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Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015

PurpleXVI posted:

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.

It's like either* a "yo dawg, I heard you like..." meme, or "we need to go deeper" from Inception.

*like either, or either like?


Oct 30, 2013

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

Dragons of Dreams: 3rd Edition Changes

1. For the pregenerated heroes there are some changes. Alhana is a fighter/noble rather than pure fighter; Goldmoon has 8 levels in Cleric and 1 in Chorister, a prestige class from War of the Lance which is akin to a divine bard with song-based class features; Raistlin has 3 levels in the Wizard of High Sorcery Prestige Class, and for his Red Robe specialization he chose Magic of Independence which makes his magic harder to dispel; Riverwind is a multi-class Barbarian/Ranger rather than pure Ranger, as is Tanis who is a Fighter/Ranger and Tika being a Fighter/Rogue (both were pure Fighters in AD&D); finally, Waylorn Wyvernsbane is still a druid, but has 1 level in Barbarian and a black bear animal companion named Colbert.

2. Some of the Archetypes which serve as guidelines for running original PCs got updated. The Conscience, which Tika served, is meant to be the group’s moral compass. Waylorn Wyvernsbane, although a joining DMPC, is the Enigma who is meant to be the cliche “mysterious stranger.” Alhana Starbreeze is the Noble who is from a royal family of Ansalon’s great nations (not necessarily Silvanesti). Kronn-alin Thistleknot, a DMPC who will join up in a later adventure, is the Rebel, representing someone who is all about FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM. The Swashbuckler, the third DMPC archetype played by a Silvanesti sailor in the next adventure, is for the flamboyant warrior which is important given the adventure after this one has lots of sea travel.

3. The Red Dragon Inn, that place that got blitzkrieged shortly after Alhana Starbreeze and the party escaped via griffons, has a map. If the PCs decide for whatever reason to refuse Alhana’s offer to escape or stick around an adult blue dragon will arrive to hunt down and kill the PCs; if the PCs can drive off or kill said dragon, they will be able to safely escape.

4. There’s some more in-depth description of rules references in the DL Campaign Setting and the Player’s Handbook for the Plains of Dust and survival (weather, temperature, aerial combat rules due to flying on griffonback, etc). The loss of Constitution from starvation and exposure to the elements from travel is unneeded, for 3rd Edition has rules for all those things in the base rules. There’s some new places to visit which are given short descriptions, such as the Tower of Tears home to the souls of the dead who drank from its poisoned waters, and the village of Stone Rose which is a haven of outcasts and empty buildings so named for a petrified hedge maze of stone rose bushes.

5. The random encounters are given more detail than just meeting monsters and their number. There are lists for specific encounters and the monsters’ desire and tactics: harpy archers will use their songs to divert the griffons’ flight down to some ruins, while some centaurs paranoid from Dragonarmy soldiers invading their territory may approach the heroes in a tense stand-off when they make camp. A lot of the encounters in the Plains of Dust involve creatures capable of flight (or wait for the PCs to make camp on the ground), given that griffon-riding would render most groundbound enemies trivial.

6. There’s a half-page block of text for questions and likely answers from Alhana Starbreeze:

7. Several mandatory (aka non-random) encounters are added to when the PCs make camp. Some involve combat while others are role-play opportunities. One of them involves visiting some refugee elves in Stone Rose who aren’t dicks to the party for once. They’re happy to see Alhana and offer a roof to sleep under for the PCs and what passes for a meal under such tough times. There’s also two Silvanesti elf children who, while their parents don’t approve, will try to discreetly meet up with the PCs to learn about non-elves. I actually like this encounter for several reasons: it is one of the few humanizing touches of the elves during the Chronicles from those who aren’t DMPCs and shows the fact that they’re suffering from the diaspora. Contrast this with Dragons of Light, where they’re living high and mighty off of the exploited Kagonesti.

One other encounter I like is a temple home to a giant World Tree dedicated to Zivilyn the God of Wisdom. Those who sleep during camp will get a vision of finding a medallion in the tree, and a PC who ascends will find a Medallion of Faith and get the opportunity to become a Cleric of said deity. One of the combat encounters involves the griffons going wild as they smell one of their own, a young one who has been captured and tortured by four ogre barbarians and will immediately fly to aid their kin whether the PCs like it or not.

8. One of the in-game speeches by Alhana, where she describes the backstory of what happened to Silvanesti and her father, is moved from the Appendix under her character entry to a scene when the PCs arrive at the forest kingdom’s borders. The AD&D version makes reference to this when the party arrives at here too, but it’s moved for ease of convenience.

9. Disbelieving a dreamshadow enemy means that they treat damage from said creature as non-lethal. The PCs can still attack and fight said enemies unlike in AD&D.

10. Killing a Dreamshadow version of an existing character will not transfer damage over to the real one.

11. Literary aids and advice are provided for describing the nightmare realm of Silvanesti, to make it seem like an ephemeral dream whose logic changes on a whim and distance beyond 60 feet can be off for purposes of movement, ranged combat, short-range teleportation, etc. Some of this can be bad in the hands of the wrong DM, such as asking players to roll Will saves for no reason and simply shake your head while going “you don’t notice anything unusual.” To speed up play and die rolling checks to disbelieve an illusory encounter the party as a whole makes one Will save by the PC with the highest modifier, but others can aid another (add +2 to the roll) with successful Sense Motive checks.

12. There are several new random and set-piece encounters in Silvanesti, too. They include things like a fire elemental disguised as an elf on fire screaming for help, murderous pixies driving a tormented dire bear into the PCs’ path, an arcane ooze formed by the magical residue of Silvanesti wizards who tried and failed to halt the Nightmare’s expansion (it literally eats spell slots!). Some places which had no encounters gets an enemy or two, such as a Wyndlass (swampy barbed tentacle octopus) in Quinarest. Also there’s no “splitting up” of real and dreamshadow PCs. The DM can still covertly swap out a real PC for a dreamshadow, but those not part of the main party are presumed to be doing stuff offscreen. Or if a PC dies the DM can reveal that they’re a dreamshadow as a means of saving their bacon.

13. The Tower of Shalost’s puzzles can provide hints with successful skill checks such as Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering). Each level has a greater elemental of a different type for the PCs to fight. In the AD&D version the levels had Chaggrins/Ildriss/Harginn/Elemental Grues instead, which are monsters with which I’m not familiar.

14. Waylorn had just a head-shot in the AD&D version. In 3rd Edition he has a black and white full-body shot:

15. The Diviner of Life magic item which can be found in Waylorn’s tomb can also detect various negative status effects and undeath in addition to a target’s current Hit Points. It can also shine colors based on the percentage of their HP total to accurately measure the extent of their injuries (and thus how many healing spells are needed to make them good as new).

16. Various encounters in Silvanost are either bunched up or split into their own encounters to cut down on the variants for single encounters (which I go into more detail on in changes 15 and 16). The encounter with dreamshadow elves and a beholder in a locked box has been replaced with chain devils masquerading as the elves, and the box contains a spectre due to the beholder being copyright of Wizards of the Coast and not OGL.

17. The encounter with a mock execution has more elven spectators, who are treated as a mob rather than a small number of individual elves. The executioner and prisoner in AD&D can be a variety of forms based on the coin toss results at the Thon-Thalas River: for example, the executioner can take the form of Sturm Brightblade, the prisoner the head of the solamnic knights. In 3rd Edition the executioner is Lorac, and the prisoner has the form of either Laurana or Alhana Starbreeze . There are more examples of their interactions and how things can go (and for ways of freeing the prisoner).

18. The chained form of Loralon and the involved encounter takes a variety of forms based on coin tosses. But in 3rd Edition he tells the tale of the Dark-Knight Child, which is a Silvanesti fairy tale of a child-turned-monster who tormented elves in the woods, but during the Cataclysm felt safe and came to peace upon realization of Paladine’s power. Said tale is also one of the results in the original, but the person who tells it will be a near-death elven general under attack by flying ghost-birds.

19. There’s some new encounters in Silvanost proper: one involves a nymph tied to a tree and under attack by eight giant vultures who will give the most handsome male in the party her circlet of persuasion (bonus on social skill checks) and a kiss if freed. Another involves a fantasy realm of a dreamshadow Cyan Bloodbane being served hand on foot by elves and talks down to the party of their futile mission. And one I’m sure PurpleXVI will like, shows a dreamshadow PC with the Sage (Raistlin archetype) ruthlessly gunning down Fizban with spells while shouting “THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETE AND THE POWER IS MINE!” With his dying words Fizban will tell the PCs about the coin-toss in the river Thon-Thalas which will help them find the truth...after the PCs spent over a week traversing through this nightmare forest and likely already heard of it from Alhana.

20. The rules for subverting PCs’ statistics, such as attack progression and saving throws along with altered class features, is excised. It would be a much greater headache given the complexities of the D20 System. Instead the distortions provide for a simpler formulae: DCs for skill checks and saving throws are (the normal DC + the PC’s relevant modifier) - 10.

21. The mandatory and room-based encounters are more static rather than allowing for alternate options. For example, the tower entrance is guarded by a pair of stone golems rather than golems/mimic/trapped lock/skeletons as possibilities. Granted, this makes things less wonky and malleable, but the static options chosen are cinematic and cool (the illusory Towers in Solamnia have the PCs fight a lower-powered version of dreamshadow draconians, Kitiara, and her blue dragon mount Skie).

22. During the final fight with Cyan Bloodbane, the text advises to bunch up results rather than rolling individually for characters and dreamshadow counterparts due to the large numbers in this encounter.

23. Given how much easier it is to scale damage and in some cases alter d20 results like with the Luck domain, the “Breaking the Orb” possibility for resolution is much easier to do (roll a 1d20 for every 6 non-magical damage dealt to the orb; 18 or higher breaks it).

24. Alhana will gift the PCs with valued elven treasure for helping free her land. This includes the single Dragonlance if the PCs did not find the room containing it in the Tower, along with a host of other magic items such as a Flute of Wind Dancing and the sword Wyrmsbane (brother sword of Wyrmslayer found all the way back in Pax Tharkas).

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Jan 6, 2020

Sep 6, 2019

by sebmojo

PurpleXVI posted:


DL10, Chapter 3: Hollow Glory

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.

Weirdly enough the enounters with the Lich and Lord Soth might be the easiest in the module because Goldmoon is there and her "Turning Undead" table is inverted by this silly poo poo. So, Soth gets turned as a Skeleton (because he's a Special Undead) and the Lich gets turned as a zombie. Since she's 8th level I think Goldmoon Destroys both of them.

Mar 12, 2012
Alhana Starbreeze is going to rub so many players the very wrong way.

"oh the town was nothing but peasants"
"i'm elf princess, do what i say"

Also it's nice they excised the beholders, even if it was OGL nonsense. Beholders are horrid, horrid TPK machines.

Wait, and they make no sense. If you're wandering in a giant illusion field, and half your party is maybe-sort-of-magical illusions, wouldn't their anti-magic cone eye punch huge holes in it?

Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day

Nap Ghost

PurpleXVI posted:

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!

I'm glad that Skeleton Warrior is always here to help us through the pain of these DL modules.

Jul 8, 2003

Seatox posted:

Also it's nice they excised the beholders, even if it was OGL nonsense. Beholders are horrid, horrid TPK machines.

Wait, and they make no sense. If you're wandering in a giant illusion field, and half your party is maybe-sort-of-magical illusions, wouldn't their anti-magic cone eye punch huge holes in it?
Presumably not if they, themselves, are illusions.

Angry Salami
Jul 27, 2013

Don't trust the skull.
Are there real beholders in the Dragonlance world?

Feb 13, 2012

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

Angry Salami posted:

Are there real beholders in the Dragonlance world?

I hope not. Beholders suck.

Feb 4, 2012

Shocked I tell you
I like Beholder's but it does make no sense for there to be any there.

Also the idea of the separate dream worlds is not bad, but ideally the adventure in each of them should be fairly short, and each one should be different. From the sound of it here, you are going to be doing the same thing multiple times.

Oct 30, 2013

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

Chapter Five: the War of the Lance

Dragonlance is, at its heart, a wargame. Think about it: the huge amount of pre-generated PCs and DMPCs in the original adventures, the even larger number of mook hordes in encounters, the most iconic adventures involving massive battles, the backdrop of fighting against an evil empire, and the custom-made BattleSystem rules which came in various boxed sets for the AD&D versions. Chapter Five is all about giving you system-neutral advice and backdrops for how to set up the epic battles of the War of the Lance for your favorite wargame of choice.

When this book was released in 2004, there were quite a few fantasy strategy games on the market. Wizards of the Coast was pushing its D&D Miniatures line heavily whose streamlined D20 System rules simulated small-scale warfare. Malhavoc Press published Cry Havoc which had high production values for a 3rd party sourcebook. And this is not counting the many independent wargames existing outside of the D20 framework. Instead of committing to one system, Sovereign Press/Margaret Weis Productions opted to let DMs use their own rules of choice. And to help get a feel for proper conversion, War of the Lance provides outlines for terrain, troop numbers and divisions, and overall abilities of leaders and units in general 3rd Edition terms. There’s a sidebar with advice on how much your wargame system of choice should play an impact vs PCs being the stars of the show, and also to set specific goals beyond “kill everyone on the other side” to avoid monotony.

