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For someone who has never read any FR novels what are recommended as a primer for running the 5E modules? I intend to read the guidebooks but prefer pointers to novels that best capture the "feel" of the realms.

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Is your question more "I am unfamiliar with any Forgotten Realms lore, what is the best way to get enough information to run the 5e Rise of the Dragon Queen series?" Why are you looking for novels specifically when there's plenty of FR guidebooks from previous editions? –  mxyzplk Aug 24 at 4:44
    
Related, possible duplicate (depending on the purpose of the question): What book can I read to familiarize myself with D&D 5e's world and lore? –  SevenSidedDie Aug 24 at 4:52
    
On hold for clarification. –  mxyzplk Aug 24 at 5:20
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@mxyzplk I will definitely read the guidebooks but I prefer novels as they're immersive and impart more of the "feel" of the setting. –  cable909 Aug 24 at 5:22
    
Not an answer, but note that some key video games are set in Forgotten Realms — the current Neverwinter Nights MMORPG, for example, and previous Neverwinter games, and then back to Baldur's Gate. –  mattdm Aug 24 at 12:00

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I have been gaining a lot of benefit from reading the Sundering Novels. Though some novels such as "The Companions" have only been interesting to me because I previously read the "Drizzt series", the other books, have been very helpful to me in understanding the game world. Various factions and groups are well demonstrated allowing me to better understand the modules when I have ran them.

  • "The Adversary" and "The Reaver" gave me insight into the Red Wizards of Thay.
  • "The Adversary" gave me good insight into the Harpers
  • "The Godborn" gave me good insight into the rivalries between the Undead and the Demons/Devils
  • "The Godborn" gave me good insight into the differences between the various evil gods, such as Shar, the Mask, and Baal etc.

If you can find other books that cover the 7 main factions in the module that would also likely be helpful. Those factions are :

  • The Harpers
  • The Emerald Enclave
  • The Zhentarim
  • The Lord's Alliance
  • The Order of the Gauntlet
  • The Red Wizards of Thay
  • The Dragon Cult (Though it's important to know how they have shifted their focus in Tyranny of Dragons)

Since it has been announced that the next major story line will involve the "Elemental Evil", I suggest reading some of the old modules such as:

  • The Temple of Elemental Evil
  • The Pool of Radiance

I've also found that reading the modules from the playtest era has also been really helpful in getting more of a feel for the characters, motivations, and events happening around this time.

  • Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle
  • The Vault of the Dracolitch
  • Scourge of the Sword Coast
  • Dead in Thay

The Drizzt Do'urden series can also be good inspiration for how a party can work together, starting with the Crystal Shard.

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Is there a particular reason why you recommend starting with the 3rd written (6th chronologically) Drizzt novel? –  Adeptus Aug 25 at 0:23
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@adeptus cause I goofed. –  GMNoob Aug 25 at 4:56

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