Book Club Discussion - City of the Dead - Chapters 19-24

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I'm wondering if "half brick" will be included in the weapons table for D&D Next.  I guess an email to Monte Cook is in order...

This forum will cover Chapters 19-24.

That's pages 202-253.  Looking forward to your thoughts (and those of any ghosts that live with you), as always. 
I'm wondering if "half brick" will be included in the weapons table for D&D Next.  I guess an email to Monte Cook is in order...

This forum will cover Chapters 19-24.

That's pages 202-253.  Looking forward to your thoughts (and those of any ghosts that live with you), as always. 

I want "half brick" and "shopping basket" on the next list of weapons. Or you can just be a creative GM and let your players go with whatever they find....I'm a bit notorious in one group for being constantly attacked by canine-like critters. So when the latest group of wolves savaging our group concentrated on my character, I withdrew a red rubber ball (complete with squeaky noise) from her tunic and chucked it into the bushes.

Now you can say "wait, how did she get a red rubber ball?" or you can be good sport and say "roll a ten or above and half the pack are distracted." 

Yes, it pays to think sideways sometimes...as our duo in the graveyard will learn shortly.

Happy Monday!
Rosemary

Gustin’s guidebook should add a chapter titled “What to do when a group of thugs is chasing you through a Waterdeep cemetery just before nightfall and you’ve only got a few minutes until the undead army awakens .”  Good thing Feeler and Fish are there to help Gustin and Sophraea out.  Now someone please tell me where the heck is Lord Adarbrent?  In my mind, there has to be some sort of final showdown with Stunk, the Carvers, Gustin, and Adarbrent.


One thing I’m not sure about.  Maybe someone can help me.  Now that the shoe has been returned to the grave, does that mean that the ritual is ended or changed?  Does the reader know the answer to that question at this point?  Or maybe Sophraea and Gustin haven’t figured that out yet so the reader doesn’t know?  That plot point is causing just a little confusion in my mind.  Otherwise, I can’t wait to see how this ends.


Does the reader know the answer to that question at this point?  Or maybe Sophraea and Gustin haven’t figured that out yet so the reader doesn’t know?  That plot point is causing just a little confusion in my mind.  Otherwise, I can’t wait to see how this ends.



No, yes, hang in there....

Magic has yet to happen!
Rosemary


Gustin’s guidebook should add a chapter titled “What to do when a group of thugs is chasing you through a Waterdeep cemetery just before nightfall and you’ve only got a few minutes until the undead army awakens .”




I think that was one of the pages that fell out before he found his book....

Rosemary
Rosemary, love the anecdote about the red ball.  Whenever people ask me "what makes a good DM," usually the first thing that comes to mind is "the ability to improvise and adapt your game."  That's the real magic of D&D for me - it gives you the ability as a DM to tell a story like the author of a book does, but it's a dynamic story that the players help you tell, which makes for collective storytelling.  I'm not sure there's anything else out there that compares to it in that sense.

It looks like the Carvers are going to be under a full-out assault.  I laughed to see Myemaw out there tangling people up with her magic yarn.  I wonder what surprises Volponia will add to the mix, and don't forget that half wish Sophraea is wearing on her finger!

A few other things, Rosemary, since we've only got you for another week:  You mentioned this on your website:

"People often ask me how I happened to end up writing various adventures set in the Forgotten Realms. Lost a contest, met some neat friends, and received Ed Greenwood's blessing to mess up his graveyard is the long story cut short."

You told us in the first forum how you got involved with the Waterdeep series, but could you elaborate on how you originally starting writing for Wizards in the Realms?  I've made it a point to ask each of the authors this, and I find the different routes to Realms publication are pretty interesting.

And finally: You mentioned that City of the Dead was influenced by gothic fiction, and mentioned The Woman in Black specifically.  Did you see the new movie with Daniel Radcliffe?  What did you think?

Speaking of gothic literature, have you ever read Wilkie Collins The Woman in White?  It's a much older (1859) gothic novel by a British author who is mainly forgotten now, but was a good friend of Dickens and very popular during his lifetime.  He also wrote The Moonstone, another gothic mystery novel.  When I was writing a ghost story for my MFA, my mentor turned me on to Collins.  He is a good example of that dark British countryside mood that was common in books like Wuthering Heights, but his novels were more popular fiction, so they have pretty interesting mystery plots as well.

Happy to answer any and all questions. Here's the short and the long answers.

Woman in Black
I have seen this play performed at Seattle's ACT. Great two man show. Or is it? There's one amazing moment where the audience gets throughly spooked. If you have a chance to see it performed live, go! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie too.

Wilkie Collins
I love Wilkie!  And many other 19th century writers.  Great Expectations is one of my favorite Dickens and the graveyard opening remains a fantastic start to a very Gothic tale. Miss Haversham forever haunts all who meet her. Rudyard Kipling wrote a number of spectacular ghost stories and these should not be missed. Nor should Jane Austen's spoofing of the Gothic genre, Northanger Abbey. A favorite series is Wolves of Willoughby Chase, which also borrows from Gothic themes and messes up English history throughly.

