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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Putting the onus on the victim, are we?
    Its kind of a fundamental premise of free will that you have responsibility for the choices you make. Others may have responsibility for taking some away, but in this particular instance, Raist didn't do that. She had the ability to back out if she wanted to. She simply didn't.
    “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

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Its kind of a fundamental premise of free will that you have responsibility for the choices you make. Others may have responsibility for taking some away, but in this particular instance, Raist didn't do that. She had the ability to back out if she wanted to. She simply didn't.
    This gets back to the point about any affirmative action. Which is to say that affecting any other person necessarily scars their perfect freedom, which can only exist in perfect isolation. So from the perspective of preserving free will, the sleight of hand tricks are just as objectionable as the magical puffery as would be a charm as would be domination.

    Fortunately, free will isn't real.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    This gets back to the point about any affirmative action. Which is to say that affecting any other person necessarily scars their perfect freedom, which can only exist in perfect isolation. So from the perspective of preserving free will, the sleight of hand tricks are just as objectionable as the magical puffery as would be a charm as would be domination.

    Fortunately, free will isn't real.
    Im pretty sure youre just misunderstanding the concept of free will here, frankly. Your definition cant exist, and is indeed an oxymoron, since the very act of having a decision to make means you are being acted on by some outside entity. Its no wonder you think it doesn't exist in light of that, but its also not what people actually mean when they talk about free will.
    “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.”

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Guys, I get this a heated topic but this is a reread thread I'm really enjoying; let's try and avoid derailing things - maybe take it to PMs?

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Im pretty sure youre just misunderstanding the concept of free will here, frankly. Your definition cant exist, and is indeed an oxymoron, since the very act of having a decision to make means you are being acted on by some outside entity. Its no wonder you think it doesn't exist in light of that, but its also not what people actually mean when they talk about free will.
    Not my fault if people use terms wrong. Unfortunately, explaining why they use this term wrong would involve a lot of theology.
    Last edited by zimmerwald1915; 2019-06-06 at 08:05 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    The party wasn't in any immediate danger when Raistlin cast that spell. Nor had they even tried regular diplomacy. (Which might well have worked. Raistlin was doing pretty well impressing the gully dwarves with his sleight of hands tricks before he broke out the enchantment magic, so it's perfectly possible he could have won over the gully dwarves without the use of actual magic.)



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    Fair enough. I just reread that part of the book, and you are correct that Bupu wasn't supposed to actually sneak into the lair with the party. Still, the plan was for Bupu to be with Raistlin while he caused a distraction (which was intended to get the attention of the dragon.) Being with someone who is trying to provoke a dragon is perhaps not quite as bad as outright sneaking into the dragon's lair, but it's still a really dangerous mission, and thus not the kind of thing that it is fair to ask someone to do after you have magically compelled them to adore you.




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    And you don't think that magically rewriting someone's brain so that they see you as a friend is a massive subversion of their free will? Look at it this way, if someone slipped you a drug that made you think of them as your best friend, and while under the influence of that drug you gave them your most valuable possession and risked your life for them, are you really telling me you would not feel that you were horribly taken advantage of by them once the drug wore off? And that's what a charm spell is. No, it doesn't fully obliterate free will. (Even the Dominate spells can't do that.) But it definitely subverts free will by magically changing your feelings for another person.




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    He forced her to see him as a friend. Everything else flowed from that initial violation.




    I guess that would be the difference between the Friendship spell (which as you described it seems to just temporarily raise a person's charisma) and a Charm Person spell (which is a direct mental subversion of another person.) The former could certainly be viewed as deceptive (since it is creating a false impression of the spell caster), but it still seems much less invasive than the later (which is directly mind-altering.)
    The interesting thing is in how Raist treats Bupu
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    Not only does he treat her much better than the rest of the party, he's actually offended when they insult her. He also makes sure to send her away to safety instead of having her accompany the group

    Furthermore it's suggested that Bupu is protected by Raist after he becomes a god and that's why she's one of the last beings to survive.


