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Tylana
May 5, 2011



Pillbug

Fenneko is great, I wish I could be more like her. Though without the Instagram and Twitter use probably.

On topic : Which age was the SAGA stuff? Is that when Takhisis stole the world? All I remember is "The Gods went away again." and then when they went back to D&D "The Gods are back again."

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Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


Tylana posted:

Fenneko is great, I wish I could be more like her. Though without the Instagram and Twitter use probably.

On topic : Which age was the SAGA stuff? Is that when Takhisis stole the world? All I remember is "The Gods went away again." and then when they went back to D&D "The Gods are back again."

It was set during the time that the world was stolen, and was mostly about how the Dragon Overlords were loving poo poo up in a truly dramatic fashion.

They gave the kender cultural PTSD!

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Meinberg is correct. And to my knowledge a lot of SAGA stuff was dual-statted for 2nd Edition D&D.

3rd Edition Dragonlance is technically set during the same age, but takes place after the War of Souls and all but the last Dragon Overlord have been killed. Additionally, some of the later D20 Dragonlance books make mention of events after the Key of Destiny Adventure Path concludes (like Master Yap in the Kobolds entry in Dragons of Krynn), and make mention of book series which were in the making at the time. The Rise of Solamnia trilogy being one of them, which to my knowledge details how a ruthless yet competent guy unites all of Solamnia into one nation, standardizes gunpowder among the armed forces, and makes it optional to swear the Oath & Measure for non-Knight military members.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 09:53 on Jan 28, 2020

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



Yeah, SAGA and 5th Age were written/developed somewhat concurrently in TSR's death throes when Sue Cook handed the book series over to Jean Rabe in 1996.

They're a match made in heaven. To the same degree SAGA is confusing and weird, The Dawning of a New Age is an absolute trainwreck of a novel, bordering on unreadable even by Dragonlance standards.

Also I say "somewhat concurrently" because mechanically SAGA was in development starting late 94 or early 95. As this thread has abundantly demonstrated, D&D, particularly AD&D, isn't really a ruleset that lends itself well to an epic narrative storyline that's heavy on herding refugees and light on dungeons. Dragonlance changed the way people conceptualized adventures, but the underlying rules still awarded XP for loot and assumed heroes started to buy land or build a mage tower and spend 2d4 years researching 7th level spells or whatever. They wanted something more storygame, in modern terms, to better suit Dragonlance's actual composition, but, well, SAGA is what they came up with.

The real hitch in keeping it all straight is that "5th Age" really is two distinct things: the late 90s Jean Rabe series of stuff where the Dragon Overlords run havoc, and the early 2000s War of Souls stuff where Weis and Hickman came back and tried to make some sense of everything. Since the Rabe books are basically incoherent, a lot of the details like "Takhisis stole the world and is running around teaching people sorcery while she recovers her powers and also the dragon overlords are extradimensional aliens" are technically what's happening in SAGA, but those explanations aren't in SAGA or the 5th Age branded novels.

Tylana
May 5, 2011



Pillbug

That explains why I didn't remember any of that. I also feel kind of weird that that explanation of how it happened makes perfect sense to me. Bring back my youth where I believed writers had a PLAN.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


Never have I felt prouder of my instincts than the fact that I dropped Dragonlance as a whole like a hot potato when this SAGA poo poo started rolling out (and getting vaguely covered in Dragon Magazine). I was only in high school, but I learned the valuable lesson of 'if a series becomes terrible, you can just stop following/liking it'.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


Tylana posted:

Bring back my youth where I believed writers were in the PLAN.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Dragonlance



DL13: Dragons of Truth



So Dragons of Truth is what happens when you write a module after having fired your editor, or while your editor is on holiday, because while the other modules were presented in a pretty easy-to-understand fashion, even if the content was dogshit, I kept having to recheck DL13 to see if I was missing something. It's also gonna pull some wacky poo poo on us, including what I believe to be the biggest Ra count of any loving module thus far, and yes, that's even accounting for the fact that Raistlin has advanced to a legendary 30HP.

After spending DL12 accomplishing, uh, basically nothing except having a pair of NPC's(Waylorn and Berem) forced into the party that the modules keep telling us are important(canonically, Berem is very important, and I believe that canonically Waylorn doesn't really exist. I don't believe he was ever in the novels), almost drowning repeatedly, possibly having an orgy with half the Dragon Highlords and killing Verminaard again, the PC's are now- checks -suddenly somewhere else entirely, for unclear reasons. Like, the game basically goes "okay now you're near Neraka," after a brief intro where they're suddenly at Kalaman(a place where good people are), told to go to Neraka, and then they're unceremoniously warped off to Neraka. You think I'm kidding but they're literally teleported behind enemy lines by allied mages.

The big kicker here, though, is that nah, these NPC's aren't necessarily important. Basically, you roll a random die at the start of the module to decide whether Fizban(who's here now, I guess. If he's not, he suddenly joins the party a couple of days into the adventure along with a loving gold dragon who just loving shows up. OKAY, I GUESS.), Waylorn, Berem or none of them at all are vital to saving the world once we get to DL14. Yeah, that's right, it can turn out that Fizban was just a crazy old rear end in a top hat all along, Waylorn is just schizophrenic and Berem's big ol' immortality gem isn't actually connected to the metaplot at all. Again! I have no loving clue why they'd do these things, but I guess I'm not best-selling author Tracy Hickman who clearly has D&D modules all figured out.

Chapter 12: Land of Dark Empires



There are more or less three parts to this adventure, except it's more like half a part, another half of a part and then a whole part. The first two chapters, 12 and 13, are essentially kind-of-sort-of one big chapter just split on what route the party takes to Neraka. See, the part of the occupied lands between Neraka and the Whitestone front lines are, in the best of hamfisted fiction badguy stereotypes, blasted wastelands with tons of volcanoes around(literally ten volcanoes are in the game area and they up to 3 of them start making GBS threads out big scads of lava per day), essentially like Sanction but an entire country instead. And the party can either go overland(possibly hijacking a Flying Citadel along the way, which I'll give the book is a pretty drat cool way to make an entrance) or dive into the ancient lava tubes and just sneak their way there underground, which seems like a much better option except for... ha ha, we'll get there, oh we'll loving get there.

Chapter 12 is the section that's about going overland, and mostly the overland trip is just about hiding from constant patrols, hope you like fighting dragons, because there are constant chromatic dragon patrols and your odds of getting spotted are very much up to GM fiat(the best modifier possible, disguising yourself, can have a -10 to -70% efficacy against Being Fried By Dragons From The Air, depending on whether the GM thinks your disguises are good or not!). If the party gets spotted and can't get away, they get attacked by three Huge Ancient Dragons with 12th-level Fighter riders... after the dragons have loitered out of range but in-view long enough for a ground patrol to reach the PC's, too, which means between 20 and 50 Draconians joining the fight, too. I guess the solution is don't get loving spotted unless you want a TPK.

Along the way, a bunch of extremely ham-handed hints are trying to force them to take a detour to the GODSHOME where they will undergo THREE TESTS to find out which of the NPC's they have along are useless. They can also completely ignore this, if they like, and just keep all three NPC's alive. It's stuff like a cute baby deer that refuses to go anywhere but in the direction of the nearest GODSHOME portal. If the PC's ignore this, eventually giant glowing doors start manifesting in their path and they'd have to pointedly ignore them and step around them.

Mainly what's to do here is to raid a few Dragonarmy camps(or just kill some of their patrols) to get kitted out with disguises to avoid Death By Dragon, and otherwise just beeline for Neraka. Interesting encounters include: Slave caravans, the town of Jelek(where a butcher will give them some advice for the next module), a gate guarded by a Lich that hits the party with a Meteor Swarm spell from atop a tower they can't reach, a camp of perpetually drunk Dragonarmy soldiers so sauced they'll offer the legendary heroes of the lance a drink and require intentional effort by the PC's to goad into a fight(the only sure way to get them fighting, in fact, is to steal their booze)... and a Flying Citadel under construction that they can hijack.

