By Larry Elmore. Uploaded to Wikipedia by Person: Peregrine Fisher
With the discharge of Shadow of the Dragon Queen, the favored Dragonlance setting will get a brand new 5e makeover. It’s a setting that has endured because the earliest days of D&D, maybe by providing all the most well-liked parts of the sport in a single gorgeously cohesive setting. Dragons, verify, Knightly orders, verify, Orders of magicians with specialist magical powers, verify, continent spanning wars and epic campaigns, double verify.
Dragonlance first appeared in 1984 as a string of at least 14 journey modules. They have been an incredible gamble by (as then) TSR who actually appeared to wager every little thing on the recognition of this new setting. Whereas we’d had serial modules earlier than with In opposition to the Giants or the Slavers collection there had by no means been something on this scale earlier than. Along with planning nearly all their foremost releases round Dragonlance additionally they produced calendars, artwork books, and a collection of novels that mirrored the story of the module marketing campaign. For a time all of TSR’s consideration turned Dragonlance and it will need to have been an incredible time to be in the midst of it.
Of all the assist materials, the novels deserve a particular point out (not solely as a result of Margaret Weis is gorgeous!). Their reputation, as they hit the most effective vendor lists, opened up the entire realm of gaming fiction. It actually spurred TSR to maneuver closely into novels, with extra Dragonlance and later Forgotten Realms novels. Loads of different firms (notably Catalyst with Shadowrun and Video games Workshop) noticed the deserves of novels linked to their worlds and have developed an unlimited library since then. However Dragonlance was the primary to interrupt the mainstream and created what may nearly be thought of a brand new style.
However for all these tie ins and bonus options, the modules themselves have been additionally a break from what was anticipated. For a begin, the size of the marketing campaign was epic, taking characters from 1st to fifteenth stage. Additionally, not each module was an journey. The fifth module (Dragons of Thriller) was truly a sourcebook. It was timed somewhat oddly as you’d already performed 4 modules by the point it got here out. Nevertheless it gave the backstory of the pregenerated characters in nice element in addition to detailing the world of Krynn and its gods. It was important studying, and should you weren’t taking part in the official characters, it tempted you to take action.
The eleventh module (Dragons of Glory) was additionally very totally different because it supplied a self contained wargame as an alternative of an journey. By this level within the marketing campaign the Conflict of the Lance is in full swing and your characters might get entangled within the main battles with this module. It was a courageous however flawed try, and prompted somewhat controversy, however nothing to decrease the joy of seeing what the ultimate 4 modules would deliver.
Essentially the most attention-grabbing a part of the setting was maybe essentially the most ignored, and that was the eye to element. The modules themselves gave out snippets that often would by no means even be thought of in every other module. As an illustration, the music Goldmoon sings firstly of the primary journey is detailed in full, with the music rating in case the participant in query performed an instrument themselves. Complete dietary supplements comparable to ‘Leaves from the Inn of the Final House’ provided no gaming element, guidelines or adventures, however did provide menus, recipes, songs and the like from Krynn. Whereas they’d their detractors on the time, I’d provide it’s this consideration to the on a regular basis particulars of the setting outdoors the adventures that actually made it come alive for its gamers.
The unique modules themselves are nonetheless obtainable in pdf kind and on second hand websites. Two collections of them have been made. The Dragonlance Basic compilations up to date the modules for 2e, with 4 modules in every of the three volumes (omitting the ‘odd ones’ DL5 and DL11). There have been additionally two boxed reprints of all of the modules in an unplayable and barely readable tiny format (4×3 inches) which got here out in 2000 as a celebration of Dragonlance.
After the Marketing campaign
With the Conflict of the Lance over, TSR moved to different issues, however by no means fairly forgot Dragonlance. Two extra modules got here out, every with a group of brief adventures set afterwards. A hardcover e book ‘Dragonlance Adventures’ was additionally launched as a full setting sourcebook. Whereas it did the job it was extra sourcebook than rulebook. These new adventures have been good however usually felt like taking part in in Center Earth after the Conflict of the Ring. All the pieces felt peaceable and settled, the work of heroes was finished, so what do they do now? The Conflict of the Lance was epic, and it was going to be laborious to match that.
However then alongside got here Second Version, and with it a string of up to date materials for all of your previous favourites. Forgotten Realms shortly turned the default setting for D&D however Dragonlance was not forgotten. A number of sourcebook/journey modules appeared, in addition to two trilogy module units. Once more, they have been good, however it felt as if Dragonlance was ready for a brand new epic battle. It was laborious to beat the sensation of the unique modules, taking characters proper from their starting to very excessive stage, watching every of them turn into heroes and save the world.
Two massive boxed units tried to recapture the previous magic, but in addition prompted controversy themselves. “Time of the Dragon” detailed the continent of Taladas on the opposite aspect of Krynn to Ansalon. It was a terrific setting however might as properly have been a totally totally different one given its disconnection from Ansalon. “Tales of the Lance” (for 2e) was each a crowd pleaser and a explanation for consternation because it collated a lot of the fabric and needed to make just a few modifications to place every little thing collectively. These both happy or aggravated the followers in equal measure.
Within the subsequent column we’ll choose up the persevering with saga within the lates 90s.