The Dragonlance Nexus

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Expanded Base Classes in Dragonlance

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Trampas Whiteman


The Complete series of books, as well as the Miniatures Handbook, Players Handbook II, and various other sources have given many new options for base classes to be played with the Dungeons and Dragons rules. Players may wish to look into these to find a new role to play in their Dragonlance setting. Some of these classes are natural fits, some require minor tweaking, and some will require some work. Below are tips and suggestions on how to implement these classes into your campaign.

Artificer (Eberron Campaign Setting)

Artificers are masters of Enhancement, one of the Realms of Sorcery. Using their infusions, they are able to empower almost anything with the power of ambient magic. This is a relatively new (and specialized) area of study for sorcerers. Most artificers are dwarves and gnomes, who both have the knack to craft items.

Beguiler (Players Handbook II)

The Beguiler casts spells in a similar manner to the Warmage, drawing upon the power of Wild Sorcery, though his focus is on enchantment and illusion with a tinge of transmutation thrown in for good measure. The Beguiler is typically a loner, though they may sometimes ally themselves with a thieves' guild. Some will ally with the Legion of Steel. Knights of Solamnia and the Dark Knights will look upon a Beguiler as chaotic nuisances.

Beguilers must be especially careful around the Wizards of High Sorcery, who see the Beguiler's use of Wild Sorcery to be undisciplined users of arcane magic. The Red Robes are the most tolerant of Beguilers since their realm is that of illusion. White Robes will approach Beguilers with caution, while Black Robes will use a Beguiler's talents for his own ends until the Beguiler proves to no longer be useful.

Half-Kender especially find this class appealing, drawing into their kender nature, while still allowing for their human intellect to guide their path. Kender and humans flock to this class, while dwarves, gnomes, and minotaurs shun this class.

Dragon Shaman (Players Handbook II)

"I am power incarnate."
--Tarix, Dragon Shaman.

The world of Krynn is a world of dragons. Dragon Shamans are those who are drawn to the power of dragons, seeking to emulate them. In the early Age of Dreams and the Time of Dragons in the Age of Despair, Dragon Shamans were those who gained power through faith in Paladine or Takhisis. Dragon Shamans during these time periods were primarily good or evil. It was seldom that neutral Dragon Shamans were seen.

During the reign of the dragon overlords, evil Dragon Shamans gained power from the overlords themselves. Good Dragon Shamans and few neutral ones were to be seen. In the current era, other deities have taken the places of Paladine and Takhisis respectfully. The remaining gods of good and evil, minus the gods of magic, have each taken on a patron dragon totem from which a Dragon Shaman may gather power.

Dragon Shaman Deities
Totem Dragon Deity
Black Zeboim
Blue Sargonnas
Brass Branchala
Bronze Habbakuk
Copper Kiri-Jolith
Gold Majere
Green Morgion
Red Hiddukel
Silver Mishakal
White Chemosh

Duskblade (Players Handbook II)

The path of the Duskblade is relatively new in the Age of Mortals, though there is some evidence that elves in the Age of Dreams once practiced the art. After the discovery of Wild Sorcery, elven historians uncovered ancient texts telling of the practice. During the elven diaspora, some of those texts found their ways into the hands of the Dark Knights, some of whom sold those secrets on the black market.

As practitioners of Wild Sorcery, Duskblades are monitored by the Orders of High Sorcery. Unlike the Beguiler, the path of a Duskblade is more palatable to the Orders, though they still approach with caution. Dark Elf Duskblades are showing up in increasing number in the Knights of the Thorn, teaching elven secrets to the Grey Robes. Some Duskblades have joined the Legion of Steel as well.

Favored Soul (Complete Divine, Miniatures Handbook)

The Favored Soul is a bit of an oddity for Dragonlance as it gains power from a deity, yet casts like an ambient spellcaster. That being said, there's nothing prohibiting the use of this class in a person's Dragonlance campaign. Dungeon Masters can ignore the difference of separation between focused and ambient spellcasters, or they can attribute it to a direct connection with a deity. Perhaps the Favored Soul was once a mystic, and part of their mystic training shaped the way he channels divine power.

Typically, Favored Souls are not part of the Holy Orders of the Stars. They are welcomed by the Holy Orders, though they are looked upon as being unusual and sometimes are misunderstood. Favored Souls typically do not wear a medallion of faith, though those who work with the Holy Orders might receive one. Favored Souls can be of any religion.

At 17th level, a Favored Soul gains a pair of wings. Typically, they are feathered wings for good Favored Souls, and batlike for evil ones. However, there have been a few notable differences. Favored Souls of Habbakuk have blue, fiery wings; those who follow Sargonnas have red-and-black fiery wings; those who follow Sirrion have multicolored flaming wings. In all these cases, they produce no heat and inflict no damage. Those who follow Shinare will have griffon-like wings. Favored Souls of Paladine or Takhisis will have dragon-like wings, with good being one of the metallic colors and evil being one of the chromatic colors. Dungeon Masters should feel free to create additional variant wing designs.

