Rituals of Acceptence: The Test, Solamnic Challenges

"For in ages past, beyond memory and word, in the first blush of the world, Dragons terrible and great made war on this world of Krynn."
The Book-House: Find Dragonlance products.

Moderators: maddog, Dragonhelm

Post Reply
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 19097
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Rituals of Acceptence: The Test, Solamnic Challenges

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:13 pm

In order to advance as a Wizard, you eventually have to pass the Test of High Sorcery.
In order to join a new Solamnic Order there is a challenge involved
Druids also have their own systems of challenges, albeit at higher levels.

In my experience, these tests and rituals have never really been much fun. For one, they take one player to go through a solo game while the rest of the group just sist around doing nothing. Second, there is also the chance of failure which is a massive bummer. I still remember my fighter who was rejected as a member of the Solamnic Knights due to some unlucky dice rolls.

I am wondering if there are other ways to handle these tests that make them more fun? Perhaps also some ideas for how failure can become interesting?

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
Dragonhelm
Aurak
Posts: 1517
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 3:53 am
Gender: male
Contact:

Re: Rituals of Acceptence: The Test, Solamnic Challenges

Post by Dragonhelm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:43 am

Havard wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:13 pm
In my experience, these tests and rituals have never really been much fun. For one, they take one player to go through a solo game while the rest of the group just sist around doing nothing. Second, there is also the chance of failure which is a massive bummer. I still remember my fighter who was rejected as a member of the Solamnic Knights due to some unlucky dice rolls.
First, get a different DM for Dragonlance! ;)

The Test of High Sorcery, Knight's Trials, Test of Takhisis (now Crucible of Darkness), and the Legion of Steel's Test are all set up to where there may be some focus on a particular character, but everybody comes along for the ride. Player characters often find that they can join the applicant, but they are responsible for their own safety.

Second, what fun is a game without a chance of failure? How greater the sweet taste of victory when you do succeed?

The harshest of all these tests is the Test of High Sorcery. Failure means death. Magic is very serious business, and the Orders don't want just anybody using it without knowing that the magic can be properly controlled.
I am wondering if there are other ways to handle these tests that make them more fun?
Get everybody involved. Today the focus might be on your wizard or knight, but next time the DM might focus on the dwarven ranger. Everybody gets equal time.
Perhaps also some ideas for how failure can become interesting?
Perhaps a prospective Knight of Solamnia does everything right for his trial, but is not allowed to become a knight due to a long-standing political dispute between the applicant's father and another Knight of Solamnia. Perhaps that other knight only wants noble blood within the ranks.

For the Legion of Steel, it looks like you failed, but it turns out you have a secret mission for them that no other Legionnaire can know about.

Failure for the Test of High Sorcery means death, and indeed your character did die. However, someone interfered in the Test, effectively murdering you. Now it is up to your new character (a sibling, friend, whatever) to solve your murder, but in order to do so, he must also take the Test. Can he and his companions find the villain in time?
Trampas Whiteman
---DragonHelm--->

Image

Moderator for: Dragonlance. My moderator voice is Dark Red.

User avatar
DoctorDuckButter
Goblin
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:22 am
Gender: male

Re: Rituals of Acceptence: The Test, Solamnic Challenges

Post by DoctorDuckButter » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:52 pm

I like the idea of making them group challenges, and having the party along. I know, in general, the Towers do not allow companions, but if you read Raistlin's Test, Caramon "showed" up. It was an illusion, but he was there. You could always speak with your non-wizard players before the game and mention that they will be "going" along for the test and "helping". Maybe give them unusual character quirks for that particular adventure. Maybe a noble Knight of the Crown, becomes cruel and distrusting. Maybe the Kender in the party shows true fear of the opposition, which should seem impossible. The wizard should get the slow feeling that something isn't right, and it is testing his mental deduction, and his reaction to the events.

As for the Knightly quests, the group should come along. Why wouldn't the Knights want to see that the candidate can lead other people and is trusted by his fellow heroes? He should have to face certain challenges alone, but allow the other PCs to offer advice before the challenge and maybe give the Knight advantage on rolls having to do with their advice. A good leader must listen to good advice from his subordinates.

