Dragonlance® War of the Lance Campaign, Volume One
Autumn settles on the plains of Abanasinia as rumors of war and strange creatures travel from northern lands. Friends meet in the tree-town of Solace after many years spent apart, hoping to reminisce about old times and adventures past. But the people of Ansalon need heroes, as the ancient gods have returned to the world, and brought creatures of myth and legend to fight in their battles. Dragons-ancient, deadly, and powerful-have returned to Krynn. An adventure like no other calls the heroes to re-discover the greatest gift given to the mortal races, to find a safe haven for hundreds of desperate refugees, and unearth the first secrets that might lead to the power of the dragonlance.
Dragons of Autumn is a Dragonlance® adventure for the d20 System set in the War of the Lance era. It can be played as the starting point of a new campaign or continue adventures set in the Age of Despair.
The adventure is designed for characters of 5th-7th level and requires the use of the War of the Lance sourcebook from Sovereign Press, the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, and d20 System core rulebooks from Wizards of the Coast.
This adventure product is a new presentation of the classic Dragonlance adventures first published over twenty years ago. The text incorporates two decades of information and updates from Dragonlance novels and games, including Dragons of Autumn Twilight and Dragons of the Dwarven Depths written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Dragons of Autumn (2006), by Clark Valentine and Sean Macdonald, is volume one in the Dragonlance War of the Lance campaign for D&D 3.5e. It was published in August 2006 at GenCon Indy 2006 by Sovereign Press, under license from Wizards of the Coast.
About the Cover. The cover to Dragons of Autumn shows the black dragon Onyx rising from the well in the plaza of Xak Tsaroth. It's a nice companion to the cover of DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984), published decades earlier, which shows the party's second encounter with Onyx, deep in her lair.
About The Dragonlance Saga. The War of the Lance was originally published as the "DL" series of adventures (1984-1986), back in the days of AD&D. At the time, this Dragonlance Saga was an entirely groundbreaking series of adventures, because it went far beyond the dungeon crawls of D&D's previous epic, the "GDQ" sequence (1978-1980), to tell a fulfilling and complete story.
The original Dragonlance Saga was reprinted for AD&D 2e as the three-book "DLC" Dragonlance Chronicles adventures (1990-1994), which split the story into three parts. It was minorly revised, mainly to update the stats to the new edition of the game. A third iteration of the Dragonlance Saga was then published as the Dragonlance Classics 15th Anniversary Edition (1999), which featured new scenes and also added characters who had been introduced to the world of Krynn following the original adventures' publication.
Sovereign Press' War of the Lance campaign was thus the fourth iteration of the original Dragonlance Saga. It followed most closely after the "DLC" Draconlance Chronicles sequence by splitting the story into its three major parts. Some fans also felt like it remained closer to the original saga than the 15th Anniversary revision.
About Sovereign Press. Sovereign Press was a company founded in 1998 by Margaret Weis, Don Perrin, Larry ELmore, and Lester Smith to publish a new fantasy roleplaying game called Sovereign Stone (1998). The advent of d20 (2000) caused some problems for the new RPG, but Weis was soon offered a new opportunity. As one of the creators of Dragonlance, she was asked to write the Dragonlance Campaign Setting (2003) for D&D 3e (2000), which she did with Don Perrin and Jamie Chambers. Afterward, Sovereign Press was given the rights to publish supporting Dragonlance material, under license from Wizards of the Coast.
Sovereign Press was excited to publish adventures depicting the great stories of Krynn, but they decided to start with a totally new adventure that was set in the "modern day" of Krynn. The Age of Mortals Campaign (2004-2006) appeared in three big books and became the newest "adventure path" for Dragonlance. However, the whole time, Sovereign Press' most frequently asked question was: "When do we get to see the original modules?" After finishing the Age of Mortals, Sovereign thus decided to revamp the original Dragonlance Saga for D&D 3e, starting with Dragons of Autumn.
Because this book was published under license, years later, it's now available for republication by Wizards.
The Dragonlance Revival. The mid-'00s was a great time to be a Dragonlance fan — and so a great time for Sovereign Press to be publishing Dragonlance material. Devil's Due was adapting the original Dragonlance Saga to comic book form. Their first collection appeared in May: Dragonlance Chronicles: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2006). Meanwhile, Dragonlance's original authors, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, were writing new novels set amidst the stories of the original War of the Lance. The first of these Lost Chronicles appeared in July: Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (2006). Finally, some very important news was released right in between these publications, in June. An animated movie based on Dragons of Autumn Twilight was on the way.
It seemed like Dragonlance was headed toward new heights … and for at least one more year, that was true.
Revamping the First Chronicle. Dragons of Autumn revises and adapts the first four adventures of the original Dragonlance Saga: DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984), DL2: "Dragons of Flame" (1984), DL3: "Dragons of Hope" (1984), and DL4: "Dragons of Desolation" (1984). Though the new books stays quite true to the original adventures, it also incorporates material from a number of sources, including: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984), the novel that adapted the first two adventures; Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (2006), the Lost Chronicles that adapted the second two adventures; and the 15th Anniversary Edition (1999), which featured new scenes and characters.
Among the most notable additions are a comprehensive time line, a listing of the moon phases, improved details on many NPCs, and improved background on the PCs. Some locations also get additional description, with Haven and Thorbardin receiving the most attention. Overall, these changes were largely intended to give players more options and more choices.
Out of Character. One of the most controversial elements of the original Dragonlance Saga was the use of pregenerated player characters, who were intended to tie in with the underlying story. That remains an option in Sovereign's War of the Lance campaign, though there's one notable change to the Dragonlance Companions: the characters are now all balanced at 5th level, where the originals had ranged from third to sixth level.
However, Sovereign also recognized that players want to play their own characters. So it offered a detailed list of "archetypes" that players could use to create new characters that would fulfill the same roles as the original. Dragons of Autumn lists four major archetypes: the leader (Tanis), the prophet (Goldmoon), the rogue (Tasslehoff), and the sage (Raistlin). It also lists six additional archetypes: the hawk (Gilthanas), the idealist (Sturm), the ingénue (Tika and Laurana), the mentor (Flint), the protector (Caramon), and the ranger (Riverwind).
Whoops. Page 35 was misplaced in the printed copy of Dragons of Autumn. The correct reading ordering is 34, then 36-37, then 35.
Dragons of Autumn also corrects an omission from the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. Goldmoon and Riverwind are given a new language, Plainsfolk, to represent the fact that they had their own tongue, separate from the rest of the Companions.
About the Creators. The original Dragons of Autumn adventures (1984) were written by Tracy Hickman, Harold Johnson, Douglas Niles, and Michael Dobson. Those adventures were then adapted into the original Dragons of Autumn Twilight novel (1984) by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis.
This new Dragons of Autumn (2006) adventure for D&D 3.5e was primarily adapted by Clark Valentine and Sean Macdonald. Most of the stat blocks were created by Scott Williams. Other contributors include Cam Banks and Sean Everette, with editing by Jess Banks, Christy Everette, and Amanda Valentine. Several artists and managers were also involved. And that's how many people it takes to create a 3.5e adventure based on a classic source!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.