Open Letter to WoTC - We want more novels!

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Well I guess the way to sum this up is that everyone has demands on what THEY want the Realms to be. Otherwise they just won't make the purchase. I think a lot of you get confused into thinking that this is your setting some how. It's not. When it comes to the novels, we are merely passengers. If you want things to be different, then create your own world and tell your own stories. Or even better, save up a couple of tens of millions of dollars and try buying the IP from WoTC. Then you can put the setting back into 1987 mode.


Well, that certainly isn’t the way I would sum up my own post. I can only assume that you weren’t referring to me as being part of the “everyone”. Either that or you were incorrect.


I make no demands of the Realms. I never have. As you point out, the setting is not ours to drive (novel wise) and so as such making demands is not only futile but potentially damaging to the relationship between we the fans and WotC.


I do, however, have stipulations about which of their products I buy as a consumer. As is my right. One of those stipulations is that I will only buy a product that I will either enjoy, find useful or both. This is also my right.


But the reality is that none of that will happen. But what is going to happen is that Realms fiction is going to die a slow death because people are throwing fits that things changed too much or that they can't get their literature in dead tree form. You all sound like a bunch of old men screaming for us to get off of your lawns.


Again, I can only assume you weren’t referring to me with you “you all sound” generalisation. Personally, I do not see choosing to not buy a book because you get no enjoyment or use out of it as not only sensible but as an integral part of the experience. After all, if we all buy every product that WotC produces irrespective of whether we actually want it or not, they will have little to no idea of what we actually do want. Will WotC kill FR novels if a particular section of the line doesn’t do as well as they had hoped? I doubt it. FR novels have, if historical anecdotes are to be believed, proved to be a comparatively lucrative portion of the product market. Are they then more likely to prune failing novel lines/authors and concentrate on those that prove popular? Or try new things to see if they would be more popular? That seems far more likely to me, and far more like the way that businesses operate.


When the ship is sinking, everyone needs to focus on saving that ship. if we all sit in our corners hoping each of our demands are met then we all go down with that ship. So stop being stubborn about the timeline, stop being resistant to authors who aren't your favorites, and give up this silly notion that paper novels will ever be dominant again.


This is an horrendous analogy. The reason everyone on a sinking ship focuses on saving the sinking ship is to save their own lives and livelihoods. To compare this essential action with the purchasing of hobby materials using disposable income during a global financial crisis is verging on crass. As mentioned in my post, I listed several authors in the 4E time period (including Erin Evans who writes exclusively in the 4E time period) as being ones that I follow. I am trying others all of the time. Some, I am sure, will be added to the list of authors I will follow. Some won’t. Such is life.


But whatever. I'm starting to recognize that I'm fighting a losing battle here. Maybe I'm in the minority here in feeling that I want the Realms fiction to continue at whatever cost. No one seems to care, and if they do they have demandes that most likely won't or can't be met. I guess I'll just enjoy it while it lasts.


If you were the only one paying the cost of your crusade, then I would consider your suggestion as being all well and good. However, you are telling others to pay it too, and berating them when they raise objections. I won't go as far as to suggest that you are being hypocritical by making your own demands (in a similar fashion to that which you imply others are guilty of). This time.


I will make this plain again, just in case I failed to be clear the first time around.


1) I want Realms fiction to continue, I look forward to authors both new and old telling stories in whatever timeline they wish to tell them.


2) That said, I will not use my (very limited) disposable income to buy books that I do not enjoy.

My approach to the NPCs of previous editions.

Show
I always saw the High Level NPCs as shepherds of the Realms not its defenders. Making sure that not too many sheep were lost as they milled around (as they are wont to do) and bringing on the young'uns into the job. In that way a shepherd never has time to go and hunt down all of the wolves but is pretty dashed effective at keeping them away from the sheep when they rear their heads.
"It was a puzzle why things were always dragged kicking and screaming. No one ever seemed to want to, for example, lead them gently by the hand." - Terry Pratchett
Why is it that i never hear trekkies whining about the "time jump" between the original and the Next Gen or between the original tv show and the movies? That effectively killed off alot of character as well, but some, like Bones and Elminster are still around.


Because you don't hang out on Star Trek boards?  Or the "television without pity" website, or similar TV show forums?

Every fandom has issues with IPs that last a long time and undergo changes.  Some fans on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" websites get so involved with their show that they detail angrily why they don't like her hairstyle in a particular season.  It all depends on how much particular fans feel invested in their respective fandoms, and whether or not they happen to like big changes that happen over time.

Well, that certainly isn’t the way I would sum up my own post. I can only assume that you weren’t referring to me as being part of the “everyone”. Either that or you were incorrect.

I make no demands of the Realms. I never have. As you point out, the setting is not ours to drive (novel wise) and so as such making demands is not only futile but potentially damaging to the relationship between we the fans and WotC.

I do, however, have stipulations about which of their products I buy as a consumer. As is my right. One of those stipulations is that I will only buy a product that I will either enjoy, find useful or both. This is also my right.



Although you were responding to Caolin's post, I agree with what you're saying here.  There is no need to make assumptions about what people think, or group people into categories based on rather insulting personal interpretations.


People like different things.  I have no illusions (as has been suggested) that I "own" the Realms or need to have every single one of my expectations met.  But at the same time, I have invested money, time, and my own design into Realms products over the decades.


As a customer, I reserve every right to buy the things that I like and not to buy the things I don't like or won't use.  If I didn't care about the future of the Realms, that would be the end of it.  But I do care, and so I make my opinions known - what I like, what I don't like, what will make me buy more things.  I do not expect all or even most other customers to agree with my views, and never have.


I live a comfortable life in the first world.  Even so, money does not grow on trees.  Gaming products and novels are luxury items.  When I look at any luxury item I have to ask, "why do I want this, and is it worth the price?"  The OP is suggesting that we should support and buy everything, even when we strongly dislike certain products.  Why?  To support the company?  To give them my good money and send the message that I think everything is still as I like it?


Sorry, no.  In life you have to pick and choose, you have to discriminate in matters of taste.  Especially for luxury products.  It's actually unhealthy on a personal level to continually spend your extra "fun" money on things you don't like, for someone else's benefit.  I buy things I like.  It's actually nice of me as a customer to come and say to a company, "hey, I don't like X but I did like Y.  Make more Y and I'll buy that."


