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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32876 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2020 :  16:51:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Here's a random thought that's been simmering in the back of my mind for I don't know how many years: Why is being transformed into a drider considered the ultimate punishment for a drow? They revere spiders. They revere power. A spider-drow hybrid or tauric form is devastatingly powerful as well as beautiful to their sensibilities. Lolth herself often appears in drider form (she did in this book on the Abyss while chatting with Errtu.) It is often said that gods create their followers in their own image. So again, how is driderification(?) a punishment and not the ultimate reward? I recall WAY back in Homeland it was mentioned that the process warped and distorted the body, making the once beautiful drow portion of the creature all bloated and gross looking. But it seems that angle has been played down or even removed over the years.


That's long bugged me, too... Both the fact that it's a punishment and the fact that the drider is basically reduced to becoming a monster.

I did figure out a way to have this modified, so that you'd have intelligent driders. I love the idea of driders who have retained their intelligence and memories, who hate drow for what's been done to them, and who have found a way to increase their numbers... But it's not an idea I can do anything with, at the moment!

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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1020 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2020 :  20:35:32  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Well ok then, I guess there is plenty of precedent for Elminster's psionics. I just don't think I've ever seen it mentioned in a single one of the novels, that I can recall anyway. And I can honestly say I've never really looked at an Elminster stat block. I have all the Deities and Demigods, Legends and Lore, Faiths and Avatars, etc. books - so if I wanted to get an idea of what El's stats looked like, I'd just take a gander at any of the pantheon greater gods, then multiply everything by 5 and figure that's probably ballpark Elminster on a bad day before he puts on his gear and buffs up. :P




That's so funny and true...
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
459 Posts

Posted - 02 Feb 2020 :  16:56:25  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Ashes of the Tyrant a couple days ago. I liked this one better than the saga of Brin and the Cormyrean royal line of succession from the previous Evans novel, but it did present some difficulties of its own. The amount of dragonborn culture presented in Djerad Thymar was formidable. I feel like Evans, much like Cunningham, doesn't just write about the world in which her characters interact. She dives in headfirst and fully immerses herself, and consequently almost forces the reader to be a scholar on the subject to be able to follow along. This is a two-edged sword. On the plus side, the amount of lore and culture exposure was impressive. I particularly loved reading about the old ancestor stories - they functioned like parables that teach young dragonborn the history and lessons of their people, while also imparting valuable wisdom and how to act in certain situations. These were excellently done. On the negative side, the unwieldy names and occasional slip into Draconic language (without translation) made for a somewhat challenging reading experience - almost inaccessible at times, or maybe I'm just not as careful a reader as I once was. I found myself using an old trick I once gave to a friend back in high school who was trying to read Homeland. He felt some of the names were really cumbersome and bogging him down, so I said "Just call the city Menzo and move on, don't worry about Menzoberranzan until you get more comfortable with it." I found myself doing the same thing with several of the dragonborn clan names.

I loved Erin's comparison of devils and demons approach to harvesting mortals as one of shepherds and wolves. One is orderly and in control, the other is pure chaos and brute force. But in the end, to the lamb, what does it matter? It gets slaughtered either way. She has several fun little insights like this, as well as some clever "in-universe" sayings like: "madder than a mouther" (a reference to the gibbering mouther creature) or "To the tyrants with you!" (a curse the dragonborn use to refer to the dragon overlords that once enslaved them) that really make you feel like she's lived in this world and is heavily invested.

This book also had a lot more going on in the Hells than the previous book, at least it felt that way to me. Also we start to see some tie-in with the RAS books as far as Abyssal Lords invading the Underdark. The creature that was sent ahead to weaken the dragonborn city was one I've read about in the Planescape Monstrous Manual, but never imagined being so devastating. I loved the way she utilized the maurezhi to maximum horror effect.

Good book. Looks like I have one more to go to wrap up the tiefling sisters' storyline. But I've been alternating based on publish date, so last night I started RAS's Maestro.
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
459 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2020 :  13:41:17  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished Maestro last night. I crossed out all my notes for this one and replaced them with just two words:

Kinetic Barrier

Ugghhh. It had been hinted on a long time ago in this very thread, so I knew it was coming at some point. But that still didn't make it any less tough to read. The funny thing is, I don't even see why it was necessary. If every drow wizard, priest, and archer in the entire city trained their offensive output on Drizzt while he was under the effect of that discipline, let's say they pumped in 50,000hp worth of damage. Drizzt then turned and brought all that energy to Demogorgon. But if they all just attacked Demo directly, what's the difference other than cutting out the middleman? I guess Demo's resistances could soften each individual strike by some amount, whereas taking all that energy in one massive strike couldn't be mitigated. But even still, that much firepower concentrated on one individual, even an Abyssal Lord, would've been WAY too much for anyone to handle short of a god on their own home plane. It just didn't make any logical sense, in addition to being another groanworthy moment of PSIONICS>>>ALL.