It's only just been made flight ready, so it's not properly staffed, and it's very simple to fly once unmoored. The cleric engineer is a loyalist that they'll have to kill to get out of the way, but they can absolutely bribe the citadel's mage engineer into being their buddy. He does not give a gently caress and I guess it's finally a way to loving get some use out of the thousands of gold steel pieces the players have collected over the course of the modules and never found a use for. It even comes with a magical GPS, so it's fully kitted out with all the amenities you want in your airborne fortress. It won't make for a subtle approach to Neraka, but it'll sure as hell make for a stylish approach.

Chapter 13: Dark Passages



So this chapter exists to kill the PC's for being clever dicks who try to sneak through the lava tubes rather than risking constant discovery by the dragonarmies. See, the lava tubes are unstable as gently caress, it turns out. In some sections there's a 1 in 4 chance of a collapse which may deal between 1d4 and 5d10 damage(already a happy 1.6 Ra, but wait, there's more!) from the rocks falling. Doesn't sound too bad, right? Most PC's would survive that, probably even Raistlin... oh wait except if the roll is bad enough, those hit also get buried! Every round(minute) that a PC is buried, they take 1d6 damage. The book offers a way of calculating how long someone's buried(or rather, how long it takes to dig them out) if you don't have the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide(tm) to figure it out. Their example gives two hours to dig a PC out, that's 120 minutes, 120d6... a worst-case scenario of 770HP damage, which is 25.6 Ra. Ain't no PC's gonna survive that poo poo.

Everything else in the lava tubes is just fire, fire and more fire, oh and some magma. At least overland there was a bit of random loot to be had from raiding Dragonarmy camps, and some tips from the butcher of Jelek and the drunk soldiers. Lava tubes? Just a shitload of ways to horribly burn to death or be crushed alive!

Chapter 14: Glitterpalace



So sooner or later, the PC's will almost certainly give in and enter the gods' windowless van full of candy hall full of divine wisdom, THE GLITTERPALACE, which sounds like the name of a night club, not a legendary location. So the party enters a FABULOUS HALL with some cards at the center, turn one over to see what's up, and the GM goes: "gee, John, the card tries to fly out of your grasp! do you hold on to it?" and of course John says yes, gets a Dex check... and if he actually succeeds the card drags him around and likely drops him on the floor for minor falling damage before turning into a doorway to one of the THREE TESTS. At this point falling damage from 10 feet of height is small potatoes for most of the PC's(Raistlin as a notable exception), but it's still a dick move to have a successful stat check be the punishing one.

Anyway, THREE TESTS which each reward the players with a MYSTICAL GEM that they must use to escape the Glitterpalace. The first is the TEST OF WISDOM, which won't test your Wisdom. Instead you just have to beat up some golems and a couple of demons to collect the MAGIC GEM. The WISE solution is to get the demons to argue with each other and walk past, or to splash water on the golems to melt them. But you can just brute force it. WISE INDEED.

Next is the TEST OF VALOR, where you escort a kid who calls himself Sturm and every time you meet a skeleton you have to say "no, we're not the assholes who killed you" or you'll get attacked by a shitload of them. The kid is clearly some sort of phantom, but the module never explicitly says if these places are real or imaginary tests, whether the PC's are actually being teleported around the continent to beat up golems or if it's all in their minds or some other dimension. They can convince the skeletons to go fight the ARMIES OF EVIL by arguing that they're responsible for the skeletons being dead, but it never says anywhere if an army of revenants and spectres suddenly on the side of good tip anything, anywhere. So it may just be imaginary.

Last is the TEST OF HEART, which is the only one that's somewhat thematically appropriate. The PC's are in a blasted badplace full of the corpses of a bunch of people they've gotten killed, and they're supposed to feel bad about it except, uh, unless they've been exceptionally incompetent or pointlessly murderous in ways that would hard-lock most of the previous modules, most of the dead NPC's on the list of suggested NPC's will be bad guys like Verminaard, Feal-Thas, Toede(wait, he can't loving die, he's supposed to escape every time. gently caress you, module, remember your own rules) or Kitiara's dragon from those five minutes where he was polymorphed into a suave wizard in DL12, so this is unlikely to be discouraging to the players unless they've actually been incompetent morons all along or feel real remorse for killing the guy who was probably going to date rape Laurana or all the other people who attacked them on sight. It also has a bit that's got a good chance of getting the PC's killed, see, if they try to talk to certain NPC's here they have a 30% chance of becoming NPC's themselves unless another PC succeeds at a not-in-any-way-guaranteed attempt to talk them out of being sulky NPC's who've given up on life, except if they try this, they can end up fighting up to 200 unstatted WARRIORS OF FAILURE. The lesson here is that they should just ignore everything they possibly can in this test and try to walk past it so they're not subjected to save-or-dies or the GM trying to guilt them about killing a someone in self defense.

Each of the tests has a chance of also giving them a sign about how they're supposed to defeat Takhisis in DL14. If it's Fizban(who's then really Paladine), his chance of success at the end of the entire adventure line, literally everything it hinges on, is a percentile roll based on how many spells he's cast that day. It can also be Waylorn needing to stab her(turning out to actually be a reincarnated Huma), Berem needing to be sacrificed on an altar, Berem needing to be tossed on an altar or Berem actually being Paladin and just needing to be near Takhisis. Lastly it may also be that the only way to win is for a PC with a Dragonlance to shoo her back through the portal to the Abyss and then follow her in so she doesn't come back out again.

Aside from some dumb clues as to how they're meant to actually beat DL14, though, the only real advantage to actually going to the GLITTERPALACE rather than just joy-riding their stolen Flying Citadel straight to Neraka while blasting some sick tunes on the sound system is a FABULOUS DIVINE BLESSING which, uh, hm, let's see... 10% of the time people are more likely to believe what they say! And they have twice the rate of good encounters(lol what are the odds of any of these actually loving being around) and have twice as easy a time not getting noticed(okay admittedly this one will be pretty handy to avoid having to smack away dragons constantly assuming the party undertook these piss-easy "tests" early-on during the trek to Neraka rather than putting them off).

DL13 so far wins the :effort: prize for Dragonlance modules.

Kree! Just one more! Then you'll be free of this curse forever! Unless these sadists ask you to review more Dragonlance!

You w-

Kree! Hey dorks! There's another 22 Dragonlance adventure modules outside of the original DL series! Make him review them!

Ffffffucker.

Next up: DL14, Dragons of Triumph

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


The thing is, if you ignore the War of Souls novels, the actual SAGA Dragonlance game is actually pretty decent. It’s a lot more lightweight than D&D, but the system is also a lot more elegant than 2e. Moreso, the setting as presented in SAGA is an interesting one. The gods are gone, so it makes sense that its up to mortals to get poo poo done. The dragon overlords might just be MORE DRAGON but they leave a palpable impact on the setting and make for some great final bosses.

Basically, as long as you ignore the metaplot, SAGA isn’t bad.

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!


Meinberg posted:

The thing is, if you ignore the War of Souls novels, the actual SAGA Dragonlance game is actually pretty decent. It’s a lot more lightweight than D&D, but the system is also a lot more elegant than 2e. Moreso, the setting as presented in SAGA is an interesting one. The gods are gone, so it makes sense that its up to mortals to get poo poo done. The dragon overlords might just be MORE DRAGON but they leave a palpable impact on the setting and make for some great final bosses.

Basically, as long as you ignore the metaplot, SAGA isn’t bad.

Do the Dragon Overlords need to be stabbed with Dragon Overlances?

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011


PurpleXVI posted:

Do the Dragon Overlords need to be stabbed with Dragon Overlances?

Nah the regular kind will do. You just need Overmuscles to do it.

