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Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


LatwPIAT posted:

Kender do three things:
1) Say that the way in which you should be playing a Kender is to be a thief who takes things other people care about. If people didn't care, they wouldn't object, and the example Kender wouldn't have to constantly make excuses.
2) Give permission to players who want to steal things from other players. Yes yes, don't play with assholes, etc. but in my experience you often don't have complete control over who you play with and some people are perfectly nice people except when you give them an excuse to be annoying little shits. In any case, the game shouldn't be encouraging bad behaviour in the first place.
3) Say that anyone who objects to having their stuff taken by kleptomaniac compulsive liars is, morally, in the wrong for not liking the kleptomaniac little shits.

These are all problems that can be fixed by open communication between players and establishing borders for what is and isn't OK in the game, but that's being an adult and being an adult is difficult, especially if you're actually teenagers - and the Dragonlance doesn't make this easy by saying that annoying kleptomaniacs are a playable part of the setting.

This is where a game benefits from having a Game Master - a person who says "Yeah, this is what the setting says, but in the context of Wilikin not stealing from Grimwrath Bloodsail, the PC 20 Str Minotaur pirate and Grimdark not using his axe to chop Wilikin into Kender kibble, we're gonna do it this way."

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90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Glagha posted:

I feel like any Kender who has spent any time among humans is gonna figure out pretty quickly not to just grab their poo poo. It might still happen but like, it's like learning the local customs. Humans get offended when you Handle their stuff so don't do that. Otherwise it makes no sense anyone would ever associate with them. They can have a loose concept of ownership but they have to be intelligent enough to fit in with people who don't.
The "good" take I saw on this was that before they get to that stage, they ask permission for everything, because they know other people get weird about property but does that include their hats? The salt? A drink from the tray some servant's carrying around at the ball? The stick a party member picked up by the campsite but put down again? They might own that!

Everyone posted:

Except that ducks can be reasoned with, or at least trained in some ways. Kender can't.
Don't gently caress with the ducks.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


90s Cringe Rock posted:

Don't gently caress with the ducks.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Meanwhile in Good Krynn:

"...As I said earlier humans and some other races have an obsession with hoarding property.
that one time I was wondering about the city I've met a number of dispossessed people who solicited me for coins and food, when I asked them why aren't they being cared for by the greater community they told me that they get by on 'donations'.
That the Idea of holding everything for one's self and then gifting a minute amount based completely on whim is patently insane did not occur to anyone I talked to that day."

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Nessus posted:

Thri-kreen in Dark Sun have a pretty inhuman mindset with a couple of hard rules (though I do not believe they are Mandated for PCs) yet somehow despite literally being Zorak from Space Ghost, they don't have issues.

They tend to adopt the party as their family and aren't psychologically inflexible. Unlike Kender, who are thieves, culture-wide, while you can have cannibal Thri-Kreen who eat elves for lunch, it's not defined in their genes that they're that way, it's a cultural thing, and most of the cultures of Athas who regularly deal with Thri-Kreen have found some accomodation with them, a way to make their hard-wired species things work with everyone rather than against everyone, and the Thri-Kreen do likewise. When not among their own people, they learn to form "packs" with groups of humans, elves, dwarves, etc., treating them as family units.

They also need a hard-set "pecking order" in a social grouping, otherwise they feel uncomfortable. This means that they'll start out being somewhat brash and bullying, trying to figure out if they're the one in charge or if someone else is. Then once someone either puts them in their place, or no one does, they know how things work, and they calm down and are completely reasonable, probably the most devoted ally you could imagine. It also being a "one-time" behavior means that it's something that can easily be dealt with as "alright, you sorted that stuff out before the game started." Rather than it being a constant and continuing disruption like Kender "handling."

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


By popular demand posted:

Meanwhile in Good Krynn:

"...As I said earlier humans and some other races have an obsession with hoarding property.
that one time I was wondering about the city I've met a number of dispossessed people who solicited me for coins and food, when I asked them why aren't they being cared for by the greater community they told me that they get by on 'donations'.
That the Idea of holding everything for one's self and then gifting a minute amount based completely on whim is patently insane did not occur to anyone I talked to that day."

