WotC Dragonlance: Everything You Need For Shadow of the Dragon Queen

WotC has shared a video explaining the Dragonlance setting, and what to expect when it is released in December.

World at War: Introduces war as a genre of play to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Dragonlance: Introduces the Dragonlance setting with a focus on the War of the Lance and an overview of what players and DMs need to run adventures during this world spanning conflict.

Heroes of War: Provides character creation rules highlighting core elements of the Dragonlance setting, including the kender race and new backgrounds for the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery magic-users. Also introduces the Lunar Sorcery sorcerer subclass with new spells that bind your character to Krynn's three mystical moons and imbues you with lunar magic.

Villains: Pits heroes against the infamous death knight Lord Soth and his army of draconians.

Notes --
  • 224 page hardcover adventure
  • D&D's setting for war
  • Set in eastern Solamnia
  • War is represented by context -- it's not goblins attacking the village, but evil forces; refugees, rumours
  • You can play anything from D&D - clerics included, although many classic D&D elements have been forgotten
  • Introductory scenarios bring you up to speed on the world so no prior research needed
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Not directly he didn't. His spells cast saved the party a few times, but he didn't directly attack the evil.
Oh this I believe it’s part of the Balance thing, he can provide equal to or lesser aid than Takhisis is as he is her equal. If he does any big moves it give’s Takhisis the right to make bigger moves and vice versa.

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1) I wonder if we've seen all the subclasses that will be in the book. It seems like the only subclass is going to be the lunar sorcerer, with the different colored robes being handled through Feats.
I always hope (but often to disappointment) for surprise feats and subclasses but I wont hold my breath... I was thanking morelike the school spec sub classes getting called out like "Black is the necromancer red is the evoker"
2) I like the idea, but that goes against Crawford saying they didn't want to tie anything directly to a setting mechanic since then you'd need 3 moons on other settings to bring this concept over.
yeah... the less they tie to the setting better they think it will sell.
3) Something like that could work, becoming more of an ideology thing that might not be distinctly Good or Evil in nature.
it might end up being only fluff


does your DM often have vampires and wights that are NOT attacking you or others? If so what are they doing?
They might be hanging out in their coffins. In which case, under standard norms of self-defence, they are not liable to the imposition of defensive violence, as the requirement of necessity is not satisfied.

This is why I say that a significant amount of violence, in typical D&D, is retributive rather than defensive. (Unless one uses implausibly broad notions of pre-emptive self-defence. Which still involves departures, in imagination, from widespread moral convictions.)


Obviously, my preference would be to do away with alignment in the first place. If not, minimize the mechanical/narrative impact of alignment on the game.


Best way to get the duelling example to end up breaking the group? Have the GM change the player’s alignment to LN while NPCs (including gods) engage in sketchy behaviour and maintain their Good alignment.
Agreed. Here's a thread I started on this topic, some time ago now: Why I don't like alignment in fantasy RPGs

The issue in DL is that it presents itself as a Good vs Evil setting, but the novels keep on bringing up and trying to justify Non-Good actions by the Good gods.
Here is where we part ways, for two reasons.

First, many works of fiction present, as good, things that in real life would not be good, at least in the judgement of many audience members. Most often, this relates to the use of violence. It can also relate to the use of resources (eg Bruce Wayne could do far more good in the world by spending his wealth on public housing rather than fighting the Joker). But most audience members don't, for that reason, reject the works. Rather, they suspend certain parts of their moral judgement when engaging with the works, and suppose other things to be true (eg they suppose duelling to be morally permissible, as per the example I gave upthread).

I don't think DL stands out in this respect.

Second, and following on, in the fiction the Cataclysm is not a non-good action. Rather, it's a type of legitimate punishment. Ignoring this is a type of misinterpretation of the book: it's like complaining about FTL travel in Star Wars or Star Trek. Entertaining the fictional proposition, even though it departs from what one believes to be true in the real world, is part of what it means to engage with the work at all.

If you're not prepared to do that, that's your prerogative. But it would obviously be unfair to attack authors, or fans, of Star Wars or Star Trek for being ignorant of basic physics. They're just pretending that FTL is possible, in their imaginary stories. Likewise it is obviously unfair to attack authors, or fans, of DL for thinking that genocide is permissible. They're pretending, in their imaginary stories, that collective punishment by way of divine retribution is a permissible thing. (And @mamba has made several posts explaining the real-world cultural traditions that underpin this particular feat of imagination.)

Someone might think that space opera is, in a way, harmful, because it weakens audience's grasp of physical truth. Maybe that's true: and it would make Star Wars and Star Trek in some sense dangerous, but it still wouldn't show that those who enjoy them or engage with them are doing anything wrong. Likewise, someone might think that romantic fantasy, that invites its audience to suspend certain moral convictions for the purposes of engaging with the fantasy, is dangerous because of how it weakens moral sensibility. That still wouldn't show that those who enjoy or engage with those fantasies are advocating moral absurdities such as that genocide is morally permissible.

Someone upthread made an interesting comparison to Numenor in LotR.
That was me. I keep making it, because it is so obvious, and yet no one carries on about Adventures in Middle Earth or The One Ring in the same way they are carrying on about DL.

I think it is an interesting comparison, because my exposure to both settings is roughly equivalent.