Even the majority of the elves that may have survived are changed individuals by nature.

Novels, by their nature, change the individual characters in them.

What's the difference?

Just off the top of my head I can think of all the non-elf characters from the two comic books, Jack Ravenwild, Anders, Ruha, Alusair, Azoun the 5th, Alias, Malik, the Sembia family, the characters from Temple Hill, and Yellow Silk.

As I understand it Jack Ravenwild is still alive and kicking in "City of Ravens".

Princess Alusair is still around, albeit as a ghost and featured in at least two current era Elminster novels I've read.

Azoun V was discussed in both the Backdrop: Cormyr and Cormyr Royale articles.

Aren't books like Yellow Silk and Temple Hill one shots?

Did any Alias novels see print by the 3rd Edition of D&D? If the rather generous definition of "killed off" we're using includes "just not writing anything about a character anymore" then blame 3E, not 4E.

This last is important: I've yet to see anyone who's deeply into the novel line draw a distinction (or rather, at least recognize) that had 4E not happened, a whole bunch of pre-4E novel characters probably wouldn' have been written about anyway.
Caolin, I think it's great that you're trying hard to get people to support the Realms novel line.

Now that some time has gone by and 4E has gotten older, I've read more Realms novels and found a few I enjoy.

I don't think you should give up so easily on the Realms (that is, Realms fandom). I think it's right for others to not purchase Realms novels or products that don't interest them and these are the people WotC should focus on.

However, anyone who dismisses a product simply because they're holding a grudge against WotC or tricked themselves into thinking "it's 4E, it must be bad" probably isn't someone WotC wants to keep as a customer anyway.

I hope you can see from the posts in this thread that people who don't buy current Realms novels don't necessarily fall into the later category.

Fortunately WotC has tried in the last couple of years to bridge the timeline gap and moved away from there insistence in leaving the past in the past. Ed Greenwood's Elminster's Guide to the Forgotten Realms and the layering of Realms history into current era novels (at least, in Ed's latest Elminster Trilogy) are mending things.

I agree that the Realms is worth supporting simply because it's the Realms. Hopefully people realize that whatever 4E's design origins and goals, things have already changed for the better and will continue to change.
Speaking as someone who has never really bought many novels, WotC, Realms, or otherwise, and who greatly prefers non-fiction... I can't say I really care either way.  If they do, great, if not, whatever.

Having said that, in general I would agree with Misc when he says that Elminster's Guide to the Forgotten Realms is a definite step in the right direction and a hopeful sign of things to come.  But I also agree with others who are anti-Spellplague in that it was a horrendous decision that rippled negatively across the entire community, one way or another.  It's effects on the meta-plot of the Realms aside, I don't think anyone can disagree that its impact on community relations has created an ugly rift that still leaves nerves raw and angry.  And really, that's the worst part here, and it tends to poison things every time it rears its ugly head.  That, for me, is what makes 4e such a horrible thing.

But on the other hand, it's also telling of the sorts of fans the Realms attracts to evoke such passion.  Says a lot about Ed and the rest who've sheperded it along the years as well.  I'm almost hopeful that Next/5e can salve some of the rancor and put the Realms back on course.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Novels, by their nature, change the individual characters in them.

What's the difference?


Let's take Drizzt as an example.  He is an elf who survived through the 'plague and timejump.

All of his friends are dead.  The other characters (the "Companions of the Hall") are now all dead - including Bruenor who recently met his end in a rather uncelebrated, non-epic and minor way.  Drizzt has been miserable and broody, something of a lost soul, and his new "friends" (if one can call them that) are not supportive, heroic, or motivated by any of the principles expressed in the pre-plague books.  This is perhaps an even darker time for Drizzt than his early life in Menzoberranzan because none of his current companions support or reflect his own values.

And don't forget, Drizzt firmly expressed his sadness about Eilistraee and her followers, believing that their efforts and sacrifices ultimately came to nothing.  Is Drizzt wrong in that assessment?  Think about it.

As a reader, it's extremely disheartening to read.  I expected Drizzt to change and grow, but reading the current novels are depressing and he has ultimately regressed.  RAS is an excellent author, so I am still reading them and liking them well enough to continue, but the charm of the other companions and Drizzt's nobility almost seem to be parodied.  Was it all worth it, if Drizzt has to live in this dark new world?  What's different about his experience in Menzoberranzan compared to his life in the post-cataclysm, post-volcano Neverwinter?  It's killing, more killing, revenge, mourning the old days, missing his old noble companions, and then more killing.  And apparently, Drizzt has had this same sad mood for the past 100 years.

Sure, it's still somewhat entertaining, but it's depressing to wade through and slowly killing my interest.

What is Drizzt without the Companions of the Hall?  What would Arilyn be without her Danilo?  What is Liriel without Fyodor?  And yes, I know what happened to Fyodor at the end;  frankly, I think it's a good thing we never got to see Liriel wandering around constantly depressed and mourning Fyodor like Drizzt has mourned the Companions.*

It's never just about the one that survivies when it comes to cataclysmic events.  By the way, I do think Fyodor's end was poignant, important for the story, and necessary for Liriel's development, but that loss was an entirely different kind of thing and made Liriel grow.

Let's consider Cadderly's end story.  For most of his life, Cadderly was a principled, cool guy serving a deity that had a noble purpose.  At the end, Cadderly becomes someone who tortures demons (or was it a devil?  but even so, torture?  come on!) and then sacrifices his life for a deity that wasn't so much of a deity but a servitor-Exarch (or something equally minor) to Oghma.  Thanks for reinforcing the concept, WotC, that some deities weren't what we - or even their priests - thought they were.  And then, in a final and mostly meaningless gesture, Cadderly sacrifices his life for - for what, exactly?  To somehow bolster something "metatexty" but extremely nebulous in one of the divine planes?  Honestly, for a sacrifice to have any meaning, you have to see SOME effect in the world.  We got nothing, really.


* having said this, I do think Cunningham could do an excellent follow-up on Liriel, but she'd have to introduce some new support characters.


Wow, lots of spoilers there.
All of his friends are dead.  The other characters (the "Companions of the Hall") are now all dead - including Bruenor who recently met his end in a rather uncelebrated, non-epic and minor way.

Dude, Bruenor went one on one with a Pit Fiend.