Healer (Miniatures Handbook)

The Healer is to Mishakal what the Paladin is to Paladine. Though the class is fit for any of the good aligned deities, Mishakal is the best fit, especially with the Healing Hands ability at first level. They wear medallions of faith, as do clerics.

Healers work with Mishakal's holy order, serving as special agents sent to the battlefield, oftentimes working alongside the Knights of Solamnia. Healers are charged to protect as well, mirroring the latest tendency of the clerics of Mishakal to be more martial. Healers fight against cultists of Morgion, using their special abilities to combat the Master of the Bronze Tower. Healers are known for riding unicorns, whose horns tend to be sky-blue in color.

Hexblade (Complete Warrior)

The Hexblade combines martial prowess with sorcerous might to deadly effect. The Hexblade is touched by the taint of Chaos that boosts the power of Wild Sorcery, manifesting in the form of the Hexblade's curse.

Hexblades rarely, if ever, join an organization, preferring to work on their own. They are hunted by the renegade hunters of the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Knight (Players Handbook II)

The Knight is a natural fit for Dragonlance, a setting filled with knighthoods. It should be noted, though, that the Knight may not be the best fit for every knightly archetype the world of Krynn has to offer. Most enter the Knights of Solamnia as Crown Knights or Knights of Neraka as Lily Knights. Very few follow the path of the Legion of Steel, shunning their covert activities, though there are exceptions.

Knights are typically human, though dwarves, elves, and minotaurs also fill this role. Gnomes and kender typically are not knights. Knights of good alignment primarily follow Kiri-Jolith, Paladine, and even Habbakuk. Neutral Knights will follow Shinare or Reorx. Evil Knights will follow Takhisis or Sargonnas.

See Knightly Orders of Ansalon for more information on the role of knightly characters in the Dragonlance game.

Marshal (Miniatures Handbook)

The Dragonlance setting is renowned for its wars, so it seems only natural to include the Marshal. The Marshal is a leader of men on the battlefield. Marshals may aspire to be Knights of the Rose, officers of the Dragonarmies, Knights of the Lily, head of mercenary bands, or are special agents of Shinare. Good Marshals revere Kiri-Jolith, neutral Marshals revere Shinare, and evil Marshals revere Takhisis or Sargonnas. Solamnic or Nerakan humans, dwarves, and minotaurs produce the most Marshals, though any race could theoretically produce one.

Ninja (Complete Adventurer)

The ninja is an Oriental class that can be adapted to Dragonlance without too much effort. Ninjas work fine as a non-spellcasting assassin. A fighter who multiclasses with ninja could practice the art of guerilla warfare.

The ki powers present some problem flavor-wise, but this can be explained as an innate talent for mysticism, or a gift from one of the gods (such as Hiddukel).

Samurai (Complete Warrior)

This Oriental class can be adapted to a standard Dragonlance campaign without too much difficulty. The Samurai's fighting style can be viewed as specialized training of some sort, or a technique passed down from teacher to student. This may fit a specialized sect of Majere, perfecting both body and mind.

The most common correlation would be to think of the samurai as a knight. The iaijutsu abilities would have to be changed, as they don't fit the chivalric code of honor. The Kiai abilities could be viewed as a knight uttering an oath (i.e. "By Paladine!" or "For Ariakan!"). This option is complicated by the fact that the samurai fights with two swords (which should be changed to be a pair of family swords – a long sword and a short sword). Though knights typically don't fight in this manner, there's nothing saying they can't. This options doesn't work the best for the Knights of Solamnia, though it may work better for a Knight of the Lily or the Legion of Steel. No matter which path is taken, it is recommended that the character pick the honor-bound feat.

Scout (Complete Adventurer)

The scout is a natural fit for Dragonlance, perhaps even more so than the ranger. The scout can serve as a nice variant for the ranger, providing a non-spellcasting variant. They can serve as guides, or can be a part of military organizations. They easily could fit into the Solamnic auxiliary, the Dragonarmies, the Legion of Steel, or they can serve the Knights of Neraka.

Shugenja (Complete Divine)

The Shugenja isn't the best fit for Dragonlance, as it is designed for an Oriental-flavored campaign. With a little imagination, this class is still usable for Ansalon or Taladas. Likewise, a Shugenja may be part of a Dungeon Master's homebrew Oriental continent set on the world of Krynn.

The basic concept of the Shugenja is that it casts divine spells spontaneously (as does a mystic), having an elemental focus to it. This can be seen as a rival school of thought than what the Citadel of Light taught.

