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

Raunalyn

Adventurer
I think the post Fifth Age Afflicted Kender are actually a wonderful addition to the game. The child-like, curious, and cheerful eternal children have their innocence stripped of them and understand the meaning of fear? That is tragic!

I really didn't like much from the Age of Mortals, nor did I like what happened during the War of Souls, but I did like the Afflicted Kender.

Also, I was a big fan of Taladas, and I would love to see how they move that continent forward post War of the Lance.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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?
What would I want from 5e Dragonlance? 5e Dark Sun of course! :p

Seriously, though, I'd want...

1. Four new Dragonborn subraces that don't have breath weapons, but do have the death abilities from the books.
2. I'd want playable Minotaurs and Irda.
3. Three Wizard subclasses representing the three moons.
4. Two fighter Solomnic knight subclasses.
5. One Paladin Knight of the Rose(Oath of the Rose) Subclass that converts Knight of the Crown and/or Sword levels over to Rose.
6. Stats for greater and lesser Dragonlances.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What would I want from 5e Dragonlance? 5e Dark Sun of course! :p
😂 hopefully we both get what we want!
Seriously, though, I'd want...

1. Four new Dragonborn subraces that don't have breath weapons, but do have the death abilities from the books.
2. I'd want playable Minotaurs and Irda.
3. Three Wizard subclasses representing the three moons.
4. Two fighter Solomnic knight subclasses.
5. One Paladin Knight of the Rose(Oath of the Rose) Subclass that converts Knight of the Crown and/or Sword levels over to Rose.
6. Stats for greater and lesser Dragonlances.
Interesting. I’m not sure how the Paladin thing would work, though. What about a cross class subclass for the Knights?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
😂 hopefully we both get what we want!
Thanks! Me, too!
Interesting. I’m not sure how the Paladin thing would work, though. What about a cross class subclass for the Knights?
The original Knights of the Rose were a Paladinish class. Basically Knights with limited clerical spellcasting if I remember correctly. I just figured a Paladin oath would best represent that.
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Thanks! Me, too!

The original Knights of the Rose were a Paladinish class. Basically Knights with limited clerical spellcasting if I remember correctly. I just figured a Paladin oath would best represent that.
That'd work well. Though you could also make it a Fighter Subclass with some Divine Spellcasting like a "Divine Knight" instead of Eldritch Knight...

That said. I really like the idea that a level 7 Fighter Knight who becomes a Paladin of the Rose at level 8 becomes a level 8 Paladin level 0 Fighter.

Also I made a thread similar to this one for Dark Sun if you wanna pop on there to talk about what you want in a DS Update.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That'd work well. Though you could also make it a Fighter Subclass with some Divine Spellcasting like a "Divine Knight" instead of Eldritch Knight...

That said. I really like the idea that a level 7 Fighter Knight who becomes a Paladin of the Rose at level 8 becomes a level 8 Paladin level 0 Fighter.

Also I made a thread similar to this one for Dark Sun if you wanna pop on there to talk about what you want in a DS Update.
Yeah. Back in 1e that's kind of how it worked.........I think. I think if you got promoted to Rose you converted over.
 

My idea for the Knights of Solomnia was a forking Paladin oath called Oath of the Measure. Third level you become a Knight of the Crown, seventh level you can stay Crown or switch to Knight of the Sword, and at fifteenth level you can stay Crown or Sword, or a Sword Knight can switch to Knight of the Rose.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
I will strike a discordant note in what has mostly been a reasonable (if not helpful thread).

I don't want to see a Krynn setting beyond the bare necessity necessary to run the classic War of the Lance campaign. Because that's DragonLance. The rest is just the echo of what was; trying to milk the real thing for the last of its juices, long after the ripe oranges had been squeezed almost dry.

I want to see DL1-14 re-done and completely revised for 5e with new art, new maps -- and even entirely new encounters. Not converted -- but REVISED. I want to see a dramatic refresh of the classic campaign for a generation that isn't familiar with the original modules or the novels.

In short, nothing here for any of us to play in and be much surprised by, only to DM it for unsuspecting new gamers who come to the tale tabula rasa. After all, it's been 37 years.

I am already doing exactly this for the only unsuspecting group of gamers I could find: my family. In 37 years, they are the only ones I have been able to find who want to play the classic campaign who have no idea what it is about.

So I got to work in Photoshop and FoundryVTT during Covid -- and I am telling this story for them on our home network. Everyone has their own desktop computer. So that works for us.

