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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3662 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2022 :  06:47:40  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, to be fair, they didn't exactly hide their intention to change all the drow history. They explicitly stated that their goal was to simplify all drow history and focus it on Menzo (their wording even suggested that Menzo was the only udadrow city that we would be seeing in the future). They even took all importance away from the Crown Wars, by saying that a bunch of drow just chose to follow Lolth underground, and that was the origin of everything (dumb on so many levels, and--as usual--probably yet another narrative choice made while not even trying to put yourself within the PoV of your characters). Basically, RAS has erased everything drow that he didn't make--aka the vast majority of it (it's a miracle that he supposedly acknowledged Eilistraee), just like his "I'm the creator of the Forgotten Realms drow" implied.

Edited by - Irennan on 21 Jun 2022 06:51:37
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1119 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2022 :  18:45:20  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, how about we help 'em out a bit to make things less confusing. How about, there were TWO descents? The first one where a majority of the Drow went down to the Underdark after the Crown Wars and a second, much smaller one. The second one, the drow there consider themselves to be the "True Drow" and the center of drow society and have a distorted view of Eilistraee and Mielikki. The rest of the drow consider these guys to be nuts but, hey, if they want to be nuts, let 'em. That way, there can be these delusional drow and the rest of us can have a world history that makes sense.

Edit: fixed typo

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 21 Jun 2022 18:58:20
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 21 Jun 2022 :  20:21:23  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Well, how about we help 'em out a bit to make things less confusing. How about, there were TWO descents? The first one where a majority of the Drow went down to the Underdark after the Crown Wars and a second, much smaller one. The second one, the drow there consider themselves to be the "True Drow" and the center of drow society and have a distorted view of Eilistraee and Mielikki. The rest of the drow consider these guys to be nuts but, hey, if they want to be nuts, let 'em. That way, there can be these delusional drow and the rest of us can have a world history that makes sense.

Edit: fixed typo



I love it.
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3662 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2022 :  03:33:58  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Well, how about we help 'em out a bit to make things less confusing. How about, there were TWO descents? The first one where a majority of the Drow went down to the Underdark after the Crown Wars and a second, much smaller one. The second one, the drow there consider themselves to be the "True Drow" and the center of drow society and have a distorted view of Eilistraee and Mielikki. The rest of the drow consider these guys to be nuts but, hey, if they want to be nuts, let 'em. That way, there can be these delusional drow and the rest of us can have a world history that makes sense.

Edit: fixed typo



IMO, you'd be better off just saying that the loren/aevendrow enclaves are cities founded by drow refugees from Miyeritar and Ilythiir alike, who were trying to hide from the mess of the Crown Wars, while the rest of them kept fighting. They isolated in fear (still quite ridiculous that no one notiuced such advanced civilizations over such a long time, though), and now they're resurfacing for whatever reason.

This is because the new lore states that the new enclaves were created by the "normal" drow at the time of Descent, while the others (the nutjobs) followed Lolth underground. The new version implies there's still one descent, but it happened just because some dudes were like "wouldn't it be cool to go underground because some suspicious goddess offered us stuff?"
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TKU
Learned Scribe

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2022 :  04:12:32  Show Profile Send TKU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Funnily enough, there is (was) actually a drow city South of Amn that claimed to be the site of the Descent (presumably of the Miyeritari drow, as opposed to Telantiwar, founded by the drow from Ilythiir). Ust Natha-featured in the second Baldur's Gate game. So there is kinda some merit to the idea of 'multiple descents'

That being said, yeah, it is pretty hard to reconcile this with anything preceding it.
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1119 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2022 :  14:56:00  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

Well, how about we help 'em out a bit to make things less confusing. How about, there were TWO descents? The first one where a majority of the Drow went down to the Underdark after the Crown Wars and a second, much smaller one. The second one, the drow there consider themselves to be the "True Drow" and the center of drow society and have a distorted view of Eilistraee and Mielikki. The rest of the drow consider these guys to be nuts but, hey, if they want to be nuts, let 'em. That way, there can be these delusional drow and the rest of us can have a world history that makes sense.

Edit: fixed typo



IMO, you'd be better off just saying that the loren/aevendrow enclaves are cities founded by drow refugees from Miyeritar and Ilythiir alike, who were trying to hide from the mess of the Crown Wars, while the rest of them kept fighting. They isolated in fear (still quite ridiculous that no one notiuced such advanced civilizations over such a long time, though), and now they're resurfacing for whatever reason.

This is because the new lore states that the new enclaves were created by the "normal" drow at the time of Descent, while the others (the nutjobs) followed Lolth underground. The new version implies there's still one descent, but it happened just because some dudes were like "wouldn't it be cool to go underground because some suspicious goddess offered us stuff?"



If they really wanted to isolate themselves, they could have used magic it make them like Brigadoon and only appear every so often. They may be permanently back now that the damage caused by the Spellplague has finally destroyed that magic completely. And, now that they ARE back completely, they can be used as a Shangr-La type analog where each enclave feels they have achieved the perfect society with the DM coming up with whatever looks-great-on-the-surface social structure that is hiding a nightmare underneath.


