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

Hussar

Legend
Really? The setting where you were expected to kill multiple dragons while riding your own pet dragon while wielding an artifact wasn’t gonzo enough? Heck the party collects multiple artifact level magic items throughout the modules.

And yeah, if your approach to the setting is shades of grey, I can see how you’d have a much different approach than me.

To me this was black hats vs white hats. No moral ambiguity whatsoever. Takhisis bad heroes good. Draconians are basically magically created aberrations without any redeeming qualities. Think angry slaad.

Then again I never had any issues with how the Cataclysm was presented either so I realize I’m probably a minority viewpoint here.
 

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Really? The setting where you were expected to kill multiple dragons while riding your own pet dragon while wielding an artifact wasn’t gonzo enough?
That's not gonzo at all? That's just high fantasy. Positively mundane to some of the stuff going on at the time.

Like, in Mystara I could be hanging out with the skekkis on a giant gnomish flying city complete with bi-planes, meanwhile in Greyhawk I can get my hands on laser-guns to fight off reality-warping monstrosities like the Tirapheg and one of the gods got their hands on pistols from the Wild West. Dragonlance is nowhere near either of these.

To me this was black hats vs white hats. No moral ambiguity whatsoever
I warned you we're gonna be here for days....

Dragonlance tried for this, but failed. The so-called good gods did tremendous acts of evil in how the Cataclysm happened and made thousands of innocents suffer for the act of someone (That they couldn't do anything about in most every situation) who was not doing Good in the slighest. The so-called race of good, the elves, regularly engaged in slavery and cultural erasure of those they deemed less than themselves. Hollow lies, these so-called alignments people hold themselves to.

A race thought pre-destined towards evil turning away and going "You know what actually? No" just proves the hollow lies of the gods of Krynn and their continuation of mortal's suffering. Kill the gods, shatter their thrones
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ok, I gotta ask. This is a setting with walrus people. This is the setting that gave us playable minotaurs at a time when Drow were considered extreme. Saying that the DL modules were considered gonzo at the time is hardly a major stretch, is it? Granted, by today's standards, maybe not, but at the tiem? Heck, Dragonlance Adventures, at the time, was far, far more gonzo than anything for the system. Casters were upgunned. Remember how you got bonus caster levels depending on the phases of the moons? Never minding the cheese that was Solamnic Knights. Wahoo instant weapon specialization every time you got a new weapon prof. Every one of the Heroes of the Lance were wandering around with +3 or better weapons at pretty low levels and an actual GOD was an NPC.

Are you saying this wasn't a gonzo campaign?
Help me understand your argument, please. Are you saying that because DL has walrus people and…checks notes…Minotaur, it is “gonzo”, and because it is gonzo, they should add orcs and other races to the setting?
 

Hussar

Legend
Nope, I never said they should add orcs. That was someone else's claim.

I simply said that it was strange to claim that Dragonlance wasn't a setting for a bunch of different races. If you have minotaurs, walrus people and whatnot, adding in Tabaxi isn't a huge stretch. Orcs? Nope, never said that.

@Mecheon points to a single module as an example of how "gonzo" Greyhawk is. In DL, you've got several modules, ie. the entire base campaign, where the party is absolutely dripping with powerful magic items, artifacts, hob nobbing with the prime god of the setting, killing dragons, and frequently multiple dragons at a time. I dunno, I figure that riding a gold dragon while mowing down multiple evil dragons and carrying an artifact makes for a fairly gonzo setting. But, apparently, what do I know?

Yeah, I was trying for a bit of humour at the outset, mostly because I'd seen multiple people make these broad, sweeping claims about the way Dragonlance is, that seemed pretty oblivious to the content of the modules or the source material of the setting. Now, I'll be perfectly honest, I dropped out of DL in about 1995, give or take, so, anything from 5th Age passed me by entirely. And I didn't pay any attention to the 3e material. So, obviously, my take on the setting is somewhat dated.

But, limited races and limited magic? In Dragonlance? Seriously? That's your take on the setting? Man, they REALLY must have changed stuff after SAGA. Because it certainly wasn't like that at the outset.

((And, @Mecheon, yeah, we're not going to agree on this. I have zero problems with the Cataclysm. Multiple real world mythologies and religions have all sorts of myths and stories that are just as bad if not worse. At first reading, my first thought was, "Oh, D&D now has a flood myth". Getting all bent out of shape because a D&D setting takes pages from real world mythologies doesn't really faze me at all.))
 