The classic DL campaign is an experience a new generation deserves. Serve that goal - because that's the one that actually matters. Throw everything else suggested above into the fire. We already have material for that.

You are talking about supporting sequel adventures when the main tale is the one that needs to refreshed and re-told to a new generation.

DLS1.jpg



DLS2.jpg


DLS3.jpg


DLS4.jpg


DLS5.jpg


DLS6.jpg
 
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Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Hell yeah. I think that what sets DL apart, and what a lot of people miss entirely, is that it is a setting of tragic heroism, redemption and falls from grace, and romantic ideals that would fit in an Arthurian tale.
You are, of course, entirely correct in this view and assessment of DragonLance.

But there is a reason for that and how that element emerges in the narrative of the tale. DragonLance is not simply a story that takes place in a setting, it is a story that involves characters with pre-existing relationships. It is "the Star Wars of D&D" because of the familial bloodlines and their pre-existing relationships. DragonLance is not just a story about the setting or the bad guys. It's a story about the good guys, in a way that no other Adv Path really has been since. And that's the problem.

There are a lot of gamers -- the large if not overwhelming majority of which -- find the idea of playing a pre-generated character to be anathema to their roleplaying experience. I cannot disagree with them about that. They are not wrong.

HOWEVER...

There is a reason that the romance and tragedy of DL can't be repeated without those pre-existing relationships. It's the lifeblood of the story; it is the bathwater you are trying to throw out. In order for it to work at its best, you need it. Yes, even if you hate it.

You don't have to do it with the pre-gens, but you are going to throw out that romance and tragedy without it. That's the part you need to square with and stop hand-waving it all away as if it doesn't matter. It does matter. It matters a lot.

For new players? The pre-gens work really well. The problem comes when they have read the novels and are making those choices; or FAR worse, when the DM has read the novels and is trying to force the PCs to make those choices. But if you stay away from those easy to avoid pitfalls? It works brilliantly for someone coming at it tabula rasa.

And that isn't us.

However, there are millions of customers who are not us. And it's been 37 years. Most new players? They haven't read them. At all.

No, it's not going to work for the vast majority of people reading this thread. But here's the thing: that's okay. The vast majority of us here are doddering old grognards. We are not the players to focus on. We're not the market for this 5e product.

We can, however, be DMs for it to those who are noobs, if we are lucky enough to find such an unsuspecting group to unleash it upon.

And if not? That's okay too. It's not about you; it's not about us. It's about the people who aren't reading this thread.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
1E Kender were really interesting because of their defining traits and the larcenous mindset with no understanding of monetary value was one, but the complete, total and utter immunity to fear combined with an inhuman curiosity was another. Both of these made Kender play like they really were an alien from another planet.
Unfortunately, it also made it feel like it was the same alien, every damned time.

By choosing what proved to be over-whelming personality traits that emerged during play and chalking them up to biology, they ended up defining the same character, over and over (and over) again.

The disruptive elements of kender can be charming to read about. Another PC who keeps stealing your stuff and insulting everybody under the sun? Much less so.

Nobody says that Tasslehoff Burrfoot doesn't have to be like this. But what emerged over the course of just about every non- Tasslehoff campaign since 1984, is that if there was a kender in the party, Tass was nevertheless at the table. Every damned time. It became tiresome.

Remove these traits completely from kender and make them unique to Tass. The End.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
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.
The correct metaphor is angry abishai. It was the spirits of those devils that were literally put into the corrupted eggs that created the Draconians in the first place.

The original idea for using the abishai for this was drawn by the DL design team from Gygax's article in Dragon #75. It appears on page 11, here: https://annarchive.com/files/Drmg075.pdf When you read it, it kind of suggests itself, doesn't it? An easy fit.

To give Draconians any free will to be other than evil was a subsequent retcon which does fly in the face of the premise of how they were created.

That was canon from the very start. It wasn't mentioned in the novels though - only in the module. The secret and methodology behind the creation of the Draconians was one of the spoilers that was deliberately omitted from the Chronicles.

So unless you read the module or played through to the end of the classic campaign, that fact never likely came to your attention.

And as there was far more fans of DragonLance that came to the setting through the novels (where it was never explained) than from the modules, it was easily hand-waved and retconned more than a decade later.
 
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You are, of course, entirely correct in this view and assessment of DragonLance.

