Dragonlance Dragonlance Adventure & Prelude Details Revealed

Over on DND Beyond Amy Dallen and Eugenio Vargas discuss the beginning of Shadow of ther Dragon Queen and provide some advice on running it.

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This epic war story begins with an invitation to a friend's funeral and three optional prelude encounters that guide you into the world of Krynn. Amy Dallen is joined by Eugenio Vargas to share some details about how these opening preludes work and some advice on using them in your own D&D games.


There is also information on the three short 'prelude' adventures which introduce players to the world of Krynn:
  • Eye in the Sky -- ideal for sorcerers, warlocks, wizards, or others seeking to become members of the Mages of High Sorcery.
  • Broken Silence -- ideal for clerics, druids, paladins, and other characters with god-given powers.
  • Scales of War -- ideal for any character and reveals the mysterious draconians.
The article discusses Session Zero for the campaign and outlines what to expect in a Dragonlance game -- war, death, refugees, and so on.

 
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Teemu

Hero
The new adventure does kind of give a reason why the gods of good accepted or tolerated the Cataclysm. Apparently the good gods in Dragonlance are not focused on defeating and destroying evil. Instead their main goal is to preserve the free will of mortals. The evil gods want to rule over mortality, while the neutral gods aren’t heavily invested in mortal affairs (to the same extent).

Looking at it from this POV, you could argue that the gods of good didn’t violate their moral core. They gave warnings to instrumental mortal beings who ultimately ignored the gods’ warnings. Thus, the mortals retained their free will to do as they pleased, even though they knew that the end result could be catastrophic. It’s a bit like being a DM and giving the players safe or risky options!
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
The new adventure does kind of give a reason why the gods of good accepted or tolerated the Cataclysm. Apparently the good gods in Dragonlance are not focused on defeating and destroying evil. Instead their main goal is to preserve the free will of mortals. The evil gods want to rule over mortality, while the neutral gods aren’t heavily invested in mortal affairs (to the same extent).

Looking at it from this POV, you could argue that the gods of good didn’t violate their moral core. They gave warnings to instrumental mortal beings who ultimately ignored the gods’ warnings. Thus, the mortals retained their free will to do as they pleased, even though they knew that the end result could be catastrophic. It’s a bit like being a DM and giving the players safe or risky options!
Adventurers aren't innocent bystanders, many of whom were killed or otherwise harmed by the Cataclysm.

The Krynn gods gave extremely vague warnings not to instrumental mortal beings but randomly around the world. There was no explanation as to what those warnings were. In the biblical Moses story, Moses basically said "if you don't let my people go, then God'll send a disaster," then a disaster was sent. On Krynn... there was nothing. Bleeding trees in one place that had nothing to do with the kingpriest. Crazed animals in another place that had nothing to do with the kingpriest. Terrible fog in a third place that had nothing to do with the kingpriest. Logically, considering communication, the kingpriest wouldn't even be aware of most of these warnings.

On a personal note, I'd say that "preserving the free will of mortals" is Neutral, not Good.
 

Scribe

Legend
To move by this, I think the cause of the Cataclysm can be retconned and reworked so it is somewhat more palatable without too much work.

I'm actually quite surprised they didnt change it. I bet if people keep it up, they will drop a fat errata on it.
The new adventure does kind of give a reason why the gods of good accepted or tolerated the Cataclysm. Apparently the good gods in Dragonlance are not focused on defeating and destroying evil. Instead their main goal is to preserve the free will of mortals. The evil gods want to rule over mortality, while the neutral gods aren’t heavily invested in mortal affairs (to the same extent).

Looking at it from this POV, you could argue that the gods of good didn’t violate their moral core. They gave warnings to instrumental mortal beings who ultimately ignored the gods’ warnings. Thus, the mortals retained their free will to do as they pleased, even though they knew that the end result could be catastrophic. It’s a bit like being a DM and giving the players safe or risky options!

This has many of the same points I was taught as a child, so still I'm surprised they kept this, but its perfectly in line with the setting's history.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
Was that how they finally dealt with it? Was it really so hard to just not explain the cataclysm or to have just had Team Evil go offsides and do it independantly?
 

Eubani

Hero
My main problem with the DL Gods is with Paladine. He seemed to be solely focused on maintaining balance and free will, not promoting and doing good. While Takhisis was focused on doing and championing evil, meanwhile Paladine was more actively being and promoting Neutrality than even the neutral gods were. With Takhisis being actively evil an actively good Paladine would of still resulted in balance. As for Paladine poor warnings to mortals, could that of been caused by Paladines obsession with balance causing a self limitation in the way he tried to warn?
 

pemerton

Legend
I do wonder if any OTHER creator gets a pass based on their religion? Taking the flood story as just a story (not a holy scripture) makes that author look bad too.
As I keep pointing out in these threads, the Flood is central to JRRT's work - the Downfall of Numenor. Aragorn's claim to rightful kingship is based entirely on being a direct descendant of the leader of the righteous survivors of that cataclysm.
 

