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Dragonlance author announces new D&D 5E campaign setting full of sky pirates and airships

Skyraiders of Abarax will come to Kickstarter in the fall of 2021.

Prolific authors and game designers Tracy and Laura Hickman have announced they are working on Skyraiders of Abarax, a new tabletop RPG setting compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E. The pair plan to crowdfund the project on Kickstarter later this year.

Tracy Hickman revealed Skyraiders of Abarax on September 8th via his Twitter, calling it “the first D&D campaign world” the married couple has developed since Dragonlance’s conception in 1982, famously planned during their road trip to Wisconsin after being hired by TSR.

The official website is slim on information, but promotional images show a crew of swashbuckling adventurers with a floating ship and dragons in the background. An anthropomorphic cat brandishes a sextant, and their dress evokes that broadly anachronistic fantasy aesthetic that’s equal parts medieval weaponry, victorian ruffles and a whole mess of leather straps. Oh, and a Dragonborn is wearing a tiny pair of black-tinted glasses.

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The broad story seems to hinge on a society borne from the population of an imperial prison island that overthrew their captors and created a new life among the isolated spits of land in an unfamiliar sea. It has been centuries since the empire’s military was last seen, and players will portray characters using the airships to travel in search of their ancestors’ original home.

Of most interest is a mention on the website of a “Living Time System” that the setting will ostensibly use to create adventures and explore the wider world of Abarax. One could speculate that the phrase denotes some kind of Legacy-esque element to sourcebooks, where choices block off and open specific routes in the campaign. Or, the Hickmans could provide digital updates to the material in the future, exploring leads hinted at in previous entries and gradually fleshing out the corners of the proverbial map.

Whatever shape it ends up taking, Skyraiders of Abarax looks to be in sole ownership of the Hickmans. No publisher has been announced, and a contact email hints at the creation of an LLC in its name. This may have something to do with a 2020 lawsuit that Hickman and longtime co-author Margaret Weis filed against Wizards of the Coast - Dragonlance’s publisher - for allegedly cancelling a new Dragons trilogy and breaching a contract between the company and the pair of writers.

Weis and Hickman dismissed the suit in January of this year, and the first novel - Dragons of Deceit - is currently estimated to arrive in 2022. While there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between the involved parties, Skyraiders of Abarax moving forward on its own avoids related potential messes entirely. The Kickstarter campaign for Hickman's new creation is planned to launch later this year.

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