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Rofocale
Seeker

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2013 :  23:50:27  Show Profile Send Rofocale a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Other. Does the War of the Spider Queen constitute an RSE?
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9633 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  00:17:30  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by Chosen of Asmodeus

And while everyone has the right to their opinion, I think there's more than a little nostalgia coloring the ToT for it to be in the lead.



I was a bit shocked as well, and I'm going to chock it up to nostalgia. After you see something like the Spellplague and the time jump that accompanied it, it tends to make horrific events like the ToT more acceptable by comparison. In fact, I think the Spellplague and the time jump have impacted people to such a degree that it's redefined RSE - making some of the smaller RSE (by comparison) seem insignificant.

Just using the second most popular RSE on the list as an example, the Reclamation of Myth Drannor might seem like a small regional event. But that's only if you lack an understanding of how interconnected the Realms is and gloss over the short and long term implications. Just the simple act of it happening marks the end to an entire era for the Elves of Toril, which have been in retreat for centuries. It might even seem like a big deal, until you consider the geopolitical and economic impact it'll have on the entire region. Unfortunately, that seems to have been largely danced over.

I mean just try to envision how this would play out in the real world. Let's say that something magical suddenly happens. Over the course of a few months Great Britain and it's citizens are transported to a newly created magical area in the very heartland of the United States. There is no destruction or damage caused. The land simply parts out in the wilderness, roads are magically lengthened as necessary, and a large inner sea is created where Great Britain is now magically located.

Okay, we like the British. They are our allies - perhaps one of our closest allies. We have a very good relationship with them. Everyone even speaks the same language. Yet, I dare say if the British showed up in the middle of the United States, things would become rather interesting rather quickly, and not in a good way. Virtually immediately, disputes would break out. Who controls the air space? Is it against international law for the United States to fly spy drones over London?

Now, let's imagine that the United States couldn't simply curb stomp Great Britain militarily speaking. Let's assume that they were an equal if not greater military force. So, now you have an equal if not greater military force right there in the middle of the heartland. Oh, and by the way... there are some people in Great Britain who are having second thoughts about the Revolutionary War. After all, the United States once used to be their colony; just because it rebelled does that mean it's 'legally' independent, or does that just make everyone who doesn't submit to British rule traitors and therefore criminals?

I'm not saying that a war would break out. I'm just saying things would be.... problematic for everyone involved.

With the Elves of Myth Drannor, you have a powerful military force establishing itself as your next door neighbor. They're just showing up and claiming those lands. They believe those lands belong to them, despite having not controlled them for centuries. There really is no long standing prior relationship, no real shared culture, no reason to really trust one another. On top of it all, you've got groups on both sides who'd LOVE to see an all out war. On the Elven side you've got the Eldreth Veluuthra, and on the human side you've got the Sembian's who have a long standing dislike for Elves due to bad past relationships with the Myth Drannor of old.

So, you'd have the natural tensions that would arise - even if everyone was the greatest of friends - and you've got people who would exploit those tensions to the hilt. Now, I'm not saying there would be a war, but it would be... problematic for everyone involved.

What seems to have happened, of course, was that someone happened to look at the alignments. "Oh, well these Elves are mostly of good alignment, and everyone likes people of good alignment right? LOL! Of course they do! They'll be total BFF's! They'll establish trade, and all of their neighbors will welcome a military powerful group of good aligned elves with open arms! I mean, there might be some ugly evil aligned orcs in those woods or something, right? (You can tell they're evil because they're ugly, and not pretty like the Elves. Pretty people aren't evil, don't have self-interest, and would totally never stab you in the back... or the face. It's a known fact.)"



Okay, that was a bit off track. The good news, I guess, is that everyone who loved the ToT will hopefully love the Sundering since as far as I know they're billing it as ToT v2. I won't bother to list all the objectionable things that took place during the ToT that always seem to be widely criticized. I guess there are just more Cyric fans than I thought.




Just a note, you're stating that the elves were gone from Myth Drannor for centuries. That may be true that they were gone from that particular section of the woods for that long (which noone was there pretty much that was sane because it was overrun with nasties). However, the elves left the forest in what 1357? They returned in 1374, clearing out a bunch of very bad neighbors in the process. So, not even a full human generation passed, and they had never fully left the forest (there were still elves who stayed behind). So, as I see it, the surrounding nations had never really made any real inroads into the area, and when the elves left the forest only got worse with dark elves, fey'ri, and others moving in..... so yeah, I can see them being kind of happy the elves returned and it not being a major issue. It'd be like your neighbors that you thought were odd but quiet moving away and renting out their house to a bunch of criminals, but then the original neighbors returning. Would there be bumps in the road? Sure. When aren't there bumps in the road?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9633 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  00:34:02  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I voted the ToT just because it was a unique experiment for its time. That's not to be confused with liking the outcome. I hated the idea of Bane, Leira, and Myrkul being gone when they'd only been introduced to us.... what maybe a 1.5-2.5 years before? I must admit, I wasn't as upset with Waukeen and Bhaal disappearing. But, it was interesting to see the gods as avatars for a novel, because it hadn't really been done before in D&D. Maybe that's also why I liked the concepts put forth with Thay and Mulhorand and Unther's history and interactions (i.e. wizards facing off against God-Kings and their zealot armies for the right to freely research magic).

