The Dragonlance Nexus

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Classes of Ansalon

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by James O'Rance


Choosing the class of your character is an important part of beginning a Dragonlance Saga campaign. Your character's primary class defines not only her role in an adventuring party, but her position in the larger campaign world.

Therefore, it is important to understand how members of each class might find their niche in the Dragonlance setting. Your character can possess an unusual class without losing any of the special Dragonlance flavour by considering how she became what she is and how she lives in Ansalon. Indeed, a well-considered class concept can only add interest and detail to the campaign.

Note on Unusual Races: In previous editions of D&D, certain races were barred from taking particular classes. This is no longer the case, and characters such as dwarven sorcerers or minotaur paladins are now quite valid. However, such characters are still extremely rare in the world of krynn, and characters with unusual race/class combinations should be considered unique. Such combinations are noted for each class, below. If you want to create such a character, you need to discuss an appropriate background with your DM.

Naturally, the DM can disallow any particular race/class combination that he considers too bizarre or unlikely. If your DM considers the idea of a wizard taking kender apprentices improbable, you may be able to convince him otherwise by pursuing the study of arcane arts during the campaign. If your kender can convince an NPC wizard to teach her, and the DM agrees that your character is sufficently dedicated to study effectively, you can acquire the wizard class during the campaign using the multiclassing rules.

D&D Classes

Barbarian | Bard | Cleric | Druid | Fighter | Monk | Paladin | Ranger | Rogue | Sorcerer | Wizard

New Classes

Knight of Solamnia | Knight of Takhisis

NPC Classes

Adept | Aristocrat | Commoner | Expert | Warrior


Barbarian

Barbarians are not uncommon in Ansalon, and there are many "barbaric" cultures with beliefs and traditions that stretch back into the mists of time. As a barbarian, you understand the benefits of preserving these traditions and the ancestral ties to the land. Although you are probably looked down upon by some of the civilised peoples of Krynn, you understand the world better than they ever could. The recorded lore of Ansalon's libraries and universities might be beyond you, but the oral culture of your people has taught you to survive in the natural world, to respect your instincts, and to summon your inner personal power to rage against your enemies.

Barbarian cultures of Ansalon include the human gypsy tribes of Khur's desert; the Plainsmen of Abanasinia and the Plains of Dust; the mountain folk of Taman Busuk; and the sea-faring pirates and corsairs of Ackal, Saifhum, and the Blood Sea. The Kagonesti "wild elves" and brutish ogres are also famous for their barbarians. Some minotaurs draw upon their ancestors for inspiration to become barbarians, rather than the modern kingdoms of Mithas and Kothas with their elaborate gladiatorial rituals.

Unusual Races: Barbarians are extremely rare among cultured races such as dwarves, gnomes, and elves, for these societies have maintained their social order and tradition for millennia. A dwarven or elven barbarian might have been raised in a human or Kagonesti tribe, or she may be the child of a hermit or an outcast (such as a dark elf) who was forced to raise his family in the wilderness. Kender seem like unlikely barbarians, but may follow a wilder path due to years of wanderlust, or the experiences of being raised by parents who lived in the wilderness of Krynn.

Bard

Bards are a respected part of Ansalon's culture, as the keepers of history, tradition, and stories of the past. It is through bards like Quevalin Soth and Sir Michael Williams that the past is understood and that heroes are remembered.

As a bard, you are ever searching for the lost songs and stories of Krynn, and you know a few tales and mysteries such as the huldrefolk, ancient ogre ruins, or treasures of Istar, that may be important some day. Bards exist in almost every society in Ansalon; you might be a composer of sonnets trained in the Bard College of Gwynned, or a Hylar lorekeeper known for your resonant singing voice, or perhaps a kender who travels the land to collect exciting stories for a book dedicated to Branchala.

