Monday, August 6, 2012

House of Serpents [Books]

House of Serpents is the title of the collection of a Forgotten Realms trilogy, Venom's Taste, Viper's Kiss, and Vanity's Brood.  Two things make this trilogy really stand out from other FR novels.  First, the trilogy is set primarily in the city of Hlondeth, ruled by Yuan-ti (snake-humanoids) and populated by thousands of human slaves.  The author, Lisa Smedman, does an excellent job depicting Yuan-ti culture and makes Hlondeth far different than a standard quasi-medieval fantasy city.  Second, the books' protagonist (a rogue named Arvin) is psionic.  I've always kept psionics at arms-length in gaming as I've never really been sure how or if they fit with traditional fantasy, but Smedman integrates them quite well and helps envision in a cinematic way some of the various attack and defense powers.  Arvin himself isn't the most interesting character, but Smedman's descriptions of psionic combat are interesting and different.

All in all, House of Serpents is a nice change of pace and leads me to want to set some D&D adventures in Hlondeth.  (if any of my players are reading this, stock up on snake anti-venom!).

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