348 AC stands for the three hundredth and forty-eighth year following the Cataclysm, during the Time of Darkness in the Age of Despair. During this time, many events took place and no one historian could record all of the things that took place on the face of Krynn. Many historians refer to this year as the beginning of the War of the Lance, extending to the year 352 AC. Others call it the Time of Darkness. Regardless of its title, it was a time when the gods fought against each other, walking among the mortals. Good strove against Evil. Takhisis ravaged the land, and Paladine chose a small band of Companions to be his Champions.
But there are other events that occurred during that time. Events that were no small feat, but simply went unnoticed and unsung. They are the events between the events, the small cracks that later allowed the dam to burst open wide. On such moment of time took place in the small border town of New Godshome. You will find no record of this frontier village while studying the War of the Lance. However, it was the first crack in the defenses of the Southern Dragonarmy.
This is that story. How much of this tale is real history and how much is legend is unknown. Although much of it has the ring of truth. As for the rest, I offer the Dwarven saying for situations such as these: “Legend is history of actual events condensed down so that even a gully dwarf could understand them.”
And so now we here the tale that exists between the two written lines in the History of Krynn: “348 AC: Nordmaar falls in the North to the Dragonarmies.” and “348 AC: “The Heroes of the Lance defeat Lord Verminaard in the mines of Pax Tharkas.”
Dragonlance is set on the world of Krynn. The majority of the stories 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. During this Dragonlance campaign, the evil chromatic and the good metallic dragons are rare. Rumors abound that evil dragons have returned and are being used by armies of evil creatures, but these remain rumors and things of fairy tales for now. 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 the gods, and wizards derive their power from the three moon gods, Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari.
A TIME OF DARKNESS
The fallout from the Cataclysm lasts for centuries. Plague and famine wrack the lands. Knights of Solamnia are unjustly persecuted as scapegoats. Lawlessness and banditry run rampant. The Seeker movement begins as people look to new gods. Darkness has fallen over poor, suffering Krynn. Thus it has been since the great Cataclysm, when the old world fell. Curse the High Priest of Istar, whose pride caused him to give orders to the True Gods! For the Gods punished Krynn for this blasphemy, and much was forever lost. Lost were the great cities, the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of many generations. Lost as well was all knowledge of the True Gods, and mankind sank into idolatry. Priests lost their power, and mankind lost hope for its salvation.
A TIME FOR HEROES
Since the Cataclysm, which disrupted society and remade the world of Krynn, scholarly knowledge in Ansalon has grown hopelessly confused. Every journey is, therefore, one of discovery. Once-mighty civilizations lie shattered and suspicious of their neighbors. Fearful folk distrust or revile their brightest and best, the mages and the Knights of Solamnia. Many cities still labor under the draconian yoke. Clearly, the time for heroes is at hand.
THE GODS OF KRYNN
Krynn is ruled by a vast pantheon of gods, each with his or her own history and motivations. Even so, the peoples of Krynn have abandoned the true gods, believing that the gods forsook them to the Cataclysm. Only a handful of priests can still perform the miracles of faith. But slowly the world rediscovers the truth and returns to the gods. For their part, the gods continue their eternal struggle across the face of Krynn. They occasionally appear upon the world in avatar form, but more often shape history through worshippers, omens, and go-betweens.
What is a Dragonlance?
Dragonlances are 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 are rare. There are lesser dragonlances, intended for use as a polearm or footman’s lance, and greater dragonlances, which are intended to be used while mounted. The method of creating dragnlances has been lost, and no known dragonlances are known to exist.
Exchange Rates Upon Krynn
Following the Cataclysm, the steel piece became the standard monetary unit for Ansalon, replacing the gold piece. Steel had become scarce and was needed for making weapons and tools, and for reforging the war-torn continent of Ansalon. Gold, because it was too soft for either of these applications, became nearly worthless except for ornamentation. The following table shows the exchange rates generally employed throughout Krynn. Regional variations do occur.
However, there are the smaller events of the War where key battles were won and unsung heroes displayed courage in the face of adversity. Few people, if any, sing songs of these forgotten soldiers. None besides Astinus remember their trials against the forces of the Dragonarmies. Yet, it is the actions of these few that helped to restore faith to the people of Krynn. Without them surely the Heroes of the Lance could not have accomplished their mission.