War in the Age of Despair

This first section goes over a discussion of how warfare changed after the Cataclysm, and how it was affected during the War of the Lance. For much of the 300 years after the fall of Istar, there wasn’t really any empires with professional standing armies on Ansalon: you had places like Ergoth and Blöde calling themselves empires as a throwback to lost glory, but most city-states and nations relied upon drafted peasant conscripts and militias. The major exceptions were societies with established martial traditions such as the Knights of Solamnia or the Daewar clan of Thorbadin, or cultures which have a universal ‘warrior class’ due their small numbers and living in dangerous conditions such as the hill dwarves. Bandits were very common and were often drawn from deserters, mercenary companies, and regular people who decided for various reasons to take from others by force. The loss of divine magic and retreating of wizards from mainstream society meant that warfare looked closer to real-world medieval conflicts than typical high fantasy faire. The Dragon Empire was of course the major exception, and Emperor Ariakas read up extensively on pre-Cataclysm civilizations and their military forces to use as his blueprints for forging the Dragonarmies.

We get a house rule for War Without Clerics, an alternative means of providing a party healer during times when divine spellcasters didn’t exist or were in short supply. Basically, every time a character suffers hit point damage from a single source it’s marked as its own Wound. A character can then roll a Craft (Alchemy), Heal, or Profession (Herbalism) to treat individual Wounds with a DC equal to 20 + the total number of damage dealt. Success means that all of the damage is converted to non-lethal damage and can thus naturally heal faster.

This is not only underpowered given how fast damage can outscale skill check modifiers, it is also a book-keeping nightmare. But as a partial defense, this was made in 2004 at a time when the D20 System’s flaws weren’t being rigorously analyzed or common knowledge to the point they are today. Particularly in regards to the caster/noncaster disparity, which even Wizards of the Coast was in denial about. Combine this with the popularity of “low magic campaigns” and you ended up with rules like this.

This section ends with Dragonarmy Politics After the War. The forces of evil did not instantaneously collapse, but shrunk in size and became loose alliances of individual Dragonarmies’ territories. The Red Dragonarmy has fallen to infighting in northeastern Ansalon; the Blue Dragonarmy consolidated most of the Taman Busuk and is currently fairing the best of the five; the Green Dragonarmy was overwhelmed in Khur and more or less exists on life support with its remnants joining the Blue Dragonarmy; the Black Dragonarmy’s last highlord has just been assassinated and none of the underlings have managed to claim the reigns yet; and the White Dragonarmy is more or less the same as it was pre-War of the Lance in Icewall save that they’ve been reduced to governing thanoi tribes.

The Dragon Empire never truly died: its name and legacy was ended after the Blue Lady’s War, when the Blue Dragonarmy’s flying citadel was destroyed during a failed invasion of Palanthas. But the scattered remnants would be reborn 13 years later as the Knights of Takhisis, who during the dawn of the 5th Age would grow to prominence once again on Ansalon. As of the current Dragonlance timeline, the death of Takhisis turned the knights into a more secular organization of Nerakan nationalists.

The Dragonarmies

Note: the above portrait is not official artwork from this book. This chapter is very light on illustrations so I needed to find something thematic to break up the walls of text. This is drawn by StevePalenicaStudios of Deviantart.

This section goes into detail on the greatest threat to the free peoples of Ansalon. The Dragon Empire is a military dictatorship with theocratic underpinnings: virtually all of its leadership is part of the war effort, and instead of the steel piece standard their currency system uses ingots of various metals whose value is determined by rarity and weight.* If I had to guess it’s because such material is more suitable to crafting into practical instruments of war. Each of the five Dragonarmies is a professional standing military unit divided into smaller Wings, and its leaders govern civil as well as military affairs. The five Dragonarmies are so named based on both geographic and aesthetic value: chromatic dragons tend to (comparatively) get along better with those of their own clan and are typically assigned to terrain with which they’re ideal: this is why the Green Dragonarmy was chosen to spearhead the Silvanesti Campaign, and why the Whites were relocated to Ansalon’s far south.

*This is not in the book proper, but discussed as part of an unrelated Let’s Read of 1st Edition Dragonlance Adventures.

Dragonarmy military structure is hierarchical and highly mobile. Although nobility still exists in some occupied provinces the ruling classes are often either overthrown if belligerent or incorporated as officers into military ranks for those houses which sided with the Empire. Takhisis and Ariakas do not tolerate resting on one’s laurels even if one’s heritage is supposedly “fit to rule,” and in theory a mere human commoner or ogre brute can become Highlord one day. This acts as a positive morale boost for soldiers to join and perform well, and it’s not uncommon for officers to jockey and sabotage each other’s efforts or outdo each other to climb the ranks. In practice, the Dragonarmies are quite racially stratified: draconians and goblins are often used as expendable troops, and humans disproportionately make up officer ranks over that of other races. The Black and White Dragonarmies are the major exceptions to this, the former having many ogres and the latter being composed heavily of minotaur and thanoi among all its ranks.

We get stats for the most common troop types divided by race: most of them are either base monster stats for multi-Hit Die creatures such as ogres, save that they’re more likely to have “proper gear” such as chain shirts and battleaxes than primitive hide armor and clubs. Specialized military units may have 1 to 2 levels of Warrior, while heavy infantry/cavalry and races renown for organized tactics* may have 1 level in Fighter. Only proper Officers, 6th-level Fighters at the minimum, are likely to have masterwork gear and whose statblock can represent a variety of archetypes ranging from local governors and non-commissioned officers to commanders of smaller Wings.

*such as minotaurs and hobgoblins.

The Black Dragonarmy serves more as a domestic police force than a mobile military unit, covering the regions of central and eastern Ansalon. Its priorities are more geared to supporting the larger armies in newly-occupied territories as well as asset management. The Black Dragon Highlord Lucien remarkably turned the ogres into a disciplined fighting force, and it’s the only Dragonarmy which has more giant than draconian troops. Their forces are trained in wilderness survival, being drawn from tribes in rugged regions and have a high number of scouts due to this.

The Blue Dragonarmy is the most skilled and organized of the five Dragonarmies thanks in no small part to its leadership under Kitiara Uth Matar. She was entrusted with the invasion of Solamnia for this very reason, and thanks to an alliance with Lord Soth is the only Dragonarmy making use of necromancy. Its Reaper Army is notably dangerous as battlefield casualties provide them with fresh troops to continue the assault. There is a distinct lack of goblinoid troops on the front lines in spite of an alliance with Throtl due in no small part to Kitiara loathing their race, and they’re kept in reserve units.

The Green Dragonarmy may not be as poorly-funded as the White Dragonarmy, but its Highlord Salah-Khan may be in the most dire straits. He helped the Empire take over Khur and nearby regions as a tribal warlord, making him even more unpopular among the rival clan. After his forces suffered heavy losses during the Silvanesti campaign, he’s laboring under Emperor Ariakas’ steely gaze to make up for these losses along with the domestic insurgencies growing under his territory. The Green Dragonarmy is mostly a domestic military unit, making use of psychological warfare, spies, and ambush tactics to disrupt rebellions and make civilians more likely to cooperate with their oppressors in the belief of staving off worse punishments.

The Red Dragonarmy is the most widespread and well-funded of its kind. It is notable for having the only Highlord, Verminaard, who is a cleric of Takhisis. As such its leadership is the most versed of the lot in magical affairs. Most of Verminaard’s troops have masterwork equipment,* and his red dragon’s terrorizing fires have been so fearsome that they caused more than a few enemies to surrender before the fight even began. His current duties are the occupation of Abanasinia, rooting out any signs of the return of the true gods along with their artifacts. Verminaard prefers to use draconians and goblins over humans despite being human himself; the draconians have been brainwashed into the military life, and he won over many goblins by promising them the chance to strike at their ancient foes in Qualinesti. The human troops coming to Sanction are disproportionately mercenaries and as such the Red Dragon Highlord doesn’t trust their motives as much.

*Something which is not actually reflected in the Dragonlance Chronicles.

I actually like this, for it more or less cements a previously-undiscussed aspect of the original Dragonlance adventures. Rank-and-file human troops don’t really show up as encounters in invaded countries until the last stages of the War of the Lance. The Abanasinian invasion was almost entirely draconians and goblinoids, and human Dragonarmy soldiers are typically encountered as Black and Green troops in Eastern Ansalon. This sourcebook more or less explains why Verminaard has almost no humans working under him during the time of Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

The White Dragonarmy is the smallest and least-funded of the Dragonarmies. It used to be an auxiliary force to the others, although after the Silvanesti Campaign its Highlord petitioned Emperor Ariakas to relocate his forces to Icewall. Being an exiled elf, many humans in the Empire are prejudiced against Feal-Thas, so his forces are disproportionately filled with minotaurs and thanoi who are too distant from the elven realms to have really formulated any long-standing rivalries. All of his troops are equipped for cold weather, and polar bears serve as his cavalry.

The Forces of Whitestone

Although resistance has existed for as long as the Dragon Empire got its dark beginnings in Neraka, organized opposition on the international level would not occur until representatives at the Whitestone Council came to an agreement in the Winter of 351 AC. When the Heroes of the Lance introduced the creation of the Dragonlances and secured victory at the High Clerist’s Tower, the armies of good became a force to be reckoned with. Over the next year they would march across Solamnia under Laurana, who despite her young age more than proved herself worthy of the title of the Golden General. After the deaths of Emperor Ariakas and the Dragon Highlords, the Whitestone forces would fight the Dragonarmy remnants in some places and sue for peace in others.

The military structure of the Whitestone Council is more diverse than the Dragonarmies, owing to the composition of different national and ethnic units serving. Gunthar Uth Wistan functions as the Lord General making decisions for the allied armies as a whole, with Laurana directly under him. Below them both each army has its own sub-commanders.

Solamnic Forces are the most experienced and well-trained among Whitestone’s armies. There are only sixty-three true Knights of Solamnia, with the vast majority comprised of volunteer soldiers, squires, and mercenaries. The Solamnics have the most effective cavalry, and when the metallic dragons would join the war a third of them comprised the majority of the Dragonlance-bearing aerial cavalry. Solamnic heavy infantry units and mounted archers are highly competent, being 3rd and 2nd level fighters respectively, and even the light infantry/cavalry who are 1st-level warriors all have masterwork equipment.

Elven Forces include both Qualinesti and Silvanesti soldiers. They are more mobile than their counterparts, made up of light infantry, light cavalry, and archers with some elite units of griffon riders. The bonds with said griffons are so strong they chose to remain on them instead of dragons for the duration of the war, and their aerial advantage made them expert scouts and messengers between all the armies.

Dwarven Forces are a bit unconventional. None of the three dwarven kingdoms sent representatives to the Whitestone Council, and Thorbadin in particular was busy enough tending to its own domestic affairs. Kayolin had a strong alliance with the Solamnic humans and many dwarves could be seen aiding their taller allies on the battlefield. Dwarven units are exclusively infantry and crossbowmen, and barring Klar and Aghar units they all have 1-3 levels in Fighter. The maddened Klar are fierce 1st-level barbarians, while the gully dwarves can hardly be called soldiers as 1st-level Warriors but are more than eager to fight for the looting and scavenging opportunities.

This kind of goes against the gully dwarves’ penchant for cowardice, don’t you think?

Other Forces includes volunteer units, militias, and mercenaries who can be from a variety of backgrounds. They are represented with human stat block entries for light and heavy infantry and cavalry units, and are not as competent as the dwarves or Solamnics. Only the heavy infantry and cavalry units have masterwork equipment.

Kender Armies could be called an oxymoron, and rather represents the ephemeral groups of kender adventurers who all got together to aid the other races. They require higher numbers of commanders on account of the job being like herding cats, but they are useful as their legendary taunts can drive entire enemy forces to heights of reckless stupidity. Kender only have light infantry and archers and are notable for being equipped with sithaks, a combination scythe and longbow which has not been statted anywhere else in 3rd Edition Dragonlance sourcebooks to my knowledge.

Rebel Organizations is our last entry, and a rather lacking one at that, for there are no write-ups for their army units. They are more or less covert civilian organizations, bandits, army remnants of conquered nations, and thieves’ guild members who all for their own reasons have an incentive to fight the Dragonarmies. The first notable organization includes the Silver Fox’s revolutionaries in Khur who are made up of tribal groups that were enemies of Salah-Khan before he joined the Dragon Empire. The other is the Hidden Light movement in the heartland of Taman Busuk: they are a highly covert secret society who operate out of safe houses made up of people who lost everything to the Dragonarmies.

Major Conflicts of the War of the Lance

The following four major battles are significant events which helped turn the tide of war during the War of the Lance. Two of them feature as adventures in the Chronicles proper (Ice Reaches and High Clerist’s Tower) while the other two take place before the Chronicles of offscreen (Silvanesti and Vingaard Campaigns). The former two conflicts make note of actions performed by the Heroes of the Lance from the novels, which may not necessarily line up with how things may go down in your campaign. Each entry goes over the geo-political background, principal events, and the listing of primary military units and their troop numbers during the battle or series of battles, and what kinds of adventures a DM can run PCs through during these times.

