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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Weird I got an email today reminding me.
You don't get an email with the code specifically, look for your purchase confirmation email with the subject "[D&D Beyond] Confirmation of order". Down at the bottom of that email, you'll find this section with a link to get your code and instructions on how to use it:
View attachment 267674
I got the PayPal confirmation, and the reminder email. But never got the initial order confirmation. I didn't think anything of it, cos PayPal went through


3rd Level in spells. So level 5. Also it’s never been required, it just makes you a renegade and the MoHS will try and deal with you.
Thanks you! Interesting, in AD&D it was 3rd Character level. :)

Since Renegades are hunted and might even get killed, I would call it a requirement (Storywise) ;)

Anyway. did the mention the other Arcane Users like Bards, Sorcerer or Warlocks. Or even Half-Casters like the Eldritch Knight and Arcane Tricksters?



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?

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.

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.

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.

I'd rather make my own, thanks. Or take boring old linear railroads and turn them into sandboxes.

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.

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.

One gives players agency the other negates player agency.

You're having a conversation with an award winning screenwriter and GMsplaining roleplaying and storytelling to a person who has GM'd for forty years

I'm sorry your gaming experience is what you describe. It is not my own

I've run the original DL campaign three times. None of them were the same. That's because character arcs are driven by plot. The players agency is through choices they make. The choices they are offered are determined by the plot. Those choices then drive the plot.
None of the adventures were the same because different players made different choices.
It's the sandbox that's an illusion


B/X Known World


If you actually think that I can only assume you’ve never run one.

I don't just play them, I write them and they get reviewed right here.
Reviewed right here as an "excellent sandbox setting and adventure for M-Space." Note the "and adventure" part. What I wrote was an adventure. The sandbox is there, on the surface, but underneath, the sandbox is only an illusion. Playtested so many times I lost count. Not one time was the same.

Anyways, this is getting way too long a discussion for simply pointing out that war stories have limited character choices by nature and it's not a bad thing to be somewhat railroady. Anyone can play as if the war of the lance were just a backdrop, go where they want, do whatever, but what a waste that would be if they did. The moment they engage in the war, however, their choices will become limited. That's not a bad thing.


B/X Known World
What I wrote was an adventure. The sandbox is there, on the surface, but underneath, the sandbox is only an illusion. Playtested so many times I lost count. Not one time was the same.
Ah. So when you write them the sandbox is an illusion. Got it. That doesn't mean all sandboxes are illusions. Huge and important distinction, that.
Anyways, this is getting way too long a discussion for simply pointing out that war stories have limited character choices by nature
Again, all stories have limited character choices by nature. War stories are no more limited than any other.
and it's not a bad thing to be somewhat railroady.
As long as you don't care about your players having meaningful choices, sure.

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