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Rise of the Titans (2e/SAGA)
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Rise of the Titans (2e/SAGA)

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It's time for our September Setting sale, so from now through October 1st, this title has been marked down by 33%! For more values, visit our September Setting sales page.

Evil Grows in the Heart of the Ogre Lands

During the Age of Dreams, ogres were beautiful creatures who built fantastic cities and ruled over the greatest civilization on all of Krynn. They eventually fell prey to their own decadence--their culture collapsed into barbarism while the ogres themselves degenerated into their current repulsive forms. Recently, however, a new form of ogre has emerged. These titans are gigantic, highly intelligent creatures who claim to hold the key to regaining the ogres' lost beauty and power. Already the titans have begun to reclaim their former position in Ansalon through conquest and slavery!

Rise of the Titans contains details accounts of ogre culture, describes the countries of Blode and Kern, provides new hero roles, and introduces rules for playing ogre heroes. It also presents an adventure that takes your heroes deep into the ogre realms to rescue kidnapped Silvanesti diplomats and prevent the titans from spreading their evil across the face of Ansalon.

Featuring a story concept by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Rise of the Titans is the second in the Battle Lines series of adventures that tie in with the War of Souls novel series. This adventure is playable with the SAGA game rules introduced in the DRAGONLANCE: FIFTH AGE boxed set and with the AD&D game as well.

Product History

Rise of the Titans (2000), by Richard Dakan, is the second and final Battle Lines adventure for the Dragonlance: Fifth Age RPG. It was published in February 2000.

Origins (I): A New Battle Line. A year after The Sylvan Veil (1999), Wizards published a second Battle Lines adventure. Like its predecessor it was a SAGA supplement set during the advancing timeline of the Fifth Age, and featuring some AD&D rules conversions. (And, like its predecessors, you wouldn't know from the cover that this was primarily a SAGA release, not an AD&D supplement.)

Origins (II): A New Mythology. Freelance author Richard Dakan considers Dragonlance creator Tracy Hickman a friend and a mentor. So, when he was assigned the task of writing a supplement about ogres, he decided to speak with Hickman about the subject, since he knew the race would also be featured in the War of Souls trilogy (2000-2002), which Hickman was then co-authoring with Margaret Weis.

The two talked about the ogres and irda of Krynn and decided that the ogres would never recognize the beautiful and benevolent irda as being part of their days of glory. So they came up with the ogres' own take on their mythology. In their tales, the ogres of the days "before the fall" would be "big, smart, and beautiful, but most importantly they'd kick butt". Ogres don't want to become irda, they want to become titans, and that's what this adventure is all about.

Origins (III): An Oncoming War. As a "Battle Lines" adventure, Rise of the Titans was supposed to be a lead-up to the War of Souls. But somewhere along the line, the ogre titans got cut out of the big story of the War, other than a cameo in Dragons of a Vanished Moon (2002). The rumor mill suggests that Hickman might have wanted to write a whole novel about the titans, but if so that didn't happen either. As a result, Rise of the Titans didn't turn out to be a true Battle Line, and a few years later, some fans were even wondering if it was canon.

Fortunately, prolific Dragonlance novelist Richard Knaak came to the rescue. The ogre titans showed up late in his Minotaur Wars trilogy (2003-2005), then they were the stars of the Ogre Titans trilogy (2007-2009). In the end, Rise of the Titans was still a crucial foreshadowing for the future of Krynn … it was just a foreshadowing for what came after the War of Souls, not the War of Souls itself!

Origins (IV): A Final Fifth Age. On March 24, 2000, Steve Miller announced online that Wizards was ending their Dragonlance: Fifth Age support. He called it "Strike Two", presumably following the setting's failure as an AD&D line in 1993. He said that sales had not been strong, and warned that fans would not be "seeing any [Dragonlance] game material for some time".

RIP: Dragonlance Fifth Age, August 8, 1996 - March 24, 2000.

The Fifth Age actually survived better than some of TSR's settings at Wizards, but by spring 2000 it had joined the graveyard that had already claimed Birthright, Planescape, and Ravenloft.

Adventure Tropes. Like the rest of the Fifth Age adventures, Rise of the Titans is laid out into Acts and Scenes, as if it were an episodic encounter-based adventure. However, the individual scenes are not the sort of distinct encounter that you might expect. Some feature a variety of possible encounters, while other are simple delves — albeit without the benefit of keyed locations, due to the constraints of the Fifth Age encounter format. It's interesting to see this final evolution of the Fifth Age format, allowing for an adventure with more depth, but it feels a bit like a square peg has been put into a round hole.

The main trope in the adventure is a MacGuffin Quest, with the players searching for kidnapped elves.

Ages of Krynn: 419 AC (36 SC). Rise of the Titans is set after The Sylvan Veil and before the "War of Souls".

Exploring Krynn: Kern & Blöde. Rise of the Titans provides extensive details on the two ogre nations of Ansalon. The adventure itself visits Dragon's Point and Kernen in Kern, including a map of the latter, before traveling down the Giant's Road to Blöde. Bloten, Giant's Hall, and Hatl then get attention in Blöde, including maps of the first two.

Monsters of Note. The heart of Rise of the Titans is the ogres, who are broadly detailed in a 30-page section that talks about the race, their kingdoms, and their culture. It also details the ogre titans.

NPCss of Note. Dauroth is introduced here. He's the ogre magi who is working to turn ogres into ogre titans. He'd feature prominently in Richard Knaak's novels, especially Empire of Blood (2005) and the Ogre Titans trilogy (2007-2009).

About the Creators. Dakan is a freelancer who wrote for the World of Darkness, Mutant Chronicles, and Conspiracy X in the '90s. Rise of the Titans was his first and only book for Wizards of the Coast.

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 shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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