Perhaps because they are inclined to collect lore from the Ages of Dreams and Might, all bards have a grasp of arcane magic that allows them to cast a small number of spells. Perhaps you consider your spells to be the power of music in Krynn, or even a blessing from Branchala; perhaps you hope to one day take the Test of High Sorcery. Regardless, once you have access to 3rd-level spells the Wizards of High Sorcery may notice your activities; if you do not take the Test, they will consider you a Renegade.

Unusual Races: Bards are less common among ogres, whose oral tradition focuses more on revisionist histories than the preservation of traditions and lore. Gnomes also seem more in favour of extensive written histories and records than the colourful oral traditions of a bard.

Bakali villages are unlikely to produce a bard, for the lizardfolk culture is extremely primitive compared to others in Ansalon. Bards from these races were likely forced to draw upon the traditions of other cultures in order to learn more about Krynn.

Cleric

In the years following the War of the Lance, clerics of the True Gods spread through every people of Ansalon. However, even twenty years after the War of the Lance clerics could not be considered common, and were often considered a miracle by those who shared their faith. In the Fifth Age, the divine gifts of the gods were eventually replaced by the spreading power of Mysticism, which is likewise considered a miraculous power by those who received its blessings.

As a cleric, you are clearly a person of note to those around you. Clerics are often leaders or councillors, and you will need to act as a moral compass - whether to virtue, or the power of darkness, or the Balance is up to you.

Clerics in Ansalon consider good, evil and neutrality to be more pressing issues that law or chaos; thus, any good cleric may dedicate herself to Mishakal, a lawful good goddess. Likewise, any cleric of evil alignment can worship the chaotic evil deity Hiddukel.

As a cleric, you were shown the path of the true gods by another true cleric, and joined one of the Holy Orders of the Stars - the order of Light, of Darkness, or of the balancing Grey. Just as the clerics of Light gods admire and cooperate with each other, so too do the clerics of neutral gods give ech other respect. Clerics of evil gods often work together as well, although they are equally likely to betry or take advantage of their so-called "allies."

Unusual Races: Clerics of the true gods appear among all of Krynn's peoples. Although all clerics are considered remarkable in and of themselves, there are no races in Ansalon that the true gods have not found new worshippers.

Druid

Druids are worshippers of the true gods who understand and venerate the ancient ways of Krynn. As a druid, you prefer the divinely-inspired beauty of the natural world to the artifice of modern "civilisation." You have been initiated into a secret order that meets in sylvan groves, mystic ruins, or beneath the rising constellation of your deity. Although your traditions and powers are different to those of clerics, your worship of the true gods is just as real.

Good-aligned druids worship Branchala or Habbakuk, whilst the more influential neutral druids follow Chislev, the goddess of beasts and nature, or Zivilyn, deity of wisdom and the World Tree of cosmic consciousness. Evil druids are rare, and venerate deities of nature's fearsome forces of pestilence and tempests—Morgion and Zeboim.

Unusual Races: Few dwarves have enough appreciation of nature's untamed power to follow the secret, primal traditions of druidism. Likewise, a gnomish druid would have great difficulty reconciling her innovative nature and technological culture with the conservative traditions of the druids.

Fighter

Even in the wake of conflicts such as the War of the Lance, there will always be a place for skilled soldiers and daring champions. You have a competance in weapons and armour that other adventurers cannot approach. You will eventually become a recognised master in your field of specialty - which might be the use of particular weapons, or a swift swashbuckling style, or perhaps the art of archery.

Even in times of relative peace, conflict is everywhere in the world of Krynn. You may find yourself defending your community from bands of goblin or draconian raiders, or pursuing more fearsome threats such as undead or the infamous Dragon Highlords. Eventually, you might become a leader of armies or win fame and glory by defending a terrible dragon.

Unusual Races: Fighters have come from every race of Krynn, and a fighter of most races will not be considered unusual. Although the pacifistic Irda and mischta long ago abandoned the ways of war, and rarely become fighters, such creatures are rare and remarkable enough in and of themselves.

Monk

Monks are rare in Ansalon, for there are few who possess your calm, your focus, or your unique training. You belong to a small order that remembers forgotten techniques that allow you to seek perfection of body, mind, and soul. Although unarmed and unarmoured, your speed and fortitude make you the better of many foes.

