D&D 5E 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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

It helps when you have the money to hire the best lawyers. It helps even more when you have the money to buy the worst politicians.

Anyways, weren't we talking about Dragonlance? So let's say you wanted to play in a "classic" Dragonlance game. How would you set up the Cleric class?

Initially, Goldmoon isn't really a Cleric at all, she simply has the ability to use the Blue Crystal Staff, which is basically a Staff of Healing? My memory is foggy, but I thought it wasn't until she lost the staff that she actually gained the ability to cast spells granted to her by Mishakal.
She destroyed the staff to kill the black dragon in Xak Tsaroth, and died but was brought back as a cleric of Mishakal. I would build her as a cleric, but narratively the staff is doing all the mystical stuff while she has it.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Guess what, within a century or so of having gunpowder weapons, the fantasy style castle disappears.
Well, know, absolutely false.

It takes much longer than that, for one thing, but more importantly, people still lived in castles. Hell, people still live in castles. Early on they just stopped building new castles in the same way, they vert rarely went "hey we haven't defended the ramparts in 200 years lets tear down the old castle and build a manor instead."

But, even more important than any of that, a fantasy world doesn't have to follow Earth's timeline. How things played out in what order and with what speed are not inherent to the nature of the universe, they're just how things shook out for us in the single timeline we have direct knowledge of.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Really castles don't make a lot of sense in a D&D world anyways. What good are they going to be against dragons, for example?

Who needs a siege engine if you have giants throwing rocks. Some creatures have the ability to rip stone fortifications apart with their bare hands. A summoned Earth Elemental literally doesn't care, and so on.

Because it's not as if say, the Forgotten Realms was like our Earth during the medieval period and monsters and magic just sort of happened one day- these things have been part of the world for millenia!
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
o let's say you wanted to play in a "classic" Dragonlance game. How would you set up the Cleric class?
I'd let them be used as written, but they gain powers from their faith in whatever cult, heresy or heathen's way they worship. And, even more than other spellcaster, they are mistrusted. They go around blessing and curing people in the name of weird-*ss invisible creatures, that's some dark sorcery right there! And others profess the same madness that got the last King-Priest a mountain to the head! At least mages are more or less part of a caste system that allows mere commoners to spot the evil mage from 500 feet away, with its dark robe and all that.
 




3rd edition Arthaus Ravenloft also had guns pretty integrated into the "advanced" domains of Lamordia, Dementileu, Mordent, Richemulot etc.
Well, firearms are fairly prominent in the art for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft too, it's just that they don't get any attention in the text (and VRGtR leans heavily into 'everything except Darklords and PCs are non-real set dressing created by the mists to torment the Darklords' setting conceit, so it sidesteps around all the issues about who invented/designed/manufactures/etc firearms in the setting, which would necessarily impact things like industrialisation levels etc)
 

Well, firearms are fairly prominent in the art for Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft too, it's just that they don't get any attention in the text (and VRGtR leans heavily into 'everything except Darklords and PCs are non-real set dressing created by the mists to torment the Darklords' setting conceit, so it sidesteps around all the issues about who invented/designed/manufactures/etc firearms in the setting, which would necessarily impact things like industrialisation levels etc)
The 3rd edition setting didn't skate around this I know - explicitly talking about gun manufacturing and the like. Even said walking around with a sword and heavy armor in those domains would mark you as a rube.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Sadly, D&D is not ready for an armorless campaign without some sort of defense bonus like in Star Wars Saga Edition- ten thousand years ago, I had a DM try to run a Three Musketeers Swashbuckler game after he bought the Mighty Fortress supplement for 2e. We cheesed the heck out of our AC's, with high Dexterity, double proficiency slots in the free hand fighting style out of the Fighter's Handbook (plus the Warrior Swashbuckler's +2 AC in light armor) and it was still pretty rough.
 

Mind you, speaking as someone who ran a long campaign up to high level in d20 Star Wars, the defence bonuses did not actually make that damn system playable at all...

