Review by C.J. Bunce
This has been another great year for D&D players, with new adventures and source books for the “world’s greatest roleplaying game.” And it’s ending with a bang. If you’ve ever wanted to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, you now have dozens of entry points. If you played any time over the past four decades, you now have an adventure that will take you back to the 1980s: Dragonlance, the setting that put a world of dragons back into RPGs–and after some corporate acquisitions, into D&D, too.
The next incarnation is Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, and it’s available with three shiny cover variants along with a Deluxe Edition Boxed Set featuring a vivid dragon fire screen and the new battlefield board game, Warriors of Krynn, which is a component of the adventure but also can be used in other settings. It’s all available to pre-order now here at Amazon and shipping December 6.
You can get Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen as just the adventure in a single volume format with standard cover (pictured at far right above) by Cynthia Sheppard here, or with a metallic version featuring a dragon (pictured above, center) by Antonio José Manzanito that arrives inside the Deluxe Edition. A third variant soft-touch edition (above, left) designed by Chase Stone features the death knight Lord Soth’s helm and is available here and at game shops. Finally, the new adventure is available in editions bundled with previous core rule books or with other adventures–check out your options here at Amazon. Which do you choose? Some players collect cover libraries and want consistency in all their books, others just select which they like best. The contents inside are the same, including the gorgeous giant foldout, two-sided map by Francesca Baerald and Mike Schley, and appendices featuring new gear and magic items (with a bit of steampunk flair), Monster Manual supplement pages with dragonnels, draconians, Dragon Army soldiers, Lord Soth, and more, and finally, some NPC sidekicks the DM can work into any game. Three pages of concept art show some of the work that went into the book design. But note: Only the deluxe edition has the Warriors of Krynn board game. Even if it sounds too complicated to incorporate in your weekly game today, you may want it once you’ve had more experience in the Dragonlance setting.
It’s a time of war. This D&D adventure is all about combat–fantasy with an Edge of Tomorrow vibe. Dragonlance introduces war as a genre of play to 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, with a focus on the “War of the Lance.” Takhisis the Dragon Queen has returned to the world of Krynn. Across the land, her armies of fanatical draconians wage a brutal war of conquest. As the Dragon Armies march on the unprepared nation of Solamnia, only the defenders of the city of Kalaman stand in their way. But the Dragon Armies want more than just to crush their foes. An ancient evil in the Dragon Queen’s service seeks a magical weapon that could dominate Krynn for all time.
Dragonlance relies on a Dungeon Master with some skill, especially if you opt for the board game tie-in stages, which involve some coordination on his/her/their part. You’ll need a room big enough for a few tables–one for the adventure, and another for the board game battle phases of play. Players create characters from Krynn as they would in other D&D settings, but here they are marching them to the front lines of battle against Dragon Armies. You as a player hero may not be driving those big battles, but more like a real battlefield (less like something like Axis & Allies), you may be watching from the sidelines. But the outcome will have a major impact on the rest of your journey.
Each book is a detailed overview of what players and DMs need to do to run adventures, highlighting core elements of the Dragonlance setting. This includes the kender race and new backgrounds for the Knight of Solamnia and Mage of High Sorcery magic-users. It introduces the Lunar Sorcery sorcerer subclass with new spells that bind characters to Krynn’s three mystical moons and imbues them with lunar magic. Hero/heroine characters work together toward a climactic face-off against the infamous death knight Lord Soth and his army of draconians.
The adventure. With literally decades of Dragonlance RPG material and novels to incorporate into this new module, you will have a lot to get up to speed on. Those who have followed Dragonlance from its early days will have some advantages. This adventure requires the DM to more closely follow the steps of the journey in the book, similar to earlier D&D edition adventures. But no background in Dragonlance is absolutely necessary to jump in.
When was the last time you incorporated figures into play? Probably when they were made of pewter? Well get out your paints. The Warriors of Krynn board game introduces a war game experience to D&D 5th edition, featuring heroes who participate in large scale military battles. It’s a complete standalone, co-operative battle game experience that is set in the world of Dragonlance with options for integrating play with six the Shadow of the Dragon Queen encounters by providing scenarios with win/loss outcomes that impact roleplay, resulting in different encounter and quest choices for players. So there are options to play together or separately. See images of the terrain cards, rule book supplements, playing pieces, hero figurines, game cards, and dice above–again, this is all from the Deluxe Edition.
It’s all available to pre-order now here at Amazon and shipping December 6. Your next D&D adventure begins tomorrow.
If you’re looking for more gifts for your gamer friends and family or anyone who has ever wanted to create their own characters and share stories of their imagination, take a look at the options from Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons & Dragons′ wide variety of core materials and accessories. Order soon to ensure delivery for the holidays. Looking for last-minute gift ideas or stocking stuffers? Digital copies of your favorite D&D products can be downloaded from D&D Beyond. In case you missed it, find out even more in our 2022 Mega-Sized Dungeons & Dragons Holiday Gift Guide here.