It was later that I truly began to dislike where they were heading with some of the godly plotlines. For instance, the whole making Kelemvor a deity of death who is in love with the goddess of magic...... we've already god Osiris and Isis, why mirror it in the Faerunian Pantheon. Then, while I could appreciate the idea of trying to make Cyric a tricksterish god like Loki.... I'd have rather had Loki.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Dark Wizard
Senior Scribe

USA
830 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  03:18:05  Show Profile Send Dark Wizard a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Of the list only the ToT and the Spellplague were true RSEs, and I might even argue ToT was rather tame by comparison especially as the years rolled on and in-game events started to reverse the legacy of the ToT. As an RSE I find it interesting, but I started following the Realms after the ToT, so really itís my first impression of the setting and not having read the novels it seemed alright for the most part.

The Spellplague was purposefully disruptive. Short of the Sundering completely bamfing in entire nations, continents, gods and peoples unchanged, some of those changes are here to stay. Which is a shame in my opinion as I liked the areas removed and donít like what replaced them as much, nor the hoopla used to implement the changeover.

Abolethic Sovereignty and Abyssal Plague, donít know much about them, thus they seem like non-events to me. I havenít even heard the same level of griping about them as with other RSEs, which shows how much impact theyíve had. I will say the use of Aboleths was unfortunately. As an OGL creature, Paizo also used them as setting plot catalyst, except they integrated the Aboleths from the beginning of their setting publication and as a whole they seem better suited to Golarion. Likewise, Kobold Pressí Midgard setting developed a significant piece of setting lore around this time and integrated the Aboleths far better than anything Iíve read of the Realmsí Abolethic scourge. Basically FR had itís Cthulhu-thunder stolen twice in the span of one edition. FR might have better luck with Mindflayers and Beholders, both product identity and iconic monsters of D&D.

Death of Mask, if a deity dies in the Realms, does anyone really care anymore? Besides, with gods death is a temporary status affliction, theyíll get better when they wake up in the morning.

Death of Azoun IV: never saw this as an RSE because itís the kind of thing that happens in fantasy and didnít disrupt much outside of Cormyr. I like that some of the implications and complexity of the situation was reflected in the 3e FRCS.

Rage of Dragons should have been much bigger, but because of the constant RSEs and the lack of integrating the changes to later products, this one never had the impact it was supposed to have.

Reclamation of Myth Drannor: I strongly disagree with this event. Nothing against the characters or story, but I feel it tied things up too neatly and closed out one of the most iconic adventure locales while not offering anything similar in return. Sure Myth Drannor still contained adventure opportunities, but it wasnít the same as an untamed ruin/dungeon.

Tuigan Horde: probably my favorite. It was characters (rather than gods) in the setting doing something. When it resolved, it still left its mark on the setting evident for years, but at the same time didnít have to break much to make its point.
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  08:43:52  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just a note, you're stating that the elves were gone from Myth Drannor for centuries. That may be true that they were gone from that particular section of the woods for that long (which noone was there pretty much that was sane because it was overrun with nasties). However, the elves left the forest in what 1357? They returned in 1374, clearing out a bunch of very bad neighbors in the process. So, not even a full human generation passed, and they had never fully left the forest (there were still elves who stayed behind). So, as I see it, the surrounding nations had never really made any real inroads into the area, and when the elves left the forest only got worse with dark elves, fey'ri, and others moving in..... so yeah, I can see them being kind of happy the elves returned and it not being a major issue. It'd be like your neighbors that you thought were odd but quiet moving away and renting out their house to a bunch of criminals, but then the original neighbors returning. Would there be bumps in the road? Sure. When aren't there bumps in the road?


To be fair, I'm not an expert in Elven lore. So, someone more knowledgeable than me can come along and correct me if I mess things up.

However, basically this is how things went down (checking sources, which I will list).

Myth Drannor fell to the Army of Darkness in 714 DR the Year of Doom. (Grand History of the Realms, pg. 99)

The Elves return in 1374 DR the Year of Lightning Storms (Grand History of the Realms, pg. 154 - 158).

That is an absence of 660 Years.

Now, it's true that the entire forest wasn't abandoned. However, I think to state that the Elves had any serious presence there or interactions with the humans is an over statement.

Reading from the Ruins of Myth Drannor, pg 7 & 8 - under "The High History of Myth Drannor":

"Having paid such a high blood price for reclaiming their land, the elves were not eager to welcome intruders who might bring danger anew - and humans and halfling brigands grew more numerous, the elves closed the woods to those not of their kin, and swallowed up Myth Drannor behind a cloak of elven magic - and the seeking points of elven arrows. Myth Drannor became lost to men, and its legends grew.

The Elven Court slowly grew strong again, and held its own as men pushed past, settling the Dales and then the Moonsea shores. ...

So it was, and for many years none but elves were welcome in what had become known as the Woods of Cormanthyr. ...

It seemed that Myth Drannor would sleep forever cloaked in the forest, until less than twenty winters ago, when the elves of the Elven Court decided that the human hold on the region, with the gathering evils in Zhentil Keep, Mulmaster, Vaasa, and Scardale, and the soaring population and hunger for wood (as a fuel and building material) of rich Sembia, made their own survival ultimately impossible - and The Flight of the Elves began.

In the Year of Moonfall (1344 DR), the High Council of wise and elder elves, who ruled the Elven Court, reached the fateful decision to abandon their woodland realm after over five hundred summers of deliberation - and began to empty their realm, sending their people to fabled Evermeet, the island realm and refuge of the Elves."


So, according to the lore above - yes some Elves remained behind. It's not clear how many, but the population was certainly much smaller than Myth Drannor. I'm guessing maybe a couple thousand, maybe five thousand at the most. That might sound like a lot, until you realize that they would be scattered among multiple settlements and in even more remote and isolated areas of the forest.

