The GeeksverseTalking With The Realms’ Ed Greenwood

Talking With The Realms’ Ed Greenwood
Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 by

IDW released a new Forgotten Realms comic today and we got to chat with the writer, who just happened to create the Forgotten Realms.

The ‘Verse: Thanks for talking with us. Long time fan of the Forgotten Realms. Spellfire has always been one of my favorite books. Loved how well you integrated the gaming experience (combing through the loot for example) with the world of the novel. Big fan of Florin Falconhand and the rest of the Knights of Myth Drannor and Dove Falconhand and her sisters. So I was excited when heard the news of IDW publishing a Forgotten Realms comic. I had enjoyed the old DC one, but it was never a favorite like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (from DC) had been and I was glad that it had taken place in the Realms.

The Forgotten Realms in the modules today is a different place from when I first started reading. The spellplague and the 4th edition of D&D, really changed the landscape. R.A. Salvatore’s novels are the only post-plague ones that I have read and IDW’s D&D the only 4th edition influenced stories.

When does the new comic series take place? Pre-spellplague/4th edition or post-spellplague/4th? What effects have they had on the world?

Ed Greenwood: The new series takes place in 1479 DR, the baseline year for the start of 4th Edition’s look at the Realms. So it’s pretty much post-Spellplague, though a DM is certainly free to have plague effects still unfolding—or erupting—here and there in the Realms, in their campaign. Here’s the thing, though: in the comic I’m scripting, aside from a few names of rulers and nobles, it could just as easily be 1356 DR, before the Spellplague. We’ll be looking closely over the shoulders of young characters blundering along in their first adventures, so you taste and feel what they taste and feel. More often in dives and sewers and ruins than in throne rooms. 1356 or 1479, it’s still the same world where you get wet when it rains and it gets very, very dark at night—and most folk think “adventurers” are crazy.

That’s a theme of the Realms a lot of fans seem to miss: that some things don’t change much, or repeat themselves. How many civilizations, human and elven and dwarven alike, have risen, become too proud or jaded or corrupt or all three, then fallen again? How much of what we call “human nature” is also elf nature and dwarf nature? How many of the same mistakes and follies and splendid heroics happen again and again?

Read, and see, as they say. Read on . . .

Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about the characters in the comic and their immediate world?

There are three main characters as the comic begins, all of them teenagers in the famous port city of Waterdeep: two human males who are friends and live by their wits in Dock Ward, and a human female who’s a wealthy noble and thinks visiting Dock Ward is the ultimate in daring, dangerous adventure. Boy, is she wrong . . .

Will someone need to be familiar with the Realms and how Toril (the name of the world in Forgotten Realms) is different from other D&D settings?

Nope, not at all. This is “you are there and seeing and learning over the shoulders of three reckless innocents” storytelling. Someone who knows nothing at all about the Forgotten Realms® but doesn’t mind fantasy stories can pick up this comic and follow what’s going on just fine.

Er, that is, they won’t be any more bewildered than the three main characters are, most of the time.

And possibly not quite as scared.

This is your first time writing a comic book. What led to your involvement?

I answered the phone when my agent called, and said “yes” with great enthusiasm.

The longer and less flippant answer is probably that I created the Forgotten Realms® in 1966 and have never stopped writing about it since—yes, longer than there has been a Dungeons & Dragons® game, or blockbuster fantasy movies and television shows, for that matter—so if someone goes looking for a Realms expert, they’ll probably bump into me somewhere in the front ranks. And I’ve been reading comics longer than I’ve been writing about the Realms, and love comic books.

How different is writing for a comic from writing a novel?

Well, I have to keep my dialogue shorter, because there’s only so much room in a panel in any comic book. In one way—how things are expressed—it’s very different, more like the art orders I’ve done for Realms game books for twenty-six years than anything else—but in another way, it’s not different at all: it’s still storytelling.

That is, spinning vivid, action-packed, intrigue- and character-driven, hopefully fun stories set in the Realms. For me, there was (almost) no initial learning curve, thanks to being able to “think in the Realms” at will, and thanks to the friendly and very capable folks at IDW. I just started right in scripting. Which reminds me, I should be writing the next issue right now!

So bright blades and fair fortune, until next!

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