    Also it's important to remember that the spell should only last a couple minutes. A day at most in some editions. Now Dragonlance doesn't follow D&D rules strictly, but still, it's not a permanent spell. And her affection persists far beyond that. Likely because Raistlin actually treats Bupu better than anyone else.
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  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    Also it's important to remember that the spell should only last a couple minutes. A day at most in some editions. Now Dragonlance doesn't follow D&D rules strictly, but still, it's not a permanent spell. And her affection persists far beyond that. Likely because Raistlin actually treats Bupu better than anyone else.
    I'm not entirely sure which version of D&D was in effect at the time the Chronicles were written, but in the early versions of D&D, Charm Person lasted a lot longer than just a couple of minutes (and especially when used on a person of low intelligence.) In ODAD I believe it was permanent until dispelled, and in AD&D 1st edition, the spell typically lasted until the target made an intelligence check (with a person with a 7-9 intelligence normally only getting such a check once a month, a person with a 4-6 intelligence only getting such a check every 2 months, and a person with a 3 intelligence only getting such a check every 3 months.) Thus Bupu would certainly have been charmed the entire time the party was in Xak Tsaroth.

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    Though the spell almost certainly would have worn off by the time of the Legends books, so I agree with you that Bupu's affection for Raistlin in those books would have been genuine.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Since this quite obviously was not a Charm Person spell, how that spell worked in older editions is irrelevant.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Since this quite obviously was not a Charm Person spell, how that spell worked in older editions is irrelevant.
    What's your basis for saying it wasn't a Charm Person spell? Raistlin seems to cast two spells in this chapter when dealing with the gully dwarves: the first spell on the group of gully dwarves (which does appear to be a Friendship spell) and then a second spell later on (which he only casts on Bupu.) The later spell certainly reads as a Charmed Person spell having only a single target and resulting in said target thereafter being enamored with Raistlin.

    There's also Raistlin's own words on the subject:

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    "Dragons are the most ancient of magic-users. She could charm you as I have charmed my little friend." So clearly Raistlin thinks he cast a charm spell on Bupu.
    Last edited by bguy; 2019-06-06 at 09:35 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    What's your basis for saying it wasn't a Charm Person spell? Raistlin seems to cast two spells in this chapter when dealing with the gully dwarves: the first spell on the group of gully dwarves (which does appear to be a Friendship spell) and then a second spell later on (which he only casts on Bupu.) The later spell certainly reads as a Charmed Person spell having only a single target and resulting in said target thereafter being enamored with Raistlin.

    There's also Raistlin's own words on the subject:

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    "Dragons are the most ancient of magic-users. She could charm you as I have charmed my little friend." So clearly Raistlin thinks he cast a charm spell on Bupu.
    It's Charm Person rather than Charm Monster because a gully dwarf is a demihuman human-equivalent by the rules, right? Not a monster?

    My thought is the spell exists in the book for a reason, and good parties used it, or did use it, for its intended purpose. There are a lot of ways that Raistlin could have gained Bupu's "cooperation"; certainly the Seeker's guards don't seem to waste any time or energy on magical means when brute force will work just fine.

    That's why I'm willing to give him a break; he believed that gaining the co-operation of the gully dwarves was not very likely without magical aid, and they really needed that co-operation if they plan to go into a dragon's den and come out alive.

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    And even so some will not; it will take divine intervention to keep some of the party alive when all is said and done.


    That's why I don't consider this an evil act; because necessity has narrowed his choices and options. This is not all that different from Vaarsuvius charming the Linear Guild's Kobold in the last book of OOTS. And I will say that Raistlin was much kinder to Bupu than Vaarsuvius was to his prisoner.

    Mind, I'm not saying it's a good act either. It's neutral, like sticking a sword in an enemy soldier.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    I think the context of the story is definitely important here. In Star Trek, manipulating emotions like this would get you a stern speech from Picard on the sanctity of free thought. In Star Wars, it's a standard tactic of the local Paladin-Monks and nobody bats an eye or says Obi-Wan is Evil.

