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Are there any novels about the Baldur's Gate series?

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  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Who's to say whether a thinner skin or a thicker one is a benefit here? Probably a bit of each, since that seems to be a general pattern with this sort of thing.

    So, I really like Jaheira as a character. On the whole it'd be very difficult to say she's weak, or passive, or incompetent, or anything of the sort. Her reactions to being helpless only serve to further demonstrate this. But she's still rendered helpless multiple times, and she still needs rescuing. So while I'd absolutely agree that her reactions lessen the impact of her damselling, she's still damselled, and it still feeds into the overall pattern of every female party member in BG2 needing rescuing at some point. Which, in turn, is lessened somewhat by a number of the male NPCs also needing rescuing.

  • MichailMichail Member Posts: 196
    edited June 2015
    Quartz said:

    ... You can cringe at Aerie all you want (I shall too … and cringe at Khalid, while we're at it), and you can arguably complain about Viconia, but Jaheira just isn't an issue no matter how you look at it, IMO.

    May I offer my agreement on this one? It's all been said before but from the early stages of BG 1 she is a protector for charname, she is braver than her husband, and she takes a very mature stance when he dies. As far as rescuing goes, charname also needs rescuing the first time, and is in fact rescued by a girl. Later, when she is threatened, she is proactive and takes the initiative immediately afterwards, forcing the plot to follow her actions. All in all, she is an equal partner for charname.

    Quartzlolien
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    ^ I cannot "Like" this post enough!

    kcwiselolienJuliusBorisov
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    @Imrahil, I agree wholeheartedly. My concerns with agency aren't with PCs vs. NPCs, because as you note, it's ridiculous to expect any parity there given the RPG format (and to a lesser extent, the game format in general). My concerns are more with relative agency between NPCs. If I'm concerned with the strong pattern of female characters being put in danger in a way that deprives them of agency, it's because there's no such strong pattern for male characters (although there are definitely some examples). The fact that the PC is the one who gets all the agency that might belong to other characters isn't really an issue, because that's just video games. The fact that it's "taken" from other characters unevenly with regards to gender, to a pretty substantial extent, is an issue.

    Michailkcwise
  • SmilingSwordSmilingSword Member Posts: 827
    Have never read the Baldur's novels and never will, but I have read way way too many Forgotten Realms novels. Some of them are fun, a lot of them are terribad, reading like bad fanfiction.

    Here are some series I can heartily recommend.

    The Avatar Series

    The Dark Elf Trilogy: best Drizzt books in my opinion, not bogged down, by the lackluster generic characters Salvatore seems to love filling his books with.

    The Sellswords: a Salvatore series focusing on his hands down best chracaters, the assassin Artemis Entreri and the drow mercenary Jarlaxle. This series is a lot of fun, but gets rather silly when Salvatore adds the random evil dwarf character and gives everybody magic mounts that are summoned from statuettes.

    Starlight & Shadows: female drow sorceress and her human barbarian companion. Decent read with farily likable characters.

    War of the Spider Queen: a drow series about drow. This series is amazing and complete rubbish at the same time, mainly because each book has a different author, so everybody feels kind of schizophrenic. Characters gain and lose magic items, depending on whose writing them. One character Kaanyr Vhok a cambion, was described as half evlen half Marilith. Then later on, he was suddenly half human, half Marilith.
    Still a worth while read other all.

    Can't really remember any other really good Forgotten Realms series, the Cleric Quintet is ok, because of Ivan and Pickle. Otherwise there are some completely horrid series you should stay away from. Here arer some of them:

    The Lady Penitent by Lisa Smedman. Left over characters from war of the spider queen, that don't feel anything like what they were in war of the spider queen, this whole series feels like bad fanfiction. She basically kills off the whole drow pantheon for reasons.

    The Empyrean Odyssey by Thomas M. Reid, more bad fanfiction based on war of the spider queen. Reid does a wonderful job of scrapping story in favor of fights with stupidly huge things "there is a astral kraken, at one point.", it's like if Michael Bay wrote a book and used monsters instead of explosions. Also he takes two great chracaters Aliisza a alu-fiend and Kaanyr Vhok cambion and proceeds to kill off Vhok for being Vhok and kill off everything about Aliisza that made her Aliisza. It's just painful to read, also there is a half electric dragon half hobgoblin.

    NonnahswriterJuliusBorisov
  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    edited June 2015
    the difference there in is that cheesy B-movies are enjoyable...to a degree.....reading the BG novels are not.

    I'd compare their quality to Uwe Boll films...but that's insult to Uwe Boll films.



