Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft

The 90’s were a lawless time. Hypercolor tee shirts, peace frogs, and Home Improvement walked the land, and our only hope was to hide behind our friends in No Fear apparel or the closest giant hair-do. During this bleak era, a game was release for the PC and Playstation 1. This game, like many before it, was a D&D game. However, rather than be set in Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance – remember, Planescape: Torment was still four years away from saving us all – it was set in Ravenloft. This was around the first peak of Ravenloft popularity. Sure, the setting was released six years earlier, but a few things happened to raise its profile over time. Knight of the Black Rose, the inclusion of Lord Soth in Ravenloft, was released in 1991, and I, Strahd, the first novel solely about that totally-not-Dracula Count Strahd von Zarovich, was released in 1993. More importantly, the film Interview with the Vampire was released in 1994. This coincided nicely with the rise of Hot Topic, which had an IPO in 1996. So, even though Ravenloft was released in 1990, it wasn’t until the mid-90’s that the 90’s new-goth scene was really taking off. So, it was a perfect time for a Ravenloft game to be released.

Get to Know the Death Knight

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a good slasher film or show. The slasher genre is one of my favorites, as it deals with a single threat (usually), a well-defined location (ideally), and the mythos is surface-level enough to give you the deets without getting bogged down (until the sequels). It also lends itself to genre deconstruction in a way that can nail the deconstruction while staying firmly within the genre, something not exactly easy to do (Scream is a goddamn masterpiece in this regard, and the TV series of the same name is actually pretty phenomenal. Yeah, both seasons).

Get to Know the Giants

Much like a robotic assassin from the future, I’m back…and I’ve brought giants with me. No, I’m not training them to the zone entrance where an AFK ogre is blocking the entrance. In a previous article about the kenku, some comments suggested creatures I should cover in the future. One of those suggestions was giants, as topical a choice as any, due to the recent release of Storm King’s Thunder. Full disclosure, I have not read through the supplement, so it’s possible there is some other stuff going on in there to which I am not privy. I do, however, have a lot of historical information and the basic 5e information, so onward we trudge. To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.

Tribal Knowledge: Playing with a Stranger’s Toys

DriveThruRPG, the DM’s Guild, and the gaming blogosphere are just the newest sources of the huge wealth of setting material that has been published for D&D, to say nothing of WotC’s extraordinarily deep catalog of content. In this article, I’m talking about the challenges of using someone else’s content, whether we’re talking about adventures or whole settings.

Tales of the Lance: The Dragonlance Nexus

Shawn: Dragonlance was the setting that really pulled me into D&D way back in the 80s, so I love all things Krynn. This week I’m taking a break from my Campaign Trail column to bring you a guest post from Trampas “Dragonhelm” Whiteman, looking at the history of the ENnie award winning Dragonlance Nexus and Dragonlance fandom. Take it away Trampas…

Sometimes, a story has an epic beginning. Sometimes, it’s fate. And sometimes…just sometimes…it’s sheer dumb luck, being at the right place at the right time, and having a whole lot of gumption. It was the latter that spawned the Dragonlance Nexus.

Brothers Majere: The Dragonlance Book with Lich Sex

When I wrote about Lord Toede ages ago, I shared what I considered one of the more obscure and outlandish books in the Dragonlance novel library. In talking with some friends, I realized that while it was certainly bizarre, I totally forgot about a book from the Dragonlance Preludes series, Brothers Majere by Kevin Stein.

Dragonlance is a weird setting. It has many things we have come to consider Dungeons and Dragons staples, but it maintains a decidedly low-level approach to most of its content and characterizations.There is a specific style to Dragonlance established in the primary novels and source material. These provide a sense of consistency and a thematic throughline for the setting. This is particularly important when the core team spins off the work into the hands of other authors and designers. Usually, such style guides are referred to as a setting bible.

The Hyper-weirdness of Dragonlance Villains: Lord Toede

This weekend we have a guest post by Colin McLaughlin looking at one of my favorite Dragonlance villains, Toede.

When I was a teenager, I had a job working at a now defunct retail entertainment store. Like any kid into fantasy and sci-fi, I spent most of the money I earned at the store itself, buying up movies, novels, and roleplaying game supplements. I had already read Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends many times over, but I was lucky enough to be working at the store when the annotated editions were released. I thought reading the thoughts of the authors and contributors was just about the coolest thing ever (it’s like a commentary track, but for a book!), and I couldn’t resist picking them up. As I was reading through the book, one of the annotations piqued my interest. It was an annotation by a man named Jeff Grubb, whom I shamefully knew nothing about. The annotation describes Jeff Grubb being asked to write a novel for the Dragonlance: Villains series, one featuring Fewmaster Toede. Now, as many fans may recall, Fewmaster Toede is killed by kender before the end of the series, as was captured in the short story Lord Toede’s Disastrous Hunt.

Dragonlance in 5th Edition – Player Options

Last week on the Campaign Trail I looked at what support is available to run a Dragonlance campaign in fifth edition. Since launch, Wizards of the Coast has been very focused on supporting storylines set in the Forgotten Realms. For those of us hoping to see official support for Dragonlance or another setting, we have been only provided with limited resources. I’ve been doing an inventory of what I would need to run a Dragonlance campaign using 5th edition rules and it looks like everything needed is out there, you just have to know where to look. He’s my collection of resources you and your players will need to create heroes for a D&D 5th edition game set in Dragonlance’s world of Krynn.

Dragonlance in 5th Edition – Campaign World & Adventures

This week on the Campaign Trail I wanted to take a look at what support is available to run the Dragonlance saga in Fifth Edition. Since the launch of D&D 5e, Wizards of the Coast has been very focused on supporting D&D storylines set in the Forgotten Realms. For those of us hoping to see official support for Dragonlance or another setting, we have only been provided with limited resources. I’ve been doing an inventory of what I would need to run a Dragonlance campaign using 5th edition rules and it looks like everything needed is out there, you just have to know where to look. People are playing Dragonlance campaigns using 5th edition rules, but for those of us on the sidelines, here’s my collection of annotated resources to get you started running adventures in Krynn.

Prestige Class: Dragonlance’s Solamnic Knight of the Crown

Prestige classes were introduced in third edition as a further means of individualizing a character. This month’s Unearthered Arcana article introduced playtest material for us to create Prestige Classes for D&D 5th Edition. I thought that testing out the creation of Dragonlance’s Solamnic Knight of the Crown as a prestige class would be a good way to try out this player option.