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The Temple of Elemental Evil

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A sinister force, long thought destroyed, stirs in the land. As a she-demon bent on wreaking worldwide havoc struggles to escape her prison and a foul demigod plots to bend her to his will, a band of desperate heroes must infiltrate the very heart of darkness in a daring attempt to stop them both.


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A sinister force, long thought destroyed, stirs in the land. As a she-demon bent on wreaking worldwide havoc struggles to escape her prison and a foul demigod plots to bend her to his will, a band of desperate heroes must infiltrate the very heart of darkness in a daring attempt to stop them both.

30 review for The Temple of Elemental Evil

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gianfranco Mancini

    "So bad, but so good" Ted(2012) A funny movie reference to say that this review was more a 2,5/3 one, but nostalgia factor raised the final vote for good. Average writing. Not much fleshed characters. An avoidable romance between the main character, the elf wizard Shanhaevel and the party druidess, falling in love in a few pages. The aforementioned elf watching his master die in the prologue because he not memorized offensive spells before travelling and becoming a "destroyer of worlds" high-powered "So bad, but so good" Ted(2012) A funny movie reference to say that this review was more a 2,5/3 one, but nostalgia factor raised the final vote for good. Average writing. Not much fleshed characters. An avoidable romance between the main character, the elf wizard Shanhaevel and the party druidess, falling in love in a few pages. The aforementioned elf watching his master die in the prologue because he not memorized offensive spells before travelling and becoming a "destroyer of worlds" high-powered magic-user just after that. Long cheesy speeches between the heroes and the villains. All of these and more, but I loved so much the original Gary Gigax's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign module novelized in this book (I've run it twice as a Dungeon Master) that I've just forgiven these flaws and enjoyed the ride, a nice action-packed dungeon bash filled with iconic D&D characters, monsters, spells and situations typical around a table of RPG gamers... Like the mocking twist of a character name (Shanhaevel's companions call him "Shadowspawn") just to piss off the owner and the fortuitous appearing of a new PC after the death of another one, with the DM playing deus ex machina to save the day (and the adventurers party). A not so bad novelization after all, if you are a die-hard D&D fan. It could've been a good trilogy, but the one-novel lenght forced the author to cut for good character development and whole parts of the original adventure like the Elemental Nodes And it left me wanting to install and play again the PC game based on it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dru

    I'm reading all seven of the "Greyhawk Classics" in "level order", so this one came after Keep on the borderlands, which means it had a really low bar to get over. It got over that bar by a bit, but was not a fabulous book. The best part was how well the author kept the GAME MECHANICS correct in this novel. When I read about D &D I want to see the exact spells I know from the game, and that's what I got. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm reading all seven of the "Greyhawk Classics" in "level order", so this one came after Keep on the borderlands, which means it had a really low bar to get over. It got over that bar by a bit, but was not a fabulous book. The best part was how well the author kept the GAME MECHANICS correct in this novel. When I read about D &D I want to see the exact spells I know from the game, and that's what I got. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm putting this footer on all 7 of my reviews of "Greyhawk Classics", for consistency. Note that I read them them in LEVEL ORDER, not publication order. I wanted an overall review of the series of 8 in one spot, so here ya go: 1) (6th published) Keep on the Borderlands - Levels 1-3 : 2 stars 2) (4th published) The Temple of Elemental Evil - Levels 1-3 : 3 stars 3) (2nd published) White Plume Mountain - Levels 5-10 : 4 stars 4) (1st published) Against the Giants - Levels 8-12 : 3 stars 5) (3rd published) Descent into the Depths of the Earth - Levels 9-14 : 4 stars 6) (5th published) Queen of the Demonweb Pits - Levels 10-14 : 3 stars 7) (7th published) Tomb of Horrors - Levels 10-14 : 3 stars ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  3. 5 out of 5

    Filip

    That... that wasn't very good. Reading it, with it's blow-by-blow descriptions of combat, minimal character development showed how boring some RPG sessions must seem to the casual onlooker. Add to that a shoehorned love story, predictable outcomes and weird prose... let's say it wasn't the best read. Besides, it doesn't really describe many of the things, figuring that someone familiar with D&D will know them. It did have it moments though. It definitely provided a nostalgia trip to the old-style That... that wasn't very good. Reading it, with it's blow-by-blow descriptions of combat, minimal character development showed how boring some RPG sessions must seem to the casual onlooker. Add to that a shoehorned love story, predictable outcomes and weird prose... let's say it wasn't the best read. Besides, it doesn't really describe many of the things, figuring that someone familiar with D&D will know them. It did have it moments though. It definitely provided a nostalgia trip to the old-style of dungeon crawler RPG adventures. The ending itself wasn't also that bad. I can't recommend it, but I can't say I wasted my time reading it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    T.W. Brown