    In the setting of a fantasy adventure, manipulating the bad guy's minions so that you can proceed without hurting them is boy scout level behaviour. I certainly don't feel we can criticize Raistlin for it.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    A couple of points on the actual situation:
    The spell cast was the first edition "friends" - we know it wasn't "charm person" because it wasn't a single-target spell. We know the edition was 1st Ed AD&D because some of us has at least 1 of the adventures, and the books were published before2nd Ed AD&D.
    Although the spell gives a saving throw for negative effect, it is essentially the same spell as the 3.X "Eagle's Splendor" and makes no change to how the targets choose to act, merely to how likeable they view the caster as being. Therefore any moraliity argument you make for it must also be applicable to "Eagle's Splendor", or if not, different only because the spell affects fewer people and gives a saving throw for negative effect.
    Arguments on the morality of actions taken with or without a charisma boost are another matter - because they apply to the behaviour not the spell.

    That said, the discussion of the morality of spellcasting is very off-topic for this thread and has come close to the point where I woudl report it for Moderator assessment several times - please drop it or take it to another thread so the rest of us can read the entertaining Dragonlance comments.
    Last edited by Khedrac; 2019-06-07 at 02:45 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    My thought is the spell exists in the book for a reason, and good parties used it, or did use it, for its intended purpose.
    There are certainly instances when a good party could use such a spell. (Neutralizing an adversary who was trying to actively attack the party.) But that wasn't what happened here. The gully dwarves weren't attacking the party or threatening to turn them into the draconians. They were actually acting in a friendly manner towards the party.

    That's why I don't consider this an evil act; because necessity has narrowed his choices and options. This is not all that different from Vaarsuvius charming the Linear Guild's Kobold in the last book of OOTS.
    That kobold was actively shooting at Vaarsuvius when V dominated him.

    And I will say that Raistlin was much kinder to Bupu than Vaarsuvius was to his prisoner.
    I agree with this.

    Mind, I'm not saying it's a good act either. It's neutral, like sticking a sword in an enemy soldier.
    Except it wasn't an attack on an enemy soldier. It was an attack on a neutral non-combatant.

    Rodin]I think the context of the story is definitely important here. In Star Trek, manipulating emotions like this would get you a stern speech from Picard on the sanctity of free thought. In Star Wars, it's a standard tactic of the local Paladin-Monks and nobody bats an eye or says Obi-Wan is Evil.
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    Well for what it's worth in The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke does express concern over using the Force to manipulate the minds of others and worries that it is touching on Dark Side behavior.


    In the setting of a fantasy adventure, manipulating the bad guy's minions so that you can proceed without hurting them is boy scout level behaviour. I certainly don't feel we can criticize Raistlin for it.
    These aren't the bad guy's minions though, they are the bad guy's slaves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac
    A couple of points on the actual situation:
    The spell cast was the first edition "friends" - we know it wasn't "charm person" because it wasn't a single-target spell. We know the edition was 1st Ed AD&D because some of us has at least 1 of the adventures, and the books were published before2nd Ed AD&D.
    Except Raistlin cast two seperate spells. One on a group of gully dwarves (which I agree was the "Friends" spell), and then a second single target spell directly on Bupu (which was clearly Charm Person.) That there were two seperate spells is clear in the books because they show Raistlin using the language of magic (which is how the authors tend to depict spell casting) in two different moments.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    There's another point, though, and I'll have to discuss future events in spoiler block.

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    The compassion and affection the two had for each other long outlasted the spell's duration. Raistlin would watch over her and care for both her and her tribe for years. When the Twins Trilolgy happened, it was her goodness and decency which helped bring Raistlin back from the place he'd been in.

    I grant you it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but I can't believe a mere spell could have accomplished all that. It may not have began well, but what came out in the end was genuine friendship, unforced by magic.

    In other words, it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but it was Bupu who charmed Raistlin.



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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    There's another point, though, and I'll have to discuss future events in spoiler block.

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    The compassion and affection the two had for each other long outlasted the spell's duration. Raistlin would watch over her and care for both her and her tribe for years. When the Twins Trilolgy happened, it was her goodness and decency which helped bring Raistlin back from the place he'd been in.

    I grant you it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but I can't believe a mere spell could have accomplished all that. It may not have began well, but what came out in the end was genuine friendship, unforced by magic.

    In other words, it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but it was Bupu who charmed Raistlin.



