310 pages |
Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of D&D, these novels were based on classic D&D role playing modules. I only recently discovered them and as I'm a fan of these classic modules, I gave them a try. It is a pretty fun concept for old D&D players; the idea of a party going through old adventures just screams nostalgia opportunities.
The second of the series is based on White Plume Mountain. I've never been a big fan of the module as it is a fairly bland fetch quest, with no plot to speak of. Just go into the mountain and find 3 magical items.
The novel adds a lot more plot, with the protagonist, a solemn Ranger who goes by the name the Justicar, being hired to investigate attacks on caravans which leads him to recovering the stolen magical items, with the titular White Plume Mountain not even mentioned till the second half of the book.
The characters are very over-the-top, with the Justicar's friend Cinders, which is a pelt of a hellhound which he wears and has pyromaniac tendencies, an annoying wagon driver named Polk and a shallow, ditzy but engaging pixie named Escalla.
Paul Kidd, the writer, is a comic book writer and it shows as the story is almost entirely dialogue driven. While the characters engage in witty banter that sounds more like modern Californian than Greyhawk (characters shout "shut up!" constantly), it is entertaining and funny. It feels more like what a group of role-players would joke back and forth during a campaign. Normally I'm not a fan of irreverent humour but here it works. It could even be seen as a deconstruction of the role-playing genre at heart. While it is not a gamebook, I could envision it being one, with either the Justicar or Escalla the pixie providing the point of view character.
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