Want to include races from the 4th edition Player’s Handbook and Player’s Handbook II, but not sure how to fit them into Dragonlance lore? This will attempt to explain it.
The following is found written in draconic on several dwarf-sized stone tablets, apparently inscribed by a sharp claw. They are arranged in a pile.
On the Enigmatic New Races
When I was born, the Third Dragonwar was nearly over. Thanks to the actions of that thrice-cursed knight Huma Dragonsbane, my bakali handlers were forced to put me into the long sleep. I awoke not long before the War of the Lance. I served in the Dragonarmies, and slew the Black Dragon Highlord for disgracing me. As punishment, Takhisis condemned me to guard the Disks of Mishakal in Xak Tsaroth. My final memory was of a plainswoman striding towards me, bearing the blue crystal staff, and striking me with it. As a brilliant blue light flashed, I had the feeling of being pulled from my body.
1. Eighty years have passed since Xak Tsaroth.
2. My treasure hoard in Xak Tsaroth has been underwater about that long as well.
3. The world has changed remarkably again. New races have appeared (and some have disappeared) during those seventy years, including dragonspawn, fire dragons, half-sane kender, dragonborn, tieflings, devas, and shifters.
The dragonborn, tieflings, devas, and shifters interest me the most for, like me, they appeared fully formed in odd parts of Krynn. Furthermore, they all came into existence at about the same time I did. Some, too, have memories of a past life. The devas speak of dim recollections of a previous existence devoted to the gods. The dragonborn recount memories of being ripped from a dark, comfortable place by unnatural forces. The shifters speak of a valley of blue sands. The tieflings have no memories at all – they do not seem to have existed before appearing on Krynn.
Based on my experiences, I have come to the following conclusions.
When the plainswoman struck me with the staff, my soul was sucked from my body by the power of the goddess Mishakal. However, since I had not truly died, I could not pass through the gate of souls spoken of by the Dark Queen’s clerics. Instead, my soul remained on this stage of existence, until, for whatever reason, it was given a body. This body, while superficially similar to my old one, is different, and relates to the manner of my departure from Krynn.
It seems quite possible that something similar happened to the dragonborn, tieflings, devas, and shifters. If I were given a body at this time, it would make sense that other souls who had not died would be given theirs as well.
The devas’ memories of lives devoted to the gods would seem to indicate the true clerics whisked from the world before the cataclysm. They seem to be drawn towards the ruined city of Godshome in the Khalkists, which further corroborates this idea, and their appearance as angelic, otherworldly beings matches their being taken from the world by the gods themselves.
The tieflings’ demonic appearance seems to suggest their souls had contact with the abyssal – or with the mad god Chaos. I have heard mention of a “summer of flame,” during which a god styling himself as the “All-Father,” attempted to destroy Krynn. Apparently, he sent out legions of shadow wights to erase mortals from existence. Not truly slain, though, such souls may have been as unable to pass through the gate of souls as I was. As they never existed, they would have no memories of a past life, and their appearances might be twisted and devilish to reflect their souls’ withering under the wights’ touch.
The dragonborn raise more interesting questions still. I learned of the creation of draconians for the War of the Lance, and how metallic dragon eggs were corrupted by foul magicks – but what of the soul inside? Certainly, the soul would not be present in the inherently evil draconians, as metallics are pathetically good. The dragonborn humanoid appearance matches the magic that ripped them from their eggs – the magic to create humanoid draconians. The dragonborn memories of a dark, comforting place – their egg – further corroborates this idea.
But what of the shifters? I am truly uncertain about them, but I have read of an elven mage named Vedvedsica who created beast-elf hybrids, but found their souls locked in a valley of blue sands not far from here (a location the shifters speak of remembering). I am far from certain that the shifters are the reborn souls of these hybrids, but it is possible.
The final tablet is shattered and illegible.
Goliaths – These folks have been living in small bands in the heights of the Khalkists for millennia, but no one realized it, as they were so isolated. They appear to be graygem-altered humans.
Eladrin – I can give you two ways you could fit an Eladrin PC into your campaign. The first (which is truer to the lore in the PHB) is that they are the first elves. A small tribe has been hiding in deepest Silvanesti/the jungles of Nordmaar/the Dragon Isles/the second house on the right from my grandmother’s. Doesn’t really matter. They’ve been hiding. The second (which is truer to Dragonlance lore) is that they are elves affected by the magic of the Ineth Wakenti, the valley of blue sands, which Gilthas is turning into the new elven homeland.
When a soul is taken from Krynn without having died, it cannot pass through the gate of souls. Mysteriously (Why? There’s a good adventure hook if I ever heard one), they are now being reanimated on Krynn in new bodies whose appearance relate somehow to the manner in which they were taken from the world.
Devas – They are the true clerics taken from the world during the Night of Doom before the cataclysm. Now they’re trying to rebuild the ruined city of Godshome in the Khalkists. They have only vague memories of their former lives.
Tieflings – They are all the people erased from existence by Chaos’ shadow wights. They remember nothing of their former lives, since their former lives never happened.
Dragonborn – They are the reborn souls of the metallic wyrmlings pulled from their eggs so that draconians could be created.
Shifters – They are the souls of the elven mage Vedvedsica’s elf-beast hybrids who were trapped in the Ineth-Wakenti.