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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
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    I think its more likely that Kit did recognize Grag's skills and ability, and didn't want him to become a direct rival, so she lied about her impression of him. Then she spins it to Grag like she's doing him a favor, so she creates something of a debt he owes her, as well as giving her some leverage.
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    Makes sense. And of course it would also be to Kitiara's advantage to have an incompetent coward like Toede promoted to the vacant Highlord position, since he would never be a threat to her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
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    Makes sense. And of course it would also be to Kitiara's advantage to have an incompetent coward like Toede promoted to the vacant Highlord position, since he would never be a threat to her.
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    Right. And meanwhile, if she really needs to push her agenda, she can go around Grag and manipulate Toede herself directly.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Wow, who'd a thought draconians would get such a discussion going? Really fun to read everybody's take.

    Tragically, there are no draconians in

    9: Flight! The white stag

    The illustration for chapter 8. Hey, I found another one!
    Leaving the road, and the reptile man clerics behind, the companions break into the woods, and soon hit a game trail. They aren't being followed; Tanis guesses that their enemy thinks they're cornered, between the enemies on the road and the mountains there's nowhere for them to go... except Darken Wood. Goldmoon hopes they don't have to take that road, Tanis thinks once they get to the top of Prayer's Eye Peak, the tallest of the near mountains, they might find a way around.

    They take a brief rest. Sturm is a mess, pale, with blood drying in his hair and mustache, but being Sturm, he'll drop dead marching before he complains. Tanis asks Riverwind about the creatures, Riverwind says he fought them in the ruined city. Seeing them again was terrible, but at least he knows he isn't going mad and imagining the whole thing. Goldmoon is worried about the creatures saying they'd tracked the staff to their village, Riverwind reassures her that the tribes' warriors would have fought them off. He then thanks Tanis for saving their lives, and for an instant he's a thoughtful, warm person instead of closed off as usual. He apologizes for being ungrateful, "But it's all so strange!"

    "It's going to get stranger" Raistlin replies.

    After marching for a while, they're getting near Prayer's Eye Peak. The uneasy silence of the early morning persists, creeping out everybody but Tas. Sturm takes rear guard, but his wound is painful, and he's confused and lagging behind. His mind wanders through some of Tas' silly kender stories to the stories of Huma from his childhood. His mother fled to Solace with him in tow, his father having sent them away for their own safety as people turned more and more against the Knights in Solamnia. Not knowing any other stories to tell her son, Lady Ilys told him stories of Huma when he was sick or hurt. There's a bit of Sturm's backstory here, how he made friends with Caramon, and was taught to fight by Tanis and Flint, and how his mother, dying alone and alienated from the villagers she looked down on, told him to find his father. When the companions separated, Sturm went north to Solamnia, hoping to find his father, but finding only his ancestral sword and armor, the family castle a ruin, and the Knighthood more broken and hated than he could have imagined.

    Huma, Knight of Solamnia, had defeated evil long ago, and the Knights had been strong and beloved. But when the gods sent the Cataclysm, and the Knights couldn't stop the destruction of Krynn, the people turned on them. Sturm had vowed to return the Knighthood to glory, even if he died in the effort, but he can't see how to do that fighting weird clerics. If he could fight dragons like Huma...'

    Sturm looks up and sees, next to one of the trails up Prayer's Eye Peak, a beautiful white stag. It looks at him, as if in recognition, then tosses its head, and cuts away from the trail, to the southeast. Sturm calls for the others to stop, they are immediately solicitous, but Sturm wants them to look at the stag. Sturm concludes that the stag wants him to follow, just like the stag leading Huma home in the old man's story - But none of others can see it! Sturm gets angry, but Tanis, fingering the golden ivy ring in his pocket and of the elf woman who gave it to him and that he's been with one who has seen the white stag before, decides to follow the stag. Or follow Sturm, since he can't see the stag. Raistlin points out that this is still not the strangest thing they've done, and the same old man who told the white stag story got them into this in the first place. Tanis points out that they could have handed the staff over; they got themselves into this. Sturm, like Goldmoon and Riverwind must be chosen by - something. Goldmoon buys this argument and, accustomed to being obeyed, sets off. Riverwind, looking cranky, follows, and everyone else goes along.

    They leave the used paths up the mountain behind, and set off southwest. At first there are no trails, but within a few minutes they hit a broad, well maintained path. It's clearly old, but there are no signs of animals or any trailmakers. Sturm is moving at a hell of a pace, and the path is taking them right up towards the two clasped stone 'hands' at the summit that give the mountain its name. So far as anyone knows, nobody has ever been between them before.

    A picture of Prayer's Eye Peak by Munin from dragonlance nexus. If you're willing to include fan illustrations, there really is a picture of everything!

    At around midday, Tanis calls a halt, and he and Riverwind go to look back over the way they've come. Now that Riverwind's opened up a bit, Tanis is starting to like him. In no small part because Riverwind doesn't know about Kitiara, and so Tanis doesn't feel awkward about breaking up with her and then wanting her back around him, like he does with the others. They look back over the way they've come, and see dark shapes swarming up all the usual trails up the side of the mountain. The stag's trail may well have saved their lives but - there's no sign of the trail behind them!

    Along the northern horizon storm clouds are building, and smoke is rising to meet them. Many plumes of smoke. An army encampment. The rumors were true; war is coming.

    When he tells the others, they wonder whose army, and if the staff is really worth sending an army after. Raistlin says everything is connected to the missing stars, which Flint finds ridiculous. Their incipient argument is cut off by the reappearance of the white stag (to Sturm at least), and they set off again. By mid afternoon they pass into the gap between the two great pillars of stone; Caramon is grousing about lack of food. Flint wishes they could eat the stag, which sets Sturm off, but Tanis calms him down, and they set off again. On the other side of the gap the sun is shining and it's warmer, with green meadows lead down towards an aspen forest. Raistlin says that is Darken Wood. Sturm says the stag's trail leads right into the woods, and that, be they Darken or otherwise, he will follow.

