The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Just popping in to say that I'm really enjoying this reread! I suspect I'm a bit younger than many of you, but Dragonlance was still a big part of my high school experience, and I'm loving the opportunity to relive it all again now. Looking forward to future updates!
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    Laura is a really good GM. She doesn't take ****.
    Good campaign. I do remain my favorite GM, of course, but second-best is pretty good!
    Just write Game of Thrones already.
    I hate that Laura's built out this world enough that we can walk into a church full of nudists and my first thought is, "Oh, it's these guys..."
    This is probably the most enjoyable campaign I've ever played in. It's really stressful, but enjoyable!

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    Indeed, it's always interesting seeing other peoples' comments on books... granted, I've basically very little knowledge of Dragonlance in general - having only read The War of Souls and one short story collection - so I've been avoiding all the spoiler talk, since this is basically my first foray into the 'proper' material.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Loving this review. It's been a lot of fun so far.

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    And we're back! Apologies for the pause; my original Memorial Day weekend plan involved lots of Dragonlance and woodcarving, but instead I ended up going to plant the parents' garden with dad. Didn't leave a lot of time, nevermind energy, for anything else. So here's two chapters to make up for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Eternata View Post
    Just popping in to say that I'm really enjoying this reread! I suspect I'm a bit younger than many of you, but Dragonlance was still a big part of my high school experience, and I'm loving the opportunity to relive it all again now. Looking forward to future updates!
    Quote Originally Posted by Slayer Lord View Post
    Loving this review. It's been a lot of fun so far.

    I'm glad everybody seems to be enjoying, and thanks for all the positive feedback, it really means a lot.


    Quote Originally Posted by DataNinja View Post
    Indeed, it's always interesting seeing other peoples' comments on books... granted, I've basically very little knowledge of Dragonlance in general - having only read The War of Souls and one short story collection - so I've been avoiding all the spoiler talk, since this is basically my first foray into the 'proper' material.
    Weirdly enough, I'm reasonably certain that War of Souls was where I got started as well. I know I read pretty War of Souls and Legends well before I finally found a copy of Dragons of Spring Dawning, but I can't remember if I started with WoS, or with the first two books of Chronicles. Ah well.

    11: The Forestmaster. A peaceful interlude
    Caramon tries to bluff that they still have weapons, but the mysterious voice is not fooled, and tells them that their weapons will be returned when they leave the forest, but Human himself laid the Dragonlance at the feet of the Forestmaster.

    A beautiful silvery white unicorn steps out of the shadows, onto a ledge of stone illuminated by Solinari, the silver moon. In a delightful little detail, she has delicate cloven hooves, instead of horse hooves. Goldmoon in particular seems to find the sight moving, and it becomes a beacon of remembered strength for her in the future. Tanis feels both a great sense of peace and of future sadness.


    I think this is the fantasy equivalent of a stock photo insofar as I can't find the original nor who it is by, but it works really well for this scene, so we're going with it.


    The Forestmaster descends from the ledge to the companions, and tells them that they can rest, wash, and eat peacefully tonight, they are safe in the forest. Caramon starts muttering about how he wants meat, but expects berries, until Sturm tells him to shut it. Some centaurs bring out a cloth that they spread on the ground. On the cloth they put crystal lamps filled with tiny glowing things that Tas - to his delight - discovers are a sort of insect. Next the centaurs bring out very comfortable looking chairs - comfortable looking except that they only have one leg!

    Caramon refuses to sit on anything that spindly looking, saying he prefers to be on the ground. Which, as Flint points out, is closer to where the food will probably be. Goldmoon, used to being very courtious from the customs of her tribe and her official duties, sits easily. The chair shifts slightly as she sits in it, apparently shaping itself to her specifically. To smooth over nobody else having sat down, she invites Riverwind to sit at her right hand side. Riverwind, who has lived rather rougher than Goldmoon, is clearly a bit ill at ease with this, but complies. Goldmoon then invites the others to sit. Caramon starts to say something, but Sturm kicks him, bows to Goldmoon, and sits. Everybody else sits.

    Four centaurs lift up the corners of the cloth they earlier spread on the ground, then let go. To everybody's surprise, the cloth remains floating in midair. Tas naturally checks, and it isn't floating on anything! (There's an annotation from Hickman suggesting this is a use of Tenser's Floating Disk). The centaurs then set the table and bring in food, including a huge roast stag. Caramon is obviously delighted, but then remembers that the stag was probably one of the Forestmaster's subjects, so maybe he shouldn't be so overjoyed as the prospect of eating him. The Forestmaster replies that "We do not mourn the loss of those who die fulfilling their destinies." Tanis isn't sure, but thinks she is looking sadly at Sturm when she says this. But when he looks again, she is smiling, so he asks him how we can know who has fulfilled their destinies? The Forestmaster responds that lives measured by what one gives, not what one gains.