"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3662 Posts

Posted - 22 Jun 2022 :  21:56:01  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That can make for a cool campaign, though the problem with the new canon is that it actively discourages this approach, since the aevendrow are presented as a real utopia. And Idk, even with magic to hide them (which is currently the case), we're still talking about an advanced civilization fairly close to inhabited areas, and that should leave significant traces/alterations in the environment due to the amount of energy they can harness from it (especially due to the way the Weave works as explained by Ed), that would eventually be noticed over thousands of years. You can have the hidden civilization thing, as long as you talk about the weird phenomena that people have observed in the area over the ages, and that drew their attention and speculation about who would be causing them (example: glaciers melting, temperature changes).
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  01:52:59  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sorry for the abrupt topic shift, but I wanted to ask about the Wind Dukes of Aaqa/Vaati. What's their level of power? From reading the FR Wiki, it sounds like they're around deva - solar power levels, tending more towards the deva end of the spectrum, is that the case?

It says that they're immortal, can they choose to "die" when they've lived long enough? When they do, where do their souls go?

Is there any precedence in canon about the passing of Vaati leaving behind a significant natural phenomenon on the Prime, like the formation of a glacier?
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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
942 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  05:54:27  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy

Sorry for the abrupt topic shift, but I wanted to ask about the Wind Dukes of Aaqa/Vaati. What's their level of power? From reading the FR Wiki, it sounds like they're around deva - solar power levels, tending more towards the deva end of the spectrum, is that the case?

It says that they're immortal, can they choose to "die" when they've lived long enough? When they do, where do their souls go?

Is there any precedence in canon about the passing of Vaati leaving behind a significant natural phenomenon on the Prime, like the formation of a glacier?



Well, in terms of stats they were fairly similar to mortal races NPCs, having Class levels or them stated in Rod of Seven parts adventure (2E), and Mahasarpa mini-setting (3E) (were the base Vaati, without class levels, were CR 2 creatures).
Qadeej himself was presented as a Level 13 Abjurer in 2e, if giving 20,000 xp after defeat, due to his extra abilities.

Lorewise, the Wandering Dukes are stronger than stated - the mentioned Qadeej and Icosiol defeating Miska the Wolf Spider, one of the strongest demon lords at his prime lorewise (refereed as the Queen of Chaos' greatest creation, as well asof course, being the second Prince of Demons, after Obox-Ob and before Demogorgon). Though to be clear Icosiol sacrificed his life, and Qadeej used the Rod of Law (ie latter Rod of Seven parts), but still.

I discussed the Vaati in the "What's the deal with Zaphkiel?" thread, and with some more information you might find interesting:
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=24438

Edited by - Baltas on 23 Jun 2022 06:08:35
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  07:28:51  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Baltas
Well, in terms of stats they were fairly similar to mortal races NPCs, having Class levels or them stated in Rod of Seven parts adventure (2E), and Mahasarpa mini-setting (3E) (were the base Vaati, without class levels, were CR 2 creatures).
Qadeej himself was presented as a Level 13 Abjurer in 2e, if giving 20,000 xp after defeat, due to his extra abilities.

Lorewise, the Wandering Dukes are stronger than stated - the mentioned Qadeej and Icosiol defeating Miska the Wolf Spider, one of the strongest demon lords at his prime lorewise (refereed as the Queen of Chaos' greatest creation, as well asof course, being the second Prince of Demons, after Obox-Ob and before Demogorgon). Though to be clear Icosiol sacrificed his life, and Qadeej used the Rod of Law (ie latter Rod of Seven parts), but still.

I discussed the Vaati in the "What's the deal with Zaphkiel?" thread, and with some more information you might find interesting:
http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=24438



Thank you for your answer! I wasn't aware that Qadeej is actually an existent entity, is it known what befell him ultimately? Or really, any other information that you can share?
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Baltas
Senior Scribe

Poland
942 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  08:31:13  Show Profile Send Baltas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well in The Rod of Seven Parts adventure, Qadeej turned Lawful Evil over milennia, and now wants to restart the war between Law and Chaos. Because of this he wants to release Miska, and if I remember right it works Qadeej if succeds and Miska and the Queen of Chaos (and I guess Qadeej with his alies on theaw side) restart the fosmic war between Law and Chaos.

Makes you wonder if Ygorl doesn't share this goal and somehow will work with Qadeej in some way. Possibly awakening/releasing him in future.

Edited by - Baltas on 23 Jun 2022 08:33:29
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  09:06:28  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Baltas

Well in The Rod of Seven Parts adventure, Qadeej turned Lawful Evil over milennia, and now wants to restart the war between Law and Chaos. Because of this he wants to release Miska, and if I remember right it works Qadeej if succeds and Miska and the Queen of Chaos (and I guess Qadeej with his alies on theaw side) restart the fosmic war between Law and Chaos.

Makes you wonder if Ygorl doesn't share this goal and somehow will work with Qadeej in some way. Possibly awakening/releasing him in future.



Wow, that's... not at all what I was expecting. I can't say more currently but I will after the book's official release date.