    Respectfully,

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    Irony alert: Maybe BUPU used some kind of spell turning effect on Raistlin. She is a gully dwarf, after all, and therefore evil, according to the foremost authority on them, Flint
    .

    The morality of Charm Person has been beaten to death recently in the 5E forum, and different people have different ideas, but at least it was in the appropriate thread. Why don't we keep this one on Dragonlance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by diplomancer View Post
    The morality of Charm Person has been beaten to death recently in the 5E forum, and different people have different ideas, but at least it was in the appropriate thread. Why don't we keep this one on Dragonlance?
    I must confess that I'm a little surprised by seeing this reaction from so many people. Why would discussing Raistlin's actions in Dragons of Autumn Twilight be considered off-topic for a discussion of Dragons of Autumn Twilight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    There's another point, though, and I'll have to discuss future events in spoiler block.

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    The compassion and affection the two had for each other long outlasted the spell's duration. Raistlin would watch over her and care for both her and her tribe for years. When the Twins Trilolgy happened, it was her goodness and decency which helped bring Raistlin back from the place he'd been in.

    I grant you it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but I can't believe a mere spell could have accomplished all that. It may not have began well, but what came out in the end was genuine friendship, unforced by magic.

    In other words, it was Raistlin who cast the spell, but it was Bupu who charmed Raistlin.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    Not exactly. As far back a Soulforge it was revealed that Raistlin has a ton of compassion for the downtrodden, shunned and unfortunate. To the point of risking his life multiple times to care for them.

    Bupu just stayed with Raitlin the longest.
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by diplomancer View Post
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    Irony alert: Maybe BUPU used some kind of spell turning effect on Raistlin. She is a gully dwarf, after all, and therefore evil, according to the foremost authority on them, Flint
    .

    The morality of Charm Person has been beaten to death recently in the 5E forum, and different people have different ideas, but at least it was in the appropriate thread. Why don't we keep this one on Dragonlance?
    I haven't read the 5E forum so this is all new to me. Regardless, I note your wish that this not turn into 5 pages of dragonlance commentary and 45 pages of argument over the alignment issues of charm person. Which, come to think of it, has never been positively established as the spell being cast here, although it is likely.

    I find it rather interesting that the longest, most passionate arguments on this board revolve around putting an alignment stickie on the actions of a given fictional character (Danerys in the GoT thread, Rasitlin here) then hashing out every aspect for pages until we've arrived at a board consensus as to the exact degree of good/evil of the action and the consequent alignment of the character.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    If nothing else, I'm sure we can all agree, that certainly the authors did not intend for Raistlin charming Bupu to be seen in a negative light. (In the same way that they seem to intend Flint's racism to be comedic, instead of a sign of him being a bad person.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JadedDM View Post
    If nothing else, I'm sure we can all agree, that certainly the authors did not intend for Raistlin charming Bupu to be seen in a negative light. (In the same way that they seem to intend Flint's racism to be comedic, instead of a sign of him being a bad person.)
    Can we also agree that, if we accept this, it says more about how we ought to view the authors than it does about how we ought to view their creations?

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Sure, that's fair. I mean, I love Dragonlance, but I'll be first in line to criticize certain aspects of it. It was written in a different time, after all, and by today's standards can be terribly regressive at times, even though I'm sure the authors never meant it to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Can we also agree that, if we accept this, it says more about how we ought to view the authors than it does about how we ought to view their creations?
    Nope! After all, this is a very much D&D high fantasy sort of setting. That carries different expectations about what is acceptable, just by dint of tropes. Just because said tropes are preset doesn't mean the author agree with those tropes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimmerwald1915 View Post
    Can we also agree that, if we accept this, it says more about how we ought to view the authors than it does about how we ought to view their creations?
    Why would I want to see the authors in any way? I dont know them.

    They say Beethoven was a horrible person. It does not subtract one bit from my enjoyment of his music, but I would not want to be his neighbour.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Wow, who'd have thought charming gully dwarves was such a moral quandary?

    I don't think I'll count it as Raistlin being evil, simply because when he is evil, one is generally not left in any doubt.


    And now for the Dragonlanciest chapter that ever Dragonlanced a Dragonlance.