In Even Better Krynn, the Kender then go and mount up on their dinosaur companions and ride off into the sunset, ala Eberron Halflings. Raptor cavalry would really put them on the Dragonlance mass-combat campaign map.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Also on good Krynn:
Sure been great since those tunnel dwarfs moved in the abandoned mine, they fixed up the place pretty good.
We don't have to worry children getting lost there and they turned the vermin problem into food and pets!
I just hope that they open up in time and get over their shyness, we could learn a lot from them. Heck they even figured out how to train guard snakes!

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Best Krynn: "Deicide Day really is my favorite time of the year."

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


SirPhoebos posted:

Best Krynn: "Deicide Day really is my favorite time of the year."

Best Krynn: Actually Old World.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Everyone posted:

This is where a game benefits from having a Game Master - a person who says "Yeah, this is what the setting says, but in the context of Wilikin not stealing from Grimwrath Bloodsail, the PC 20 Str Minotaur pirate and Grimdark not using his axe to chop Wilikin into Kender kibble, we're gonna do it this way."

I don't think that's a benefit: the Game Master could just as easily say "This is what the setting says, Wilikin should be taking your magic items randomly, if Bloodsail wants to hack him to pieces that's OK and it's William's problem if he doesn't like having his characters murdered by Bob's characters."

megane
Jun 20, 2008





Yeah, "a good GM can fix it" isn't an excuse for bad rules, and it's not an excuse for bad fluff, either. If putting Kender in the setting (and making them playable) requires all this song and dance, then we should ask: what's the benefit of having them? Why put them in the book, instead of a different species/culture/whatever that doesn't have those problems? Because it seems to me like they're one unfunny joke told over and over, and that's it.

e: Really, saying "a good GM (or player) can fix it" is itself kind of a red flag. If the thing was good, why would it need fixing / avoiding?

megane fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jan 15, 2020

Tylana
May 5, 2011



Pillbug

If I run a game again, I might have to offer certain types of player a perk/feat/whatever that is just "Yes, you collect lots of random crap that costs under a GP each. You can roll a d20 to see if you have a match/sometwine/ballbearings/asparebottle. Stop bothering me."

EDIT : And then, default to saying Yes. unless it's super weird, or when they roll their reaction shows they think they should fail.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Myriad Song had an entire power set about doing that. You just have a bunch of random stuff you've scaved in your belt/pack. When pressed, you turn it into a jury-rigged full-auto railgun that fires carpentry nails, or some other crazy, soon-to-explode device as needed.

Pieces of Peace
Jul 8, 2006
Hazardous in small doses.

Throw a kender into Shadow of the Demon Lord, have them roll on those charts for a random item, and now we're talking!

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

The 3rd Edition sourcebook Races of Ansalon made not one, but three tables for determining what random items a kender has in their pouches. The overall usefulness and value of said items depends on the kender's level (and if they have levels in the Handler Prestige Class and/or the Lucky feat):





Pieuvre
Sep 19, 2010


Okay, I hate kender in general but the idea of one randomly coming up with a philosopher's stone in their pocket wraps back around to hilarious.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


A well of many worlds? That's either useless, because of Dragonlance's rather small and sad cosmology, or a potential way to escape Krynn to a better campaign setting.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Seatox posted:

A well of many worlds? That's either useless, because of Dragonlance's rather small and sad cosmology, or a potential way to escape Krynn to a better campaign setting.

I remember playing Planescape Torment and one of the guys you meet is a Knight from Krynn who is utterly baffled by what's going on, as they have pretty much no idea about the planes.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


megane posted:

e: Really, saying "a good GM (or player) can fix it" is itself kind of a red flag. If the thing was good, why would it need fixing / avoiding?

I bristle at the idea that a product I paid money for leaves me work to do. I already have a system to master, I don't need the work of fixing it. I paid you money with the hopes that you did the work for me, drat it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

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





Yeah, this is a pretty fundamental problem, not some kind of hyphz edge case situation.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



MonsterEnvy posted:

I remember playing Planescape Torment and one of the guys you meet is a Knight from Krynn who is utterly baffled by what's going on, as they have pretty much no idea about the planes.

Solamnic Knights also show up in Baldur's Gate 2, having blundered into an interplanar travel/research thing. They've locked the doors on their part of the complex because next door is a bunch of cannibal halflings from Dark Sun.

