Is ‘Dragonlance’ poised for an epic RPG comeback?

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Wizards of the Coast is holding an essay contest to find the “ultimate Dragonlance fan,” who will win a full ride to Gen Con this August in Indianapolis plus an autographed copy of the forthcoming Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman novel Dragons of the Hourglass Mage — and the promotion may be a big clue to the next campaign setting for its Dungeons & Dragons game.

Speculation has swelled online recently about which classic D&D property would be turned into the next campaign setting for the latest edition of the pen-and-paper roleplaying game. An announcement of the shared world for 2010 is almost certain to come at Gen Con. Will it be Krynn, world of magical moons, accursed Death Knights, mischievous Kender and legendary Dragonlances?

The wonderfully savage Forgotten Realms got the 4th Edition treatment in 2008; Eberron, created near the end of 3rd Edition’s lifespan after winning a fan-submission contest, takes flight again this summer with its airships, draconic prophecies, Warforged automata and “kick-in-the-door” style influenced by the best in adventure movies and film noir.

Previous editions of the game have also featured optional products built around such complex fantasy worlds as Planescape, Spelljammer, Dark Sun and Ravenloft. Each had its own flavor and added many elements to the game, and each supported a full range of expansion products and fantasy novels. Any of them would be fair game.

Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor was the original campaign setting, and Gary Gygax’s World of Greyhawk the first published campaign setting — but Dragonlance was the first full, fictional world to be produced and marketed as an RPG supplement, by TSR for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It’s been an RPG setting in one form or another ever since, though to different extents and by different publishers. And, it set off a chain reaction of products that many say led to the TSR’s collapse under its own weight. (The company was bought by Wizards of the Coast in 1997.)

A recent animated adaptation of the novel that started it all, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, went straight to DVD, where it was met with thunderous apathy. Would a fresh line of RPG products fare any better?

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Jayson Peters
Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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