Nentir Vale Novels

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Tim Baker
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Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:59 pm

I'm interested in reading some of the Nentir Vale novels to give them a try. Are some of them generally accepted as being better than others? Should they be read in a certain order for continuity reasons? If they need to be read in order, does the series start strong? I was hoping to get the books on Audible, so I could get my wife into the setting while learning more about it myself, but if it starts slow, I'm concerned I'd lose her interest early on.

I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

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Zeromaru X
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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Zeromaru X » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:55 pm

Well, I have read them all, and I recommend them. All of them have new lore to add to the Nentir Vale world, so it's a good idea to read them all.

As for quality, the Mark of Nerath is regarded as very bad, while the novels from the Abyssal Plague trilogy are regarded as very good. Myself, I really like the Seal of Karga Kul, as it adds lots of lore to Arkhosia, Bael Turath and the Dragondown Coast.

As for reading order, this only applies to the Abyssal Plague storyline, and the order is as follows:

-The Gates of Madness
-The Mark of Nerath
-And the main trilogy: The Temple of Yellow Skulls, Oath of Vigilance and the Eye of the Chained God.

It's not necessary to read the novels that take place in Forgotten Realms and Dark Sun, unless you really want to read the whole storyline.

As for the independent novels, the Seal of Karga Kul and the Last Garrison are unrelated to each other and to the Abyssal Plague storyline, so read them in any order you want. I would read them before the Abyssal Plague, just to not be bothered by the lack of references to this event in these novels.

Now, if you want to read them in chronological order, then:

-The Gates of Madness
-The Last Garrison
-The Seal of Karga Kul / The Mark of Nerath
-The Abyssal Plague trilogy

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:22 pm

This is super helpful. Considering I'm purchasing these as much for my wife (who knows nothing about the Nentir Vale) as for myself, I'm going to buy the Abyssal Plague trilogy, then we can always listen to other books with the understanding that they'll be prequels from our perspective. Thanks!

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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:26 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:55 pm
It's not necessary to read the novels that take place in Forgotten Realms and Dark Sun, unless you really want to read the whole storyline.
You mentioned the Abyssal Plague series takes place in other settings as well. Have you read those, too? Would you recommend them? Should they be read in this order:
  1. Sword of the Gods
  2. Under the Crimson Sun
  3. Shadowbane
as per their publication dates?

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Zeromaru X
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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Zeromaru X » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:36 pm

I've only read the ones in the Forgotten Realms setting, and so far they are good (especially good if you like the 4e Realms).

I didn't get the one in Dark Sun, so I cannot talk about it.

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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:16 am

I haven't read any of them. (I've got the one that was a free PDF, but have not made time to read it.)

How much of the Nentir Vale novel storyline is taken up with the Abyssal Plague and how much is devoted to stories that relate only to Nerath and the Nentir Vale?

Are there any novels that have a unique storyline that is not featured in any other campaign settings?

Do any of the novels bring specific cities (or towns or villages to life)?

I suppose the Abyssal Plague is a bit unique too. How useful is that to a Nentir Vale tabletop campaign? Does it form a long-term plot arc that can engage the players for years?
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Re: Nentir Vale Novels

Post by Zeromaru X » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:04 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:16 am
How much of the Nentir Vale novel storyline is taken up with the Abyssal Plague and how much is devoted to stories that relate only to Nerath and the Nentir Vale?
Do you mean if the novels make any references to any adventure related to the Nentir Vale? Nope. There are references to NPCs and places, but not to events (besides those that took place in the past).

All novels take place 100 years after the fall of Nerath, save for the Last Garrison, that happens a few decades after the fall, and the Gates of Madness (the free PDF), that happens a few years before the fall of the empire.
Are there any novels that have a unique storyline that is not featured in any other campaign settings?
The plots of the Seal of Karga Kul and the Last Garrison are unique to the Nentir Vale. The Abyssal Plague happens mainly in the Nentir Vale world, with a few "after effects" in other worlds, but we only read about what happens in the Nentir Vale region.
Do any of the novels bring specific cities (or towns or villages to life)?
The Gates of Madness depicts the city of Nera (before the fall) and the ruins of the capital of Bael Turath, before leaving the world for Sigil.

The Last Garrison happens mostly in the remote town of Haven, but we also visit one of the remaining Nerathi cities, and Haven's counterpart in the Shadowfell.

The Seal of Karga Kul happens in the Dragondown Coast. Besides exploring the area (including the Draco Serrata Mountains and the ruins of the Bridge of Iban Ja --an Arkhosian ruin--, and the Crow Road and the Road Builder's Tomb), it depicts the city of Avankil, a market city amid the desert, and the city of Karga Kul.

The Abyssal Plague novels happen mostly in the Nentir Vale, depicting the cities of Fallcrest, Winterhaven and Nenlast (the only product that depicted this village, actually), as well as some locales of the vale (including new ones for the novels, such as Andok Sur and the Temple of Yellow Skulls--that was mentioned in 4e DMG, but never explored in any other product), but we also see a few places outside of the Vale: the town of Moonstair in the Barony of Therund, the city of Nera (100 years after the fall), the Domain of Dread Darani (a new Ravenloft place) in the Shadowfell, and the state of the Prince of Thorns in the Feywild.
I suppose the Abyssal Plague is a bit unique too. How useful is that to a Nentir Vale tabletop campaign? Does it form a long-term plot arc that can engage the players for years?
There are a pair of articles in Dungeon 192 and 197 that have ideas for playing an Abyssal Plague campaign of your own. Threats to the Nentir Vale also include a few plague demons and the plague illness. So, it's pretty easy to use the novels to plunder ideas, while ignoring the outcomes of the story.

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