    As a player who picked this game up in the 70s, I am familiar with this mod. It was never one of my favorite, and now the story proves that idea. It was simply a bit dry as a story. The writing was a bit cliche as it played out. Sort of like a bunch of old fantasy tales pieced into this one story to make the complete tale. There just wasn't anything that made me sink into the story. As a player who picked this game up in the 70s, I am familiar with this mod. It was never one of my favorite, and now the story proves that idea. It was simply a bit dry as a story. The writing was a bit cliche as it played out. Sort of like a bunch of old fantasy tales pieced into this one story to make the complete tale. There just wasn't anything that made me sink into the story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    When 3rd Edition of D&D was released, they also released an homage module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Time has passed, so that if you played the original Temple of Elemental Evil module, this would be a return to an adventure with similar themes and setting, but many years later. Concurrent with the release of the Return module, they released this novelization of the original adventure so that folks who missed the original could catch up on the story of what happened. Great concept, When 3rd Edition of D&D was released, they also released an homage module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Time has passed, so that if you played the original Temple of Elemental Evil module, this would be a return to an adventure with similar themes and setting, but many years later. Concurrent with the release of the Return module, they released this novelization of the original adventure so that folks who missed the original could catch up on the story of what happened. Great concept, but poor execution. I picked this up when 3rd Edition was released but never got around to reading it. After recently completing a 1st Edition game of Temple of Elemental Evil, I figured I would come back and give this a shot. A little back-story on the adventure. A decade prior to the events, a great evil arose in the Temple, and heroes smashed the minions in the face and trapped an elder god. Evil is rising again and must be dealt with. I couldn't make it more than a third of the way through. I did appreciate the appearance of the giant frogs outside the moathouse, but was struck by the silliness of giant frogs attacking a group of people as a pack. When I played through this scene, I was fine with it, but reading this dramatization, the inherent silliness really shone through. I was disappointed in the lack of a dwarf, gnome, or halfling in the party. Our diversity is an elf and a half-elf, and only a paper-thin female character that is not significantly better than the male fantasy stereotypes presented in all the other females (a mother and reward whores). On second thought, I'm glad none of the short races were represented, as I don't even want to think what wretched stereotypes we would have been subjected to. Not even 100 pages in we've had not one, but TWO veterans of the previous skirmish die in an ignominious fashion. Both of which utter heartfelt pleas while their last breath bubbles through the bloody froth on their lips. The second dies after the party wanders into a trap, is flanked on three sides by vastly superior numbers, lays down their weapons, yet still emerge victorious when the dust clears. If you're going to stretch plausibility this much, at least give me some good action sequences. Skip the book and find a good GM.

  6. 4 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    This is my first Greyhawk realm book. I heard of this through the game of the same name, I played a few years back. The book is straight up D&D fantasy. It was very much like playing the game. Unfortunately, there was not enough character development to pull me into the story and make me care for the characters. When they died, I really was not bothered. Otherwise, this book delivers on its promise - a straight up dungeon crawl in textual form.

  7. 5 out of 5

    F. William Davis

    This was a very enjoyable tale. Both the sides of good and evil are seeking the same thing for their own reasons. The heroes and the action are all fairly classic ideas but I enjoyed the adventure.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Newton

    Not my favorite of the Greyhawk novels. Given how large the original adventure is, the author is required to really breeze past most icon elements of the adventure (by way of example, they are in and out of the moathouse in a jiffy.) As with all of these Greyhawk novels, it's always interesting to see how they turn location into novel prose. At least with this one, several prominent NPCs have lots of screen time in the book (Elmo, Hedrack, Falrith, etc.) Not my favorite of the Greyhawk novels. Given how large the original adventure is, the author is required to really breeze past most icon elements of the adventure (by way of example, they are in and out of the moathouse in a jiffy.) As with all of these Greyhawk novels, it's always interesting to see how they turn location into novel prose. At least with this one, several prominent NPCs have lots of screen time in the book (Elmo, Hedrack, Falrith, etc.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    George Girasa

    Although not a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons fantasy books I had high hopes for this one. This was the story of the game we played most when we played Dungeons and Dragons. The story was way to short. It had many other problems, no suspense. As a matter of fact the set-up was about a third of the book. I will not even bother to really review it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Lee