However, what is important to note is that they actively worked to keep non-Elves out of the forest. This means that they didn't have an active diplomatic relationship with the humans. Sure, they might have befriended some Harpers, and wilderness types - such as human druids. However, the average Dalelander and Sembian? Most definitely not. Their relationship with Sembia was horrifically poor, and I'd imagine that they made more than a few enemies in the Dalelands as well.

Keeping in mind, of course, that some of those left behind were also members of the Eldreth Veluuthra. So, you can imagine some of the tensions and "examples" they made over the years.

When the remaining Elves decided to leave in 1344 DR (30 years prior to their return to reclaim Myth Drannor), a small handful were still left behind. I'm willing to bet that a sizable chunk who decided to still remain behind were members of the Eldreth Veluuthra, or at least sympathetic to the cause.

Overall, the average human in the region likely knew Elves lived in the forest, and would kill anyone who wasn't Elven who tried to enter. That was probably the extent of their relations - Harpers and the like excluded - we're talking about average Joe Dalelander.

So, yeah. Now we have a powerful military force in reclaimed Myth Drannor, and we're supposed to believe that everyone just welcomed them with open arms. No serious conflict, despite all of those who have a strong interest in creating such a conflict?

I don't buy it.
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Old Man Harpell
Senior Scribe

USA
479 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  09:55:06  Show Profile Send Old Man Harpell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

Sigh, Im with Jeremy in that the ToT and the SP are the only true RSE listed IMO. Of those two I actually liked the ToT but disliked how it 'ended' (I generally have a problem with mortals becoming greater deities overnight). Unlike Jeremy, however, I absolutely hated the SP and all its retconned changes to the Realms. Sorry I couldn't be more positive sir.


You aren't alone. Your assessment of the RSE duology is echoed by my own views, pretty much to the letter.

Having been a Realms aficionado since the Old Grey Box (which I still, amazingly, have, box and all...the 'Old' in my moniker is there for a reason ), I actually liked the concept behind the ToT and the way it was handled. Having said that, I disliked Cyric even back then, and progressively disliked him more and more as the years went by. The gods as they were before the ToT were interesting - the Ascended Three, not so much. I won't re-hash my 4th Edition Realms issues.

So of the two, the Time of Troubles gets my vote. Most of the other things on the list, I either have no opinion on, or don't feel strongly enough about to comment on either way, save for perhaps Myth Drannor, which was handled in an...interesting...fashion.

- OMH
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7230 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  11:15:30  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
sleyvas
I voted the ToT just because it was a unique experiment for its time. That's not to be confused with liking the outcome. I hated the idea of Bane, Leira, and Myrkul being gone when they'd only been introduced to us.... what maybe a 1.5-2.5 years before? I must admit, I wasn't as upset with Waukeen and Bhaal disappearing. But, it was interesting to see the gods as avatars for a novel, because it hadn't really been done before in D&D.

+1 on this ... the Avatar Crisis, unstable Weave, mortals and gods killing each other, and invention of Ao were all new and exciting ideas at the time.

But the ToT also set some dangerous precedents. Repeating the same old story with a new cast of names ad nauseum - as a lazy way to reformat the Realms each time a new ruleset came along - became tiring very quick. Death of Mystra (etc) was once cool and original but has now become very shallow and tiresome trope, as undifferentiated as the vast armies of scimitar-wielding drow heroes people seem to emulate.

[/Ayrik]
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Tarlyn
Learned Scribe

USA
313 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  14:51:54  Show Profile Send Tarlyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree that with those stating that ToT and the spell plague are different than other RSEs. Although, I do think that most of the other events are still pretty realms shaking. ToT and spell plague are kind of Super RSEs. Anyway, ToT introduced new concepts within the existing framework and lore of the setting. Spell plague just introduced a new setting. So, my vote went to ToT. Although, I would argue that other than the spell plague, the Return of the Archwizards has had the most dramatic effect on modern Faerun.

Tarlyn Embersun
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
33986 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  15:28:53  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

So, yeah. Now we have a powerful military force in reclaimed Myth Drannor, and we're supposed to believe that everyone just welcomed them with open arms. No serious conflict, despite all of those who have a strong interest in creating such a conflict?

I don't buy it.



They weren't welcomed with open arms; there was some involvement by other groups (mostly because of manipulation by the fey'ri), and it didn't pan out for them.

The area was never totally abandoned, and no other group really made a presence there. The return of elves to the city wasn't an incursion into the territory of other powers, it was the reclamation of an area that no one else held. It was, at most, the return of a family to that abandoned house at the end of the road.

Also, what are the other powers going to do about it? They don't work together on practically anything, and none of them had tried to take the area when it wasn't occupied. Now it would take an alliance to go marching into territory that is strongly held by a force that is seasoned, on their home ground, and highly skilled at holding that kind of terrain.

So other than casting a wary eye at Cormanthyr and maybe strengthening a few garrisons in that direction, what is anyone else going to do?

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Marc
Senior Scribe

618 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  16:01:16  Show Profile Send Marc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Spellplague (time-jump not included), Time of Troubles, Dracorage, return of Shade, flying aboleth city: these are all excellent ideas, mostly unfulfilled potential.

Abyssal plague: planewalking plague like the iron shadow? sounds interesting.

Reclamation of Myth Drannor: it should have failed, leave room for the PC's to fix things.

Death of Azoun: based on what I know from non-novel sources, it's an example of how a Realm Shattering Event should be done.