I'll see if I can get the PDF of the Rod of Seven Parts on DMsGuild. Does Qadeej appear in any other material?
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1119 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  14:55:46  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Irennan

That can make for a cool campaign, though the problem with the new canon is that it actively discourages this approach, since the aevendrow are presented as a real utopia. And Idk, even with magic to hide them (which is currently the case), we're still talking about an advanced civilization fairly close to inhabited areas, and that should leave significant traces/alterations in the environment due to the amount of energy they can harness from it (especially due to the way the Weave works as explained by Ed), that would eventually be noticed over thousands of years. You can have the hidden civilization thing, as long as you talk about the weird phenomena that people have observed in the area over the ages, and that drew their attention and speculation about who would be causing them (example: glaciers melting, temperature changes).



If they spend 99.99% of the time on another plane, they will not have a lasting effect on the Weave or the enviornment. Oh, odd things could happen when the city is currently on the material plane but it would disappear once the city "goes back into hiding" on the other plane. That would give intermittent weirdness that doesn't lead to anything.

As for your previous point about unlimited supplies, what if they are on the Ethereal plane? Illusion spells take some of the stuff of the plane itself to make that item real. It slowly fades as if "weathered" after the end of the spell but it doesn't immediately go away (page 19 of the 2e Manual of the Planes). A permanent illusion spell would make a permanent item in the Ethereal plane. That could be how they have unlimited resources. Now that they are back on the material plane permanently, that would be a REAL adjustment since they would have to deal with the loss of those "unlimited" resources.

There would be other effects if it WAS the Ethereal plane. Since time moves at a slower rate, it would have been only 1,000 years for them while 10,000 years would have passed on Toril. Also, if they appear only once a year, their time, they would only be on Toril for 1 day every 10 years (if a Brigadoon-type model is followed). The environment could certainly restore itself over 10 years after a single day of "distortion".

These are just some ideas I have had. I am not familiar with the source material for these cities. But, when RAS gives you lemons, make some lemonade.

Edit: fixed typos

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents

Edited by - TheIriaeban on 23 Jun 2022 15:26:53
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3662 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  15:43:58  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban
But, when RAS gives you lemons, make some lemonade.



I was more of discussing this for the sake of discussing the fiction itself (I stopped using FR for TTRPG a while ago), but yeah, if someone wanted to run with RAS' stuff, the "we were on another plane the whole time" idea could work as an explanation (also, the idea of permanent illusions in the Ethereal plane is pretty cool)--as long as you're willing to consider the impact that living on the Ethereal plane would have on a society, and make it the strong point of your worldbuilding, your "what if". And that's the problem with this new lore: there's no will to examine the consequences of your premises, which is what makes up the core of worldbuilding, after all. It all starts from a "what if", and you explore it to come up with the ideas that best fit your story, but this worldbuilding doesn't have a "what if" that generates the other ideas, it just wants its utopian city, and lazily uses fantasy elements as a quick explanation to allow them to have that city. Without giving more than a passing thought to how things would really work under that premise (or to how to build interesting conflict using that premise).

And I mean, you found a way to have their "utopian civilization out of nowhere" in a way that can make sense within the FR, by just bouncing a few ideas around. It's little work, yet they couldn't even be bothered to do that. They just went with "they hide under a glacier and have infinite resources and no problems and no one found them, because a wizard did it".

The problem isn't making it work in a campaign--each DM has unlimited creative freedom and could come up with whatever to justify stuff, even outside of canon (though I'd personally use the time I'd spend on fixing someone else's shoddy work to instead build something from the ground up that fits the kind of narrative that I want). The problem is that little to no thought went into this on their side, and abysmal quality worldbuilding is getting dumped in the Realms.

Then again, I already know this, and have distanced myself from FR in large part because of this, so I should probably stop commenting on this stuff. But Idk, I guess it feels bad to see something you used to cherish become shoddy to the point that you can't enjoy it any longer (that's because my enjoyment of the FR was more in the story and world itself, rather than in using it as a TTRPG setting that lets me re-experience the version that I enjoyed).

Edited by - Irennan on 23 Jun 2022 15:46:54
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Athreeren
Acolyte

41 Posts

Posted - 23 Jun 2022 :  18:10:43  Show Profile Send Athreeren a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TKU

Funnily enough, there is (was) actually a drow city South of Amn that claimed to be the site of the Descent (presumably of the Miyeritari drow, as opposed to Telantiwar, founded by the drow from Ilythiir). Ust Natha-featured in the second Baldur's Gate game. So there is kinda some merit to the idea of 'multiple descents'

That being said, yeah, it is pretty hard to reconcile this with anything preceding it.



I completely agree. It would be strange for such an important city not to be mentioned anywhere else in lore, but if it's just the point from where the Illythiiri from the Wealdath chose to follow Lolth to the part of the Underdark that's located underneath Amn, independently of the others who chose to do so at other times, then Ust Natha would only matter to the Drow of that region, who don't seem to appear on the map either. I actually have a similar explanation for the Tree of Life, whose influence should be considered as merely local, regardless of what the local propaganda claims.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
6475 Posts

Posted - 24 Jun 2022 :  04:20:02  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TKU

Funnily enough, there is (was) actually a drow city South of Amn that claimed to be the site of the Descent (presumably of the Miyeritari drow, as opposed to Telantiwar, founded by the drow from Ilythiir). Ust Natha-featured in the second Baldur's Gate game. So there is kinda some merit to the idea of 'multiple descents'

That being said, yeah, it is pretty hard to reconcile this with anything preceding it.



