R.A. Salvatore

February 7, 2012

I am R.A. Salvatore, first-time Reddit visitor. I've been writing fantasy novels for 25 years now, and have leaped into video game development with both feet. What a ride!

I'm here to talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the new video game based on the world I fashioned for 38 Studios. I'll answer questions about the world - as much as I can at this point.

I'll also be happy to talk about my other works, whether Dark Elf or DemonWars or Star Wars...

And a quick shout-out to http://www.reddit.com/r/RASalvatore/, a group here I only learned about a couple of weeks ago.

EDIT: Wow, blown away here by the response...

Thank you so much for your interest. I've got some scheduled press interviews to do, so I've got to say so long, but heck yeah, we'll do this again.

Quick plug: I'm on Facebook at R.A. Salvatore - I'm on there all the time.

Apologies to any I couldn't get to...just overwhelming.

Peace, Bob

I don't really have a question about Reckoning (though it looks rad), but I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that I can't image what my life would be like without reading the Dark Elf & Icewind Dale trilogies (and every other Drizzt related story). It sounds silly to a lot of people, Drizzt helped inspire me to become a better person, overcome serious self-confidence issues, completely quit drinking and smoking (when I was 17), and realize that it was perfectly acceptable to go my own way and follow my heart, even if it meant going against what the rest of the world around me seemed to want. Drizzt also gave me hope that one day I'd find true love and reading about his adventures got me through a lot of hard times until I finally found my Catti-brie.

So, thank for Drizzt, Mr. Salvatore. I'll never be able to express my gratitude properly, but this is at least something.

Well, thank you for telling me your tale. I do appreciate it - I'm always amazed at how books can find someone in a dark place and help them get through it.

Good travels!

What is your opinion on KoA: Reckoning being shipped without a physical manual?

Edit: Since this question got a downvote I suppose I should be a little more specific. I ask because, as an author, you surely have had a personal relationship with physical media, be it books or whatever. The lack of a manual in Reckoning is a bold step in a direction that many aren't sure we should be headed.

This is the first I've heard of that, and honestly, I don't know the conventions in the industry - is this the norm?

In the early 90s games were shipped with full color manuals. Some even had full size maps, and mini strategy guides. Over the years manuals have become shorter, many are in black and white, and some are barely five pages long.

EA has been saying that they would like to switch to disc-manuals for about a year now. Reckoning may be the first game to do so, but I am not 100% on that.

Interesting. i have no idea of why they switched things up, honestly.

It used to be norm epsecially for RPGs and adventure games to have large manuals with a lot of thought and lore behind it. Little extras like maps or background stories for characters or factions.

When I was a kid, I actually spend a lot of time rereading manuals with a good background story. I fondly remember Wing Commander: The Prophecy, while not a RPG, it had an extra booklet for the history of the universe and a really big map of all the systems.

Nowadays most games only get one sheet to show how the controls work and nothing more.

There will be tons of lore on the world of Amalur. It is huge, with a million tales to tell. I'm not sure of how, or when, it will start seeping out there.

I do know that there is a lot of information on-line about the world at the 38 Studios and Reckoning websites. Much of what you're talking about. Check it out.

Was there any one work in particular that gave a lot of inspiration to the game?

There was...well, for the world more than the game: Jacob Bronowski's BBC television series, "The Ascent of Man" (circa 1973), which traces human history through inventions and discoveries rather than through the various wars.

THe other would be Time-Life's series, "The Enchanted World," which is one of my favorite reference series.


It is - except that first Burke one, about losing electricity, scared the heck out of me!

I grew up with The Enchanted World (they are still on the bookshelf in my room). It makes me happy to know that other people (especially someone famous!) appreciate them as much as much as I do.

Aren't they wonderful?


I'm going to ignore your fantasy for a moment and focus on another issue, the death of chewbacca. I'm curious how it felt to write that story, really that capstone on such a loved character in Star Wars.

I read Vector Prime and then when I got to the end, I quit reading Star Wars novels. I've since learned that the whole New Jedi Order series was supposedly quite good, and whatever they are on now is good too. I know it's irrational to think of a character as sacrosanct or untouchable, but after the death of Chewie, I was just done. Haven't read a Star Wars novel since.

Thanks for the AMA!

Oh no, the Chewie question! Fair enough.

I came on board the New Jedi Order project at the very last minute. I was working on DemonWars for DelRey at the time and they had won the licensing deal from Lucas. They asked me to do the first book, and it was an honor. So I gathered all the information of the meta-story - point A-to-B in a series going to Z, and cobbled together a detailed outline.

I was in a conference call with DelRey and Lucasfilm when the editors expressed that they loved the outline. (paraphrasing here) "This is exactly what we want, but didn't anyone tell you? You have to kill Chewey."

I won't type the next two words that came out of my mouth. After a couple of days of arguments and, well, terror, they had convinced me that they were doing it for the right reasons, and well, George was down with it, and it's his galaxy far, far away, so I did it.

The responses have been mixed, with some people loving the new direction, other people devastated. I think it might be the only thing I've ever regretted; I don't think I'd go back and do that one again.

As a follow-up to the Chewbacca situation - there were rumors that you had received death threats as a result of having killed him off. Is that true?

Yeah, it got pretty freaky for a while there. I'm sure that almost all, if not all, were just the, "I'll punch your lights out!" stuff, but a couple were pretty creepy.

Thanks so much for the response. In many ways, ignoring the impending invasion, Vector Prime was the perfect novel to really end my Star Wars reading. I'll always love Star Wars, but with the death of Chewie, I felt that the series had run its course.

Part of me will always regret reading that book, however. Thanks so much for your response, it's an honor!

Very fair of you. Sincerely.

Are you going to watch the movies in 3-d?

See? It'll never end!

I was thinking "fuck you" or "fuck off" or "hell no" lol

We think alike, I guess.

I think I lost a piece of my Star wars Fandom when Chewey died, it was like you killed off Buddy Holly. However I will admit pretty much dropping a moon on Chewey was a hell of a way to die.

