D&D Dragonlance – A guide to Dragonlance books and campaigns

With Dragonlance 5e now official, this guide is here for D&D fans who want to know what the books, settings, and...er, lances, are all about

D&D Dragonlance - three warriors behind a shield being hit by fire

Have you ever played a game of Dungeons and Dragons and thought there weren’t enough D&D Dragons? Sure, all those dungeons are fun, but they’re only half of the main event. If you have, you’re not alone – the creators of Dragonlance dreamt up one of the most popular DnD settings of all time based on this whole idea.

Picture a fantasy world moulded over centuries by multiple Dragon Wars. Imagine a Dragonlance, a weapon blessed by this world’s answer to DnD gods, the only weapon a mortal can wield to kill a dragon. Now picture an endless stream of novels, D&D books, and games written across decades to flesh this world out – put all of that together, and you’ve got yourself Dragonlance.

Now Dragonlance 5e is officially on the table, you might be looking to learn a little bit more about this classic piece of D&D history. Or perhaps you’ve decided now’s the perfect time to dive deep into a new fantasy reading series. Either way, this guide is designed to give you a complete overview of Dragonlance – the setting itself, the books, and what to expect from Dragonlance 5e.

So, let’s talk about D&D Dragonlance:

D&D Dragonlance - a woman warrior in front of a magical battlefield

Dragonlance campaign setting

Dragonlance is set in the world of Krynn, which is the third planet in the Krynnspace solar system. If you’ve got control of a good Spelljammer ship, you might be able to reach Krynn from your campaigns in other worlds like Eberron and The Forgotten Realms. Krynn has five major continents, and there’s a lot of water between these lands. If you were running a campaign consistent with the Dragonlance books, you’d likely set your game in the continent of Ansalon or Taladas.

The history of Krynn is separated into five ages, with most of the Dragonlance novels (and the Dragonlance 5e material) taking place in the Fourth Age, known as the Age of Despair. This is a 300-year period of depression after three Dragon Wars have obliterated the land. It’s also the age in which The War of the Lance, a big focus of Dragonlance 5e and the classic Dragonlance novels, takes place.

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Considering the War of the Lance takes several novels and a campaign book to explain (more on those below), here’s a very brief summary. The goddess of evil Takhisis is attempting to return to Dragonlance, and she’s got an army of wizards, clerics, chromatic dragons, and draconids working to make that happen. The good god Paladine chooses a group of companions to lead the free nations of Krynn into battle against the dragon armies – a fight that takes five years to end.

From a roleplaying perspective, there are already plenty of options for Dragonlance – as long as you don’t mind playing some more antique tabletop RPGs. Dragonlance has been around since the very first edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and there’s plenty of campaign content through the second and third editions, too.

D&D Dragonlance - two dragons fighting in a pink sky

Dragonlance books

There are over 190 books that use the Dragonlance setting, with many bestsellers on this list. Rather than take you through every single book, let’s focus on the absolute essentials – as there are only six books you need to read before you can get to grips with the rest of the series.

Dragonlance chronicles

There are six core books to start with

These are the first three Dragonlance novels, published in 1984 and 1985 by the creators of the novels and co-creators of the original D&D campaigns, Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. In order, the Dragonlance Chronicles books are Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning.

Dragonlance legends

A direct sequel to Dragonlance Chronicles, this trilogy completes the ‘holy six’ books of core Dragonlance reading. The trilogy includes, in order: Time of the Twins, War of the Twins, and Test of the Twins.

Dragonlance 5e

In April 2022, Wizards of the Coast announced Spelljammer and Dragonlance 5e were officially on the table. For Dragonlance, this would begin with Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen, a D&D 5e campaign book, and the miniatures war board game Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn. Set during the War of the Lance, Wizards says you don’t need any prior Dragonlance knowledge to enjoy the new material. The two titles are also standalone, but there will reportedly be rules in the campaign book for using the board game components to stage battles.

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Currently, the Dragonlance 5e titles are predicted to release in “late 2022” – sometime after other 2022 titles like Spelljammer and Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel.