Dragonlance is a shared universe created by Laura and Tracy Hickman, and expanded by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis under the direction of TSR, Inc. into a series of popular fantasy novels. The Hickmans conceived Dragonlance while driving in their car on the way to TSR for a job interview. At TSR Tracy met Margaret Weis, his future writing partner, and they gathered a group of associates to play the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. The adventures during that game inspired a series of gaming modules, a series of novels, licensed products such as board games, and lead miniature figures.
In 1984, TSR published the first Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It began the Chronicles trilogy, a core element of the Dragonlance world. While the authoring team of Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis wrote the setting's central books, numerous other authors contributed novels and short stories to the setting. Over 190 novels have used the Dragonlance setting, and have been accompanied by supplemental Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting material for over a decade. In 1997, Wizards of the Coast LLC purchased TSR, and licensed Dragonlance to Sovereign Press, Inc in 2001 to produce game materials; this licensing agreement expired in 2007.
The fictional Dragonlance world of Krynn contains numerous characters, an extensive timeline, and a detailed geography. The history of Krynn consists of five ages. The novels and related game products are primarily set in the fourth age, The Age of Despair. Since February 2009, the fifth age, the Age of Mortals, has been used. The Heroes of the Lance, created by Weis and Hickman, are the popular protagonists of the Chronicles trilogy. Along with the world of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance is one of the most popular shared worlds in fiction.
The Dragonlance world is described in dozens of books and novels. The setting contains numerous characters, an extensive timeline, and a detailed geography.
Dragonlance is set on the world of Krynn. The majority of the novels take place in the various regions of Ansalon, a small continent, though some have taken place on the continent of Taladas, located northeast of Ansalon. The world's major gods are the High God and his children: good Paladine, neutral Gilean, and evil Takhisis. The gods are opposed by Chaos, who seeks to destroy Krynn. Depending on the time period, the evil chromatic and the good metallic dragons are rare or plentiful. Humans are Krynn's most common humanoid race, but elves, dwarves, kender, gnomes, and minotaurs occupy the world as well. Clerics derive magical powers from their gods, and wizards derive their power from the three moon gods, Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari. Hickman had previously served as a Mormon missionary in Java for two years, and uses Indonesian in Dragonlance spells. During Krynn's various wars, armies of draconians are used as troops. Draconians are created by corrupting a dragon egg, thereby creating a reptilian humanoid. The eggs of good dragons create evil draconians, and vice versa.
Dragonlances are magical weapons first created in the Third Dragon War, designed with the purpose of killing evil dragons, and are the only weapons with which mortals can kill dragons. Dragonlances have this power because of the way in which they are created, which requires the use of "two god-blessed artifacts". The weapons clearly draw upon Christian iconography, as the two mythical figures shown defeating dragons, Archangel Michael and Saint George, are often portrayed wielding lances to do so.
Dragonlances are rare and not commonly traded. There are lesser dragonlances, which are made when only one of the artifacts is used to create them, and greater dragonlances, which are made when both artifacts are used to make them. Greater dragonlances are blessed with the power of Good, unlike lesser dragonlances.
The Heroes of the Lance are the protagonists of the Chronicles trilogy, the first series of Dragonlance books. They were created by Weis and Hickman, then fleshed out as player characters in gaming sessions of Dungeons & Dragons at Hickman's apartment. One player at this initial gaming session was game designer Terry Phillips, who was playing as Raistlin. According to Hickman in the foreword to The Soulforge, "[we] were just settling in to the game when I turned to my good friend Terry Phillips and asked what his character was doing. Terry spoke...and the world of Krynn was forever changed. His rasping voice, his sarcasm and bitterness all masking an arrogance and power that never needed to be stated suddenly were real. Everyone in the room was both transfixed and terrified. To this day Margaret [Weis] swears that Terry wore the black robes to the party that night."
Several other Heroes of the Lance were played by various people. Authors Gary and Janet Pack played the half-elf Tanis Half-Elven and the kender Tasslehoff Burrfoot, respectively. Author Douglas Niles played the dwarf Flint Fireforge. TSR employee Harold Johnson played the Solamnic knight Sturm Brightblade. The rest of the Heroes are the barbarians Goldmoon and Riverwind, elf Laurana Kanan, and humans Caramon Majere and Tika Waylan. Weis played Fizban the Fabulous.