I read that book. Even for non-gamers, soloing a Pit Fiend is hardly "non-epic".

Drizzt has been miserable and broody, something of a lost soul, and his new "friends" (if one can call them that) are not supportive, heroic, or motivated by any of the principles expressed in the pre-plague books.  This is perhaps an even darker time for Drizzt than his early life in Menzoberranzan because none of his current companions support or reflect his own values.

.I've only read the first book in the series. I agree, Drizzt has fallen on hard times and is questioning his values.

Would you say the same is true for all elves in the Realms, though?

And that's really my point: characters change over time. That's not inherently a bad thing, even if everyone's favorite dark elf is having a rough go of it.

I appreciate, though, how seeing multiple characters go in a bad direction changes the tone of things. It's a different mood.

Thanks for reinforcing the concept, WotC, that some deities weren't what we - or even their priests - thought they were.

This I agree with. On the one had I like the attempt at a "big reveal" about a secret of the deities of the Realms, but on the other hand they (WotC) could have instead said that several deities of similar portfolios had to merge with each other to survive the Spellplague as opposed to saying the Spellplague laid bare the "truth of things" about the deities.

This is also my hoped-for lore fix regarding the deities in 5E.

That change did the Realms no favors. I, for one, ignore it.
Caolin, I think it's great that you're trying hard to get people to support the Realms novel line.

Now that some time has gone by and 4E has gotten older, I've read more Realms novels and found a few I enjoy.

I don't think you should give up so easily on the Realms (that is, Realms fandom). I think it's right for others to not purchase Realms novels or products that don't interest them and these are the people WotC should focus on.

However, anyone who dismisses a product simply because they're holding a grudge against WotC or tricked themselves into thinking "it's 4E, it must be bad" probably isn't someone WotC wants to keep as a customer anyway.

I hope you can see from the posts in this thread that people who don't buy current Realms novels don't necessarily fall into the later category.

Fortunately WotC has tried in the last couple of years to bridge the timeline gap and moved away from there insistence in leaving the past in the past. Ed Greenwood's Elminster's Guide to the Forgotten Realms and the layering of Realms history into current era novels (at least, in Ed's latest Elminster Trilogy) are mending things.

I agree that the Realms is worth supporting simply because it's the Realms. Hopefully people realize that whatever 4E's design origins and goals, things have already changed for the better and will continue to change.



You're right.  I'm just a little frustrated.  I really REALLY enjoy reading Realms fiction.  Sure, I have passed on a few novels over the years.  But for the most part I read them all.  So when I see any drop in novel output it makes me sad.  And when I hear that they are going to base the future release schedule on one series that's going to change things again, well I kind of lose a little hope that people will support it.

I'm not trying to say that people should always support the Realms with purchases if they don't like what is being produced.  But I consider this a special situation where if we all don't get behind this then we all will lose something we care about collectively.

And Iluvrien, my post was not directed at you.  I have seen a lot of sentiments here and over at Candlekeep that reflect what I was refering to in my post.  I stand by what I said in my post.  But again, it is meant for this situation.  I am trying to get people to stand up and say to WoTC that we do want more novels and they don't have to base it's future on one series of novels.  But I am starting to see that I might be in a minority of people who actually care.
Dude, Bruenor went one on one with a Pit Fiend.

I read that book. Even for non-gamers, soloing a Pit Fiend is hardly "non-epic".


"Dude" - he lost, he's dead.  Will his people ever know?  Will the final story of Bruenor's end be celebrated and sung in dwarven songs?  Nope.  Is the place he fought over now in dwarven hands, or even known to the dwarves?  Nope!  So it was a pit fiend.  Had it been a tunnel rat, same difference.

And that's really my point: characters change over time. That's not inherently a bad thing, even if everyone's favorite dark elf is having a rough go of it.


I agree, going through rough patches is actually important for character development - but only IF it leads to character development and not regression.  It's also not just happening to Drizzt.  ALL of the novels have this dark, defeatest quality to them.  I think the idea was to make things gritty and edgy, but it hasn't really worked out that way. 

Let's take a totally new author - and book series:  Brimstone Angels.  Now I haven't read the 2nd book, so I can only speak to the first.  But we have Farideh who has horns, distant demonic heritage - and a devil pact (maybe it's a demon pact - in 4E it's harder to tell the difference).  This devil pact, however, has ZERO consequences.  I get it, the diabolic stuff is mostly "cool factor" window dressing.  But when making a pact with a devil or demon has no repercussions other than having an attractive and amorous half-demon follow you around like a puppy making googly eyes at you and being genuinely nice to you, that's pretty ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not taking potshots at Farideh's creator/author.  She's quite an excellent character writer, and the pacing and general story plotting is generally very good.  But there's something seriously wrong with all the new novels - these kinds of things elevate "cool factor" imagery (ooh! Pit Fiend! ooh!) and make "good vs evil" irrelevant (diabolic LOLpacts R awesome).  You never want to do that in what's theoretically heroic fantasy.


And Iluvrien, my post was not directed at you.  I have seen a lot of sentiments here and over at Candlekeep that reflect what I was refering to in my post.  I stand by what I said in my post.  But again, it is meant for this situation.  I am trying to get people to stand up and say to WoTC that we do want more novels and they don't have to base it's future on one series of novels.  But I am starting to see that I might be in a minority of people who actually care.


Quite frankly, at the very least you owe me and Rory a public apology.  You have projected your own rather obnoxious conclusions onto us (and yes, you obviously mean us - at minimum), and you continue to suggest that we don't care.

The fact that we are raising issues publicly means that we DO care, quite a lot, about the future of the Realms.  But we do not want it to continue down the same path it's been on.  If you buy into the current novels and supplements that support the overall image and tone of 4E, you are asking for more of the same.

I do not object to change in a general sense.  I expect change.   But I'm not going to buy - and therefore support - things that I strongly dislike.

Quite frankly, at the very least you owe me and Rory a public apology.  You have projected your own rather obnoxious conclusions onto us (and yes, you obviously mean us - at minimum), and you continue to suggest that we don't care.

Don't be a ten percenter.

It's the internet, remember?

Don't be a ten percenter.

It's the internet, remember?


You better leave Britney alone, and Warcraft too! 