The Tuigan Horde, Return of Bane, Death of Mask, Iakhovas: hard to find anything positive about them.

My favorites are in the past, Netheril, Imaskar, Narfell and Raumathar.

.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
33986 Posts

Posted - 23 Feb 2013 :  17:55:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Marc

Reclamation of Myth Drannor: it should have failed, leave room for the PC's to fix things.


I think Myth Drannor is too big for any one group of PCs to fix.

Had they simply done the epilogue a little differently, there would still be room for PCs to help fix things. The epilogue makes it sound like Myth Drannor was restored in a mere five year's time, which is most unlikely, thinks I. Had they spun it as an armed camp with decades of work ahead of them, it would have been more likely and left plenty of room for PCs to be part of the Reclamation effort.

The latter is the approach I'll take, if I ever DM in the Realms.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 23 Feb 2013 17:55:58
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

909 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2013 :  01:46:16  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The area was never totally abandoned, and no other group really made a presence there. The return of elves to the city wasn't an incursion into the territory of other powers, it was the reclamation of an area that no one else held. It was, at most, the return of a family to that abandoned house at the end of the road.


It's completely true that it wasn't an occupied territory, but there is a reason for that. That reason is because of the Elves who remained behind after the fall of Myth Drannor. They actively worked to keep humans out of the forest, killing them when necessary. The Ruins of Myth Drannor (which I quoted previously) is very clear on this fact.

So, I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the average Joe who lives in and around the Cormanthyr Forest. Prior to the return, he likely looked to the woods with fear. The occasional monster likely emerged to steal livestock, and attack humans. So they knew monsters were in the forest. They likely looked to the forest, as having magical spirits, ghosts, and the like that wandered the woods. This would be the various fey that dwell there, though the average Joe likely would believe that they were spirits or ghosts from the fallen Elven Kingdom that once existed in the woods. Finally, he's going to know that screwing around with the forest - such as cutting the trees - is a good way to get killed. They'd know it was a result of the Elves who remain in the woods, and those Elves didn't seem keen on establishing good and friendly relationships with the humans. They were isolationists who were attempting to keep the humans out of their lands.

If you add to that the fact that the Eldreth Veluuthra has been active in the area before even the fall of Myth Drannor - they formed in 262 DR the Year of Pages Perilous. And they formed from five leading Elven houses of Myth Drannor, specifically to oppose Cormanthyr's liberal attitude toward non-elves (humans in particular). This is their cause, this is their home turf - the place where their influence and power is the strongest.

So, you add to the fact that the general attitude of the Elves is to kill humans who attempt to encroach upon the forest - their lands - and the EV being active in the area... it's not like the average Joe is going to distinguish between a member of EV and Elves in general. He's just going to assume that all Elves in the forest are generally hostile against humans, and probably want to kill and act violently toward them.

So, it's not like a friendly neighbor returning home down the street, after having rented out his former house for a couple of years. It's more like a group of hostile Elves have returned to the Forest in large numbers. Not only that they're battle hardened, militarily trained, and capable of wielding force against those who oppose them.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Also, what are the other powers going to do about it? They don't work together on practically anything, and none of them had tried to take the area when it wasn't occupied. Now it would take an alliance to go marching into territory that is strongly held by a force that is seasoned, on their home ground, and highly skilled at holding that kind of terrain.

So other than casting a wary eye at Cormanthyr and maybe strengthening a few garrisons in that direction, what is anyone else going to do?



The average Joe isn't going to do much about it. He's simply going to be fearful and try to convince those with more power and authority than him to do something about it. Those in power may share those fears, as well as having additional fears of their own - for example, how does this militarily powerful group impact their freedom and sovereignty? Keep in mind that humans have been actively encroaching on Cormanthyr for some time, they're likely going to want to continue this encroachment. Roughly 60 years prior the Elves made the calculation that they could no longer defend their lands against the encroachment of the other races - mostly humans - so they decided to abandon the forest for Evermeet.

This means for the last human generation, they've basically been pushing forward mostly unopposed. Now, 60 years is nothing for an elf, but it's basically a human lifetime. Modern day average Joe has heard stories from his father and grand father about the Elves who used to live in the forest in larger numbers, who'd hunt and kill the humans who hunted there and cut their trees. Now they're back in large numbers, and militarily armed. Those who've begun to profit as a result of reduced Elven aggression in the area, will certainly see their livelihoods threatened.

From the perspective of the average Elf they see the Forest and surrounding land as their land. They're going to see the humans as actively encroaching on their ancestral lands. Many of those who are returning, likely lived in those lands previously. Because of the long Elven lifespans, some of them may have even lived in Myth Drannor prior to its Fall and fled as a refugee.

From an Elven perspective, it's a bit like going on vacation and returning home to find squatters living in your house. From a human perspective, it's a bit like having someone who lived 400 years ago show up with a deed to the land your house sits on. They're claiming prior ownership of the land, by virtue of being there first. It doesn't really matter, that you've never seen or heard of them before; they are claiming by virtue of being there first any deed that you may hold to the land is null and void because it conflicts with their deed to the land which is older.

Now, if you want to be generous - and I think we can be generous here - we can say that the leaders of the returned Elves are intelligent, compassionate, and wise. They want to work to build an alliance with the humans, perhaps even wanting to restore Myth Drannor to what it once was before the fall - where humans and elves lived side by side.