    Tanis asks Raistlin if he's sure the wood is indeed Darken Wood. "How certain is one of anything, half elf? I am not certain of drawing my next breath. But go ahead, walk into the dood that no living man has ever walked out of. Death is life's one great certainty, Tanis."

    Not surprisingly, Tanis is tempted to toss the mage off the mountain, but instead declares he's following Sturm, but won't ask anybody else to come with him. Raistlin says he will come, but Tanis just offered them the Ogre's choice, "die fast or die slow." Tanis broods that this is quite true, he led everybody here, and now that there's not really any choice he wimps out and says it isn't his call to make anymore. And all he'd wanted was to get back together with Kitiara!

    Naturally everybody follows Sturm in the end. The enter the remarkably non-evil seeming woods. Caramon hopes they'll find some game - not stags! - but maybe rabbits. Raistlin insists that they do not kill, eat or drink anything in Darken wood. Tanis asks what Raistlin senses, Raistlin says there's great magic in the forest, but which only means evil to those who carry it with them. Sturm says that Raistlin's the only one with cause to worry, which makes Caramon go for his sword, but Tanis gets Sturm to back down, and Raistlin gets Caramon to cool it, and they set off again.

    Flint lingers with Tanis, and expresses concern that he's getting too old for this, and he never wants Tanis to wonder why that old dwarf is slowing them down. Tanis says he needs that old dwarf, because everyone else is so young. They both hope they can make it through the forest before dark...

    Commentary
    Hey look, it's another dysfunctional traveling chapter! It's a good thing that various nasties keep trying to kill everybody, because they'd fall totally apart given half a moment's peace.

    Obviously the big deal in this chapter is the white stag, which isn't so much a callback to the old man's story about Human and Paladine as it the same thing happening again. That suggests that maybe there's something to this 'great god Paladine' after all? Though it's clearly not Paladine who gave Goldmoon and Riverwind the staff, since that was a woman in blue light, and Paladine is male. So... multiple gods running around? Paladine is one of the old gods, who vanished after the Cataclysm, is the woman in blue light also one of the old gods?

    There's also Raistlin's instructions not to eat anything in Darken Wood. That, and the repeated comments about the dead in reference to Darken Wood, give a real underworld passage sort of vibe. This is a pretty solid bit of mythological reference, there if you care to spot it, but it's not beating you over the head with a tedious metaphor or anything. Instead it just plays on stuff you already know in an almost subtle way. The whole bit about the power of the wood only bringing evil to those who carry evil with them is pretty clearly a reference to Lothlorian and Galadriel, though Lothlorian more perilous than creepy and potentially filled with the undead. And the Fellowship didn't have anybody nearly as unpleasant as Raistlin along either. Could be quite a night. Or Raistlin's making everything up.

    Character-wise the most important thing is Sturm's backstory, which I think works pretty well. The bits about his mother's stories are genuinely fairly touching, and go a long way towards explaining how Sturm ended up Sturm instead of, say, Caramon, even though they have a lot of common interests and grew up together. Stories of Huma, the perfect knight and hero, were the only real tie Sturm had left to his missing, now presumed dead, father, so he patterns his entire life on living up to his idol, while Caramon is tied to Raistlin. Somehow or another Caramon still turned out cheerful though, which is impressive. Raistlin's been a bit grim before this, but he's full on bleak in this chapter. Maybe he's putting something together about the reptile man clerics, the army on the horizon, and the missing stars? Maybe he's just a depressing jerk?
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Sturm gets angry, but Tanis, fingering the golden ivy ring in his pocket and of the elf woman who gave it to him and that he's been with one who has seen the white stag before, decides to follow the stag.
    Is the novel implying here that Laurana is the person Tanis knew who had previously seen and followed the White Stag? If so (and given that the White Stag seems to be sent to help guide heroes on great quests) I really wish we had gotten more of the details on the circumstances of that event.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    Is the novel implying here that Laurana is the person Tanis knew who had previously seen and followed the White Stag? If so (and given that the White Stag seems to be sent to help guide heroes on great quests) I really wish we had gotten more of the details on the circumstances of that event.
    The quote is:

    "Though I have not seen the white stag myself, I have been with one who has and I have followed it, like in the old man's story." His hand absently figured the ring of twisted ivy leaves that he wore on his left hand, his thoughts with the golden haired elfmaiden who wept when he left Qualinesti.

    It's p111 of the Annotated Edition, not sure about the standard paperback.

    I'd honestly never really paid attention to that line before. It could be talking about Laurana, or it could be using the white stag in a very metaphorical sense, i.e. Tanis 'followed the stag' so to speak when he left Qualinesti. That's a rather tortured metaphor, but it seems as reasonable as Laurana having followed a literal white stag at some point. Or I suppose it could have been a different Qualinesti elf, which just puts him in mind of Laurana? So far as I'm aware, this is never mentioned anywhere else, so that's the best I've got.

    Also, why is he wearing Laurana's ring on his left hand (presumably on his ring finger?) if he's pining after Kit? The whole paragraph is weird.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    The quote is:

    "Though I have not seen the white stag myself, I have been with one who has and I have followed it, like in the old man's story." His hand absently figured the ring of twisted ivy leaves that he wore on his left hand, his thoughts with the golden haired elfmaiden who wept when he left Qualinesti.

    It's p111 of the Annotated Edition, not sure about the standard paperback.

