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Heroes Community > Tavern of the Rising Sun > Thread: Forgotten Realms Novels
Thread: Forgotten Realms Novels This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · NEXT»
Khaelo
Khaelo


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Underwater
posted November 24, 2004 04:20 AM

Forgotten Realms Novels

Having renewed my interest in Neverwinter Nights and D&D, I've started looking for good Forgotten Realms novels.  The selection has proved a tad overwhelming.  My priorities in a book are a) strong characterizations, b) quality prose, and c) solid plot -- in that order.  I'd also like to learn a bit more about the setting in general, if possible (I have the campaign book, but reference doesn't make for riveting reading ).  Several people here are connoisseurs of fantasy and these D&D lines.  What are your recommendations and why?
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gorman
gorman


Promising
Legendary Hero
Been around since before 2003
posted November 24, 2004 08:56 AM

Hmm...having read few of the books and remembering none of the titles I would urge that any of them that involve the Drow Drizzt Do' Urden and his fellow travelers Wulfgar and Bruenor are extremely well written and hard to take one's eyes off of.
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terje_the_ma...
terje_the_mad_wizard


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Supreme Hero
Disciple of Herodotus
posted November 24, 2004 11:44 AM

Forget Forgotten Realms!

And read some Robin Hobb! Or, preferably Robert Jordan, but since you asked for strong characterization, I guess he's out of the picture
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Asmodean
Asmodean


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Heroine at the weekend.
posted November 24, 2004 05:04 PM

[offtopic] Jordan has VERY strong characters!! You tell me Mrs. Mandoragon née Almera isn't a strong charcacter![/offtopic]

I too am a bit daunted by the Forgotten Realms catalogue - having read most of the Dragonlance books I was willing to give them a try, but where do I start?!
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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted November 24, 2004 05:43 PM

Tip of the Iceberg

Hmm where do I start....

I have found this link is the best to keep yourself current on the latest releases:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=books

Here's a helpful link that offers the texts of Forgotten Realms basic understanding:

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fr/welcome

And I have found this to be the most reliable location of people who are willing to answer any Forgotten Realms questions:

http://forums.forgottenwars.net/index.php?showforum=206

You've really touched on an immense undertaking. I suggest checking with 'wizards.com' for the full selection written material but that can and will easily overwhelm you. I would instead suggest that perhaps you could find something that presents as interesting to you, then after you've read it, you'll have many questions. This is how each novel and book presents. Each one addresses some of the details of this fictional world but never all or even a majority. After you've read a particular novel or handbook, feel free to ask myself or visit the forgottenwars website for help of your questions.

Here's a broad general overview of the Forgotten Realms:

Faerun is the planet. The planet has many continents(only a handful of cultures have been discovered). On this planet we know of an entire slew of races and cultures ranging from hobbits to dark elves.

The important thing to remember is that it is not Tolkien's setting. In the Forgotten Realms, hobbits came through a portal that linked Faerun and another prime material planet. And in the Forgotten Realms, they are called "halflings", not 'hobbits'.

Also, parallel to the prime material plane(all physical existence) lie other planes of existence. The thing about Forgotten Realms is that is all-encompassing. Meaning they have a plane you can visit(with the right spell) for each real-life myth and God. So there's one for Odin, Ra, etc.... The Forgotten Realms overgod(which rules all others) is called "Ao". Sometimes the Gods piss him off and thus we experience the 'Time of Troubles' etc....

When you think about Forgotten Realms, always think 'contrived' and you'll be heading in the right direction.

Anyway many of the novels/textbooks are created by an author that has been hired by 'Wizards of the Coast' to work for them. Their novel is assimilated into the Forgotten Realms world. The distinction is the realm name. Don't confuse Dragonlance with Forgotten Realms. People do this all the time. A realm is infinite in its own right so the brilliant minds working at Wizards of the Coast are trying to keep the contexts in their respective mindsets. Overwhelming? Yup. That's why there's a forum and people who are respected researchers for each realm and/or novel. I have yet to meet anyone who is rude.

My suggestion would be to start out small. Start with the human civilizations before going into the different demihuman cultures. It's easier reading and is a good start if you're looking to learn more about the immense overall scheme of things.
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Khaelo
Khaelo


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Underwater
posted November 25, 2004 06:56 AM
Edited By: Khaelo on 25 Nov 2004

Yikes.

Both Jordan and Hobbs have already graced my reading table.  I didn't care for Jordan.  I loved Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, Mad Ship Trilogy, and Fool's Errand, so the last two books of the Tawny Man Trilogy are also on the line-up.    There are plenty of other authors I've read or am curious about as well, but this isn't the place to list them.  Maybe one of the book threads is due to be resurrected.

