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Knightly Orders of Ansalon (3.5)

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Since the Age of Dreams, warriors have raised arms for good and evil across the face of Krynn. Great heroes and terrifying villains fight not for themselves, but for greater ideals.

This sourcebook contains game information for the d20 System, as well as the lore and traditions of knightly orders. New and revised class information are provided for the various knighthoods, as well as new feats and magical items. Details are provided for the first time on the histories of knightly orders, the rules of acceptance and conduct, their quests and trials, and deadly enemies who seek to undo them.

Knightly Orders of Ansalon contains information useful for both players and Dungeon Masters, as well as Dragonlance fans who wish to know even more about the military orders of the world and the characters who belong to them.

Product History

Knightly Orders of Ansalon (2006), by Sean Everette, Nicole Harsch, Clark Valentine, and Trampas Whiteman, is a knights sourcebook for Dragonlance 3e. It was published in August 2006.

About the Cover. Two knights fight! It's certainly reminiscent of the cover of DL8: "Dragons of War" (1985), where the Blue Lady rides Skie to attack Sturm Brightblade. The new art doesn't depict any specific characters, though it seems likely the one atop the dragon is a Dark Knight and the one with the huge mustache is a Knight of Solamnia.

Continuing Sovereign's Dragonlance Saga. This was Sovereign's third and final class splatbook, following the wizardly Towers of High Sorcery (2004) and the priestly Holy Orders of the Stars (2005). It would be followed by a racial splatbook, Races of Ansalon (2007).

Expanding D&D. The majority of the crunch in Knightly Orders of Ansalon focuses on class details for the Knights of Solamnia, the Dark Knights, and the Legion of Steel. In detailing these groups, Sovereign used Wizards of the Coast's updated prestige class format for the first time — which meant more background information and more gameplay information. In addition, Sovereign adopted the idea of substitution classes that Wizards had premiered in Champions of Valor (2005) and used more widely as racial substitution levels in later books like Player's Handbook II (2006).

The Knights of Solamnia have been totally revised. Again. They'd initially appeared in Dragonlance Campaign Setting (2003), then reappeared in War of the Lance (2004) with a variant that accommodated the lack of deities in that era. Now the Knights of the Crown, the Sword, and the Rose appeared once more, mostly in greatly updated forms. The prestige classes were disentangled from each other, so that the later ones weren't dependent on levels in the earlier ones (though the in-game requirements for ascendance through the orders remained). More importantly, all spellcasting was removed from the classes, making them usable in any era of Krynn. Knights of the Sword could now take clerist substition levels to cast spells. Wizard substition levels were also offered for the knights' kingfishers — replacing the Solamnic Auxiliary Mage prestige class from Age of Mortals (2003) and using the new name introduced in the recent Douglas Niles novel, The Crown and the Sword (2006).

The Dark Knights had previously appeared as prestige classes in Dragonlance Campaign Setting (2003), and the designers were happy with those, but they added three more: Adjudicator of the Code, Blood Oath Archer, and Vision Partisan.

The Legion of Steel had previously been laid out with a three-level prestige class in Dragonlance Campaign Setting (2003) and that class became a requirement for three five-level Prestige Classes in Age of Mortals (2003). Players found this layout confusing, so Knightly Orders of Ansalon revamped them as well, resulting in four new ten-level Prestige Classes: Legion Warrior, Legion Mystic, Legion Sorcerer, and Legion Scout. Three of these matched the classes from Age of Mortals, but the Legion Warrior was new.

The revamping of these classes for Dragonlance reveals a lot about the D&D 3e (2000) rule system. It was very crunchy and tricky to design for. However, if used well it could create very evocative and colorful characters, something that Sovereign took full advantage of in their Dragonlance books. It also had a lot of potential for growth, as was being revealed in books like Champions of Valor (2005).

Knightly Orders of Ansalon also added some new feats, to complement the ones in Dragonlance Campaign Setting (and its Companions), as well as Armiger substitution levels for the Noble class.

Expanding Krynn. All three knightly organizations had previously received some attention in Heroes of Steel (1996) for the SAGA system. However, they also had deeper histories in the world of Krynn.

The Knights of Solamnia were the oldest, originating in the original Dragonlance adventures (1984-1986) through the character of Sturm Brightblade. They received some early detail in "My Honor is My Life" by Tracy Hickman in Dragon #94 (February 1985), then DL8: "Dragons of War" (1985) expanded that material. Starting in Dragonlance Adventures (1987), they regularly received attention in the core Dragonlance sourcebooks.

The Dark Knights originated as the Knights of Takhisis in The Second Generation (1994) and Dragons of Summer Flame (1995). In this early form, they were central to the Seeds of Chaos (1998) adventure for AD&D and SAGA. They become the Knights of Neraka when the gods disappeared in the Age of Mortals. Then, following the War of Souls (2000-2002) they began the Dark Knights. Though the Dark Knights are often foes to player characters, Knightly Orders of Ansalon suggested ways they could be player options, following in the footsteps of heroic Dark Knights like Steel Brightblade and Dhamon Grimwulf.

The Legion of Steel was named after Steel Brightblade, who sacrificed himself in Dragons of Summer Flame (1995). Their foundation was detailed a few years later in Legacy of Steel (1998) and now recent novels such as the Linsha Trilogy (2003-2005) were increasing their importance in the world of Krynn. Unfortunately, the Legion hadn't been much loved by fans; some didn't understand their place in the world, and others thought they blurred the line between good and evil more than was appropriate for Krynn. Knightly Orders of Ansalon gave some of the best details ever on the organization (and won many fans over to their cause).

The Cutting Room Floor. A fifth chapter on minor knightly orders pushed the 160-page Knightly Orders of Ansalon a full thirty-six pages over what Sovereign had advertised to book stores and distributors. As a result, it was cut, removing the Ergothian Cavaliers, the Elven Windriders, the Golden Hammers, the Minotaur Legionaries, and an updated Knights of the Divine Hammer from the book. Some appeared as web enhancements, and others were moved to Races of Ansalon.

About the Creators. Knightly Orders of Ansalon was created by an army of authors. It was a second book for Everette and for Whiteman, following Holy Orders of the Stars (2005) and a first cover credit for Harsch and for Valentine.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Pages
160
ISBN
1-931567-37-9
Publisher Stock #
SVP-4403
File Size:
29.07 MB
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File Last Updated:
May 04, 2015
This title was added to our catalog on May 05, 2015.