The "canonicity" of the computer games has always been one of significant conjecture. The last "official" pronouncement on that topic was all the way back in 2E days when Jim Butler took over from Jeff Grubb as "traffic cop" of the Realms. His word on that topic was straightforward and simple: nothing in the computer games was "canon" unless it was subsequently mentioned/written up/followed up in either a gaming or fiction product of the FR line.

That's the approach I've taken ever since and so, as nicely as possible, Ust Natha doesn't exist in "my" Realms. I know many take a contrary view and that's fine but given practically all of the people/places/events of the computer games were created and existed in a vacuum, I've found trying to reconcile that "lore" far more of a hindrance than a benefit.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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TKU
Learned Scribe

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 25 Jun 2022 :  19:04:12  Show Profile Send TKU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting insight. I wondered why Ust Natha and the House Despana holdings didn't make it into Havens of Miyeritar. It's absence seemed notable to me when I was reading it. Now I know why!

Though I would point out that the House Despana antagonists weren't made up wholecloth by Bioware-the noble house was already canon in the realms earlier, and while Ust Natha was a new addition, the other city that they had as a holding in the games, Rilauven, was not. So Bioware at least read 'Drow of the Underdark' before they put them in their games. Although the association between the noble house and that particular city is not made outside of the games-it appears later as a noble house in Menzoberranzan though in 4e.

House Despana is a bit of an odd duck though. Spread out vertically along the Sword Coast. Controls (possibly/maybe) one of the oldest Drow cities. Involved in the Bhaalspawn mess. Has a lot of problems stamping out the worship of Vhaeraun/Eilistraee/Ghaunadaur and a particular rivalry with a surface elven city. The only Drow noble house afaik that's canonically present on more than one plane, with the same house insignia no less. Ripe for further expansion/exploration IMO. It was nice to see some non-Menzo drow get the spotlight at the time as a major power and antagonistic force, but it's been quite a while. I got my fingers crossed it'll at least get a mention in BGIII.
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2022 :  06:00:27  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
New lore question:

What do the people of the Realms refer to the phenomenon we know as The Sundering by? Is there knowledge colloquially that would lead them to call it The Sundering as well? What about the Spellplague?
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TheIriaeban
Master of Realmslore

USA
1119 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2022 :  14:32:30  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I always thought that "Time of Troubles" was a great name and one that could easily be used by the masses. For the Spellplague, that was a real crapshow so maybe something like Time of the Mad Gods or something similar since something that destructive and widespread would have had to have come from the gods (in the view of the common man). The Second Sundering could be something like The Healing of the World or just The Healing since it is an erasure of the devastation made by the mad gods.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Erikor
Acolyte

Norway
43 Posts

Posted - 22 Jul 2022 :  01:43:15  Show Profile Send Erikor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Did anyone pre-order the new book? I did, I've read every other Drizzt book so I feel like I can't stop now. About a month to go.
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jordanz
Senior Scribe

545 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2022 :  09:09:59  Show Profile  Visit jordanz's Homepage Send jordanz a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Erikor

Did anyone pre-order the new book? I did, I've read every other Drizzt book so I feel like I can't stop now. About a month to go.


2 days to go from now....Please let us know what you think of it once you've read it.
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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  01:05:19  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm doing a comprehensive review/analysis of Glacier's Edge. I'm still finishing up the last few sections, but for those interested, I'm updating it weekly. Here's a link to one of the places it's posted: https://archiveofourown.org/works/40921692/chapters/102550794
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Erikor
Acolyte

Norway
43 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  02:02:18  Show Profile Send Erikor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy

I'm doing a comprehensive review/analysis of Glacier's Edge. I'm still finishing up the last few sections, but for those interested, I'm updating it weekly. Here's a link to one of the places it's posted: https://archiveofourown.org/works/40921692/chapters/102550794

Thanks, I've been waiting for your review. Any spoilers in it? Can I read your review or should I read it myself first now that it's out?
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36134 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  02:26:32  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy

I'm doing a comprehensive review/analysis of Glacier's Edge. I'm still finishing up the last few sections, but for those interested, I'm updating it weekly. Here's a link to one of the places it's posted: https://archiveofourown.org/works/40921692/chapters/102550794



Dang, if that's just the Introduction, I'm almost afraid of what you'll write when you get to the Negatives!

With the exception of his Sundering book, I've avoided the author's stuff since the Thousand Orcs trilogy -- I really didn't care for the ending, but it was the "my friends are all dead!" assumption at the beginning that killed it for me and made me decide I was done with the character.

And I've seen very little, since then, to make me rethink that stance.

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sno4wy
Senior Scribe

USA
429 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  02:53:09  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Erikor
Thanks, I've been waiting for your review. Any spoilers in it? Can I read your review or should I read it myself first now that it's out?



There are definitely a lot of spoilers in it.
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Erikor
Acolyte

Norway
43 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  03:07:59  Show Profile Send Erikor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sno4wy

quote:
Originally posted by Erikor
Thanks, I've been waiting for your review. Any spoilers in it? Can I read your review or should I read it myself first now that it's out?



