New Video from Gamer's Tavern on the History of Dragonlance
  • New Video from Gamer's Tavern on the History of Dragonlance


    Dragonlance is one of the most popular settings for Dungeons & Dragons. And, like most things in tabletop gaming, there’s a lot of history behind the scenes that shaped the products over the years. Even very minor decisions made huge impacts as the line progressed, and we’re going to look at some of them!



    Video game footage is of Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara

    Art for "Soth on his Throne" and "Sturm" by Lady Loth https://www.facebook.com/lady.loth/

    Footage used from Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, used under Fair Use for review and education.

    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Jason Denton's Avatar
      Jason Denton -
      I found the comments on the layout of Bestiary of Kyrnn to be really interesting, so I went back and compared the two books. Two things jump out at me, and they are connected by how the two different pieces of software work.

      0) InDesign is perfectly happy drop a big picture in the middle of the page and flow text around it. If this is what you want to do, InDesign wants you to be happy. LaTeX (the "text book" software) doesn't like to do this. It has very specific ideas about what makes for good layout and will contort itself (and your documents) if you try to do something which it thinks is bad layout. It does not want you to shot yourself in the foot.

      Once you know to look for it, this really stands out in the two books. The first book confines all its art to be either in one column or to take up both. There are no pictures straddling the divide. No text flows around pictures. Text stops, you get art, then text resumes. In the second book art is splashed on the page in "dynamic" ways. It straddles the column divide taking up some of the space in the columns to either side, or it stretches beyond one column to take part of its neighbor. Text flows around it on one or both sides.

      1) The first book, the one done with the "text book software" turns stat blocks into literal blocks. The color shading is a bad choice and the column alignment is a little jarring to read. But they are clear, uncluttered, and don't make the DM work to read them. They show up at either the top or bottom of the page, but don't hang out in between. They don't span pages or columns. Maybe not the best, but they don't suck and are fully functional. Makes life easy at the table.

      2) In the second book, stat blocks are not literal blocks. They start at whatever point in the text the description ends. They span columns if that's what they need to do. And they get crowd out by the art. In several places a monster picture straddles the page divide, forcing an entry in the stat block to half a column of width, where it flows on to the next truncated line. When the stat block falls to the right of a picture, this means that the field headers are not justified against the right hand side of the column but instead form a ragged line as each one is pushed a different distance out of place by the art. This is terrible, awful design and makes them hard to use.

      Aesthetically, I guess you can take your pick. I think you could make an argument that the second book is prettier. But functionally, the first book is far far better.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jason Denton View Post
      Aesthetically, I guess you can take your pick. I think you could make an argument that the second book is prettier. But functionally, the first book is far far better.
      Yeah, I almost went down the rabbit hole explaining the difference between the three programs, but felt in the end that might be a bit too much inside-baseball, particularly for this video that's more supposed to be about fun trivia. In the end, I guess it depends on your tastes which layout you prefer. Personally, I think the Revised book allows more focus on the art and lore, which are more important to Dragonlance than the hard stats and it brings the layout into line with the then-standard of the industry. It depends on what you're looking to do with the product - create a good book or create a good reference. In most cases, publishers tend to lean toward the former.
    1. MNblockhead's Avatar
      MNblockhead -
      It is too bad the DL movies are not available on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Does anyone know if they are available on other streaming sites? Looks like the first movie, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is available on YouTube. The nice thing about that is that I have Youtube Premium, so I'm able to listen to it as an audio show, which is the better way to enjoy these. But the second movies isn't on Youtube and, in any event, the Youtube version is likely illegal, likely to disappear from Youtube, and is of lower quality than I would get on Amazon Prime, et al.
    1. Abstruse's Avatar
      Abstruse -
      Quote Originally Posted by MNblockhead View Post
      It is too bad the DL movies are not available on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Does anyone know if they are available on other streaming sites? Looks like the first movie, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is available on YouTube. The nice thing about that is that I have Youtube Premium, so I'm able to listen to it as an audio show, which is the better way to enjoy these. But the second movies isn't on Youtube and, in any event, the Youtube version is likely illegal, likely to disappear from Youtube, and is of lower quality than I would get on Amazon Prime, et al.
      As far as I'm aware, it's not on any streaming service legally. The company hasn't been that good about taking down pirated versions people have uploaded to YouTube. However, the DVD's pretty cheap, currently only about $5 on Amazon.
    1. Azzy's Avatar
      Azzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by MNblockhead View Post
      It is too bad the DL movies are not available on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Does anyone know if they are available on other streaming sites? Looks like the first movie, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is available on YouTube. The nice thing about that is that I have Youtube Premium, so I'm able to listen to it as an audio show, which is the better way to enjoy these. But the second movies isn't on Youtube and, in any event, the Youtube version is likely illegal, likely to disappear from Youtube, and is of lower quality than I would get on Amazon Prime, et al.
      There was only the one movie. They never finished the trilogy.
    1. Azzy's Avatar
      Azzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Abstruse View Post
      As far as I'm aware, it's not on any streaming service legally. The company hasn't been that good about taking down pirated versions people have uploaded to YouTube. However, the DVD's pretty cheap, currently only about $5 on Amazon.
      Sadly, given the poor animation, that's really all it's worth.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Its more like the "secret history". It doesn't cover the more obvious and I guess better known aspects of its creation, but it is interesting.
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