And Iluvrien, my post was not directed at you.  I have seen a lot of sentiments here and over at Candlekeep that reflect what I was refering to in my post.  I stand by what I said in my post.  But again, it is meant for this situation.  I am trying to get people to stand up and say to WoTC that we do want more novels and they don't have to base it's future on one series of novels.  But I am starting to see that I might be in a minority of people who actually care.


Quite frankly, at the very least you owe me and Rory a public apology.  You have projected your own rather obnoxious conclusions onto us (and yes, you obviously mean us - at minimum), and you continue to suggest that we don't care.

The fact that we are raising issues publicly means that we DO care, quite a lot, about the future of the Realms.  But we do not want it to continue down the same path it's been on.  If you buy into the current novels and supplements that support the overall image and tone of 4E, you are asking for more of the same.

I do not object to change in a general sense.  I expect change.   But I'm not going to buy - and therefore support - things that I strongly dislike.




Well, I hope this was a tongue and cheek comment.  If not, then too bad.  I'll not apologize for expressing my opinion.  I pointed out no one inparticular and the fact that some of you stood up and cried foul makes me feel that my words hit a mark somewhere.

But this is what irks the hells out of me.  All I asked for is people to stand up a let WoTC know that we don't want to see the novels released per year reduced.  It started off well with people expressing their opinions on the decreased released schedule and the cancelation of a few novels.  But then it starts devolving into a "Well, I'm not going to read the novels unless they do this" thread.  I didn't want this to be a debate about the quality of the novels or the direction of the Realms or whether someone should be buying something thay they don't like.  I wanted to bring attention to the fact that we are getting less novels per year and it might become a permenent thing if we don't speak up.
Well, I hope this was a tongue and cheek comment.  If not, then too bad.  I'll not apologize for expressing my opinion.  I pointed out no one inparticular and the fact that some of you stood up and cried foul makes me feel that my words hit a mark somewhere.


Expressing your opinion about a product is expected.  Attacking other posters, even if you claim it was non-specific, is not cool.  Being subsequently arrogant about doing so is even worse.

And seriously, you yourself lobbed the first attack at another poster (for their "attitude" and how they were supposedly "killing the Realms" rather than any flaws in their argument) in your reply to lord.duck (who you actually misquoted, as you obviously were referring to my post).  If you didn't want to open up the thread to this type of discussion, you should not have personally driven us down that road and continued with more personal attacks.



Well, I hope this was a tongue and cheek comment.  If not, then too bad.  I'll not apologize for expressing my opinion.  I pointed out no one inparticular and the fact that some of you stood up and cried foul makes me feel that my words hit a mark somewhere.


Expressing your opinion about a product is expected.  Attacking other posters, even if you claim it was non-specific, is not cool.  Being subsequently arrogant about doing so is even worse.

And seriously, you yourself lobbed the first attack at another poster (for their "attitude" and how they were supposedly "killing the Realms" rather than any flaws in their argument) in your reply to lord.duck (who you actually misquoted, as you obviously were referring to my post).  If you didn't want to open up the thread to this type of discussion, you should not have personally driven us down that road and continued with more personal attacks.

Do not expect any support from me on anything you say in the future.




Well, first off I wasn't responding to Lord-Duck.  I was responding to you and but accidentally responded to his response.  I was responding to this comment:

"I haven't been very interested in recent Realms fiction, except for the last Elminster trilogy.  And while I very much enjoyed the first two books of that, the last one - Elminster Enraged - ended pretty badly IMO.  Super cheesy.

If they want me to buy into the Sundering, it better be spectacularly good, character-driven, and not just another massive RSE."

Secondly, you are a very very sensitive person and I find it funny how upset you seem to be getting over my comments.  I'm nobody really and for that matter neither are you.  I'm just a guy who wanted to bring attention to WoTC that someone out there cares about the cancelation of novels and the reduction of releases for 2013.  So I'm honestly not too concerned about your future support.  

Well, first off I wasn't responding to Lord-Duck.


Good grief, I know that.  You were responding to me, and I said so.

Secondly, you are a very very sensitive person and I find it funny how upset you seem to be getting over my comments.


I hardly think that asking for basic civility is being "very very sensitive."  Clearly, you don't care about others, or how you treat people. Internet or not, this speaks volumes about your character.

I'm nobody really and for that matter neither are you.


I know exactly who I am, and it's certainly far from being a "nobody" - how you choose to label yourself also speaks volumes.

This last is important: I've yet to see anyone who's deeply into the novel line draw a distinction (or rather, at least recognize) that had 4E not happened, a whole bunch of pre-4E novel characters probably wouldn' have been written about anyway.




It’s a cycle of more than twenty characters.  You know that the authors will steadily provide enough material on enough of them to keep you immersed. That is unless they all die.

 our examples of characters that are still around or ghostified are just as disconcerting. Jack Ravenwild was a character who was full of life with interesting allies. You take away the npcs in his life and age him 100 years and he is a different person.

The main issue I have with the spellplague and the time warp is that a setting is its NPCs. There is no such thing as an interesting setting without interesting people. The Breakfast Club or Glenngary Glen Ross  are examples of how you need nothing but people.

 Im giving reasons for why the novels might not be selling. Im actually more radical. Im in boycott denial. If I was running the Forgotten Realms the NPCs would have been celebrated with a fighting game that shipped with Kindle discounts on the novels. But no cant have that got to make the players the heroes.
Had to look up the word. Im not being pedantic. Im just being honest. I made a video about why I disliked the spellplague and didnt even cover it as well as I could have. I'm not even talking about why it was stupid. Im giving reason to why the novels might not be selling which has more to do with the timeline jump that killed the plots and characters.


I was asking Mr_Miscellany to stop being pedantic towards you.  I felt that your post was clear and honest.  I also agree with your perspective on the Spellplague/timejump.  I'm sorry, I should have responded to him by name.




It was my mistake. I was sleep deprived and lacking of wit.

 I did want to respond to your response about Star Trek. I looked it up and there are nearly twice as many FR novels than Star Trek even though its much younger. Also many of them are TV and Film adaptations. That says more about the nature of FR fans. I think you can guess what Im getting at even though its hard to articulate.

Well, first off I wasn't responding to Lord-Duck.


Good grief, I know that.  You were responding to me, and I said so.

Secondly, you are a very very sensitive person and I find it funny how upset you seem to be getting over my comments.


