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Heroes' Lorebook (2e)

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They are the stuff legends are made of. In fact, they are legends.

The major characters who have fought -- and in some cases died -- for the sake of goodness and justice in all parts of the Forgotten Realms campaign world are chronicled for posterity in Heroes' Lorebook, a 160-page compendium of the heroes whose exploits have filled dozens of novels over the past decade.

Inside you'll find updated game statistics ad descriptions for Elminster, Drizzt Do'Urden, Alias, and many other characters who appeared in the Hall of Heroes collection published in 1989, as well as a host of brand-new biographies for heroes such as Brianna and Tavis Burdun, Alicia Kendrick, Cadderly, and Danica, who have never been featured in a game product until now.

No collection of Forgotten Realms gaming literature is complete without this "Who's Who" of the people -- and creatures -- who have prevented the forces of evil form having their way.

Product History

Heroes' Lorebook (1996), by Dale Donovan and Paul Culotta, is an NPC sourcebook for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in July 1996.

About the Cover. Which stars are worthy of the cover of Heroes' Lorebook? Alias, Elminster, and Drizzt Do'Urden.

Origins (I): Another Hall. The Forgotten Realms kicked off the AD&D 2e era with FR7: "Hall of Heroes" (1989), an NPC sourcebook that statted up the major characters of the first two and a half years of Forgotten Realms novels. Seven years later, the book was out of print and Donovan and Culotta "worked hard" to collect as much information as they could on all the characters characters that had appeared since.

Origins (II): More Novels. The original "Hall of Heroes" translated the first ten Forgotten Realms novels: the Moonshae Trilogy (1987-1989), the Avatar Trilogy (1987), the first two-thirds of the Crystal Shard Trilogy (1988, 1989), Spellfire (1988), and Azure Bonds (1988) — plus an unpublished eleventh novel. By 1996, the Realms fiction line was much larger, with almost 70 novels in print. It was one of TSR's crown gems — though also one of its biggest vulnerabilities, as TSR's relationship with its Random House and the book trade would be a large factor plunging TSR toward bankruptcy by year's end.

R.A. Salvatore was clearly the star of the line. By 1996, he'd completed the Crystal Shard Trilogy (1988-1990) and the Dark Elf Trilogy (1990-1991). He was also just a month away from ending his four-book Legacy of the Drow sequence (1992-1996), which had begun with The Legacy (1992), TSR's first hardcover. Salvatore's Realms bibliography also included the lesser-known Cleric Quintet (1991-1994).

Meanwhile, many other authors had become major forces in TSR's fiction line. Douglas Niles followed his Moonshae Trilogy with the Druidhome Trilogy (1992-1993). Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb has similarly expanded Azure Bonds into the Finder's Stone Trilogy (1988-1991) while Ed Greenwood wrote a sequel to Spellfire (1988) called Crown of Fire (1994). Realms-shaking events also continued with the Empires Trilogy (1990) and to a lesser extent Douglas Niles' Maztica Trilogy (1990-1991) and Ed Greenwood's Shadow of the Avatar Trilogy (1995).

TSR was also supporting one-off books (and new authors) as part of two extended series, The Harpers (1991-1998) and The Nobles (1995-1997). Even short stories were getting their time in the sun, thanks to the "Realms" anthologies (1993-Present), debuted by James Lowder with Realms of Valor (1993).

The elf-focused Elaine Cunningham was probably the biggest star to appear in these more varied series, with four of her Harper books becoming the first four volumes of Songs & Swords (1991-1999); she followed that up with Starlight & Shadows (1995-2003). Troy Denning, who wrote two of the Harpers novels similar went on to write about The Twilight Giants (1994-1995).

In other words, the world of Realms fiction was very big by 1996, which means that Donovan and Culotta really had their work cut out for them, trying to fit all the major protagonists into a single book!

b>NPCs of Note. The NPCs of the Heroes' Lorebook primarily come from the novels. Some had first appeared in "Hall of Heroes" but now returned, sometimes with improved stats and new companions. Many others were brand-new.

  • The Moonshae Trilogy. Prince Tristan Kendrick, Robyn Kendrick
    • The Druidhome Trilogy. Alicia Kendrick, Keane
  • The Icewind Dale Trilogy. Bruenor Battlehammer, Cattie-brie, Drizzt Do'Urden, Regis, Wulfgar
  • The Spellfire Duology. Mirt, Narm Tamaraith, Shandril Shessair
  • The Finder's Stone Trilogy. Alias, Dragonbait, Giogi Wyvernspur, Olive Ruskettle
  • The Avatar Trilogy. Adon
    • Prince of Lies. Gwydion, Rinda
  • The Pool Novels. Ren o'the Blade, Shal Bal, Tarl Desanea
  • The Empires Trilogy. Alusair Obarskyr, King Azoun Obarskyr IV, Dimswart Vangerdahast
  • The Cleric Quintet. Cadderly Bonaduce, Danica Maupoissant
  • The Harpers Novels.
    • The Parched Sea (#1). Lander, Ruha
    • Red Magic (#3). Brenna Graycloak, Galvin, Wynter
    • The Night Parade (#4). Myrmeen Lhal
    • The Ring of Winter (#5). Artus Cimber
    • The Shadowking Novels (#6, #11). Caledan Caldorien, Mari Al'maren
    • Soldiers of Ice (#7). Martine, Vilheim)
  • Song & Swords. Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann
  • The Twilight Giants. Brianna Burdun, Tavis Burdun
  • The Nobles Novels.
    • King Pinch (#1). Janol
    • War in Tethyr (#2). Zaranda Star
  • Starlight & Shadows. Fyodor, Liriel Baenre

Like "Hall of Heroes", Heroes' Lorebook also features several Shadowdale and Waterdeep personalities — though some were now also appearing in novels like Elminster: The Making of a Mage (1994) and the Shadows of the Avatar Trilogy. It also features all Seven Sisters (after just five made it into "Hall of Heroes").

About the Creators. Culotta was a freelancer who worked on a few TSR projects in the late '90s, but this was probably his largest contribution. Donovan was a relative newcomer at TSR who would go on to the be the sole author of Villains' Lorebook (1998).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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January 1st, 2006
This book is a collection of stats and history on some of the major "movers and shakers" of the Forgotten Realms. Primarily, the characters selected are those who feature in the various Forgotten Realms novels, or who are important enough to [...]
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October 24th, 2003
It is awesome that all of the old AD&D books have been made into PDFs... I love this book because it has stats for the Companions of the Hall... [...]
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160
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1.0
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TSR 9525
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File Last Updated:
November 21, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on November 22, 2016.