The Dragonlance Nexus

Printed From:
http://www.dlnexus.com/features/articles/12936.aspx

3 Million and Counting

by Trampas Whiteman


Dragonlance is unlike any of the other D&D worlds. Dragonlance from the beginning told an epic story with characters that we all have come to love and admire. Other worlds have had their stories (attempting as they have to follow in our footsteps) and many of them are fine stories in their own right ... but there is something about Dragonlance that DOES set it apart and calls to us. It asks something uncommon of us ... and, in turn, I guess we all ask something uncommon from it as well.
--Tracy Hickman
January 11, 2001

Paladin and I are very pleased to announce that the Nexus has hit the three million hit mark. I'll quote Paladin's announcement:

The hit counter has just clicked over the latest milestone in the Nexus' storied history: 3 million visitors. Yes, that's right, 3 million people have seen this news page in one form or another. I recall starting the Nexus as a little Dragonlance site called "The World of Krynn" many years ago (1997, I think!), which moved to Dragonlance.com in the fall of 1999. While running Dragonlance.com, I started working on another, smaller, project called the Dragonlance Nexus in 2001, shortly after WOTC made the announcement that it would cancel the Dragonlance line of AD&D products.

After several years apart, the two sites (the Nexus and Dragonlance.com) began sharing content and working together in 2003, and formally merged into the Nexus site that you know today in July 2004.

Throughout all of that, the counter has been keeping track of the various milestones, and I'm thrilled that it's finally broken this one. Many thanks go out to all of the people who have helped in the past--Sarah, Silveran, Ashe, Keith, Weldon, Josh, and Greg--and the volunteer staff currently working on the site, and to all the fans who have submitted and continue to submit material to the site. Special thanks to the members of the Whitestone Council (past and present), to Dragonhelm for his vision and work to make the Nexus a reality, and to Tracy Hickman for planting the seeds of that vision.

Here's to 4 million!

Paladin is being very kind to me here. I can't say for sure whether it was vision so much as just a lot of heart, love, and dedication.

Paladin and I are very much a team, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention his own efforts here as well. While some have called me the "heart of the Nexus", Paladin truly is the mind behind what we do. He makes us look good, and as professional as any site out there. Truly, he is a talented individual, and I am glad to call him friend.

It was December 2000/January 2001 when the seeds for what would become the Nexus would be planted. Jim Butler, then of Wizards of the Coast (and before there was a Bastion Press!), had announced that WotC would not continue with a Dragonlance gaming line, and that a fan site would be chosen to continue with online support for the setting. This was a tradition that other settings had seen as well, such as the now-defunct Kargatane for Ravenloft and Beyond the Moons for Spelljammer (amongst others).

In fact, it was the Seekers Council from Spelljammer that gave me the inspiration for the Whitestone Council. I proposed the idea on the Dragonlance-L mailing list, which was met with mixed responses. It was said by some that it had been tried before and failed.

Truth be told, I didn't know what I was doing, but I didn't let that stop me. Long story short, the call went forth, and the initial members of the Whitestone Council came together, in order to continue the life of Dragonlance gaming. Amongst those recruits was Paladin, who got us the domain name of dlnexus.com.

At the same time, Tracy Hickman heard the outcry and proposed his initial outline for the Dragonlance Nexus.

Greetings, Friends;

Here is my preliminary level/branching structure for the Nexus site. The presentation here is by level of click from the main site - I am trying to avoid having more than three clicks to arrive at the information/destination the user is trying to reach. The number designators in front of each entry, therefore, represent an arbitrary assignment of level-clicks down from the main site. Thus, 2.0.0 would represent the second option to select on the first page; 2.3.0 would represent the third option to select on the second page. This should give you an idea of the kinds of content we will be providing across the board in support of games as well as the general structure to the proposed site.

(1.0.0) ADVENTURE PORTAL (GAME MODULES & ONLINE GAMES)
(1.1.0) Select Module for Download by Popularity
(1.2.0) Select Module for Download by Location in Krynn
(1.3.0) Select Module for Download by Time Period of Adventure
(1.4.0) Submit (Upload) Module for Consideration
(1.5.0) Contact Module Selection Council
(1.6.0) Online Chat Games (Introduction & Rules)
(1.7.0) Online Chat Games Selection
(1.8.0) Online Adventure Games (Future Expansion)
(1.9.0) Conventions & Gaming Events

(2.0.0) DRAGONLANCE GAMING RESOURCES
(2.1.0) Dragonlance 3E Rules Sourcebook (pdf)
(2.2.0) Reference: Comprehensive Atlas of Krynn
(2.3.0) Reference: Encyclopaedia of Astinus (Full Krynn Encyclopaedia)
(2.4.0) Reference: Beastiary of Ansalon (3E Monster Manual)
(2.5.0) Reference: Pantheon of Celestia (Gods & Religions of Krynn)
(2.6.0) Reference: Tome of High Sorcery (Orders of Wizardry)
(2.7.0) Reference: Races and Nations
(2.7.1) Races: Elves, Gnomes, Kenders, Minotaurs, Dwarves, Ogres
(2.7.2) Nations: Solamnia, Silvanesti, Qualinesti, Sanction, Whitestone
(2.8.0) River of Time: Heroes of Legend (NPC Character Stats)
(2.9.0) River of Time: Oath & the Measure (Solamnic PCs)
(2.10.0) River of Time: Vision, Blood Oath & Code (Knights of Takhisis PCs)
(2.11.0) River of Time: (New Organizations as needed)