There are definitely a lot of spoilers in it.


Then I'll read the book before reading your review. But thanks for posting it.
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TKU
Learned Scribe

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2022 :  04:00:47  Show Profile Send TKU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So should this thread be marked for potential spoilers now?
I just read your introduction and it was....not glowing. And that's the introduction!

More lore erasure, Callidae being puffed up even more. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Not happy to hear that RAS has some really questionable writing with his female characters...for all the talking up about the drow being a metaphor for RL sexism towards women, writing women has never really been something I would praise his books for, and honestly looking back as an adult, something I have found to be a little sexist itself....(maybe another discussion for another day though) with reservation I wonder what could be so bad that it would be so noteworthy in this book. Also waiting for some elaboration on what sounds like some homophobic content? intended or otherwise that's not something I'd expect in a modern D&D book.

What's this I hear about his detractors being likened to monsters that Drizzt kills though? Is this for real? I know he's penned some politically anvilicious content before, but that seems like a bridge too far, surely. Is that part of the author's introduction etc or actual monsters in the text being presented as stand-ins for his critics that he has killed?
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sno4wy
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USA
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  01:33:40  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TKU

So should this thread be marked for potential spoilers now?
I just read your introduction and it was....not glowing. And that's the introduction!

More lore erasure, Callidae being puffed up even more. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Not happy to hear that RAS has some really questionable writing with his female characters...for all the talking up about the drow being a metaphor for RL sexism towards women, writing women has never really been something I would praise his books for, and honestly looking back as an adult, something I have found to be a little sexist itself....(maybe another discussion for another day though) with reservation I wonder what could be so bad that it would be so noteworthy in this book. Also waiting for some elaboration on what sounds like some homophobic content? intended or otherwise that's not something I'd expect in a modern D&D book.

What's this I hear about his detractors being likened to monsters that Drizzt kills though? Is this for real? I know he's penned some politically anvilicious content before, but that seems like a bridge too far, surely. Is that part of the author's introduction etc or actual monsters in the text being presented as stand-ins for his critics that he has killed?



I thought I might've been reading too much into the text, but I just saw an update in another thread and, well, let's just say that I feel less bad about postulating what I did.

I can't paste a screenshot here, but the passage that I was specifically referring to goes like this:

quote:
Through decades of experience, Drizzt had come to learn that many living people would remain underestimated and underappreciated for their sacrifices and efforts by critics who yipped like gnolls under a late autumn moon.


RAS also did something similar in Starlight Enclave. I discuss it in this paragraph from my review of Starlight Enclave, I need to find the passage I was referencing.

quote:
I suspect that Salvatore stumbled onto Entreri by accident and was surprised by how popular he'd become, but instead of taking the opportunity to learn, research and consult about how to develop such a character that resonated so much with those that felt alienated by Drizzt, he instead took the lazy route and bent Entreri into the only thing that he apparently knows how to write. I could go on for pages about how damaging the message conveyed with Entreri's "redemption" is to readers with their real life traumas, but I don't have pages, so I'll just leave it at this: even within Starlight Enclave, Entreri's character isn't consistent, and I don't mean about how he never had Khazid'hea but it's apparently canon now that he had. Please, Bob, consult people with the appropriate experience. You can't make this stuff up. If you're going to write about it, you owe it to your readers to do it well. I suspect that my entreaty will fall on deaf ears, as there's a section of the book dedicated to lecturing about how intent matters. It's so meta, and so pathetically transparent. Yes, intention matters, but it can't be the end-all that the lecture wishes it is, it can't even be a significant factor in the consideration of the most important matters. In those matters, execution is important. If I hit someone with my car, regardless of if I meant to or not, I'd still be going to jail for a very long time, which is as it should be. Intent matters, but what comes of it matters so much more.
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sno4wy
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USA
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  09:14:38  Show Profile Send sno4wy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's the short(er) and less profane version I wrote for Amazon. Contains spoilers.

quote:
Drowse On Ice

I wish I could give Glacier's Edge a higher rating than I gave Starlight Enclave. My heart hopes that these books will improve, even though it doesn’t happen. Glacier's Edge, being the middle book of a trilogy, doesn’t have to be judged for the mistakes made in its predecessor. Much of what led to my negative review for Starlight Enclave was due to the “worldbuilding”. Glacier’s Edge is mostly set outside of Callidae, meaning that on its own, Glacier’s Edge is not at fault for Callidae’s ridiculousness, nor any of its over-compensation or impact on the “drow problem”. Unfortunately, Glacier’s Edge both creates new problems and falls back on problematic old tropes.

Glacier's Edge however is not without its merits. Overall, the technical writing is better than in Starlight Enclave. The instances of what I've dubbed "Salvatorisms" (Salvatore’s frequent repetitious negative writing quirks) are reduced. Furthermore, there are a number of clever and/or poignant turns of phrase. While there are also some writing decisions that don't quite hit the mark, at the very least those that fall short indicate an effort that was made. Another positive is a few proper and accurate references to the canon lore of the shared world and/or references to situations not written in a Drizzt novel. Examples include the reinforcement that female drow are as a whole larger than male drow and the allusion to Shakti Hunzrin's time double-dealing as a dual priestess of both Lolth and Vhaeraun. Finally, Gromph Baenre also remains true to form, giving the readers some new insight on the extent of his hubris.