    Tanis starts to ask something, but the Forestmaster tells him to relax and eat. Goldmoon points out that he can stop worrying for the moment, all his worries will still be there after supper. And if they've gone away, well even better. Everybody eats, enjoying the meal. Sturm is looking better, and weathers an onslaught of kender stories from Tas, while liberating various pieces of tablewear from the kender's pouches, and staying as far from Caramon as possible. Caramon for his part tells Flint a story involving him fighting a troll, which the dwarf considers codswallop, while Raistlin hardly eats a bite. Goldmoon and Tanis have a pleasant conversation about various places Tanis has visited, while Riverwind, used to eating with his hands, tries not to be too awkward.

    After everyone is done, Raistlin shatters the peaceful spell by asking the Forestmaster about the creatures they encountered on the road. The Forestmaster says that some of them came into Darken Wood, along with goblins out of Haven. Before the Spectral Minions killed them, they were heard to refer to themselves as draconians of the 'Order of Draco'. Raistlin wonders what species they are, the Forestmaster replies that they are "not of this world." Caramon wonders where they came from; Raistlin points out that this is the obvious question. The Forestmaster, who unlike Raistlin is nice to people, says that the draconians spoke of armies massing in the north. Tanis says that they have seen these armies, or at least their campfires. Everybody starts talking at once about what to do, and what it means, but the Forestmaster cuts through the babble, saying she can tell them where to go for answers.

    Raistlin asks what the Forestmaster knows about the companions. The Forestmaster says she was expecting them, that earlier in the day a shining being of light appeared to her and told her that the bearer of the blue crystal staff was coming, and that the spectral minions would allow the companions to pass, even though they have allowed no one to enter Darken Wood since the Cataclysm. The shining being told her to tell them that they must fly across the Eastwall Mountains, and be in the city of Xak Tsaroth within two days, where they may receive the greatest gift in the world.

    Flint says that they'd have to fly to get across the mountains in two days. Tanis points out that lands between them and Xak Tsaroth are crawling with the enemy, Riverwind says that they would have to cross the Plains of Dust, and his and Goldmoon's lives are forfeit. Caramon wants to know what is worth the bother, perhaps a sword or a chest full of steel coins. The Forestmaster says that she can get them there in two days, if they are willing to go.

    Sturm wants to go north and fight with the Knights of Solamnia, but he won't desert Tanis or Goldmoon. Caramon's game, Raistlin doesn't say anything. Goldmoon says that they will go to Xak Tsaroth, Riverwind says they are not asking anybody else to come with them, as this is part of their quest. Raistlin says if they go alone, they will die alone. Tanis asks to speak to Raistlin in private.

    The others comment that apparently Tanis and Raistlin often talked together in the old days, before they separated. Tas, obviously, is dying to know what they talk about, but he's never managed to successfully eavesdrop. Sturm says it's secret because Raistlin's probably saying horrible things, that there's something dark in the mage. Caramon doesn't jump to his brother's defense this time, which Sturm takes as acknowledgement that he's right about Raistlin, and Caramon knows it.

    On the other side of the clearing, Tanis wants to know what Raistlin knows about Xak Tsaroth. Raistlin says that there used to be a temple there, before the Cataclysm, when the city was abandoned. Tanis asks what Raistlin sees, Raistlin says he's a wizard, not a seer. Tanis says that he meant what Raistlin was thinking about, because he's smarter than all the rest, even though he is - "Even though I am twisted and warped" Raistlin finishes for him. Someday, Raistlin promises, he will prove that, and the others will call him master. Tanis, used to this sort of ranting, waits. Raistlin goes on to say that the draconian armies will overrun Solace and Haven and the elven lands. The Seekers aren't responsible, they're too weak and stupid, and Solace and Haven - even the blue crystal staff - is not worth the effort. This is the meaning of the missing stars, someone is trying to conquer the continent, and within days life as they know it will be changed forever. Tanis asks what Raistlin thinks they should do, Raistlin saysthey should go to Xak Tsaroth immediately, because if they don't get this great gift - which isn't a chest of money or a sword like his idiot brother thinks - the enemy will. Not that this interests him, he has some other, personal reason to go.

    Tanis asks if Raistlin thinks they are chosen. Raistlin says he was told they were, when he was in the Towers of High Sorcery. Tanis says they're hardly the stuff of heroes, but Raistlin says they need to ask who chose them, and for what purpose.


    Commentary
    I'm splitting the commentary by chapter this time, because the next chapter really needs addressed on its own.

    Darken Wood is clearly misnamed. It's really the Forest of Helpful Magical Quadrupeds.

    This is roughly a third of the way through the book now, and I think it marks a substantial turning point. The companions are actually given something to do, instead of blundering around randomly trying not to get killed. It's actually sort of surprising that the books have gone this long without there being an explicit quest. Its also a real humdinger of a fetch quest, I mean they don't even know what the hell they're supposed to be looking for. Seems a bit difficult, since they're being sent to an entire abandoned city, but hey, at least it's a clear direction.

