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.


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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I think the issue is that there's a very broad net that's being cast in terms of making the association. Namely these three elements:

1) A hereditary condition placed on a group

2) from a god or similar entity

3) which is negative in what it conveys

The problem is that this covers a lot of fantasy tropes, and for that matter can be applied to a lot of racist rhetoric used in the real world. I'm pretty sure that, by that measure, the Bael Turath tieflings of 4E could be compared to Romani, or African-Americans, or almost any other group who's had charges of "God hates them" thrown at them. Discarding this because of parallels that are potentially upsetting seems to run face first into "baby with the bathwater" problems.
You left out the most important one, the one that makes it an issue at all:

4) Is a trait that in reality is applied to one particular ethnic group.

That's the entire point. Negative tropes that in reality are assigned to particular ethnic groups are better left out of games. It's the same reason "savage" non-human cultures are no longer acceptable - because of who the concept is applied to in the real world and the harm that comes to them because of it. If the trope does not relate to a racist stereotype in the real world, it's not inherently a problem.

Your comparison to Bael Turath therefore isn't on point, because I'm not aware of any ethnic group in reality which is widely held to have made an actual pact with the devil in the past. Romani, on the other hand, are widely portrayed as inveterate thieves, as a group. That's why having a race of thieves is not okay.

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So anywhere creatures have the relevant factors to support evolution, it will occur there. What I'm saying is that given living organisms roughly working the same in a D&D setting as they do in our world, it is not metaphysically/conceptually possible for evolution to not occur.
I didn't say there would be no evolution, I said that you can't presume it would function in the way it does in reality. We know that kender had magical interference in their evolution already, so then using reasoning based on how evolution functions in our world isn't really tenable.

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I just want to say, I'll never understand the "WotC should never release a rebooted/remade classic setting," argument.

I mean, if you don't like it, why does it matter? It doesn't change the old stuff, and you can keep using it.

When the new Ravenloft book came out, a bunch of folks were mad it scrapped the "all the domains on one continent" thing (I firmly think the continent thing is bad, but I digress). A bunch of folks were so annoyed they said they wouldn't buy the book... as is their right. But as someone who owns the book, I know it's relatively easy to use the book and just restitch them into a continent in your own game.

Much of the complaints of the "changes" being made in Dragonlance 5E fit into this same category. Like gold vs steel coins. Guys, in your own game just say gold is steel. Or that the Kender come from the magic gem and not fairy land. These are such easy fixes I don't know why anyone particularly cares.

For me, I'm just glad to see some old works updated to meet a younger audience, who get to experience some of the same feeling the older players did when interacting with these settings. It reinvigorates interest, and I think that's a far greater bonus than any negatives from retcons or changes.

It's an irony not lost on me that there are tons of posts elsewhere online and here, filled with complete loathing for Kender. Yet now all of a sudden people care about Kender lore.

I agree, I want a Dragonlance that evokes the things that made Dragonlance so beloved while feeling new. For me, that's not the problematic tropes.

I would argue that Wizards isn't changing stuff because they can, but because they have to. Kender required systemic changes to their lore and their place in the world (I might point out that racism against Kender in Krynn was pretty much considered valid in the past - "it's okay to hate Kender because they're all a bunch of thieves."). There is no world where that kind of thing would fly today. Something had to be done with Kender (and Gully dwarves and Tinker Gnomes), full stop.

Yup. A race of kleptos that were the root cause of 90% of all issues people have with Dragonlance.

Kender as a race is a concept that a few people love, a slightly larger group tolerate in fiction, and the vast majority hate or outright ban. The old race was a walking disruption. The stealing from your party. The bravery that made them start shiitake with things way beyond the player's capacities. The taunting important NPCs. The "childlike innocence" that means the character is unaware of their actions, but the player is absolutely using it to mess up the game for everyone else. And if You or Someone you know somehow threaded the needle between responsible player and irresponsible PC, most players did NOT. Which is why much of D&D discussion about kender involve creative ways to destroy them and liken them to vermin.

Look it boils down to pretty simple math.

1. Kender, as written, were absolutely loathed as a race. Probably the most banned race in the history of the game. Yes, I'm not saying it was universal and obviously some people liked them, but, as written, kender were a huge problem at the table.

2. WotC wants to bring back the race because, unlike at the table, in the fiction kender are very popular and also one of the cornerstones of the setting....

Weiss has said, "Not my Dragonlance". That's fine. I don't want to play a forty year old setting. I want to see a new take on the old. I want a reimagining, not simply a line by line retread of the same stuff. I HAVE the old stuff. Why would I want it again?

As someone mentioned earlier, I think my biggest beef is WotC's desire to change things just because they can.


I crit!
When you say "Ravenloft" I assume you mean Curse of Strahd?

I think it's a little difficult to divine broader setting strategy out of that book. Yes it introduces Ravenloft, but it is an adventure first, essentially an expanded remake of the original Ravenloft. And it still took WotC years to release Van Richten's Guide after this. It took a long while for WotC to expand Ravenloft, even after CoS was released.
Yes to the first.

And yes it takes years to develop one of these books.


I crit!
Per what WotC has said, it takes about 13-14 months from pitch to publication, though they did have a five year plan in 2014 roughly sketched out.
OK I stand corrected. But that’s strait up development, not from initial “huh we should consider this”. Especially since some of this, if I’m right, didn’t start until after it was clear Curse if Strahd was a big hit.

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