    As for actually good DnD novels, the Prince of Lies and Crucible: Trial of Cyric the mad are nice, though it's recommend you read the Avatar crisis series first since there's a lot of important stuff going on there. The Spellfire trilogy is pretty good as well. Icewind Dale trilogy is pretty good, the Homeland series is alright.

    Elminster's stuff is usually pretty good. Making of a Mage being his primary origin book, though there's quite a few more.

  • kcwisekcwise Member Posts: 2,287
    Paul Kemp's Erevis Cale novels are good as well. If you like a hero who is quite literally a shade of gray then it's a good pick.

    MusignyBrer_Rabbit
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    Imrahil said:

    You should totally read my CHARNAME & Sexy Lamp fanfic. [/kidding]

    I think one thing people are missing when they criticize the "agency" of any of the characters in a video game is that it's designed for the Player to be the center of the universe (generally speaking, in regards to Baldur's Gate, specifically speaking).

    You literally change Anomen's entire life with a couple lines of dialogue, whether you're in a romance or not. You can change Viconia & Sarevok's alignment. It's not a novel where characters (should) have their own independent lives. CHARNAME is more than the protagonist, s/he is the driver of the story, & the driver of the NPC's story. It almost has to be that way. In a game.

    One of the biggest criticisms of the Saerileth MOD is that she turns it into Saerileth's story, with CHARNAME as almost a sidekick. The goal of a game, as opposed to a novel, is to make the Player feel like their choices matter, like they're in control of most things, not all, sure, but most.

    I do like that the BG games give the NPC's "breaking points", for lack of a better term. Some don't get along with each other. Some object to certain Good/Evil acts. That's great. They have their preferences. They aren't just cyphers waiting fro CHARNAME to tell them what to do or who to be. But all the NPC's to some extent have to be subject to CHARNAME's decisions, just because the Player needs to feel in control of the game. If the game, or certain NPC's take control, the game suffers.

    Now, I'll admit some games take this too far, like Dragon Age 2 (& to a large extent DA:I), making it so CHARNAME can be or do anything & the NPC's just accept it. A balance is what's important, but the balance should, IMO, always tip slightly in favor of CHARNAME being in control of the story.

    The EE devs poke fun at this. In BG1 when you attack the Shar monestary, and Rasaad's brother goes "You?!" Charname thinks that the villain is talking about him. Nope, Rasaad has to put Charname in his place and remind him that this is Rasaad's story (for once).

    NonnahswriterBrer_RabbitThacoBell
  • MrWakkaMrWakka Member Posts: 7
    kcwise said:

    Paul Kemp's Erevis Cale novels are good as well. If you like a hero who is quite literally a shade of gray then it's a good pick.

    To date the Erevis Cale trilogy has been the best D&D novels I've read. Thanks primarily to Kemp's writing actually fitting the universe in which they are supposed to take place. Unlike other writers, such as Salvatore, the characters and world suffer from the same limitations that player characters do.

    Salvatore as a whole has an aversion to magic in his earlier works, the Cleric Quintet stars an agnostic cleric of denier who has no actual spellcasting ability, instead he spends the majority of the adventure being fairly ineffectual, relying on a monk, a druid, and fighter, and using a crossbow loaded with exploding bolts. I can't get into them much for this reason, Drizzt and crew live in the realms pretty much in name only. I will say he writes good fight scenes though. If you do read the Drizzt novels be prepared for every bit of character development to be reset every series or so, Wulfgar especially, and in general for very similar tropes to be reused liberally (Oh no, party thinks X is dead yet again, only for him not be, just like last time, and the time before that...)

    For the BG novels themselves, I pretty much thought they were a joke, the moment it is either stated, or heavily implied (it has been a long time since I read them) that Khalid beats Jaheira I could help but laugh. I could only imagine the first time Khalid tried anything remotely close to that she would have beat him senseless and left. I remain convinced that the author never actually played the game, only getting a very brief overview, which he promptly only half read and then threw away.

    kcwise
  • Brer_RabbitBrer_Rabbit Member Posts: 159
    MrWakka said:

    kcwise said:

    Paul Kemp's Erevis Cale novels are good as well. If you like a hero who is quite literally a shade of gray then it's a good pick.

    To date the Erevis Cale trilogy has been the best D&D novels I've read. Thanks primarily to Kemp's writing actually fitting the universe in which they are supposed to take place. Unlike other writers, such as Salvatore, the characters and world suffer from the same limitations that player characters do.

