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    Canonfire :: View topic - what about the novels?
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    what about the novels?
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    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
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    From: brazil

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    Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:44 pm  
    what about the novels?

    so, what about oficial GH novels?
    any recomendations?

    hows ToEE, AtG and the other adventures based ones?

    i've read only dragonlance and little about forgotten realms and ravenloft
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:36 pm  

    most of the greyhawk novels are not very good IMO, although Temple of Elemental Evil and Tomb of Horrors are alright if you are not hoping to get a lot of greyhawk lore out of them... a lot of people like the Paul Kidd novels, but personally I can't stand them... drowning Lolth in a portable hole full of holy water is approaching Rose Estes levels of crapiness IMO.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:31 am  

    Thread moved to the general discussion forum for...um...general discussion. Wink
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:00 am  

    I personally liked the Gord the Rogue novels very much, but the general opinion seems to be that they're not very well-written. Perhaps not being a native speaker helps me here. They are certainly very Gygaxian.

    Here are two older threads on the topic of GH novels:
    The Books, Please
    Gord the Rogue: Does book order matter?
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:05 am  

    I wrote a review of Nightwatch.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:24 am  

    Quag Keep by Andre Norton is also considered to be set in Greyhawk, and it has the distinction of being the first novel based on a fantasy role playing game.

    Interestingly it has been republished recently together with the sequel Return to Quag Keep (also by Norton together with Jean Rabe).
    GreySage

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:51 am  

    Quag Keep is Greyhawk, albeit an early version different from what we got in the folio. Still, it's interesting, and it has both the City of Greyhawk and the Sea of Dust in it.

    Return to Quag Keep isn't Greyhawk at all, though. Doubtless because of intellectual property concerns, there are no Oerthly places or names in the book. There are not even any analogs of those names or places. It takes place in a generic fantasy world that isn't recognizably Greyhawk in the slightest.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    From: Midwood in Geoff

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:20 am  

    The Greyhawk books are a mixed bag, for the most part.

    The Estes stuff. . . blah. Interesting fantasy if you don't mind it jumbling up your Hawk lore to an almost unrecognizable state.

    I did like the '98 revival novels, for the most part:
    Against the Giants ***1/2
    Temple of Elemental Evil ***
    White Plume Mountain ****
    Descent into the Depths ***
    Queen of Spiders **
    Keep on the Borderlands * (incredibly boring! with little or no connection to the Caves of Chaos)
    Tomb of Horrors *** 1/2
    Can't remember if there were any others in this line . . .

    The Gygax books are good, if you like the style of writing.
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:29 pm  

    I think that the lack of a steady flow of quality fiction is one of the biggest problems plaguing Greyhawk. Personally I liked the Paul Kidd novels and the Rose Estes novels. The Temple of Elemental Evil novel was ok but its mediocrity left such a bad taste in my mouth I never read to other of the revivalist novels from the same era.

    I liked the Gord the Rogue novels but reading them I felt more like I was reading source materials then reading a novel. I mean at the end of the first one it gave the game statistics of most of the characters for christ sakes.

    It is this haphazard attempt at creating a line of fiction that has caused the growth of Greyhawk to be so slow in my opinion. The biggest reason for the Realms explosive growth over the years can almost singly laid at the feet of R. A. Salvatore. His works have created a legion of fans to demand the continuation of the FR setting, many of which have never even picked up a PH. Its hard to argue with the simple economics of the situation. If Greyhawk had a similar line of dedicated writers it would be similarly difficult to dislodge from the name D&D. Unfortunately it has no such support.

    The Paul Kidd and Rose Estes novels, for all their faults, made me very happy because they reminded me that there were people out there that would write and support the setting I loved so much. I wish there were just more people out there that were willing to do what they did.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:10 pm  

    The problem I've always had with the novels based on actual adventures (keep on the borderlands, ToEE, Against the Giants, etc). is that having played the adventures I couldn't help but compare my game experiences to the book and find the book... lacking.

    For example: Against the Giants was several months of great game play. sneaking around inside the hill giant steading, ambushing giants when they were away from bigger groups of giants, getting jumped by wandering monsters, all building to several separate climatic battles. In the book the party sneaks in and then it's chapter after chapter of the party using the paladin's ability to detect evil to avoid encounters.

    I usually enjoy the characters in the book, just not how they interface with the world. Someone posted earlier about Paul Kidd's thing with brokeness (decanters of endless holywater? Full auto crossbows of speed, etc) which I agree I found annoying but I loved the portable hole fitted out like a den shelves and such and Cinder always made me chuckle (Cinder was the sentient hellhound skin the main character wore as a cloak).