The Silvanesti Campaign (349 AC)

Some folks are born made to be in the Dragonarmy
Ooh, they're red, white and blue
And when the pilgrims shout "Hail to the Dark Queen"
Ooh, they point the staves at you, Lord
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no Highlord's son, son
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no

There’s not really much new to add here that I didn’t go over in previous posts, but we learn here Feal-Thas betrayed his own people by passing on intelligence to the invading Dragonarmies which they used to breach Silvanost’s defenses.* All five of them participated, but it was Green Dragon Highlord Salah-Khan’s forces who retained all the glory...and the biggest losses. The former Red Dragon Highlord Phair Caron perished during the Campaign, the nightmares unleashed from Lorac’s Dragon Orb causing her own troops to kill her in a blind frenzy. During the ensuing inter-military purges, Verminaard was appointed to that position when less successful officers were executed for harboring the majority of blame (justified or not) for failing to capture Silvanesti.

*and for which he was able to rise to the dubious honor of White Dragon Highlord.

Battle of the Ice Reaches (351 AC)

While heading south in search of a Dragon Orb, the Heroes of the Lance came upon a camp of Ice Folk who have been skirmishing with the invading White Dragonarmy in their lands. Tired of the hit and run tactics, White Dragon Highlord Feal-Thas decided to make an example by invading and surrounding the village with the intent of killing everyone. The Heroes of the Lance helped fight against the thanoi, minotaur, and white dragons while the civilians evacuated on giant wind-powered sleigh-boats. Half of the Ice Folk were killed, but the Heroes of the Lance ventured to Icewall Castle. During the battle Feal-Thas and his white dragon mount are killed, removing the Dragonarmy of an effective leader and forcing the soldiers to retreat from much of their holdings.

Battle for the High Clerist’s Tower (351 AC)

Solamnia is a rich land with fertile fields, and the city of Palanthas the major deepwater harbor in northern Ansalon. Still reeling from losses in the Silvanesti Campaign, Ariakas sought to exploit the deep divisions in Solamnic society to claim the territories and feed his empire. The Knights of Solamnia, once one of the greatest warrior societies of the continent, were more or less discredited and hated in large parts of the country. It was theorized that the meager militias would be unable to put up as much resistance against the Dragonarmies, which was quickly proven right when Kitiara and Verminaard’s forces subjugated much of northewestern Ansalon. Eventually they conquered the area to the south of Palanthas’ mountain range. The knighthood, having lost several major cities, were desperate to defend the path but found little aid from the city’s mayor who foolishly believed that the Dragonarmies would abide by a nonaggression pact.

Gunthar Uth Wistan, who was in a meeting with the Heroes of the Lance and was informed of the Dragonlances, decided to send them to the Tower to help aid the beleaguered Knights. A test of wills broke out between Sturm Brightblade and Derek Crownguard, the two Knights among the Heroes, over leadership positions. Crownguard won out in rank, and quickly made a tactical blunder where his detachment and the man himself were killed. Bakaris, Kitiara’s second in command, returned Crownguard’s severed head to the Tower, and Laurana (the Qualinesti princess) responded by shooting the messenger and severed his arm in the process.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot discovered a chamber for holding a Dragon Orb while exploring the Tower, which was put to use when the Blue Dragonarmy made a second assault upon the Tower. Sturm ordered the knights armed with Dragonlances to gather around strategic positions as the enchanted dragons flew into tight hallways. The knights stabbed at them through holes in the walls, killing off most of the enemy wyrms this way. The draconian soldiers were driven insane by the orb’s song and fell upon each other while also running in random directions.

Kitiara ascended the Tower and confronted Sturm Brightblade at the top in solo combat, slaying him before retreating. Sturm’s sacrifice grew exponentially among the Knights and beyond, serving as a rallying point for the once-divided knighthood to put aside their differences and band together under the Whitestone Council.

The Vingaard Campaign (352 AC)

The Vingaard River is an important thoroughfare through much of Solamnia and beyond, running through the city of Kalaman and into the fertile Plains of Solamnia. Laurana, appointed as the head of the Whitestone Army, led an international coalition down the Vingaard River, seizing towns and villages from the Dragonarmies with the goal of beating them back out of Solamnia. Aided by the metallic dragon clans who discovered the fate of their eggs, the forces of good could now match Takhisis’ forces in the sky, dragon for dragon. The Blue and Red Dragonarmies gave a good fight, but their relative lack of experience against similarly-aerial forces along with the dangerous Dragonlances routed even their largest units. Laurana earned the name of the Golden General as her hair caught the light of dawn while she stood upon the recaptured Vingaard Keep.

Other cool stuff happened during this time, like Gilthanas and the silver dragon D’Argent making a sneak attack on the green dragons while they were groundbound, or a contingent of silver dragons using their breath weapons to create an enormous ice dam for soldiers to cross over a raging river. The Vingaard Campaign was a major success, freeing most of northwest Ansalon from evil and uniting Solamnia. Sadly, Laurana was kidnapped by Bakaris and taken to Neraka, where the Heroes of the Lance mounted a rescue operation for her where they would bring an end to Emperor Ariakas once and for all.

Adventuring: Each entry suggests various kinds of plots a Dungeon Master could run during these military campaigns. The Silvanesti Campaign suggests a desperate struggle to survive in a war-torn forest with a higher level of magic than usual* as well as safeguarding refugees fleeing their homeland. The Battle of the Ice Reaches is...underwhelming and really just “go play Dragons of Winter Night.” High Clerist’s Tower is the defining turning point in the War of the Lance, and suggests the idea of using an artifact to summon Knights from the past to help fight the Dragonarmy.** Finally, the Vingaard Campaign says that this is the first time that metallic dragons are seen “filling the skies” and is a good point in the timeline where PCs can have an excuse to be dragonriders long-term and make use of those aerial combat rules from the main setting sourcebook. Which when you think about it, is kind of one of the War of the Lance’s weaknesses. The concept of riding around on a mounted dragon and jousting in the sky doesn’t happen until near the end of the main timeline/adventure path/etc.

*because elves.

**Spoilers: this happens in the adventure module but with ghosts instead of time travel.

Thoughts So Far: I like this chapter. There are some striking similarities between it and the Legendary Wars chapter in Legends of the Twins, but as this sourcebook preceded Legends here is where we really get the D20 outlines of troops and suggestions to use them as blueprints for converting to your wargame of choice. The stat blocks for all kinds of Dragonarmy mooks, and some potential Whitestone forces as followers for those with the Leadership feat, is a nice touch that can see use in most Dragonlance games. The overview of the major military conflicts is welcome, if a bit overly wordy on specific details.

Join us next time as we get more NPCs than you can shake a Dragonlance at in Chapter Six: Personalities!

Sep 6, 2019

by sebmojo

Libertad! posted:

Takhisis and Ariakas do not tolerate resting on one’s laurels even if one’s heritage is supposedly “fit to rule,” and in theory a mere human commoner or ogre brute can become Highlord one day.

So they evil forces are basically a "meritocracy" instead of being total bloodline rear end in a top hat feudalists. Why are we rooting against them again?

Feb 13, 2012

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

Post 7: Wrapup

I've looked at the GMing advice in Modern AGE over and over, and there really isn't much to say about it. It's pretty standard stuff; listen to your players, make sure everyone's comfortable, pick a story together, etc etc. Nothing that really stands out good or bad. The one bit I appreciate is 'Hey, if you use someone else's setting for this game, change it however you want; you're not selling your RPG campaign so who cares what you do with any of the intellectual property you write about?' I was going to do that anyway, but it's a nice bit of advice to include in a generic game that's probably going to get used for whatever IP you feel like writing about. They give examples of IPs and ideas you might use, and they also tell you 'hey we're going to be publishing some settings later, look out for those'. Fair enough, though nothing I've seen of any of their pre-written settings seems particularly exciting.

There's nothing like All Flesh Must Be Eaten's Deadworlds in this game book; no full game pitches or quick sub-settings, just a few notes on genre and stuff you could use the game to emulate. It's fair enough, but the Deadworlds added a lot to AFMBE (and really, AFMBE/Unisystem is my main point of comparison for AGE) for not much page space, so it might've been nice to have something similar. Still, AGE is easy enough to adapt to whatever modern action-adventure or procedural you were planning to write. They go heavy on recommending urban fantasy and 'portal fantasy' games, in part because the pre-planned settings focus on that stuff, but given the weakness of the magic system as written I'd step away from putting one of the weakpoints front and center like that. This system is much better for action-adventure stories or investigations than slinging spells around, at least without rewriting some of the magic and extraordinary power systems (or writing one to begin with, considering that's what the Companion leaves to you).

And in the end, that's a good metaphor for the system: AGE isn't that exciting, but it's competent and playable and it really does adapt pretty well to a variety of modern adventure stories. The relatively flexible and competent characters, the 3d6 dice curve (which is actually used pretty well), and the pretty simple but useful Stunt system come together to make a game works fine. There are aspects I'd take another look at; magic REALLY needed a few more looks, not all of the Talents are perfectly balanced, for some reason there's no way to go in blazing with two pistols (which seems a rather big omission in something that's good for using for action hero stuff), shotguns are bafflingly bad, sniper rifles are probably over-cooked, etc. But most of it is fine. The most notable thing is how the Companion's additions actually work against the system's strengths (namely, that competence is easy to reach and PCs are pretty broadly capable, and that most 'special' stuff can be activated through the Stunts right out of the box) and are full of little things like 'here's a single 5 point Stunt to use in CONSPIRACY GAMES!' rather than solid mechanical work. To be quite frank, if the Companion is indicative of the quality of the add-on stuff for this system and of its pre-written settings (a lot of the Companion is full of advertisements for potential pre-made settings) I'd recommend against anything but the core book. You get everything you need out of there, and this is a generic game anyway; adapt as needed.

The End

Feb 13, 2012

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

Everyone posted:

So they evil forces are basically a "meritocracy" instead of being total bloodline rear end in a top hat feudalists. Why are we rooting against them again?

In practice, when crazy militarist governments talk about promoting the best, they mean 'we will be characterized by our brutal and constant infighting and corruption'.

Dec 10, 2007


Do we know anything about the group Hickman and Weis first ran these adventures?

Because it occurred to me that, specifically in regard to Kender, that it might not be a case of Tracy having brainworms over a good-aligned thief, but rather the typical nerd fallacy of being unwilling to call out someone behaving like a jackass at the table.

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

SirPhoebos posted:

Do we know anything about the group Hickman and Weis first ran these adventures?

There's a Wikipedia page for Kender.

Our campaign looks too much like LotR. Let's turn hobbits into child soldiers. And then someone came along with the rolled up newspaper and that got modified a bit.

Moldless Bread
Jul 10, 2019
The Dark Eye 4.0

Aventurian heroes

The book begins with a preamble and a sidebar about creating the concept of your character (without putting that much emphasis on the concept, but demands a well thought out backstory...)
followed by the first of many page-long fiction interludes interspersed through the books. This one shows a sample background story for a rough and tumble Thorwalian pirate, who starts traveling to avenge the death of her clan (and her dog) by slavers. Pretty standard stuff.

(Start of a "Cannot-sleep-rant" several hours later)
Actually, no, let me get back to that fiction-piece. I won't go into as much detail for the others, but after thinking about it some, I want to look over this one.
"Background" is always a part of character creation where you get six answers from five different people. To get properly into the role of a character, of course you need to have an idea what your character was up to before you picked up the dice, but I personally think the best way is to have a rough sketch of the most salient points and then – if it becomes important or interesting – fill in the blanks in the game, adding slowly to it as long as it relates to the game everybody is involved in (although I have a tendency to keep developing a backstory I like with unimportant stuff when I am on a worldbuilding roll, but I don't force that on the other players).
I realize some will find that sketching and making up on the fly method soulless or just not enough info to create a character in the first place and doesn't give the GM hooks, but the stereotypical joke opposite to "My parents got killed, I want gold, so I travel and take jobs" is the fifty-page backstory full of meaningless drivel, and that does'nt help anyone either. But I think both sides can agree that ideally, everything you put into the backstory should be able to be used in the game somehow.

Why am I digressing like that? Because "That requires a really good backstory" used to be the battlecry of GMs in the TDE community, valiantly attempting to dissuade a player from creating a character that didn't fit 100% into the setting. And the longer and more meandering that backstory was, the better chances it had to be "good."
How, then, does the book deliver an example to the new player on how they should build their backstory that was presented as so important in the preamble?

So, the first eighth of the story concerns itself with the question how the character got her name: By having her parents beat the poo poo out of each other and have the winner choose the name they want. That's cute (and proper Thorwalian), but happens in a time when the character can't even keep her own head up, so it's not really about her.
Then we got a paragraph that shows the Akja (the character) to be a serious tomboy, beating up a kid two years older when she is six and stealing some brandy and getting drunk when she is eight years old. She is also the first of the group that wakes up from the drunk coma, that's how tough she is. Ok, I like that.