Servetus
Apr 1, 2010


Interestingly enough, Kender will stop grabbing their fellow party member's items once they hit 5th level.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Libertad! posted:

The 3rd Edition sourcebook Races of Ansalon made not one, but three tables for determining what random items a kender has in their pouches. The overall usefulness and value of said items depends on the kender's level (and if they have levels in the Handler Prestige Class and/or the Lucky feat):

The 1E Dragonlance Adventures book, IIRC, also had a Random Kender Pocket Item Generator chart (and also had a chance of randomly discovering a magic item).

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.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer



Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

Jupiter: America's Dairyland

Jupiter and Saturn, and the satellites orbiting them, are collectively called the Outer Worlds, and have their own government, the Outer Worlds Conference. It's a very divided group and they don’t have much of a military, but are just big enough in the Solar Alliance that they don’t get completely run over.

Jupiter itself is pretty much exclusively populated by the Stormriders, who were engineered to help set up an ecosystem in the least-hostile layer of the atmosphere, where water vapor exists and the temperature is vaguely tolerable (though it never says exactly what the temperature range is.) They live in cities which float on the denser lower atmosphere, like the Venusian Aerostates, and the two share tech. The Stormriders have their own genetic engineering projects which allowed them to create other organisms, often as food animals. Indeed genetic engineering seems to be the focus of their society, and it’s described as something like the Industrial Revolution. The book theorizes that in a few years they may even have organic spaceships.

Jupiter doesn’t really have a lot of exports, but giant Skimmerships visit the upper atmosphere to gather gasses for resale; they don’t make contact with the Stormriders. The only other thing worth noting are the Jovian Trojans, two converted asteroids flanking Jupiter on its orbital path, which are basically lawless pirate dens controlled by their own Dominion of powerful settlers who don’t recognize the Solar Alliance or any other authority.

There’s more activity around Jupiter’s satellites. Metis, Adrastea, and Thebe only have small settlements. Amalthea, however, has five “vaults” which play host to various corporations, including the Genetics Foundation (they created the Stormriders and still claim ownership of the genotype) and Skimmertech, who run the Skimmerships.

Io’s surface is highly volcanic, and a number of orbital colonies seek to harness both the thermal energy and energy from Jupiter’s magnetic field. Basically lower-rent Sun Kings, they have a lot of influence over the other satellites and even a small navy. Europa, despite HAL 9000’s warnings, is now host to ten arcologies lodged under the ice. All sorts of groups claim these arcologies, including one claiming it for RAM despite RAM not having agreed to this at all, so it’s basically in a constant sate of war. Europans themselves have been genetically modified to help them withstand the cold; they have a fine covering of body hair and their blood vessels aren’t as near to the surface of the skin.

There are three major groups of settlers on Ganymede. Deep below the ice covering its surface, you have the water-breathing Ganymen, who are fishlike, bioluminescent, and are equipped with sonar capabilities. Like the Stormriders they do a lot of genetic work, and are also farmers. They only contact the outside worlds via six Ice Stations which punch through the outer ice layer. Each of these is run by Europans who wanted to get away from all the fighting on Europa, but naturally still are all in competition with each other over control of the Ganymen’s food exports. In orbit you have a bunch of space stations and small colonies, often run by outside factions like RAM and the Ishtarians or Belters

Callisto has a similar geography to Ganymede, but everyone lives on the icy surface in giant citadels, powered by underwater reactors. Nutritious algae is raised in the water below, and the Callistans do go underwater to harvest it and maintain their power supplies. The Callistans have built a stratified cartel, with the three biggest citadels controlling all the others. Callisto also claims the space around it, and all the small moons beyond their orbit. Of these, most of them have already been heavily mined out by the Callistans; however, the outermost four have a “tipped” orbit and are frequently far from Callistan influence, meaning everyone else gets to have a go at them.

And then there’s Sinope. The farthest moon out, it’s claimed by Calisto too, but as it has a weird orbit, they can’t really monitor it very well. Sinope has hence been mined and expanded into a small artificial world, some 30 miles across. It was a pirate haven at first but has gotten a tiny bit more “respectable” since.

The Jovian System has a few interesting opportunities for adventure- you can see the designers inevitably repeating themselves a bit but there are still good hooks, the main difficulty being how to get the players all the way out here in the first place. It doesn’t help that Jupiter and its Stormriders just plain don’t interact with the rest of the Solar System much, but there are ways to force a conflict.