I think what you did by opening that door though was bring more of a mortality to the series because not long after that book they killed of Anakin Solo and then ultimately because of what he went through during the war Jacen Solo went sith and had to die, poor Han and Leia, losing people close to them constantly but escaping every danger imaginable themselves.

The last scene when Han talked about the bubble of invincibility being torn away...well, yeah, I admit it, I typed it sniffling.

I threw the book across the lunch room when I was in 6th grade right as I finished it. I have never had such a strong emotional reaction to a book.

If literature can't induce emotional responses from the reader, then it isn't being done right.

Hope you hit a bully with it. Shame to waste a good throw.

TID i'm never reading whatever book this is. Chewie Lives!

So, I was at a Star wars convention signing books amidst a sea of troopers, Leia's and Vaders, when the hall parts and a giant named Peter Mayhew strolls up to me, around the signing table, drops a foot-long hand on my shoulder and says, "We gotta talk."

he wanted me to sign a book for his kid. Whew!

I posted on TFN from 2009 to 2011- went under the name RC-1991 back then. The Literature boards were highly polarized over the whole affair, from what I remember. There was a clique of us who loved the NJO and would defend Vergere to the death, and then there was a faction that preferred Troy Denning's little fanfic. Of the literature mods, Havac and Lord Hydronium were pro-NJO, while The2ndQuest and RogueFollower tended to stay out of those discussions. I also remember the discussions of the new Clone Wars CGpoop being rather contentious.

I stopped posting there around the same time that the Revan novel was leaked. I became pissed off at Karpyshyn and nearly burned out on Star Wars.

Let me just whisper that it's unfair to go after the particular authors for plot lines in Star Wars.

Choices are limited...

I really need to read those, Matt Stover is fucking amazing. I subscribed to their stupid magazine just so I could read a short story he wrote for the darth plagueis Novel. (which by the way was very very good)

Let me tell you, Stover is awesome. I agree totally on the Caine books, and "Heroe's Die" ftw.

Matt's a good friend - I can't wait to tell him that SW people still talk so glowingly about him.

Thank you for Drizzt!!

Thank you for thanking me!

and Ivan and Pikel!

Oo oi! for the doo-dad.

Also Gromph, Jarlaxle, Malice, Zak'Nafein, Belwar...

So many enemies...so little time to kill them.

I have mixed feelings about Drizzt. I enjoyed the character, but I would like to have a campaign with a PC Drow that doesn't seem like a complete rip off of the character ಠ_ಠ

I ran a campaign where my party ran into Drizzt...except it wasn't Drizzt and he just used that to get their guard down. My next campaign started soon after...

To your point, when I hear these complaints, I feel bad and flattered all at the same time.

Hah, I came to say the complete opposite. Drizzt ended up being such a mary sue I got bored reading the books since I knew he was so popular he would never die no matter how ridiculous the scenario.

Spiderman says hi.

Your output is so great that I have to imagine you have process for certain types of fantasy novels. What is it?

Keep in mind that most of my books are in a series, so I don't have to introduce myself to the main characters with each new work. I think of the next Drizzt novel more like I'm writing a season for a television series, in many ways.

My process is simple: I have an outline, I start writing, I throw away the outline and the characters take me on an adventure.

That's cool that you can still let your characters lead the way. I'm very happy to read that you aren't jaded and phoning things in, even though you could probably get away with it. Thanks for the response!

My name is on it, thus I take pride in it.

If someone will hate my work, so be it, but at least i'll know I did the best I could. really, is there anything else that matters?

And yeah, I love what I do, and have loved it for 25 years now.

I do text roleplaying and acting as major, major hobbies. It's kinda scary how you'll be writing and then when you go back and edit what you just wrote, you realize that most of it was not your plan to start with-the character has so thoroughly taken over your psyche that you just do what they would normally do without even thinking.

So true, to both of you - and what's really amazing is when you read a passage from one of your long-ago books and don't even recognize it as your own...then it hits you, and BAM!, you're right back where you were emotionally when you wrote it.

I experienced this profoundly when I annotated the anthology collection of the Drizzt stories.

I have an outline, I start writing, I throw away the outline and the characters take me on an adventure.

Hearing this (as an aspiring writer) is extremely gratifying! I always try to start off with an outline but the story ends up taking on a life of its own and running off in unexpected directions.

I have to say I love the characters in your books. They all become very much alive and I invariably become invested in them. Keep up the great work!!

You're doing something right if the story is pulling you instead of listening to you.

Can you give us some details on how you used previous character and world-building experience in Kingdoms of Amalur?

Sure. Whenever I'm building a world, I relate the cultures/religions/power structures/governments, etc. to things we've seen in our own world. There is a reason that history rhymes, as Twain said.

So I lay down the boundaries, the guideposts, the system of logic that guides the illogical (magic and gods), and then look within those boundaries through a tilted prism.

I'm not trying to recreate the wheel from scratch - doing so (which many people claim to want) never works (see the "derivative" rant below), but trying to find new and interesting combinations, and then push some of the tropes and details out of the bos in one way or another.

YOU ARE AWESOME. okay now thats outa the way. 1. how were you inspired to write the drizzt series? 2. did you feel any connection to the characters? 3. were any of the characters named or characterized after real life friends/people? 4. did you ever play the baulders gate series? 5. what is your next new work?

Well, i had played D&D for many years, so when I got the chance to audition for the 2nd Forgotten Realms books, I leaped in.

I feel tremendous connections to all of the characters, I really do. I get to know them as we travel the road of adventure together. I had no idea of who this rogue dark elf might be when I started the first book, "The Crystal Shard," but only a couple of pages in, I knew that he would be the focus (poor Wulfgar).

I might take bits and pieces form people i know, but generally, these characters have their own distinct personalities to me. And yes, I played Baldur's Gate, ran into Drizzt and was shocked, and when he wouldn't give me the cool items I knew he had, I tried to kill him. He wiped out my party...freaking munchkin!

Next work is TODAY! Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Next Drizzt book is "Charon's Claw," coming in August, then "The Stone of Tymora Trilogy," coming in October.

