FAQs: The Dragonlance FAQ
by Matt & Trampas Whiteman
This document is intended to bring Dragonlance fans new to the Internet up to speed on anything and everything they need to know about the Dragonlance setting. It incorporates many of the common questions from other Dragonlance FAQs available online, and addresses topics that are not covered elsewhere.
General Dragonlance Questions
This section attempts to answer common questions and misconceptions about the Dragonlance setting, products and some of the events that commonly are asked about in the storyline.
1.1) What is Dragonlance, and how did it start?
Dragonlance is a high-fantasy setting developed by TSR, Inc. during the mid-1980s to support its Advanced Dungeons & Dragons product line. In addition to gaming modules which players and dungeon masters could purchase from the story and play using the AD&D rules, the Dragonlance line also featured a series of novels about characters that appeared in the modules. Today, the Dragonlance product line features over 100 novels and numerous gaming products, as well as comic books, a board game, video games, and other items that have been released over the years.
The story of how Dragonlance was developed has been recounted many times in various products, most notably in The Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles. Briefly, Tracy Hickman came up with the vision for a world of dragons while driving cross-country to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. With the help of numerous other TSR designers, and borrowing heavily from Jeff Grubb's home-grown campaign world, Dragonlance was born. To accompany the modules being created by the game designers, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman began writing the Chronicles series of novels. Since that time, over 100 novels and various other modules and supplementary products have been created.
TSR published the line using the D&D rule set until the mid-1990s, when it converted Dragonlance to the SAGA card-game format. TSR nearly went bankrupt in the late 1990s, and was purchased by Wizards of the Coast, who took over control of the D&D and Dragonlance properties, and moved the headquarters to Seattle, Washington. Wizards discontinued the SAGA line of products, but continued to publish the novel line. In 2002, a company called Sovereign Press, owned by Margaret Weis, licensed the rights to publish Dragonlance gaming products for the D&D 3.5 system from Wizards, while Wizards continues to publish the novel line.
1.2) Is Dragonlance a game? Can I play online?
As previously noted, Dragonlance is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons game. The novels are based on the game world, but have become much more popular than the game world over the years. In order to 'play' D&D in the traditional sense you need to obtain copies of the D&D core books—the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide, and Monster Manual, and find several friends to play with. Once you understand the basic D&D rules, you can begin your Dragonlance campaign using the gaming products and modules that have been specifically created for the setting.
If you don't have friends locally to play with, there are a variety of online games and campaigns, such as play-by-email (PBEM) and multi-user-dungeon games (MUD) that are set in the Dragonlance setting. In addition, several fan-created Dragonlance-themed modules and persistent world servers are available for the Neverwinter Nights (NWN) game. A search engine should turn up numerous hits for any of these.
1.3) Will there be a Dragonlance movie?
Yes. In 2006, it was announced that an animated version of Dragons of Autumn Twilight was being produced. More information is available on the official movie site, Dragonlance-Movie.com.
1.4) What is Taladas?
Taladas is the second continent of Krynn. Virtually all published Dragonlance products are set on the continent of Ansalon, but like Earth, Krynn has more than one continent. Taladas is located to the northeast of Ansalon. In the past there have been several gaming products specific to Taladas, and some of the other regions of Krynn, such as Otherlands and Time of the Dragon Lords. More recently, a Taladas novel trilogy series is being published by Wizards of the Coast.
1.5) Is there another continent called Adlatum?
The continent of Adlatum is a fan project being worked on by a group of fans and is hosted on the Dragonlance Nexus. Adlatum is mentioned officially in Tasslehoff's Map Pouch: The Age of Mortals on the map of Ansalon. Adlatum lies to the north and west of Ansalon.
1.6) Did Lord Soth go to Ravenloft?
Lord Soth appeared in two Ravenloft novels, and in 2nd edition Ravenloft gaming materials put out by Wizards of the Coast. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, however, maintain that Soth didn't go to Ravenloft. Ultimately, it's up to each individual to make his or her own determination.
1.7) Is there a Dragonlance videogame?
There are several. There was a Dragonlance game published for the original Nintendo Entertainment System in the late 1980s. There were also two strategy games published around the same time, called "Heroes of the Lance" and "War of the Lance" by Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI). In 1990, SSI published two more games: "Champions of Krynn" and "Death Knights of Krynn." These were parts one and two in a trilogy of games set in the Dragonlance world. Both of these games were released for the IBM/PC. The third part in the trilogy, "The Dark Queen of Krynn," was released in 1992 for the IBM/PC and Macintosh. You can find most of these games online using a search engine, or through eBay. More information is also available on the Dragonlance Nexus.
