Revisiting The Legend of Huma

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s initial Dragonlance novels aren’t just viewed as some of the greatest Dungeons & Dragons textbooks at any time prepared, but are some of the most beloved fantasy tales of all time. Richard A. Knaak’s The Legend of Huma is also a Dragonlance novel, but the similarities prevent there.

Published in 1988, The Legend of Huma is not only a prequel to Weis and Hickman’s unique Chronicles trilogy, it’s also the inaugural reserve in the six-part Heroes sequence, just about every of which target on distinct figures. It is also the 1st Dragonlance novel not prepared by the duo or starring any of their key figures, which was a hazard that compensated off (see below). Perhaps it aided that Huma is the hero who 1st found the weapons that give the D&D marketing campaign setting its identify, which are in truth lances meant to be wielded by folks using dragons for the supposed purpose of far more effectively murdering other dragons.

Now, for your “What Did Rob Keep in mind About This D&D Book” status update: Almost nothing. I know for particular I did not read through Huma for the reason that soon after I go through the Weis and Hickman guides I wasn’t interested adequate in Dragonlance to do any more looking at. I don’t think this is a knock on people books, though I guess I’ll know for particular when I get all-around to reading through them. I’m rather guaranteed I was normally a Neglected Realms person at heart. Now, whether that’s for the reason that I identified Dragonlance’s a lot more certain placing as well restrictive or I just favored the Realms’ amazingly generic brand name of fantasy to a thing additional fully realised is anybody’s guess.

Dungeons & Dragons & Novels: Revisiting Darkwalker on Moonshae

This very first book in the Moonshae trilogy holds the terrific distinction of currently being the very very first Dungeons & Dragons novel ever established in the Neglected Realms. It also retains the distinction of possessing the series’ raddest, most evocative title. Sad to say, the story by itself doesn’t evoke substantially of nearly anything — which,…

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Knaak’s story starts with Huma’s initial mission as a Knight of Solamnia and ends with his banishment of the Takhisis, the goddess of evil, also recognized as the Dragonqueen. It is the form of heroic journey that definitely demands an epic trilogy to be justified, but alternatively, there is one particular novel that only can take position about a several months max. Still, I’m glad there weren’t any other textbooks since the initially 50 % of The Legend of Huma was painfully unexciting.

The cover of The Legend of Huma re-release by Duane O. Myers. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)The deal with of The Legend of Huma re-release by Duane O. Myers. (Impression: Wizards of the Coast)

Huma starts off out as a fairly fearful amateur who is inexplicably hated by most of the other knights, which is great. The dilemma is that for that very first 50 % he’s solely reactionary. He’s just randomly swept absent, occasionally virtually, at times figuratively, by functions. He’s attacked, he’s captured, he operates away, he’s requested to go places, he bumps into key figures like Kaz the minotaur and his greatest buddy Magius, a renegade magic-person (which is a major no-no in the globe of Dragonlance). The quest that will get him the Dragonlances is nonsense Magius tells him there’s a mountain someplace that has anything vital for the ongoing war in between the Knights of Solamnia and the forces of Takhisis. The vagueness robs the plot of any excitement or urgency, and I truly experienced to struggle off sleep to preserve studying through the initially 18 chapters.

Thankfully, at the time Huma receives to the mountain — additional specially, the cave at the major of the mountain — matters choose up immensely. Things get medieval when he’s forced to facial area three worries to get the unnamed a little something: preventing the Wymrfather, rooting out the traitor in the Knights of Solamnia, and resisting the energy of an evil sword. Soon after profitable the lances (21 of them, to be specific) factors stay at a brisk clip for the rest of the novel. Huma fights Takhisis’ primarily immortal basic Crynus, has to cease the lances from by stolen by the Dragonqueen’s agents, fails to end Magius from getting kidnapped by very same, and then it’s the ultimate struggle, which Knaak nails nearly as perfectly as R.A. Salvatore did in Streams of Silver.

The battle feels correctly epic. It is fairly a lot the entire past quarter of the e book, and items really feel carefully hopeless for the hero. The Knights have experienced their armoured asses kicked in the course of the story, and now they have to in some way stand versus Takhisis’ legions of evil human beings, ogres, renegade mages, and hundreds upon hundreds of evil pink, blue, inexperienced, white, and black dragons. There are some metallic dragons (a.k.a. the superior kinds) with them, but there are even now less than two dozen lances to wield on them. Moreover, Huma inevitably has to battle the goddess herself, and he just manages to eke out a earn in a way that feels genuinely enjoyable.