That's all peachy and fine. However, the issue isn't with them and their good intentions. The issue is with everyone else. The issue is with the local human lord who feels that his sovereignty is threatened by having another military power so close to his lands. The issue is with the Eldreth Veluuthra actively playing upon Elven arrogance and pride, in an attempt to sway them to their cause. The issue is with the Eldreth Veluuthra acting in ways - on their own - to actively provoke the humans into aggressive acts. The issue is with the Sembians who are racist against the Elves due to their long standing rivalry against the Elves who used to live in the forest, who've now returned. The issue is with the Shades and Zhents, who want to expand their influence in the region, so they use agents to attack and provoke the Elves into aggressive acts of their own.

The issue is that there are numerous different groups, each with their own agenda, their own ambitions, and their own feelings on the issue. It's not simply a matter of humans vs elves. It's a matter of individual humans and individual elves forming their own opinions, and acting in a way that could provoke anger, resentment, or aggression from the other group. It's very easy to fall into a tit for tat conflict.

To give one example, let's say there is a local Dalelander. His father was a Sembian, who married a woman from the Dales. They live in a small village near the forest. He carries with him his father's racist attitude against the Elves, and is old enough to remember when the Elves occupied the forest in much larger numbers prior to their retreat. Let's go further and say his father was a woodsman who was murdered by elven arrows. He has a great deal of hatred and resentment against the elves of that forest for what they did to his father, and now they've shown up in even larger numbers. The people of the village are uncertain and afraid of having so many armed and powerful elves living in the forest, after all they remember a time when the forest was more dangerous as well.

This Dalelander and his buddies decide that they're not going to be intimidated by their presence, and that it's time for humans to send a message to the "knife ears." The good intentioned leaders of the returned Elves want to establish good relationships with the humans of the village, so they send a small unarmed delegation to meet with their local leaders. The delegation remains in the village for a couple of days, the skeptical leaders of the village agree to consider the elven proposals. They need time to discuss it with the other members of their community.

As the elven delegation leaves the village, just outside is the aforementioned Dalelander and his buddies. They decide to exact retribution on the Elves and send a message. So they jump the unarmed Elves. They are badly injured and are forced to flee back into the forest, except for one. She's captured by the humans. She's tortured, gang raped, mutilated - her ears are cut off, and then she is brutally murdered. Her corpse is dumped at the edge of the forest to serve as their "warning" to the Elves of what happens when THEY show up in HUMAN lands.

What do you think the Elven response to this will be when they learn not only that their delegation has been attacked, but a member of that delegation was tortured, gang raped, mutilated, and murdered? The natural reaction to such a thing would be to be horrified, angry, and grief stricken. It is also natural to want to respond to the act by seeking "justice" - and by justice, I mean vengeance.

That's where the Eldreth Veluuthra comes in; they speak to the surviving members of the delegation and learn the identity of those responsible. They kidnap them from their homes silently in the night, and drag them off into the forest. Once in the forest, they are tortured, castrated, and beheaded. The EV then sneaks back into the village and leaves their severed heads - with their manhoods stuffed in their mouths as a warning to what happens when a human defiles an elven woman. The next morning the humans wake up to find the horrific site, and then later discover the rest of their corpses near the forests edge.

What do you think the human reaction to this will be? Assuming they even know why it happened, are they going to say, "Oh, my neighbor Bob who I've known for the last 45 years totally deserved it?" I don't think so. At best they're going to regard it as a return to the status quo before the Elven retreat from the forest. That's at best. At worst, they're going to want to take their own vengeance against the Elves for the death of their friends.

And on the Elven side of things, assuming they find out what happened? Does anyone believe that the average elf is going to condemn the actions of the Eldreth Veluuthra? Or are they going to see the EV's actions as justified - maybe even heroic - as having given the humans what they deserved? Imagine trying to lead Myth Drannor and condemning the EV for their actions, how long will the general population continue to support you?

I'm not saying that war would happen. An open war isn't in the interest of anyone. It would be too costly for both sides. However, little isolated incidents over the course of several years - an increased bitterness, resentment, and the occasional skirmish - ultimately has the potential to escalate into something much worse.

The only thing I can thing of to avoid this is an extremely powerful threat that is actively attacking both groups. Now, some people might point to the Shades, but I dismiss that idea because the Shades are not going to attack directly. That would be stupid, and they would know such an act would unify people against them. Instead, they'd actively be promoting the conflict while simultaneously offering "assistance" and "protection" to those fearful. They'd show up with a friendly extended hand to the humans, while secretly doing what they can to escalate the conflict to force the humans to become more reliant on them and their aid. That's how the Shades operate.

So, in my opinion the most likely outcome is constant low level hostilities and skirmishes between the Elves and their neighbors, broken occasionally by a real battle (with deployed military force), but with both sides avoiding full out war. This leaves the region unstable, with the constant threat of every skirmish and battle potentially leading to an all out war.

That's how I envision the region playing out.
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Diffan
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Posted - 24 Feb 2013 :  06:33:33  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Marc

Reclamation of Myth Drannor: it should have failed, leave room for the PC's to fix things.


I think Myth Drannor is too big for any one group of PCs to fix.

Had they simply done the epilogue a little differently, there would still be room for PCs to help fix things. The epilogue makes it sound like Myth Drannor was restored in a mere five year's time, which is most unlikely, thinks I. Had they spun it as an armed camp with decades of work ahead of them, it would have been more likely and left plenty of room for PCs to be part of the Reclamation effort.

The latter is the approach I'll take, if I ever DM in the Realms.



