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wdarkk
Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten


I liked the book about Draconians postwar trying to make their own nation where they could live in peace.

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Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



PurpleXVI posted:

While I know you're meant to love and hype your own product, this seems a bit full of itself. What setting isn't full of Good vs Evil fights, especially back in those days where (intentional) moral grays in RPG's were a somewhat rarer meal? Oh poo poo, the exciting and rare chance to be a good guy! Holy gently caress! Not that I don't like being a clear-cut good guy on the side of good sometimes, but this just feels up its own rear end.

I'm gonna try to be fair here: Dragonlance was different from TSR's earlier adventure products not just because you were a "good guy," but because it was supposed to give you a chance to be a Big drat fantasy novel Hero. Even previous module chains like the GDQ series or the Slave Lords series or the Desert of Desolation series didn't really attempt to have much of a plot -- they were loosely linked adventure sites where you could go, bash monsters, and loot stuff, and maybe you stopped the Big Bad or maybe you just ran away or got killed. But in Dragonlance, the plot was front and center, and while there were still traditional-style dungeons, there was an overarching epic quest you were supposed to be pursuing. And that was very appealing to those of us who wanted to play fantasy heroes, not shitfarmers scrabbling for coppers.

This, by the way, is why a lot of grogs roll their eyes back in their skulls and start frothing when you mention Dragonlance around them. For them, it was the point when things all started to go wrong and D&D fell from the One True Gygaxian Way.

(and yes, I ran part of the original campaign back in the day for my group, so I'm well familiar with its issues.)

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

Who else reads all setting histories in the voice of Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past?

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


wiegieman posted:

Who the gently caress is raistlin and why does he have such a stupid name?

Shhhh, no one spoil him. I want to be the one to tell him about ~Raistlin Majere~ when the review gets that far.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Night10194 posted:

D&D alignment has never led anywhere good. My perception of D&D elfs has always been colored by reading the Complete Book of Elves young. With the race war holiday where the elves get hosed up on magic wine and go out to murder orcs and take trophies. This was treated as whimsical and fun.

I wish I still had my copy to cover after Spire, come to think of it.
The 9-space grid has vague utility for expressing overall moral perspective as relevant to mercenary adventures in the woods (and, perhaps valuably, without explicitly using modern political terminology) but the poo poo completely breaks down once you start connecting this to cosmic forces, some of whom may burn crosses.

Unfortunately they have been used for the latter to the point where the entire framework ought to get thrown out. If you're going for a Cosmic Good vs. Cosmic Evil then I think you just need like a 5 point slider something like this:

(Super Committed To Evil) - (In Thrall to Evil) - (Average Jackoff) - (Heart in the right place) - (Committed to the cause of bravery)

You can only move one step per dramatic period unless you're skipping over average jackoff.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Selachian posted:

This, by the way, is why a lot of grogs roll their eyes back in their skulls and start frothing when you mention Dragonlance around them. For them, it was the point when things all started to go wrong and D&D fell from the One True Gygaxian Way.
Grogs get so angry when D&D tries to be exactly what it is advertised as being.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


PurpleXVI posted:

Also in part incredibly stupid because Evil Wizard Inc. has big ol' super-visible clubhouses and no one's cottoned on to the idea of burning them down. Like, you'd think that part of being a Good Wizard(tm) would be not tolerating the guy one lab over turning peasants into clams or whatever.

As noted, the Towers had multiple scary redundant defense that could kill you or make you wish you were dead.

Ithle01 posted:

I always thought of it as being like the Guild of Calamitous Intent from Venture Brothers. They're evil, but like the good wizards aren't all that interested in doing much about it and would rather the evil wizards just regulated themselves. Good has a very strange definition in Dragon Lance as evidence by elves being the race created by the gods of Good. I guess what' I'm trying to say here is that alignment systems are bad.

Maybe a little bit. Probably a closer comparison would be to the hotel and other areas in John Wick. Outside of it, you could kill the poo poo out of your enemies to your heart's content. Inside, no violence.

The other aspect is that while wizard have their moral outlooks, the one thing they share in common is their devotion to magic. Whatever disagreement a White Robe has with the Black turning peasants into zombie farm workers, if there's a threat to magic itself on some level they'll join forces without hesitation to combat that threat. Theoretically, anyway.

Really, this was the first AD&D setting where people acted like... people whatever their alignment happened to be.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Everyone posted:

As noted, the Towers had multiple scary redundant defense that could kill you or make you wish you were dead.

And yet the Good Wizards and Neutral Wizards still built these clubhouses alongside the Bad Wizards and maintain them together.

If your dedication to Doing Magic is stronger than your dedication to not letting someone debone peasants with magic, perhaps you ain't Good.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


90s Cringe Rock posted:

Elves being enormous assholes dates right back to Tolkien. Galadriel's husband Teleporno literally exists to get her across the ocean without being tainted by Fëanor's bullshit. That's his purpose. He's a hot bit of rough with a boat.

well, it depends which version you read

Was he in the movies, the kind of prominent guy in Lothlorien who also showed up to lead the Elvish contingent at the siege? That guy always seemed, like, almost as important 'round those parts as Galadriel, but I honestly can't remember if he even had a name.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


EimiYoshikawa posted:

Was he in the movies, the kind of prominent guy in Lothlorien who also showed up to lead the Elvish contingent at the siege? That guy always seemed, like, almost as important 'round those parts as Galadriel, but I honestly can't remember if he even had a name.
Yeah, he shows up (as Celeborn because Jackson was a coward and feared the name Teleporno), but I think you're thinking of someone else at Helm's Deep. Which didn't have elves helping out in the books.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


wdarkk posted:

I liked the book about Draconians postwar trying to make their own nation where they could live in peace.

Literally one of two of the books I still own from the height of my full collection in my early adolescent years.

The other is the one where Kitiara and Sturm fly to the moon in an airship with a bunch of gnomes and meet an Incel brass dragon. It's a comedy!

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


...You guys are not kidding about Teleporno's name.

