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Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





The gods appreciate aroma, therefore one must light an extra bowl for them at all gatherings.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Terrible Opinions posted:

I think it's a logical extension of the Bronze/Iron Age belief that gods received sustenance from the smoke of their sacrificial fires.

It's even present in the Bible Exodus 29:18 "Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the Lord."

It’s not, because you’re misunderstanding the meaning of “food offering.”

A food offering was eaten by the priests.

E: it was one of several legally distinct, procedurally distinct sacrifices. Judaic scholars have thousands of years of argument and debate about the specifics but have generally, for that entire period, come down against anthropomorphism of deity. God doesn’t eat.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 03:05 on Jan 4, 2020

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



It is important to look at your site you linked and realize those are all Christian translations, and none include the commentary that is customary with Jewish translations, which collate and summarize key rabbinic arguments of the past, explain the nature of the Hebrew and its etymological roots or meaning as understood by the rabbis, or the legal traditions built up around the actual verses and the Talmud.

By citing just the text, and in Christian translation, you are missing over half of the context and choosing to favor a translation that is explicitly reframed to feature a more anthropomorphic deity, as support for the idea of Jesus being manifest in the Old Testament rather than taking the actual context of the Torah.

Religion and translation are complex and slanted by assumption and goals.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


Terrible Opinions posted:

I don't get why D&D proposes societies that people only worship one god out of a pantheon. Why wouldn't it be more like real world polytheism where you worship the whole pantheon based on occasion, and mystery cult priests dedicated to one god or people who have a single god as a special patron are specialties rather than the norm?

I know the Realms and Greyhawk does not do that. While some people will favor some gods over another and pick an overall patron. The majority pay respects to the gods depending on the situation. For example pretty much anyone that goes on a ship in the realms will pray and or give offerings to the evil gods Umberlee and Talos the gods of the Sea and Storms respectively in hopes to avoid them causing problems. Clerics focus on a single god as their direct patron, but even they will pay respects to the others situationally.

Some societies (normally evil ones.) will outlaw the worship of some gods and focus on one god over others, but that is normally because of their clergy having a great deal of influence.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Mors Rattus posted:

It is important to look at your site you linked and realize those are all Christian translations, and none include the commentary that is customary with Jewish translations, which collate and summarize key rabbinic arguments of the past, explain the nature of the Hebrew and its etymological roots or meaning as understood by the rabbis, or the legal traditions built up around the actual verses and the Talmud.

By citing just the text, and in Christian translation, you are missing over half of the context and choosing to favor a translation that is explicitly reframed to feature a more anthropomorphic deity, as support for the idea of Jesus being manifest in the Old Testament rather than taking the actual context of the Torah.

Religion and translation are complex and slanted by assumption and goals.
Alright that is fully fair, I did not have that additional context.

edit: Is there a similar context against anthropomorphic interpretations of Greek gods accepting burnt offerings?

Terrible Opinions fucked around with this message at 03:14 on Jan 4, 2020

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



So, 29:18 specifically. The Hebrew makes no mention of food. The translation favored by Sefaria, which is my main source:

Turn all of the ram into smoke upon the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD.

So first of all, this is a burnt offering, not a meal/food offering. God's not eating poo poo.

However, there's commentary. Rashi, the big dog on commentary campus, says:

quote:

Rashi on Exodus 29:18:1

ריח נחוח AS A PLEASING ODOUR — as a gratification of spirit before Me — that I commanded and My will was carried out (Zevachim 46b).

The pleasing odor is interpreted in this case to be not the ram's flesh, but rather the gratification of God's commands being obeyed.

To explain further:

quote:

“It is pleasing to Me. . . Not that the fragrance itself is pleasing to Him. [Rashi knows this] because it is written (Tehillim 50:12): “If I was hungry I would not tell you [to feed me], for Mine is the world and its fullness.” [Alternatively], Rashi is answering the question: Does not the burning of meat and bones produce a terrible odor? Therefore he explains, “It is pleasing to Me. . .” (Devek Tov)


e: Greek stuff, no, that's explicitly anthropomorphic. That said, the sacrifices burned for the gods are explicitly them getting the poo poo end of the stick - Prometheus teaches humans a trick, so that when the gods will receive their sacrifice, the humans hide the really good tasty meat and flesh bits and present the gods with a choice - either this smelly pile over here, or this fine-smelling skin full of wonderful things...which, uh, are all the non-edible parts of the sacrifice.

Which is why the Greek priests got to eat the edible parts, and also why the gods took fire away from humanity in the first place.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Thank you for the additional information, I am woefully uneducated wrt Jewish traditions.

Though I was aware of the reasoning for Greek gods whole being tricked by Prometheus deal.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Christian relationships with the Law and the Old Testament are really complicated. What's canon, what's allowed, what's still followed and how they read the older stuff changes a lot depending on era, sect, etc.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





To be honest I hadn't consider the Christian translation issue and had erroneously assumed it was some pre-Judaic paganism slipping in from earlier traditions.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


Did the Maya and Aztec people literally believe human sacrifices strengthened their gods and kept them alive, or is that a European misinterpretation of their rituals?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





I'm not sure on the Maya, but the Aztecs did - the idea was that it gave the gods the strength to keep fighting back the end of the current cycle. The numbers in some reports were exaggerated, probably because the Spanish were legitimately nauseated, but they did actually do it.

The underlying beliefs were widely held, which probably made the entire process more sustainable, as at least many of the sacrificial individuals were cooperating in the expectation of a badass afterlife etc.

1994 Toyota Celica
Sep 11, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


Angry Salami posted:

Did the Maya and Aztec people literally believe human sacrifices strengthened their gods and kept them alive, or is that a European misinterpretation of their rituals?

Can't speak to Mayan practices, but to build on what Nessus wrote the Aztecs sacrificed a lot of different people to a lot of different things, in a lot of different ways

The rituals you're probably thinking of are the sacrifices to Huitzilopotchli, the hummingbird god of war and the sun, to whom were offered the hearts of battle captives, originally from the Aztecs' territorial conquests, later from the ritualized Flower Wars they waged with/against their neighbors. Huitzilopotchli's siblings were the moon and stars, with the Earth as their shared mother (obviously I'm simplifying things considerably with that description), and among Huitzilopochli's roles in the cosmos was protecting the Earth from the other celestial bodies. This was both the explanation of movements in the heavens--the stars and moon are always running away from/trying to get around Huitzilopotchli, the sun, who is always chasing them--and the justification for sacrifices: that the offerings of human hearts kept Huitzilopotchli strong enough to keep his celestial siblings at bay, and so keep them from destroying the Earth.

On the other hand you have, say, Tlaloc, god of rain and fertility among other things. He required a fair amount of blood sacrifice too both human and animal, including the hearts of foreign battle captives, but the most important rituals to him revolved around child sacrifices. Sometimes slave children, sometimes the secondary children of highborn Aztecs. The rituals were to bring the rain; it was said that if the prospective child sacrifices cried on the ceremonial procession to Mount Tlaloc it was a sign of plentiful rain for the coming year, but unlike Huitzilopotchli the sense does not seem to be that he needed the sacrifices to bring the rain; rather that he could bring the rain whenever, and the sacrifices tended to bring his favor. Some Tlaloc shrines include a representation of Huitzilopotchli as well, in the belief that the sun god could compel Tlaloc to bring the rain when the gentler influence of ritual and sacrifice failed.


Incidentally, the Aztecs also believed that every child sacrificed to Tlaloc went immediately to his paradise realm in the heavens, which was supposedly a place of permanent lush springtime.

e: it's hard to fully emphasize how little of any of this the initial Spanish conquistadors understood at the time, but even they noted, as eyewitnesses, that though the Aztecs cannibalized the corpses of sacrifices to Huitzilopotchli they refused to eat their own during the long, brutal siege of Tenochtitlan, even when on the point of starvation.

ee: The Inca were on this whole other tip though, believing that properly killed human sacrifices could be transformed into powerful local spirits with appropriate rituals and further sacrifices. At the height of their empire the Inca required that their subject peoples send child captives to the capital where they were kept drunk and high through several days of ceremony before being ritually sacrificed and interred beneath important mountain peaks. The environment up at the peaks of the Andes is already so cold and dry that it takes only minor preparation to convert human corpses into long-term mummies, and Andean civilization (which is about as old as Mesopotamian civilization from the available evidence) got very good at embalming practices by the time the Spanish showed up. The Inca believed these sacrificed, mummified children became guardian spirits of the places where their mummies were interred, and that they remained alive for all practical purposes.

1994 Toyota Celica fucked around with this message at 05:30 on Jan 4, 2020

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



Angry Salami posted:

Did the Maya and Aztec people literally believe human sacrifices strengthened their gods and kept them alive, or is that a European misinterpretation of their rituals?
Going from a somewhat chaotic memory of Sharer and Traxler

Just like European kings, the Mayan ruling powers claimed divine approval for their rule, and human sacrifice (typically of political opponents) is a display of power that becomes tautological proof of the approval of the Gods. Think of it like "I sacrifice my enemies to the Gods, empowering them, who in turn give me strength to rule, proven by the fact that I'm the one cutting off heads right now." And, like, clearly cutting off all those heads empowered the Gods and brought you their approval, because all your political enemies are dead. Prayer answered!

The more esoteric underpinning is that blood sacrifice appeases the Gods, who created Man by cutting off parts of their own bodies, by giving blood and flesh back to them. The exact measure of how "needed" this is, i.e. do the Gods die if the practice stops or is it symbolic in the same way God doesn't actually need a goat is the kind of thing that goes in and out of flux over centuries, kinda like you'd expect from a religion with 1700 years of history.

1994 Toyota Celica
Sep 11, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


FoldableHuman posted:

do the Gods die if the practice stops or is it symbolic in the same way God doesn't actually need a goat is the kind of thing that goes in and out of flux over centuries, kinda like you'd expect from a religion with 1700 years of history.