You've played D&D for many years and played Baldur's Gate, but do you play Computer RPGs nowadays?

Also what all video game RPGs and pencil and paper RPGs have you played?

And do these RPGs influence your work?

I played the first Dragon Age - and a bit of Skyrim, but I'm mostly an MMO guy lately. been pushing through SW:TOR.

Pen and paper? AD&D,,,1st Edition.


If you do kill drizzt and take his weapons, then import your save to the sequel, Baldur's Gate 2, he recognizes you and is, uh, fairly hostile :p

Hehe, I win. I hope he has Entreri with him...

Just the title of the next book has me excited. It had been a while since one of your novels had hit me like Gauntlgrym. I'm a grown man and parts had me tearing up.

Me, too.

Your books are truly fantastic. Thank you!

EDIT For stupidity

Kind of you to say so.


My pleasure, truly.

Just wanted to say - I love your work. Please keep it up.

I intend to - and now with video games, too!

my current skyrim character is named drizzt, thank you for everything you've done!

I can't tell you how many variations of my characters I've run into over the years in Warcraft and Everquest. It's way cool, believe me.

I was in a PUG with my character "Bruenorr" and "Innovindil" was the group leader. She pm'd me: "Salvatore for the win!" I was tickled, so after a while of back and forth, I told her who I was. She started quizzing me, and when I told her that no, I hadn't been on this particular MUD she was naming (I've never played a MUD since ZORK), she accused me of being a fraud and had me booted from the group!

Go figure.

That's whatcha get for being a God among geeks (Loved your work ever since i was young, also yay for Leominster! Both our home towns)

I'll second that "Yay!"


So sad, I agree.

I remember, back in the day, I heard you played EQ. Rumor had it you proved to a GM you were indeed yourself and got your character named Drizzt. It took every geeky fiber of my being not to reroll and nerd stalk you on my Woodelf Ranger. In my defense, I played a Woodelf Ranger, we weren't of much other use.

No, but here's the best EQ story...and it's 100 true:

I started a dwarf named Thibbledorf and a few days later ran out of Kaladim to find "Bruenor" (some slight variation) right out front. The poor guy was trying to level, but every time he started a fight, I rushed in, yelled out, "Me King!" and KS'd him (I was a couple of levels higher than him, so it wasn't hard).

The guy kept telling me to bug off, so I feigned sadness, but kept charging in to save him. I chased him all the way to GFay before the GM finally answered his ticket. The GM knew me (and saw my account name). Hilarious. He made the guy milk and cookies and I gave him some silver for his troubles, then humbly walked away.

Thank you for creating Drizzt and Cadderly.

What would it take to bring your entire collection to a digital reader such as an iPad or to Google Books? I'm guessing I'd have to take it up with your publisher? (Any contact info that I could use in order to talk to the right person?)

They're all getting there...there were many contract issues to be worked out between publishers and the e-book retailers, and since Wizards of the Coast is part of Hasbro, and publishes unconventionally through Random House, they had a lot of t's to cross and i's to dot.

you can get all of his books on a digital reader though not through a legit service, torrents. But i mean i have bought every single book religiously as they come out so getting the e-reader version of it off torrents isn't as bad if u already own them i guess

Can't condone Torrents, sorry. They steal and sell.

But I'm glad you're reading the books!

I don't really have a question, I've already ordered KoA, I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you do :)

You're quite welcome. Thanks for your interest. Enjoy the game!

You're character and books about Drizzt have changed my life. For that I must thank you very much. How hard was it to start writing about the him moving on to "the next phase" of his life after the icewind dale friends.

It hurt like heck, really. I know it's weird, but these characters are like family to me. When WotC advanced the world 100 years, it was like a dagger in my heart.

As a prominent Forgotten Realms author, did you have any say in the shape of the world (e.g. Mithral Hall and the surrounding area still being relatively peaceful, the state of the Kingdom of Many Arrows, etc)? Did they just make the call as to what each part of the world looked like, or did they look to key authors that defined the regions previously for input?

A bit, concerning those parts I created - Ten Towns, Menzoberranzan, Mithral Hall, Many-Arrows (the new one).

But it's not my world and I accept my place, and hey, I can always find an unexplored region in which to hide if I don't like some things, right?

Your books are the only ones I've been able to read in this genre. Your stories are incredibly interesting. How did you approach your writing process to create such rich, multi-faceted storyline and characters?

I just let the characters tell me their stories. Many times, I don't even know what will be on the next page, so I have to keep typing to figure it out. I write the books the way other people read the books, which makes it fun.

What is your favorite fantasy series (that isn't your own) and why?

Oh, too many!

Tolkien's work, of course!

Fritz Leiber "(Hero whose name I can never spell right) and Grey Mouser" - really loved those.

Terry Brooks, particularly "Running with the Demon."

Steven Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books were simply brilliant. See, now I'd have to keep going forever and ever. Many of my fellow Realms writers, like Troy Denning nad Ed Greenwood, many Dragonlance writers, like Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and of course Robert Jordan (he left us too soon!) and David Gemmell (he left us WAY too soon!)...

And is there anyone in the world who creates more compelling dialogue than Geroge RR Martin?

Too many books, too little time! And when I'm writing, I really can't be reading, as it interferes! Oh, teh horror!

With the wheel of time series how do you feel about the job Brandon Sanderson is doing with finishing them?

and are you as excited/sad as I am in waiting for the last book?

Also the authors you named along with yourself is pretty much my bookshelf.

I haven't read the new books - I typically only read the first couple in any series now, because I'm so busy. I'm familiar with some of Brandon's work, though, and when it was announced that he would do the series, I called Tom Doherty (the publisher) and told him that was a great choice.

I've heard nothing but good things about Brandon's work in Wheel of Time, too, and good, because James (Robert Jordan) deserved no less.

Have you read Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy (or any of his other works)? I started reading the first book two days ago and hit the 400 page mark last night - it's incredibly compelling.

I started it, had to put it down for personal reasons (felt the same way you did) and haven't yet picked it back up.