Glacier's Edge’s coverage of the civil war brewing in Menzoberranzan for the last two years is lazy. The drow of Menzoberranzan suddenly display a capacity for characteristics other than treachery, which has often been true outside of the Drizzt books, but within them the Lolthite drow have always been pretty one-note. The way that they're portrayed now feels very artificial, as if the author just felt like changing his mind. In some cases, characters deviate from how they’d previously behaved and are no longer who they were, with no explanation. "No explanation" isn't altogether accurate, as WotC's direction regarding a whole city of good drow and the clarification that existing drow are not fundamentally evil played a part. This isn't a bad change, however the way that it's executed in Glacier's Edge requires a crane to be brought in in order to help us suspend that much disbelief. For instance, Dinin, Drizzt’s returned older brother now known as Dininae, feels like an entirely new character. The old Dinin was egocentric, cruel, and ruthlessly opportunistic. He murdered his older brother in cold blood without hesitation or remorse, and killed countless other drow in Menzoberranzan. In short, he was shown to be clearly evil. The Dinin that was brought back from the Abyss and de-driderified is shown as having a proclivity towards caring for others. At one point he literally throws himself between a friend he recently met and a blade. I don't dislike this change for Dinin, but its implementation is very poorly thought out. Dinin spent hundreds of years in the Abyss as a drider, serving Lolth’s whims and, as we’re told in Glacier’s Edge, being tormented by demons. While a traumatic life experience can lead to a personality revamp, RAS repeatedly tells us that life as a drider was a constant state of pain, emotional and physical. We also are told that it stays as bad as it was on the first day as it is on the last, therefore Dinin didn’t learn empathy there. He was in House Baenre for two years with the other Blaspheme between after Relentless and this book, and that’s an unlikely place to teach him this new personality. He's now a great warrior, when in times past he was average at best. Another drow subject to this sudden character change is Saribel Xorlarrin/Baenre/Do'Urden. The youngest and weakest of the female children of Zeerith Xorlarrin made up for her shortcomings with cruelty. She was the perfect match for rash and brazen Tiago, whom she married and managed to hold in check. It wasn’t by sheer luck that Saribel outlived her husband, as she facilitated his demise, yet, in Glacier’s Edge, she shows herself to be kind, even considerate and sociable. Again, I don't inherently object to the change, but it's so radical and unexplained that it stands out like a clown at a black-tie affair. The Menzoberranzanyr drow are all suddenly empathic, and this is taken too far, too quickly. What makes it worse is that even with these changes, they're still presented as inferior to the Callidaen drow. Drizzt finds his ultimate validation at Callidae and Dab'nay is not good enough for Zaknafein despite the two sharing far more chemistry in one interaction than Zak has with Azzudonna in total.

The time spent in Callidae or with its people is shorter than in the last book, however that does not make either more endearing. RAS seems so utterly convinced about the perfection of his newest toys that he’s oblivious to immensely glaring issues that pop up. The Callidaens’ behaviors, beliefs and practices are the same as those of egomanical, xenophobic and borderline narcissistic people, but because it’s Callidae none of those characteristics could possibly be true (wink wink). It's more than that the city apparently has the same plot armor enshrouding Drizzt, as RAS further twists the characters that we’ve known into things that we no longer recognize. Jarlaxle, who has been portrayed as arrogant and incredibly self-confident, apparently has always felt there was something wrong with him. Luckily Callidae is there for him to purify his “drowness”. Entreri would now accept death or eternal torture in the cocoon rather than "betray" Callidae by revealing the secret of its existence. Before, it was just Drizzt who would totally revamp the character of people around him simply by getting them into his supercilious aura of pseudo-sainthood. Now, there's an entire city of forty thousand people that has the same effect. If anything, the influence of Callidae is greater and worse in Glacier’s Edge than in Starlight Enclave, which is sickly impressive given that less than one third of the book takes place in and around Callidae.

In Glacier's Edge the geothermal caverns that are responsible for the city’s survival in the arctic north are under attack. Of course, these caverns were unheard of in the millennia of Callidae's existence, the aevendrow only realizing how their city managed to be warm and habitable amidst a deadly environment when Jarlaxle brought it up in the last book. The crystals that make heat have no precedent in FR history despite the attempt in the previous book to make it seem like they've always been a part of the Underdark. The magical crystals are being eaten by polar worms, so the Callidaens drill holes from above into these caves and send small teams to deal with the polar worm infestation. It's very dangerous work, made worse because all the Callidaens apparently lack darkvision. There are many scenes of these expeditions fraught with peril, and when survivors are pulled up from the searing depths, they do not escape the horror of the situation, as they're surrounded by those others who are gravely injured from their own sojourns below. Yet despite the vast amount of injuries and casualties, to say nothing about the inherent trials of engaging in this kind of wide scale expedition in the arctic north, the Callidaens expend great effort to haul up every polar worm they kill, to show that they're such good and moral people who won’t allow the bodies of their enemies to go to waste. The thing is, while implying that every worm is harvested, RAS conveniently forgets how he painstakingly hammered into us that it's sooo dangerous to go into these "breathless rooms" and what a great risk the Callidaens are taking. What kind of people put in such incredibly impractical amounts of effort to show that they're good and moral, subjecting their supposed friends and kin to even greater risks? While RAS makes the characters' mouths flap out lavish accolades upon Callidae, the clear hypocrisy shows that they are people who care more about facades than the actual well-being of their citizenry.