Next, we’ll deal with Saturn and its satellites, wrapping up the atlas.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


LatwPIAT posted:

I don't think that's a benefit: the Game Master could just as easily say "This is what the setting says, Wilikin should be taking your magic items randomly, if Bloodsail wants to hack him to pieces that's OK and it's William's problem if he doesn't like having his characters murdered by Bob's characters."

megane posted:

Yeah, "a good GM can fix it" isn't an excuse for bad rules, and it's not an excuse for bad fluff, either. If putting Kender in the setting (and making them playable) requires all this song and dance, then we should ask: what's the benefit of having them? Why put them in the book, instead of a different species/culture/whatever that doesn't have those problems? Because it seems to me like they're one unfunny joke told over and over, and that's it.

e: Really, saying "a good GM (or player) can fix it" is itself kind of a red flag. If the thing was good, why would it need fixing / avoiding?

One of the points of having a Game Master is to interpret/alter the setting and rules to best fit himself and his group of players. The GM in the Wlikin/Bloodsail game could easily say "RAW and if Bloodsail murders Wilikin tough poo poo." Of course, that's likely to lead to hard feelings between the two players which could end up with the group dissolving, but the GM is certainly free to take that risk.

And let's face it, good GMs "fix" games all the time. They rework published adventures to fit their party and change other aspects of the setting. One of the GMs I played with thought the idea that certain spheres of magic were restricted by alignment seemed asinine. Granted that Black Robes might be more likely to employ Necromancy spells, but it's not like only Good wizards should have access to Abjuration.

One point I come back to is that adventuring PCs aren't "typical." Sure, the typical kender will "borrow" from and and all, but a kender adventure with a group of other isn't typical. So that kender can understand and respect the concept of private party, much like the minotaur doesn't regard the other party member as slaves or food.

Basically, a role-playing game is a game first or foremost. It's supposed to be a fun activity. And if certain aspects of the rules and setting are making that game less than fun for those participating, those aspect should reasonably be de-emphasized or altered.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Everyone posted:

One of the points of having a Game Master is to interpret/alter the setting and rules to best fit himself and his group of players. The GM in the Wlikin/Bloodsail game could easily say "RAW and if Bloodsail murders Wilikin tough poo poo." Of course, that's likely to lead to hard feelings between the two players which could end up with the group dissolving, but the GM is certainly free to take that risk.

And let's face it, good GMs "fix" games all the time. They rework published adventures to fit their party and change other aspects of the setting. One of the GMs I played with thought the idea that certain spheres of magic were restricted by alignment seemed asinine. Granted that Black Robes might be more likely to employ Necromancy spells, but it's not like only Good wizards should have access to Abjuration.

[...]

Basically, a role-playing game is a game first or foremost. It's supposed to be a fun activity. And if certain aspects of the rules and setting are making that game less than fun for those participating, those aspect should reasonably be de-emphasized or altered.

Yes, they should be altered. And if they should be altered, then they should have been altered before publication. If Kender should be altered, then Kender are, in fact, not fine. As JcDent put it:

JcDent posted:

I bristle at the idea that a product I paid money for leaves me work to do. I already have a system to master, I don't need the work of fixing it. I paid you money with the hopes that you did the work for me, drat it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The hobbyist/alteration/houseruling side of this hobby is both one of the most fun parts of it, and one of the best shields bad rules systems and writing have ever had.

It's a paradox.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


If it needs houseruling for a specific group, then it's the work of a good GM.

If it needs houseruling for every group, in order to simply be playable/beatable, then it's the work of a terrible designer.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Maxwell Lord posted:



Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century

Jupiter: America's Dairyland

Metis

Now there’s a blast from the past.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




A very experimental F&F...

Fatal & Friends: Tokyo Coin Laundry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFb5FRVGLc

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


hyphz posted:

A very experimental F&F...

Fatal & Friends: Tokyo Coin Laundry
yo get me a jeff minter rpg, even if it involves laundry. a spinning washing machine is kind of a weird jeff minter tunnel...

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The vomiting llama is definitely Minteresque.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*


hyphz posted:

A very experimental F&F...

