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Monday, August 21, 2023

Review: Dark Legacy by Mel Odom

I recently reviewed the entire Threat from the Sea trilogy by Mel Odom. What you, lucky reader, may not have realized is that there are more stories to read about this big Realms event. The first released was this short story, found in Dragon Magazine issue 255. The other is the anthology Realms of the Deep, which I will be reviewing soon.

story art by David Kooharian

In January 1999, the same month book one, Rising Tide, was released, we got a short story introducing the conflict. It can be found on pages 66-77. The story starts on the 22 Ches (actually misspelled as Chess in the article) 1355 DR. That means it is early Spring, essentially late March, and it is one year after the prologue of Rising Tide

Narros is woken by his wife, Klyss. They are merfolk of Laakos' Reef, forty miles east of Calimport. He says a prayer to Eadro before grabbing his trident and checking on the disturbance that woke them. Narros is the chief priest of the village and safeguards the temple that has housed an artifact for thounsands ofyears. He feels the disturbed currents coming from the passage that connects his reef home to the temple.

Narros and Klyss have two adult sons, and they take their charge of keeping the artifact very seriously. The old priest, Kallos, was fearful of what would happen if the artifact was removed. This artifact is the Taker's Circlet. When trouble arrives they go to Harric, their chieftain, for aid. Another character is the wealthy Revek who sells fish to surface dwellers, wears robes (most go naked) and has furniture.

We learn the locathah also revere Eadro, though in a different manner. We don't have them present, but they are mentioned. We do get a look at a pirate vessel, The Wayfarer captained by Kenson.

This story is immediately gripping. Not many of these short stories in Dragon are, but I found this was a very fast and interesting read. Overall, it is Good.

The story has a brief section on the 26th and another on the 29th of the month of Ches too. It is a satisfying end that connects well with the rest of the trilogy, introducing a people and place I would like to revisit someday. 


You can track my current progress here.

Monday, August 14, 2023

The Unimpressive Fictional Legacy of Dragon+

 Dragon Magazine from its start was a magazine of variety. At its inception this included fiction. The first issue even he part 1 of 6 of the novella “The Gnome Cache” by Garrison Ernst, a pen name for Gary Gygax. Other famous writers would even appear in the early pages, Harry Otto Fischer, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, Fletcher Pratt, L. Sprague de Camp, and Gardner Fox worth noting.

Dragon+ was a short lived, mediocre, sequel. Only half the heart was put into it, and there is no excuse because it was digital only—the last 71 issues of Dragon were also digital only. After six years of digital only content, the magazine was sunsetted in December 2013. 

But like a Phoenix it survived. In April 2015 Dragon+ was born as a successor to both Dragon and Dungeon magazines. While this gave hope for free content compatible for your fifth editions table, it was a sickly Phoenix. Issues came out bimonthly, making six a year. It lasted 7 years itself, the 41st and last issue releasing in March/April 2022 before being quietly shut down in July.

I failed to cover this when it happened, as my blog was on hiatus. I can’t say I know how the business was ran, but I feel there was much more fiction that could have been. Dragon+ was a wan light when the novel line ended. In 14 issues fiction appeared, all being somewhat connected to the Forgotten Realms as the flagship setting of the current product. The last piece came in October 2020 when “Ice Out” was released as a tie-in to Rime of the Frostmaiden. 

Apparently it tied into Candlekeep Mysteries too, and beyond that there has been very little attention given to the Realms from the sorcerers who live on the shore. 

While the recent movie tie-ins provide some light, the novel lines death accompanied with the death of short fiction in Dragon magazine marks a disdapointingdissapointing state. While fiction did decrease after the 1990s in Dragon Magazine, the venue still saw the likes of George R. R. Martin and others. When I think of Dragon’s legacy I can see much worthwhile fiction in the thousands of pages. I can’t say I see the same in Dragon+. 

I did see Ed Greenwood was part of a Spin a Yarn panel at GenCon and I had hoped it would be set in the Realms. Alas, even that hope was futile. We’ll see what happens from here.


You can track my current progress here.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Community Spotlight: Renfail

 Those who have not lived under a rock realize that the Forgotten Realms is much more than a D&D campaign setting. Magic cards call it home, hundreds of novels, and many video games. I got my own start with video games when I was a child, and while I will go more into that another time, that same series just got a new entry after many years. 

Baldur's Gate 3 is now out! Of course, early access has been available for a few years, but I have been enjoying the content of one creator in particular. He has been streaming much and releasing guides for the expansive world of Baldur's Gate 3.

Beyond that, he has played the older Baldur’s Gate games, Icewind Dale, the new Dark Alliance, and other adjacent things to Forgotten Realms and D&D. 

Check out his channel here.

Check out his Baldur’s Gate 3 playlist here


You can track my current progress here.