I hardly think that asking for basic civility is being "very very sensitive."  Clearly, you don't care about others, or how you treat people. Internet or not, this speaks volumes about your character.

I'm nobody really and for that matter neither are you.


I know exactly who I am, and it's certainly far from being a "nobody" - how you choose to label yourself also speaks volumes.




I think it's funny how you continue to respond to this.  Just let it go dude, I have.
Eh, I did my part and picked up a copy of Brimstone Angels.  I didn't get it because it's realms fiction though, or because it's usually what I consider as "my cup of tea" from reading the back.  I picked it up mainly because Ms. Evans seems very cool, and accessible here on the forum. 

That's got to be worth trying something a little different, right?  Whats a few bucks and a couple hours of my time?
I'll definitely add my voice to the original spirit of this thread to put out more Realms fiction.  I run the discussions over at the Book Club (and in case you're wondering, I don't do this in any official capacity or have any connection to Wizards or any "insider" information - just a fan like everyone else).  I've been disturbed by the lack of new novels on the future product list.  I see a few things happening here.

First, they've just about cut off all fiction from everywhere outside the Realms - Eberron, Dark Sun, Nentir Vale. I can assume this is a sales-based decision.

Second, they started a trend of pushing sequels and then some new books to an e-book only format.  While this cuts their risk significantly, it also had to affect sales significantly.  They may have reached a point where this is no longer a viable strategy.

Third, they're using a "publish as you succeed" strategy now.  In the past, they published a series of stand-alone novels OR a trilogy, usually followed by a short story collection. The number of books that would be published was set. Now, each book seems to get a sequel if the previous one succeeds.  This is why you're seeing odd 2-book series (Unbroken Chain, Sword of the Gods), some series not end (Shadowbane) and others keep going (Richard Lee Byers Griffon Riders is heading into its 5th book I believe).  I don't like this strategy because it forces authors to leave books somewhat open-ended and shoot for the sequel, but it is what it is.  Again, it's cutting down risk.

That said (and many of you have already hit on what I say below), I think we're not seeing any new Realms fiction coming up for a few reasons:

First, it could be sales driven.  If the above strategies haven't been successful, they're hedging their bets on their "big hitters" in the Sundering series - namely Salvatore, Greenwood, Kemp, and Byers.  Troy Denning represents an "old school" author which pays tribute to the old fans who they want to woo back and Erin Evans is a good representation of "new blood" to pay tribute to the 4th ed. Realms fans.  It's a bit of something for everyone.  The Sundering series seems like a guaranteed string of hardcover best sellers, something they haven't had since War of the Spider Queen.

Second, the publishing arm of Wotc may have a fixed budget.  Putting out six hardcovers by authors who are going to command more cash (half of them at least) costs more.  So does printing, distributing, and marketing a huge hardcover series like this.  They may have put all their budget eggs (and more) for the year into this Sundering basket, which honestly doesn't sound like a bad plan.

Third, they want this Sundering series to set the story and tone for D&D Next Realms.  They don't know what that is until they have all six books in hand.  Judging by at least 4 of the author's Facebook posts, they're all writing or have finished their Sundering novels.  That means there's significant story planning going on here.  They want to maintain a focus on this series and see where it leads them.  They also want to see if it's a big success or not.  They've been playing "small ball" with these e-book only stories, and this is a shot at the big leagues again.  Now, I'd think you could do both, but again, they want to minimize risk at a very risky time for Wotc.

Novels aside, it puzzles me why they've completely removed fiction from Dungeon/Dragon lately.  I think that would be a good place for shorter fiction and new authors and make my DDI subscription more worth while.  I like the variety of big time and new authors that we've had in the Realms for years.  I just don't know if they have the budget or the sales to make this a reality anymore.
Thanks for the input dadocollin.  I agree with most of what you said.  I think the fact that WoTC is making DnD stand on it's own rather than lumping it in with Magic: The Gathering could really end up hurting future Realms output.  Kind of sad really, which is why I would like to see more people step up and help out by making their voice or their wallet heard.  I know that buying stuff we don't like sets a bad presitent.  But if we don't give the Sundering series an honest chance and give it our full support. I feel that not only will the novel line die, but so will the game.  But as I said again, I think a lot of people don't care any more.  I think the fact that Pathfinder is right there waiting to bring in all of the refugees from DnD isn't helping.
I'd rather play nothing then play pathfinder.  I dont think the novels are in any ways hape or form necessary to bring the realms to life in a campaign.  I'm not sure why you think players need the novels to get the game.  While you could be right, my thoughts are probably not.

They need to just write novels that look interesting, and I fear that there might a a little too much meddling by "higher-higher" so to speak.  Rather than letting the authors tell the story they necessarily want to, management is telling the authors what story to tell, and letting the authors tell it.  I imagine thats why some of our classic beloved authors like Elaine Cunningham (damn you for killing Fyodor!) have said "lololololol how bout no?"  Of course, that's only an opinion...no facts or even rumors to back it up.  Pure conjecture and speculation on my part.

Also, the e-books thing is a non starter.  I dont care how good a book is written, if it has no pages for me to turn, crease, abuse, and love...I wont read it.  That's a hard and fast line in the sand.  Plenty of other publishers are giving me paper books to fill my shelves and take my money.  If WotC wants their slice of my wallet, they need to step up their game.
Well, speaking for a group of six Realms gamers, none of us read Realms novels with anything even approaching regularity.  Speaking only for myself, I actually find them distracting when trying to DM, and have found they mess up my 'groove' so to speak more than help it.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

I just don't think the game survives without the novel line.  I would love to see the numbers, but I would place good money that far more people read the novels than play the game much less buy the game products.  

As for Pathfinder, I've personally never played the game system nor have I read any of the novels in the setting.  But I always see people over at Candlekeep praising it.  So that's pure suposition on my part.

Now, onto the eBooks.  I'm not going to try and convince you of their virtues....and they have plenty.  But what I will say is that print media is dead and the future is in eMedia.   The cheaper eReaders get the more publishers will move away from print.  There is no going back.  So the paper book that you love so much is going to be relegated to niche status fairly quickly over the next few years.  I mean, eBooks have already surpased print in annual sales.

mashable.com/2012/06/17/ebook-hardcover-...

