From Dungeons and Dragons Wiki
(Redirected from Dragonlance)
Jump to: navigation, search
The original Dragonlance logo used in AD&D 1e and 2e.
The second Dragonlance logo, used on most of the books and Dungeons & Dragons supplements set in the world.
This article is based on material by: 

This article is about the campaign setting. For other uses, see: Dragonlance (disambiguation)

Dragonlance is a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting created by Laura and Tracy Hickman, and expanded by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis under the direction of TSR, Inc. into a series of popular fantasy novels. The Hickmans conceived Dragonlance while driving in their car on the way to TSR for a job application. At TSR, Tracy met Margaret Weis, his future writing partner, and they gathered a group of associates to play the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The adventures during that game inspired a series of gaming modules, a series of novels, licensed products such as board games, and lead miniature figures.

In 1984, TSR published the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It began the Chronicles trilogy, a core element of the Dragonlance world. While the authoring team of Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis wrote the setting's central books, numerous other authors contributed novels and short stories to the setting. Over 190 novels have used the Dragonlance setting, and have been accompanied supplemental Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting material for over a decade. In 1997, Wizards of the Coast LLC purchased TSR, and licensed Dragonlance to Sovereign Press, Inc in 2001 to produce game materials; this licensing agreement expired in 2007.

The fictional Dragonlance world of Krynn contains numerous characters, an extensive timeline, and a detailed geography. The history of Krynn consists of five ages. The novels and related game products are primarily set in the fourth age, The Age of Despair. Since February 2009, the fifth age, the Age of Mortals, has been used. The Heroes of the Lance, created by Weis and Hickman, are the popular protagonists of the Chronicles trilogy. Along with D&D's world of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance is one of the most popular shared worlds in fiction.

The world[edit]

The Dragonlance world is described in dozens of books and novels. The setting contains numerous characters, an extensive timeline, and a detailed geography. The campaign setting initially had a post apocalyptic feel.

Main storyline[edit]

300 years ago, man's arrogance angered the Gods. To make man humble again, they threw a fiery mountain down on the nation of Istar, rearranging the face of Krynn, and appeared to have left the world altogether. Now a war is on the horizon. A group of friends met a barbarian couple, exiled from their homeland, and carrying the Blue Crystal Staff, which those in power seek. Those authrorities have discovered the location of the Staff, and the group of travelers, the Companions, decide to aid the exiles. They are beginning a journey to learn the secrets of the staff and the real meaning of the absense of the gods. They will see the return of the dragons, as well as the fabled weapons known as dragonlances.


Main article: Krynn
Main article: Dragonlance races

Dragonlance is set on the world of Krynn. The majority of the novels take place in the various regions of Ansalon, a small continent, though some have taken place on the continent of Taladas, located northeast of Ansalon. The world's major gods are the High God and his children: good Paladine, neutral Gilean, and evil Takhisis. The gods are opposed by Chaos, who seeks to destroy Krynn. Depending on the time period, the evil chromatic and the good metallic dragons are rare or plentiful. Humans are Krynn's most common humanoid race, but elves, dwarves, kender, gnomes, and minotaurs occupy the world as well. Clerics derive magical powers from their gods, and wizards derive their power from the three moon gods, Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari. Hickman had previously preached as a Mormon missionary in Java for two years, and uses Indonesian in Dragonlance spells.[1] During Krynn's various wars, armies of draconians are used as troops. Draconians are created by corrupting a dragon egg, thereby creating a reptilian humanoid. The eggs of good dragons create evil draconians, and vice versa.

Fictional history[edit]

The history of the world of Krynn, and thus the settings for both the novels and gaming supplements, is roughly split into five separate ages. The first age is the time of creation, when the gods are born and Krynn is formed. The Age of Dreams, the second age, is marked by the rapid growth of the world's first great civilizations and the appearance of myriad new races. This era is also marked by three great wars between dragons and their minions. Following the Third Dragon War, in the Age of Might, the Cataclysm obliterates the great empire of Istar and changes almost the entire surface of Krynn. A three-hundred year depression follows this event, in what is called the Age of Despair. This period also marks the War of the Lance. When Dragonlance was first introduced to Dungeons & Dragons, events happened during The Age of Despair. Since February 2009, the Age of Mortals has been used for most of the setting's new novels.