    All the other books in the series are far better than this one. The characters mental hesitations at every turn just killed the flow of the plot. Many other aspects of the book were quite good but dont expect a book like the others in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    James

    I quite enjoyed this. The mage turned into the hero in the end.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John Hart

    So far this has been the weakest book in the series. Different author and different characters. The writing and the adventure weren't as good as the previous books. So far this has been the weakest book in the series. Different author and different characters. The writing and the adventure weren't as good as the previous books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Another audio book based on a classic AD&D module, this one a well-told and thrilling fantasy adventure story I found rather enjoyable. Fun!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Hokey and more or less true to the module, but still a fun read and a great way to re-experience ToEE until it becomes supported by 5e's ruleset. A great read for a day or two of relaxation. Hokey and more or less true to the module, but still a fun read and a great way to re-experience ToEE until it becomes supported by 5e's ruleset. A great read for a day or two of relaxation.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Duncan Rice

    A very dull dungeon stomp.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marcelo

    I wanted to read this book for a long time, and I knew it would be a stand-alone adventure, with characters created for the sole purpose of novelizing one of the most classical AD&D adventures of all time. As such, I wasn't expecting much out of it. It's indeed an okay novel, nothing to write home about. I was pleased when I realized the protagonist would be an elf wizard, because I seldom have the opportunity to read a book wherein the main character isn't a human warrior. If you used to play AD I wanted to read this book for a long time, and I knew it would be a stand-alone adventure, with characters created for the sole purpose of novelizing one of the most classical AD&D adventures of all time. As such, I wasn't expecting much out of it. It's indeed an okay novel, nothing to write home about. I was pleased when I realized the protagonist would be an elf wizard, because I seldom have the opportunity to read a book wherein the main character isn't a human warrior. If you used to play AD&D, even if you never played or ran through Temple of Elemental Evil module, you'll find yourself smiling very often all along the book, due to Thomas M. Reid's ability to convert the typical game class and race stats into narrative e.g., the paladin can sense evil and the elf wizard finds secret doors merely inspecting a wall section — and he also gets himself knocked down with a single blow all the time! Many things contributed for this book not turning out to be a satisfactory read, though. I think the characters didn't have a lot of time to be developed and, really, there wasn't a lot of material to accomplish that in the first place — a band of adventurers who just met trying to stop an ancient evil from rising again. Their friendship (and even romance between two of them) therefore feels rushed and heavy-handed. Also, I don't think the author was very successful at describing certain scenes. Many portions of the action got me confused (were they at the door or at the hallway? Did the corridor stretched straight ahead or was there a chamber at the end? Did the monster round one corner or two?). Finally, something that really bothered me was that I had to get back to pages 42–44 to read again and again the descriptions of the characters; those pages were the one place where almost all of the characters were described. More importantly, a dozen characters were introduced on those pages, then the expedition departs for the Moathouse, but I didn't know exactly who or how many were coming along until after the first battle! Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I had a hard time figuring out who was who throughout the first half of the novel. All in all, I was very surprised when I caught myself enjoying the main characters' company, and by the end of the book I felt I wouldn't mind following further adventures of The Alliance. That's why this book gets 2 stars: it's no masterpiece, but reading it won't hurt your brain.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Darcy

