Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen officially releases on December 6, 2022. It’s the first major sourcebook released since Wizards of the Coast announced their hybrid digital/physical product packages, and all eyes are on this launch. As I wrote in a previous article, the hybrid product model raises a lot of potential issues for local game stores. All-digital players have some potential struggles ahead as well if their virtual tabletop of choice doesn’t integrate with D&D Beyond. Logistical issues aside, Shadow of the Dragon Queen is an exciting return to a classic D&D setting, and it’s got a LOT inside to get excited about!
Return to Krynn, home of Raistlin and the Heroes of the Lance
Krynn, the world of the Dragonlance setting, has been a part of Dungeons and Dragons since 1984 when TSR (the original publishers of D&D) released the first Dragonlance adventure for AD&D/ That first adventure, Dragons of Despair, launched what has become a cornerstone of D&D-related media. Dragonlance was also the first D&D setting to be featured in novels. Since the publication of Dragons of Autumn Twilight almost 200 novels have been written in the setting.
Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen is set during the War of the Lance, a conflict between mortals and dragons fought in a time when the world is only just healing from a global cataclysm. The gods are gone. The metallic dragons are gone. And the banished Dragon Queen Takhisis seeks to take advantage of the power vacuum left behind. Queen Takhisis wants nothing more than total domination. Her tools of choice: corrupted draconian soldiers and corrupt mortal armies.
New Sorcerer Subclass: Lunar Sorcery
I haven’t had the chance to play with the new Sorcerer subclass that’s coming with Shadow of the Dragon Queen, but the previews and teasers we’ve been given are really exciting. For one thing, unlike other moon-themed subclasses already in D&D 5E, Lunar Sorcery isn’t some sort of were-beast wannabe. Instead, Lunar Sorcery plays up the powers associated with the various phases of the moon. A more detailed overview can be found here, but the most awesome part to me is the 1st level feature Lunar Embodiment.
Lunar Embodiment allows you to choose a phase of the moon to attune to: Full Moon, New Moon, or Crescent Moon. Each phase has associated spells, and once per day you can cast the associated spell at 1st level without expending a spell slot. At 6th level, Lunar Embodiment upgrades with the Waxing and Waning feature. This upgrade adds a TON of versatility to the subclass. As a bonus action you can spend a sorcery point and reattune to a different phase of the moon. Even better, you can cast a daily spell from each phase of the moon per long rest, if you are attuned to it. At 14th level Lunar Embodiment upgrades AGAIN, adding additional skill bonuses, defensive increases or party support based on your lunar phase.
I am notoriously lukewarm on D&D 5E sorcerers. Other classes always seem to capture the flavor of my magic-using characters better than sorcerer. Dragonlance’s Lunar Sorcery has me genuinely hyped for my first chance to slip into a campaign with one.
New Player Race: Kender
Shadow of the Dragon Queen brings to D&D 5E the Kender as a player race. Created just for the Dragonlance setting, Kender strike me as another flavor of halfling or Hobbit. (Send your hate mail, I know you want to.) They are described as curious, fearless, and happy-go lucky. Because of this, recommended classes for Kender are rogue and bard. I haven’t read the Dragonlance books, and I’ve never played a module set in Krynn. My veteran D&D friends are excited about the return of Kender to official D&D material.
I just find myself wondering what the big deal is about halflings who wear shoes.
Epic Dragon Battles?
Wizards hints at war as a form of gameplay in Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, and that idea has me intrigued. There’s a relatively unexplored territory between TTRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and war games like Warhammer. With that said, the promotional materials reference a tie-in board game, Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn. I very much hope that the board game isn’t the only taste of larger-scale war in the printed campaign. Rules already exist in Dungeons and Dragons for sieges and warfare, but the systems I am most familiar with are homebrew and don’t really capture the pure chaos of a battlefield where reality-warping wizards and god-channeling clerics are in the mix. Will this return to Dragonlance give a more refined warfare system for D&D games? Or is all this talk of war just flavor hype text?
What part of Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen are you most looking forward to? Will you be picking it up for your table? If so, are you going digital, physical or hybrid? Drop a comment below or catch me on Twitter @LiteraryMagpie and let me know! Bonus points if you can share some info and history from your favorite Dragonlance adventure or novel.