Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

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Dragonhelm
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Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by Dragonhelm »

I think it's no secret that I wasn't the biggest fan of the Rise of Solamnia trilogy. Normally I like Douglas Niles as an author, but I was put off by three things in this trilogy:
  • The structure of the Knights of Solamnia did not match existing game material.
  • There was thinly-veiled allegories to political figures of the time.
  • The inclusion of gunpowder.
I have to wonder, though. Am I being too harsh? Was this trilogy better than I gave it credit for?

What do you think?
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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by apotheot »

Its been a decade since I read it, but I do remember at least the first part you are mentioning...and feel like I might remember the third. I feel like I need a referesher on much of the plot.... but I would chock some of this up to artistic licence and the extreme changes that occurred in the world first in the years between the Chaos War and War of Souls, and then after the War of Souls.

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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by night_druid »

Dragonhelm wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:33 am
I have to wonder, though. Am I being too harsh? Was this trilogy better than I gave it credit for?

What do you think?
I wasn't aware you hated the series, but given the things listed I can't blame you. :) I've never read the series, or most DL novels so I can't really comment on the overall quality of the series. That said, I think we get a little more forgiving with age. Gunpowder really doesn't bother me; I think dislike of it in the game can be overblown but IMHO so long as its treated as an oddity, rarely seen outside of pistols and the rare canon (almost mythical artifacts), I don't have a problem. Heck, a tinker gnome "invented" nukes (even if conceptually as a joke) so guns are the least of the problems ;)

Political allegories bother me more, if only because most the time they're both terribly ham-fisted and become very dated. Done well they can create timeless stories, but more often than not they're done very, very poorly. As for the structure of the Knights, I guess structures can change and evolve over time; no system remains constant.
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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by Falconer »

Well, what were the plus sides to the trilogy? I barely recall a single character or plot point, which is damning in and of itself.
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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by Big Mac »

I've not read the Rise of Solamnia trilogy, but I do recall the depection of the Knights of Solamnia in the Chronicles Trilogy not matching up with what I was expecting from Dragonlance Adventures.

The rulebook had given me an idealised "perfect" version of the Knighthoods, complete with a rank structure, while the novels gave me an organisation that was on the brink of falling apart.

The same applies to the Wizards of High Sorcery, to be honest, with the rulebooks giving details on the Towers of High Sorcery and the novels coming up with reasons why none of the towers were accessible.

I'll have to have a read of this trilogy, at some point, to see what vibes it can give the nation...and the knights.

I can't seem to work out where these novels fit in with the history of Solamnia.

The Solamnia article on Dragonlance Nexus doesn't seem to mention them. :?
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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by Havard »

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:16 pm
I've not read the Rise of Solamnia trilogy, but I do recall the depection of the Knights of Solamnia in the Chronicles Trilogy not matching up with what I was expecting from Dragonlance Adventures.

The rulebook had given me an idealised "perfect" version of the Knighthoods, complete with a rank structure, while the novels gave me an organisation that was on the brink of falling apart.
I also haven't read the books. I think I must have missed them even coming out. However, I did read a few reviews online, so my comments will be based on that. What you are saying here is true Big Mac, but that is mainly the difference between the knights in the rulebooks vs the Chronicles and Legends trilogies. Rise of Solamnia it seems is set after the War of Souls. Actually that should give us even more leeway for having them be different from the rulebooks.

It is interesting that the Knights have been able to reclaim most of their lands at this point. I think I might want to read these just to find out more about what happens to Krynn.

Not sure how I feel about gunpowder. I think D&D gamers used to have an unnecessary skepticism towards including it in their games. It is not like gunpowder equals modern firearms. including them would help make the post War of Souls setting be very different from past ages of Krynn. On the other hand, Krynn already has dragonlances as the unique weapon of the setting.

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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by pawsplay »

The beginning of the original Dragonlance trilogy, the Knights of Solamnia are still strong but their numbers have fallen and their leadership is paralyzed by inaction and political concerns. They still exercise archaic rules about purity of blood, which presents an obstacle IIRC for Sturm. Their rank structure is very rigid.
Several major story events later, the Knights have been depleted by combat, and the Knights of Taknisias have re-organized as the Knights of Neraka. Both groups are in a process of recruitment, revitalization, and establishing a new order for a new day.
Overall, my feel for the Solamnic Knights is that they are defined by several periods of glory in the past, but a lot of the time they strive for, but fail to meet, their highest ideals. Nevertheless they remain an effective force populated by very courageous people. This idea of chivalrous striving I see rooted in Camelot and Ivanhoe and such, and is why during the AD&D era the knight classes replaced the more idealized and actualized paladin.

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Re: Have I been too hard on the Rise of Solamnia trilogy?

Post by Falconer »

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:16 pm
I do recall the depection of the Knights of Solamnia in the Chronicles Trilogy not matching up with what I was expecting from Dragonlance Adventures.
Well, there is a disagreement in the early sources.


Dragonlance Adventures

“The Knighthood is ruled by the Lord of Knights.… The position must be filled by one of the High Knights: either the High Warrior, the High Clerist, or the High Justice.” These are:

High Justice: a Knight of the Rose
High Clerist: a Knight of the Sword
High Warrior: a Knight of the Crown


However, Dragons of Winter Night and DL8 Dragons of War suggest a different scheme:

Grand Master: a Knight of the Rose
High Justice: a Knight of the Sword
High Clerist: a Knight of the Crown



So basically DLA swapped things around for various reasons; however, it’s worth pointing out the original intention which is that

Rose = paladins
Sword = fighters
Crown = clerics

Because Crown refers to the artifact The Crown of the High Clerist (DL8); and clerics can’t use Swords in AD&D.



Anyway, The Rise of Solamnia takes a whole different view, which IIRC is this:

Lord of the Rose: ruler of Caergoth
Lord of the Sword: ruler of Solanthus
Lord of the Crown: ruler of Thelgaard
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