So you can't blame WoTC for shifting towards an eBook dominant publishing strategy.  And in theory this should be saving them money and allowing them to publish more novels...or at least continuing to publish novels.  But I still see people try to argue that eBooks don't save them that much money...which I think is hogwash.

So I applaud your dedication to print.  I don't want to see it ever go away nor do I think it wil, even though I'll never purchase a print book ever again.  With Print -on-Demand there will always be someone printing a novel.  But you will find it harder and harder to find what you want to read in print.
Me, I'd like to see more short stories.

How about a compilation of (very) short stories by notable (and not so notable) Realms authors, featuring all new characters?

Let the fans vote with their wallet and their online commentary and then publish more (and larger) stories featuring that character.

In terms of story size, it's like going from a comic book to a graphic novel to a novel, without the pictures.

Make it like the "Realms of" books and put it in e-book form.

So, spam us with stories WotC and encourage us to tell you what we think.

I'd love to read a bunch of really short stories centerd around wizards in the employ of nations and city states: Cowled Wizards, Order of Magists and Protectors wizards, Wizards of War and Red Wizards (amongst others).
When the ship is sinking, everyone needs to focus on saving that ship.

Or find a new ship

 

if we all sit in our corners hoping each of our demands are met then we all go down with that ship. So stop being stubborn about the timeline, stop being resistant to authors who aren't your favorites, and give up this silly notion that paper novels will ever be dominant again.

Sorry, but no. I like the Realms because I like how they currently are and if the ever become something I no longer like I will just stop following them and use my free time for something else.

The Realms a a cherished part of my entertainment, but that's all they are. They are not a life mission I have to support no matter what. That's ridiculous.


Wasting time and money on something you don't enjoy just to enable it to continue to exist (likely in the way you don't enjoy) serves no purpose at all. Do something else with your time and money.


 

and then sacrifices his life for a deity that wasn't so much of a deity but a servitor-Exarch (or something equally minor) to Oghma.

But that was always Deneir's job, even pre-4e. He even had it as his title ("The Scribe of Oghma"). He was a lesser deity in service to a greater deity.
Sorry, but no. I like the Realms because I like how they currently are and if the ever become something I no longer like I will just stop following them and use my free time for something else.

The Realms a a cherished part of my entertainment, but that's all they are. They are not a life mission I have to support no matter what. That's ridiculous.


Wasting time and money on something you don't enjoy just to enable it to continue to exist (likely in the way you don't enjoy) serves no purpose at all. Do something else with your time and money.





I really think this comes down to expectations.  I see a lot of people have very large expectations on what they want the Realms to be or not to be for that matter.  I come at this as a person who enjoys Realms fiction because it is set in the Realms.  The only expectation I have is that the writing be well done...this is objective of course.  Sometimes I do get a novel that I don't enjoy.  the Rose of Sarifal is one of them.  I stopped reading it and moved onto something else.  But just because I had a bad experience with that book doesn't mean I'm going to stop buying novels because there might be a chance that I'll get a bad one.  

I'm not saying those like you are wrong in your unwillingess to show support to a Realms that you don't like.  I was hoping to inspire people to say "well hey, let me give the Realms one more chance".  Because WoTC has certainly shown some willingness to admit that they were wrong and a desire to try and fix things.  But if some people are going to sit on the sidelines with a wait and see attitude, then there's a chance the Realms might not make it.....at least as a novel line.
So you're not saying that anyone is wrong to be unwilling to show support for the Realms if they don't like it, or its direction of late, and yet in that last sentence, you pretty much place blame on those who "wait and see" if the Realms fails to succeed... Which in essence is a pseudo-polite way of saying "Love it or Leave it" and to suck it up and buy it anyway.  I sincerely hope WotC never hires you to do advertising, because that sort of attitude puts me off faster than anything else, no matter how politely it's phrased.


Gods but I wish they'd just divorce the novels from canon and be done with it...  

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Eh, I dont think think he's really saying love it or leave it.  I think that he's saying that if people don't start buying more novels, WotC will stop publishing them.  Given his love of realms fiction, he's certainly welcome to blame people who arent buying, because...there is truth there.  WotC will not stop publishing if the novels are moving off the shelves.  That's pretty much an undeniable fact.  They want the Benjamins.  If people aren't buying though, ie, the novels are not profitable, they will not continue to publish them.

I'm saying, at this point, I don't really care if they stop publishing them or not.  I haven't been reading them anyways, so no big deal to me either way.  I guess that's about as clear as I can be.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m done with FR. I start reading FR novels before I started playing DnD. I’ve bough many of them over 20 years and while I dislike some, I felt that they all added something to the settings.


The Spellplague and the 100 years jump remove all the love I had for that settings. It’s like they added this line at the end of all my books : "And then they all die and all their efforts was for nothing". I don’t hate WOTC for doing that, hate is a strong word and I reserve my hatred for the people who will hurt my friends and family. They own the settings and are free to do whatever they want with it but, I, on the other hand, am free to boycott them. I will continue to collect the old novel that were release before 4th edition and will still run my campaigns using my 3rd FR sourcebook that I love but that's it. Over the years, I gave WOTC hundreds of dollards for FR materials but no more.


Also, I disagree with the Star Trek comparaison. When The Next Generation debuted, the old show have been over for 20 years. Movies were still coming up but everyone know that, sooner or later, the actors would stop playing their roles. So the new series was a needed fresh start, it was that or Star Trek would have simply disappear. FR, on the other hand, was still going strong when the Spellplague happen. And beside, FR isn’t just about one party of adventurers like Star Trek was in the 60's.

Eh, I dont think think he's really saying love it or leave it.  I think that he's saying that if people don't start buying more novels, WotC will stop publishing them.  Given his love of realms fiction, he's certainly welcome to blame people who arent buying, because...there is truth there.  WotC will not stop publishing if the novels are moving off the shelves.  That's pretty much an undeniable fact.  They want the Benjamins.  If people aren't buying though, ie, the novels are not profitable, they will not continue to publish them.

I'm saying, at this point, I don't really care if they stop publishing them or not.  I haven't been reading them anyways, so no big deal to me either way.  I guess that's about as clear as I can be.