    I'd honestly never really paid attention to that line before. It could be talking about Laurana, or it could be using the white stag in a very metaphorical sense, i.e. Tanis 'followed the stag' so to speak when he left Qualinesti. That's a rather tortured metaphor, but it seems as reasonable as Laurana having followed a literal white stag at some point. Or I suppose it could have been a different Qualinesti elf, which just puts him in mind of Laurana? So far as I'm aware, this is never mentioned anywhere else, so that's the best I've got.

    Also, why is he wearing Laurana's ring on his left hand (presumably on his ring finger?) if he's pining after Kit? The whole paragraph is weird.
    Tanis pretty clearly has more feelings left for Laurana than he is willing to admit to himself. He does a really poor job of identifying his feelings and acting on them, not just for Laurana but in general.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Ah, Dragonlance.

    Where almost literally every main character except Flint and Laurana are just terrible people. And even then Flint is a pretty unashamed racist.

    Kitiara - unashamedly evil, screws anything that moves, and backstabs EVERYBODY without fail. Screws half of the allegedly 'good' cast and they all act surprised when she betrays them
    Tanis - goes off to bang Kitiara despite the fact that he's already engaged to Laurana, and is directly responsible for Laurana's capture and torture. Seriously, WHY did Laurana take him back?
    Raistlin - Pretty much never helps anybody except when it benefits himself, ends up literally trying to become the new God of Evil
    Caramon - marries Tika, becomes a fat drunk and spends years participating in Rastlin's plan to become the new God of Evil because he really wanted to try to bang somebody else (Crysania).
    Crysania - allegedly the embodiment of Good (according to the writers). Literally caused the destruction of the world because she gave RAISTLIN the power to kill the Goddess of Evil and take her power, until they wiped it away with Timey Wimey Ball.
    Tasslehoff - Steals anything that isn't nailed down, throws away the bulk of it, and acts like people are just being mean/racist against Kenders when they drive him off. Literally never once admits he's a thief, and acts OFFENDED when people label him as such. Responsible for probably half of the life-threatening situations his companions end up in.

    ALL HAIL THE GREAT RAK!!

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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Ah, Dragonlance.

    Where almost literally every main character except Flint and Laurana are just terrible people. And even then Flint is a pretty unashamed racist.

    Spoiler
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    Kitiara - unashamedly evil, screws anything that moves, and backstabs EVERYBODY without fail. Screws half of the allegedly 'good' cast and they all act surprised when she betrays them
    Tanis - goes off to bang Kitiara despite the fact that he's already engaged to Laurana, and is directly responsible for Laurana's capture and torture. Seriously, WHY did Laurana take him back?
    Raistlin - Pretty much never helps anybody except when it benefits himself, ends up literally trying to become the new God of Evil
    Caramon - marries Tika, becomes a fat drunk and spends years participating in Rastlin's plan to become the new God of Evil because he really wanted to try to bang somebody else (Crysania).
    Crysania - allegedly the embodiment of Good (according to the writers). Literally caused the destruction of the world because she gave RAISTLIN the power to kill the Goddess of Evil and take her power, until they wiped it away with Timey Wimey Ball.
    Tasslehoff - Steals anything that isn't nailed down, throws away the bulk of it, and acts like people are just being mean/racist against Kenders when they drive him off. Literally never once admits he's a thief, and acts OFFENDED when people label him as such. Responsible for probably half of the life-threatening situations his companions end up in.
    Well that's a gross oversimplification. Pretty much across the board. Not to mention completely wrong a couple of times. I'm kinda annoyed at how wrong you are in this post.
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Ah, Dragonlance.

    Where almost literally every main character except Flint and Laurana are just terrible people. And even then Flint is a pretty unashamed racist.

    Kitiara - unashamedly evil, screws anything that moves, and backstabs EVERYBODY without fail. Screws half of the allegedly 'good' cast and they all act surprised when she betrays them
    Tanis - goes off to bang Kitiara despite the fact that he's already engaged to Laurana, and is directly responsible for Laurana's capture and torture. Seriously, WHY did Laurana take him back?
    Raistlin - Pretty much never helps anybody except when it benefits himself, ends up literally trying to become the new God of Evil
    Caramon - marries Tika, becomes a fat drunk and spends years participating in Rastlin's plan to become the new God of Evil because he really wanted to try to bang somebody else (Crysania).
    Crysania - allegedly the embodiment of Good (according to the writers). Literally caused the destruction of the world because she gave RAISTLIN the power to kill the Goddess of Evil and take her power, until they wiped it away with Timey Wimey Ball.
    Tasslehoff - Steals anything that isn't nailed down, throws away the bulk of it, and acts like people are just being mean/racist against Kenders when they drive him off. Literally never once admits he's a thief, and acts OFFENDED when people label him as such. Responsible for probably half of the life-threatening situations his companions end up in.
    Yes, and Durkon is awful too, wishing that all his race goes to Hel.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Character-building wise, there's really three points in this chapter. We see some more of Tanis in Leader Mode, trying to corral his not entirely functional party into cohesive action and (mostly) managing it. We also get the very cool bit of Goldmoon's backstory, with running the tribe for her crippled father. One of the things I'm noticing in this reread is the amount of attention Goldmoon gets, which I tend to forget about for some reason.
    To be honest, looking back on Dragonlance after all these years, I have trouble remembering anything about Goldmoon at all. Most of the main party characters are quite strong and memorable – I can remember the personalities of Tanis, Flint, Tas, Sturm, Raistlin, and Caramon very definitely, and I remember Kitiara and Laurana making a big impression too. Goldmoon and River-whatever, though, I can't remember at all – they were just sort of bland. Goldmoon was just 'the cleric' and River was just 'the cleric's boyfriend'. (See, I can't even remember the guy's name without looking it up, and that's after you've written it a good 20 times in this thread already.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    To be honest, looking back on Dragonlance after all these years, I have trouble remembering anything about Goldmoon at all. Most of the main party characters are quite strong and memorable – I can remember the personalities of Tanis, Flint, Tas, Sturm, Raistlin, and Caramon very definitely, and I remember Kitiara and Laurana making a big impression too. Goldmoon and River-whatever, though, I can't remember at all – they were just sort of bland. Goldmoon was just 'the cleric' and River was just 'the cleric's boyfriend'. (See, I can't even remember the guy's name without looking it up, and that's after you've written it a good 20 times in this thread already.)
    What's funny is that I didn't remember anything either, but I picked up the book to read-along and up to this point she's both doing a lot and probably the fullest backstory we have except maybe Sturm.

