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OSSR: Dragonlance Campaign Setting
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ancient History wrote:
Well...that's the point. Dragonlance in AD&D was about a series of railroady adventures where you were strongly encouraged or required to play pre-generated characters (at least for the first few). Settings like Forgotten Realms are sprawling with lots of room for everyone to have adventures - and in fact, FR and Greyhawk specifically cater to a uniquely D&D sense of "adventuring" which is pretty alien to most novels. Gandalf & co. did not go to Dungeon Outfitters to kit up before setting off. a lot more like the LOTR in that regard. It's not that there is no player space, but the player space is subordinate to the novels, and the novels are not designed with any actual conception of adventuring as a cultural phenomenon in mind. It's right back to the medieval thought-process where somebody in authority gives you a quest, and that about sums it up.

A D&D setting that is built around heavily plotted (which this forum would say is a railroad) is not a bad idea. I actually do not mind games that are built around the "quest" concept. As long as the adventures offer a little dynamism in how you can get to resolution a linear adventure can be really fun and give the game real structure. D&D ought to have a setting that is narrative driven.

That said, any edition of DL should begin with an updating of the war of the lance adventures. Since the novels varied from the original adventures quite a bit anyway there is lots of room for alteration while holding to the overall structure of the story. Other era's of play in this setting tend to just be worse than that era and so NOT rebooting to the war of the lance does the setting an injustice. I own the 3e adventure path they developed for DL and it has the problem of venturing into who gives a shit terrority two quickly. A narrative campaign setting has to assume that important NPCs die either as catalysts to adventure, in heroic sacrifices, or defeated by PCs. The PCs have to be allowed to topple the status quo and then you have the write adventures assuming that your timeline has advanced and that if some things don't fit a particular table because they did/didn't Kitiara then so be it.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

souran wrote:
That said, any edition of DL should begin with an updating of the war of the lance adventures.
The main practical problem I have with the idea of running those adventures is that they split off into two separate, simultaneous quests at the end of part 1. You either have to have a huge number of players (old school style) and then split into two groups, or give everybody two characters.

I quite like the idea of running the campaign with lots of players, and only inviting the relevant players to each session (possibly having two GMs so you can run each group in tandem), but I don't have a large enough pool of potential players, and the ones I do know probably wouldn't go for it anyway.

Last edited by amethal on Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I concur that there are some structural issues with the way people play D&D now versus typical things when the original adventure was written. Sequencing the two "middle parts" so that players can both go to the eleven homeland AND defend palanthas would be one of the modifications that seems plausible if not critical for a re-write.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


As a foreward, this book really suffers from following the same format that other D&D books do. It goes races, classes, feats, and spells before it really gets to anything about the setting. As such, it does a poor job of selling the setting. From the way it's written, combined with some of the creators comments on the dragonlance forums, it's aimed at fans of the series, which seems like a rather poor choice. If your a fan of the book you don't need to be sold the setting, you already want to use it. If your not, this book doesn't really give you a reason to want to. Also the details given here are really sparse for role-playing purposes. There's not really enough to go on if you haven't read the novels, nor does it really give enough to describe and sell. Later splatbooks do rectify this somewhat, but if you weren't sold by this one, your not likely to pick up the others. (Also, I wish they had published a "Regions of Ansalon" book or something of the like. Something like that was really needed).

At best, you can dumpster dive for character options (and there are quite a few gems) but other books do the same thing, so there's really not much to make this book stand out.

First, it starts with the core classes, most of which are just some minor changes for how they work in dragonlance. There's two new base classes here, the Mystic and the Noble. Later books introduce the Master and the Mariner, but I'm going to talk about them here, partially because I'm not sure if I'll get to those other books for a while, if at all, but mostly because this would be a fairly short section otherwise.

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Barbarians: Nothing changed

Bards: Because healing magic is the province of the gods, Bards can't cast healing spells. Because bards really needed the nerf. Why they didn't just use the divine bard variant, I'll never know, especially considering there's already a god of bards. Heck it's not that hard to come up with something. Good bards follow Branchala. Neutral bards follow Sirrion. Evil bards follow Hiddukhel. There, took me like 10 seconds.

Clerics: All clerics must serve a deity. Other than that, the only real difference is that clerics without a holy symbol, called a medallion of faith, can't cast spells higher than 3rd level. Fortunately, it's impossible to take the holy symbol against their will and if anyone tries they suffer damage.

Druids: Must serve a deity, otherwise unchanged.

Fighter: Nothing changed.


I wanted to go with Mako Tsunami, but this fit better.

Why are you not a fighter? Seriously, that's what you'll be asking yourself when you take this class. This entire class is basically the fighter, but somehow worse. Hell, it might be worse than the Monk. The class has average BAB, Good fort and reflex, D8HD and 6+int skills. They have only simple weapon proficiency + tridents, cutlasses, nets and scimitars. However, it's only proficient in padded and leather armor. It gets worse from there, as it also gets to pick from a list of shitty bonus feats every 3 levels. You get a variant of bardic knowledge, as well as a bonus on balance climb profession sailor (to be fair, profession [sailor] is the only profession skill that has actual quantifiable use in an adventure. To bad it caps out at +5 at level 17). Finally, the classes main feature is Dirty Strike. You'll certainly be feeling dirty after using this shitty attack. If it hits, you deal an extra 1d4 damage. Woo... You can only use it on on a specific opponent once per day. And did i mention that they get a reflex save to negate the extra damage. And it doesn't work on creatures that sneak attack wouldn't work on.