    18: Fight at the lift. Bupu's cure for a cough

    There are two holes in the floor, with a large wheel set between them, and a heavy chain running over the wheel. At one end of the chain there's a gigantic pot, level with the floor. The other end disappears into the other hole, through which mist is billowing. Around the pot are four (not two) draconians, one of whom starts to threaten to flay the gully dwarves on account of their lateness, when Caramon charges out of the mist, and tosses it against the wall. Sturm - calling out the knight's salute - takes the head off another.

    The remaining two (actually two) draconians don't think much of this fight. One trips the mechanism that releases the chain, the other jumps into the pot. Tanis figures it's going for reinforcements, but Tas, looking into the other hole, says that the other pot is headed up, loaded with about twenty draconians (apparently the pot at the top is a lot heavier than the pot at the bottom?)

    The other draconian jumps into the falling top pot, and Caramon, never one to pass up a fight, jumps in after it. The gully dwarves find this enormously amusing. Sturm grabs onto the chain to shinny down after Caramon. Tanis tries to establish some sort of order, and succeeds in getting Goldmoon and Riverwind to stay up top to reverse the chain, but Tas, having the time of his life jumps on the chain. Flint tries to follow, but misses his grip and plummets into the pot, where Caramon promptly steps on him.

    Not that this is really Caramon's fault. He's busy having a no-holds-barred sword/fist/dagger/claw fight with the two draconians in the pot with him. He's starting to come off a bit worse, when Sturm gets close enough to kick one of the draconians in the face. Flint, who's getting rather squashed underneath Caramon, wrenches his helmet back to straight (priorities!) and, with a tremendous effort, stands up. Since he was underneath Caramon, this makes Caramon fall over.

    Tanis keeps Tas from jumping into the melee, before doing so himself. Tas, disappointed at having to stay on the chain when the pot looks so much more interesting, contents himself with fishing a rock out of his pouches to drop onto an enemy - hopefully. All the thrashing about is making the pot sway alarmingly, and all the extra weight is making it fall even faster, which naturally is bringing the other pot, packed with draconians, up faster as well.

    Up top, Riverwind is trying to figure out how to stop the elevator mechanism, when Raistlin - closely followed by Bupu - rushes past him and jabs the Staff of Magius into the mechanism. Surprisingly, the staff jams the wheel and doesn't break. The other gully dwarves have all clustered around the holes, and are watching the fight below with great interest.

    Caramon manages to toss one of the draconians overboard, while Tanis, Sturm and Flint between them finally kill the other. At this point the mechanism stops, thanks to Raistlin's staff, and the pot gives a great jerk. Unfortunately it stopped basically level with the other pot, and the draconians are preparing to jump over - it's only about twenty feet, and they have wings.


    Tragically there aren't any pictures of this fight, which is just an unbelievable oversight. So here's the cover for Riverwind the Plainsman, showing Clyde Caldwells' take on a draconian. Also, abs. Never leave on an epic adventure without at least a six-pack.

    Caramon leans out and takes a great swing at the would-be boarders, but misses, and his swing makes the pot start to spin. This makes him trip and fall against the edge, which makes the pot tilt over sharply, and makes Tanis fall over. The first draconian jumps across, so Tanis shoves Caramon to the other side of the pot to keep it from tilting too much. The draconian manages to grab the edge of the pot, but a second gets the distance right, and lands directly inside, right next to Sturm, who's trying to dislodge the first draconian. Caramon starts to rush back into combat, but Tanis tells him to stay put, as the draconian hanging on the edge of the pot, probably tired of Sturm trying to cut its fingers off, jumps off and floats down into the mist.

    Tanis tries to fight the draconian that landed in the pot, but trips over Flint. Leaning over the edge of the pot, he gets a sickening view of the ruined city far below them. He pulls himself from the edge, to see Tas hanging onto the draconian's back, trying to bash it in the head with a rock. Flint picks up a dagger that Caramon had dropped earlier, and knifes the draconian in the leg. Tanis looks up, and calls to Riverwind and Goldmoon to get them pulled up before they're overwhelmed by draconians from the other pot, then something hits him in the head, and he passes out.

