|The Krolli from Dragon Magazine #36|
Over the course of the next two years fourteen Dragonlance modules would be produced introducing the remaining Draconians to the world and launching a franchise with a rabid fan base that Wizards of the Coast has mostly ignored throughout their ownership of Dungeons and Dragons. Although that appears to be changing as there are reports that Wizards of the Coast has been talking to some of the original creators of their early settings in connection with 5th edition (see Older Editions Coming Back? from EN World).
As an aside, it has always bothered me that Wizards of the Coast has focused their attention on the Forgotten Realms to the exclusion of other settings - and that includes Eberron. I understand that the Forgotten Realms has a rabid fan base who go out of their way to bore you with their imaginary histories of a world that never existed, and that Ed Greenwood is a pretty good guy, but Dragonlance fans are just as committed to the setting and they buy an ungodly amount of materials to support their fanaticism. Why not encourage them by producing top of the line products in house instead of farming it out? Why aren't we seeing the Known World again and pulling the amazing Bruce Heard back into the fold for a setting that has humor and a long standing fan base used to it as the default?
This weakness is a constant problem for these two early Draconic races as each is an alternative to the orc. They're ubiquitous in the settings and areas where they come into play and just like orcs they're incredibly easy to kill under most circumstances.
|Half-dragon on the left and Half-fiend on the right from the MM pg. 147|
The dragonborn and spellscales would be introduced six years later in 2006. Each of these races represented a step in the right direction towards a player friendly race that could be implemented into the game from the get go without the sort of hand wringing that occurred with the half-dragon, but neither had the sort of flair that demanded their implementation into the game.
The early races had an attitude that demanded respect.
Yes, they could be dopey at times, but by and large they were a menacing race of stormtroopers looking to grind the world beneath their clawed boots. The draconians were the Nazis of the Dragonlance setting conquering the world with lighting strikes and leaving behind them a world vastly changed by their passing. The dray were the servants of an undead Dragonking getting ready to fight in a Dark Sun Armageddon.
It's a shame that we've let them fall so far.
. . . A dragon requires the blessing of Bahamut or Tiamat to give birth to true dragons. If a dragon has a clutch of eggs that hasn't received the proper blessing, the hatchlings are not true dragons, but dragonborn. A dragonborn is a Medium humanoid with a scaly hide, clawed hands and feet, and draconic features (albeit no tail or wings). Its features resemble its draconic parents'. A dragonborn with red dragon parents, for example, has red scales and the distinctive horns and cheek frills of a red dragon . . . In some worlds, dragonborn are a race unto themselves, having interbred for so long that they have taken on a more uniform appearance, with scales of reddish-brown or gold . . . (Born of Dragons)This latest iteration of the draconic races is as bland as cheese on toast. They have none of the power of the Draconians or the Dray and make Fourth Edition's version of the dragonborn one step away from John McClane.
It's a shame that we have been reduced to this ignominious end with the draconic races. Where once we found ourselves tense and on the edge our seats when we saw some new draconic race come into the game we now find ourselves yawning with disappointment. There is no fear attached to their approach, and why should there be?