In Rich Baker's Avenger novel, they travel to Myth Drannor and things really aren't like that. Sure, for the most part the surface is habitable and things are progressing smoothly.......but the tombes and other, deeper, areas of Myth Drannor hold some really bad monsters inside. They entrances to them are consistanlty guarded and warded from people going in and monsters coming out.

What I feel happened is that the Reclamation of Myth Drannor is mostly cosmetic, not fully dealing with the problems that lurk benieth the city. They probably still have monsters that escape and attack people and I'm sure the forests around Myth Drannor aren't nearly as safe as they could be. An adventurer would find a good time visiting the city and perhaps taking on jobs that help defend the woods and clear out parts of the undercity that are still teeming with demons, dragons, beholder, undead, etc.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

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Markustay
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Posted - 24 Feb 2013 :  12:41:37  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, thats pretty-much the picture I got as well. One small 'neighborhood' within Myth Drannor has been secured, a few other parts are dangerous but fairly 'okay' to travel through with an armed group, and yet other areas are 'forbidden zones' and sealed-off areas.

If anything, the post-reclamation Myth Drannor is the PERFECT fodder for an adventure path - the higher your players level, the deeper they go. The setup is perfect - its just like how 'zones' are setup in MORPGs; you step outside of the 'camp' and all bets are off.

Come to think of it.... Video Games are all PoL.

EDIT: On Topic
What I'd like to see moving forward is writers/designers addressing past RSE's, rather then just ignoring them after they are over. Its very unrealistic, IMHO. For instance, in the Waterdeep novel by Ed & Elaine, they gave a nod to the Threat from the Sea, yet another completely forgotten about RSE. Thats what I want to see - some AFTERMATH. I truly, TRULY hate that "everything is fine the next day" attitude in the Realms (and I am looking squarely at YOU, Ruins of Zhentil Keep). Lets see some damn repercussions for a change.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 24 Feb 2013 12:46:28
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Entromancer
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  00:25:09  Show Profile Send Entromancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really enjoyed Tam's war in The Haunted Lands. Does that count?

"...the will is everything. The will to act."--Ra's Al Ghul

"Suffering builds character."--Talia Al Ghul
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sleyvas
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  00:49:54  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Just a note, you're stating that the elves were gone from Myth Drannor for centuries. That may be true that they were gone from that particular section of the woods for that long (which noone was there pretty much that was sane because it was overrun with nasties). However, the elves left the forest in what 1357? They returned in 1374, clearing out a bunch of very bad neighbors in the process. So, not even a full human generation passed, and they had never fully left the forest (there were still elves who stayed behind). So, as I see it, the surrounding nations had never really made any real inroads into the area, and when the elves left the forest only got worse with dark elves, fey'ri, and others moving in..... so yeah, I can see them being kind of happy the elves returned and it not being a major issue. It'd be like your neighbors that you thought were odd but quiet moving away and renting out their house to a bunch of criminals, but then the original neighbors returning. Would there be bumps in the road? Sure. When aren't there bumps in the road?


To be fair, I'm not an expert in Elven lore. So, someone more knowledgeable than me can come along and correct me if I mess things up.

However, basically this is how things went down (checking sources, which I will list).

Myth Drannor fell to the Army of Darkness in 714 DR the Year of Doom. (Grand History of the Realms, pg. 99)

The Elves return in 1374 DR the Year of Lightning Storms (Grand History of the Realms, pg. 154 - 158).

That is an absence of 660 Years.

Now, it's true that the entire forest wasn't abandoned. However, I think to state that the Elves had any serious presence there or interactions with the humans is an over statement.

Reading from the Ruins of Myth Drannor, pg 7 & 8 - under "The High History of Myth Drannor":

"Having paid such a high blood price for reclaiming their land, the elves were not eager to welcome intruders who might bring danger anew - and humans and halfling brigands grew more numerous, the elves closed the woods to those not of their kin, and swallowed up Myth Drannor behind a cloak of elven magic - and the seeking points of elven arrows. Myth Drannor became lost to men, and its legends grew.

The Elven Court slowly grew strong again, and held its own as men pushed past, settling the Dales and then the Moonsea shores. ...

So it was, and for many years none but elves were welcome in what had become known as the Woods of Cormanthyr. ...

It seemed that Myth Drannor would sleep forever cloaked in the forest, until less than twenty winters ago, when the elves of the Elven Court decided that the human hold on the region, with the gathering evils in Zhentil Keep, Mulmaster, Vaasa, and Scardale, and the soaring population and hunger for wood (as a fuel and building material) of rich Sembia, made their own survival ultimately impossible - and The Flight of the Elves began.

In the Year of Moonfall (1344 DR), the High Council of wise and elder elves, who ruled the Elven Court, reached the fateful decision to abandon their woodland realm after over five hundred summers of deliberation - and began to empty their realm, sending their people to fabled Evermeet, the island realm and refuge of the Elves."


So, according to the lore above - yes some Elves remained behind. It's not clear how many, but the population was certainly much smaller than Myth Drannor. I'm guessing maybe a couple thousand, maybe five thousand at the most. That might sound like a lot, until you realize that they would be scattered among multiple settlements and in even more remote and isolated areas of the forest.

However, what is important to note is that they actively worked to keep non-Elves out of the forest. This means that they didn't have an active diplomatic relationship with the humans. Sure, they might have befriended some Harpers, and wilderness types - such as human druids. However, the average Dalelander and Sembian? Most definitely not. Their relationship with Sembia was horrifically poor, and I'd imagine that they made more than a few enemies in the Dalelands as well.