Main article: Canon:List of Dragonlance characters
The Heroes of the Lance: from left Raistlin, Caramon, Tanis, Tasslehoff, Flint, Goldmoon, Riverwind, Sturm, Tika, and Laurana. Tracy Hickman keeps this Larry Elmore painting on the wall in his office.[2]

The Heroes of the Lance are the protagonists of the Chronicles trilogy, the first series of Dragonlance books. They were created by Weis and Hickman, then fleshed out as player characters in gaming sessions of Dungeons & Dragons at Hickman's apartment. One player at this initial gaming session was game designer Terry Phillips, who was playing as Raistlin. According to Hickman in the foreword to The Soulforge, "[we] were just settling in to the game when I turned to my good friend Terry Phillips and asked what his character was doing. Terry spoke...and the world of Krynn was forever changed. His rasping voice, his sarcasm and bitterness all masking an arrogance and power that never needed to be stated suddenly were real. Everyone in the room was both transfixed and terrified. To this day Margaret [Weis] swears that Terry wore the black robes to the party that night."[3]

Several other Heroes of the Lance were played by various people. Authors Gary and Janet Pack played the half-elf Tanis Half-Elven and the kender Tasslehoff Burrfoot, respectively. Author Douglas Niles played the dwarf Flint Fireforge. TSR employee Harold Johnson played the Solamnic knight Sturm Brightblade. The rest of the Heroes are the barbarians Goldmoon and Riverwind, elf Laurana Kanan, and humans Caramon Majere (Raistlin's brother) and Tika Waylan. Weis played Fizban the Fabulous.[4]

In the beginning, Margaret Weis had problems depicting Tanis Half-Elven in the novels. Tracy Hickman finally told her "He's James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise." After that explanation, Margaret had no more troubles while writing about Tanis.[5] Other noteworthy antagonists, and sometimes protagonists, are the Death knight Lord Soth and Kitiara Uth Matar, the half-sister of Raistlin and Caramon, and leader of one of the Dragonarmies of Ansalon. According to Hickman, Lord Soth is the most unpredictable character to write about, saying "Every time that character made an appearance in one of our books he would try to run off with the story."[6]

Publication history[edit]


Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis at Gen Con 2008

Hickman developed his world creation technique by writing and self-publishing with his wife Laura the adventure modules Rahasia (1979) and Pharaoh (1980), and writing TSR's Ravenloft module (1983). He was unemployed in 1982, and TSR offered him a job based on his submission of several modules.[1] That year, while driving from Utah to Wisconsin to start a job with TSR, Hickman and his wife created the Dragonlance universe concept. During the trip, Hickman and his wife discussed two ideas they had had for several years: an entire world used to support a storyline, and a world dominated by dragons.[4]

Their ideas were well received by TSR, whose marketing department felt they had enough dungeons, but not enough dragons. Hickman suggested a series of twelve modules, each featuring a different dragon. TSR employee Harold Johnson suggested that Hickman should try to get additional support from other TSR staff members and, after a period of months, Hickman had the support of Jeff Grubb, Larry Elmore, Roger Moore, Doug Niles, Michael Williams, and others with whom they discussed ideas for the project. Meanwhile, Weis was editing and writing various Endless Quest books for TSR. The Dragonlance group decided that novels should accompany the game modules; TSR reluctantly agreed and hired a writer.[4] Hickman became the design coordinator for Project Overlord, the cover name for what would later be known as the Dragonlance saga.[7]

TSR decided to create a franchise, including modules, board games, lead figures, and—for the first time—novels. Weis had been hired as an editor; with Hickman, she began working with the author hired to write the novels. They weren't satisfied with the author, and decided they should be the ones to write the books.[1] They collaborated over a weekend, writing the prologue for the first five chapters of the first novel,[1] Dragons of Autumn Twilight, based on the module Dragons of Despair.[8] TSR liked their treatment and gave them the assignment, firing the author. After two years of development, TSR released Dragons of Autumn Twilight as a supplement to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game.[9] TSR had doubts about the finished novel's sales potential, and attempted to order thirty thousand copies, ultimately ordering the minimum print run of fifty thousand. The success of the novel prompted TSR to publish more copies to meet demand.[1] Dragonlance eventually received ancillary products such as novels, calendars, computer games, and books of artwork.[10]

Further development[edit]