    We also get Caramon at least tacitly acknowledging that his brother is a twisted jerk, which is something of an about change from earlier. The interaction between Tanis and Raistlin is interesting here, and goes quite a ways to resolving why anybody puts up with Raistlin, besides wanting to keep Caramon around. The guy's actually quite smart and perceptive, and clearly is better versed in some aspects of lore and knowledge than the others. It's a bit unclear how much the others know about Xak Tsaroth, but Raistlin knows about the temple, which seems likely to be the important thing, given the whole staff and gods thing going on. He's also the only person who seems to put much weight on the whole 'missing stars' thing. I think this is an effective bit of character development, since it means Raistlin's focus is a bit broader and more mysterious than the others'; even Tanis is mostly concerned with keeping everyone moving in roughly the same direction and not punching each other. On the other hand the whole rant about how one day he'll see the others in awe of his power is really a bit too on the nose, and a touch of out place. It's not that this doesn't make sense for Raistlin's motivation, it's that he's generally too subtle to out and out say he wants to make everybody grovel and acknowledge how cool he is.

    On the other hand, it's actually a bit of a challenge to make this clear otherwise. Raistlin is pretty much never a viewpoint character, since that would require showing the audience exactly what he knows, and that would ruin his role as mysterious adviser character, so we never get his internal monologue. And given how generally direct the novels have been about character motivations, it would be quite strange if Raistlin was the only person you were left to infer about. So a bit of a character break for a slightly villainous monologue is understandable.

    Also in Raistlin and Tanis' conversation, the stuff about being chosen. Chosenness is of course a pretty frequent topic of fantasy novels, and I rather like Raistlin's sardonic take on it here, i.e. maybe being chosen sucks because you're being chosen by something else for its purposes. This is a bit different than the usual subversion, which simply points out that being the chosen one involves a lot of pain, misery and terror.

    Ah Dragonlance you are many things. Subtle is not one of them.
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    Speaking of unsubtle the foreshadowing of Sturm's death is delivered with roughly the same subtlety as an anvil dropped from a fifth floor window. I don't think this a bad thing, mind. Subtlety has its virtues, but so does just out and out saying what you want to say. In an adventure story like Dragonlance, eliding everything would just get tedious, particularly given the huge number of characters and plot threads going on.

    Raistlin's take on being chosen is particularly revealing, given his Test. He is chosen of course not just to fight Takhisis, but by Fistandantilus, so the lich can keep himself alive on his lifeforce. Of course Raistlin doesn't consciously know this right now, but it's still a nifty little touch.

    The Annotated Edition points out that the glowing being who told the Forestmaster about the companions is Paladine, aka the old man from earlier. It's probably the least subtle divine meddling yet.




    Times Raistlin has been horrible to Caramon: + 1. Total: 3

    12: Winged sleep. Smoke in the East. Dark memories

    Tanis tells the Forestmaster that he is decided on Xak Tsaroth. Sturm asks scathingly if this Raistlin's view, Tanis says he thinks the mage's advice is good. Tas is excited - of course - Flint wishes they were back in the Inn of the Last Home. Sturm says he will accompany Tanis instead of going North to Solamnia, that the Knighthood is broken and hiding from the dept collectors. The look on pain on the knight's face makes Tans feel tired, but Goldmoon says she is glad they are coming. Riverwind may or may not share in this view, given the look on his face. Caramon is naturally good to go, Raistlin asks the Forestmaster how they will get there in time. The Forestmaster looks up, and the companions see a flight of pegasus coming in to land. Flint is dumbstruck, but this is the most exciting thing Tas has evern seen - he's never even dreamed he'd get to fly!

    The lead pegasus is somewhat grumpy about having to carry a dwarf and kender, Flint, sneezing, isn't exactly thrilled by the idea either, but the Forestmaster just smiles at the pegasus and it consents. Goldmoon swings herself expertly onto the back of one of the pegasi, and starts to sing. Riverwind climbs up behind her, and joins her, singing something triumphant sounding, though none of the others understand the language. Carried along by the momentum of the song, the others mount up, and the pegasus take to the skies, leaving the Forestmaster shining silver among the dark trees.


    Goldmoon, by Clyde Caldwell. Note that both the red and white moon are visible in the background. Also, this may be the only Clyde Caldwell painting in existence featuring a woman wearing actual pants.

    As they fly, the companions feel themselves succombing to sleep. Tas, excited to fly, tries to stay awake, but his pegasus tells him that "mortals are not meant to fly" and finally the kender nods off. (In the annotations Hickman says he's terrified of heights, but used to love to hanglide, while apparently Margaret is of the view that mortals really aren't meant to fly).

    Tanis wakes up in a grassy plain. All the others are asleep, and all the pegasi have departed, except for one. Tanis asks where they are, because this isn't a city, in fact they haven't even crossed the mountains. The pegasus says that they could come no closer, because of some great evil, unlike anything he has felt for a long time. Now, with the companions awake, the last pegasus leaves them. Tanis looks around, trying to get his bearings. They're clearly somewhere in the Plains of Dust, and Tanis figures that Riverwind will know where they are exactly, when he sees three great plumes of smoke on the horizon. Tanis wakes Riverwind quietly, explains the situation, and points to the smoke. Riverwind cries out, which wakes Goldmoon - the smoke is rising from their village.