    Salvatore as a whole has an aversion to magic in his earlier works, the Cleric Quintet stars an agnostic cleric of denier who has no actual spellcasting ability, instead he spends the majority of the adventure being fairly ineffectual, relying on a monk, a druid, and fighter, and using a crossbow loaded with exploding bolts. I can't get into them much for this reason, Drizzt and crew live in the realms pretty much in name only. I will say he writes good fight scenes though. If you do read the Drizzt novels be prepared for every bit of character development to be reset every series or so, Wulfgar especially, and in general for very similar tropes to be reused liberally (Oh no, party thinks X is dead yet again, only for him not be, just like last time, and the time before that...)

    For the BG novels themselves, I pretty much thought they were a joke, the moment it is either stated, or heavily implied (it has been a long time since I read them) that Khalid beats Jaheira I could help but laugh. I could only imagine the first time Khalid tried anything remotely close to that she would have beat him senseless and left. I remain convinced that the author never actually played the game, only getting a very brief overview, which he promptly only half read and then threw away.
    Hahahahahaha seriously?? Khalid beating Jaheira? She wouldn't just beat him senseless, she'd give him a thrashing heard around the world before hanging him upside down in nothing but his boxers in bear territory!

    But all of this is moot as they seem to be a strong couple. He worships her and she clearly does care about him, for all her standoffish ways.

    I will be sure to avoid those books. Which writer wrote those? Or series?

    ThacoBell
  • kcwisekcwise Member Posts: 2,287

    I will be sure to avoid those books. Which writer wrote those? Or series?

    There are three books in total, one for BG1, 2, and ToB. Phillip Athans wrote the first two, and Drew Karpyshyn wrote the last one, I think.

    There were a lot of things about the first book (never read the other two) which annoyed me, but the one which really ticked me off was a particular scene with Jaheira. The party is searching for the mines and begins getting close to the spider infested area. A regular spider lands on her and she begins to freak out. Apparently the writer said to the arachnid "Go for the boobs, spider! Go for the boobs!" because, you guessed it, the spider crawls right down into her cleavage. What's a girl to do? Strip off her top entirely of course! Then Abdel has to ogle her nakedness for a while. It just seemed one of the most juvenile and contrived things imaginable. Having a spider in your clothes is not a fun experience, and the reaction might be understandable from that perspective, but putting it in a fictional book just for the purpose of another character getting an eyeful seemed rather lame to me.

    NonnahswriterBrer_RabbitJuliusBorisov
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    The more I hear these things, the more I tell myself that there had to be something behind the scenes. Such as a feud between Athans and his higher-ups, with these books being his way of saying 'screw you' to everyone. There is no way that any paid author for a major company can be *this* bad unless it is intentional.

  • SmilingSwordSmilingSword Member Posts: 827
    Just Wiki'd Philip Athans now and realized I had actually read one of his books, one of the later books in the war of the Spider Queen series "Annihilation". The book consists of two big fight scenes and a lot of filler. Whatever else can be said about the man, he can write a fairly memorable fight scene. Also he hasn't released anything since 2007, so maybe he will continue to do just that and the world will remain a slightly better place.

    Grum
  • OzzyBotkinsOzzyBotkins Member Posts: 396
    I read the first Baldurs Gate novel and it was the worst fiction book I ever read. Did not read any more of the seris

    Grum
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    Nimran said:

    I read all three... :cry:

    Whatever you did, you didn't deserve that kind of flagellation....

    NonnahswriterNimran
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    Grum said:

    Nimran said:

    I read all three... :cry:

    Whatever you did, you didn't deserve that kind of flagellation....
    It's okay. Even reading bad books can make you a better writer.

    They teach you everything not to do. :blush:

    NimranBrer_Rabbit
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848

    Grum said:

    Nimran said:

    I read all three... :cry:

    Whatever you did, you didn't deserve that kind of flagellation....
    It's okay. Even reading bad books can make you a better writer.

    They teach you everything not to do. :blush:
    I'm a completionist, okay?! :bawling: I had to! ...I had to...

    kcwiseBrer_Rabbit
  • Brer_RabbitBrer_Rabbit Member Posts: 159
    Grum said:

    The more I hear these things, the more I tell myself that there had to be something behind the scenes. Such as a feud between Athans and his higher-ups, with these books being his way of saying 'screw you' to everyone. [b]There is no way that any paid author for a major company can be *this* bad unless it is intentional.[/b]

    Again, I have to use Dietz and Mass Effect: Deception. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0345520734/ref=pd_aw_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0GXBGANN1007DX0PB9CR

    And I am saddened @kcwise that Drew Karpyshan's versions didn't do well either from what I'm hearing here. I loved Mass Effect: Revelation and many of his other books too.

    I am a sad rabbit now.

