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Palanthas (SAGA)

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No Other City Compares!

For centuries people from all across Krynn have flocked to the only city to come unscathed through wars, dragon attacks, and world-shattering cataclysms. Now your DRAGONLANCE heroes can explore ancient and wondrous Palanthas, from her bustling waterfront to the cloistered mansions atop Nobles' Hill.

Make Palanthas the center of your campaign! Features like the city's never-before-revealed history, details on locations such as the Great Library of the Ages, beautifully rendered maps, new hero roles, and dozens of characters and story seeds will bring your DRAGONLANCE adventures to life.

Located deep within the realm of the blue dragon Skie, the city bearing Paladine's name suffers under the rule of the evil Knights of Takhisis. Her citizens need champions now more than ever.

You Are the Heroes of Palanthas

Product History

Palanthas (1998), by Stan! Brown, is a Dramatic Supplement for Fifth Age. It was published in December 1998.

Origins (I): A New Dramatic Supplement. Palanthas (1998) labels itself as a "Dramatic Supplement", continuing in the Fifth Age footsteps of the entire Heroes series (1996-1998), Wings of Fury (1998), and especially locale-based releases such as The Last Tower: Legacy of Raistlin (1997) and Citadel of Light (1998).

However, Palanthas is quite different from all those previous releases, marking a big transformation for the gameline. First, unlike the previous Dramatic Supplements, it's not in a box. Second, it doesn't contain an adventure, and instead is all background. Third, it's mostly in-character, part of what Wizards labeled the "Herald's Lorebook" in their advertising copy (though not in this release itself).

Many of all of these changes were doubtless the result of the changeover from TSR to Wizards. In particular, we know that Wizards was quickly phasing out most boxed releases because of their cost; The Fifth Age line had actually abandoned boxes some releases earlier with The Bestiary (1998), but this was the first publication where it was really obvious, because it was continuing a previous series. The use of in-character writing also harks back to The Bestiary; it seems to have been another trend in the Fifth Age's final days of scattered publications.

Origins (II): A History of Palanthas. Palanthas is the city with two names, because it appeared as "Palanthus" when it was first mentioned in DL2: "Dragons of Flame" (1984). That name would appear in roleplaying supplements through the early '90s and occasionally pops up in more recent products such as College of Wizardry (1998). Meanwhile, the name "Palanthas" was used in the original Dragonlance Chronicles novels (1984-1985) and very occasionally crept into roleplaying supplements like the "'My Honor is My Life" article in Dragon #94 (February 1985) and DL10: "Dragons of Dreams" (1985), both by novel author Tracy Hickman. DLQ1: "Knight's Sword" (1992) is notable for being an early roleplaying product where both names were used extensive. However, "Palanthas" didn't become the common name for the roleplaying line until the release of Dragonlance: Fifth Age (1996). It's been official ever since.

The trade city of Palanthas first appeared as an important setting in DL9: "Dragons of Deceit" (1985). Afterward, there were only scattered sightings. It rather controversially was revealed as a spelljamming port in SJR7: "Krynnspace" (1993) while its historic conquest was depicted in "When Black Roses Bloom" (1995). Despite its importance to Ansalon, it really wasn't that important to the Dragonlance line for over a decade. That only changed with Seeds of Chaos (1998), the first supplement to offer much depth on the city. That focus would continue into Chaos Spawn (1999). Together, they're a nice complement to Palanthas.

Origins (III): A New City-State. Author Stan! Brown says that the first game product that he was "blown away by" was City-State of the Invincible Overlord (1977+), an extensive depiction of a city produced by Judges Guild. He was enamored by its completeness, and the fact that he knew what was around ever corner. He says that his goal with Palanthas was: "to create the same sense of completeness for Palanthas that I felt when I first read City-State of the Invincible Overlord" — modulo the changes in the industry in the two decades since. That evolution of narrative in the industry is probably why Palanthas was largely written "in voice" as "a guided tour of the city given by an average citizen".

Eras of Krynn: 383 AC (0 SC) - 417 AC (34 SC). The timeline in Palanthas stops shortly after the Summer of Chaos, offering 383 AC as an early date for this supplement, contemporary with Seeds of Chaos. However, a few quotes are explicitly dated to 34 SC, contemporary with the advancing Fifth Age timeline. It's quite possible that the supplement could be used throughout the early Age of Mortals.

Exploring Krynn: Palanthas. As Brown intended, Palanthas is the best-ever description of that city, including an in-character description of its history and tour of its districts, both in the Old City and the New City. There are also descriptions of the surrounding region, including the ever-popular High Clerist's Tower.

Future History. Since the publication of Palanthas, two novels have been set entirely in the city: The Thieves Guild (2000) by Jeff Grubb and Protecting Palanthas (2007) by Douglas W. Clark.

About the Creators. Brown got his start in the gaming industry writing for White Wolf and acting as an editor for West End. When he came to TSR, most of his work went to the Fifth Age line, starting with Heroes of Sorcery (1997). He'd author four different SAGA books in 1998.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
August 21, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on August 22, 2017.