Dragonlance comes to D&D 5th edition with the new release of Dragonlance Shadow of the Dragon Queen. The book gives some background into Dragonlance with a little bit of history, some character options, a level 1 to 11 adventure, and appendices full of monsters of more. The book comes in three different covers that you can purchase. If you purchase the book online through Wizards of the Coast, then you can also get the digital version of the book on D&D Beyond. There is also an accompanying board game that you can purchase that ties directly to the D&D Campaign.
In this introductory chapter, we learn about the background of Krynn and how the gods scorched the planet after some kingpriests aspired to become gods. Despite giving mortals numerous chances, the gods ultimately caused a great cataclysm that resulted in the loss of countless lives. This establishes the contentious relationship between mortals and the gods in the world of Krynn.
Following the Cataclysm, the gods abandoned Krynn, leaving it to burn. The Dragon Queen, Takhisis, slowly grew an army of Draconians and caused chaos and death across the continent of Ansalon. The result is a godless, post-apocalyptic world where the Cataclysm has defined much of its current state, including changes to geography, religion, and politics. Despite this, there are still devout followers of the gods.
This chapter also includes a timeline for the War of the Lance, as well as tables for languages, calendars, gods, and wartime rumors. Additionally, there are details for each of Krynn’s gods and an illustration of their symbol.
Chapter 1 provides one new racial option, details on two organizations, two new backgrounds, new feats, and a new sorcerer subclass. Most of this shouldn’t be new to people who have been following recent playtests released by Wizards of the Coast. These options add to D&Ds core rules, specifically geared towards the Dragonlance setting, though most of the options presented could easily fit any setting.
Kender Race Option
Gone are the kleptomaniacs of the past. Kender are small humanoids with a walking speed of 30 feet and have the following Traits:
- Fearless – a little bit changed from the playest – advantage on saving throws to avoid or end the frightened condition.
- Kender Aptitude – Gives additional skills. Replaced the Kender Ace trait from the playtest.
- Taunt – same as the playtest, ability to fluster other creatures. Causes a disadvantage on targets other than you for 1 turn.
Organizations and Backgrounds
The Knights of Solamnia and Mages of High Sorcery are both detailed, providing a page of details for both. Two new backgrounds are provided to tie PCs into either organization. In addition, for Dragonlance campaigns, all PCs get bonus feats at 1st and 4th level, selected from a limited list.
This book provides numerous feats that are specific to the Dragonlance setting, each focused on supporting Knights of Solamnia, Mages of High Sorcery, or divinely favored PCs in a “godless” setting.
Lunar Sorcery Sorcerer Subclass
Lunar sorcerers allow PCs from any world to tap into the waxing and waning of the moon. In the case of Krynn, its three moons are each tied to a god of magic and so are its mages. Lunar sorcerers are a flexible option, where additional spells lists and subclass features are split into Full Moon, New Moon, and Crescent Moon, and players can choose from any of the three after each long rest.
– SPOILERS BELOW –
The adventure runs from Chapters 2 to 7, taking up 149 of the book’s 224 pages. The adventure set in Solamnia starts small and grows with each chapter. Personal stakes are established while large armies clash.
Chapter 2: Prelude to War (1st Level)
Prelude to War provides an overview of the adventure and how to get players into the adventure through shared bonds. It also provides a table of pronunciations and an adventure flowchart, both of which are always great to see in a D&D book. For 1st level characters, it provides preludes, split into scenarios for divine, magical, and martial characters. There are three short encounters:
Broken Silence – Better understanding of their relationship with Gods, focal characters: Clerics, Druids, Paladins, and other characters with god-given powers
Eye in the Sky – Characters seeking membership in the Mages of High Sorcery, focal characters: Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, or others
Scales of War – Reveals the mysterious draconians, focal characters: focus on the group
From there, the characters head to the Solamnic village of Vogler for a funeral.
If you are a fan of the Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn board game, then you will be pleased to know that this adventure book is designed to be used in conjunction with it. After completing the preludes, you can play scenario Zero from the board game, which will set the stage for the rest of the adventure. Throughout the adventure, you will find follow-on scenarios for the board game that you can use to continue the story and explore the world of Krynn.