There are monastic traditions in Ergoth and the Forbidden City of Claren Elian that have been preserved intact for centuries, and the monks of Ergoth are masters of martial arts and poetry alike. Since the return of the true gods, hermits and philosophers in other parts of Ansalon have been inspired to live lives of discipline and enlightenment. These monks follow the paths of Majere, Gilean, or dread Chemosh.

As a monk you spent years in training, whether by an ancient order or a refound faith, and now test yourself against the chaos of modern ansalon. You may be a defender of peace, although there are monks who are coldly uncaring or even cruel. It is your contemplative nature and remarkable skills that make you unique.

Unusual Races: The monastic traditions of Ansalon tend to be human, although Silvanesti monks of Matheri (Majere) were known in previous Ages. It would be quite unusual to find a bakali, centaur, gnome, kender, or ogre with the personal discipline and mental clarity to become a monk. Such individuals may have been trained by an enlightened master of another race entirely.

Paladin

In ages past, there were courageous men-at-arms who defended the good people of Krynn from tyranny, evil, and injustice. Whilst some belonged to the knightly orders or served noble rulers, others were champions inspired by the gods of light. Holding no mortal authority higher than their divine patrons, these paladins vanished at the time of the Cataclysm.

Now, in the Fourth Age, you are one of those people inspired by the ancient legends and the reborn faiths to become a tireless agent of your god, one of the few paladins in the Age of Despair. You are a paragon of all virtues that your god encourages mortals to hold; should you fall into darkness, however, you would be considered the most contemptible of traitors or tragic of villains.

You have given up many things so that you might do the will of a god such as Kiri-Jolith or Paladine. Family, wealth, political influence, personal ambition—you are prepared to sacrifice all of these to protect the common people from darkness. You are likely to be on good terms with just rulers, the Knights of Solamnia, and clerics of the good gods, and give the Holy order of your deity all due obedience and respect, but ultimately, the only authorities that you answer to are your deity and your conscience.

Unusual Races: Not surprisingly, paladins are most often seen among races that typically follow the gods of light. A minotaur paladin would be quite remarkable, although such an individual may well possess the strength of will and discipline to follow such a difficult path. Gnome, kender, and ogre paladins are unknown, although not impossible, and would often be required to prove themselves to the sceptical human worshippers of their chosen deity.

Ranger

Rangers are not uncommon in Ansalon, for there are many cultures that value the woodslore and survival skills of these hunters and stalkers. The abilities of a ranger are respected among the elves and the kender, as well as humans from regions as varied as the open plains, Taman Busuk's mountains, the forest glades of Whitestone, and the open seas. You have a broader range of skills than other fighting men, whilst still being an important member of any military force or company of explorers.

As a ranger, you are likely to find a special purpose beyond that of normal folk. Perhaps you will oppose particular minions of evil, as did a Khur ranger dedicated to freeing his homeland from the Green Dragonarmy. Perhaps you will struggle to lift a powerful curse from the land, as do the elven kirath of Silvanesti. You may support a particular tribal ruler or daring general, and loyally pursue missions that serve her goals. Many rangers are defenders of their communities; after all, only you can bring justice to enemies who have escaped into the wilderness or onto the high seas, beyond the reach of other authorities.

Specific careers for a ranger character include wilderness guide, mariner, scout, tracker, guerilla warrior, or bountyhunter. The Silvanesti kirath and House Protector includes many rangers, as do the militia of kender settlements in Goodlund and Hylo.

Unusual Races: A gnomish ranger would be considered unusual for favouring natural skills and living above the technological pursuits common to his kind.

Rogue

Rogues can be found in just about every Ansalonian society, although they are not always welcome! As a rogue, you are undoubtedly the master of many skills. Some of these skills are valued by the society in which you were raised, but many are considered questionable or even condemned. You will need to take care in taking the opportunities that present themselves to you, lest you earn a reputation that brings more trouble than you can deal with. Many of Ansalon's cities, towns and tribes are unforgiving towards rogues who break their laws and traditions.