    Tanis says this means the armies are moving faster then they expected, but Raistlin points out that the draconian disguised as a cleric had said they traced to staff to Que-Shu. Caramon thinks they need to move, they're too exposed, but Goldmoon insists on going to her village. Not only are they her people, but she feels responsible for whatever has happened, and is willing to die with her people "as I should have done." She and Riverwind set off in the direction of the smoke, followed by the others - Caramon is delighted to discover that their packs are full, and their weapons have been returned.

    It's late dusk the same day, and the companions are clustered around a small fire, overcome with horror at what they have seen. Tanis has seen a lot of terrible things in his life, but nothing to compare to Que-Shu, which he can only recall in flashes. The temples of stone which had been melted, running like candlewax; but what could melt stone? The creaking from a gallows in the center of town, with three charred hobgoblin corpses hanging from it; a sign above the bodies saying this awaits all who take prisoners instead of killing as ordered, signed "Verminaard." Goldmoon standing in the melted ruin of her father's house, trying to piece a vase back together. A dog curled around the blackened body of a child, whining for comfort. Sturm staring at the gallows, silently speaking a prayer or a vow. Goldmoon's futile search for survivors. The sadness in Flint's eyes. Tas crying.

    Raistlin's hand on his arm, telling him they needed to move.

    They walked all day and well into the night, hoping to be so tired that they would sleep dreamlessly. But of course the dreams come anyway.

    Commentary

    There's an annotation by Tracy Hickman, pointing out that the chapter mostly suggests the horror of Que-Shu, leaving lots of gaps for the imagination to fill in, and it works very well. I've read the equivalent of this scene in a lot of books over the years; some rando village gets annihilated to show that the bad guy is bad, or the stakes are for real, or whatever. And while they're often more gory and explicit, they sort of blend together in the mind into a mess of prose about the coppery smell of blood. There's something about the remove created by the flashback structure and the freeze-frame imagery and the bewilderment of the characters being foregrounded that just makes Que-Shu linger in the mind. As oft-derided as Dragonlance's prose is, I think Hickman had this exactly right; the suggestion is far more mind-catching than the explicit detail.

    Pulling back a moment, this is also our first real taste of war in Dragonlance. We've had a couple fights to date, but those were all small-scale skirmishes. This makes the threat of the army on the horizon very real, and is honestly kind of a surprising take for a straight-up adventure fantasy to take. Our introduction isn't war as adventure, or war as tragic but necessary sacrifice. This is war as atrocity, which frames everything to come.

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    Dragonlance is also reasonably consistent in this take. We get the occasional bit of war as fun adventure - Tas goes dragon riding! - and war as noble sacrifice, but it's always grounded in war as atrocity. The sack of Solace later in this book, or the Red Dragonarmy razing Tarsis even though it capitulated come to mind. This also serves the important point later of making Kitiara extremely unsympathetic, which is important since until she shows up in Winter Night, we mostly only know her through Tanis' love-addled thinking. And of course she's fun and sexy and dynamic, so if war was only ever a fun adventure, she'd just be a bit of an anti-hero. But war means incinerated children who will never play with their poor scared dogs again.

    Not a subtle point, but one made very well via being blunt as hell about it.



    (Incidentally, why is blood always described as coppery smelling or tasting? I do a lot of metalwork in copper, and I've slaughtered my fair share of animals, and I can assure you that blood smells nothing like copper. Could we please develop a new simile now?)
    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.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    (Incidentally, why is blood always described as coppery smelling or tasting? I do a lot of metalwork in copper, and I've slaughtered my fair share of animals, and I can assure you that blood smells nothing like copper. Could we please develop a new simile now?)
    To someone unversed in either metal or killing animals (i.e. me), the scent definitely does seem reminiscent of copper. (I've admittedly never tasted copper, so no comment there.) But.... yeah, there's definitely a strong association for those who may not have a nuanced comparison.

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    "The Order of the Draco." There's a phrase that never caught on at all.

    I do like the idea of Raistlin going into an evil monologue, all 'you will all bow to my power' and Tanis' reaction is to patiently wait for him to finish, suggesting he does that sort of thing a lot.

    Also, the Plains of Dust are far to the south, further south than Thorbardin, even. Goldmoon and Riverwind are from the Plains of Abanasinia. Not sure if this was retconned or if the authors made a mistake with their own lore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    "The Order of the Draco." There's a phrase that never caught on at all.

    I do like the idea of Raistlin going into an evil monologue, all 'you will all bow to my power' and Tanis' reaction is to patiently wait for him to finish, suggesting he does that sort of thing a lot.

