DRAGONLANCE AND THE MULTIVERSE
By Jeff Grubb
Now, on a side note, I'd like to address two other novels that relate to the whole "worlds sharing characters" debate - Dragonlance's Fistandantilus Reborn and Forgotten Realms' Tymora's Luck. The following will contain some minor spoilers about the fate of one of the characters, though most major plot spoilers will be avoided.
Sorry I haven't thrown in my two cents worth earlier, here, but I've been a bit busy in the Magic:The Gathering world of late ("I just flew in from Dominaria and BOY is my mana tired - bah-DUMP-bump")
This probably won't pour any oil on the troubled waters, but here's a bit of news from behind the scenes. Tymora's Luck was originally to be a PLANESCAPE novel - yep, TSR was trying for a triple-play - DL, FR, and then PS. But PS novels were suffering from less than stellar sales, and those-in-charge desided to move it back into the Realms. I say this now to point out that Tymora's Luck has more of a Planescapey feel than a Realmsian or Krynnish feel - its part of the viewpoint of that world.
One of the things that REALLY, REALLY bothered me about these two books (though more specificly Tymora's Luck), was how they forced the reader to buy into various concepts including 1) that Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms are connect via the multiverse,
As someone else has stated, the various worlds ARE connected in a large number of products. I myself was long a proponent of "Alternate Prime Planes" but that concept met its demise first in Spelljammer, and then definitely in Planescape. No more alternate earths, or Krynn being in a different dimension from Toril. In theory, you can spelljam from one to the other, or use gates. The fact that very few do so is indicative of other forces (gods? limitations on levels and magics? mystic forces) are at work.
2) that Dragonlance gods sometimes act in the multiverse to affect other worlds, and
They do as well. There may be worlds out there that worship Gilean but not Kiri-Jolith, or where the pantheon is venerated in slightly different forms. DL is the core world for these gods, and obviously what is set down for them there is the truth :).
OK, more seriously. The gods of Krynn act differently than the gods of the REalms and/or Greyhawk.In writing Tymora's Luck, Kate and I tried to give them their due without breaking their sense of reality. Realms gods range between flashy schemers and hairy thunderers - I've always thought the Krynnish gods (even the big nasty ones) were more subtle, reserved, and crafty. We attempted to show that, and show that they can interact on a common stage with the REalms gods without removing the power of either side.
3) that Dragonlance creatures exist on Toril (FR).
One DL creature exists on Toril at the moment that I know of - Emilo the kender, caught in the grips of a planar wanderlust. The major mages of Toril have been warned, and are conducting a planet-wide kender-hunt even as we speak (I can imagine saying things like "Oh, is this YOUR Crown of Horns? I just found it).
Unlike Ravenloft and Spelljammer books, these novels had characters from "other worlds" affecting major events in core products. IMO, this is wrong.
We affected major events in Krynn? A kender-napping? A bit of freelance work by Sirion, or some friendly advice from an wizardly old man? No, Krynn stands unharmed by our little expedition. Indeed, some find it possible to declare it all a work of fiction.
I and many others have Dragonlance almost completely cut off from FR, not to mention the gods completely seperated from each-other. By including these concepts in core products, TSR has attempted to FORCE people to buy into that way of thinking. Hopefully no other books will follow that path.
Krynn is a shared universe, and we have attempted to not violate the vision of those who want it separate but provide the option for those that find that concept interesting. (indeed, when Dark Sun was getting up and running, the designers wanted Athas to be kept AWAY from planar gates and spelljammers - after looking at Templars, I heartily agreed). I think TSR is providing options, but not trying to FORCE people into its way of thinking. Indeed, as you may have noticed, its way of thinking does tend to evolve and change over the years, as creators leave the stage, new people people add their visions, and old folks come back to the fold. (I'm one of these, by the way, I'm back working for TSR as a designer in addition to novels).
Do I want to see continual cross-overs (as in the comic universes these days)? Not really - it diminishes the fun. But an occasional cross-over does provide some spice, and a chance to compare what makes the Realms different from Krynn, and why they are both valid stages for our fantasies. On the other hand, the idea of Elminster sitting around in a tavern and cheering Raistlin up sounds like a WONDERFUL idea - the poor gold-skinned lad has been so depressed about his hourglass eyes, and the Big El can show him how to disguise them with a simple shapechange spell.
(No, that's a joke, not a threat).