Thursday, October 27, 2022

100 Days of Halloween: The Seven Sisters

FOR6 The Seven Sisters (2e)
I have had a long and complicated relationship with the Forgotten Realms. They came out while I was getting ready for University. I had my first interactions with the setting were with its fans online. In those days it would have been LISTSERVs on BitNet or on Usenet. I have to admit. The fans annoyed me. Plus I was a Greyhawk and Known World fan, how dare this upstart world displace those?  

Then a few things happened. First I picked the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms guide. I thought it was great. Secondly, I got the Dragon Magazine CD-ROM and I went back and reread some of the old articles and realized the depth Ed Greenwood contributed to everything in D&D since, well the beginning.  Slowly I began to see how rich the Realms were. And yes. Just like those fans that annoyed me so, I began to really like the characters of the Realms. 

Case in point. I really, really enjoy the Seven Sisters and The Simbul in particular.  So for today's 100 Days of Halloween, I wanted to talk about these seven extraordinary women, of which two of them are called witches.

FOR6 The Seven Sisters (2e)

PDF and softcover book. 128 pages. Color cover, black & white art.

This book covers the Seven Sisters, the Chosen of Mystra;  Alustriel, Dove Falconhand, Laeral Silverhand, The Simbul, Storm Silverhand, Syluné, and Qilué Veladorn.

Before delving into this book one thing is certain, Ed Greenwood loves these characters. He talks about them in the pages of Dragon magazine, his books, and all his writings. He knows them and loves them and it shows. This is something I keep in mind while reading this.

This book and these characters are an obvious nod to something that has been described as one of the oldest stories in the world, The Seven Sisters or the Pleiades star cluster near the Belt of Orion. We call them "the Seven Sisters" but today we only can see six with the naked eye. This is because 100,000 years ago we could see a seventh star. This seventh is sometimes called the Lost Sister.  Why mention this, well it is obvious when you get into this that Ed, as usual, did his homework before class.


This section details what this book is and how to use it. There is even some background fluff. Ed even says we can take these "powerful characters that can easily be renamed and fiddled with for use in other campaigns." I am holding on to that. 

Who are the Seven Sisters?

This is an overview of the Seven going through them all very briefly. Only six are mentioned here and the Seventh...well that is our missing sister and she will be detailed soon enough.  

The Story of the Seven

We get an overview not just of the Seven and how they came to be but the nature of the Chosen, in particular the Chosen of Mystra. They all are the children of a ranger and Harper named Dornal Silverhand and Elué Shundar a half-elf sorceress who agreed to be the host of Mystra's spirit and power. Soon seven girls were born in the winter of each following year. Anastra Syluné, (761 DR), Endue Alustriel (762 DR), Ambara Dove (763 DR); Ethena Astorma "Storm" (764 DR), Anamanué Laeral (765 DR), Alassra Shentrantra "The Simbul" (766 DR), and Erésseae Qilué  (767 DR). Though being the host of such magical power Elué was withering away and was little more than a lich while she was pregnant with Qilué. So Mystra transplanted the unborn baby into the womb of a nearby drow adventuress whose own unborn child had died in her womb. Elué died and Dornal, disgusted with what the Goddess had done went out to seek his own death leaving the six girls in the care of Mystra herself.

I would go into more detail here, but that is retelling the story already here.  

Powers of the Chosen

Now here is the chapter on how I discovered this book. I was looking for some details on the Chosen of Mystra. There are a lot of powers granted to those favored by the gods. 

The Seven 

Each chapter that follows is named for one of the Seven. They are in order, Alustriel, Dove Falconhand, Laeral Silverhand, The Simbul, Storm Silverhand, Syluné, and Qilué Veladorn.

There is some history, backstory, some fiction, their true name, and more. A stat block is given for each, and make no mistake these are powerful characters. Each chapter lists her powers, what people think of her, what angers her, what pleases her, and what she can be expected to be doing. There is also black & white art of each sister. The only time I have seen them all together and in color is the cover (promotional images) for the novel Silverfall

The fiction bits are fine, though I will note that the piece accompanying The Simbul's chapter is the same as the Pages of the Mages book and "The Wizards Three" from Dragon #200, December 1993. So yeah this is the third time I have read it, but I don't care. I love the fact that there are the three most powerful mages of three different worlds and they all fear Her.

It would be natural for me to say that this sister got more attention and this other one got less, but all get about the same level of detail and attention.

Spells of the Seven

New spells developed or used by the sisters. 105 new spells. Some I have ended up in later editions of D&D, but many are still new. 

Magical Items of the Seven

Likewise, there are some special and even unique magic items. There are nine here.

Using the Seven Sisters in a Campaign

A guide on how to use these powerful sisters by engaging what they are most interested in.  There is also a brief mention of any situation where more than one would be encountered. 


The Seven Sisters

Outside of the chapters on the Spells and Magic items, there is not a lot here that is edition specific. I mean yes there are NPC stat blocks for each sister, but I can easily say that for example Qilué is a 16th-level cleric.  Or that The Simbul is a dual-classed 30th-level mage and 6th-level fighter. Consequently, she is a Sorcerer 20/Archmage 2/Wizard 10 in D&D 3rd Edition.  So their levels I say are guidelines. Strong guidelines, but guidelines all the same. Although you have someone like Dove Falconhand and you can see her progression from 1st Edition to 3rd Edition.  The point being that this book is still useful for many versions of D&D, not just AD&D Second Edition.

I don't think I have even scratched the surface of what I can do with this.

The Other Side - 100 Days of Halloween

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