In the mid to late 1980s, a rift developed between Weis and Hickman and TSR. The pair were feeling under-appreciated by the company, and when TSR turned down their Darksword series of novels, they went to Bantam Books. Bantam made them an offer, which they accepted, and they stopped writing Dragonlance novels for TSR.[1] They returned to write Dragons of Summer Flame for TSR in 1996, thinking it would be their final Dragonlance novel. At the time, Dragonlance gaming had been converted to the SAGA System, with limited success, and that, combined with TSR's general financial troubles, put the setting's future in doubt. Wizards of the Coast bought the troubled TSR in 1997, and Weis and Hickman then proposed the War of Souls trilogy, which was published in 2000–2002. All three novels made the New York Times bestseller list, and the setting was commercially revitalized.[4] By 1998, the original Dragonlance trilogy had sold well over three million copies worldwide and spawned dozens of sequels.[11] The central books of the Dragonlance series were written by the authoring team of Weis and Hickman; however, many other writers have made contributions, including Richard A. Knaak, Douglas Niles, Roger E. Moore, Don Perrin, Jean Rabe, Paul B. Thompson, Tonya C. Cook, Michael Williams, Nancy Varian Berberick, and Chris Pierson.

In 2001, Wizards of the Coast licensed Sovereign Press to publish further Dragonlance game materials. This began with the newly-revised Dragonlance Campaign Setting in 2003, which used the new Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules.[4] On April 23, 2007, Weis announced Wizards of the Coast had not renew Sovereign's license, and that Dragonlance RPG game supplements and accessories would only be released through the end of the year.[12]


Dragonlance is one of the most popular shared worlds, worlds in which writers other than those that created them place adventures.[13] The first Dragonlance trilogy, Chronicles, launched the Dungeons & Dragons line of novels, with many of its characters spun off into other novels.[14] Along with Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance is TSR's most popular series of novels. According to The 1990s by Marc Oxoby, what is most notable about the series is that "what may at one time been considered disposable, escapist literature" found "unprecedented popularity" in the 1990s.[15] All of the Dragonlance novels remained in print during the decade, turning Weis and Hickman into literary stars and boosting sales of their non-Dragonlance novels. Although the series was initially published in paperback, its success led to hardcover printings. The hardcover version of Dragons of Summer Flame had an "impressive" first printing of 200,000 books.[15] Every Dragonlance novel by Weis and Hickman since 1995 has been released in hardcover, and some previous novels have been re-released in hardcover collector's editions.[16] Dragonlance made TSR one of the most successful publishers of science fiction and fantasy in the 1990s.[17]

By 2008, there were more than 190 novels in the Dragonlance franchise.[8] Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance novels have made over twenty bestseller lists, with sales in excess of 22 million.[17] The pair's novels have been translated into German, Japanese, Danish, Finnish, Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew, and Portuguese, and have sold well in the United States, Britain, and Australia.[1]

Not all critics have praised Dragonlance and its creators. According to author Stephen Hunt, Wendy Bradley of Interzone magazine does not think highly of their work. Hunt feels that it is unusual for authors to receive such loathing among "fantasy's literary mafia", saying, "Behind every critic's scorn laden insult, there lays that unsaid thought at the end: 'But I could have written that!'"[1] Visions of Wonder, edited by David G. Hartwell and Milton T. Wolf, and published by the Science Fiction Research Association, argues that Dragonlance is published under the "omnivore theory" of publishing. In this theory, the readership is made up of teenagers, and completely replaces itself every three to five years. This allows publishers to release subpar novels and still reach a small yet profitable audience.[18]


Main article: List of Dragonlance novels

The main storyline of the original Dragonlance series has been written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, with multiple books written by other authors, covering years between and sometimes during the main events.