Further, I can’t believe that none of the characters realize that the mindset, "I would rather let these people I care about a lot die than reveal my home's secret existence", is unfriendly and hostile. A city is a place, and a home is no home without its people. A people who willingly throw away the lives of others, especially those they consider “friends” aren't a people worth protecting. Yet this is the belief that Azzudonna and all the Callidaens hold. On numerous occasions, various Callidaens, including their leader, mourn the loss of their "dear friends”, who aren't dead at all, but they don't bother to ascertain their true fate. It seems very likely that the Callidaens will be forced to change their perspective in the third book, as this trilogy's entire purpose is to introduce this alternate drow origin story and to force them into the rest of the world. While this might be the goal, it doesn't matter if Callidaens treat their guests like royalty, if they do what they do to them upon departure. The whole memory erasure practice is a convenient way to explain how Callidae was unknown all this time, but with a bit of thought it becomes clear how that it is deeply problematic. Erasing memories is akin to erasing a person, or at least a part of that person. It’s accurate to describe the practice that Callideans engage in as "mind rape". This becomes even less palatable when it's revealed that the practice is imprecise, and that despite having done it for centuries, the Callideans can't exactly control which memories are erased; it's not sufficient that they violate you by taking away parts of your mind, they also take away things that have no relation to them at all. This sort of appropriation can’t be represented as positive. After mind raping Jarlaxle, he is released in the arctic northland. His benevolent captors didn’t leave him high and dry, they graciously filled his pack with their delicacy, the inimitable dried persimmons, muskox cheese and ice wine combination. No doubt this is to illustrate how kind and considerate the Callidaens are, but food can trigger recollections, with smell and taste bringing to mind memories that we’d long forgotten, buried, or lost. Even if we fail to remember the details of the memory, a smell can invokes a sense of nostalgia or a taste can make us feel inexplicably comforted, relaxed and can trigger something within us. This is why that scene in the movie Ratatouille, when the ruthless food critic Anton Ego is thrown back into his boyhood when he takes one bite of the dish Remy serves him, is so poignant and relatable. While they are obsessed with their secrecy to an inhumane degree, the Callidaens sure are careless, even missing Jarlaxle carving giant bloody letters into the sole of his foot. With the way that the narrative is, it's difficult to conclude anything other than that the Callidaens are actually quite evil and so un-self-aware that they don’t even notice.

RAS can't claim ignorance about the memory problem either, as one of the plotlines is whether Azzudonna is to be subjected to the mind flayer hivemind to uncover what's missing from Jarlaxle's memories. That violation is so great that even Kimmuriel is reluctant to bring her there, as he knows that forcibly tampering with her memory could wholly destroy her. Kimmuriel reveals that even when he'd willingly submitted himself to the hivemind's treatment that it was an experience so traumatic that it haunts him to this day. Can we really judge which is worse, between going through someone's memories and deleting parts of someone's memories? Especially when the latter situation involves essentially deleting important people in one's life? The Callidaens are ok with sending Jarlaxle away after having removed his memories of what befell three key people in his life: Zak and Entreri, both of whom are big parts of his life, and the wife of his idol. They are content to leave him with these people cut away from him, If you had to forsake the people dearest to you via the erasure of your memories, would it be more likely that those doing the erasure would become your enemies or people that you'd lay down all else to protect? According to Glacier's Edge, the latter is the "correct" answer, which should emphasize all that is ridiculous about Callidae.

I doubt RAS wanted to make Callidae and its people pretty freaking horrible, but he also made several terrible conscious decisions. First is another round of erasures and misrepresentations of FR lore. Although Glacier's Edge is one of the few Drizzt books (3 iirc) that mention Eilistraee by name despite her being an immense part of drow history, gets who she is and what she represents wrong. The deity that the paladin Galathae reveres is none other than the Dark Maiden, but despite being her follower, Galathae doesn't seem to know what her own goddess is about. She seems to believe that Eilistraee is primarily a nature deity who shares a portfolio with Mielikki. In reality, while summarizing Callidae can be done in a paragraph, the same isn’t true of Eilistraee. She is best known for providing comfort and solace to the drow after they'd been cursed to the Underdark. Few Drizzt readers know that, in fact, drow were never inherently evil, and good drow have always existed in established lore. Lolth was once named Araushnee, and was the wife of Corellon, the god of all elves. However, craving power, Araushnee attempted to kill her husband and other members of the elven pantheon. When she failed, Corellon could not kill her because he still loved her, so instead he banished her and her followers. Araushnee became Lolth and the elves who aided her became the drow. Lolth’s daughter Eilistraee was tricked into the scheme by her mother, but chose to take on the curse of the drow even after being forgiven. Despite the millennia of Lolth’s suppression, Eilistraee stood fast for the drow. Her song could be felt by the lowest rogue male to the highest matron mother, but Lolth taught the drow to distrust the warmth and comfort Eilistraee brought them. Regardless, Eilistraee was always there to encourage the drow to seek a different path, reaching out and guiding those who sought to escape the Spider Queen. Eilistraee taught beauty in all things, and though she guided drow back to the surface, she never willed them to change what they were nor disagreed if they wished to stay below. Eilistraee is and has always been so much more natural and beautiful than a contrived secret civilization could ever be.