I read LotR as a teen, and a second time as an adult. I only read the Dragonlance novels once, but I also read some of the short story collections. Both are settings where the principal dichotomy is a struggle between Good and Evil.

My recollection of Numenor is that Aragorn was a descendant of the Numenorean kings. Wasn’t aware Eru destroyed the continent or why.

Dragonlance? Destruction of Ishtar is pretty major, as is the fact that the Good gods have turned their backs on mortals. Paladine appears and justifies his actions. He claims that the Kingpriest was a good man despite much sketchiness on his part.

The result is that the sketchiness of the Good Gods is much harder to gloss over in Dragonlance than in LotR.
They are only "sketchy" if one rejects the permissibility of collective punishment by way of divine retribution. Of course the morality of the French Revolution does this - that was part of its whole point. But Dragonlance does not embrace the morality of the French Revolution. It doesn't reject clerical obscurantism. It embraces it!

I mean, one of the key events in the stories is the discovery of discs bearing esoteric knowledge, left by the gods as a sign to humanity. A fictional world in which that is treated, not cynically as an REH Conan story might, but sincerely and with celebration, is not one where it then makes sense to apply modern norms and a human rights framework to this one event. Once you apply the human rights framework, the whole thing - clerical obscurantism, knightly orders committed to "My Honour is My Life" - all collapse in a screaming heap.

Accepting all that stuff which only makes the slightest bit of sense if one pretends that the French Revolution never happened, but then suddenly bringing the human rights framework to bear on this one particular bit of the story, just strikes me as a wild misinterpretation and profoundly incoherent.
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If the setting is so fragile that not looking at it through a moral framework that was antiquated even at the time the setting was initially created causes its internal logic to break down, then frankly I think it needs to be redesigned in order to simply be more resilient to scrutiny.
I've read many posts on these boards lauding the One Ring RPG, Adventures in Middle Earth, etc. Which deploys exactly the same moral framework as underlies DL.

The framework is not exhaustive of fantasy literature, but it's a very big received part of it. Even a much more modernist author like Ursula Le Guin buys into it in her Earthsea books, with the recovery of the Ring of Erreth Akbe and the tale of Arren coming into his kingship.


The moral of your telling is “Don’t be arrogant and complacent”.
This is the point of the whole Cataclysm story. It's a story about the sin of pride, divine retribution for that sin, and repentance through suffering.

It is presented in a collective rather than individualistic framework because, within an individualistic framework, the whole thing doesn't even get of the ground - the whole moral framing involves pre-modern, and hence pre-individualistic, values (pride, humility, repentance, etc).

Because DL is not a profound work of literature - it's closer to a pulp - it's treatment of its themes is far from perfect. It struggles to explain how its idea of balance fits into its idea of divine providence. (JRRT doesn't use the concept of balance in his work. Ursula Le Guin does use it in hers. It's not as if the DL authors, or Gygax, just plucked this from thin air.) But we can tentatively sketch a reconstruction: good convictions can (somewhat paradoxically) undercut good action, because they can lead to self-righteousness and a lack of imagination about the full scope of human possibility. The existence in the world of genuine evil, that causes the good to struggle and also to focus on suffering outside of them rather than their own inner state of self-satisfaction, is necessary to avoid this potentially unhappy consequence of triumphalist good.

In offering that reconstruction, I'm not committing myself to its truth. But I think it's at least prima facie coherent, and has obvious connections to real world experiences and beliefs. (Eg some people think the US lost its way when the Cold War ended; or even when the Second World War ended. This is a theme from time to time in Captain America stories, for instance. You don't have to agree with them to understand their reasoning.)

When I use to teach philosophy of Buddhism, I would have many students who rejected the account of a happy life found in some of the Buddhist scriptures (which emphasise the endurance of an unperturbed mental state, largely independent of outside stimulus) because they thought that true happiness isn't possible without the contrasting experience of pain, suffering, loss etc (ie the perturbance of one's mental state by outside stimuli). Those students might be right, they might be wrong, but we can obviously recognise that they're not weirdos - there is endless popular drama and self-help writing that agrees with them! This is an obvious way of making sense of the notion that balance is necessary even though not everything that is in the scales is a good thing: familiarity with the bad is necessary to bring the truth of the good into focus, and without it our understanding is blunted or distorted, just as happened to the Kingpriest.


Justice is putting a thief behind bars. That the thief was stealing to feed his family doesn't play into it. Jailing him would be a just act, but not a good one.
In the moral framework that DL is evoking, this sort of case is complicated. For instance, Thomas Aquinas says that if someone steals out of necessity driven by privation, and if the victim of the theft had more than they needed, then the "theft" is not, strictly speaking, theft at all.

That doesn't preclude the possibility of the law nevertheless operating impartially - eg we might treat this person as if they were a thief, even though they're not, in order to preserve the impartial authority of law and not to invite every accused person to engage in special pleading. But it might also be an occasion for the exercise of mercy - ie suspending the strict operation of the law precisely because it would be wrong to impose it on the "thief" who is not truly a thief.

Towards the end of Return of the King Aragorn solves the problem of how to punish Beregond in a somewhat similar way, threading the needle between impartial and hence cruel justice, and mercy, by making him a guard of the Prince of Ithilien.

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