In The Herald, the final book of the Sundering series, which heralds the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons, we see the popular world of Faerûn being torn apart by the ambitions not only of Shar, the evil goddess of darkness and mystery, but also by ambitious beings who would like nothing more than to ride the coattails of her power or to establish power bases of their own. One such group signing up for a ride on those dark coattails are the Shadovar. They are hatching nefarious plots across the world, including attacks on the magical wards of the famed repository of Candlekeep and the ancient elf city of Myth Drannor. They seek to consume all of the powerful magic contained at both of these locations so that they can sunder the world. In the center of the maelstrom of chaos, Mystra, the goddess of magic, has withdrawn from the world, leaving Elminster as her champion to maintain the Weave, which is what binds Mystra’s magic to Faerûn.
Kleef is a watchman in the City of Marsember. Though the watch is corrupt and ineffective, the “good” news for the people of Marsember is that they don’t have to worry about that much longer since the city is on the eve of being overrun by the Shadowvar. Kleef and his patrol are monitoring a strange man and his beguiling traveling companion when he discovers that a Shadowvar agent is tailing them. Kleef springs into action to intervene, and, in doing so, he ends up in a running battle with multiple Shadowvar who seem hell-bent on capturing and killing this odd couple. During this battle that rages through streets choked with refugees fleeing the city, Lady Arietta (who just happens to moonlight as a common bard in many of the taverns of the city) witnesses Kleef holding off his shady foes and decides to insert herself into the fight. By doing so, she not only places herself in danger, but her family as well. Kleef learns that not only is the sword that his father handed down to him more powerful than he thought, but that the odd couple that he saved are chosen of the goddess of love (Sune) and the god of death (sort of). If that wasn’t enough, the odd couple—Joelle and Malik—have an artifact that must be delivered to a place that to a common watchman like Kleef exists only in legend. Talk about a rough day at work.
400, Paizo Publishing
Gideon Gull is a bard in training—actually he is dual majoring in the bardic arts and becoming a spy/assassin. The college he attends is the Rhapsodic College, and right below it is the Shadow School. While finishing his training, Gideon is haunted by a specter from his past, or, more correctly, a fog. This magical fog plays on the fears of strong-willed creatures and turns weak-willed folk into murderers and insane people. Because this fog is being unleashed on the already tense border between Taldor and Gideon’s home country of Andoran, Gideon must gather up his bardic friends and figure out who is behind this insidious fog before a war tears these two nations apart.
384, Wizards of the Coast
Drizzt and his reincarnated companions have had a twenty-year reunion, and they are going back to one of their old haunts: Gauntlgrym. Their goal is to rescue or destroy Bruenor’s loyal shield dwarf friend. So, you might think that this is just one major problem to handle, when, in fact, these companions have several major problems. The biggest is that Bruenor’s old friend is now a vampire. Also, a colony of drow has decided to set up shop in Gauntlgrym and, like all good drow from Drizzt’s hometown, they feel inclined to kill him on sight. If all of that isn’t bad enough, something is afoot aboveground, and Drizzt and his companions must traverse dangers above and below the surface to get to Gauntlgrym. Good times.
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When we last encountered our heroes Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone at the end of the novel The Scroll of Years, they were forced to make a choice—a choice that no parent should ever have to make. To protect their child from several very powerful evil forces, they had to trap their son named Innocence along with the daughter of their ally in a pocket dimension that can be accessed only through a magical scroll. To keep these children safe, Bone was forced to drop the scroll in the sea to keep it from those who would do harm to him and his. To find the scroll and to save their children, Gaunt, Bone, and Snow Pine embark on an epic quest. Their first stop is to travel even farther to the east to consult the great demi-god Monkey for sage advice. As with all things dealing with Monkey, there is a price. Monkey knows how to get to the scroll, but, for the information, these parents must bring Iron Moths back to Monkey. Iron Moths’ cocoons produce the almost magical iron silk (think fantasy Kevlar). But a quest is only a quest if it is difficult, and this one makes difficult look easy.