Fatal & Friends: Tokyo Coin Laundry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFb5FRVGLc

As the art form advances, so must the criticism.

I liked it.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



hyphz posted:

A very experimental F&F...

Fatal & Friends: Tokyo Coin Laundry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFb5FRVGLc
This video is good, but even if it were bad, it would be better than this game deserves. Feels like character generation in search of a system, while simultaneously being a spatial relations game that doesn't care about getting to that point reliably. Weird poo poo.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I could call it Avant-garde but it's just another high concept low functionality game that exists to gather dust.
I
I'm wondering what that Japanese neo-rockabilly figurine was about.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

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



I'm the most interested in the spare Burning Wheel (?) token in the box, violating the prime rule of game design: don't remind me of better games I should be playing instead.

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




By popular demand posted:

I could call it Avant-garde but it's just another high concept low functionality game that exists to gather dust.
I
I'm wondering what that Japanese neo-rockabilly figurine was about.

It's from one of the other games, called Praise. Someone puts that token in front of them, everyone else draws a card which is either blank or shows a compliment. Then, every player either reads their compliment to the "cool guy" player, or makes up an acutal compliment if they got they blank card, and the "cool guy" has to tell which compliment was the actual one. Tremendously group dependent.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




hyphz posted:

A very experimental F&F...

Fatal & Friends: Tokyo Coin Laundry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxFb5FRVGLc

With a less bed located setup this could be a concept that works.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



For a 3rd party publishing company, Sovereign Press did quite well in producing large books with high production values. In its 4 years it made 3 map packs, 3 era/setting companion books, a Bestiary and a Revised update as part of its own print run, a 3-book conversion of the original AD&D Dragonlance Modules, a D20 adventure path trilogy of its own making, an obligatory “Races of Ansalon” race sourcebook, 3 class-based sourcebooks drawing from popular setting archetypes, and a Lost Leaves from the Last Home which was full of in-character journals, poems, and recipes with real-world cooking instructions. With the exception of the map packs each book was a lengthy tome, easily reaching 160 pages and a few over 300.

But all good times must come to an end, and soon the company would lose its publishing license with Wizards of the Coast. So for their final book, they wanted to focus on that most iconic of creatures that made up half the name of both D&D and Dragonlance.

Dragons of Krynn is a rather notable book in that it breaks from the format of its predecessors. It has chapters, but each of the chapters are grouped as their own Books which cover their own broad subject matter. Book One focuses on the “true dragon” clans, but also just as important are Books Two and Three, which go into detail on draconians, dragonspawn, and the reptilian races with draconic connections such as lizardfolk, kobolds, wyverns, etc. As the draconians were oddly not present in the older Races of Ansalon sourcebook, Dragons of Krynn also serves as 3rd Edition Dragonlance’s Draconian Sourcebook.

Finally, there are eight in-character sidebars penned by Palanthian scholars discussing notes on all things draconic, ranging from innovations in warfare with the presence of dragons on the battlefield to instructions for humans saddled with the unenviable task of raising an orphaned true dragon wyrmling. In reality the authors of said sidebars include a mixture of adventure writers and novelists who weighed in to give their own personal touches.


Book 1, Clans of the Dragon
Chapter 1: True Dragons


Book One, unsurprisingly, focuses on the true dragons of Ansalon. Encompassing all of the dragon monsters with age categories, they are the first children of the gods of light and darkness. We have several Origin Myths regarding dragons based on the various mortal races and cultures; the dragons themselves refuse to confirm or deny anything, so the oldest records are more folkloric than factual. Each origin story uses the races’ cultural name for specific gods, but I’m using the universal ones for ease of reference.

The dwarves assert that the ten clans of dragons were fashioned by Reorx, god of the forge. The first five were fashioned from five metals given to him by Takhisis for their bodies, and their spirits wrought from Chaos: said dragons were later corrupted by her, and so he then made five for Paladine wrought of untarnished metals.

The elves claim that the gods sought to compose a Song after the creation of Krynn to celebrate their finished task, and the dragons were born to serve as a chorus. Takhisis added five additional verses which were sung by half of the dragons and ended up corrupting them due to the discordant lyrics.

