Pool of Radiance, by James Ward and Jane Cooper Hong, is the first book of The Heroes of Phlan trilogy. The novel is based on the very first Forgotten Realms computer game, Pool of Radiance.

The spellcaster, Shal, seeks to avenge the death of her wizard master.

The ranger thief, Ren, hunts the assassin who brutally murdered his beloved Tempest.

The cleric, Tarl, prepares for a confrontation with the undead.

A possessed dragon commands the undead armies of Valhingen Graveyard and the beasts from the ruins of Phlan. Desperate, Shal, Ren, and Tarl join forces to deliver Phlan and the entire Moonsea from the dark possession of evil reincarnate... Tyranthraxus.


When Shal Bal of Cormyr's master, Ranthor, receives a message from his old friend and fellow mage, Denlor of Phlan, whose tower is under siege by hundreds of monsters, Ranthor rushes to aid him. Shortly, Shal receives a message from Ranthor via crystal ball, during which he warns 'beware the dragon of bronze'[2] and is murdered by an unknown assailant. Shal inherits Ranthor's familiar, a white horse named Cerulean, and Ranthor's various magical items, including a staff of power and a ring of three wishes. However, along the way to the Moonsea, when she wishes she were able to lift a large pack, she is turned into a hulking, seven-foot-tall giant by the ring. In her rage, she wishes she were at Phlan, and is teleported there instantly.

Meanwhile, the cleric of Tyr, Tarl Desanea, watches his fellow clerics of Tyr killed by the undead of Valhingen Graveyard. Tarl and his mentor Anton are the only survivors, and Anton is grievously wounded by a vampire, who also steals the Hammer of Tyr, which the clerics were transporting from Vaasa. Though he manages to escape, the clerics inside Phlan can do little for Anton, aside from keeping him alive. Tarl, saddened and lost, goes out for a walk along the docks. He sees Shal crying and they soon become friends.

Later, in the Laughing Goblin Inn, they meet Ren o' the Blade, a ranger-thief from Waterdeep. Shal looks remarkably like his murdered love, Tempest, and they too become fast friends. However, when a brawl breaks out in the inn, the guards arrest the three and take them to the Council of Ten. Porphyrys Cadorna is on night duty, and, seeing these are fairly strong adventurers, orders them to travel to Sokol Keep, a small island and keep in the harbor of Phlan, which is rumored to be haunted by undead.

They clear Sokol Keep of orcs, and free the undead from their curse. Following this, Cadorna gives them several more missions, using them as his personal servants. In their spare time, they explore Denlor's Tower, and put Ranthor's body to rest.

In their final mission from Cadorna, they are sent to kill the mad mage Yarash and end the poisoning of the Stojanow. Yarash, fearing they will discover his secrets, disembowels himself before their eyes. However, going through his archive, Shal finds several letters from Cadorna, promising him the ioun stones which are encrusted within Ren's daggers. They quickly return to Phlan, only to discover that Cadorna has murdered the First Councilman and in turn became the First Councilman. He attempts to have the three arrested, though they escape into Valhingen Graveyard. There they reclaim the Hammer of Tyr and set off to Valjevo Castle, the home of the mysterious 'Lord of the Ruins'. There they find Tyranthraxus, a possessed copper dragon. With the final power of the ring of three wishes, Shal wishes the dragon dead. However, Cadorna appears soon after, along with his court mage, Gensor. Cadorna is possessed by the spirit of Tyranthraxus, and dives into the Pool of Radiance, a mysterious pool filled with blood, to repower himself. He disappears in its depths. Gensor casts invisibility, and is not heard from again.

The book ends with Shal trying on a dress for her wedding with Tarl.


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