[Edited/Updated] The link set will be helpful, although I'm not looking for encyclopedic knowledge of the world.  It's pretty clear what the Forgotten Realms setting is and is not.  Call me crazy, but I don't trust Wizards of the Coast to make accurate judgements of quality on their own products.    This isn't a search for great literature.  I just want light, non-suckola entertainment.  Currently, I have a pair of short story anthologies (stories range from mediocre to enjoyable), and curiosity overcame suspicion of R.A. Salvatore so I also have the Dark Elf Trilogy.  I'm looking for other suggestions.
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privatehudson
privatehudson


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Legendary Hero
The Ultimate Badass
posted November 25, 2004 07:52 AM

Once you're done with the FR novels, get your hands on some  Discworld novels by Pratchett, you'll love them. FR wise, I'd go for the clerical quintet by R A Salvatore or the Drizzt novels.
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Binabik
Binabik


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Legendary Hero
posted November 25, 2004 08:38 AM

Quote:
so the last two books of the Tawny Man Trilogy are also on the line-up.


I don't think this trilogy is up to par with her previous works, but if your a Hobb fan, they're definately worth reading. Are you aware she also writes under the name of Meagan Lindholm (or something like that). Those books are also fantasy, but a "different slice of the pie" as she puts it.

I've read all the Weis/Hickman Dragonlance books, but none of the Forgotten Realms. Maybe because I didn't like the FR games.

Right now I'm finishing the last book in David Eddings "The Belgariad" series. Characterizations are pretty in depth and likeable, although somewhat unrealistic at times. Being his first Fantasy attempt, the writing style is a little weak at first, but you can see him grow over the course of the books. (five of them) That's true of a lot of authors if you start at the beginning.  And the storyline is very good. Overall I recommend them and I'll continue on to the next series.
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terje_the_ma...
terje_the_mad_wizard


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Supreme Hero
Disciple of Herodotus
posted November 25, 2004 02:31 PM

Quote:
The important thing to remember is that it is not Tolkien's setting. In the Forgotten Realms, hobbits came through a portal that linked Faerun and another prime material planet. And in the Forgotten Realms, they are called "halflings", not 'hobbits'.

I think I heard something about this being so because Cristopher Tolkien threatened to sue the *** off FR if they used the word "hobbit"...
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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted November 25, 2004 05:44 PM
Edited By: Consis on 25 Nov 2004

More Understanding,

Tolkien was the first to coin "hobbit". But this is not the only difference between his work and the Forgotten Realms novels/texts. Firstly(and most importantly), most Forgotten Realms authors are not accomplished degree-bearing writers. Most are nothing more than highschool equivalent graduates who are overtly motivated. In fact, I'd say foolhardy is a better term to describe most.

Wizards of the Coast authors are not diverse at all. Most authors only enjoy a specific direction of thought and stick to it in their storylines. Because of this, their work suffers greatly, and in turn so do the profits.(i.e. they sell less books) As with any writer, the more he/she has been educated, the more diversified his/her product will present. The easiest and most obvious example is Salvatore. Compare this author's popularity with the other Forgotten Realms novelists. I believe you can clearly see that Salvatore does not simply present with a popular idea or theme(drow elves and culture). He quite clearly uses a more solid delivery of the story. It is one thing to say your book is about a dark elf who is the best sword fighter in all Faerun, but it is another to try and sell your idea to readers. A reader's curiosity is what cause him/her to pick the book up and open the cover. But it is his/her interest that will cause them to continue reading it. The idea is important for reader introduction, while the delivery will be what keeps the story popular.

Khaelo,

There is a link I'm searching for right now. I think it might be interesting for you to read. As soon as I remember where it is located, I'll post it and a short description of the contents.

Another important difference between Tolkien and FR material is that FR is loyal to nothing. The people at Wizards of the Coast are looking to profit on a very specific demographic. Boys/girls age 16-29, who generally find watching sports uninteresting, and are largely nonreligious(i.e. don't go to church of any kind). It's a very narrow audience with a very small margin of profits. This age group and category are mostly single and mostly hold low-paying/mid-level jobs. They generally own one car or no car at all.

If you think about it, it's really quite amazing they are able to make a profit at all with distribution and other such required costs. As I recall, the Wiards of the Coast company is actually a smaller subsidiary of a much larger toy company. I think its Tonka, but I don't remember at current.

Anyway because of such narrow margins, the company is significantly limited, with a product of directly related limitations. I'm surprised they could even afford to hire Salvatore. I assume his contract comes from the parent company of Wizards of the Coast.
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privatehudson
privatehudson


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The Ultimate Badass
posted December 01, 2004 04:23 PM

Salvatore's been writing FR novels since 1990, long before WOtC got involved with D&D in 1997. Makes as much sense for him to continue to write popular novels as anything else I guess.