    by Thomas M. Reid, published in 2001. This novel is part of the Greyhawk series of novels released which deal specifically with a classic Dungeons and Dragons modules of old. I’ll list them at the end with the authors should you wish to try and collect them as I have. As you can guess, this one is “The Temple of Elemental Evil” which, back in the old days of gaming, made up of the module “The village of Hommlet” as well as the extra content written by Gygax to make up “The Temple of Elemental Evil by Thomas M. Reid, published in 2001. This novel is part of the Greyhawk series of novels released which deal specifically with a classic Dungeons and Dragons modules of old. I’ll list them at the end with the authors should you wish to try and collect them as I have. As you can guess, this one is “The Temple of Elemental Evil” which, back in the old days of gaming, made up of the module “The village of Hommlet” as well as the extra content written by Gygax to make up “The Temple of Elemental Evil”. Confused? Well, no need to be, and no real need to know of or have played the original modules way back when. Your enjoyment of the novel will be greatly enhanced if you have ever played through the modules though, but still enjoyable even if you haven’t. I actually really liked it, and being a gaming geek (giant frogs!) and loving the old D&D modules (just to read, not even to play necessarily) I found this a great fun book. It has all the trappings of a fantasy novel, but it is structured exactly and follows precisely the modules and you can almost see this as a huge gaming session which was novelized afterwards - which I actually believe it was. Some module elements are missing (like the nodes) but this was done out of editing necessity and book length and no slight against the author. Having a hard time separating the module from the novel. However, I would say that the novel is enjoyable and actually pretty darn well written too. I can’t say that about the rest of the “Greyhawk” novels that came out around this time. If you are a gamer from the late seventies and early eighties then these books are a must as they take you down memory lane almost as much as the modules they are written from. So, as promised the list of “new” Greyhawk novels in no particular order based on classic D&D modules. 1) Against the Giants by Ru Emerson 2) Keep on the Borderlands by Ru Emerson 3) White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd 4) Descent into the Depths of the Earth by Paul Kidd. 5) Queen of the Demonweb Pits by Paul Kidd. 6) Temple of Elemental Evil by Thomas M. Reid. 7) The Tomb of Horrors by Keith Francis Strohm.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    The book is entertaining and somewhat engaging. It follows a group of adventurer's (heroes of a sort) attempting to destroy an evil temple near the kindly village of Hommlet. It is a quick read based upon an almost universally well regarded fantasy roleplaying game adventure series (T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, produced for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons RPG). That is a work I know pretty well and many of the characters in the book felt familiar to me (e.g. Elmo, the druids, Bern The book is entertaining and somewhat engaging. It follows a group of adventurer's (heroes of a sort) attempting to destroy an evil temple near the kindly village of Hommlet. It is a quick read based upon an almost universally well regarded fantasy roleplaying game adventure series (T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil, produced for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons RPG). That is a work I know pretty well and many of the characters in the book felt familiar to me (e.g. Elmo, the druids, Bern, Zert, and most of the townsfolk). The locations have a familiar ring as well (e.g. the villages of Hommlet and Nulb, and the moathouse and temple itself), and the main sources of evil (Iuz, Lolth, and Zuggtmoy) are the expected ones. In other words, the book hewed pretty close to original source material in several ways - enough to make them feel known to me. Having said that, I did wish for more character development through the book - there was almost none at all, making several of the characters feel very flat throughout. Even so, a player of D&D could easily pick out the different character classes represented by each main character, even if the author didn't include the characters calling each other druid, knight, or wizard occasionally. In fact, referring to a character by their class is something I usually dislike quite a bit, but it wasn't so intrusive in this book. The writing and story are mediocre - neither exceptionally poor nor exceptionally well done. I knew going into this that it wouldn't be the most fantastic work of literature I have ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes upon. I did enjoy it as a quick read and entertaining diversion. It hit the right notes for a fantasy novel based on a well known D&D property. I recommend it to anyone who will feel the tug of nostalgia when listening to a story about Hommlet, Iuz, and the Temple itself (and to learn the fate of Elmo). I do not recommend it for someone looking for a fantastically written epic heroes' tale with rich language, explanations about the magical universe, or extremely well thought out characterizations. 3 solid stars for the enjoy-ability and nostalgia.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Thoroughly mediocre. I wanted to read this because I'm running the adventure for my D&D group and I wanted to see how Thomas Reid handled the material. Being familiar with the original module, I can say I liked about 20% of the choices Reid made in his narrative interpretation of one of the most popular D&D adventures of all time. Many of the reviews I read about the book complained about the flat characters and the gaping plot holes, and now that I've read the book I can wholeheartedly agree. T Thoroughly mediocre. I wanted to read this because I'm running the adventure for my D&D group and I wanted to see how Thomas Reid handled the material. Being familiar with the original module, I can say I liked about 20% of the choices Reid made in his narrative interpretation of one of the most popular D&D adventures of all time. Many of the reviews I read about the book complained about the flat characters and the gaping plot holes, and now that I've read the book I can wholeheartedly agree. The story simply fails to come together which is not entirely surprising considering it weighs in at just under 300 pages... and that's not a lot of room to do justice to an RPG adventure that can easily take several months to a year to complete. What does it do well? Not much. It does manage to capture the spirit of the D&D game enough so as not to be completely devoid of an element of entertainment, and I never felt the overwhelming need to give up on the book. Move it to the bottom of the reading pile; it will keep until you've exhausted much better reading options.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    So I wasn't going into this expecting it to be a masterwork of literature. I mostly picked it up because I played through this campaign a few years ago and had a lot of fun with it and all I really wanted from this was a cheesy dungeon crawl adventure in novel form. The cheesy is there all right, but to my utmost disappointmetn I'm slightly under halfway through the book and Our Heroes have yet to enter the temple. Anyway, this gets three stars for being the worst thing I've read in years, to the So I wasn't going into this expecting it to be a masterwork of literature. I mostly picked it up because I played through this campaign a few years ago and had a lot of fun with it and all I really wanted from this was a cheesy dungeon crawl adventure in novel form. The cheesy is there all right, but to my utmost disappointmetn I'm slightly under halfway through the book and Our Heroes have yet to enter the temple. Anyway, this gets three stars for being the worst thing I've read in years, to the point where it's actually funny. Case in point: "He was unwilling to take his leave without asking permission from the one who had instructed him so effectively - with pain, horrible, horrible pain - about the error of his ways."

