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Heroes Of Hope (SAGA)
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Heroes Of Hope (SAGA)

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Discover the Power of the Mystics!

The free peoples of Ansalon are pushed ever back by the might of the Great Dragons and their fell minions. A hero's best weapon in this ongoing struggle is the energy of life itself, the strength of the spirit--the magic of mysticism.

Shapechangers, healers, necromancers, mentalists: Mystic heroes come in a broad array of character types and wield a wide spectrum of powers. A detailed sourcebook in Heroes of Hope offers background on these heroes and guidelines for using their powers in the Dragonlance: Fifth Age setting. Chapters cover:

  • Roles for playing Rose Knights, centaur shapechangers, Knights of the Skull, dwarven earth mystics, mystics of the Citadel of Light, shamans, and more!
  • Background on the most important mystic orders in Ansolon today.
  • Overviews of some of Ansalon's mystic lands, including Dimernesti, the magic realm of the sea elves.
  • Optional rules for casting spells that blend the magics of sorcery and mysticism.

Heroes of Hope also features "The Crown and the Serpent," an epic journey over land and sea to seek the Crown of Tides in a realm of aquatic elves. But in order to claim the crown, the heroes must first face Brine, the sea dragon lord of Dimernesti. A full-color illustrated poster map chronicles this quest, which parallels that of the heroes of the third Fifth Age novel, "The Eve of the Maelstrom," by Jean Rabe. This scenario is Part Four of the "Dragons of a New Age" cycle, but is also playable on its own.

Let the Power of the Heart be yours to command!

Heroes of Hope uses the SAGA dramatic adventure rules from the DRAGONLANCE: FIFTH AGE boxed set.

Product History

Heroes of Hope (1998), by Duane Maxwell, is the fourth and final heroic splatbook for Fifth Age. It was published in January 1998.

Origins (I): Finalizing the Heroes. The previous three heroic splatboxes focused on three of fantasy roleplaying's four archetypical roles: Heroes of Steel (1996) was about warriors; Heroes of Defiance (1997) was about rogues; and Heroes of Sorcery (1997) was about sorcerers (magic-users). There aren't clerics in the Fifth Age, but Heroes of Hope instead details their SAGA-approved niche replacement: mystics. It also continues the "Dragons of a New Age" adventure path that ran through all the early Fifth Age boxes.

Origins (II): Winging toward the Future. Somewhat surprisingly, the "Dragons of the New Age" storyline doesn't end here, with the conclusion of the Fifth Age heroic splatbooks. For that finale, GMs would have to pick up one more box, portraying the other major force in Fifth Age Krynn: the dragons of Wings of Fury (1998).

Then, it would be up to Wizards of the Coast to determine where the Fifth Age went in the future … and the answer would be "all over the place".

The Media Tie-In. "The Crown and the Serpent", the adventure in Heroes of Hope, advances onto the final novel in the "Dragons of a New Age" trilogy (1996-1998): The Eve of the Maelstrom (1998).

Adventure Styles: Episodic Encounters. "The Crown and the Serpent" follows the typical SAGA style: episodic encounters are divided into acts and scenes.

Adventure Tropes: MacGuffin Quest (Artifact). An Artifact Quest is once more the center of the adventure: this time it's for the Crown of Tides.

Expanding SAGA. The new rules in Heroes of Hope are a nice match for the new rules in Heroes of Sorcery. That of course starts out with a new set of roles, including special roles for barbarians, centaurs, dwarves, kagonesti, kender, and a variety of knights. There are also new details for the mystic spheres, then some rules for combining mysticism with the sorcerer from the previous volume.

Expanding SAGA: Resurrected Races. The kagonesti appear as a new playable SAGA race. They first appeared as a PC race in Dragonlance Adventures (1987) and later appeared undifferentiated from the other Krynnish elves in Tales of the Lance (1992). In between was a whole book to make your heart sing, DLS4: "Wild Elves" (1991), followed much later by a novel, The Kagonesti (1995), first of the Lost Histories.