Libertad

Adventurer
Dragonlance has long been a low-magic setting in comparison to the other major settings. Most wizards having to belong to one of three organizations or being declared renegades, and the anti-religious sentiment and loss of divine magic until Goldmoon's revelation were very different than Faerun and Greyhawk which had temples all over the place with lay priests who could provide healing services.

Most sourcebooks for Dragonlance, even those hearkening back to the original Chronicles, like the War of the Lance 3rd Edition sourcebook (which Weis & Hickman helped write) made many cases to showcase the rarity of magic. And the various artifacts were priceless relics from earlier Ages, but there were hardly any magic item shops.

My Let's Read is a good cover of this, along with other aspects of the setting. Aspects of character generation highlighted ways of playing an "authentic" Age of Despair game, which included restricting certain classes and magical traditions.

 

Sithlord

Adventurer
Dragonlance has long been a low-magic setting in comparison to the other major settings. Most wizards having to belong to one of three organizations or being declared renegades, and the anti-religious sentiment and loss of divine magic until Goldmoon's revelation were very different than Faerun and Greyhawk which had temples all over the place with lay priests who could provide healing services.

Most sourcebooks for Dragonlance, even those hearkening back to the original Chronicles, like the War of the Lance 3rd Edition sourcebook (which Weis & Hickman helped write) made many cases to showcase the rarity of magic. And the various artifacts were priceless relics from earlier Ages, but there were hardly any magic item shops.

My Let's Read is a good cover of this, along with other aspects of the setting. Aspects of character generation highlighted ways of playing an "authentic" Age of Despair game, which included restricting certain classes and magical traditions.

Conan is low magic. Camelot is low magic. Krynn not so much. I would even call Tolkien low magic. Is lack of magic shops the new definition of low magic. If so then I guess krynn is low magic. But guilds of high sorcery is a good sign of it not being low magic.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Nope, was just using your quote as a springboard as an example of someone who clearly didn't have a good grasp of the setting making broad sweeping claims about what the setting "should be".

Mod Note:
"I don't agree with you, so you must be ignorant," is a personal insult failing to hide behind an implied appeal to authority. It needs to be struck from your rhetorical arsenal. Use it again, and you'll find yourself out of the discussion.

I hope that's clear, to everyone. If you cannot abide folks having different opinons about a game setting, or if you feel you must otherwise control the discussion on this topic, it is time for you to find another thread..
 
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Faolyn

Hero
Can you do this though and still be consistent with the story? In the original rules these characters, particularly Kender could not help themselves.

It was not a stereotype as described, it was a matter of their biology and DNA.
The problem is that they are written very... hypocritically. If that's the word I'm looking for.

Kender both fail to understand the concept of personal property, but also generally keep what they stole, instead of just redistributing what they take to whomever they feel needs it more. They should be known as givers, not takers, but they're not. This suggests that they do understand the concept of personal property; they just don't care.

Kender are supposedly fearless, but they lie when confronted about their stealing. The only reason for them to lie is if they fear the consequences of their actions and don't want to get in trouble.

Kender are supposedly innocent and kind, but one of their racial abilities is taunt. They can make fun of people in order to (emotionally) hurt and enrage them. In 5e terms, they'd likely have vicious mockery as a racial cantrip. This is neither innocent nor kind. And they can do this despite the fact they apparently speak too quickly to be easily understood.

For some reason, humans love kender, even though they constantly steal, touch things they shouldn't (due to their curiosity) and make fun of people just to get the riled up. And they can't, or won't, learn not to. And those races who don't love them kender considered to be in the wrong. But would you love an uncontrolled and unrepentant kleptomaniac who won't stop pushing buttons and making fun of people?

Whether or not these traits are hardwired into their fantasy DNA, it makes them, IMO, thoroughly unlikable.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
The problem is that they are written very... hypocritically. If that's the word I'm looking for.

Kender both fail to understand the concept of personal property, but also generally keep what they stole, instead of just redistributing what they take to whomever they feel needs it more. They should be known as givers, not takers, but they're not. This suggests that they do understand the concept of personal property; they just don't care.

