The Dragonlance Saga was the first joint effort of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman — and remains our most popular work to date.
Where did it all start?
That is a long story …
The first thing to recognize is that history, even when written contemporaniously, is a dubious thing. People have different perspectives and their own memories play tricks with them. There have been a number of published histories about how Dragonlance came to be. Those histories were written from the perspective of their authors, and each of those have their own slant. I can’t say that my perspective is any better than anyone elses (although Dragonlance started with me and I was there for all of it), and I, too, probably have my own slant that comes into my view as well. All I can do is add my perspective and hope that the truth lies somewhere between all the different views.
I first conceived Dragonlance in 1979. I was working as a movie theater manager in Logan, Utah and pretty much starving to death with my pregnant wife and first child. There, to comfort myself and my wife, I created a world where men rode dragons into a tremendous war. It wasn’t much more than a concept then.
My job vanished and there was no prospect of local work. In an effort — literally — to buy shoes for my children, I sent two game modules my wife and I had designed to TSR , Inc. in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I had heard that they might pay as much as $500 for such things.
They offered me a job instead.
While driving my family across the country to Wisconsin — somewhere in Iowa, I believe — I began rehearsing to Laura what I might create for this company that had thrown us a life preserver in the midst of our despair. It was then that the world which would one day become Dragonlance started to take form. What I envisioned that day would certainly change considerably over the years, due to the contributions and creativity of a great many people — but that is where it all began.
Who is your favorite character?
As Margaret says, that’s like asking which of your children is your favorite: they all are loved. Still, each holds its own place in my heart — and I’ll admit to some bias.
I have often said that Sturm is who I want to be; that Tanis is more like me; and that I come across more like Fizban the Fabulous. I also must admit to something of a Kender spirit in me as well.
As to Raistlin — he’s all Margaret’s and don’t let anyone else tell you differently.
What is the philosophy behind Dragonlance?
Dragonlance was originally envisioned with a very specific philosophy which became a standard against which all character actions and plot structures — both in the novels and the games — were to follow. This philosophy is best pictured as a triangle of three points equidistant from each other witha fourth point suspended in the middle of the other three.
While the outter points are seen as somewhat immutable and stationary, the center point constantly swings between the other three.
It is the motion of point D between points A, B, and C that gives motion and life to the structure.
This basic structure, then, is found at a variety of levels throughout the story. At it’s grandest scale, the points on the illustration represent the following elements: (A) Good; (B) Evil, (C) Chaos, and (D) the will of humanity to choose for themselves. Man’s agency of choice is then seen as the motion which drives the universe of Krynn.
At the next level of scale, this structure represents the following elements: (A) The Solamnic Knights and their forces; (B) the Dragonarmies of Takhisis and her Highlords; (C) the world of Krynn in general and it’s population and (D) the heros of the tale whose choices can swing the balance between these points.
At the most intimate level, the points represent the following: (A) Laurana; (B) Kitiara, (C) the other characters and the demands of the world, and (D) Tanis whose choice between those three points determines his fate and the fate of the world in general.
I believe that it was this foundational structure which made much of our Dragonlance works so successful and well received early on. While Margaret and I still envision the world in these terms, we cannot answer for others who have written about the world of Krynn.
How much control do you have over the world?
None. Zip. Zilch. Dragonlance(r) is a trademark of TSR, Inc. (Now Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, Inc.) and is used here without their permission. They own it. We don’t. It was part of the bargain we agreed to when we signed on for this journey — it was part of the dues we had to pay along the way.
At best, we exert influence over the world, but certainly not control. Recently, however, events have allowed us to have a much more extensive influence that before. With the new Dragonlance novel coming out early in the year 2000, and with our consulting arrangement with TSR now in place, we have the opportunity to influence the world as never before. This is, we gratefully acknowledge, due to the new TSR and their recognition of our past contributions to the world of Krynn.
We are now a peripheral part of the Dragonlance Team at TSR, with whom we consult regularly and work in partnership to create a better Krynn.
Do you make a living off of all this Dragonlance stuff?
Wizards of the Coast, as above, owns all the rights. We make no money off the modules or products which do not directly bare our name. We do get royalties from our books — again, that was all part of the dues we paid when we signed on for this.
Who came up with the Kender?
Kender are a joint creation to a certain extent. Harold Johnson initially thought of them as Hobbits with shoes. I added their ‘borrowing’ lust as a way around the moral dilema of thieves in my games. However, the fullest measure of credit must belong to Roger Moore who did more to define the Kender by far than anyone else. It’s mostly his fault. Find him and have him explain it.
Who came up with Raistlin?
Raistlin simply appeared during an early playtest session of the first Dragonlance module at my apartment in Lake Geneva. Terry Phillips, a good friend of mine, was playing Raist that night in the game and pulled out all the stops, creating the character fully realized before us. To this day, Margaret remembers Terry as wearing black robes that night — which, I know for a fact, he was not.
After that — well, Raistlin belongs to Margaret. I wouldn’t dare presume upon that and you would be well advised not to do so as well!
Are you going to write any more Dragonlance?
Only time, I believe, will tell whether there will be any further Dragonlance books by Weis and Hickman or not. There currently are no plans for such a thing.
Will there be any more Weis/Hickman Dragonlance Novels?
At the present time, Margaret and I are pursuing different projects. As with the above answer, only time will tell when we will be working together again. We remain good friends and still enjoy working with each other. It is just a matter of the right story for us to tell.