The gnomes approach this query as a taxonomic study rather than a folkloric origin story. The Committee for the Establishment of Consensus in the Matter of the Origin of Draconic Species theorizes that there were a small group of ur-dragon life forms that existed before the Graygem’s warping of Krynn. They in essence serve as an evolutionary root for all of the “true” dragon clans and their cousins. In spite of centuries of study the Ur-Dragon Theory is “Unverified but Plausible,” and the various non-gnomish scholarly orders do not put much weight in it.

The kender’s origin story is structured more as a silly children’s tale: when Reorx created the world he kept a journal as to how he made all of the myriad life forms and geological features. But he misplaced the journal and asked the gods in helping him find it. The tale involves several of the gods going into Krynn’s remote reaches, looking under rocks, grabbing their hands into clouds, or digging through sand where they inexplicably find a dragon of one of the ten clans. Every time they ask them if they saw Reorx’s journal, and every dragon’s answer is “nope.” Reorx was sad that his journal could not be found (it was later found in his own pocket), but on the other hand his search helped the gods find the dragons!

The ogres assert that before civilization the gods made war in the sky. Takhisis sought to learn from Reorx the secrets of fire and stone to achieve victory and fashioned five serpents from a volcano. Paladine was afraid of what she had wrought, and begged for Reorx to teach him as well. So five serpents made of metal were made, but they were not as strong as Takhisis’ which forced Paladine to plead for an end to the war. She asked for something in return, and Paladine gave her the mountains as her own. Which in turn would become the homeland of the ogres.

The book only details two human cultures’ origin stories, the Khur (Dragonlance’s Arab equivalent) and the Solamnics (feudal Germanics with KNIGHTS). The Khur say that dragons were wrought from the bodies of genies, the first servants of the gods, to end a war among their. The dragons forced the genies to retire to the elemental realms after making a pact between their races.

Solamnia asserts that the world of Krynn was given to mortals by the gods, and the animals in turn would be ruled by the Dragons who were born of the world itself and its elements. Paladine and Takhisis both sought to court the dragons for their own purposes, causing the ten clans to abandon their animal charges who then became like simple beasts. The High God was displeased over this violation of the order. Gilean, acting as mediator, said that Paladine and Takhisis’ bonds with their dragons would remain as long as they remained gods, while Chislev the goddess of nature would assume mastery of all animals. The Dragons then became creatures of Conscience.

As for the dragons themselves...they refuse to speak of any origin or theories of their own among non-dragons.

I like these myths. Each of them shares just enough commonality to piece together an inkling of a draconic origin story while also reflecting the worldviews of the various people of Krynn.


A Brief History

This Ansalonian-centric section looks over the history of dragonkind and their most famous members as well as significant contributions to the continent. Sadly, it almost entirely focuses on major wars.

Prominent sages believe that the chromatic and metallic clans once warred upon each other before the creation of the mortal races, and designated names to famed champions among their kind who came to represent their clan: Akis the White, Arkan the Blue, etc. Sages also believe that the dragons are the literal children of their respective patron deities, and their birthplace is somewhere within the two major mountain ranges on Ansalon. At this time the races’ handling of arcane magic was still in its infancy and would not be developed in an appreciable manner until the breaking of the Graygem. Dragonkind had closer ties to the two-legged races, either living among them as relative equals or dominating them like the chromatics did.

The First Dragon War happened when a red dragon warlord by the name of Crematia assassinated three of the five metallic clan leaders. The good dragons petitioned aid from the mortal races of Krynn to counter Crematia’s Ogre armies. Silvanos, the later founder of the first elven nation, aided the dragons with this and were bestowed with five dragon stones to capture the souls of the chromatic dragons. The forces of Good won, and almost all of the chromatic dragons were slain or put into soulless slumber. Eventually the exiled Crematia would manipulate the dwarves into accidentally unearthing the now-buried dragon stones, her son taking over the mantle of warlord and calling upon Takhisis’ aid.

The Second Dragon War began when the reawakened chromatic survivors assaulted the elven nation of Silvanesti. This time the elves were pushed into a seemingly unwinnable situation, and three elven sorcerers conducted an arcane ritual with which they knew little about given the newness of the knowledge of spells. The chromatic dragon army was wiped out, but so was much of Silvanesti’s landscape. The three Gods of Magic teleported the sorcerers into a hidden citadel in order to teach them how to master their powers, and the metallic dragons dedicated the next few centuries to helping the humanoid races rebuild society.