Huh.

PurpleXVI posted:

Not Chris Fields-level bad, I'm pretty sure menstrual cycles have no mentions at all in the books.
Who?

PurpleXVI posted:

Then I'm going to go through the entire canon adventure module path.

And I'm dragging you fuckers with me.
"playing" the modules, or just going over?
(Also, no need to drag, you'll need to ask to not come along)

PurpleXVI posted:

(the only ones who manage to serve as a roadbump to their economic dominance are the cutesy, random innocent kender who organize massive market manipulation and threaten to crash the continent's economy until Istar makes them tax-exempt.).
...?...

Bieeanshee posted:

Aquatic elves got a malus to Wisdom, because 'living underwater leads to two-dimensional thinking'.

...Are you pulling our legs?

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time




Look up 'Fursona', 'Black Tokyo', 'Otherverse America', and Psi-Watch' on the F&F website. Or don't, that'd probably be a better use of your time.

e: also Guide to the Known Galaxy, home of SPACE DONG

Leraika fucked around with this message at 23:07 on Nov 27, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Gun Jam posted:

...Are you pulling our legs?

No, I remember that bit. Similarly, Wood Elves got a +1 to Str, which meant they could have a 19 str and bypass the entire Exceptional Strength subsystem in 2e. The buffest of all elfs.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!



Imagine a militant wiccan obsessed with menstrual blood who's also a furiously raging weeb. Now imagine him writing settings, supplements and entire RPG's.

This is Mr. Chris A. Field.

Gun Jam posted:

"playing" the modules, or just going over?
(Also, no need to drag, you'll need to ask to not come along)

Just going over them, there are 36 of the loving things. If I actually played them we'd be here till 2030. Also holy poo poo God I'd go loving insane. But I know the system well enough to understand the implications of the various encounters and numbers we'll hit.

EthanSteele
Nov 18, 2007

I can hear you


Night10194 posted:

No, I remember that bit. Similarly, Wood Elves got a +1 to Str, which meant they could have a 19 str and bypass the entire Exceptional Strength subsystem in 2e. The buffest of all elfs.

It's pointed out multiple times in LotR that Legolas is loving jacked so it would make sense that derivative/homage stuff would also have wood elves be the buffest ones.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



EimiYoshikawa posted:

Was he in the movies, the kind of prominent guy in Lothlorien who also showed up to lead the Elvish contingent at the siege? That guy always seemed, like, almost as important 'round those parts as Galadriel, but I honestly can't remember if he even had a name.

No, that was Haldir. He was a pretty minor character in the books, basically an Elven border guard. He met the Fellowship at the border of Lorien after they escaped Moria, guided them through Lorien to meet Galadriel and Celeborn, and then took them to the Great River afterward and saw them off.

Jackson expanded his role in the movies by having him bring a troop of Elvish archers to Helm's Deep, which doesn't happen in the books. Were Tolkien purists annoyed by this? You bet they were!

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Selachian posted:

Jackson expanded his role in the movies by having him bring a troop of Elvish archers to Helm's Deep, which doesn't happen in the books. Were Tolkien purists annoyed by this? You bet they were!

It's mostly annoying because it doesn't loving add anything. I'm not a purist, I don't mind a few corners being cut to make it flow better as a movie, or minor rewrites. But this is just a stupid addition to get more elves on screen more of the time.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




PurpleXVI posted:

It's mostly annoying because it doesn't loving add anything. I'm not a purist, I don't mind a few corners being cut to make it flow better as a movie, or minor rewrites. But this is just a stupid addition to get more elves on screen more of the time.

Eh, I'm very much not a fan of the movies in the first place (they're…fine, just not for me; 100% flaming fucks to the Hobbit movies tho), but I thought it was a fairly okay nod to making the setting a little more palatable, instead of every single elf except Legolas shrugging and saying "Well, we're off to the West, gently caress all ya'll and your apocalypse."

feedmegin
Jul 30, 2008



PurpleXVI posted:

And yet the Good Wizards and Neutral Wizards still built these clubhouses alongside the Bad Wizards and maintain them together.

If your dedication to Doing Magic is stronger than your dedication to not letting someone debone peasants with magic, perhaps you ain't Good.

I mean the US generally likes to think of itself as Good but it didn't declare war on Nazi Germany in 1933 just because Hitler got elected. This actually seems pretty realistic for D&D.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




wiegieman posted:

Who the gently caress is raistlin and why does he have such a stupid name?
It's a typo for "Raisin".


There used to be five of these but one left to pursue his dream of being a wizard.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


90s Cringe Rock posted:

Yeah, he shows up (as Celeborn because Jackson was a coward and feared the name Teleporno), but I think you're thinking of someone else at Helm's Deep. Which didn't have elves helping out in the books.

Ah, well, movie original character, then. I'd thought the guy leading the elves at the siege looked a lot like our man Teleporno (who will be the first LOTR non-main-character's name I will ever remember), but guess I'm an Elf Racist. They all look alike to me.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


General Raistlin Caine, reporting for duty.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


PurpleXVI posted:

And yet the Good Wizards and Neutral Wizards still built these clubhouses alongside the Bad Wizards and maintain them together.

If your dedication to Doing Magic is stronger than your dedication to not letting someone debone peasants with magic, perhaps you ain't Good.

From what I recall of the setting, it's highly likely that other Black Robes would zap the rear end in a top hat who was deboning peasants. Deboning peasants stirs up angry peasant mobs to kill wizards, which is a Threat to Magic. So the deboner will himself be deboned.

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




PurpleXVI posted:

Dragonlance!


I cannot wait to learn more about the things I successfully missed. I read a lot of mediocre stuff in High School, but by shear dumb luck the fantasy series I got way into was Discworld.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



Everyone posted:

From what I recall of the setting, it's highly likely that other Black Robes would zap the rear end in a top hat who was deboning peasants. Deboning peasants stirs up angry peasant mobs to kill wizards, which is a Threat to Magic. So the deboner will himself be deboned.

