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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Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Free will, within the context of DL, is freedom to choose. It is not freedom from consequence, it is not freedom from Old Testament style judgment.

Freedom to choose, is Good. Its probably one of the most basic 'Goods' in existence. Takhisis doesnt want choice, she wants obedience and worship. The Priesthood of Istar had resorted to Thought Police, this was discussed several pages/days ago. They had, by all accounts become Evil, but were also trying to WIPE OUT Evil.

They were warned. They lost their powers. They kept going. Messages went unheeded. The true faithful were brought up, and as discussed to the very end here, the 'flood event' happens.

This should all make sense to, not AGREEABLE, but at least be understood from a certain theological world view.
And, importantly, if you are dead you don't have the freedom to choose. And the "warnings" were vague omens that never actually said anything and could have been interpreted in hundreds of different ways.
 

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Scribe

Legend
And, importantly, if you are dead you don't have the freedom to choose. And the "warnings" were vague omens that never actually said anything and could have been interpreted in hundreds of different ways.

Yes, hence the 'Divine Judgment' aka 'Flood Event' aka Cataclysm. This wasnt 'you screwed up once, we are dropping a mountain on you'. It was repeated, consistent, failure.

Heck, I bet if we went back and looked over the material, that the Kingpriest had 3 chances in at least one publication as a reference point.

Vague omens, is again right up the alley of how Gods operate.

When the Priesthood is losing power, that should be a pretty massive Red Flag.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Vague omens, is again right up the alley of how Gods operate.
Sounds like an abusive relationship. They make vague hints at something, refuse to say what it is, and then punish you for not guessing correctly.
When the Priesthood is losing power, that should be a pretty massive Red Flag.
Except in a fantasy world, where it can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways. I've seen similar plot hooks for tons of homebrew adventures. "The magic stopped working" is such a common trope that it has its own TV Tropes page with hundreds of listed examples. It's a red flag that something is wrong or different. Not necessarily "we sinned, the gods are punishing us, and we need to repent".
 

Scribe

Legend
Sounds like an abusive relationship. They make vague hints at something, refuse to say what it is, and then punish you for not guessing correctly.

Except in a fantasy world, where it can be interpreted in hundreds of different ways. I've seen similar plot hooks for tons of homebrew adventures. "The magic stopped working" is such a common trope that it has its own TV Tropes page with hundreds of listed examples. It's a red flag that something is wrong or different. Not necessarily "we sinned, the gods are punishing us, and we need to repent".

My man, we both left the religion, for reasons. ;)
 


darjr

I crit!
Cataclysm smataclysm. They withheld their power and perspective and overlordship away from Krynn for thousands of years (thousands, right?)!

How many innocent people who had nothing to do with the pre-cataclysm suffered that otherwise wouldn’t have?
 


Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Within the framework and context of the setting and the inspirations and reference material of the creators.

Yes, I can understand how they came to write it. :)
I understand it. I just don't support it's misuse of D&D's alignment system. Like I said earlier, I would have no problem with it if the setting said that "Good and Evil" were just labels made in world that don't actually mean what those words mean in D&D.
 

Scribe

Legend
I understand it. I just don't support it's misuse of D&D's alignment system. Like I said earlier, I would have no problem with it if the setting said that "Good and Evil" were just labels made in world that don't actually mean what those words mean in D&D.

OK, we are getting somewhere.

It was also discussed that the definitions of what "Good" would be as per the PHB, are not incompatible with the Gods of Dragonlance.
 

Eubani

Hero
A question that has not been answered that could make sense of the cataclysm is what rules and limitations are the gods working under? From memory the gods of DL since their creation had some pretty hefty restrictions placed on them with large unavoidable penalties. Takhisis being imprisoned in the Abyss after the First Dragon War is an example. If memory serves there was restrictions placed on them not just a whole but also as individuals and as groups (based on alignment). Could the poorly made omens and messages be the best that the good gods could manage due to the very nature of the gods and the rules that govern their existence and their divinity? This then shifts the blame to nature of the world and its overgod.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It's like complaining about a 2x4 length of lumber for being 3 inches too long, no matter how you try to fit it into the frame!
It's not Lowe's fault for not getting the length right! It's your job to cut it to fit that 2x4 length you purchased it to fit! Never talk about their gross incompetency again because some people like 2x4'3'' planks!
 

Eubani

Hero
Could it be that Raistlin not operating under the restrictions of the original gods was at such an advantage that this was what caused him to be able to defeat all the other gods and not raw power?
 

Scribe

Legend
Could it be that Raistlin not operating under the restrictions of the original gods was at such an advantage that this was what caused him to be able to defeat all the other gods and not raw power?

For sure that was part of it. I still remember how I felt when he admitted the truth to himself and turned back.
 