What is your favorite Drizzt book you have written? Also, is he your favorite character in the series or is there another? Personally, Jarlaxle is one of my favorites.

I have to go back to "Homeland." There was something wonderful about creating Menzoberranzan. I really got to push the envelope with that one. And right now, with the things that have just happened and the BIG things I know are about to happen, I'm having as much fun as I've ever had with the character.

And yeah, Jarlaxle, my walking deus ex machina, is cool.

I very rarely care about people posting IAMA's, but thank you so much for your work. I grew up reading your novels and you are one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much. I still have many of your works, and my children will read them when they are old enough.


Thank you for that. My book signings look like Fleetwood Mac concerts now, with a grandfather, his son, and his granddaughter all reading the books. It gives me a warm feeling, honestly.

sorry to ask an off topic question, but is it true a drizzt movie was in the works at some point?

No. Not yet. But I think it will happen, and I think I'll still be around to work on it!

Fingers crossed - and make sure you tell Hasbro to get it done.

How does Hasbro have the rights? Do they own WoTC, or did they buy the rights separately?

Also, for fucks sake, please make sure they don't make it like Dungeons & Dragons. Please? I would die a little inside if they made a Drizzt movie that shitty.

Hasbro owns WotC.

Does it ever strike you that you're a major inspiration to younger readers such as myself? I personally, could and have, spent days lost within your novels. I just wanted to say thanks for helping to expand the minds of everyone who enjoys your beautiful works.

EDIT: Idiot mistake of the grammatical kind

It always amazes me to hear from any readers. I'm having fun, having adventures in my imagination, and the effect these storie are having on others is mind-blowing.

It is quite a privilege to be allowed into someone's life, just a little bit, through your work. Humbling and satisfying all at once.

Did you do any work on the Rampart screenplay?

I'm not familiar with that, so I guess not.

Haha, don't worry about that question. Woody Harrelson pulled a crappy PR stunt last week; made an "AMA" and then refused to answer anything except about his newest movie, Rampart. Basically he was the mayor of No-Funnington and he's a joke on reddit now!

But you're awesome.

Roflmao (some day, I'm going to write a book about a halfling monk named Rofl Mao.)

I think "I'm too busy to answer that question" would have been a delicious answer to the Rampart screenplay question.

I'm too busy to explain why I didn't do that.

Just wanted to let you know that my previous cat, Guenhwyvar was the most badass pet I ever had. He truly lived up to his name. Also, thanks for stealing my attention away from boring old Mrs. Bennet in 12th grade English.

Ah, my personal Guen lived to the ripe-old age of 18. Wonderful friend, that one.

My oldest son used to have the top bunk in the room he shared with his brother, and Guen would often meet him at the top of the ladder...and not let him up.

Meh, more of an Elminster fan, myself....

Gotta love the old mage. "Elminster at the Mage Fair" remains my favorite short story of all time.

And Ed Greenwood, in case you're wondering, is one of the most awesome human beings ever. I truly love the guy, and thank him all the time for letting me play in his Forgotten Realms.

To be completely honest, I have read none of your works, although I have purchased quite a few based on recommendations, for later reading. I haven't read many books in the fantasy genre. Which of your books would you say I should read first?

Well, I'd have to know you better to give you a definitive answer. If you're familiar with fantasy in general, I'd probably start with "Homeland," the first Drizzt book (chronologically).

"The Highwayman" is a twist on the concept of "hero," that I like quite a bit.

And for world-building, the DemonWars series, starting with "The Demon Awakens" is my most in-depth.

I am a huge fantasy reader, but I have yet to read any of your works (although they are on my recommended reading list). Which of your series should I read first?

See above - it depends on what you're looking for. The Drizzt books are the most popular and long-running (he'll have a mention on my tombstone, I guess, along with "He killed Chewie, the bastard!"

Alternatively he could verify on his Facebook page, where he seems to be more active: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RA-Salvatore/54142479810 (last twitter post was in October, last post on Facebook was an hour ago).

Yeah, these are mine - I "tweet" usually when I'm on book tour (hence, last October) and go to Facebook every day. I resisted setting up the page - my wife did it anyway, and it's been absolutely great.

Just a formality: proof? Are you really who you say you are?

Go to my Facebook page - I put it on there.

Oh, and read my tale of getting kicked out of a PUG. No tests, please!

I got picked on in middle/high school, because I always had my nose in one of your various Dark Elf books. Damn you and you're excellent writing that I couldn't put down!

Question: In what order do you suggest people read the Drizzt series? I once got into a heated debate over when The Dark Elf trilogy should ideally be read at my local hobby shop during Friday Night Magic.

(damn was I nerdy!)

I just say, "Start with "Homeland" now, because it's easier with the re-release and numbered books.

I've got no questions, but I just want to express how much I appreciate your works!

I was just done with the Lord of the Rings trilogy (the first fantasy fiction I had ever read) about 12 years ago, and was looking in that particular section of the library for an interesting read. Boy, oh boy, did I luck out in choosing Homeland. I was hooked on the story of Drizzt from his very first interactions in Menzoberranzan. I read the Dark Elf Trilogy, then moved onto other stories featuring Drizzt and friends, then moved onto all the novels of the Forgotten Realms world (discovering D&D in the process!), and now am reading all sorts of fantasy.

Thank you so much for what you've done! Please don't stop.

I have no intention of stopping, I promise. As my old aunt would say, 'God willing."

And thanks for the kind words.

I'm loving Reckoning, after being kinda meh about the demo! Any plans for sequels? I'd totally read books in this universe .. any plans for novels? Thanks!

Only time will tell how well Amalur blossoms as a new world. We have plans for lots of things, but the players/readers/fans will determine our path, I expect.

Making video games is a HUGE investment in a lot of ways.

I've enjoyed your posts over on DailyKos. What are your future political plan?

Haha, none really. Well, other than to try to get people to stop shouting at each other and really try to see things through another person's point of view.

I mean, Curt and I couldn't be more different in our expressed leanings, but we're great friends now and both really want the same things.