Thanks Crazyhawk, that does sum up how I feel.  of course I would never tell anyone that they HAD to buy the material or else.  But those are the facts.  And do I resent the hell out of people who turned their backs on the setting?  Damn right I do.  But that's everyone's choice.  I lost Battletech and now I might lose the Realms.  I appreciate the honesty about not caring.  But I wish more people did care and were a little more open about the Realms.
Eh, I dont think think he's really saying love it or leave it.  I think that he's saying that if people don't start buying more novels, WotC will stop publishing them.  Given his love of realms fiction, he's certainly welcome to blame people who arent buying, because...there is truth there.  WotC will not stop publishing if the novels are moving off the shelves.  That's pretty much an undeniable fact.  They want the Benjamins.  If people aren't buying though, ie, the novels are not profitable, they will not continue to publish them.

I'm saying, at this point, I don't really care if they stop publishing them or not.  I haven't been reading them anyways, so no big deal to me either way.  I guess that's about as clear as I can be.




Thanks Crazyhawk, that does sum up how I feel.  of course I would never tell anyone that they HAD to buy the material or else.  But those are the facts.  And do I resent the hell out of people who turned their backs on the setting?  Damn right I do.  But that's everyone's choice.  I lost Battletech and now I might lose the Realms.  I appreciate the honesty about not caring.  But I wish more people did care and were a little more open about the Realms.




It’s not me that turn his back on the Realms, it’s the Realms that turn it’s back on me. I like the Realms because it was a huge lands where stories didn’t always connect to each others because they weren’t world-shattering event. Now it’s a post-apocalyptic world that look nothing like the setting  I’ve play in for so many years.

Eh, I dont think think he's really saying love it or leave it.  I think that he's saying that if people don't start buying more novels, WotC will stop publishing them.  Given his love of realms fiction, he's certainly welcome to blame people who arent buying, because...there is truth there.  WotC will not stop publishing if the novels are moving off the shelves.  That's pretty much an undeniable fact.  They want the Benjamins.  If people aren't buying though, ie, the novels are not profitable, they will not continue to publish them.

I'm saying, at this point, I don't really care if they stop publishing them or not.  I haven't been reading them anyways, so no big deal to me either way.  I guess that's about as clear as I can be.




Thanks Crazyhawk, that does sum up how I feel.  of course I would never tell anyone that they HAD to buy the material or else.  But those are the facts.  And do I resent the hell out of people who turned their backs on the setting?  Damn right I do.  But that's everyone's choice.  I lost Battletech and now I might lose the Realms.  I appreciate the honesty about not caring.  But I wish more people did care and were a little more open about the Realms.




It’s not me that turn his back on the Realms, it’s the Realms that turn it’s back on me. I like the Realms because it was a huge lands where stories didn’t always connect to each others because they weren’t world-shattering event. Now it’s a post-apocalyptic world that look nothing like the setting  I’ve play in for so many years.




Sorry, I don't buy this argument at all....not one bit.  WoTC isn't around to please you personally.  The designers are paid to create a narrative that is hopefully interesting to enough people that they will support it.  They have no collective awareness of who you are or what your ultimate vision for the Realms is.  So they didn't make any conscious decisions to "turn their backs on you".  You are the one who decided that you didn't like what was being made.  So yes, you did turn your back on the setting.  But, again, that is fine.  You have a right to feel that way.  You can't make someone buy something that they don't like...unless your Apple.  But I also have the right to my personal opinion that I feel that some of you are far too hard on the setting and it's designers.

The reason I like the Realms is because it's huge and there is a lot going on and there is a very rich and deep history.  The opportunity is there for any type of story you can imagine in any time period.  Just because they went hog wild on the RSE's for a while doesn't mean that is the direction that they will always take.  The opportunity is there for them to ALWAYS change direction and do something different with the narrative if something isn't working.  Which is what they are doing with the Sundering.  So story wise the Realms is never lost.  That is unless people just start ignoring it and it dies due to lack of interest.  

That is what I am trying to do here.  I'm not trying to insult everyone just to be a jerk.  I'm trying to find some way to get more people to raise their voice in support of the Realms rather than bashing it and just walking away.  I'd like to see some of you who say that they are done with the Realms to give it another look.  Let's see if WoTC makes good on their promise to listen to us.  We all know that this setting is beg enough to handle a lot of different narratives.  So maybe we can convince them of that fact.

And FYI, the Realms practically started off with an RSE.  The first Time of Troubles novel was published in 1989.  A mere 2 years after the Old Grey Box was published.  So RSE's have been a fact of the Realms since close to the beginning.
Gods but I wish they'd just divorce the novels from canon and be done with it...  

I really hope not. Not only would that be the thing that would drive me away from FR novels (I can read glorified fanfiction for free, thank you!), IMHO the novels being canon is why they are selling so much better than the Eberron novels

Yeah, I never really got this.  I mean I don't play the game.  I've actually never played a DnD game set in the Realms.  Every time I've had the chance to play the DM had their own setting going.  So maybe I'm a bit naive in this, but why is canon so important to a DnD campaign set in the Realms?  I've always assumed that the DM is going to mold things the way they want any ways, which has been my experience.

The only place canon really matters is in the novels because that is where the narrative is being told by WoTC and the authors.  They need to stay on the same page or else it gets confusing and unappealing.  But the DMs of the world can do what ever they want and it will never affect another DM's campaign.

Maybe WoTC needs to change how they approach the way they publish source material. 
Pre-4e, novels as canon could make some discussions around here a fairly unpleasant experience, especially for those who couldn't puzzle out what those novels were about and involved.  Now I can't say that was ever an issue for me, since it never seemed that hard to piece together to me, but for a lot of newbies, it was a daunting cliff to find oneself on the edge of.  This was especially true for those inexperienced DMs who showed up asking for 'required' reading lists, as if they couldn't run a game without first having read the novels just to know what was going on.  Hardly true of course, but they certainly didn't seem aware of that. From what I was seeing, that was a big part of why they used such a lore-light approach to 4e, to discourage just that sort of thinking, and took such a clumsy approach to justify to the gamers that the novels didn't really matter as much as they used to.

To my way of thinking, they'd be better off committing to one approach or the other.  Either the novels matter, or they don't.  Not that I have any issues with the novels having their own canon, I just wish they'd divorce it from the gaming setting itself, or at least treating it much more abstractly the way the approached it in 2e (as in generic adventurers accomplishing these things, rather than the more specific Company of the XYZ, and all that implies), which I think encouraged DMs to believe that they were free to change the details as they saw fit.  Not that they can't anyway, but some folks just have the hardest time getting that through to their brains, as these forums have demonstrated so many times to me.

