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This series was published by TSR, Inc. to supplement their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game products. It is currently published by the company that purchased TSR in 1997, Wizards of the Coast. (Wizards of the Coast was subsequently purchased by Hasbro, Inc, in 1999.)
The world of Dragonlance was the first fictional world to be professionally produced as a role-playing game world, with product tie-ins (novels, role-playing modules, figurines, etc.) prepared and manufactured when it was first released. Before Dragonlance, fictional role-playing worlds evolved from the amateur creations of the games' players (with the most notable example being the Greyhawk campaign setting), or from previously existing fictional settings (I.C.E's MERP) or settings based in the real world. The success of the Dragonlance series encouraged role-playing game producers to invent and market additional fictional game worlds, such as the Ravenloft series.
Many books of the Dragonlance series were written by the authoring team of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Richard A. Knaak , John Maddox Roberts , Don Perrin, Jean Rabe , Dezra Despain , and others have also written Dragonlance books.
For most of Dragonlance's history, 'main storyline' has meant those books that were set in the world's 'present' and moved events forward. For example, until Dragons of Summer Flame, almost all novels were set before the Chronicles trilogy, often in ancient history.
Most of the main storyline books were written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The two authors are widely if incorrectly regarded as the creators (or owners) of Dragonlance. Jean Rabe 's trilogy was set some thirty years after Dragons of Summer Flame and about five years prior to War of Souls. The series, like the Fifth Age setting, is controversial among fans. War of Souls did not follow on from Rabe's ending, and her series seemed to be more or less ignored for continuity purposes. Overall, fan opinion of the main storyline books from The Second Generation onwards has been mixed. Dragons of Summer Flame and the War of Souls trilogy both sparked nearly as much controversy as Rabe's books. While Dragonlance is a shared world, there has been a long history of continuity problems, due (judging from insider statements in forums such as alt.fan.dragonlance) to a combination of the sheer difficulty of coordination and internal politics.
Main Storyline Books in the Dragonlance Series
- Second Generation (1995)
- Dragons of Summer Flame (1996)
- Dragons of a New Age (by Jean Rabe )
- War of Souls:
Other Dragonlance Books (In Chronological Order)
- Ergoth Trilogy
- Elven Nations Trilogy
- Meetings Sextet
- The Raistlin Chronicles:
- Darkness and Light
- Brothers Majere
- Preludes II:
- Riverwind the Plainsman
- Flint the King
- Tanis, the Shadow Years
- Tales II:
- Dragons of a New Age:
- The Dhamon Saga:
- The Linsha Trilogy
- The Minotaur Wars:
- Night of Blood
- Tides of Blood
- Empire of Blood
- The Dark Disciple Trilogy:
- Amber and Ashes (2004)
- The Taladas Trilogy:
- Blades of the Tiger (2005)
- Rise of Solamnia Trilogy:
- Lord of the Rose (2005)
The Dragonlance setting has been plagued by continuity problems. Some examples:
- The timeline: for reasons which have never been made public, the originally published timeline had absurd contradictions. For example, Huma, a Knight of Solamnia, was originally placed several thousand years before the existence of the order to which he belonged. Books such as the Elven Nations trilogy, clearly set hundreds of years before the Rose Rebellion (which broke up the Empire of Ergoth, leading to the creation of Solamnia and the knightly orders) referred to events that should not have taken place yet. Paul B. Thompson, when tackled over the issue on alt.fan.dragonlance, stated that that was the information he had been given. A corrected version (citing an in-world clerical error) was published in 'The Legend of Huma' but this was simply one of the first example of the serious Dragonlance fan's love-hate relationship with the editorial staff.
- Ariakas or Ariakus? There are no less than three distinct and mutually exclusive versions of the paramount Dragon Highlord in various material. For those familiar with D&D rules, he was presented as a cleric in the game material, and those books written by Douglas Niles; in his first published appearance in Dragons of Spring Dawning, he was presented as a warrior-mage. For the uninitiated, there were serious and irreconcilable differences between the character as presented in Dragons of Spring Dawning and in Emperor of Ansalon. Ergo, the presented background was entirely different. Emperor of Ansalon featured a curse which was ignored by the Dragonlance 15th Anniversary game supplement.
- Raistlin Majere. One of the most intriguing characters of the Chronicles trilogy (and the driving force of the Legends series), the main problem has been the 'cash cow syndrome'. Because the character was popular, a 'Raistlin Chronicles' series was produced, which was mutually exclusive with previously published material such as 'Dark Heart' and 'Raistlin's Daughter' (a novella in 'Love and War'). The premise of The Soulforge was based on an interpretation of the character wildly at odds with what had been previously established. While in Dragonlance books there have been numerous examples of authors being inconsistent with each other, this was a startling example of Margaret Weis writing a book inconsistent with the character at the start of the 'Legends' trilogy.
- Lord Soth's location. An important character in the Chronicles and Legends series, he was largely unused in the books and game material of the late 80s and early 90s, and controversially (as he 'wasn't being used by Dragonlance') was exported into the Ravenloft setting. Tracy Hickman (who created but did not own the character) objected to this, and Soth appeared in Dragons of Summer Flame, despite having been written out of the setting, with no explanation for his presence. Margaret Weis has stated publicly that this was done to 'annoy the Ravenloft people'. Soth essentially sat in the corner and had no plot involvement. After years of fan controversy it was claimed that Hickman's behaviour regarding Soth would be justified by the character having a major role in the second 'War of Souls' book. As it turned out, Soth appeared in the third (not the second) volume, and again did not affect the plot in any significant way.
- 'Majestic' vs 'bloated butchers'. In all the Fifth Age novels and game material, dragon overlords such as Malystryx and Khellendros were consistently described as 'majestic' beings, the closest to the departed gods that existed. The 'War of Souls' trilogy, written by authors who had been absent from the line for several years, treated the characters in a much more degrading manner, consistently referring to them as 'bloated butchers' and so forth. No in-world reason was given for this change of perception, and it generally appeared that Weis and Hickman hadn't even read the books (written by Jean Rabe) they were following on from.
- The Khellendros Controversy. Khellendros, AKA Skie, was a blue dragon who first appeared in Dragons of Winter Night. He became a major player in the Fifth Age setting. In the War of Souls series, he became the victim of a major retcon which seemed awkwardly grafted on and simply did not make sense.
- The Summer of Chaos. These world-shaking events took place in Dragons of Summer Flame. Anecdotal evidence exists that Weis and Hickman wrote this book to 'destroy the world in order to save it'. Those more cynical fans have difficulty believing their later non-explanations when they returned some years later, after the world continued to be a success, and the War of Souls series 'explained' the events in a way that totally changed their meaning, four or five years later.
- Dragonlance.com (fan site)
- Dragonlance Movie Site
- Dragonlance Nexus (fan site)
- Dragonlance Underground (alternative fan site)
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