  • The Chronicles trilogy relates the events since the meeting of the Companions until the end of the War of the Lance and the defeat of the Dragon armies of Ansalon.
  • The Legends trilogy covers the Blue Lady's War, as well as the past adventures of Raistlin and Caramon Majere, culminating in Raistlin's attempt to achieve godhood. The books feature time travel, and focus on events in Istar before the Cataclysm, as well as the ensuing Dwarfgate Wars.
  • The Second Generation is a single compilation book which picks the most important tales from the Tales series and details the children of the Companions, all of whom become players in the later story. This book is considered to be part of the main storyline, as it must be read to understand the events that happened between the War of the Lance and the Chaos War. This novel developes characters that would later be seen in the War of Souls trilogy.
  • Dragons of Summer Flame covers the Chaos War, also known as the Second Cataclysm. The gods and mortals join forces to defeat Chaos in his attempt to destroy Krynn. The war ends with the withdrawal of Chaos and the gods of Krynn in a divine agreement to keep the world safe.
  • Dragons of a New Age describes the rise of the Dragon Overlords and introduces the Fifth Age of Dragonlance. It leads into the War of Souls trilogy.
  • The War of Souls trilogy begins as a strange storm courses through Krynn, heralding the War of Souls. The end of the war brings the return of the gods, Takhisis's death, and the departure of Paladine as head of the good gods in order to maintain the balance between Good and Evil.
  • The Dark Disciple trilogy follows the death of Takhisis and the departure of Paladine, when the lesser gods strive to maintain dominance.
  • The Lost Chronicles trilogy is a companion to the original Chronicles. Each book of the trilogy fills in sections of the story previously left untold. It tells the story surrounding the recovery of the Hammer of Kharas,[19] how the Companions retrieve the dragon orb from Ice Wall, how Kitiara Uth Matar and Lord Soth became allies, and how Raistlin Majere took the Black Robes in Neraka.

Campaign setting[edit]

Main article: List of Dragonlance modules and sourcebooks
Dragonlance Adventures, the first Dragonlance campaign setting sourcebook

TSR created Dragonlance as a campaign setting for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) roleplaying game in 1982. They published the first sourcebook, Dragonlance Adventures, in 1987. When AD&D was updated to the 2nd edition, the Dragonlance campaign setting was updated as well. However, in the 1990s, Dragonlance was converted to use the new SAGA roleplaying system, which uses cards to determine the effects of actions. In 1996, the Dragonlance: Fifth Age roleplaying game was released; the game used cards to produce random results instead of dice, and emphasized storyline development.[9] When the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released, Dragonlance was again updated with a new sourcebook (Dragonlance Campaign Setting), although no new adventures were published by Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast also turned over all responsibility for maintaining the Dragonlance setting in the 3rd edition to Margaret Weis's home company, Sovereign Press.

In other media[edit]

In 2008, Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, an animated movie based on the first Dragonlance book of the same name, was released direct-to-video. The animation was produced by Toonz Animation, and featured the voices of Lucy Lawless, Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Rosenbaum, and Michelle Trachtenberg.[20] A number of video games are also set in the Dragonlance world: including Heroes of the Lance (1988), Dragons of Flame (1989), War of the Lance (1989), Dragonstrike (1990), Shadow Sorcerer (1991), Champions of Krynn (1990), Death Knights of Krynn (1991), and The Dark Queen of Krynn (1992).

The series has inspired mention in music as well, including "Wishmaster", a song by Nightwish based partially on the master and apprentice relationship between Raistlin Majere and Dalamar. The Swedish metal band Lake of Tears also recorded a song called "Raistlin and the Rose" on their 1997 album Crimson Cosmos, while the German group Blind Guardian wrote "The Soulforged", another song inspired by Raistlin's story, which appeared on the band's 2002 album A Night at the Opera.[21]

Publications on Dragonlance[edit]

