Aug 27, 2008

Dragonlance Legends - Comic News

As I mentioned before in my post on Dragonlance comics, work on adapting the second Weis and Hickman trilogy has been under way for some time.

Tomorrow, the second of the three issue adaption of Time of the Twins (the first book in the Legends trilogy) should be available in comic and game stores.

Devil's Due Publishing has a free preview posted on their site. While I liked the painted look of the Chronicles, I think the art work is even better this time around.

Aug 22, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 10) - The Arena of Istar

Arena

The Arena of Istar part 2At the end of the last issue, the boat Tanis, and party were on was caught the the maelstrom known as The Blood Sea of Istar. This issue starts with Loralon saving Tanis and Bas-ohn Horak (head of the minotaur delegation) from drowning with the aid of a magical air bubble. The three are under attack from a large sea creature just outside the ruins of Istar. As the air bubble pops, Tanis and the minotaur find themselves inside ancient building; Loralon, nowhere to be found. The two are attacked and captured by the people still alive in the underwater city.

Meanwhile Kitiara and Lord Soth look out at the ocean and wonder if the half-elf is still alive. They also discuss their plans for attack should the minotaurs form an alliance with the Solomnic knights.

Back underground, Bas-ohn and Tanis escape from their cell and encounter a pair of giant fire beetles before being recaptured. They are give armor and weapons and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena for the amusement of dragon turtles. In the arena they fight a human and wild elf, and while Tanis defeats his opponent, he can't bring himself to kill as the rules require. The minotaur steps in to finish off the prone wild elf.

Afterward, they learn that by being the best, there is a chance for them to be set free. They also learn that the current leading gladiators are Maquesta and Bas-ohn Koraf. Both were thought to be dead when Maquesta's ship was pulled into the maelstrom and who now, for some unknown reason, both appear to be part sea-elf with green coloring and small fins on their arms and legs.

Later, Loralon appears to Tanis and Horak, but instead of freeing them, reveals that he was responsible for the storm and bringing them to Istar to fight in the arena.

Commentary

Once again, I liked the artwork on this issue. I thought Dan Simmons did a great job with the ruins of Istar and the gladiator combat. I really like the detail on various character faces, from the dwarf armorer to the wild elf fighter.

Story-wise, I once again didn't really like this issue. It felt like not enough happened from the beginning to the end. Also, I never liked the idea of a black-robed cleric of Paladine, so seeing his apparent betrayal at the end of the issue wasn't a shock. The appearance of Maquesta and Bas-ohn Koraf (two characters seen in the Chronicles books) was a pleasant suprise, but their strange appearance already has me questioning who they really are.

Interestingly, the last page of this issue is an ad for the then-upcoming Forgotten Realms comic. Written by Jeff Grubb, this comic was the best of the TSR/DC comics and well worth the cost of picking up back issues.

Aug 20, 2008

Did You Know? Civilized Monsters

For all their monstrous qualities, minotaurs, ogres, hobgoblins, and goblins all have established, recognized nations on Krynn.

The minotaurs rule the two island nations of Kothas and Mithas (and on the content of Taladas, they lead the Imperial League).

Ogres rule the warning nations of Kern and Bloten, while hobgoblins and goblins rule Throt and Sikk'et Hul, respectively.

Aug 15, 2008

Darkness and Light: An Interlude

After leaving the ruins of the temple, the party journeyed for two days to Dun Eamon, a city nestled in the nearby mountain range, also known as the Grey Citadel. Theo and Hunter had previous done some business there "a few months back", but hadn't returned since.

Since the Grey Citadel was closer than Flotsam, and they had already made a few contacts there, not the least of which was the artificer, Elinda Bannon, Dun Eamon seemed like the quickest place to gather supplies before return to confront the infernal red dragon in it's underground lair.

Just outside Dun Eamon, where the road was narrow and close to the nearby marsh, the group was surrounded by a hunting party of jarak-sinn. The lizardfolk spoke to each other in strange gurgling sounds. If they were trying to talk to the party, it did no good, since no one could understand the foreign language. Clad in crude armor of animal skins, wooden shields (all emblazoned with the symbol of a red arrow), and wielding spears, clubs, and stone axes, the jarak-sinn attacked. Perhaps they thought this small band of weary travelers would be easy prey... the jarak-sinn were sadly mistaken. In short order, the party dispatched a enough of their numbers to send the rest fleeing back into the swamp.

At the gateway into the city, they were stopped by the city guard, who asked a few basic questions about who they were and what was their business in the city. The guards also went over a few of the basic laws--keeping weapons peacebonded, and not casting destructive or deadly offensive spells within the city.

Once in the city, Hunter and Theo lead the party to the Market Tavern, the same place they stayed last time. The tavern was still the same, with the dwarf Flitch behind the bar, and the young serving girl Molly, spending more time listening to the party's adventures than actually dispensing food and drink.

