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The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Discuss HeroQuest: The Fellowship of Four, the first HeroQuest novel by Dave Morris.

The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby Kurgan » Thursday May 27th, 2021 12:21pm

So I hadn't realized until today that Dave Morris had released his three novels... the complete texts free online, back in 2016-2017 for Christmas. A huge thank you to him and a big thank you also to Dezziedc who posted about it here ! |_P

So no more worries about paying a bundle or trying to track down these three trinkets as they are 100% free (minus the hero quest maps which are still on phoenix's page with the pretty color enhancements of the NA edition). Sure, the illustrations that were copies of card art and little bits from the board game aren't in there, but the "choose your own adventure" parts and the narrative parts and there are a couple of brand new illustrations.

Awesome.

Spoilers may follow.

Anyway, Fellowship of Four, I recently finished reading it (I had read one of the four "narratives" early on but had put it aside for awhile), at least the narrative text and haven't yet played the "choose your own adventure" part. This is the longest narrative of the three books and while the map is included, it doesn't have any "hero quest" quest map in there, which is kind of a bummer but oh well. As before, it's not long (a bit over a hundred pages), nothing an adult couldn't finish in a day or two.

The four short stories are each told from the POV of each of the four heroes starting with the Wizard, followed by the final story where they all come together.

Reading the blog posts by Dave Morris after the fact is fun, explaining why the Screaming Spectre had two titles (Singing Skull) and why there are differences between his books and the Warhammer fantasy-esque "world" of Hero Quest in the EU (ROTWL and Advanced Hero Quest basically, I don't recall any other usages of the maps in any other game boxes).

The Wizard is a guy who tinkers with time, has limited use of his spells and is apparently a flamboyant dresser (Morris likes to go into detail about the fancy outfits his characters wear). The Barbarian is a Beowulf-esque warrior (with nods to Conan the Barbarian) who has to leave his village due to an accidental killing. The Elf is mysterious like Legolas in the LOTR novels and his story is a bit whimsical. The Dwarf is grumpy (this seems to be the trend in his portrayal in the supplemental fiction of HQ).

Of the three this seems to be the one that really tries to lay on the game references. There are many moments when you will think to yourself "just like in the game..." as I expected.

We are introduced to a female Orc sorcerer, and lots of descriptions of how gross and disgusting the Orcs are. We find out about Zombies, how destroying the heart is how you prevent someone from coming back as one in his interpretation of the world. Yes, there's a dragon/demon character (at first I was thinking a Chaos god type figure since it sounded a lot like the frozen horror or grimdead in the japanese game system, but not quite), and the big finish is that they pull a stunt to prevent it from being unleashed on the world, rather than fighting it hand to hand, which I thought was cool.

There's lots of violence and gore in this one. Not much else to say about it, but it was a fun adventure and would make a good quest (yes I know somebody did, I avoided it so I wouldn't be spoiled!).

I would recommend reading this one, especially since it's totally free (like the others). It's fairly short, about 100 pages (still the longest of the three). Not much about the world they are in, it is much more focused on the characters, and all of them, despite their outer trappings are kind of like ordinary dudes just trying to make it in the world and getting monster guts on them sometimes and getting upset because their project blew up in their face. He tries to make them relatable to a youth audience.

I enjoyed this book overall and I think if it had been the only one I'd bought I would have been satisfied. The other two books focused more on one character and the world they were in, and had the quest map as a nice bonus, but for sheer identity with the product this one did the job. I guess the main story felt a little short after having introduced the different characters. It was interesting how Mr. Morris explained he intended to write in different styles inspired by real life fantasy authors and the stuff he had to go through with Hasbro to get them published how some of the continuity problems with the larger game world weren't really his fault (the way he tells it). Much respect of course for just releasing the dang things for everyone, since they are a little tricky to find at a reasonable price.

I recommend it for HQ fans. The layout and tone are different than the other two books, so your mileage may vary of course. Collectors can still enjoy the paperback, and I'm more old school, I prefer to read that than scroll on my computer (I have never owned an e-book reader... maybe one of older models with e-ink would be appealing, I don't need an ipad ripoff).