The Shugenja is typically of the noble caste as well, being of the samurai caste (not class) in Oriental campaigns. However, nothing says that a Shugenja has to be a noble. The Shugenja could come from a land such as Ergoth, for example.

The orders that a Shugenja gains power from can be any group with an established belief system. Think of it in terms of a school of mystic training.

Spellthief (Complete Adventurer)

The Spellthief is a sorcerer that drains the abilities of his opponents and turns their own powers against them. In Dragonlance, this is the laws of Balance at work, ensuring that the sorcerer has a natural defense against the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Kender Spellthieves oftentimes recover spells that other spellcasters weren't casting. Be wary, though, of when a kender wishes to return that spell!

Spirit Shaman (Complete Divine)

The Spirit Shaman (sometimes called a medium) is the mystic counterpart to the druid, focusing on the spirit world. Rather than drawing directly on the life energies of Krynn, the Spirit Shaman uses spirits to retrieve the magic for him.

Spirit Shamans typically come from tribal societies, including the plainsmen, ice barbarians, Kagonesti elves, and centaurs. Some kender have a natural affinity towards this path as well. Those kender who become Spirit Shamans sometimes become Kender Nightstalkers. With the Dungeon Master's permission, the kender can add the kender Nightstalker's spell list to the Spirit Shaman's for purposes of spells retrieved, gaining a +1 caster level at every other level.

The Spirit Shaman works especially well during the War of Souls, though any time during the Age of Mortals is allowable. The Spirit Shaman could potentially discover the secret to the loss of magic during the War of Souls, leading to the events of that time.

Swashbuckler (Complete Warrior)

The swashbuckler can fit into a Dragonlance game with no modifications. They're great for mariner-based campaigns. Humans (especially the dark-skinned people of Northern Ergoth), elves, half-elves, and even kender make great swashbucklers. Dwarves, minotaurs, ogres, and tinker gnomes are not very likely to take this class. Swashbucklers are looked down upon by Knights of Solamnia, who frown on their lack of discipline.

Warlock (Complete Arcane)

The Warlock is an individual with an innate gift for Wild Sorcery. Like the Hexblade, the taint of Chaos affects the Warlock's magic. The difference is that the Hexblade taps into the chaotic nature of Chaos, and the Warlock is touched by the evil nature of the avatar of Chaos that attacked Krynn during the Summer of Chaos. Though not all characters are evil, the inherent dark power of Chaos affects the character no matter what.

Warmage (Complete Arcane, Miniatures Handbook)

The Warmage is an arcane spellcaster who specializes in battle magic, drawing from the power of Wild Sorcery. Warmages have allied with the Knights of Solamnia, though they have yet to join the auxiliary, which only allows in White Robes (though Dungeon Masters are free to change this). They do work well with the Knights of the Thorn, who seize the opportunity to recruit any Warmage they can. The Legion of Steel also utilize Warmages, though not in the typical fashion of a Legion Sorcerer.

Please note that the Warmage base class fills the same basic role as the War Mage prestige class in Age of Mortals. Though the two can probably be used together, it isn't recommended. The Dungeon Master is advised to pick only one of the two classes for his or her campaign. The War Mage prestige class can fill many roles, and work with the Wizards of High Sorcery. Due to the nature of the base Warmage class' spellcasting, they fit better as an ambient spellcaster and would be at odds with the Wizards of High Sorcery.

Wu Jen (Complete Arcane)

The Wu Jen is an Oriental-flavored arcane spellcaster who command the elements, spirit forces, and the power of nature. The Wu Jen works best away from Ansalon, perhaps in Taladas or the Dungeon Master's Oriental Dragonlance campaign. The Wu Jen draws upon the power of the moons of magic as does a wizard, though he expresses it in exotic ways.

Unlike the Wizards of High Sorcery, Wu Jen tend to learn in a master/apprentice relationship. At 5th level, the master will put his apprentice through a test to see if he is competent with his skills in magic. Though not as harrowing as the Test of High Sorcery, the Wu Jen's test can still tax the soul and often offers insight into the Wu Jen's own self.

One option that a Wu Jen character can take in Dragonlance would be to replace the Elemental Mastery ability with the Moon Magic ability of the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class. By doing so, the Wu Jen may lose some of the elemental flavor, but he will gain definitive Dragonlance flavor instead. The elements are still a part of him.

Taboos should be looked at from a Dragonlance perspective as well, and are often reflective of the moons. Possible taboos include:

  • Can only wear the color of your moon (white, black, or red).
  • Cannot bathe when your moon is in Low Sanction.
  • Cannot eat meat when your moon is in High Sanction.
  • Cannot sit facing a certain direction when your moon is waxing or waning.

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