Kender are supposedly fearless, but they lie when confronted about their stealing. The only reason for them to lie is if they fear the consequences of their actions and don't want to get in trouble.

Kender are supposedly innocent and kind, but one of their racial abilities is taunt. They can make fun of people in order to (emotionally) hurt and enrage them. In 5e terms, they'd likely have vicious mockery as a racial cantrip. This is neither innocent nor kind. And they can do this despite the fact they apparently speak too quickly to be easily understood.

For some reason, humans love kender, even though they constantly steal, touch things they shouldn't (due to their curiosity) and make fun of people just to get the riled up. And they can't, or won't, learn not to. And those races who don't love them kender considered to be in the wrong. But would you love an uncontrolled and unrepentant kleptomaniac who won't stop pushing buttons and making fun of people?

Whether or not these traits are hardwired into their fantasy DNA, it makes them, IMO, thoroughly unlikable.
They are only fun in a novel in a old sitcom way. Not at the table.
 



Libertad

Adventurer
Kender are like humor; super-subjective in who can enjoy the content. There are a lot of people who love kender and find their disruptive antics charming. But that humor doesn't hit a lot of people, and given the way they're written can cause a lot of trouble for adventuring groups people like them even less.

Gully dwarves and gnomes also get a lot of flack, but the way they're written isn't going to get the party run out of town as often.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I love kender and would definitely want them to continue to be a part of the setting. I think most of the problems people have with kender are actually with the players who use them as an excuse to cause grief for the rest of the party but then that's a thing that happens with players of thieves in general.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Kender both fail to understand the concept of personal property, but also generally keep what they stole, instead of just redistributing what they take to whomever they feel needs it more. They should be known as givers, not takers, but they're not. This suggests that they do understand the concept of personal property; they just don't care.
I always saw this as an issue of them having a very short attention span; they take something they think looks interesting (not realizing that doing so is theft) and then forget they even have it a few minutes later. They're like Dug, from Up:


Kender are supposedly fearless, but they lie when confronted about their stealing. The only reason for them to lie is if they fear the consequences of their actions and don't want to get in trouble.
I don't recall them lying about it when being confronted. Rather, they (truthfully) deny any malicious intent behind their actions.
Kender are supposedly innocent and kind, but one of their racial abilities is taunt. They can make fun of people in order to (emotionally) hurt and enrage them.
I always understood this as being unintentional from an in-character perspective. I mean, there are sometimes when they're deliberately trying to get someone's attention that way, but for the most part it always seemed like this was a power that the player deliberately used even though the character wasn't cognizant of it. So for a kender, it'd be something like "Hey Mister! Why is your head so big? Was it always like that? Does it cause you neck pain? Do you have to special order extra-wide collars for your shirts? Mister? Mister? Hey, listen!" Not realizing that they were driving someone up the wall with their incessant (and loud) questions about their personal defects.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
So... Kender, to me, always came off strongly as an ADHD Thief Stereotype. Particularly Tasselhoff Burrfoot. He'll take things and the instant they're out of sight he forgets they exist. He may pull them out at a later date and not even remember where he got them, only that he has them.

And on the one hand I can feel that in the core of my soul... and on the other hand I hate the way it makes me feel beyond words. I've "Stolen" so many pens or small fidgety toys and things I've picked up and forgotten to put back... and then had to turn around and go -back- to where I got it from to apologize for forgetting I had picked it up.

And the quips and stuff that piss people off? That, too! As a kid with ADHD I got a lot of flack and had bullies. But you better believe I got good at throwing off cutting remarks to those same insufferable jerknuggets who spent their time harassing me. It let me feel like I had some measure of control over when the violence would start, rather than getting assaulted at some random point after quietly trying to ignore their abuse.

As a kid I thought it was funny and relateable in that way. Now?

Just bad memories and the knowledge that -that- is how people saw me. And how they view other "Spaz Cases" like me.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I always saw this as an issue of them having a very short attention span; they take something they think looks interesting (not realizing that doing so is theft) and then forget they even have it a few minutes later. They're like Dug, from Up:

I have, like, out-the-wazoo ADHD (Inattentive subtype) which I can't treat with medication. I cannot imagine how an entire race of people with this disorder built in could have survived. They must have a very busy patron god.