I'd like to reinforce this point to the thread by emphasizing that the versions of Mesoamerican polytheism discussed itt thus far are at best reconstructions of the beliefs of particular groups of people at particular points in their history. The Aztecs and Incas were distinct (and relatively small, proportional the populations they ruled) ethnic groups whose empires were each under a century old when they made contact with Europeans, and what we know of their religious practices are just their versions of much older and bigger traditions going back thousands of years.

Which is not to say that these traditions are dead, either. Leaving aside the thorny question of syncretism between indigenous practice and Catholic Christianity, there's evidence as recent as the 1970s that someone was up on Mount Tlaloc making use of the old ritual spaces.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Y'all must be prophetic, because the first country I'm going to cover in my next War of the Lance post is a fantasy counterpart Aztec one.

1994 Toyota Celica
Sep 11, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


I'll be curious to see that, given Mormonism's 'interesting takes' on pre-Columbian America.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.


1994 Toyota Celica posted:

Which is not to say that these traditions are dead, either. Leaving aside the thorny question of syncretism between indigenous practice and Catholic Christianity, there's evidence as recent as the 1970s that someone was up on Mount Tlaloc making use of the old ritual spaces.

There's plenty of temples in Guatemala where the locals still leave offerings.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Libertad! posted:

Y'all must be prophetic, because the first country I'm going to cover in my next War of the Lance post is a fantasy counterpart Aztec one.

RPG writers love making Not-Aztecs almost as much as they love getting the Aztecs completely wrong.

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



To whet everyone's appetite even more, here's the cover of the one Dragonlance novel set in said location.


Realistically I expect to be disappointed. I bet the sourcebook is gonna have less than 150 words on the subject, and be pretty generic.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

FoldableHuman posted:

To whet everyone's appetite even more, here's the cover of the one Dragonlance novel set in said location.


Realistically I expect to be disappointed. I bet the sourcebook is gonna have less than 150 words on the subject, and be pretty generic.

Why are you linking erotic novels in Trad Games

LazyAngel
Mar 17, 2009



Aliette de Bodard's Obsidian and Blood trilogy is a pretty good take on semi-historical, semi-fantastical aztecs. Essentially, the take there is that the gods sacrificed themselves to create the current world for humanity, and require human sacrifice to replace what they've lost (otherwise star-demons come down to kill everyone).

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Ansalon in the Age of Despair, Part II

Nordmaar is the most northern and tropical of Ansalon’s countries. This region was once a mere chain of small islands pre-Cataclysm but the change in climate and receding sea levels gave the region vast new tracks of land. The people of Nordmaar do not see the Cataclysm as a disaster so much as an event which gave their people new opportunity. The jungles are the most notable features, but the vast plains are home to some of Ansalon’s most famed horses and their culture is a pseudo-Aztecian society. Most Nordmaarians are organized into tribal structures based on geographic regions or central cities, and there are some remnants of Solamnic culture from the lasting friendship between the two nations.

But such good times came to an end. Their proximity to Taman Busuk and the ogre nation of Kern meant that they were the first good-aligned nation to be invaded by the Dragon Empire. Their people fought valiantly, although the razing of villages by dragonfire meant that precious few warriors had anything to return to. The nobility in the capital city of North Keep may have surrendered, but there are remnants of the Nordmaardian army who’ve taken to the jungles in hopes of whittling down the invaders’ forces guerilla warfare style.

Interesting sites and adventure hooks include an old sports arena converted to a bloodsport colosseum by the Red Dragonarmy, a rumored great beast in the jungle which if awakened could (theoretically) be turned upon the Dragonarmy, and mysteriously disappearing ruins which are believed to be moved around the mountains by a great burrowing dragon.

Some people were asking if the book’s treatment on Nordmaar in regards to portrayal of Aztec culture had anything notable. Sadly not much beyond the names of certain individuals and tribes (Cuichtalic tribe, Topotlic tribe, etc). There may be other Dragonlance sourcebooks which go into deeper detail on Nordmaar, but the War of the Lance gives us only a surface dressing.

Northern Ergoth is the primary inheritor of the culture of the first human empire. Once a grand civilization spanning from Kharolis in the far south to modern-day Solamnia in northwest Ansalon, the Empire of Ergoth fell into gradual decline until the Cataclysm sunk most of its territory. Now the remnants of Ergoth are divided between two island countries off the western coast of Ansalon.

Life in Northern Ergoth is relatively good in comparison to the rest of Ansalon. It is far removed from the Dragon Empire’s depredations,* they have strong alliances with the neighboring realms of Hylo and Sikket’Hul, and most of Ergoth proper has a mild climate and fertile plains. The goblins of Sikket’Hul are unlike most of their kind in that they’re non-evil and pursue farming and academic pursuits, having gained friendship with the Ergothians for fighting alongside them against Solamnia in various ancient wars. They are considered their own country but grouped under the Ergoth entry.

*although its Emperor knows that it’s only a matter of time until the dragons fly west.

However, not all is well in the birthplace of humanity. Firstly, Northern Ergoth is very conservative: it is taught that people are born into their social class and it shall always be this way, and women are barred from earning a living in traditionally male occupations and only senators (Roman-style council members) can own land. The island’s far north is occupied by the Ackalites, a violent group of Ergothians who feel that their mainstream society has grown too soft and weak and are even more tyrannical and misogynistic. Troll clans in the northern swamps menace the kender of Hylo and are said to perform strange rites.

Interesting sites and adventure hooks include devotees of Takhisis attempting to make inroads among the goblins, the city of Lanction getting taken over by the rumored leader of the Thieves’ Guild, and the World’s Heart (which is said to have granted the first emperor the divine vision to forge a new country) being claimed by an Ackalite warband who are now forbidding entry to pilgrims.



The Plains of Dust are an expanse of cold desert wasteland which stretches over south-central Ansalon. It was once home to verdant grasslands before the Cataclysm, but like so many other things after that dark day there is now hardship instead of beauty. With unpredictable weather and little in the way of arable land, most people do not choose to live here. Exiled elves and griffon-riders from Silvanesti cross the land in great numbers as they flee from their fallen kingdom. A pre-Cataclysm column-supported bridge known as the King’s Highway once connected Istaran towns across the plains, but it’s now crumbling.

The city of Tarsis is on the Plain’s far west edge, and is the closest thing the region has to a proper spot of civilization. However, it was once a thriving port city and the receding waters left it permanently landlocked. It still has large buildings of the golden age, especially the Library of Khrystann which holds tomes on all manner of subjects.

Interesting places and adventure hooks include the Hamlet of stone Rose so named for a petrified hedge mage of apparently magical origin, an abandoned settlement where a vallenwood tree holds a relic of the ancient god of wisdom Zivilyn, and an underground temple of the true gods whose healing waters bind drinkers to perform various kinds of quests.

Qualinesti is one of the major elven nations, bordering Abanasinia, Kharolis, and Thorbadin. Their nation was founded by rebels in Silvanesti who sought to break away from the caste system and were exiled west. They were initially much more open-minded and tolerant, trading freely with the dwarves of Thorbadin, the wizards of Wayreth, and the human nomadic tribes. Even then, they had their cultural holdovers such as disdain for interracial marriage. When the Cataclysm came, Qualinesti’s neighbors believed that the elves came out unscathed and thus had plenty of food and money. They invaded the elven country in a series of raids and all-out wars, which ended Qualinesti’s history of openness when they ruthlessly forced all non-elves out of the country.

Nowadays there are some meager numbers of dwarves, centaur, and even humans, but in very small numbers. In fact, much of Qualinesti’s lovely cities and verdant towns are sparsely populated as a nationwide evacuation is underway due to news about the Dragon Empire’s brutality reaching them from their Silvanesti neighbors.

Arcane magic is widely embraced and used in everyday life in the elven kingdoms. Buildings are made of exotic materials such as quartz and crystal, and sweeping metallic arches swing around the capital city of Qualinost in gravity-defying architecture.

Interesting sites and adventure hooks include the keep of Pax Tharkas which is occupied by the Red Dragonarmy, the Tower of High Sorcery of Wayreth which is the seat of government for the three Orders of wizards, an overgrown ruined city whose rooms are shuffled about and rediscovered at random, and a powerful wizard who asks the PCs to enter his memories to activate a long-forgotten spell that he believes can resurrect his dead daughter.



Sancrist is an island home to the last bastion of the Knights of Solamnia. They retreated here due to a succession of rebellions in their homeland, and Castle uth Wistan is a veritable fortress hosting the Whitestone Council of free countries who working on a way to fight the Dragon Empire. Also of note is the gnome city of Mount Nevermind: built in an active volcano, the geothermal energies are harnessed to power all sorts of machines and an ever-increasing list of new experiments. The humans live in a semi-feudal system but can elect local burghers and sheriffs, while the gnomes function under a complicated bureaucracy of council members who consult with each other on specialized tasks; records are kept for every conceivable thing.

Both groups get along well; the Solamnics gave aid to the gnomes who mistakenly filled their own mountain with natural gas fumes on the Day of Rotten Eggs, while the gnomes gave aid to the humans after the Cataclysm when the former were in need of the gnomes’ medicine when divine magic no longer worked. Interesting sites and adventure hooks include a gnomish shipyard hiring the PCs to test an experimental underwater transportation device known as the Tallpeedo,* an imprisoned red dragon breaking free from an underground prison due to the gnomes digging too deep, a vapor-emitting wood-chopping engine causing people in a nearby village to get high, and...well, it seems like just about every hook involves gnomes and their wacky experiments.

*so-named for being sized for Medium creatures.