Author Publication List
Publication System Publisher
Age of Mortals Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Amber and Ashes Novel Wizards of the Coast
Amber and Blood Novel Wizards of the Coast
Amber and Iron Novel Wizards of the Coast
Before the Mask Novel TSR
Bestiary of Krynn Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Betrayal Novel Wizards of the Coast
Beyond the Moons Novel TSR
Brothers Majere Novel TSR
Chosen of the Gods Novel TSR
Dalamar the Dark Novel Wizards of the Coast
Darkness and Light Novel TSR
Downfall Novel Wizards of the Coast
Draconian Measures Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragonlance Adventures Dungeons and Dragons 1e TSR
Dragonlance Campaign Setting Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Wizards of the Coast
Dragonlance Shadow of the Dragon Queen Dungeons and Dragons 5e Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of Autumn Twilight Novel TSR
Dragons of Krynn Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Magaret Weis Productions
Dragons of Spring Dawning Novel TSR
Dragons of Summer Flame Novel TSR
Dragons of Winter Night Novel TSR
Dragons of a Fallen Sun Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of a Lost Star Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of a Vanished Moon Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of the Dwarven Depths Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of the Highlord Skies Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dragons of the Hourglass Mage Novel Wizards of the Coast
Dwarven Kingdoms of Krynn Dungeons and Dragons 2e TSR
Emperor of Ansalon Novel TSR
Empire of Blood Novel Wizards of the Coast
Heroes and Fools Novel TSR
Heroes of Steel SAGA TSR
Holy Orders of the Stars Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Into the Void Novel TSR
Kaz the Minotaur Novel TSR
Kendermore Novel TSR
Kindred Spirits Novel TSR
Knightly Orders of Ansalon Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Knights of the Crown Novel TSR
Krynnspace Dungeons and Dragons 2e TSR
Legends of the Twins Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Lord Soth Novel TSR
Lord of the Rose Novel Wizards of the Coast
Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix Dungeons and Dragons 2e TSR
Night of Blood Novel Wizards of the Coast
Palanthas SAGA TSR
Price of Courage Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press, Margaret Weis Productions
Races of Ansalon Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Redemption Novel Wizards of the Coast
Riverwind the Plainsman Novel TSR
Tales of the Lance Dungeons and Dragons 2e TSR
Test of the Twins Novel TSR
The Cloakmaster Cycle
The Dawning of a New Age Novel Wizards of the Coast, TSR
The Day of the Tempest Novel Wizards of the Coast, TSR
The Doom Brigade Novel TSR
The Dragons at War Novel TSR
The Dragons of Chaos Novel TSR
The Dragons of Krynn Novel TSR
The Eve of the Maelstrom Novel Wizards of the Coast, TSR
The Inheritance Novel Wizards of the Coast
The Irda Novel TSR
The Lake of Death Novel Wizards of the Coast
The Legend of Huma Novel TSR
The Oath and the Measure Novel TSR
The Puppet King Novel Wizards of the Coast
The Second Generation Novel TSR
Theros Ironfeld Novel TSR
Time of the Dragon Dungeons and Dragons 2e TSR
Time of the Twins Novel TSR
Towers of High Sorcery Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
Trail of the Black Wyrm Novel Wizards of the Coast
UA 2022 Heroes of Krynn Dungeons and Dragons 5e Wizards of the Coast
Wanderlust Novel TSR
War of the Lance Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e Sovereign Press
War of the Twins Novel TSR

Dragonlance Articles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Stephen Hunt (January 2002). "Dragon' On". Archived from the original on February 11, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  2. Trampas Whiteman. "Articles: Tracy Hickman Interview: Lost Chronicles Book Tour and Journeys Beyond!". Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  3. Margaret Weis (2003). The Soulforge. (Wizards of the Coast)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Peter Archer (2004). 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 64–75.
  5. Margaret Weis (1999). The Annotated Chronicles. (Wizards of the Coast)
  6. Patrick (May 21, 2006). "Interview with Tracy Hickman". Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  7. Hickman, Tracy (April 1987). "TSR Profiles". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR, Inc.) (#120): 90. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nahrung, Jason (June 27, 2008). "Hickmans write fantasy on a wing and a prayer". The Courier-Mail.,23739,23913678-5004582,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The History of TSR". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2005-08-20. 
  10. "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  11. Varney, Allen (January 1998). "ProFiles: Margaret Weis". Dragon (Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast) (#243): 120. 
  12. Margaret Weis (April 23, 2007). "Articles: Dragonlance License". Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  13. Joyce G. Saricks (2001). The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction. (ALA Editions), p. 49.
  14. Bill Slavicsek (2006). Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. (Wiley Publishing), p. 373.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Marc Oxoby (2003). The 1990s. (Greenwood Publishing Group), p. 148.
  16. Maas, John-Michael (April 19, 2004). "Rival Fantasy Publishers Rally Around Star Author". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Hall, Melissa Mia (June 7, 2004). "Dragon Lady Keeps Flying". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  18. David G. Hartwell (1996). Visions of Wonder. (MacMillan)
  19. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. "Dragons of the Dwarven Depths". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2006-07-18. 
  20. Winkelspecht, Dean (January 13, 2008). "DragonLance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (DVD)". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  21. "Dragonlance Inspired Music and Musicians". Retrieved 2009-03-14. 

External links[edit]

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Back to Main PageDnD EncyclopediaCampaign Settings