Follow up.

Does Curt sometimes wear his "bloody sock" around the office and kind of subtly show it off by putting his feet up on things? Maybe start sentences with "Back when I was pitching the Red Sox to their first World Series in 87 years..."

It's in Cooperstown...but he's got one helluva scar.

this is an amazing opportunity that i'm going to waste because i'm not creative enough to think of questions

I wish I had an answer, but I'm not creative enough to reply...

How did you come up with the two-handed coin catching? After reading Homeland(?), I did that for hours!

Also, how much input did you have into the aesthetic / look of Drizzt on the front covers? Were you happy with the way the dark elves look?

Thanks so much for everything, btw.

I used to do it all the time as a kid. Quick hands = not eating line drives!

And no, I had no input on the covers, some I loved, some not so much.

Mr. Salvatore, I just wanted to say I am big time fan, and I looking forward to playing Kingdoms of Amalur. Keep up the great work!

Enjoy the game! And thanks.

What are you favorite fantasy characters to write about...elves, dwarves, orcs, etc?

As a librarian I see your books all over our shelves (recently I even fullfilled a patron's request for 'more Salvatore' books) and someone recommended that Dark Elf Trilogy to me. It's on my 'to read' list.

Dark elves, of course. They're so deliciously twisted, I often find myself pausing to wonder what the character really meant when she said that line - like there really was this web of intrigue buried beneath the surface.

Thank you so much for The Highwayman. It is one of my all-time favourite books and it has been a huge inspiration in my own writing.

What are you most excited about with regards to Reckoning? After going through the process once, would you say you'd like to do it again?

Thank you for that. That book means a lot to me, and some of the personal tales that I've heard after writing it are truly humbling.

And heck, we're hard at work on an MMO set in the world of Amalur...getting close.

I can't believe this! I've been reading your novels since I was 12, I'm 27 now. Huge HUGE fan of your work here in my teenage years. I won Bastion of Darkness in a raffle and loved it, then got into your Forgotten Realms work and , like most others, became a huge fan. It brought real magic into my adolescence, thank you very much!

Since I might never get a chance to say this ever again I might as well go through a tiny list:

Questions you might get every day but well, when will I get a chance to ask them again? Forgive me in advance, but:

As for Amalur:

And finally:

Big fan here, you're the best. I didn't know about this new game you helped develop, but since it's you, and since you took the time to come here and introduce it to us, I'll take the time to buy it.


Drizzt as a Chosen of Lolth? You ain't seen nothing yet...

Jar/Zak, yes, there is hope, as soon as the Realms settle down.

And the plans for the next few books are cementing as I type this. Really looking forward to where this is heading, but can't say more.

Not sure on where we'll go yet with Amalur fiction, and not sure on a movie, but there is interest, certainly.

Dude, you're awesome. But could you provide some proof of your identity? It's a routine request, so no worries.

A nice way to do this is to take a picture of yourself holding a piece of paper mentioning Reddit along with your Reddit username.

Another nice way is to Tweet your AMA with your official Twitter account if you have one.

I think my wife just tweeted it for me, actually, and it's on my FB page (R.A. Salvatore).

What would you suggest to a person who wanted to get into the video game writing business?

Tough question. The field is small and SUPER competitive. Most people who break in start as testers and in QA, then fight and claw their way through, from what I hear.

And of course, to be a writer in any field...write things people want to read.

I read your books after seeing someone who had named their toon Drizzt while I was playing Ultima Online. Good shit man.


What was it like working with Curt Schilling and Ian Frazier to create KOA? Any plans for more video games developments?

Curt's a blast - he's such a hardcore gamer, it's unbelievable. Plus, he never sleeps.

Early on (2006-2007), he'd call me at 2:30 in the morning with a "great idea," to which I'd reply, "Dude, you guys are playing the Angels...you're in California! I'm sleeping!"

He never, ever stops.

I haven't worked with Ian that much, honestly - BHG got our timeline, came up with the story for Reckoning and set it in our history, and then I met mostly with the narrative team and Ken Rolston so we could make it all fit, and so that we could grow from their work and they could grow from ours. I've really enjoyed hanging with Ian at conventions and down in Baltimore, though, and I know he's a superstar among the BHG gang.

Just wanted to say that my husband and I are big fans of yours. I actually met you at the GameStop Conference back in September, and remember you being a totally cool, down to earth guy.

Looking forward to Amalur!

Ha! I fooled you! j/k

Seriously, I'm just having fun...so much fun.

You seemed like it! I got your autograph, and Todd's, and Curt's, but my husband was definitely most excited by yours! Would you be working on any future projects with 38 Studios? And if so, showing up at another conference so I can bring more swag for you to sign?!

Of course - to both!

when i was 30 years old (i'm 37 now) i cried like an 8 year old girl when Bruenor seemingly died on that dragon's back.

Silly dwarf.

You seem to write a lot in already existing universes/franchises. Have you given thought to creating more of your own unique worlds or settings?

Well, I've got the Ynis Aielle books, The Crimson Shadow books, The Spearwielder's Tales, the 7 books of DemonWars and the follow-up, early series set in that world, The Saga of the First King...

That's 19 novels in 4 original worlds. I'm so tired...

You are by far my favorite author. Keep writing and never stop.

I do have a question about amalur. Why is it only single player? I feel that it could have easily been converted into an mmo. Other games have already laid some groundwork into this area like Dc universe.

I asked about that, too, because I love small-group situations with friends. Apparently, the technical challenges of building a multi-player open-world game are daunting and development time would have been years longer.

I don't know if that's true, but, ah well.

Just my two cents, but it seems every MMO that isn't WoW hasn't really seen the success it hoped to and devolved into a F2P game.

We're hard at work on an MMO. Can't wait! It's gorgeous, really.

And SW:TOR is doing pretty well, I hear.

I'm under the impression that most/all fantasy authors start out writing crappy books. This is important to me, as I currently suck and hope that someday I will be good. How many crappy books did you write before you got your chops down, and wrote something that other people liked enough to publish?