There are no current Dragonlance video games in production, although there are several Dragonlance modules and persistent worlds for Neverwinter Nights that are in various stages of completion.
1.8) Why there are so many inconsistencies?
Dragonlance is a shared world—in other words, many authors have written novels about the world over the past twenty years. As a result, some authors are not as familiar with previously published materials as those that created those materials, and some errors have crept in that way. It's also possible that some authors simply took creative license with their work and as a result there are discrepancies between various sources. This has lead to a debate on various message boards, newsgroups, mailing lists, etc. about what is "canon" or "true" versus what is simply incorrect.
1.9) I want to suggest a product or a book. How do I do it?
You should contact Wizards of the Coast if you want to suggest a novel, or Sovereign Press if you have a suggestion for a game product.
1.10) Is there music about Dragonlance?
In addition to the sheet music published in the Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home sourcebook, several bands have written songs. Two notable are "Raistlin and the Rose," by a Swedish band called Lake of Tears, and "The Soulforged" by Blind Guardian.
1.11) How do the other TSR campaign worlds (Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer) work with Dragonlance?
Depending on your view of the D&D cosmology, there are two possible answers. The first is that Krynn is in its own unique universe. If you accept the D&D multiverse explanation, however, Krynn is accessible by all the other worlds through magical means—there are published products that connect Spelljammer and Planescape to Krynn.
1.12) What was the Chaos War? The Second Cataclsym? The Fifth Age? The War of Souls?
Please read the novels titled The Second Generation, and Dragons of Summer Flame, followed by the War of Souls trilogy for a complete explanation and understanding of these topics.
1.13) Where did the gods go after the Summer of Chaos and where did the dragon overlords come from?
The appendix of the hardcover Dragons of a Vanished Moon does an excellent job explaining this. Essentially, Takhisis steals the world of Krynn from its place in the universe to a place that the other gods could not find. The Dragon Overlords come from an alien world of dragons and found their way to Krynn. The events in the War of Souls trilogy reveal how Krynn was rediscovered, the fates of three of the overlords, and the return of the gods to the world.
This section deals solely with the novel line, including where to find information about the various novels in print and upcoming novels.
2.1) How many novels are in the series?
Well over 100 at the time of this writing.
2.2) Is there a complete list of all novels?
Yes. You can find a list of novels and other products on the Dragonlance Nexus.
2.3) What order should I read the books in?
Many people express an interest in reading the novels chronologically; however, there is much debate among various fans as to what the "best" order is. One suggested reading list is available here, although a chronological listing and a listing by date printed are also available.
2.4) I want to write a Dragonlance novel. How do I go about doing so?
You have to submit your work to Wizards of the Coast and follow their writers' guidelines. If you're an unpublished author, your chances of having them pick up your story are probably not very good. More details are available on their web site.
2.5) When will the third Raistlin novel come out?
There is no planned third novel in the Raistlin Chronicles. In an email in May 2002, Don Perrin noted: "There is no 3rd book in the Raistlin Chronicles, I'm afraid. Or, more accurately, Dragons of Autumn Twilight could be argued to be the 3rd book."
2.6) Will there be another novel in the Kang's Regiment series?
It is highly unlikely. Don Perrin and Margaret Weis co-wrote The Doom Brigade and Draconian Measures, but are no longer collaborating.
2.7) Will there be a novel series about Taladas?
Chris Pierson is writing the Taladas trilogy.
2.8) What new books are coming out?
Please see the new and upcoming product list on the Nexus.
Gaming questions specifically related to issues about the D&D implementation of Dragonlance are addressed here.
3.1) Do wizards who take the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class have to specialize?
Wizards who take the Wizard of High Sorcery prestige class may elect to be "generalist wizards." The Age of Mortals sourcebook has a sidebar on this, explaining that you do not have to specialize, but you don't gain the benefit of enhanced specialization at 1st level. Towers of High Sorcery contains a revised version of the Wizards of High Sorcery prestige class, which clarifies this issue.
3.2) Will there be gnomish invention rules?
Originally, there was a section on gnomish invention rules in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting sourcebook. The editors felt that this was too much space spent on one race. The gnomish invention rules will most likely be seen in a later supplement, presumably Races of Ansalon.
