Novels dilemma?

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Havard
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Novels dilemma?

Post by Havard » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:38 am

It is hard to imagine what Dragonlance would have been without the novels. Yet, I have found that the novels make it harder to DM the setting since you will have players who feel let down because your game doesn't match their view of the setting.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this issue?

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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Philosopher » Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:44 pm

Do you think this is specific to Dragonlance? Might the same issue come up for, say, the Realms?

I suppose one way of dealing with this is that every articulate and discuss what their expectations of DL are. Why do you want to play in a DL campaign? If it's because you think it's cool that wizards have to take a Test, because you want to play a kender, or because of some other detail, no big deal. If it's because you want to relive your experience reading the novels, then you'll probably be let down. I imagine that's what some people may unconsciously want. Identifying this desire would be helpful. You can either let it go, or work with the group to see if it's possible in some way.
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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:38 pm

Philosopher wrote:Do you think this is specific to Dragonlance? Might the same issue come up for, say, the Realms?
I do think this is a specific problem for Dragonlance because the classic Dragonlance Chronicles books mostly follow the same story line as the original DL modules. The novel characters are pre-generated characters in the modules.

Both the Chronicles novels and the modules are seen as the "way in" to Dragonlance, so a lot of people will be playing a character that they have read in a novel.

I don't think there is so much of a push to get people to roleplay characters invented by other people in other campaign settings.

I love Dragonlance, but hate being asked to play pre-generated characters. I think that I invent the personality of my character as I pick races, classes, skills and feats. It gives me time to come up with a backstory. Having one slapped down in front of me doesn't allow me to make a connection.

But getting back to the subject, I don't think this is just a problem for the GM. I think it is also a problem for the players. If you have a DL uber nerd then they are going to know what Raistlin is like. So when another player doesn't play him the way they expect him too, it could subconciously nag at them. They could have a feeling of wrongness without knowing exactly why.

It might be worth (as an experiment) getting a GM to find some players who have never read the DL novels or played DL games and run a DL game without saying it was a DL game. If they didn't have any expectations, they could sit back, relax and enjoy the Lance-related fun.
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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Havard » Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:24 am

Philosopher wrote:Do you think this is specific to Dragonlance? Might the same issue come up for, say, the Realms?
I agree that it could come into question with any setting that has novels published for it, but to my experience it is more of an issue with DL because the novels are such a prominent part of the settings history. Also many people are primarily fans of the books and only secondarily fans of the game. I might almost compare it to attempting to run a game in Middle Earth, where I definately would feel the pressure of living up to certain expectations.
I suppose one way of dealing with this is that every articulate and discuss what their expectations of DL are. Why do you want to play in a DL campaign? If it's because you think it's cool that wizards have to take a Test, because you want to play a kender, or because of some other detail, no big deal. If it's because you want to relive your experience reading the novels, then you'll probably be let down. I imagine that's what some people may unconsciously want. Identifying this desire would be helpful. You can either let it go, or work with the group to see if it's possible in some way
I agree. Talking about it is a must. The thing about the novels is that they can present a problem in the case of conflicting expectations, but they also add alot of inspiration for both players and DMs. Personally, if I was to DM a DL campaign again, I would probably use the War of the Lance Era, but say that this was an alternate history where none of the major book characters existed and make the PCs (completely up to the players to create) the main characters of this alternate story. I might even want to make villains with whom the PCs could have some relations ala Tanis/Kitiara etc.

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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:21 pm

Havard wrote:I agree. Talking about it is a must. The thing about the novels is that they can present a problem in the case of conflicting expectations, but they also add alot of inspiration for both players and DMs. Personally, if I was to DM a DL campaign again, I would probably use the War of the Lance Era, but say that this was an alternate history where none of the major book characters existed and make the PCs (completely up to the players to create) the main characters of this alternate story. I might even want to make villains with whom the PCs could have some relations ala Tanis/Kitiara etc.
Chapter four of the MWP book Legends of the Twins would give you (or anyone else) a lot of advice on how to make an Alternate Krynn.
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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by CamBanks » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:07 pm

For the 3.5 revisions of the classic modules that MWP published, we decided to include the pregenerated characters but emphasize that they are only examples of a set of archetypes. Indeed, we refer to the archetypes throughout Dragons of Autumn, Winter, and Spring rather than Raistlin or Tanis. This lets the players make up their own characters, choose an archetype, and feel as if they have a valuable role in the campaign.

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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Philosopher » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:13 pm

Big Mac wrote:Chapter four of the MWP book Legends of the Twins would give you (or anyone else) a lot of advice on how to make an Alternate Krynn.
Recommendation seconded. That's my favorite chapter, from my favorite DL sourcebook. When you change the history of the setting from the outset, it's hard for anyone to expect things to happen a certain way. Two of the alternate settings in particular, Magocracy of Ansalon and Dragonlands, would allow you to use lots of material from the original modules, as they take place at (roughly) the same time.
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Re: Novels dilemma?

Post by Havard » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:09 am

CamBanks wrote:For the 3.5 revisions of the classic modules that MWP published, we decided to include the pregenerated characters but emphasize that they are only examples of a set of archetypes. Indeed, we refer to the archetypes throughout Dragons of Autumn, Winter, and Spring rather than Raistlin or Tanis. This lets the players make up their own characters, choose an archetype, and feel as if they have a valuable role in the campaign.
Ah, that sounds pretty much like what I had in mind. I have been buying alot of 3.5 DL books lately. I think will keep my eyes out for these too then :)

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