DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 16 & 17

One thing I love about these authors is that they bring to life the serious, dark moments, but also do manage to bring some light hearted things as well. That makes it much more realistic for me. Yes, life has dark times, but it also has funny things that happen, even in the dark times. It is part of the writing genius of the duo Weis and Hickman!

Chapter 16

A bitter choice.

The greatest gift.

The dragon attack in the previous chapter left Riverwind burned so badly his internal organs were exposed in places, but he was just outside an ancient temple to the gods.

During that attack Goldmoon was inside the temple, and learned many things including being given the gift of becoming a true healer, and learning that she and the companions are to recover the Disks of Mishakal. (more on those later).

She emerges after the attack and orders Riverwind, or what is left of him, brought inside. Somehow, during the attack, she gained enough powers that with the staff she manages to save Riverwind’s life and brings him back to virtually perfect health.

Now, they must rest and then go and find the dragon’s lair, where it is said the Disks of Mishakal are hidden, and recover them…from the dragon’s lair. What could go wrong?

Chapter 17

The Path of the Dead.

Raistlin’s new friends.

The companions managed to get a night of rest inside the temple. They finally were no longer facing exhaustion, but were preparing for a day when they knew they may have to face a dragon!

Sure the plan was to just find the lair and make off with the disks, but is anything ever that easy?

We find out many things in this chapter, and a little bit of the twin’s backstory is revealed. Something massive and likely disturbing happened in the Tower of High Sorcery when Raistlin took his test, and they are forbidden to speak of it. What happened does come out much later in the series, but for now, it is enough to know those two have an amazing bond for some reason that goes far beyond mere brothers.

They find their way deeper into the ruins of the city, and start on their trek to find the lair of the dragon. Along the way we finally meet gully dwarves! Flint, is not a fan of these guys. They are not very smart, can be stubborn, and are known to be generally cheerful, but Flint has a whole thing where in his opinion they all need to be exterminated. But, in this case they are needed to help the companions.

We meet the gully dwarves when they are being used as a counter weight to operate an elevator of sorts to bring Draconian forces, who they call the big bosses, up from deep below.

With a little help from Raistlin they enlist the gully dwarves to help them make their way below, and hopefully recover the disks!

Slaying The Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs

Slaying The Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs is, in my opinion, the ultimate history of the TTRPG giant as it grew, and ultimately was taken over. It starts with the earliest days of how Gary Gygax was really the driving force (although not the entire creative team) behind getting this thing moving.

Without those guys the table top role playing game world likely would not exist. They grew the company, they made it the place to be for creators to really just do what it is they wanted to do, which resulted in games we all seemed to want to play.

We know that ultimately Gygax and the early crew were basically forced out of their own company once it grew. This is really something that happens far more often than most people think. Some people are just not wired to run a large company, and that’s fine, it is a much different skillset.

The book also digs deep into what caused the company to essentially be dead. It was headed for insolvency and the game for some set of legal challenges that would likely have doomed it forever. So yeah, we may all curse and get upset with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro, but they kept it alive, and seems like it is making a huge comeback!

It was a great book, highly recommended. Check out the video for more info.

Greyhawk Adventures Book 1 – Saga of Old City

Greyhawk Adventures was a huge add on to the Dungeons and Dragons sets. It creates an entire new world to run adventures. It was pretty cool to play these adventures, and the novels were originally a pretty short lived series, with the first two written by Gary Gygax himself.

We meed the main character, Gord, very quickly as he is a kid and we see that his life is a daily struggle just to have food to eat. Gygax does a good job of giving us the backstory. We find that he is small, people steal from him because he is an easy target, they take his money, his food, anything he has. Gord gets angry at himself for letting these sorts of things happen. Gord, in order to survive tries stealing things and gets caught.

As a result of his theft he is sentenced to three years in prison, which originally Gord is happy about because he will have food people can’t steal from him in prison. It isn’t long before he realizes that prison isn’t the improvement in his life that he thought it would be. It doesn’t take long before he starts trying to figure out how to escape.

He does come up with a plan, one of the guards catches onto that plan, helps him escape, but then sells him into the service of the Beggars Guild, which will teach him a trade, but not an improvement either, at first.

Gord does learn how to make the best of things, but that is before the Thieves’ Guild and the Beggars Guild are kind of at war with one another. And as Gord has been begging, but also stealing he isn’t in a great place with the Thieves’ guild, they don’t like crossovers.

One thing he does learn during this time is how to create entire new personas which helps him as he is a thief, and after he manages to escape this world and starts to adventure around the world this comes in handy as he runs a series of cons for money in different cities.

Gord is a good thief, and great with his hands, so he is good in a fight. The book follows Gord on his first adventures, and that is pretty interesting.

Gary Gygax (and I am a fan of his career) is a fantastic world builder. This book does set the stage with a whole new world. What Gary wasn’t as good at was getting us in the heat of the battle and feeling the emotion of it. However, some readers prefer that world building, some prefer the emotion. It is up to you to decide which you prefer, and enjoy appropriate titles!

I did enjoy this book, as a teenager and now. There are others I like better, but this one is pretty darn good at setting the stage of this entire new world, and that is hard to accomplish for anyone.

Now, if you are fan of Dungeons and Dragons art. Clyde Caldwell did the cover art as well as all of the interior art (one of which is shown above in black and white) to be found sprinkled throughout the chapters. The art of Clyde Caldwell is simply amazing. What that man can do in black and white…just phenomenal.

World of Greyhawk Novels – Rose Estes

In my opinion one of the overlooked authors from the TSR days is Rose Estes. She was a journalist as well as writing novels.

She worked for TSR for a while, and worked to bring about a series of books called “The Endless Quest” These turned out to be best sellers for months. Last I looked the Endless Quest books had been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than 16 million copies.

She has books in multiple series, and one of the names/authors I remember fondly from the late 80s and early 90s. Every single time I came across one of hers I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. She was truly one of the female pioneers of this genre along with Margaret Weis and others I’m sure I’ll remember and post about at some later date.

In the Greyhawk books you will find an adventure novel in the World of Greyhawk game setting. Greyhawk itself began as just a simple dungeon under a castle designed by Gary Gygax himself, but it was expanded into a multi-layered dungeon, then added a city, and eventually expanded into an entire world with some novels set in that space.

Please enjoy them if you come across a copy as I have.