The Third Dragon War* was the most famous one of its kind in Ansalonian history and folklore when it comes to dragons. Takhisis once again sought to take over the world, but this time the mortal races had raised veritable civilizations of their own: knights, wizards, empires, and all that good stuff were present for a properly-epic fantasy feel. It was during this time that a humble Knight of Solamnia by the name of Huma Dragonbane would go on a quest with his wizard companion and other friends. Eventually he would come to wield the mighty Dragonlance, a new and unknown weapon at the time, to fight Takhisis herself. This mere mortal defeated a god and forced her to withdraw her power from Krynn along with her chromatic minions via an Oath. This Oath also bound the metallic dragons due to the Balance, and they went into a self-imposed exile to the distant Dragon Isles. Dragons then became so rare as to be mythical on Ansalon at this time, the legacy of Huma and the Dragonlances passing into the annals of myth and legend.

*Which amusingly is referred to dragonkind as the Human War due to most nations involved being human and whose warriors and leaders were the major focus of said war.

The Age of Despair and War of the Lance was also a monumental time, for it marked the return of dragons to Ansalon. After the collapse of the Empire of Istar and the departure of the gods from the world, Takhisis enacted a series of secret plans to regain influence in the mortal realm. By stealing the metallic dragon eggs while they slept, she blackmailed them into noninterference while her mortal champions raised a Dragon Empire in her name. With the aid of divine magic, draconic might, and having the only standing army of significance on the continent, they cut a bloody swath across Ansalon. It was the actions of a few good friends who would later become known as the Heroes of the Lance who would save Krynn from evil: they not only rediscovered divine magic, but also the forge of the legendary Dragonlances as well as the secret location of the metallic dragon eggs. They had help from others, such as the silver dragon D’argent who violated her peoples’ oath of noninterference to subtly supply aid in regards to the latter two actions. Many of the most famous dragons in recent memory would be huge players in this war, and the skies over major battlefields were full of hundreds of dragons and their mounted riders clashing across the horizon.

After Takhisis’ defeat yet again, the dragons would become regular fixtures in the lives of mortals, helping their respective sides rebuild or conquer territory. The Chaos War would bring the deaths of dragons on both sides, but the most catastrophic time was yet to come. When Takhisis stole the world to make herself the One God of Krynn, she passed by alien realms in the Ethereal Sea. And one such realm was home to titanic dragons, a half-dozen of which made their way to Krynn. Their sheer size and ability to reshape the land itself would cause them to be dubbed the Dragon Overlords, and their possession of strange magical items known as skull totems let them grow even more powerful with the skulls of slain dragons. The Overlords took over wide swathes of the continent and expended much of their power and resources in hunting down and killing as many dragons as possible. This act of genocide would later become known as the Dragon Purge. Add to this the semi-related War of Souls where Takhisis’ new faith clashed against the Overlords and all those who did not bow before her, and almost the entire draconic race was wiped off the face of Krynn.

Today, the dragons are rarer than ever. Gone are the days where they numbered hundreds in armies. Gone are the days where their respective progenitor deities of Paladine and Takhisis stood watch over Creation. Such drastic changes have left their mark on each and every one of them, and how they choose to spend their lives in this new Age of Mortals varies wildly by both clan and individual.

The Nature of Dragons

This section is far more brief than the historical entries. It covers some universal standards among true dragons, including their physiological abilities along with some new Krynn-specific things: an internal organ near their heart and lungs is known as a draconis fundamentum which is as unique to a dragon as a fingerprint is to a human. It powers all of their inherent abilities, from magic to breath weapons to flight. Dragonlances are intentionally constructed to cause internal harm to this body part even if it does not touch the organ itself in a strike.

Dragonlance’s magic is more restrictive than that of other settings: magic is generally divided into two varieties, either being from that of the gods or ambient energy drawn from the world itself. Even wizardry, which is reliant upon the phases of the moons, failed to work when Takhisis stole the world, and sorcery and mysticism only came in practice among the non-draconian mortal races when the Graygem broke and released Chaos into the world.

