You may have heard about this Sundering thing. You may have read Brimstone Angels and want to know what’s next for Farideh and company. You may have seen the YouTube videos, and stumbled on this blog trying to figure out who the heck that chick with the pink hair is. You may have read about it on the blogs of more conscientious authors than I. You may have come here because you’re my grandmother and you want to know why I’m not calling you more. But mostly the Sundering thing.
But I haven’t said boo about it. Frankly, August and September have been beasts. We’re moving, we had a big trip east for my grandfather’s memorial, everybody caught a cold, and Idris has started walking. I would paste a cute picture of him in a moving box, but I think he’s also got a mild ear infection since he’s so clingy he won’t let go of my leg. Poor baby.
Which is all well and good. But meanwhile, I have friends and fans and family asking me what I’m doing now. I see FR fans wondering what’s going on. So here are some answers to questions I think you are asking.
What is the Sundering?
Okay, that’s a lot of video. If you don’t watch it, you’re missing out…but I don’t blame you. You could watch an entire movie in that time and there are exactly zero explosions in the YouTube videos. And if you’re my grandmother, you probably can’t understand 80% of it, because you are deaf. Also you probably have some things to say about how I need to sit up straighter, in which case: Granma, not now!
So if you don’t watch it here’s a quick summary: The Sundering is a six book series that tells the story of characters living during an event of the same name. They’ll be written by R.A. Salvatore, Paul S. Kemp, Richard Lee Byers, Troy Denning, Ed Greenwood, and yours truly. They are not connected by plot and character, although they will reference one another. The Sundering (the Event) involves the separation of the two worlds, Abeir and Toril, that collided with the Spellplague. AO the Overgod is reforging the Tablets of Fate…Okay, family and friends just checked out. Fans, seriously: watch at least the first fifteen minutes of that video if you haven’t already. It’s easier for all of us, I think.
I, if you missed it, am writing the third book, The Adversary.
OMG. Is that Farideh?
Yes! Farideh is the main character of The Adversary.
If you did not ask this question, but maybe wished you had, you should read Brimstone Angels, where she first appears. If you do it soon, you can be caught up when Lesser Evils releases. (December 4th!)
She’s a tiefling. I hate 4e tieflings.
Yup, and sorry to hear that. I would suggest you read Brimstone Angels and see if it changes your opinion at all. Get it at the library if you don’t want to accidentally give me money. But one thing I wanted to do was integrate the new tiefling look into the bigger story of the Realms and to do that, it has to matter to the character. I’ve heard from several skeptics that the attempt was successful! You’ll have to let me know.
But—and I’ve said this elsewhere—that doesn’t mean that this is the only sort of tiefling available in D&D Next. But it’s probably the only kind of tiefling I’m going to write about. I like ’em.
So…what happens in The Adversary?
If you’ve read Brimstone Angels you may have noticed Farideh has a tendency to take on responsibilities that are a little over her head while hanging on to powers that might damn her, but can definitely help her in the here and now. This finally bites her in the ass when she’s caught in the larger schemes of Asmodeus, who is keenly aware of what he stands to lose.
Is [character I love] in it?
You’ll have to be more specific.
What about [character I hate]?
No one hates any of my characters.
Okay: What about Nestrix?
No. I would love to do some short stories about Nestrix and Tennora and their cohorts. I think that would suit them better. But they don’t appear in The Adversary. (Probably; it’s not done yet)
I really think you should write a God Catcher sequel. I liked that one.
I know, Granma.
I’ve seen that Sundering pantheon picture around. Which characters are in The Adversary?
The tiefling woman slinging fire is Farideh. The fellow behind her with the book is Dahl Peredur. Dahl appears in Lesser Evils. At that time he’s a fallen paladin of Oghma who’s joined the Harpers and is being reluctantly trained by Tam “The Shepherd” Zawad.
I am worried. I like some of the Fourth Edition things. This sounds like you’re going to throw away all the stuff I like because someone else complained louder.
Nope! Honestly the goal is to make as many people happy as possible. That’s additive more than subtractive, since taking away someone’s fun isn’t generally what makes people “happy”. If you want to play your game in Unther—cool! There will be Unther. If you want to play a dragonborn—cool! That will be there too! (How is that possible, you ask? Use your imagination. I’m rooting for a city half Djerad Thymar and half returned Messemprar, personally. Right down the middle. BAM! Conflict!).
Specifics are still under discussion. But I can guarantee this much, fans of Brimstone Angels: Mehen is not being sucked back to Abeir, not being turned into a saurial, not being dropped out of the story like the younger sister from a sitcom past its prime. I am looking forward to getting to tell Mehen’s story.
I’ve heard other authors talk about how they felt constrained writing in Fourth Edition or how they felt like Forgotten Realms lost its way with Fourth Edition. What do you think?
I like Fourth Edition Realms. Of course I do—I’ve written three books set in Fourth Edition. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have done that second book. To an extent I don’t know any different. I’ve only written in Fourth Edition. But I have loved writing in it, and I’m thrilled that Wizards has decided not to retcon what we’ve done.
But you didn’t like all of it, right? No one likes all of it.
I think where the post-Spellplague Realms might have “lost its way” is the fact that the game materials feel like they’re meant for people making homebrew who might want to use parts of this setting. I think the whole thing was encouraging you to not feel tied down to things you don’t like. It might be that that worked for those folks who wanted that. I hope it did!
But it lost the depth of world that I think appeals to most of the fans. I think the novels got the opportunity to fill in a lot of that depth, but the message was sort of lost in the noise. What pleases me about D&D Next is that—so far—it’s aiming to reclaim that depth and not overwhelm you if you’re new. Because I totally think they can do that. And I love—LOVE—the effort they’re putting into maintaining continuity across products. This makes only six books in a year worth it in my mind.
When does The Adversary come out?
December 2013, in hardcover and later in paperback.
That’s all very good to know. But the real question is…when can I expect another great-grandchild from you?
Seriously, Granma. I’m working here. (Love you)