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When 3rd edition rolled around, Wizards of the Coast handed the maintenance of the Dragonlance setting to Sovereign Press, the printing company owned by Dragonlance co-founder Margaret Weis. They released several Dragonlance books all the way until the end of their licence, not too long before 4th Edition came rolling around.

But I'm curious if this means that those Dragonlance books are canon. I rarely see them being referenced by guides and people talking about character builds in general, and even then in only a select few cases. which lead me to suspect that the books are not "official" works like the regular, the Forgotten Realms and the Eberron books are.

Is this true? Are they third party works because they're printed by Sovereign Press rather than Wizards of the Coast? Or are they still official because Sovereign Press was licensed to print them, and they are an established setting and bear the WotC seal of approval?

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    \$\begingroup\$ They are official in the ways you note (officially license, bear the Dragonlance logo, etc.), and they're 3rd-party in the ways you note (not written/published by WotC). Since "official rules" is not defined anywhere outside of the opinion-makers in the fan base though, there is no possible answer to this that is not opinion-based. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 26 '15 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, this core point of your question is unclear: by "canon" do you mean Dragonlance setting and history canon, or do you mean official D&D 3.5e character build options "canon"? Because you could be asking either, based on "are the books canon" and "but I never see their options referenced in builds". My comment above is based on my understanding that you're asking about whether they're "rules canon." \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 26 '15 at 0:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how the rules canon answer and the setting canon answer differ in any way. I assume he's asking "both" and the answer to both is the same... \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Mar 26 '15 at 0:47
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Margaret Weis helped create it. She owns it. It's canon.

It isn't mentioned in many builds, due to some confusion surrounding if it is either 3rd edition, or 3.5 edition, being campaign specific, and the fact it isn't an official WotC product (but officially licensed - yes).

It isn't a stretch to imagine officially licensed 3rd party publishers of game material. Sword and Sorcery officially publish Ravenloft; Kenzer & Company officially publish Kingdoms of Kalamar; and so forth.

WotC has stated that the TSR product line was too large and they only focused on "Greyhawk" which was actually the Core setting, and Forgotten Realms. They allowed official licenses for the other campaign settings to 3rd party publishers, such as the ones above.

Maragaret Weis is one of the original authors of Dragonlance, and won the rights to Dragonlance in a court battle. Dragonlance was then officially published by Sovereign Press under the d20 license. Since Margaret Weis has been involved and owns the rights to Dragonlance, one should consider it canon. She would not allow her name to be put on it - as was case with Lord Soth and the whole Ravenloft fiasco.

As stated in this article/letter by her:

The Dragonlance RPG License has been a labor of love for me and my staff throughout the term of our agreement with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. Our goal in creating Dragonlance game product has always been to give the long-time fan quality material that supports our vision for Dragonlance while attracting a new audience to this epic world. Our agreement has come to term and is not being renewed. We will be releasing new Dragonlance RPG product through the end of this year and then will step back from our association with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro.

[...]

Margaret Weis

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer prompted my question: Who owns the Dragonlance intellectual property? \$\endgroup\$ – mdrichey Mar 14 '19 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer is incorrect per Tracy Hickman. trhickman.com/qa-owns-dragonlance "There have been recent successful challenges to ‘Work for Hire’ agreements where creatives have managed to get the rights back on their properties but for now Wizards of the Coast is the final word in Dragonlance property rights." \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Mar 14 '19 at 18:37
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Neither. This is what's known as a "second party" publication. You've heard of "third party" publishers, right, and the game owner is the "first party?" Officially licensed publications are second party. Margaret Weis/Sovereign Stone was officially licensed to do Dragonlance stuff, and so it's official inasmuch as anything's official (WotC does a lot of changing/retconning/etc from D&D version to D&D version...).

They certainly may later decide setting events in that run were not canon, just like in 4e they axed half the planes, but c'est la vie. Specific venues (game tables, Organized Play) may choose to allow or not allow crunch items from those books (moot now, but since you mentioned "builds..."). Not many people bought that new Dragonlance stuff, so you don't see it referenced as much.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the only thing regularly referenced was the Dynamic Priest feat. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Mar 26 '15 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut Two similar feats are often referred to: Academic Priest is a premier ability for the Archivist (so that their bonus spells and primary casting ability use the same ability) and the Dynamic Priest (for when you think Clerics are not quite powerful enough). \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Jacobs Mar 26 '15 at 9:22

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