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DLE2 Dragon Magic (2e)
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DLE2 Dragon Magic (2e)

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The Moons of Krynn are fading. The alignment forces of Good, Evil, and Neutrality are locked in conflict… and evil seems to be winning! The unnatural machinations of the treacherous Khardra—daughter of Takhisis herself!—have led to a crisis of cosmic proportions.

The Heroes journey to the Cloud City Cirulon, heart of the Good Dragon races, there to meet the Astral Dragon himself. The nature of a plague claiming the lives of silver dragonhood is revealed, and the cure is presented to the companions. But the road to success is fraught with peril, the only route leading through a secret portal. If this portal becomes known to the forces of evil, disaster will surely result.

This AD&D adventure, set in the world of the Dragonlance saga, follows In Search of Dragons. Some burning questions are answered but more are raised. And as the players investigate, the knowledge they gain seems to point more and more to a sinister thereat of evil undreamed of since the War of the Lance.

Product History

DLE2: "Dragon Magic" (1989), by Rick Swan, is the second Dragonlance Epic adventure. It was published in June 1989.

About the Title. In the AD&D 2e era (1989-2000), Dragonlance would have some unfortunately generic supplement titles. DLE2: "Dragon Magic" (1989) may be the worst of the bunch. It's so generic that the name would be used for the totally unrelated Dragon Magic (2006) sourcebook on draconic magic in the D&D 3e era (2000-2008).

Origins: The Epic Trilogy. DLE2: "Dragon Magic" (1989) continues in the footsteps of DLE1: "In Search of Dragons" (1989) as the second adventure in the epic "DLE" trilogy of adventures. The only big change was that the AD&D 2e Player's Handbook (1989) and Dungeon Master's Guide (1989) were both now released, which probably means that Rick Swan had a better idea about how the new AD&D game system worked by the time he wrote this second adventure.

Adventure Style. So how do you continue an epic adventure? The early parts of "Dragon Magic" move away from the idea of a wilderness hexcrawl and instead change to an urban sandbox: an immense city is detailed in conjunction with a timeline of events and a series of random encounters. Later parts of the adventure include two tower crawls, a constrained hex crawl, and a cavern crawl.

Parts of the adventure are episodic, and there's a definite intent to push along a plot the whole time. However, this adventure doesn't feel too different from the original Dragonlance Chronicles (1984-1986). Though there's a story, there's still a lot of player agency in conjunction with that.

Adventure Tropes: Dream a Little Dream. "Dragon Magic" is full of dreams. The player characters experience a dream as an inciting incident, then a series of dreams are used as tests. Of course, the idea of roleplaying dreams had precedent in Dragonlance, going back to DL10: "Dragons of Dreams" (1985).

Expanding D&D. The evolution of the AD&D 2e game system is most obvious in the monster section of "Dragon Magic". Now, the two monsters (the eyewing and the kani doll) get a full page each, a 2e requirement. However, the monsters are still missing their proper formatting, and only the kodragon includes full notes on habitat, society, and ecology. (These entries are exactly the same as what would appear in the third and final adventure in the series.)

Exploring Krynn. Most of this adventure takes place in Cirulon, a cloud city of good dragons that is extensively detailed. Other than some mentions in DLE3: "Dragon Keep" (1989), this is its only appearance.

A small portion of the adventure takes place on Schallsea, a large island in New Sea, right in the middle of Ansalon. This was its first appearance of note; it would become much more important when the Citadel of Light was placed there in the Fifth Age.

Monsters of Note. "Dragon Magic" introduces kodragons, cat-sized, cute, furry dragons. They're neutral and related to the astral dragons — who are discussed here, but would become more important in "Dragon Keep".

Blowing Up the Canon. Like its predecessor, "Dragon Magic" is on somewhat shaky canonic grounds. The biggest problem here are the kodragons, who some feel are inappropriate for the Dragonlance setting. More notably, their connection to the astral dragons makes them troublesome, because the astral dragons don't fit into Krynn's history of dragons.

The kodragons haven't been officially decanonized, but they were explicitly left out of the Dragonlance 3e products (2003-2008). Dragonlance 3e author Cam Banks is a well-known kodragon hater, but he says, "the Word spoke from much higher than me on kodragons."

About the Creators. Swan was one of the main authors for Dragonlance in the years immediately following the departure of Weis and Hickman. That started with contributions to DL15: "Mists of Krynn" (1988) and continued now with the "DLE" series (1989) and later, two-thirds of the "DLA" series (1990).

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
Author(s)
Rules Edition(s)
Pages
64
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9244
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File Last Updated:
November 03, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on August 15, 2017.