As for failure of the tests, how one deals with defeat is just as important as they deal with success. Sturm was constantly trying to prove he was worthy and getting rejected, then the day finally arrived when he was accepted and it made it that much sweeter. Or maybe the character rejects the Solmanic Knights because of their rejection of him and then retreats to the Knights of Takhisis.

Overall theme, I think all the various tests are important to the setting and make Krynn actually Krynn. Just make them an EVENT!

User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
Posts: 24139
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: London UK
Contact:

Re: Rituals of Acceptence: The Test, Solamnic Challenges

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:45 am

Havard wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:13 pm
In order to advance as a Wizard, you eventually have to pass the Test of High Sorcery.
In order to join a new Solamnic Order there is a challenge involved
Druids also have their own systems of challenges, albeit at higher levels.
Druids?

What does Dragonlance say about druids? I've heard of some generic rules about druids having to fight each other, but I would have thought those applied to Greyhawk. And I don't recall those being there after 2nd Edition AD&D came out. But I've not paid too much attention to druids.

What are you getting at there? What book is this in?

As for the Solamnic Orders, I always thought it was more of a political thing to get accepted into one of the orders, and that you had to qualify to move up, in a similar way to qualifying for 3rd Edition Prestige Classes. (In fact the stuff in Dragonlance Adventures looks very much like an AD&D implementation of PrCs.)
Havard wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:13 pm
In my experience, these tests and rituals have never really been much fun. For one, they take one player to go through a solo game while the rest of the group just sist around doing nothing. Second, there is also the chance of failure which is a massive bummer. I still remember my fighter who was rejected as a member of the Solamnic Knights due to some unlucky dice rolls.

I am wondering if there are other ways to handle these tests that make them more fun? Perhaps also some ideas for how failure can become interesting?
I think that this idea (the idea of a single character needing to pass some sort of test) exists in other D&D campaign settings too. It's mostly that it's elevated to a major theme in Dragonlance, with the books providing rules (that are supposed to make the game work better).

A while ago the paladin in my Spelljammer group got to meet his warhorse (which turned out to be a dire wolf) and that involved some solo action. In that case it was about half a game session (about 2 hours or less). I don't know if our GM (AuldDragon) included a chance of failure, but he did make the player work to "win" the creature. We also had some further background storylines as our paladin found out what the creature could do.

GMs can always make house rules (which is what you are asking to see) so I guess that if anyone thinks the canon rules for the Test of High Sorcery (and these other things that have escaped my notice) are too harsh, they could alter them to make them feel right for their version of Dragonlance.

Perhaps one way to deal with the Test of High Sorcery would be to allow a player (out of character) to pick an easy, medium or hard test and give them a reward based on the amount of XP the test wins them. That way a PC who doesn't want to get their wizard killed could have an easier time of it, while a player who liked the idea of their wizard needing to narrowly avoid death could opt into their PC taking a test that might disable or kill their PC.

I do like the idea of other player characters turning up in a dream sequence sense, even if they are not really there. If a wizard chooses to kill his friends...or let them die...in order to pass the test, they could wake up knowing that their friend is willing to betray them. :twisted:

If players choose to go along with a wizard on a test and their PCs do not die, perhaps they could win something (at the very least XP for any monsters they defeated). Perhaps they could have a chance to find magical versions of mundane items they carry into the test.

If you want to have an element of risk for the non-wizard PCs, you could drain a level if the PCs get killed in the Test or age them a bit.

As for the Solamnic Knights, I agree that companions should come along. In the real-world knights are kind of part of the nobility. You have a similar situation with Solamnia, but with the ruler being overthrown. Knights (like Lord Soth) have followers and retainers and land. So it makes sense that the companions of a would be knight should get judged on their actions. (If a would be knight hangs around with a bunch of murder hobos, it's more logical for them to be turned down, than if they hang around with a group of people who turn back an army of invading draconians.)

Like I said before, I don't know what you are referring to with druid tests, but I do remember reading about a generic druid thing, where a druid had to defeat a high level druid in order to win their place. Perhaps that was a 1e rule, as it's not something I have read first hand.

The only NPC I can think of that would send a druid on a test is the Forestmaster.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community and follow The Piazza's Twitter feed so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum (and administrator). My moderator voice is green.

Post Reply

Return to “Dragonlance”