Dear Fellow Travelers,
It has been my great privilege and joy over the past few years to walk the roads of Krynn in company with you. Working in conjunction with my staff to publish the Dragonlance RPG material has truly been a labor of love. The best part is that I have come to know so many of you, either working with you, meeting you at conventions or simply corresponding on the message boards and over the net.
I have never known a more loyal and dedicated fan base and I feel so lucky and blessed to have been a part of it.
Your praise helped spur us on. Your criticism helped us improve. Your interest and love and devotion have kept us going through good times and bad.
I do not know what the future holds for Dragonlance. Apparently, that future does not include us. We leave the world in good hands, however. The Nexus has nurtured the flame and kept it burning for many years and will do so again.
Thank you so much for your love and support. As we depart Krynn, I’ll take refuge in a quote from Dorothy as she leaves Oz: “I think I’ll miss you most of all.”
May dragons fly ever in your dreams.
Farewell to Dragonlance
More than twenty years ago, my Dad told me a little about the latest D&D campaign he was playing. He complained about how often his “kender thief” died at the merciless hands of lizard-dudes called draconians and a black dragon that could spit acid. Just the description of the ruined city crawling with bad guys and hairy little dwarves put visions in my head. My excitement must have shown because it wasn’t long before the first couple of modules and the first novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, came into my possession. It quite literally changed my life forever.
The last thing you want to read is every detail of that first Dragonlance campaign, or the experience of reading the novel (which came after I combed through DL5 Dragons of Mystery, so I already knew the full backstory of the Innfellows). But I lived and breathed Dragonlance for years. As I got older I joined the fan community in an online world still in its infancy.
Somehow, someway, my path took me far from home and away from all of my original career plans. Margaret Weis, my favorite author and co-creator of my favorite setting, believed in my vision for Dragonlance gaming enough that she chose me to helm it when her company acquired the license. Through every triumph and misstep, it has been my pleasure to help bring the world of Krynn back to gaming tables all across the world.
In the last few years I’ve stepped back a bit from my involvement. We knew the Dragonlance license would come to an end one day, so other worlds and games called to us. Those who have gone on the journey with us — Chris, Cam, Matt, Trampas, the Seans (E & M, respectively), the folks of the Whitestone Council, the artists and freelancers that are too numerous to name — have poured the hearts into the visions they’ve created through words and pictures.
I am so very proud of the work we’ve done. We may not have accomplished everything we set out to, and we’ve definitely stumbled on occasion, but as I look at the impressive collection of Dragonlance sourcebooks, map pouches, and more that line the shelves here in my office I can’t help but think of a phrase going straight back to my North Georgia upbringing: “We done good.”
Only the folks up in Seattle know exactly what’s going to happen with the Dragonlance brand over the next few years. But I like to think that we’ve left it better than we found it, and that our products will still prove useful to fans of the books and games for years to come. And during this journey I’ve made friends that I otherwise would never have had, am enjoying a job I could have imagined, and have a life that’s an adventure in and of itself, and for that I’m very grateful.
I hope you will visit us in other worlds. I started this journey as a Dragonlance fan, and that’s how I’ll finish it. See you around.
End of (this) Era
Back in 1984-era New Zealand, my high school friends and I were full-on D&D geeks. We’d already become fans of Tracy Hickman, who we thought was a woman (the Hickman Sisters, Laura and Tracy!), thanks to the Desert of Desolation modules and Ravenloft. When DL1 Dragons of Despair appeared on the shelves of our local bookstore, and Dragons of Autumn Twilight came soon after, we were instant fans. The novel got passed around the circle, eventually becoming dog-eared and creased—we were too poor to buy a copy for each of us—and early adventures into Xak Tsaroth were immediately followed by homebrew excursions elsewhere in Krynn.
After high school, and throughout my college years, I kept coming back to Dragonlance. New novels were read, new game books were picked up, and when I landed a job running a comics and games store in Auckland which I managed to keep stocked up with whatever Dragonlance product was on sale at the time. I watched 2nd edition come and go, and once I moved to the United States to marry the love of my life, I saw the setting re-envisioned as SAGA. I’ll be honest—I never ran the Fifth Age game, but I did buy all the books, and handily converted them all over to other game systems. Meddling with the rules was a constant.
I was lucky enough, when D&D 3rd edition was announced, to be one of the rules-meddlers who attracted the attention of the fanbase. The Whitestone Council was at the forefront of Dragonlance fandom, endorsed by Tracy Hickman and even by Wizards of the Coast as the official fan group. It was chaotic and conflicted at times, but it was an incredibly creative period for the setting. We would not have a 3rd edition Dragonlance if it were not for the Council. They brought me on, and thus when Sovereign Press (Margaret Weis Productions’ former incarnation) picked up the license to produce official Dragonlance product, I was one of the rules-meddlers who volunteered design work. That was the beginning of almost five years of freelance work.
I don’t think there’s a single work-related experience in my adult life that has come close to my time spent as a 3rd edition Dragonlance writer and designer. It’s been incredibly rewarding to contribute to a world that has already had so many talented artists, designers, authors, and fans lend their hands to it. I’ve made many good and true friends in the process, from Trampas and the guys on the Whitestone Council to Margaret, Jamie, Renae, Sean, Digger, and everyone else on the publication side of things. It’s also great to hear back from those people who have picked up our books, spoken to us at trade shows and conventions, or passed on their thoughts and reactions on message boards. More than anything else, the fans have inspired me to raise the bar on every product I work on. I hope I’ve been able to meet those exacting standards. I’ve certainly enjoyed trying!
I was asked in 2006 to write a short story for a Dragonlance anthology, which came out in April 2007. Soon after that, I was asked to write a novel, which comes out in April of this year. It’s not hard to see why so many thousands of people every year spend time in this world, and it’s been an honor to be part of it and to continue that shared experience into the future.
Now that the license has expired and Wizards of the Coast are moving ahead with 4th edition, the future of the Dragonlance world rests once more with the novels and the fans that keep the game alive. As a game designer, I’m moving onto other worlds, and other games. However, I remain a part of the fan community, and I expect to work closely with the Whitestone Council as I did before, on an unofficial level. I’m looking forward to it!