Eubani

Hero
I am now left wondering that mortals had to be gifted free will it did not come naturally when created, so with this in mind were the gods at creation by the overgod given free will or are they locked into behaviours forced by their nature, divinity and rules?
 

Scribe

Legend
I am now left wondering that mortals had to be gifted free will it did not come naturally when created, so with this in mind were the gods at creation by the overgod given free will or are they locked into behaviours forced by their nature, divinity and rules?

Good question, one of my favourite little shorts is the Pact Primeval, a snippet. :)

The deities were angry but also confused. “Why did my sweet halflings do this to me?” cried Yondalla, who had created them.

“I invented mountains and set my clever dwarves as their protectors!” thundered Moradin. “Why did they tunnel under them and into the demon crypts?”

The gods wailed and lamented until Asmodeus came to them with the answer. “Your mortals are taking these actions because you gave them minds of their own.”

“Of course we did!” said the deities. “Without free will, the choice to follow the law means nothing.”

“Indeed,” replied Asmodeus, crushing a small insect that had crawled out of his neatly trimmed red beard. “They are curious creatures, these mortals, and the demons have promised them freedom. Soon they will learn that the liberty dangled before them is that of absolute anarchy, and that in a demon realm, they are free only to be destroyed. But by then, it will be too late for them. You might create more worlds and more mortals to people them, but I promise you, the same folly will recur eternally.”

When the gods realized the truth of the dark angel’s words, they were downcast. They rent their garments and wailed in despair. “I have the solution that eludes you,” said Asmodeus, “one that will allow your precious mortals to retain the free will you have so beneficently given them. The problem is this,” he continued. “Your law is one of voluntary obedience. You command the mortals to abjure chaos, but what happens when they disobey you?”

The deities had no answer. “We are their creators,” moaned Yondalla. “Of course they should heed us.”

“Indeed they should,” replied Asmodeus, bowing gallantly to the fair Yondalla. “But they do not, because there can be no law without Punishment.”

“Punishment?” muttered the host of deities and godlings. “What is this Punishment of which you speak?”
 

pemerton

Legend
If Knowledge is considered neutral, than so is "preserving free will."

This seems a non-sequitur to me.

According to Gygax's PHB (p 33) and DMG (p 23), the following things are valued by Good:

[T]he tenets of good are human rights, or in the case of AD&D, creature rights. Each creature is entitled to life, relative freedom, and the prospect of happiness. Cruelty and suffering are undesirable.

[C]reatures of [chaotic good] alignment view freedom and the randomness of action as ultimate truths, they likewise place value on life and the welfare of each individual. Respect for individualism is also great.

To the chaotic good individual, freedom and independence are as important to life and happiness.

Creatures of [neutral good] alignment see the cosmos as a place where law and chaos are merely tools to use in bringing life, happiness, and prosperity to all deserving creatures.

[C]haracters of lawful good alignment follow these precepts [of law and order] to improve the common weal. Certain freedoms must, of course, be sacrificed in order to bring order; but truth is of highest value, and life and beauty of great importance. The benefits of this society are to be brought to all.

Creatures of lawful good alignment . . . are convinced that . . . good is best defined as whatever brings the most benefit to the greater number of decent, thinking creatures and the least woe to the rest.​

We can see that there is a range of viewpoints here, about the permissibility of social/interpersonal trade-offs in welfare (LG accepts these, CG doesn't), and also about how to rank the values. But there is unanimity that life, wellbeing and happiness are important. Truth is also important, especially to the LG. There is a notion of "decent" or "deserving" creatures having entitlements that others don't - this is where the scope exists in Good alignment for inflicting punishment, and/or for using violence in self-defence and defence of others.

Notice that knowledge is not mentioned here at all, but freedom is. Even the LG don't reject freedom as a value; they just rank it differently from the CG.

In the PHB (p 33) and DMG (pp 23-24) we are also told that Evil rejects these values:

Evil, on the other hand, does not concern itself with rights or happiness . . .

Laws and order, kindness, and good deeds are disdained [by the chaotic evil].

The chaotic evil creature holds that individual freedom and choice is important, and that other individuals and their freedoms are unimportant if they cannot be held by the individuals through their own strength and merit.

[Neutral evil] holds that . . . whatever means are expedient can be used by the powerful to gain and maintain their dominance, without concern for anything.

[L]ife, beauty, truth, freedom and the like are held as valueless, or at least scorned [by lawful evil creatures].​

The Evil reject other-regard as any constraint on their own conduct. Kindness and good deeds are disdained. Freedom of others is unimportant. They scorn beauty and truth, and lack concern for anything beyond themselves.

In the mythology of DL, it is the Neutral gods who bestowed free will on mortals (DL Adventures, p 8). But that does not mean it is not a good thing.

