Awe-inspiring, brutish, militaristic, honor-bound: All these words and more describe the minotaurs of Taladas, the "other continent" on the world of Krynn.
This booklet exposes the secrets of minotaur society for the first time in the Dragonlancecampaign setting. Among the information within these pages are their origin myths, bureaucratic organizations, military strategies, and philosophical leanings. Major minotaur non-player characters are also delinieated—including a magic-user and a paladin of Paladine! The Warriors' Guild is explored in detail, for use in your own campaign.
Prepare to be enlightened (and perhaps surprised!) as you read this, the first material ever released about these mysterious and misunderstood creatures: the minotaurs of Taladas.
DLR2: "Taladas: The Minotaurs" (1991), by Colin McComb, is the second Dragonlance Reference. It was published in December 1991.
Origins (I): Other Other Lands. When the "DLR" series kicked off with DLR1: "Other Lands" (1990), Dragonlance was near the start of its explorations of the distant lands beyond Ansalon. Now, a year and a half later, TSR returned to the "DLR" series to provide another reference for the Dragonlance world — and a book-end to those travels to other lands.
"The Minotaurs" is a rather unique splatbook because it combines two different elements. On the one hand, it's a sourcebook for the minotaur lands in Taladas; on the other hand, it's a racial splatbook for minotaurs, focusing on Taladas, but giving information that would be useful for minotaur characters anywhere.
Origins (II): Extra Research. Author Colin McComb began gaming in 1980. When TSR published Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1984) he was excited to see it. He recognized it immediately as a book by " the designer of Ravenloft and the editor of the Endless Quest series" and he says that it "kicked [his] pants in". Suffice to say, he was a fan of Dragonlance from the beginning.
In 1991, McComb turned 21 and graduated from college, whereupon he was hired as a game designer for TSR. He was assigned to the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms groups, and was "delighted" that his first project was for the Dragonlance line. Then he learned that the project was set in Taladas and that "all of [his] background reading was for nought". So, it was back to the books!
McComb read Time of the Dragon (1989) and "peppered Zeb [Cook] with question." However he says that most of Zeb's answers were: "You're creative... what do you think?"
Origins (II): The End of Dragonlance Wave Two. Taladas: The Minotaurs marks the end of the second major wave of Dragonlance publication, which ran through the first three years of AD&D 2e (1989) and which focused on revamping the setting through epic trilogies and the new Taladas sub-setting.
After a six-month hiatus, Dragonlance would see a soft reboot with the publication of Tales of the Lance (1992), which re-codified the setting and pitched it as a campaign world for beginniners.
Origins (III): The End of Taladas. "The Minotaurs" also largely marks the end of the Taladas sub-setting. Its run of two years through a half-dozen books was relatively strong for the sub-settings of the time period. A handful of Taladas characters would appear in DLR3: "Unsung Heroes" (1993) and that would be it for RPG releases. A trilogy of novels would appear a decade later, starting with Blades of the Tiger (2005) — verifying that Taladas is still part of Krynn.
Meanwhile, as is the case for many of TSR's classic settings, fans took on Taladas in the 21st century. The most notable releases are five netbooks by James O'Rance: "Ariakan's Lorebook: Taladas", "Time of the Dragon Lords", "Heroes of Mystery", "Dungeons & Dragons Taladas", and "Player's Option: Skills & Powers - Taladas", which variously provided support for AD&D 2e, SAGA, and D&D 3e.
A History of Minotaurs. Minotaurs first appeared in OD&D (1974). Listed next to centaurs, unicorns, nixies, pixies, and dryads, they were obviously part of the mythological contingent of D&D monsters. The AD&D Monster Manual (1977) made it obvious that its minotaurs were cleaving to the Greek tropes, with a description of them appearing in "labyrinthine places".
The Dragonlance Chronicles campaign (1984-1986) was what made D&D minotaurs into something more. They first appeared in DL6: "Dragons of Ice" (1985) as members of the Dragon armies and survivors of ancient Istar. They increasingly appeared in the latter half of the Chronicles adventures, with full stats for "Bloodsea Minotaurs" debuting in DL10: "Dragons of Dreams" (1985). Minotaurs then became a playable character race in Dragonlance Adventures (1987). Meanwhile, non-Krynn minotaurs were described more fully for the first time in "The Ecology of the Minotaur" in Dragon #116 (December 1986).
The importance of the minotaurs to the D&D game was reiterated in AD&D 2e (1989) when they appeared in MC1: Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989). However, Dragonlance's Time of the Dragon (1989) was even more notable because it envisioned an entire society of minotaurs in the new land of Taladas — and revitalized them as a playable race for AD&D 2e. "Taladas: The Minotaurs" then built on that.
A few years later, the minotaurs would finally appear as a playable race for other settings in PHBR10: The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993).
Exploring Krynn. The most important setting information in "The Minotaurs" is its description of The League of Minotaurs in Taladas. However, it also includes considerable detail on minotaur culture in Krynn and briefly describes the other minotaurs of Taladas: in Northern Hosk, Panak, Neron, the Rainward Islands, and Old Aurim.
About the Creators. "Taladas: The Minotaurs" was the first gaming book by new TSR employee, Colin McComb. He'd soon move on to the next big thing for Krynn, Tales of the Lance (1992), as one of several contributors.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to email@example.com.