This class got a remake in Legends of the Twins, but don't get your hopes up, it's only slightly less shitty than it was before. Maybe. It now has full BAB. But they reduced the bonus feats to 1 every 5 levels for some dumb reason. They now actually have proficiency with light armor and bucklers. They also get a bonus to dodge, but only when adjacent to an ally and fighting defensively. Finally, Dirty Strike no longer has a reflex save but now it takes a full round action. Also, since it takes a full round action, once you get your first iterative attack (which hilariously, now happens at the same level that Dirty strike upgrades to 2d4) there's no reason to ever use this again. Not that there was ever a reason in the first place. What actually happens if you use it is that the fighter starts laughing at you.

And all the while, your regretting your life choice to not just be a Fighter/Rogue. This class is shit, but it might make a nice coaster for my drink.


There was a webcomic thing I remember about basketweavers not contributing to a party. Anyone know where to find it?
This class is detailed in the War of the Lance sourcebook, but fuck it I'm also going to rant about it here because it pisses me off. Right off the bat, we have d6 HD, 8+int skills, Average BAB and good will. This class is clearly intended to be a skillmonkey, but then you have to ask the question, of why the hell you wouldn't just be a fucking rogue! There's nothing this class brings to the table that's worthwhile for a player character to be. They can't contribute anything to an actual encounter that other classes can't to better and easier. For all intents and purposes, this class might as well just be a fucking NPC class.
The actual class is based around focuses on four skills (craft, perform, profession and knowledge) and their specializations. As you level up, you get things like bonus skill feats (yay...) and the ability to take 10 on some selected skills, even in stressful situatiuons.
You pick one of four focuses. At 7th level, you get to pick one other.
Craftsman: For stuff like blacksmiths, carpenters, engineers and so forth. Picking this focus lets you make better masterwork weapons that provide higher enhancement bonuses (but of course you can't make actual magical weapons. That would be too much apparently...) or master work armors in a similar manner. You can also make items that give big bonuses to skills, which might be abusable but whatever. You can also make more money by doing Craft checks which begs the question of why this class is at all suited for adventuring. Whether loot & XP or plot focused games, there's no reason to not stay at home. The gear they make can be used by anyone and they don't get anything else, there's no goddamn reason to bring them along. In fact these guys have every reason to not come along. Congrats, you have a D&D character that has every incentive to stay at home. Hell, the guy this class is supposed to represent, Theros Ironfeld, is most noted for forging the titular Dragonlances, I.E. making gear for other people to use!
Performer: Get more money for performing. Make diplomacy and perform checks to give allies bullshit tiny buffs. Force a target to feel a specific emotion (charmed, rage, despair, hope ect.) Or you could just be a bard. Even the gimped bards would be better than this.
Professional: This seeks to cover a wide range of archetypes, like the fast talker, the merchant, the consultant, the scribe and whatever. Unfortunately, since none of these are viable characters on their own, there's again, no reason to not just be a Bard or a Rogue. At least one of the abilities this focus can get gives you a cohort...
Scholar: Be smart! Basically functions similar to the Archivists dark knowledge ability. So there's something that can contribute to a fight. But then of course you run into the problem of why not just be an Archivist and have the awesomeness of spellcasting on top of this.
In short, there is no reason for this class to exist at all. I know many of the protaganists in Dragonlance come from poor or working class backgrounds (at least the interesting half of the original party) but there are better ways to do this than this crap. You'll be pissing off the rest of the people at the table by playing this class, as there's nothing you can contibute to an actual adventure that a rogue couldn't do better.

Mystic: These guys are spontaneously casting clerics, like sorcerers are to wizards. With all the shittiness that is delayed casting. At least with full spellcasting it's functional as a class. Lorewise, mystics don't worship deities, but channel the energy within their own soul.


So, this class is also bad. Though like many bad things, there's a little nugget of a good idea hidden away in it. The Noble has D8HD, Average BAB, Good Reflex and Will, and 4+int skills. It can take one cross class and make it class skill, but all this does is serve to illustrate why cross-class skills were a bad idea to begin with. The one good idea with this class the Favor mechanic. Note that I say "Idea" not "Ability" or "Feature". The core of it is that you can make a Favor check to make people do things. You can request aid from others, get loans of equipment or resources, request entry into forbidden areas, and so forth. Unfortunately, it suffers from all of the problems of 5e skills. The DC ranges from 10-25 depending on the difficulty, cost, risk, or legality of the favor. However, it doesn't actually define how that's measured, and it gives no examples of appropriate DCs to judge by. Also you will likely never succeed on a DC25 check. The highest bonus you can get for this check is +5 and you don't reach that until level 16. It's a shame, I like the idea of this. The other class features aren't anything to write home about. You can give a minor buff to allies on saves, attack and damage, and another ability gives bonuses when you aid another. Finally, you can give people temporary HP. I like the concept of this class, and a long while ago I started working on a rewrite (which I should dust off). As it stands, there's no reason to not just be a bard.

Rangers: One change is that rangers can also chose organizations as favored enemies. Like the knights of solamnia, or wizards of high sorcery or the clergy of a particualar god.

Rogue: There's no changes.

Sorcerer: No mechanical changes. Fluffwise, uses internal magic similar to the Mystic. Though I guess that's business as normal for sorcerers.

Wizards: No mechanical changes. Have to take the Test once they reach high enough level or be considered a renegade.

Sorry for the long delay with this. I'll stop here for now, or I'd take even longer to get this out. Next up: Prestige Classes and probably Feats!.
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