The next paragraph is about Thorwalian culture, with children playing rough and not being too concerned with injuries and having stupid dares. That doesn't say anything about Akja. At the end there is a bit where she loses part of her finger in a dare and "still vividly remembers" the beating her parents give her for taking part in it. The finger seems to be more of a justification for low dexterity and that's just not needed. It can maybe provide some texture if the question comes up, but that's it. And the memory of the punishment? Could be a hint for lingering trauma (not as far as I can tell) or be used as a contrast at how she changed from her earlier, carefree days – nope, next paragraph she's again in the middle of another stupid game, that – as the text tells us – is important for Thorwalians.
That stupid game has Akja almost drowning, and the other children can't help her, but thankfully a dog jumps in the water and pulls her out, and the two become the best friends afterward. Well at least we introduced the dog she's going to avenge, right?
No we didn't. The dog that will die later is actually a puppy of the one that saved her, and Akja starts raising it because... uh, puppies! I guess. And that's all we learn about that specific dog. We're replacing the one dog we would actually have an emotional connection to with one that's no more than a token of revenge – one that we don't really need, because we also have a dead family. Even John Wick had nobody but the dog left.

We follow with the rite of initiation for Thorwalians. It should have been led by her grandmother, but she died – with honor, so Akja is not even sad about it – so her aunt (that wasn't mentioned before) takes over. Akja fulfills the trials and there is a huge party where everybody gets piss drunk. There is nothing about how well Akja managed the trials, or what she felt before starting them, and nothing about the relationship with the just introduced character and why we should even care about her.
Then follows a short description of her pirate-life and a setup of the one Al'Anfanian ship that leads to her clans doom.
Then - drama – the mark is not as easy as it seemed, they have been lured into a trap – but by whom? The Owner of the boarded ship doesn't get set up, there is no betrayal among the people she trusted, no face among the enemies she personally takes umbrage to. It seems the Ship they boarded just baited the next best raider, and fate led Akjas ship there. gently caress, even then Akja could rail against cruel fate and vow to not be bound by mystical forces. As it is, there is no one to take revenge against, except other faceless Al'Anfanians.
And it's not like the entire world conspired against her and her clan – they were pirates, they chose the wrong ship to board, they paid the price. Why did that have to be a trap?
Anyway she awakes wounded on a beach, buries all the dead (including that stupid dog) takes up her mothers axe (aha) and vows to kill the countrymen of the ship they boarded.

What did we learn about our character here? She was a tough badass as a six-year old, she is missing part of one finger, the axe she uses belonged to her mother. Three facts of varying usefulness, delivered in nine lines out of a whole page.
The rest is meaningless fluff, nothing about the character this purportedly about.
We learn some things about Thorwalian culture, but all those things fit into their stereotype – and you use stereotypes so you don't need to explain them.
And this is what someone who never played an RPG before gets as an example. How to write a backstory.

I'm not expecting high literature here, and honestly, the story is decently written and on its own it's an inoffensive little fluff piece, especially as an introduction to Thorwalians.
But, by intent or accident, this is presented as something to emulate for new players. A backstory.
gently caress, I'm probably overthinking the whole issue. More than the layouter in any case. But I'm honestly a little pissed.
(End of a "Cannot-sleep-rant" several hours later)

Directly afterwards we move go straight into character creation. I'm dedicating next post to that, so for the rest of this one I'm going to talk the Social Status mechanic, whose two pages are plopped into the middle of the creation rules.

Social Status (abbreviated SO) is a numerical stat that represents the place of the character in the pecking order of society. That is explicitly not fame – the baron of Stilljustsjepenpickle* does have an Social Status fit for a noble while an famous outlaw isn't considered better than a beggar.
The regular range from 1 to 12 is calibrated for play in the Middle realm and neighboring places, an isolated tribe from the jungle only runs in the range from 1 to 6 (for the village chief). That always has to be looked at in context, of course. A rich Artisan with a status of 7 doesn't impress the tribal people much.
The effects in play are mostly a narrative matter. Lowborn Characters are ignored by wealthier merchants, have to struggle to get help from the authorities and occasionally get arrested purely on the basis of convenience for the guards (That sure is fun to play.). Noble characters on the other hand, can bullshit goodies out of the common folk, easily get appointments with the local Lord and Priests and are generally treated with respect. The just shouldn't go into a dive bar alone or chum it up with a street gang, that's probably not going to end well. Mixed groups are often considered "The One with highest Status and their servants."
There are actually rules associated with Social Status, but those are considered optional. Basically, if you try to influence a person outside of your comfortable range or try to make Streetwise or Etiquette checks in a foreign milieu, you get a penalty equal to the difference of your and the opposites (average) Social status.
Changing the status works outside the advancement rules and has to be make narrative Sense (Having a grievous crime publicized, joining the church, being knighted etc). It's therefore up to the GM. There is a suggestion the Status shouldn't change by more than one point per 1000 AP.
Social status is not considered purely matter of official standing, but also of habits, expressions and posture, so you can't just dress differently and hide your upbringing. The text mentions some appropriate skills to fake your status, but doesn't provide any proper rules.
Finally there is a table with examples, and while the player status ranges from 1 (Criminals, Vagabonds) to 12 (rich Merchants, low-ranked nobles), the table actually goes up to 21 (The Empress of the Middle Realm, notably the Popes of the different churches are one or two points lower).

* The Barony to the north of Sjepenpickle, right on the edge of the wilderness in the foundland.

A Foundlandic... Noblewoman I suppose? The fur looks way to fancy for housecat, at least. So, a SO of 10+, easily

(I am actually skipping the last chapter in With Fleet Fingers. It consists of general Roleplaying tips and is mostly decent advice - especially the behaviour around the table with other players - but doesn’t add anything out of the ordinary.)


Culture Corner

The Humans from the Cyclops Isles (we can’t play cyclopes in Aventuria, sorry) live on an archipelago of rocky Islands off the horasian coast that used to be a popular place to exile nobles. Despite that, most people outside the two cities live rather simple lives as goat herders or fishermen. Boats are commonplace, constantly ferrying people across the islands and around the coasts, which is considered being faster than trying to navigate the broken coastline. There are a lot of active volcanoes scattered across the Isles. The few (actual) cyclopes still around tend to live around those, descending into the magma to forge their weapons.
The (human) inhabitants speak both Garethi and the local Cyclopean, derived from the Old Greek - like Aureliani. People are rarely hurrying their lives and rather spend relaxed days full of wine and philosophy between work. They prefer light clothing, usually wearing only tunics without pants, and it is not out of the ordinary to meet people walking around bare chested.
The cyclopean (humans) believe in the Twelve Gods, but are rather relaxed about their usual dogma, which often turned them to a refuge for sects of the twelve churches, but also for cults of the Nameless One using other religions as cover. The fairy realm is supposedly easier to reach here than in any other place in Aventuria.
The culture is rather pricey in character generation for the usual +1s in several skills, including every single boat- or ship related skill there is and the feat for Terrain knowledge (sea). The noble variant replaces the sling skill with bows and adds some social and knowledge skills and comes up slightly cheaper than the Nobility advantage it gives for free.

Profession Parade

Warriors are the typical pseudo historical, low fantasy cliche of a Fighter who went to an officially sponsored Warrior College, learns all about fighting in the following years on campus and graduates, warrior diploma in hand, to be a roaming adventurer and fight (hopefully) Bad Guys for no other reasons than fighting is is what he does best.

… So the early editions had simply classes, which included, of course, it’s own brand of the Fighting Man. Good Weapon skills and health, the only one allowed to use two-handed swords and heavy armor, dumping Intelligence and Charisma, the usual.
As the editions added more and more classes, the fluff of the Warrior became more focused. In 3rd edition, they were a choice alongside other fighters like the mercenary, the swashbuckler and some cultural or religious archetypes, which defined them nicely as highborn warriors seeking honorable battle, used to heavy Arms and Armor as well as mounted combat, together with a good selection of non-skulduggery social skills. Their fluff already mentioned academies who would train them as officers of the army or personal bodyguards for nobles, but knights training their squires or swordmasters teaching their hand-picked students and military service on the frontline were considered equivalent to those academies, as long as they resulted in the presented Archetype.

Now that 4th Edition gave us Ensigns, Honor Guards, Squires, Soldiers and Students of the blade as separate professions, what the hell is a Warrior?
They’re someone who learned how to fight at an academy (with a diploma to prove it, even) and now wanders around fighting, and being a hero. They are professional knight errants. And that’s great from a game perspective, but doesn’t fit at all in the (phantasical) realistic world where everybody has a certain place in society, until fate unroots them and makes them take up adventuring.
Warriors used to be an iconic class, yes, and as individual characters would be fine, but with the level of organization and how widely accepted the academies are, they are stick out like a sore thumb.

All of this griping is on the fluff side, mind, because mechanically they are awesome.
All of them are pretty pricey (and come with a build in Code of Honor disadvantage), but the standard Warrior (who is actually only a 4.1 thing, but it’s a good example) gets a nice boost to hit points and stamina, an expected array of physical and knowledge skills (very few social ones, though) with very good riding, self-control, and warfare skills, two decent to good weapon skills as well as some basic knowledge in a more diverse group as well as the some basic combat feats. Most importantly, though, they get the Academic training (Warrior) advantage, which allows them to buy weapon skills at half cost during generation (up to skill rank 10) and buy combat feats at three fourths of their costs for their whole adventuring career. Weapon skills and feats are the most expensive advancements for non-wizards, so this adds up over time, which makes warriors one of the few characters that can realistically focus on more than one weapon type.
Unlike most other Advantages, you cannot buy Academic training freely, it can only be acquired as an automatic advantage of a profession.

There are six Academies with a full write up and ten more with stat blocks. The costs and skills vary somewhat, changing mostly the kind of weapon skills and the automatic and discounted feats. Otherwise the academies mostly distinguish themselves by their hook. This one focuses more on mounted combat, that one on naval combat. This one is teaches politics and intrigue, that one emulates barbarians. Those four give a different set of weapons so you don’t clash with the aesthetics of your culture. (And the one from the slaveholding Black Alliance gets points in whips. Subtle.) There is one that allows you to basically play a knight, if you don’t like the Squire.
The most distinct academy is the School of Dragonslaying in the dwarven city of Xorlosch.
Dwarves have a deep-seated cultural hatred of dragons (and everything else scaly), so the school trains the most fanatically devoted Dwarves to fight them with hammers, siege weapons and the traditional four-handed halberd used by two warriors.

Spell Selection

Attributo does indeed raise a characters attribute (requiring you to recalculate several derived stats, yay. Not Stamina, hit points and spell points, though. I guess to avoid re-recalculating when the spell ends). You only have to learn the spell once, then can freely choose which attribute to raise.
The spell is calibrated for humans, so a large part of the description is dedicated for weird interactions with animals and certain stats. We can raise a plants Cleverness, for example.
It’s usually a pretty tame increase for an hour, a variant (as well as the minor caster variant) increases the gains to amazing levels for about the duration of a fight, to the point it’s not too difficult to exceed the bounds characters are supposed to operate in.
(Especially if you combine this spell with a certain type of magic item shenanigan, things can become very ridiculous. I mean, using a warship as a bludgeoning weapon is fun and all, but I don’t think that’s the intent in this low-fantasy world)

Hot air and blowhards lets the Jokester blow a raspberry at their target, who then puff out their cheeks and start to gently rise in the air, where they are carried and blown around by the wind like a stray balloon. Or, you know, clumsily bump against the ceiling like a balloon. They safely descend to the ground when the spell ends several turns (easily up to an hour) later.
I’m only noticing now that the spell name is a pun on arrogant persons, so I spend the last ten minutes finding an adequate translation.

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Are Warriors all specifically wanderers? They aren't, say, just a flavor of knight trained in a military academy that also happens to often go adventuring? It would fit fine if it was 'trained as a professional warrior, with your own certificate and school to tell any employer you're fully qualified, mostly these people join armies but sometimes they work freelance'.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 21:35 on Jan 6, 2020

Moldless Bread
Jul 10, 2019
Yeah, that's actually a fair point. Being a certified warrior, trained by a swordmaster and under the guidance of Rondra-aligned teacher etc. will be huge boon when looking for jobs, and a lot of nobles and armies will jump at the opportunitivy to have someone like this, if only for prestige reasons.
It's actually what I remembered. But the introductory text points out specifically that Warriors are the platonic ideal of the knight errant, bound by no one but their honor. Also, Ensigns and Knights, at least are supposed to be just as respected. :shrug:
(There is also a bit where it calls Warriors the knights of the common people, but scholarships for commoners is presented as something that happens rarely.)

Mind, some academies have specific jobs for their graduates. One has them join a religiuos Order after their graduation for a year, another is presented as the personal recruiting pool of the sponsoring noble families. The dwarves obviously go dragon hunting and the Thorwalian school was specifically build to whip their raiders into shape.