But there is a reason for that and how that element emerges in the narrative of the tale. DragonLance is not simply a story that takes place in a setting, it is a story that involves characters with pre-existing relationships. It is "the Star Wars of D&D" because of the familial bloodlines and their pre-existing relationships. DragonLance is not just a story about the setting or the bad guys. It's a story about the good guys, in a way that no other Adv Path really has been since. And that's the problem.

There are a lot of gamers -- the large if not overwhelming majority of which -- find the idea of playing a pre-generated character to be anathema to their roleplaying experience. I cannot disagree with them about that. They are not wrong.

HOWEVER...

There is a reason that the romance and tragedy of DL can't be repeated without those pre-existing relationships. It's the lifeblood of the story; it is the bathwater you are trying to throw out. In order for it to work at its best, you need it. Yes, even if you hate it.

You don't have to do it with the pre-gens, but you are going to throw out that romance and tragedy without it. That's the part you need to square with and stop hand-waving it all away as if it doesn't matter. It does matter. It matters a lot.

For new players? The pre-gens work really well. The problem comes when they have read the novels and are making those choices; or FAR worse, when the DM has read the novels and is trying to force the PCs to make those choices. But if you stay away from those easy to avoid pitfalls? It works brilliantly for someone coming at it tabula rasa.

And that isn't us.

However, there are millions of customers who are not us. And it's been 37 years. Most new players? They haven't read them. At all.

No, it's not going to work for the vast majority of people reading this thread. But here's the thing: that's okay. The vast majority of us here are doddering old grognards. We are not the players to focus on. We're not the market for this 5e product.

We can, however, be DMs for it to those who are noobs, if we are lucky enough to find such an unsuspecting group to unleash it upon.

And if not? That's okay too. It's not about you; it's not about us. It's about the people who aren't reading this thread.
I don't see why Players who know nothing about the characters other than what is established in the pre-gens would have more romance and relationships between those characters in play than with characters they created and played themselves.

A lot more could be done to help character creation establish these backstories, subsystems can be created, you could use something along the lines of Backstory Cards, but better because it would be tailored to the setting.

But the only way I necessarily would bring more to playing Tanis Half-elven than I would to playing a character I made myself is if I'd read the books - but if I've done that and I then play the character I'm basically just engaging in fan fiction.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
I don't see why Players who know nothing about the characters other than what is established in the pre-gens would have more romance and relationships between those characters in play than with characters they created and played themselves.

A lot more could be done to help character creation establish these backstories, subsystems can be created, you could use something along the lines of Backstory Cards, but better because it would be tailored to the setting.

But the only way I necessarily would bring more to playing Tanis Half-elven than I would to playing a character I made myself is if I'd read the books - but if I've done that and I then play the character I'm basically just engaging in fan fiction.
Because the pre-gens' background establishes:

Goldmoon and Riverwind are lovers with a tragic backstory that sets the stage for DL-1;
Caramon and Raistlin are twin brothers;
Tanis and Kitiara are ex-lovers;
Tanis and Laurana are ALSO ex-lovers;
Tanis and Gilthanas used to be best friends and foster-brothers, until, yanno, he boinked Gilthanas' sister, Laurana;
Solostaran is Tanis foster-Father -- who he now hates, because, boinking his little Princess wasn't cool;
Kitiara is Caramon and Raistlin's sister;
Kitiara is the sparring partner and good friend of Sturm;
Kitiara IS THE BBEG.

"Why are the pre-gens important; what do they add to the story that our own PCs could not add?"

Seriously?

There are 29 published FRPG Paizo Adv Paths where there are no pre-gens with a background. 32 if you include the ones from Dungeon. Perhaps you should go play one of those instead?
 
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Hussar

Legend
@Steel_Wind - it's been a dogs age since I read the original Chronicles, but, I was pretty sure the whole "corrupted dragon eggs" thing was in the books. Or am I just mixing up what I read? Wasn't there a whole thing where Gilthanis and that silver dragon go under Nerika (sp) and find the good dragon eggs and learn where draconians come from?

But, yeah, if we keep draconians as essentially demons and not natural in any way, then all the problems with them go away. No one cares if demons are bad. They're SUPPOSED to be bad.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
@Steel_Wind - it's been a dogs age since I read the original Chronicles, but, I was pretty sure the whole "corrupted dragon eggs" thing was in the books. Or am I just mixing up what I read? Wasn't there a whole thing where Gilthanis and that silver dragon go under Nerika (sp) and find the good dragon eggs and learn where draconians come from?