But won't the black robes then go have to burn down an orphanage or two so they don't risk losing their Evil License?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Everyone posted:

As noted, the Towers had multiple scary redundant defense that could kill you or make you wish you were dead.

Fun Fact: in the Hourglass in the Sky Timeline where Raistlin starts killing deities to gain their power (and thus sends the world into a 2-year doom clock countdown), he at one point assaults the Tower of Wayreth. And despite being a veritable demigod, the wizards managed to fight him to a stand-still and force him into a tactical retreat.

feedmegin posted:

I mean the US generally likes to think of itself as Good but it didn't declare war on Nazi Germany in 1933 just because Hitler got elected. This actually seems pretty realistic for D&D.

There are times when Dragonlance seems to run on "Enlightened Centrism" logic. Where going "forget good and evil man, it's all about the magic" seems reasonable when you look at Istar and the Dragonarmies as the ultimate expressions of their alignment moral foundations.

U.T. Raptor
May 11, 2010

Are you a pack of imbeciles!?



For the record, that Dragonlance movie came out late enough to be on DVD. I know this because I own it. It's... okay, I guess?

wdarkk posted:

I liked the book about Draconians postwar trying to make their own nation where they could live in peace.
Kang was the best :allears:.

SunAndSpring
Dec 4, 2013


Forbidden Lands, Part 5

Journeys

So you've got a big hex map of the Forbidden Lands, here are the rules to make use of it. Each day in Forbidden Lands is split into quarters (morning, day, evening, and night), and your party has a various amount of activities it can do during each quarter of the day. Hiking is what actually moves you through the place, but everyone has to pick it or else no one is going anywhere for the day. When Hiking, the party chooses a person with high Survival to Lead the Way. Successfully leading the way prevents your party from doing something silly like wandering into a spot of bad weather, a bear's den, and so on. The party also assigns someone with high Scouting to Keep Watch during each quarter, with successes allowing the party to pick and choose if they want to engage with a random encounter. Hiking moves you two hexes a day, or three if everyone is mounted, but is reduced to a paltry one when moving through rough terrain like forests and mountains, and you can Hike twice a day with no penalties (going further requires Endurance rolls to stay active and risks the chance of making your characters sleep deprived if they hike during night). When the party decides there's been enough travel for the day, they can Make Camp, which allows them to Rest and Sleep to regain their attribute points. Players with Survival can go Hunting, Fishing, or Foraging as they wish during the day.

All in all, it's pretty simple, but I'd say the introduction of making the whole thing into quarter days is an interesting twist upon more standard hex crawl design in which the entire day is used up in one go. This makes things a lot more flexible instead of forcing the party to come to a complete halt as other hex crawls might do when the party needs to start finding food. There's a big list of poo poo that happens when the party starts failing rolls that are mostly inconveniences (stabbing yourself with a fishing hook, losing an item, getting stung by mosquitoes for Empathy damage), but to my understanding of the system, a person with a good (7-8 dice) pool for Survival is going to do fine in optimal circumstances since it only takes one six to get the job done in the vast majority of cases. Encounters are where the meat of the system lays, especially since it is a contested roll rather than a normal unopposed roll so there's a greater chance of failing that, and while mostly contained in the GM book and thus material for later, I can say there are a few interesting scenarios within on the table as many are little side stories rather than just "1d6 bandits emerge from the bushes, draw for initiative".

Strongholds

Since coins, priceless elvish paintings, and the armor of famous dwarf nobility are all very heavy things, it's best to have a keep on the Forbidden Lands to stash all this junk in. If you've cleared out a dungeon or castle on the map, you can claim it as your own stronghold if you so desire, rolling a single Craft roll to spruce up the place and presumably clean out any dead you might have made on the way in. Failure causes a flaw of some kind; there's a table for it and one of the more amusing options that isn't just "the roof leaks or the walls are infested with rats" is "your builder did such a bad job of it the dead are rising from their graves nearby". You can also make a brand new stronghold of your own on a suitable hex, but that generally takes a week for a simple log cabin or up to five years for a proper castle, so it's preferable to scare away bandits and fight undead if you want to actually get a stronghold anytime within your campaign's life time.

The stronghold starts out with two benefits: you regain a willpower for staying there (only one per stay, but hey, it helps) and you can rest and sleep without having to roll to see if anything funny happens. A stronghold really comes into its own when the players start hiring staff and building new functions of their own. The general necessities that one wants for a stronghold is a source of food like a farm (the game helpfully notes that you don't have to legally acquire cattle, sheep, and so on to start out), a handyman to perform upkeep, and guards to make sure no sneaky people break in to your castle and steal the stuff you stole first. Beyond that, you can make things like mines, bakeries, tanneries, armories, forges, defenses, and so on. Hirelings require their daily salary paid to them in advance (so one can just break out a few gold coins and divide that among your loyal servants for about a month since everyone but craftsmen and guards is paid in copper coinage), or else they start doing things like robbing the place, deserting, spreading rumors about what an rear end in a top hat you are, and so on.

As your adventurers get more famous by accumulating Reputation, more events at the stronghold tend to occur. These are rolled on a random table in the GM book, and range from positive things like a group of bards coming to visit and give Legends (which are the game's shorthand for "plot hooks"), risky stuff like escaped slaves coming by and potentially leading their former captors to you, and awful poo poo like robbers breaking in or a flat-out small army coming to force you to pay tribute or die. If it comes to a battle, the defenders get a dice pool depending upon what defenses were made, how many 10s of guards you have, and if the players are in attendance. The attackers get 1 dice per 20 attackers, +1 for having a commander, and more if they have stuff like battering rams, a monster, fliers, and so on. Defenders roll first and then rotate back and forth, with successes hurting the enemy side and removing their dice one for one. Success for the defenders is represented as Breaking 20 attackers (the GM can roll critical hits individually for these if they're insane), Breaking a monster, or destroying siege gear, while success for the attackers forces the defenders to choose 10 guards breaking or a defense function being destroyed. Players can of course influence things further by getting into fights while the main battle is going on to do things like eliminate monsters, deal with people grappling up the walls, and so on.