Rogues are most common among the smaller folk of Krynn, who perhaps make up for their slight size by taking every advantage available to them. Dwarves apply the skills of a rogue not to thieving (although there are many greedy dwarven thieves!) but to surviving and thriving in the great subterranean cities of their kind; they usually receive equal success in the cities of humanity. Gnomish rogues tend to be experts in a few fields rather than merely competant in many, and are masters with strange devices, traps, unusual documents, and crafts of all kinds.

Arguably, some of the best rogues are humans, who are surprisingly adaptable and tend to dwell in large cities where their unique aptitudes can easily be honed. Kender, of course, are the quintessential rogues (although they prefer the term "handler"), and apply themselves to skills that enable them to explore and learn about the world, including all of the fascinating things that it contains.

Unusual Races: It is quite unusual for minotaurs to follow the life of the rogue; although they can be quite subtle, minotaurs prefer success through personal strength to trickery, and may consider roguish pursuits beneath them.

Sorcerer

Sorcerers are a breed apart from wizards, the "true" students of arcane lore, and are sometimes regarded with fear and suspicion by their arcane brethren. As a sorcerer, your mastery of arcane spells comes from some method other than the rigourous study of a wizard. Perhaps your bloodline contains some kind of ancient "gift" that allows you to manipulate arcane magic almost instinctively. Perhaps the spells that you cast are the result of supernatural mentor simply placing the knowledge in your mind. You may even have accidentally discovered how to tap the forgotten primeval magic of Krynn in a way that resembles the spells of wizards.

Although they manipulate the same arcane energies that wizards do, there are some sorcerers who do not recognise this kinship—perhaps because their is no established role for wizards in their society. For example, there are dwarven weaponsmiths who focus arcane energies into the creation of magic arms, armour, and other devices of wondrous power without realising that their traditional rituals are in fact arcane spells. Likewise, the sorcerers of the barbaric human and Kagonesti tribes may not consider the secret occult gifts of ancient rites to be the same powers as those gained by the studious exercises of wizards.

You should be aware that if you intend to pursue the powers of arcane magic, you may be forced to take the Test of High Sorcery at Wayreth or risk being declared a Renegade. Any character able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells must take the Test or suffer this condemnation. However, there is a benefit to successfully taking the Test—the Conclave will consider you a member of one of the three Orders, and you will be permitted to study at the Tower of High Sorcery (that is, acquire levels in the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class). You are not required to study as a High Sorcerer, but you will be encouraged to do so.

Unusual Races: Humans and elves are not commonly sorcerers, as those rare individuals gifted in the arcane arts are likely to be trained as wizards instead of allowing their talents to manifest "naturally". Sorcerers of these races might have developed their powers unexpectedly, in secret, or among a people who disdained wizardry. If you belong to one of the traditionally "non-magical" races, you should base your initial spell selection on abilities that suit the specialised role that sorcerers might take in your society. For example, a dwarven sorcerer might favour Transmutation spells, representing the secret crafts of the dwarven arcane weaponsmiths.

Wizard

Wizards are masters of the arcane arts that study a tradition founded thousands of years ago by the gods of magic themselves. Although wizards do not possess the flexibility or intuitive grasp of spellcasting that sorcerers do, their understanding of magic is much deeper. While sorcerers may become quite proficient in their favoured spells, they cannot approach the mastery of magic that is possible for a wizard.

As a wizard, your magical talents were likely discovered during your childhood, and you studied under a more experienced wizard. Even in areas where wizards are unwelcome, there are isolated hedge magicians who are happy to take an apprentice—if only to provide companionship and unskilled assistance in magical endeavours. However, larger cities often posess small magical schools (operated by the Wizards of High Sorcery), and wizards are respected parts of Qualinesti and Silvanesti society.