If you're aiming for a career as a writer -- and I've accepted that "international woman of mystery" will not earn me a living -- then reading extensively becomes part of the (unpaid) labor. I've never met an writer who didn't read and read widely. It's what keeps the braincells churning. It also means that when you move house, strong men will say things to you like "your boxes of books are daunting."  As happened to me!

How I Started Writing For Wizards Of The Coast
I was one of the writers who entered the Maiden of Pain contest and had my story idea rejected. Apparently a romantic comedy involving the goddess of torture was not what they were looking for...

However I was invited to "keep trying" as the editors liked my sample chapter. This led to multiple rejections -- even as fellow competitors/losers like Erik Scott de Bie secured contracts (and this is the only context where I would call the tall dude a loser, as he's a fantastic tale teller and all round nice guy. But his Maiden of Pain idea also was rejected).  I eventually wrote to an editor inviting me to "try again" and asked "How can I do better?"

He suggested focusing my one-page proprosals on the central character and how she or he achieved their goal in the course of the plot. This sounds simple. It's tricky to write. But it has served me well for other queries and one-page outlines for other publishers.  So I wrote my proposal for Crypt of the Moaning Diamond focusing only on what the heroine was trying to do and how she accomplishes it. The novel eventually hosted many minor characters, subplots, etc. But the proposal was very short and very focused and got the editorial stamp of approval.

About the same time, one short story made it into Realms of Dragons II and a number of "young dragons" emerged from that anthology to become fantastic email buddies. Including Erik, who lives here in Seattle. He invited me to meet him for coffee in a bookstore. Which led to many cups of coffee and discussions of writing since -- and again shows what a gentleman he is, because Erik doesn't drink coffee! Yes, shocking....or at least to this caffeine-addicted lady who cannot even contemplate living in a city without an espresso place on every corner.

Not Final Words For Aspiring Writers
It's not "final" because I can always think of more. But if you're thinking about entering the writing biz, I hope this helps.

Not everyone sells on the first try. Or even the tenth. Don't lock yourselve into writing only one idea or only writing for one publisher. I write many things outside the Realms and always will. Just as I'll always be happy to answer the call when somebody wants me to go adventuring here.

I've had a lot of fantastic imaginative people contact me about wanting to write about their favorite part of the Realms -- and to only write that. When I point out that I don't get to pick where I write (Tsurlagol, Waterdeep, and Neverwinter so far), they get discouraged. However, I do get to pick WHAT I write ... and I hope that you also have the opportunity to tell the tales that you want to read in your own writing.



Thanks for all the great answers, Rosemary!

I'm preparing for a move right now and I'm embarrassed at how many boxes of books I have.  The movers are going to look at me like I'm crazy. 
I liked the idea of the ghostly painting with the Dorian Gray feel to it, and the way in which Gustin uses his smarts to find the shoe - in this novel in particular, it seems right that some of the 'background' characters know more than their masters give them credit for. One moment of confusion I had was when Gustin took the shoe and carried it through the house; I was expecting him to keep the shoe outside (throw it off the balcony, perhaps, and retrieve it later) to prevent any danger of the dead invading later. Perhaps he was confident that the curse could be broken before the next night.

The wolf in the graveyard was a nice touch - now all the references to the hirsute doorjack make a greater sense (the initial descriptions weren't overplayed, so I did enjoy this revelation). I enjoyed the description of the maze - as I was reading it, the place had such presence that I began to wonder whether it's been written about elsewhere - when writing about Waterdeep, for instance, I wonder how much crossover is encouraged between novels? I guess I'll have to read more to find out

Again, I wasn't immediately certain why Gustin's spells might have strengthened the curse - I assumed, in the end, that the magical disturbance must have roused or annoyed the 'residents'. Whatever happened, it led to a standoff and the revealing of the guardgoyle - a really nice idea; I liked the way that you learn of the power of the scream attack by the characters' reactions to it, rather than describing the actual attack or its aftermath.

Rosemary, thanks for your advice above - the proposal idea sounds very practical. Just out of interest, how long ago was the Maiden of Pain contest, and how much have you written since?


The Maiden of Pain contest was either end of 2003 or early 2004. My first short story with Wizards came out in 2005. My first WOTC novel was published in 2007.

It's not unusual in the publishing business for a book to take two to three years from initial acceptance to publication -- although e-publishing and other new technologies are cutting down that production time.

My first fiction sale was in 2002, after nearly ten years of writing articles and nonfiction books.  I'm still waiting to become an overnight success!

Rosemary

The Maiden of Pain contest was either end of 2003 or early 2004. My first short story with Wizards came out in 2005. My first WOTC novel was published in 2007.

It's not unusual in the publishing business for a book to take two to three years from initial acceptance to publication -- although e-publishing and other new technologies are cutting down that production time.

My first fiction sale was in 2002, after nearly ten years of writing articles and nonfiction books.  I'm still waiting to become an overnight success!



Heh - that's a little sobering! Well, I'm selfishly pleased that you stuck with it Wink Thoroughly enjoyed City of the Dead, and I'm hoping Amazon will be able to deliver me Crypt of the Moaning Diamond before too long Smile

Thanks once again for taking part!