All in, it's rather fun and encourages a loop of returning to your stronghold, dumping off loot you wish to keep, and then traveling to a nearby village to sell your loot and buy up some new materials or people for the next expansion. I'd say the only thing I dislike is how fiddly a few of the features can be (random encounters can wipe out a stronghold if it isn't adequately defended and the GM rolls high on the encounter dice, and there's silly stuff like making any Hunter hirelings roll a d6 once per week to see if they get attacked by wild animals with another d6 in that case to see if they live) and that it probably will slow the game down a bit as the players get out their spreadsheets to determine the right amount of pay that they need to keep the place going while they go forth.

That finishes the player's handbook, next time I'll go into the Gamemaster's Book and tell you about the horribly wacky lore of this game. It's incredibly dumb in a way I can't decide is cool or just very stupid.

Barudak
May 7, 2007



SirPhoebos posted:

Who else reads all setting histories in the voice of Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past?

Every single time.

Especially if anywhere it says "thousands of years ago"

Just Dan Again
Dec 16, 2012

Adventure!


Draconians were always one of my favorite parts of Dragonlance, both from a "puzzle enemy" perspective and as "former shock troops of an evil empire who want to live their own lives." Maybe I'll homebrew up something for them in whatever I run next.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Everyone posted:

The other aspect is that while wizard have their moral outlooks, the one thing they share in common is their devotion to magic. Whatever disagreement a White Robe has with the Black turning peasants into zombie farm workers, if there's a threat to magic itself on some level they'll join forces without hesitation to combat that threat. Theoretically, anyway.

This, but

being a wizard instead of rich

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


The Lone Badger posted:

But won't the black robes then go have to burn down an orphanage or two so they don't risk losing their Evil License?

One of the cooler aspects of Dragonlance is, that no, they don't. One aspect of the wizards that was neat was a bit from the Dragonlance sourcebook. Black Robe Wizard needed less XP to advance but they topped out faster than Red or White Wizards. There was a bit of the Star Wars "The Dark Side is faster, easier but not stronger" concept mechanically incorporated. Plus the bit with the Moons and spells was cool.

Recall that D-Lance came about in 1st Edition AD&D, there were some pretty innovative things it pioneered that got incorporated into later editions.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Dragonlance



Geography of Krynn



Okay, so not all of Krynn, literally the only part of Krynn that ever matters is this place, the continent of Ansalon. Which is kind of weird because the fluff acknowledges that other continents exist, one, Taladas, is even surprisingly well-detailed with an interesting minotaur empire, and the writing clearly states that Krynn is a normal-sized planet so probably there are yet more continents than that. But anything that matters? Ansalon. Only place where the fate of existence hangs in the balance? Ansalon. Only place where some mad lad attempts to displace the gods and gets slammed with a burning mountain for his trouble? Ansalon.

So, this is pre-slammed-by-mountain Ansalon. Silvanesti and Qualinesti are where the elves hang out, Thorbardin and Thoradin are where the dwarves hang out(totally not confusing loving naming, assholes), Hylo is Kendertown and Mt. Nevermind on that lil' island out in the far west are where gnomes, tinker gnomes, live. For some reason, the map of pre-Cataclysm Ansalon is the one they show in the Geography chapter, and you have to page all the way to the back of the book to find the map of the world as-is in Current Year(about 300 years after the Cataclysm). Thankfully one of the other Dragonlance supplements I have access to, has a comparison.


yeah, that ain't gonna just buff out

That big wrinkly mass to the south is the southern polar icecap of Krynn, the Cataclysm apparently caused enough climactic change to make it grow and start overwhelming the southern reaches of Ansalon. The big red bruise in the northeast is the undersea pit that Istar got turned into, complete with a gateway to the Abyss at the very center.


I had to glue this together from six images that didn't quite line up, so sorry for the seams. You'll probably want to paste the link if you want anything readable.

Post-cataclysm there really aren't many major human nations, mostly they've been smashed back to the city-state, village and tribal level almost everywhere. This massive loss of industry also means that gold has lost almost all of its value, and one of the most valuable currencies on Ansalon is now steel coins, rather than gold coins, since they can be melted down for making tools and weaponry. Most outlying parts of Ansalon are occupied by one of the five Dragonarmies(one for each type of Chromatic dragon), who are pretty much the closest thing most places have to a large government unless they're elven or dwarven-majority regions(excepting Silvanesti which is now a Silent Hill-esque nightmare realm because their king decided that using suspicious artifacts to protect their land was a good idea).

Also, as another strike against "man, dragons are scary," we're told how Inuit-esque tribesfolk near the southern icesheet hunt white dragons with harpoons like big flying whales. Yeah that's, uh, that's not really selling me on dragons being particularly scary.

Solamnia, despite being literally split in half by an inrushing sea, and Nordmaar, are about the only still-organized, non-evil, human-majority states around.

This section also namedrops the "Seekers" and "Seeker Lands" without ever describing them. The Seekers are essentially a theocracy without a god, a cult getting rich and powerful on people's need for religion while having not even the slightest connection to the gods. They're mildly important at the start of the first Dragonlance book and adventure(s), during the period where contact with the true gods is still a lost gift.

Anyway, they waste some time statting out rulers of various places which then each get a single paragraph of flavour text. What you should take away from this is the following tidbits. Solamnia and Nordmaar, good! Elves, friends! Dwarves, friends! Kender, insufferable! Everywhere else, in trouble/occupied/bad!



Original Species Do Not Steal

Anyway, if you're playing Dragonlance, you probably want to make a character. Humans, elves, gnomes(well, almost) and dwarves are 100% bog loving standard and the only difference is fluff, like how your human can be a BARBARIAN human, which is kind of a shame because there are some actual things they could have used to differentiate their races a bit if they'd given a gently caress.