Using the board game in conjunction with this adventure book allows you to experience the world of Dragonlance in a new and exciting way. You can use the board game to add visual and tactile elements to your adventure, and to bring the characters and locations of Krynn to life. Whether you are a seasoned Dragonlance fan or new to the world, using the board game in this way can enhance your tabletop gaming experience and make it more immersive and engaging.
Chapter 3: When Home Burns (2nd to 3rd Level)
The characters arrive in Vogler, a bustling town that they have never been to before. As they explore the town, they encounter various inhabitants and learn about its history and culture. They soon discover that the town is holding a funeral for a fallen hero, and they decide to attend in order to pay their respects.
Following the funeral, the characters are able to participate in the Kingfisher festival, which is a time of celebration and revelry. However, their enjoyment is quickly interrupted when they find themselves facing an invasion by the Dragon Army. The PCs must work together to help the people of Vogler escape the invaders, making connections with each other and with various NPCs along the way. They must keep ahead of the invaders and use their skills and knowledge to outsmart them and protect the townspeople.
Chapter 4: Shadow of War (4th to 5th Level)
After narrowly escaping the invasion by the Dragon Army in Vogler, the PCs find themselves on the run and in need of a safe place to regroup and plan their next steps. They eventually arrive in the city of Kalaman, which is known for its strong military presence. The PCs quickly ally themselves with the Kalaman military in order to defend the city and protect those they helped escape Vogler.
As they work together, they learn that the Dragon Army is planning another attack on Kalaman, this time led by the powerful death knight Lord Soth. The PCs must use their skills and resources to fend off this attack and protect the city and its inhabitants. They must also deal with the challenges and dangers posed by Lord Soth and his army, using their cunning and bravery to outmaneuver and defeat them.
Chapter 5: The Northern Wastes (6th to 7th Level)
After successfully defending the city of Kalaman from the Dragon Army, the PCs set out on a new adventure. They have learned of a lost ruin in the wasteland, and they are determined to find it before agents of the Dragon Army do. The focus of this adventure is on the free-form exploration of the dangerous wastes, as the PCs must navigate the treacherous terrain and overcome various obstacles and challenges along the way.
As they search for the lost ruin, the PCs must use their skills and knowledge to avoid danger and stay ahead of the Dragon Army. They may encounter various dangers, such as hostile creatures, natural disasters, and other threats. They must also use their wits and resourcefulness to find the lost ruin and gain access to its secrets before the Dragon Army can get to it. This is a high-stakes adventure that will test the PCs’ abilities and determination.
Chapter 6: City of Lost Mines (8 to 9th Level)
The PCs’ search for the lost ruin leads them to a vast, ancient city known as the City of Lost Names. As they explore its various locations, they encounter numerous enemy forces and must use their skills and knowledge to avoid and defeat them. The City of Lost Names is filled with dangers and secrets, and the PCs must use their cunning and bravery to navigate its treacherous passages and uncover its hidden treasures.
During their exploration of the City of Lost Names, the PCs may have the opportunity to restore a legendary Dragonlance, a powerful weapon that has been lost for many years. This could be a key moment in the adventure, as the Dragonlance could provide the PCs with the edge they need to defeat the Dragon Army and protect the people of Kalaman. They must use their skills and resources wisely in order to successfully restore the Dragonlance and wield its power against their enemies.
Chapter 7: Siege of Kalaman (10th Level and Higher)
In Chapter 7 of the adventure, the Dragon Army has laid siege to the city of Kalaman, using a flying citadel to rain destruction upon the city. The PCs must use their skills and resources to protect the city and its inhabitants, and to defeat the Dragon Army’s magical weapon. This will require a daring and risky operation, as the PCs must confront both Lord Soth and the Dragon Army commander in a final, epic battle.
The Siege of Kalaman is a high-stakes and intense chapter of the adventure, as the fate of the city and its people hangs in the balance. The PCs must use all of their skills and knowledge to overcome the challenges and dangers posed by the Dragon Army and its leaders, and to emerge victorious. This is a climactic and thrilling finale to the adventure, and the PCs must be at their best in order to succeed.