Haha, awesome and blunt. I guess it depends who you ask. Some will tell you I'm still writing the crappy ones!

Seriously, there are times I go back and re-read an early book and issue some groans, but here's the thing: while you might mechanically or stylistically improve as you go along, the energy of those early books is unmatched. So it's a trade off, like early U2 vs. "The Joshua Tree." both great, but...maybe for different reasons.

Will you ever write novels based in the Amalur universe? The thought of Amalur as a trans-media IP without some of your literature is depressing.

You never know...and yes, we've talked about it.

Do you get to interact with Curt Schilling much? I went to a panel where he and a bunch of other MMO developers were doing Q&A at PAX East last year, and was shocked to find out that he'd been playing MMOs since Everquest basically. Seemed like a pretty fun guy.

Curt called me in 2006 and asked me to join his team as he built the company. I'm in Massachusetts (which he didn't know) and am a huge Red Sox fan, by the way.

We've been friends ever since. We blew out a midnight signing at a Gamestop last night.

Who is your favorite character to write, and why? What made you take the leap into video games?

Your books got me through some really lonely times, thank you so much!

Drizzt. It really always comes back to him for me. he's who I wish I had the courage to be, and through him, i answer many of my own internal dilemmas. i love many other characters, but yeah, it's got to be Drizzt.

And I leaped into video games because this is the next great storytelling medium and I wanted to be a part of it!

I don't really read books anymore for fun, but when I did yours were the only ones that I found interesting. The lore and the sense of action and adventure were amazing. I felt like a badass reading your books. Thank you for them.

Too cool...I felt that way the first time I saw the movie, "The Warriors."


I created the world, and hammered the narrative team early on as a 10,000-foot editor. We have a policy at 38 Studios: we hire talented people and let them be wonderful, so I made sure not to tell other people, even the writers, how they had to do it.

In the end, I created the skeleton of Amalur, but this world and these games are truly a team effort, down tot he last writer, designer, engineer, artist, etc. So my role, and Todd's for that matter, was to mentor people without stifling them.

I'm sure I'll get more blame for things than I deserve, but more than that, I'll get more CREDIT for things than I deserve. Team effort, to every rock and path and quest and boss fight.

I am not sure if this question has been asked yet, but what was your inspiration for writing the stories about Drizzt and secondly for Reckoning where did you draw inspiration from to write the 10,000 year (think it was that) history?

It was asked, but no worries...

"The Ascent of Man," a BBC television series from the 70's by Dr. Jacob Bronowski served as one of the cornerstones of world development.

When Wizards of the Coast came to you with the idea for the Spellplague and the transformation to Forgotten Realms, how did you react? Was it a bigger change to have to deal with than the Time of Troubles? Is there anything you would have preferred to do instead of advancing the timeline 100 years and working in the new changes?

It certainly was much bigger, with a much bigger impact to my work, than ToT.

How did I react? They gave me my say and I took the opportunity to say a lot. Some they listened to, other parts, not so much. But those were closed-door meetings, so I'll say no more.

I grew up reading your stuff; in fact, you're probably largely to blame for me playing so much D&D.

Who are some of your favorite/most personally influential writers?

Tolkien, Lieber, Brooks, Donaldson and many others in fantasy.

James Joyce, Chaucer, Walter Miller...

Have there been any talks about Drizzt making another appearance in the gaming world? I loved his cameos in the Baldur's Gate series, especially playing as him in Dark Alliance, and I'd love to see him again!

Nothing as of right now, but I would expect it sometime in the not-so-distant future.

You, sir, are the goddamn shit. Whenever I go to the library and do not know what to read, I just see what new books you've got out. Thank you for countless hours of joy.

I think that is the first time I've ever thanked someone for calling me that.

I need to reread the Saga of the First King series... Again...

Anywhoabaloo, I can't think of any questions off the top of my head, but I wanted to thank you for your awesome creations that have whisked me into realms of epic adventures.

Please tell EVERY Drizzt reader to try those books...please?

So many, so little time! I shall make this my life subquest!


I am playing Skyrim as Wulfgar right now!!!

Thank you for the Icewind Dale trilogy, it is my Lord of the Rings...

Crystal Shard is my most read book, just finished reading it to my eight year old. No questions, just the biggest thank you I can possibly give!

Awesome. Skyrim made me think of Wulfgar, too! Parts of it are so Icewind Dale.

What are the games you are working on and when can I give you all of my money?

Only the MMO for Amalur at the moment, now that Reckoning is out.

Artemis Entreri Is quite possibly one of my favorite characters in any book that I have ever read, Is he based of of anyone you actually know? or just something you came up with to be Drizzt's rival?

Now how would I know someone like that and live to write about him?

Actually, i see him as the mirror image of Drizzt, of who Drizzt might have become had he stayed in Menzoberranzan.

There was a huge sense of attrition. He really hammered the point of the Orcs being dug in so deep that even dropping a god damn mountain on them wouldn't get them out.

I can understand not liking it for the drawn-out nature of the war. I enjoyed it though.

You all felt exactly as Drizzt felt, which kind of was the point, you know?

+1 for a pronunciation guide; the audio books were SLANDERED by pitiful attempts.

I was surprised RA didn't protest; I would have it they were my characters. >.<

I expect most of those audio books were pirated and made without permission. Only a few have actually been licensed for audio.

Are there any plans for a movie or a video game about the dark elf trilogy? It has the potential for so much awesome...

No plans, but we keep talking!

Huge upvotes for this. I'd love to see more works around Entreri. One of the best characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about; fantastic character development / incredible adventures. I was truly sad when His & Jarlaxle's time's together came to an end.

Hehehe, read on...read on.

Sorry, no questions about Reckoning. Still waiting on my copy to arrive, but you should know that I seriously ordered it just because you wrote the story for it. It's like a digital book! Really looking forward to your other game as well.

I do have one question about if a Forgotten Realms movie is ever made in my lifetime though:

How would you feel about Christian Bale as Artemis Entreri?

I've heard that before. The other name was Edward Norton.