MadDogMike
Apr 9, 2008

Can I come out and play?

PurpleXVI posted:

[ Kree! Hey dorks! There's another 22 Dragonlance adventure modules outside of the original DL series! Make him review them!

I dunno, we might be approaching maximum suffering saturation with Dragonlance; any other horrific module series (or hell, adventure paths if we want to go more modern) we can start inflicting on people to mix up our crimes against humanity a bit?

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


Meinberg posted:

Nah the regular kind will do. You just need Overmuscles to do it.

Wait, HOW old is Caramon by this point?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Meinberg posted:

The thing is, if you ignore the War of Souls novels, the actual SAGA Dragonlance game is actually pretty decent. It’s a lot more lightweight than D&D, but the system is also a lot more elegant than 2e. Moreso, the setting as presented in SAGA is an interesting one. The gods are gone, so it makes sense that its up to mortals to get poo poo done. The dragon overlords might just be MORE DRAGON but they leave a palpable impact on the setting and make for some great final bosses.

Basically, as long as you ignore the metaplot, SAGA isn’t bad.

Coincidentally the SAGA/2e version of the Dragonlance Chronicles AP is also IMO the best of the lot. But I'll discuss that in an Appendix once PurpleXVI completes the final module. I'll post a list of 3rd Edition Changes for Dragons of Truth later tonight.

MadDogMike posted:

I dunno, we might be approaching maximum suffering saturation with Dragonlance; any other horrific module series (or hell, adventure paths if we want to go more modern) we can start inflicting on people to mix up our crimes against humanity a bit?

If he's crazy/dedicated enough to review them all, I won't stop him. But on the other hand, look at what happened to me, and I just reviewed 4 sourcebooks (plus the 3rd Edition Dragons of X series)!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Meinberg posted:

The thing is, if you ignore the War of Souls novels, the actual SAGA Dragonlance game is actually pretty decent. It’s a lot more lightweight than D&D, but the system is also a lot more elegant than 2e. Moreso, the setting as presented in SAGA is an interesting one. The gods are gone, so it makes sense that its up to mortals to get poo poo done. The dragon overlords might just be MORE DRAGON but they leave a palpable impact on the setting and make for some great final bosses.

Basically, as long as you ignore the metaplot, SAGA isn’t bad.

Yeah, the card system is... an early attempt at doing a story-focused system and it's functional enough. It's still pretty rough just because of its era, and the whole card usage is pretty clunky for character creation, but it works fairly well as a light game in play.

Granted, the cards' visual design makes my my eyes want to crawl into my skull, but you can't have everything.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 03:30 on Jan 29, 2020

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Libertad! posted:

Coincidentally the SAGA/2e version of the Dragonlance Chronicles AP is also IMO the best of the lot. But I'll discuss that in an Appendix once PurpleXVI completes the final module. I'll post a list of 3rd Edition Changes for Dragons of Truth later tonight.


If he's crazy/dedicated enough to review them all, I won't stop him. But on the other hand, look at what happened to me, and I just reviewed 4 sourcebooks (plus the 3rd Edition Dragons of X series)!

I remember liking the SAGA setting even if I was a bit confused by the cards and the like in terms of the actual game.

We shouldn't insist that Purple review all 22 modules, but he should review the initial 2nd edition modules, In Search of Dragons, Dragon Magic and Dragon Keep. If I recall correctly, the various random encounters are less horrible instant death and while there are character Pregens you aren't as required to play the Epic Heroes of the Long Pointy Thing. But the overall plot is still deeply, hilariously dumb.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Dragons of Truth: 3rd Edition Changes

1. The cut-scene where the players RP as Whitestone Council leaders complete with card cut-outs containing their lines is altered. The players remain in control of their PCs the entire time while said Council members are controlled by the DM in boxed text.

2. This chapter begins with a detailed write-up on the City of Kalaman, where it is presumed the PCs end up after hitching a ride out of the Blood Sea. We get a map, list of various important figures, and even description of places the PCs might visit and what services they can find. Goldmoon/the Prophet PC has the opportunity to teach people in a hospital about Mishakal and turn them into Clerics via prayer and training. There’s also boxed text where then the PCs enter the city there’s a Festival of Spring Dawning and they’re welcomed as heroes; Kalaman was recently liberated from the Blue Dragonarmy, and there are plays re-enacting the PCs’ most famous battles albeit exaggerated for dramatic effect.



3. The crux in getting the PCs to head into Neraka is the appearance of the Dragon Empire’s flying citadel in the sky, where Kitiara appears on the back of her dragon mount demanding the handing over of Berem the Everman along with the surrender of the metallic dragons and Solamnic forces. She issues an ultimatum of 3 weeks. The adventure says that the flying citadel is beyond the PCs’ capabilities to handle...even though the very next adventure after this one they’ll be assaulting the Dark Queen’s Temple in Neraka, which is supposedly the most well-guarded place. The Governor will be appalled if the PCs suggest attacking the flying citadel, saying that they’ll surely rain death upon Kalaman in retaliation.

4. The details regarding being spotted by flying dragon patrols, relative levels of alert, etc in Taman Busuk are excised in favor of a singular encounter with a blue dragon and her rider who may spot PCs if they’re on the ground or flying. Dragons and dragon riders who were nameless in AD&D now have specific names and tactics and make use of magic items in their inventories.

5. One encounter involving a mobile war camp containing one of the Dragonarmy leaders, is Kitiara instead of a randomly determined leader and meant to be more of a stealth encounter than a typical combat one (sheer numbers and lots of old chromatic dragons).

6. There’s actually a rather detailed encounter where the PCs can cross paths with a Dragonarmy patrol, and exploit local rivalries between and within the five different colored armies whose officers have their own local grudges (they seek to capture the heroes as prizes and may sabotage another patrol’s efforts, one of them may use the opportunity to kill a higher-ranking officer in “friendly fire” to claim their rank, etc).

7. The Ancient Road location is home to a gholor (a powerful burrowing undead creature) which has a lair full of treasure in a sinkhole.

8. One encounter involving a gate pass presided over by a lich and wemic soldiers in league with the Dragonarmies is relocated to the next adventure, Dragons of Triumph.

7. When the PCs encounter Fizban and his gold dragon ally, only Fizban will join the party. The dragon, Pyrate, is far too powerful a DMPC to tag along. Pyrite has “better things to do than flying around with young hooligans who won’t let an old dragon sleep in peace.”

8. Darallan the Butcher, a Hidden Light resistance member in Jelek, has a question/answer sidebar. She’s also given a proper stat block as a 10th-level human barbarian.



9. The flying citadel under construction will not be ready for flight in three weeks, and as such cannot be moved into flight mode. Its magical map simulation can still be consulted to find places in the region.

10. An encounter where the PCs can challenge some drunk Dragonarmy soldiers to a drinking contest in a Dragonarmy patrol if appropriately disguised is excised.

11. Traveling underneath the Nerakan Plains via an underground series of wizard-built roads is not present in this adventure. The following adventure, Dragons of Triumph, has more detail on subterranean travel.

12. The imprisoned gnome Gnip is given a ring of sustenance as an explanation of how he was able to survive in the dungeon for several months.

13. A Sense Motive check in the fight with the clay golems can determine they’re avoiding the water.

14. The experimental gnomish weapons are expanded on, and can be repaired by a tinker gnome NPC or one with the Gnomish Tinker Prestige Class. The Bolachucker and Flasklobbers are replaced with a Hydromatic Dispenser (like a damaging fire hose AoE) and a Vibropotent Maul (imagine a sci-fi vibroblade, but a hammer).

15. The super-fattening dining room trap imposes a Dexterity penalty in addition to no longer having one’s armor fit.

16. The dwarven painters now have a reason for attacking the PCs when the music box stops playing, not to kill but to drive them out of the room for distracting them from completing their artwork. The dwarves can be reasoned with or allowed or aided in their task and will reward such PCs with a Belt of Dwarvenkind.