Keeping in mind, of course, that some of those left behind were also members of the Eldreth Veluuthra. So, you can imagine some of the tensions and "examples" they made over the years.

When the remaining Elves decided to leave in 1344 DR (30 years prior to their return to reclaim Myth Drannor), a small handful were still left behind. I'm willing to bet that a sizable chunk who decided to still remain behind were members of the Eldreth Veluuthra, or at least sympathetic to the cause.

Overall, the average human in the region likely knew Elves lived in the forest, and would kill anyone who wasn't Elven who tried to enter. That was probably the extent of their relations - Harpers and the like excluded - we're talking about average Joe Dalelander.

So, yeah. Now we have a powerful military force in reclaimed Myth Drannor, and we're supposed to believe that everyone just welcomed them with open arms. No serious conflict, despite all of those who have a strong interest in creating such a conflict?

I don't buy it.



You had the elven court in the same forest up until just like 17 years prior when they overnight fled to Evermeet. Sure, they weren't specifically in Myth Drannor, but then no sane people were either. Basically, the elves moved back to the same forest and cleaned out a particularly nasty section of it. That's why I said the surrounding countries wouldn't exactly freak (its not like the other countries were making heavy inroads into the forest either, what with all the drow and fey'ri moving in after the elves left either... Sembia had started a little on the outskirts, that was about it).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Dennis
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  12:07:38  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Entromancer

I really enjoyed Tam's war in The Haunted Lands. Does that count?
As I did. But I don't consider it an RSE (Realms-Shaking Event). There's only one realm involved (that's why it's called Civil War, right?); yes, Rashemen and Aglarond were involved, too, but just minimally.

Every beginning has an end.
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Aldrick
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  13:41:52  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by Entromancer

I really enjoyed Tam's war in The Haunted Lands. Does that count?
As I did. But I don't consider it an RSE (Realms-Shaking Event). There's only one realm involved (that's why it's called Civil War, right?); yes, Rashemen and Aglarond were involved, too, but just minimally.



How can it not be a RSE? The consequence of the civil war has direct implications for every nation in the region, and consequences that stretch far beyond them as well. Just imagine all those Red Wizards who weren't loyal to Tam, but were located in the numerous Enclaves scattered about Faerun. Virtually every one of those enclaves are now independent, and yet still enjoy the protection of the Three Laws of the Enclave.

So, now we have on the loose the largest number of renegade Red Wizards in the history of Thay. How many of Thay's magical and political secrets are now potentially at risk? What will these enclaves do? Who knows.

It's perfectly conceivable that a loose coalition of rebel enclaves could work together to seize control of a city. Imagine them, for example, coordinating to seize control of Raven's Bluff. Funds that they would otherwise be channeling back to Thay could be coordinated for such an effort. They already have a rather strong and successful enclave located there, so it's just a matter of extending it's influence (much easier if they have additional funds and resources for other enclaves). From there they could covertly eliminate key rivals, and put the right puppets loyal to them in the right places...

No longer bound by Thayan law to train only Mulan as Red Wizards, their ranks open up to virtually anyone who can use magic. What individual who wanted to study the Art wouldn't want a peek at the secret knowledge of the Red Wizards?

So, from there what do these enclaves do? Do they direct their resources toward conquering new territory, and establishing a new nation under their control? Or maybe they simply work to build up enough resources to retake Thay by force?

No matter the option they choose it'll have an impact on the politics and economics where there are Enclaves present. Even if they don't work together, they're now independent and their aims may no longer be simply about trade. They no longer have a superior looking over their shoulder, and now they're free to do whatever they want. This could potentially upset local and regional power structures.

Basically, wherever the hand of Thay has touched there will be some impact. It could be very minor, or it could be something major - we don't know. However, it would be a direct consequence of the civil war. Even if it is something small like Thayan circle magic starting to spread among non-Red Wizards; that's still a consequence and an implication.

When you basically have the collapse of an entire nation, it isn't exactly self-contained. It impacts EVERYONE who has any relationship with that nation; most directly it's neighbors, but things further afield can also be impacted to greater and lesser degrees.
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Dennis
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  14:01:07  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Well, it seems like we define RSE differently. An RSE for me is more on what happened to whom or what, than the possible future actions of the people involved.

The Return of Shade Enclave could have been a minor thing had they not meddled with the affairs of their neighbors, rather magnanimously. Conversely, Thay's Civil War could have been an RSE had Szass Tam tried to claim Rashemen and Aglarond, or had Rashemen and Aglarond supported the coalition of zulkirs against Szass Tam. But we never saw that.

As for the now-free Red Wizards manning the enclaves, well, true, there is a possibility that such freedom may upset whatever power structure that involves the realm where they're at, but such a thing remains as it is--a possibility. I'm more concerned with what actually happened. That's what RSE is for me.

Every beginning has an end.
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Markustay
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  14:06:21  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If I dropped my campaign setting box, would that qualify as a 'Realms-Shaking Event'?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Dennis
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  14:10:32  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I don't know. You have to figure that out yourself. As I said, I don't game. I only read the novels.

Every beginning has an end.
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Aldrick
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  15:04:03  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


Well, it seems like we define RSE differently. An RSE for me is more on what happened to whom or what, than the possible future actions of the people involved.

The Return of Shade Enclave could have been a minor thing had they not meddled with the affairs of their neighbors, rather magnanimously. Conversely, Thay's Civil War could have been an RSE had Szass Tam tried to claim Rashemen and Aglarond, or had Rashemen and Aglarond supported the coalition of zulkirs against Szass Tam. But we never saw that.

