Taladas

From 1d4chan

In the Dragonlance setting, Taladas is Krynn's backstage to Ansalon's front.

This setting was introduced in David / Zeb Cook's Time of the Dragon box, for the 2e Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules.

Why Is Taladas Even A Thing?[edit]

Money.

Well, that; and Tracy Hickman's Ansalon was always a sub-continent, an extrusion from the south-polar continent. If Krynn is to be Earth-sized, there should be more landmass over the ocean. (We did get Otherlands but that's mostly polynesia.) Zeb here explains a continent that, somehow, can be Dragonlancey without detracting from the main epic. And, since he's Zeb, he cuts corners - which won't get edited, because nu-TSR doesn't care as long as product gets shipped.

The World! (well, island)[edit]

Taladas as published is an island continent if even that. Total land area is comparable to the West Australia state, about a million square miles. A DM can expand the northwest or (better) the Steamwall to stretch it all out, but it's still probably not going to be Australia-tier. But we're used to that from Ansalon and, nowadays, Critical Role's Tal'dorei.

Krynn's suppurating red starfish.

Taladas' deal is that the same Cataclysm which fucked Ansalon down south totally assraped this continent up north. A super-Chicxulub dredged a molten mare into the exact middle of it - where the civilisation was. Since then the evil god Hiddukel has kept this basalt a-simmering through gates to the Plane Of Fire.

As a result, the continent is now on the model of a torus of disconnected cultures around this magmatic sea. As another result it's not Takhisis' show, so much as Hiddukel's; Takhisis just works here sometimes. You'll find many Dragonlance-tropes bent up here.

These tropes start with those dragons (and draconians; we'll get to them in the Aurim bit). Dragons do exist up here. Mostly neutrals, "Othlorx" in this jargon; such didn't involve themselves in the War Of The Lance. The War involved itself in them, though; we'll get to that, too.

In Cook's order, more-or-less (we've taken the liberty of grouping them), the settings are:

The Norf[edit]

  • Northern Hosk is dominated by the Tamire, a steppe full of human and elf nomads on horseback. These intermittently oppress (in trope-subversion) goblin hillfolk, here (relatively) civilised villagers.
  • Panak Desert is tundra, with its own tribals. Has about the same effect on events as "Blackmoor" did in 1-2e Greyhawk. Seriously, every DM ignores this place, there's nothing here.
  • Ring Mountains are the northern expression of the Steamwall but more clement. It's got yetis. One valley is a glass desert like the one in Hickman's Martek. Underneath are deep dwarves who did their thing of Too Greedily And Too Deep, here cracking into disir territory.
  • Tiderun is the long fjord / Saint-Lawrence Sound which separates the North from the South. Lots of trading ports here, mostly controlled by the minotaurs.

The South[edit]

Where most of the civilisation is so, if you're heading into a dungeon to kick ass and take treasure, here's where you can sell it.

  • The League of Minotaurs (due to editfail, listed as "Southern Hosk") is a Byzantine-themed empire wherein might makes right, albeit with some rules to the game because civilisation needs those. The cow men had conquered a refugee successor-state of likewise-classical Aurim so, the culture shift wasn't that great. Disputes and even criminal-law, at last resort, get settled in the arena. Usually the minotaurs win of course, but the judges can impose handicaps on either side depending on how bad was the crime or the injustice. This jurisprudence works just enough to keep the majority human population from rising up. This is the most-supported region in the later literature which we'll get to.
  • Armach is Elf Israel. The Elves of Krynn actually started out in Taladas, as you can tell from the natives' extreme diversity and, in many instances, primitivity. At Armach, some of the Ansalonians came back to territories which, as the saying goes, were in the meantime Occupied. These elves insist on a core Armach-nesti as they head up a loose confederation of humans, kender, and centaurs. If you're not an elf and you cross into the 'nesti, you get executed. Some exceptions apply since the locals already figured out that trick of "catapulting your enemies into elf territory" and the elves already figured out that they weren't going to serve the humans as their assassins.
  • Thenol is the human empire. Yay! ...Except that the emperor is a figurehead and the real power is a bishop, of Hiddukel no less. Yeah the humans get screwed royally in this continent. Some baronies here resist the episcopacy so, there's that.
  • Blackwater Glade is gumbo land, a swamp of more human and elf tribals. And of degenerate illithids. Also bakali. It blends in with the Fisheries and Neron along the south coast.
  • The Marak are the kender here, except super-paranoid so not even entertaining in their thievery.
  • The Hulderfolk are the oldest-school elves in almost any setting, the forest pranksters who really REALLY don't want you in their woods. Some of their woods had got wiped out by enemies, especially in the Minotaur League, so those woods're haunted.
  • The Steamwall are the ring-mountains down south. The prevailing winds in these subtropics blow east-to-west and, you know what's east. All those nasty chemicals made even worse by MAGIC present a Hills Have Eyes experience for visitors. Here are hobgoblins and humans, in various levels of mutation and sickness; and slig. Also, we're told, ogres and hurdu; although the literature is inconsistent on these. As mentioned you can make room for 'em if you expand the map. North are the Fianawar dorfs who couldn't dig if they wanted to; they're all claustrophobic now. (Trope status: subverted.) Luckily for them the same tectonics which drove them up to the surface also sent mineable minerals close to the surface. So: open-pit mining.