17. There’s now a new treasure room which has magical items either from the Towers of High Sorcery sourcebook or the core rules if the DM does not own said product.

18. The spirit trapped in the painting now has a proper name and backstory (Black Robe Wizard elf responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Solamnic peasants during the Third Dragon War) and who can be slain if the painting is destroyed. Three undead knights will aid her in combat.

19. The vision of Takhisis who attacks the PCs at the end of certain trials is a Dreamshadow (illusory being like in the Silvanesti Nightmare) and cannot kill the characters.

20. The draconian and Dragonarmy human soldiers are much lower-level in the Test of Valor’s throne room (3rd level Baaz and 4th level respectively) than in the AD&D version (kapaks and 10th-level respectively).

21. The escape bubble which can block a shaft exit takes “many hours” to get past rather than four days.

22. The visions of dearly departed people can afflict a Crushing Despair spell upon the PCs.

23. Breaking the Soldiers of Failure out of their stupor is easier when giving an inspiring speech, given how Diplomacy works in 3rd Edition. THey have the stats of Dreamwraiths (evil ethereal dreamcreatures detailed in Towers of High Sorcery).

24. The undead which attack the PCs in the great moors are given higher numbers. Instead of all of them having energy draining powers, most of them are undead with some more powerful than usual wraiths disguised among their number as normal skeletons and zombies.

25. The adventure specifies that the gods in question communicating with the heroes at the end of all three tests are the Gods of Good rather than the gods in general. Their three blessings are more or less the same, but reconfigured to fit within the frameworks of D20 System paradigms. Additionally, said blessings may be shared with the other half of PCs who played through the Dragons of Winter adventure arc.

26. In the appendices, but the various surviving Dragon Highlords got mechanical and background makeovers in their 3rd Edition transition. In AD&D Lucien of Takar was the White Dragon Highlord replacing Feal-Thas and is a human; in 3rd Edition he is a half-ogre and Black Dragon Highlord leader. In AD&D, Salah-Khan was the Black Dragon Highlord and is a 13th-level Fighter. In 3rd Edition he was the Green Dragon Highlord and a multi-classed Ranger/Assassin/Dragon Highlord*

*Prestige class detailed in the War of the Lance sourcebook.

27. The wemics have been expanded upon: text about their alliance with the Dragon Empire being one of convenience to protect their tribes is there, but there are also details on their day-to-day lives and culture as nomadic hunter-gatherers; bonus languages for them are rendered setting-appropriate, such as Nerakese and Nordmaarian.* There are rules for wemic PCs, although their 5 Racial Hit Die and +3 Level Adjustment means they start as 8th-level characters minimum. For those not in the know, 3rd Edition had its own sub-system for making playable monsters as PCs in a sourcebook known as Savage Species. But said rules were broken and monsters were made intentionally underpowered for their equivalent levels because the designers at the time wanted to discourage them in favor of the “core races.” This only succeeded in getting the people who wanted monster PCs in the first place angry and not using the sourcebook.

*Wemics were originally from the Forgotten Realms.

FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



EimiYoshikawa posted:

Wait, HOW old is Caramon by this point?
He's in his 80s during the Dragons of a New Age trilogy.

In fairness, all Caramon and Tika do in Dragons of a New Age is give ex-Knight of Takhisis Dhamon one of the old Dragonlances.

He dies in the year 38 SC (second cataclysm, when Chaos broke out, equivalent to the year 421 After Cataclysm) at the age of 95. Weis and Hickman kill him off with a heart attack three chapters into The War of Souls.

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


Meinberg posted:

Nah the regular kind will do. You just need Overmuscles to do it.

Just need at least one point of mega lance capacity to be able to do damage.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

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


Dragonlance



DL14: Dragons of Triumph



We're finally here, we're finally going to loving finish this loving garbage. And guess who's writing the final section? That's right, it's Douglas Niles! That rear end in a top hat.

There are also a bunch of dumb mistakes in this, like Toede is now the White Dragon Highlord, rather than some nameless goon called Lucien, just so he can be even more of a comical loser.

God, where do I even loving start? Well, firstly, remember how you could hijack a flying citadel in DL13, which was the only cool and awesome part of that module? Nothing in DL14 accounts for you having a sick ride to just cruise over to Neraka in, nada. Secondly, remember how Neraka was behind the war's frontlines, with the Whitestone Forces and the Dragonarmies locked in battle along the front, so they had to teleport you in, so you could attempt to sneak to Neraka while the fighting was going on way behind you, men and dragons dying to cover you during your perilous mission?

Chapter 15: The Neraka Plains



gently caress you. The very first thing that happens is that the Whitestone forces just roll up and go: "hey lol guys guess we're routing the Dragonarmies now. :)" so you can remix your party from among all of the PC's we've had so far, including Kronn and Serinda who've yet to have any sort of loving purpose. I mean, okay, whatever the gently caress, the only purpose this serves is so you can reshuffle your party(up to a max of 8 PC's, though), because the entire fighting thing just remains background dressing for the module.

So what's left on the plains on the way to Neraka? Well, you can find some gully dwarves. Oh boy it's been a while since we last found some of them! They are, as usual, disgusting and stupid, and these in particular are part of a "bandit" gang whose leader punishes insubordination by forcing them to take a bath. Jesus. The plains proper contain basically nothing of interest, but if you hop into the fissures you can find a gelatinous cube full of treasure and fight a vampire. The vampire, like all evil creatures in this game, attacks on sight despite being intelligent and a deposed former part of the ruling clique among Neraka's undead, but this is all lore that only the GM knows. To the PC's he's just gonna be a dumb vampire that attacks them and drops a map and some loot.

quote:

The vampire has been thwarted by the liches (see Appendix I) for control of the Undercity of Neraka. He burns with desire to return to the Undercity as a ruler. To this end, he has a map of all of the passages of the Undercity locked in a small box in his coffin.

But Dragonlance is in general very low on reason, negotiation or other means of dealing with problems aside from stealth or raw violence, and most enemies don't really have "motivations" of any kind besides "nyar har har me real evil."

The players might also stumble across some rebels in Nerakan territory who can tell them about a secret way from the fissures on the plains into Neraka's understructure, warn them about the Nightwalk(hoo boy if they don't know about this one, the FUCKENING will be very real) and give the name of a contact in the city. Considering the hint about the Nightwalk, I'd say this one is almost a mandatory encounter. You'll learn what the Nightwalk is once we get to Neraka itself. Mind, the party doesn't have a lot of spare time to hang around and investigate the plains. After day 3, the gates of Neraka are sealed and getting in becomes near-impossible(aside from the aforementioned underground passage) and at Day 7, Takhisis manifests and it's game over if the players aren't immediately in position to shove her back to the Abyss.

So they better loving hoof it to EVIL CITY.

Chapter 16: Neraka


the Draconians in DL14's art tend to look confused more than dangerous or aggressive

Neraka is... pointlessly detailed a lot of the time. Like, I don't need to know that all taverns in Neraka have 1d6+1 windows. WHICH IS A REAL loving EXAMPLE, I DIDN'T MAKE THAT poo poo UP. And why the gently caress do I need a "random tavern customer"-table? Why is the module expecting me to meticulously track time by the tens of minutes? I mean, there ARE some useful details, the module is decent at giving an example of what it's like with the competition between the different commands. For instance if there's a brawl their MP's will arrest the troops of other dragonarmies before their own, giving their own troops a chance to sneak awayl. But at the same time the Dragonarmies are unbelievably dysfunctional, like... their troops spend so much time getting drunk and brawling, and when I mean brawling I mean "they will literally fire spells and poisons at each other," not just a bit of bruised knuckle action, that there's no way they should ever have been able to present any sort of danger to any organized military. I mean, rather than putting their capital in some sort of breadbasket region, it's literally on the blasted plains between ten different volcanoes and there are no farms in sight for miles.

