DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapters 10 & 11

Chapter 10

Darken Wood

The dead walk. Raistlin’s magic.

The traveling companions decide to take the risk and enter Darken Wood despite it meaning almost certain death (according to the mage click here for a reminder of that warning). They follow the trail into the woods for several hours without incident or fear. Then the sun starts to set.

They find a cleaning where they plan to rest and spend the night despite Raistlin’s objections to getting off the trail. His words, if you recall from the previous post  they should disturb, drink, consume nothing while inside Darken Wood. Don’t even cut down a tree. It could be bad.

The first sign of strange things inside the woods is when Tanis realizes his elven vision is no longer working. Normally he can see a red outline of living creatures in the dark, but it is gone, even from his companions.

As they set up camp for the night they notice they have been silently surrounded by an army of dead warriors. Each warrior has an eerie glow and appears with ancient armor and weapons. They were so ominous that terror set in! Should they run! Will the die before they get the first few steps? What do they do from here?

Raistlin gets the group to remain calm. He casts a spell that allows them to communicate with the dead, and learn that because of the blue crystal staff, they have been summoned, but by who or what?

Chapter 11

The Forestmaster

A peaceful interlude.

They had been summoned by the Forestmaster! A unicorn, at least by appearance, that has been on Krynn since the time of Huma, and could communicate in the common tongue.

The Forestmaster informs them that they know of the lizard men, they are called Draconians and claim to be part of the Order of Draco.

Sound a bit like Game of Thrones? Which were supposed to be gone from Krynn (this pre-dates Game of Thrones so George RR Martin borrowed it hahaha).

The Forestmaster informs them that they must be in Cat Tsaroth in 2 days, and if they can be they will receive the greatest gift in the world, but leaves it at that. But the only way to get there is to fly. How do you do that before airplanes? There will be more fantastic creatures in the next chapter!! So much more to come in this book.

DragonLance Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 4, 5

Chapter 4

The Open Door

Flight into Darkness

When we last saw the party in Chapter 3 they were running out the back door of the Inn of the Last Home.

Here they are fleeing into the night’s they try to answer questions about what is going on. Can they trust Goldmoon? Can they trust Riverwind?

Is she and the staff really able to hear people or is it all a trick?

Can the barbarians trust the party of friends?

As they find a place to hold up for the night as the town is being searched they try to answer some of these questions. Is the staff blessed by the gods? Is it a sign of the true gods everyone has been looking for?

All is going well until their hiding spot is found and the party may have to run again because they may have accidentally killed a few more guards. While we don’t get many answers in this chapter it does move fast and it does make us try to figure a lot out, and make us want to turn a lot more pages!

Chapter 5

Farewell to Flint!

Arrows fly. Message in the stars.

They have to flee again. This time they have to get out quickly but all of the roads are blocked by guards searching for whomever is hiding with the blue crystal staff.

The answer is to go across the lake in a boat…except Flint really doesn’t like boats. He has a crippling fear of them thanks to that time Caramon almost accidentally drowned him.

As they are trying to get in the boat, and argue with flint a group of Goblins find them. Arrows fly in both directions! Will Flint go or will he stand his ground and fight?

Raistlin shocks everyone when he casts a spell to solve the problem in one shot. As they finally find safety they look up, and notice something missing.

There are two constellations of stars that are no longer in the sky. That of the Queen of Darkness, and the Valiant Warrior. Have the gods of evil and good come to Krynn to fight for control?


Slaying The Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs

Slaying The Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons by Ben Riggs is, in my opinion, the ultimate history of the TTRPG giant as it grew, and ultimately was taken over. It starts with the earliest days of how Gary Gygax was really the driving force (although not the entire creative team) behind getting this thing moving.

Without those guys the table top role playing game world likely would not exist. They grew the company, they made it the place to be for creators to really just do what it is they wanted to do, which resulted in games we all seemed to want to play.

We know that ultimately Gygax and the early crew were basically forced out of their own company once it grew. This is really something that happens far more often than most people think. Some people are just not wired to run a large company, and that’s fine, it is a much different skillset.

The book also digs deep into what caused the company to essentially be dead. It was headed for insolvency and the game for some set of legal challenges that would likely have doomed it forever. So yeah, we may all curse and get upset with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro, but they kept it alive, and seems like it is making a huge comeback!

