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In Dungeons & Dragons’ Dragonlance book and board game, war is no joke - preview

First scenario is compared to Dunkirk.
Artwork from Shadow of the Dragon Queen
Image: Wizards of the Coast

The upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow of the Dragon Queen adventure book and Warriors of Krynn board game are the very first of their kind. Based on the world of the beloved Dragonlance Chronicles books, whilst there have certainly been Dungeons & Dragons books and board games that are shared themes and stories in the past – such as the Ghosts of Saltmarsh or Dungeon of the Mad Mage D&D board games – Shadow of the Dragon Queen and Warriors of Krynn are the first to be tied so closely together.

After being initially revealed during the a D&D Direct that took place earlier this year, more details regarding the Dragonlance book and board game were unveiled to Dicebreaker by D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast.

Set to take place at the very beginning of the War of the Lance, before many of the events of the Dragonlance Chronicles, Shadow of the Dragon Queen is a D&D campaign book that will see players becoming embroiled in a conflict between the people of Krynn and the nefarious Dragon people. Warriors of Krynn, meanwhile, is an upcoming board game that can be played separately from Shadow of the Dragon Queen, but largely serves as a platform for players to experience the various large-scale battles they’ll encounter during their journey through the D&D adventure book.

The August Wizards Presents online event where Shadow of the Dragon Queen and Warriors of Krynn were last featured.

Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks and adventure books have featured battles and wars in the past, such as the aftermath of the vast conflict in Eberron: Rising from the Last War. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to play out conflicts that feature hundreds and hundreds of people in a tabletop roleplaying game wherein smaller scale fights can take hours to complete. Warriors of Krynn looks to be providing dungeon masters and players with a way to experience the kind of epic battles featured in Shadow of the Dragon Queen, presenting a wargame board game wherein players make strategic decisions to help alter the flow of battle.

The costs of war will be laid at the players’ feet from the very beginning.

Beginning in the small fishing town of Vogler, players in Shadow of the Dragon Queen will become familiar with the charming town and its inhabitants before they’re all besieged and set aflame by the forces of the Dragon Army. Despite supporting an entire wargame board game tie-in and revolving a lot of action around battles, according to Wizards the upcoming Dragonlance releases will not glorify war. Instead, the costs of war will be laid at the players’ feet from the very beginning, with the quaint town they’ve come to know being destroyed before their very eyes.

Depending on whether players have the adventure book or board game, or both, they’ll experience these battles in varying ways. If players just have the Shadow of the Dragon Queen book then they’ll play through large-scale battles by making various decisions. Players who only have the board game will play through a total of 12 scenarios without most of the RPG elements featured in Shadow of the Dragon Queen. By combining Shadow of the Dragon and Warriors of Krynn, players will be able to experience the adventure book campaign and decide the outcome of large-scale battles through a wargame board game.

The Alliance armies are often outnumbered in the battle scenarios in Warriors of Krynn.Image: Wizards of the Coast

Besides the destructive visual depictions of war found in the Shadow of the Dragon Queen fantasy RPG book, the costs of war are also explored through the gameplay of Warriors of Krynn. Though the player characters won’t be directly fighting or commanding the battles themselves – that's for the Alliance armies and the Dragon Queen to do – they will be racing to complete objectives that will assist the people of Krynn to defend against the Dragon Army. For example, in a scenario compared to the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II, players will be helping the civilians of Vogler to escape the flames and bloodshed spreading through their town via a collection of boats.

Players will likely meet and build relationships with the commanders of the Alliance, thereby increasing the stakes of each battle even more.

The player characters and the armies of Krynn will almost always be on the back-foot in the battles of the Warriors of Krynn and Shadow of the Dragon Queen, with the forces of the Dragon Armies usually outnumbering those of the Alliance and their commanders wielding some fearsome abilities. Whilst there won’t be rules in place for managing post-war PTSD, Dungeon Masters and players may have plenty of ground to have characters leave battles shell-shocked. Players can help turn the tide of battle by using the class specific abilities and actions their characters will acquire within the Warriors of Krynn game to achieve their objectives, as well as appealing to the various army commanders to make certain strategic decisions.

The first episode for Dicebreaker's new Dungeons & Dragons 5E actual play show.

At times, players may find themselves needing to make sacrifices such as choosing to remove units in order to prevent other detrimental events from occurring or pushing their units or commanders to be shaken – which is one step away from defeat – to gain an advantage on the enemy. Characters who perish during battles in the Warriors of Krynn will remain dead within their Shadow of the Dragon Queen campaign, with each war scenario having multiple potential consequences on the RPG story depending on the results. Throughout the campaign, players will likely meet and build relationships with the commanders of the Alliance, thereby increasing the stakes of each battle even more should they form a bond.

Should players enjoy Shadow of the Dragon Queen and Warriors of Krynn’s combination of adventure book and board game, then they may see future incarnations of a similar kind of release in the future - with Wizards currently being open to producing more tie-in adventure books and board games like this. For now, players can expect Shadow of the Dragon Queen and Warriors of Krynn to release on December 6th, with digital early access to the adventure book available on D&D Beyond from November 22nd.

About the Author
Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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