    She is effective in the draconian ambush even before she starts swinging the staff around, we get a lot about the ups and downs of her position in the tribe, she's the most decisive character by a mile, and she bounces readily between fighting and hard traveling and diplomacy.

    And yet from when I read these as a kid I cannot remember a single thing she does later on (in this book or the others) except one thing at the end of this book, and that's mostly because
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    she is the one carrying the staff.


    Did I gloss over her back then because she was a girl? Does she disappear completely in the later books such that the others who stuck around got more of my memory-space? I honestly cannot tell. She's way more THERE than I remember her being.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
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    Tanis - goes off to bang Kitiara despite the fact that he's already engaged to Laurana, and is directly responsible for Laurana's capture and torture. Seriously, WHY did Laurana take him back?
    Spoiler: Laurana and Tanis
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    Well in Laurana's defense, Tanis did infiltrate Neraka and face down a death knight for her. I can understand why that would buy him a lot of good will with her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    Did I gloss over her back then because she was a girl? Does she disappear completely in the later books such that the others who stuck around got more of my memory-space? I honestly cannot tell. She's way more THERE than I remember her being.
    I was wondering that too. My best guess is that while she does a lot and is important, she doesn't really have much of a personality, and whenever she's called upon to display personality traits, they all seem to be just extensions of her position/job (she's the cleric, she's a princess, etc).

    That said, I still remember more about Goldmoon than I do about her boyfriend, who's got to be the most forgettable character in the entire trilogy outside of NPCs. As far as I can tell, his sole purpose in the story is to follow her around. Maybe his character was played by someone who never showed up past the first couple of sessions.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    To be honest, looking back on Dragonlance after all these years, I have trouble remembering anything about Goldmoon at all. Most of the main party characters are quite strong and memorable – I can remember the personalities of Tanis, Flint, Tas, Sturm, Raistlin, and Caramon very definitely, and I remember Kitiara and Laurana making a big impression too. Goldmoon and River-whatever, though, I can't remember at all – they were just sort of bland. Goldmoon was just 'the cleric' and River was just 'the cleric's boyfriend'. (See, I can't even remember the guy's name without looking it up, and that's after you've written it a good 20 times in this thread already.)
    Spoiler
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    I think it's because her story arc is basically over by the end of the first book. She marries Riverwind, finds the gods, resolves their interpersonal conflicts. From there they don't really do anything besides be there. In fact for the final mission, they don't even go and are left behind.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    I was wondering that too. My best guess is that while she does a lot and is important, she doesn't really have much of a personality, and whenever she's called upon to display personality traits, they all seem to be just extensions of her position/job (she's the cleric, she's a princess, etc).

    That said, I still remember more about Goldmoon than I do about her boyfriend, who's got to be the most forgettable character in the entire trilogy outside of NPCs. As far as I can tell, his sole purpose in the story is to follow her around. Maybe his character was played by someone who never showed up past the first couple of sessions.
    IIRC Goldmoon gets pregnant halfway through the story and then decides to go home and sit out the last act.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Ah, Dragonlance.

    Where almost literally every main character except Flint and Laurana are just terrible people.
    I suppose it's pretty easy to reach that conclusion when you ignore half the party. And for some of the half you cover, you ignore most of their character and actions anyway, so might as well not have bothered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
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    I think it's because her story arc is basically over by the end of the first book. She marries Riverwind, finds the gods, resolves their interpersonal conflicts. From there they don't really do anything besides be there. In fact for the final mission, they don't even go and are left behind.
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    Kind of makes you wonder why it was so important to bring clerics back in this book given that the clerics of good contribute almost nothing to winning the war after Autumn Twilight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
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    Kind of makes you wonder why it was so important to bring clerics back in this book given that the clerics of good contribute almost nothing to winning the war after Autumn Twilight.
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    I always felt that part of the reason why it was so important was to create more believers for the good gods, thereby increasing their power base. Also wars create lots of injured, so keeping your healers safe off the front lines also makes sense. Can't exactly spread the word to the people when you're in the heart of darkness and all you have around are Draconians and the like
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Ah, Dragonlance.
    Where almost literally every main character except Flint and Laurana are just terrible people. And even then Flint is a pretty unashamed racist.
    Not all of them are terrible people, That's really bit of a stretch. Most or nearly all are simply how any D&D player might be playing their particular character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Kitiara - unashamedly evil, screws anything that moves, and backstabs EVERYBODY without fail. Screws half of the allegedly 'good' cast and they all act surprised when she betrays them
    So, essentially your Standard D&D Player, but a female character. Makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Tanis - goes off to bang Kitiara despite the fact that he's already engaged to Laurana, and is directly responsible for Laurana's capture and torture. Seriously, WHY did Laurana take him back?
    Yes, and He spends a bunch of time wangsting over how much of a tool he is being. He knows deep down that Kitiara is an addictive destructive drug, but he still wants it. He takes a bit to go beyond and fix that. Also, he pretty much despises himself afterward for having spent time banging her.