    Also, the Plains of Dust are far to the south, further south than Thorbardin, even. Goldmoon and Riverwind are from the Plains of Abanasinia. Not sure if this was retconned or if the authors made a mistake with their own lore.
    I also like how Raistlin's speech is based on AD&D "linear fighters, quadratic wizards" problem... as long as he levels up enough, the final result is inevitable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DataNinja View Post
    To someone unversed in either metal or killing animals (i.e. me), the scent definitely does seem reminiscent of copper. (I've admittedly never tasted copper, so no comment there.) But.... yeah, there's definitely a strong association for those who may not have a nuanced comparison.
    Huh, that surprises me because outside of books I've really never associated the two at all. Blood just sort of smells like, well, blood to me. I suppose maybe in the context of a leaking package of hamburger or other processed meat it could smell coppery, but those are cuts of muscle from animals that have been basically bled dry already. That's a very different scent from fresh blood, which is sort of pungent and and, at least for me, has a pretty direct route from the nose to the adrenaline system. Blood smells exciting, not in a happy fun way, but more like it makes me slightly wired and tuned in.

    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    "The Order of the Draco." There's a phrase that never caught on at all.
    Yeah, I think that's the only time it appears. Though it could be a draconian-only sort of club name I suppose? We don't really get a lot of time with the draconians talking about themselves after all.


    Also, the Plains of Dust are far to the south, further south than Thorbardin, even. Goldmoon and Riverwind are from the Plains of Abanasinia. Not sure if this was retconned or if the authors made a mistake with their own lore.
    Actually that's just me goofing up the lore, the books have it right. They're definitely in the Plains of Abanisinia.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by DataNinja View Post
    To someone unversed in either metal or killing animals (i.e. me), the scent definitely does seem reminiscent of copper. (I've admittedly never tasted copper, so no comment there.) But.... yeah, there's definitely a strong association for those who may not have a nuanced comparison.
    Copper (and other metals), don't really smell or taste like anything. What we smell is the product of the oil on our hands reacting with the surface of the metal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    "The Order of the Draco." There's a phrase that never caught on at all.

    I do like the idea of Raistlin going into an evil monologue, all 'you will all bow to my power' and Tanis' reaction is to patiently wait for him to finish, suggesting he does that sort of thing a lot.

    Also, the Plains of Dust are far to the south, further south than Thorbardin, even. Goldmoon and Riverwind are from the Plains of Abanasinia. Not sure if this was retconned or if the authors made a mistake with their own lore.
    No kidding


    I feel like we need two more trackers.

    Times Raistlin was blatantly evil: 1
    Times Raistlin saved the party: 1 (from the undead in Draken Woods)
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    The Lost Dragon: A story about a priest who finds a baby dragon in his church and decides to protect them.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Warty Goblin
    Tanis says they're hardly the stuff of heroes, but Raistlin says they need to ask who chose them, and for what purpose.
    This is also why I dislike the Meetings and Preludes books. Tanis' line about the party not being the stuff of heroes only makes sense if they haven't had any major heroic achievements prior to this quest.

    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    I do like the idea of Raistlin going into an evil monologue, all 'you will all bow to my power' and Tanis' reaction is to patiently wait for him to finish, suggesting he does that sort of thing a lot.
    Suggesting? Heck, it flats out says Tanis is "accustomed to this tirade." (Which kind of makes Raistlin come across as a buffoon here.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    Suggesting? Heck, it flats out says Tanis is "accustomed to this tirade." (Which kind of makes Raistlin come across as a buffoon here.)
    I think that's the point. They want you to be uncertain how much of what Raist says and does is just egomaniacal bluster.
    “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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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    Times Raistlin saved the party: 1 (from the undead in Draken Woods)
    Also possibly from the goblins at the lake. YMMV on how much of a threat they actually were (I don't recall a goblin ever actually managing to kill anything in the books), but archers with darkvision against a gaggle of inexperienced sailors in an overloaded boat? Seems like a fish-in-a-barrel situation to me.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Also possibly from the goblins at the lake. YMMV on how much of a threat they actually were (I don't recall a goblin ever actually managing to kill anything in the books), but archers with darkvision against a gaggle of inexperienced sailors in an overloaded boat? Seems like a fish-in-a-barrel situation to me.
    The party seemed to treat the goblins as a serious threat, so I would say it counts.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    Times Raistlin was blatantly evil: 1
    Times Raistlin saved the party: 1 (from the undead in Draken Woods)
    I feel like these are going to track very, very closely.

    I therefore endorse this idea, and the ratio between the two, 100% as a measure of 'why do the other party members not kick this guy from the group, seriously' metric.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    I therefore endorse this idea, and the ratio between the two, 100% as a measure of 'why do the other party members not kick this guy from the group, seriously' metric.
    Don't forget to include the following for trackers (for interest or perhaps just entertainment purposes):

