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Comic Book / Forgotten Realms

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The most ragtag crew in the Realms.

Forgotten Realms was a comic book series, set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting. Published by DC Comics from 1989-1991, it was Spun Off from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic and chronicled the further adventures of the paladin Priam Agrivar, who had debuted in that comic. In this series, he joined the crew of the Realms Master as they hunted down dangerous magical artifacts and got mixed up in other adventures along the way.

The Realms Master crew included:

A seventh crewmember, Jasmine, joined for a short time later in the series, before she left to join the cast of the Spelljammer comic. Had something of a Distant Finale in the short story "Reunification" in Dragon #247 (1998).

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Both Ishi and Jasmine. Ishi is a samurai warrior with extensive sword as well as martial arts skills. Jasmine is a talented thief and warrior who also makes use of her wings in battle.
  • Air Vent Escape: Ishi sneaks around the Akri's underground base using the ventilation shafts.
  • The Alcoholic: Agrivar is a recovering alcoholic. Labelas Enoreth restores and magnifies his addiction as a punishment near the end of the series.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The lich Viranton's plan for Jasmine.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final issue concludes with the crew mourning the loss of the Realms Master, but turning to the future and planning further adventures.
  • Arc Villain: The comic is broken up into several multi-issue story arcs, each of which pits the Realms Master's crew against a central villain.
    • The Hand of Vaprak: Gornak, a cunning ogre mage who was the original owner of the titular hand and seeks to reclaim it.
    • Dragonreach: An unnamed mage who commits serial dragon murders in a plot to summon the Tarrasque.
    • Triangles: Grimwald, a Halruaan skyship captain sent to bring Omen in for treason.
    • The Time of Troubles: Labelas Enoreth, who possesses Vartan and pressgangs the crew into a mad scheme to get himself back into the upper planes.
    • Picking Up The Pieces: Los, the Social Darwinist leader of a werecat tribe, who captures the party to use them as food.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil:
    • The ruling wizards of Halruaa are depicted as arrogant and scheming sorts who frame Omen for theft among other crimes.
    • Grimwald, in the Triangles arc, is an arrogany blustering villain who threatens our heroes.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In one issue, Agrivar is dogpiled by angry townsfolk who accuse him of being an assassin, a murderer, and a "haberdasher's nightmare" on account of his Impossibly Tacky Clothes.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Hand of Vaprak is a severed ogre's paw imbued with the dark powers of the troll god Vaprak. It corrupts those who carry it, making them obsessed with the Hand and violent towards those who would try to take it away from them. In Agrivar's case, carrying the hand interferes with his paladin powers, making it difficult for him to Detect Evil or lay on hands.
  • The Atoner:
    • Both Vartan and Agrivar, in different ways, regret former actions and seek to make amends for them. Agrivar, of course, is a recovering alcoholic, while Vartan just kind of regrets being a jerk.
    • The most clear-cut example of the trope is definitely Labelas in the final issue. He really does want to make things right again with Vartan, and only needs a little goading to also try to extend this to the rest of the Realmsmaster crew. They all refuse his help, but Vartan does appreciate that he at least made the honest attempt.
  • Attack Reflector: The Tarrasque's carapace has magic-reflecting properties. Omen discovers this when he tries to cast magic missile on the beast, only for his projectiles to bounce off and hit him instead.
  • Bar Brawl: In one issue, Ishi, Vartan and Minder head to Lady Rae's, a tavern that caters exclusively to female adventurers. The bouncer doesn't approve of a man coming into the premises and picks up Vartan to throw him out. Minder doesn't approve of that, so she picks up the bouncer and throws her into the bar. The clientele, seeing that a brawl is in the making, leap to their feet and attack.
  • Behemoth Battle: The gods Clangeddin Silverbeard and Labelas Enoreth duke it out at one point, with the former taking the form of a gigantic earth elemental and the latter making his elven vessel grow to gargantuan size.
  • The Big Guy: Minder. As an iron golem, she is the tallest, strongest, most durable, and most physically imposing member of the crew.
  • The Bluebeard: Viranton is a delusional lich who kidnaps any woman that catches his fancy. He then "marries" them, kills them by freezing them solid, and keeps their frozen corpses in an ice cavern beneath his palace. He chooses Jasmine to be his latest bride, though this proves to be his undoing.
