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Dragonlance (+) What Would You Want From 5e Dragonlance?


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's a Dragonlance plus thread! Don't threadcrap, please. If you don't like DL, don't think it will/should get a 5e iteration, or otherwise just disagree with the basic premise of the thread, take it elsewhere. Also, don't crap on anyone's ideas. If your feedback is just, "That whole idea is bad and dumb" just keep it to yourself.

One of the things that Wizards is selling setting books on these days is expanding the game in general, in addition to present a different campaign world from the PHB or FR.

Now, I think there are a couple aspects of the setting they can play up that are both fairly unique to DL and set it apart, and that could lend to new mechanics and rules to expand the game.

  • Group Quests: Similar to Group Patron, this is a mechanic or rule that brings a group together. Could also be worded as a Group Destiny for broader usage, but in DL it's really in line with the kind of fantasy you're dealing with to have a big "main quest" right from the start, that binds the heroes to eachother, explains quickly replaced heroes and additional allies, can lead to gaining allies with resources and followers, etc. Could use something like the Hope score in The One Ring, which is sort of a group Morale that can be depleted or regained via play, and can be refreshed by resting in a safe place.

  • Followers, Allies, and Enemies: Not every person in your fellowship needs to be a PC, and some optional codification of gaining skilled hirelings that are loyal to you/your group, gaining a squire or apprentice, having a loyal sibling who would follow you into hell to keep you safe, etc, are all concepts that are very appropriate to DL even more than DND in general, and could use some expansion in 5e.

  • Extended Rests, Havens, and Enemy Territory: Related to the Morale idea above, some things should only come back when you rest for multiple days in a safe and comfortable place.
    • Rules for Havens - safe and comfortable place, where can be found; information, supplies, potential new allies, even the ear of a powerful potential ally or patron who might give you some aid in your Quest
    • Extended Rests - multi-day rests that refresh things like Morale and allow for strengthening bonds, getting new resources, gathering information, etc, partly acting to make Downtime optionally more interesting and engaging and not take as long, and acting as a way to regain what traveling and fighting and running in Enemy Territory takes from you.
    • Enemy Territory - This is really where we get new Journey rules that are more interesting and engaging, as part of creating a new kind of encounter that takes place over multiple days or even weeks, and is an encounter with the enviroment, with enemy forces, and with a land in which no rest is fully restful, no place is truly safe, and no journey is without cost. Include rules for resolving random encounters without rolling initiative, and possibly a new variant feature set for the Ranger tbh.
  • Romantic Fantasy style bonds: These would relate to the Quest idea, but also go beyond it. You have a fellowship, sure, and gain Hope from them, but you also have relationships out in the world that you can call upon, take refuge with, and who can call upon you in turn. People you owe allegiance to, people you owe your life, a people or nation you seek to better, reform, or uplift, all with an assumption that most PCs are not working against the well being of the world at large, even if they serve an "evil" god, as is the case with Black Robed Wizards.
  • Dedication to Cosmic Good, Evil, or Neutrality: The alignments of Krynn are not the same as in other worlds, even when they share a name. It's a place where the 4e style alignment chart makes more sense, but it's also a place where things fall apart cataclysmically when Good or Evil reigns supreme. It's also, perhaps more importantly, a place where there are tangible benefits and drawbacks to allegiance to each alignment. Each is a path to a certain kind of power, or to oppose a certain kind of power in the world. This presents a wholly different kind of cosmology than other worlds have, but also changes what "evil" means on a character sheet or NPC statblock. A reboot of Krynn requires non-essentialist alignment, but it also benefits from a more Keith Baker-style understanding of alignment. Dalamar wouldn't be Evil as a 5e FR NPC, but he is in Krynn, because he practices Black Robe Wizardry, and thus serves the black moon and through him, his mother Takhisis. And yet, he opposes senseless destruction, feels compassion, and helps Good people. He believes in the Balance, and takes a few significant risks to oppose or at least undermine even his own ultimate cosmic sovereign.
  • Expansion on the Subclasses for multiple Classes Concept: Speaking of Black Robes, the orders of high sorcery could easily be subclasses that are available to any arcane full caster. White Robes gain restorative spells without any cleric baggage, Black Robes gain destructive spells and perhaps a means to boost damage from spells, and Red Robes gain a little of both, and explicitly get less in raw power from their subclass at low level, catch up in mid levels, and surpass the other two at high levels, while being the most versatile throughout.
  • Mass Combat:
    • Unit/squad initiative, Unit attacks as saving throw AoEs with half damage on a miss. Scaling efficacy of units as they lose numbers. Unit HP with each X HP representing a member of the unit.
    • Moving through hostile units causes damage, either automatically or with a save to take half.
    • Rules for morale, using skills and tactics to reduce enemy Unit Max HP and HP threshold (the number that represents a single troop), rules for breaking a unit with a charge or other overwhelming offensive and rules for opposing a charge and for bolstering a unit's offense or defense.
    • secondary rules for running mass combat as normal combat but with per round initiative, and initiative rolls determining what happens at initiative 10 and 20. Initiative 10 and 20 are "lair action" style events that showcase how the larger battle is going, based on what the PCs are contributing to it, and also how the larger battle effects the PCs in their smaller fights.
    • Perhaps a third set of rules for having each PC run a part of the battle, with a rough translation guide to how to use PC abilities on a larger scale. This is the single most playtest intensive idea I've got, though.

