The worlds of Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonlance

The worlds of Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonlance

The worlds of Dungeons & Dragons

Dragonlance is one of the best known locations for Dungeons & Dragons RPG. Many think it originated from a campaign born on the gaming table, as has happened for other settings such as Greyhawk, Blackmoor or Mystara. Instead Dragonlance was a real commercial operation, what we will now call a cross marketing operation. The world of Krynn, in which Dragonlance is set, can be defined as the first world created by TSR at the table.

The qui pro quo is often due to the memories of the authors who actually played , often together with their friends, the various adventures playing the first characters that have become mythical and probably also influencing the future development of some of the protagonists. Remember for example Margarte Weiss how her friend Terry Phillips interpreted Raistlin Majere in a unique way, inspiring her for the future development of one of the most loved, and hated, fantasy characters ever.

Dragonlance: the origins

The idea of ​​Dragonlance came to the Tracy and Laura Hickman. The two already wrote modules for Dungeons & Dragons in a self-produced way, modules like Rahasia and Pharaoh that will become very famous over time. Tracy had been unemployed for some time and sent several of his adventure modules to TSR, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, hoping to get a job. In 1982 he actually managed to land a job at TSR and then moved to the state of Wisconsin, where it was based. It was during the car trip that Tracy and his wife Laura discussed a setting they would like to develop: a complex, articulated world, with various characters and important places, a world dominated by dragons.

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They talked about their idea with other TSR authors and their idea was immediately much appreciated. They talked about it then with the management of TSR which however did not seem very enthusiastic. The project was very large, comprising twelve adventure modules, each featuring a different colored dragon. In addition, it was very expensive. It took some time to convince their bosses but in the end they succeeded. In their project there was also the idea of ​​supporting the new setting with a series of books. An innovative idea for the time. TSR approved the idea and looked for some writers who could work on the work. The results were poor, some say because the writers questioned did not know what it was a RPG, others because they argued that TSR paid too little. The solution was found internally in the person of Margaret Weiss who was already working for TSR editing and writing the Endless Books, a kind of game book. Weiss was enthusiastic about the project and together with Tracy she wrote the three books that made the history of fantasy literature: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984), Dragons of Winter Night (1985) and Dragons of Spring Dawning (1985). The novels climbed the rankings of Best Sellers, including that of the New York Times, which was unpublished at the time. Over the years the trilogy has proved successful and has sold more than twenty million copies worldwide. Over time, other novels have been produced, a bevy of novels, which, however, never reached the narrative apex of the first trilogy. Many volumes have also arrived in Italy where they have achieved great success but have long since been out of print.

Dragonlance: the Authors

The writing of the various modules saw the work of a team of very important authors such as Douglas Niles, Jeff Grubb, Michael Williams and Roger E. Moore. Group work was important given how far-reaching the setting was becoming. Suffice it to say that the adventure modules eventually went from the initial twelve to sixteen. The authors liked to participate in the drafting of the world of Dragonlance as they often and willingly contained innovative and creative materials in modules, especially for the time. For example we have as an integral part of the adventures poems, songs, the introduction of new races such as the Kender and the Draconians, new ways of representing dungeons with isometric maps, the use of a war regulation for large-scale battles and much more. .

The modules that make up the narrative arc are the first fourteen, the last two are miscellaneous.

Tracy Hickman, with Harold Johnson, Douglas Niles, Carl Smith and Michael Williams ( 1984). DL1 - Dragons of Despair Douglas Niles (1984). DL2 - Dragons of Flame Tracy Hickman (1984). DL3 - Dragons of Hope Tracy Hickman and Michael Dobson (1984). DL4 - Dragons of Desolation Michael Dobson (1984). DL5 - Dragons of mystery Douglas Niles (1985). DL6 - Dragons of Ice Jeff Grubb (1985). DL7 - Dragons of Light Tracy and Laura Hickman (1985). DL8 - Dragons of War Douglas Niles (1985). DL9 - Dragons of Deceit Tracy Hickman (1985). DL10 - Dragons of Dreams Douglas Niles and Tracy Hickman (1986). DL11 - Dragons of Glory Harold Johnson and Bruce Heard (1986). DL12 - Dragons of Faith Tracy Hickman (1986). DL13 - Dragons of Truth Douglas Niles (1986). DL14 - Dragons of Triumph Mike Breault (ed.) (1988). DL15 - Mists of Krynn Douglas Niles, Michael Gray and Harold Johnson (1988). DL16 - World of Krynn

Dragonlance: The Draftsmen

Surely one of the notable aspects of Dragonlance is the fantastic illustrations that allow readers to better visualize the world of Krynn. In fact, various designers under TSR were immediately involved in the project including Larry Elmore, Keith Parkinson, Clyde Caldwell and Jeff Easley who gave their contribution to the fame of the saga by displaying the various characters and settings thus also giving various interesting ideas to the writers. . For example, it was Elmore who invented Rainstlin Majere's famous hourglass pupils and his golden skin "" because it would look just great ". Margaret Weiss then had to find a way to justify all this in the novels! And she did it very well.

Dragonlance: everything and more

Dragonlance is a very important brand that has created an immense variety of collateral products. Among them we remember the comics, or rather the first graphic novels, which were published in five volumes by TSR between 1987 and 1991 under the name of The Dragonlance Saga: Graphic Novel. Then there was also a production by DC Comics in the period 1988-1991 and in the 2000s a series of comic book adaptations of the novels produced by Devil's Due Publishing.

Among the board games we remember Dragonlance Board Game produced by TSR in 1988 and again by TSR Dragonlance Magestones in 1990, a kind of Othello who exploited the name of the saga without doing it justice. There was no shortage of game book series: Prisoners of Pax Tharkas 1985, The Soulforge 1985, Lords of Doom 1986, Shadow over Nordmaar 1988, The Dragonwand of Krynn (One-on-One Adventure Gamebook) 1987. Several have also arrived in Italy thanks to EL in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series.

At least eight video games were produced, not always RPGs, sometimes strategy games.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance Champions of Krynn The Dark Queen of Krynn Death Knights of Krynn Dragons of Flame DragonStrike Shadow Sorcerer War of the Lance In addition to all these products there were also puzzles, miniatures produced by Ral Partha, calendars and Artbooks that exploited the beautiful illustrations of the most talented artists of the TSR . For many years there was also rumor of a film adaptation of the Dragonlance saga by Hollywood but in the end it never came to anything but a bad cartoon produced in 2007. Let's hope that the great success of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition may lead Wizards of the Coast to think of a new incarnation of this fantastic saga.

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