    As for Laurana, She is still an immature individual right now, and hasn't gotten an experiences yet. Then, i think that she ends up learning about life in general. Even now though, she is super crushing on him, and would offer herself up if Tanis would just look at her and smile (Read through her first real private encounter she has with Tanis and her later decided method of dealing with it. Seriously, read through that; she just throws herself at him). She has it that bad for him. He has to tell her to get mature. She does and realizes that he is right prick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Raistlin - Pretty much never helps anybody except when it benefits himself, ends up literally trying to become the new God of Evil
    Yes, but how is that surprising? He is after all another shade of D&D players and how they would usually go. A player would probably play an evil wizard like that, who ends up challenging a god. Its something that any kind of D&D player would do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Caramon - marries Tika, becomes a fat drunk and spends years participating in Rastlin's plan to become the new God of Evil because he really wanted to try to bang somebody else (Crysania).
    He never shows any sign of really wanting to bang Crysania, to me. He is confused, sure, but he is still dealing with the ending of his relationship with his brother. A relationship that defines "Co-Dependent Abusive Relationship" or did you miss all of that? His and Raistlin's entire reactions to each other should have clued you in to that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Crysania - allegedly the embodiment of Good (according to the writers). Literally caused the destruction of the world because she gave RAISTLIN the power to kill the Goddess of Evil and take her power, until they wiped it away with Timey Wimey Ball.
    Considering that she was merrily skipping along towards Lawful stupid, and becoming the next Kingpriest (based on how they try to portray her), having her get a few knocks of realpolitik life and understanding was good for her. And she doesn't get away without any consequences; She is left permanently blinded as a result, and has to rely on a white fur tiger as a seeing eye tiger/dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Tasslehoff - Steals anything that isn't nailed down, throws away the bulk of it, and acts like people are just being mean/racist against Kenders when they drive him off. Literally never once admits he's a thief, and acts OFFENDED when people label him as such. Responsible for probably half of the life-threatening situations his companions end up in.
    So basically how any D&D player would generally act, being a kleptomanic, getting upset with those taking offense at his character concept, and player that is disruptive. Sounds about right. Tas is always to supposed to be acting in many ways like a child, that was the whole concept of the race, it being based around children. To be Honest, Tas and his people only work in the Novels written by the Authors, but that particular flaw was never known about until later.

    Sturm is good person, not terrible. Yes, he is grim, given to large amounts of depression, but he was supposed to be played as if he was a paladin (Its actually stated in the Annotated Chronicles around his introduction, that they played for that in the modules)

    Just consider the party a group of characters being run a group of players that have not seen each other in a while, that have matured in different ways, and are having difficulty with their friendships and relationships. Also, consider that Dragonlance is more based on the balance between Good and Evil, and it applies to the Characters as well, with little triangles that can made. (Suggestions of this can be found listed in annotations)

    1) Tanis: Is drawn between Love for Laurana, Lust for Kititara, and saving the world/getting his head on straight. Technically should be a square considering that saving the world means he could have either woman.

    2) The party oscillates between doing good, doing evil, saving the world. (I think is how the annotations described it) There is a pretty strong influence.

    The party dynamic works because of the dysfunction and is how a usual party would more likely act. Everyone getting along merrily is more in line with the "No Crew Conflict" rule of Roddenberry's for the first 2-3 seasons of TNG, which made writing usable plots difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph
    As far as I can tell, his sole purpose in the story is to follow her around. Maybe his character was played by someone who never showed up past the first couple of sessions.
    In the original module, Riverwind is just an NPC henchman:

    "If no one plays Goldmoon, she will follow Riverwind (who is always an NPC) and be an NPC herself for the rest of the module." - Dragons of Despair, page 4.

    Spoiler: Remembering Goldmoon
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    Anyway, the reason most people have trouble remembering Goldmoon much is she gets put on a bus pretty early on. Apparently, her importance to the story was to exist to deliver the Disks of Mishakal to Elistan, the real chosen one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    In the original module, Riverwind is just an NPC henchman.
    Well, that explains a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    The Knights of Solamnia are weird. I'm not sure how they were handled in 2nd Edition, but in the 3.5 sourcebook for Dragonlance, the Knight of the Crown/Sword/Rose ranking is set up as follows. First you need to be a Squire of the Crown, meet some martial flavored pre-requisites and take levels in the Knight of the Crown prestige class. To make Knight of the Sword, you need to be a Knight of the Sword and have picked up a level of divine spellcasting somewhere. Knight of the Rose requires 3 levels of Sword, 1 level of Sword, and casting second level divine spells. Crown is entirely martial, Sword is sort of discount alternative flavored cleric, and Rose is like kinda cleric, but with full BAB progression. It's basically a really complicated way to build yourself a paladin while choosing how much weight to give to the martial side vs. the caster side.
    Jumping back to this because I finally remembered to crack open my AD&D Dragonlance Adventures book and take a look at how the 1e progression worked.

    Hoo boy.

    First off, they're a variant of a variant class - they are explicitly a sub-type of Cavalier (from Unearthed Arcana) but though it calls out that there are important differences it doesn't say which things you do and don't get. The special mount abilities? The bonuses with certain weapons? The ability score advancement by level (which I think is a unique trait in 1e to Cavaliers?) It does say you can put weapon proficiency slots into Weapon Specialization, which normally neither Cavaliers nor Paladins can.

    Anyway, you start as a 1st level Knight of the Crown (level title is Squire of the Crown.) When you hit third level, you can either keep rising as a Crown (level 3 title is Knight of the Crown) or apply to the Knights of the Sword, which requires a 7th level Sword knight to run a council of Knights, plus a special quest that includes a laundry list of requirements - at least 500 miles and 30 days, tests of your wisdom and generosity and compassion, recovery of something lost, single combat with an evil enemy of at least your level. Oh, and the stat requirements are higher. Pass the test and you become a 3rd level Novice of Swords instead. Sword Knight levels requires more experience per level than Crowns, which were already pretty high for a melee class, but you get a spell progression to go with the rest of your advancement. To continue the oddball trend, though, you only recover spells once a week.