As a wizard you may choose to focus on one school of magic more than all others, becoming a specialist in that school. The school that you choose to specialise in must be one that your master can teach, however! Wizards of the White Robes are unable to teach you to specialise in Illusion or Necromancy; Wizards of the Red Robes are unable to teach a specialist in Abjuration or Necromancy; and Wizards of the Black Robes are unable to teach a student to specialise in Abjuration or Illusion. Students of magic are usually taught by a wizard of the Robed Order that they intend to eventually enter.

You should be aware that if you intend to pursue the powers of arcane magic, you may be forced to take the Test of High Sorcery at Wayreth or risk being declared a Renegade. Any character able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells must take the Test or suffer this condemnation. However, there is a benefit to successfully taking the Test—the Conclave will consider you a member of one of the three Orders, and you will be permitted to study at the Tower of High Sorcery (that is, acquire levels in the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class). You are not required to study as a High Sorcerer, but you will be encouraged to do so.

Unusual Races: It is widely believed that kender are incapable of the dedicated study required to pursue wizardry, and that no mentor would dare to teach them anyway. The thought of a kender with control of arcane powers is a nightmare to those who have had poor experiences with this race. However, a young kender named Noblosa Lampwick is believed to have taken and passed the Test of High Sorcery in Wayreth, although none of the wizards' records list her name. Whether her legend is true or not is a sore point among many Wizards of High Sorcery.

Likewise, the disdain and fear that all dwarven nations have for the Wizards of High Sorcery prevents most of them from pursuing arcane knowledge. The rare dwarven wizard is unlikely to think of himself as such—indeed, as he will probably be more interested in crafting magical arms, armour, and wondrous items than casting spells, the Conclave may not even realise that this Renegade exists!

New Classes

Knight of Solamnia

The Knighthood of Solamnia is an ancient martial order that stands for justice, chivalry and honour in Ansalon. Always strongest in the lands of Solamnia and Sancrist Isle, the Knighthood lost a great deal of influence and prestige after the Cataclysm, and was hated in many lands for failing to protect the common people from disease, famine and war during the Age of Despair.

However, after the War of the Lance the Knights of Solamnia were recognised as an order of heroes once again, and became the strongest force for light in Ansalon. Perhaps you became a Knight during those dark years when the Order was hated and reviled, and were one of the few who honoured the past glories of Solamnia's guardians. Or perhaps you were one of those who flocked to the Knighthood's banner after the War of the Lance, inspired by the deeds of Sturm Brightblade, Gunthar Uth Wistan, and other knights.

As a Knight of Solamnia, you must begin in the Order of the Crown in order to learn the virtues of obedience and loyalty before you can apply to join the Order of the Sword or, eventually, the Order of the Rose.

Unusual Races: It is unknown for non-human characters to have become Solamnic Knights during any part of the order's history, and it is quite likely that no such individual has ever done so. If an elf or dwarf were to somehow gain acceptance as a Solamnic Knight, he would be the first of his kind to do so.

It is possible that half-elves (or even a half-ogre) raised in Solamnic society might have become Solamnic Knights, but their non-human ancestry would certainly have been kept quiet. Likewise, an individual named Tari Half-kender trained as a knight in Xak Tsaroth before the Cataclysm, but his parentage remained unclear, and he was never officially inducted into the knighthood.

Knight of Takhisis

The Knights of Takhisis is an order of dark paladins, mystics and sorcerers that was created by Lord Ariakan to serve the Queen of Darkness on Krynn. Ariakan learned a great deal about the Knights of Solamnia while he lived in their custody, and came to admire and respect their honour. However, as the son of Dragonarmy Emperor Ariakas, Ariakan remained loyal to his Dark Queen. He founded the Knights of Takhisis in 370 AC to honour the goddess and bring her rule of Order to Krynn.

Knights of Takhisis may not be appropriate as a player character class in many Dragonlance Saga campaigns, such as those that focus on the War of the Lance or "heroic" institutions such as the Knights of Solamnia or the Silvanesti kirath. Campaigns set during the Chaos War or the Fifth Age might find a place for such characters, however. Always make sure that your DM approves before you choose to create a Knight of Takhisis character.