As to who turned whose back upon whom, it doesn't really matter where you assign the blame, it's ultimately an emotional response, and no one is responsible when it comes down to it.  Anything else is just an exercise in linguistic exactitude and semantics.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Eh, I dont think think he's really saying love it or leave it.  I think that he's saying that if people don't start buying more novels, WotC will stop publishing them.  Given his love of realms fiction, he's certainly welcome to blame people who arent buying, because...there is truth there.  WotC will not stop publishing if the novels are moving off the shelves.  That's pretty much an undeniable fact.  They want the Benjamins.  If people aren't buying though, ie, the novels are not profitable, they will not continue to publish them.

I'm saying, at this point, I don't really care if they stop publishing them or not.  I haven't been reading them anyways, so no big deal to me either way.  I guess that's about as clear as I can be.




Thanks Crazyhawk, that does sum up how I feel.  of course I would never tell anyone that they HAD to buy the material or else.  But those are the facts.  And do I resent the hell out of people who turned their backs on the setting?  Damn right I do.  But that's everyone's choice.  I lost Battletech and now I might lose the Realms.  I appreciate the honesty about not caring.  But I wish more people did care and were a little more open about the Realms.




It’s not me that turn his back on the Realms, it’s the Realms that turn it’s back on me. I like the Realms because it was a huge lands where stories didn’t always connect to each others because they weren’t world-shattering event. Now it’s a post-apocalyptic world that look nothing like the setting  I’ve play in for so many years.




Sorry, I don't buy this argument at all....not one bit.  WoTC isn't around to please you personally.  The designers are paid to create a narrative that is hopefully interesting to enough people that they will support it.  They have no collective awareness of who you are or what your ultimate vision for the Realms is.  So they didn't make any conscious decisions to "turn their backs on you".  You are the one who decided that you didn't like what was being made.  So yes, you did turn your back on the setting.  But, again, that is fine.  You have a right to feel that way.  You can't make someone buy something that they don't like...unless your Apple.  But I also have the right to my personal opinion that I feel that some of you are far too hard on the setting and it's designers.

The reason I like the Realms is because it's huge and there is a lot going on and there is a very rich and deep history.  The opportunity is there for any type of story you can imagine in any time period.  Just because they went hog wild on the RSE's for a while doesn't mean that is the direction that they will always take.  The opportunity is there for them to ALWAYS change direction and do something different with the narrative if something isn't working.  Which is what they are doing with the Sundering.  So story wise the Realms is never lost.  That is unless people just start ignoring it and it dies due to lack of interest.  

That is what I am trying to do here.  I'm not trying to insult everyone just to be a jerk.  I'm trying to find some way to get more people to raise their voice in support of the Realms rather than bashing it and just walking away.  I'd like to see some of you who say that they are done with the Realms to give it another look.  Let's see if WoTC makes good on their promise to listen to us.  We all know that this setting is beg enough to handle a lot of different narratives.  So maybe we can convince them of that fact.

And FYI, the Realms practically started off with an RSE.  The first Time of Troubles novel was published in 1989.  A mere 2 years after the Old Grey Box was published.  So RSE's have been a fact of the Realms since close to the beginning.



Of course WOTC don't have to please me personally. Like I said in my first post, they own the setting, they can do anything they want with it. But I didn't stop buying FR novel because I didn't like the last few that I read, I stop because they now are set in a dak post-apocalyptic world which I don't like.

The Time of Trouble was certainly a big event but, in the end, it doesn't compare to the Spellplague. When it was over, the Realms was still recognizable, most of the gods were there, there wasn't a big purge of all the famous heroes and the various kingdoms were still intact. 
The Time of Trouble was certainly a big event but, in the end, it doesn't compare to the Spellplague.

If the internet had existed then as it does now, you better believe the reaction would have been fierce and loud. There's a reason 3E didn't use a ToT-style event to herald its changes to the Realms.

That said, the Spellplague was bigger, but I think in terms of the damage footprint. Looking at the (4E) map, you can tell something happened.

For some people, that's enough not to play in the setting (and understandably so).

When it was over, the Realms was still recognizable, most of the gods were there, there wasn't a big purge of all the famous heroes and the various kingdoms were still intact. 

I see you left out the list of dead deities. That, for many people, left a Realms not as recognizable as it once was, but they kept on playing and reading.

A century after the Spellplague, the Realms is not a post-apocalyptic setting. Except for those areas that were removed and/or replaced wholesale, pretty much every kingdom or nation left behind is still intact and chugging right along. 

Commerce and trade are lively, the deities are being worshipped and magic is used readily. The only thing you can reliably say is that nations, city states and so on have changed because a century has passed (and not because the Spellplague happened).

Speaking of, the Spellplague is all but forgotten in the Realms, save by those who use it as an excuse to scare and terrify and manipulate (such as certain of Cormyr's nobles, if recent novels are any indication).

It's actually quite remarkable that the Realms got by with so little alteration after the Time of Troubles (it's earthquake cuasing, reality-warping and wild magic spewing self miraculously leaving the Realms virtually untouched from a map perspective), yet it still saw the loss of deities, killed or drove mad mages and NPCs by the thousands and created plenty of wild magic areas (and heralded in rules changes), much like the Spellplague.

For those who still insist on keeping score: the Spellplague didn't kill many of Cormyr's NPCs, Nalavarra the Devil Dragon and her Ghazneth and goblin minions accomplished that feat on their own. Technically, you could toss Volo's Guide to Cormyr out the window after the Denning and Greenwood books got done mangling Cormyr.

But a lot of people (like me) didn't, because that book is just too good to pass up or not make use of.

And that's really the point. Though Caolin is coming from a novels-only perspective, I think there's merit in looking at the Realms as "too good to pass up" in its entirety.

Yes there are plenty of warts and scars (aka the 4E Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and accompanying map, which introduced all the hard changes), but once you get past that and see what that book has to offer, as well as try out some of the new novels or Dragon/Dungeon supplements, there's good Realmslore and good story to be had.

I think I see where you're coming from, Tonyberr81.I just think the post-Spellplague Realms isn't as bad off or radically changed as you do.