Nonetheless it's cute that the party can pick up what's basically tourist kitsch/sports team apparel at the Neraka markets, little pennants reading "GO [COLOUR] DRAGONARMY" or "I WAS THERE WHEN THE DRAGONARMIES WON THE BATTLE OF NERAKA," etc. which is probably completely unintentional but the first thing about any of these modules to have made me smirk, despite their constant attempts at lovely humour with the Kender and Gully Dwarves and the like.

quote:

Pennants proudly proclaiming the various Dragonarmies, or announcing a victory at the yet-to-be-fought Battle of Neraka can be bought cheaply.

Generally there's a pointless amount of detail spent on Neraka, a city that will stop existing by the end of this module(sorry, spoilers!) as though it's a major campaign hub, rather than a brief stopover for the PC's. Like imagine any loving detail and either there's a map of it or a table for determining it randomly. It's also worth noting that there are sewers, sewers full of the undead. See, the Nightwalk, every night there are patrols of the undead out that leave Dragonarmy troops alone but attack good-aligned characters on sight if they're on the streets. Each patrol consists of "one lich, 11 groaning spirits (banshees), 11 wraiths, 22 wights, 77 zombies, and 222 skeletons." So in essence: gently caress you. Not knowing about the Nighwalk, the party might actually consider the night-time streets a safe time to go exploring and stuff, but no, it is not. And can you imagine trying to run that loving fight in a game with no mass combat rules? PS yes that's 33 level drainers in one fight, as well as 11 save-or-die AoE casters.

If the undead overwhelm the PC's, however, they're not killed, but instead dragged off to SKELETON COURT in the sewers where the various kinds of undead will argue as to whether the PC's should be tortured, eaten or energy-drained, before a tribunal of liches retires to consider the appropriate punishment. If the PC's time their capture right, the court will adjourn for the Nightwalk and they'll have a chance to escape(they'll be left with all of their gear and not tied up for ????? reasons, just some ghouls standing around nearby). And again it's like hey, you've got a loving society of free-willed undead with legal institutions living under Neraka. Yet all they do is attack on sight. The party can never negotiate with them, talk to them, flim-flam them(because they detect good by default) or otherwise do anything but fight them, and yet they're probably the most interesting part of Neraka aside from buying White Dragonarmy T-shirts.

Well, okay, the party can also go to the arena and perhaps free the 100+ slave gladiators there... except their ability to assist is that "they'll do whatever the PC's ask within reason" but there are zero suggestions as to what said help could accomplish. Can they sabotage Neraka's gates so the Whitestone forces can break through? Can they cause confusion that'll give the party a span of time without patrols? Can they get them free drink at the arena concession stands? Despite being something the module designers put in there, they leave all of that on the GM's shoulders to adjudicate. gently caress you, Douglas Niles. It's basically the same for the freedom fighters in the city, sure, they'll help, but what will that help amount to other than showing the party a way into the temple that requires travelling through the Skeleton Court Sewers? You figure it out!

There's also a secret treasure chamber in the sewers guarded by a red dragon that got shrunk with magic, shoved in, and then allowed to regrow while being too big to get out. We're told the dragon can speak, but nothing that would help us deal with the encounter except as pure combat. Is the dragon happy to be guarding Ariakus' loot, regarding it as a sacred task? Does he want to escape and is perhaps willing to cause some chaos if the PC's can shrink him so he can get out and then split the treasure with them? Does he attack on sight? Nobody loving knows.

By and large, though, Neraka is kind of unimportant despite all the detail wasted on it.

Chapter 17: The Temple of Darkness



Because the players, once they've bought a full set of commemorative Takhisis dinner plates, will be beelining for the Temple. Now the Temple is supposed to be a non-euclidean horrorzone of shifting gravity and other weirdness because it's not the original Temple of Istar, rather it's a seed grown from the Foundation Stone that's spent centuries getting soaked in Abyssal radiations. Unfortunately, rather than being creative, this just means the map has a lot of soft curves rather than sharp angles and the GM is supposed to improvise and go "Whoooooooooooooah it's really trippy being in here oh nooooooo" but for all intents and purposes it's just another building. It's got a front door, a secret entrance, walls, roof, ceiling, illusory acid pools and ceremonial torture chambers. Just like any other building.

Depending on their objective, they'll have different places to go. If they got one of the Berem objectives, they'll want to head to the top floors, if they got the "just smash the stone, morons"-objective they have to head to the magic anvil that has no purpose other than being able to smash Berem's gem in the basement and if they got one of the heroic sacrifice variants(Waylorn, Fizban or a PC) they gotta head for the dead center of the temple where the Dragon Highlords chill.

Like most structures and dungeons in the DL modules, most of it is entirely skippable and pointless. Like there's a room full of evil clerics doing evil things for no real reason, like most of Takhisis' clergy. They're just being evil because their religion is bad stuff. They're not doing evil things because it enriches or empowers them and they don't care about it making GBS threads on someone else, or because it makes them feel good at someone else's expense. It makes it completely impossible to take them seriously in any way.



Oh and they get this art that looks uncomfortably like a Jewish caricature to me, but maybe I'm just being overly sensitive.

There's also the room where the party might stumble on 60 to 90 Draconians working out that all have Magic Missile memorized and can thus machinegun the party apart. Even assuming they're just blasting it out at level 1 effect, that's still 90d4 aka 90 to 260 damage which will shred most of the party if correctly distributed, cannot be saved against, cannot be dodged.

I mean, part of the problem with the temple is that it swings between a functional structure and a dungeon. Take Pax Tharkas from DL2, it was a structure that was clearly used as a fortification, troops had to be able to move around and get around and rooms had sensible purposes. In this temple, which is ostensibly a training ground for elite troops as well as the top levels of the clergy and also where the Dragon Highlords have their residences, you have random lethal acid pools in the corridors hidden by illusions and gardens full of predatory/fatally aggressive fungus/vegetation. Considering how the Dragonarmy troops in Neraka are described as being drunk 80% of the time when they're not fighting, imagine how many draconians looking for their room end up troppling into a patch of Green Slimes or an acid pool.

This dungeon is just agony, rather than small groups of level-appropriate enemies, there's no encounter smaller than 40 loving soldiers or low-level spellcasters at once, even if the party just mulches them all it'll take loving HOURS to resolve a single combat encounter. We also get meaninglessly elaborate descriptions of the rigmarole and pageantry in use whenever the Dragon Highlords have a meeting, and it's like... is there any GM out there that's really going to read this poo poo to his players verbatim? Or are they just going to skim over it by calling it an "elaborate display"? At the same time, parts that could have used more details have none. There are a bunch of scribes working on a revisionist according-to-Takhisis history book, but we're just told it's not done yet, rather than, perhaps, having some examples of historical periods per Takhisis' spin. Perhaps giving us some insight into whether she's unabashedly selfish or self-justifies to make herself out as the tragic heroine doing what has to be done or avenging her dragon kids or whatever, maybe giving the Dragonarmies a bit of character beyond "violent, alcoholic, slavers, hate elves and kender."

But thankfully we get details on the important parts, like exactly how high the architectural arches in the main meeting room for the Dragon Highlords(where they'll also be summoning Takhisis in a few days) are, what the odds are of the Dragon Highlords returning to their quarters for an afternoon nap are(universally, 50%), what their quarters are like(Toede and Lucien: Filthy, Salah-Kahn: austere, Ariakas: Fancy, Kitiara: professional) and what their hobbies are(Toede and Lucien: getting drunk, Ariakas: consistently getting laid with 1d3 trollops, Kitiara: getting laid 4 times out of 5, Salah-Kahn: getting high on artisanally crafted drugs).

Everything about this adventure screams "written for the word count by someone who didn't give a gently caress," like how it states what bonuses Takhisis' being incarnate on Krynn will give the dragonarmy troops... before it then fades to black with an "oh and you lose the game." so those bonuses never have a chance of actually having a meaningful effect anywhere.