I'd be thrilled if anyone of that caliber was interested, honestly.

Your books changed my life. My best friend and I used to read your books all the time growing up. He was the only african-american student at our school and we used to pretend that he was drizzt and i was wulfgar. You made our afternoons so much more fun and helped me to become friends with the man who is still my best friend today. I cannot thank you enough for the joy that you gave us.

That is so very, very, very cool.

Give Drizzt my best!

First off, generic threat for the death of Chewbacca. Grr. How dare you. Et cetra. (couldn't resist that). My question is what are your plans for the future after Reckoning?

Working on books (Drizzt) and on the MMO for Amalur.

I know that your longest series has been the Dark Elf (Drizzt) line of books, but have you ever considered continuing the Cadderly (Cleric Quintet) series of books or creating some completely new material to build a series on?

Follow up question: How have you found it different to write for a video game rather than a novel? What has been the most difficult thing for you in that transition?

Cadderly is in many of the Dark Elf books..."The Ghost King" most profoundly.

And writing where I know the main character HAS TO BE the one the player creates is challenging.

Excuse my insolent question great sir, but your work has come highly suggested to me. What book would be a good start for a first time reader? I love all genres.

"The Highwayman" or "Homeland," I'd say.

I always said 'drizzst', one syllable. :shrug:


Seriously, I never give that out, and often vary my pronunciation of it in talks. I have this vision of two kids in high school arguing over the name when a third comes up and asks what the hell they're talking about.

Marketing, baby, pure marketing!

What year did you graduate?

I commuted...got my BS in Communications in 1981, my BA in English in 1991, a "Distinguished Alumni Award" in 2001 and gave the Commencement and received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters in 2011...see a pattern? Love that place.

Best story? When Bill Barker and Bill Keogh, my favorite English professors, found out I was reading Tolkien and yelled at me over beers in Slattery's!

How did Kingdoms of Amalur come about? Obviously between you, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolston the talent behind the game is almost unheard of for a new studio - so how did you all come together and decide to make it?

Curt Schilling cold-called me and asked me to come aboard - way back in 2006. Todd joined then, as well, and Ken came with BHG when we bought them a couple of years ago.

What a crazy ride!

Wow...great to see you here. I read a lot of fantasy books when I was young but somehow didn't read yours until I was in my late 20s.

Along with everyone, definitely enjoy the original series...but I think my favorite from you is the Demon Wars Saga.

Any chance of any more books in this world?

Thanks again for your work...definitely added a lot of enjoyment and entertainment for people around the world!

I will go back to DemonWars...not for a while, though. Big things stirring with Drizzt, and of course, Amalur.

Drizzt and co. got me back into fantasy, and reading in general, around 7 years ago. Thank you so much for reintroducing me to this amazing genre.

A few questions (unrelated to Amalur, but i'll try to think of something). Some of these have probably already been asked.

  1. Who are your favorite genre authors?

  2. What inspired you to write Drizzt?

  3. How much of each of your stories is mandated by the publisher?

  4. What's your next project outside of Forgotten Realms?

  5. How are working conditions at FR? Are the deadlines for yearly books from WotC, or just your own work ethic?

  6. I don't know anything about Amalur, can you give me a rundown/convince me to buy it?

Thanks! Love your work!

  1. Tolkien, Lieber, Brooks
  2. I made him off the top of my head...fell in love on page 2.
  3. Next to nothing, honestly. Other than to stay in the boundaries of the Realms.
  4. MMO for Amalur!
  5. I love WotC. Deadlines are by mutual agreement.
  6. My signature is all over it, if that means anything.

Why and how did you become a writer?

I fell into it. I ran out of fantasy books to read, so I wrote my own. Truly.

Th guy who killed Chewbacca! GET HIM!

Wouldn't that make a great episode of "Big Bang Theory"? Sheldon leaping upon me with murderous intent...

Seriously... who's call was that? Did the Lucas organization dictate it, or was that your idea?

I found that book while on my honeymoon, and was ecstatic: one of my favorite authors, with a book from my favorite movie franchise. Then it killed my favorite character. I'm not sure I ever fully recovered...

Lucas - read the tale way up above...

What is your favorite thing in Kindoms of Amalur: Reckoning? Is there anything that was particularly dear to you as you made it?

Alyn Shir.

Honestly, I haven't played the final game yet...can't wait!

What games are you currently into?


What was your favorite book to read as a child? And what encouraged you to get into writing?

When I was in middle school, I read my first fantasy/sci fi book and my dad said, "I've been waiting for this day!" Throughout high school I read through a ton of books in his collection, including the Dark Elf trilogy (and others). You are, without a doubt, one of his all-time favorite authors. So thank you, for me and for him, for all your wonderful books!

Anything Charlie Brown and "The Wind in the Willows."

Tolkien got me going again in college.

Some friends and I often speculate about who would win in theoretical fantasy battles and Drizzt comes up as a contender very often. In your opinion...who would win in a fight, Drizzt vs. Darth Maul...provided Drizzt was also equipped with light sabers.

Who's writing it? Me?

See ya, Darth.

R.A. Salvatore. You are one of my heros. I'm in the film game and one day want to be the guy directing the icewind dale trilogy. I had read in internet news that you have tried to have this movie made several times...what is its current status? Also the way you write combat has literally changed my life and because of you I am a better writer. Thank you for existing


Hasbro owns it...they're the ones to peak with.

I know there's interest, but nothing in the works yet.

What are your views on the series A Song of Ice and Fire?

I wish they hadn't focused so much on the rather nasty sex, but dang, those characters of Martin's just knock your teeth out, don't they?

On a personal note, I love seeing a fantasy author make the leap to mainstream with such quality work, and George is a fabulous and entertaining guy, too, in addition to being an amazing author.

Are you excited for Rampart?

I don't have time to answer that.

Thank you for all the stories over all these years, it feels like Ive grown up alongside drizzt.

Also, what is it like to Work with curt schilling? How did you guys meet and how did you get in the gaming business? And any news about the secret MMO you guys are developing?