    1) Tas does something "Kender"-ish, that anyone else could have done

    2) Sturm and Foreshadowing

    3) Foreshadowing on Each Character

    4) Flint, and Horses

    5) Gully Dwarves, just Gully Dwarves
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Also possibly from the goblins at the lake. YMMV on how much of a threat they actually were (I don't recall a goblin ever actually managing to kill anything in the books), but archers with darkvision against a gaggle of inexperienced sailors in an overloaded boat? Seems like a fish-in-a-barrel situation to me.
    I kinda want to limit it to situations where they almost definitely would've died. The goblins might have killed someone, but maybe they wouldn't of, and likely not everyone. The undead would have certainly massacred everyone if Raistlin hadn't stepped in.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Huh, that surprises me because outside of books I've really never associated the two at all. Blood just sort of smells like, well, blood to me. I suppose maybe in the context of a leaking package of hamburger or other processed meat it could smell coppery, but those are cuts of muscle from animals that have been basically bled dry already. That's a very different scent from fresh blood, which is sort of pungent and and, at least for me, has a pretty direct route from the nose to the adrenaline system. Blood smells exciting, not in a happy fun way, but more like it makes me slightly wired and tuned in.
    I find the taste of blood and copper (I was one of those "chew on anything" kids) fairly similar, personally. I've never been around enough blood to smell it, but the tastes are similar.
    Last edited by Gnoman; 2019-05-27 at 11:38 PM.

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    I actually read the Twins Trilogy first, and the difference between where Raist starts out and knowing how he ends up was a little jarring the first time through the original trilogy. The way he treats Caramon and the others at this point in the story is well-mannered and pleasant by comparison. I was also pretty new to how D&D worked at the time, so I remember being a annoyed at how weak Raistlin seemed in these early books- with the way low-level spells seemed to wipe him out his stamina- and yet becoming the most feared wizard on Krynn just a couple years down the road.

    Plus, waiting for Sturm to die the whole time was kind of heartbreaking. Once I started reading Autumn Twilight for the first time, he quickly became my favorite character.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Hey, not all of us (or maybe just me) know how these things are going to turn out, beyond maybe the broadest plot strokes. So, it would be appreciated if possibly stuff like that could be spoilered...

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNinja View Post
    Hey, not all of us (or maybe just me) know how these things are going to turn out, beyond maybe the broadest plot strokes. So, it would be appreciated if possibly stuff like that could be spoilered...
    But the books are nearly thirty years old at this point. I think any spoiler statute of limitations is long past.

    Respectfully,

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    But the books are nearly thirty years old at this point. I think any spoiler statute of limitations is long past.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Be as that may in casual conversation, the OP at least (and much of this thread) seems to respect that there are people who have different levels of experience with regards to this series, given the number of spoiler tags in here.

    This is a thread about experiencing the series, and some people here are following because they never got around to it the first time, despite it being such a fundamental part of D&D literature. I'm one of those people. So, if not out of respect for those like me, perhaps one could at least respect the conventions laid out by the OP?
    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    I will discuss how elements of the current chapter impact or show up later in the series; however I will confine these discussions to clearly marked spoilers in each section. So if you don't want spoiled, don't read the spoilers.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    But the books are nearly thirty years old at this point.
    More than thirty, actually. Thirty-five, to be specific. I was two when this book was released.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Eternata View Post
    Just popping in to say that I'm really enjoying this reread! I suspect I'm a bit younger than many of you, but Dragonlance was still a big part of my high school experience, and I'm loving the opportunity to relive it all again now. Looking forward to future updates!
    It was part of my high school experience as well ... in 1987 .

    Respectfully,

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    RE: Spoilers. I'm going to keep trying to put spoiler stuff in spoilers. It'd be nice if others would too, though obviously I have no power to enforce this. So bottom line is, all of my reread posts should be spoiler free.

    Raistlin saving the party and Raistlin being evil counters are definitely getting added.

    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    More than thirty, actually. Thirty-five, to be specific. I was two when this book was released.
    Technically speaking, I was negative. Hey, does that mean they count as classics yet?


    Onwards with the reread!

    13: Chill dawn. Vine bridges. Dark water
    Tanis is shaken awake from a nightmare by Riverwind, who says he was yelling in his sleep. It's several hours until dawn, but Tanis knows he won't get back to sleep, so he tells Riverwind to sleep. Riverwind says he can't, Tanis says he needs to, Riverwind says that the warriors of his tribe train to stay awake for days. Goldmoon is whimpering in her sleep.

    Tanis goes to talk to Flint, who is also awake, and carving a piece of wood. The dwarf says that according to Riverwind they're on an old road from before the Cataclysm called the Sageway East, that goes through the mountains. Apparently they've met no enemies in the plains; they only hit Que-Shu in search of the staff, and everything appears to be peaceful for the moment. The annotated edition has a cut paragraph at this point, about how it was Raistlin who, rather cold-bloodedly got everybody moving on from Xak Tsaroth. It's a solid bit of writing, but honestly it was basically already there in the previous chapter, so I can see why it was cut.

    Tanis goes back to ask Riverwind about the way to Xak Tsaroth. The plainsman says it should be within a day's travel. In the morning they check one of Tas' maps. It's sort of useless, since it dates to before the Cataclysm, but Xak Tsaroth definitely lies on the Sageway. Of course, being from before the Cataclysm, the map doesn't show some things. Like the entirety of Newsea, which formed when the land ripped apart as the fiery mountain struck.

    Over a rather miserable breakfast, Raistlin comments on Goldmoon's staff: "How precious it has become, now that it has been purchased by the blood of innocents."

