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Races of Ansalon (3.5)

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The Children of the Stars. . . and of Chaos!

The elves shape their future amidst the tragedy of exile, while the dwarves struggle to carve theirs from internecine strife. The minotaurs proclaim manifest destiny, while the kender look to a future without affliction. The gnomes assemble a collective future from cogs and gear shafts, while goblins shake theirs free from the oppressors of the past. Ogres follow a cunning leader into a future of imagined glory; humans gather around rulers bold enough to see a clear destiny. These are the races of Ansalon.

Races of Ansalon is a resource for games set in the world of Dragonlance. It is an encyclopedia of cultures that details everything from racial relations and psychology to history and language. Old favorites like the Qualinesti elves and the kender of Hylo are revisited in the light of new information from the novels, while lesser-known breeds such as the ursoi and phaethon are revealed for the first time as fully-imagined player character races. Each chapter is devoted to one of Ansalon’s racial types, with additional information on mixed-race characters and an assortment of character options such as alternative class features and prestige classes. An appendix presents racially themed magic items, feats, vital statistics, and cultural weapons to get the most out of your Tarmak, half-gnome, or Irda All information within this volume is fully compatible with the revised edition of the d20 System game.

Ready to try something different? Eager to revisit something familiar? Packed with information gleaned from hundreds of Dragonlance novels and game products, fully updated and revised, this volume offers something for any player, Dungeon Master, or even the casual reader in the world of Krynn, and is an essential resource for any Dragonlance campaign.

Product History

Races of Ansalon (2007), by Cam Banks, Sean Macdonald, Clark Valentine, and Trampas Whiteman, is a racial sourcebook for Dragonlance 3e. It was published in August 2007.

Continuing Sovereign's Dragonlance Saga. Early in their Dragonlance line, Sovereign Press began publishing class-oriented splatbooks, resulting in Towers of High Sorcery (2004), Holy Order of the Stars (2005), and Knightly Orders of Ansalon (2006). However for their penultimate roleplaying sourcebook, Sovereign decided to try something different: a racial splat book focusing on the eight most important races in Dragonlance.

In organizing Races of Ansalon, Sovereign purposefully adopted the style of Wizards of the Coast's Races books (2003-2006). Like Wizards' first book, Races of Faerûn (2003), it overviews a wide swath of races from an entire world, and like Wizards' later books, it details specific topics such as appearance, psychology, life, culture, and religion.

Expanding D&D. Because Races of Ansalon was written so late in the 3.5e (2003-2008) life cycle, Sovereign benefited from all of the development that Wizards had done to date. As a result, Sovereign knew how to organize a racial book and how to balance races and feats; they even got to take advantage of new "tricks" like alternative class features, which originated in Player's Handbook II (2006).

Expanding Dragonlance. Though Races of Ansalon was Sovereign's next-to-last Dragonlance roleplaying sourcebook, it was nonetheless a crucial core book for the world of Krynn. It provided deep detail on the eight major races of that setting.

Dwarves first appeared in the Dragonlance Saga in the form of Flint Fireforge, a hill dwarf, but gully dwarves also premiered in the line's first adventure, DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984). Then DL4: "Dragons of Desolation" (1984) completed the roster of dwarves by introducing mountain dwarves and dark dwarves as part of an intricate dwarven society. Years later, a half-dwarf — a real rarity for D&D — showed up in The Soulforge novel (1998). Dwarves had also enjoyed one of the few previous racial splatbooks for the Dragonlance line: Dwarven Kingdoms of Krynn (1993). They were also the core of many novels, such as the Dwarven Nations trilogy (1993-1994), The Gully Dwarves (1996), and Dragons of the Dwarven Depths (2006).

Elves were also well detailed throughout Dragonlance's history. The Qualinesti appeared prominently in DL2: "Dragons of Flame" (1984), then ruined Silvanesti was the setting of DL10: "Dragons of Dreams" (1985). Meanwhile, DL7: "Dragons of Light" (1985) provided considerable detail on the elves, including the introduction of the wild Kagonesti. That adventure also mentioned the two races of sea elves, who came on screen in DL12: "Dragons of Faith" (1986), completing the elves' own roster. A few years later a trilogy of "DLS" (1991) D&D adventures focused on all three landbound elf races and even introduced a new elf class, the Kirath — which also appears in Races of Ansalon. The Silvanesti were then the recipient of another of Dragonlance's rare racial splat books — The Sylvan Veil — (1999) during SAGA's War of Souls days. Meanwhile, the elves have been even more commonplace in novels, including the Elven Nations trilogy (1991), the Elven Exiles trilogy (2005-2007) and individual books like The Kagonesi (1995) and The Dargonesti (1995).