It was a great book, highly recommended. Check out the video for more info.

Greyhawk Adventures Book 1 – Saga of Old City

Greyhawk Adventures was a huge add on to the Dungeons and Dragons sets. It creates an entire new world to run adventures. It was pretty cool to play these adventures, and the novels were originally a pretty short lived series, with the first two written by Gary Gygax himself.

We meed the main character, Gord, very quickly as he is a kid and we see that his life is a daily struggle just to have food to eat. Gygax does a good job of giving us the backstory. We find that he is small, people steal from him because he is an easy target, they take his money, his food, anything he has. Gord gets angry at himself for letting these sorts of things happen. Gord, in order to survive tries stealing things and gets caught.

As a result of his theft he is sentenced to three years in prison, which originally Gord is happy about because he will have food people can’t steal from him in prison. It isn’t long before he realizes that prison isn’t the improvement in his life that he thought it would be. It doesn’t take long before he starts trying to figure out how to escape.

He does come up with a plan, one of the guards catches onto that plan, helps him escape, but then sells him into the service of the Beggars Guild, which will teach him a trade, but not an improvement either, at first.

Gord does learn how to make the best of things, but that is before the Thieves’ Guild and the Beggars Guild are kind of at war with one another. And as Gord has been begging, but also stealing he isn’t in a great place with the Thieves’ guild, they don’t like crossovers.

One thing he does learn during this time is how to create entire new personas which helps him as he is a thief, and after he manages to escape this world and starts to adventure around the world this comes in handy as he runs a series of cons for money in different cities.

Gord is a good thief, and great with his hands, so he is good in a fight. The book follows Gord on his first adventures, and that is pretty interesting.

Gary Gygax (and I am a fan of his career) is a fantastic world builder. This book does set the stage with a whole new world. What Gary wasn’t as good at was getting us in the heat of the battle and feeling the emotion of it. However, some readers prefer that world building, some prefer the emotion. It is up to you to decide which you prefer, and enjoy appropriate titles!

I did enjoy this book, as a teenager and now. There are others I like better, but this one is pretty darn good at setting the stage of this entire new world, and that is hard to accomplish for anyone.

Now, if you are fan of Dungeons and Dragons art. Clyde Caldwell did the cover art as well as all of the interior art (one of which is shown above in black and white) to be found sprinkled throughout the chapters. The art of Clyde Caldwell is simply amazing. What that man can do in black and white…just phenomenal.

Dungeons & Dragons (DnD), Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro, oh my

When I was a kid I was at a bookstore one day with my mother and grandmother when I came across this game called Dungeons and Dragons by a then not that well known company called TSR.  My original basic book is up above.

I have been playing this game off and on my entire life since that time. Now, there is something disturbing is going on between the community and those who own the brand name (Hasbro through their subdivision Wizards of the Coast). That is me with one of my very old modules.

Since the dawn of time the game has had the ability through their open gaming license for third party developers to build things to go along with the game for our enjoyment as players. And some of those third party groups are shockingly creative.

Hasbro is trying to change the rules (I’ll stay out of that for a moment).

Why would a company do such a crazy thing instead of controlling their intellectual property?

Because DND is just a set of rules of how to play. The game takes place in people’s imagination. The game gives guidelines, and it gives you mechanics but it doesn’t always give you scenarios. Some of these third party groups have put together highly creative game scenarios to play. That are highly entertaining, and some have made a few bucks at it.

Hasbro doesn’t want that.

Well, without all those third party guys, I would never have bought nearly as many TSR (now Hasbro) books and products over the years. So in a way the third party groups have propped up TSR (now Wizards of the Coast and ultimately Hasbro).

Why change something that is working and get yourself a LOT of bad consumer sentiment in the process?

No clue, but I bet there is a bonus for someone involved somewhere. But, it is going to ultimately fail. Because there won’t be as many side products that I will enjoy, and TSR isn’t innovating the way it once did.

It isn’t that we hate Hasbro, or TSR, or Wizards (ok maybe a little now), but we love the creativity of these smaller orgs.

Below is a YouTube video I recorded on this whole mess!!