Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another guilty pleasure-TSR Books

I've been on a gaming nostalgia trip, not with what I've been playing but with what I've been reading. I'm re-visiting some of my favorite "RPG novels" from the old days at TSR.

Now I'm firmly in the Howard/ Leiber camp for my fantasy but I admit I do enjoy me some TSR AD&D adventure books from time to time.  Starting with the first two Greyhawk books starring Gord the rogue. For the first time the world of Greyhawk was laid out for me to enjoy in prose, and written by the old Sage himself- Gary Gygax.
I remember, the Gord books making the rounds of our gaming group and starting many a heated geeky debate. The books also had me cracking open the dictionary quite often looking up words like  "saturnine" and "lugubrious" (Gygax- gotta love him). One of my favorite characters from the Gord books was Gellor the Bard, I had never really considered Bards as a character option, but Gellor was like this cool fantasy secret agent, I saw bards a whole new way after that.
Sadly the Greyhawk books took a turn for the worst for me as soon as Rose Estes took over. You would think a book about a Wolf Nomad Shaman would be cool. It wasn't.

Here is where I should say that I discovered Dragonlance and do a paragraph on the Majere brothers and Kender.  But the truth is, while I read and enjoyed the Dragonlance Trilogy, it hasn't stayed with me all these years, though it was much touted as crashing in on the New York Times Bestseller list, gaining a following among the Muggles. I acknowledge that Raistlen is one of the Iconic figures of AD&D lore, but he's not a personal favorite.

My next big foray into TSR Adventures was in the late 80's when R.A. Salvatore wrote a trilogy of books set on the world of Toril, better known as The Forgotten Realms. His books known as the "Icewind Dale Trilogy" have become a favorite on my TSR bookshelf. in the Icewind Dale Trilogy, Salvatore introduced probably the most popular bad-ass character in the entire D&D universe to date - the Drow Ranger known as Drizzt. With his two magic swords and cool magic panther, Drizzt sliced and diced his way into the hearts of gamers around the world. The Comic Fanboys have Wolverine. The Gamer Geeks have Drizzt -what a great cage match that would be.

After Drizzt, were a slew of TSR books some better, many worse, than others. Salvatore found continued success with Drizzt. But he lost me with his Cleric Quintet- I could buy a guy fighting monsters with a stick and a pair of Yo-yo's ( I tried it and got my ass kicked).

I've mentioned Dixie Lee Mckeon's Birthright book - The Spiders Test before on the Blog. and I really enjoyed the Indiana Jones styled character of Baylee Arnvold in Mel Odom's "The Lost Library of Cormanthyr".

There are a bunch I didn't mention that I enjoyed such as the Pool of Radiance series and believe it or not- The SpellJammer books.

The TSR books have become sort of like Classic Rock music. I'll always have them around to remind me of "The good ol'days".