It would have made more sense had Drizzt been guided by Eilistraee, as she certainly would’ve allowed him to hear her song, and she would've actively worked to help him get to the surface. However, because the existence of Eilistraee and her followers made Drizzt less unique, she only appeared in the Drizzt novels to assert how she and her followers failed and to misrepresent her. In public interviews, RAS claims that the reason for his leaving Eilistraee out is due to his dislike of religion, a rhetoric conveys in Starlight Enclave with befuddled, inconsistent, and hypocritical results. In Glacier's Edge, he continues with this rhetoric. He makes people of religion appear as unthinking and easily manipulated tools in a way that is reminiscent of a small child throwing a tantrum. The child screams about how they're not a certain way (in this case, religious), so as to validate another tenuous clause. In this case, it’s Entreri's “redemption” via the threat of the cocoon of endless torment. RAS is so keen on justifying the cocoon episode that Glacier's Edge subjects Drizzt to quick change by trauma as well. Drizzt's experience is every bit as inappropriate as Entreri's, with problems in both who directs it and how it is conceived. Kane tells Drizzt that the gnolls have abducted a brother from the monastery as well as Brie, going so far as to imitate Brie's cries from deep within the gnolls' lair. This desperate situation is supposed to help Drizzt combine his Hunter mode and his monk training. While it is successful, Kane has to rouse Drizzt from a craze in which he believed he stood over the mangled corpse of his daughter. Apparently RAS didn't get the memo that like the drow, gnolls aren't all inherently evil, and had Drizzt slaughter a bunch of people whom neither had his daughter nor the monk. The justification that Kane gave for the exercise is that Drizzt's friends need him in a short amount of time and that he wouldn't be able to fulfill his duties. However, as things worked out, Drizzt didn't need that ability anyway, even less than Kane needed to sacrifice himself, as Pikel wields powers from 2e and broke all D&D mechanics between then and now to defeat Ygorl. There are several issues with this entire confabulation: first, Kane is the leader of an order that reveres Ilmater, who is literally the incarnation of compassion, existing to help other avoid and endure suffering. One of Ilmater's primary champions should not be inflicting suffering even as a means to an end. Especially when that end is questionable, as traumatic experiences can have unpredictable outcomes, which are rarely, if ever, worthwhile.

A lot of the negative aspects that had briefly improved in the recent books regress to their old states, which we haven't seen for several books. The objectification of female characters is back, made even more disgusting by male characters being put in the same scenarios but treated wholly differently. The handling of some male characters is not any better, as Dinin's worth is measured by only his prowess in battle and bed. The sexualization of sapphic interactions is back, and to make it worse, it's used in a rape scenario. That's not all, the sapphic sex is positioned in such a way that it’s contrasted against a “wholesome” heterosexual sex scene. There's over-the-top NO HOMO posturing about Jarlaxle’s sexuality with profuse explanation when anything vaguely resembling intimacy between him and another male character occurs. At the same time female characters are casually hugging and kissing each other without similarly attached explanations.

It would not be a RAS book without some, “boo hoo, I don’t deserve to be the whipping boy of fantasy”, crying and truly pitifully transparent likening of his critics to the gnolls that Drizzt brutally and indiscriminately massacres. The hinting that Drizzt is as good as Grandmaster Kane followed by the totally unnecessary sacrifice of the old monk puts Drizzt at newer heights of Mary Sueness, but who’s surprised by that anymore? Oh, for you old school D&D players, no you didn't remember incorrectly, Qadeej was not a primordial and was in fact one of the bad guys in The Rod of Seven Parts.
All in all, Glacier's Edge is just sloppy and poorly thought out. The amount of self-inconsistency (apparently udadrow also lack darkvision now) and disrespect of material in its own franchise is enough to sink the book even without taking into account the middle finger it puts up towards outside content. It's very apparent that the overall amount of effort being put into these books is on a steep decline, but I guess that it doesn't matter since there will always be those fanbois who can't tell that "irregardless" isn't a real word and will continue to give them 5 stars. The reality however is that these books retain problematic archaic themes and tropes in a setting that seeks to embrace progressive mindsets. It's not that I want RAS and his books to fail, I want him to do better, to properly reflect the direction the world is moving in today and to give the future generation of readers what they deserve.
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Aug 2022 :  12:56:40  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never did understand the RAS worship of some people.

I've read 10 of his books. The first was mildly entertaining but nothing special and not without its problems. Each subsequent book has become less entertaining and the problems only mount, to the point that I cannot face reading another RAS novel.

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