    At 4th level you can keep going as a Sword or do ANOTHER test with even higher-level sponsors and ANOTHER big quest to join the Rose Knights. Who don't even have a spell progression, AFAICT, and have a genuinely ridiculous XP cost per level - we're talking 2 to 3 times as much as mages now - but they do get just bucketloads of both Weapon and Non-Weapon Proficiences. And since level advancement was hard-capped at 18 in 1e Dragonlance, that means that Knights of the Rose end up substantially more skilled in an all-around sense than anyone else on Krynn, so that's something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookieetank View Post
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    I always felt that part of the reason why it was so important was to create more believers for the good gods, thereby increasing their power base.
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    The problem with that is the religion of good never really gets going during the War of the Lance. Elistan doesn't even come to Solamnia (the most populous human nation on Ansalon) until after the war is over.

    Also, I don't think Krynnish gods need mortal worshippers to power them. (If so then the gods would have all withered after the Cataclysm when almost no one on Krynn worshipped them.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Wookieetank
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    Also wars create lots of injured, so keeping your healers safe off the front lines also makes sense. Can't exactly spread the word to the people when you're in the heart of darkness and all you have around are Draconians and the like
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    But the front lines (or at least near the front lines) are exactly where you need your healers. Good clerics at the High Clerist's Tower or serving during the Vingaard Campaign would have been a huge boost to the forces of good, but as far as we know there were no good clerics assisting the good armies in any of those battles. Instead the only significant battle Elistan contributed to was the attack on Icewall Castle. And Goldmoon (as a cleric) wasn't much better (with her only providing clerical support during the Pax Tharkas mission and (presumably) during the siege of Kalaman at the very end of the war.

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    As far as im aware, the only point of the good clerics was to inform the team of the nature of the threat they were facing and generally act as exposition spouts when necessary. Now in fairness, that's not nothing, and there are a few points where "we have real spellcasting clerics of the real gods" gets the "good" forces to sit down and stop fighting each other like idiots long enough to actually do something about the Dragonarmies. However, they don't ever act as PCs past about the first half of the second book.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    No update tonight I'm afraid, not enough time after running and dishes. Tomorrow!


    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    Jumping back to this because I finally remembered to crack open my AD&D Dragonlance Adventures book and take a look at how the 1e progression worked.

    Hoo boy.

    First off, they're a variant of a variant class - they are explicitly a sub-type of Cavalier (from Unearthed Arcana) but though it calls out that there are important differences it doesn't say which things you do and don't get. The special mount abilities? The bonuses with certain weapons? The ability score advancement by level (which I think is a unique trait in 1e to Cavaliers?) It does say you can put weapon proficiency slots into Weapon Specialization, which normally neither Cavaliers nor Paladins can.

    Anyway, you start as a 1st level Knight of the Crown (level title is Squire of the Crown.) When you hit third level, you can either keep rising as a Crown (level 3 title is Knight of the Crown) or apply to the Knights of the Sword, which requires a 7th level Sword knight to run a council of Knights, plus a special quest that includes a laundry list of requirements - at least 500 miles and 30 days, tests of your wisdom and generosity and compassion, recovery of something lost, single combat with an evil enemy of at least your level. Oh, and the stat requirements are higher. Pass the test and you become a 3rd level Novice of Swords instead. Sword Knight levels requires more experience per level than Crowns, which were already pretty high for a melee class, but you get a spell progression to go with the rest of your advancement. To continue the oddball trend, though, you only recover spells once a week.

    At 4th level you can keep going as a Sword or do ANOTHER test with even higher-level sponsors and ANOTHER big quest to join the Rose Knights. Who don't even have a spell progression, AFAICT, and have a genuinely ridiculous XP cost per level - we're talking 2 to 3 times as much as mages now - but they do get just bucketloads of both Weapon and Non-Weapon Proficiences. And since level advancement was hard-capped at 18 in 1e Dragonlance, that means that Knights of the Rose end up substantially more skilled in an all-around sense than anyone else on Krynn, so that's something.
    That sounds... even worse. All the quest requirements are still in there in 3.5 as well too, along with like ten zillion special abilities because it's 3.5. They do have a pretty cool dragon rider prestige class though, where you get a youngish dragon that powers up along side you. Entry requirements are pretty steep, there's no getting in until level 11 I don't think, but they do give you a freaking dragon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
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    As far as im aware, the only point of the good clerics was to inform the team of the nature of the threat they were facing and generally act as exposition spouts when necessary. Now in fairness, that's not nothing, and there are a few points where "we have real spellcasting clerics of the real gods" gets the "good" forces to sit down and stop fighting each other like idiots long enough to actually do something about the Dragonarmies. However, they don't ever act as PCs past about the first half of the second book.
    Spoiler: Clerics
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    It makes a certain level of thematic sense as well. First book they need clerics to tell them what's up with the gods having a war bit. Second and third book that's really not necessary anymore, since the divine conflict is being played out in very mortal terms. If you need to know how's it's going, just pay attention to who is kicking who's behind.
    Last edited by warty goblin; 2019-05-22 at 09:55 PM.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
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    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

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    Oh look, today's tomorrow. Update time!

    10: Darken Wood. The dead walk. Raistlin's magic.
    As they enter Darken Wood, Raistlin feels releaved to get out the hot sun. The forest is teaming with life, very different from the uncanny quiet they experienced earlier. Birds sing, insects buzz, everything feels peaceful and very not evil. Tanis double checks Tas' map, and mostly convinces himself that Darken Wood refers to a different forest nearby.

