So here we are, another year of GenCon Indy, and I’d say we’re standing firmly at level 3. The first day went a lot smoother for us, and feeling pretty good the morning after, despite some shoulder pain. The con itself was madness yesterday. Last year 50,000 people showed up and from the looks of it this year shows every sign of beating that record handily. The day, the crowd, and the con are not what is going to be most memorable about today however.
I didn’t even know it before coming here but this year is the 30th anniversary of the release of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first in an epic series of books under the Dragonlance Saga. When I got my copy of the Legends trilogy signed by Margaret and she mentioned it, I realized the importance. We had signed up for an event called Dragonlance Legacy, which advertised would be a gathering of the titanic minds behind this beloved series, which sounded like a lot of fun but really didn’t click until I realized the previous fact. So I rushed from one event, clear across the campus to a hotel across the street and made it in time to get in line. My wife was awesome enough to save me a seat and the stage was already filled. Laura Hickman and her husband Tracy, Margaret Weis, Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, and a representative from WoTC (he looked incredibly uncomfortable and out of place, as he should have.) For those of you who don’t know, Wizards of the Coast owns the rights to Dragonlance and stopped publishing the books some time ago. Let me take this moment to say, sell those rights WoTC, do the right thing and let the fans get more of those amazing stories in the world we all love.
Anyway, this isn’t to rant about that business. We sat down for an hour of stories, about how Dragonlance came to be, during a time when everyone at TSR (creators and publisher of Dungeons and Dragons) though the next day could be their last. The company was struggling, so I can only imagine the hard sell from a couple of unknown designers to get this company on the verge of bankruptcy to invest in a new and untested idea. Originally it wasn’t even supposed to be written by Margaret and Tracy, but thank Gods it was. I won’t rehash all of the stories, Tracy tells them much better over at his site.
Larry, of course, told some great stories as well, about how the art came about and how sold he was right away. It should have been a sign when the first person on board was Larry, and the two who told him the story would up being the ones that wrote it. They were the true storytellers and it should have been no question they would write it from the start.
The evening was emotional, and I grew up on these stories. I cut my teeth on Dragonlance when it came to fantasy, and reading in general. It was my introduction to epic storytelling, both as a young Dungeon Master, and as an aspiring author. The world, the history and her people, and the heroic tales that made you want to find dragons, and fight dark armies. I doubt I would be here as a writer, gamer, and designer if it weren’t for those wonderful people. Dragonlance hasn’t seen a new tale in years, but thankfully I haven’t finished the saga yet. Sadly every year more and more of the old books disappear from book shelves. It was almost tear-jerking to hear them talk of their love for their characters and the stories they told, and to know that we would never see new ones. I honestly can’t thank these wonderful people enough, but I will continue to read what they write, and share the tales they’ve given us. I will continue to see them at conventions, get books and art signed, and hope for more stories because they are all such nice people. So wonderful to meet, and always ready with a smile and a little insight into their work.
To the team below, and those who are gone, Thank you! Thank you for bringing us the world of Krynn and changing our lives by devoting so much of your own. We are deeply grateful.