  • Break the Haughty: Vartan's arrogance is well and truly shattered when his own god steals his body and uses it to do terrible things to his friends.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The next-to-last issue is set "behind the scenes" of the series.
  • Broken Pedestal: Vartan's faith in Labelas is rock-solid at first. Though the relationship can never be fully repaired, they do achieve some closure in the final issue.
  • Calling Your Attacks / Translation Convention: Spellcasters say the name of the spells they cast.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Vartan is a subversion, since his casual prejudice results in regular karmic retribution.
  • Cat Folk: The Akri are a tribe of werecats living in some ruins beneath the Anauroch desert. They take the party prisoner in the wake of Labelas Enoreth’s rampage and the destruction of the Realms Master.
  • Character Development; Most of the characters go through at least some development over the course of the series, but the standout is Vartan, who at the start of the series is an arrogant jerk and at the end of it has grown into an amiable and forgiving person with only a small arrogant streak.
  • Character Overlap: Characters established elsewhere in the Forgotten Realms franchise turn up in the early issues, including Alias, Dragonbait, Elminster, Lhaeo, Mourngrym and Shaerl Amcathra, and so forth.
  • Charm Person: In the first arc, the Trope Namer spell is used to get Ishi to try to kill Agrivar. As she explains afterward, it couldn't have made her attack a friend, but she hardly knew Agrivar.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: The annual has Troggoth, a hulking barbarian who kills any man that tries to flirt with his three wives. Vartan makes the mistake of flirting with them while Troggoth is asleep in the next room, and is forced to run for his life once Troggoth wakes up.
  • Crossover: The Annual featured a crossover between the casts of this comic and the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic.
  • Crossover Couple: Minder and Onyx (from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic), who meet in the Forgotten Realms Annual.
  • Cross Through: A storyline begun in this comic is concluded in the TSR Worlds Annual (which is also a Cross Through storyline for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic, the Dragonlance comic, and the Spelljammer comic). Later, the cast is profoundly affected by fallout from the Time of Troubles, but never get involved in the main action.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vartan, though Foxy gets in a few good bits of snark at times as well. They occasionally engage in a bit of Snark-to-Snark Combat.
  • Distant Finale: In Dragon Magazine #247. Omen is dying of his cancer and has only a few days to live. Vartan steals a magical item that allows them to go inside Omen's soul and after several trials, Omen realizes the cancer isn't an invader but a part of his body. This results in it going into remission (instead of being cured). Labelas, who arranged the whole thing, gives Vartan The Unishment of removing his status as a proxy/Chosen and a gift of a duplicate of the Realms Master.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: During the Time of Troubles, the elf god Labelas Enoreth battles the avatar of the dwarf god Clangeddin Silverbeard after flagrantly insulting Minder and the entire dwarven pantheon.
  • Emergency Transformation: Minder was dying when Omen transferred her mind into her golem body.
  • Ethical Slut: Kyriani maintains dozens of casual relationships with adventurers and nobles in Waterdeep. Most of them are quite happy with the arrangement.
  • Evil Hand: The Hand of Vaprak is an evil artifact belonging to an Ogre Mage who made a deal with the God of Trolls and Ogres.
  • Fantastic Drug: The "cheeeese". Works only on halflings — for everyone else it looks, smells and tastes like an extremely disgusting cheese, but that's all. Foxy was once addicted to it, and made the mistake of trying it once again during the series...
  • Fever Dream Episode: When Foxy tries "cheeeese" again.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: All the main characters to some degree, but the most powerful example is Foxy and Vartan, who start out really not liking one another, but over the adventures develop a mutual respect and appreciation.
  • Flying Face: Viranton's unnamed assistant is a demilich, essentially a flying, talking, soul-eating skull.
  • God Guise: Viranton's demilich servant convinces a tribe of barbarians to attack the Realms Master on his behalf by masquerading as a spirit sent by their deity, the Great Render.
  • God in Human Form: During the Time of Troubles, all the gods descend to Faerun in their weaker avatar forms. Among them is Labelas Enoreth, who takes over Vartan's body. Labelas claims (well after the fact) that the sudden 'confinement' left him temporarily insane.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Ishi whacks the Akri chief with an unconscious Foxilon.
