Wednesday, November 11, 2020

So Much Wrong (Krynn)

I am really having a hard time figuring out where to start.

"It's all about the economy." Isn't that what people say? Perhaps not with regard to world building (in a fantasy RPG)...but maybe they should. Still: what part of the economy do you want to start with? The people? The geography? The resources? The monetization (or lack thereof)? The nations of the known world?

Maybe I should start with the good. 

No wait...even that's going to elicit complaints. Ah, well.

Currently reading.
The maps are "okay." I can work with some (most?) of them. It's a shame they're so poorly inconsistent from product to product (DL2: Dragons of Flame gives a scale of one hex equals two kilometers...what, is that supposed to be someone's idea of a joke?). But aside from issues of scale and nonsensical placements of some terrain (for example: steppe and grasslands being keyed differently on the world map ...despite being pretty much the same thing...and then locating the steppe along temperate coastlines, negating the main distinction between the terms). But the "dungeons" are somewhat better, at least as pre-drawn adventure sites. Which is something.

Aaaaaand...that's about it. 

I mean, with regard to the world building of Krynn. The Dragonlance story...the characterizations, the concept, the premise...those things are fine. Good enough, really (and better in novel form than in the scripted adventure modules). But other than place names, Cataclysmic wreckage, and invading dragon armies...well, I think I'm going to end up junking most of it. Or rewriting substantial bits, especially regarding the setting history...the legends can stay the same, just being chalked up to "unreliable narrators" and unsubstantiated rumor.

[hmm...though it's unfortunate that the presence of Astinus the Chronicler kind of nixes this idea, seeing as he's portrayed as both immortal and infallible with regard to his histories. *sigh* Something else I'll have to consider. On the other hand, most PCs won't have access to Astinus's archives. But (hmm, again) then why does he exist? Ugh]

There are certainly some people who will wonder why I'm bothering to continue with this reclamation project. Is it just that I dig on Qualinesti elves and "barbaric plainsmen" fighting against masked dragon riders? Um, no...problems abound with all those things (especially the "mounted dragonlance" itself which, while a cool idea, seems pretty damn impractical for aerial combat). Neither is it nostalgia...well, certainly it's not ALL nostalgia.

Thing is, folks, I'm not all that great at originating new ideas. I'm just not. I'm okay with taking someone else's idea and "refining" it...but I need some initial creative spark to work with. I'm afraid, I just don't find my own ideas very inspiring.

Also currently
And Dragonlance is something I'm familiar with...something I read and collected back in the day, something I enjoyed and supported (i.e. spent money on). So, I guess, that means that I care about it on some level...even as I feel no hesitation to be critical of it. In recent years, my wife has accused me (at times) of being a mean person. Okay, maybe...certainly I can see the way I express myself might hurt feelings. On the other hand, do the makers of Dragonlance really give a rip what I have to say? 

[though I recognize that's probably not a valid justification for being incendiary]

Suffice is to say: there's a world here to tinker with. It's a challenge, it's fun, and it is (once stripped of its railroad story plot) very much "D&D." 

NOW, having gone through all that, I did give my kids a brief rundown of the World of Krynn as a setting in which I want to run a bit. They were very excited (though it might be they just want to play Dungeons & Dragons)...and I didn't even tell them about dragons or Huma or "steel coins" or anything. All I told them was about the Cataclysm, some of its aftermath (including clerics gone missing), and their characters' hometown (Solace, which I plan on discussing in my next post). I told them about kender instead of halflings, and about elves having the potential to be single-classed, and the lack of orcs. The setting has juice...and that's even without some of the good stuff (knightly orders and the Tower of High Sorcery, for instance). There's cool stuff here. 

I think I'll be running it with some form of advanced B/X.


  1. It doesn't matter if Astinus is immortal and infallible. I mean, of course he has an agenda and his interpretations of events should be treated with a truckload of salt. An besides he is hardly omniscient, and when there are juicy travellers tales he is hardly going to put himself out by going to the scene of the action himself now is he?
    Terra Nullus anyone?

  2. 'Thing is, folks, I'm not all that great at originating new ideas. I'm just not. I'm okay with taking someone else's idea and "refining" it...but I need some initial creative spark to work with. I'm afraid, I just don't find my own ideas very inspiring.'

    Sounds like you'd make a better book editor than a writer. I resemble that remark as well. :)

    1. I agree with your assessment. Maybe someday I'll get others to buy into the idea.