To be frank I prefer neither of Tolkien (frankly I find him boring though recognise we owe him a debt) or the multitude of FR writers, but Pratchett or Asprin as at least their works are insightful and amusing. I find that too much of the FR novels suffer from being based heavily in the same mindset and not enough in solid characters. Dragonlance at least had unique characters, not least because players of AD&D created them to begin with. Some FR novels also suffer from being tied to latest computer games too heavily.
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Moonshie
Moonshie

Tavern Dweller
posted December 01, 2004 05:34 PM

FR & Dragonlance

i have read the dragonlance chronicales and the first two books of the war of the souls series and i thought they were beter books than any i have read until i read the DARK ELF TRILOGY AND ICEWINDALE TRILOGY NOW THOSE 2 SERIES ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!



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Consis
Consis


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Of Ruby
posted December 01, 2004 05:44 PM

Indeed,

Quote:
frankly I find him boring though recognise we owe him a debt

So sayeth you and even the Queen of England. It was so dramatically such that the man didn't even receive recognition until he was in his 70's. I hold no personal grudges though. I feel it's a re-occurring cycle in the world. Someone so special barely recognized by his own people, yet here in america(far far away) was where he found his largest group of fans.

Otherwise, you say Pratchett over and over again. I am curious. Could you please(if it's not too much to ask) detail the greater points of this author? I know nothing. It would be very helpful if you could enlighten me to be able to understand what you understand in the way you understand it.
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privatehudson
privatehudson


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The Ultimate Badass
posted December 01, 2004 06:26 PM

Pratchett created the Disworld, a manic, crazy spoof of all things fantasy and the real world at the same time. He's great at sending up Tolkien and the like, and putting modern concepts like tourists and cinema into a fantasy setting. He's quite brilliant at offering insights into people and cultures. For comedy he's almost unbeatable. Robert Asprin's Myth series is fairly similar, and contains some gems also.

I do respect Tolkien's work and the level and depth he went to, but I find LOTR especially far too long with stretches that simply add nothing to the work overall. It may be more scholarly than some works, but it's not what I look for, and it's dialogue is very uninteresting in many ways. I recognise that he was a genius, and with others kickstarted fantasy as we know it, but I do not rate his work higher than Pratchett's for enjoyment. Reading LOTR was a chore for me both times that I have read it, reading the discworld is a pleasure. That's how I like my reading to be, enjoyable, and to me Tolkien's works, for all their quality were not very much so.

Tolkien is well recognised here and loved though, so it's not really part of that cycle.
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Lord_Woock
Lord_Woock


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Undefeatable Hero
Daddy Cool with a $90 smile
posted December 01, 2004 06:33 PM

Gotta agree on the Discworld bit. I personally recommend the Watch books (Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet Of Clay, Jingo, The Truth (?), Night Watch and possibly some more). Fantasy + whodunit + comedy = teh uber l33tness.
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privatehudson
privatehudson


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The Ultimate Badass
posted December 01, 2004 06:36 PM

The truth touches slightly on the watch and their investigations of a crime, but is mostly about Ankh's first newspaper

Guards Guards on Audiobook from the BBC is a classic when Carrot has a thick welsh accent
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Moonshie
Moonshie

Tavern Dweller
posted December 01, 2004 08:53 PM
Edited By: Moonshie on 1 Dec 2004

Movie?

Does any1 know if some1 is making a movie of the DRAGONLANCE TRILOGY OR ICEWINDALE TRILOGY like they did with the LOTR TRILOGY?????

ANSWER THIS IF U KNOW

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terje_the_ma...
terje_the_mad_wizard


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Disciple of Herodotus
posted December 01, 2004 09:00 PM

Quote:
Gotta agree on the Discworld bit. I personally recommend the Watch books (Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet Of Clay, Jingo, The Truth (?), Night Watch and possibly some more). Fantasy + whodunit + comedy = teh uber l33tness.

I like the books about the witches best. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are an unbeatable couple!
Though the Guard books are hillarious as well, as are most of Pratchett's books. Hell, he even made me read a book about physics and biology! (Science of Discworld I, a really interesting book; the Discworld story is actually imo just boring compared to the hard science!)
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Moonshie
Moonshie

Tavern Dweller
posted December 02, 2004 09:15 PM

Movie??

i should have made my question more clear does any body know if hollywood is doing movies on the world of FR animated or otherwise.

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Lord_Woock
Lord_Woock


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Undefeatable Hero
Daddy Cool with a $90 smile
posted December 02, 2004 09:25 PM

Quote:
The truth touches slightly on the watch and their investigations of a crime, but is mostly about Ankh's first newspaper


I know what it's about foo, I was just unsure if the book should be placed with the Watch books or not

Also, Rincewind is a rather amusing fellow, you have to agree.
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