    Raistlin, having figured that this was going south before Tanis called out, and tells the gully dwarves that the big bosses want to hurt him, and he needs their help. The gully dwarves decidedly aren't going to join in the fight, but all Raistlin needs them to do is to hop on the chain leading to the draconian's pot. They do that all the time, so are happy to help out a friend. They jump on - except Bupu - and Raistlin pulls the staff out of the wheel. With the extra gully dwarf mass added to the draconian side, their pot starts to fall back towards the ruined city below.

    The companion's pot reaches the top level again, and they disembark, including a woozy Tanis, whom Goldmoon heals with the staff. Sturm points out that they can't take the pot elevator now, and should probably not stick around. Bupu is distraught at the idea of Raistlin getting hurt by the bosses (apparently she thinks he's pretty), and tells him she knows a secret way to get to the Highbulp. The others figure they've got no real choice, they can hear the draconians coming, and follow. Bupu stops in front of a section of wall, pulls out a dead rat, and waves it, at which point a section of the wall slides open. She claims this is magic, but Tas realizes it's a hidden switch on the floor, and that Bupu probably just tripped over it while carrying the rat at some point, a suggestion Bupu finds deeply offensive.


    The map for Xak Tsaroth, showing just how much stuff there is going on in this dungeon.

    Epistemology of gully dwarf wall opening methods notwithstanding, they hurry after her through a couple of rooms, until they get to a four foot diameter pipe, sticking out of the floor, and absolutely coated in nasty green slime. Bupu says that the bosses can't follow. Tas jumps cheerfully into the pipe, but Caramon's not sure he'll fit, and Tas' reassurance that he'll "slip through like a greased pig" does not reassure him. But they can hear draconians coming, and so all slither into the pipe. Caramon's so big and awkward it takes the firm application of Tanis' boot to his backside to get him in. Tanis follows him, pausing to look at Sturm, who, naturally, goes last.

    "Sanity ended when we followed Tika into the kitchen of the Inn of the Last Home" Tanis tells him, to which Sturm agrees, sighing.

    Tas is having a great time crawling down the pipe, but spots shapes crawling up the pipe towards him. He alerts Raistlin, who shines the light of his staff down the pipe, revealing a bunch of gully dwarves heading up to grab the lifts for the draconians, but Bupu overrides them; they're going to see the Highbulp, and apparently that's more important.

    Raistlin is temporarily overcome with a fit of coughing, brought about by the foul air in the pipe. Concerned, Bupu starts digging in her pouch, producing first an emerald, which Raistlin eyes covetously. She gives it to him without a second thought, before producing what she was really looking. A very dead lizard, on a string. If Raistlin wears it around his neck, Bupu explains, it will cure his cough. Raistlin assures her that the cough is better, and eyes his new emerald.

    They come to a fork in the pipe, which Bupu says they should take. It turns out to be just as slimy as the pipe they were already in, and very steep. Tas goes shooting down it at a terrific pace, utterly unable to stop himself, and flies out the far end. The others manage more dignified exits - Caramon was big enough that he didn't really end up going very fast anyway, to find themselves in another room, which is filled with some strange billowing white smoke or fog. This causes Raistlin to disintegrate into another coughing fit.

    Tanis gets everybody rounded up, when he notices they're missing Tas. Then a short, miserable figure crusted in white appears, which Tanis figures is the kender. Tanis asks what happened, but Tas, apparently too overcome by the tragedy, just points. Directly opposite the pipe is a stack of burst bags of flour. Tanis tries to hide his smile.

    Commentary
    This chapter is pretty much straight up action, and it's just wonderful. It's also a hella good fight scene on its own merits. The scenario is legit inventive, with some nice verticality as they say about videogame levels, things go sideways in believable sorts of ways, Caramon gets a chance to shine a bit, and our heroes have to give up and find an alternative method. This isn't even like losing at the lowpoint of the story so they can come back strong and satisfying later, it's just a bad tactical situation they need to get the hell out of. That might make it unsatisfying, or feel like a waste of pages, except this fight is just so darn much fun to read.

