Saturday, February 23, 2013

Forgotten Realms Annual 1: Waterdhavian Nights (Chapters 5 & 6)

Chapter 5: Leaders

This chapter opens with Foxilion examining the smoking ruin that used to be the Temple of Gond.  While he is trying to figure out if there is anyway he can turn a profit on this disaster, Conner from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic sneaks up behind him.

It turns out the two rogues know each other.  Conner’s sharp eyes notice a gem as large as his fist lying at the bottom of the pit.  Conner offers to split the price of the gem with Foxilion if he agrees to climb down and retrieve it.  As soon as he picks it up though, he is attacked by a headless golem.

And thus Foxilion decided to setup a golem dating website

Hmmm… I may have skipped over a key bit of exposition during my review of chapter 2.  Remember the Gondsman who looked like Lex Luthor in a stupid hat?  Well, in addition to selling the cultists smoke powder, he tried to upsell them on a golem with some very dubious properties.

This does not sound like a great control mechanism

Even though the golem in the picture above only vaguely resembles the one that attacks Foxilion and the control “gem” looks more like an orb than the red gemstone Foxilion stole, I think we can all agree that they are supposed to be the same, right?

Anyway, Conner helps Foxilion escape from the pit, but the golem is still in hot pursuit.  Conner tells Foxilion to make a run for Selune’s Smile.  Conner considers following, but then decides he has better things to do with his evening.

Chapter 6: Bar Tales

Captain Omen is at Selune’s Smile, which is where Agrivar told him the artifact the Eye of Selune is currently located. He plans to get his hands on it by flirting with Luna, the bar’s owner (not mention possibly getting his hands on other things).

Omen is quite the ladies man

Omen’s  plan seems to be working, as Luna eventually agrees to show Omen the eye.  Before she can though, all of the villains from earlier show up.

I love villains who take the time to pose

Ever a slave to fashion, Kyriani has taken the opportunity to change out of her dress and back into the pant suit combo she was wearing earlier.  For that matter, the cult leader has decided to put on a different helmet.  Sadly, the Yuan-Ti is no longer wearing the mailed gloves he was so proud of earlier.

The battle for the artifact begins, and Luna takes a hand crossbow bolt to the chest that was intended for Omen.  Feel free to ignore this though as Luna is totally fine on the next page.

Before the cult leader can get his hands on the Eye, Kyriani betrays him and reveals that she has been working on the side of angels all along!  Agrivar then makes his dramatic (and non-disintegrated) reappearance by jumping through a window and clocking the Yuan-Ti.

Agrivar doesn't need a mailed fist to kick ass!

The Yuan-Ti learns that if you live by the sucker punch, you die by the sucker punch.

Before the cultists can regroup, the remaining members of the Realms’ Master crew (minus Foxilion) and the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons cast arrive.  As you can imagine, the combined group makes short work of the cultists.  When Foxilion arrives shortly afterwards being pursued by the headless golem, that threat is dispatched just as easily.

Flush with victory, the two groups of adventurers swap stories about their evening.  Luna manages to trick Captain Omen into agreeing to leave the Eye of Selune at the bar with her and gets drunk.  What a happy ending!

Well, at least until Luna tells them she expects them all to chip in and repair the damage to her bar.


  • I have now reviewed the entire  Forgotten Realms comic series.  I have been doing these for so long I find it hard to believe that it is over. I have been thinking of starting a similar series reviewing the current IDW Dungeons & Dragons comic series though.  If anyone is interested in seeing that, let me know in the comments.
  • I found the art shifts between the chapters to be distracting.  Considering how common this practice is in the comic book industry for annuals and other oversized books, I am not sure why it bugged me so much in this one.
  • I must admit that Captain Omen is quite the ladies man.  I wonder if he still would have flirted with Luna if he realized she was an aspect of the goddess Selune.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Forgotten Realms Annual 1: Waterdhavian Nights (Chapters 3 & 4)

Chapter 3: Soul Mates

Onyx, the dwarf from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic, is attempting to lose the golem he spotted following him in the city streets.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize he is being followed by evil cultists as well.  Onyx runs right into the Yuan-Ti from earlier, who cold cocks him with a chainmail glove.

Onyx will need some dental work after this

Oddly, the Yuan-Ti is extremely proud of himself for this maneuver.  Standing over Onyx’s body, the Yuan-Ti taunts him, talking about how the dwarf never expected a “snake-man” to have a mailed fist.  It is a surprisingly long monologue about his ability to punch someone, but I guess as a “snake-man” he is just glad to have arms or something.

