Tag Archive: dungeons and dragons


Dungeons and Dragons

Now I know this is the epitome of nerd-dom, and be that as it may, I can’t help but love a good campaign. I’m pretty sure the guys here would enjoy it if we could get a campaign started. Doing the typical good-guys versus evil-maniacs campaign would be fun, but so would an evil-genius versus good-sheople (sheep+people=sheople) campaign. I’ve played both before, and I’ve always found an evil campaign a great way to (peacefully) vent anger. It’s also a lot more fun getting into character, if the DM (Dungeon Master, for all you out there who don’t play) makes you play that way. Let’s face it, is it more fun to be a hero who has to save the peasant from tripping over her own skirts, or an evil genius who throws out maniacal laughter because the peasant tripped over her own skirts? So, I’m obviously biased, but being able to play as evil (especially considering almost all current games are good, or neutral at best) is refreshing and fun as hell. I’m not sure whether the guys would play an evil campaign over a good campaign, but we would have to figure out how to set one up anyways.

Unfortunately, my brother was the one who would DM for us, and I don’t have the books or know-how to do it myself.   I’ve found a site called http://www.newbieDM.com that has tips and information on how to DM, and I understand the concept, but the biggest pitfall so far is the books. Technically the lack of the books. I’m always shocked whenever I’m reminded how much more books and board games cost here in Australia than they do in the states. With the price of a set of beginner’s D&D books (Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook 1&2, plus a Monster Manual or two) being what it is in the states, I’m pretty sure it’s well out of my range here. Besides, I never wanted to DM. I would much prefer being in on the action than watching it from above and narrating and/or being there as a rule check. The way I think about it is: would you rather play the video game or code it? But at the same time, there are some points where the DM can annoy me to hell.

My biggest beef with DMs is what power they have and do not have, especially concerning storyline and actions taken by the player. There was one time we were playing an evil campaign and we had guards coming after us outside a merchant town a mile or two into the forest. Naturally, I wanted to burn the forest down, guards and city along with it, and make a break for the edge of the forest. What can I say, I was feeling particularly evil that day. My brother, our DM, strictly forbade me from taking that action because it wouldn’t fit in with the storyline he had in mind. That’s where I got pissed off. I understand the DM is there to reign in and keep players to the rules, but a DM isn’t a god. You can’t forbid me from doing something because it makes you unhappy. What’s next? You tell me I can’t slap a peasant because she’s important later on and you’ll have to change the storyline to accommodate her (angry) feelings towards us? Anyways, I think in a situation like this, he should have allowed me to try, even if he didn’t think we could run to the edge of the forest before the fire consumed us. So, roll the dice, try, and if we make it, then adjust the storyline. If we don’t, we go back to before I burned the forest down and we died along with it. No big deal, and it would have resulted in a lot less anger and hurt feelings. So where do you draw the line when it comes to what a DM is allowed to do or not?

Anyhow, with all that being said, I would love to have a set of books and dice, and some graph paper and pencils (I never got into buying the pre-printed dungeons; it’s cheaper and more fun to make your own as you go along). I could stumble my way through being DM, at least until I found someone else in the group willing to do it! I’ve considered trying to find a tabletop games shop and see if they have any campaigns running that I (we; I would most likely drag at least Dwayne along) could join. Or if I could befriend their DM and take him hostage to set up a beginner’s campaign for us!

What do you think? Have any of you ever played D&D before? Anyone in the Melbourne area want to DM for us? If you have played, what’s your favorite character (race, class, abilities, etc.) or your favorite event from a past campaign (did you attack that old grizzly drunkard who annoyed you only to find out that he’s a mage of uncompromised power?)

I was going to do a spotlight on The Legend of Drizzt, but there are so many of those books, and he’s written so many other good books, it would be difficult to do. Instead I decided to do a look at all his books, but that proved to be too long. This focuses on The Legend of Drizzt series, but also includes The Cleric Quintet since it is directly related to the series.I will finish off with the rest of his books soon, hopefully.

To begin, his most well-known and most extensive series would be The Legend of Drizzt.  The first series (it was written as a series of smaller series of books) by publication date is The Icewind Dale Trilogy, and although chronologically should belong second in the series, I recommend reading this first, especially if you are new to the Forgotten Realms books. The Icewind Dale Trilogy contains The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem. I recommend reading The Dark Elf Trilogy next, although it is the prequel. This trilogy includes Homeland Exile, and Sojourn. It makes more sense once you have a firm grasp on the world and the characters. After The Dark Elf Trilogy was published, came Legacy of The Drow. It follows The Icewind Dale Trilogy chronologically, so don’t get your storyline mixed up! This series includes the books The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn. Next in the storyline is the series Paths of Darkness, including The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, and Sea of Swords. Originally, Servant of The Shard was part of this series as well, but it has been moved into the next series for reasons I’m not sure of. I remember reading it, but I can’t remember enough of the plot to know whether it makes more sense in the original order, or the new order, so I’m writing these in the new order, since I vaguely remember the book we had as having it marked as an excerpt of something to come later. The next to come is The Sellswords, which is Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King, and Road of the Patriarch, which is followed by The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy comprising The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords. To be completely honest, this is as far as I have made it into the series and it was all wonderful (with the exception of a beautifully written plot twist that mangled my favorite character and left me angry, but it was still well written). I was too busy reading other books to finish Transitions, which includes The Orc King, The Pirate King, and The Ghost King, but from what I have heard they are every bit as good as the other books. The series finishes off with (for now, I’m not sure if it will be continued) Neverwinter which has three books, the last is planned to be released August 7th, 2012. Their titles are Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, and Charon’s Claw. For a total of 26 books in the main storyline, purchasing all the books is expensive, which is exactly what you will end up doing once you start the series.

I read these originally when I was in 5th grade (I had a rather high reading level for my age; I read the Little House on the Prairie books in 2nd grade 😛 ) so my memories of the plot are not amazing. Dwayne is reading it for the first time, and we talk about the plot every night. He’s constantly telling me he gets weird looks reading on the trains because he bursts out laughing while he’s reading. This is something I definitely remember, the characters have great humour and the books are highly enjoyable. Even so, these are not intended as comedy. The battle scenes are well written, intense and serious without being horrifically gory, and the adventures and fantasy aspects are well done also. Even the plot twists I don’t like are beautifully worked out. The characters are constantly evolving, yet they are timeless. The play between characters is well thought out, and even the characters who come into play once, and then come back several books after are consistent and well done. These will keep you guessing, laughing, and interested for a very long time. They are not as long as some of the books I’ve read recently, and Dwayne has been reading them in 3-4 days apiece, though I’ll admit he has had his nose stuck in them constantly!

Not following the main storyline, but including characters that come into play in The Legend of Drizzt books, is The Cleric Quintet. This series includes Canticle, In Sylvan Shadows, Night Masks, The Fallen Fortress, and The Chaos Curse. As per his previous writings, this is expertly written and an amazing source of entertainment. The plot will draw you in and surprise you, whilst characters are sticking their thumbs in their ears and waggling their fingers at you (literally). This is the back story of characters included in The Legend of Drizzt Series. Like all his other books, this is well worth the read. It was published after The Dark Elf Trilogy, so if you read it alongside the other books, I would recommend after The Dark Elf Trilogy but before Legacy of the Drow. 

Happy reading!