    Goldmoon wonders if the staff was worth it, while everyone looks awkward and Riverwind goes off by himself. Goldmoon blames herself for the destruction of Que-Shu, and feels that she isn't supporting Riverwind, who has to feel as bad as she does. Tanis reassures her it wasn't her fault, and they need to press on to Xak Tsaroth, and hope for answers there. Goldmoon reminds herself that she is Chieftain's Daughter, but Riverwind points out that she's now Chieftain. Goldmoon responds that all their people are dead, but Riverwind says he saw tracks leading away from Que-Shu; maybe some escaped. Goldmoon may be chieftain in truth, so when they marry Riverwind will be Chieftain's husband, a fact which clearly bothers him.

    Goldmoon starts to say something about how they've talked about this, but Riverwind says he left Goldmoon the woman and came back to find Chieftain's Daughter in her place. Goldmoon blows up at this, pointing out that worrying about getting poisoned or scraping together money to pay the soldiers while her father drooled in the corner was not her her choice, nor actually a good time. Riverwind says they need to get moving.

    After a couple miles the road dumps them into a swamp. Flint promptly steps in something called deathmirk, which I think is the charming local name for quicksand, and has to be hauled out via a sapling that Caramon uproots. Tas notices a very large snake swimming through the deathmirk. Tanis says that this is just not passable, but Raistlin says there's no time to go around, and Riverwind says he knows a way through, that the path leads to - the broken city where he found the staff.

    Tanis says this makes sense, where better after all to find out about the staff than where it comes from? They set off, Riverwind leading the way. It's an unpleasant journey, muddy, misty, and slow, as they need to test every step. They come to a deep part of the swamp, spanned by a rickety looking bridge made of slimy vines. Tanis wonders who made the bridge, Riverwind says that they appear along the trail wherever it would otherwise be impassable. Raistlin says that, as he thought, Xak Tsaroth will not have remained abandoned. They all get across the bridge - Flint going so slowly that Tas has to go back and pull him along. And after that bridge is another, and then just a long stretch of sucking mud that leaves everyone muddy and stinking.

    By midday however the swamp has given way to less wet, more open country. Flint however, having spent the morning soaking wet and cold, is complaining of rheumatism, so Tanis suggests that Tas dig out the bottle of brandy from his pouches to warm Flint up a bit. Tas produes a bottle of Otik's finest, and is deeply offended when Tanis asks if he paid for it, claiming he's going to next time he's there. After lunch Tas and Flint take the lead, Tas conveniently forgetting Tanis' instruction to go easy on the brandy. By the time they've emptied the bottle, both are feeling quite good about things, and have an enjoyable time contemplating how ready they are to fight a pack of draconians.

    At this point, while crossing a giant downed tree over a brackish pool, Tas looks up to see a genuine-in-the-flesh draconian. He yells out that it's an ambush and takes a swipe at the draconian with his hoopak. The draconian, who strangely doesn't have any weapons, jumps back, and Tas spots a second one as well. Flint tells Tas to duck, so the kender throws himself flat on the tree trunk as Flint hauls off a great swing at the lead draconian. Being more than a bit drunk however, Flint totally misjudges the distance, misses by a mile, slips, and falls into the water. Tas, lying on the log, realizes that the draconian is casting a spell - he recognizes the sound of a magic spell from being around Raistlin - and figures the water is better than getting bespelled, so jumps in after Flint. There's another cut paragraph here about Tas trying to rescue Flint from the water, but it doesn't really add anything, so I can see why it was axed.

    Tanis hears Tas' yell, and they all rush forwards at the ready. But suddenly they're plunged into impenetrable darkness. Raistlin prepares to use magic against the darkness spell, but something hits him, and Tanis hears the mage yell in pain and fall over. Caramon goes down with a thump and a groan. A moment later Tanis is covered in gooey strands of some sticky stuff, and feels himself falling into an unnatural sleep...


    Commentary
    Oh look, another let's travel and be horrible to each other chapter! Raistlin in particular is really elevating his 'horrible jerk' game here, although targeted at Goldmoon for some reason. But it's not actually evil, so the counter stands at
    Raist-o-meter:
    Times horrible to Caramon: 3
    Times obviously evil: 1
    Times saves the party: 1

    (I could have a 'Raistlin-is-a-jerk' counter, but that's just sort of constant, so why bother)

    Plotwise the important deal is that the party gets themselves incapacitated, so we can look forwards to the consequences of this next chapter. Also we meet draconians who can use magic! This is a cool wrinkle, and marks them as either aurak or bozak draconians.

    The 3.5 incarnation of an aurak draconian. It's nice how different they look from the baaz draconians the party fought earlier.


    Character-wise everybody's dealing with the aftermath of Que-Shu, which makes for a subdued chapter, at least until Tas breaks out the booze. The most important character bit is probably Goldmoon and Riverwind's fight over her now being chieftain. Apparently Riverwind really does not like the idea of marrying somebody who is technically his ruler and can order him around. Which, on the one hand is a totally fair beef. On the other, it's the sort of thing women have had to (and still do have to) deal with a lot, so deal, I guess? To be kinder to Riverwind, there's also a consistent read of his character that he and his family have always been outside of the usual tribal power structures by choice, so marrying into something he already finds objectionable is indeed going to cause some legit friction.