Schallsea is an island located in the New Sea between Solamnia to the north, Abanasinia to the south, and Taman Busuk to the east. It is inhabited by two nomadic human tribes, one of which is indigenous long-term (the Wemitowuk) and the second was driven from Abanasinia due to losing a war against the other Plainsmen tribes (Que-Nal). Both groups established relatively positive terms and lived simple hunter-gatherer lifestyles, although all this would change when the Fire Nation Blue Dragonarmy attacked. The Dragon Empire met unexpected resistance as the tribes, while not being spellcasters, had made pacts with local elementals to fight for them. They also knew quite a bit about the capabilities of chromatic dragons due to the Wemitowuk having many tales of legendary dragonslayers.

Pretty much all of the interesting locations and adventure hooks involve resisting the Blue Dragonarmy occupation, such as finding the tomb of a legendary dragonslayer to resurrect and lead against the invaders, freeing captured prisoners, and a dryad protector of a village needing help in fighting draconians.

quote:

Nelakne’s Glade: In the Northern Forests of the Schallsea, the Wemitowuk have dedicated a portion of the forest to the ancient goddess Chislev. Within the forest, there lives a dryad by the name of Nelakne who has befriended the people of the Wemitowuk tribe. Visitors to her glade find that it is always peaceful and soothing. They quickly forget their worries and fears. The Wemitowuk believe Nelakne to be the incarnation of Chislev and honor her with an annual ceremony in the spring.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 6

Silvanesti is an ancient nation on Ansalon whose society and borders have hardly changed since the First Dragon War when the elves inhabited the ancient woods. Unlike your Daddy’s elves they are strongly Lawful instead of Chaotic, meaning that they have a hard-on for everything being safe and predictable. Their lot in life is determined via inherited castes, all of their buildings are magically terraformed from rock and mineral deposits, and it is said that despite their respect for nature almost every tree and natural feature has been magically altered to be perfect. They were more than eager to live as they always did and cared nothing for what happened beyond their borders. Even the loss of divine magic did not change society overmuch; the loss of House Mystic and divine magic was felt, but they had arcane magic to preserve their old beauty.

The Dragon Empire was the notable exception; the rumors of the Dark Queen’s forces wielding divine magic was enough for even the inwards-looking aristocracy to take notice. Even the Dragon Empire was wary of the elves: Silvanesti had lost virtually none of its magical resources post-Cataclysm such as a giant thorn hedge surrounding their country. But from the elven perspective, you had these ‘barbaric’ humans, goblins, and whatnot fighting alongside mythical dragons and calling divine aid from one of the ancient gods of evil and whose territory now bordered the forest. Both sides knew that war would come eventually. The Silvanesti king Lorac signed a nonaggression pact as a stop-gap measure to covertly build up his forces, but even that was not enough. The Dragon Empire invaded Silvanesti, and the nascent nation would have its first major war with the oldest surviving civilization on Ansalon.

It went terribly for everyone; the elves had faerie allies, arcane magic, and their thick forests concealed many traps for the dragons flying overhead. But the Dragonarmies were ruthless, had healing magic, expendable draconian troops, and the terrible might of dragonfire. When they marched upon the capital of Silvanost, King Lorac in his desperation used the Dragon Orb to drive off the invaders. He succeeded, but at the cost of his people.

Today Silvanesti is a chamber of horrors: the barrier hedge now opens up in random places to close up on travelers and bleed them to death with choking thorns. Now-empty towns are inhabited by illusory murderous counterparts of their prior inhabitants. Once-benign fey have been driven insane and now torment any unfortunate survivors. And the land itself conjures nightmares based upon the inhabitants’ worst fears.

Interesting locations and adventure hooks involve rescuing those few elves still trapped, a rumored cache of Irda artifacts within the capital, and the laboratory of a House Magus wizard’s wards finally failing and leaving its contents open for the taking...if the PCs can beat some Dragonarmy* scouts to the punch!

*the Green Dragonarmy has given up on Silvanesti, having a bevy of troops at the northern border at best and too busy putting down insurrections in Khur.



Solamnia is so big its map gets a page of its own in the sourcebook, but it is now a country in name only. During the Age of Dreams and Age of Might it was an expansive realm ruled over by benevolent, chivalrous knights. When the Cataclysm fell the Knights of Solamnia tried their best to maintain order, but a combination of failing and outdated ideals along with the popular belief that the Knights themselves could’ve prevented the Cataclysm and failed* turned much of the populace against them. Now the Knights have retreated to Sancrist, and today Solamnia is a collection of independent city-states whose governments range from communes of peasants, guildmasters combining state and profit, to warlords hardly better than the Dragonarmies occupying the eastern provinces. The Knights of Solamnia have a token presence in prosperous Palanthas, the largest city on the continent, although they mostly guard the High Clerist’s Tower which functions as the mountain pass into said city.

*This is a reference to Lord Soth, a former Knight of Solamnia tasked with ending the Kingpriest’s reign of terror but failed in his mission when he gave it up to kill his wife suspected of infidelity.

The interesting locations and adventure hooks include the High Clerist’s Tower whose grounds are sacred to the Gods of Light, the haunted realm of Nightlund whose battered militias are barely defending their communities, and a false religion known as the Believers of the Restoration who pretend to be all about peace and love on the surface but are violent and corrupt. They’re behind more than a few murders of Solamnic Knights.

Southern Ergoth is hardly a nation in comparison to its northern cousin, its territory divided up between relatively isolated groups who want little to do with each other. The old capital of the Ergothian Empire, Daltigoth, is now a stronghold for ogres and hill giants that have thrown in their lot with the White Dragonarmy, while the Silvanesti and Qualinesti refugee colonies are not getting along with their native Kagonesti cousins. Zhea Harbor is the major human province who is mostly kept functioning by funds and soldiers from Northern Ergoth. But despite these divisions, Southern Ergoth is a beautiful land home to idyllic glades and scenic prairies.

History Section posted:

As with most empires, the Ergothian leaders became tyrannical, lording their power over their people. This uncompromising political view led to the Rose Rebellion, in which Vinas Solamnus and the Army of Ergoth joined rebel forces and led an attack against Daltigoth. Emperor Emann Quisling was forced to surrender and accept Solamnus’s terms to grant the eastern regions Independence. The lands Surrounding Daltigoth remained loyal to the emperor, but the empire’s Dominance dwindled.

Lol they had an emperor named Quisling. Interesting sites and adventure hooks include the Solamnic Knight outpost of Castle Eastwatch, the various ogre factions jockeying to claim leadership of Daltigoth, a secret underground library beneath said city which the PCs are hired to scope out and retrieve what books they can, and a transparent ghostly citadel whose ghosts are trapped in a cycle of reliving the night of the Cataclysm.

quote:

This walled city was the location that many of the humans fled to for safety when it became clear that Daltigoth was lost to the ogres in the aftermath of the Cataclysm. The size of the town swelled as more and more refugees arrived. Disease killed many of the inhabitants before the healers were able to get the sickness under control. Unable to determine the fate of the rest of the empire, a regent was chosen to act on behalf of the emperor. Regent Belin Dasoto was a former cleric of Mishas (Mishakal) who survived the Cataclysm. It was largely due to his knowledge of disease that anyone at all survived from the widespread illness. Plus, Regent Dasoto was known to be connected to the former imperial bloodline. Dasoto took the reigns of Zhea, and led the people through the darkest years of the Cataclysm.

Unfortunately, he can be said to have been the last righteous ruler of Southern Ergoth. His sons, influenced by petty nobles who survived the fall of Daltigoth, were little more than tyrants, or puppet rulers.

I dunno if said former cleric consciously forsworn Mishakal’s aid, but here he sounds like he’s still living by her principles.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 7



Taman Busuk is the name of the cold and rugged badlands and mountain ranges which dominate central Ansalon. It is home to two cities of note, Sanction and Neraka, the latter of which has given the designation “Nerakan” to its inhabitants both rural and urban. Most of the societies are tribal humans, goblinoids, gnolls, and some exiled Zhakar dwarves, but the city of Neraka is notable for being the origin and capital of the Dragon Empire with Sanction its military stronghold and only natural harbor. Society is gradually industrializing with the increasing militarization of the Dragonarmies, and all sorts of monstrous humanoids, mercenaries, and dark pilgrims of Takhisis have made Taman Busuk a melting pot of evil.

Pretty much every settlement of note counts as an interesting location due to the presence of all manner of wickedness, although even in these desolate lands there are underground freedom fighters angered at Takhisis’ dominance. An enchanted pre-Cataclysm feature known as the Ancient Road is mostly crumbled, but in some spots its magical tube-shaped force fields* still linger. Godshome is a bow-shaped depression in a mountaintop that bears an unknown power of the Gods of Good, while the Tower of Gargath’s long-dead owner was reputed to hold the Graygem but may still contain other aberrant features.

*count as Globe of Invulnerability and Wall of Force in appropriate locations.

Thorbadin is one of the three dwarven nations in Ansalon and perhaps the most well-known and iconic among Dragonlance fans. Part of the Kharolis Mountain Range, it is a two-sided world. On the surface of the rugged terrain live hill dwarf communities, but beneath the ground lie countless tunnels of interconnected cities, not all of them inhabited. At the heart of these tunnels is the metropolis of Thorbadin which surrounds a gigantic stalactite known as the Life-Tree which holds entire neighborhoods. Its government is led by a Council of Thanes made up of the most powerful members of the respective dwarven clans, and the realm is hardly united on any matters due to the legendary rivalry between the mountain dwarf and dark dwarf clans. Things will only get worse when the Red Dragon Highlord Verminaard convinces the dark dwarf leaders to support him in an invasion of the kingdom in exchange for appointing them leaders above all thanes.* The hill dwarves are a people apart, ruled by their own local town councils and forbidden entry into Thorbadin.