    They walk for several hours. Just as the sun goes down, and they are getting seriously tired, they find a perfect glade to camp in with a clear stream running nearby. Raistlin tells them not to leave the path, Tanis says it's fine and he thinks this isn't Darken Wood, but Raistlin is unimpressed and ignores him, saying he at least won't leave the path. Caramon's a bit ashamed of his brother, and says maybe he can shoot a rabbit. This so alarms Raistlin that he actually speaks above a whisper - which makes everybody jump - and enjoins them to harm nothing, neither plant nor animal, in the forest. Caramon sighs in disappointment, and tries to drown his hunger by drinking lots of spring water. Tas returns with firewood, but nobody can get it to burn. In the increasing gloom, they start to get freaked out by noises in the brush. Raistlin needles them at being afraid of children's stories, but makes the crystal on his staff light up. Tanis notices that his elven darkvision isn't working, which makes him slightly alarmed.

    Raistlin in Darken Wood by tree-spirit on DeviantArt. Frustratingly, there's no classic paintings of this chapter that I can track down, which is weird because it's got some fantastic imagery.

    He and Sturm decide to stand first watch - Sturm thinks he shouldn't go to sleep with his head wound. Tanis goes to get a drink, when he hears somebody yell and looks up. They are surrounded by an army. An army of the dead. Pale forms of ghostly light flicker in and out of being, the forms of warriors clad in armor, with weapons in their hands. Not that they need weapons; their touch alone is deadly.

    Tanis nearly panics, but pulls himself together at least slightly, and goes to stand by Raistlin, who acknowledges his presence with "Welcome to Darken Wood, Tanis." The mage explains that these are spectral minions, who had sworn to perform some service in life, and, having failed, are bound to perform that service in death. Raistlin considers this lucky, and says that he will cast a spell that allows him to communicate with them. Caramon tries to stop him, but Tanis stops Caramon. Raistlin casts his spell; repeating a phrase three or four times. As he speaks, a taller spectre in armor set with shadowy jewels steps forward, and extends his hand towards Raistlin, who does not react, even though the touch means death.

    Raistlin invites the spectre to use him to communicate with the others, and assures it that their purpose is not evil. The spectre stops, and bows to the mage, a clear sign of his power. Raistlin bows back, and approaches the spectre, who speaks through the mage in a deep, commanding voice, demanding to know why they have come to Darken Wood.

    Everyone is entirely freaked out by this, and can't say everything. Everyone - except Tas, who runs forwards and introduces himself, and asks if it's true that the ghostly warriors broke their word? The spectral chief responds that they did; when the fiery mountain fell on Krynn in the Cataclysm, and evil things walked the land, they abandoned their duty and fled. With evil again at large, they have been called back to their duty, until balance is restored. The spectre , through Raistlin, gives a horrible shriek, echoed through the mage by the entire ghostly company. This is so unsettling that even Tas shuts up for a minute.

    The spectre again demands to know why they have come to Darken Wood. Tas launches into a delightfully rambling account of their adventures to date, and mentions the blue crystal staff. The spectre approaches as soon as he says that, and, shaking Riverwind off, Goldmoon steps forwards to meet him. In the palid light of the spectre's sword, the staff glows blue in answer. The spectral chieftain reaches out a hand for Raistlin, which causes Caramon to stab the thing with his sword. The blow passes through the spirit, and Caramon drops the sword with a cry of pain; his sword is covered in frost!

    The spectre takes Raistlin's wrist - the mage's face is suffused with ecstasy at the touch - and declares that they are summoned. The spectre and the mage then turn, and walk into the forest. The companions follow, and are instantly swept up into a raging phantasm battle. Sturm finds himself alone, fighting enemies he can't see, knowing only that there is no hope, until he steps into a clearing to find Raistlin standing in front of him. The mage collapses; Sturm starts to go to him, but is pushed aside by Caramon. The spectres have vanished.

    Raistlin whispers that the spell has exhausted him, and he must rest. A booming voice - a living voice - declares that he shall. The silver moon appears suddenly, and in its light they can see the head and upper body of a long-haired man standing amid the trees, along with the glitter of a spear point. The figure tells the companions to lower their weapons, pointing out that they are surrounded. Which, indeed they are; many more figures can now be seen amid the trees. The first approaches, and is revealed to be a centaur!

    A centaur, by Larry Elmore. Naturally, being a Larry Elmore painting, the centaur is a total babe

    Flint, being allergic to horses, sneezes.

    The centaur bids them follow; Caramon points out that Raistlin can't walk. The centaur says that the companions may ride. Nobody - except Tas and least of all Flint - is thrilled by this idea, but they seem to have no alternatives, and so clamber on to the centaurs. Tanis asks where they are being taken. The centaur responds that they are going to the Forestmaster. Tanis asks if the Forestmaster is a centaur, the centaur responds that "She is the Forestmaster" and sets off at a bone-jarring canter, along with the other centaurs carrying the companions.

    In not very long, the centaurs stop, and the companions dismount. Tanis asks where they are, and is told they are in the very center of Darken Wood, where they must await the judgement of the Forestmaster. Tanis tries to prevent the centaurs from leaving, but realizes that his sword is gone. Tas is overjoyed at having ridden a centaur, but Tanis is more interested in whether everyone's weapons are gone. Goldmoon says she still has the staff.

    A deep voice, like none they have heard yet, declares that the staff is a powerful weapon, made to defeat injury, disease, and the evil forces that are intent on banishing it from the world.


    Commentary
    Yes, the book spells it spectre.