    Nonnahswriterkcwise
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848
    To those who are wondering, no, they do not get better.

    kcwiseBrer_RabbitJuliusBorisov
  • SciobthaSciobtha Member Posts: 54
    edited August 2015

    ...and RAS is quite terrible at coming up with names; suffice it to say, someone named "Matron Malice" is probably not going to be someone to invite over for dinner.

    And there's a villain named "Roddy McGristle." Make of that what you will.

    prolly necro'ing but couldn't read to the end of the thread without defending RAS. lol

    Why would you want to paint a drow Matron as a dinner pal, they are all pretty jerk worthy lol

    What about other drow names, Zaknafein, Drizz't, Alton De'vir, Gelroos Hun'ett, Jarlaxle, Berg'inyon, Dantrag

    and topside, Bruenor Battlehammer, Catti-Brie, Wulfgar son of Beonegar, Cadderly Bonaduce, Mariabronne the Rover,

    the list goes on, but I think I have "fanboy'd" enough on this thread :P

    also worth noting that as @DreadKhan said above, it is targeted to a certain demographic, even if it appeals to multiple demographics, so every name can't by hyper complicated.

    ThacoBell
  • Brer_RabbitBrer_Rabbit Member Posts: 159
    Sciobtha said:

    ...and RAS is quite terrible at coming up with names; suffice it to say, someone named "Matron Malice" is probably not going to be someone to invite over for dinner.

    And there's a villain named "Roddy McGristle." Make of that what you will.

    prolly necro'ing but couldn't read to the end of the thread without defending RAS. lol

    Why would you want to paint a drow Matron as a dinner pal, they are all pretty jerk worthy lol

    What about other drow names, Zaknafein, Drizz't, Alton De'vir, Gelroos Hun'ett, Jarlaxle, Berg'inyon, Dantrag

    and topside, Bruenor Battlehammer, Catti-Brie, Wulfgar son of Beonegar, Cadderly Bonaduce, Mariabronne the Rover,

    the list goes on, but I think I have "fanboy'd" enough on this thread :P

    also worth noting that as @DreadKhan said above, it is targeted to a certain demographic, even if it appeals to multiple demographics, so every name can't by hyper complicated.
    I believe the insult applied to just villain names, but I have no idea.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,182
    edited August 2015
    You can hear a bit of the novel here

    http://www.amazon.com/Baldurs-Gate/dp/B00AY4339M/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

    (there is a listen button you can press found underneath the image)

    Word of warning though, its incredibly boring to listen to.

    Good news though, Abdel is capable of seeing someones eyes and from that determining that they are a smart and capable fighter. I wish charname had that kind of skill :D

    Brer_RabbitJuliusBorisov
  • ChidojuanChidojuan Member Posts: 211
    Just finished reading all the posts because I was feeling angry about Abdel and the novelizations; feeling much better now.

    Brer_RabbitBladeDancer
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    I read the BG2 novel a looong time ago, when I was a teenager (13-14 years old?) with the literary taste of a dried potato. Even then the book seemed a bit odd, and not just because it was different from the game. I know fantasy novels are usually... bad, and a video game adaptation will always be quite silly, but the books are bad even if you have not played the games. By the way, this thread has inspired me to reread the novels (as a "how not to write a novel" experiment):

    "The man Abdel had killed took ten or twenty seconds to realize he was dead." (page 1) Followed by Abdel stunned empathy and borderline psychopathy:

    "The expression on the man's face was nearly comical: surprised, pale, and somehow disappointed. The look of it made Abdel's heart leap, and he couldn't tell if it was from the horror or the pleasure of the sight."

    I'm sure that's how serial killers and worse things are born.

    Brer_Rabbit
  • NonnahswriterNonnahswriter Member Posts: 2,520
    Naveen said:

    "The man Abdel had killed took ten or twenty seconds to realize he was dead." (page 1) Followed by Abdel stunned empathy and borderline psychopathy:

    "The expression on the man's face was nearly comical: surprised, pale, and somehow disappointed. The look of it made Abdel's heart leap, and he couldn't tell if it was from the horror or the pleasure of the sight."

    I'm sure that's how serial killers and worse things are born.

    To be fair, as a child of Bhaal, the protagonist of any Baldur's Gate novel adaption is going to feel some sorts of murderous feelings that he or she can't necessarily control. So the mixture of horror and pleasure at a man's death would make sense, in a twisted sort of way.

    But what would make the protagonist more likable would be a resistance to those feelings, acknowledging them and fighting back. That despite the odds, they would strive to be a good, heroic person, and in their best moments, succeed in doing that. From what I've heard, however, Abdel doesn't really do that. Ever.

    Naveen
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