*Spoilers: They both try to screw over each other during the Dragonlance Chronicles.

quote:

Of all the dwarven clans, it has only been the devout Daewar that have kept the worship of Reorx alive throughout the centuries. The forgers of the Daewar clan still maintain the same level of dedication and reverence for their god as the day he disappeared from their midst.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 8

Interesting locations and sites include an exiled slum-city of Theiwar (dark dwarves) who backed the wrong thane in their clan’s civil war; the main Theiwar city of Theibardin which is located beneath an underground lake and whose inhabitants are interestingly noted as “living lives much like the other dwarves” albeit with little joy; the rough and tumble city of Klarbardin* whose clan is notable for a large number of insane members and whose walls are built out of poisonous quicksilver; inter-religious warfare between Daewar over a holy icon; a nest of wyvern who took the only key able to open the Tomb of the Thanes; and insane Klar cultists who are kidnapping gully dwarves to sacrifice to a deep shaft they call the Well of Souls. In the last example they’re picking their victims because the other dwarf clans don’t care about the gully dwarves, so it’s up to the PCs to do anything about this.

*The Klar are the “working class” of the mountain dwarf clans and notable for having a higher than usual number of insane people. Even so, they are not the dark dwarf/derro clan of AD&D adventures: that belongs to the Theiwar.

Throtl is a nation at war with itself. Roughly two-thirds of its population are goblins and hobgoblins, the remaining third humans. Said humans have a meager, old-fashioned feudal life where minor noble families oversee their protection* and discourage women from taking up martial occupations. They and the goblinoids have been at war for generations, and there have been attempts by Throtl’s king to petition to become part of Solamnia. This is complicated by the fact that other nobles are not keen on become subservient to a foreign power and have been able and willing to overthrow kings for this, and Solamnia has enough problems on its plate with the Blue Dragonarmy as-is.

*an ideal Throtl’s rulers have rarely lived up to, given that they’re all descended from warlords and bandits and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

As for the goblinoids, they are much more organized and whose once-various tribes have been united under Chief Blackmaw. The warlord has a harem of female hobgoblins who are worshipers of Takhisis, granting him a magical advantage over his now-dead rival contenders.

Most of the interesting locations and adventure hooks involve the goblins as enemies, although there are some interesting variations such as a hidden dwarven waystation which can be found via a treasure map, a strange perpetual supernatural storm reaching all the way to Lemish, and even a rare animal merchant offering the PCs money for worg pelts.

Yes, an MMORPG meme is an adventure hook.

Zhakar is our final entry for this chapter. Once known as the kingdom of Thoradin in pre-Cataclysm times, the place is now a den of misery and evil. The only major surface-ground sign of the dwarves is the well-guarded Zhakar Keep, from which emerge arms dealers who trade weapons to the neighboring Dragon Empire. Beneath the surface lies the true extent of their kingdom and their depravity. An omnipresent fungal disease causes the dwarves’ hair to fall out and skin to flake, forcing most of the populace to dress in black cloth from head to toe. Their culture encourages sadism and the pursuit of wealth; their prisons are dens of horror, while their large buildings and palaces are tackily-decorated with gems and artwork. The fungal disease and their own culture generates a higher than normal number of insane members who are exiled from the city or imprisoned.

Interesting locations include a surface village meant as a trading outpost with neighboring ogres who find the dwarves a bit too creepy for their tastes; a range of summit ridges haunted by undead; a network of technological chambers built to harness the energy of underground volcano vents; and a secret tunnel being dug underneath the city of Sanction. The adventure hooks include helping a traveling freak show circus evade the Zhakar chasing them down, and investigating the Cult of the Worm who believes that a massive worm-like entity sleeping beneath their kingdom will destroy the surface if awoken.

quote:

The Zhakar have largely given up on Reorx, or any of the gods. They believe they have been abandoned along with the rest of the world. Some Zhakar, however, have been known to leave offerings of finely crafted pieces in the ancient temple of Shinare. These items have been disappearing. No one yet has taken this as any clear sign of anything, other than the fact that someone has been stealing the offerings. The truth, however, is more surprising. Because of the strange disappearances, a sizeable number of dwarves have started venerating the Silver Master once again.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 9

Thoughts So Far: The second half of the regions and countries are good, although I notice a bit of sameness in places. Although quite different in tone, Qualinesti and Silvanesti are the same conceptually as are Thorbadin and Zhakar, albeit in the sense of “this dwarven/elven nation is normally okay but in trouble, but this dwarven/elven nation is utterly screwed!” Some of the adventure hooks in places like Nordmaar, Sancrist, Schallsea, and Throtl lean too heavily on a singular problem or theme without the variation seen in the first half of this chapter. But I would not call this a bad chapter overall; the overview of Ansalon at this time provides a lot of idea material for Dragonlance games even outside of the War of the Lance.

Join us next time as we take an in-depth look at the most iconic settlements and dungeons in Chapter Four: Cities, Strongholds, & Ruins!

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!


How well defined are these adventure hooks? Like the ANCIENT WORM BEAST and the ANCIENT AZTEC JUNGLE BEAST, do they actually stat them or anything or just leave all the work to the GM?

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




FoldableHuman posted:

To whet everyone's appetite even more, here's the cover of the one Dragonlance novel set in said location.


Realistically I expect to be disappointed. I bet the sourcebook is gonna have less than 150 words on the subject, and be pretty generic.

I…her…her head.

Is she owl-kin?

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017



That Old Tree posted:

I…her…her head.

Is she owl-kin?

At least it's not an air-quotes sexy pose that would sever her spine? I guess?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Dawgstar posted:

At least it's not an air-quotes sexy pose that would sever her spine? I guess?

Still manages to get boob and butt in the same shot, which was the entire point all along.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

PurpleXVI posted:

How well defined are these adventure hooks? Like the ANCIENT WORM BEAST and the ANCIENT AZTEC JUNGLE BEAST, do they actually stat them or anything or just leave all the work to the GM?

Each adventure hook is roughly a paragraph; every country can range from 2-5 pages, and the bulk of that goes over the nation's general history, major population centers, and interesting locations. So they're more inspirational things for DMs to build their own thing rather than statting everything out.

On the other hand, Chapter 6 is nothing but stat blocks and descriptions of notable characters during the War of the Lance. 80, in fact, including stats for people most PCs would reasonably not want to fight like Otik Sandath the owner of the Inn of the Last Home. So there are some characters in the hooks who do get referenced, but these aren't necessarily the norm.

Edit: Also I hope that the Dragons of Krynn voters will forgive me, but almost every day for the past month I've been writing Dragonlance review posts. I more or less covered 3 books, 5 so far if we're counting my 3rd Edition revisions of the AD&D Chronicles adventures (Dragons of Autumn/Winter). After I finish up War of the Lance I may end up taking a break or review another setting/product line for a change of pace.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 21:49 on Jan 4, 2020

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



DL10: Dragons of Dreams

Oh boy does this one ever suck poo poo. Like, okay, there have been bad DL modules so far. Oh boy have there ever been ones that wouldn't be fun to play in. And there have been adventures that, as-written, the players would be incredibly unlikely to ever make it through without the Obscure Death rule saving their bacon. But DL10? I think it may be the first one that's actually loving impossible to run as written.

You'll find out why in part 3, gently caress this module.

So, remember back in DL6, when we split the party? This is when we finally get back to the rest of those losers!

Chapter 1: Griffon's Flight



So we're back in Tarsis when the Blue Dragonarmy attacks. The first half of the party escapes south out of the city, but this half of the party gets immediately dogpiled by invading forces when the elf they're hanging out with(Alhana) whistles up a pile of griffons and goes: "WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE." If the players say yes, Chapter 1 is instantly skipped. If they say, "no, we wanna stay here and save people" or "no, you seem loving shady you knife-eared box of dicks" chapter 1 exists entirely to punish them. The only thing they can do that won't instantly TPK them is to leave Tarsis and head east as fast as possible to hit the border of Silvanesti where Chapter 2 starts. Anything else triggers the ol' classic "enemies attack until you lose," except rather than a TPK the PC's get captured, lose all their weapons(which should include a good few magical ones) and then Alhana shows up and rescues them. So they get back on the railroad, just heavily punished for thinking they got to make any choices.

While wandering the plains eastwards to Silvanesti, the party might also think they're being smart by foraging for food. But any berries they collect and don't eat instantly will rot overnight and the smell will worsen all random encounters for the whole day! Ha ha! gently caress you, PC's for thinking you were intelligent!

The only interesting part of Chapter 1 is when the players reach the border of Silvanesti, they'll cross a river and see a PROPHECY in the waters telling them how to win the module. See, for whatever reason, the solution to the final puzzle is randomized and revealed in the prophecy. I don't get why, it would somewhat make sense for a tournament module, to prevent it being easily remembered and gamed by players with sticky brains, but for a module you'll almost certainly only ever run once, and with one group, it seems like a very pointless thing.

Anyway, once the party is past the borders of Silvanesti, Chapter 2 and the real suffering fun begins.

Chapter 2: The Bleeding Forest



So what happened to Silvanesti was that their king, Lorac, was like: "oh poo poo these loving dragonarmies are invading, better mess with this highly suspicious magic orb" and then he did and he hosed it up and now Silvanesti is all Silent Hill. It's weird, murderous and full of illusions. In fact, almost every single enemy in Silvanesti is an illusion, which means the players might disbelieve them into not existing, except this happens per illusion, per player, so half the party succeeding at disbelieving an illusory enemy just means they can't aid the other half who're still stuck with it. Illusory enemies technically only deal 1/4 real damage to players, but being knocked down to 0 HP still kills them, and they won't learn of the "fake" damage until the very end of the module.