(3.0.0) OTHER RESOURCES
(3.1.0) Wizards of the Coast Pages
(3.2.0) Whitestone Council Information Page (see below)
(3.3.0) Webmaster Contact Page
(3.4.0) Dragonlance Gaming Online Newsletter

If you feel I have missed any important categories or subcategories in the above list, please let me know so that we can include them in the hierarchal structure.

The Whitestone Council would be reformed from among its currently existing members and the various webmasters who wish to take on the design and maintenance of various parts of the site as well as others with more general abilities to offer. We would expect certain members to take on specific tasks of compilation, updating and maintenance. For example, someone would need to be in charge of the Encyclopaedia ... which would not only reflect the known state of Krynn but also would be updated by new material as it became accepted as official. Others will find themselves reading submitted modules for consideration of inclusion on the site. Margaret and I would direct this process. Still others will be hammering out rules revisions on the Core Dragonlance Book as needed. A page of background information on all members of the Whitestone Council and links to contact them will be accessible from the first page.

Many of these resources already exist in some form, scattered across many of your own sites. We'll work with each of you concerning the integration of these online resources ... with full credit given where credit is due. Additionally, a standardized interface, suite of graphics and agreed design templates will insure that the site as a whole both appears and performs seamlessly.

I look forward to your response as I move toward designing a really kicking control interface.

Tracy Hickman

As you can see, the Nexus has changed a lot since those days, although that initial inspiration remains. I feel that our ability to adapt is much of what has kept us alive.

It didn't take a tinker gnome to figure out that Tracy's Nexus project and my Whitestone Council idea were meant for each other. Soon, the two would merge, and the Dragonlance Nexus was born.

As time went on, the site grew and we began work on our fan-based rules system: Dragonlance Adventures 3rd Edition, or DLA3e for short. It took us some time to figure out a system that would work well for us, yet we finally got into the groove. Progress was being made.

Little did we know that events would take place that would change the face of the Nexus forever. In April 2002, I was contacted by Margaret Weis. She asked for my telephone# and said she had some great news. I knew what it was before she even said it. In fact, I suspected that if it were to happen, they would be the ones.

Sovereign Press got the license for Dragonlance gaming.

While it meant the end of our fan-based effort, it was the birth, and rebirth, of something truly special. I have to say, my fondest memory of Margaret Weis was not only of being nice enough to tell me the news in person, but to also invite the Whitestone Council to be a part of Dragonlance gaming. It was all that we had worked for, the continued life of Dragonlance gaming, and it was alive!

Our efforts, I'm proud to say, helped to shape the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. You will note many names from the Whitestone Council within the credit pages of Sovereign Press' Dragonlance books, and some upon the covers.

Amongst those names are Cam Banks and André La Roche, both of whom are talented game designers. These are the guys who taught me 3rd edition. They are also the guys who brought you the Bestiary of Krynn, and they have both worked on other Dragonlance books as well.

I should also mention Sean Macdonald, who many of you know as the irrepressible Kipper Snifferdoo. Sean is not only the guy behind Kencyclopedia.com, he's also a talented game designer. What he is becoming best known for, though, is his cartography. Those of you who hold Tasslehoff's Map Pouch: Age of Mortals can attest to this first hand. Sean is the creator of the first large poster map since Tales of the Lance, and he blows the old one away.

I suppose that I should mention my own small cover credit as well. I took a decidedly different turn and entered the world of Dragonlance comic books. DBPro had the license at the time to adapt The Legend of Huma to comic book format. I served as advisor for the first two issues, then as adaptation writer alongside Sean J. Jordan for issues 3-5. Soon, Devil's Due publishing will release the trade paperback, which includes issue #6.

For me, working on the comic was a dream come true. It was comic books, it was Richard Knaak, it was Dragonlance, and it was The Legend of Huma – perhaps my favorite Dragonlance novel. I am proud to have worked on such a project.

Here we are, in April 2005, and much has changed. The site has changed considerably, yet is as vibrant as ever. It is a site filled with a huge product listing, fan art, fan gaming rules, reference, and much more. Our guiding principle of "by the fans, for the fans" remains constant. We continue in our pledge of support to Dragonlance fans, by not only showcasing the latest in officialdom, but also in presenting options beyond what officialdom can offer.

I would like to offer my congratulations to all of you who have supported the Nexus, and who refused to let Dragonlance die. I cannot thank everyone enough for all they have done.

And so here we sit, 3 million strong – and counting.

Long Live the Lance!

Trampas Whiteman
"Dragonhelm"

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