Dragonlance Campaign Setting
Reviewed by Robert Defendi ©2003
Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion
I still remember the day I first saw the ad for Dragons of Despair, a Dragonlance AdventureÔ
, in Dragon Magazine. I still remember playing that adventure for the first time. I still remember when Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Autumn Twilight became the first fantasy novel to hit the New York Times best seller list. These are some of the defining moments in my gaming career.
So it only stands to reason that I'd be excited to see this revisiting of one of my favorite settings in Dragonlance Campaign Setting, by Margaret Weis, Don Perrin, Jamie Chambers, & Christopher Coyle. There was a certain feeling of trepidation as well. I thought that Dragonlance AdventuresÔ
had lots of problems. I never cared for the Saga System at all. Still, I sucked it up, forced my expectations low and opened the 320 page hardcover book.
I have to admit I liked it. It brings the Dragonlance rules nicely into the 3.5 game system. Prestige classes alone were something that the Dragonlance setting desperately needed. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves Dragonlance.
The book starts with the obligatory chapter on Race. There are some surprises, though. Fatherless dwarves (dwarves without a home), thinker gnomes (the "insane" opposite of tinker gnomes) and afflicted kender (kender who have had the spunk scared out of them) leap out immediately. Then there are the draconians. (When I was a kid we didn't have player character draconians. Draconians were the enemy and we liked it that way!) The irda have entered the player character arena, crushing the hopes of all the munchkins out there by presenting an official (and balanced) treatment of the race. On the strength of this chapter alone, I decided the book was worth it.
Then we enter Class-land. The Mystic (a divine version of the sorcerer) and the Noble base class are two pleasant surprises. There's a nice little boxed text explaining why certain classes (like the Paladin) aren't appropriate in Krynn. Then we move onto prestige classes, with a more reasonable treatment of the Knight of Solamnia than in Dragonlance Adventures (no week long spell prep times, for instance). Then we move onto the Evil Knights and the Wizards of High Sorcery (which are one class with plug and play powers). There are several other classes, the most notable being the Dragon Rider. The chapter rounds out with a nice selection of world-specific feats.
From there we move on to the chapter on Magic. If you've seen the former Dragonlance treatments and know 3.0 or 3.5, there aren't really any surprises here. This section even has its own domains, a la Forgotten Realms. While it might not be anything too surprising, it's well done. After that is the Deity chapter, which is more of the same.
The book then moves onto Geography and then Creatures. There isn't much to say about these, except that they bring some of our favorite old creatures into 3.5 (spectral minions, anyone?). Then we have a chapter on Dragons and Aerial combat (very important), and a final chapter on Eras of Play.
This book is very satisfying and I look forward to future supplements (which I hear are being done by Sovereign Stone). It is on sale this year at GenCon, but goes onto the market en masse on August 22. Look for this book and enjoy.
P.S. Yes, they did reduce the power of the Dragonlance to the level of an item you can actually give your players. Now the dragons are waiting in the sidelines, itching for a rematch with your players!
Editor's Note: Dragonlance Campaign Setting is produced by Wizards of the Coast and retails for 39.95 USD. Ordering information can be found at: www.wizards.com