Disbelieving is an Int check, and by default, at this stage of Silvanesti, most of the PC's will have a 10% chance of disbelieving something that's attacking them, while Tika literally cannot pass a disbelief check, and only Raistlin has a base chance of 25% or better. Speaking of, he's gained a whole 3 HP since last we saw him! Don't worry, though, basically every enemy will still one-shot him if they land a hit. So our Ra aren't thrown off too much for use in this.

Just to add up the fun, thanks to Dream Geometry, any time a PC is out of sight of the rest of the party for even a split second, they're magically lost, moved to somewhere random in the forest, and will have to deal with random encounters all by their lonesome for the period they're by themselves. In a worst case scenario this is 8 random encounter checks that can cough up one or more dragons a piece. Great way to get a TPK.

Now, to increase the fun, we've already got 7 PC's present, and 6 PC's away, but the missing PC's can still show up as dream versions of themselves, which the GM is encouraged to have played by their original players, which means you can end up dealing with a mad loving 13 players at worst. The GM is encouraged to be annoying and vague and keep the PC's thinking their characters might actually be present, also their real selves take 1/4 damage when their dream illusion selves do, so a sufficiently overkill hit could see non-present PC's explode like someone just stomped on a grape out of nowhere.

The goal of the PC's in every chapter of DL10 is to get deeper in the forest and reach King Lorac to end the nightmare.

Chapter 2 is primarily just awful random encounters over and over, like a fixed encounter that hits them with three elementals that can each do enough damage to flatten Raistlin in a single hit(1.8 Ra/32HP max damage from the toughest one) and enough to smush Alhana in one whack, too, if they roll max damage. The remainder of the party is "lucky" enough to be able to survive two hits. These elementals also have 16 Hit Dice, that's a potential shitload of health, so they'll likely get in a lot of attacks before the PC's win, if they win. One potential TPK encounter already, especially if the party got stripped of their magic gear in Chapter 1!

And then they also get strafed by a loving dragon, no breath weapon, though, so it's survivable, because Cyan Bloodbane, the dragon torturing King Lorac, for whatever reason "doesn't want to kill the PC's right away." loving stupid.

The only truly unique encounter in Chapter 2 is Tower Shalost. If the players find it and break into it more or less because they're bored, they can suffer through an arbitrary block-spinning puzzle that I couldn't even parse while reading the module(it feels like it would make a lot of sense if you could see it, but described by text I really can't wrap my brain around it. It may just be me that's the moron.), likely trial-and-erroring it and triggering multiple random attacks each time they do so, before getting through to the inner sanctum. I'm not descriving Tower Shalost because there's nothing but the puzzle and the inner sanctum, where they find Waylorn Wyvernsbane, an ancient druid that's slept for hundreds of years and is mostly only worth bringing along for some extra meat to smash into enemy illusions. He's dumb as a box of sticks, will succeed at literally no disbelief checks, almost as fragile as loving Raistlin and has recurring periods where he hallucinates that he's actually the legendary hero Huma. The reward, aside from Waylorn, is also a magic staff that the PC's can poke themselves with to tell how many HP they have(it shows a literal HP gauge). Technically it could also be used to poke illusions to tell they're illusory, but this gives them no bonus to actually disbelieving them, and also the staff is actually reasonably fragile and would probably get broken by incidental damage the first time they tried this otherwise-intelligent strategy.

If the players get lucky, they'll stumble on a river that'll carry them straight to the capital of Silvanesti... if they pass an arbitrary choice of which branch of the river to sail down. They have literally no clues as to which branch is the right one(coincidentally, the right one!), and picking the wrong one gets them into a fight with three extremely beefy water elementals and requires them to pass a strength check at -5 or suffer 1d12 damage from drowning... after which, they have to pass another strength check or suffer 1d12 from drowning... and so on, until they either pass it and get out of the river or just die. Caramon, Riverwind and Tanis are the only ones with the sufficient Strength to have a 50+% chance of making the check, and Raistlin only needs to fail two and he's probably dead. This is a real bullshit encounter to poo poo out on to the PC's.

Really, though, this chapter is just random encounter after random encounter sprinkled with a chance to make a non-canon buddy or get drowned in a river, and also repeated descriptions of how spooky they are. But hey, this doesn't sound so bad, right? Maybe the players will even disbelieve an encounter or two into not happening! What's so dogshit about this, you're gonna ask, Purple? Yeah just you loving hang on.

Chapter 3

At this loving point of the game, the GM will be running a minimum of 49 PC's and NPC's(assuming no one died on the way), 64 if the PC's picked up Waylorn, more yet if the random counters say they picked up some illusions of their non-present buddies along the way.

Kree! This is worse than the time you dreamed about having to go through 64200 old TSR supplements for a criminal investigation!

God you're... you're not loving kidding, Skeleton Warrior.

Next Time: I'll explain this dumb bullshit. Or I'll try. Dear God

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012

Truly Cursed


I have heard of Cyan Bloodbane. He's apparently a fairly iconic Green Dragon villain, and apparently helped set the mold for Green Dragon attitudes. However I hate is name what kind of Green Dragon is called Cyan.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



MonsterEnvy posted:

However I hate is name what kind of Green Dragon is called Cyan.

The kind of Green Dragon that wants dragon-slayers to show up to the fight all kitted out in electrical-resistance wards and kit instead of acid-resistance.

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017





This is around the point that the novels and modules were being written simultaneously, and you can tell that in the "playtest" sessions that formed the books only Raistlin passed a disbelief then raced off to end the module, and the DM just handwaved everyone else dying, because that's pretty much exactly what happens in the novels.

Hell, in the novels it's pretty much "oh, Raistlin, wow, you're such a big-dick mage that the dragon orb is scared of you so Cyan just goes away, wow, you did it!"

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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




Chapter Four: Cities, Strongholds, & Ruins

Whereas the prior chapter looked at Ansalon in the big picture, this chapter details more individual locations of prime importance during the 4th Age. Many of these locations featured in the Dragonlance Chronicles, some prominently like Xak Tsaroth and others merely mentioned or visited briefly like Qualinost. Like the prior chapter, these locations in question are detailed before the Chronicles’ beginnings.

Cities, Towns, & Villages

The settlement entries follow the standard 3rd Edition guidelines for communities. A settlement outlines a stat block detailing the government’s alignment, a list of important characters, dominant trade goods and religious faiths (expect to see “None” or “Takhisis [Dragonarmies]” here a lot) along with how many assets worth of steel pieces are in the community. Unlike other campaign settings magic item shops don’t really exist outside of Qualinesti and Wayreth* so the “steel piece limit” is likely not going to matter as much unless the PCs are seeking to buy land or ships, hire mercenaries, or the like.

*although one of the later Weis/Hickman books, Dragons of the Highlord Skies, mentions that the city of Neraka crafted and sold magic items related to Takhisis’ priesthood.

Flotsam is one of the few big port cities in the Balifor area, but it is so run-down it’s a miracle that traders use it at all. Although now under the official control of the Black Dragonarmy, it is still very much a den of lawlessness; the criminal underworld and occupying soldiers have a bit of a “hands off” policy towards each other as long as neither side causes too much trouble for the other. But the Dragonarmies make an exception for local rebel units, of which there are many ranging from the Silver Fox’s band of Khurish freedom fighters to Silvanesti refugees in hiding. The docks are now under lockdown by order of the Black Dragon Highlord, which has caused more than a bit of resentment and rebel sympathies among those who rely upon the sea for a living.

Haven is the largest city in Abanasinia and the center for the Seeker faith. It is a theocracy where the local religion rules via a council and the city guards both report to and are directly hired by them. Haven’s primary source of income comes from its outlying farming communities in addition to being a trade hub for the rest of the region, although the increasing corruption and mistrust among the Seekers has made the city not as friendly to outsiders in recent times. Albeit unknown at this time, the Red Dragon Highlord Verminaard made a deal with the church to help him find the Blue Crystal Staff in exchange for favorable treatment by “his goddess.”

Kalaman is a Solamnic city which transitioned to a wildly different form of government after overthrowing the Knights. Their rulers’ old lands were either torn down or redistributed among the former serfs, and all elected governors henceforth had to have no knightly heritage or renounce it and all of its privileges. The trade guilds soon became the predominant power, and a social safety net for the populace has made it so even the poor are supported.

This republican experiment came to an end when the Blue Dragonarmy besieged the city to use as a jumping off point for invading the rest of Solamnia. The Blue Dragon Highlord Kitiara Uth Matar commonly uses its castle as a base of operation when she’s not leading forces directly astride her blue dragon.

Mount Nevermind is a city unlike any other on Ansalon. It is the oldest home of the gnomish race where one can witness all manner of technological wonders. Its government is a democracy of various clan leaders and guild masters appointed by the general public, and its unconventional militia is formed of specially-trained mechanics whose devices are just as likely to decimate their own ranks as that of any potential invaders. The volcano’s central vent has long been sealed, with lava flows serving to power geothermal devices. The 35 levels of Mount Nevermind are connected and traversed by catapults known as Gnomeflingers along with more conventional lifts and cart tracks. The gnomes also have an extensive waste management system, and their garbage dump is filled with mutated monsters lurking among the toxic run-off and malfunctioning equipment; which by gnomish standards means it’s completely functional and never breaks down.



Neraka is the capital city of the Dragon Empire and its spiritual heart. Five camps from each Dragonarmy are permanently stationed here for its defense, and the city’s center is dominated by the teleported Temple of Istar which now serves a church to Takhisis. Most of the Outer City is full of dirty and claustrophobic streets, while the Inner City is much more well-kept and is home to high-to-do people in the imperial government and those working under them. Below the streets of Neraka, hidden to even the Dragonarmies, is the Undercity. These catacombs and passages are home to bands of resistance fighters as well as pockets of monsters.

