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The newest and 78th unearthed arcana for 5e D&D just arrived with a very interesting theme. Unearthed Arcana: Heroes of Krynn includes a bunch of new player options specifically for the Dragonlance setting which we haven’t had a sourcebook for since D&D 3.5e back in 2007. What is Dragonlance? What are these abilities like? Well hitch up a saddle to your riding dragon as we go through everything you need to know.
The dragonlance series is a long-running and beloved franchise including countless books and stories, but mention dragonlance around some D&D veterans and they’ll instantly be reminded of D&D’s early days. We have quite a bit of dragonlance in 3.5e but arguably the heyday of dragonlance was way back in the late 80’s and 90’s with Advanced D&D and Advanced D&D 2nd edition.
Dragonlance takes place in the world of Krynn and typically on the continent of Ansalon where fantasy kingdoms rise and fall amongst the conflicts of gods and powerful dragons. The dragonlances themselves are intensely magical weapons designed to kill the otherwise invulnerable dragons, setting mortals on the world stage where before they were mere nuisances.
Classic fantasy tropes abound, picture wizards and noble knights saving damsels from dragon-guarded keeps and you’re on the right track. Many of the early adventures gave players the opportunity to ride dragons into battle, a memory that many old-school nerds still cherish fondly.
What’s in the Unearthed Arcana?
The Heroes of Krynn unearthed arcana has a wide spread of content including the kender lineage, the lunar magic sorcerer subclass, the knight of solamnia and mage of high sorcery backgrounds, and 10 new feats restricted by those backgrounds.
You can find the stats in the unearthed arcana here.
Kender are odd to me as somebody who didn’t grow up with them, since they seem like an even blend of both halflings and gnomes. Fey touched little folk with a mischievous but playful bent. They get the brave feature, a taunt feature that can impose disadvantage, and a variable feature to magically produce temporary items using a small table. If this gets into a final book in this form, I think it will be very popular. Free stuff and imposed disadvantage can be powerful tools in most campaigns.
Lunar Magic Sorcerer
Here we get a very interesting subclass that gains different benefits depending on what “phase of the moon” you’re in. I highly suspect it’s going to get some nerf in the final version because currently you’re allowed to reduce metamagic costs to 0 if they’re in the right “moon phase” and I guarantee people will break that in half. It feels flavorful and potentially quite strong though so I have high hopes for lunar magic in the future.
Knight of Solamnia & Mage of High Sorcery
Here we have two new backgrounds that both on their own do very little but unlock feats that you gain access to later. We saw a very similar design philosophy in strixhaven when it came to the strixhaven arcane colleges. I’m not sure I like this method of showing advancement in a setting-specific faction. I feel like it restricts too many elements of character creation when you could just have some sort of “joined the knighthood” or “joined the magic school” bonuses on top of however the characters are built. As is, you need to dedicate your background and likely several feats to get where you want to go.
10 New Feats
8 of these feats are locked to the new knight or mage backgrounds and provide themed benefits regarding specific knightly orders or mage societies. The one feat that can be taken independently divinely favored has some interesting alignment flavor but seems to be a functionally worse magic initiative feat and the final feat uses divinely favored as a prerequisite.
The flavor here is on point but mechanically I was underwhelmed. Hopefully they go through some serious updates before they see print.
Upcoming Dragonlance Book?
Players who have been longing for a 5e dragonlance experience probably don’t have that much longer to wait. With this unearthed arcana all but confirming an upcoming dragonlance release the only questions left are when and in what capacity.
Personally, I think the timing works out perfectly for the big 50th anniversary of D&D. What better way to celebrate D&D’s history than to revisit one of its oldest and most beloved settings? Time will tell though, and WoTC may be planning for something sooner or later but seeing how their production cycle functions and looking at the calendar, my money is on a 2024 Dragonlance setting book or adventure path.
Last updated: January 27, 2019
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