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DL5 Dragons of Mystery (1e)

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At last! A sourcebook for the most exciting epic ever from TSR. Now you and your players can have the entire world of Krynn at your fingertips!

"Dragons of Mystery" gives you the background and tools necessary to run a complete Dragonlance campaign adventure, an epic quest through the world of Krynn, threatened by the domination of the inhuman draconians. Can you win against powerful forces of darkness? This package contains a four-color map of the Continent of Ansalon, where all the adventures in the Dragonlance saga take place. Player character sheets for the Dragonlance heroes (illustrated by Larry Elmore) give your players an exciting tool for visualizing their characters. Even the stars in the heavens are shown on a special map of the constellations! 

Join the quest! Live the adventure! The Dragonlance saga continues!


Product History

DL5: “Dragons of Mystery” (1984), by Michael Dobson, is the fifth in the Dragonlance Chronicles series of adventures... although it's one of the two books in the original series that's not actually an adventure. It was released in December 1984.

Continuing the "DL" Series. The "DL" series of adventures told an epic story that began with DL1: "Dragons of Despair" (1984) and continued through DL14: "Dragons of Triumph" (1986). However, along the way, it included two books that weren't actually adventures. The first of these was this one, DL5: "Dragons of Mystery," well-positioned as a break from Dragonlance's epic story since the first Book of Dragonlance had ended with the previous release, DL4: "Dragons of Desolation" (1984).

And ‘Lo a Sourcebook Shall Come. Instead of being an adventure, "Dragons of Mystery" was a sourcebook for the world of Dragonlance. Somewhat surprisingly, it was just TSR's second sourcebook ever, following World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting (1980), which had been revised as World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting (1984) earlier in the year.

Though Judges Guild had started publishing sourcebooks immediately with their City State of the Invincible Overlord (1977), the rest of the industry was slower in following, so TSR was just testing the water now, a decade after their release of OD&D (1974). In the following years, TSR would play a bit more with sourcebook releases like Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1985), but it was only in 1987 that they wholeheartedly entered the sourcebook business with the "FR" (1987-93) and "GAZ" (1987-91) sourcebook series.

The Novel Connection. The original "DL" adventures were always closely linked to the Dragonlance Chronicles novels (1984-85) by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. They followed the same plot and they also encouraged "epic storytelling," which required the characters to move along certain plot trajectories.

"Dragons of Mystery" highlighted the novelistic nature of the adventures with a very short essay called "Obscure Death... and How to Live with It." It suggests ways to save heroes and villains who die in the game but are supposed to live in the plot. In more recent years, the essay (and the ideas behind it) have grown somewhat controversial because of the fact that a predetermined storyline implicitly involves some railroading of players.

Expanding Krynn. Though theoretically a sourcebook, "Dragons of Mystery" doesn't actually provide a lot of information on Krynn. Instead it mostly focuses on the Companions who are the heroic PCs in the Dragonlance epic. For the first time ever, we learn some of what they were doing before the adventures, and we also get more extensive character sheets for each character, each full of lots of background. Beyond that, the book is a bit of a mish-mash.

With that said, there's some background on Krynn, most of it theological, including a few pages on the gods of the world, a look at Krynn's creation, and a map of its constellations. A small four-panel map also shows all of Ansalon for the first time.

About the Creators. Dobson was a member of the Dragonlance Team who had previously authored DL4: "Dragons of Desolation." He'd continue writing for TSR throughout the 80s. His next module was also one of his most successful: H1: "Bloodstone Pass" (1985).

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

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Product Information
Gold seller
Rules Edition(s)
Publisher Stock #
TSR DL9135
File Size:
2.54 MB
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File Last Updated:
March 31, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on April 01, 2014.