3.3) Are sorcerers considered renegades by the Wizards of High Sorcery?
According to Margaret Weis, sorcerers are considered renegades.
3.4) Do psionics exist on Krynn?
According to Jamie Chambers, Sovereign Press will not be addressing psionics in Krynn one way or the other. The existence of psionics in Krynn will be left up to the DM.
Some products from AD&D 2nd edition, such as Unsung Heroes, state that psionics do not exist on Krynn. Dungeon Masters are encouraged to decide for themselves.
3.5) Can draconians reproduce?
Prior to the events of the Chaos War, no. However, as described in the novel Draconian Measures, female draconians have been discovered and the race is now able to reproduce.
3.6) Is a dark elf a drow?
In the Dragonlance setting a "drow" or "dark elf" is not a member of a purple-skinned, white-haired, underground race of evil elves. The term "dark elf" refers to an elf that has been exiled from one of the elven nations. Most dark elves are evil, since practicing evil acts is a crime punishable by exile in the elven nations; however, any elf that is exiled is termed a "dark elf" whether or not they are truly evil.
3.7) How are Kender, Gnomes, and Dwarves related?
While there is some debate over their actual origin, two of the three races were created when the Graystone passed over Krynn thousands of years prior to the Cataclysm. One explanation is that gnomes were the first race and that the curious ones became kender and the greedy ones became dwarves. There are other theories on their relationship as well, including an erroneous theory that kender descended from elves. This theory has since been disproved.
3.8) Which races don't exist on Krynn?
There are several races common to the other D&D worlds that don't exist on Krynn. This includes drow (of the dark-skinned variety), gem dragons, orcs, halflings and lycanthropes (werewolves and other were-creatures.) While there have been references to many of them in older gaming products and novels, this is generally attributed to the inconsistency problem inherent in a shared world like Krynn rather than their presence in the setting.
Message Board, Newsgroup & Mailing list Questions
There are a number of ways for fans to participate in discussions abou the Dragonlance setting. This section details those various forums and some of the common rules.
4.1) What are the various message boards, newsgroups and mailing lists?
There are numerous Dragonlance message boards, newsgroups and mailing lists, but the focus here will be on the most popular.
4.2) Are newbies welcome?
Newbies are welcome on all of the groups listed above. New perspectives on old issues keep the discussion interesting.
4.3) How do I get started? What should I do?
Find the posting rules for each particular group you subscribe to in order to familiarize yourself with the proper protocol of posting new messages and interacting with other members. Also, take a moment to read over some of the past posts so that you can get a feeling for what type of people you'll be interacting with. In other words, once you jump in, take a moment to get used to the water temperature before you start swimming! Once you've done that, though, then jump right into an existing discussion or feel free to start your own.
4.4) I see that the message boards are moderated. Who's moderating them and why?
The moderators are a team of volunteers who are there to make sure the rules are enforced and that things on the boards run smoothly. They are there to ensure that everyone has a good experience and to make sure discussions stay on topic, among other things. Any concerns or issues you may have can be raised with them either in an email or via a private message. Posts that you are concerned about can also be reported to a moderator to handle.
4.5) What are all the abbreviations people are using stand for?
Rather than type out the name of every product or author, many fans use short abbreviations instead. Some of the most common include the following:
4.6) Did I see an author on the message boards / newsgroup / mailing list?!
A number of authors do visit and post to the various fan forums. They give their time freely and willingly to contribute to the fan community. On the Dragonlance Message Boards, authors typically have the title "Sage of Krynn," and should be treated with the utmost respect.
4.7) Are there rules I should follow?
Each forum has its own specific rules. The code of conduct for the Dragonlance Message Boards can be found here, and directions and rules for the Dragonlance Mailing list can be found here. Additionally, there is a very long FAQ for the alt.fan.dragonlance newsgroup, although the rules are nearly identical to the other groups.
4.8) What is "canon"?
Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines canon as "an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture" and "the authentic works of a writer." In the case of Dragonlance, it is intended to mean what is "true" to the setting versus what is simply an inconsistency. As noted previously, in a shared world like the Dragonlance setting, there are sometimes inconsistencies between facts presented in one product and another.
By looking at the various sources of a piece of conflicting information and weighting them relative to their importance to the setting (i.e. Chronicles is deemed to be an authoritative work while Tales of Uncle Trapspringer would be less so), fans try to determine what is really true or "canon" and what is not. However, this is a highly inexact science, and there have been many debates over the years about what facts are and are not considered "canon."