Weirdest thing for me, though, is the fact I had strongly associated Warriors with the goddess Rondra beyond the Code of honor. I could see the church upholding several of the academies as some quasi religious quest, to give people not chosen by the goddess a chance to prove themselves and still protect the helpless against injustice when a priest wasn't around.
Turns out while the church has to give their blessing for an academy to be recognized, the church itself only sponsors a single school, and that one mostly for political reasons to spite the more progressive lords who are going with the times of changing warfare.

3rd edition actually described them almost exactly like you did.

Moldless Bread fucked around with this message at 22:24 on Jan 6, 2020

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


Grimey Drawer

Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

The Asteroid Belt: Space Vegas, Baby, Space Vegas!

There are estimated to be about 100,000 asteroids drifting in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Most of these are small, a mile or less in diameter, but even some of those have settlers. Many of the larger, named asteroids have been settled, some hollowed out and given a spin to simulate gravity, others left in free fall. The inhabitants, called Belters, are mostly miners, and have the stereotype of being tough and grizzled and probably spitting chewing tobacco into nearby spitoons. Nine specific asteroid settlements are described here.

(As a sidebar, I like that they note that despite the popular image, the asteroids are all miles apart and there’s not a lot of danger of accidentally flying into one.)

Vesta, the third largest asteroid, is home to 5,000 citizens, and also a very large RAM military base, whose population ranges from 2,000 to 5,000. RAM has avoided trying to take over the asteroid outright, and the citizens tolerate the base’s presence; other factions don’t consider them an ally of RAM, just in a weird position. Fortuna is a zero-g colony which makes most of its money manufacturing products- both mechanical and pharmaceutical- which benefit from being put together in zero-G. It’s mostly neutral, with the scientists and technicians loyal to whoever backs their research.

Ceres, the largest asteroid, has a population of 20,000 and is run by the Ceres Co-Op. They’re the hub of the belt, receiving a lot of deliveries for the smaller asteroids, and the Co-Op makes money off fees for storage and handling (and occasionally auctioning goods off when the intended recipient never shows up.) The colony also houses a massive computer used for transmissions and communication across the Belt. Pallas is a weird isolationist asteroid- visitors aren’t even allowed on the asteroid proper, but must conduct business on an orbiting moonlet called Gateway. There’s no apparent reason for the secrecy, they just want to be left alone.

Psyche is home to some prime ship construction facilities (it’s called the Boatyard); having a ship made there costs at least 50% more than usual, but you get 10%-20% more hit points as a result. (Doesn’t seem like a good deal but I’m not sure.) Juno is also a shipyard, and training center for rocketjocks. Hygeia is the third and last big shipyard, and it focuses on “bottles”, which are small pre-fab orbital colonies that can be flown to their destination under their own power. Info on bottles takes up the whole description, we don’t get anything on Hygeia itself.

Okay, NOW we’re on to the fun stuff. Aurora is home to a giant, publicly owned casino. (The fact that it’s publicly owned is mentioned in passing but now I’m wondering about a socialist casino. Would the odds be more reasonable? The payouts more modest?) It’s the Vegas Strip times ten, basically. (And this was before Vegas tried to clean up its image.) Thule fills another space opera niche, it’s a prison planet run by the Anarchy. (Yes, they have laws.) It’s a big network of tunnels through which prisoners are allowed to roam freely, because it’s not like they can go anywhere. There are robot guards to keep the prisoners under control and a small staff to run the spaceport and communications.

So, the Belter government. It’s complicated- they’re officially the Free Asteroid Democracy, but known to many as the Belter Anarchy. Most of the time it’s a very loose group, with each asteroid’s inhabitants working out the rules for themselves. For beltwide issues, though, the Belters use high-tech direct democracy- every inhabitant votes at once and the central computer tabulates everything instantly. A Ruling Council on Ceres (made up of elected Digital Personalities) determines what needs to be voted on. Voting is instantaneous and mandatory- Belters who are away from the Belt and can’t be in contact with Ceres get a pass, but if you fail to vote when you could more than five times, you’re subject to severe penalties, from imprisonment to loss of “rescue rights, air rights, and water rights.”

The Belters are well-armed but basically not a player in the NEO/RAM conflict, because the Belters are a diverse bunch and have a wide variety of opinions on the subject. Individual Belters can do what they want, of course. So far RAM hasn’t tried to take over, presumably because it’d be too much trouble.

And because this is a wild part of the Solar System, the chapter includes a section on the Black Brotherhood, the setting’s required space pirates. They claim lineage from- or at least pattern themselves after- the original Black Brotherhood from the Carribean in the 18th century. While space is theoretically too big to make piracy feasible, most trade ships follow certain paths and patterns, and the pirates maintain a large information and spy network to help find out where a given ship is gonna be.

Between their ships and their information network, the Black Brotherhood are actually kinda powerful, often getting the better of the other powers of the Solar Alliance. They like NEO, though, since both of those groups are mostly underground and striking against larger forces. They do a lot of trading, though I assume for an individual pirate a NEO ship is still fair game. The section also mentions that the Brotherhood sometimes do act as privateers, given authority by one power to attack their enemies. There’s a brief mention of the pirate leader Black Barney, who’s another face straight out of the original comics. We'll learn more about him and the other NPCs later.

The Belters fill the role of the wild frontiersmen in the setting, and while a few of the asteroids are just places where ships are built, there’s plenty of interesting stuff overall.

Soon we head to the Outer Worlds! Jupiter and beyond! Be there!

May 13, 2013

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

Belta loda!

Belta loda!

I'm in the middle of Season 3, so I'm playing Ashford

Oct 30, 2013

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

Chapter Six: Personalities

Whereas Chapters Three and Four gave us outlines on the world of Krynn, Chapter Six focuses on its people. We have a whopping 68 characters* each with a short bio and full stats. Each entry provides a specific named individual, ranging from influential figures during the War of the Lance to minor characters from the Dragonlance Chronicles. Quite a few of the entries are dragons and a few undead and giants too, so it’s not just the humanoid races getting shoutouts.

*69 if you count Kitiara’s two different stat blocks as their own entries.

It would be a fool’s errand to go over every individual character. Instead I’ll group them up by related subject material (Dragons, Heroes of the Lance, Dragon Highlords, etc) and call out any particularly interesting bios or stat blocks. Finally, this chapter is rather low on images, so I may borrow Dragonlance artwork from other sources to make up for this.


These are controllable characters who join the party during the Dragonlance Chronicles series of adventures, but are not part of the initial Heroes of the Lance.

Alhana Starbreeze is the haughty princess of the Silvanesti people, a Noble/Fighter who can inspire people as part of her class feature even if she doesn’t have a winning personality.

Derek Crownguard is the foil to Sturm Brightblade, an example of what the knighthood is versus what it should be. Derek is a multi-class Fighter/Noble/Legendary Tactician who specializes in mounted combat and inspirational buffs, but you’d hardly know that given that in the book series he was constantly butting heads with the rest of the party.

Elistan of Haven is a former Seeker leader turned prophet of Paladine. Unlike most Clerics of Lawful Good deities he is more on the “pure caster” side of things, with a middling Strength score and emphasis on defensive magics over smiting the wicked.

Gilthanas is the second son of Qualinesti’s king and Laurana’s brother. He is not fond of his cousin Tanis due to a host of personal issues. He is multiclassing all over the place, with 1-2 levels in Noble and Fighter and 3 in Wizard. He’s meant to be a gish* but he still triggers arcane spell failure in his worn armor which makes him a poor man’s Raistlin...or poor man’s Caramon.

*fighter/caster hybrid for you newbs.

Laurana is the daughter of the ruler of Qualinesti and love interest of Tanis Half-Elven. She would become one of the most beloved figures during the War of the Lance, leading the Whitestone Forces to victory over the Dragonarmies. She is a 6th-level Noble with some middling combat ability, and focuses more on the social side of things.

Serinda Elderwood is a Silvanesti privateer who strikes out against minotaurs and Dragonarmy ships around the Blood Sea Isles. Like Gilthanas she is triple-classed but with levels in Mariner instead of Noble. She’s pretty terrible at melee combat, having a negative strength score which makes her rapier damage pitiful, and her stat block does not mention what wizard spells she has memorized or even a spellbook!

Theodenes is a “mad gnome,” looked down upon by others of his kind because all of his inventions work properly. Or he would in the base Chronicles: War of the Lance retcons him into a typical tinker gnome who is respected by his peers. He is more adventuresome and mobile than others of his time, and is on a Life Quest to make the “ultimate tool chest” which can improve any mechanism on Krynn by using the right tool in question. Oddly Theodenes is lower-level than when he appears in the Chronicle adventures, being a 5th-level Fighter/Master rather than 10th-level (with levels in Gnomish Tinker) when he ordinarily appears.

Tika Waylan is the barmaid of the Inn of the Last Home and would join the Heroes of the Lance very soon on their quest. She is a multi-class Fighter/Rogue who has the Improvise Weapon feat and can treat her frying pan as a weapon. Amusingly said frying pan deals more damage than her shortsword at 1d8 base weapon damage! That’s longsword levels of dangerousness!

Vanderjack is the odd man out of the DMPCs. Although Neutral rather than Evil, he is a mercenary leader who is upfront and honest about being in it for the money. He joins the Heroes of the Lance when in Southern Ergoth, hearing of a legendary treasure near the mountains. Said rumored treasure is the dragonlance forge.

Statwise he’s a 10th-level Fighter with some fancy feats like Improved Disarm/Overrun and Combat Expertise hinting at a more causing style of fighting. He wields a unique trademark longsword which can draw the life force from an opponent.

Waylorn Wyvernsbane is a delusional druid immortalized in a sleeping tomb in Silvanesti. He was alive during the Third Dragon War, a humble Druid of Chislev who fell in love with the SIlvanesti Queen. Said Queen would later become evil, and Waylorn bravely fought her and her wyvern minions. She escaped along the River of Time into an undetermined future, so he was placed in a magical slumber to be awoken when the time is right. Sadly the years have not been kind, and when awoken will believe himself to be Huma Dragonbane himself.

Statwise he is a Druid with one level in Barbarian, which supplements his already powerful Wild Shape ability.

Dragon Highlords

These are the major leaders of the Dragon Empire, and also includes Ariakas.

Ariakas, the Dragon Emperor is the most powerful person on Ansalon. Level-wise as well as politically: he has 23 levels in total, a mixture of martial and arcane classes and prestige classes. In addition to having good leadership qualities from Dragon Highlord and Legendary Tactician, his limitless material resources means that his spellbook has every 0 to 3rd level Wizard spell from sourcebooks the Dungeon Master owns. It’s also presumed that he can acquire any mundane or low-level magic item not currently in his equipment list if necessary.

Feal-Thas is the White Dragon Highlord and as an elf and traitor to his people has to work twice as hard to prove himself worthy of the Dark Queen. He’s proficient in both arcane and martial casting with an emphasis in damaging and summoning spells. His levels in Winternorn* give him the ability to receive a massive 1/day +10 bonus on initiative checks as well as Knowledge and Sense Motive.

*described in Towers of High Sorcery

Kitiara Uth Matar has two stat blocks: one when she’s still a friend of the Heroes of the Lance several years before the Dragonlance Chronicles’ beginning, and the other when she becomes Blue Dragon Highlord. She was the daughter of a disgraced Solamnic knight whose rough upbringing instilled in her a rather bitter personality. This eventually causes a rift between her and her long-time friends, albeit not without generating a messy love triangle between Tanis, Laurana, and herself.

Kitiara’s first stat block is a 7th-level melee Fighter specializing in mounted combat but uses a rather weak short sword as her primary weapon. The second stat block is a mighty 15th-level Fighter/Dragon Rider/Dragon Highlord wielding a Wounding Lance. She picked up a lot of feats enhancing her knack for mounted combat and charges, which combined with her dragon mount can rack up a lot of damage...if said dragon were statted up in this sourcebook! Like Ariakas she can have any low-level items the DM deems necessary in addition to her core equipment.

Lucien of Takar is the most boring of the Dragon Highlords, I hate to say. Like Kitiara he is a pure martial but doesn’t have an established backstory with the Heroes of the Lance or a kickass dragon mount. He fights exclusively with a longsword and almost all of his abilities and feats (besides the Dragon Highlord suite of features) involve melee combat.

Salah-Khan is the Green Dragon Highlord. Unlike the other Highlords he is not so big on the direct combat side of things as he is the sneaky-stabby side of things. He is a multiclass Ranger/Assassin/Dragon Highlord and uses a unique variant of the Assassin class with no spells. In 3rd Edition D&D, assassins are spontaneous casters and therefore sorcerers, so they don’t line up with the Age of Despair’s setting continuity. This spell-less Assassin has a Barbarian’s Fast Movement and a Rogue’s Skill Mastery at 3rd and 7th levels. He also can’t cast ranger spells even though you’d presume that Takhisis can afford to throw him a Speak with Animals spell or two.

Verminaard of Nidus is the Red Dragon Highlord. There’s not really much to say other than that he’s the first “big bag evil guy” the Heroes of the Lance face. Statwise he’s a Cleric/Dragon Highlord with the unique Nightbringer magic item. After the battle of Thorbadin he would survive as an ex-cleric and become a shifty information broker in the town of Flotsam. His new identity: Sevil Draanim Rev, is literally “Verminaard Lives” spelled backwards.