Gnomes, who were the creation of Jeff Grubb, are one of the most influential races from Dragonlance. They changed the somewhat bland gnomes of early D&D into tinker gnomes, who would define the gnomic paradigm in D&D for decades — and who specifically reappeared in Spelljammer (1989). The race was detailed early on in "All About Krynn's Gnomes", by Roger E. Moore for Dragon #103 (November 1985). Meanwhile, Mount Nevermind itself showed up briefly in "DL8: Dragons of War" (1985). A few years later, gnomes shared the spotlight in one of the early short story anthologies, "Kender, Gully Dwarves, and Gnomes" (1987). Races of Ansalon not only detailed gnomes, but also had a short rule system for "contraptions".

Goblins are unique in Krynn mainly for their ancestry — a mix of elves and ogres. They were used extensively in the War of the Lance, with the hobgoblin Fewmaster Toede from DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984) being one of the earliest memorable antagonists. Goblins are also notable for what they replaced: there are no orcs in the world of Krynn, giving goblins a bigger niche to fill.

Humans had been represented from the beginning of the Dragonlance Saga as being both civilized (like Sturm) and nomadic (like Goldmoon and Riverwind). Then DL6: "Dragons of Ice" (1985) added even more variety with the nomadic ice folk. Races details both of these sorts of people and also gives the best description ever of the invading Ithin'carthian people; the Brutes had first appeared in Dragons of Summer Flame (1995), but now were getting much more attention thanks to Mary Herbert's Linsha Trilogy (2003-2005), which was the source of much of the new material.

Kender, a new take on halflings, are the most unique new race of Krynn. Much as with tinker gnomes, kender heavily influenced D&D's take on halflings for decades afterward. In early development, kender had been "savage, warrior children", but that evolved as Draognlance did. Janet Pack made them cuter, Tracy Hickman made them curious and kleptomanic, and Roger Moore helped with their final definition. This came in part through his short story "A Stone's Throw Away" in Dragon #85 (May 1984) and later through his article "All About the Kender" in Dragon #101 (September 1985). "Wanna Bet?" in Kender, Gully Dwarves, and Gnomes (1987) was another early source on the race.

Minotaurs appeared as early as DL6: "Dragons of Ice" (1985), but they really got their chance to shine when the Companions went east, starting in DL9: "Dragons of Deceit" (1985). Their homelands of Kothas and Mithas were very briefly spotlighted in DL12: "Dragons of Faith" (1986), with Mithas getting even more attention in DL16: "World of Krynn" (1988). With all that said, it wasn't actually the minotaurs of Ansalon who first became famous in Dragonlance, but rather the minotaurs of Taladas who premiered in Time of the Dragon (1989) and later got their own sourcebook, Taladas: The Minotaurs (1992). Minotaurs have also gotten a lot of attention in the novels, mostly thanks to Richard A. Knaak, author of Kaz the Minotaur (1990), Land of the Minotaurs (1996), and the Minotaur Wars trilogy (2003-2005)>

Ogres weren't originally intended to appear in Dragonlance at all. Tracy Hickman had introduced the draconians because he felt that ogres were overused. Nonetheless, ogres show up in minor roles as early as DL3: "Dragons of Hope" (1984). The race became more intriguing with the introduction of the Irda in Dragonlance Adventures (1987). This race of "high ogres" were a peaceful immortal race, later cursed and made evil. A novel called The Irda (1995) detailed them more, then they became a important force in Krynn in Dragons of Summer Flame (1995). Meanwhile, the lower ogres got their own sourcebook, Rise of the Titans (2000), at the end of the SAGA line.

Leftovers for Dinner. Races of Ansalon also includes information on The Golden Hammers, a knightly organization of dwarves that had been cut from Knightly Orders of Ansalon. Another knightly organization, the Elven Windriders, was also moved from Knightly Orders … but didn't fit here either! It was released as "Bonus Material" in a free PDF.

About the Creators. As with many of Sovereign's Dragonlance books, a wide array of creators worked on Races of Ansalon. Cam Banks, Sean Macdonald, Clark Valentine, and Trampas Whiteman did most of the work, but additional design was done by Jamie Chambers, Sean Everette, Ben Jacobson, André LaRoche, Joe Mashuga, Ashe Potter, Jean Rabe, and Scott Williams.

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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Pages
240
ISBN
978-1-931567-35-0
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SVP4404
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on May 19, 2015.