As a Knight of Takhisis, you believe in a code of honour and strength that raises you above most others. You have been trained from an early age in the Order of the Lily, a martial order that exists to serve the Dark Queen. You believe in the Dark Queen with all of your soul, for the goddess has granted you a Vision of your role in the new order that she will bring to Krynn. You need not be cruel, although some Dark Knights are, but you can be heartless in your devotion to honour and the Queen of Darkness. You must be in order to survive the tests that will be set before you. However, eventually you will overcome them, and perhaps join the spellcasting orders—the Knights of the Skull and the Knights of the Thorn.

Unusual Races: The Knights of Takhisis understand all too well that their goddess is little liked by many races of Krynn, and do not attempt to recruit from them. Furthermore, the Dark Knights consider some of these races to be nuisances or even natural foes of their Dark Queen, and automatically consider them enemies. If a bakali, centaur, dwarf, elf, gnome, or kender were to join the Knights of Takhisis, it would almost certainly be unique.

NPC Classes

Adept

Adepts are minor divine spellcasters—such as hedge witches, shamans, and heathen druids—that may exist in the backwoods of Ansalon and beyond. Adepts do not belong to the influential traditions of clerics or druids, and yet still they command some small amount of divine power. Some adepts are worshippers of the true gods who live among primitive peoples, such as the shamans of brutal thanoi that worship Zeboim on the frozen expanse of the Icewall Glacier. Others are heathen druids or witch-doctors that have managed to discover a primitive nature-based magic, and draw divine power from the interactions of the stars, the world of Krynn, and all living things.

The adept NPC class is not a good choice as for player characters, especially compared to the cleric or druid. Campaigns set during the years prior to the War of the Lance might include adept characters to represent the minor spells and rites practiced by heathen druids during the Time of Darkness.

Aristocrat

Characters with the aristocrat class might come from almost any character race in Krynn. The nations of humans, dwarves, elves, and even kender have all produced individuals of high birth and education, represented by the respectable selection of skills and combat ability of the aristocrat class.

Aristocrats in a Dragonlance Saga campaign will include Silvanesti of House Royal, Solamnic nobles, dwarven thanes, Qualinesti diplomats, and Khur tribal leaders, among others. Although aristocrats do not possess the special abilities of most character classes, they will serve as capable allies, rivals and sometimes enemies to your characters.

DMs may allow players to create aristocrat characters in campaigns that focus on politics, intrigue, or the affairs of Ansalon's kingdoms. Although the class abilities of an aristocrat character are not well suited to everyday adventuring or dungeon exploration, the advantages of high birth and noble station can be of benefit in less combat-oriented scenarios.

Commoner

Commoners are the everyday folk of krynn, those who have not done anything or learned any particular skills to distinguish themselves. Although circumstances may place a commoner in the right situation to be of great aid or even a troubling hindrance to player characters, they lack any real aptitude or ability to take up the adventuring life themselves. Although it might be possible to find a multiclassed commoner with some exceptional abilities, most commoners are best suited and happiest living a normal life.

Expert

Experts are the dedicated, the talented, and the experienced non-player characters that can often be priceless in helping player characters to solve some mystery or overcome a particular problem. Expert NPCs include those examples listed on page 39 of the Dungeon Master's Guide, as well as the harried librarians of Astinus' Great Library, the wandering historians who preserved Ansalon's folklore in the time of chaos following the Cataclysm, and the famous blacksmith Theros Ironfeld.

Warrior

Warriors are disciplined soldiers, brutal thugs, daring pirates or careless mercenaries that are common in the war-torn world of Krynn. Warriors have not been trained in the martial arts as a fighter or a knight has been, and so rarely take up the adventuring life. They are instead encountered as camp guards, city police, or soldiers during times of war. Warriors are also common among savage humanoid races where war is a way of life, yet little formal martial training exists.

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