He is still going on when Minder shows up and cleans his clock.  Minder dotes over Onyx’s unconscious body when Kyriani shows up with a barrel of poison under her arm.  Apparently, Kyriani also took the opportunity to change outfits as she is wearing a dress with thigh-high boots instead of the pant suit number she was wearing in chapter one.

Technically the Yuan-Ti didn't run away as he has no legs

Kyriani and the Yuan-Ti decide discretion is the better part of valor and escape while Minder is occupied.  While they are running away, I can only assume that the Yuan-Ti tells Kyriani about how awesome it was that he punched the dwarf with his mailed fist.

Back in the alley, Onyx wakes up and is startled to have a golem hovering over him.  Minder convinces him that she means him no harm, then asks Onyx if dwarves fall in love.

Minder has a gaze attack... a love gaze attack!

Somehow Onyx is able to tell Minder is a female dwarf by looking in her eyes, but he isn’t bright enough to realize that she is not wearing some golem shaped suit of armor.  She recaps her origin story for him, which takes just long enough for the remaining cultists to wake up.

The cultists have a glass ball filled with grey ooze which they throw at Minder.  It seems a bit odd that they would carry this around, but it provides Onyx a chance to shine as he takes out the cultists and saves Minder from the metal eating ooze.  The pair witness the explosion of the Temple of Gond from chapter two which they take as a sign that they should be a couple (I don’t get it either).  Onyx asks Minder to come with him to the bar Selune’s Smile so he can show her off to his friends.

Chapter 4: The Trouble With Humans

So Vartan has apparently decided to visit a brothel. 

Vartan certainly isn't surrounded by women because of his 'charm'

Well, the caption calls it “one of Waterdeep’s more affordable ‘festhalls’”.  Note the word affordable and the quotation marks around the word festhalls.  Those are both from the original narration box.

Unfortunately, Vartan runs afoul with a mountain of a man named Troggoth who claims to be the women’s husband. I personally take this to mean he has paid them upfront for the full night.  In any case, Troggoth decides Vartan will pay for his impudence with a severe beat down.

Vartan decides to flee and jumps through the window unto a horse.  Well he thinks it is a horse, but actually it is Timoth, the centaur from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic book.  Timoth politely asks Vartan to dismount, when Troggoth breaks through the stone wall?!?

Troggoth Smash!

Seeing the incredible Hulk’s uglier brother bearing down on them, Timoth takes off at a full gallop with Vartan still on his back.  Once they are safely away, Vartan and Timoth belatedly introduce themselves to one another.  Timoth suggests going back to Selune’s Smile, but before they get there they spy a burglary in progress.

The burglary is of a mind flayer “statue” which Timoth knows is an actual mind flayer who was turned to stone.  Timoth realizes that the cultists are probably looking to bring the mind flayer back to life and decides to put a stop to it (with Vartan along for the ride).

There is a  perfunctory battle with the cultists, which features both a runaway horse cart and Vartan’s somewhat racist belief that centaurs can speak with horses.  During the battle, the mind flayer’s stone body falls from the cart and is shattered.  Vartan is also thrown from the cart, but somehow manages to avoid being crushed by either the cart or the statue.

Hearing the commotion, Onyx and Minder rush in from one direction, while Ishi and Vajra rush in from the other.  This brings most, but certainly not all, of our heroes together.

Easier to be pummeled? Did you see Troggoth?

Well at least you can’t accuse Vartan of taking credit he doesn’t deserve.  I disagree that it would have been easier for him to take his pummeling though—Troggoth was capable of smashing though stone walls after all!


  • I was not a huge fan of the Dwarven soul mate idea.  The fact that Onyx can tell Minder is a female dwarf by looking into her eyes just seems hokey to me.
  • Note that despite being “soul mates”, neither Minder or Onyx ever mention each other again after this issue is over.
  • It is interesting to see the arrogant, skirt-chasing Vartan again after just reading issues featuring the somber and contemplative Vartan.  He definitely changed more than any of the other characters during the course of the series.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Forgotten Realms Annual 1: Waterdhavian Nights (Chapters 1 & 2)

The first and only Forgotten Realms annual was set before the events of the Time of Troubles.  It was a simpler time for Captain Omen and the Realms’ Master crew.  Captain Omen explains that Agrivar has informed him that the artifact called the Eye of Selune is being kept at a bar called Selune’s Smile.   Omen has decided that it is his duty to “collect” this artifact for the owners own good.