4.9) What are spoilers?
Spoilers are a necessary warning that someone posting to a forum is about to give something away about a novel or gaming product. The idea behind their necessity can best be illustrated by an actual event that occurred many years ago at GenCon.
Like many other products, Dragons of Winter Night debuted on the first day of GenCon. Enthusiasm for the novel was very high, and many people waited in line to get their hands on the sequel to Dragons of Autumn Twilight. One enterprising fan bought his copy of the book, found a quiet corner and proceeded to read it cover to cover within a day's time. The next evening, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman held a question and answer to talk with fans about their first novel, and the just-released Dragons of Winter Night, which most of the audience had not had the chance to read yet. Our enterprising fan raised his hand, was called on, and blurted out: "Why did you kill Sturm at the end of the book?" You can probably imagine the crowd's irate reaction.
The moral of the story illustrates the need for spoilers: an explicit warning in a message board thread or an email conversation on the DL-L that the poster is going to reveal the ending or a key detail about a product that other community members may not have had the chance to finish yet (e.g. "Dragons of Autumn Twilight *spoilers* Pax Tharkas"). As a rule of thumb, when posting a new thread or email, you should make sure to include the title of the product and the word "spoilers" in the subject line of the post. You should also make sure not to give it away in the title, so that those who are intentionally ignoring posts about things they haven't read yet don't have the experience ruined by reading the title. In the actual post, the words "spoiler space" followed by 5-15 blank lines is also considered courteous just in case someone accidentally opens the thread.
It is considered common courtesy to use spoiler warnings for at least 3 months after a product is first released. In the case of a novel, this should be 3 months after the paperback release.
4.10) Are there any controversial topics I should avoid?
In addition to keeping things pleasant, the following topics have been discussed hundreds of times, and most of the "old guard" on the various message boards, newsgroups, etc., are sick to death of them. In no particular order, the following topics should be avoided:
Specific questions about the official and fan web sites and their content are addressed here.
5.1) Is there an official website?
Dragonlance.com serves as Sovereign Press' official d20 Dragonlance website. Wizards of the Coast does not have an official Dragonlance web site per se, although you could argue that the books home page is the official site, even though they do point visitors to Dragonlance.com.
5.2) What is the Dragonlance Nexus? Didn't Tracy Hickman have something to do with it?
The Dragonlance Nexus is an unofficial fan site dedicated to Dragonlance and Dragonlance fans. Tracy Hickman came up with the original design, and with the Whitestone Council, the Nexus became the official Dragonlance fan site (prior to Sovereign Press gaining the gaming license) and a haven for Dragonlance fans on the web.
5.3) Did you write all those books?
Every Dragonlance novel was written by authors employed by Wizards of the Coast, formerly TSR. People who have written books are Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Jean Rabe, Richard Knaak, Douglas Niles, Chris Pierson, and Don Perrin, to name a few.
5.4) I don't see any of the art that's on the books in your art gallery. Where can I find it?
We're not allowed to publish that artwork, which is why you don't see it. Most of the artists whose art is featured on the various products have web sites where they display their artwork; you can find links to all of their home pages here.
5.5) I want to email Margaret Weis or Tracy Hickman. Do you have their email addresses?
5.6) I want to join your staff! How do I apply?
The short answer is that you don't—people on the staff are usually people who have been very active in the Message Boards and have been noticed by one of the existing staff people at a time when we're looking for some help with moderation on the boards. We don't accept applications for staff members to work directly on the site unless we have a need for your help, in which case we'll post a notice on the site.
5.7) Where did all the fan fiction on the Nexus go?
As some of you may be aware, much of the information on the Nexus has come courtesy of the old Dragonlance.com site. Some of the material that was not transferred included the fan fiction originally posted there. The reason for not bringing the fan fiction over is really two-fold. First, the Nexus is a gaming-focused site, and it made the most sense from a site focus perspective to focus on gaming and related items. Secondly, the fiction part of the site simply didn't have the level of interest that the rules and artwork sections of the site did relative to the amount of material. Finally, the amount of work required to get many of the submissions into even a semblance of being presentable had started to take way too much of our volunteer staff's time, so that was the determining factor.
This item has been published here with permission from the author(s) and may not be reproduced without permission. This is a fan submission and its contents are completely unofficial. Some characters, places, likenesses and other names may be copyright Wizards of the Coast.