From the heroic D’Argent and Flamestrike to the wicked Cyan Bloodbane, Dragonlance’s great serpents are just as much characters in their own right as they are monsters. With one exception, each one in this chapter is at least Adult age category, meaning that they’re a force to be reckoned with at most levels of play.

Cyan Bloodbane is a demented green dragon more than eager to visit vengeance upon the elven race, and the Silvanesti Campaign more than accomplished his evil measures. He is an ancient green dragon with a good mixture of utility and offensive spells, and he is nearly unmatched in melee combat.

Ember (Pyros) and Sleet (Terrisleetix) are the dragon companions to the Red and White Dragon Highlords respectively. They carry their riders into combat to terrifying effect. Sitting at Challenge Rating 20+ each and being quite old, they are encountered in the Dragonlance Chronicles but only Sleet is actually fought. Even then he’s a very difficult battle at the time the PCs face him (9-11th).

Pyrite is the oldest gold dragon on Krynn, but age has not been kind to him. His senility and weakened strength give him a bunch of unique debuffs, such as a nonlethal toothless bite attack or reduced natural armor. He is still very powerful as a colossal great wyrm dragon. Pyrite was once a good friend of the legendary knight Huma Dragonbane and believes that he is still fighting in the Third Dragon War, so he’s on the lookout for his old friend who he doesn’t realize is dead.

Silvara/D’Argent is a silver dragon who rebels against her kind by providing covert support to those fighting the Dragonarmies. Living among the Kagonesti elves as a notable healer, she would eventually help the Heroes of the Lance not only find the legendary forge of the Dragonlances but also uncover the secret of the good dragon eggs. She is a very old silver dragon and thus is very powerful: even in humanoid form she can cast spells as a 13th-level sorcerer and has a good mixture of combat, utility, and even healing spells. Technically she is a DMPC, but I’m including her under Dragons just because.

Whisper is a shadow dragon, one of the few of his kind on Krynn. He was summoned to this world by the archmage Fistandantilus as a guardian for the fortress of Zhaman. Placed under a Geas spell to remain as sentry for as long as his summoner remained upon Krynn, the spell has persisted somehow despite Fistandantilus going missing from the disastrous explosion that brought an end to the Dwarfgate Wars. As centuries pass he got bored of killing the meager intruders who could not hope to stand against him, and decided to entertain them and ask them questions about the outside world.

Statwise he is a wyrm of his kind, with a breath weapon that bestows 7 negative levels instead of damage and can gain total concealment in any condition other than full exposure to sunlight. His spell selection specializes in the illusory and creepy, ranging from spells such as Black Tentacles and Nightmare to Invisibility Sphere and Permanent Image.

Heroes of the Lance

These are the original 8 PCs and main protagonists of the Dragonlance Chronicles. The stat blocks here detail them after having visited Xak Tsaroth and retrieved the Disks of Mishakal, placing them at 6th level. As for why not the beginning, well poor Goldmoon would not have any class features then!

Raistlin & Caramon Majere are listed together although they have two different stat blocks. A literal “brains and brawn” pair, Caramon is smarter than he seems but many people presume him a dullard due to his lack of self-confidence. Raistlin, of course, needs no introduction to the majority of readers here. Caramon is pretty much the brawny sword and board Fighter, but Raistlin has 5 levels in Wizard, 1 level in Wizard of High Sorcery and starts play with not one, but 2 artifacts: the Staff and Dagger of Magius!

Flint Fireforge is the party dwarf and sort of a curmudgeonly mentor figure. He is a multi-class Fighter/Master (Craftsman) but with just 2 levels in the latter he’s not going to be making any legendary blades anytime soon.

Riverwind & Goldmoon is our other two-for one entry. They both hail from the Que-Shu tribe of Abanasinian nomads. Riverwind’s grandfather raised him in the belief that there existed ancient gods who existed before the Cataclysm, while Goldmoon was worshiped by a goddess among her people; although initially religious opposites they fell in love with each other, eventually marrying during the Chronicles. The two eventually come into possession of the Blue Crystal Staff which in turn gave them an inkling as to the return of the true gods.

Goldmoon is very much your stereotypical “healing priestess” and focuses exclusively on curative and defensive magic. Riverwind is a multi-class Barbarian/Ranger who is adept at both two-weapon fighting and ranged combat.

Sturm Brightblade would be a Paladin if such a class where permitted in the Age of Despair. The son of a Knight of Solamnia, he has sought to preserve the best of his father’s order in spite of having to flee the country from which his family lived in and protected. He has two deep and dark secrets that he hopes his companions will never find out: he was never actually knighted, and he had a one-night stand with Kitiara (this was before she became Blue Dragon Highlord). Statwise he’s a pure Fighter with melee specialization and possesses the unique Brightblade magic item.

Tanis Half-Elven would be a Warlord if the Dragonlance Chronicles were made for 4th Edition. Instead he’s a high-Charisma Fighter and the leader of the Heroes of the Lance. His half-elven heritage has caused him no small amount of grief, especially when Laurana’s family would reject her love for the ‘half-breed.’ As such he’s a bit emo, but less about being a half-elf and more due to having feelings for both Laurana and Kitiara. Stawise his Fighter feats center around archery, and he has the Leadership feat but it’s unclear who his cohort and followers are. You can make a joke about it being the other Heroes, but they all have PC classes and violate the “no more cohort levels than your level minus two” rule.

Tasslehoff Burrfoot is perhaps the most hated Dragonlance character on account of being responsible for the literary creation of the kender race. But overall he’s not that bad; he’s the most upbeat of the Heroes and his levels in Rogue provide him as a valuable scout/trapfinder in a party that has way too many fighters.


People who you wonder why they have stats in the first place, for they surely will be useless in combat.

Bertrem the Aesthetic is the personal assistant to Astinus in the Great Library of Palanthas. He’s a Master (sage) with mad skillz in Knowledge and other ‘smart people’ things like Decipher Script and Gather Information.

Bupu is a 1st-level spell-less (heathen) gully dwarf Cleric who the Heroes met in Xak Tsaroth, and is notable for being one of the only people Raistlin was ever nice to.

Gnosh is a notable gnome, for his Life Quest centers around study of the Dragon Orbs. He can be a great boon during the Chronicles adventures where, if the PCs visit Mount Nevermind, can learn a lot about the dread sphere they have in their possession.

Otik Sandath is the current owner of the Inn of the Last Home and who every adventuring party wants to have as their friendly neighborhood innkeeper. He is the adoptive father of Tika Waylan who works for him as a barmaid, and he knows practically everyone in Solace. He has not one, but three Profession skills at +13 to +16, so I take it that he’s got a very busy work-life.

William Sweetwater is yet another friendly neighborhood innkeeper, but he operates out of a tavern deep in Dragonarmy territory. He is a contact for the Silver Fox’s resistance movement.

Political Figures

Fewmaster Toede’s entry is great; he is in reality a cowardly minor officer under Verminaard who somehow climbs the Dragonarmy ranks after his death. But the entry is written from an in-character autobiography which due to his massive ego makes him sound like the greatest hero on Ansalon. His various /r/thathappened deeds include being the Dark Queen’s chosen champion, having lots of hot sex with Kitiara, and being invited into all three Orders of High Sorcery without needing to take the Test because he was just that obviously good at magic.

Kronin Thistleknot is the closest thing the kender have to a leader. The Grand Marshal of Kendemore, he is more rugged than most kender and while still childish and joyful is very much aware of the Dragonarmies’ danger. He is notable for being a 12th-level Barbarian, which creates a funny mental image of a murderously angry kender.

Lorac Caladon is the Speaker of the Stars, the King of all Silvanesti. He is 18th level, a multi-class Noble/Abjurer Wizard/Wizard of High Sorcery. Being the ruler of a high-magic nation and former student of the Tower of High Sorcery of Istar means that he has access to all 0 to 3rd level wizard spells of five different schools from the Player’s Handbook. But you’re never going to see this stat block in action in any regular War of the Lance Campaign, for he is now a deluded husk hunched over the Dragon Orb. The only thing that can end his curse will be his death. He is remembered now as a tragic figure, who believed that he did what he could to keep the Silvanesti safe. Now his mind is only nightmares of his failure.

The Rest of Them

Berem Everman is a multi-class Barbarian/Ranger who has a unique set of defenses from his Green Gemstone, which includes an immunity to all manner of death/drain/disease/necromancy/etc effect as well as converting damage from all sources to nonlethal. This makes him effectively immortal.

The Gray Wraith is not a wraith in Monster Manual terms, but rather a spectre undead with more Hit Die than usual. This wicked figure is the guardian of the Silver Arm of Ergoth, residing in a shrine near Qualinost. Those who take the artifact will earn the spirit’s undying enmity, with no ocean too wide or mountain high enough to keep him from getting to you baby the artifact.

Lord Soth would perhaps be the most famous undead character in all of Dungeons & Dragons were it not for Strahd Von Zarovich having his own series of modules. This immortal knight bears a great weight of guilt upon his shoulders for abandoning his quest to prevent the Cataclysm. Until Kitiara recruited his services for the Blue Dragonarmy, he spent most of his days in introspective ennui in a gloomy castle. He is a 17th-level Fighter/Rogue Knight,* and his Death Knight template gives him a huge host of strengths and abilities. He is a heavy hitter in melee combat with his greatsword and has a small number of undead-creation and debuffing spell-like abilities.

*as in the prestige class Rogue Knight, not a fighter/rogue.

Mara seems not to be from the main series of novels in that I don’t recognize her, and the text calls out an obscure Dragonlance short story “War Machines” so I presume she’s from that. Mara’s a teenage girl who has dreams of becoming a great adventurer, but when her town is invaded by the White Dragonarmy she must gain the aid of the gnomes of Mount Nevermind to help her. She is pretty much a 2nd level acrobatic Rogue but with a gnome pseudo-magic item that acts as a Rod of Metal and Mineral Detection.

Ogmag was once a random ogre mage encounter in the Chronicles, but in this sourcebook he gets his own backstory as an exiled former advisor of Stormogre, Daltigoth’s ruler. Other than that, his 2 levels in Master make him nothing special.

Theros Ironfeld was the blacksmith who would gain the Silver Arm of Ergoth and forge the legendary dragonlances. He is notable for being the first major black character in the Dragonlance Chronicles, and whose backstory...involves him asking to be taken by minotaur slavers as a child because he longs for adventure…

Uh oh.

And when said minotaurs raise him and later get attacked by elves, Theros challenged said elves to single combat with only a shovel. The elves respected this so much that they allowed him to depart, and he returned to the minotaur homeland a hero and earned his freedom as a reward.


Theros is a member of the Master (Craftsman) class, but he has a high Strength, Power Attack feat, and enough levels in said class that he can make for a decent fighter if push comes to shove.

Thorne is a Red Robe Wizard of High Sorcery who has been most unfortunately cursed with pseudo-lycanthropy. “Pseudo” because lycanthropes do not exist on Krynn, and he only changes at night when all three moons of magic are full. Which means that due to Ansalon’s moon-tracking chart he shapeshifts every 1.5 years. Not too debilitating. He lives in the village of Dimmin running an herbalist shop, and secretly dreads the next time his curse will arise.

Thorne has statblocks for both his normal form and dire wolf form, and no longer ages in either. He is not in the main Chronicle/Legends books, so he’s probably like Mara in being from a spin-off novel.

Thoughts So Far: There’s not really much to say about this chapter. The stat blocks range from a wide variety of characters, and although some characters are undoubtedly missing this feels like the most complete list of major characters from the Dragonlance Chronicles. There’s no handy appendix sorting them by Challenge Rating, and some of them are built poorly, but as a long-time sufferer of DM Fatigue I can hardly pass up 50+ NPCs.

Join us next time as we finish up this book with some DM advice and a full adventure in Chapter 7: A War of the Lance Campaign & the Lyceum!

Sep 6, 2019

by sebmojo

Maxwell Lord posted:

Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

The Asteroid Belt: Space Vegas, Baby, Space Vegas!

I love that even under RAM's rear end in a top hat corporate fascism the Belters are measurably freer and better off than they are in The Expanse.

Dec 10, 2007


I wouldn't put Soth above Vecna. Or even Acererak.

Sep 6, 2019

by sebmojo

Libertad! posted:

Lorac Caladon is the Speaker of the Stars, the King of all Silvanesti. He is 18th level, a multi-class Noble/Abjurer Wizard/Wizard of High Sorcery. Being the ruler of a high-magic nation and former student of the Tower of High Sorcery of Istar means that he has access to all 0 to 3rd level wizard spells of five different schools from the Player’s Handbook. But you’re never going to see this stat block in action in any regular War of the Lance Campaign, for he is now a deluded husk hunched over the Dragon Orb. The only thing that can end his curse will be his death. He is remembered now as that stupid oval office who caused our party to spend four loving months playing through slightly different versions of the same godsdamned chapter of DL10

Corrected that for you.

SirPhoebos posted:

I wouldn't put Soth above Vecna. Or even Acererak.

