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  1. #1

    Dungeons & Dragons-like fantasy stories ("dungeon delving and exploring lost ruins")

    I'm looking for fantasy stories that follow similar lines to the quintessential Dungeons & Dragons quest. Now I realize that there are a wide variety of D&D styles, but I'm looking for certain themes that seem common to classic D&D: a party of adventures on a quest that involves going into dungeons, exploring ruins, uncovering ancient evils and forgotten mysteries, discovering magical treasure, facing terrible monsters, etc.

    I know that there are hundreds of official D&D novels but I haven't read any of those in twenty years. I tried re-reading the Dragonlance Chronicles a few years ago and, while I enjoyed the story, the writing was just terrible. I'm sure there have been some decent novels written since then, so feel free to recommend some, but hopefully in the vein I described above. I'm really not looking for dynastic, war, or political fantasy - pure quest stuff, especially into "forgotten places with ancient evils," so to speak.

    I suppose that it should be mentioned that the classic D&D dungeon-delving quest was probably mainly inspired by Tolkien's Mines of Moria sequence; that's the type of thing I'm looking for, and hopefully well written.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Perhaps not exactly what you're after, but bear with me on this one.

    I'm gonna suggest Jim C. Hines' Jig the Goblin series. It's very much a play on the dungeon delving trope (at least in terms of the first novel), in which the titular goblin joins a group of adventurers after being outcast by his own kind.

  3. #3
    This fascinates me in that of the hundreds of fantasy books I have read, I can't think of a single one that has the main plot specifically about a dungeon crawl.

    The Complete Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen has all the elements you mention, like going into dungeons, exploring ruins, uncovering ancient evils and forgotten mysteries, discovering magical treasure and facing terrible monsters. That would probably a good fit, and I remember enjoying it quite a bit, but I haven't read it for 25 years.

    But a book with the entire main plot about a dungeon exploration? Aside from the one Loerwyn mentions (I haven't read it), I don't know of any. Hmmm maybe there's a niche for writers...

  4. #4
    To be honest I've never read a book that fits the bill that was not some shade of awful... However, I do read two webcomics that fit the bill pretty perfectly and are all kinds of awesome. Both are hundreds of pages long, free, and awesome. Both start out fairly tongue in cheek and then begin to grapple with complex and highly emotive story lines while still keeping a portion of silly.

    The Order of the Stick: Is just oodles of awesome, always funny, and occasionally down right poignant. Comic number 449 (its up to 842 currently) gives me chills everytime I read it. Much of the earlier humor relies upon actual DnD game mechanics so if you are not familiar with them it will suffer slightly, but this becomes scarcely a factor later.

    Goblins: While not quite in the same league as OTS is excellent and getting better and better. It follows a group of goblins who begin taking class levels and the remnants of a more classic adventuring party. The early comics are in black and white and are a little rough, but the current artwork is lovely and the story and characters have really grown into something special.

  5. #5
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    Closest thing I can think of is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. That is, unless you're willing to read The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore.

  6. #6
    Registered User JustaStaffer's Avatar
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    Sam Sykes. Sam Sykes. Sam Sykes. Start with TOME OF THE UNDERGATES

  7. #7
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    How about books actually in a Dungeons and Dragons setting? I'm thinking Paul S. Kemp's Erevis Cale novels, Wizards of the Coast recently released the first three books in an OMNIBUS.

    Also, Michael J. Sullivan has a cool dungeon delving and ruin exploration scene in the last book of his Riyria Revelations books

  8. #8
    Registered User JustaStaffer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    How about books actually in a Dungeons and Dragons setting? I'm thinking Paul S. Kemp's Erevis Cale novels, Wizards of the Coast recently released the first three books in an OMNIBUS.

    Also, Michael J. Sullivan has a cool dungeon delving and ruin exploration scene in the last book of his Riyria Revelations books
    Kemp is everywhere with the tie-ins. Looking forward to his original novel. You have a copy yet, Rob?

  9. #9
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustaStaffer View Post
    Kemp is everywhere with the tie-ins. Looking forward to his original novel. You have a copy yet, Rob?
    It is on my Kindle.

  10. #10
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Also, Michael J. Sullivan has a cool dungeon delving and ruin exploration scene in the last book of his Riyria Revelations books
    Eep...Thanks for the recommendation - but PLEASE don't start with Percepliquis (2nd book in the Heir of Novron Omnibus). I don't think I really ever imagined someone picking that up as the "first book." Not only will a lot of things be spoiled...but alot of foundation was laid on which that book depends.

    But yes...the trip too Percepliquis is very much a crawl through ruins of an ancient city so it would qualify.

  11. #11
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    Gary Gygax wrote many novels based on D&D rules. I only read one a long time ago, and I've heard they aren't the greatest character analyses, either (sorry Gary), but there were dungeon delves in those.

  12. #12
    Just to be clear, I'm not as much looking for D&D novels in general, but books focused at least to a significant degree on dungeoncrawling/ruin exploration. Something along the lines of the Moria sequence.

    Afaict, the Erevis Cale books aren't much focused on that?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    Just to be clear, I'm not as much looking for D&D novels in general, but books focused at least to a significant degree on dungeoncrawling/ruin exploration. Something along the lines of the Moria sequence.

    Afaict, the Erevis Cale books aren't much focused on that?
    While somewhat fantasy light but very enjoyable, the Dark Elf Trilogy from R.A. Salvatore may fit the bill, as well as some of the later books in the Drizzt series.

    If you haven't read about Drizzt, it is worth doing so if for no other reason than to have sampled different works in the fantasy genre.

  14. #14
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    Just to be clear, I'm not as much looking for D&D novels in general, but books focused at least to a significant degree on dungeoncrawling/ruin exploration. Something along the lines of the Moria sequence.

    Afaict, the Erevis Cale books aren't much focused on that?
    What does Afaict mean?

  15. #15
    Registered User Loerwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    What does Afaict mean?
    I believe it should be AFAICT (capitalised) and I would assume it stands for As Far As I Can Tell

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