  • Handsome Lech: Vartan.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Ishi's reaction when taunted by Jasmine over Agrivar.
  • Hidden Depths: Within the first two comics we learn that Foxy is (in addition to his various adventuring skills) an experienced midwife.
  • The Hero: Agrivar. After the Avatar crisis he falls out of this role, and is struggling just to remain sober and useful to his friends.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Jasmine's attitude toward heroism. As far as she's concerned, she's just a passenger onboard a ship that gets frequently caught up in their attempts to be heroes.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: In one issue, Foxy takes it upon himself to make a new outfit for Agrivar after the latter’s clothes get destroyed. The result is a garish ensemble consisting of a purple cape and hat, a red tabard and boots, a pink scarf, a gold belt and gloves, and green-and-pink striped undershirt and pantaloons. Vartan bursts out laughing at the sight of it, the other members of the crew struggle to find anything kind to say about it, and Agrivar is left covering his face in embarrassment.
  • Interspecies Romance: Vartan seems to favor human women. When he becomes an avatar, this predilection influences Labelas in a very dark way.
  • Jerkass: Jasmine, most of the time. She ranges from this to Jerk with a Heart of Gold, teasing and Trolling them with her insults.
  • Jerkass Gods: The majority of Faerun's gods are presented this way - Labelas Enoreth being the crucial one for the main characters. At the time Labelas invokes the Omniscient Morality License tropes, but in the series's final issue he actually does act more in keeping with his Chaotic Good teachings, being genuinely regretful at his despicable behavior and admitting that he was basically going through a mental breakdown at the time.
    "Vartan, have you ever been blinded? Lost a limb? Your hearing? You have not, I know, but imagine if you had. Imagine the darkness, the emptiness, the silence. That is what it was like to be cast out of my plane of power and into your fragile body. I went... mad for a while. And without your strength it would have been worse. Much, much worse."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Vartan is the clearest example; he's haughty, arrogant, horribly rude and inconsiderate, and often dismissive of everyone else, though he softens considerably over the first thirteen issues. After his Break the Haughty moment, he becomes The Atoner.
    • Agrivar is a less obvious but still notable example. He has a noble heart and as a paladin he always tries to do the right thing, but he has a nasty temper, isn't very good at listening to people, and is sometimes a little more aggressively self-righteous than he really has any right to be. He briefly gets worse when forced off the wagon by Labelas. Most of his noble qualities vanish, leaving an apathetic and temperamental drunk who only cares about where his next drink will come from. He gets better towards the end of the series, and seems to be on the road not only to recovery, but to becoming a better person.
  • Kangaroo Court: Omen's very brief trial in the Triangles arc. (Why the Halruuans decided to send Omen's former romantic rival to act as an unsupervised judge, jury and executioner is never quite made clear.)
  • Kill and Replace: After losing the Hand of Vaprak, the protagonists go to consult a local sage who might be able to help them track it down. Little do they know that the sage has been murdered by the hand's stealer, the ogre mage Gornak, who uses magic to impersonate the sage and lead the party astray.
  • King of Beasts: The Akri werecats are led by Los, the sole werelion among them.
  • Lady of War: Ishi is a dignified, poised, and elegant samurai warrior. She only rarely loses her cool, usually related to being jealous of any other suitors to Agrivar.
  • The Lancer: Vartan, to Agrivar. They meet before the rest of the crew with Vartan quickly settling in to being the paladin's sidekick.
  • The Leader: Omen is the captain of the Realms Master and directs the others on their quest to find evil artifacts to destroy.
  • Leprechaun: The villain of the antepenultimate issue is a leprechaun who uses his magical powers to cheat people at cards.
  • Love at First Sight: Minder is smitten with Onyx from the moment she first sees him. He, in turn, falls for her after looking into her eyes and realizing that she's a fellow dwarf.
  • Love Triangle: Agrivar, Ishi, and Jasmine. The latter two are both interested in the former and compete for his affections.
  • Ma'am Shock: A male example occurs in issue 12. Jasmine starts buttering up Omen so he'll let her book passage on the Realms Master. He proves receptive to this and tries to flirt back, but when she calls him "grandad", his mood sours immediately.