Over the next few days the party went about gathering supplies, including fresh rations, extra arrows, and healing along with a few spells Adow knew could aid against the dragon. On the second day, Caledon, the local herbalist and druid in the city came to inform the party that Greybeard had suddenly left the city.

It seems the druid circle left word for Greybear at several nearby cities and towns. Since Greybear first informed them, they have kept watch on the cave where the Black Scourge was imprisoned. Recent activity seems to indicate that several more of the dragon's mystical bones were brought to the lair. If the Gem of Amara couldn't be found in time, the druids would be the first line of defense against the ancient dragon.

Caledon was also there to give the party something Greybear left for them. It was a special bit of druidic magic; a small length of rope with five knots. If anyone pulled the rope taught, the knots would be undone and a magical healing aura would wash over the party.

Just before leaving the party also arranged another meeting with Elinda Bannon. At first she thought the party were couriers bringing another item for her (as Theo and Hunter did during their first meeting with the wizard of Dun Eamon), but soon learned the real story. She didn't have much information on the Gem of Amara or the Black Scourge, but was willing to loan the party a few magic items in her possession in return for a small favor.

With their supplies in hand, the party set off for the ruins of the Temple of the Flaming Fist

Aug 10, 2008

Did You Know? The Lizardfolk of Krynn

Unlike most settings where there is just one monster known as "lizardfolk", on Krynn there are actually three such creatures that fall under that general category.

  • Bakali: Thought to be an extinct race, these lizardfolk look more like bipedal crocidiles.
  • Jarak-Sinn: This race probably looks more like the standard lizardfolk of other settings. In comparison to the Bakali, they are larger, more muscular, and more warlike.
  • Troglodyte: These standard monsters also fall under the "lizardfolk" category, with no change to their game mechanics.
Both the Bakali and Jarak-Sinn typically serve either the neutral godess Chislev, or the evil deity Takhisis. Both races are composed of mostly fighters, along with a few shamans in each tribe.

All three types are covered in detail as PC races in the Dragons of Krynn sourcebook

Aug 8, 2008

Dragonlance Comics (Issue 9) - The Arena of Istar

Blood Tide

The Arena of Istar part 1This issue starts sometime after the end of the War of the Lance (as seen in issue 8). Riva Silvercrown (last seen in issue 4), now a knight of Solomnia, is riding a dragon and almost gets into an airborne fight with a dragonarmy officer. Both are quickly stopped when Highlord Kitiara arrives on the scene.

It turns out Riva and Kit are part of separate delegations, each seeking to form an alliance with the minotaur nation.

Later, minotaur delegates are talking with Tanis, Riva, and a mysterious black-robed person. Kit interrupts and begins to present reasons to ally with her dragonarmy. The war-minded minotaurs seem to agree more with her reasoning than that of Tanis. In an effort to turn the delegates toward their thinking, the robed figures, revealed to be an elven cleric of Paladine, offers the head minotaur a special offer; the chance to journey to the location where his brother died to pay a proper last respect. Since this is a big deal in minotaur society, the delegate accepts the chance.

The following day, the minotaur is taken to a spot in the ocean, where the brother died; a place Tanis knows well since he too was on that fateful ship, but survived with the aid of sea elves that took him and his friends to the sunken city of Istar.

As the minotaur sheds his blood in tribute, a storm quickly approaches and the area is engulfed in a whirlpool that threats to destroy the ship.

Commentary

As the beginning of a new arc, I really liked this issue. Once again, there was a guest artist (Dave Simons, this time) and the quality of the art was better than past Ron Randall issues. I liked seeing Riva back in the book (I didn't think there were going to be any recurring characters), as well as Tanis and Kit. I also liked seeing a story involving the minotaurs, one of my favorite races in Dragonlance.

On the other hand, I was disappointed that the timeline jumped over the entire War of the Lance after 8 issues. I had hoped to see more stories during the war with original characters involved in other areas not touched on by the books. Also, the elven cleric was totally out of character. There has never been a cleric of Paladine dressed in black robes (not to mention that the elves refer to Paladine by a different name). Maybe this was supposed to be a "surprise" when the figure was revealed NOT to be Raistlin, but I found it stupid and unrealistic. Also, the notion of that the whirlpool around the Blood Sea would "spring up" at a random moment is completely inaccurate. Any reading of either the Chronicles trilogy or The Atlas of Dragonlance would have set the author straight on this detail. Sadly, this glaring inconsistencies took what could have been a really good issue and made it only ok... hopefully next issue will be better.

Aug 1, 2008

New Schedule for Dragonlance Comic Reviews

I need to change the schedule for the Dragonlance issue comics reviews. I had intended to do a new issue each week, but I'm finding it a bit taxing and taking away from other topics and items I want to write about, so I'm going to make the reviews an every-other-week event.

Next week, I'll have my review for issue 9, part one of "The Arena of Istar". See you then...