The Temple of Takhisis is prominently important, and has its own one-and-a-quarter page entry. This is the final dungeon explored in the Dragonlance Chronicles, and much like the dungeons later detailed in this chapter is a brief overview rather than a detailed room-by-room analysis. Basically the temple is a macabre mockery of old Istar filled with dak pilgrims, and has features such as a permanent Desecrate spell, Glyph of Warding traps keyed to chromatic dragon’s breath weapons, and some details on the apartments and council chambers for the Dragon Highlords and Emperor Ariakas. The Foundation Stone has its own chamber deep within the bowels of the temple, trapping the souls of anyone foolish enough to touch or damage it.

Palanthas is the most populous city on mainland Ansalon (30,000 people) and is only beat by Mount Nevermind (60,000). After the Cataclysm rent Krynn asunder, Palanthas was left as the only significant deepwater port on the continent which survived relatively unscathed. Its beauty and prosperity have earned it the nickname the “Jewel of Solamnia,” and being flanked by mountains on three sides gives it an immense natural defense against invading armies. Only the pathway to the High Clerist’s Tower can one enter the city by foot. It is very much Dragonlance’s Waterdeep/Sharn/Greyhawk equivalent in being a city of adventure, although it only ever got a proper sourcebook of its own for the much-maligned SAGA System.

Palanthas’ most notable features include the spooky Tower of High Sorcery whose Shoikan Grove repels all intruders with immense fear, and the Great Library whose Aesthetics chronicle all manner of lore about Krynn. The head of the Aesthetics is Astinus, an immortal who has since existed since the Age of Dreams and tirelessly writes down all of Krynn’s history in a book known as the Iconochronos.

Port Balifor Is the Black Dragonarmy’s major headquarters and gateway to the Goodlund Peninsula. It is more prosperous than Flotsam, although it is still a place where decent folk must watch their backs. And unlike Flotsam the Dragonarmies cracked down hard on the local underworld, which once held the council of ruling merchants in its grip. Said merchants have now had their meetings suspended and their more prominent members “went missing.” A new underworld power player has snuck into the vacuum: the Duskmen are an organized crime syndicate of divine spellcasters of Hiddukul, god of trickery and dishonest dealings. They even managed to bribe some Dragonarmy officers in helping them smuggle illicit goods.

Qualinost is the capital of the Qualinesti elves. A near-perfect walled square, four tower keeps are connected by arches suspended hundreds of feet off the ground. The Tower of the Sun, home to Qualinesti’s government, is the tallest building rising 600 feet in the air. The place is very much an “idyllic foresty elf home,” where every dwelling once had a garden and music and poetry can be heard on every street corner. Now many of these homes and streets are now eerily silent, as more and more families pack up to sail for Southern Ergoth.

Sanction is the largest city in Taman Busuk and the Dragon Empire’s military center of operations. Its natural harbor opens out into the New Sea, giving the local Red Dragonarmy access to Abanasinia and Solamnia’s respective coasts. Created at the foot of three active volcanoes with canals and bridges containing the lava flows, it looks just as evil as the Dragonarmies inhabiting this town.

Sanction is a filthy city full of army camps, taverns and shops which cater to the soldiers, and former temples to the Gods of Light and more recent false gods whose foundations are now converted to the Dragonarmy’s use. The Temple of Luerkhisis is particularly important, for beneath its floors are the secret chambers which hold the metallic dragon eggs and from where new draconians are created.

Silvanost is a deserted city now inhabited by the shades of King Lorac’s nightmare-filled dreams. The former Dragonarmy green wyrm Cyan Bloodbane now manipulates the elflord as he clutches the Dragon Orb in his withered hands, using him as a proxy to further twist the beauty of the realm into things of evil. The insane dream logic of the place stretches and warps the length and direction of streets and the dimensions of buildings. Faces of elves screaming in misery appear as spectral figures upon doors and portals, while the illusory sounds and laughter of elven children are accompanied by tortured screams. A foul green mist is omnipresent and smells of burning flesh.

Solace is a cozy little village in Abanasinia, notable for most of its buildings not being on the ground but within the boughs of mighty vallenwood trees connected by rope walkways and bridges. It has existed in a relatively ideal state for hundreds of years; not even the Cataclysm could’ve dampened these peoples’ spirits. It is controlled by the Seeker Council in theory, whose High Seeker in town has been helping the Dragonarmy hobgoblin Lord Toede search for the Blue Crystal Staff. Solace’s major claim to fame is the Inn of the Last Home, an expansive and beautiful place with stained glass windows and delicious spiced potatoes.

Tarsis was once the most prosperous and beautiful city in Ansalon, rivaling even Istar’s capital. The Cataclysm took that all away, robbing its waters and leaving salt-soaked soil surrounding it for over three hundred years. It is a dying city surviving only due to the persistence of its people, the dilapidated academies, art houses, and remnants of its glories a daily reminder. The people are bitter about the loss of their old livelihoods, and came to blame mages, knights, and non-humans for their problems. It is a democracy in name only, its appointed Council members remaining in leadership positions for life due to corruption. The Dragonarmies sent emissaries promising peace, but in reality seek to occupy the city and use it as a base in Ansalon’s far south.

Tarsis’s most famous feature is the Library of Khrystann, one of the few remaining of its kind in the city. It is located beneath a block of abandoned buildings via a secret entrance amid the flagstones, and its caretaker Lillith Hallmark is an agent for Palanthas’ Order of Aesthetics. As such she is tasked with guarding the library from those of ill intent.

Strongholds & Bastions

Castle Uth Wistan is the family home of the Uth Wistan family of proud Solamnic Knights. It is a well-defended fortress complete with a drawbridge and moat, and its commander Gunthar Uth Wistan is coming to be a very prominent member of the knighthood. After the War of the Lance he’ll be appointed the Grand Master of the Knights, the first to take the vaunted title post-Cataclysm. There’s not much to say about the fortress proper: 21 rooms are detailed, but we don’t get things like where guards will occupy during a siege, possible double agents, or other potential adventure hooks.

quote:

19. Chapel. This is a chapel to the three gods of the Knighthood, Paladine, Habbakuk, and Kiri-Jolith. This chapel has been kept up throughout the Age of Despair, despite the absence of the gods.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 10

Darken Wood is an ancient Abanasinian forest avoided by most living creatures which...kind of doesn’t make sense given the factors of a forest’s ecology. Creepy ambient magic dims all forms of light, an omnipresent enchantment makes trails and paths seem to shift, and all those who die within its confines raise as undead, which makes me wonder just how many of the trees in this place are actually unliving. Centaurs and spectral minions go on patrol to protect the land from evil beings. The woods are presided over by a powerful unicorn known as the Forestmaster as well as the largest population of pegasi on Krynn.

The source of the strange darkness and undead spawn is due to an ancient curse priests of Takhisis placed upon the forest. An unlikely alliance between the Forestmaster and a nearby human king were tasked with finding a way to lift the curse. The king’s men are those afflicted, but at least they’re the kind of undead with good intent.



Flying Citadels are not a specific place so much as a type of aerial fortress the Dragon Empire would develop late in the War of the Lance. A priest of Takhisis and a Black Robe wizard conduct a ritual upon the grounds of an existing fortress, lifting the surrounding ground to be permanently airborne and “drivable” by a spellcaster tasked as the Wind Captain. While the Dragonarmies have significant aerial support through dragons alone, flying citadels are meant to be a sort of “aircraft carrier” for them as well as more conventional soldiers. The boons of a mobile fortress which is unimpeded by terrestrial terrain is obvious.

We have a sample flying citadel along with maps and major rooms numbered. A citadel can function as an effective Small Town, save that almost all of its inhabitants are combatants, as well as rules for what happens if characters try to take over or sabotage the magical runes responsible for keeping it afloat (paralyzing trap which also damages would-be saboteurs).

Topping out this entry are rules for magic item creation of flying citadels. While it’s theoretically within the limits of two 13th-level spellcasters, it can cost anywhere from 90,000 to 1.1 million steel pieces depending on the size of the base building. As cool as a flying base of operations may be, most adventuring parties may end up settling for a keep or tower than a bonafide castle unless the DM’s very generous.

Icewall Castle sits at the edge of the imposing Icewall Glacier, commanding a magnificent view of the surrounding tundra. Once a keep and lighthouse in the pre-Cataclysm southern plains, the encroaching glacier gave the place its current name. It currently serves as the headquarters for the White Dragonarmy and is split into two levels. The Upper Reach holds the courtyards and the White Dragon Highlord’s personal chambers, while the Lower Reach is mostly natural caverns which include a trapped remorhaz and the hoard of the white dragon Sleet. A Dragon Orb is the greatest piece in the wyrm’s treasure collection.

Great Library of Palanthas is one of the oldest buildings on Ansalon. It would not be much of an exaggeration to claim that it holds the history of the world within its halls. A group of monks* known as the Order of Aesthetics dedicate every waking hour to writing, keeping, and copying the knowledge contained within the library’s many tomes. The place is heavily guarded and kender are not allowed inside, and no book may be removed from the library without the Master’s permission (although books may be copied via paying a scribe). Said master, Astinus, is an immortal of unknown origin who spends time in his study with an artifact known as the Globe of Present Time Passing to remotely scry anywhere on Krynn and record what he sees.

*the scholar kind, not the martial artist kind.

The High Clerist’s Tower was built during the Age of Dreams by the founder of the Knights of Solamnia. It’s long-forgotten nickname of Dragondeath came as a result of being specially designed to trap and kill dragons via use of a Dragon Orb. Before the Cataclysm the leader of the Order of the Sword lived within the Tower and saw to its maintenance. After the Cataclysm it still stands proud, but no Solamnic dares set foot within its sacred halls. The High Clerist’s Tower would soon come to be the site of the most famous battle during the War of the Lance.

The High Clerist’s Tower is an expansive, multi-level stronghold inhabited by ghosts of former inhabitants. If a dragon orb is placed in a special chamber and activated, it will mentally compel dragons to fly into herring fish-bone patterned hallways which are easy for such creatures to enter but not so much to escape.