Dragons are a unique case: their magic is inherent to their being, requiring neither Chaos, the moons, nor the gods to wield. It is technically ambient magic not unlike primal sorcery but can be wielded regardless of the era. Dragons are capable of learning wizardry or even becoming clerics, although such circumstances are rare: dragons can replicate much of clerical magic via their own powers even if they are otherwise devout. Which in 3rd Edition terms explains how dragons can cast some cleric spells as sorcerer spells!

Draconic names have their own cultural traditions. All dragons have a true name they choose for themselves shortly after birth and are kept a close secret from non-dragons. They acquire other names with age, often adopted when taking mortal guises or from titles and important life events. When choosing names for non-Draconic languages they often pick ones reflective of their clan or appearance, such as the red dragon Flamestrike or the gold dragon Pyrite who were both present in the original novels and modules.

As for the Draconic language, it is the oldest spoken tongue in Krynn, and barring shorter-lived speakers such as kobolds does not much in the way of drastic dialect changes over time. Draconic runes written 3,000 years ago are just as easily read to a dragon in the current Age as the English language in the 1960s would be to a modern speaker. It has been learned by various non-reptilian civilizations over millennia, and many empires and churches adopted it as a sort of lingua franca for their holy books or borrowing terms to use in legal documents and records. The human language Nerakese, which ironically was the tongue of the region which served as the Dragon Empire’s first territory, has common word roots in Draconic.

The Dragons of Taladas

Our final entry for this prologue chapter covers the othlorx (Draconic for “Uninvolved), the members of the ten dragon clans on Taladas who refused to heed the call of their brethren during the War of the Lance and chose to stay ‘neutral’ in said conflict. Their Ansalonian counterparts disapprove of this choice and often cause them to be disrespected (in the case of the metallics) or outright attacked (in the case of the chromatics) by their brethren. Generally speaking, their reasons for doing so vary by clan, but even this is not an absolute: some had prior conditions on Taladas which they could not leave behind, while some found themselves unable to relate to their Ansalonian clanmates on a cultural level anymore. In the case of the chromatics, some did not trust Takhisis’ promises of power, figuring that said war was unimportant in the grand scheme of things, or having seen her last big failures in the prior Dragon Wars decided that working for her was a losing bet. Takhisis was very unpleased with the chromatic othlorx and imposed various curses on them based upon their clans: greens became sterile, blues are physically incapable of going against a promise or commitment, etc.

The exception among the clans is that there are no gold othlorx: they are the most loyal to Paladine, and those few who are still in Taladas remain there due to their now-mortal gods’ orders.

We have one scholarly for this prologue chapter: one tells of a famed dragon by the name of Wyrmfather who was forged by Sargonnas to have the strengths of all ten clans. He was strong enough even to battle the gods themselves before Kiri-Jolith triumphed over him and embedded him deep in the mountains. It is said that his body after death became the substance known as dragonmetal, from which all Dragonlances are forged.

Ending this chapter is a house rule for draconic breath weapons. Back in 1st Edition D&D when the original modules were written, dragons did not have immunity to the energy types of their breath weapons and so those of the same clan could damage each other in combat this way. Breath-on-breath action was a common element in both the novels and modules, but sadly cannot be replicated in the 3rd Edition rules due to immunity to their related elemental type. Instead, this variant rule grants dragons their typical energy immunities, but when against breath weapons of that specific energy type they lose this immunity and gain Improved Evasion instea: half damage on a failed save, no damage on a successful one. Overall I think it’s a good rule: dragons’ Reflex saves are their worst one and their breath weapons can still deal a lot of damage. Perhaps not as much as a full attack with their natural weapons in melee, but can be good if there’s some distance between two or more serpentine battlers.

Thoughts So Far: This chapter has a strong start. I liked the creation myths as well as the brief touching on non-Ansalonian affairs. Taladas never got a proper update to 3rd Edition, so there isn’t much one can use from this book to run a game on said continent, but it is an indication of how this sourcebook sought to be different from the others. I am not exactly a fan of how virtually all of the history section focuses on a few major wars; although perhaps standard for the setting, it makes dragons feel vestigial in the grand scheme of things rather than capable beings who forged civilizations alongside the humans, elves, and other races. I understand that there was talk of non-warfare activities, but said information was an afterthought.

Join us next time as we cover Chapter 2: Clans of Color!

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Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Also as much as I love covering Dragonlance stuff, I'm thinking of reviewing something different after this one finishes if only to give myself some breathing room.

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