Scribe

Legend
As for Paladine poor warnings to mortals, could that of been caused by Paladines obsession with balance causing a self limitation in the way he tried to warn?

Certainly part of it, but I'd look into 'free will' within the context that has been on discussion here.
 

pemerton

Legend
I'm actually quite surprised they didnt change it. I bet if people keep it up, they will drop a fat errata on it.
Is there anyone other than a few posters on ENworld and similar sites who equates a tale of divine retribution against mortal hubris to a tale about genocide?

I haven't been following the reviews, but I'd expect the more common response to be similar to what @Velderan described upthread: people make sense of the motif and adapt their expectations of the setting accordingly.
 


Scribe

Legend
Is there anyone other than a few posters on ENworld and similar sites who equate a tale of divine retribution against mortal hubris to a tale about genocide?

I only look at this site for news and discussion on the hobby, but nothing can surprise me these days.
 

Eubani

Hero
With the themes that DL has at it's core something pertinent that DL pushes that is poignant to the discussion is that evil is inherently self destructive and good left unchecked becomes evil.
 

pemerton

Legend
With the themes that DL has at it's core something pertinent that DL pushes that is poignant to the discussion is that evil is inherently self destructive and good left unchecked becomes evil.
I would qualify your last clause: the mortal pursuit of good, left unchecked, will tend to become evil.

There's an interesting contrast here with LotR, which rests on the similar but not identical idea that the mortal pursuit of good risks becoming evil because it invites hubris to take the place of faith in providence.

Maybe this tells us something about the different theological visions of the authors?

As far as I can tell, Eru Ilúvatar is not statted out to be Lawful Good for a system that has rules about what that entails and what happens if you act against that alignment.

<snip>

This thread is on Dragonlance, not LotR.
Eru Iluvatar is God, as portrayed by JRRT in his imagined mythology. He doesn't need to be statted out for the reader to know that he is a being unlimited in power, knowledge and goodness.

And talking about LotR is entirely on point for a discussion of the incorporation of these sorts of tropes and elements into fantasy works, given that it's the most famous and most sophisticated example of doing so.
 

Eubani

Hero
One could say that Paladine had only 2 other choices. Turn the Knights of Solamnia against the Istar or allow Takhisis to do so. Both unpalatable.
 

Scribe

Legend
One could say that Paladine had only 2 other choices. Turn the Knights of Solamnia against the Istar or allow Takhisis to do so. Both unpalatable.

I believe the Knights had lost sight on what was good, and righteous as well.

Letting Takhisis rule, isnt a better option if the goal is to allow free will.
 

pemerton

Legend
One could say that Paladine had only 2 other choices. Turn the Knights of Solamnia against the Istar or allow Takhisis to do so. Both unpalatable.
I believe the Knights had lost sight on what was good, and righteous as well.

Letting Takhisis rule, isnt a better option if the goal is to allow free will.
The Knights are another illustration of the notion that the mortal pursuit of good, left unchecked, will tend to become evil. They had not fallen as far as the Kingpriest, but they had fallen.

Unlike the Kingpriest, they were redeemable. As Sturm showed.
 


Eubani

Hero
Another thing to consider is that D&D throughout all it's settings throws around cataclysmic events all too often and often as a first resort.
 

Eubani

Hero
The Knights are another illustration of the notion that the mortal pursuit of good, left unchecked, will tend to become evil. They had not fallen as far as the Kingpriest, but they had fallen.

Unlike the Kingpriest, they were redeemable. As Sturm showed.
I think the Solamnic Knights were an example of Law out of control. So codified and rigid in what they could do and how to do it, their ability to do good... or anything was hindered.
 

pemerton

Legend
Even Sturm had a bit of an arc going on. I need to dig those books out.
I haven't read them since the late 80s (ie not long after they came out). I suspect that, as literature, they hold up better in my memory than they would if I went back to them!

But my recollection is that Sturm does have an arc, from pride to redemption. He's the Knights in miniature.

To tie this back a bit to the discussion about alignment: a key focus of DL (as also in JRRT) is the relationship between human intention or striving to do good, and what actually results from that. This has always been something of a point of ambiguity in the D&D alignment system: does (say) LG on a PC sheet mean that's what I am or that's what I aspire to? DL focuses on the latter, and argues that mortals can't do it on their own. Hence why, without absurdity, it can present the Kingpriest as someone who aims at good (and in that sense is a "good man") but achieves evil.

I had to vote in our state election on Saturday, and our local polling place is a church hall. While waiting in line I was reading a plaque, in memory of a former vicar of the church, which has the epitaph "By their fruits ye shall know them." In DL, the fruits by which someone shall be known isn't dependent just on what they intend, nor what opportunities they get, but by the degree to which they recognise the need to submit to the divine - a type of humility before providence - if good is to truly be achieved.

And as per my previous posts, I think it's quite possible to observe this aspect of DL, recognise it as a core element of the work, even to enjoy it as a core element of the work, without believing it to be a true proposition about the real world.
 

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