    Omen: Grandad? Dear child, it is customary for passengers not to insult their captain.
  • Mad God: Vartan is possessed by his god during the Time of Troubles. The god isn't emotionally able to deal with his sudden exile and 'crippling', with catastrophic results for the crew.
  • Mass Teleportation: The Astrolabe of Nimbral allows the Realms Master to teleport from place to place.
  • Monster of the Week: Each story arc sees the crew of the Realms Master take on a new villain or group of villains, with no connection to previous or subsequent foes.
  • Nay-Theist: Vartan develops this philosophy during the crew's recovery from the Avatar crisis. Labelas is willing to keep providing Vartan with miraculous powers, but Vartan refuses to accept them on moral grounds. note 
    Vartan: I would not accept gifts from a dishonest man. Why would I take them from a god who has proven himself dishonest?
  • No-Sell: In issue #14, the party is attacked by a demilich. Vartan tries to drive it off with Turn Undead, while Omen, who can't use his stronger spells for fear of hitting the lich's hostage, zaps it with magic missile. The demilich laughs off both their attacks.
    Demilich: Oh, fear. Oh, panic. Oh, drop the woman and hie away to the hills.
  • Not What It Looks Like: During the brawl at Lady Rae's, Ishi overhears a crash and a scream from upstairs and goes to investigate. She finds a damning scene: Agrivar looming over a frightened, half-naked woman while his own clothes have been torn to shreds. Upon seeing this, Ishi concludes that Agrivar was trying to rape this girl and furiously demands that he explain himself. His explanation—that he was following this girl because she looks like someone he knew, and that his clothes are in disarray because she sicced a pack of angry merchants on him under false pretenses—is true, but nobody buys it.
  • Off the Wagon: Happens to Foxy with "cheeeese" and Agrivar with alcohol (although it isn't willingly).
  • Off with His Head!: In the second story arc, a mysterious Serial Killer mage is murdering dragons by using a powerful spell to decapitate them.
  • One-Hit Kill: In the Dragonreach story arc, the villain's Magic Staff fires bolts of blue energy which decapitate whatever they hit, regardless of how big, tough, or Resistant to Magic they are. Only one character manages to survive a direct hit from one of these bolts, and he only managed that because Vartan cast Dispel Magic on the bolt before it could take his head off.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot:
    • In the second issue, Vartan brings up the wizard Ostus Agrivar while remarking on Priam's family name. He mentions that he heard Ostus got eaten by a demon and effectively says that it served him right for dabbling in matters beyond his human ken, only to become contrite and apologize after Priam reveals that Ostus was his father—and that he was murdered in front of Priam by Imgig Zu.
    • In another issue, a bronze dragon mistakes Omen for the famed Elminster. Omen scoffs at this, calling Elminster "overrated" and dismissing him as a "feeble-minded hedge wizard" who can't hold a candle to even the lowliest mage from Omen's native Halruaa. Elminster himself arrives soon afterward, and having clearly heard Omen, he sarcastically introduces himself as Elminster the Overrated.
  • Pet the Dog: Foxilion's backstory involves a human who got halflings hooked on cheeeese, and forced them to serve him (by serving him, by fighting for his pleasure, or by pleasuring him more directly). Foxilion managed to break the habit, and fled with another halfling, running straight into Omen and Minder. We don't know exactly what Omen did when he heard what the human had done to the halflings, but we see a magical light show... And then the man's tower is reduced to rubble.
  • Phantom Zone: The Demiplane of Fear, where Omen sends the artifacts they capture. (Not to be confused with the Demiplane of Dread, one hopes.)
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The bouncer of Lady Rae's is a halfling woman wearing a girdle of storm giant's strength. This magic item lets her effortlessly pick up Vartan and hoist him over her head despite him being more than twice her size.
  • Possession Burnout: Happens to Labelas Enoreth's hosts, albeit more slowly with Vartan.
  • Power Degeneration: A side effect of being possessed by a god too long.
  • Powers via Possession: Vartan, as Labelas Enoreth's avatar, as well as the other avatars during the Time of Troubles. Even before that, Vartan was able to channel greater power than normal through his connection to Labelas.