In the beginning, Margaret Weis had problems depicting Tanis Half-Elven in the novels. Tracy Hickman finally told her "He's James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise." After that explanation, Margaret had no more difficulty writing about Tanis. Other noteworthy antagonists, and sometimes protagonists, are the death knight Lord Soth and Kitiara Uth Matar, the half-sister of Raistlin and Caramon, and leader of one of the Dragonarmies of Ansalon. According to Hickman, Lord Soth is the most unpredictable character to write about, saying "Every time that character made an appearance in one of our books he would try to run off with the story."
The main storyline of the original Dragonlance series has been written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, with multiple books written by other authors, covering years between and sometimes during the main events.
- The Chronicles trilogy relates the events since the meeting of the Companions until the end of the War of the Lance and the defeat of the Dragon armies of Ansalon.
- The Legends trilogy covers the Blue Lady's War, as well as the past adventures of Raistlin and Caramon Majere, culminating in Raistlin's attempt to achieve godhood. The books feature time travel, and focus on events in Istar before the Cataclysm, as well as the ensuing Dwarfgate Wars.
- The Second Generation is a single compilation book which picks the most important tales from the Tales series and details the children of the Companions, all of whom become players in the later story. This book is considered to be part of the main storyline, as it must be read to understand the events that happened between the War of the Lance and the Chaos War. This novel develops characters that would later be seen in the War of Souls trilogy.
- Dragons of Summer Flame covers the Chaos War, also known as the Second Cataclysm. The gods and mortals join forces to defeat Chaos in his attempt to destroy Krynn. The war ends with the withdrawal of Chaos and the gods of Krynn in a divine agreement to keep the world safe.
- Dragons of a New Age describes the rise of the Dragon Overlords and introduces the Fifth Age of Dragonlance. It leads into the War of Souls trilogy.
- The War of Souls trilogy begins as a strange storm courses through Krynn, heralding the War of Souls. The end of the war brings the return of the gods, Takhisis's death, and the departure of Paladine as head of the good gods in order to maintain the balance between Good and Evil.
- The Dark Disciple trilogy follows the death of Takhisis and the departure of Paladine, when the lesser gods strive to maintain dominance.
- The Lost Chronicles trilogy is a companion to the original Chronicles. Each book of the trilogy fills in sections of the story previously left untold. It tells the story surrounding the recovery of the Hammer of Kharas, how the Companions retrieve the dragon orb from Ice Wall, how Kitiara Uth Matar and Lord Soth became allies, and how Raistlin Majere took the Black Robes in Neraka.
TSR created Dragonlance as a campaign setting for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) roleplaying game in 1982, publishing the first of a series of modules, Dragons of Despair, in March 1984. They published the first world-spanning sourcebook, Dragonlance Adventures, in 1987. When AD&D was updated to the 2nd edition in 1989, the Dragonlance campaign setting was updated as well. However, in 1996, Dragonlance was converted to use the new SAGA System, which uses cards to determine the effects of actions, with the publication of the Dragonlance: Fifth Age roleplaying game. When the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released, Dragonlance was again updated with a new sourcebook (Dragonlance Campaign Setting), although no new adventures were published by Wizards of the Coast. Wizards of the Coast also turned over all responsibility for maintaining the Dragonlance setting in the 3rd edition to Margaret Weis's home company, Sovereign Press.
- Weis, Margaret (August 2003). “Chapter 3, Magic of Krynn, "Dragonlances".”, Dragonlance Campaign Setting, 1st, Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2007-03-14.
- Weis, Margaret  (2003). The Soulforge. Renton, WA, USA: Wizards of the Coast.
- Weis, Margaret (November 1999). The Annotated Chronicles, 1st, Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
- Patrick (May 21, 2006). Interview with Tracy Hickman. SFFWorld.com. Retrieved on 2009-02-20.
- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Dragons of the Dwarven Depths. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2006-07-18.
- Wolf, Nadine (2010). Religious Concepts in Fantasy Literature. GRIN Verlag.
- Dragonlance at Wikipedia
- Dragonlance.com (Official Gaming Site)
- Dragonlance - Official The Fifth Age Online Comic
- Dragonlance Movie Site - official site for news about movies based on Dragonlance.