Captain Omen is concerned though because the crew’s recent adventures in Baldur’s Gate and Saelroon have left them less than welcome in those cities.  He asks everyone to be on their best behavior while they are in port.

Unfortunately, they arrive during what appears to be the Waterdeep equivalent of Mardi Gras.

Those ladies need some beads!

Agrivar sees his half-sister in the crowd and takes off after her.  The rest of the crew uses this as an excuse to scatter and see the sights.  Even Minder, who Omen expects will stick by his side, leaves when she sees a handsome young dwarf.

The comic then splits into chapters, each following a member of the Realms’ Master crew.

Chapter 1: Siblings

Agrivar follows his half-sister Kyriani through the crowded streets.  He sees her come to a door guarded by two ogres, who she gets past by providing a password.  Agrivar is concerned because she looks different than the last time he saw her and she has had problems with her “dark side” before.

Perhaps I should take a moment to explain a few things about Priam Agrivar’s half-sister.  In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic book, Kyriani was the daughter of Ostus Agrivar and a drow sorceress.  When she was born her father called her Cybriana and she was left to be raised by elves.  While under the elves care, they noticed a growing evil in her and cast a spell that split her into two beings: Cybriana (who appeared as a blonde elf) and Kilil (who appeared as a drow). 

During the first story arc of the comic the two beings were merged back into a frizzy-haired brunette elf.  This is how she looked when Agrivar last saw her. 

This was the era of big hair

Sometime after that, Kyriani was split apart again.  This time she was reintegrated into a sexpot with raven black hair that had a silver streak in it.  You may remember her from when Omen was hitting on her in issue 24.

Once again, Omen will hit that!

So Agrivar is definitely right when he says she “looks different”.  Frankly, I am stunned he was able to recognize her from across a crowded street in Waterdeep.

Back to the story.  When Agrivar peeks in the window to see what his sister is up to, he sees an almost comically diverse gathering of evil creatures.

Yaun-Ti, Ninjas and Cultists. Oh my!

Kyriani appears to be collaborating with these cultists to help them locate the Eye of Selune.  About this time Agrivar is discovered spying by the ogres.  The drow elf believes this is a sign of Kyriani’s treachery, but she decides to prove her loyalty by disintegrating her half-brother.

Paladin dust should be a spell component

Well, I guess that is what he gets for ignoring Captain Omen’s request to be on his best behavior.

Chapter 2: Fireworks

The story now moves on to Ishi, who is shopping in the Waterdeep marketplace. A mischievous street urchin decides to play a prank on Ishi using fireworks.

Being from Kara Tur, at least Ishi knows what fireworks are

Ishi is pretty pissed, but before she can act the street urchin is caught by Vajra from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic.

The monster manual entry is bit too meta for me

Realizing the street urchin is no threat, she lets him go after confiscating the rest of his fireworks.  Ishi and Vajra introduce themselves, and the two warrior women take an instant liking to one another.

Obviously this is the fat version of LuthorWhile they are talking, Vajra becomes distracted because she sees the cultists from chapter one walk by with a Gondsman dressed like Lex Luthor wearing a stupid hat.  Ishi offers to help her new friend find out what they are up to.

The pair follow them to a Temple of Gond where the cultists are negotiating for smoke powder (i.e., the Forgotten Realms equivalent of gunpowder).  The Gondsman is offering them enough smoke powder to blow up a small building, and it is implied that they plan to use it to blow up Selune’s Smile (the bar that the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic is based out of).

Obviously, there is no way that Vajra and Ishi are going to let this happen, so they bust in to break up the deal before it can be completed.  The two swordswomen make short work of the majority of the cultists, but the cult leader and escapes by summoning Chasme to fly him away (Chasme are the weird bug people who were with the cultists in chapter one).

Deciding not to leave anything to chance, Ishi uses the fireworks she confiscated from the street urchin to blow up the smoke powder reserves, taking out the entire Temple of Gond in the process!

To be continued…


  • This annual is the only team up between the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and the Forgotten Realms comic.  Pairing off members of the two teams does a good job of introducing the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons characters to readers who might not be familiar to them.
  • In the initial meeting with the cultists, it is somewhat awkwardly established that the drow woman cannot understand the language of the surface elves.  This obviously so she can’t tell what spell Kyriani is casting when she “disintegrates” Agrivar.  Luckily for Kyriani this is before the days of third edition where she could make a Spellcraft roll to figure out what is really going on.
  • Since Gondsmen are the “mad scientists” of the Forgotten Realms, I have a feeling that making the Gondsman leader look like Lex Luthor is not a coincidence.