    After chapter 9's bickering, this chapter is straight up action... of a decidedly magical nature. It's really the first time the books have leaned in large scale magical stuff as well; sure the staff has healed some people, and Raistlin set a dude on fire and made some goblins take a nap, but this is really in a different league. It's suitably impressive, the spectral minions are reasonably creepy, while still being dignified and not over the top. Raistlin's spell to talk to them is also pretty cool, and decidedly more subtle than any of the magic so far in effect, but somehow also flashier in result. Maybe it's the result of way too many games on my part, but shooting fire out of one's hands is pretty dull as magic goes, willingly becoming a living conduit for a cursed spirit is decidedly non-standard.

    (And yes, this obviously takes about all the inspiration from the Paths of the Dead in Lord of the Rings. But hey, if your're gonna imitate, imitate the best. And the context is very different, which makes a lot of difference.)

    I also got a kick out of how much Raistlin enjoyed being all 'told you so' about the undead showing up. It's a solid character beat for him; confronted by something that threatening, his number one priority is still to score the point on everybody else. Given the Vancian magic system, he also must have prepared for this that morning, which shows substantial forethought on his part. At least if we're being really nitpicky about the novels following the game rules.

    Otherwise, there's not really a whole lot to talk about? I like this chapter, it's got some really cool stuff in it, and explains why Darken Wood freaks people out, but it's pretty straight forwards.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

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    I found Darken Wood to be kinda weird on my re-read, because it seems out of place compared to the greater narrative. I had forgotten it even happened, which is not surprising because I don't think it really comes up again later.

    Of course, knowing that it was a D&D campaign means things make a lot more sense. It's essentially a sidequest or a random encounter. And inevitably, this leads me to think about the events of the book from a Darths & Droids perspective of a GM desperately trying to get the players back on the rails.

    The old man in the inn is the GM trying to kickstart the story, presumably so the Theocrat can declare himself as the main villain for this part of the story. Unfortunately, one of the party rolls a natural 20 and puts him into the fire. The door being open at Tika's is again the GM, prodding the players to move.

    Things are still relatively under control until we get to the cart full of draconians. The GM wants the party captured so he tells them that the logical path (off the road and through the woods) is closed by a forest of certain death. He gives them a fight with far too high a CR so that the draconians will overwhelm them. Instead, Goldmoon's player fast-talks the GM into believing the staff is an instant kill on the draconians, and they vaporize a bunch to score a win. The GM deploys MORE draconians to get them to surrender...and the party plunges into the forest of certain death.

    Cue the game pausing for the night while the GM tears up his map of Haven and the Theocrat's dungeons and starts coming up with a way for the party to avoid being eaten by wights.
    Last edited by Rodin; 2019-05-24 at 01:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    Cue the game pausing for the night while the GM tears up his map of Haven and the Theocrat's dungeons and starts coming up with a way for the party to avoid being eaten by wights.
    Actually, I think this wrong, and the GM may never intended really for the players to make it to Haven, certainly head in that direction. It's Tanis who suggests that the companions go to Haven, or one of the group, but neither Goldmoon or Riverwind suggest doing so. There isn't any real discussion beyond, from what i recall, that there could be answers in Haven.

    The Party gets involved to mainly stop Goldmoon from being burnt as a witch, and promptly gets swept up in joining her going somewhere. Tanis (I think it was in the book) suggests there may answers for the staff in Haven, and so the group simply goes that way. Later, of course, we find Darken Wood is in the same general area of direction, luckily for the GM who promptly convinces them to try an alternate route employing the huge number of draconians coming towards them.

    In reality, the entire story is the play through of the first Dragonlance Modules by the Module Designers and some of their friends. As such, it completely adheres to the plot as written down in the game modules. It stays that way until later when the story takes first place with the adventure module plots being forced to follow the book. This is all mentioned at a few points in the Annotations in the book.

    I am surprised that few of the annotations are showing up in the read through, since there are a good number of them. They can be put into spoilers to all for reading if people want to or not, but they really help explain the thinking of the writers really well.
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  29. - Top - End - #89
    Titan in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    Actually, I think this wrong, and the GM may never intended really for the players to make it to Haven, certainly head in that direction. It's Tanis who suggests that the companions go to Haven, or one of the group, but neither Goldmoon or Riverwind suggest doing so. There isn't any real discussion beyond, from what i recall, that there could be answers in Haven.

    The Party gets involved to mainly stop Goldmoon from being burnt as a witch, and promptly gets swept up in joining her going somewhere. Tanis (I think it was in the book) suggests there may answers for the staff in Haven, and so the group simply goes that way. Later, of course, we find Darken Wood is in the same general area of direction, luckily for the GM who promptly convinces them to try an alternate route employing the huge number of draconians coming towards them.

    In reality, the entire story is the play through of the first Dragonlance Modules by the Module Designers and some of their friends. As such, it completely adheres to the plot as written down in the game modules. It stays that way until later when the story takes first place with the adventure module plots being forced to follow the book. This is all mentioned at a few points in the Annotations in the book.

    I am surprised that few of the annotations are showing up in the read through, since there are a good number of them. They can be put into spoilers to all for reading if people want to or not, but they really help explain the thinking of the writers really well.
    Actually, goldmoon and riverwind were originally planning on heading to Haven before the Theocrat botched things up. They hold out some vague hope that the actual Highseekers weren't corrupt and could actually help them figure out what the heck the deal with the staff was.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    JadedDM's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Fun Fact: In the module, if the party does choose to go to Haven, they get an audience with the Highseekers. One of them grabs at the staff and gets struck by lightning (taking 4d6 damage). He calls it evil and demands they take it back to where it came from--Xak Tsarath.

    So the story ends up going in the same place, but the Darken Wood path is far more interesting, with dead soldiers, centaurs, the Forestmaster and all that.

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