A slightly tilted version of Jeff Easley's original cover art for the novel. It's nice, but Huma rides a silver dragon. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)A marginally tilted version of Jeff Easley’s initial protect artwork for the novel. It is really wonderful, but Huma rides a silver dragon. (Image: Wizards of the Coastline)

Alas, there’s even now a good deal of unearned nonsense. The forces of superior get a lot more Dragonlances when the perhaps immortal but still in some way extraordinary blacksmith (who experienced been in the mystical cave for hundreds of years) suddenly displays up out of nowhere to the Knights’ citadel and starts off churning them out. To defeat Takhisis’ mega-effective wizard, Huma abruptly thinks of Magius’ abandoned magical staff members — a little something that is held no worth to this level in the ebook, specifically to Huma, and not implied to have any particular powers in any form — and is somehow able to summon it out of nowhere, and then he throws the magic staff members alternatively of utilizing it like an true magic team to save the working day. (Even extra bizarrely, the employees can also decapitate gargoyles somehow.) Similarly, the expose of the traitor — who I’m not likely to spoil, whilst I really do not know why — isn’t an “A-ha!” second as significantly of a “Wait, what?” moment.

No character other than Huma has everything approaching a story arc or emotional journey. Persons hold telling Huma (inevitably) that he’s the finest, most pious Knight to have ever existed, but there’s not actually any evidence of the previous till he takes demand and kicks huge arse in the closing battle other than believing in his god Paladine, I have no strategy what the novel is referring to. I feel there is a one feminine character with dialogue of a lot more than a few lines, and she spends 50 % of her time moonlighting as a dragon (who falls in appreciate with Huma, of training course). Talking of dialogue, there are some truly significant discussions that Knaak tells us about in narration instead of allowing the people, you know, chat to every other.

Partial cover of the 2016 Curse of Strahd adventure module by Ben Oliver. And yes, that is Strahd. (Image: Wizards of the Coast)

Dungeons & Dragons & Novels: Revisiting Vampire of the Mists

Welcome to Ravenloft, boils and ghouls! In which it is generally a dark and stormy night time, the place monsters are generally below your bed, and your blood often curdles in horror — ideal just before a vampire sucks it out. So what the hell is a gold elf from the Neglected Realms executing in this article?…

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The Legend of Huma rolls an 8 on the ol’ 1d20, while as I type that I wonder if I’m overvaluing it a little simply because the back again 50 % appeared so good compared to the to start with section. That is the identical rating as Streams of Silver, which was similarly aimless and (as reviewed) a photocopy of Tolkien, but experienced much better characters and was more exciting general. But let’s try to remember I may just have some bizarre aversion to Dragonlance that could be colouring my opinion immediately after all, The Legend of Huma supposedly bought additional copies than the Dragonlance game… even though I just can’t assistance but think Weis and Hickman did the hefty lifting with their novels. I guess I’ll see inevitably, whilst I’m in no rush to discover out.

Close-up of the cover of first issue of The Legend of Huma comic adaptation by Mike S. Miller. (Image: Wizards of the Coast/Devil’s Due)Shut-up of the deal with of initial difficulty of The Legend of Huma comedian adaptation by Mike S. Miller. (Image: Wizards of the Coast/Devil’s Due)

Assorted Musings:

  • All the Knights of Sidonia have very long, flowy mustaches. I’m not sure how I sense about this, although I suspect I would have disapproved in 1988, when mustache reputation was decidedly on the wane.
  • I did not realise this until finally I began examining the Dragonlance wiki, but Huma satisfies the god Paladine in disguise on his way to the cave. Paladine is mildly obnoxious, which appears like a weird issue for the god of goodness to be.
  • The large wizard of Takhisis generally tells Huma that his goddess will have sexual intercourse with him if he switches. Takhisis later repeats the present. It is also a minimal weird.
  • Evidently, Huma and Gwyneth, his section-time dragon love curiosity, have a son named Liam. If you have go through The Legend of Huma, you will know this is exceptionally strange and seemingly unachievable. The child only shows up in the Dragons of Chaos shorter tale collection. But this was edited by Weis and Hickman, so… [shrug]
  • Future thirty day period: After hanging with Huma, I could use something I’m excited about. So let us come across out what Alias and Dragonbait are up to in the Azure Bonds sequel and upcoming ebook in the Finder’s Stone trilogy, The Wyvern’s Spur!