– END OF SPOILERS –
The appendices of this book make up a significant portion of its page count, totaling 36 pages. These appendices are well-suited to supporting either this adventure or your own fifth-edition Dragonlance campaign. They provide a wealth of useful information and resources that can help you run a successful and engaging Dragonlance game.
Appendix A: Gear and Magic Items
- Fargab – Two-way communication device using radio waves
- Hoopak – The iconic kender martial weapon that has a sling on one end and a pointed tip on the other.
- Narycrash – Backpack device with parachute balloons.
Gnome Siege Weapons
- Boiler Drak – AC 15, HP 100; expels flames causing 5d10 fire damage. Can explode!
- Gnomeflinger – AC 15, HP 100; catapult for creatures to distances of 60 feet, 150 feet, or 300 feet and a high arc of 60 feet.
Magic Items (each requires attunement)
- Dragonlance (Legendary – Lance/Pike)
- Flying Citadel Helm (Very Rare – Wondrous Item)
- Kagonesti Forest Shroud (Rare – Wondrous Item)
- Mirror of Reflected Pasts (Very Rare – Wondrous Item)
Appendix B: Friends & Foes
Random Encounters, Anhkolox (CR 9), Caradoc (CR 8), Greater Death Dragon (CR 14), Lesser Death Dragon (CR 10), Draconians: Aurak (CR 6), Baaz (CR 1/2), Bozak (CR 2), Kapak (CR 3), Sivak (CR 4), Dragon Army Officer (CR 3), Dragon Army Soldier (CR 1), Dragon Army Dragonnel (CR 3), Wasteland Dragonnel (CR 3), Istarian Drone (CR 6), Kalaman Soldier (CR 1/2), Kansaldi Fire-eyes (CR11), Kender Skirmisher (CR 1/4), Lohezet (CR 12), Lord Soth (CR 19), Red Ruin (CR 10), Skeletal Knight (CR 7), Wersten Kern (CR 14)
Appendix C: Sidekicks
Six sidekicks are provided, using the sidekick rules we’ve seen in the past. These sidekicks start at level 1 and go up to level 11:
- Andir Valmakos – Human Spellcaster (Mage) – Chaotic Good
- Ayik Ur – Human Warrior (Attacker) – Neutral Good
- Hrigg Roundrook – Dwarf Spellcaster (Healer) – Lawful Good
- Iriad – Elf Expert – Chaotic good
- Levna Drakehorn – Human Warrior (Defender) – Lawful Good
- Tem Temble – Kender Spellcaster (Healter) – Chaotic Good
Appendix D: Story Concept Art
A few pages of concept artwork with blurbs.
Appendix E: Maps
Two pages of maps, the first being the Kalaman Region and Northern Wasters and the second being the Continent of Ansalon. The continent is also provided as a large pull-out poster-size map that is single-sided.
Overall I like this book, there is a lot of nostalgia for me from the 1980s as I read many of the books back in the day. I really liked the layout of the book, the art, and the design of the adventure. I recommend this book for any Dungeon Master out there that wants to get a little Dragonlance flavor as an addition to their campaign world or to run this as a new campaign for new players or fans of Dragonlance.
Players will also find some useful options in this book, including a new race option, but the other options are primarily geared toward running a character on Krynn. Overall, I think this book is a great resource for anyone looking to incorporate Dragonlance into their tabletop gaming experience, and I encourage all Dungeon Masters and players to give it a try. As always, the most important thing is to have fun!
You should buy this book…
- If you’re new to Dragonlance and want to try out an adventure in this world.
- If you’re looking to run a campaign that is heavily influenced by war.
- If you seek updated Dragonlance player options, equipment, magic items, and monsters that fit with fifth edition.
- If you plan to run a Dragonlance adventure that avoids the dominant Heroes of the Lance storyline, allowing for your table to create your own Dragonlance story.
You should stay away from this book…
- If you’re a player looking for an extensive collection of player options as you’d find in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
- If you’re seeking a detailed gazetteer of the world of Krynn. There are countless resources available from previous editions on DriveThruRPG.
- If you are looking to run a classic Dragonlance Tales of the Lance storyline. This adventure treads new ground but can save some time with its 5e updated options and monsters.
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