Dragons of a Legend Reborn
When one thinks of the world of Krynn and the Dragonlance setting, one thinks of the works of Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and their Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends series. The mind instantly conjures visions of the heroic Knights of Solamnia, the dark Knights of Neraka, dragonarmies, Wizards of High Sorcery, irrepressible kender, tinker gnomes, and a befuddled old mage who is looking for his hat. I think his name was Foozball, or perhaps it was Fizban.
Yet it wouldn't be Krynn without dragons battling in the sky, and the trademark symbol of hope for all the good peoples of Ansalon - the mighty dragonlance.
Now fans of the Dragonlance saga can live out their own adventures in the world of Krynn with the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, written by Margaret Weis, Don Perrin, Jamie Chambers, and Christopher Coyle of Sovereign Press. The Dragonlance Campaign Setting is the first product in the new Dragonlance gaming line. Wizards of the Coast produced the initial sourcebook, while subsequent sourcebooks will be produced by Sovereign Press.
Dragonlance fans have certainly waited a long while for such a sourcebook. In January 2001, Wizards of the Coast announced that they would no longer produce a Dragonlance gaming line. One group of fans, the Whitestone Council, came together to help keep Dragonlance gaming alive. In their efforts, they created the official fan site, the Dragonlance Nexus, a site "by the fans, for the fans."
With the release of the Dragonlance Campaign Setting and the conclusion of the War of Souls series, Dragonlance is riper than ever for adventure. For the first time in Krynn's history, all four types of magic co-exist. The power of clerical faith will come into conflict with the mystic Power of the Heart. The Wizards of High Sorcery are reforming, yet will the sorcerers of the Age of Mortals find themselves branded as renegades? Three of the dragon overlords have fallen, yet other overlords remain, each vying for power. The minotaurs of the Blood Sea are ruled by a new emperor, and they control the ancient elven nation of Silvanesti.
Yet the rebirth of Dragonlance gaming doesn't end with the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. Sovereign Press released the Age of Mortals campaign companion right after the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, setting the stage for the current era of play following the War of Souls.
So how did Dragonlance fans react to the new Dragonlance d20 gaming products?
As with any game product (especially one of the magnitude of Dragonlance), reactions were mixed. Certainly, there was some disappointment at the lack of an index as well as a map of Ansalon in both products. There were some criticisms on the art and geography chapter in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting as well.
Yet at the same time, there has been much excitement at the return of Dragonlance gaming, and many questions have arisen as well. For example, do wizards have to specialize to take the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class? Age of Mortals answers this by saying that wizards can be "generalist wizards" who don't specialize but also don't receive the benefits of enhanced specialization from the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class The mystic, noble, and mariner base classes have had some discussion as well, especially in regards to how Dragonlance is viewed. Mystics are to clerics what sorcerers are to wizards. One thing we discovered is that their access to a single domain helps to shape the character.
Several of the new prestige classes have had discussion, but the one that seems to stand out of late is the War Mage from Age of Mortals. Several fans have said that they prefer the Dragonlance version to the Forgotten Realms version in Magic of Faerun.
Perhaps the most interesting point of discussion has been the Knights of Solamnia. The Sword and Rose Knight prestige classes require the ability to cast 1st-level divine spells, requiring Sword and Rose Knights to have at least one level of cleric or mystic. Add to that the divine spellcasting ability of the Rose Knights, and many discussions ensued.
Have Knights of Solamnia become a clerical organization now, rather than a group of militant paladins? Is there a reason to continue as a Sword Knight now that Rose Knights have divine spellcasting abilities? Certainly, how we view the Knights of Solamnia has been challenged, and we have a greater understanding of the organization as we delve into it.
So yes, there are some criticisms, but fans are glad that Dragonlance gaming is back. A new era is dawning, and now fans can play Knights of Solamnia, Wizards of High Sorcery, Dragon Riders, and all the other character options that makes Dragonlance one of the best gaming worlds ever.
Long Live the Lance!
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