I don't recall them lying about it when being confronted. Rather, they (truthfully) deny any malicious intent behind their actions.
Lying doesn't need to be malicious to be a lie.

Anyway, while I don't have any of the main Dragonlance game books, I do have the 2e Dragonlance MC Appendix. In the entry on kender, it reads: If caught red-handed with another's property, they offer an amazing range of excuses: I forgot I had it. I found it. I was afraid someone else would take it. More often than not, kender believe their excuses to be the truth.

So I amend my statement to say "they either lie about it or lie so well that they believe their lies and have lost touch with reality, and thus may qualify for an insanity plea, should they be ever brought to trial." Either way, "compulsive liar" is not a good trait, and yet the paragraph goes on to say that there are no evil kender. Of course, the MC entry says their mostly lawful(!) neutral or chaotic neutral.

Oddly, right above the aforementioned section, the entry says "Kender do not steal for the sake of profit, since they have little concept of value; they are just as happy with a chunk of purple glass as they are with a glittering diamond" while a few paragraphs earlier it also says "In fact, most kender find an enemy occupation to be a tremendous boost to the local economy, since the invaders always bring such interesting things for the kender to 'handle.'" This is what I meant by hypocrisy in their entry. They either look at an occupation as a source of things to steal or a source of wealth, or they don't think they're stealing anything and have no concept of value.

I always understood this as being unintentional from an in-character perspective. I mean, there are sometimes when they're deliberately trying to get someone's attention that way, but for the most part it always seemed like this was a power that the player deliberately used even though the character wasn't cognizant of it. So for a kender, it'd be something like "Hey Mister! Why is your head so big? Was it always like that? Does it cause you neck pain? Do you have to special order extra-wide collars for your shirts? Mister? Mister? Hey, listen!" Not realizing that they were driving someone up the wall with their incessant (and loud) questions about their personal defects.
Also from the entry: "The kender's most effective defense is their ability to enrage opponents by taunting them with verbal abuse. Any creature taunted by a kender for one full round must roll a successful saving throw vs. spell or attack wildly for 1d10 rounds at a -2 penalty to attack rolls and a +2 penalty to Armor Class." As an aside, the entry doesn't say that the creature has to understand the kender's speech. How many languages were there in that setting?

If you consider that kender have to taunt for a full round--meaning, a minute in 2e--I can't imagine that they don't know what they are doing. Maybe they really have lost all touch with reality and doesn't seem to realize that "person or creature goes berserk and tries to kill everyone" often seems to follow "verbally abuse someone for one minute." Understanding correlation and causation is not their strong suit.

Now, I'm fully aware that a lot of the problem with kender is that they're played by people who like having an excuse to mess with their fellow players. I just think that, as I have read them, they are absolutely terrible.

I think it might be possible to redeem them. Have them either not be kleptomaniacs or write that they give away everything they pick up, and sooner rather than later. Have them own up to taking the stuff. Not "I was afraid that someone would take it" but "it didn't look like you needed, so I took it to give to someone who needed it more. If you want it back, here."
 

I have, like, out-the-wazoo ADHD (Inattentive subtype) which I can't treat with medication. I cannot imagine how an entire race of people with this disorder built in could have survived. They must have a very busy patron god.


Lying doesn't need to be malicious to be a lie.

Anyway, while I don't have any of the main Dragonlance game books, I do have the 2e Dragonlance MC Appendix. In the entry on kender, it reads: If caught red-handed with another's property, they offer an amazing range of excuses: I forgot I had it. I found it. I was afraid someone else would take it. More often than not, kender believe their excuses to be the truth.

So I amend my statement to say "they either lie about it or lie so well that they believe their lies and have lost touch with reality, and thus may qualify for an insanity plea, should they be ever brought to trial." Either way, "compulsive liar" is not a good trait, and yet the paragraph goes on to say that there are no evil kender. Of course, the MC entry says their mostly lawful(!) neutral or chaotic neutral.

Oddly, right above the aforementioned section, the entry says "Kender do not steal for the sake of profit, since they have little concept of value; they are just as happy with a chunk of purple glass as they are with a glittering diamond" while a few paragraphs earlier it also says "In fact, most kender find an enemy occupation to be a tremendous boost to the local economy, since the invaders always bring such interesting things for the kender to 'handle.'" This is what I meant by hypocrisy in their entry. They either look at an occupation as a source of things to steal or a source of wealth, or they don't think they're stealing anything and have no concept of value.


