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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
890 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2019 :  14:15:51  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

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



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



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

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

USA
31915 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2019 :  20:22:38  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

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



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



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

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




I'm seriously doubting Ed would ignore lore that he created. Dracoliches came from his pen.

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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4395 Posts

Posted - 05 Mar 2019 :  21:17:26  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ed did say he had to rewrite large bits to fit in with the edits wanted.

Shargrailar isn't permanently dead either. I think his phylactery is in that 3e adventure set in sildeyuir, I'd like to think Ed had a hand in that nugget

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5437 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  01:07:36  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's the Grail of Shargrailer but I don't think it is her phylactery.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4395 Posts

Posted - 06 Mar 2019 :  22:14:52  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess I just assumed that like the holy trail it would have contained Shargrailar blood and I vaguely recall dracoliches needed some dust or somethung from their body to complete the transformation.

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

Apologies for the side track, continue reviewing novels. Even though I never read them myself it's always nice to see what are good or bad ones and why.

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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
391 Posts

Posted - 08 Mar 2019 :  01:07:40  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
/continuing to review novels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good stuff. Tonight I will start in on book two: Hand of the Hunter.
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gylippus
Seeker

15 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2019 :  01:31:58  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Okay, on to the story.

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

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

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

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

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

Next up, Elfshadow, which I read a long, long time ago. After that, maybe I will continue with Crypt of the Shadowking or go back and finally finish the third book in the Giants of Twilight Series. Not looking forward to that...
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31915 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2019 :  05:41:51  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gylippus


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


I want to say he was in one of the early Realms of... anthologies, but it's been a long time, and I won't swear to it.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
890 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2019 :  08:07:46  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gyllipus maybe you can start your own thread? Would love to discuss the novels you're reading (I have a lot to say about the contrivances in Elfshadow's ending) and I feel bad for clogging up Viking's amazing post with discussions off topic.
While I love Red Magic for being one of the few books that depicts Thay's cities and countryside - I think The Simbul's Gift does Thay best.
When I re-read Red Magic, as much as I nostalgia love it, the writing doesn't seem that great for the general plot. To note: Szass using the Harpers to thwart Maligor *covertly*--by giving them a huge undead army...? What?! Maligor would know Harpers don't use undead armies but the Zulkir of Necromancy does, so why not just come out and directly attack Maligor instead? Why use Harpers at all except contrivance to keep them alive? I don't think Szass should have been involved in the Harpers to the extent he was, it should have been more of a covert spy operation with a deadly strike rather than the Harpers leading an undead army which makes NO SENSE and reads like fan fiction to me. But the start of the book and everything up until Szass Tam capturing them is pretty well done.

Edited by - Seravin on 11 Mar 2019 11:16:28
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gylippus
Seeker

15 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2019 :  23:56:42  Show Profile Send gylippus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

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



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

I pretty much agree with everything you said Seravin. I didn't follow any of that plot logic myself. Like you said, it would be obvious Szass was attacking Maligor because of the undead army. I also just remembered that all of the high level apprentices went with Maligor to the mines, yet we don't see a single one of them in the mine battle. There are a lot of plot holes, but at least we got a decent character in Galvin.
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
391 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2019 :  21:47:05  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Hand of the Hunter yesterday, another excellent book by Mark Sehestedt. My notes are fairly sparse on this one, I guess I don't have too much to say other than it's a solid continuation of the Chosen of Nendawen series.

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

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

Tonight I will start book 3 of the trilogy: Cry of the Ghost Wolf.
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