But, yeah, if we keep draconians as essentially demons and not natural in any way, then all the problems with them go away. No one cares if demons are bad. They're SUPPOSED to be bad.
You might be right - been more than 2 decades since I read DoWN as well (though I am re-listening to DoAT now though).

[Funny, it seems to hold up better in the new audio book version than the last time I read it -- which was 15 or so years ago and I remembered it as being far more awful than it sounds like now.

Don't get me wrong; GRRM or Rothfuss it isn't. And the first book, in particular, is poorly written. Weis gets better as she becomes a more experienced author. I am sure that if she re-wrote the original Chronicles now, they would be MUCH better.]

It might be the only thing that was omitted was Silvara and Gilthanas getting the good dragons back? To be honest - I might have misremembered that too. Anyways, we don't have to guess - there's a novel with that information inside it :) I'll probably get to it later this summer if someone doesn't authoritatively remind us both before that.

I'm pretty sure that Dracart's whole opening of the gate to the Abyss to let the spirits of the Abishai in was not in the novel though. shrug Well, maybe "sure" is the wrong word :)

Hmm. I do remember some text talking about a big blob of dragon spit though. I had thought that description was in the module, but I might be wrong about that, too. So many books -- so many years!
 

Because the pre-gens' background establishes:

Goldmoon and Riverwind are lovers with a tragic backstory that sets the stage for DL-1;
Caramon and Raistlin are twin brothers;
Tanis and Kitiara are ex-lovers;
Tanis and Laurana are ALSO ex-lovers;
Tanis and Gilthanas used to be best friends and foster-brothers, until, yanno, he boinked Gilthanas' sister, Laurana;
Solostaran is Tanis foster-Father -- who he now hates, because, boinking his little Princess wasn't cool;
Kitiara is Caramon and Raistlin's sister;
Kitiara is the sparring partner and good friend of Sturm;
Kitiara IS THE BBEG.

"Why are the pre-gens important; what do they add to the story that our own PCs could not add?"

Seriously?
Yes. It is perfectly possible for players to come up with these kind of backstories themselves. I've seen it dones. It is also possible to design subsystems to facilitate such.

There are 29 published FRPG Paizo Adv Paths where there are no pre-gens with a background. 32 if you include the ones from Dungeon. Perhaps you should go play one of those instead?
Look this is just a discussion about the hypothetical release of a future product. Please consider what you are trying to accomplish with this kind of tone.
 


Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Yes. It is perfectly possible for players to come up with these kind of backstories themselves. I've seen it dones. It is also possible to design subsystems to facilitate such. (And will generally work better and drive more engagement when they do).


Look this is just a discussion about the hypothetical release of a future product. Please consider what you are trying to accomplish with this kind of tone and attitude.
I have seen it done and I haven't seen it work. I have seen attempts, and they appear to be paying lip service to the premise -- it doesn't really address the underlying realities.

While your comment about tone and attitude is not wrong -- I would gently point out that you provoked it with the quote "I'm basically just engaging in fan fiction". If you can't see how that is throwing down the gauntlet, you might want to re-examine your own comments in the same light you have shone on my response and take some time to reflect.

I think the bottom line is that you don't want to play a pre-gen. I get it. I think the other bottom line is that the story simply isn't as good without them. You disagree -- and I think you're dead wrong about that and you are kidding yourself.

There isn't much that you are going to be able to say to convince me otherwise.

The other point, however, is that it doesn't matter much. There's no going back. If you've read it, you've read it. The campaign will never be the same as it otherwise could have been. The possibility to shoot that virgin bullet has left the chamber. It doesn't go back in the casing no matter what we might prefer.

That is, however, a very different point than the one I was making, namely, that WotC is better off aiming a new product at new players who haven't read it -- and just repackage what they have focusing on them. To the extent that old players might find it attractive to play a completely revised module using whatever character they want - they can go for it and do what they want to do.

But given the passage of time and the now large untapped masses out there who haven't been exposed to this property yet because they are new gamers (and weren't even alive in the mid-80s) -- keeping grognards happy shouldn't be a priority of WotC.
 

Faolyn

Hero
There is a reason that the romance and tragedy of DL can't be repeated without those pre-existing relationships. It's the lifeblood of the story; it is the bathwater you are trying to throw out. In order for it to work at its best, you need it. Yes, even if you hate it.
I can easily see the book including guidelines on creating relationships or even including random relationship tables.
 

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