He called me and told me I was his favorite author...so, here I am, this HUGE Sox fan, talking to Schilling...

He started 38 Studios and asked me to be a part of it.

And yeah, it's awesome. That's all I can say!


Don't give up on the big guy yet...

Hey R.A, big fan of Drizzt, my first question on Amalur...

When you were creating the world, how did you evolve the idea of a character that can truly control his own fate? Was this in line with the demands of the game design itself as an intentional conceit to the mechanics of character customization, or was this a concession to the requirements of the game design?

How did you reconcile working the game design into the core narrative?

Next question?

On Amalur, was your mission to set-up the envelope for the developers and leave them to their own devices? Or did you sort of guide the narrative and quest team through the process like some kind of narrative Strider?

Did you qualify quest lines, act as a continuity guide, and create core characters? Or did the team do most of this using your world as a campaign setting backbone for the player experience?

Great questions.

The first one was just one of those fortunate coincidences where the mechanics they had in mind fit so danged well with the story, enriching the tale rather than limiting it.

It's always hard to marry those two things, but really, that speaks to the hard work of the BHG team and their contacts at 38, with constant back and forth conversations. My role is as mentor/editor, trying to pull the best work out of the writers and designers without stifling them.

Which is why I can't wait to play the game!

Will people and dragons ever get along?

Read Barbara Hambly - good stuff. Otherwise, I hope not.

I used to run around the forest during huge winter storms with furs draped over my shoulders while hurling a baseball bat over my head and watching it spin end over end through the air to smash into trees. In those moments, I WAS Wulfgar.

Thank you for the greatest adventure characters I've ever loved.

it's all about the adventure. Thanks for sharing!

Huge fan of the Drizzt series here. I heard about this video game project a few years ago, but haven't really followed it since then. What can we expect from this game? How much time have you invested in creating the lore for the game (as compared to writing a novel for reference)?

I created the world in which this game exists. you can expect a huge world to explore, beauty to defend and ugly to defend it against!

I played the demo of the game but it didn't pull me in. I would like to like the game. Any suggestions on how long into the game for it to pull you in? I believe the last quest I did in the beta was to help get rid of the poison for the alchemist.

I haven't played the game!

Here's the thing, though: the demo was an older build. I've been hearing different reviews all day, mostly very positive.

Can you wax philosophical a bit on how it's different to write for games than it is to write conventional novels? What insight has your experience given you which you've personally found the most profound?

I've read your Forgotten Realms novels faithfully for years, by the way. Thanks for the good times.

When you write a book, the readers live vicariously through your characters. When you write for a game, the only character which truly matters is the one the player creates.

You are an amazing author. I've read the Cleric Quintet and most of the Drizzt books. All of my roommates are HUGE fans of your work. Thank you so much for the amazing stories. You are truly a brilliant man

Give them my best!

After reading the Cadderly series and most of the Drizzt, I was surprised to learn that you were helping with the story of "an unknown game" quite a while back. I am thoroughly pleased with the outcome and just want to know one thing:

Did you use any of your inspiration from other novels to help fashion this world, or is this something completely new and different?

I can honestly see that you helped create the story/feel to the game just by going back and re-reading any of the great pieces of literature you've written. Great job and thanks again!

Completely NEW world. Enjoy!

What challenges did you come across while designing a world specifically for a videogame? How did this differ from universes you've helped create in other mediums, and are there any plans at this time to use this world in any upcoming novels?

Creating the world was pretty much the same experience I found in creating DemonWars, honestly. But since Amalur is so much bigger, I had to let so much go to the writing, design and art teams - that was the hard part!

But they've bought in and taken ownership of my baby and I couldn't be prouder of them.

WHat was it like working with so many heavy hitters on this game? It seems like a truly epic collaboration as far as stories go and the company is taking that aspect of the game seriously, which is something that's been somewhat lacking of late. Follow up to that, is this the first of more to come? I'v always thought game writing would be just as much fun as books, especially after being able to see your words come to life and be played.

Well, Ken is truly insane (in a good way) and Todd sees the world differently than any human being I've ever met.

It's been a learning experience, and I mean that in a very, very good way.

What was the extent of your role in Kingdoms of Amalur? A game like that must have many people creating content for it. How is it all organized?

I made the world and served as mentor/editor from there on out, yelling at artists and writers alike and just enjoying the hell out of the experience!

I follow videogame news pretty closely and had no idea you were involved with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, despite having heard that it was quite good.

In fact, when I go to the official site I only see that you and Mcfarlane and others are involved in the fourth slideshow image.

Did they talk to you guys about how it was going to be pitched to gamers? It seems odd that they'd have such big names attached to the creation and then not really promote you guys at all.

I've gotten a ton of press from this, honestly (NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times) and usually see our four names in every discussion. Must have just slipped under your radar. I have no idea.

The reviews are starting to come in for Reckoning, how are you handling the praise and criticism you're getting? Is it a different feeling than getting feedback from a book??

Nah, it's all the same. Don't let the great reviews lift you off the ground, don't let the bad ones bury you.

Everyone has an opinion. Okay, so move along.

I do hope that the reviews that count - THE PLAYERS - are great, though, because I want this to succeed for four hundred reasons (guys and gals who threw in with 38 Studios and dared to believe in an independent company trying something totally insane).

How big is the game mythos? Obviously with franchises like fallout and elder scrolls they've had years to develop the story, and fans have come to expect a deep experience. Did you have to write way more than could be fit into a single game, or did they pretty much use everything you wrote?

Our wiki on the world is thousands of pages now and growing daily. 10,000 years of history, fleshing out day-by-day.

[No question]

Wow, blown away here by the response...

Thank you so much for your interest. I've got some scheduled press interviews to do, so I've got to say so long, but heck yeah, we'll do this again.

Quick plug: I'm on Facebook at R.A. Salvatore - I'm on there all the time.

Apologies to any I couldn't get to...just overwhelming.

Peace, Bob

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with R.A. Salvatore conducted on Reddit on 2012-02-07. The Reddit AMA can be found here.