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Monday, December 25, 2023

Review: Golden Simril Gifts by Ed Greenwood and Rhonda Parrish

 While technically prefaced that the story is fan-fiction written under the Fan Content policy of WotC, since it is (partially) from the hand of Greenwood, I decided it's essentially canon in my head and worth reviewing. It is also appropriate for Yuletide. Read it here.

art by Amantiium

Simril is a holiday celebrated on the 20th of Nightal, the equivalent to our 21st of December and the Northern Hemisphere's Winter Solstice. This is also the solstice for Faerun, and this celebration is particularly to cities on the Sword Coast like Neverwinter and Waterdeep. 

The story is told in first person present tense and starts with a celebration. The Shiallia Midwinter Festival has been attended by Volothamp Geddarm before, but this is Xen's first time. Shiallia is a minor deity tied to fertility and woodlands and is largely venerated in the High Forest.

"Shiallia, a local deity tied to Silvanus and Mielikki. (Be careful not to wantonly destroy seedlings or harm any animal babes while in Silverymoon or the High Forest lest you direly offend her.)" Volo, The Guide to the North.

While the perspective is abnormal, the story has sexual innuendo and gruesome violence and high magic that I associate with the Realms. With the whimsy comes a sense of human emotion (though most characters are elves and I'm not sure what Xen is) that I associate (well) with Greenwood. It is a good story. Happy Simril, everyone!


You can track my current progress here.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Review: The Night Tymora Sneezed by Ed Greenwood

"The Night Tymora Sneezed" is the fourth Spin a Yarn written by the creator of the Forgotten Realms. While the last was longer than the previous, this one is even longer and divided into six parts. This page links to each one. As always, this is bizarre story collated by suggestions from the audience at a panel of Gen Con, this time in 2004. It was published in July 2005.

The story begins with a chatelaine schooling a young noble student of eight winters. They are in Castle Waterdeep, home of Piergeiron, the current Open Lord of the city. The stripling is obstinate, and the chatelaine patient. Two workers witness the chagrin of the governess. These two are workers going over ledgers of magical items. The elder is Oruld and the younger Reld. This is a fun listing of things you could bring into your own game and includes a cheeky game book reference to LNG

The next setup involves two veteran guards going over the guest list for a gnome-halfling wedding. They banter about the new officers put over them and the slaughtering they may have to inflict on the roguish outlanders that are coming to the wedding. The event is at the tavern called the Bloody Fist. It is located at the meeting of Snail and Presper Streets in Dock Ward, and is the designated place to enter into wedlock for Talaressa Wondergleam of the Dock Ward and Lucklai Minstrelwish of Secomber. Belgrim "the Bold" Huldersord is the proprietor, once a sellsword but now the stubborn eyepatch wearing owner (though blind in neither eye) that would rather have constant repairs down than replacing the building. It is also known for its serious drinking, dancing girls, and gnomish brothel down stairs. Flesh-eating fairies wait the tables. 

Something is awry and Belgrim needs to call in a favor from Mirt the Moneylender. It becomes more intriuging and absurd when the Barrera Alhound, Just Blade of Tempus, comes in with a magical sword and gigantic codpiece (though Barrera is a woman) to prevent penguins from stealing Talaressa's chastity belt.

This is essentially the setup of part one. I think I appreciate it more than the first three. While completely absurd it feels like a good controlled hodgepodge rather than complete madness. It also has new and interesting characters rather than the same old ones that I like but have read about a hundred times. Part two introduces our sneezing goddess, Tymora, Elminster, Volo, and much, much more. 

While very fun, it is longer than a short story. It may be a novella, I'm not sure on the word count. Either way, it gets even wilder and it has a satisfying conclusion that involves the bending of norms and actual genders. Ha! Greenwood juggles well many fantastic things but sometimes you wonder if he needs to get so flamboyant. If you can enjoy the longer ride, it is rather Exceptional


You can track my current progress here.