Like, take the Dwarves, the dwarves are loving idiots who have a ruling council where they politely give seats to the two dwarven families and clans whose stated purpose is to bring down the council and dominate all dwarven civilization, and who are more or less outright Chaotic Evil. Meanwhile, in the background, there's a mysterious clan of dwarves infected/disfigured by a strange mold that makes them weird(unplayable) outcasts with inscrutable goals(they're not zombies, they're still intelligent, still reproduce, still forge things, still even do some trade). The fungus dwarves, the Zakhar, are more interesting than anything else about dwarves in this setting, so of course they only get a minor sidenote. Much like the note about how the dead have a traditional place on the dwarven council... which they only rarely use to enter a vote. Literal dead ancestors on the council? My man, please run with this interesting poo poo rather than the other generic dwarfy bullshit you're writing. But of course, you know they don't and won't.

Instead you know what we get several pages about? Gully dwarves!


the two in the lower left are gully dwarves, no clue who the dwarfbarian up top is

An entire subspecies of brain-damaged dwarves, if you want to play as one of them, you roll your stats with a special method that assures you'll get sub-average mental stats

Gully Dwarves posted:

Thanks to poor living conditions, most gully dwarves are smeared with enough grime and soil to plant a small garden. Their bedraggled clothes hostel a bevy of parasites. Aghar lucky enough to possess jewelry wear it conspicuously and garishly. All told, the filth and rags and mismatched jewelry sometimes cast the gender of any particular Aghar in doubt.

...

Aghar are proud, long-suffering survivors. Beneath a cheerful and hapless appearance beats a tenacious heart. The Aghar has survived, even thrived, in conditions that would kill any other dwarf. Those who accuse Aghar of treachery and stupidity are listening to their noses instead of their hearts.

Survival: Individually, gully dwarves are harder to kill than cockroaches. Survival is the chief virtue in their minds: to live is to win, to die is to lose. Consequently, they have raised groveling to an art form; they spill sensitive information at the slightest threat. Most Aghar (wisely) run from violence unless their homes are at stake. Other races brand such behavior as shameless cowardice and treachery. Gully dwarves see no shame, cowardice, or treachery in survival.

I mean, treachery, maybe. Stupidity? No, the rules mean they're literally dumber than all other playable species. Tough survivors? Their constitution is on average lower than any other species, too. They've got a language so confusing that no one can decipher it, which is somehow also proof of their non-mechanically-supported secret genius, and they literally can't ever understand numbers. Because you know, filthy noble savages would never need to learn to count anything. Obviously. And for your weird daily kick of racial purity bullshit, gully dwarves are the result of humans and dwarves loving and producing fertile hybrids. Because of course, something's gotta be wrong with that.

Elves? They're elves. You have your classic flavours like: forest elves and sea elves who are ~harmonious~ with nature, not-dickhead elves and dickhead racial purity elves who turned their homeland into Silent Hill.

Gnomes are now Tinker Gnomes, which largely means they've been infested by a terrible strain of lolsorandom monkeycheese 90's comedy. You see, because Tinker Gnomes build things, but sometimes they don't work, and it leads to wacky!!!!!! consequences!

Gnooooooooomes posted:

Sadly, gnomish mental distraction and fascination with detail tend to undercut their technology. Anything gnomish machines can do, magic can often do more cheaply, quickly, and efficiently. Generally speaking, gnomes who invent items exert as much effort, risk as much danger, and experience as much success as wizards who perform spell research,

'cause it'd be a real shame if these little assholes who are apparently smart enough to invent gunpowder and cannons actually contributed something other than slapstick comedy to the setting. They've a couple of potentially useful special items, but all of them backfire "comically" about as often as they do anything handy, meaning they're basically Skaven but it's not supposed to be funny when they blow their own hands off, and the game, of course, has no actual rules(that I can see or find anywhere) for making your own wacky inventions of any kind. This kind of relegates them to an unfun NPC backwater.

Then there's Kender.

gently caress Kender. If you've been in this thread for any period of time, you've heard someone complain about how Kender are a loving terrible idea and whoever came up with them should be publicly hung, quartered and drawn. Imagine a species that never grows out of that early part of life where everything needs to be investigated(and checked for edibility the hard way), where long-term consequences before "the next two seconds" don't exist in their brain and most of the interpersonal skills that people develop between the ages of 5 to 21, like "personal space" or "respect for others" are permanently stunted. Now imagine if the authors thought this was cute, charming and precious rather than incredibly insufferable and annoying.

quote:

Independence: Kender believe in the rights and freedoms of the individual. Kender nations have no real ruler because they prefer the freedom of anarchy. They resent being ordered about, and would rather do what they want, when they want. Demanding something of a kender only results in loud complaints, reluctant work, and taunts. But kender willingly volunteer for any task, as long as it is interesting.

Although they demand freedom of choice, kender often fail to consider the consequences of their actions. A kender’s impulsive action may back him into a corner from his comrades must save him. “I guess I shouldn’t have opened that door with the warnings on it, huh?” Entire parties bristle when a kender utters that awful saying, “Oops!”

Play a kender IF: you want to be the guy who gets the entire party TPK'd, you want to be hung upside down naked from the nearest lamp post before the session is over.

quote:

Handling: Kender are oblivious to matters of ownership. If a kender needs something that another person is not using, the kender will innocently borrow the item and put it to use. Curious kender often pick up items for closer examination, then distractedly forget to put them back. Although dwarves cannot distinguish this action (called “handling”) from theft, handlers and thieves differ drastically.

First of all, thieves steal for personal gain, but handlers take things due to curiosity and distraction. When a handler’s curiosity shifts to a new item, he often loses the one he just picked up. Secondly, a thief always takes the most valuable item but a handler always takes the most interesting one. A handler will prefer a glittering shard of glass to a bagful of dull silver ore. Finally, thieves steal maliciously, knowing that they break moral and governmental laws; but handlers take things innocently, unaware of rules of property that would make their actions malicious.