And okay the thing is from the moment the party reaches the temple, everything is a save or die. There's no way to have a "subtle" fight with 50 draconians that won't alert the remaining 2000 troops in the area, the Dragon Highlords and all the undead in the sewers, so you can either sneak and bluff, or you can die. There isn't even a climactic battle with Takhisis either, at most there's a D100 roll if it's the Fizban ending, otherwise everything else is just shoving a guy at a thing and getting a win. The Anvil of Might ending, the one where you smash Berem's gem rather than shoving it into the Foundation Stone, that Anvil doesn't even have any fluff associated with it. Why is it the only thing that can break the gem? Why is it even in the temple? It's stupid.

Considering the garbage they had to work with, I'm actually impressed that the novels turned out as coherent as they did. It makes you wonder that they didn't ever stop and think when 1/3rd of the module stuff wasn't exciting enough to tell the reader about in the novels, just glossed over, or stuff like how literally all of DL13 and DL14 never really happened that way in the novels either.

It's also hard to emphasize how quickly this can be over if the party can just get inside. They can literally sprint to the council chambers(for the Fizban/Waylorn/Self-Sacrifice) ending in two minutes. Even if they alert everyone along the way, they'd probably manage to get there in time. Same goes for the Anvil of Might. If they get one of the Berem-centric Foundation Stone events and manage to arrive from the undercity(it's relatively safe while the undead are parading through the city), all they need to deal with is one training room(which can, admittedly, be anywhere from 0 to 90 draconians depending on when they show up) and one acid pool, and they're there.

Almost all of the Temple is, in fact, kind of out-of-the-way of the party's actual objectives, and also in a situation and with encounters that aggressively discourage any sort of loving around and not just getting to the target and then getting out. And there's nothing to even gain from going around other than finding out what kind of weed the Green Dragon Highlord smokes or how much Ariakus is getting laid, no interesting rewards, no interesting encounters, just pointless fights that'll realistically probably get the party killed very fast if they engage in them, because as mentioned either they're overwhelmingly huge or they're just big enough that there's no way to finish them quickly without alerting the entire city that you just fireballed half their clergy.

Now, with all the time wasted on describing stupid incidental poo poo the PC's will never interact with, you'd figure that maybe they'd describe a bomb-rear end ending for when you kick Tasslehoff through the portal with a dragonlance to keep Takhisis penned up in the Abyss. lol no, you're just told that the party has a 5% chance per member to suffer 1d12 D6's worth of damage from parts of the temple falling on them, since Takhisis was a load-bearing boss. That's right, you might have just won the game and then a loving 1 in 20 chance flattens your PC for 12d6 damage. What the gently caress, Douglas. Like what the gently caress? Oh yeah and this is per round. As in per minute. So imagine they're fighting off the last couple of Dragon Highlords trying to get revenge for just loving up their lives, and Ariakus and Lucien distract the party for two, three, four rounds... suddenly starting to look real likely that this poo poo is gonna off more PC's than any other encounter in the module.

Then they've got an hour to clear the gently caress out of Neraka before these rules count everywhere in the city. Now, you know what's loving missing? Maybe a description of how the dragonarmies react. Are they scattering to the winds? Sacrificing themselves to hunt down the PC's as revenge? Surrendering to the Whitestone forces? Engaging in infighting? It doesn't loving say. You go ahead Mr. Smarty GM, make it up yourself. Douglas Niles is too cool to finish writing the loving module.

Your reward is that Neraka explodes and a couple of old constellations are returned, Takhisis and Paladine, and now all is right in the world again. Or at the very least you have a chance to make an excuse and get away from the psychopath of a GM who'd actually run these loving modules.



God I loving wish this one was signed, they had three interior artists on it, and whoever managed to capture this amazing level of goofiness is a champion. From the Draconians who look like they have no idea what they're doing, to the Dragon Highlords casually lounging around in their armor that's 90% pauldron without sleeves, to the band celebrating Takhisis' arrival that look to be random peasants baffled by the concept of a drum, to that one head of Takhisis that's slithering off to the side to unleash a mighty burp, this piece of art is, well, it's art.

gently caress you, Dragonlance, I'm gonna go review something that hurts me less.

Kree! I thought the part with the Skeleton Court was cool!

Next up: Maybe more Dragonlance? If I hate myself enough and people want it?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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



Dragons of Triumph: 3rd Edition Changes

1. The supplemental material expanding on the setting is excised considering that such material became standard in the later setting corebooks. However, the five Ages have different names in the original adventures than what they’d be more popularly known as in the main line of books: the Age of Starbirth was called the Age of Dreams, the Age of Dreams was the Age of Light, the Age of Despair was the Age of Darkness, while the rise of the Dragon Empire up to the War of the Lance was labelled as its own Age: the Age of Dragons.

2. Needless to say, the BattleSystem stats for running the Whitestone forces fighting on the Plains of Neraka is excised.

3. As mentioned in the last adventure changes, a few of Dragons of Truth’s encounters were moved to this some, such as the guarded bridge pass with a lich and group of wemic warriors.

4. This is something which was in AD&D than the 3rd Edition conversion. The Dragon Highlords end up retconned from the previous adventure into the proper chromatic colors future adventures recognize: Lucien is now Black and Salah-Khan is now Green.

5. Also AD&D: Emperor Ariakas is spelled “Ariakus” in this adventure even though previous AD&D adventures had him as ‘-as.’ Looking back on prior AD&D adventures I notice an inconsistency in said name, even within the same NPC Capsule.

6. The Second Council of Highlords’ “Dark Justice” section has a predetermined outcome (in AD&D the BattleSystem results can determine how pissed off Ariakas is to the various Highlords). 3rd Edition presumes that only Toede (White Highlord) is found wanting and is led off to the dungeons after much pleading.

7. There’s a scenario for what happens for PCs captured by a Dragonarmy caravan; the caravan will be attacked by a mixture of human and wemic rebels led by Darallan Seubban (the Hidden Light resistance member from Dragons of Truth).

8. The rebel explorers encountered underground have developed stats. Their leader (originally a nameless male) is now a female half-elf by the name of Maaya Frostfell who is a multi-class noble/fighter/range. The rebels are split evenly between fighters and rangers, and the rangers worship Habbakuk (neutral good god of sea).

9. The trolls encountered in the fungus cavern have levels in Barbarian and are lead by a fiendish (evil outsider descent template) troll barbarian named Grak.

10. The vampires in the blooddrinker’s lair have class levels on account of said monster being a template rather than a creature all its own in 3rd Edition. Their treasure hoard is much bigger. In AD&D it included just potions, but now has weapons and armor and a ring of protection.

11. The city of Neraka has a more detailed map than the bare-bones one in AD&D:



12. The prison and slaver pens have stats for guards and slavers if the PCs try to break anyone out.

13. Dragonarmy mooks of all races are the best of the best. The soldiers guarding the Dark Queen’s Temple are 12th-level Fighters, while the Dark Pilgrims 9th level Clerics. The average district guards are 8th-level Fighters, monsters such as giants and draconians range from 3rd to 6th level Barbarians or Fighters depending on their race in question (less powerful with more levels), and even the goblins are 6th-level Fighters. Various rebel/allied groups range from mid-level Warriors (rebel fighters) or Commoners (temple slaves). Even the gully dwarves living underground are 6th level with a mixture of Fighter/Rogue.

14. Ariakas' hidden treasure vault in the Undercity is watched over by a brass dragonflesh golem. It's a mindless construct so no pesky questions of motivations or feelings over its virtual imprisonment.

15. The Dark Queen’s Temple has human guards as well as elite Draconian units from each of the five Dragonarmies. Their tactics are elaborated on when encounter the PCs.

