DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 14 & 15

Chapter 14

Prisoners of the draconians.

When the majority of the traveling companions were taken prisoner by the Draconians Flint and Tasslehoff managed to remain unnoticed and free. They followed the trail in hopes of finding a way to rescue their friends.

They find a huge Draconian camp that was clearly celebrating some kind of victory, and therefore easy to sneak up on. They find, much to their surprise a Dragon in the camp! The Draconians were dancing and partying in front of the giant creature.

Flint is instantly scared, but Tasslehoff like all Kender are immune to fear. Tass notices something weird about the dragon.

The prisoners are indeed in the camp, all in a cell, but Raistlin poisoned and feverish, looks like he is about to die. Without the staff, there is nothing they can do for him.

It turns out the Dragon isn’t really a dragon, it is a little different, and while I won’t spoil it (warning the video below does spoil that bit). But I will say this, when you leave a Kender up to masterminding a prison break, it is both hilarious, and chaotic all at the same time.

Chapter 15

Escape. The well.

Death on black wings.

As they escape the camp the run through the swamp and find their way to Xak Tsaroth. They find a city in ruins and surprisingly Raistlin is the most excited at the thought of being here. We don’t know why but the mage is so secretive there has to be something in his quest for power involved.

They find a Draconian, the party attempts to stop it, but it escapes down a well. It alerts whatever is below and a huge, living, flying, breathing Black Dragon appears!

The dragon circles overhead, casts a magical spell that eliminates everyone sight, breaths fire before leaving, and turns Riverwind into a pile of charred flesh, with organs exposed and not long to live!

Is the staff powerful enough to save his life!

We find out in Chapter 16!

DragonLance – Dragons of Autumn Twilight Chapter 3

Knight of Solamnia

The Old Man’s Party

We find that Kitiara (the twin’s sister) isn’t going to make the reunion but now we also know she is a mercenary and probably pledged to something she couldn’t get out of.

For the first time in the book we meet Sturm Brightblade, seen in the painting traveling with Flint, who walks in the Inn, and everyone instantly recognizes him as a Knight of Solamnia. Strum is oddly proud of being a Knight. The knights themselves have fallen out of popularity as they have corruption issues in the rank and file.

He is accompanies by two barbarians in clothes recognized as those of the Plainsmen.

These two characters are Goldmoon and Riverwind. They are very proud people that Sturm found tired and hungry on the side of the road.  He brought them into town so they could find food and rest.

Throughout the chapter we hear again about Armies massing to the North. But this time we learn they may not be made up of humans. But given the amount of chatter it is obvious something is going on and there is about to be a war, but what kind of war? A war against all living things or is it something else?

As we progress the old man comes back into the story, this time telling stories to kids around a fire. We learn that Dragons have long since left the world and children want to see them (DragonLance did that before Game of Thrones so hush!).

The action really starts when the High Theocrat starts a drunken argument about the old Gods not being true Gods, he gets hurt, the mysterious blue crystal staff shows up (Goldmoon had it). It has magical healing powers that everyone is afraid of! Now the real brawl starts, our companions leave quickly out of the back of the Inn through the kitchen as the local authorities start the search for whomever was responsible for injuring the theocrat and using dangerous evil powers to heal someone!

The real story starts here as the party escapes out the back of the Inn through the kitchen! The authors brilliantly rocketed through character introduction, and combining it with action in these first chapters and thrust us headlong into a story that we can’t wait to experience.

Can a new RPG company come in and defeat WOTC?

The RPG community has a lot of choices these days. OSR, Pathfinder, WOTC, you name it there are choices. But, there is an 800 pound guerrilla in the field called Dungeons & Dragons which is currently owned and produced by Wizards of the Coast which is part of Hasbro.

To say that Wizards has caused some…stress in the industry lately is to put it mildly. They have done things that have made people angry, and not just a little angry, we are talking pissed more than you normally see people upset. Especially Gen X who is normally quiet on most fronts. It wasn’t just Gen X pissed off, but when you get them in the mix, you know you done gone and messed up. Especially when that group gets vocal…which we did.

Now, can another RPG company come in and take out that 800lb guerrilla. Maybe, I dunno, but we are going to look at it, and think about it together in the coming weeks.

First, let’s look at the version of the basic set I have. Yes, I know there was one before this, but this is the earliest one I personally have a copy of.

The book, for when it was published was pretty solid. Color exterior, some interior black and whites. And wouldn’t cost a ton to put together and retail at a price people would take a risk on for something new, and I don’t just mean the hard core hobbyists, I mean every parent with a kid would take a shot (that’s the real market that a company would want if they want to grow).

Would a book of these standards be possible to put together today? Sure, and wouldn’t be too expensive to buy.

Would it have a market?

I think in today’s market there is a desire for a much higher quality book, but that means, more art time, more art expense, higher printing costs, and therefore a much higher retail price. And if you are a smaller company, printing and taking a risk on thousands of these, and getting it wrong, is a killer. Sure, you can do a crowd funding thing, but that is for small runs, and people seriously in the sweet spot demographic.

Can a company that forms that way take on the 800lb guerrilla we discussed?

No clue, maybe they can, but if you really want to go after the big guys, you have to think big. You have to put together a high quality product at a price that huge numbers of people are willing to pay, and you have to do it in a way that attracts new people into the hobby.

I think there are some great small companies out there in the space trying to grow, and I hope they do. Can someone (one of them or some new company as yet unknown) really come along and take down Wizards of the Coast?

I certainly hope so, because I think Wizards is messing the entire thing up. I love DnD and always will, but I think Wizards is going to stifle creativity in the long term, and there is room for one or more companies to come along and knock them out of the leader spot in the field.




World of Greyhawk Novels – Rose Estes

In my opinion one of the overlooked authors from the TSR days is Rose Estes. She was a journalist as well as writing novels.

She worked for TSR for a while, and worked to bring about a series of books called “The Endless Quest” These turned out to be best sellers for months. Last I looked the Endless Quest books had been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than 16 million copies.

She has books in multiple series, and one of the names/authors I remember fondly from the late 80s and early 90s. Every single time I came across one of hers I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. She was truly one of the female pioneers of this genre along with Margaret Weis and others I’m sure I’ll remember and post about at some later date.

In the Greyhawk books you will find an adventure novel in the World of Greyhawk game setting. Greyhawk itself began as just a simple dungeon under a castle designed by Gary Gygax himself, but it was expanded into a multi-layered dungeon, then added a city, and eventually expanded into an entire world with some novels set in that space.

Please enjoy them if you come across a copy as I have.