Part 11: Filling in the Gaps 3: Of Dragons, Dargaard, Oaths, and MeasuresFilling in the Gaps 3: Of Dragons, Dargaard, Oaths, and Measures
A lot has gone on since the last lore update, so it's worth a moment to look at some of it before finishing the next update.
In Update 4, we were pitted against black dragons for the first time. They're noticeably more dangerous than white dragons, and there are more of them to boot. This is actually a bit of an aberration, as black dragons tend to be solitary by nature. The dragons we're facing are still age category 2, meaning that they're between 11 and 27 feet in length. Black dragons are as intelligent as an average human, and breath a stream of acid five feet across when they feel the need. In the original Dragonlance novels the first dragon the heroes encounter is actually a black dragon guarding the ruins of Xak Tsaroth. Known as Onyx, the dragon is killed by the power of Mishakal's holy item. As a pre-teen I used her true name, Khisanth, as a computer password which worked about as well as you'd expect when I forgot how to spell it. The same dragon also got her own prequel novel, something of a rarity for a non-humanoid villain.
Update 6 introduced us to a green dragon, which had taken over a Solamnic outpost and was manipulating the whole thing from behind the scenes. Green Dragons also tend to be very solitary, but are among the most dangerous and cunning of the evil dragons despite being unlikely to work in teams. Green dragons are more intelligent than most humans, and have the only non-linear breath weapon out of the chromatic dragons. Green dragons are cruel manipulators who tend to prefer forest areas and have a bone-deep hatred of elves. This is demonstrated in the Dragonlance novels with the most famous of green dragons, Cyan Bloodbane, who took over the mind of the King of the Sylvanesti Elves and used his connection to Sylvanesti to turn the entire country into a walking nightmare. Cyan was eventually defeated by Raistlin Majere, and would later serve as his mount once Raistlin gained control of one of the Dragon Orbs.
Update 5 had a few undead dragons show up, although seriously neutered. Dragons can be turned into zombies or skeletons, but have a more dangerous potential form known as a dracolich. Although dracoliches have a complicated genesis, they're often far more dangerous than their living counterparts and have a number of immunities due to being undead as well as improved armor class. Dracoliches are also supposed to keep the breath weapon of their living form, a mercy that this game spares us. More formidable versions will make an appearance in later games.
Update 5 also had us journeying through the tomb of Sir Dargaard, who Sir Karl describes as an honorable knight. That might be the case, but individuals more familiar with Dragonlance might recognize the name as being associated with Lord Soth of Dargaard keep, the most famous of the Death Knights. Sir Dargaard might have been the founder of the line, and thus a more honorable man than his successors. There is no mention of Sir Dargaard anywhere else, so this appears to be a bit of an invention on the part of the developers. Sir Dargaard's tomb is also the main area where you absolutely need a knight to proceed, because of the questions about the Measure. And, about that
The Oath, the Measure, and the Solamnic Knights
Solamnic Knights are pretty much guided by two things: the Oath and the Measure. The Oath is essentially the Solamnic Motto: "Est Sularus oth Mithas" or "My honor is my life." The Measure is at one point described as spanning more than 30 volumes, and is essentially a commentary explaining every aspect of how a Knight should behave based on precedent and judicial rulings. It's a divisive construct that leads to endless arguments and one-upmanship based on who has the more encyclopedic knowledge of the Measure.
The Solamnic Knights are divided into three orders: the Crown, the Sword, and the Rose. All knights must begin as Knights of the Crown, then advance through the orders of the Sword and the Rose. This is somewhat ironic, as the most famous Solamnic Knights have been Knights of the Crown. Huma Dragonsbane (the first Knight to wield a Dragonlance) was a Knight of the Crown, as was Sturm Brightblade, one of the Heroes of the Lance. In game terms, Knights of the Sword and Rose are essentially heavily armored clerics who are interchangeable except for the fact that you need to be a Knight of the Rose to advance beyond a certain level.