I would. While Vecna and Acererak appeared in various modules and supplements, Soth appeared the in Dragonlance and Ravenloft novels as well as various modules. He might be more well known in wider fantasy circles.

Everyone fucked around with this message at 13:53 on Jan 7, 2020

Nov 19, 2010

Maxwell Lord posted:

Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

The Asteroid Belt: Space Vegas, Baby, Space Vegas!

Psyche is home to some prime ship construction facilities (it’s called the Boatyard); having a ship made there costs at least 50% more than usual, but you get 10%-20% more hit points as a result. (Doesn’t seem like a good deal but I’m not sure.)

Running the math from the ship creation chapter, a 75-ton freighter costs 750,000 credits in your typical "previously-owned, the previous owners took great care of it" condition. This would give you a ship with a 300 HP hull and 7 gun nodes. (I'm not running the math for the sensors, controls, life support, fuel tank, and engine HP because that hull HP is slightly important.)

If you're buying a ship from the Psyche boatyard, that same 75-ton freighter would cost at least 1,125,000 credits for a ship with 330 HP. That's 12,500 credits per additional hit point, and per the rules for buying ships in such great condition, those extra 30 HP are gone forever once they're lost.

A heavy accel gun costs 5,000 credits and does 30 damage to one ship section.

This 75-ton freighter has an Armor Class of 8 (because armor is expensive) and heavy accel guns have a -2 penalty to their attack roll; 1d20 + 6 vs. THAC0 20 is at least a 35% chance (at first level) that you're going to piss away 375,000 credits on one lucky shot from a rail gun. (And of loving course your opponents are going to have more than one gun on their ship...)

Hardly worth it to me!

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Everyone posted:

Corrected that for you.

I would. While Vecna and Acererak appeared in various modules and supplements, Soth appeared the in Dragonlance and Ravenloft novels as well as various modules. He might be more well known in wider fantasy circles.

granted, I think the 'Head of Vecna' story is pretty much spread in the gaming circles and is almost up there with the Gazebo in infamous gaming stories.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements

Please tell me the original text calls Bertrem “the Aesthetic” rather than the ascetic, I need it.

Oct 30, 2013

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

Everyone posted:

So they evil forces are basically a "meritocracy" instead of being total bloodline rear end in a top hat feudalists. Why are we rooting against them again?

I mean sure they're anti-establishment in a way, and there's some legit criticisms against the old order. But they want to replace it with something even worse:

Oct 30, 2013

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

Chapter 7: A War of the Lance Campaign

I’ve noticed a commonality among the Dragonlance sourcebooks I’ve read so far: each of their final chapters are quite short, and this one’s no exception at a mere 5 pages long. Chapter Seven is a series of broad advice for Dungeon Masters based on three distinct time periods within the 4th Age.

An Age of Despair Campaign can take place anytime after the Cataclysm and before the War of the Lance proper. It is a time of desperation and violence where the higher values of the Age of Might are quickly forgotten. The lack of any kind of magical healing makes mundane doctors and herbalists the most important people in their communities, while steel and iron become more valuable than gold and other soft metals. Even many Knights of Solamnia, hated and distrusted in their own homeland, become mercenaries and sell-swords as a means of making a living. Wizards are vilified while false religions propagate. It is a more lawless sword and sorcery feel than the high fantasy tropes common to Dragonlance.

The War of the Lance Campaign is the default, and immediately it asks the burning question of how can the characters’ actions feel meaningful when the novel characters are the ones saving the world. It suggests letting the players play as them, but throw in some plot twists like Raistlin confronting Fistandantilus and becoming a White Robe Wizard. Or the Heroes of the Lance get slain during their mission and the PCs pick up where they left off.

Not really good advice. The general setting outlook emphasises the changing world: the Dragonarmies are steamrolling kingdom after kingdom, mythical dragons have been sighted laying waste to towns, and magic of the true gods is rumored to be returning both among the forces of Good and Evil. Populations are displaced from war, and it is during this time that people are starting to unite beyond petty grievances against this common threat. Less sword and sorcery, more standard epic fantasy.

A Post War of the Lance Campaign reflects the pseudo-peacetime after the destruction of the Temple of Neraka and the deaths of Emperor Ariakas and the highest-ranking remaining Dragon Highlords. The Dragonarmies still exist and are a threat, but are now disorganized remnants. The more fortunate survivors of the War of the Lance can return to living a less exciting life, but cities need to be rebuilt, infrastructure repaired. While the gods are back and churches are being formed for them, there is still some initial distrust of people that remember the Cataclysm. The metallic dragons, no longer bound by their Oath of noninterference, now have a more active hand in the world. Silvanesti is still rife with nightmares (although not as bad as they once were) and while the Knights of Solamnia are back in the peoples’ favor there are warlords and opportunists unwilling to give up their ill-gotten holdings. PCs who were instrumental in the Dragonarmies’ defeat, or were Heroes of the Lance themselves may become respected figures of their communities...and thus asked to aid with all manner of problems, like perhaps a dwarf PC asked to help make peace between the hill and mountain clans of Thorbadin.

The Lyceum Adventure

This adventure is actually a 3rd Edition conversion of an AD&D adventure. Originally written by Tracy Hickman and converted by Cam Banks, it is an 8th-level dungeon crawl set several months after the destruction of the Dark Queen’s Temple at the end of the War of the Lance.

Said dungeon is the Lyceum, originally one of the anchor points for the Lost Citadel where the three Gods of Magic trained the first wizards-to-be. It then became a secret citadel for wizards, but during the final years of the Age of Might its extraplanar portal, the Skydome, served as a gateway for all of the true clerics of Ansalon. At the behest of their patron deities they came to this place to be raptured out of the world and start new lives in realms beyond Krynn.* The Red Dragon Highlord Rugoheras, a mere shadow of his accomplished predecessors, is desperate to turn things around and learns of the Lyceum’s location. By kidnapping a pair of siblings from a nearby village, he hopes with the aid of a Black Robe Wizard and Cleric of Takhisis to re-enact the tragedy of Berem Everman, the Green Gemstone Man. By creating a new Foundation Stone out of the scattered shards of the Dark Queen’s Temple with innocent blood, he hopes to accomplish what Emperor Ariakas failed to do and open up a portal for Takhisis to enter the world!

*Does this mean that this is also the dungeon where 18+ level PCs went to in the AD&D versions of the setting?

The hook for the adventure is investigating a strange mist near the small town of Turog and the gathering and sudden disappearance of traveling Red Dragonarmy soldiers near the area. THeir camps have been left completely empty after some strange black clouds boiled out from the Lyceum’s location. If you’re wondering why such a vaunted citadel was never claimed by the Wizards of High Sorcery or some other group since the Cataclysm, it was magically warded from intrusion until a small force of draconians occupied it by disabling its wards. Given that the Highlord, cleric, and wizard arrived until after the war's end and there’s no Aurak or similarly powerful draconian spellcaster among their ranks, I don’t know how they managed to do this.

The Lyceum is a 64 room dungeon crawl. It has random encounters as well as rooms with monsters and/or traps, and barring a few exceptions said encounters punch well below the party’s weight level due to the ‘war of attrition’ aspect of dungeons. A fair amount of the rooms are empty thematic set-pieces reflecting the places’ role as a mystical safe haven for wizards. The monster/trap rooms are more or less self-contained: barring the exception of the named bad guys, the Dragonarmy soldiers don’t really act like a fighting force who will take advantage of the dungeon’s layout or traps or where they’ll most likely move in case of searching for intruders. There are some creatures who are creations of the old mages or features of the dungeon itself, but there’s no indication of examples indicating any interaction: “the draconians had a bad run in with the spectral minions in Area 28. The corpse of a baaz can be found here” and similar things do not appear in this module.

Some of the more interesting rooms include a kitchen and pantry holding a captured kender* and griffon who the draconians are planning on eating; a room with a ghostly wizard teacher who presumes the PCs are students and will magically summon a dunce cap on any character who appears to not understand arcane magic (and will demonstrate “the effects of a fireball upon an annoying group of adventurers” as a magical trap); a hallway with three glowing gems that unlock doorways in the rest of the complex, but have a puzzle where they teleport into each other’s pedestals if one tries to grab them and thus all three must be grabbed at once; a maze constructed of dimensional teleportation magic which bend light and sound so that it looks like it’s one long hallway going on forever; a fountain whose waters can bestow Cure Moderate Wounds and Lesser Restoration once a day on those who drink from it**; a pair of towers whose tops and bottoms are dimensionally connected so that the monsters and treasures inside are in freefall; and a library with 17 spellbooks...whose “books” only contain one spell each and have most of their content dedicated to treatises, various uses, and the history and development of said spell.

*with said kender not being statted up, how he’ll react to the PCs saving him, or information he may know about the Lyceum.

**said water loses its magical potency if taken out of the Lyceum.

One of the Lyceum’s interesting figures is Estigon, the ghostly former Keeper of the Lyceum who appears every so often to drop helpful hints to the PCs. He is a multi-class cleric/wizard who discovered that the source of all magic is the Highgod and thus reflects his ‘universal understanding.* He and Justin, the spirit of a cleric guarding the Skydome, will drop hints to the PCs to use a unique magic item found elsewhere in the dungeon: Justin’s Icon of Truth, which can be used as a weapon against the forces of evil. Estigon’s class combination breaks earlier sourcebooks like Tower of High Sorcery, which stated that you cannot multi-class in an arcane and divine casting class at the same time because the magic just doesn’t work together. On the one hand, this adventure was written by Tracy Hickman and thus likely counts as “G-Level Canon.” On the other hand, Towers of High Sorcery had Margaret Weis as one of the primary writers, so I don’t know who overrules who in this case.

*Dragonlance’s uber-deity, or Ao, equivalent who created all of the true gods and is not known or worshiped among the general populace.

As for the major villains, they are all encountered in different areas of the Lyceum. The Black Robe Wizard has a shield guardian ally enchanted with Dispel Magic to imbue into a slam attack, and will regroup with his assistant in the library who has a retinue of human Dragonarmy soldiers standing watch. Spirior Minsi Tarenthela, the cleric, talks to herself via prayers to the Dark Queen and can spill the beans on the evil plot if the PCs are sneaky enough to eavesdrop. 2d6 baaz draconians will come to her aid if a fight breaks out at which point she will flee. To what rooms or out of the Lyceum proper, the adventure does not specify.

Finally, the Red Dragon Highlord Rugoheras, is in a room torturing the kidnapped sister. His red dragon companion is using magic to show her torturous visions in the hopes of driving her to suicide by stabbing herself with one of the Nerakan temple shards...which isn’t a reenactment per se of Berem Everman’s tragedy: the man and his sister, after coming upon the Foundation Stone, get into an argument over the risk of taking it. Berem sought to pry out the green gemstone with a knife, but when his sister tried to stop him he pushed her off...and onto a nearby sharp column which instantly killed her.

I also have to ask why the kidnapped brother is needed in this case, who is held in a different room. I can get that villains may have an illogical plan or throwing things at the dartboard to get their Queen back, but the adventure doesn’t really acknowledge this plot hole.

The battle with the Highlord and his dragon has a surprising amount of tactics. The dragon has no orders to harm either sibling and thus will not turn his breath weapon on PCs who are too close, while the Highlord will do everything he can from preventing said siblings from leaving the room. If Justin’s Icon of Truth is used, it will automatically cast Order’s Wrath, stunning both the Highlord and the Dragon for one round with the former dropping any held weapons.

But oddly, the adventure presumes only one solution even though Rugoheras can be killed normally and is only 8th-level himself: the PCs use Justin’s Icon of Truth or somehow push or manipulate the Highlord into falling through the Skydome,* where he will come face to face with the Dark Queen. His happiness is quickly overshadowed by her anger, as his form is enveloped into the void of the Abyss. The dragon somehow teleports into the portal as well if he’s still outside. Justin will thank the PCs for ensuring that justice was served and lets them keep whatever they found in the Lyceum as a reward. The Lyceum will disappear shortly thereafter, any memories of the place wiped from the minds of all but the PCs.

*Which is well away from the room the battle takes place and must be traversed via the teleportation-illusion hall.

We have three magic items before we wrap up this book. The Black Shards are pieces of stone remnants flung from the Temple of Neraka’s explosion. They are purely a plot device power for the bad guys’ ritual, but can be dispelled or turned as though they were undead/evil, at which point they become wisps of darkness which fade back into the Abyss. Orbs of the Moons are three orbs colored after an appropriate Order of High Sorcery. When an arcane spellcaster who worships the appropriate God of Magic wields such an Orb, they can cast Lesser Globe of Invulnerability 1/day or Dispel Magic 3/day each. Justin’s Icon of Truth contains all the powers of said magic item detailed in Chapter Two, but takes the form of carved ivory disks detailing how arcane and divine magic have the same source: the Highgod, a force even greater and beyond that of the true Gods of Krynn. Said Icon of Truth is highly Lawful and grants any wielder the ability to cast all but the highest-level spell from the Law domain.

Thoughts So Far: Chapter Seven is far too short for me to have any real opinions on, and felt more like words to help fill out the page count.