    Seriously, I challenge anybody to read this and not crack a smile. People jumping in pots, nearly falling out of pots, stepping on each other, falling over, it's almost full on combat slapstick, except that the book is smart enough to play this with an entirely straight face. It isn't a parody, it's simply a scenario that's funny to read about, even while the protagonists are 100% serious about the whole thing. This sort of secene done with isn't-this-silly irony, fourth wall breaks, self parody and the other host of modern methods used to disguise having a genuine feeling of delight would be just intolerable, but fortunately this is Dragonlance, and therefore both completely sincere and utterly excited about everything.

    There's some good annotations to this chapter as well. Apparently this does really come pretty straight from the playtest, which I think shows in a good way. Dragonlance often gets grief for its occasionally clunky writing, but it's worth noting just how often Weis & Hickman dump us into a big action scenes with complex environments and monsters turning to stone and characters everywhere, and actually pull it off. I've read stuff held in far higher regard that can't manage this for one person, let alone six. Having the basis of characters doing stuff in a game probably really helps with this, since it provides a concrete way to keep track of who does what, although they are able to do it later on when things really aren't coming straight from the modules anymore.

    Also, according to Margaret Weis, Raistlin enchants the emerald to protect gully dwarves, kender and gnomes, because of course he does.

    The best annotation however has nothing directly to do with the text. Apparently Tracy Hickman needed hospitalized for kidney stones in '86, and the doctor was a bit generous with the Demerol, resulting in a really excellent three day trip. While rendered more or less helpless, Margaret hung a large rubber lizard on a string around his neck, which attracted a certain amount of attention when it was time to leave the hospital.

    Reminds me a bit of when I was a kid, when, for a short but magical time, I did in fact have a dead rat and a string to swing it with.
    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.

  25. - Top - End - #205
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Ah, yes, Bupu's Emerald, AKA Bupu's Revenge. Whenever a gully dwarf, kender or gnome offers the gem to an enemy as a bribe in a life-threatening situation, the enemy must make a save or become obsessed with accepting the gem. Upon taking it, they then need to make another save. Success is 2d20 damage and failure is instant death.

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    Yeesh... I like Clyde Caldwell's art but I'm not a fan of his draconian. I guess I prefer the dragon-headed humanoid look.

    This was a fun chapter - and a lovely annotation.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by RossN View Post
    Yeesh... I like Clyde Caldwell's art but I'm not a fan of his draconian. I guess I prefer the dragon-headed humanoid look.

    This was a fun chapter - and a lovely annotation.
    Is that really supposed to be a draconian?

    I always thought it was one of the Jarak-Sin (sp) lizardfolk.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    A bit late to the discussion, but I had the impression that the well that the dragon came out of in Xak Tsaroth was a 'well' in the sense of a deep vertical hole - perhaps a sinkhole formed after the greater part of the city became buried - rather than being a literal well.

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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Seriously, I challenge anybody to read this and not crack a smile. People jumping in pots, nearly falling out of pots, stepping on each other, falling over, it's almost full on combat slapstick, except that the book is smart enough to play this with an entirely straight face. It isn't a parody, it's simply a scenario that's funny to read about, even while the protagonists are 100% serious about the whole thing. This sort of secene done with isn't-this-silly irony, fourth wall breaks, self parody and the other host of modern methods used to disguise having a genuine feeling of delight would be just intolerable, but fortunately this is Dragonlance, and therefore both completely sincere and utterly excited about everything.
    This chapter really reminds me of Indiana Jones, or later imitators like The Mummy (the first one, not the later ones which went more into full slapstick). It's a serious action scene interlaced with comedy to keep things light. And it is glorious.

  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Default Re: The Illustrated Dragonlance Reread

    So, reviewing our last discussion , I have to wonder how much of the difference in viewpoint is based on the editions of D&D we played and the kind of challenges we faced in-game?

    I don't want to take anything from modern players or come across as a "when I was your age orcs were a credible threat" player but... well, I kinda am. So I'm going to give my thought and I'm hoping younger players who have played 5e -- or better, those who have played both editions -- can correct.

    Thing is, my recollection of old-school D&D of the dragonlance era and before was that it was brutal. Much closer to its wargaming roots.

