside that this doesn't really work, really? That just reinforces the point that the race is overall unredeemably evil, which is what the "rare exceptions" approach was supposedly trying to avoid.

On a related note, his stance about Eilistraee seems to come from ignorance tbh.

He says that he doesn't like Eilistraee because that level of god-coercion for god reasons reduces the “mortals” to puppets. However, Eilistraee's lore is described as doing the opposite of coercing mortals. She's in fact described as goddess who strives to empower her people to make their choices and find their path. She's described as helping and conforting them without being intrusive (as in, for example, helping in practical matters of their everyday lives, scaring aggressors away, etc... without being openly revealing of her intervention). You could see her as watching over mortals in their "journey", and by offering them the tools to travel it themselves and overcome its challenges. This is a valid approach to paint a deity character. In fact, one of the reasons I'm so fond of her is that she subverts most tropes involving gods. Even her choice to forgo all she could have wanted just to be with the drow, since she'd foreseen times of need, fits that. The culture inspired by her is based on nurturing arts and beauty, freedom of expression, and acceptance, and being a nurturing matriarchy, this also makes her a really good foil to Lolth.

One of the ways WotC intentionally crapped all over her lore when they tried to get rid of her was by portraying her as the exact opposite of all this, almost line by line. She came off as very similar to Lolth, which was utter BS. But that's a different matter

So, while it's obvious to not want to turn this into a god vs god issue, Eilistraee's culture doesn't need to be motivated by "I do this because I follow her", it can easily be motivated by "I do this, because I believe it's the right thing to do/it's what leads to happines/etc..." Likewise, following Eilistraee, for a drow, can be motivated by "I follow Eilistraee because she embodies what I believe in" or by more personal reasons related to personal stories; depends on the individual. After all, in the ancient times of FR history, when the first instance of her culture appeared, it wasn't Eilistraee to go around converting people, it was people founding a nation based on ideals associated with her. Eilistraee acted as an empowerer and patroness for that.

In the end, it seems to me that RAS is trying to give himself credit for something he hasn't really worked for, and that authors like Ed Greenwood and Elaine Cunningham put much more effort into. What's irksome is that while RAS gets praises (in this case unwarranted, because of the reasons I described), the people who *actually* worked to add different cultures and real nuance to the drow are ignored, and their work gets WotC's (literal) label of "sorry for our racism".
CorellonsDevout Posted - 24 Aug 2020 : 18:25:04
quote:
Originally posted by tangelo1023

I don't know how many people have seen this interview, but there's a great spoiler filled discussion about Relentless with RAS in it. He talks about how he never saw the drow as a "evil species," how Drizzt is not unique in his morality. He also talks about using a unreliable narrator to reconcile big changes in his books to general FR lore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HsaC92khQY&feature=emb_title



Yup, this interview was shared in the other Relentless thread, and the discussions have kind of crossed over to both scrolls.

As I said in the other discussion, Greenwood himself has said that the majority of FR lore is presented through the unreliable narrator (Elminster, Volo, etc), much like real world history. However, in this case, RAS seems to be taking the unreliable narrator to the extreme, using it as an excuse to disregard established lore and do what he wants. Imho, him doing whatever so that he can say "unreliable narrator" if WotC decides to change things is just lazy writing, as he doesn't even bother to fact check. The idea of the "unreliable narrator" only works to a point if you choose to go entirely left field.
tangelo1023 Posted - 24 Aug 2020 : 18:02:14
I don't know how many people have seen this interview, but there's a great spoiler filled discussion about Relentless with RAS in it. He talks about how he never saw the drow as a "evil species," how Drizzt is not unique in his morality. He also talks about using a unreliable narrator to reconcile big changes in his books to general FR lore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HsaC92khQY&feature=emb_title
Irennan Posted - 23 Aug 2020 : 02:13:06
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy
Nah, that's because Drizzt explicitly names Entreri as the hero. Which in itself was pretty ironic given that he did it because Entreri assassinated Yarin Frostmantle, who was a corrupt king, but one man being judge, jury and executioner is hardly the kind of thing that Drizzt purports to believe in and/or support. Heck, in the past, he'd given Entreri shit for how Entreri shouldn't get to be judge, jury and executioner by being an assassin. Yet, there he was, naming Entreri as the hero for the exact same action. Typical RAS inconsistency I guess. Or hypocrisy I guess is the more accurate word, because Yarin's assassination was something that Drizzt approves of, versus all of those other assassinations that Drizzt didn't approve of. My biggest problem with Entreri's "redemption", other than how badly it is done, is that it's entirely subjective. It's not so much a true redemption but rather a metamorphosis into a Drizzt-approved thing.


Yeah, this is in line with the "redemption by morality rained from on-high" thing I was mentioning. "Redemption" by conforming to someone else's (be it a person or a group) expectation of what you should be. Which can't even come close to being "redemption" in terms of story, unless your theme (and your statement on it) is some icky thing like "only conforming to the expectation of others can lead to happiness". Also, it clashes with the condemnation of dogma that seems to be a strong theme here.

quote:
I would only buy that an author knows the characters they've created if they make an effort to put themselves into those characters' shoes.


Precisely. Knowing your character means this.
sno4wy Posted - 23 Aug 2020 : 01:35:01
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

I'd skipped the Homecoming stuff, but now I guess that's the reason why people kept claiming that Entreri was the hero in "Hero".

Yes, RAS wrote Artemis and some (many maybe) will say that RAS knows him far better than other people. However, this kind "narrative" really shows callous disrespect for his own character, and the inability to actually put himself in Entreri's shoes when writing.


Nah, that's because Drizzt explicitly names Entreri as the hero. Which in itself was pretty ironic given that he did it because Entreri assassinated Yarin Frostmantle, who was a corrupt king, but one man being judge, jury and executioner is hardly the kind of thing that Drizzt purports to believe in and/or support. Heck, in the past, he'd given Entreri shit for how Entreri shouldn't get to be judge, jury and executioner by being an assassin. Yet, there he was, naming Entreri as the hero for the exact same action. Typical RAS inconsistency I guess. Or hypocrisy I guess is the more accurate word, because Yarin's assassination was something that Drizzt approves of, versus all of those other assassinations that Drizzt didn't approve of. My biggest problem with Entreri's "redemption", other than how badly it is done, is that it's entirely subjective. It's not so much a true redemption but rather a metamorphosis into a Drizzt-approved thing.

I would only buy that an author knows the characters they've created if they make an effort to put themselves into those characters' shoes. As it is, I don't feel that RAS even knows Drizzt. The discrepancy between what Drizzt is and what he's supposed to be is testament to that.
Irennan Posted - 23 Aug 2020 : 01:12:38
I'd skipped the Homecoming stuff, but now I guess that's the reason why people kept claiming that Entreri was the hero in "Hero".

Yes, RAS wrote Artemis and some (many maybe) will say that RAS knows him far better than other people. However, this kind "narrative" really shows callous disrespect for his own character, and the inability to actually put himself in Entreri's shoes when writing.

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