Dragonlance Unlocked on D&D Beyond: Dragonlance Shadow of the Dragon Queen!

A couple of weeks earlier than the December 6th street date for the hardcover, Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen has been unlocked in digital format over on D&D Beyond for early access. If you have purchased a SotDQ bundle you can redeem your code at this link. If not, you can pre-order now:


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DISCLAIMER: THE DRAGON ARMIES CANNOT ENSURE THAT OWNERS OF THIS BOOK WILL NOT HAVE THEIR LIVES REPURPOSED IN THE SERVICE OF THE DRAGON QUEEN’S GLORIOUS WILL. PROMISES TO THE CONTRARY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED BEST-CASE SCENARIOS, NOT STATEMENTS OF CERTAINTY. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE DRAGON ARMIES AND A CATACLYSMICALLY BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ALL OF KRYNN.​
 
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Pentallion

Explorer
Screenplays have zero character choices. The writer makes all the choices. The characters go where the writer tells them. It’s important to remember that RPGs are not stories, they’re not screenplays, they’re not stage plays, they aren’t even telenovellas.

Yes and no. Like any good story, it’s a mix of character and plot. If you’re trying to exactly replicate history, yes, choices are limited.

I disagree. They make for an interesting sandbox. The war rages around you, where do you want to go and what do you want to do? It’s no different than here’s the area you get to explore, where do you want to go and what do you want to do? The theme is slightly different. But wars can absolutely make fantastic sandboxes. I say that as someone who’s run a WW2 pulp sandbox gam

Screenplays have zero character choices. The writer makes all the choices. The characters go where the writer tells them. It’s important to remember that RPGs are not stories, they’re not screenplays, they’re not stage plays, they aren’t even telenovellas.

Yes and no. Like any good story, it’s a mix of character and plot. If you’re trying to exactly replicate history, yes, choices are limited.

I disagree. They make for an interesting sandbox. The war rages around you, where do you want to go and what do you want to do? It’s no different than here’s the area you get to explore, where do you want to go and what do you want to do? The theme is slightly different. But wars can absolutely make fantastic sandboxes. I say that as someone who’s run a WW2 pulp sandbox game.
It's vastly different.
As an aside, a screenplay with no character choices is garbage. Plot drives character, character drives plot.
That's basic storytelling 101.
 

pukunui

Legend
I just thought it'd be a helpful heads up for those who were unaware of the running change.
There’s already a separate thread about it:

 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
As an aside, a screenplay with no character choices is garbage. Plot drives character, character drives plot.

That's basic storytelling 101.
Characters in screenplays are not independent from the writer. The writer makes choices for those characters. A good writer orchestrates the plot such that it appears the characters make choice, but they don’t. Because they’re entirely under the control of the writer. PCs in RPGs are independent from the referee. The players make choices for their characters, not the referee.

Again, this is why it’s important to note that RPGs are not screenplays. They’re not stories. They’re games. Huge difference.
 

Pentallion

Explorer
Characters in screenplays are not independent from the writer. The writer makes choices for those characters. A good writer orchestrates the plot such that it appears the characters make choice, but they don’t. Because they’re entirely under the control of the writer. PCs in RPGs are independent from the referee. The players make choices for their characters, not the referee.

Again, this is why it’s important to note that RPGs are not screenplays. They’re not stories. They’re games. Huge difference.
No difference at all. It's a form of story telling. That players choose instead of writers doesn't change the fundamental rules of story telling. The DM supplies the plot, the PCs make the choices that drive the plot. Nothing changes just because you now have a team of writers, each in control of their own character and one in control of plot.

In a war story, the plot drives character choices just like any other type of story. However, in a war story, the PC choices are limited.

If you want to play in a sandbox, buy a sandbox. If you want to play a character in the story Shadow of the Dragon Queen, then that's not a sandbox is it? It's a premade story. If you wanted the umpteenth Dragonlance Gazeteer, this is not it. This is a war story and the plot drives harder than regular stories. Hence, what some refer to as railroady as if that's a bad thing, it is not if used correctly.

This whole "railroad vs sandbox" issue is only made by people who don't realize there are more than one way to tell a story. The kind of people who think their way is the "right" way and other ways are therefore "wrong".
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
No difference at all.
LOL.
That players choose instead of writers doesn't change the fundamental rules of story telling.
Other than everything that changes. And practically everything does change. More on this in a bit.