I reckon 5e is probably a bit more low-armour-friendly than previous editions. You'd probably see every martial character taking one level of Monk or two of Barbarian for the extra AC though. Or playing lizardfolk or tortles. And Str would be EVERYONE'S dump stat, now that you can use Dex for everything. Str is niche enough as it is, there's basically never a reason to put points into it unless you're a heavy-weapon heavy-armour fighter.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Which is silly, really. Even if using light weapons, strength can be very important. But that ship has long sailed- people want characters that can run off a small number of ability scores, so that's what we have.
 

Which is silly, really. Even if using light weapons, strength can be very important. But that ship has long sailed- people want characters that can run off a small number of ability scores, so that's what we have.
And even for people using large weapons, balance and agility can be very important. But at some point, of course, you've got to abstract, and i suspect not many people want to go back to 2e Player's Option with multiple sub-abilities for each ability score etc.

My main issue with Str and Dex in 5e is that Str is really only useful for one particular type of heavy combat character, while Dex is so applicable over so many common situations (AC, all the best missile weapons, one of the two most commonly-targeted saving throws, Stealth...) as well as being able to be used for melee combat if you pick your weapon right. It just seems the balance is poor there.

But we're getting waaaay the hell off-topic here.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'd start a thread about ability scores, but I'm not sure if people would really want to debate it, or just give me the old "there are other games that do what you want, just stop playing D&D". : )
 

Hussar

Legend
It helps when you have the money to hire the best lawyers. It helps even more when you have the money to buy the worst politicians.

Anyways, weren't we talking about Dragonlance? So let's say you wanted to play in a "classic" Dragonlance game. How would you set up the Cleric class?

Initially, Goldmoon isn't really a Cleric at all, she simply has the ability to use the Blue Crystal Staff, which is basically a Staff of Healing? My memory is foggy, but I thought it wasn't until she lost the staff that she actually gained the ability to cast spells granted to her by Mishakal.
Rolling back to the topic. :D

IIRC, it was reading the Disks of Mishakal that created a cleric. That was why they went to Xak Tsaroth in the first place - to retrieve the disks. So, anyone who read the Disks could then respec their character as a cleric. Elistan becomes a cleric this way.

Really, if you were playing a sort of Adventure Path War of the Lance module, that's probably how I would do it. Reading the Disks of Mishakal allow you to convert your class levels into Cleric levels. A complete respec of your character. Reading it twice has no effect. And, of course, you could then train new clerics the traditional way - and they would start at 1st level.

It does rather depend on what level you want to start the AP at. In the original modules, all the characters were 5th level at start, which, in 1ed terms was pretty high. So, it made sense that the Disks could immediately change your character to a cleric with a minimum of fuss.

Not sure if that's a good idea now. Telling a new player, "Oh, sorry, you want to play a cleric or a paladin? Well, you're going to have to complete this entire adventure first and if you are successful, THEN you get to play the character you want to play".
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
In Dragonlance Adventures, you had to have a Medallion of Faith (I presume this was the divine focus of the setting).

Yeah, 5e doesn't do "prestige classes" like Dragonlance Adventures's Knights of the Black Rose, 1e Bards, and the like. But it would be a neat concept- you have to earn the right to play a class. Though some players would balk at the idea.
 

Hussar

Legend
In Dragonlance Adventures, you had to have a Medallion of Faith (I presume this was the divine focus of the setting).

Yeah, 5e doesn't do "prestige classes" like Dragonlance Adventures's Knights of the Black Rose, 1e Bards, and the like. But it would be a neat concept- you have to earn the right to play a class. Though some players would balk at the idea.
And possibly a bit tricky to do with a base class like a cleric.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I think it could be done, but the question of "is the juice worth the squeeze comes up". However, maybe a game that starts with "0-level" adventurers, and over the course of the adventure, they gain their character classes? I'm pretty sure there was a 1e adventure like this, though I can't remember the name just now.

EDIT: found it, N4, "Treasure Hunt"
 
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