Aurim[edit]

This is inconsistently described as a nascent civilisation and as The Glory That Was Rome. We're told in an insert that their kings took the title "Hlafdae", a singular. Very possible that many "Aurim ruins" weren't really Aurim's, especially further from the Hitehkel. Also possible that latest Aurim was (at least) tributary to the Priest King of Istar before the Day Of The Rock.

As to what's left in the homeland: that's a wasteland east of the lava sea. It's got more hobgoblins; also, draconians. Because nobody important was using the real-estate post-Cataclysm, Takhisis did a lot of her experiments here, of which the traag got loose. Enough traag banded together and figured out how to reproduce (stealing dragon-eggs, we must assume) that they've made a go of it.

Further east are the Rainward Isles, less affected by the toxic effusions, wherein various races from Aurim's east and recent settlers have made their home.

Hitehkel[edit]

Hiddukel has many names here, like "Usa" out by Armach; he goes by "Hiteh" or "Hith" in most places. Hiteh rules the lava sea, and has a Tower of Flame in the middle of it. How Barad-Dur. Around it is the most viable resistance to Hiteh's schemes, communities of gnomes, some of them not even Tinkers!

Time of the Dragon[edit]

As intimated above, the editing here stinks; starting with the title, which has the sheer balls to feature dragons on a continent all whose dragons are in hiding and whose protagonists all ignore them.

The Steamwall region is a notable mess, with whole cities (Brilmantar) and races (hurdu) mentioned en-passant without further explanation where we want it. Much like Scarred Lands now we think on't. Aurim wasn't explained well either, before it fell, but this at least is defensible on the Give The DM Some Leeway principle.

What we do get in the boxed set is The Guide Book and The Rule Book, paralleling the Gazetteer and the Glossography of Greyhawk: one for the lore, the other for the AD&D rules. And page after cardboard page of NPCs and dungeons, like the tomb of one of the more pharaonic Hlafdae-s.

Subsequent Literature[edit]

TSR did what it could to tout Taladas to, mostly, Dragonlance fandom.

Of all the related media, the computer game Dark Queen of Krynn was arguably the most visible to that generation.

There was a series of Dragonlance comics set here and there, whose lore is probably best for that glass desert.

DLS1: New Beginnings was Mark Acre's attempt to kick off a Baby's First Campaign between Armach and the 'League. Chapter Five has the (tiny) adventure in it, starting from the village of Boremium (lol) on the League's side.

The DLA series is the sole attempt to do a Heroic Saga on this continent. Two-thirds of it run along, like DLS1, the Mino League's southern frontier; in this case on the eastern, Thenolian side. Here be, as advertised, Dragons - what Takhisis plans for the Othlorx. So this whole series is an extension of the Ansalonian Dragonlance cycle, barely relevant to the Hiteh-plagued locals.

The Lairs book had a dwarf / disir lair in it.

Minotaurs of Taladas is what it says it is. Occasionally retconning them where they weren't, like on the Rainwards.