This should be good. Tell me, what are the fundamental rules of storytelling?
The DM supplies the plot, the PCs make the choices that drive the plot.
These two are in conflict. It's either, or. It cannot be both. The referee supplies the setting, the situation, the NPCs, the world. The players provide their characters and their reactions to the referee's setting, situations, etc. It is when these two sides interact that you get something vaguely reminiscent of a plot. But, importantly, unless everyone at the table is a professional storyteller, and 99.9% of gamers are not, what's generated from that interaction and gameplay does not even remotely resemble a story.

Try an experiment. Write out every in-game and in-character action and bit of dialogue the players at your next session make. Add in all the description you do as the referee, including the NPCs interacting with the PCs. Write it all out. But, one caveat, don't change anything. Don't add anything that didn't happen in the game and don't subtract anything that did happen. No adding snappier dialogue. No making better choices for the PCs or NPCs after the fact. No beefing up the throughline. Etc. Do take the time to edit out any spelling and grammar mistakes, then submit that bad boy to a publishing company. Or turn it, verbatim, into a screenplay and submit that to a Hollywood agent. See what happens.

Unless your table is filled with professional writers and storytellers, your game will not in any meaningful way resemble a story. Unless you're railroading really hard to a prewritten story.
Nothing changes just because you now have a team of writers, each in control of their own character and one in control of plot.
This again, okay. Here goes: everything changes because you do not, in fact, have a team of writers. You have a group of gamers sitting around a table eating pizza, drinking soda, and making jokes about the game.

The gamers are making their decisions based on what they want to do in the moment, how they feel, if they had a bad week at work, if they got into a fight with their spouse or boss, did or did not get that raise they've been working for, how much beer they've had, and how bad they need to go to the can. And, importantly, they cannot fix things up after the fact...which is why RPGs are closer to improv than anything else, but even that isn't quite right.

Writers are making their decisions based on theme, character development, what fits the story, what would be the most dramatic in this moment, what would put the character in the toughest possible spot, which scene it is, what act it is, what kind of beat should come next (up beat, down beat, emotional beat, character development beat, A story beat, B story beat, comedy beat, drama beat, etc). But writers can and do fix things up after the fact. They edit and write, rewrite, edit, sit on it, edit, and rewrite again. Tightening and perfecting (as best they can) the bit of writing until it's the best they can make it. Then it's handed off to an editor to fix everything the writer missed. Then it's rewritten again.

This is why Critical Role is so successful and, at a guess, why none of our games, if streamed, would gain even a tiny audience. The people sitting at the CR table are all professional storytellers. The gamers sitting at our tables are not professional storytellers. They're gamers. Huge, galactic difference. The CR cast plays a game and it makes a story that millions want to engage with. We play a game and 9 times out of 10 can't even get the people at our own table to put down their phone long enough to hear the villain's epic monologue.

That old saw about infinite monkeys given infinite typewriters and infinite time accidentally pounding out the complete works of Shakespeare. Sure, in theory, it might be possible. But it doesn't actually happen.
In a war story, the plot drives character choices just like any other type of story. However, in a war story, the PC choices are limited.
Choices are limited in all stories. Unless you're doing surrealism or absurdism. Monty Python gets laughs by not limiting choices to what would naturally follow given the assumptions people make about the story so far. The aliens and spaceship in Life of Brian for example. In a comedy, choices are limited to what's funny or what ups the tension for the next laugh. In a horror, choices are limited to what's scary and what ups the tension for the next jump scare.
If you want to play in a sandbox, buy a sandbox.
I'd rather make my own, thanks. Or take boring old linear railroads and turn them into sandboxes.
If you want to play a character in the story Shadow of the Dragon Queen, then that's not a sandbox is it?

It's a premade story.
Sigh. SofDQ isn't a story. It's an RPG module. There are no main characters. One of the two main ingredients for a story is not provided by SofDQ. The players bring them. That's why the players are there. It's not until those characters interact with the themes, situations, NPCs, etc provided by SofDQ that you get something roughly, vaguely resembling a story.
Hence, what some refer to as railroady as if that's a bad thing, it is not if used correctly.
There it is.

Railroading negates player agency, making the presence of the players pointless, thus rendering it not a game. You are right though, you have to railroad the "players" pretty hard to get the game to resemble a story. It's a reverse correlation, in fact. The more agency the players have, the less story-like gameplay will be; the less agency the players have, the more story-like gameplay will be. But once you get to the point where the players don't have actual choices to make, why are they there. It would be easier to simply read them the story you're forcing on them. Save everyone the time and make believe they get any choices.
This whole "railroad vs sandbox" issue is only made by people who don't realize there are more than one way to tell a story. The kind of people who think their way is the "right" way and other ways are therefore "wrong".
One gives players agency the other negates player agency.
 
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