    1) The normal level of a party was some where between 6 and 9. Only a very few characters lived to level 13, and most of them retired shortly thereafter due to old age. IIRC, in the very early editions anything but human characters were level-capped earlier in some way. "Epic" characters simply didn't happen. If they existed at all, they'd be quest villain or a guest NPC who would only be in the party on a temporary basis. Odds are they'd be a god in disguise.

    2) Experience penalties were harsh. There was no such thing as a "negative level". If you fought a wight and got hit even once that experience level was GONE. No chance to get it back in a day. No handy restoration spell to make it all better. No, you had to earn it all back. And if you fought a vampire, you lost Two levels.

    3) Stuff like poison was similarly nasty. Save vs. constitution or die, full stop.

    4) "death" happened at 0hp. No negative hit points. No chance to stabilize. No, you were at full strength right up to the point you hit 0, at which point you were dead. Nor was there such a thing as true resurrection. Raise dead or resurrection could bring you back, but at a cost of XP level. Also remember the levels that the team cleric would probably be playing at -- raise dead or resurrection probably wasn't something you could cast in camp at end of day, or next day after preparing spells. To get a sufficiently high level cleric you'd have to go to a temple, and probably not in the nearest village either. It would be a high priest of a major city, and the cost of bringing the dearly departed back would probably be a side quest in addition to gold. Easier to simply roll up a new character in almost all instances.

    Come to think of it, I recall going through a lot of character sheets. We learned not to get too attached.

    5) Magic items? As a rule, you were happy to find a +1 sword. Magic items were something you had to quest for. The only stuff you could buy in town, as a rule, was ordinary mundane equipment and a few basic potions.

    6) Character creation was similarly stymied. Roll 3d6 six times. There are your stats, in order. No point buy, no trading problems for bonuses or higher stats. Nope, that is your character, and you have to make the best of him/her. Rolled an 8 for intelligence? Too bad, you're not playing a mage however much you want to.

    Characters with 16+ int were rare and extremely hard to come by. Once you got one you bent heaven and earth to keep them alive, or they'd still be toast at level 3 before they'd got much beyond magic missile. After all, you'd still be starting this character out at level 1.


    All of this meant that old-school D&D did not so much encourage heroic behavior so much as it encouraged survival behavior. For myself, I learned to take every advantage I could get, because even a 1-in-10 chance of instadeath would still kill if I kept taking that particular chance, and quickly too. I learned never to touch a die at all if I could help it. I learned to stack the deck as heavily in my favor as I possibly could, and never leave the smallest glimmer of room for the DM or the dice to kill me.

    This meant that even my lawful good characters, much like Book-Faramir in Tolkien's Two Towers, had their morality tempered by a very strong streak of pragmatism.

    I believe the newer versions, such as the kind we see in Rich Burlew's OOTS, allow the game to be played this way but they don't require it. So most people don't. The game as it is practiced has seemed to go more and more towards roleplaying superheroes fighting supervillains. Heck , D&D 4 converted villain henchpeople into low-level mooks though whom a hero was supposed to flash through like a whirlwind with knives. 5 has gone closer to the old roots, but it's still a game that has emphasized "fun" over wargaming, which means fewer chances to have the character you spent hours fleshing out brutally murdered with no save.

    Which is why, say, I'm willing to give a party composed of 7 Level 4 to level 6 characters a bit of a break when facing off with an adult black dragon. Even in the later editions, if I'm using the CR calculator correctly, this is an unwinnable battle in a straight up fight. I'm willing to accept necessity as a justification or mitigation of their actions and allow stuff that I'd never allow in town. Because they're going to die unless they work every angle.

    Is this fair? Or am I missing something?

    At any rate, if it is fair than we should bear in mind when considering alignment actions that players in this campaign are at much greater risk of lasting consequences than your typical 5e party would be, and judge their actions accordingly.

    ETA: I understated the difficulty because I treated Khisanth as an adult black dragon. In fact, the module calls her an ancient black dragon, CR 22 vs. CR 14. CRs were invented after dragonlance, of course, but I still think a 3.5 or later encounter difficulty calculator can still give a rough idea of the combat difficulty. Which makes the encounter impossible by straight combat; the players need some sort of "throw the ring into the volcano to end the villain" cheat to win.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2019-06-09 at 07:54 AM.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

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