So! Those are some of my ideas! I've got vague feelings about giving more rules to how different kinds of settlements effect resting and gathering info and supplies, and the like, but they're super vague at this point. Still, DL is a world where spending the night in Solace is different from spending the night as guests in a Tower of High Wizardry, and you can absolutely make the difference interesting and fun.

What are your ideas?

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Small God of the Dozens
So, you mean other than dragons? :p

IDK, DL is really a nostalgia thing for me, I really like the idea of heading in the direction of high fantasy romance though, that's a cool idea. So a tight set of rules for bonds and whatnot would be awesome. In there somewhere you could even completely rework the ideals bonds and flaws system into something awesome rather than the tacked-on nonsense it currently feels like.

This is also probably the right place for those mass combat rules, yeah, for sure.

The Spell System.
The Pantheon.
The Historical Locations.
The Monsters.

One thing that always interested me about the Krynn setting is that darkness and evil must exist. This shows up in some other settings like the Forgotten Realms, where AO steps in if things tip too far in one direction or another. For your average adventurer? It means nothing. But in Krynn, you literally have to "tolerate" people worshiping evil gods for the sake of balance. Struggles for supremacy happen on the regular. And you're often part of that, making a tangible difference in a world that can literally be tipped one way or the other through your specific actions.

Granted, you can completely ignore that and run normal adventures too.
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Moderator Emeritus
I know this is unlikely, but it is the way I'd run a 5E DL game (something I am considering), but with an option for running the War of the Lance with your PCs as the central characters replacing Caramon, Tanis, Laurana, etc. . .

I am actually considering running an almost West Marches style "war" game in Krynn - where from among 10 (maybe increase to 12) PCs they respond to different quests and war events of their own accord (in groups of 4 to 6) that broadly coincide with the original 12 modules, but with room for things to change based on in-game events.


No rule is inviolate
If the new Dragonlance novel ends up being about Silvara and Gilthanas, I could see a heavy emphasis on unity with dragons (e.g. AD&D had a "dragon knight" kit, the subclass of the time, and some amazing Taladas-based adventures were all about this, including finding out who was killing baby dragons and eventually going through time portals to retrieve powerful gems that gave you powers of dragons to fight the minions of Takhisis/Erestem/aka Tiamat).

The original War of the Lance AD&D modules were re-released in 3rd edition as a mega-adventure with solid success, so it's not out-of-bounds that this could be done again in Strahd-like fashion. Gothic horror with suave vampire nemesis, that sells itself. Dragonlance would need something for those who don't know what it is, that resonates like Strahd.

So, aerial combat rules with dragons + dragon/character subclasses + moon magic + (maybe) dragons as humanoids (who shapeshifted and permanently gave up their draconic heritage, but not dragonborn, though I'm sure we'll get draconian PCs) + kender and Irda and maybe we're on our way.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I agree with most of your ideas but the mass combat rules. I would not object their presence in the book, but I'm not sure DL is the right book for such thing. I often found to mass combat to go well with domain management, and while DL sure shows a lot of large scale battles, there is few companion that becomes rulers of land while in the spotlight.

Heroic Destiny: have the group come up with a theme that comes with tables equivalent to their Ideal/Bond/Flaw etc, with few example like the group patrons from Eberron, like you said.

One thing I'd like would be a system where the ''group/party'' gain level, like in Blades in the Dark (I think?). A little like the Gifts from Theros. Another idea would be a ''point system', like the piety rules, where the more the group gain points in relation with their ideals and/or cosmic good/evil/neutrality, the more they gain special features for the whole group.

Rare Magic:
Rules or advice to run a setting where magic is present, but not widespread.

Warlock as the ''official'' mage of the setting, with the 3 Moons or the Tower as Patron. Maybe with a reprint of the Celestial, for characters like Goldmoon. Maybe a new Boons like Pact of the Staff, for character who gained an spellfocus like Raistlin (?) and Goldmoon as part of their magical learnings.

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