As for the dungeon, it feels more like a fun house than a living place. The Highlord’s plot is never explained if he’d be successful in unleashing Takhisis into the world or not, but either way I feel that this is a weak point of the module. The high stakes seem out of place when juxtaposed against the fact that it’s literally “villagers gone missing” cliche, and the party has no prior ties to the Lyceum or those inside it. Not to mention that it kind of commits the fallacy of repeating the Big Bad Evil Guy’s Plot from the main Chronicles, and thus you cannot help but compare it to that and how much less epic it is than the final module in the original Dragonlance series.

After reviewing Towers of High Sorcery I cannot help but notice that the sourcebooks are contradicting not just themselves but each other: in that book, it was explained that arcane and divine spellcasting were impossible to be learned by the same person. But here we have the Lyceum’s ghostly keeper as a multi-class Cleric/Wizard. The fact that Krynn’s magical nature is so specific and hard-wired to the setting makes this feel less tolerable to happen than in a setting like Eberron or Forgotten Realms where all sorts of things in D&D are said to have a place.

Final Thoughts: I love this book. It has pretty much everything but conversions of the original adventures when it comes to running games set during the War of the Lance. It does a great job detailing the world of the Age of Despair, and has plenty of stat blocks for generic Dragonarmy baddies and most of the named characters from the Chronicles. The new rules-facing material tends to be divided into two camps: if it’s related to magic it’s good. If not, like most of the Prestige Classes, feats, and the Master core class, it’s not so hot. The adventure at the end of the book is subpar for the reasons outlined above, but even this weak ending does not tarnish the shine of what may very well be the most comprehensive sourcebook for the 3rd Edition line of Dragonlance products.

While my next planned review is Dragons of Krynn, I do not know when I’ll get around to that. I plan on taking a break for now, but after a month and a half of writing three reviews I feel that it is a rest well-deserved.

See you all next time until the next Let’s Read!

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Chapter 6: Character Creation Bonus Content

Degenesis Rebirth
Chapter 6: Character Creation


Specter, the Paler Rank 1, has a requirement of “born into darkness” which is some dumb poo poo with no mechanical backing. It's like some of the Jehammedan starter ranks demand you be born to a Saraeli or whatever – yeah, it's entirely in my background fluff and it costs nothing, so why the requirement? Is it just there to only enforce lore compliance?

Being in the dark all of the time, Palers get +2D to INS+Perception when actively listening or when someone is trying to sneak up on them. However, all this basement-dwelling gives them -1D to attack and defense in “bright sunlight”. They start out with a “Grim sun,” a talisman that gives +1D to mental defense.

The Rank 2 is split into three routes: Solar (not afraid of the sun anymore), Reviver (bunker-seeker) and Phantom (sneaky breeky). They also get Sun discs of various quality AND level. That's right, we're probably gonna have some dumb rules on discs going forward. Palers also get access to better gear sooner, with Phantoms getting a muffled (silenced?) SMG with a bayonet, +1D rounds per month (yes, gun-haver ranks get rounds as allowance – maybe that will be detailed more in the adventuring section) and a shock grenade.

However, you can't get Rank 3 in character creation. Aurora and Cyclops are barred behind Background requirements while Redeemer adds adventure requirements (awakening at least one bunker).

Most curiously, Auroras, being the ones who actually understand memetics/bunker systems, go full :dawkins101:, where their Faith level transforms to their Willpower level.

Aspirants make up the 4th Rank. They have variable requirements ( CHA+Expression 10 or CHA+Seduction 10 or PSY+Domination 10; Authority or Renown 5) to represent this being the step during which an aspiring Demagogue chooses which way he'll manipulate people. In return, you can perfectly mimic a person's voice after 5 rounds of concentration... giving you +2D to PSY+Deception to dupe a listener. "The Getrell avatar of his bunker" updates his Sun Disc level, whatever that is. He gets to 2D for defense against being bamboozled by other Aspirants and Demagogues.

Now, if you rise up to Demagogue, at Rank 5, you can do all sorts of poo poo with your voice, becoming Michael Winslow in Police Academy, as well having “+3D to PSY+Deception, PSY+Domination, and CHA+Arts (Singing)” when using voice, and “also +3D to PSY+Cunning in the dark.”

However, if you're happy with tapping out at Rank 4, you can become a Halo... provided you can prove that your turned your back on the “false gods” and now follow a Sleeper Prophet (that is, one of the popsicles that are awake and loving about).

You have five Prophets to choose from. They range from relatively simple poo poo of Diamondal (exploring lower levels of Exalt, they get +2D to Engineering and acess to the Free Spirit tech, whatever the gently caress that is), to fluffy, fun but useless stuff from Trice (sje travels like beggar and marks good people so that her followers would help them, followers get +2D to INS+Empathy) to basically nothing from Ensceph (an angelic figure setting Palers against Sleepers, technically allows you to make godsbane weapons from the bones of Sleepers).

Palers are fully onboard the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife train.

Paler Potentials

Nighmare: super duper stealth attack. A Paler attacking from the shadows rolls AGI+Stealth vs. enemy's INS+Perception. If he wins, he gets Potential level in Triggers on that attack. At night, you get +1D/Potential level to AGI+Stealth. Do you have be undetected before the attack? Who knows!

Lament: needs Primal. A Paler lets out his fear as a scream. Roll INS+Primal, +1D per level of Lament. The result (amount of successes, I guess) is the Difficulty “all unprotected opponents” have to roll against with mental defenses. Failure incapacitates for a round. For every 3T the Paler got, incap extends for a round.

Your party members are also affected unless they have earplugs! Now, how many times per battle can you use this? Unknown! Stunlock them fuckers!

Alias: you can pretend to be a surface dweller. +1D per potential level to PSY+Deception to pretend that you're not a bunker Morlock.

Midnight Sun: needs Focus. Penalties to perception due to darkness, blindness or bad visual conditions is reduced by one per level, as can compensate with your other senses.

Chosen: needs Veterans of the Long War – I kid, I kid. Halo only. Your Sleeper Prophet likes you and your Authority and Secrets Backgrounds rise by one per Potential level.

Suggestor: needs mastery of English language and usage of words that definitely exist. Or being a Demagogue. If a Demagogue sneaks up to an unsuspecting victim (AGI+Stealth), they can use CHA+Negotation (+2D per Potential level) against their defenses to plant opinions in them as if they were a voice in their head. What does it actually do? Shrug, lol.

As you can see, much like other Potentials, this one is a grab-bag of abilities that are in no way balanced in usability.

So there you have it, those are the your bunker folks!

Next time: Battle or how to put Apocalyptics into the ground where they belong

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!
Normally I wouldn't make a post so soon, but I happened to start reading up on the 2nd Edition conversions of the Dragonlance Chronicles. They actually had 2 versions, both known as Dragonlance Classics:

The first was a 3-volume one which grouped chapters by the broad "arcs" of Autumn/Winter/Spring, and the 15th Anniversary Edition which had rules for SAGA conversion as well.

I read the 2e Dragons of Despair and skimmed the other modules for the 3-volume version, but as far as I can tell a lot of things are the same. Or rather, the changes are minimal. I haven't played 2e, so I'm going off other things, but the artwork and encounters are pretty much the same beyond some minor word changes in sentences.

The 15th Anniversary Edition, on the other changed a lot.

15A not only has new encounters, it streamlines a lot of the dungeon-crawling to some dramatic set-pieces, has a more storybook feel with in-character text, and several new encounters. Both minor random ones and some bigger ones to the story. For example, during the Battle of the High Clerist's Tower the Sturm PC engages in a 1 on 1 fight with Kitiara like in the novels. But unlike in the novels it is possible for him to survive and not die.

Furthermore, the 14 modules are now grouped as 36 chapters, and there are cases where the railroad tracks have been broken up. Like advice on how to play several chapters out of order, and even an alternative to avoiding the party split in Tarsis during the Winter/Spring arc.

I notice that the Inklesspen site is gradually catching up to PurpleXVI's adventure start (the Buck Rogers F&F's latest entry is November 13th), so I'm debating whether to edit my earlier posts to include 2e 15A changes, or handle them as their own sets of posts.

Edit: Eh, I think this is cutting it too close. I'll handle the 15A as their own mini-series of posts or whatnot.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 23:29 on Jan 11, 2020

a kitten
Aug 5, 2006

Libertad! posted:

A Post War of the Lance Campaign reflects the pseudo-peacetime after the destruction of the Temple of Neraka and the deaths of Emperor Ariakas and the highest-ranking remaining Dragon Highlords. The Dragonarmies still exist and are a threat, but are now disorganized remnants. The more fortunate survivors of the War of the Lance can return to living a less exciting life, but cities need to be rebuilt, infrastructure repaired. While the gods are back and churches are being formed for them, there is still some initial distrust of people that remember the Cataclysm. The metallic dragons, no longer bound by their Oath of noninterference, now have a more active hand in the world. Silvanesti is still rife with nightmares (although not as bad as they once were) and while the Knights of Solamnia are back in the peoples’ favor there are warlords and opportunists unwilling to give up their ill-gotten holdings. PCs who were instrumental in the Dragonarmies’ defeat, or were Heroes of the Lance themselves may become respected figures of their communities...and thus asked to aid with all manner of problems, like perhaps a dwarf PC asked to help make peace between the hill and mountain clans of Thorbadin.

This just helped me remember a post War set of modules where the PCs had to find and/or rescue the neutral dragons on a different Krynn continent. Possibly also involving a trip to a Moon or two.

I don't actually remember if the original heroes were featured at all (although Raistlin had to have been mentioned in some way surely). It might even have been Dragonlance's first thing in 2nd edition now that I think about it...but, it's been since like 1990 that I've thought about them so I could be way off.

Dragonlance Adventures: Dragon Dawn, Dragon Knight, Dragon's Rest 1990 by Rick Swan

And reading back a bit I see that Taladas was mentioned a bit earlier, mainly I'm just pleased all the DL posts helped clarify a vague old memory of mine.

Oct 30, 2013

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

a kitten posted:

And reading back a bit I see that Taladas was mentioned a bit earlier, mainly I'm just pleased all the DL posts helped clarify a vague old memory of mine.

I'm glad to see that the collective Goon's anti-theist obsession for Krynn's gods* made someone's day a little bit brighter. :P

On that note, I've been debating for this reason to review Holy Order of the Stars first if I ever get back into reviewing. I will also do Dragons of Krynn (which does talk about Taladas a bit for once!) but given how animated people get over Paladine it may be a strong start in jumping back into things.

*and gully dwarf/gnome/kender hate.

Sep 6, 2019

by sebmojo

Libertad! posted:

I'm glad to see that the collective Goon's anti-theist obsession for Krynn's gods* made someone's day a little bit brighter. :P

On that note, I've been debating for this reason to review Holy Order of the Stars first if I ever get back into reviewing. I will also do Dragons of Krynn (which does talk about Taladas a bit for once!) but given how animated people get over Paladine it may be a strong start in jumping back into things.

*and gully dwarf/gnome/kender hate.

I don't hate kender or gully dwarves. Gully Dwarves are sort of Why the gently caress are the Gods so sadistic to these poor creatures pity and contempt. And Kender are just really cute... however.

This is a duckling:

I've been going through a weird obsession with the idea of getting a pet duckling. Look at that little thing. The fuzzy body. Those eyes. The little wings and the webbed feet. Plus that little tweet-tweet-cheep sound. And if they imprint, they'll follow you around like you're a combination of Mom and God.

But they're birds. And they're birds generally designed to fly. Birds that fly get rid of all their waste material as soon as possible to reduce the weight when they fly.

So that cute little tweetie-sweetie up there will poo poo everywhere at any time uncontrollably. They can't be "potty-trained." And it's not like dog poo or rabbit pellets. It's a weird, smelly, not-quite diarrhea that will soak into and ruin pretty much any carpet, cloth, etc it touches. Oh, and in somewhere between 30-60 days, ducklings are full grown and become ducks. And still poo poo everywhere. And ducks can live 15+ years.

So, kender are cute, but they're an unbelievable pain-in-the-rear end to deal with for everyone in a party that has one. Except that pretty much any adventuring party needs some kind of rogue/thief and kender are pretty much purpose-built to do that poo poo so every party kind of needs one.

May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Unlike ducks, Kenders are technically sentient beings that one should be able to reason with.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


The only possible way to get a use of the printed material is to declare it to be made up entire from hearsay and subjective opinion.

So Kender aren't thieving children it's just a very shallow look at a non-private property culture and maybe some incidents of misunderstanding.
And the gods are impulsive assholes but people are afraid to call them on it.

Dec 24, 2007

The only time I played D&D I started murdering kender on sight after the third session.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007


It's either that or starting a pseudoanarchist collective of some sort, if your DM is cool and good.

Apr 23, 2010

A contract signed by a minor is not binding!
the real problem with kender is the kind of people who play them think they're funny


Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.
I maintain that it's possible for someone to play a non-terrible Kender in a group with other people who won't hate your guts for your RP.

But it would just be so loving exhausting, compared to so many other, less problematic, character options, that why would someone capable of doing that ever want to, other than as some sort of masochistic point-proving exercise?

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