Although kender handlers have common thieving abilities, they are not thieves. Handlers take quick offense at accusations to the contrary. Even if caught in the act of handling, they have (and believe) many excuses:

• “I guess I found it somewhere,”
• “You must have dropped it.”
• “I forgot I had it.”
• “I was keeping it safe for you.”
• “You said you didn’t want it anymore.”
• “This looks just like yours, doesn’t it?”
• “Maybe it fell into my pocket.”

"They don't know they're doing anything wrong and they're very innocent but they always have an extensive repetoire of excuses to absolve them of blame, thus suggesting that they know perfectly well they just did an rear end in a top hat thing and deserve a good thumping for it. Also unlike thieves they'll probably just lose or break whatever they took from you if they have it in their hands for more than a minute, so good luck recovering any lost property."

In conclusion, gently caress Kender, and gently caress you if you play a Kender.

But wait, there's more! Kender aren't the only semi-unique playable race for Dragonlance. There are also minotaurs! They do more stuff than just hang out in mazes, on Krynn. They've got their own societies, and primarily tend to value personal honor and competition. Generally if there's a disagreement, some sort of contest will settle it. This even spreads into their legal system where anything that can't be hashed out in court gets settled in the arena(in the supplement for the continent of Taladas, there are a lot of words spent on the minotaur legal system.). Their outlook on the world is somewhat shaped by the fact that they've been enslaved twice, first by a bunch of rear end in a top hat dwarves, and then by Istar, so they take their personal freedom very seriously. Minotaurs are, of course, incredibly OP because they get a +2 to Strength, which lets them reach Strength 20. Normally Strength advances to 18, then through percentile Strength(i.e. 18/xx which has about ten steps or so), then to 19. So a Minotaur that rolls up a base 17 or 18 Strength actually gets a +10 Strength, rather than the +2 that the sheet says, allowing them to utterly demolish almost anything they encounter.

Lastly there are the Irda Ogres, who are the Ogres that didn't get all up in enslaving early Humans(or, at least, felt bad about it and released their slaves later on). Like minotaurs they are somewhat OP, but in this case more in the sense that they get free shapeshifting abilities and a bonus to spells/day that no other species, no matter their stats, can access. In a setting from the era of non-human level limits, Irda are also free of almost all of them, and even have access to classes that are usually human only, like paladins. In this game there is literally no reason to ever play anything but a Minotaur or an Irda.

Knights, Knights and Some Guys Who Aren't Knights

So classes. Of course, Dragonlance has the basics. Every single class present in the PHB is in Dragonlance, with the only one suffering any real changes being the Mage. But of course, that isn't enough, we gotta have more classes. There's also the Knight, Barbarian, Cavalier, Mariner, Heathen Priest(lol) and Handler, while the Mages are split into High Sorcery and Renegade branches of wizzadry.

Solamnic Knights are.... hahahahahahah. Okay, so in AD&D you had Multi-Classing, like Fighter/Mages, Cleric/Thieves, etc. basically advancing as multiple classes at once, with XP spread evenly between them, and gaining the advantages and disadvantages from all of them(mostly advantages, though, so a Fighter/Cleric would get a Fighter's Thac0 and Cleric's spellcasting, but also the Cleric's weapon limitations). But you also had dual-classing, a human-only option to gently caress yourself over. You'd start out as one class, then later start over at level 1 of another class, no longer advancing as the first, retaining only your HP, and being unable to access any abilities of your first class until the second's level surpassed that of the first. It was an awful subsystem. Solamnic Knights are a class made entirely around it. Basically you start out as a Fighter, dual-class into a Paladin(thus you don't even unlock any neat abilities when you surpass your old class) and then dual-class into what I can only call a literal prestige class, since the Order of the Rose doesn't actually seem to gain any advantages over the Order of the Sword(the Paladin-esque one). Lol what a loving ripoff.

Barbarians, Cavaliers and Mariners are, despite the description, basically just Fighter kits.

Wizards of High Sorcery...

quote:

Since that time, all Wizards of High Sorcery vow first loyalty to magic and its continued existence on Ansalon. This loyalty lets magic flourish, despite attempts to eliminate it. After this primary loyalty, wizards have loyalty to their orders. A White Robe and a Black Robe wizard, fighting in opposing armies, would do everything necessary to destroy each other. If the wizards met on neutral ground, however, they would most likely compare notes and discuss magical matters. If an outside force were threatening the destruction of magic, the wizards would band together to stop it.

Are basically all Chaotic Evil, despite what the text would have you believe. "'sup Mr. Evil, want to borrow my notes so you can better see how to turn peasants into invertebrates?" I mean, if you willingly aid someone that you know is of evil alignment, because of his night black robes and his heart-felt vow to eternally serve evil magic, then you, yourself, are also an evil rear end in a top hat. Or at the very best you're "neutral" because you're doing it "for the cause of magic." Which in D&D feels a lot like doing it "for the cause of battlefield artillery." They also, of course, start training you in battlemagic in early childhood, a very noble cause.

Also because a GM's life isn't rear end enough, now they also have to track phases of the moon because there's a Good Magic Moon, a Neutral Magic Moon and a Bad Magic Moon and the phase of the moon determines how much extra Wizard Power you get depending on your level and your alignment. Your specific order also works as a sort of Specialist wizard thing, except it mostly turns out that Good Wizards get shafted. All three orders have the same access except the Bad Wizards also get Necromancy on top of what the Good Wizards get, and the Neutral Wizards get Illusion instead of the Good Wizards' Divination, which in AD&D is such a good tradeup I can't even make a joke about it.

All three orders advance at the same rate, as do Renegade Wizards, who, lacking the school limitations, are more flexible, but also don't get the Lunar buffs every so often and have to hide out from the Wizard Cops(except the Good Wizard Cops who let them go with a stern warning as long as they don't set fire to any peasants with fireballs or "threaten the cause of magic" whatever the gently caress that's supposed to mean.). The Black Robes will also let Renegades go as long as they promise not to join the Good Wizards or Neutral Wizards. The Neutral Wizards are, in fact, the only ones who really take the whole "capture renegades and kill 'em dead if they don't join"-thing particularly seriously.

