D&D fans are all abuzz for the Fifth Edition’s return to Dragonlance– a fan favorite setting that pits adventurers in a world ready to go to war. But this time around, Wizards of the Coast has more to show than just a tome of adventures. Instead, they’re going all-in on the setting with multiple ways to enjoy the darker fantasy of Krynn.
“For Fifth Edition, we’re really focusing on [Dragonlance’s] most iconic time period- the War of the Lance”, says Wes Schneider, Lead Designer for the game’s Adventure Book, Shadow of the Dragon Queen.
The way they’re doing this with a multiple-prong approach to the Dragonlance setting. The first of these is with the tried-and-true D&D method of an adventure book, guiding your player characters from humble beginnings to the horrors of dragon-based warfare.
Shadow of the Dragon Queen: It’s Time For War
I mean, it’s a tale as old as time- your adventurers find their way to the friendly village of Vogler, but it’s not going to be friendly for long. The Dragon Army is advancing on Solamnia, and unfortunately Vogler is one of the first settlements standing in their way.
This tale is also spectacularly told in typical D&D fashion. A glorious two-page spread of the Dragon Army kicks off one of the chapters, setting the tone that life isn’t going to be all fishing jamborees and ham pies for much longer.
Wes confirmed that while Dragonlance fans might recognize some of the names showing up in the adventure, you weren’t going to be playing second fiddle to them. Instead, this is a story about your character and how they get roped into the War of The Lance.
While he was light on plot details for Shadow of The Dragon Queen, he still shared one interesting part of the book fans are going to be eager to include in their campaigns. This was the terrifying Gnome Flinger- another returning face for Dragonlance fans.
“A group of Gnomes in the setting are Gnomes of Mount Nevermind, which are known as Tinkerers. They create these wild, far-flung, often dramatic, often malfunctioning, over-engineered devices. One of them, to their thinking: What’s the fastest way between two points? The one that gets you there via catapult”, Wes says.
Made by Gnome Tinkerers, this device is a great way to get from A to B as long as you don’t mind the in-between involving being chucked at high speeds. Landings aren’t entirely assured, so Wes even mentions to get a secondary device if you’re not prepared to land on your own, since the Gnomes of Mount Nevermind won’t volunteer it unless you ask first.
A Different Kind Of Tabletop With Warriors of Krynn
Of course, this was far from the only way to enjoy Wizards of the Coast’s return to Dragonlance. Alongside the release of Shadow was the new Warriors of Krynn boardgame- a fresh way to experience big cinematic setpiece battles from Shadow or even just to play on its own.
With different scenarios and tiles to represent battlefields, Warriors of Krynn has you not as a storied commander of the Alliance Forces- but instead the kind of main character who has the habit of being everywhere the action is.
The main mechanic the game revolves around are these big army battles. You have different lines for different types of troops, and it’s a simple game of outnumbering the Dragon Army’s forces if you want to draw Event Cards and turn things in your favor. Of course, all around it are the actions of your player characters- they have actions to spend each turn based on their stats.
While many previous boardgames based on D&D revolve around pre-made characters, that’s not so much the case with Warriors of Krynn- the game is encouraged to be used as an expansion to your Campaign experience, and you can add in your characters from the tabletop to this boardgame.
A huge part of how they work mechanically is the aforementioned stat cards. Different actions will cost different card stats, such as using your DEX card to loot a dungeon. Classes can also have their own masteries, performing stat-bound actions more efficiently such as with a Fighter and Strength.
You also have abilities you can use. After all, fighting with regular infantrymen is one thing, but what if huge vines or wildfires suddenly broke out among enemy ranks? That’s the value of having powerful D&D characters on the battlefield, and they’re among the actions you can do on your turn.
It should be noted that while you’re not limited by things like spell slots per se, you are limited by the number of stat cards you can play each turn. It’s entirely up to you on how you spend your cards, but you’d be wise not to over-extend yourself, considering how fickle the battlefield can be.
Of course, just like with regular D&D there’s some benefit to staying together- combat has been boiled down to simply rolling enough successes to pass a difficulty check, and having other players nearby means they can allow you to roll more dice or even reroll some, depending on the abilities used. That being said, you are still meant to be supporting a war effort- your troops won’t do well if the people making things happen are all holding hands in a dungeon instead of helping out.
There’s also the issue of Commanders. As figureheads of your forces, Commanders can have powerful abilities. But just as even the most powerful heroes can get scared, they’re vulnerable to getting Shaken- your characters will need to use various resources to talk some sense into them and bring them back to leading the armies.
As the party of main characters you’ll want to be smart about how you handle things. You’ll either be playing as the Commander’s right hand or that lovable loose cannon off causing chaos, as long as you can make sure to stave off defeat. Heck, innovative DMs are even encouraged to work the aftermath of these battles into their campaign sessions.
A Deal Worth Starting A War Over
If adventure and large scale battles are two things that speak to you, Wizards of the Coast has you covered. A Deluxe Physical/Digital Bundle for Dragonlance comes with both components of the Dragonlance experience, as well as a Digital code for Shadow of the Dragon Queen for use in D&D Beyond.
The sets will be available in the West from December 6th, and the Physical/Digital bundles for Shadow of the Dragon Queen will also include early access for the adventure from November 21st.