Never bought the modules -- much too lead by the nose for me. I enjoyed the first trilogy, but thought Sturm's death was a pathetic letdown. I think my favorite out of all the Dragonlance novels was "First Born," but it's been years since I read it.
I never played the modules either, which is strange since it was the books that really got me into the whole D&D world anyway. I suppose I can blame that on the fact all I could afford in my youth were hand-me-down copies of 1st ed AD&D, and thus considered that the "gold standard" of how it should be played, so as much as I loved the Dragonlance books at the time, no orcs, no clerics (at first), etc...so, well, I'll use another world.And yes, I thought the deaths of Sturm and Flint were a massive letdown and way too easy to write.
I thought it was going to be about Knights and Dragons...then I picked up one of the adventures (the one where they go across the ice on sailing ships), the Dragonlance Saga by Penguin, and the graphic comic series.
The popularity of Dragonlance always escaped me. I read the first book and was so deeply unimpressed that I've never picked up another item from that product line.
The first few modules were actually not bad. Although you were encouraged to use the pre-generated characters, it wasn't clear at that stage that characters and villains could not be killed until certain key points in the plot. The setting was new, and had some interesting premises: no cleric spells, worthless gold (but valuable steel), a vague stirring menace in the world. Plus Elmore's gorgeous artwork which at that stage was fairly new too, rather than ubiquitous across all D&D products. Before all the 'story comes first' stuff, it also had the Giants-like premise of a campaign including all the Dragon colours. Plenty of D&D adventures and even campaigns have been run by picking a weird monster out of one of the books and running with it.
The DL books got me gaming. And I always found the adventures (and the entire setting) to be a blast. I'm not going to defend any of it as classic literature (or even a particularly well-designed game), but it was a lot of fun and always felt incredibly imaginative. (Plus, I really like the setting's philosophical approach to "a world being Neutral". That came as a thunderbolt to someone that was used to epic fantasy equating "a world that's supposed to be Good").We re-ran the first couple modules for a friend's birthday last year as a bit of kitschy nostaglia, and they were still a hoot.
The DL modules were my first brush with AD&D. We played the series (without having read the novels) and enjoyed it immensely; probably the best campaign I ever ran.
I loved the first two trilogies when I was in high school... I tried to re-read them a few years ago and found myself surprised at how bad the writing was.I couldn't even get through the first book on a re-read.
I carry no water for the novels, but many of the dungeons, taken as such, are as well-designed as other classics from the era. The larger plot railroading is easily ignored.
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