Edit: Fixed some typos. Yes, I recommend it to hardcore HQ fans, and maybe casual fans who want a little more official/unofficial backstory. It has many nostalgic bits tributing the board game but doesn't strictly require knowledge of it. Obviously the target audience is adolescent boys.


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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby j_dean80 » Sunday June 6th, 2021 9:17am

If you do want to hold the real things, I found them on Ebay for $49.59 each. Took a lot of searching and patience.
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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby Kurgan » Sunday June 6th, 2021 9:39am

Yeah, I pretty much ended up paying $40 apiece for them. I don't consider myself a hardcore collector but I wanted them (not just a scan).


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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby Pancho » Tuesday June 8th, 2021 2:53am

Glad you enjoyed it Kurgan. I consider it the best of the three, although like you said it’s a shame it doesn’t have a quest in it like the other two books. You can check out the quest pack I made for these now that you won’t get any spoilers ;)


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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby Kurgan » Wednesday June 29th, 2022 5:25pm

I had a great time doing these novels as live readings on Twitch.


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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby HispaZargon » Tuesday August 15th, 2023 7:49am

Good and complete review, Kurgan.

I am recently revisiting the HQ novels, since I read them much time ago and don't remember well their stories.

I started by the first five chapters of this novel, and I think Dave Morris did a really good job. He presented the the four characters in a funny and interesting manner, putting all the parts together at the very end. I liked the concept.

Morris knew that his HQ novels did not fully matched with the Warhammer lore at the time, nevertheless I think in case of these chapters there are only a few weird points which could be easily fixed if somebody would make this novel as canon in the classic HQ:

(BEWARE, NOVEL SPOLIERS AHEAD)

- The female Orc Witch.... well, to fit well with the classic Warhammer lore, I think it should be a "Shaman" and a "male" Orc. Theoretically, in 80's Warhammer there were not female orcs since the born inside a fungus. Nevertheles maybe could exist exceptions.

- The novel says that the Barbarian leader is an "Earl"... I think those kind of titles do not fit well for Barbarians in Warhammer lore, I would just have said it is the "Boss" or the "Leader" of the tribe.

- The troll looks too inteligent for a Warhammer troll because it has a home, cooks, etc. and its size looks smaller than a Warhammer troll since he uses cups mostly of the size of a human (he gives one to the Wizard). Threfore, I think the troll is actually an Ogre like the ones shown in AtOH expansion.

- The Wizard hero cannot use any sword in the HeroQuest board game, however he effectively uses one in the novel. It is true that it is a magical sword but it would be really cool if the novel had explained that Wizards may do a exception with this sword, maybe saying that its blade is not made of metal or whatever. I missed such brief explanation in the novel.

- The Elf uses a bow in the novel, however in the classic HeroQuest board game, EU version, no bows are able to be find by the Heroes so it looks missmatching. Of course this is a very minor deviation with the game because we know there are monsters in the game which have bows.

- I would eliminate from the book any Earth-stuff mentions like "Book of King Solomon", "kilt", etc... and also those sentences written in latin like "Terra Incognita" or "Lucifugous Lunescules", which reminds to the old Europe cultures. Those terms do not help for a better inmersion in the story when reading it.


Anyway, as said, they are not too many deviations I think, despite of the 'Fellowship of Four' map shared by Dave Morris on his blog, which of course do not fit very well with the Warhammer's Old World one:


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Re: The Fellowship of Four Reactions/mini-review 2021

Postby Kurgan » Tuesday August 15th, 2023 9:24pm

In my headcanon, the humans in the HeroQuest world/dimension originally came from earth and brought cultural influences with them. But each to their own of course. I compare it to earth references in the Hobbit. Maybe they just have that stuff in their world too. Parallel earth... etc.

There is also a female Orc in the Marvel Winter Special, so to me they are canon as far as EU heroquest is concerned even before the remake...


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