  • Put on a Bus: Jasmine leaves the crew to join the ones of Meredith from Spelljammer but ends up returning later as that come was cancelled.
  • Really Gets Around: Somewhat unusual for the comics of the time, Kyriani is an Ethical Slut who has lots of consensual sex with multiple partners.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Labelas Enoreth revives Ishi with a forceful kiss and gets mad when she slaps him for it, Agrivar calls the god out on his selfish and dangerous behavior. Unfortunately, Agrivar's words fall on deaf ears.
    Labelas Enoreth: You dare strike me? Ungrateful shrew! How many maidens would throw themselves from a cliff for a caress from me?
    Priam Agrivar: Perhaps, Lord Enoreth, you should seek out such maidens—and not force your attentions on those who do not want them.
    Labelas Enoreth: Have a care, paladin. You are not privy to the ways of the gods.
    Priam Agrivar: Which ways are these, godling? Buying followers with threats and miracles? Brawling like children, destroying human cities? Or has your new circumstance reduced your wisdom as well as your power?
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: In the annual, a Gondsman in league with the followers of Imgig Zu tries to shoot Ishi and Vajra with a gun. It blows up in his face when he pulls the trigger, killing him.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In issue 20, Omen—who has gone a little loopy after the Time of Troubles changed the rules of magic—is shown to have covered the walls of his cell with arcane scribbles.
  • Samurai: Zig-Zagged Trope for Ishi Barasume. While she had the strict sense of warrior code and skill with katana, she was considered as a commoner due to her late parents being peasant-soldiers who were elevated to Samurai-rank as revealed in "The Honor of Two Swords" short story.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: Jasmine grew up on the streets of Waterdeep after her parents died and developed a harsh cynical edge that puts her to contrast with the rest of the crew
  • Secretly Dying: Omen. He is suffering what is heavily implied to be cancer and not something that can be cured with clerical magic. The pain is constant and he does his best to suppress it.
  • Sizeshifter: Labelas can make Vartan grow to gigantic size while possessing him.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Foxy is a professional thief and can't help but move around unnoticed to help himself to valuables wherever they go.
  • Spinoff: This comic was spun off from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic, and subsequently got its own spinoff with the Spelljammer comic. The three comics crossed over a couple of times.
  • Summoning Ritual: The second story arc's antagonist is murdering dragons and collecting their heads to use them in a ritual to summon the Tarrasque.
  • Taken for Granite: In the first story arc, Vartan is turned to stone when he meets the gaze of Gornak's pet basilisk. He gets un-petrified by Omen after the ogre mage is defeated.
  • Talking to the Dead: Ishi writes letters to her late father, telling him about her adventures and shortcomings.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: In issue 15, the sudden onset of an unexpected solar eclipse is the first sign that something has gone very wrong with the world.
  • True Companions: Realmfinder Crews generally shared a close bond as a group with Omen and Minder having been close together since the beginning.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Ishi and Agrivar. They eventually get together in the short story "The Honor of Two Swords" in Dragon #260.
  • Very Special Episode: The issue where Foxy tries "cheeeese" again.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Vartan and Foxy develop into this as the comic goes along. They never stop sniping at each other, but it becomes increasingly good-natured.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: In one issue, the Realms Master comes under attack from a giant squid. Omen kills the squid by teleporting the ship to a spot fifteen feet directly above the squid and letting gravity do the rest.
  • Winged Humanoid: Jasmine has a beautiful pair of black wings sticking out of her back from a magician's curse. They're fully functional too.
  • With Due Respect: The resolution of Vartan and Labelas' arc in the final issue. Labelas, despite being a god, accepts Vartan's recriminations as well as insults while Vartan lets Labelas have it with every flaw of the divine being as well as his crimes during the Time of Trouble. All without Vartan ever losing his calm measured tone.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Foxilon thinks the apparition that haunts him while he's high on cheeeese is his guilt. Turns out it's something much worse... Maybe, it's kinda unclear.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Los's dwarven forgemaster builds him an army of living statues which can drain the life and knowledge from living creatures, and a magical wand with which to control said statues. As soon as the wand is in his hand, Los commands one of the statues to kill the dwarf since he no longer needs him.