As for the now-free Red Wizards manning the enclaves, well, true, there is a possibility that such freedom may upset whatever power structure that involves the realm where they're at, but such a thing remains as it is--a possibility. I'm more concerned with what actually happened. That's what RSE is for me.


Isn't that the point though? It's not just what you blow up. By that definition killing Mystra isn't a RSE, because it only directly impacts her and those directly related to her (The Chosen, her church, etc.).

Basically, my definition of RSE is pretty simple. If you're causing major alterations to a nation state then you've likely just witnessed a RSE. Why? Because it's going to have far reaching implications - some of which may not be immediate.

It's like throwing a stone into the water - events ripple outward from the center. Nothing happens in complete isolation. Kill the leader of the Shadow Thieves? Not that big of a deal. It will have some implications for Athkatla, no doubt. However, the ripples caused aren't likely to extend far beyond that one city.

However, if you kill the same individual and it sparks a civil war in Amn...? That's different. You've just impacted trade all up and down the Sword Coast. How is this going to impact Waterdeep, Balder's Gate, Tethyr, and Calimshan? All of them rely on the Trade Way and routes that go through Amn. What consequence is this going to have on the politics of those nations?

The easiest way to avoid these issues is to focus on character stories that are for the most part, highly localized. Then avoid upsetting the delicate balance that has been established, and if that balance is disturbed find a way to mitigate it.

For me, part of the issue with RSE's is their lack of consequences. Things get blown up, major power shifts happen, and the logical consequences that should follow never really happen. This is precisely the issue I have with the Elves returning to Myth Drannor. I LOVE the idea of this happening. In my home version of the Realms, I went with it.

My issue with Myth Drannor's return isn't the fact that it's a RSE, it's the fact that none of the logical consequences that should have followed their return happened. I mean, they planted the freakin' Tree of Soul's there, right? That is supposed to be one of the most powerful artifacts on Toril, and it is basically a bat signal to every elf on the planet to make a pilgrimage to Myth Drannor and set up shop. This is now their new home... the Retreat has ended!

The conflict that this should cause would be amazing. Yet, it's just ignored. It's treated as virtually a minor event. It isn't a minor event! The planting of the Tree of Souls should have an implications for every freakin' elf on the planet. Literally, THOUSANDS of Elves should be coming through a gateway from Evermeet - like an orc horde spilling out... That's the entire purpose of the damn thing making a portal! That's the entire purpose of the damn tree in the first place!

Gah!

I can handle a lot of things, but what bugs me the most is things like this... especially, when something potentially awesome never lives up to its potential because the clear potential has too many far reaching implications that would alter history forever. Planting the Tree of Souls, refounding Myth Drannor, that's one of those things.

So, in my opinion, I don't think RSE should happen unless we're willing to look at the long range implications and consequences of those actions. It is an insult to the lore and the integrity of the setting to simply hand wave away the consequences of major actions. And the only reason that it's done is to force people to buy mediocre novels, so they can try to figure out what was blown up or destroyed in that particular book. At least WotC has admitted this practice, and has made a commitment to cease it in the future after the Sundering.

For me, I eagerly await to see what they come up with regarding the 5E Realms. However, the one good thing about the Spellplague is that the time jump and the event forced me to decouple my home Realms from the established setting. It freed me from the madness; at least I no longer feel I *HAVE* to keep up with what is going on, or that I'm *FORCED* to include some nonsense in my home game out of fear of future source books being published and having a sizable chunk of lore in them invalidated by my own personal canon.
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Dennis
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  15:24:50  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

By that definition killing Mystra isn't a RSE, because it only directly impacts her and those directly related to her (The Chosen, her church, etc.).
I daresay it's not a good example to stress your point. Mystra (as Ed said a million times) IS magic. And the Realms is awash with magic. Killing her disrupted magic in the whole setting, blowing things up, changing the land and its people. That's clear and obvious impact of her demise, so it's an RSE.

Now back to Thay's Civil War, on your example on the Red Wizards and their enclaves . . . What happened to them exactly? Yes, they're practically free now to further their own agenda. But have they actually done something that threatened the peace and security of any realm?

Every beginning has an end.
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Markustay
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  15:38:01  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Aldrick - simple solution offered by a continuity gaff (once again, "use the lore to fix the lore"):

The Tree of Souls - fully empowered to 'do its thing' - was planted in Auserial first. Then it was uprooted - which was NEVER SUPPOSED TO OCCUR - and replanted in Myth Drannor. This damaged the 'divine magic' associated with the relic (sacred artifact), so its not functioning the way it should have. I assume some of the magic is still associated with its original placement. Given enough time, it may be able to 'repair' itself.

That's my solution - YMMV.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Hawkins
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Posted - 25 Feb 2013 :  15:55:07  Show Profile  Visit Hawkins's Homepage Send Hawkins a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Chosen of Asmodeus

And while everyone has the right to their opinion, I think there's more than a little nostalgia coloring the ToT for it to be in the lead.


I'm disinclined to agree. The Horde Invasion wasn't too long after the ToT, and it's not getting any love. If nostalgia was the only factor, the second oldest RSE listed should be a lot higher.


I think the problem with the Invasion is that it is not as well read. I know when I was building my Realms novel collection back in college (2000-2004) I had to look extra hard to find them.

I personally loathe the first two books of the ToT because I do not think that they were written very well. But I did enjoy Waterdeep, Prince of Lies, and Cruicible, all written by different authors than the first two books in the "series."

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