The Inn of the Last Home is Solace’s most famous establishment and fulfills the “you all meet in a tavern” trope during the Dragonlance Chronicles. Its ale and spiced potatoes are legendary, drawing people from Abanasinia and beyond. A massive spiral staircase around the vallenwood tree leads up to it, and at night the warm fireplace beautifully reflects light through stained glass windows. There’s not much else to say about it other than it has a nice and cozy feel to it. Even when the Red Dragonarmy invades Abanasinia and topples the tree, the dragons are careful enough to lay it down upon the ground first so the soldiers can use it as a local watering hole.

Pax Tharkas was once built by the elves of Qualinesti and the dwarves of Thorbadin as a sign of mutual friendship. Soldiers from both races manned the fortress, but after the Dwarfgate Wars it stood abandoned...at least for a time. The Red Dragonarmy occupied the fortress as a base for their eventual invasion of Qualinesti, and captured people are dragged off in chains to slave away in the mines. It is well-defended even before the full-scale invasion of Abanasinia, manned by draconians and goblins overseen by the Red Dragon Highlord Verminaard. A pair of red dragons, Ember and Flamestrike, are present, the latter a senile elderly wyrm tasked with watching over the children of slaves. A secret elven tunnel known as Sla-Mori is a potential weak spot for saboteurs to enter Pax Tharkas.

Ruins & Dungeons

Most of the below dungeons are visited by the PCs in the modules of the Dragonlance Chronicles. As such, they are not complete dungeons ready to run out of the box but more brief overviews of prominent inhabitants and locations. A few have maps, but are more ‘big-picture’ than individual room entries.

The City of Lost Names is a set of ruins within the northern wastes of Solamnia. The place was a glorious civilization built by people whose origins are unknown and once ruled over by mighty sorcerers. The city fell from grace when red dragons razed it, giving us the ruins of today.

Or at least that’s what current scholars think. The truth of the City’s destruction is at the hands of the gods themselves. The City’s most notable feature, unknown to most, is holding a machine known as the Anvil of Time. This time-traveling dungeon was designed by a few sorcerous mortals while researching the Graygem and ended up discovering time travel instead. As the gods felt that mortals are not yet ready for such magic, the sorcerer’s refused to give up the Anvil. So the Gods of Magic along with Zivilyn and two evil gods committed genocide on the city via an army of red dragons.

Killing an entire civilization for the crimes of its leaders. Seems like Dragonlance’s gods never learn.

Dargaard Keep is the current residence of Lord Soth. It was once a beautiful place whose walls formed the shape of a rose if viewed overhead, but now it is a dark and dismal castle inhabited by the undead remnants of former knights and the same elven specters who convinced Soth to abandon his quest. There are two shrines to Mishakal and Paladine, the latter in particular is said to hold a blade of Good so powerful even Lord Soth cannot hope to touch it.

Derkin’s Tomb (known as Duncan’s Tomb in the Dragonlance Chronicles proper) is a giant floating island holding the tome of Thorbadin’s last dwarven king. The Hammer of Kharas lays within and whoever wields it will become Thorbadin’s king. A gold dragon known as Evenstar maintains a centuries-long lonesome vigil in guarding the tomb from intruders, and has set up a variety of traps and pranks to waylay trespassers.

Foghaven Vale is the resting place of Huma Dragonbane in what is now Southern Ergoth. A giant silver dragon monument looks out over the vale, and somewhere deep within the silver dragon is the ancient forge for the dragonlances. The Vale’s sole inhabitant is the silver dragon D’Argent, who in the Chronicles would lead the Heroes of the Lance to the forge by taking the form (or possessing the body of, depending on Edition) a character familiar to the party.

Godshome could not be in a less-suitable location. Deep within the Khalkist Mountains this sacred space is smack dab in the middle of the Dragon Empire. It is in fact the place where the gods’ presence is in closest contact with the world of Krynn via the magnificent Glitterpalace. The castle is hidden from the view of those deemed unworthy, and opens up into a central nexus chamber where the worthy are teleported to other rooms. The Test of Wisdom confronts explorers with puzzles, illusory realities, and Escheresque architecture that can confound even experienced minds. The Test of Valor pits one against dangerous battles which test not just their martial skills but also their bravery. Finally, the Test of the Heart confronts one with their greatest failures in life, past events of shame and sorrow taking all-too-real forms. Those few who manage to best all of the Tests will gain some great boon from the gods.

quote:

Explorers favored by the Gods may find even more than they bargained for at the heart of Godshome—an entrance to the fabled Glitterpalace of Paladine. This place has long been considered by many to be little more than a legend, the faint hope of those who cling to desperate dreams. Such dreams of long ago, when the Gods watched over the people of Krynn, have become the staple religion of the needy in the 4th Age, and stories persist, telling of those who found Godshome and entered this proving ground coming forth healed of some deadly ailment, or carrying with them the knowledge of the True Gods.

The People Didn’t Leave the Gods, The Gods Left the People Counter: 11

Istar sank into the middle of the Blood Sea, and the ruins of the capital are still in surprisingly good condition. So much so that the Dargonesti sea elves have settled among these ruins. The heart of the Maelstrom, that massive whirlpool touching almost every shore in eastern Analson, is actually spawned from an open portal to the Abyss located in the pit of the city. Although the Maelstrom’s outer ridges can be safely coasted and used to sling-shot a ship through the Blood Sea, those who end up too close find themselves inevitably drawn into the center. The Dargonesti have some means of avoiding the effects of the currents and use their talents to save shipwrecked and drowning sailors. Present-day Istar’s most notable inhabitants include a red robe wizard by the name of Zebulah and his Dargonesti girlfriend, the monstrous King of the Deep who menaces the sea elves and whose life is connected to ten statues scattered about the place, and three hags who converted portions of the ruins into death traps.



Xak Tsaroth is the dungeon most Dragonlance players are familiar with, for it is the first dungeon you explore in the Chronicles to recover the Disks of Mishakal. In pre-Cataclysm times it was a city on the edge of Istar’s borders, but the Cataclysm sent it topsy-turvy via an earthquake and now it is broken into various uneven tiers. Now surrounded by utter swampland, no Abanasinians bother to visit. It is currently the site of a covert force of Red Dragonarmy soldiers using it as a base to search for the Blue Crystal Staff. They are quite curiously led by a black dragon instead of a red one, and the ruins are also home to a tribe of gully dwarves who are used as a labor force by the Dragonarmy and counterweights for an elevator-like lift mechanism.

Thoughts So Far: This chapter is both useful and too sparse. Detailing the major cities is a definite plus and gives some fodder for gaming material, but the strongholds and dungeons are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of them do not even have maps or detail just 1-4 rooms of which a dungeon does not make. The difference between a dungeon and a stronghold blurs a bit given that places like Pax Tharkas are definitely places PCs will visit while adventuring. All the same, having a War of the Lance sourcebook and not covering places like the Inn of the Last Home or the High Clerist’s Tower is downright criminal, so this was a bit of a compromise of a chapter.

Join us next time as we get our wargame faces on and learn about the great armies of the 4th Age in Chapter Five: The War of the Lance!

1994 Toyota Celica
Sep 11, 2008

by Nyc_Tattoo


Umm, is there any more information on this 'King of the Deep' who menaces the Dargonesti sea elves?

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



What is the Dragonlance Druid situation anyway.

Do they count as divine casters and were powerless while the gods were withdrawn?

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


MonsterEnvy posted:

I have heard of Cyan Bloodbane. He's apparently a fairly iconic Green Dragon villain, and apparently helped set the mold for Green Dragon attitudes. However I hate is name what kind of Green Dragon is called Cyan.

The kind with poison breath that was named by someone unimaginative.

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



Deptfordx posted:

What is the Dragonlance Druid situation anyway.

Do they count as divine casters and were powerless while the gods were withdrawn?

Yeah, in 1E they lose all their powers since they're just a Cleric subclass.

Warthur
May 2, 2004

WEIRD LOOKIN' DICK

FrozenGoldfishGod posted:

That idea, by the way, is one of the core ideas of Mormonism, which is why I said Mormonism runs strong through the very core of the setting, as well as the set-dressing like the Disks of Mishakal and the inaction of the Good Gods until their Prophet picked them up.
Honestly, it's a surprise that Goldmoon doesn't have to stick the disks in a hat and stick her head in it to yell out what they say to other people, lest people be killed by the holiness of what's on there.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Deptfordx posted:

What is the Dragonlance Druid situation anyway.

Do they count as divine casters and were powerless while the gods were withdrawn?

What FoldableHuman said.

However, I'd like to add that there was a bit of a change to 3rd Edition. Traditionally druids only gained spells from two deities: Habbakuk the good-aligned sea god, and Chislev the more all-encompassing neutral nature goddess. There was no "evil druid god" equivalent, although during the 3rd Edition conversion Morgion was made as an evil druid option due to his association with disease and decay which fits quite well thematically.

Chances are this feature existed during the SAGA System or a 2nd Edition rulebook but if so I'm unaware of it.

Warthur posted:

Honestly, it's a surprise that Goldmoon doesn't have to stick the disks in a hat and stick her head in it to yell out what they say to other people, lest people be killed by the holiness of what's on there.

After Paladine committed genocide with a meteor and is 'accidentally' killing people in Fizban form, she's gotta be extra-careful that the gods don't inadvertently wipe out their own worshipers. Again.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 21:45 on Jan 5, 2020

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



It should also be noted that when originally written, demihumans couldn’t be clerics to begin with, which may explain why so many of them retained their worship - they didn’t ever get miracles anyway. You can see this in some DL novels, like the Dwarven Nations trilogy, where the dwarves are fairly clearly faithful to Reorx but have no idea what divine magic is at all.