Taking away someone's agency to go and do what they want is removing their free will.
This is not the only treatment, and probably not the standard one. I don't think any of the mainstream theorists of punishment - Von Hirsch, Hampton, Duff, etc - take the view that physical detention of a person takes away their free will. Nor does US criminal law, which does not treat being imprisoned as sufficient evidence of a lack of voluntariness in conduct.

The existentialists, whose account of free will is quite different from the contemporary mainstream punishment theorists, also don't hold that physical detention removes free will.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a philosopher who has defended the view you set out in your post.

Either:
1) God exists and make the rules, in which case they get to say what "good" and "evil" are, and can do whatever they like to anyone who gives them the brush off; or

2) God does not exist. No one makes the rules, and no one defines an objective measure of "good " and "evil".

Either way, you are wrong.
Both your (1) and (2) are highly contentious.

Plato set out to refute your (1) in the Euthyphro. The only major philosopher I know who disagrees, and thinks that God has authority to define good and evil, is Hobbes.

As far as your (2) is concerned, the mainstream view in contemporary English-language philosophy is that value is objective, and that this has nothing to do with the question of whether or not God exists. There are significant proponents of the contrary view, but it turns out to face many technical challenges that are not trivial to deal with (eg if value is not objective, then it seems to follow that statements about what is good or bad are neither true nor false. But statements about what is good or bad can figure in sentences containing truth-conditional operators like or and and, and can figure in inferences and arguments that seem to be valid in just the same way as ordinary inferences and arguments, involving truth-valued statements, are).
 

pemerton

Legend
I think that's what has sat poorly with me about Dragonlance; it feels like such a small setting. They want you to be Knights of Solomnia, Wizards of High Sorcery, members of the Order of the Stars, etc to the point where there is little alternative besides that. I've never felt a setting so bound to its archetypes as strongly as Krynn, and I feel a little like "if you're not basing your character on one of the Heroes of the Lance, you're doing it wrong."
For me, this is the only thing that makes it interesting as a setting.

Similarly, in Dark Sun you need to be a gladiator, or a templar, or a Veiled Alliance member, or similar.

These settings are all about their tropes and core motifs. That's all they bring to the table!
 

pemerton

Legend
I should like Dragonlance. I like the Lord of the Rings well enough
You're aware that LotR has a cataclysm almost the same as DL's, aren't you?

From pp 1003-4 of my one-volume edition:

Then Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said: Et Earello Ednorenna utulien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!

And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the Sea on the wings of the wind: "Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth am I come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world."​

Aragorn's claim to the kingship rests entirely on his descent from Elendil, who - as one of the Faithful (pp 326, 332 of my copy of The Silmarillion; and p 1074 of LotR, in Appendix A) - was saved from drowning in the great wave sent to sink Numenor by a wind that blew his and his family's nine ships to Middle Earth.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
You're aware that LotR has a cataclysm almost the same as DL's, aren't you?

From pp 1003-4 of my one-volume edition:

Then Aragorn took the crown and held it up and said: Et Earello Ednorenna utulien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!
And those were the words that Elendil spoke when he came up out of the Sea on the wings of the wind: "Out of the Great Sea to Middle Earth am I come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world."​

Aragorn's claim to the kingship rests entirely on his descent from Elendil, who - as one of the Faithful (pp 326, 332 of my copy of The Silmarillion; and p 1074 of LotR, in Appendix A) - was saved from drowning in the great wave sent to sink Numenor by a wind that blew his and his family's nine ships to Middle Earth.
I'm aware. The Cataclysm isn't the only part of Dragonlance that doesn't work for me. And I do have some issues with Middle Earth, too.
 

As far as your (2) is concerned, the mainstream view in contemporary English-language philosophy is that value is objective, and that this has nothing to do with the question of whether or not God exists. There are significant proponents of the contrary view, but it turns out to face many technical challenges that are not trivial to deal with (eg if value is not objective, then it seems to follow that statements about what is good or bad are neither true nor false. But statements about what is good or bad can figure in sentences containing truth-conditional operators like or and and, and can figure in inferences and arguments that seem to be valid in just the same way as ordinary inferences and arguments, involving truth-valued statements, are).
Yes, people can make nonsensical statements. The toves were slithy AND 'twas brillig, or the Vorpal Sword went snicker snack. Simply interjecting logical operators with nonsense words does not produce meaningful logic! Such is the nature of discussions of 'good' and 'evil' in our real world. At best they can be statements about our PREFERENCES and VALUES, but these have no objective foundation (unless you deem their utilitarian value as such, which I'll give you, thanks Rawls!). I similarly deem statements and questions along the lines of "is there an objective reality?" in a similar vein. The fact that you can so assemble words and it is deemed syntactically correct English is not the same as stating that the question is validly constructed in any logical/epistemological sense.
 

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