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    Novelization of an RPG experience actually getting published. Who knew that was a thing? This book was surprisingly good. A quick read over a weekend, that was an enjoyable tale. The characters were a bit shallow, and love blossomed from no discernible seeds, but the writing wasn't bad overall. In a novelization of a role-playing game, its sometimes obvious who the player-characters are, and that doesn't happen overmuch in this book. Some of the iconic experiences are missing, perhaps due to sti Novelization of an RPG experience actually getting published. Who knew that was a thing? This book was surprisingly good. A quick read over a weekend, that was an enjoyable tale. The characters were a bit shallow, and love blossomed from no discernible seeds, but the writing wasn't bad overall. In a novelization of a role-playing game, its sometimes obvious who the player-characters are, and that doesn't happen overmuch in this book. Some of the iconic experiences are missing, perhaps due to sticking too closely to the play experience and choices over the original work. The emotion and development of the "bad guy" are particularly good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    The Greyhawk D&D based fantasy books remind me of the pulp-fiction scifi and spy stories I used to read. The story is fairly straight forward with out to much thinking required to follow along. The story follows a young wizard name Shanhaevel and his party as they take on the evil forces rebuilding the Temple of Elemental Evil. For those that played D&D the story follows the module of the same name fairly closely with a lot of elements clearly being pulled from the source material. Its a good bo The Greyhawk D&D based fantasy books remind me of the pulp-fiction scifi and spy stories I used to read. The story is fairly straight forward with out to much thinking required to follow along. The story follows a young wizard name Shanhaevel and his party as they take on the evil forces rebuilding the Temple of Elemental Evil. For those that played D&D the story follows the module of the same name fairly closely with a lot of elements clearly being pulled from the source material. Its a good book for some one looking for an easy read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    While I had read a few D&D based novels back in the day, none of them were particularly notable. This was loosely based on a dungeon adventure I had liked, and so I gave it a shot, and it was actually remarkably good. It is fast paced, pulls in some characters and features from the dungeon, without requiring any familiarity with the game at all to follow along or enjoy. Nicely done!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Silly, cheesy, and good clean fun. An incredibly light read, and exactly what it sets out to be. The writing hardly reaches even a high school level, but all this can be forgiven because the book never claimed to be anything else. I would definitely recommend to fans of D&D, but only if they don't have anything better to read. If you're not a fan of D&D, skip it. Silly, cheesy, and good clean fun. An incredibly light read, and exactly what it sets out to be. The writing hardly reaches even a high school level, but all this can be forgiven because the book never claimed to be anything else. I would definitely recommend to fans of D&D, but only if they don't have anything better to read. If you're not a fan of D&D, skip it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tim James

    In reality probably 2.5 not the greatest story in the world or fantastically written it was the nostalgic side that allows me to give it a 4. Was like the game with all the silly stopping to memorise spells not having the right ones for the situation.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Colton

    Fun, but not the best A fun read, especially if you're familiar with the D&D adventure. The writing is mediocre, though, and the characters not particularly well fleshed out. Still, it was entertaining enough. Fun, but not the best A fun read, especially if you're familiar with the D&D adventure. The writing is mediocre, though, and the characters not particularly well fleshed out. Still, it was entertaining enough.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

    The story was interesting and had a lot of great character interactions. The stories is about the forming of an adventuring party and then their task to stop the Temple of Elemental Evil from taking over the country side. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoy fantasy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Antonio

    CLASSIC DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS ADVENTURE.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    The worst book I have ever read all the way through. By the end it appeared that the editor didn't even care about all the continuity errors and just gave up on it. The worst book I have ever read all the way through. By the end it appeared that the editor didn't even care about all the continuity errors and just gave up on it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Corey Butler

    I had some nostalgic fun reading this novelization of an old D&D adventure, but it occurred to me that what is good to play is not necessarily good to read. And vice versa.

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