Eras of Krynn: 415-416 AC (32-33 SC). The Elian attack on Goldmoon is dated to 415 AC, and the Heroes of the Heart's attack on Brine to 416 AC.

Exploring Krynn. Heroes of Hope details a rather strange trinity of so-called "mystic lands":

  • Dimernesti, is the sea elves' homeland. It had previously received only sporadic attention. Later that year, Stephen Kenson fleshed it out even more in "The Dimernesti" for Dragon #250 (August 1998) and down the road it would be the heart of a novel, The Alien Sea (2006).
  • Khur is a plain in eastern Ansalon near Silvanesti and the ogrelands. It previously had been spotlighted in "The Riders of Khur" for DL15: "Mists of Krynn" (1988), and unlike some parts of those later "DL" adventures, that appearance appears to have remained canon.
  • Port Balifor, a port in eastern Ansalon, is the most mundane of these "mystic" locations. It was originally touched upon as part of a large hexcrawl of Balifor in DL12: "Dragons of Faith" (1986).

"The Crown and the Serpent" makes relatively good use of these locales, explaining their somewhat haphazard inclusion. It starts on Schallsea Island at the Citadel of Light (which is detailed as an organization) and drives ever eastward from there, first going down to the Plains of Dust, then through Khur to Dimernost. There's special attention paid to the city of Al-Khurman, including a map, which supplements the Khur information.

Artifacts of Note: Crown of Tides. The Crown is a new Krynn-ish artifact, first appearing here and in The Eve of the Maelstrom.

NPCs of Note. As with some of the previous sourcebooks, there's a small set of NPCs in the Heroes of Hope sourcebook: Drincabir Redstone, Feather, Ghostwolf, Jahran Kaldeist, Lord Morham Targonne, and Saraele Mellivaene. However, these hopeful heroes are almost all unknowns. Only Targonne gets much mileage, returning in Legacy of Steel (1998), then the War of Souls trilogy (2000-2002).

The adventure then stars the Heroes of the Heart as usual, this time represented by Avanathalonus, Blister Nimblefingers, Dhamon Grimwulf, Ferilleeagh Dawnsprinter, Jasper Fireforge, Ladine Dralathalas, and Rig Mer-Krel.

NPCs of Note: Mina. The adventure features one other NPC who is even more notable: Mina debuts here. She would be the main antagonist of the War of Souls and the star of the Dark Disciple trilogy (2004-2008) and it all starts here at the Citadel of Light where the players meet "a plucky girl with a tangled mop of red curls". She "barrages the heroes with al kinds of questions" and then tells an "improbable tale" about meeting a dragon as black as night.

Steve Miller, author of her next appearance, in Citadel of Light (1998), says, "Our plans were for her story to unfold over many products — she was to basically grow up as the 5A line progressed. From the beginning, our idea was to have her make a choice between good and evil, as well as choosing between being a vehicle for the return of the gods (as Goldmoon before her had been) or to reject them and keep the world free of their influence. We were dreaming big, and we were thinking in entirely too long a term."

Miller also says "I was personally very disappointed in the direction she went in. I think she could have been developed more. I also disliked the way she was characterized." Another Fifth Age author, Stan! Brown, counters with "Any time you collaborate with other writers, particularly ones as gifted as Margaret and Tracy, you've got to be ready to let go of your preconceptions and look at new possibilities. The Fifth Age team had a loose plan for Mina's future, but when we started developing the War of Souls with Margaret and Tracy, we realized that this character would work well in the new storyline. Together, we all helped craft the new direction of her life."

Organizations of Note. A number of mystic groups are listed, but three of them are straight from Heroes of Steel (1997): the Knights of Solamnia, the Knights of Takhisis, and the Legion of Steel. Besides the clerical Holy Order of Stars, the other spotlight is on the Citadel of Light, which would soon be the focus of a supplement of the same name.

About the Creators. Editor (and former military intelligence guy) Duane Maxwell wrote just a few books for D&D. This was his only solo effort.

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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146
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078690707X
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File Last Updated:
July 18, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on August 29, 2017.