The other weakness of the scenario are those pre-generated characters, which feel too similar and flawless-all but one are ‘Good’ when it comes to their Alignment and the only one who is not, is Neutral. Further that is no capacity in the scenario to deviate from this inherent goodness, making the roleplaying of the pre-generated characters feel strangely challenging but dull. 116-which is repeated here. Yet it set a precedent that would see scenarios focus on story and as a result become events to be experienced rather than adventures that the players could make their own with their characters. This is not to say that playing this or any other of the Dragonlance Chronicles scenarios would not be fun, but in DL1 Dragons of Despair the pre-generated characters do limit player options. My copy of DL1 Dragons of Despair was purchased in 1984 on a sunny trip to Bournemouth from a games mini-stall in an indoor market off Old Christchurch Road. I can recall being highly attracted by the beautiful cover and being disappointed by the initial parts of the adventure, though not by list the best dungeon.
It would not be until a year or so later that I would play it and the rest of the series in a playing group that was so large that we would use characters that appeared in later modules. Thus I played Gilthanus, the Qualinesti princeling who would not appear until DL2 Dragons of Flame. Which is why I can better recall playing that adventure rather than DL1 Dragons of Despair-and yes, at the time I did enjoy playing these adventures. In hindsight, it would be interesting to revisit DL1 Dragons of Despair. As with adventures of its era though, not with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, First Edition, as it just does not offer the storytelling mechanics that the setting and the backgrounds of the pre-generated characters would seem to demand. Perhaps Pelgrane Press’ 13th Age or Mindjammer Press’ Monsters & Magic would provide this? Then again, it would be even more interesting to have a more modern designer revisit this series and present the Dragonlance Chronicles anew? Although understandable, it seems a pity that Wizards of the Coast could not celebrate the Dragonlance Chronicles in the thirtieth year of their publication.