Dragonlance DRAGONLANCE LIVES! Unearthed Arcana Explores Heroes of Krynn!

The latest Unearthed Arcana has arrived and the 6-page document contains rules for kender, lunar magic, Knights of Solamnia, and Mages of High Sorcery.

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In today’s Unearthed Arcana, we explore character options from the Dragonlance setting. This playtest document presents the kender race, the Lunar Magic sorcerer subclass, the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery backgrounds, and a collection of new feats, all for use in Dungeons & Dragons.


Kender have a (surprisingly magical) ability to pull things out of a bag, and a supernatural taunt feature. This magical ability appears to replace the older 'kleptomania' description -- "Unknown to most mortals, a magical phenomenon surrounds a kender. Spurred by their curiosity and love for trinkets, curios, and keepsakes, a kender’s pouches or pockets will be magically filled with these objects. No one knows where these objects come from, not even the kender. This has led many kender to be mislabeled as thieves when they fish these items out of their pockets."

Lunar Magic is a sorcerer subclass which draws power from the moon(s); there are notes for using it in Eberron.

Also included are feats such as Adepts of the Black, White, and Red Robes, and Knights of the Sword, Rose, and Crown.

 
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When I read about gully dwarfs, what I read is how they're incredibly stupid, ugly, smelly, and inept, can't count beyond one or maybe two, and think dead rats and rotten fruit are holy.

This does not invoke feelings of surviving in the face of insurmountable odds, or overcoming discrimination. It invokes feelings of a joke race of the type found on bad Saturday Morning Cartoons of the 80s.

If WotC wants to make the gully dwarfs into representations of survivorship, awesome! But they are most definitely not that now.
Yeah, this.

It's really hard to take gully dwarves as written in the W&H books and look at them at an angle and squint and find a way to interpret them in some way that makes them anything other than a fairly nasty stereotype. If you're trying to update them, then you're going to have to retcon hard. They're deliberately written as stupid and filthy comic relief at every turn.
 

Maybe it is the little hipster touch in me but I like the Cinderella or little ugly duckling of the PC races, for example the gnomes, or the blue. (psionic gobling subrace, years before baby Yoda).

Some cliché could be funny in the past but now they have become too annoying for the current standar.

Tirion Lannister is a good example of how a "gnome" character can be charismatic and cool, even with serious flaws.

Gullys aren't very smart but they have survived lots of predators and enemies.
 

Maybe it is the little hipster touch in me but I like the Cinderella or little ugly duckling of the PC races, for example the gnomes, or the blue. (psionic gobling subrace, years before baby Yoda).

Some cliché could be funny in the past but now they have become too annoying for the current standar.

Tirion Lannister is a good example of how a "gnome" character can be charismatic and cool, even with serious flaws.

Gullys aren't very smart but they have survived lots of predators and enemies.
That’s likely because most of us have felt at some point that we were the ugly duckling: unattractive, unable to fit in, untalented, poor, etc. Gully dwarves should inspire the same compassion that Raistlin showed to Bupu in us, instead of wishing they had never existed.

That came out heavier than I anticipated. Suffice it to say that even after 31 years, I’m still finding some moral lessons in DL, despite the level of sophistication (or lack thereof) with which they were written.

Would like to be clear that I am not judging anyone with the above. The lesson is intended for me to learn, not me to teach to others. Heaven knows I’m a judgmental prick enough of the time that I need to be constantly reminded of the value of others.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It kind of does, when you look at how they are treated by the so-called "good" guys.

It rather undermines the idea that Dragonlance is about simplistic good v. evil by introducing some quite dark grey. One could imagine a Paul Verhoeven Starship Troopers style reinterpretation of the novels.
One could, but one doesn't have to because events and/or the universe have retroactively changed. That's the difference.

People have prejudices, and don't always treat others fairly. Even heroes. Pretending that isn't true is fine and understandable, but it shouldn't be forced by changing the material to suit how we feel about it as a society now without it at least being called out that that's what we're doing. That moral complexity has value in and of itself.

For Dragonlance, good and evil are depicted as cosmic absolutes where one can and often does choose a side, not as modern moral viewpoints. If that dichotomy is not maintained in New material, then it wouldn't be Dragonlance.
 

Gully dwarves are survivors. Somehow, they always find a way to survive.
This is claimed, but not shown. Gully dwarves aren't tardigrades; they don't live in places that are utterly inhospitable. They aren't cockroaches, almost impossible to kill. And they aren't humans with our drive, desire, and adaptability right to the point of making tools to both overcome environmental hazards and to terraforming the environment to suit us.

The only way gully dwarves appear to be survivors is in the sea horse/koala/panda way of "how are they still alive?"
Gully dwarves are also representative of the idea of overcoming when other races discount you.
So are halflings.
 

For Dragonlance, good and evil are depicted as cosmic absolutes where one can and often does choose a side, not as modern moral viewpoints. If that dichotomy is not maintained in New material, then it wouldn't be Dragonlance.
I'd go so far as to say that this is one of the defining features of Dragonlance as against any other official D&D setting (always depending on what Ao is up to in the Realms but I think it's drifted away from that)
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think over the years the gully dwarves has suffered increased Flanderization. Rolling it back and reassessing the race would not be a bad thing. I don’t think they need to be purged from the game, but rolled back, re-examined and then re-integrated as viable story element. Downtrodden survivors, overlooked and undervalued outsiders who have developed their own self-worth and peeled back the layers between good and evil to its very foundation.
 

My take on them would be very much like that, minus the untouchables part. The core identity of them is that they survive in terrible conditions. The Cataclysm ruined a lot of lands in Krynn, and they had no choice but to learn to live in sub-optimal conditions.

That and their animistic view of the world.

I like having gully dwarves in DL as a dwarven caste of "untouchables" - lose the mental deficiencies, but leave them as those who have suffered being denied proper education, housing, food and the like (sort of an analog for the modern homeless). It shines a light on the arrogance/dark side of the dwarves, a byproduct of their greed and clannish nature and other attitudes that was instrumental in their race's fall during the Cataclysm. Where the elves in their arrogance enslaved the Kagonesti - their own people, the Hylar "threw out" their kin, who became the Gully Dwarves - homeless and clanless. Make part of the story of the aftermath of the War of the Lance for the dwarves to reach out their hand and welcome/integrate these forgotten brothers and sisters back in their high-born society.

Gully dwarves are survivors. Somehow, they always find a way to survive.

Gully dwarves are also representative of the idea of overcoming when other races discount you. How many times in our lives have we heard that we are worthless? Gully dwarves still persist and survive despite the disadvantages thrown at them.

Where tradition is harmful, tradition must give way. "It's always been that way" is no excuse for keeping hurtful and problematic content.

I might also point out that the Gully Dwarves' first appearance, in DL1, has them speaking in complete sentences. But that depiction was pretty much erased by Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

I don't think that it's "mangling the IP" to fix an extremely problematic part of the setting (like the Vistani or Caliban from Ravenloft or Aperusa from Spelljammer). However, if changing/dropping the Gully Dwarves is "mangling the IP", then, in my opinion, the IP deserved to be "mangled".
 

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