16. The Nerakan businessmen kept in the Temple Dungeons will turn on the party by reporting them given the earliest available opportunity. Maelstrom, a Hidden Light resistance member, can be found and freed here.

17. The Foundation Stone Chamber is guarded over by a nightwalker monster.

18. The Council Chamber when not in use is watched over by 20 elite draconians from each of the five Dragonarmies along with 10 Temple Guards. The ones from different units will not work together well as all want the opportunity and prestige from capturing any intruders.

19. If a fight breaks out in the Ballroom, officers will assume it to be a brawl and fight among themselves.

20. Gorzaug, Takhisis’ fiendish elite minion, is a Marilith in AD&D. In 3rd Edition she becomes an Erinyes (female fallen angel-turned-devil) Cleric.

21. Ariakas’ Crown of Power, the Miceram, is given appropriate stats and backstory. It was originally worn by the Kingpriests, and requires daily will saves to avoid moving one’s alignment one step closer to Chaotic Evil (Ariakas is Lawful Evil). It comes equipped with a variety of defensive bonuses to AC, saving throws, Caster Level, and various spell-like abilities. If the Sage (Raistlin) or Prophet (Goldmoon) archetypes wear the crown, they have a vision of overcoming Takhisis and growing in power. A successful immediate Will save grants them enhanced spellcasting capability against all evil creatures and minions of the Dark Queen.

In the ending option where Berem is Paladine in disguise, he needs the Crown of Power in order to seal the gate, and will give it as a gift to the PCs to use as they see fit...even though it may inevitably turn them Chaotic Evil.

22. The Dark Queen’s Entry, aka the Final Boss Battle where the PCs fight Emperor Ariakas, Kitiara, and Lord Soth among the many minions in the Council Chambers is only run during one of four endings: Fizban vs. the Queen of Darkness, Huma Returns from the Past, Sacrifice Self, or Berem Seals the Gate. Berem and His Sister resolves when Berem is taken to the Chamber with the Foundation Stone, while in Death of the Gem the PCs must obtain the Hammer and Anvil of Might to break Berem’s chest-embedded stone and thus prevent Takhisis from ever entering Krynn.

23. Each ending sequence is accompanied with its own boxed text and character dialogue. There’s also a pair of all-encompassing set of boxed text for if the heroes are either successful or not in preventing Takhisis’ entry into Krynn.

Prism
Dec 22, 2007

yospos


Libertad! posted:

Dragons of Triumph: 3rd Edition Changes

21. Ariakas’ Crown of Power, the Miceram, is given appropriate stats and backstory. It was originally worn by the Kingpriests, and requires daily will saves to avoid moving one’s alignment one step closer to Chaotic Evil (Ariakas is Lawful Evil).

I feel this explains some things.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Why would you even have that crown, you silly Kingpriests!?

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

PurpleXVI posted:

Next up: Maybe more Dragonlance? If I hate myself enough and people want it?

Part of me is tempted to see you review the Key of Destiny Adventure Path, if only to see you compare and contrasts the two big published campaigns. But that's a mighty undertaking and part of me wants to review it first.

Otherwise, what books did you have in mind? As entertaining as it can be to field questions from the public, you don't want to end up with a product you feel nothing for.

Edit: Also congratulations on making it through the entire adventure. It's been a blast to read, and without it I wouldn't have been inspired to get back into reviewing.

quote:

At the same time, parts that could have used more details have none. There are a bunch of scribes working on a revisionist according-to-Takhisis history book, but we're just told it's not done yet, rather than, perhaps, having some examples of historical periods per Takhisis' spin. Perhaps giving us some insight into whether she's unabashedly selfish or self-justifies to make herself out as the tragic heroine doing what has to be done or avenging her dragon kids or whatever, maybe giving the Dragonarmies a bit of character beyond "violent, alcoholic, slavers, hate elves and kender."

Yeah, it's some pretty big wasted potential. I highlighted it earlier in this thread in various posts, but the Dragon Empire is in a prime position to seize upon people's hatred of the gods and forge something anew. Granted, Takhisis and the gods of evil were among those who sanctioned the Cataclysm, but history by now has become such that a lot of Krynn's people do not remember the details. The Crown of Power being the Kingpriest's former crown, the teleported Temple of Istar, the Nerakans being descendants of those Istaran humans up in the mountains above the floodwaters...it all points very much to an ascending society who wishes to reclaim what was lost in the Age of Despair, but under a more honest Evil than an Evil Masquerading as Good. I wrote a bunch of homebrew on this for my own Dragonlance Chronicles Campaign.

That would've been a lot more interesting than the barebones "evil for loot and glory" as being the primary motivator. Granted, that was also the motivator in my own campaign, but they had some "Reclaiming a Golden Age" propaganda to fancy it up.

Prism posted:

I feel this explains some things.

I mean yeah, the Kingpriest's alignment is :airquote: officially :airquote: Lawful Good, but a corrupted artifact making him wicked over time totally fits with his violent decrees and political powergrabs.

Also Paladine giving the PCs it without explaining its curse is part of a running series in Dragonlance of the god turning out to be a dick. Subtextually, if not overtly.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Jan 30, 2020

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Authoritarians often do, after all.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

Another thing to add: while I had several of the DL Module series written up for 3rd Edition changes, I have not doing anything for the 2e/SAGA 15th Anniversary Edition. I'm going to be broadly-focused for this, but even then it may take me a while to write up.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

PurpleXVI posted:


Kree! I thought the part with the Skeleton Court was cool!

Next up: Maybe more Dragonlance? If I hate myself enough and people want it?

I agree Skeleton Warrior, that Skeleton Court was cool and deserved better than it got.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




The crime issss living the punishment isss deathhhh!

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



"You have been charged with keeping one if our skeleton brothers in bondage. We will now extract the victim from your flesh so that they can testify."

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

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




Unfortunately due to severe budget cuts the court is run by a skeleton crew.

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!


Libertad! posted:

Part of me is tempted to see you review the Key of Destiny Adventure Path, if only to see you compare and contrasts the two big published campaigns. But that's a mighty undertaking and part of me wants to review it first.

Otherwise, what books did you have in mind? As entertaining as it can be to field questions from the public, you don't want to end up with a product you feel nothing for.

Everyone posted:

I remember liking the SAGA setting even if I was a bit confused by the cards and the like in terms of the actual game.

We shouldn't insist that Purple review all 22 modules, but he should review the initial 2nd edition modules, In Search of Dragons, Dragon Magic and Dragon Keep. If I recall correctly, the various random encounters are less horrible instant death and while there are character Pregens you aren't as required to play the Epic Heroes of the Long Pointy Thing. But the overall plot is still deeply, hilariously dumb.

I was honestly considering going through the 22-something other modules and seeing if any of them were interesting enough to review. Like, the original DL series is worth a review because it spawned a literal huge franchise of the time, and a good few of us read those books and enjoyed them as dumb teenagers without knowing the even worse content behind them, plus as an artifact of terrible game design from the AD&D era.

If anyone has any specific suggestions, though, I'd prioritize those. The Key of Destiny sounds like a good suggestion, but so do the suggestions by Everyone. I'll probably start with Everyone's suggestions, since it feels like it's likely a smaller commitment.

I also play up the "oh god not loving this poo poo agaaaaaaaaaaaaaain"-part, I'm not about to die from these reviews, it's just a bit of theatrics to add humour, I absolutely enjoy doing these reviews as long as people post replies and are entertained by them in some way.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

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


By popular demand posted:

Unfortunately due to severe budget cuts the court is run by a skeleton crew.

:golfclap:

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Their barebones approach to the law is lauded as a model of efficiency.

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


I've been enjoying the blast from my past that is Dragonlance, if only because it kind of got hilarious just how too many dragons it really did kind of turn out to be.

I'm all for any additional setting reviews you're up for performing for us, Purple. Your service is appreciated.

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!


Alright, so I've got the three suggested 2E modules, which I guess means they're next.

