You Should Be Geeking Dorn Graybrook.
What would Dungeon and Dragon be without dragons? I’m guessing just Dungeons. Dragons have always been a big part of DND, and especially in the world of Faerûn, so what do you do when all these dragons, both good and bad, succumb to an ancient rage and start acting like that guy at Starbucks who complains when he gets three pumps of milk instead of two?
The Year of the Rogue Dragon by Richard Lee Byers, tells the story of the Dragon Rage that affected the entire world. It follows a couple heroes, some who stumble into a plot involving a mad wizard and the dragon rage, and other who are initially just fighting to survive.
Taegan Nightwind is an avariel, a winged elf, bladesinger who teaches his own fencing academy He is lightning fast duelist with a punch of arcane power to back him up. Sadly he disregards his race as little more than uncivilized, though peaceful, nomads and take little pride in them or any elf. When a conspiracy, involving a mad wizard and the dragon rage, results in his school being burnt down Taegen is swept away into an adventure with his new partner Jivex the faire dragon. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a fairie dragon is a small dragon, tiny by DND rules, about the size of a cat.
Dorn is a human gladiator with golem limbs replacing the left arm and leg he lost when a red dragon attack him and his family at the age of six. He spent his childhood being raised to fight in the arena, to pay off the cost of the limbs, until he slew the wizard and marched out on his own. Dorn has a hatred for the mystical wurms and vowed to kill every dragon in the Moonsea area. When the gladiator turned mercenary, and his band of loyal friends, gets hired by a willowy, silver-haired human named Kara to stop an evil wizard named Sammaster he jumps at the chance.
As I have said in previous reviews I am a huge fan of the Forgotten Realms series but like most other shred universes, Star Wars, Magic the Gathering, Dragonlance, Ebberon, and World of Warcraft, you get a dose of bad with the good. The Year of the Rogue Dragon brings a hefty dose of good to the world in this story of conspiracy, revenge, love and forgiveness. The action scenes are crisp, the story is compelling and the adventure unfolds like an epic trilogy. Best of all the writing of Richard Lee Byers makes this story built for Faerûn. Some fictions in the shared-world feel like that with a search and replace function on Microsoft Word you could switch names, deities and spells and it could fit into any world but Byers avoids those downfalls with clever righting and well chosen story elements.
The book at times feels like a classic 70’s James Bond film. The evil wizard is the and his organization is like Specter, and while I viewed Dorn as the start of the series, Taegen is like the MI:6 Bond Agent who gets into trouble and uses magic in place of gadgets, and Dorn is the CIA member Felix who shows up with troops to be the reinforcements. So just incase you were wondering, I am a massive Bond fan so this is a big compliment.
The Year of the Rogue Dragon, a three part trilogy, is a wonderful read and an exciting adventure. What else would you expect when you pit the most fearsome of creature in all of DND against the writing styles of Richard Lee Byers?
A small final note: the trilogy got a wonderful addition when a fourth book appeared. This book was a compilation of short stories featuring favourite characters across the realms just trying to survive when the Dragon Rage occurred.