We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

DnD Dragonlance designer: “in no way do we present war as fun”

With a new Dragonlance DnD campaign and board game on the way, one of its designers talks about how the tabletop products handle the topic of war

DnD Dragonlance 5e war - Wizards of the Coast art of the dragon queen riding a red dragon

Two upcoming DnD products – the Shadow of the Dragon Queen campaign book and Warriors of Krynn board game – transport tabletop players to the legendary War of the Lance, one of the biggest crises to ever hit the planet Krynn. “We’re returning to this world that is so distinct from D&D other worlds because it’s best known for its iconic war”, says senior designer F. Wesley Schneider in a press briefing on October 27. However, despite war being the big pull of the new products, Schneider stresses that Dragonlance 5e does not intend to glorify or make light of the topic of war.

When asked how Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen will address the trauma inherent in war, Schneider told Wargamer “this is not something we provide rules for.” “There is not a stress mechanic in the game; if you want to explore that in-depth, that is for you and your party to talk about and decide”, he says. “Beyond that, as part of the narrative, in no way do we present war as a fun, exciting time for knights and heroes.”

“How you become some of the people the rest of the world rallies around, how you become beacons of hope against an actual manifestation of evil, how you tell that story and what elements you want to focus on are all opportunities for the players and the DMs to define”, Schneider says. “Ultimately, we hope this is an adventure that is about some of the best war stories out there – how people come together to do great things in the face of overwhelming darkness.”

War has been a big part of the fantasy genre for decades, and it’s no different in D&D. Older editions of the game have explored the War of the Lance before, and there are several Dragonlance novels that dive deeper into its battles. D&D’s approach to the war isn’t always uniform, however – some DnD books, like Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, deliberately omit war in favour of other adventures.

DnD Dragonlance 5e war - Wizards of the Coast art of a burning town being evacuated by boats

Schneider also co-led Radiant Citadel along with Ajit George. When discussing Radiant Citadel, George told Wargamer in an interview, “I find that stories are often based on war, and then we glorify war, and I have some real problems with the glorification of war.”

For more detail on the Dragonlance campaign and board game, check out the latest news – the Dragonlance Warriors of Krynn scenarios preview and the Dragonlance 5e first chapter preview. If you’re looking for somewhere new to go in your games, you might also like our guide to the top DnD settings.