Priests are the same as usual, except for the aforementioned Heathen Priests, who are a catch-all for "you're not worshipping a real god" or "you're worshipping a god from another plane." Apparently Krynn's deities take their trademarked abilities very seriously, as priests of non-native gods have to convert or have zero spell access.

Keeping up with the theme of Kenders sucking poo poo at everything, Handlers, the Kender-specific rogue class, are Rogues except literally just worse, since they're just Rogues but without a backstab bonus.

Oh and you know what would be funny? If there was a second roll at the end of chargen that could completely unbalance the starting players. It's an option to roll for social "status." For instance, you might start out as Nobility with a ton of extra money, fame and gear. Or as a slave with literally zero starting money and gear. This is, thankfully, an optional rule. But why would you ever have something so dumb in there?

Lemme just get one last "gently caress Kender" in there for good measure.

Now that's out of my system. For about five seconds.


we're here to bully you for not using a better setting, nerd

Probably the last post before we get started on the adventure modules. Oh boy.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


PurpleXVI posted:

Or at the very best you're "neutral" because you're doing it "for the cause of magic." Which in D&D feels a lot like doing it "for the cause of battlefield artillery."
I believe Tom Lehrer has a song about this.

Jerik
Jun 24, 2019

I don't know what to write here.

PurpleXVI posted:

The other big TSR project they were, as far as I remember, both part of was Ravenloft(though not in as leading roles as Dragonlance), and aside from that they've just been writing a shitload of books.

The only connection that Hickman or Weis had with Ravenloft is that Tracy and Laura Hickman wrote the two first-edition modules that Ravenloft was ultimately inspired by/loosely based on: I6 - Ravenloft and I10 - Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill. Neither Weis nor Hickman had anything to do with the later development of the Ravenloft campaign setting; the original Ravenloft boxed set is credited to Bruce Nesmith and Andria Hayday; the second boxed set adds William W. Connors as an additional designer.

In fact, Weis and Hickman seemed to have nothing but contempt for the Ravenloft setting, and even actively sabotaged it. When the Dragonlance character Lord Soth was brought into Ravenloft as a Darklord, Weis and Hickman threw such a hissy fit that TSR finally gave in and wrote a module in which Lord Soth somehow escaped from Ravenloft so he could be returned to the Dragonlance setting. Whereupon Weis and Hickman, who apparently had had no further plans for Soth, didn't know what to do with him now that they had him back, and had objected to his presence in Ravenloft purely out of spite, promptly killed him off. Because of this series of events, many Ravenloft fans regard Weis and Hickman as whiny, petulant babies who didn't know how to share their toys. I am not convinced this characterization is altogether wrong.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I'm a fan of Ravenloft jank and all, but yeah it's kind of mix - like TSR should have asked if they could use Soth, but Weis and Hickman sure did not handle it with any sort of grace.

Though there's a certain sense of irony that Soth escapes Ravenloft by the virtue of being so loving self-absorbed/apathetic about the whole thing that none of the Dark Powers' ironic tortures even phases him.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Was Soth popular with Ravenloft fans? His backstory is superficially similar to Strahd's.

Moldless Bread
Jul 10, 2019


The Dark Eye 4.0

In 2002, Fanpro released the Basic Rules of the 4th Edition. Rather than true basic rules, it rather is a shortened version of the by-then not completely released rules and ends up redundant. I am therefore skipping those and am going to move on to the three box releases of the TDE 4.0 Rules.

Box release, because rather than selling single books TDE always used to sell box sets, spreading the rules over several softcover books in one box together with some goodies, for example a scrapbook of prepared character sheets, a magazine full of Archetypes or a poster.
The releases were changed to Hardcovers shortly after, with the release of the 4.1 ruleset (now under management of Ulisses Spiele) being seperated in several Hardcovers (Character Creation, Normal Rules, Magic rules etc. all being several books).
4.1 is called that because the rules were not so much changed as they have been updated, the rule changes being no larger than having some costs of mandatory character resources folded together rather than buying them separately and removing a whole 3 skills from the bloated skill list (offering 2 as feats and folding the third into a different skill). It's therefore better regarded as an errataed re-release (though one after some public playtesting).
I mostly have access the 4.0 rules and am going to review those. I'll occasionally call out a change or two if I find something interesting. (as well as make a comparison with 3rd or 5th edition here and there). I might go over some supplements and/or adventure modules afterwards.

The first Box set is Swords and Heroes, counting as a general or basic box and includes the books:
- Aventurian Heroes – Character creation including Races and Cultures, mundane professions
- With Fleet Fingers – general rules and advancement
- With Flashing Blades – Combat rules and everything related to that, Combat professions, equipment

The second Box set is Sorcery and Witchcraft (or Wizardry and Magecraft? I guess you could pick any two synonyms for "doing magic poo poo" and end up with a technically correct translation) which includes:
- Aventurian Wizards – Magical professions, feats and Dis-/Advantages
- With Knowledge and Will – Magical Rules, Ritual Magic, Magic setting Information, Rules for Demons, Undead and others (I'm tempted to call it With Wisdom and Will instead)
- Liber Cantiones – Spells, spells, spells

Last of the Box sets of the Rules is Gods and Demons, covering everything religious of the setting. It included the books:
- Aventurian Servants of the Gods – Clerical professions, feats and Dis-/Advantages Rules for divine powers
- With Spirits Might and Planar power – Setting information about demons, Rules for playing a Demon's pactmaker, Expanded rules for Demons, Undead and others
- Gods, Cults, Myths – a closer look at the aventurian religions, a setting book without rules


A thorwalian Pirate, an Albernian fencer and an Amazon in an action shot.

Going in Order, we begin with With Fleet Fingers:

The book begins with a Preamble that gives an overview about all the available Books and other boxes. It also advises to get the Basic rules under the logic that some rules aren't reprinted. I'm fairly sure that only applies to two or three minor rules.
On the other hand, there is no What is roleplaying spiel anywhere in the boxes, no example of play and the Roleplaying and GMing chapter is a bit lacking, so I might have to see if I can get access to a digital copy of the basic rules somewhere...
Anyway, after setting up the three boxes, the basic rules and the three books in Swords and Heroes, we also get to directed to With Flashing Blades if we are looking for an Index.
I mean, I can see why you don't want to reprint the index three times, but if the attempt of quickly look up a rule starts with looking for the Index, that’s not a great start.
The next paragraphs introduces the modular Rules System, dividing every Rule in General Rules, Optional Rules and Expert rules. The standard play is supposed to be with General and Optional Rules. General Rules provide a complete ruleset, but lack a lot of character options and dials. Expert Rules provide even more options and tactics and make the game supposedly avoid some of the annoyances of the system but usually require lots of bookkeeping.
Also here we find the obligatory permission to change the rules if we find them unfun in a short and clear declaration. The game won't always be so gracious...
Finally there is a reference to the downloads on the homepage as well as not only an Email address, but also a telephone number if you wanted to contact the developers directly for feedback or rules clarifications, which I find weirdly charming. I mean, there was no twitter back then, but still.
(Legend has it that several Character options are only in the game because someone called the hotline in the 3rd Edition Age and told the chief designer they wanted Barbarians/a Fireball spell/playable Goblins. That runs counter to the detailed an metaplotted world, but the creators were always close to the community, so I'm inclined to believe it.)

The next pages are an overview of the most basic Rules (which I covered in an earlier post), Damage calculations for fire, poison, falling and asphyxiation, the relevant Units for Time (Combat Round = 3 Seconds, Game Round = 5 minutes and specific times in minutes and hours) and Space (A step is a metre, a mile is not a mile but a kilometre*) and the first (and IIRC only) rules the book refuses to explain and references the Basic rules instead: Movement speed (8 steps per combat round for most characters, the range only goes from 7 to 9) and Exhaustion (That one I'm actually going over later).

Next time, we are taking a closer look at the rules.

--

Culture Corner

Andergast and Nostria makes you an inhabitant of one of the two kingdoms locked in a centuries old (currently cold) war, as well as experiencing the occasional orcish or thorwalian raid. You’re kind of a joke to the people from other lands for being a hick from the woods (and you’re loving sick of that). But you’ve been through a lot of poo poo in your life and it has made you tough and good at improvising, if very stubborn and conservative.
The country has feudal structures, but the noble families have a living standard that’s often equal or poorer than the richer common folk in other lands, and the actual peasants are constantly fighting with hardship and malnutrition.
People from Nostergast generally believe in the Twelve Gods, but Andergast in particular has plenty of people still practicing druidic faith.
Andergast is also an exception to the gender equality, being patriarchy and denying women to wear pants - unless her job requires it. So what I am reading here, is that an Andergastian will be not quite comfortable with a female PC but not make a huge deal out of it.
Mechanically, the rather pricey 8 GP will give you bonus hitpoints and stamina, a wide array of +1s in combat, physical, nature and craft skills as well the Master of improvising Feat for free. You have access to to a lot of professions that aren’t too modern or too outlandish and get the variants of living in a city and the Rural Noble. I know I keep mentioning that one, but we’re almost out of Cultures with classic Nobility.

Profession Parade

We're still at gladiators (kinda)

Stagefighters fight for the splendor splendor, for glory and most decidedly not for their life. These choreographed fights have a predetermined victor and offer the audience spectacular duels and compelling stories around the fight. The reward is decent income and invitations to all kinds of events and parties for the fighters. The text points out that some might just see themselves as wandering actors, while others have convinced themselves they’re actually good with swords and are going to get chumped in the beginning of their adventuring careers.
Stagefighters cost only 4 GP, get up to three weapon bonuses that get outclassed by their acrobatics skill, some other physical and social skills and a very basic selection of discounted feats. Their starting weapon is also explicitly blunt.
Fairground fighters are the guys at circuses and fairs who are beating up overconfident young people who think they can hold out for 3 rounds. They consider themselves purely entertainers rather than fighters and - unlike stagefighters - know their limits.
The text points out there are Fighters for every conceivable fighting style (expcept for the fantasy-capoeira, the most dangerous and lethal martial art in aventuria) but the profession only gives us WWE style wrestling and boxing.
Aside from those, the cheap 5 GP offers a good physical and social array of skills, high bonuses to both brawling and grappling and the first Feat of the dodge tree for free and the rest discounted, as well as several generally useful feats .


Spell selection

Aeolitus Roaring Wind lets the caster blow air with enough strength to snuff out torches, clear a room of smoke and generally make a mess. Throwing around people requires a variant though, as does adding a nauseating smell to the the puff of air.
The reversed spell reverses the flow by sucking in air instead, and it helpfully points out that the casters mouth will be filled with dust and bugs afterwards.

Aerofugo Vacuum creates a Vacuum. Aside from causing Stamina damage and mentioning some physics fuckery (air rushing in afterwards, breaking sealed containers) it mostly serves as damaging and disabling spell against air-elementals.
The availability theorizes the spell used to be part of demon-summoning rituals and points out there could be variants for other elements.

Aerogelo tortured breath is the opposite of the Aerofugo – the two spells reverse into each other – and compresses the air in an area into an almost viscous consistency that lowers combat and physical stats and causes Stamina damage for everyone exerting themselves into the zone.

Moldless Bread fucked around with this message at 21:42 on Dec 13, 2019

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Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.



I liked the part of the Ravenloft novels where there's this ongoing thread of Strahd (undead with magic powers, cursed with dying kingdom), Soth (undead with magic powers, cursed with dying kingdom) and Azalin (undead with magic powers, cursed with dying kingdom) are all slap-fighting over who has it worst, who is smarter than their curse, who will rue the day they crossed the other one, etc.

Unfortunately, this points to the key fact that the whole setting reads better as "Monsterhearts where no one's loving" than as a place for adventures and adventurers.

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