    I think Greyhawk would benefit from more books like most of the Forgotten Realms novels... decently written novels set in the world but not trying to retell stories we have all already told better for ourselves.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:03 am  

    On the other hand, one of the big reasons I hated FR was that there was always a new book out telling me that my interpretation of a locale/event/character was WRONG!

    The Realms were unplayable, in my opinion, because of the sheer volume of novels. I could either a) buy the game books to run the game, or b) buy all the current novels to keep up with the one player who was a die-hard Realms fan...
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:55 pm  

    Here we have one view...

    manus-nigrum wrote:
    I think that the lack of a steady flow of quality fiction is one of the biggest problems plaguing Greyhawk. Personally I liked the Paul Kidd novels and the Rose Estes novels. The Temple of Elemental Evil novel was ok but its mediocrity left such a bad taste in my mouth I never read to other of the revivalist novels from the same era.

    It is this haphazard attempt at creating a line of fiction that has caused the growth of Greyhawk to be so slow in my opinion. The biggest reason for the Realms explosive growth over the years can almost singly laid at the feet of R. A. Salvatore. His works have created a legion of fans to demand the continuation of the FR setting, many of which have never even picked up a PH. Its hard to argue with the simple economics of the situation. If Greyhawk had a similar line of dedicated writers it would be similarly difficult to dislodge from the name D&D. Unfortunately it has no such support.

    The Paul Kidd and Rose Estes novels, for all their faults, made me very happy because they reminded me that there were people out there that would write and support the setting I loved so much. I wish there were just more people out there that were willing to do what they did.


    ...and here we have another.

    Vulcan wrote:
    On the other hand, one of the big reasons I hated FR was that there was always a new book out telling me that my interpretation of a locale/event/character was WRONG!

    The Realms were unplayable, in my opinion, because of the sheer volume of novels. I could either a) buy the game books to run the game, or b) buy all the current novels to keep up with the one player who was a die-hard Realms fan...


    I agree with both these statements, believe it or not. In fact, I think there's a middle ground between them. Manus nigrum is quite right in saying that good fiction can stimulate the setting...but Vulcan is also right in saying that overdoing it can choke a lot of the life out of the setting when it comes to playing games as opposed to just writing fantasy fiction.

    My own view would be to have a series of authors writing their own stories, and doing what they like. The catch, however, is that these novels would not be considered canon, they would not be considered a definitive interpretation of the setting, and they do not all exist in the same continuity-in effect, each author would get his or her own version of the setting to play with as they see fit.

    This way, we avoid the stigma that has become attached to the Realms through many of its novels, some of which are very, very bad (if you feel like torturing yourself someday, read something by Ed Greenwood starring one or more of the Seven Sisters, or anything by Richard Awlinson, or especially anything by Jeff Grubb). If everyone knows the novels are neither canon, nor definitive, nor even participating in a shared universe, gamers and players could use or ignore them as they saw fit. Besides which, as EGG repeatedly pointed out, Greyhawk was meant to be open to differing interpretations and shadings.

    At the same time, different authors could cultivate their own fanbases, and work with the maximum amount of creative freedom, doing what they want when they want without having to worry about continuity or stepping on each others' toes. Greyhawk could then build a wider fanbase among people who don't game, like me.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:47 am  

    I loved the Gord the Rogue novels (except maybe the last 2 where things started to get a bit super-heroish and the ending was a bit controversial - not to mention an advertisment for Gary's new Yarth setting :).

    The Gord novels have a great Gygaxian feel and we can see more closely how Gary envisioned the City of Greyhawk (as opposed to TSR's boxed set version).

    rasgon wrote:
    Quag Keep is Greyhawk, albeit an early version different from what we got in the folio. Still, it's interesting, and it has both the City of Greyhawk and the Sea of Dust in it.


    Does the City of Greyhawk described in Quag Keep mesh with the one described in the Gord books?
    GreySage

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:49 am  

    dead wrote:
    Does the City of Greyhawk described in Quag Keep mesh with the one described in the Gord books?


    There's not a lot of detail on the city in Quag Keep, so they're very compatible. Greyhawk in Norton's novel is depicted as a city balanced on the razor's edge between the warring forces of Law and Chaos (read Good and Evil), with orcs and evil wizards as common as heroic figures. It still has a Thieves' Quarter, and lots of treasure-hunting tomb raiders.
    Novice

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:17 pm  

    Hey all. Long time lurker.