Another random thought I had while reading this - has there ever been a female member of Bregan D'aerthe? This book heavily focused on Jarlaxle's desire to create a haven for dispossessed drow males who are tired of living in the oppressive matriarchy. But would he take in and offer shelter to a female drow that has forsaken Lolth but also isn't interested in embracing Eilistraee? Not only would it give him access to some lethal potential double-agents that could be more effective infiltrators in drow society, it might raise morale a bit too in an obvious way... I mean... it's kind of a sausage-fest in that boys club. Just a thought. I can't recall ever seeing a female member of BD, perhaps the very thought of it would be anathema to them.

Up next, back to Evans for the final Brimstone Angels novel: The Devil You Know.
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3145 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2020 :  15:35:24  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the first novel of the latest (and possibly last) Drizzt trilogy, a female member of BdA makes an appearance as a cameo. She's a priestess, but of a drow goddess that isn't Lolth. Given Eilistraee's re-emergence and surge of activity (all offscreen, though) in the time when the said novel is set, people speculated that the character was a priestess of Eilistraee. RAS didn't say anything in that regard, though, and that character sorta disappeared in the next novel, as far as I can tell.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 09 Feb 2020 16:52:54
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3145 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2020 :  15:41:45  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I finished Maestro last night. I crossed out all my notes for this one and replaced them with just two words:

Kinetic Barrier

Ugghhh. It had been hinted on a long time ago in this very thread, so I knew it was coming at some point. But that still didn't make it any less tough to read. The funny thing is, I don't even see why it was necessary. If every drow wizard, priest, and archer in the entire city trained their offensive output on Drizzt while he was under the effect of that discipline, let's say they pumped in 50,000hp worth of damage. Drizzt then turned and brought all that energy to Demogorgon. But if they all just attacked Demo directly, what's the difference other than cutting out the middleman? I guess Demo's resistances could soften each individual strike by some amount, whereas taking all that energy in one massive strike couldn't be mitigated. But even still, that much firepower concentrated on one individual, even an Abyssal Lord, would've been WAY too much for anyone to handle short of a god on their own home plane. It just didn't make any logical sense, in addition to being another groanworthy moment of PSIONICS>>>ALL.




It would have also been far more clever to slap that firepower on a siege/ranged weapon, like a ballista or something. But that was WotC's request, to have Drizzt banish Demogorgon.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1020 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2020 :  16:49:08  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yah, if everyone attacked Demogorgon you wouldn't have the Drizzt saves the day and slays Demogorgon story...sigh.
I love Psionics but Bob has a long history of just using it as Deus Ex Machina, especially when the enemy is someone akin to a super archmage.
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Mirtek
Senior Scribe

554 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2020 :  14:53:15  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

Here's a random thought that's been simmering in the back of my mind for I don't know how many years: Why is being transformed into a drider considered the ultimate punishment for a drow? They revere spiders. They revere power. A spider-drow hybrid or tauric form is devastatingly powerful as well as beautiful to their sensibilities. Lolth herself often appears in drider form (she did in this book on the Abyss while chatting with Errtu.) It is often said that gods create their followers in their own image. So again, how is driderification(?) a punishment and not the ultimate reward? I recall WAY back in Homeland it was mentioned that the process warped and distorted the body, making the once beautiful drow portion of the creature all bloated and gross looking. But it seems that angle has been played down or even removed over the years.


That's long bugged me, too... Both the fact that it's a punishment and the fact that the drider is basically reduced to becoming a monster.

I did figure out a way to have this modified, so that you'd have intelligent driders. I love the idea of driders who have retained their intelligence and memories, who hate drow for what's been done to them, and who have found a way to increase their numbers... But it's not an idea I can do anything with, at the moment!



For one the transformation is said to be very painful. Also a drider is not only rendered sterile, it loses all genitals. No more snusnu :)

More importantly, Lolth true drider form is a curse from Correlon, that she can not overcome and she hates tue fact. Sure, she can change shape, but deep down it remains her true form. Appearing differently is like hitting a veil over a nasty Scar

Of course she can not admit that, so she pretends to own this form she hates so much.

And yet uses this to punish her followers. Go ahead, ask her about that contradiction if you dare. :)
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3145 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2020 :  15:39:01  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lolth's true form isn't even that of a drider, it's a giant spider, supposedly with a woman's head.

In the old editions (1e/2e, I'm told; I wasn't really involved in D&D until the tail end of 4e), becoming a drider was a punishment because the drider lost its individuality and essentially sentience. 4e made it a reward. 5e rolled it back to a punishment.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 13 Feb 2020 15:40:20
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
459 Posts

Posted - 22 Feb 2020 :  13:52:49  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I finished The Devil You Know a few days ago, thus concluding the Brimstone Angels saga. And another author knocked off the FR list. I think all I have left now are 3 RAS books and a Greenwood. It feels so weird now that we are closing in on the end of this project.

