The recent announcement that Tracy Hickman’ and Margaret Weis’ Dragonlance novels and Jeff Grubb’s Spelljammer campaign setting will be getting new adventures based in Dungeons & Dragons current 5th Edition rulebook has been undercut by both creators’ respective revelations that they did not have any involvement in developing – nor were they even aware of – the upcoming expansions.
The returns of Dragonlance and Spelljammer to the popular tabletop RPG were revealed by Wizards of the Coast during an April 21st D&D Direct presentation centered on the company’s upcoming plans for 2022.
According to an animated teaser narrated by The Expanse star Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dragonlance’s reinstatement to D&D will come in the form of a new D&D adventure book, Shadow of the Dragon Queen, as well as a battle game, Warriors of Krynn, both due out sometime in late 2022.
Meanwhile, as seen in its own illustrated trailer, Spelljammer will be reintroduced via a new 5E campaign setting named after its original 2nd Edition incarnation, Adventures in Space.
Originally conceived as “an orthogonal way of traversing worlds from the traditional ‘Great Wheel’ cosmology,” at the time standing as “one of the biggest expansions ever to D&D’s multiverse,” the new 5E version of Spelljammer: Adventures in Space will retain this basic core concept while providing players with “everything a Dungeon Master needs to run adventures and campaigns set in the starlit realms of Wildspace and the Astral Sea, as well as new options for players who want to create characters at home in this fantastic setting.”
As news of Spelljammers’ revival began to spread, Jeff Grubb, the writer who created the initial Spelljammer: Adventures in Space 2E campaign setting for the original Gary Gygax-led incarnation of TSR Games in 1989, took to his personal Facebook to tell players, “Yes, Wizards of the Coast is bringing the Spelljammer setting into 5E D&D. No, no one talked to me about it.”
“I’m as surprised as you are,” he added.
The day after Grubb’s post went live, it caught the attention of Weis, the author who worked alongside Hickman in the 80s to fully-realize the cohesive Dragonlance series from the original concept developed by him and his wife Laura.
Replying to Grubb, Weis then similarly revealed that Wizards of the Coast “is bringing a Dragonlance gamebook and they didn’t talk to me or Tracy on that.”
Weis’ news would eventually drew a response from Grubb, who returned to the conversation the next day to opine, “So here’s the thing – I’m pretty cool with people moving concepts that I worked on forward, but a little more irritated that Margaret doesn’t get a heads-up, given that she and Trace have NEW WORKS they are putting together for the world. Me, I’m nostalgia. They are still in there pitching.”
“Thanks, Jeff!” Weis would ultimately respond, joking, “At least now I have plausible deniability.”
This is far from the first point of tension between Weis, Hickman, and Wizards of the Coast over the Dragonlance series
In 2020, Weis and Hickman filed suit against the tabletop game manufacturer on the grounds that the company had allegedly “declared that it would not approve any further Drafts of [the first book in a new Dragonlance trilogy] or any subsequent works in the trilogy, effectively repudiating and terminating [their] License Agreement.”
“Moreover, the company itself was vilified by well-publicized allegations of misogyny and racist hiring and employment practicies by and with respect to artists and employees unrelated to Dragonlance,” the pair’s lawsuit continued. “[Weis and Hickman] are informed and believed, and based thereon allege, that a discussion was made jointly by [Wizards of the Coast] and its parent company, Hasbro Inc., to deflect any possible criticism or further public outcry regarding [Wizards of the Coast’s] other properties by effectively killing the Dragonlance deal”.
The lawsuit would eventually be settled out of court later that year, with Weis herself eventually informing fans, “I know some of you have that that our lawsuit against WoTC was dismissed. I can’t say anything yet, but watch for exciting news in the weeks to come! And thank you so much for your support!”
Almost one year later, this settlement would lead to the announcement from Weis that she and Hickman would be publishing a new book in the Dragonlance series.
“It’s official!” exclaimed Weis on December 17th, 2021. “Dragons of Deceit by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, published by Del Rey, will be released August 9, 2022. We’re returning to old friends while introducing a new heroine to the classic world of Dragonlance.”
What do you make of Wizards of the Coast’s alleged indifference to the input of Dragonlance and Spacejammer’s creators? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!