    Saga of Old City has been a sourcebook for years of Greyhawk campaigning. The descriptions of the various taverns in Greyhawk (and Eastern Oerik) have been inspirational, especially the Horn and Haunch in Chapter 15. Plenty of adventure ideas as well: sailing the Nyr Dyv; being involved in a skirmish in the Great Kingdom; searching for ancient cairns in the roughlands surrounding the Free City--even relaxing at the Patrician's Club with the Guilmaster of Assassins. Definitely worth reading.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:19 pm  

    I agree that the novel line, particularly those of Salvatore, really is what pushed the realms ahead of greyhawk. I remember trying to explain a bit of GH to a guy I was trying to recruit into my game who had never played in GH before. Around the time I was talking about the Invoked Devastation, his girlfriend chimed in, "It's all part of the Time of Troubles."

    Of course, she was not a player, rather, she was a part-time DnD cheerleader.

    I think she also played FR continuity (having read all the novels) rules lawyer.

    I remember her crying once when her boyfriend's character died while they were playing at Denny's.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:13 pm  

    You know, I think that its pretty pathetic when someone gets pissy when their own character dies but to dry over the death of a character that isn't even yours? Man that's raising the bar.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:15 pm  

    I asked about her the other day, just to get some more wackiness for you. Apparently, she actually does play the game on occasion, but she will only play a druid as she is a wiccan.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:21 pm  

    I've heard of a few people like that but never a Wiccan, they were Christians who would only play clerics of the One True God.
    GreySage

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    Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:49 pm  

    I agree with cwslyclgh. The Tomb of Horrors and The Temple of Elemental Evil were descent enough. Cool

    And I liked Gord the Rogue (Long Live EGG!) as did Thanael. Happy

    I agree with MichaelSandar on his opinion of Keep on the Borderlands. Redundant with hack and slash in the caves. No story, no plot. That had to be a boring game. Laughing

    I read the first two books in the Dungeons and Dragons series. I'm thinking that they are Greyhawk based because the same charaters appear in the DVD "Scourge of Worlds," in which they have the option of traveling to Greyhawk. Confused There's also a Cleric of Pholtus in the movie.

    But the style of writing for that series was very "teenager-ish" for me. I just couldn't bring myself to try any of the other books. Of course, it might be that one of the other authors (there were several) suffered because of that. One of the latter books could have been better.

    Just my thoughts.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:13 am  

    Another very obscure line of GH-related books are the Sagard the Barbarian gamebooks by Dille/Gygax.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:42 am  

    Thanael wrote:
    Another very obscure line of GH-related books are the Sagard the Barbarian gamebooks by Dille/Gygax.


    great info!
    thanks for sharing
    CF Admin

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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:50 am  

    I would say not to waste your time on any Greyhawl related novels. Just read the Wheel of Time or something.
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    Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:21 pm  

    Thanael wrote:
    I personally liked the Gord the Rogue novels very much, but the general opinion seems to be that they're not very well-written. Perhaps not being a native speaker helps me here. They are certainly very Gygaxian.

    Here are two older threads on the topic of GH novels:
    The Books, Please
    Gord the Rogue: Does book order matter?


    The should be Gygaxian he wrote the first three.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:37 am  

    manus-nigrum wrote:
    You know, I think that its pretty pathetic when someone gets pissy when their own character dies but to dry over the death of a character that isn't even yours? Man that's raising the bar.


    -I can't believe that anyone can be so callous, as to gloat over the death of a, uh, a, uh, something of other...


    Happy
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:46 am  

    excior wrote:
    The should be Gygaxian he wrote the first three.


    Actually Gygax wrote all 7 of the Gord books, of which only the first 2 were published by TSR though. Check out the linked threads above for the New Infinities titles if you weren't aware of them.

    PS: excior, please use a smaller avatar picture...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:47 am  

    excior wrote:
    Actually Gygax wrote all 7 of the Gord books, of which only the first 2 were published by TSR though.


    I thought Rose Estate wrote the majority of the Gord novels.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:52 pm  

    I might get lynched for saying so, but I liked all the Greyhawk-related novels. None of them were what I would call "good literature", but they were all a fun read in one way or another. Heck, I even liked the Estes stories.

    But then, if you're going to bring terms like "canon" into the mix, that's another story....
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:09 pm  

    I'll have to agree with Bubbagump on this one. Evil Grin

    As I said before, they did not present the best writing I've ever seen, by any means. And I never did finish the whole series of T.H. Lain novels -- though I still might -- but the books I did read were fun and -- most important for me -- the were Greyhawk. They weren't Forgotten Realms, or Eberron, or anything else, they were Greyhawk.

    That counts for much. Cool
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    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:53 pm  

    Varthalon wrote:
    I thought Rose Estate wrote the majority of the Gord novels.


    No, she wrote the majority of the Greyhawk Adventures series of novels. The first two novels in that series were Gord novels; the rest weren't. The Gord series was concluded by Gary Gygax and published by New Infinities.
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