I found this book to be very interesting, mainly because I know so little of Unther's lore, so there was a lot of discovery for me. I've always shied away from the whole "Old Empires" region of FR because I don't like the links to our own Earth. That is a trope I utterly detest in fantasy, pulling characters from this world into another, I don't know why it bothers me so much. Anyway, Unther and Mulhorand are only blips on my Realms radar. Gilgeam sounds a lot like Gilgamesh, but he's anything but heroic in this story - utilizing a host of demons in his army. I couldn't help but think of Xerxes from 300 when he was being carted around by slaves on his sedan chair. It mentioned his conflicts in the past with Tiamat. I thought I recalled it being Marduk back in AD&D that fought with Tiamat, not Gilgeam/Gilgamesh, but again, not an area of specialty for me.

I loved the quick chapter that was written from the POV of Zoonie, Havilar's pet hellhound. I also enjoyed Volibar the halfling Zhent agent. Evans does a nice job of giving nuance and layers to her characters, not every Zhent is a moustache-twirling 2 dimensional villain. Everyone has some good and some bad in them, and you can find the strangest allies sometimes under unusual circumstances.

I found this one to be bit easier to follow than the previous, but maybe that's just because I'm slowly learning Draconic? Evans did a really nice job describing Dumuzi's efforts to convert some of his fellow dragonborn to the worship of Enlil, a concept that is anathema to them (they are very against having "masters" of any type, including gods.) Dumuzi presented it as less of a god/follower relationship and more like a sellsword contract - each dragonborn pledges loyalty to Enlil for a "term of service" of 2 years, and in exchange Enlil will help them defend their city from Gilgeam's horde. So by looking at it as more of a mercenary agreement, the dragonborn can satisfy their own sense of honor. It was really neatly done and came off better in the book than my clumsy attempt at describing it.

Lastly, this book had a behir in it, one of my FAVORITE old school monsters going back to the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth module back in 1976. So, bonus points for that!

Up next, I'm about halfway through the next RAS book, Hero.


Edited by - VikingLegion on 23 Feb 2020 22:55:46
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1020 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2020 :  14:46:10  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Viking - all this talk of devils/demons etc from Brimstone Angels, did you ever read Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb? Set in Dragonlance sort of, it is a crazy book that has a large connection to the Abyss and reads more like Planescape than Dragonlance.
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AJA
Senior Scribe

USA
400 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2020 :  00:30:22  Show Profile Send AJA a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I think all I have left now are 3 RAS books and a Greenwood. It feels so weird now that we are closing in on the end of this project.


So close! Glad you decided to stick with it.

Are you planning any sort of summation once you're finished? How the novel line shaped your view of the Forgotten Realms setting (for better or worse)? Most/least enjoyable series? Overall favorite book, author, character, etc?


AJA
YAFRP
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
459 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2020 :  00:37:39  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Viking - all this talk of devils/demons etc from Brimstone Angels, did you ever read Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb? Set in Dragonlance sort of, it is a crazy book that has a large connection to the Abyss and reads more like Planescape than Dragonlance.



Seravin, yes I did read that book. Before this FR project started 5 years ago I did a similar, complete read through of all (166?) Dragonlance novels. Unfortunately I can't remember one single detail of that particular book. Being a Jeff Grubb offering, I flushed it out of my head before closing the final page :P
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VikingLegion
Senior Scribe

USA
459 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2020 :  00:45:44  Show Profile Send VikingLegion a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AJA

quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

I think all I have left now are 3 RAS books and a Greenwood. It feels so weird now that we are closing in on the end of this project.


So close! Glad you decided to stick with it.

Are you planning any sort of summation once you're finished? How the novel line shaped your view of the Forgotten Realms setting (for better or worse)? Most/least enjoyable series? Overall favorite book, author, character, etc?





It's likely. If only because there will be a very weird feeling when we get to the end and I hate to see things go away. I get that way even for video games when I know I'm close to completing it, TV series in their final season, etc. You invest so much time in these fictional worlds they become so endearing and almost as important as the real world.

I thought about doing an exhaustive ranking of every author, but scrapped the idea because it might get ugly. And really there's no need to call out the less beloved ones, that's just mean. Even though I've been highly critical of some of them in here, they all still contributed to this wonderful shared world that means so much to us in their own way. But yeah, there will be some kind of final discussion with lots of feels.
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Seravin
Master of Realmslore

Canada
1020 Posts

Posted - 25 Feb 2020 :  09:49:12  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by VikingLegion

quote:
Originally posted by Seravin

Viking - all this talk of devils/demons etc from Brimstone Angels, did you ever read Lord Toede by Jeff Grubb? Set in Dragonlance sort of, it is a crazy book that has a large connection to the Abyss and reads more like Planescape than Dragonlance.



Seravin, yes I did read that book. Before this FR project started 5 years ago I did a similar, complete read through of all (166?) Dragonlance novels. Unfortunately I can't remember one single detail of that particular book. Being a Jeff Grubb offering, I flushed it out of my head before closing the final page :P



I just don't get how anyone could dislike Grubb/Novak's books, they're so good for the genre of D&D novels! But it's all subjective and everyone has their own tastes. I know I get hung up on plot holes and contrivance way more than I should which keeps me from enjoying some popular books, so I can't judge you not liking the more popular authors either.

Looking forward to the summation.
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