If someone gets me the Key of Destiny stuff, I'd be willing to give that a try as well, but after that I do think I'll need a general reviewing breather.

Nemo2342
Nov 25, 2007

Have A Day





Nap Ghost

Cthulhu Dreams posted:

There are two:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/196463444/lifts-ultimate-pump-edition-the-rpg-for-your-muscl which features Deadlifts and Dragons

And Dungeons and Workouts which has objectively the inferior name.

Good news, there's going to be a sequel this year:

https://twitter.com/ThronesBeware/status/1221997682161606656?s=20

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!


:golfclap: for using the RIFTS font.

So for those that never read Dragonlance: what was the actual climax? And what's the point of random-generating it?

(I'd be impressed if there was some Crisis On Infinite Krynn scenario that culminates in so-and-so Prime punching the page to fix everything, but I'm not holding my breath).

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

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

PurpleXVI posted:

Alright, so I've got the three suggested 2E modules, which I guess means they're next.

If someone gets me the Key of Destiny stuff, I'd be willing to give that a try as well, but after that I do think I'll need a general reviewing breather.

Just a note; the Key of Destiny has a prelude adventure in the back of the 3.5 Dragonlance Campaign Setting. Which has the PCs get a hold of the eponymous artifact in the first place. So you'll at least need that for a holistic review.

But as an overview, the first adventure is 178 pages, with 150 of those the adventure and the rest being appendix and stat block stuff.

Also there's a free web enhancement for the first adventure of errata and missing content. Which can be retrieved here courtesy of Web Archive.

The second adventure is 194 pages, and 166 of those are the main adventure.

The third adventure is by far the largest, clocking in at 420 pages. But as this was when official 3.5 stat blocks got refigured to be more comprehensive, 140 of those pages are the stat blocks in the appendix. The main adventure lasts for 266 pages.

I hope this isn't too intimidating, but this is the sense of scale.

SirPhoebos posted:

:golfclap: for using the RIFTS font.

So for those that never read Dragonlance: what was the actual climax? And what's the point of random-generating it?

(I'd be impressed if there was some Crisis On Infinite Krynn scenario that culminates in so-and-so Prime punching the page to fix everything, but I'm not holding my breath).

The randomly-generated things, from how to free the Silvanesti King's curse to D'argent's secret ID, were put in for players who were reading/read the books. To prevent them from metagaming variants in the modules were created so that the book-savvy players wouldn't be certain to have the answer.

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!


SirPhoebos posted:

:golfclap: for using the RIFTS font.

So for those that never read Dragonlance: what was the actual climax? And what's the point of random-generating it?

Okay, so WRACKING MY MEMORY... Fizban isn't there, I remember that, because he reveals himself as Paladine while the party is crossing the plains of Neraka and when Flint has a heart attack he takes him off to Heaven.

Most of the party is split up because from around the Blood Sea section, Tanis has shacked up with Kitiara who thinks she's converted him to a perfect Dragonarmy officer, but near the end of things he backstabs Ariakus, throwing the Dragonarmies into chaos.

I do know that Caramon and Raistlin are present at the final confrontation. I think the Berem solution is the canon one, but for the life of me I remember the end of the last of the "core" Dragonlance trilogy as being written in such a muddled manner that it kind of sticks in my mind as a fever dream of disjointed images.

Libertad! posted:

I hope this isn't too intimidating, but this is the sense of scale.

I mean, if it sucks less rear end than DL1 through 14, then it's not intimidating.

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FoldableHuman
Mar 26, 2017



SirPhoebos posted:


So for those that never read Dragonlance: what was the actual climax? And what's the point of random-generating it?

From the point where the team splits up at Tarsis in book 2 they're not together again until the epilogue, with each of the splits further splitting (or dying) and some re-joining at the Blood Sea.

After Sturm's death at The High Clerist's Tower and Laurana routing Kitiara's army with the dragon orb, Laurana goes on to become the Golden General, leading the Whitestone forces with Dragonlances and a fleet of silver dragons on an overwhelmingly successful campaign of reclamation all the way down the big important river.

Over on the Blood Sea Tanis shacks up with Kitiara, pretending he's defected, when she spots him in a crowd during some slapstick. After a couple days of banging her he meets up with the rest of his team, including the twins, and tells them that Kitiara is looking for some dude with a green gemstone in his chest. That dude, Berem, just so happens to be the first mate on the ship that they were already planning to hire to cross the Blood Sea and escape dragonarmy territory. Kitiara catches on, chases them with Skie, who sinks the boat. Raistlin yeets himself out of there, leaving Caramon to die, teleporting to the big important library in Palanthas at the cost of almost dying, and doesn't meaningfully show up again until the very end.

Kitiara (who has cut a deal with Lord Soth) assumes Tanis is dead and sends a message to Laurana saying he's a captive to trick her into an incredibly obvious trap "prisoner exchange" for some mid level dragonarmy officer no one cares about. Laurana falls for it and is taken to Neraka to be an offering to Takhisis so Kitiara can curry favour and hopefully take Ariakas' place, and then give Laurana to Lord Soth who has a super hate boner for elven women.

The stuff at the bottom of the Blood Sea is mostly Berem's backstory and Caramon being super mopey because Raistlin left him to die, and Tanis being super mopey because he feels like he's a bad leader (and he is, so, like, fair.)

They get out of the Blood Sea, meet up with most of the rest of the party, learn about Laurana's capture, then the floating citadels show up.

The team rides some copper dragons half way to Neraka before Fizban and his ancient gold dragon Pyrite force them to land, then Fizban leads them through the back woods to Godshome, where Flint dies of a heart attack and Fizban takes his body into Godshome and, no joke, Tanis and Tass are just like "huh, that's suspicious."

Tanis, Tika, Caramon, Berem, and Tass then sneak into Neraka in disguise trying to pull a Wookiee prisoner transfer maneuver, Kitiara spots Tanis *again* and he swears that he'll be actually loyal to her if she lets Laurana go. Everyone else gets arrested.

During the big meeting of the Highlords Takhisis half-manifests and is ready to enter Krynn. Tanis is going up to Ariakas to swear fealty when Paladine Raistlin intervenes and dispels Ariakas' thirty layers of protective spells, and Tanis stabs him and takes the crown of power.

In the dungeon Berem hulks out with green gem man madness, breaks out of the prison, and shreds his way through the undercity to the broken altar where the gem came from, with Caramon in pursuit (Tass and Tika get lost and separated). Raistlin pops up wearing black robes, webs Berem, and gets a whole long conversation with Caramon about all their baggage and how he's supposed to stop Berem on his queen's orders.

Up in the hall Tanis puts on the crown instead of giving it to Kitiara, demands safe passage for him and Laurana, but Laurana grabs a sword and attacks Tanis. This knocks the crown off, at which point all hell breaks loose as every Highlord scrambles for it.

Caramon attacks Raistlin, who kicks his rear end. Raistlin goats about how powerful he is, swears he'll be the most powerful being ever once Takhisis is gone, lets Berem go, then nukes a small army of Draconians who were chasing them.

Berem spears himself on the broken altar, breaking the curse and sealing Takhisis's portal. She's still the load bearing boss of the temple, so everything starts to collapse.

Raistlin leads Caramon out of the dungeon, Tass and Tika are wandering the streets, Tanis and Laurana somehow escape the throne room, and in various ways the groups all regroup. Raistlin ports out before Fizban shows up, who then reveals, dun dun dun, he's actually Paladine (which readers have known since Huma's Tomb).

In the epilogue to the epilogue Raistlin claims the cursed Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, setting up for Legends.

Since the module came out a full year after Dragons of Spring Dawning, I would assume the point of randomizing the ending to make it different from the book, purely for the sake of not being the same. I would also imagine the writers assumed they were creating replay-ability, despite most of the endings being different without distinction.

FoldableHuman fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Jan 31, 2020

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