Also from the entry: "The kender's most effective defense is their ability to enrage opponents by taunting them with verbal abuse. Any creature taunted by a kender for one full round must roll a successful saving throw vs. spell or attack wildly for 1d10 rounds at a -2 penalty to attack rolls and a +2 penalty to Armor Class." As an aside, the entry doesn't say that the creature has to understand the kender's speech. How many languages were there in that setting?

If you consider that kender have to taunt for a full round--meaning, a minute in 2e--I can't imagine that they don't know what they are doing. Maybe they really have lost all touch with reality and doesn't seem to realize that "person or creature goes berserk and tries to kill everyone" often seems to follow "verbally abuse someone for one minute." Understanding correlation and causation is not their strong suit.

Now, I'm fully aware that a lot of the problem with kender is that they're played by people who like having an excuse to mess with their fellow players. I just think that, as I have read them, they are absolutely terrible.

I think it might be possible to redeem them. Have them either not be kleptomaniacs or write that they give away everything they pick up, and sooner rather than later. Have them own up to taking the stuff. Not "I was afraid that someone would take it" but "it didn't look like you needed, so I took it to give to someone who needed it more. If you want it back, here."
I don't think we have to rewrite kender (and thus history). Just dont use them in your campaign if you dont like them. I dont see why people want to erase things they can opt out of.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think all the ''complicated'' ancestries of DL can easily be done in 5e with a few traits already in the game:

Dwarf (Gully)
Speed: 30
Hardy survivor: Immune to diseases.

Hard to read: You are immune to any effect that allows other creatures to sense your emotions or read your thoughts. Wisdom (Insight) checks made to ascertain your intentions or sincerity have disadvantage.

Scuttle: You c can move through and occupy a space as narrow as 1 ft wide without squeezing.

Unassuming adventurer: Proficiency with Stealth and Improvised weapons.

Critter friend: Through sounds and gestures, you can communicate simple ideas with Small or smaller beasts. You can use a bonus action on your turn to command one such friendly beast within 60 feet of you that can hear you and that isn't currently following the command of someone else. You decide now what action the beast will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you issue a general command that lasts for 1 minute, such as to guard a particular area.

Halfling (Kender)
Speed 35 ft

Nimble fingers: As a bonus action, you can make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check to plant something on someone else, conceal an object on a creature, lift a purse, or take something from a pocket.

Deep pockets: You can use your action to grab an object from your borrowed items stash This object can be no larger than 1 ft on a side and weigh no more than 3 pounds, and its form must be that of a nonmagical object that you have seen worth no more than 10 gp. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus until you must take a long rest.

Pack rat: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity. Being encumbered never reduces your speed.

Jabbing Quip: When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can replace one attack with an attempt to deceive one humanoid you can see within 30 feet of you that can see and hear you. Make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by the target's Wisdom (Insight) check. If your check succeeds, your movement doesn't provoke opportunity attacks from the target and your attack rolls against it have advantage; both benefits last until the end of your next turn or until you use this ability on a different target. If your check fails, the target can't be deceived by you in this way for 1 hour.


Draconian
Speed: 30 ft

Glide: When you fall and aren't incapacitated, you can subtract up to 100 feet from the fall when calculating falling damage, and you can move up to 2 feet horizontally for every 1 foot you descend.

Natural Armor. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.

Hungry Jaws. Your fanged maw is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike. As a bonus action, you can make a special attack with your bite. If the attack hits, it deals its normal damage, and you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1). You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus until you must take a long rest.

Draconian Origin: Choose one of the following draconian origin's feature:

Kapak's Acid Spit
: As an action, you can spray acid from glands in your mouth, targeting one creature or object you can see within 30 feet of you. The target takes 3d10 acid damage unless it succeeds on a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier + your proficiency bonus. This damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 11th level (4d10) and 17th level (5d10). You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Baaz's Stony Hide: When you take damage, you can use your reaction to roll a d12. Add your Constitution modifier to the number rolled, and reduce the damage by that total. You can use this trait a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Bozak's Sorcery: You learn two cantrip of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for these spells. In addition, when you fall to 0 hp, you immediately use a cantrip against the creature that dropped you to 0 hp, if they are within range.
 

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