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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



DL10, Chapter 3: Hollow Glory



So, let me just explain that outburst from last time. As we enter Chapter 3, the GM is supposed to run a separate game for each character as they enter their own illusory dreamworld version of the Silvanesti capital... except each of them also have the rest of the party(and any illusory companions picked up along the way) present in their own dreamworlds, and still run by their own players, and no one's informed which dreamworld thread is theirs where they're real and which one is the one where they're an illusion.

Assuming the worst case scenario, if the entire non-present squad has shown up and been kept alive, and the party has also collected Waylorn, but assuming there aren't any threads being run where Waylorn, Alhana or the not-really-present characters are the "main characters," that gets us to... 84 "active" characters, spread over six separate sessions which all need to be run until they reach the tower at the center of the city, oh and at this stage the massive penalties to disbelieving illusions increase so that really only Raistlin is left with a ~10% chance of disbelieving any awful bullshit thing happening to the party.

This section is relatively light on "gently caress you for existing"-encounters, though, mostly Silvanost is empty and forgettable, populated largely by imprisoned elves, monsters disguised as imprisoned elves and illusions of imprisoned elves. Though of course, ha ha, there are still RANDOM ENCOUNTERS! A truly unfortunate party(the distances travelled are rolled randomly between encounters, so you can either skip between them instantly or risk up to six per, and there are five encounters for each group before they reach the tower) could end up hitting up to 30 of the loving things, up to and including getting attacked by Cyan the huge green dragon(at 54 HP only Tanis and Caramon won't be instantly wiped out by his breath weapon on a failed save. At 3 or 1.5 Ra on a failed or successful save respectively, Raistlin will always get wiped out if he hits the party with his breath weapon) or Beholders, which are no less scary in 1e than in later editions.

Oh and, ha ha, this is per party. So at worst the players have to deal with 180 random encounters just to get to the next stage of the game.

A special prize for potential encounter 23 in this section:

quote:

"The sounds of weeping clash with wild laughter‚ all coming from the side alleys. Suddenly you are set upon by elves gone insane!"

Roll 3d6 every time you run this Encounter to determine how many of these elves attack. Thus the Encounter will be different for each group.

Ah yes so very loving different because you don't know how many elves you have to murder each time. What's the matter, Niles, did you have a deadline? Or were you just too eager to get back to huffing lead paint for miniatures behind the company dumpster full of old Dragon Dice supplements?

Anyway, the other noteworthy encounters are an execution(with randomized executioner and executed), where interfering to save the executee will give you a hint that will help not at all, because it's not something you can do anything about. "YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH WILL BECOME YOUR WEAKNESS IN THE TOWER!" and we'll see what dumb poo poo that means when we get to chapter 4. Spoiler: It's extremely loving stupid. Another encounter gives them a chance to free a prisoner, who's either an evil spirit in disguise, an illusion of King Lorac who's evil, a water spirit(who doesn't contribute anything), the illusion of an elven cleric(who is, however, level 12, and thus actually quite useful) or an elf general who tells the party a story summarized as follows: A kid is lost in the woods and afraid, but falls asleep under the stars because Paladine is nice, and doesn't die, the end.

So after butchering like a couple hundred illusionary elves, the party eventually reaches the tower at the center of Silvanost...

Chapter 4: The Web of Shadow & Night

And we're still keeping up the loving stupid split illusionary parties thing, I'll note. Mostly Chapter 4 is the same as Chapter 3 except way more eager to kill the party. Illusions can literally no longer be disbelieved in any effective way, and here comes the whole "STRENGTHS BECOME WEAKNESSES"-thing which is mostly just "gently caress you for playing anything but a wizard." Fighters are reduced to mage Thac0 and saving throws, Rogues have their success chances at rogue-y stuff reversed(but the party has no Rogue if they're the canon one, anyway, so whatevs), Clerics and Druids get a crippling spell failure chance that gets worse the higher their Wisdom and Mages gain a full spellcasting level and steal the Thac0 and saves of Fighters.

The lack of a rogue is a problem since some potential encounters require lockpicking to proceed, plus one of the potential very first encounters will probably pulp most parties thanks to the reversed stats. Three Stone Golems that can belt out 1.3 Ra worth of splattered PC's, each, per round, when all party members bar Raistlin have been reduced to being completely useless? Yeah. Great show. One of the other potential first encounters is simply a locked door... that only the real Alhana can unlock, except there's only a real Alhana in one of the parties. Now, the lock could be picked... but the party has no rogue if it's the canon party. Congrats, Douglas Niles, you just provided a loving challenge that's unbeatable by the canon party unless they get real lucky.

After the front door, oh boy, old Nilesy gets real loving lazy. I'm sure that everyone's noticed that most editions of D&D have a "random dungeon generator" in the DMG, i.e. "roll to see if the next thing is a corridor or a room," and has briefly entertained using it to make a dungeon or perhaps a one-shot adventure before discarding that as lazy and silly. Not Douglas Niles, actual TSR RPG module author! In between every actual encounter, you're supposed to use that loving thing to generate random paths. Now, if you're pleanning to create weird, geometric dream logic areas? Possibly not a bad idea. But still, this is Niles, so I'm going with him being a lazy fucko. It's especially fun because we're now getting a potential random encounter per ten loving in-game minutes, with each having a 1 in 12 chance of Cyan Bloodbane or a Beholder. There are other encounters as well, but comparatively, they're quite forgettable.

The next forced encounter is a literal dragon, and note that this party has no Dragonlances to one-shot them with, and even if they had, their Fighters wouldn't be able to land a drat hit anyway.

But the dragon is, uh, also not a dragon? Which is weird because the dragon is an illusion, but it's covering up another illusion? Like in one case it's an illusion of a dragon that's actually a polymorphed illusion of one of the party members. In the other case it's an illusion that's covering an iron golem(which will absolutely loving paste the party so hard it's not even funny, it can kill over two Raistlins per turn. Alternately the dragon can be dead and it's instead a a Lich that'll one-shot the entire party with a Delayed Blast Fireball on round one. I don't loving get this, does the disguise drop when the dragon attacks? Or do they get attacked by the dragon unless they disbelieve it, and now there's another illusion that'll attack them instead?

Oh and the text actively encourages the GM to "target the players' weaknesses," it might as well be chanting for a TPK since one of the next potential encounters is loving Lord Soth, who's a laughable joke of a character, but a terrifying meatgrinder of an opponent. He can basically one-shot the entire party with a 20d6 damage fireball(120 or 6,66 Ra HP worth of damage at peak output), cast any Power Word spell(one of which is "Kill," it does exactly what you think it does) or just blender the party by being a more dangerous combatant than any member of the party even assuming their Fighters hadn't been downgraded to uselessness.

So at this point the party has probably clued in that they'll be fighting a dragon as the end boss of the module, and they stumble on to a room full of Dragonlances! Except either the lances are evil and attack them, or they'll come with a crazy version of Silvart who'll betray the party(1 in 6 chance per 10 minutes or any time the lances are used, because another dragon to fight is a great addition to any game) or the lances are literally guarded by an illusionary Takhisis(but remember, die in the illusion, die for real!) that roasts the party with breath weapons for 1d6+4 rounds before sauntering off, as if they'll even survive one round of that.

The only good part of this maze is an encounter with an illusionary Fizban that the party is actually allowed to fight and kill. The two alternate versions of this involve either fighting an evil copy of Raistlin(who's just as fragile, lol, it'll be like one turn and he's dead) or Berem(who's immortal! the book just says the PC's will have to "find some way of dealing with him" to get past him. REAL loving HELPFUL, NILES). Fizban is also guarding a dying copy of Berem that'll give the party some clues(i.e. "REMEMBER WHAT THE RIVER SHOWED YOU WAY BACK, LOSERS!") and then die. Which is honestly a bit weird because while Berem is very metaplot-important, the party met him for like five minutes back in DL4 and since then he's never been present or mentioned even once, which makes it feel like they included him there and then only way later realized they needed a Deus Ex Machina for the plot to work and hurried to make him real important and not just another throwaway NPC to clutter things up.

Eventually, however, the parties will arrive at the last encounter in the tower, Lorac's throne room, which contains five loving dragons, four illusions of Cyan Bloodbane, and one real version. At this point all characters also regain control over both their real versions and their illusionary versions, meaning each player can end up running a small army by themselves. Even so, five dragons with their breath weapons can basically wipe the slate clean in seconds, so probably the smartest thing to do is awaken Lorac, since waking him from his dream banishes all the illusions and makes Cyan leg it despite the fact that a single breath weapon blast would still clear most of the party out of the way.

Depending on the vision back when the party entered Silvanesti, they may have the option to either: have Alhana slap him, have Alhana hug him, have Waylorn, Goldmoon or the illusion of the elf cleric hit him with a Dispel Magic spell, yell the irrelevant story about the sleepy kid at him, break the Dragon Orb or kill Lorac. Only one of the first four will work, but the latter two will always work. Even if the party doesn't stab Lorac, he cries for a bit and then just dies anyway, so the smart move is absolutely for everyone to just alpha strike Lorac with everything they've got their hands on to take him down, forgetting the stupid, might-fail solutions(Lorac gets a save against all of them except for the weird story if that one comes up, and the Orb takes a decent amount of damage before it breaks).

So that's it, that's the exciting adventure of DL10. You get no loot, you save no one, all you do is wake up a couple of old men and pray that the migraine will somehow kill you before you need to run the sixth loving clone of your own character in yet another fight against twenty generic elves.

Kree! How did anyone ever play this poo poo to its conclusion? Douglas Niles is a psychopath!

Seriously this one is absolutely the worst most unplayable trash the Dragonlance modules have dropped on us so far.

Next time: More suffering! But at least it's a different flavour!

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