    Goldmoon's perspective of having been basically forced by circumstance into an unpleasant role she did not want, but finds hard to shed now she has it is a lot more interesting. There could definitely be some interesting character beats there, but unfortunately we don't get to see her either before she's forced into the leadership role, or adapting to it, only the aftermath.

    I do like the portion with Flint and Tas. It's actually pretty funny - they joke about Raistlin turning a draconian into stone just by looking at it - and the Flint/Tas dynamic is pretty solid straight man/zany antics sort of stuff.

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    Unfortunately the Goldmoon and Riverwind tension is a plot thread that just sort of... resolves by the end of the book. Which is also when the narrative basically stops paying any attention to Goldmoon and Riverwind at all. So, good news I guess is that she gets over her somewhat ill-defined problem and Riverwind gets over his authority issues and they all live happily ever after. Except for that last part, because it's Dragonlance; aka soap opera but with dragons and stabbing. So Riverwind gets killed in some battle or other and Goldmoon gets murdered by her adopted daughter who's an unwitting pawn of evil and also a secret goddess.

    Tas and Flint is setting up both Tas' ark towards something approximating emotional maturity over the course of the series, and one of the genuinely more unique bits of Dragonlance. That being Flint dying of a heart attack. I've read buckets of fantasy, and honestly the number of primary characters who die completely mundane deaths of natural causes is very low. It's not even super unusual in Dragonlance, of the Heroes of the Lance, Flint, Caramon and Tika all die basically of old age. Everybody else dies violently, or in Raistlin's case makes some sort of weird hobby of sort of dying.


    In non-plot related annotations, there's a long and fairly adorable portion about Margaret's nine year old daughter roping people into a community theater reading of this portion of the book at GenCon. Lizz and her mother would later coauthor a couple of urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels with very class covers



    For some reason I haven't read those.
    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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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    For some reason I haven't read those.
    ...
    Huh.

    Can't imagine why not.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    So are we not counting Sleeping the goblins as saving the party then?
    “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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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    I think the draconian was a bozak since it wasn't described as being wingless.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Enjoying the re-read! The recaps are very nice since it's been over a decade since I last read the books, and the analysis is a lot of fun.

    re: spoiler discussion, I don't believe in the idea of a "statute of limitations" for spoilers when discussing something in a public space like this. It doesn't matter how old something is, nor how much you might think that "everyone" has seen/read/heard of the thing. If the work is relevant enough to maintain some level of popular consciousness then there will always be new people discovering that thing, and those people who are new to the thing deserve the courtesy of getting to experience the thing without being spoiled on it.

    Why am I so sure that there will always be people who are new to a thing? xkcd says it best:


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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    At this point, while crossing a giant downed tree over a brackish pool, Tas looks up to see a genuine-in-the-flesh draconian. He yells out that it's an ambush and takes a swipe at the draconian with his hoopak. The draconian, who strangely doesn't have any weapons, jumps back, and Tas spots a second one as well. Flint tells Tas to duck, so the kender throws himself flat on the tree trunk as Flint hauls off a great swing at the lead draconian.
    Is it at this point or further along when Tas knocks out Flint with his hoopak? I recall it being in a swamp related area in the first book. Somewhere, with Tas claiming that Flint just slipped.

    Spoilers:

    I think Spoilers really depend on whether or not the OP mentions how they are going to treat them, and that if they use/show spoilers, then that should be present inside the thread title.

    Book:

    I can recall reading the dragonlance books, since there was them or the Forgotten Realms books. There weren't any Greyhawk novels or others.

    Oddly enough, my D&D history consists of:

    Dark Sun: Shattered Lands

    Maybe Baldur's Gate some, then definitely Dragonlance books

    2nd/3rd/3.5, Also Temple of Elemental Evil

    Forgotten Realms novels

    Riverwind:

    I recall in of the Tales' books or something like it, it has a story about Riverwind's great(or further back) grandparents that consisted of a daughter of a Knight of Solamnia and a priest of Mishakal or Paladine as the Cataysclim/mountain rockie thing falling down on Istar. They end up meeting Astinus, doing a bit of this and that before the two go home to the Que-Shu tribe, where they continue to worship the true gods. This is seen as bizarre by the rest of the tribe. Riverwind is/was supposed to get crap over this.

    Mountain Rockie Thing:

    I have always questioned why the story was that Man turned from the Gods and how that was supposed to be wrong, when the Gods threw a mountain down, then decided to have no more contact.

    Why is this such an issue, described as being a wrong carried out by mortals. It chafes at me, especially since I kinda fall into the same religious outlook a bit as Hickman. Why are the mortals being blamed when the gods clearly showed that the Deities had taken away their clerical power.

    Kender:

    Yeah, i just not seeing much out of them here. I know why, but i am not seeing how different Tas is from what a player playing a rogue/thief would be doing.
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