Part 19: The Final Gaps: Dragons, Dragonlances, Citadels, and Tasslehoff BurrfootThe Final Gaps: Dragons, Dragonlances, Citadels, and Tasslehoff Burrfoot
Once again there's plenty to talk about. We'll start out with adversaries.
Since the last lore update we've encountered a couple of new types of dragons, and seen at least one additional good dragon type.
Blue Dragons are desert dwelling carnivores that are as intelligent on average as the brightest humans, and use that intelligence to their advantage. The blue dragons in update 12 had enough HP to be young adults, but had the armor class of teenagers. Blue dragons breath a five foot wide stream of lightning that essentially acts just like a lightning bolt spell, meaning that it can and will bounce off walls to wreak havoc on your party. Within the Krynn setting blue dragons are noted as being the most social of the evil dragons, and those most capable of working as a disciplined team. As a result they were highly prized within the Dragonarmies and were the most widely used for military purposes. The most famous blue dragon was Skie: the mount of Kitiara Uth Matar Raistlin and Caramon's half-sister who led one of the Dragonarmies and later tried to start her own war of conquest during the Twins trilogy.
The largest and most powerful of the evil dragons, red dragons are the dragons that most closely fit the archetype of the fire-breathing menace. They love nothing more than destruction for its own sake, and tend to be fearsome bullies who love to dominate lesser creatures. Red dragons are aggressive, strong-willed, and extremely territorial, which made them unsuitable for any military tasks other than direct battle or the destruction of cities. Red dragons were notably present at the burning of Solace, and both the overall leader of the Dragonarmies and the leader of the Red Wing used red dragons as mounts. The most prominent red dragon in the early Dragonlance Chronicles was known as Ember, who was confronted by the Heroes of the Lance in Pax Tharkas before being killed by another red dragon.
Like the red dragons they fought during the past two updates, gold dragons are the largest of their kind and the most powerful (although only by a fairly narrow margin). They breath fire and chlorine gas, and are powerful spell casters with knowledge of magic that only the mightiest human mages can match. In general gold dragons prefer to fight using spells and cunning first, with physical combat as a last resort. Considering that both red and gold dragons are resistant to fire, a far more typical matchup is between reds and silvers. Numerous gold dragons have distinguished themselves in combat over the the various dragon wars, with the more famous being the dragon Pyrite and Quallathon, who served as Laurana's mount during the War of the Lance. Like silver dragons, gold dragons are shape shifters who often spend a considerable amount of time in a humanoid form.
A good number of questions have come up about Dragonlances, so I'll make some effort to answer them here. In order to qualify as a true Dragonlance, the weapon must be forged out of dragonmetal (found only in the Silver Dragon Mountain in Southern Ergoth) by a smith who has been granted the skill by Paladine (or one of his representatives) using the Silver Arm of Ergoth and the Hammer of Kharas. Such dragonlances are known as Greater Dragonlances, with any dragonlance made by such a smith with only two of the three required ingredients being a Lesser Dragonlance. The difference is unclear, but both types of lance require the belief of the wielder to function or else they will shatter.
True dragonlances have only been forged in the Third Dragonwar (ended 1018 years before the Cataclysm) and the War of the Lance, with only a few surviving each conflict. A later conflict (outside the scope of the current LP timeframe) utilized the latter dragonlances, reducing their numbers still further. Dragonlances come in two forms: mounted and footman's. Both have the property of doing their wielder's hit points in damage, with mounted dragonlances using both the hit points of the mount and the rider. An alternative name for the dragonlance is the Spear of Paladine or the Great Lance. Despite this, they will function in evil hands although some material suggests that in such a case they will only function once against a good dragon.
Constructed in the lead-up to the War of the Lance as the brainchild of Ariakas, the leader of the dragonarmies, these floating monstrosities are castles ripped from the ground through the combined efforts of a black robed wizard and a cleric of Takhisis. The citadels structures are enhanced by magic to withstand the strain of being raised from the ground, and each citadel takes about six months of preparation to complete. Each citadel has the space to house about 3,000 soldiers, and approximately a dozen were created by the end of the War of the Lance. Although the fate of all the citadels is unknown, we can definitely say that there are now two less. A previous type of flying castle, known as a Sky Citadel, was created and operated by gnomes in times long past.
The last Hero of the Lance we're going to encounter on this playthrough, Tasslehoff Burrfoot might just be the most famous Kender to have ever lived next to Uncle Trapspringer, of course. Already nearly forty during the War of the Lance, Tas was an active participant who was generally at the center of any action that took place. He was instrumental in preventing Raistlin from becoming a God during the War of the Twins (which was the last time he was in a flying citadel), and would later participate in the Chaos Wars at the advanced age of 70. Tas is a personal friend of Paladine, and has probably been in more adventures than the rest of the Heroes of the Lance combined. Other than Raistlin, Tas is pretty much the only character who's had a role in every post-Cataclysm sequence within the Dragonlance chronology.
A full listing of Tas's adventures would take far too long to catalogue, as for quite some time he was mostly used by the various writers of the Dragonlance series as a gateway for the rest of the characters into any given plot - either coming to them for help, or getting himself in trouble and needing to be rescued.