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Item - The Savage Caves

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Series: Dungeons & Dragons Novels — no. 1
Author: Lain, T. H.
Illustrator: Lockwood, Todd (cover)
Date: July, 2002
ISBN: 078692845X / 9780786928453
Product Code: 882200000
Length: 182 pages
Kveto's Thoughts:

In the early 2000's, apparently to promote D&D third edition, Wizards of the Coast produced this non-interactive series based on their newly created "iconic" 3rd edition characters.

The iconic characters were clearly an attempt to find some marketable new characters to differentiate the 3rd edition game from the original version. Unlike the Greyhawk classics, these novels were trying to focus on new material. According to Wikipedia, they were written by different authors using the nom de plume, T. H. Lain.

The first novel, The Savage Caves, is a fairly standard adventure with a party trying to defend a village from an invading army of giant spiders and goblins. It's fairly easy to follow, as the four adventurers (a fighter, a cleric, a female mage and a female halfling rogue) all have distinct, if simple, personalities.

But the drawbacks include some awful modern dialogue by the halfling, who spouts things like "My bad" and "Get a room, you two." And the goblins are named things like Tzrg and Glnk which feel more like typing random consonants than names.

That these "iconic" characters all became forgotten is most likely due to the horrible 1990s-2000s fantasy artwork commissioned for them. They feature bloated unrealistic armour, bodies of illogical proportion, weapons that are larger than the characters themselves, and ugly as sin faces. I can only imagine that if Wizards had hired some of the truly iconic 1980s artists like Clyde Caldwell or Larry Elmore then these 3rd edition characters might be better remembered like the 1st edition characters.

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